Saturday, June 30, 2007

TravelBlogue: Day 1 at Mama's House

Good afternoon! Things are all right here at Casa de Mama...I arrived yesterday around 12:30PM and stopped at the Hallmark store in town to get her a card and a scented candle (I picked the only one I could find that didn't smell like rotting banana peels), then went next door to the Kroger store where my aunt works to pick up shaving cream and a few food items.

La Mama is doing pretty well...she had her first chemo on Wednesday, and started feeling pretty crummy Thursday (headachey, etc.). She feels crummy today, too (the headache has spread), but she ate the dinner I made last night and didn't get sick (even healthy people can't usually manage that!). She did get sick once today, but only once. So hopefully, this medicine will not be quite as brutal as the stuff she had 12 years ago. We've been watching the "Maude" DVD I brought down and she hasn't laughed once...I think her head hurts too much (that could be from the DVD, not the medicine--I turned it off).

She's had some muscle spams, too (a side effect), but they've been infrequent so far. Hopefully, tomorrow she'll feel a little better...

Pics of the countryside if I manage to get some! (Most likely not of her, however. She will kill me.)

Day 2 update later tonight! (No pics yet, since her USB port is on the back of her computer, and I can't move the tower out. But I did get some shots of her balcony with the flowers/plants and of the new YMCA in Peoria where I went this morning...their fitness center is nothing to get excited about, but what grounds! Beats that old place downtown all to hell.)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

All The Buzz And More...

Apparently, the barber shop on the corner of Clark and Devon doesn't fuck around:

The haircuts are cheap and the barber is oh-so-drop-dead-gorgeous! When he was finished, he said, "If you like, you come again?" I said, "Oh, I'll be back."

I might even get a haircut, too. But I probably won't need one until Thanksgiving!

Annoying Celebrities Amplified by Megalomaniacal Interviewers, and Other News...

I'm off work today and tomorrow so I can get some errands done and get the oil change in my car, etc. (today) and go down and see my family (tomorrow). We had a mini-conference at work yesterday afternoon, followed by an evening cocktail reception, then I changed clothes, jumped in a cab and went to see Dick O'Day's Big Lovely Bingo at the Annoyance Theatre, where Mr. O'Day was assisted by my Joans bandmate, the lovely Carol Ann (Ed Jones). Our head Joan, Davy (David Cerda), was also there, along with his husband Chris and Marna, The Last Lady Of Song, who performed a number for us during a break in the game. It was a fun time!

So this morning, I was at the laundromat (yes, my life is still that glamourous) putting my stuff in the dryer, when I happen to glimpse the TV screen out of the corner of my eye. It's tuned to "Oprah," and she's interviewing lovely, well-preserved simpleton Faith Hill. Sadly, I couldn't reach the set to change the channel, and the lady who runs the place was busy in the back, so I just tried (in vain) to tune it out.

It's amazing to me how often I wish, hope and pray to be proven wrong. Or that some absolute truths can change. But alas, Oprah's just as fucking annoying as ever. And she made Faith Hill seem even more so. "I have my bad days just like everyone else, *hee hee hee,*" she simpers. "Some mornings I get up and just hate my hair! *Hee hee hee*." Well, you're not alone, Faith. I hate your hair, too. Jennifer Lopez tried that whole Dolly Madison look years ago, and it didn't work for her, either.

She goes on to say, "Maybe it's from being raised in Mississippi, but if I get up in the morning, and I'm healthy and my family's healthy, then I realize how fortunate I am and nothing else bothers me." Oh, you're right, Faith: it's just because you're from Mississippi. Nobody from any other state knows how to be grateful.

Then Oprah profiled an aspiring struggling songwriter named (*oh shit I forget*), who had always wanted to be a singer. Somehow, the Oprah Fairies sprinkled their dust on just this one chosen poster girl (isn't that always the way?), and hooked her up with Faith Hill. The girl came on the show with her guitar and sang some song about a friend of hers named Ruby (or something) who overcame racism (or something) and pretty soon Oprah was having one of those phony-verklempt moments of hers: "OK, you can stop now. I'm crying!" (I always wonder how she manages to cry just on cue. Does she have a wrangler nearby slamming her off-camera hand in a door or something? Where can I apply for that job?!)

