Thursday, May 31, 2007

8+ inches Next-Door Naybur Gurls HOT

(In honor of the post's subject, I've misspelled most of the words in the subject line. Get it?)

Robert Alan Soloway, 27, of Seattle, described as one of the worlds top 10 spammers (hey, we all aspire to something), was arrested yesterday. He's estimated to have sent out over 10 million pieces of Internet junk mail. Authorities described it as a "very good day."

Golly! And here am I, wondering where to buy cheap Cialis tax-free...

I have no idea what his sentence will be, but personally I think he should be forced to open and read--individually, on every single machine--all the crap he sent out. I also think he should be forced to shave his head and wear a wool hat in July.

Now, if they could only demobilize those generic hoochie-mamas on MySpace, life would be nearly perfect...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Little French Arrogance, American Style

Billboard on Willow Road. From today's Chicago Tribune.

Spa owner Pascal Ibgui refuses to take down his billboard on Willow Road in unincorporated Glenview featuring a scantily clad woman with arrows pointing to various "problem" areas of her body with instructions on how to fix them (his business partner, Stephen Bloch, is a plastic surgeon--apparently, if the collagen buff doesn't work, he sends them to Stephen for a facelift).

Residents of Glenview are outraged (it's the North Shore--when are they NOT? But that's a separate story), but Pascal says they can't make him take his billboard down. Besides, the men love it, and he says it caters to his mostly male clientele. Really? Mostly male? Then how come there ain't a man on there, Pascal? Oh, you mean your clientele of upper-middle-class businessman assholes who find flaws in their wives/mistresses that they expect you to fix? THOSE clients?

I don't think the billboard is any more offensive than some of the billboards outside truck stops on I-80--the ones advertising 24-hour gyms, saunas, "adult entertainment." But it does send a crappy message, unfortunately. He says he sent out postcards with the same image and his business increased dramatically. Fair enough. But good luck selling it to the "non-lapdog" class of women--the independent ones who are financially sound enough not to care what some pruny, purple, erectile-dysfunctional old man thinks of their looks. (Here's an idea: why don't you bring in a urologist as a third partner?! He can put sticks in these old men's dicks!)

Pascal says he doesn't mean to sound like a chauvinist pig, but "it's a man's world." (HUH??! Oh, yeah, I forgot: he's from Paris. Those Europeans! So Old World!)

Oh, Pascal. I sure hope you're gay. And a bottom. Because if these women have their way, you will have nothing left to top with. And even the third partner won't help you.

UPDATE: On Friday, it was announced that Clear Channel Communications, the owners of the billboard, would remove Pascal's ad. The ad was removed the same day and has now been replaced by an ad for The Glen, an upscale restaurant/shopping establishment. Who has the last laugh, Pascal? *ONGH HONGH HOOOONNGH!*

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sheehan Lets Go The Coat

Cindy Sheehan, who for two years has become the symbol of the anti-war movement, as well as its most publicly identifiable face, has stated that she's giving up the effort now.

In her diary on DailyKos, Sheehan faults the left-wing Democrats who have caved into the Bush Administration as much as the right wing, and says that most people who protested the war were "armchair quarterbacks," content to sit behind their computers and criticize rather than take action, while she herself has exhausted her financial and emotional resources fighting this battle, even to the detriment of her 29-year marriage. Now, she says, she's returning to California to try and "be normal" for a while.

The sad part is, she's right. The left wing HAS sold out to George W. Bush, in the form of all their compromises on the Iraq War funding bill. The ultimate slap in the face was, I think, allowing it to pass without any sort of timeline. How spineless was that? That was the one thing they most insisted on at first, and they ultimately let it go, proving to Bush that he and his craven cronies can essentially get away with anything they want, as long as he holds the veto pen (even if he holds it between his toes). In a devastating turn of phrase, Sheehan writes that she realized this morning that Casey did, indeed, "die for nothing" and that "this isn't the America" that we've fought for.

What's even sadder is that I'm afraid Sheehan was always destined to be disappointed: when you've suffered such a devastating loss and been willing to put yourself on the line as she has, opening yourself up to the most vile ridicule from the pseudo-patriots on the right, it necessarily follows that not everybody can be as committed. Sheehan was, and is, a unique person and the hell of being that unique is that you're often in very sparse company. Who among us could be committed enough to give up all that she did? I don't think any of us who hasn't lost a loved one in this war can understand that kind of commitment.

