Friday, May 28, 2004


Man, this Arenda Troutman story keeps getting better. Today's wonderfully understated headline on the Sun-Times' front-page read, "Alderman Tricked By Her Gang Lover." That is a headline so worthy of the New York Post.

The story quotes an anonymous source as saying the 20th ward alderman thought that Black Disciple Gang member Donnell Jehan, aka "Scandalous aka "Big Scan", might have been "the one."

Wow!! Mary Mitchell's got some catching up to do when she comes back from vacation. If there's anyone who give Alderman Troutman the tough love she needs, it's Mary.

Second City My Ass!!: The HotHouse-Free Edition

Good Friday:

-The Stoner Rock experiments of Acid Mothers Temple settles in for a two-night stay at the Abbey Pub. Bring earplugs, these fuckers are loud!!!

- Jay Bennett takes the stage at Gunther Murphy's. Note: Monica Kendrick in this week's Reader said that the ex-Wilco member may "have some shit to work through", so please don't drunkenly yell out Jeff Tweedy's name, please.

- Irony Alert: The Empty Bottle hosts "1977 Punk Tribute Night" with Clash, The Damned, and The Jam cover bands. I'm taking odds that the average age of the audience wasn't even born when the original Clash, Jam, and Damned formed. E-mail them to me with your best Lagos fortune-in-escrow schemes.


- Lincoln Avenue strip mainstays Bumpus apparently are still around and playing at the Wise Fools Pub. They may have some shit to work through, as well, so drunkenly scream out Rachael Yamagata's name between songs.

- If you're in Albany Park this evening, pick up a half-pint at the liquor store on Kedzie and Montrose, go to the Candlestick Maker and catch master drummer Harris Eisenstadt.

- The Legendary Sheila Jordan wraps up a two-night stay at the Green Mill.


- Spider Saloff & the Uptown String Trio lay some torch down at Katerina's

- The Old Town School of Folk gives its stage to New York's legendary Hot Club of 52nd Street and the ageless Johnny Frigo Quartet

- Monday's a holiday so head to the Kane County Fairgrounds for the Flavors of Greece Food Festival. Greek cuisine was Atkins before Atkins was Atkins!!

And please eat your fair share of brats, burgers, and kebobs this weekend as Memorial Day is the start of the grill season. Excelsior!!

Hair of the Dog

Normally I don't advocate riding a bicycle under the influence of alcohol. Actually, that's never a good thing. If it means anything I was sober by the time I pedaled to North and Clybourn last night. The combination of exercise and the chilly night flashed all the alcohol out of my bloodstream and made my nipples hard the entire ride home.

The writer's group was pretty good last night. The Bosworth Mob is far ahead of where Write Club is right now. But they also meet more frequently, as well. I tried to get some of them to come with me to the Hideout to see Kelly Hogan, but they decided to get a beer elsewhere.

Speaking of Ms. Hogan, goddamn was she good last night!! The Hideout was packed to see her and her amazing band, the Wooden Leg. It's her and an organ trio playing old soul, R&B, jazz, and torch songs. People kept recognizing me and buying me beers. In short order I became one of those buzzed assholes who screams out requests that the band cannot possibly play. Though, to be fair, I thought that they might have had a version of Annie Ross' "Twisted" worked up.

What parts of my body that weren't tingling from the Bell's Oberon were brought up to speed by the band's fiery working of "Kiddio", a Brook Benton cover. I was so stoked that I recognized the song that I was walking up to everyone I knew slurring, "She just dropped some knowledge", like Kelly Hogan was the second coming of Chuck D or something. Once I made it home I burned the remnants of alcohol from my system rifling through my album collection looking for "Brook Benton's Greatest Hits" and hoping to Christ that I didn't donate it to charity. Once I found it I put it in the cd player and passed out, like numerous times before.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Another Weekend Approaching

I'm supposed to attend another writers' critique group tonight so I should be redlining the submissions instead of dicking around here, but I'm a product of the first generation of latchkey kids. Never work more than needed.