After the commercial break (and I never thought I'd be so glad to see a commercial break), the girl and Faith got together and sang a song the girl wrote about believing in Peter Pan (it wasn't clear if she was referring to the character or the peanut butter) and miracles. I realize I'm a terrible cynic, but even if I was still a fresh-eyed kid (OK, if I ever had been), this still would have sounded like run-of-the-mill, lowest-common-denominator, crowd-pleasing fluff. And it certainly pleased the Oprah crowd, comprised as it usually is of celebrity-gawking, middle-aged housewives whose hot flashes threaten to set the whole studio on fire. (Yes, I'm awful. No, I'm NOT sorry.) Or perhaps they were all just hoping to get a free Pontiac.

Of all the days for me to forget my CD walkman. I was grateful for a whole new reason this time when my laundry was done...


Tonight, I'm going to TimeLine Theatre to see "Widowers' Houses," then tomorrow morning I drive to Peoria to see my family. I talked to mom this morning, and she had her first chemo yesterday morning. She's taking anti-nausea medicine and they gave her steroids, and she said this morning she feels "like she has a pile of bricks on her head," and has that "heavy" feeling, but she feels OK. She might feel a little crummy tomorrow, though, so I'm really glad I'm going to be there for a few days.

Perhaps I don't deserve nice things to happen in my life (since I don't love Faith Hill or Oprah), but I'm really glad that she's having this now. It might do the trick, and at least she's getting it over with.

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Swift Boaters Encouraged...

In one of a series of 5-4 decisions yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court voted to lift restrictions on campaign advertising, thus effectively reversing the McCain-Feingold Act of 2003. John Roberts (the former drag queen actor from Indiana) voted in favor of lifting the restrictions saying that in cases involving the First Amendment, "the tie goes to the speaker, not the censor."

An interesting turnabout of his ruling in FAVOR of restrictions in the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case, in which he voted that First Amendment rights should be restricted when the message encourages illegal drug use. (AUTHOR'S NOTE: Give me a fucking break! Does anyone really look at a T-shirt with a loony message like "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" and take it seriously?! If they're going to do hits, they're going to do 'em for themselves, not for Jesus! Jesus had his own herbs.)

Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards remarked that this shift signals the "slamming" of the court's doors "in the faces of ordinary citizens."

True. But did we really expect anything different? Dana Perino, spokes-bot for the White House, says that the Administration lost some cases in the rulings as well (what? More money for Laura's drapes? A special outhouse for W.?), but that we can be sure we have "fantastic" justices on the Supreme Court.

Yeah. Four. That's how many "fantastic" ones are left. The others are busy suckling at the Administration's teat and going fishing with Dickie.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Joans-ing for the Weekend

This was our cover photo on The Joans' MySpace page before we went back to using just the logo. It only shows Jennifer and Davy, but more are forthcoming before our next show (July 20)!

I did not go to the Pride Parade yesterday. Does that make me a bad fag? (Probably--but so the hell what? Where do I fit into their clannish little "community," anyway?)

The Joans are coming along nicely! We have several new songs in the hopper and we rehearsed Friday and Sunday. We're getting the sound ironed out on two new ones "This Is Your Life, Joan Crawford" and my favorite new one, "Joan World," both written by Davy Joans (David Cerda). Ed Joans (Jones) is learning his keyboard parts and I was really impressed by how great it's making the songs sound (I've never been in a band with a keyboard player before--at least not since junior high). My drumming was really subpar Friday night, but I felt a lot better about it yesterday. I had more energy.

Besides The Joans, I did do other fun things this weekend. I did go to the Pridefest on Saturday to see Jennifer Joans (Connelly--pictured at left) sing with the Clark Street Band. According to her, it was the band's first gig, and I thought they were pretty decent. Many of the songs were jazzy, and the arrangements seemed sort of marching band-y. Also, Jen sang vocals on "Chicky-Chicky Boom Boom," a Carment Miranda song from "That Night In Rio." Jen's vocals were terrific, but there was no Latin percussion, which would have given it a lot more flavor. But a little tweaking can take care of those problems pretty easily.

There weren't many people there Saturday (it was about noon and slightly damp and drizzly), but a saw a few friends I hadn't seen in a while. I ran some errands, did laundry and then went out to Touche (hey, it's close and I can walk!). It was buzz cut night and my friend Charlie (another former Peorian) was working the clippers (they just called and asked him to do it, as their regular has left town). So I chatted with him and watched him work for a while, and began succumbing to the advances of a really cute bear named Frank. I was really getting into it, but something seemed strange. I think it was that he never shut up. And somewhere in his rancid stream of chatter, he mentioned his unfortunate incarceration (he was innocent, of course).