But we still have a choice and a voice, and it's time we exercised them. Maybe we should hold our legislators accountable to follow through on their word and act on our behalf, as we elected them to do, instead of playing nicey-nice with Monkey Ears. As Sheehan said in the closing of her blog:

"It's up to you now."

Monday, May 28, 2007

Dog Collars and Dog Shows

Memorial Day weekend is a special time in Chicago. This is the weekend that all the leather men in the world (who couldn't be bothered to haul their asses to Folsom Street) descend on Chicago to basically look down on us "townies" and crown a new Mr. Dead-Cow-Wearer.

Leathermen are like the snotty bitches in the high school cafeteria. They've already drawn up their cliques and are busily excluding those who don't quite fit in. They have their very own little "lifestyle," complete with camouflage tanktops and collars and seem to glory in belonging to a club that the rest of us just can't fit into. They look all rough-and-tuff, until, as one friend of mine put it, "they open their mouths and a purse falls out."

So most of the time, I just put up with it and spend my time at the clubs watching the TV screen that's tuned into Animal Planet. Just can't get enough of those meerkats! And it seemed fitting that this weekend, the dog show in Crunk, England was being broadcast (apparently, it's England's answer to the Westminster Hoity-Toity Inbred Dogfest, where every dog is its own cousin--the Sundance to Westminster's Cannes).

I was struck tonight by the patience these dogs showed. The only time they really seemed joyful was the run around the arena, because that's the only time they get to move. Their eyes sparkle and their little tongues stick out while some creaky old bitch trots them around to show off to the judges. But, God, what a life the rest of the time, I can't help but think. Standing still while folks of dubious credentials run their hands over their ribcage and check to see if their owners have combed the turds out of their behind-fur. And the ones that have the long hair on their legs and belly always look like daybeds with ruffly valances on the bottom. Why not just go to Ikea and leave the poor dogs alone?

It's foreign to me. See, in my neck of the woods, you adopt dogs because you find them and love them and they're good companions. Paying several hundred (or thousand) dollars for an animal with papers so they might win you some competition and a dog-food endorsement, when there are so many worthy animals in need of adoption, is unseemly to me. Especially when the ones that win always have spindly legs and long shaggy hair that gets in their eyes and makes them look like Anne Coulter's twin sister. And then there are always the beautiful ones that don't win (and are always cuter than the ones that do).

So from one mutt to another: Happy Memorial Day, doggie. Keep those teeth sharp--the better to bite the hand that (under)feeds you.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

From Russia Without Love

100 gay rights demonstrators were attacked by a hostile crowd as they tried to deliver a letter to Moscow's mayor on Sunday. Many of the activists were detained by police, including veteran British activist Peter Tatchell.

The opponents punched and threw eggs at the demonstrators, chanting "Moscow is not Sodom!" (No kidding, apparently it's not even Hooterville.) One woman, wearing a headscarf typical of those worn by Russian Orthodox women, repeatedly threw water from a bottle on Tatchell as he tried to speak. Perhaps she was trying to cool him off, like some of the folks on the Halsted Street balconies do for us when we're marching in the parade. Or not.

All I can say is, in a crowd full of gay men, she's lucky no one knocked her on her ass for that--we ain't all chivalrous and shit, and we don't just "take it" like boys are taught to do. We had to put up with lots of bullshit all through life, and since society's laws of fair play weren't applied to us, neither do we apply them now. If we didn't get a free pass, they don't get one either. Besides, you know that sexy romantic thing that always makes men want to "protect" them? We ain't got it! We may carry your groceries and mow your lawn and lift heavy things for you, but we won't take that kind of shit from you, Svetlana. Pack that in your Orthodox headscarf while you're shopping for vodka.

The Liberal Democratic Party leader was the only government official to support the demonstrators, saying that it's embarrassing for the country to behave like this when they want to be part of the European Union.

Ahh, but you see, conservatives are like that: they don't want change. They don't want to accept anybody different, and they want to stay firmly planted in whatever decade they were happiest in. They don't want to assimilate. They want to insulate. Which, frankly, is fine with me.

Wouldn't it be too funny if we were headed for another Cold War, and this time over social values rather than economic ones?

