Friday, November 25, 2005

Black (Humor) Friday

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Mine was capped with a bottle of '98 Errazuriz Cabernet Sauvignon that was the wine equivalent of George Costanza draping himself in velvet.

Or was it velour?

Either way it was great wine.

While everyone's out shoppng I wanted to take time to share this with everyone:

Former FEMA director Michael Brown's new job.

Let's summarize this, shall we. Brown is starting an emergency disaster preparedness consulting business. He's starting a business so that people don't respond to disasters the way he did to Hurricane Katrina.

His balls must hang to his ankles because no one can be that clueless.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

It's Unconditional... On My Part

So it was a relatively uneventful day. The Tuesday before a long weekend usually is. I checked out of work early this afternoon to cash the check and do some shopping. Mom's been laying not-so-subtle hints all year about how she's never had a real spice rack. She actually laid it down so thick that at one point during the summer I offered to buy her one if she could find out where the hell our baby pictures are stored. When she started crying about the pictures getting lost with all the constant moving I realized I went too far.

So I went to Macy Field's after leaving work to start pricing on them; Friday I head to the Spice House to see what they have to offer. The plan is to talk my brother and sister into pitching in on a bakers' table and I buy the spice rack. That is, if both of them are even speaking with Mom by Christmas. She's been giving them both the cold shoulder for a few weeks. While I'm certainly not a fan of what's been going down among the two of them, they're both grown-ass adults, ostensibly, and should be held accountable to find their own solutions to their problems.

My friend Harry comes into town for the weekend, as well. I'm hoping to pry him away from his wife long enough Friday to get our noses reddened on glogg at the downtown Kriskindlemart in Daley Plaza. Harry's daughter is almost a year old now and it will be nice to see how big Lily's gotten since the birth, and also to see if she's making the transition form a drooling mass of baby.

But back to Macy Field's. The first thing I did was buy a new wallet. I was looking for a nice passcase style one like the one I wore out (an aside: I bought my last wallet at a street festival in New York's Upper West Side after participating in Bike New York two years ago. It survived my capsizing a kayak in the Chicago River, long bike rides and countless sweaty nights behind the bar at HotHouse. When I started contemplating whether or not to piece it back together with duct tape I figured it might be wise to buy, you know, a real wallet. The new one is a Levenger horizontal trifold with lots of space for my identification/credit cards, two money slots, and a lifetime warranty. That was worth having to listen to the salesman expound [or blow smoke up my ass- he seemed really sincere] about how his nephew is United States Senator Russ Feingold). I stopped at the Down Town Dog store in the basement to get some treats for Emmy. Twenty dollars later- for a tin of mints and these organic treats- I headed to the subway for the ride home.

Emmy won't eat the goddamn things. She'll eat grass, pizza crust, and goose droppings in the park, but she turns her nose away from these new treats. I probably shoudl give her some time to get adjusted to them, but I'm not sure. I had that mint in my mouth trying to get her to take it from me and I think it left a blister on my lip.

For Those Of You Who Don't Think You have Anything To Be Thankful For...

Last week we were talking about terrible Thanksgivings. I relayed this story to the Chicagoist staff this afternoon. Basically it's about why I used to go out the night before with friends:

It was 1997, Mom was out running errands when I made it over to the
house (back then they lived directly between Marie's Riptide Lounge
and the pre-Note Blue Note on Armitage, so I could drink to sunrise
then stumble over to Mom's for biscuits and gravy at 5:30 on a Sunday
morning, but I digress).

Anyway, I arrive to find my stepfather passed out drunk in his
Lay-Z-boy with the football game on and the radio set to US 99. The
turkey is in the oven, which is set at 150 degrees. I check to see if
Mom had stuffed the bird; she hadn't, to which I breathed a sigh of
relief that there isn't a pool of bacteria growing in the turkey. I
pull the turkey out, stuff it, set the oven to 425, and place the bird
back in the oven.

Finished with that I turn around in time to duck a roundhouse punch
from my stepdad. He thought someone was breaking into the house.
When I asked who put the turkey in an oven pre-heated to 150 degrees,
he admitted that he did it because he was hungry. So I went to call
Mom but when I picked up the phone my brother was on the line chatting
on a 1-900 sex line. He was living in the basement and tapped
illegally into Mom's phone line.

Shortly after that Mom arrived with my sister in tow. Turned out that
the "errand" she had to run was to bail my sister out at the Wicker
Park police station for tagging fences with grafitti, which depleted
her of the rest of the food money. I went to the store, bought the
rest of the stuff on Mom's shopping list, and proceeded to sit through
the most uncomfortable Thanksgiving dinner ever.

Things have improved a bit. Since my stepdad doesn't drink anymore Mom doesn't allow so much as a non-alcoholic beer or sparkling grape juice into the house for fear it
might knock the old man off the wagon. I get to deal with the family sober.