Now, I'm all for giving folks a chance, but I said to myself, "Hey dumbass (I dropped that hokey "self" thing a long time ago), is it really a good idea to just hook up with someone the first time you meet him? Especially if he has, shall we say, a 'past?' Shouldn't you at least get to know him first, to make sure that he's really a nice guy and not just blowing smoke up your ass?" I'd already heard this guy say he lived on the West Side, and I sure as hell wasn't going to do the Next Morning Walk of Shame from there, so I started trying to find a way to extricate myself from the situation. A sudden spasm of vomiting? No, too extreme. A headache? Please, they'll just make some joke about knocking into the headboard or something.

Fortunately, my problem was solved when Frank went to the back room and asked me to come back and meet him after I went to the powder room. To my credit, I did try to find him back there (I thought I could chat him up a little and find out more about him while his hand was down my shirt), but I didn't see him where he said he'd be. The only places I didn't look were in the dark corners. Of course--the wanking corners. He was clearly "otherwise occupied." Fast worker! Decision having been made for me, I went out and caught a cab home. Quickly, before some other creep glommed onto me (I never get the nice ones anymore).

This week, I'm doing a shorter week (taking Thursday and Friday off, or at least Friday) to get some stuff done, then go visit Mom, Dad and my aunt and uncle in their respective domiciles (why can't parents just get along and never divorce?). I'm hoping to get to TimeLine theatre Thursday to see "Widows Houses," because I hear it's really good and I may not get another chance to see it before it closes.

Work is really quiet today. The entire front office and half of ours are at some conference in the suburbs, so I'm covering the phones and trying to get work done (well, except for this, of course :-))

Happy Monday! (I know, I know--it's a contradiction in terms.)

Friday, June 22, 2007

A (Qua)Train Wreck For The Week...

At five, I learned the truth about Santa Claus

At seven, I saw life wasn't fair...

At ten, I discovered to my dismay

That I had Ellen Burstyn's hair

Another Sparkling Cicero Town President

First, Betty Loren-Maltese and now this slob.

Who picks these people? I can only wonder what their opponents must have been like. Did they have one eye and a horn? And corn tongs for hands?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Internet Words That Make Us Go "Ewww"

According to a British poll conducted by YouGov (because Gallup can't gallop fast enough to be everywhere), the Internet terms people hate the most included the words "folksonomy," "wiki," "blogosphere" and "cookie."

Here are a few of MY least favorite Internet terms, which didn't make the list (at least what I saw of it):

1. Cialis
2. Gain up to five inches!
3. Coprophagia
4. Paris Hilton
5. Free Ringtones!
6. Madonna/Britney Spears/Lindsay Lohan (these are interchangeable)
7. Refinance now!
8. David Lee Roth (not that I see him often on the Internet--I just don't like him)

Feel free to add your own...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"Cheap Trick" Day?

Oh. I thought it meant something completely different. My bad.

This was my favorite paragraph:

"Guitarist Rick Nielsen got a warm welcome when he visited the state Senate today. He told lawmakers that the band's achievements include not being convicted of a felony within the past ten years."

Excuse me? Not being convicted of a felony is an achievement? Golly, I thought that was just expected of responsible citizens. I guess the bar is lowered where Cheap Trick is concerned. Or else maybe the lawmakers listened--REALLY listened--to "I Want You To Want Me," and realized different standards would need to be applied.

Don't Fear The "Reefer"

Last night, I went to see Hell In A Handbag's staged reading of "Reefer Madness-The Musical." It was fan-freakin'-tastic! My friend Stephen was there with a few of his friends, and very generously bought me several birthday drinks.

Thanks again, Stephen! My friend Michael played a triple role (notably the singing lecturer), and it was a real treat to watch him play the mother of young innocent Jimmy Harper, the all-American youth who's led astray by the evils of marijuana. "Mary Jane." "Loco Weed." "Wacky Tobacky," if you will. (Michael, I'd love to see your Marilyn Manson--I mean, Monroe!) There were also several adorable boys in the cast. EVERYONE was adorable. I was just in "adorable overload" last night, and that's my favorite state to be in!