We could call it the "Flame War!"

Friday, May 25, 2007

"Verbatim Verboten" Redux?

AP Photo by Jeff Christiansen.

Ellen: You have the cutest little mouth. I could just eat you up. Too bad you're gay.

Matt: Uh, no, actually I just got married.

Ellen: Oh, that's legal now? Awwww, good for you!

Matt: Ummmm, noooo, to a woman...

Ellen (giggling): Seriously, cut it out.

Matt: No, seriously! To an Italian girl, Luciana.

Ellen: Oh! Well, I bet she doesn't pinch you this good...

Matt: Actually, I've got a silicone hiney on right now. I couldn't feel that.

Ellen: No shit? You mean like that "Hubba Hubba Hiney" they used on "Laverne and Shirley?"

Matt: Kinda. Except it's silicone.

Ellen: Wow. I never had that good of luck with silicone.

Matt: Looks fine to me.

Ellen: Well, aren't you sweet?

Matt: Well, I should get going now. It's good talking with you, Ms. Dickinson.

Ellen: I'll talk to you later, Leo...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Scientific documentation

Wikipedia likes to come off all high-handed these days, saying that their sources are independently verified by a diverse panel, and they're all scienfic and shit.

Oh really? Then how do they explain this?

Fine With Me...I'd Rather Keep It Anyway

The Food and Drug Administration (which is apparently in the business of personally sampling every drug it approves) has decided to leave in place a 1983 ban prohibiting gay men from donating blood. The policy is, of course, intended to prevent the spread of HIV through blood transfusions.

I can understand that they have to have safeguards in place. Let's just hope we don't have to hear them bitch and complain about all these shortages. It's kinda like all these fundies bitching about abortion, yet squalling like sodomized hens about gay couples adopting. If you won't let us be part of the solution, then shut up about the problem.


In other news, I saw The Handcuffs last night at the Double Door. They were terrific.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Prank Phone Calls

Sometimes I just feel like doing this...

Bishops and Queens and Stuff...

The Archbishop of Canterbury has withheld invitations to the Lambeth Conference in 2008 to two bishops whose ordinations he deemed "deeply divisive." Archbishop Rowan Williams exclued gay U.S. bishop Gene Robinson and Martyn Minns, bishop of a Nigerian-based branch of the Episcopal church, stating as follows:

"I do not say this lightly, but I believe that we need to know as we meet that each participant recognizes and honors the task set before us and that there is an adequate level of mutual trust between us about this."

Of course! And what better way to build trust than to start excluding people and setting up a pecking order of suspicion? No wonder organized religion has become so unpopular. Maybe they should ditch Rowan Williams and appoint Rowan Atkinson. At least he'd be entertaining. And somewhat relevant.


I got to see a swearing-in ceremony of new U.S. citizens this morning. It was really moving, especially when you think that this is really the end of that journey for them. And what a long journey that is! (Especially now). It's funny how, at a moment like that, you want to congratulate them, shake their hand...they're like rock stars of the day. And when it was all over, they all picked up their folders and walked out like the rest of us. Mundanity occurs around the momentous times...


David Cerda's picture is in the Red Eye edition of the Chicago Tribune today--Hell In A Handbag's Summer Camp series is listed as one of Red Eye's "10 Best Bets" for the week's entertainment. He's dressed in his Angela Arden outfit for the cabaret reading of "Die! Mommie! Die!"

Terrifying, isn't it?

One slight error: the article says that the show runs through June 19. Actually, the readings are two nights only, but there are two more shows in the series: "Go-Go Kitty Go" shows on June 4-5 and "Reefer Madness" will close out the series on June 18-19. All performances are at Mary's Attic (5400 N. Clark Street).

Clean But Not Sober

Did you know that one can get drunk on hand sanitizers? Neither did I! But I'm going to buy some right after work...

Monday, May 21, 2007

No room at the inn? And a "swellegant" time with Debbie and Iggy

A Chicago woman claims she was denied a bed at a homeless shelter last November because she's a lesbian. The women, Michelle Wang, had recently moved to Chicago from Indianapolis with her then-partner, and started a new retail job. The relationship went south and, with no savings, she ended up sleeping on the streets until finally deciding to go to a caseworker for help. She called the New Life Ministries shelter in Rogers Park and, after revealing she was a lesbian (she "didn't want to lie"), was put on hold and then told there were no beds available.