The Bosworth mob (as this group calls itself) has amassed an impressive volume of stories. I haven't had the time to sift through all of them but I really like what I've read so far. A few of the more active members showed up at the initial Make meetings. Their intent was to see what information they could gather from these meetings in order to publish their own collection, which is what we've also been trying to do with Write Club Chicago. These days both Write Club and Make seem stalled. The Write Club critique meetings finally seem to be getting back on track, with an emphasis on editing submissions and not the non-profit filings. We have a place to meet, people are submitting new material, working on old stories, and we're getting interest from newcomers via the "Speak Easy" storytelling series. My guess is that "Speak Easy" will be the organ that drives the party, in bolshevik speak. I'd like to get more entries to "Speak Easy" submitted through the critique group, so that it becomes this cycle that grows.

Elsewhere, I've been catching up on well-written web logs. Blaise K. over at Bazima (look to your right for the link) never fails to put a smile on my face. Her adventures in unemploym- ahem, "freelance", are a riot. If she were a Chicagoan, she'd have this city by the short hairs. As it is, she's a hidden gem in Brooklyn, representing Park Slope as proudly as I wax poetic about Bridgeport.

The weblog Gothamist just launched a Chicago version, called "Chicagoist." So far I like what I read: they're all over the Arenda Troutman story. As far as aldermanic scandals go in this city, Troutman's involvement with the Black Disciples street gang is tame. I know, being a resident of the 11th Ward. The juiciest bits of the troutman story are the allegations that she had a "personal relationship" with a Black Disciple member nicknamed "Scandalous"- which proves that if you need thug lovin' you get yourself a thug- and today's news that Troutman's brother Ben was busted in a drug raid at the Ida B. Wells projects. If Chicagoist can keep this up, I'll be frequenting it everyday.

I'm a late-comer to Mimi Smartypants but I think she's a riot, even with the fucking penguins plastered on the homepage. The only cool penguins ever were Chilly Willy and Opus. And even Opus is losing his luster these days with that half-assed, Sunday-only cartoon that Berkeley Breathed is producing, which is probably my comparing today's "Opus" strip to the caustic humor behind prime "Bloom County." Which, coupled with my Van Halen/Hagar post Tuesday confirms that you can't go back home. Worse, "Opus" is in the Tribune, of all papers. Both "Bloom County" and "Outland" ran in the Sun-Times. Doesn't Breathed have a sense of history? But I digress. Sometime next year I want to put together a "Speak Easy" with an all-female line-up and Mimi's on my short list. It might take some convincing- or large quantities of tequila- but I think I could make it happen. Oh well.

Off to the North side. First to the Hideout, then the Bosworth Mob, then back to the Hideout for Kelly Hogan. "Second City My Ass!!" tomorrow. This'll be called the "No HotHouse" edition. Hasta!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Finish What Ya Started

I try not to watch much television but when I do it's either very good or extremely popcorn. "24" is the latter, held together by the stoic, smoky velvet voice of Keifer Sutherland as Counterterrorism Special Agent Jack Bauer. This evening's season finale didn't disappoint as we were witness to severed limbs, a Presidential resignation, murder, and the breakdown most diehard fans have been waiting for for nearly three years. The plotlines get cheesier every year and with the Sutherland the only regular apparently coming back it'll be interesting to see how Fox relaunches the series next year.

I spent much of the afternoon cooking some rainbow trout and listening to Van Halen. Although I had to do something with the trout I don't know why I put in Van Halen as the soundtrack to my kitchen session. And it was a little of both Van Halen eras, too. "Women and Children First" from the Diamond Dave era and "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" from Van Hagar.

Sammy Hagar joining Van Halen was a major point of contention among my friends in the neighborhood growing up. Danny Arrecis wouldn't talk to me for weeks when I showed up in his basement for our guitar jam sessions with a copy of "5150." Years later I walked into the Abbey Pub (back when it was only an Irish Bar) wearing a Van Hagar t-shirt and left two hours later ducking punches from construction workers after drunkenly arguing the merits of Roth versus Hagar. 'Course those of us who gave a shit about such matters then now know that the two incarnations of the band were completely different. The Roth-era Van Halen was lightning in a bottle: you only get it once. Van Hagar had more staying power and tried to change with the changing musical tastes of the public at large, but could still kick your ass when needed.

