Tuesday, April 29, 2008

be a man, be a klug-man!

I've been feeling a bit under the weather - not really sick, but bordering on it. Just groggy enough not to realise that I missed celebrating my most favorite of holidays on Sunday. Jack Klugman's Birthday! A long time ago, I figured if folks were celebrating things like Licorice Day, Baby Massage Day, Wear Your Pajamas To Work Day, National Hairball Awareness Day - all actual holidays, by the by...that I would be entirely in the right to celebrate Mr. Jack Klugman!

a few reasons why I continue to honor Klugman:

1) Quincy, M.E. freaking ROCKS- way ahead of it's time (20yrs ahead of all the CSI-style shows)

2) Was married to Brett Somers (the comic foil to Charles Nelson Reilly on Match Game) for 54 yrs (although they split up after 20-some yrs...neither ever filed for divorce and they worked together and remained close friend until her death.) As a little girl, my two biggest influnces on what kind of "girl" I wanted to be when I grew up was Laverne DeFazio and Brett Somers. I wanted to be a wiseass that could kick ass...whose father owned a pizzeria and bowling alley. Dream Big People.

3) I once learned he had a "bitter feud" with Norman Fell. I find that fascinating to this day.

If you need more reasons, rent any top-rated TV show from the 50's. He probably had a guest star spot in at least one episode. Or better yet, rent Quincy. I recommend Season 2....that's when he really starts getting his righteous indignation on with all the bells and whistles.

100 years war

Cubs are back home tonight playing the Brewers. Right now, we're at 16-9 (again, just celebrating a day at a time.) We're statistically tied with St. Louis for the division (pending the results of tonights game, of course), and are 2nd in the NL overall - Arizona is at 19-7.

Not too bad for the end of April, Chicago. Not too bad at all.

you don't know jack!

A group of friends have been, well, obsessed with playing QUIZZO (the pub trivia game) - for the past few weeks. Right now (according to our glorious leader), we are 2nd in our Division (Midwest States) and 4th in the National standings (statistically, we may be sharing 4th with multiple teams at this time.)

We've always finished in the top 3 - once in 3rd, most in 2nd, with 3 WINS! We've also set the pub record for high score on our second win, which has yet to be breeched.

Anyway, the National Finals are in Atlantic City the first weekend in June. Right now, there's no way I can go - I just can't afford it right now. But everyone's excited about the prospect of going, so folks are talking about holding a fundraiser to offset the cost of going. Hell, we've even started talking about renting an RV! Which in my mind, is a bad 80's disaster comedy waiting to happen.

We'll see if we can pull it off. It sounds crazy to haul all the way to AC for a silly trivia contest...but then again, why else would you drive half way across the nation? I mean, besides the Las Vegas style gambling? Personally, I suspect I may be too old to embrace the road trip...with 6-10 bodies. As the years pass, I'm really good about sharing everything I have...except my personal space. I'm a cranky old goat when it comes to that. Time shall tell...

Monday, April 21, 2008

100 years war

After a sweep of the Pirates (boo-rah!), the Cubs take on the Mets for two games starting tonight, then head for two in Colorado. We're at 12-6. A win tonight would put us in first place in the NL standings (for at least a day.) I'm trying my best to take this season one game at a time, so I'd like to just enjoy that idea for the rest of the afternoon.

Here's some random thoughts popping up in my head about the Cubbies:

I'm a lifelong Cubs fan. Meaning, I can't ever remember not being a Cubs fan. And like most fans, it links me to many memories - of childhood, of celebration (and plenty of defeat) and thoughts of my grandmother, Wanda. She passed away a little over three years ago - just before the White Sox won the World Series. I always say it was a blessing...because, as cliche as it sounds, it really would have killed her to watch the Sox bring home the title before her beloved Cubs. She bled blue, people...she bled blue.