A complaint was filed with the ACLU and investigation turned up that there were two beds available the day Wang called. The director of the ministry that operates the shelter says that it was a clerical misunderstanding and not a case of discrimination, and also that he's a lifelong member of the ACLU.

This could be true--it certainly could have been an honest mistake. I sure hope so. And I know how chaotic it is in that environment. The Howard Street area is notorious for its seediness, even with all this "renewal" they have going on--waiting for a bus was always an adventure for me when I first came here years ago, especially before they rebuilt the CTA stops a few years ago. I think lesbians are the least of their worries.

(Oh, and Ms. Wang, happily, has found an apartment in Humboldt Park, according to the article. In case you wondered.)


For a Monday pick-me-up, check out this terrific little video from Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop. Released in 1991, "Well Did You Evah" is from the AIDS benefit album "Red Hot + Blue," a compilation of Cole Porter tribute covers. I'd heard the song many times, but hadn't seen the video before. Very funny and clever, and classically Debbie (she and Iggy pull a bank heist at one point, and are seen shopping for cheap dog food, all while discussing the ritzy places they go to).

This song also introduced me to the word "swellegant." I think that's my favorite made-up word, after "craptastic."

Friday, May 18, 2007

"Traumatize the little children to come unto me..."

Much has been made of the passing of Jerry Falwell this week. Like most self-respecting gay men, I'm not all that sorry that he's gone.* He spent most of his life demonizing and marginalizing people like me. His words encouraged legions of wrong-headed, rabid, nasty right-wing "Christians" to beat us, murder us and deny us our rights. And he was curiously silent about the hypocrisy of it all. But he sure wasn't at a loss for words after 9/11, when he pointed his fat finger at us and said we were responsible. I think that's when he officially tipped over into the Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs Zone.

Now, I wasn't a fan of Falwell's, but he and his followers never frightened me. I lived through a lot as a little Catholic boy, let me tell you! I survived it very well, thanks--I even enjoyed a lot of my childhood. But I was born the way I am. And if I was ever "on the fence," my childhood would certainly have knocked me right off. Look at the church I was baptized in, for Christ's sake:

Who wouldn't turn out gay after they spent the first 12 years of their life in a church with a big penis on top??

I dipped my finger in many a cruet of communion wine when nobody was looking. And I still fondly remember the tornado drills we had in my Catholic school (not pictured here, because it was behind the Big Penis) in the 70s. (Since there was no basement, I can say that our drills consisted of a "crouch and pray" process, especially in the gym with the big glass skylights).

Furthermore, how could I possibly be afraid of Falwell, Pat Robertson and their ilk, when I spent four years with the folks below?

We're not talking televangelism here. No simple 45 minutes of speaking in tongues and wearing ugly polyester for US. We're talking about a daily mindf*ck that lasted an hour a day from 1976 to 1980. Religion class. Taught by Sister Bernice, or as I knew her, Sister Bernice of the Bad Breath.

Of all the teachers we had, Sister Bernice was the craziest. With the perpetually wide eyes of a herion addict, the aforementioned breath, which smelled like a farm during sowing season (and you know what that means), and a quiet, intense voice stolen straight from Piper Laurie in Carrie, Sister B. began our every day with religion class. Yep. Fire and brimstone, first thing in the morning, right after the PA announcements informed us we were having fish sticks for lunch. Being an academically underachieving child (who spent way too much time watching "Maude"), religion class was an uphill climb. I was slow to understand the concept of venial vs. mortal sin. But I understood yardsticks. And Sister B. had a big one.

Besides her breath, how could I describe Sister B.? You remember that episode of "The Little Rascals" where the two midget thieves are dressed up as babies to gain entry into houses, where they steal silverware and valuables? Well, Sister B. looked like the little one with the scrunched-up face. With that personality and that face, her options were few: she was too old to date Tom Cruise, so besides Holy Orders, she really only had the option of opening a motorcycle shop, driving a truck, or running a tattoo parlor.

So, with that kind of conditioning, who would be afraid of a pudgy, doddering, grey-skinned old man who didn't even have a yardstick?