I guess I was thinking of it since Van Hagar is touring this summer- including two sold-out shows at the United Center. Most people consider a VH reunion to only be with Roth, but his abysmal performances when he and Hagar toured together last year proved that there's only one way to age gracefully.

Still, there's something to be said about nostalgia. I remember on a visit to Nashville two years ago my friends and I watched as an old man in western wear interrupted a concert at Robert's Western World to stand on his head and drink a Pabst Blue Ribbon. Later in the evening this guy who looked like Foster Brooks came up to us and shared some marijuana he had packed in a corncob pipe. We smoked, watched the old guy come back and drink his beer, and all was right with the world. Every time I go back down there they want to recapture that night when I want to give them new things to talk about.

That's probably why I'm not gonna see Van Halen this summer.

Monday, May 24, 2004


Wonderful thanks to all of you who showed up to "Speak Easy" last night. You were a small but vociferous crowd and the bartender thanks you for your generosity.

For those of you who missed it I'm posting the story I read last night in a few lines. I call it my David Foster Wallace piece without the fifty pages of footnotes.

It Takes All Kinds

How you doing? So there's a guy at the end of the bar who wants to buy you a drink if you want. Who? Um, the big guy. No, not the gym rat-looking guy. The one next to him. Yeah, Barry White over there.

Oh, don't do that. Don't crinkle your nose like you just ate a bad spring roll. He could be watching us right now. Don't look! He might notice. Hey, we both know that first impressions mean a lot, but looks can be deceiving. Well, yeah, he's big. But he's dressed well, and the couple of times I've been to the back of the bar I've noticed he smells really good. Issey Miyake, I think. Sure, if he turns a little to his left he looks like Jabba the Hut on a barstool, put that out of your mind. Look, I'm not saying that he could be an aerobic monster in bed; I'm saying that even though he may be fat, he ain't a slob. Besides, it's just a drink, not a marriage proposal. Cool, he'll be glad to hear that you took him up on the offer. Oh, don't just order a vodka cranberry; that's as bad as turning him down outright. No, don't order a Corona, either. Here, take a look at our martini menu. I'll let him know that you said yes to his offer and I'll be right back.

Hey, tiny. Everything cool over here? Cool. So I was talking to that woman at the other end of the bar and she'd really like to buy you a drink. Yeah, her!! Don't look; it'll make her uncomfortable. Hey, I just sling drinks. I don't know why she's interested in you, she just is. Look, if you have a confidence issue that's your problem, okay. Well, no one likes a skinny Santa, either. There's no middle ground. All I know is that somebody wants you to buy her a drink and that somebody just happens to be her and that somebody is waiting for you to buy her a drink. Sometimes this shit just happens. So will you buy her a drink? Cool. Wait here. I'll be back in a moment.

Well, you've been studying this for a bit. Ready for the quiz? Still don't know. Hey, I put the list together, so I recommend any one of them. Here, try this one: Spiced Chai tea martini. No, it's tasty. One of my better martinis. It's surprisingly refreshing. I think we have some soy milk in the back. No, you're not making me do too much work. I have to be behind here, anyway. Alright, chai tea martini, it is. I'll let him know.

Okay, I'm making her a martini and she'd also like to come over and talk to you. Hey, do you dance? I'm asking because there's a mambo band onstage and she has a dancer's body. Sweating? Jesus Christ, you could drop a hundred pounds and still be sweating to mambo music. Look at all those guys out there. We're going through bev naps like gym towels tonight. Don't worry about sweating. You can't dance the mambo? Oh, it's easy for men. You just lead with your hands and watch her wiggle like a wet eel. Yeah, it's like stepping, only cooler. She's not gonna embarrass you. Look, have some fatih, pal. She just let you buy her a drink. Here's how I see it. The two of you get to talking, and then you dance to a couple of numbers. From there it's a bonus even if you don't look at her the rest of the night? Why? Because every other single woman in this club would have seen you dancing with the most gorgeous woman in the club. And they're gonna think, "He's got some high self-confidence." Yeah, you'll be like a plus-sized male debutante with your pick of the litter. Okay, so I'm gonna finish this martini for her and get her to come over here.