Yay, me.

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Case of The Moondays

With god as my witness, I did not expect the Bears to even be competitive with the Panteros, let alone win the damn game.

They beat Carolnia like the proverbial red-headed stepchild.

It's a short week and I should be doing laundry, getting a post ready for Chicagoist, cutting into that work list I posted in the kitchen, anything but letting time slip away here. And yet here I am, wondering if the meltdown in the House of Representatives is an indicator that we may be on the verge of a total meltdown of the Democratic process.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Life Imitating Art

Truly Orwellian, eh?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Viva La Raza!! (Link)

To those who know me it should not come as a surprise to know that I like professional wrestling. It's escapist, tacky, broadly acted and caters to the most basic of human emotions. It's a lot like opera, really. But not as stuffy.

That said when I woke up this morning and found out that Eddie Guerrero passed away in a Minneapolis hotel room I was shocked, and not only because at 38 he's two years younger than me. Guerrero was one of the few who could take something so obviously staged and make you not give a damn; he could suck you in with his ability. He had, as Rush Limbaugh so incorrectly claims that he has, talent on loan from God. He could take the most inane storylines and make them believable or make diamonds out of well-written gold stories. He could take a broomstick and make it a believable opponent and was always willing to make his opponents look better because it was good for business. Guerrero was the second wrestler of Hispanic heritage to hold a major promotion's world title- the ultimate symbol that the powers-that-be believe in your ability to carry a company- and was a major player without it. And his microphone skills, the ability to sell a storyline with charisma and speaking, were amazing.

"Latino Heat" will be missed. Here's hopng that Eduardo Guerrero "lies, cheats, and steals" his way to some peace in the afterlife.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Friday Tidbits

I'm in the middle of two straight weeks at work with no sign of sufacing until next Friday, the carpets need a serious vacuuming, Chicagoist is reaping the whirlwind for satirizing the Amish, I banged up my knee but good, and Emmy pounced on the mail carrier last night- and stepped back once she recognized who it was. This on the heels of recent pit bull attacks in the area and the increased calls for a ban on pit bulls.

How was your week?

I can take solace in the knowledge that Rod Stewart is giving us some sage advice on snorting cocaine. Who knew that dealers were cutting the purity with detergents, baby laxatives, flour, and salt?

Who knew that Rod Stewart was still snorting cocaine in the 21st Century?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I Normally Don't Honor Requests.

But since someone asked, I will oblige. The object here is to ask the following questions while iTunes/iPod is on shuffle, then move to the next question while forwarding the program. The songs that pop up are your answers.

Eh. I altered it a bit, not because I wanted to tempt fate but because the songs that popped up were pretty cool to listen to. And thank God for that because the next thing that popped up was the latest podcast from Winecast, with host Tim Elliott tasting wine directly into his microphone. I've heard better slurping sounds in porn movie orgies. I don't know how "The three great whites" whould go over as the answer to one of these questions.

The iTunes Magic 8 Ball (actually I just used my iPod):

What do you think of me, playlist?
Answer: “My Romance”, Claudia Acuna (Rhythm of Life, Verve, 2002)
Analysis: Simple, ambitious, and quietly optimistic. Upbeat and a bit of a dreamer. I think the iPod also likes my style and range of songs. If, that is, the iPod weren’t a cold piece of machinery.

Will I have a happy life?
Answer: “All Blues”, Oscar Brown, Jr. (Tells It Like It Is, Columbia, 1963)
Analysis: Title of the song aside, this is actually a positive answer: “Some blues are sad, but some are glad. Dark and sad or bright and glad: they’re all blues.” OBJ’s lyrics always balance the circle of life here on this Miles Davis tune.

What do my friends really think of me?
Answer: “What’s Happening Brother”, Marvin Gaye (What’s Going On, Motown, 1971)
Analysis: Basically explains what we do when we do get together since they seem to be more infrequent, and that maybe I should make more attempts to contact them. We’re always catching each other up on what’s goin’ on. (Like the Marvin Gaye pun there?)

Do people secretly lust after me?
Answer: “Autumn in New York”, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong (Ella And Louis Again, Verve, 1957)
Analysis: At the very least someone thinks I make good company in autumn. Someone mature with a flair for the nostalgic, perhaps?

What should I do with my life?
Answer: "Sugar”, Miss Rhapsody [from the Brian Page jump blues collection Chitlin’ Switch (Eatin’ and Lovin’ It)]
Analysis: Either this is a “try again later” question or the iPod is telling me to keep on keeping on and one day I will be a sugar daddy. I always wondered if the Viagra triangle was in my future.