*AUTHOR'S NOTE: And by the way, don't bother telling me how Falwell was a "child of God" whom we should be "trying to forgive" and whom "God loves as he loves all of us," blah, blah, blah. Eat my shorts. I'm sure he's got people rolling down the aisles in his own church doing that a-plenty. I'll pass. I'm not celebrating his death, but I'll be dipped in piss if I'm going to feel guilty, either.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

We'll Always Have Paris...

Princess Paris looks inscrutably on at the little people and crosses her legs for once in this AP Photo by Georgios Kefalas.


Yes, as expected, Paris Hilton's jail sentence has been reduced to 25 days due to "good behavior."

A reduced sentence already? There's only one behavior I know that works that fast--I'm just wondering:

How good was she?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A REALLY Happy Meal

I just drove through Ottawa on my way back to Chicago on Sunday, too...I wondered why everyone looked so happy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Penelope Wants to Know...

Penelope Cruz has a question on Yahoo!

Oh, how I long to write in and say "put moldy fruit in every corner."

The Buck Passes Here, Redux...

AP photo by Ron Edmonds.

Alberto Gonzales is once again blaming his "underlings" for the attorney firings last year.

Now he's saying that the deputy who so conveniently resigned a few weeks back was the one that he "most relied on" and actually signed off on the firings of the attorneys.

So, in other words, you pretty much left this guy in charge of personnel issues (although it's really YOUR ultimate responsibility). Nice try, Bertie--what's that saying? "When the fish goes bad, it's usually the head that goes rotten first." (OK, I actually saw that on "Are You Being Served?" once, but it applies equally well here.)

In other words (and listen up, Bush--you too, Cheney), it doesn't matter who actually did the firing; the fact is it was under your stewardship, so it's still your responsibility.

You. Vouz. Tu. Get it. Memorize it. Live it. Embrace it.

Whine vs. Wealth

Today, I'm being all contemplative and shit, reflecting on something I read this morning. Apparently, French workers are the biggest whiners, while the Dutch are the happiest, according to a new study by the FDS research group. (Does anyone else have a comment on the name? Going once? Going twice? Ah, forget it, it's too easy.)

What made me reflect, however, was that, surprisingly, the Americans were also among the top whiners. It's not surprising that we're whiny--it's just surprising that Britain and Sweden beat us out in terms of whininess. The study found that Americans still had low levels of job satisfaction despite having incomes that were eight times higher than Thailand. (Cost of living did not seem to be factored into this study, which also surprised me.)

I think our dissatisfaction in America comes from something that's unique to us. Yes, we are a whiny bunch when it comes to our jobs, but much of the reason can be attributed to another factor cited in the study, which was the high level of individual competition in the U.S. and Britain. According to the study, Japanese workers, who are also highly competetive, had the lowest morale. You know the saying "the grass is always greener?" We're all miserable because we're comparing ourselves to one another:

"Well, Bob has a brand new Mercedes and a three-bedroom house! I wonder what he pulls down a year..."

"Brynn's husband just bought her a brand-new jacuzzi whirlpool...he just got a promotion."

So it matter what we have, it's never enough, because someone always has more. And they make sure we know it. How can we not be competetive?

I notice sometimes when I'm with a work group, and we go out to the "trendy, happening" places where the clientele tends to skew younger, I can't help overhearing these folks who are just starting out, talking about all the material things they've acquired, boasting and bragging like those things won't be obsolete in two weeks. So then they can go out and buy more stuff that will be obsolete two weeks later. So then they can go out...well, you get the idea.

The secret to wealth, I heard someone say recently, is living beneath our means--that is, not spending all our money as soon as it's earned, so we can set more aside to save and invest. "The wealthiest ones are not those who have the most, but those who need the least," etc. (Of course, taxes are a whole other topic that we won't get into now...)

I'm glad I finally got past the "thingness" phase. I figured out that "stuff" wears out, so you can't count on it to make you happy forever. Who can keep up with it? So what if people laugh at my car, which I've been driving for over 10 years? It was brand-new once and it's paid off now.

Can they say the same for their pec implants?

Friday, May 11, 2007

A Snaking Suspicion

A young toddler auditions for the Bollywood production of "Riki Tiki Tavi."

Baby and Cobra

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I saw this video on CNN the other day, and just came across it again on MySpace. Now I realize that the cobra's fangs were removed, but--sorry--YUCK. There are some things you just don't let kids do: you don't let them stick metal objects in electrical outlets, you don't let them play in traffic, and you do NOT let them play with snakes.