The cast also featured Trista Smith as hardened pothead and rapid-piano-player Sally and Trish Austin as pot den owner Mae. They both entered Hell In A Handbag the same day I did. I was so proud last night to be in their class! *sniff sniff* And Tim Howard as Jack, the evil pot pusher man, doubling as a singing Jesus. (Trust me, this is one musical whose writers seem to have researched their subject, if you catch my drift!)

Congratulations to Hell In A Handbag on a successful first annual Summer Camp series!


In other news, I talked to my mom last night. Her doctor went over the results of her scans, and the cancer has moved to her liver. I was shaken by this, but she hastened to point out it is not liver cancer, it's breast cancer, which is not as aggressive, so it's very treatable. She will, however, have to have chemo again, which isn't terrific news, but I think she'll be relieved to just have it and be done. She will have the port put in tomorrow (an outpatient procedure) and have her first treatment next Wednesday. I'm going down late next week to see her anyway, so I may just head down Thursday instead of Friday (she said she doesn't need me to come down before that--she assured me that she WOULD let me know if she did).

So we're praying and hoping for the best. She's strong and still fairly young (just turned 60), so she's got those things going for her. And she feels fine, too--still working and as energetic as always. Also, this recurrence is already three years old--she's been taking drugs to sort of "contain" it for three years, and her doctor says that chemo might even put her back in remission. Since we thought that would never happen again (just thought she'd "manage" it for the rest of her life), this might actually be better news than we'd had since the recurrence.

I still worry about things, and about being in another city, but at least I can get there within a few hours, which helps. I've also been going to visit about once every two months, which has been kind of nice (it's good to get out of the city every so often--and I'm one of the few people who don't mind going back to Peoria to visit--most of my friends who've left, once having gotten out, avoid it like the Black Forest).

So, all in all, it was a strange sort of birthday, but most of it was really, really nice. I sense things slowly getting better, in spite of everything.

I'll go back to bitching tomorrow. :-)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

File Under DUH!

Elisabeth Basselheck--I mean Bassethound--I mean HASSELBECK--says she guesses that she and Rosie are "no longer friends."

Wow, what tipped her off?

I particularly love the way this headline read in the Yahoo directory: "Elisabeth Shuns Rosie." Nice try, guys. As if! If anything, it's the other way around.

The Odometer Rolls Over Yet Again...

Today I age honor of this festive day, I shall spend my lunch hour at the Virgin Megastore on Michigan Avenue (which is closing and everything's marked down--we'll see what's left).

Tonight, I'm joining a few friends at Hell In A Handbag's staged reading of REEFER MADNESS. I'm really looking forward to it...join us if you can! Reservations are filling up, but there might be a few seats left...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fancy Meeting You! Why, I'm So Thrilled I Could Gouge My Eyes Out! (Part The Second)

Chapter Four: I'll Bet Loretta Lynn Never Put Up With THIS

And there were hygiene issues. It only caused occasional problems, mind you, but Daggie didn't shower every day (something I cannot fathom, because I obsessively shower, sometimes as often as 4 times a day when it's very hot outside--which is why my skin looks like a leather alligator bag, and my hair has as much body as the silk on those corn dollies I used to see in the Peoria craft shops of my childhood). There were times when the smell was just a real turn-off, frankly.

We always had an "open relationship," mainly because--well, because he just wanted to have fun with other guys (and girls--yes, he was still "bi") and frankly, I wanted to keep my options open and not hitch my star to a rusty wagon. Also, frankly, it was nice to have the apartment to myself sometimes without listening to his self-deluded yapping.

About three months into the relationship, I started finding empty liquor bottles on the counter when I'd get home from work. Now, THIS pissed me off--he lectured me about house-cleaning all the time, and couldn't be bothered to throw his fucking bottles away?! He also left a peanut butter jar open with the knife still in it!

One night, he didn't come home and didn't leave a note. After I'd called his mom and several friends to see if they'd seen him, I was on the phone to our friend Barb (the only sane one of the bunch), when Dagwood stumbled in. Drunk as a lord. I said to Barb, "Guess who just sloshed in..." Barb said "Let me talk to him." I handed the phone to Dagwood, who resisted at first, and only took it when I assured him it wasn't his mother. I then watched as he started to whine and cry like a 10-year-old having a tantrum as Barb berated him (I could hear her through the phone). After he hung up, he suddenly turned into a different person. It was like a horror film. I think he sensed that the jig was up and playing the Misguided Little Boy would no longer avail him.