Here you go, a spiced chai tea martini with soy milk, compliments of the gentleman of large stature at the end of the bar. It is tasty!! No, that's real chai, not some mix. So, you wanna know something else about big man at the back? He's a hell of a mambo dancer. You wouldn't think from the size of him, until you realize that the woman's doing most of the heavy lifting when dancing a mambo. All he's doing is leading you. I've seen you dance here before, you'd make a cripple a good dance partner. Personally I think you should make the next move. He bought the drink. There's reciprocation involved here. Look at it this way, if there are any guys you are interested in here and that guy sees you dancing with him, that man will think that you're approachable. No, I don't think you're approachable. Speaking as a bartender with no ulterior motive with no ulterior motive whatsoever I think that you are the hottest thing going in this bar right now. Dancing with him will do a lot to lower the blinders of everyone else. It isn't a hard decision. You need to be motoring your ass over to the other end of the bar, Sister Christian and ask him to dance after a few moments of small talk. I'll let him know.

Okay, she's coming over. Just keep the conversation simple, don't start thinking past the dance. You'll be okay. Now I need to warn you in advance that she ordered a martini that uses cream. She wanted soy milk, but I couldn't bear to tell her the truth because she had her sights set on drinking this martini. So if you notice her farting, don't let on until you get to the dance floor where she can pass it off on someone else, okay?

Well, here you are. You two are well-acquainted by now, why don't you do the formal introductions and I'll leave you alone?

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Democracy in Inaction

So this afternoon at HotHouse there's a round of voter registration and deputy registrar training. After the bitter results of the 2K election and the lightning rail ride to hell that the Bush administration has placed the country the reasoning is that if we can get more voters registered there's a fighting chance that we won't have to tolerate four more years of George W. Bush.

I was initially planning on attending, but I'm also considering becoming an election judge. I hear from these socialist conspiracy theorists constantly that bad ballot practices in Florida are what cost Al Gore the election, not his lackluster campaigning prior to the debates. I've contended for years that if Al Gore campaigned from the primaries that he wanted the presidency, not as though he deserved it, people wouldn't be making such noise about the Florida recounts. When you let a man with a shaky grasp on the English language thoroughly humiliate you in a Presidential debate, you deserve to lose. But I digress, regardless of how the election turned out, what happened in Florida merited investigation and possibly prosecution in an ideal society.

I've been gently dissuaded by people about becoming an election judge. I've been told it's hard work for "only $100." I don't know. Sitting in a Dominick;s for eight hours on a Saturday persuading a bunch of passers-by that their votes matter doesn't seem like a walk in the park. Every time I vote at my polling station, the judges are gorging on pizza from Graziano's on 31st street.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Second City My Ass!!: Do Not Drive Near Belmont, Lincoln, And Ashland This Weekend


My Morning Jacket hits Metro again (this has to be the third time this year alone) with their wonderfully depressing take on Southern rock. Hipster alert: They're serving Goose Island's "312" ale on draft. Give up the five-spot and try it.

Although it officially kicked off two weeks ago, the first big Lakeview summer festival of the year kicks off with Lakeview Mayfest. The band lineups include a melange of tribute music for meatheads and the bimbos who date them: REM, U2, Dave Matthews, and Neil Diamond cover bands all sound better after a day of binge drinking Miller Lite in eighty degree weather.

The legendary Radiators settle in for two nights at the Abbey Pub.

Sabados Gigantes

Acid Jazz still lives with the Greyboy All Stars at House of Blues.