Excuse me, I have to go have nightmares now.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ta-Ta to Tony, and Dick's Fantastic Voyage

This morning, British Prime MinisterTony Blair announced that he will resign effective June 27, vacating the seat for his Labour Party fellow reformer (and Sonny to his Cher), Gordon Brown. No doubt the Iraq War has cost Blair many supporters, but the article points out that he's remembered for helping bring peace to Northern Ireland and for his work with the poor. I wonder what our leaders will be remembered for?


And speaking of bad memories, in a superficial effort to appear vital, Vice President Dick Cheney made a surprise visit to Lourdes Iraq, where he pressed the Iraqi government for cheap Viagra progress in ending the insurgency. Ironically, there are signs of rising tensions between tribal Sunnis and al-Qaida in Iraq, with many of the former defecting to the U.S. side. Apparently, they decided that al-Qaida is no more noble than the "infidel occupiers" when it comes to killing innocent civilians.

All of which will be very good news for the administration if it actually produces results. Then they can trot that "approval rating" thing out again for one more swipe (since the recently-foiled terror plot near Fort Dix wasn't enough to help him this time), and use it to justify keeping U.S. forces over there indefinitely.

Congress, are you paying attention?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Joans In Motion

You've seen some of the stills, now watch the video! Here's "Mad At The Dirt," from our appearance at the Flesh Hungry Dog Show on May 4.

(This clip requires Quicktime. They do offer it for Windows. You can download it here.)

We Are Not Amused...

Queen Elizabeth II grits her teeth and internally calculates the generations of inbreeding that produced our current leader in this Reuters photo by Jason Reed.

Just to show she's not a bad sport, Queen Lizzie II cracked a little joke at a cozy little dinner for 100 in her honor the other evening at British Ambassador David Manning's pad.

She opened her toast to President Bush by wondering whether she should say "when I was last here in 1776," thereby giving a nod to Mr. Bush's accidental (yet, let's face it, hardly surprising) comment on her age Monday, when he said that she helped the U.S. "celebrate its bicentennial in 17--1976."

Nice save, George. It's a good thing everybody knows you're a little light in the noggin. And you're lucky you did it here--on her turf, you might have ended up in a tower with a smashing view.

On the other hand, this could start a whole new trend: state leader roasts! The Friars Club is getting a little stale after all...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

One Fish, Two Fish, Dead Fish...

Just caught this article in today's Chicago Tribune. Midwest Generation, which operates a behemoth power plant from a previous generation, says that it shouldn't have to spend millions to upgrade its equipment because it's too expensive. So the plant sucks through millions of gallons of water per day to cool its equipment, and then expels it at temperatures of up to 100 degrees. This, of course, is too hot for the fish to survive.

This process, called "once-through cooling" was banned over 30 years ago at new power plants when it was determined that it killed fish and other wildlife, but the old power plants were "grandfathered" and not made to upgrade. (Doubtless, the legislators didn't count on these plants lasting as long as they have.)

But it's not all bad news, according to Bill Constantelos, Midwest Generation's director of environmental policy. Killing all the fish in the Chicago and lower DesPlaines Rivers might be a good thing. Because it keeps Asian carp and other invasive species out.

Sure, Bill. And let's amputate your entire leg so you won't get plantar warts.

And this is their director of environmental policy. The guy who's supposed to care about how they impact the environment. Wouldn't you love to meet their psychiatrist?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Next Time, Settle For the Thousand Words...

As promised, here are some photos from The Joans' performance at the Flesh Hungry Dog Show on Friday night (photos courtesy of G. Thomas Ward and of Jane, a fan who was kind enough to share her images):

Ed Jones as Carol Ann pours his heart out in "Joan Wins." Don't you love the dress? He bought it an hour before the show. Pretty flashy for Carol Ann, but she does so want to look her best for Joan...

Joan David, flanked by Joan Jennifer (right) and Carol Ann (left) are getting seriously Mad At The Dirt.

Joan Jennifer strikes a pose.

Joan Aaron makes exaggerated faces to alert the other Joans to the tempo change in "Rip Her To Shreds." Or maybe somebody poured a drink down his back. He doesn't really remember...