So it was apparently time to try a different tack--bullying. He began screaming at me--and I mean SCREAMING. Right in my face...spittle flying, purple-faced, the whole deal. I was so shocked by his rapid change that I couldn't respond. I just let him blow his top and watched him unravel, and kept thinking of those "battered spouse" movies I saw on TV during the 70s (now, what were we supposed to do again? Duck and cover? No, that was for tornadoes...) He slurred on and on incoherently about the unfairness of life, how his wife kept him from his kids (I was beginning to understand why), how he didn't know who he was (neither did I at this point), everyone was against him, and did I understand what that was like? I bit my tongue just before telling him that this was one person who wouldn't be up against him tonight...

His spam key finally having run down, he pulled the covers back on the air mattress that we shared (still no pull-out bed yet), and climbed in. We did not share the air mattress that night. Completely shaken and utterly disgusted, I slept on the couch (I did finally have one of those). I spent half the night in the dark, looking at his supine, passed-out form, debating the feasibility of bashing him over the head with a frying pan and arranging his body at the bottom of the stairs in a staged accident.

The next morning, when he was sobered up, I told him that if he ever talked to me like that again, his shit was going out the window, and so was he. He vowed he never would. I think deep down I knew it was over even then, but didn't have the emotional energy to listen to the big Beatrice Straight speech I knew would follow. And in some ways, I still held out hope that the relationship could be salvaged. He was on his best behaviour for the next two weeks: making dinner, rearranging the furniture to create more space, and warming my heart in general.

I should have known it was just gas.

Chapter Five: Who's That Not Knocking On My Door? Or Calling?

On Easter Sunday, I went out to chorus rehearsal (no, they did NOT care that it was Easter--fags are like that), and came home to find a note from him that he was at a meeting and would be home later (I figured that since it was AA, it wasn't unusual that they'd have meetings on Easter, since they usually met at churches, and there was a hotline he'd call sometimes to see where meetings were being held). So I waited up. And waited. And waited. Around 4:00 in the morning, I finally decided to try and sleep. I was terrified--what if something had happened to him? What if he got hit by a bus or train? (And worse, the nagging question in the back of my mind: would that be bad or good...?)

The next morning, still groggy and shaky from no sleep and lots of worry, I went to work. About mid-day, I called his place of employment. He'd called in sick. I called his mom's apartment. She hadn't heard from him either. Now I was really frightened. These were the only places he could be (and he wasn't at my place, obviously). Around noon, I tried calling his mom's again. He answered. He said he was sorry for worrying me, but he'd spent the night at a motel, because he'd gotten drunk and didn't want anyone knowing. I said it was no big deal. (I later found out from my upstairs neighbor and still-friend Dell that Dagwood had spent the night with HIM--Dell had no idea that we were dating since Dagwood told him we weren't. That's right: Dagwood let me worry and wonder about him the WHOLE FUCKING NIGHT, thinking he was out there in an alley somewhere, and the whole time, he was RIGHT UPSTAIRS. That's what made me the most angry when I found out--I didn't care where he dipped his wick, frankly. I just didn't like being lied to.)

Chapter Six: The Smackdown

The next day, Dagwood called me at work. He heaved a long, "Mama's-Boy-Drama-Queen" sigh, and I realized that instead of Beatrice Straight, I was about to get Pia Zadora. "I've come to the conclusion that what we have can't really be called a relationship," he said. (Apparently, we were skipping Pia Zadora and going straight for Donna Mills.) He went on to tell me that he sensed I was emotionally distant (gee, ya think?), and that he deserved more passion in his life (I agreed--and I thought he WAS getting it--just elsewhere). Also, he gave everything and I gave nothing, blah, blah, blah. (I forebore from pointing out that I allowed him to stay with me rent-free whenever he wanted.) And in probably a recital given to him by his quack psychiatrist, he said that I was "frigid"--yes, "frigid"--and if I didn't find a way to open up, I'd end up alone for the rest of my life. The absolute brass balls of him!

I was so angry and frustrated that I actually started to cry--right there at my desk! It was very silent, and didn't last long, but it's the first time that ever happened (and so far, the last). If I hadn't been at work, I might have mentioned that maybe I'd be more "passionate" if he didn't smell like canned peas and sour milk. But why descend to his level? (Oh, who am I kidding? Because it would have felt damned good, that's why!)