Wrigley Field is a lot like the city of Chicago - her infrastructure remains largely ignored beyond her facade and continues to internally decay, but she has a timeless beauty that - like Algren's woman with a broken nose, despite her outward appearance, you're drawn to her. I admit, that Sox park (and that's what I call it, since I refuse to advertise some corporate entity) is an amazing venue. Great food, clean toilets, really nice layout. But, I'll cry like a baby if they ever tear Wrigley down...or change her name.

I wasn't a big fan of Pinella when they announced his imminent arrival in 2006. I've never been a big fan of bombastic managers (and nobody could ever top Lee Elia anyway) who think screaming and ejections are somehow linked to greatness. Still, slowly over the last two seasons, Lou has gotten (for the most part) on my good side.

Right now, I'm rooting for Fukudome. (And Felix Pie.) There's something about a 30 year old player, walking onto the grass at his first major league game...not to mention that he can't speak the language and is still hitting .317? It's a bit inspiring.

And while I'm all about being creative about your fandom support, I think this t-shirt is fucking bullshit. And so does he.

Haven't we moved beyond this stereotype that stems from WWII propaganda? It's just offensive. There exists a fraction of fans that loves to embrace idea of the stoopid, drunk, asshat Cubs fan...they'll be the cocksnots wearing these.

I hope that the folks making money off this, whatever they buy with their ill gotten gains...I hope it blows up or melts down or causing them some minor, but lifelong injury. Like they lose an eye or walk with a limp for the next 50 years.

I'm not advocating violence, but can we all agree to harass the idiots that are stupid enough to wear these in public? This doesn't represent the Cubs, it doesn't represent the fans, it's not funny and it's just in bad taste. At least the mouth-breathers are willing to show themselves for who they are. This is one of those times when silence implies consent. So SPEAK UP, CUBS FANS. And Sox fans, and Cardinal fans and all fans of Baseball.

On the other hand, I think this pix below is a great and creative way for these kids to show their Fukudome-love. It's about symbolizing his country's history as warriors...a positive and heroic ideal. Rock on, little Cub fans...wherever you are.

For the record, spellcheck thinks "cocksnots" should be two words. I politely disagree.

Friday, April 18, 2008

shaken, not stirred

So we had an earthquake. I woke up for a minute, a bit disoriented, wondering why my bed felt a little like one of those motel beds where you thrown in a quarter to "vibrate" (it was a very mild vibration.) I think, in my barely alert state, I had the fleeting thought that, it couldn't be my bed shaking, so maybe I had too much caffeine and was having some sort of "restless leg syndrome" episode.

The moment passed and in my complete lack of terror, I rolled over and fell back asleep.

Honestly, if armageddon was upon us, I figure Olive would be well beyond Orange Alert and her batshit response would at least get me out of bed long enough to berate her for waking my ass up. Thus, saving me from the tragedy of the 3rd floor crashing down upon my bedroom. (In this scenario, the entire floor doesn't crash, just that one small 10' x 10' space. Work with me.) Is it wrong that in these scenarios, my dog is always the reluctant hero? Instead of say...me.

The epicenter was about 240 miles away...Louisville, So. Illinois and St. Louis got the brunt of the 4.5 hit. I know that we live not far from the New Madrid fault line. But I recall reading something where, for the most part, the region has about a hundred or so little quakes each year, but only one is usually big enough for folks to feel it (with minima, if any, damage) and that a really big quake (6 or 7 on the reichter scale) should only occur every 300 or 400 years. And there was one in the early or mid 1800's...so we should be cool for another century or so before we get anything on the scale of The Day After Tomorrow.

And if I'm wrong and TDAT does come crashing down on my head, I think I'd rather sleep through it anyway. Unlike most folks, I'm not really interested in rebuilding the vestiages of humanity. I mean, unless the bathrooms are still working...then, I'd consider it.


100 Years War...

The battle rages on. Record thus far...9-6. The Cubs won on Tuesday and Wednesday against the Reds and got creamed last night. And while it's a team effort, I'm looking at you, Lilly. Lilly is 3 out of 4 starts. He needs to step it up. So, get to steppin!