Joan Taylor, guitarist and arranger. Recorder of demos, nurturer of ideas and man of quite bottomless talent. I've been privileged to work with him for the last four years. (This is our third band together.)

Did somebody just offer Joan David a Coca-Cola?

We had a blast, and will likely be appearing again this summer at The Flesh Hungry Dog Show. More to come!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Lords, Joans and Handcuffs!

Last night, The Joans, a tangential project of Hell In A Handbag Productions, made their first public appearance (outside a theatre group setting) at the Flesh Hungry Dog show at Jackhammer. The lineup included The Venom Lords, a fun band consisting of Dan and Gina Knapik on guitar, bassist/vocalist Amy Anderson and drummer Scott Gibson.

We went on right after. It went very well, despite a few smallish glitches in the road (costume dramas and an amplifier mini-outage on stage) and the crowd had lots of fun, which was our goal. I was a little nervous following The Venom Lords, a great full band, with our more experimental, "stripped-down" sound (just me on drums and Taylor on guitar), but it worked fine. (We are still adding a keyboard soon.) We played all three of our prepared originals (we have four more that we're still learning) and finally, our "new one:" we'd been playing with a cover of Blondie's "Rip Her To Shreds" for over a month and couldn't decide on a treatment. We tried a straight cover at first, but the Joan Crawford concept seemed to call for a bit of a "milking" of the lyrics, so David pulled together a slow, Cruella DeVil-like reading, complete with dagger glances and icy smirks. As soon as he uttered the opening line ("Oh, you know her"), every head snapped towards him (although why they wouldn't have earlier, when he came onstage in a plum silk dressing gown, CFM high-heeled slippers and fishnets, is a wonder).

(The Handcuffs' Brad Elvis and Chloe F. Orwell. Photo courtesy of

Much fun was had by all, including the other bands. I particularly enjoyed The Handcuffs, the headlining band. Lead singer Chloe F. Orwell has an amazingly versatile voice that goes from sweet to strident, as the occasion calls for it, faster than a Maserati. And drummer Brad Elvis is just simply the best I've ever heard live. Period. Guitarist/keyboardist Lennie Dietsch and bassist Emily Togni complement each other and Chloe's vocals beautifully, and rounded out a very tight lineup. They were a treat, visually and musically. I got a chance to talk with Chloe and Brad afterwards and they gave me their e-mail address to the Joans mailing list. I also got a flyer for their next gig on May 23 at Double Door. I'm quite looking forward to it! I visited CD Baby this morning and bought their album. A bargain at the price.


Speaking of bargains, I rented an additional storage locker this morning in my building. We'd been talking about building extra storage spaces for some time, and they were finally finished this week. I took a look inside my new space this morning and breathed a sigh of relief as I saw my living room magically empty of junk--you know, the kind you don't need, but you've had since you were 12, and you know that you can't get rid of it, because nobody else will have it. $25/month for the locker, and worth it for my sanity!

I'm off to buy a padlock now. Have a great weekend, all...

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Joans at FHD Tonight! And Other News

Don't know what to do tonight? Why not come out to Jackhammer (6406 N. Clark Street at Devon) for the Flesh Hungry Dog Show? Tonight's bands are The Handcuffs and The Venom Lords, with special guests The Joans! Comprised of myself (Joan Aaron), Taylor E. Ross (Joan Taylor), David Cerda (Joan David, pictured above), Jennifer Connelly (Joan Jennifer) and Ed Jones (Carol Ann), The Joans made their splashy (or was it just sweaty?) debut at the Hell In A Handbag Happening benefit last week. And already our phone is ringing off the hook! With catchy tunes like "Joan Crawford Goes to Hell" and "Mad at the Dirt," The Joans are guaranteed to show you a good time! Show starts at 9:00PM.


The entire town of Sibley, ND is for sale by one of its original founders, 93-year-old Toots Hagglund. Toots and her husband Eddie founded Sibley in 1954 after being inspired by a visit to some relatives in a town nearby. Click on the link above to see the context in which that quote was used. I don't feel I can do it justice.


A federal judge in New York has ruled that Marilyn Monroe's right of publicity ended at her death, meaning that the family of late photographer Sam Shaw can continue to license and sell images of Monroe that Shaw took. The suit, which was brought about by Monroe's estate (essentially Anna Strasberg and managed by CMG Marketing), was filed in Indiana, since that's CMG's home base, under Indiana's 1994 Right of Publicity Act, which would pass publicity rights to descendants and heirs. However, the judge ruled that Monroe definitely never lived in Indiana, and apparently, the management company doesn't count, so the law does not apply.