Chicago is Ground Zero for great tenor sax players. One of the most underrated, Ari Brown, wraps up a two-night stay at the Green Mill.


If I had the work ethic of Jon Langford I wouldn't be writing this blog. He'll be at Martyrs' for "Bands For Bell" Featuring The Waco Brothers and The Bon Mots.

Service Industry Night is sure to bring out the masses at Betty's Blue Star Lounge. "Proper attire required" means show a lot of cleavage, ladies.

Closing with a bit of self-promotion: I'll be reading with Ramsin Cannon, Mike Zapata, Jeff Geiger, Sarah Dodson, Paul Barile, and Mario during "Speak Easy: Senseless" at HotHouse. Please bring heavy drinkers and designated drivers.

Monday, May 17, 2004

The Weekend in Review

I'm back from Nashville complete with a motel tan. My friends are nicely ensconced in their new townhome as of this posting. They still have some miscellaneous items to move, but they're officially homeowners. And I'm sore as hell.

Nashville's a great city deserving of its nickname "the Athens of the South." The trees covering its rolling hills are in full foliage right now. I found myself longing for a road bike and a few hours to ride. Nashville is the second fastest growing city in America, so the metropolitan area is undergoing some serious urban sprawl right now. They have public transportation, but the buses run worse than Pace schedules. The city is building a greenway connecting the far reaches of the city to downtown by bicycle trail, so for you health nuts, you have that going for you, as the far reaches stretch some thirty miles outward in any direction.

Nashville's also where I've had the best sushi in my life. The place is called Virago and it's located right by the Country Music Hall of Fame. We finished moving the heavy furniture around 9 Saturday night. We were all showered by 10:30 and Virago was the only place we could think of that was open late for dinner.

Anyhoo, we got to Virago and they had house music screaming through the house stereo system. We ordered five rolls and the fucking things were huge. Each had a different texture and more thought put into them than some of the better sushi restaurants here (Note to Heat and most of the Wicker Park Sushi restaurants: you've been called out.) After a few minutes, the house beats were replaced by more sublime acid jazz and the volume was lowered. We stayed till one a.m. and I'm glad I did because there was so much HOTNESS there. Jesus, I hadn't seen that many hot Southern redheads in a long time. They were all rocking some serious stilettos and leather, pounding back Newcastles like trixies do Miller lites, and traveled in packs everywhere in the restaurant. Like they had a purpose and that purpose was to just be beautiful. I just sat in my booth trying not to keep the ort of salmon roll in my mouth.

Sunday we decided to reserve some time for a "pig crawl." This was where we stopped at various barbecue joints in the area based on pre-determined criteria:

- The restaurant had to spell Barbecue either "B-B-Q" or "Bar-B-Q."

- The restaurant had to have a picture of a pig wearing a chef's hat, an apron, a chef's smock with no bottoms a la Porky Pig, or was clutching a fork and knife in its hooves.

- We were never to refuse refills on drinks, biscuits, onion rings, or fries.

We only stopped at one place before we called it a day. The one place we stopped at (I think it's called Nick and Ed's) had a pig with the knife and fork qualifier but also had a disturbing smile on the pig, as though he was offering to cut off a slab of his hip right there for you. We ordered onion rings and cheese biscuits for appetizers. The onion rings were as big as a softball, the cheese biscuits were more like mini muffins, but they were so good. We all dove in and committed wanton gluttony.

I ordered something off the menu called "Pig in the Potato Patch": a giant baked potato stuffed with all the fixings and a good half-pound of pulled pork. They had a barbecued chicken version of the potato, so I asked for a half-pork, half-chicken potato. With Mrs. Claus' voice in my head ("Poppa, eat! Nobody likes a skinny Santa.") I tore into that potato as though Christmas depended on it. Once I was done I seriously considered bulimia for the first time in my life, then opted for loosening the belt, which probably saved my life.

Now I'm back here with visions of the big ass Missionary Baptist Church in my head. But that's a story for another time.