I went home and saw his things that were still there, reminding me of his absence. I realized that it would not do, and called his mother's apartment and very calmly asked him to set a date to come pick it all up--at MY convenience. (He eventually did--over a month later.)

The next week was a typically rainy, damp spring week in Chicago, which perfectly reflected my mood. Even though I'd done my best (under the circumstances), I felt like a failure. Was he right? Was I frigid? I listened to lots of Nina Simone and drank a lot of beer that week.

Then on Saturday, the sun came out. Like the weather, my mood cleared, and I saw things more lucidly. And I realized that I'd just lost 190 pounds of ugly fat.

And I smiled. Big.


Eventually, things simmered down, and Dagwood and I stayed in contact. We eventually got to the point where we could be somewhat friendly (now that there were boundaries) and even sang together a few more times over the next two years. But somehow, he always managed to irritate the shit out of me after a certain point, and I realized that the relationship was best viewed from a distance. A long one. So when he dropped out of sight, I was very relieved, because I could get on with my life with no interference.

So seeing him on the street the other day, after five years (and after hearing he'd moved out West to live with a woman and have more kids), and hearing from his own lips that he's back in Chicago, was quite a stunner. And not a very pleasant one. I just hope that my face didn't betray my emotions.

While he told me about his life of late, I realized that he is exactly the same as he always was. He's still singing and asked if I'd sing with him sometime. I told him I'm really too busy with The Joans and all. Secretly, I'm gloating inside that my current musical projects sound better than any I ever did with him and that we're doing original stuff, while he's learning a bunch of Buffett covers and pandering to the same North Shore/downtown high-rise drunks he used to kiss up to when we were together. (Does that make me a bad person? Probably. Tough shit.)

And I realized then that I'd come out on the better end of the friends, a fun new band, better musical network and no need to put on a good-doggie-please-love-me act (because frankly, "I'm pushing 40--if you don't like me, fuck you" is my new mantra).

(Oh, and did I mention he's gotten fat?) :-)

Fancy Meeting You! Why, I'm So Thrilled I Could Gouge My Eyes Out! (Part The First)

Late last week, I had a really frightening experience. I was walking along Michigan Avenue on my break (I usually take a half-hour walk if I have time), and was stopped at Ohio Street, waiting for a red light. Amidst a sea of people (it's the "Mag Mile," don'tcha know--bargain hunters from The Gap and Lord and Taylor abound), I felt a tap on my shoulder. I switched off my Bee Gees CD (shut up!), turned to peer through my foggy shades at the tapper and stared up into the face of "Dagwood," my ex-boyfriend from eight years ago. And had one of those post-traumatic flashbacks that accident survivors sometimes get...


Chapter One: Desperation So Thick, You Can Cut It With A Knife (And It Doesn't Taste Like Frosting)

We met in December of 1998, when I had just lost my first "city" job right after signing a lease on a studio apartment. So my self-esteem was in overdrive, as you can imagine. Yep, I was ridin' high on love's true bluish light, all right...

One night in mid-December, I went to a bar event at Touche (corner of Clark and Devon) and was introduced to Dagwood by a friend (a flaky friend, in retrospect, but I'm sure he meant well). We chatted briefly, and he seemed like a nice enough guy, and when he asked for my phone number, I thought, "eh, what the hell."

Fast forward to a few weeks later, I was working my temp job at Big Electronics Company (in the suburbs--I hate the suburbs--did I mention that?). My boss was hardly ever in (he was about to lose his job because of an expense account abuse, but I wouldn't learn that until I began working in the legal department several months later), so I was sort of "shared" among all the sales execs. I felt like an immigrant in a strange country, in a new neighborhood where I didn't know anyone. At night, I would go walking and explore my new neighborhood, Rogers Park. My first evening, I went for a walk down Howard Street (yeah, I was new--did I mention that?) In the meantime, I also sent my resume in to different agencies in the city in hopes of finding something downtown (I HATE the suburbs--did I mention that?).

Chapter Two: A Stranger Without Candy

And one night, in the midst of my Festival of Self-Esteem, Dagwood called and asked me out for New Years Eve. We chatted for a little while about music and he told me he used to be in a band in his previous city, and he'd love to sing with me some time. I also discovered that he was just divorced the last year, with two small daughters (BIG red flag--rebound relationships are not good! Especially cross-orientation ones--but I was too dumb to know that then).