Well said

I'm not the greatest orator. Oft times I lose the word I want, as it gets stuck in the recesses of my cobweb-filled brain. At those times, I seek others whose gift for oration and clarity makes my eyes sparkle. I can just nod and point and later regergitate them, using "finger quotes" and mucking up their prose, but hopefully not their intent.

My father doesn't understand why I'm supporting Obama. He can't even wrap his mind on how he raised such a "liberal." Although, I don't see myself in those terms. I'm a humanist. I want what's best for the country and the world. And while I'm an American, I think think the American Dream or the values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are relagated just to those born on a certain shore. I see the foundation of our country cracking and our leaders need to stop lining pockets and start shoring it up.

But, like I mentioned, he said it a lot better.

I think the United States is in deep trouble. In massive debt, bogged down in a $3 trillion war in Iraq with no end in sight, its moral reputation globally in tatters, its Constitution undermined from within, America desperately needs a substantive, honest debate about the future, a root-and-branch review of foreign policy, of tax policy, of environmental policy, of torture and terror policies and of entitlements. And we do not have the luxury of using elections in this climate as a way to fight over cultural conflicts originating in this instance from the boomer civil war stemming from the 1960s.


If you want to keep playing that game while this country nose-dives, go ahead. Vote Clinton. If you understand how important this is, the candidacy of Barack Obama has never been so worth supporting. We need to turn this debacle into a renewed determination to get rid of the forces strangling this country's capacity to right itself.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

the chicago way

Capone sends a cougar, you send cops who let loose with 15-18 shots in a residential neighborhood to take it down.

That's the Chicago Way.

Actually, while I'm a big fan of preserving wildlife and spaying/neutering your domesticated pets, I think the cops (as Wild West as the shooting got) did the right thing.

This was a wild, dangerous animal running around an extremely populated area in late afternoon with children running in their yards and adults walking home from work - folks out and about enjoying the milder temps. There wasn't anytime to bring in someone to tranquilize this poor 150 lbs of beastie.

This happened in Roscoe Village To give folks outside of Chicago a reference point, this neighborhood is no more than 1.5 miles from Wrigley Field. (go cubs!) So, it's not out in some boondocky burb with lots of open fields or reserves. Nobody has a clue on where this cougar came from or how it ended up around Roscoe and Hoyne - it's the first cougar to be killed in Chicago since the city was founded back in the 19th century.

Still, looking at this pix, I can't help but look at it and compare it to a crime scene like when they shot down Dillinger. Maybe it's because they left the body uncovered. I know it's not a person, but it still seems oddly...disrespectful.

Dillinger Cat

Cougar CSI (note the bullet round markers)

K just forwarde me the link to a different kind of cougar.
It's pretty funny...until Cameron Diaz shows up.

Monday, April 14, 2008

stand off

While I filed my Federal Income tax way back in early February (re: broke ass needed her return toot sweet!), I normally owe the great state of Illinois a buck or two, so I figured I could put that off for a couple months. Unfortunately, my brain hasn't been able to process that not only have we moved past March, that we're on the precipe of mid-April. Last night I scrambled my paperwork together and today I took a bit out of my lunch break to e-file.

My question is, had I scoffed at getting my return done on time, how long would it take before the manhunt (to track me and my measly $2 tax owed) kicked off? I mean, I'm sure I'd get a few strongly worded, "We will garnish your wages and fine you up the ass" letters - those would be on my doorstep within weeks...but how long before they come, Ruby Ridge style - banging down my door, gun scopes alit, screaming like that paperboy in Better Off Dead, "I want my two dollars!"

I guess we'll never know...



Not to jinx myself, but I just passed another milestone at work - a second trade show event (in a row) that I didn't have to attend. Woot! I thought I'd miss being on the road a bit more, but with all the bullshit going on at O'Hare (cancelled flights, rainy weather), I'm really quite relived that I'm "stuck" in the office. I've been flexible enough to make rehearsals and work on ideas for the RAW peice I'm directing next month...and yesterday, I got to relax a bit and read a book while Olive took a nap by my feet.