Small Thoughts of Midwestern Burnout

Twelve years ago I was on a British Airways flight to Frankfurt when I had the pleasure of sitting next to some college-aged Deadhead. When the time came for beverages, I asked for a rum-and-coke and my pal asked for three cans of whatever beer they were serving. He then proceeded to shotgun the cans in succession. I asked why he was doing that and his reply was, "Shotgunning these beers'll get you wasted quicker because we're at a higher altitude, dude."

I hadn't the heart to tell him that the cabin was pressurized.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Second City My Ass!!: The "I'm Out Of Town" Edition

I'm getting ready to head to O'Hare, where I'll be heading to Nashville to help friends move in to their new house, hit Robert's Western World to catch the glorious mess that is Brazilbilly and hopefully run into that old guy who stumbles along First Avenue, stands on his head and drinks PBR for money. I fucking love Nashville.

Anyhoo, if you don't do anything else this weekend go catch Patty Griffin at the Vic. The Dixie Chicks totally owe their early success to her and she's also what is known as "the shit" in the patois of the street.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Preaching to the choir

I'm busy finishing the story I have slated for next week's Speak Easy, so I won't waste much time here.

However, I thought someone might be interested in checking this out. It really warms my heart.

Monday, May 10, 2004

I didn't forget

Highlights from my Mother's Day phone call yesterday:

Me: How's everyone doing, Mom?

Mom: Your sister hasn't wished me a Happy Mother's day yet.

Me: Is she doing anything with you today?

Mom: No, she's spending Mother's Day with her mother-in-law.

Me: I'm sorry.

Mom: Don't feel sorry for me. She'll show her head when she needs to borrow money or have me babysit the kids.

Me: Then ignore her.

Mom: Kind of hard to do when she lives next door.

Then this exchange happened a couple of minutes later:

Mom: Your stepfather finally bought me a washer and dryer.

Me: That's nice.

(background noise)

Mom: It's not on until this evening, sweetie.

Me: What was that all about?

Mom: He wants to watch wrestling.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

This Is What Happens when I Forget to Take My B-Vitamins Before I go Out

So I was looking forward to spending a chill night at HotHouse listening to D-Settlement (who BROUGHT IT, by the way) and hoisting a couple of the new Goose Island "312" ales when I remembered that Young's Double Chocolate Stout is now on tap. To further complicate matters, there was a bottle of Jefferson's Reserve bourbon looking mighty lonely on a shelf.

2 a.m. rolled around and I'm at Dunkin' Donuts at Archer and Halsted- a place I said I'd never frequent again because one night I caught the night shift guy rubbing his feet and then handling the apple fritters. But I'm not a proud man when I just spent the past five hours pulling a bourbon/beer daisy chain. So I slushed my way to the counter for some deep-fried, spongy salvation to soak the keg in my belly. My man was there, with gloves on.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Second City, My Ass!!: The Weekend Calendar

For those of us who've been frustrated by the Reader's Critics' Choices lately (I still can't get Liz Armstrong's Britney Spears recommendation out of my head and she follows it up with JC Chasez) here's some to-do's this weekend that don't require playing Hipster Bingo at the Empty Bottle or having to arm yourself within a two-mile radius of Wrigley Field. Take a chance and see how the other third lives:


- Where were you when the cops raided HotHouse last year? Full Disclosure: I was behind the bar trying to recapture my lost income in Maker's Mark. Anyhoo, the drinks'll be flowing like floodwater through Deep Tunnel tonight (Hello, Goose Island "312" Urban Wheat Ale.) Go see Marvin Tate's D-Settlement ring in seventeen years of HotHouse sticking it to the man's homogeny. They promise this'll be the last show EVER!

- Sign of the Apocalypse #1: Jazz singers are doing residencies at Jazz Showcase. Go down this weekend and see one of the best going, Karrin Allyson.

Sabado Gigante

- On-line and broadsheet rag The 2nd Hand (I say that with affection) celebrates the release of it's new collected anthology All Hands On with a live reading at The Stray Show. Go out and support good Chicago writing.