On New Years Eve, we went to a nice little Pakistani restaurant in Boystown, then came back up to Rogers Park and hung out at Charmers for a while (I'd finally found new friends!! And I'd been tipped off to this place by several friends who'd used to live in the nabe). Then we went back to my place, where I lit some candles and put on my Marianne Faithfull "Rich Kid Blues" CD that I'd just bought that week at Crow's Nest (downtown at DePaul Center). And, oh, he just happened to bring his guitar along. So we ended up singing songs for about two hours while I thought, "Are we going to bed or NOT!!?" We finally did, and it was very perfunctory--almost an anti-climax. No passion at all, and there was something very condescending about him...but I figured, "it's just me...I'm not used to this 'dating' thing."

Not one to learn my lesson, I kept on dating Dagwood and he eventually divided his time between staying with me and staying at his mom's apartment in the Loop where he'd been living since the divorce (and alcohol rehab--did I mention that? Yes, my choices are famously sublime). In the meantime, we started singing together at coffeehouses, which was fun in some ways (I met lots of cool folks), and in some ways made me feel like "second banana." It was HIS guitar, while I just played an egg shaker, and HE sang lead while I harmonized (BEAUTIFULLY, I might add--all that choral training wasn't for naught--just almost naught). He was also a very flashy personality who loved to be the center of attention, and would gladly let me sit neglected while he glad-handed everyone who sucked his ass. He did very good voice impressions, and had a very folksy sense of humor, which I soon discovered repeated itself like a broken record--he told the same jokes over and over and over...and once you've heard those fuckers ONCE, you've heard 'em.

Chapter Three: Some Guys are Truly Too Blond to Learn Their Lessons

He also had a "spoiled baby" complex. He grew up in a fairly affluent family, and was somewhat materially obsessed. He also complained about how his mother ran his life (yet he lived with her...I explained how that wasn't going to change until HE did). I soon began to realize that I was being manipulated...every time he did something to hurt me, he would stop short of apologizing, instead blaming it on his host of psychological vulnerabilities. (He had a therapist downtown who helped him validate his "poor me" outlook and gave him just the rose-colored mirror he craved.) I began to express my impatience at being used. And he started to drink again.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Libby Judge "Harrassed"

Scooter Libby practices his alluring, "fresh meat in the laundry room" look, which normally only works for inmates at least 30 years his junior. (AP Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais.)

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton has been getting threatening letters and phone calls ever since sentencing I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's top aide, to 30 months in prison, but says he will not delay the prison term, regardless.

Gee, I wonder who's behind those threats? You have to hand it to the old son of a bitch for adding the insult of threats to the injury of underestimating the integrity of the judicial branch. No wonder they wanted to fire all the U.S. attorneys...

There is a higher Justice, however, Dick. Higher than Scalia, even. One that you can't take on "fishing trips" to win over or threaten off if it disagrees with you. All it takes is one cardiac episode when that battery of physicians isn't falling all over you like clueless fags on Madonna, or one "hunting accident," and you might just find yourself face to face with it.

(Which begs the question: how strong is Justice's stomach? Let's hope Justice really IS blind, for its own sake.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"As Repugnant as 'Separate But Equal'"

This was a terrifically-written piece in the today's Trib by a University of Chicago law professor and historian. I love that he compares the reasoning used in "don't ask, don't tell" to the backwards-assed reasoning used by the segregationists of the 40s and 50s.

Coincidentally, I've met and spoken to this gentleman at a conference before, and besides being very articulate on this subject, he's also a very knowledgeable historian on the topic of suspension of First Amendment rights during wartime.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Kinky Little Devil!

(Getty photo by Marcus Brandt.)

Remember Knut, the adorable little polar bear who was rescued by a zoo in Berlin after being abandoned by his mother, thereby sparking the outrage of some crazy jackass named Frank-Something?

Well, he's six months old now, doing very nicely, and apparently engaged in all sorts of inter-species erotic horseplay. In the photo above, he nibbles on the foot of his caretaker, Thomas Doerflein.

I'm fairly certain that Thomas will have to put a stop to this once Knut gets bigger...

So, These Two Lawyers Spend Too Much Time In A Bar, And...

Two DuPage County attorneys are in a nasty dispute over Bears tickets. Donald Ramsell has decided to sue his estranged friend Douglas Warlick over rights to purchase season tickets that Warlick has held since 1985.

Yes, that's right--he's suing him over Bears tickets.

"Call me a prima donna," says Ramsell.