Why must life be so full of pain?
Answer: “One Side”, Garrison Starr (Airstreams and Satellites, Vanguard records, 2004)
Analysis: This lyric stands out: “You give me a chance to keep hoping.” That and “How could I resist a chance at impossible?”

How can I maximize my pleasure during sex?
Answer: "Future Shock (Dance Your Pants Off)”, Maceo Parker (The J.B.’s Funky Good Time: The Anthology, 1995, Polydor Records)
Analysis: A variation on that bit of Clintonian (George) wisdom, “Free your mind and your ass will follow.”

Will I ever have children?
Answer: “Voot Nay On The Vot Nay”, Basin Street Boys (From Swing O’ Rama Volume 4: The Roots Of The Swing Revolution, Pet Rock Records, 1999)
Analysis: The Fuck? Maybe if I dance my pants off.

Will I die happy?
Answer: "Just For You”, Screaming Jay Hawkins (from Best of Bizarre Sessions,
Analysis: Well the funeral should be the best party ever!!!

Can you give me some advice?
Answer: "Ten Cats Down”, The Miller Sisters (From The Legendary Sun Records Story box set)
Analysis: Live my life like I’m on a playground and have fun.

What do you think happiness is?
Answer: "Utah Carol”, Marty Robbins (from Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, Columbia Legacy, 1959)
Analysis: Happiness apparently is getting trampled in a stampede of cattle to save a little friend, according to the song.

What's my favorite fetish?
Answer: "Kentucky Avenue”, Tom Waits (from Blue Valentine, Asylum Records, 1978)
Analysis: Apparently storytelling, childlike behavior, and borderline antisocial tendencies. Not necessarily in that order.

Eating Crow in Wrigleyville

Eric Zorn last week wrote a column stating in no uncertain terms that he- a Cubs fan- would be "eating crow" because the Sox won the World Series. This prompted a lot of back-and-forth of the sophmoric variety by fans of both teams.

Leave it to my good friend Whitley From Ravenswood to put it all in perspective. To wit:

"I love how Cubs dopes feign innocence and pull the 'what did we ever do to you to deserve this?' routine whenever exulting Sox fans gloat in their faces. You all might want to think about the garbage that routinely comes out of your mouths, the casual way in which you slur us at every opportunity as classless slobs --and as though there are no drunkards or morbidly obese people living anywhere north of Grand Avenue.

"As a proud Sox fan and proud Northsider, I know better, and I can tell you that to identify yourself as a Sox fan up here is to invite inquiries --really intelligent stuff like, 'The Sox?!?' with an implicit 'eeeeewww!!' in the inflection, as though you just let slip in casual conversation that you hadn't changed your underwear in six weeks. It's the quickest way to get some chick who's chatted you up in a public setting, or one who's liked what she's seen in your online profile, to turn her back toward you and flee (with uninvited groping and loudly passing wind ranking a distant joint second).

"In supposedly 'shared' environments such as call-in sports radio, when the hot-stove topic is 'What would you like to see YOUR team do this offseason,' leave it to Cubs dopes to preface their comments with something brilliant like, 'Let's talk about the only team that matters around here --the Coob!' before suggesting that the benevolent Tribune Company free up the dough to sign every All-Star on the free agent market while trading minor league scruberoos away to the Pirates, Twins, Royals and D-Rays in exchange for their best players. The nerve of you people is truly astonishing.

"And g%d forbid the Sox should do something like trade a slugger for a leadoff man and some much needed middle relief; the ensuing Sox talk on the radio will only prompt some aggrieved Cubbieface to call in and moan, 'Could we please change the subject --all this Sox talk is making me sick!!' As if one radio station and a half of the major in-town newspapers in your pocket isn't enough, you greedy, cocky little vermin.

"Yeah, well. Y'all can choke on it all winter --and, I'd wager, for the rest of your miserable, bad-baseball-loving, ivy-bedecked, sun-kissed, beer-soaked, in-house-scalper-subsidizing, credit-card-flashing, gated-community-dwelling lives."

As a Cubs fan I can say with conviction that he's spot-on. We often talk about the state of baseball on both sides of town without spiraling down to potshots and stereotyping. And I've seen it happen to him. Conversely, I've gotten no more than good-natured ribbing about my team allegiances living walking distance away from Comiskey Park Mach Deux.

It's part of the problem with being a Cubs fan. You know that you're basically in league with a bunch of idiots.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

You Know When They Say That When You Have Sex With Someone You Have Sex With All That Person's Partners?

Well, here's a jackpot for you, via Craigslist New York: Six Degrees From Elvis

Through my Auntie Ann, who as a young girl baby sat both Michael and Mary Gross, I can connect myself to a sizable chunk of Hollywood A- and B-list within six degrees and virtually all members of "Saturday Night Live" from 1975-1985 within three.

But it ain't like the faint tinge of a three way with the King and Ann-Margaret.