- Give a hipster two turntables and he thinks he's DJ Logic. Go check out Tag Team DJ's at the Hideout, hope they match the BPMs, get drunk and request lots of 80's hair metal.

- One-hit wonder Bree Sharp hits Gunther Murphys. $8.00 will get you a bunch of songs you never heard and one song ("David Duchovny") you couldn't get out of your head four years ago.

- Looking for a nice appletini in Bridgeport? Hah! We take our drinking seriously at Puffer's; small batch bourbons and a beer menu that'll make any Irish bar in Lincoln Park green with envy. Go down there, catch Nomad Planets, and tip Al really well. He don't wear those leather pants for comfort.


- It's Mother's Day and you stuck Mom with the brunch tab again. Do her a solid and take her to see Jim Jarmusch's "Dead Man" at the Music Box. She'll wish you just phoned.

- After you freaked out Mom with "Dead Man", head on over to Beat Kitchen for "Mish Mash Variety Night".

"Lord Of The Flies", Anyone?

I'm as enraged as anyone by the photographic evidence of American GIs abusing and torturing Iraqi POWs, and the calculated "apologies" coming from the Bush Administration. Neil Steinberg in the Sun-Times today tackles the subject head-on.

Beginning with a blunt refuting of the President's assertion that the photographs don't reflect the "true nature and heart of America," the normally conservative Steinberg takes the administration to task with brutal efficiency for the actions of the army guards at Abu Ghraib prison.

The simple reasoning of Steinberg's column- that individuals freed from the constraints of their civilized society regress to barbaric behavior- works as a well-thought counter to the bluster of Rush Limbaugh, who chalked up the abuse to a "boys will be boys" mentality. Here's some transcript from Limbaugh's Wednesday show (via The O'Franken Factor.) Judging from the rambling defense, I'd say that Rush found a new maid/dealer:

This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation and we're going to ruin people's lives over it, and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we're going to really hammer 'em because they had a good time.

He compared the abuse of prisoners-of-war to a hazing initiation. I've been through my share of military hazing initiations. The worst thing that ever happened to me during one was receiving the four-hundred dollar bar tab after I was officially recognized as a Turtle. I see where he was going here; every hazing initiation I ever took part in or knew of had an element of homoeroticism and defaming. Who knew that Skull-and-Bones initiates were bound together naked, nut-to-butt, and forced to masturbate while being led around by a dog leash? This also affirms my belief that the University campus Greek system is a fertile breeding ground for the Republicans of tomorrow. I'm guessing Rush Limbaugh was a cross between Greg Marmalade and Flounder. And also a power bottom.

You know, these people are being fired at everyday - I'm talking about the people having a good time.

I've been in a war zone and "having a good time" was defined as "going out, getting drunk, and getting laid."

You ever hear of emotional release?

Yes. I'm told Oxycontin hampers that.

You ever hear of need to blow some steam off?

That's why I exercise.

These people are the enemy!

I thought we were supposed helping them build a democracy that would be the standard-bearer of the Middle East. Silly, naive me!!

So, if I read that right, a man who recieved medical deferments from Vietnam said we should view the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib as nothing more than a hazing gone wrong. I wonder if Rush was a fan of "Oz" and if he got excited during the shower scenes.

Then there was a quote from the mother of Army Specialist Lynndie England, whose face was plastered on the front page of the Washington Post this week holding a dog leash fastened around the neck of an naked Iraqi prisoner.

"And what the (Iraqis) do to our men and women are just? The rules of the Geneva Convention, does that apply to everybody or just us?"

Well, seeing as we are the chief warmongers there, seeing as our soldiers are the ones photograhed torturing Iraqi POWs captured during a war, seeing as even our President said that we should be above that type of behavior (although he may have been tied to a young strapping Eli during a Skull-and-Bones ceremony in the late sixties and forced to simulate anal sex) I'd say that this is a time that the Geneva Convention absolutely applies to just us.

But maybe I'm just a liberal.


I seriously need a firmer mattress. Woke up this morning and my lower back was completely stiff. A few minutes of stretching had me feeling better.