No, Donald. I think "asshole" will do very nicely.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Another Example of the Terrific Way We're Caring for our Troops

Full Strait Jacket

Having been frustrated in his 2000 bid to become Vice President, Sen. Joseph Lieberman decides there's no point in dabbling in that whole "reason" thing, and has decided to abandon the pretense of being even quasi-sane...

Delusional Sunday

It's nice to know we all have our priorities straight. Because everyone knows how much Paris loves minorities.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Paris Throws a Tantrum as She's Ordered to Actually Receive Her Slap On The Wrist

She had been released early by the Los Angeles Sheriff due to an "unspecified medical condition," but there was such a hue and cry from around the country that she was ordered to serve her sentence after all, just like everyone else. She was dragged crying and screaming from the courtroom and throwing the tantrums that her neighbors are no doubt used to seeing.

Her lawyer said earlier that punishing celebrities more harshly than regular people was just as unfair as the so-called "celebrity justice" that people like Paris are dealt. He's absolutely right. But expecting them to be punished AS severely as the rest of us is not unfair at all. And what do you suppose the rest of us would get in jail if we had Paris's "undisclosed medical condition?" A tube of silver nitrate ointment and a few extra Valtrex, that's what.

Suck it up, Paris. It's three weeks, in a special cell, no less. (The rest of us would get thrown in with the hookers and drug addicts.) There's a war going on, and thousands of men and women are getting shot at every day. Maybe next time you misbehave (and there WILL be a next time, because you're too selfish and stubborn to learn from your mistakes), they should send you over there. I guarantee you you'll learn to appreciate your freedom a lot more in a place where mommy and daddy's money don't mean shit.

Is This Man Our Next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?

AP Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy/Chad J. McNeely

Or is he just auditioning for Captain Steubing in a stage production of the "Love Boat?"

He's Michael Mullen, the person that Robert Gates is recommending to take the place of General Peter Pace, whose current term as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is up in September. Originally, Gates was going to push for Pace to have another two-year term, but he concluded that the confirmation process would be too contentious, focusing too much on Pace's past performance and the Iraq War, and he wanted to focus on the future.

Yeah, right. The Iraq War. That's it. Please! Whoever comes in is going to have to deal with the Iraq War, and is going to be grilled about their intentions, so cut the crap awready. Pace had other problems, anyway. I think the real moral of the story is:

"Don't fuck with the queens. Ever."

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Pic of the day

(AP Photo by Dolores Ochoa)

Daryl Hannah follows local custom and leaves a chocolate syrup handprint on the Wall Of Honor at the Jean VanDerPyl Dinner Theatre in Onomatopeia, IL, where she's appearing for a limited run as Nurse Ratched in the stage production of "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest."

So President Bush Won't Have A Reason To Gripe...

...aside from his flatlining poll numbers, and the nation's ever-increasing awareness of his dipshittery, that is.

But when it comes to stem cells, Bush may no longer have a reason to wield the veto pen (unless he wants to scratch the hard-to-reach spot in the crack of his ass--and I'm sure Cheney can help with that).

Monday, June 04, 2007

Secession Progression

Die Laughing

Patrick Knight, a condemned murderer in Texas, is collecting jokes so he can choose the funniest one to use as his last statement before they put him down on June 26 for his murder of Walter and Mary Werner, his neighbors outside Amarillo. He insists that he's not trying to "disrespect" them "or anything like that."

I'm not big into capital punishment myself, but this is pretty distasteful. And regardless of what he says, it really does thumb his nose at the victims of his crime.

Wouldn't it be funny if the joke dies when he tells it? Oh...bad choice of words!


He Who Represents Himself...

Charles Taylor, the deposed and despotic ex-leader of Liberia, refuses to participate in his sham of a war trimes trial at The Hague, saying that his resources are limited and he can't be sure of a fair trial. Taylor is accused of acts of genocide in Sierra Leone during his 14-year reign, before he exiled himself to Nigeria, who turned him over to international authorities (because Robert Mugabe can't be trusted either).

So, in order to make sure he gets the BEST defense possible, he's doing it himself, thus giving him the opportunity to pull a Slobodan Milosevich and act like a pudding-faced lunatic for four years, eventually dying before a foregone conclusion formality verdict is reached.

Either way, it looks like diamonds aren't forever after all...

Friday, June 01, 2007

Now All We Need Is a Thousand-Year-Old Egg