Tuesday, October 31, 2006

NOW You Can Say You've Seen Everything...

"Big Brother" makes its way to the animal kingdom...

Good God, is there finally no decency anymore?!

Oh Goody! More Scare Tactics from the "Loving" Christians

Why, oh why, did this not surprise me?

In a society that teeters ever closer to complete chaos, there are usually two groups who seem to be pulling its fabric the hardest, from opposite ends: those on the extreme left, who seek to remove all religion from public discourse, and those on the extreme right, who seek to plaster their view of God over each and every window, blocking out everyone else's light.

This idea of a Halloween Hell House was something I honestly would have expected in the South--but not the South Side of Chicago. For a $7 fee, future right-wing wackos of America can take the "brainwashing" tour that shows them how everybody who isn't Christian is going to hell. And oh, what a selection of lost souls! We gays, of course, feature prominently in their gallery, and are depicted as "mincing and wearing glitter." (Apparently, the tour's creators have gotten their entire cultural education from "South Park" and various Wayans Brothers movies.)

What surprised me was that Buddhists were also included. Buddhists are pretty darned peaceful in my experience. In fact, they seem to embody the principles of Christianity more than Christians do. Maybe that's why the Christians don't like them--they hate being shown up! Of course they do chant for material things, but have you ever seen one of these "pastors'" big-ass Cadillacs? Just try telling them to give it up for Jesus. I noticed that, while Buddhists are included on this little "hell tour," gangstas don't appear to be, nor hypocritical conservative preachers. Hmmm...funny, that...

Rev. James Meeks, the pastor of the church, says he welcomes the controversy because all of the exhibits can be "backed up by scripture."

Well, gosh, James, if you interpret scripture creatively, you can "back up" anything. Even racism. Like the time you got pulled over by those cops just because you were black. Remember?

I guess it's OK to throw stones at other people, so long as they don't bounce back at you.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Make this person smile and win $1,000*

*some restrictions apply.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Stealing the Game and Brushing Against Stars

Well, I simply couldn't have been more surprised to see this little gem in today's news. Stands to reason: since the GOP stands their biggest chance of losing control since MonkeyEars took office, what better time to pull out the old "uh-oh-the-machines-malfunctioned-we'll-never-know-who-really-won-the-popular-vote-so-we'll-just-stick-around-awhile" ploy. It worked beautifully for them in 2000 and 2004. Only this time, they have enough cojones to actually as much as hint to us beforehand that this is the way they're going to steal it.

Why doubt it? Nothing shocks any of us anymore...this whole entire administration and its slimy minions have proven that they're lower than a snake's urethra. What's one more soul-killing duplicity in the face of so many? Besides, all this "electoral process" takes time, and they have altar boys to text message...


In other news, "Caged Dames" opened this week, and it's even more fun than I anticipated. As an added bonus, Tippi Hedren and Veronica Cartwright came Thursday for a special performance benefitting Tippi's Shambala preserve in California. Tippi told stories about how some of the animals came to be living at Shambala, and it boggles the mind--some were sold out of the backs of cars, some were living in basements in the Midwest, some were locked in closets. And these are wild cats! Do people really think they can hide these creatures behind their raincoats?

I got to talk to Veronica for a while at the reception...she's pretty down-to-earth and funny. I finally got to tell her that she was my favorite part of "The Witches of Eastwick." ("Fuck Cher," I said. "It was all about you!") I mentioned that I was unable to eat cherries for a long time after that. She said that the pits came in a tube and they pumped them in her mouth between takes. I'd have been terrified of swallowing some. But that's the risk a pro takes! :-)

She and Tippi loved the play. Veronica especially loved "Little Limping Rat" (I won't give the show away, but Brigitte has a special "friend" during her dance break).

At the end of the night, my favorite visual image was the group of them (Tippi, Veronica, Bob their photographer, and Steve, Hugh and David from Handbag) walking across the street as cars stopped for them. When Steve came back, I said, "How cool that they stopped for you guys!" He said, "Tippi just kept walking--they had to stop."

Yes indeed--a star who can still stop traffic!

Here's a photo of her and David taken at the reception (I was too shy to ask for a picture with her or Veronica. I'll just Photoshop myself in later :-)):

One final thought worth thinking about: during the reception we'd been talking about the whole Boy Scouts gay ban thing, and Veronica said, "How the fuck is a nine-year-old supposed to know he's gay?" I thought that was a great question. When I was nine, I was sort of tipped off by the fact that my two favorite shows were "Maude" and "The Carol Burnett Show." I don't know what the modern day indicators are.