I know it's only in the mid-fifties today, but I broke out Shuggie Otis' "Inspiration Information" to mark the coming of spring. Otis was a prodigy. ThI could go into detail, but you can get more information about Shuggie here or here.

"Inspiration Information" was another impulse purchase. I loved it so much that I was buying copies of the cd as birthday presents all summer. I would take the cd with me on vacation. it's that good. I don't listen to it as much these days. The exceptions are when I'm finding myself cruising along on a lazy spring day. It's a perfect soundtrack for such days.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

So No One Told Me Life Was Gonna Feel This Way (clapclapclapclap)

And if you happen to miss the series finale of Friends don't fret. In another effort by NBC to milk their cash cow dry the DVD of the final episode will be availible in five days. Pardon me while I turn on the sarcasm mode for a moment.


Ah, that's better. Seriously, Friends leaving the air so soon after the loss of Sex In the City could put the cultural barometer of gentrified neighborhoods across the nation in a free spin. Could a return to carb-heavy diets be far behind?

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Today's Pig is Tomorrow's Bacon

The Shrub was in Chicago today at the Hilton and Towers which meant that Balbo was literally crawling with police and secret service. This made going about one's daily routine not so as everyone- students, tourists, professionals, the homeless- all made with the gapers block.

My Tuesdays at work are generally four to five hours of meetings followed by two hours of paperwork. Since the Police had all the parking spaces on Balbo occupied and were towing anything that didn't look like an unmarked car my meetings were held on my cell phone instead. Days like these are why I have a rollover plan. I finished my paperwork a bit early so I could crane for a glimpse of the man who, if the elections were held today, I feel would actually win the popular vote this time.

And that's the scary thing about George W. Bush. He's spent the past four years completely disproving Ralph Nader's assertion that there was no discernible difference between Bush and Al Gore. Nevertheless, even in the face of all the shit that's gone down in Iraq, knowing this administration's position versus actual record on the economy, environment, energy plan, national security, and countless other items I could go on about, he'd still win the election. But that's why Presidential elections are distance runs and not sprints, Al Gore's eleventh hour 2000 comeback notwithstanding.

I have to admit that the way the Bush camp has taken John Kerry's Vietnam war record and distorted it to make all the silver stars and purple hearts a negative campaign issue is breathtaking. No one's talking about Bush's skipping military duty anymore. It's as though it's better to be a chickenhawk than a decorated veteran. I'm starting to wonder if those duffel bags full of uniforms I threw over the gangway of the USS Anzio the day I was discharged will come back to haunt me should I ever decide to run for office. Consider this my confessional. Whle I'm here I should also note that I inhaled. Deeply. I also had sexual relations with that woman. And that woman.

That's why, when I get bummed out about the very real possibility of four more years of this nation being led by a dimwit, I tune out for just a moment and listen to truly mindless drivel like the fucking Darkness. They're just living in the now, which is how all flavors-of-the-month should. The Darkness is what rock would be like if Spinal Tap was in on the joke.

The Darkness is the musical equivalent of Geroge W. Bush: there's no middle ground. You either love it or hate it. The difference is that the Shrub is making decisions that will have ramifications on our grandchildren. It's what happens when someone with more luck than skill starts believing he's more talented than he is. Which explains the whole life of George W. Bush.

The Darkness is a welcome relief for popular music, like pissing in the alley after a night of pounding back long island iced teas. They sound loud and big and OHMYGOD they fucking rock!! Their lyrics are simpleton and sexist. And the lead singer spends most of the recording singing with his testicles in his throat. But it never takes itself seriously. They're just looking for the next piece of ass, the next gig, the next fix.

Having lived through the depression and self-important irony that was grunge it's great to see a band get it and not take themselves so seriously. Walking to the Orange Line bopping up-and-down to "Get Your Hands Off My Woman" I almost forget that I'll be 35 in a month and could afford to lose twenty pounds. Like the genital warts the lead singer cries about in his falsetto, the Darkness must be growing on me.