Hanging out more at home this last month, had me realising that I need to start some serious Spring Cleaning. I did start on it this weekend, but only scratched the surface of the behemoth, as I am both a housekeeping procrastinator of great acclaim and have the double whammy of being reared by a pair of pack rats. While I don't have cable, I've seen enough of Peter Walsh to know that I have some fucked up issues about crap I acquire.

I realise that I'll be home quite a bit this year, so I should really attempt to commit to that nesting thing and unpack my stuff. Yeah. It's been nearly four years since I moved into my place and beyond having boxes yet to unpack (I must not need that crap for reals), I've yet to hang anything on the walls or make my space my own.

My goal for April is to hang the wood blinds I bought back in November/December. I'd like to say I'll also hang some art this month...but I don't want to scare myself off the project entirely.

Baby steps, rebar. Baby steps.

Friday, April 11, 2008


My only hope is that this is just some over-worked petsitter's idea of dramatic irony.
100 years war....
CUBS WON last night and swept the Pirates! Up a notch to 6-3...we're going in the right direction...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

pie (pee-yay) in the sky (skee-yay)

While we finished second (again) last night at our Quizzo pub night, the good news is that we got to watch the CUBS WIN during the heated match. The bad news is that it took 15 innings to do it. Following a 12 inning game/win - after blowing a 12 run lead - on Monday, last night's game was a nail biter fo sho. Sure, they held onto the lead to close and are up in wins (5-3), but it's too early in the season to be watching them claw their way through games like this. Oof.

The unfortunately named newcomer, Felix Pie, was the hero of the night! With a 2-run single in the 15th, he put us ahead for thankfully the final time, with Sean Marshall (in his first career save) closed out the inning. We went through seven pitchers last night. Seven. That's just brutal. Still, a brutal win is a win. Chalk it up!

The 100 years war continues....

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


The letter came yesterday. Our third major condo assessement in less than 4 years. The running total is somewhere between 18K-20K. I will now be paying in excess of $500 a month just in assessment costs starting in May. Not counting my mortgage. Or taxes. Etc., etc., etc. (Yo. Cuz, I didn't have 20 large sitting in the bank to pay these special assmts up front, yo!)

What does this mean? Well, unless I become fabulously weathly by other means to be determined (i.e. the lottery, an unknown inheritance, well-planned heist or the acquisition of a sugar daddy), I will not be able to do much of anything for quite a while.

I will not be able take even a (super) cheap vacation this year.
I will not be able to trade in my 11 year old heap for a somewhat less crappy heap.
I will not be able to pay down much on my current debt or donate to charitable orgs as I had been planning.
I will have to really get onboard with an extremely tight budget and stick to it.

It means that I really might have to get a second gig just to cover that cost and/or really consider getting a roomie/boarder. Neither option really puts a grin on my face. Mainly this is all causing my mind to wander and occassionally freak out about money about 125x a day. Okay. more like 15 times a day, but, you know, more time than I should be spending on it.

If I look back on my life, I know that I tend to really freak out about money about once every 4-5 years, so I'm pretty much on track. I'm trying to calm my brain with the notion that:

1) It's just money. It's just stuff. It's not worth all the anxiety.
2) No person has ever pounded on my door demanding payment for anything.
3) I've never had to go without anything I truly needed.
4) I've always had a roof over my head (and never had to move back in with my parents....knock wood. Which at my age is a more frightening thought than it was at 18 or 28.)
5) This freakout, too, shall pass.
6) In the end, everything has worked out.
7) There are better things to spend my energy on and occupy my brain.

Fucking money. Fucking economy. Fucking developer who cut so many corners, it's a shock that our building isn't round. (sigh)

Ok. Just had to get that out of my system.
I feel at least 12% better now.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


I was born into a legacy of Beta over VHS. Of Coleco over Atari. Of 8-track over cassettes. I was born with a mistrust of technology and of all things popular by nature. All my punk friends on blogger have been telling me to make the switch from vox to blogger.

I'm not sure if this is a permanent flip, but I'll give it a go and see where the day takes me.