This is good news for all of us queens, because we just can't get enough Marilyn Monroe coasters and fridge magnets.


Oh, and Spider Man 3 opens today. Some folks are really excited about it, and it's plastered everywhere. Go see it.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Ain't Karma a Bitch?

(AP Photo by Yves Logghe)

And you just never know when it's gonna come back and bite you in the ass, do ya?

Look at Paul Wiffle-waffle-weeble-wabble-woofle-witz, for example (pictured at right, apparently trying to pick his own brain in desperation). He helps talk the rest of the world into supporting the Iraq War (because Condy couldn't be EVERYWHERE, and Cheney was probably hunting), then slides neatly into a lucrative berth at World Bank, and what's causing him grief now? The golden parachute he negotiated for his tootsie-pie two years ago, plus the influence he used getting her a new job. Nothing Iraq-related at all!

Regardless, Mother Karma does not like it when you pull too hard on her skirts. Even if you try to pretend it's normal and everyone does it. The article states that Wolfy "acted in good faith and did not attempt to hide information about the package to bank officials." In other words, he said, "Sure, guys, it's shady, sleazy and unethical, but at least I'm honest about it and it's legal." Poor Wolfy--how could he know then that "ethical" would become so important later, when his cronies' dealings became more obvious (since, unlike roaches, they couldn't scuttle fast enough into the darkness when the lights flipped on).

As Mother Karma wreaks more havoc in the near future, it will be interesting to see who else's ass gets bitten. Shall we send some nice soft cushions to Pennsylvania Avenue? If nothing else, I'm sure Babs the Elder could use them during visits to soothe her 'rhoid rage when she sits in the White House chairs.

New Logo

With all the stress, allergies, and general bad feelings floating around in our unpredictable spring air, I thought it was time to create a new logo here at GAIR. Something that didn't take a lot of effort, as it's intended to represent our time-challenged society and attention deficit.

So here it is: The new Mr. GAIR 2007! He looks a lot like Pig Pen, doesn't he? But he's not! (Note the absence of dirt clouds.) This will do until I grow tired of it and decide to create another one. Maybe when I get some new markers.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A USEFUL Tom Delay!

This one works for the Carbon Trust, a group in London that's trying to pitch measures designed to lower carbon emissions to consumers and big businesses.

Among the simple changes each individual can make are switching to lower-energy lightbulbs and not quite filling the kettle (or in our case, the Mr. Coffee) all the way, which in turn requires less time (and gas) to boil the water.

Is it a cosmic joke that he shares a name with a poisonous right-wing American midget? Or just an unkind coincidence?

Oh, well, in Britain it probably doesn't register as it does here, since the American Tom DeLay probably doesn't get as much exposure there (the TV cameras were probably always aimed over his head). Also, he does that capital "L" thing.

Gee, Thanks "American Idol!"

Don't gasp: I didn't say it. President Bush did. It's well-known that I hate everything to do with "American Idol," especially that fossilized closet case Simon Cowell. But they finally did something useful last week with their charity special, "Idol Gives Back," which raised $70 million.

So George and Laura decided to thank America for showing its "good heart" to the rest of the world. And for paying attention to "American Idol" instead of the world. Only he didn't say that last part out loud--the sneaky little devil.

But he did offer to sing! And the clicking sound you heard immediately after was millions of TV sets being switched off simultaneously.

(You may have felt the ground shake, too, as everybody shuddered.)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Trying to Recoup Some Republican Favor?

Former CIA director George Tenet says we have to do more in the Middle East to counteract Iran's growing influence. Of course, this is just what the administration wants to hear, and they'd love it if his first recommendation were to invade Iran. Perhaps that might make up for the book he wrote which blabbed that the White House planned the invasion of Iraq well in advance. (And you could have knocked us over with a feather when we heard that!)

Sadly for them, his first recommendation appears to be to work on the Israel-Palestine peace deal and bolster our relations with other countries to strengthen our own standing.

In other words, do things diplomatically. No mention of invading Iran yet. Well, damnit, at this rate, he'll never set foot in the Rose Garden again!