Perhaps the kids should check their cell phones for text messages from Jeff Foley.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Oh, How I Long for the Special Skill of "Beaming Up"

I've been trying not to think too hard over the last few days just how much transportation costs me, living in Chicago. Even aside from the cost of gas, which is still a dry rape, there are a myriad ways that the City of Chicago (Richard J. Daley, Mayor) manages to stick it in. There's the much-loathed city sticker, which makes all Chicago auto owners pay $75 for the privilege of parking on the streets, when they'll usually find a way to give us a ticket for parking in even legal spots; the expense of off-street parking if one must rent it (I pay $40 per month for a space at an elementary school two blocks from my building, which I can only park in overnight and on weekends--a lifesaver on gig nights, when I may get home after 1:00 a.m., which is the only reason I took it), and the ever-increasing cost of public transportation (CTA, which stands for "Can't Travel Anywhere"), which sadly hasn't seen a noticeable increase in its quality to correspond to its rising fees.

All of these things could be spared me if I had what the folks on the Starship Enterprise had: the ionic transporter. OK, granted, there was that time when it malfunctioned and vaporized the people inside, but that was just the one time. It was usually safer than flying a plane! Now, I don't know how many earth dollars it costs to buy one of those suckers (I might have to ask Majel Barrett now that her husband, Mr. Roddenberry, is now on his own Star Trek), but I figure that after all the gas, stickers, license plate renewals and parking tickets, it would have to at least pay for itself inside three years.

This point was driven home to me (no pun intended) as I circled the block last night before the Lilly's gig, hoping desperately to find a parking spot very close to the bar. I literally got there 3 1/2 hours early just to find a decent spot, and still ended up halfway between the club and the Biograph. If I look closely, I might even find some of John Dillinger's blood on my fender. Now, this is pretty damn close, when you think about it. Really only about a block and a half.

When you're carrying a five-piece drum set with all the accessories, which necessitates about three trips, it's about a mile. Trying to cross the street at the corner where the bar is (Altgeld, I think) is a major hazard, since it's diagonal to Lincoln Ave. and people don't really watch carefully when they make sharp turns.

I contemplated how cheap and easy life would be (insert predictable joke here) if I had an ionic transporter (or whatever it's called). Especially if it had a cargo pallet and I could just stack all the drums up on it and be at my destination in an instant!

Getting home, of course, would be another matter. Unless the destination, too, had an ionic transporter. (And let's face it, this place barely has functioning restrooms. There sure as hell wasn't any soap in there, increasing the "eww" factor a bit).

Other than that, the gig went splendidly. Once I waited 10 minutes to get my drink from the Arlo Guthrie lookalike behind the bar ($4 for a fucking beer!), I was able to enjoy the first act, Kevon, a piano player. The bar is very atmospheric and cool as hell. It's an old building, with a second floor that looks down onto the main bar. You can go upstairs and listen to the bands if you like. The square footage is so small that you can pretty much hear anywhere in there (except the back of the first floor room, which my friend Devin said was full of people talking, so they couldn't hear as well).

The people (many of whom were strangers) LOVED us. We never got more compliments on our sound. A friend of Taylor's, Dan, showed up to listen, and he had a great time. Of course, I think he'd had a few rounds before he showed up, if you catch my drift! But at the end of our set (which seemed to FLY by--it did, actually, since there were so many bands that we had to keep it to under an hour), after the nerve-wracking business of packing up (such a tiny space and three band's drum gear everywhere make for not much room unscrew and take down!), Taylor and Dan were kind enough to wait with my gear outside as I went and got my car, and they also helped me load it in.

Of course, they wouldn't have had to do that if I'd had that ionic transporter. (Is there a catalog where I can at least look at one...?)

Side note: Taylor showed up two hours after I did, and got a parking spot right around the corner. Tracy showed up even later, and got a spot right across the intersection.

Is there no fucking rhyme or reason now...?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Potpourri of Pissiness...

Today, there are just too many things at which to shake one's head in disbelief, so I'll try to touch lightly on the ones that made me goggle the most...

The Runaway Bride has reared her stupid, bug-eyed head yet again
Now Jennifer Wilbanks is suing her ex-fiance--you know, the one she humiliated by fleeing town just before their wedding--for her share of the proceeds from a book deal about their "adventure" (here's a tip: an "adventure" is a trip to Carlsbad Caverns...what she did was called "irresponsibility"), her share of the sale of a townhome they owned together (fair enough) and some personal possessions (fair enough), like a ladder that belonged to her father (aaaaannnd that she pushed him off of, perhaps...?). Get this: she's also suing him for some of the wedding gifts they received. Funny thing: I'd always heard that you should return the gifts to the givers if the wedding doesn't happen. Apparently, she subscribes to that popular Bridezilla philosophy "finders keepers." I think her close-call ex-fiancee (who also doesn't seem to have all his knives sharpened) should consider himself lucky to have lost this mercenary bitch. Of course, anyone that stupid will find another just like her. I just don't want to look at her glassy eyes in the news ever again. Ever.

Babs reminds the audience who's running the show
This one actually made me smile a little bit...Barbara Streisand was performing a mock-skit with a Bush impersonator during her show at Madison Square Garden when a guy started heckling her (because he apparently didn't like the political statement). She finally yelled at him to "shut the *#@& up if you can't take a joke." What was the guy's problem in the first place? Streisand's political views are well-known to just about everyone, and if he doesn't like it, who the fuck forced him to buy a ticket? Some folks said they wanted to hear music, not political statements, but come on, we've all heard her sing, and sometimes statements are timely. And as she said, "it's the artist's job to disturb." Exactly. That's why Aretha wears those low-cut flimsy dresses...

President Bush shows once again how well he plays with others
The White House has rejected talks with North Korea over their nuclear program (and let's face it, it is a program), saying they "won't be intimidated by Pyongyang." That's all very well for them: they have underground nuclear shelters with enough cheese, crackers and caviar to eat for a decade. I live in a small, one-bedroom condo which doesn't even keep the sounds of alley trade from waking me up at 3:00 a.m. I know the White House doesn't give a shit about the regular citizens, but must they be so blatant about it? Jesus! U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton (The Little Diplomat That Can't) says, "This is the way North Korea typically negotiates by threat and intimidation."

Hmmmm....sounds familiar, no?

More tomorrow, or as the bile flow increases...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Another Passage...

We saw this one coming, but it's still very sad to see CBGB's go. Although even Debbie Harry said that the venue itself was so dirty that she'd get black streaks on her costume from leaning up against the wall, and from that standpoint, it probably wasn't worth saving. But I think it's more what it symbolized. There were so few clubs at that time that would let bands just play and do their own thing, that it became synonymous with the whole underground punk movement, and really propelled it aboveground, since there was finally a "central place" people could go and see these types of bands. There's hardly any place that lets bands do that now...even the grungiest little taco stands have all these ridiculous rules and act like they're Carnegie-mother-fucking-Hall...

NOW where will we Big Girls go to get discovered Eating Cake? :-) (Oh, who am I kidding? We're so old, we'll probably end up playing at a VFW hall somewhere!)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

"The Official End of the Sophia Petrillo Sicilian Curse!," or, "I Scrape My Chin At You, Ya Big Botchagaloop"

Today was so much better than yesterday...

First and foremost, the CAR IS DONE! They called me at about 10:30 and said it's all finished. Huge load off my mind, since I'm driving downstate tomorrow to see Mom and prefer for my hometown not to hear me coming as I pull out of my parking spot here in Chicago...

Secondly, I didn't have to buy a new doorknob after all...through a series of e-mails with our interim association president, I learned that he had a spare key, which he put under my mat. So I can leave in the morning secure in the knowledge that nobody (including the interim association president, I suppose) can get into my condo and shave Sophie while I'm gone...oh, she'd just hate that!

So I went to the muffler shop and picked up El Coche just after 5:30. I started him up and he sounded happy! Finally, I don't have to turn the radio all the way up to hear it. Stopped at the store for cat food and juice (they taste wonderful together! :-)) and came home. Found a prime parking spot on Pratt, just across the street from the back of my building. Will make packing and loading tomorrow much easier!


In other news, I found this little tidbit in the Sun-Times today. Actually, I saw it yesterday on the AP online source, but this is a better link. Apparently, there's quite a bit of shit stirring on the Malibu beaches--literally. Some stars' septic tanks are the culprits, and authorities might do some DNA testin' on the sewage to find out who those culprits are!

Yeah--you know what? I don't believe I care to find out...this is one sleeping dog that can just snooze right away, thank you very much. Apparently, Sting lives along this beach somewhere, and if I find out his shit is polluting the ocean, it'll break my heart. My biggest male crush--well, crushed! Almost as bad as when Dave Matthews dumped his scat on those people in the Chicago River. I'm sorry, I can't listen to his music the same way ever again...

Animal rights activist and celebrity boob-job Pamela Anderson said that it's not human feces at all, but the chicken farms in the area that are responsible for the pollution. "If people want to stop pollution, they should all become vegetarians." Spoken like a typical one-trick (no pun intended) pony (no pun intended) animal rights fanatic. Yep, vegetarianism will stop pollution. So now, we just have to get all the buses, cars, factories and other internal fossil-fuel combusting engines to eat only vegetables. Tell you what, Pamela--YOU go talk to them about it. I'd love to be a fly on that particular wall while you have that conversation. You whack job.


I also read today that Newt Gingrich (the one-time darling of the extreme right who's now just another bitter old neo-con hack with a dyke sister) said the Democratic sex scandals were still worse than the Foley debacle. Oh, really? At least Monica wasn't a minor! He said that what the GOP doesn't need is to listen to shameless moralizing from the liberals. Oh, right--that's his job. Um, 'scuse me, Newt? You're irrelevant now...have another drink and go to sleep. Dream of important things--like the fact that you're still copying Carol Channing's hairdo.

Sometimes I really feel like I'm waiting for the Mad Hatter to pour the tea and pass the scones.

Please excuse me--I'm late. I'm late for a very important date.

(No, it's not with my hand, smartass!)