Friday, February 29, 2008

Random Curiosities

They just put this statue in one of the lobbies of the building where I work:

Statue 1

Now what the hell is that all about? Why does this guy have another guy inside his jacket?

And why is he so happy about it?

Statue Smile


Haircut Redux 2 08

The $5 Devon Avenue Haircut Fairy strikes again! (Well, he struck this fairy, anyway...)

I actually like this barber...he's fast, quick and doesn't take any shit. I'm in and out of there in 15 minutes (well, excluding the half-hour wait, because there are always people waiting to get in...they don't do appointments, it's walk-in only).

And seriously, it's $8 WITH a generous tip--it's not like I have tons of hair to style, this all works out.

(Oh, and did I mention that the barber is kinda hot?)

And finally --

James Carville REALLY wanted to make sure he reached me quickly today.


As you can see above, he wanted to "take a break from work" to make sure I knew about the big FEC deadline tonight. Considering that his "work" consisted mainly of chasing skirts, appearing on "Politically Incorrect" opposite his frigid conservative wife Mary Matalin and telling dirty jokes in Clinton's office, I thought it was mighty generous of him to take a break. If those things were MY job, I'd never retire. And I'd never take a break, either. I'd work all the overtime possible so I'd get big honkin' fat checks EVERY week.

But he took a break to send me this message today. Twice. He must have forgotten he sent it the first time. His mind must not be what it used to be. (Now what did it used to be again...?)

So maybe it IS time he retired after all...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Another Lockjaw Passes Into The Big Gated Community In The Sky

He and Thurston Howell III are no doubt swapping stories of restricted country clubs as they sip Old Fashioneds in the Big Connecticut Beyond...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fighting Amongst Ourselves

Much has been made of the feud between Obama and Hillary...I've even mentioned it here before. But whatever we do, let's not splinter among ourselves. It's terribly foolish, counterproductive and there's too much at stake here.

Monday, February 25, 2008

No Reductions Necessary

This, my friends, is why I love Emma Thompson.

'Nuff said.

Does This Make Me A Princess?

While I was down visiting my mom and family on Saturday, my aunt gave me the newspaper clipping shown above. It's the picture at the top--Mom's on the right, George (Mardi Gras king) is on the left. It seems that the nursing home had a Mardi Gras celebration a few weeks back, and Mom was crowned queen. Thankfully, it was not a Carrie White moment...

I'm really grateful that she's in a place where the residents are so well cared-for and the staff is so compassionate. She seems physically strong, even though her memory is very poor.

But I've declared myself her first runner-up. So if she is unable to fulfill her duties as queen for any reason, or forgets to turn up to a supermarket opening, I have my dress ready...


A few other less happy things happened during the last week--chief among them was my being chewed out and reprimanded at work for some really stupid errors--but these things will pass...

The Joans is still scoping out dates to record our demo CD...more on that as it develops!

Friday, February 22, 2008

I Hate To Say "I Told You So," But...

Begorah! What a brouhaha is after a-stirrin' over Irish singer Carly Smithson, who managed to stay on "American Idol" after "America" (i.e., the slack-jawed, bottom-feeding public) voted to keep her on while giving the heave-ho to several others.

Apparently, there's a wee bit o' controversy over the bonny Miss Smithson, since she once recorded an (apparently shitty) album several years back.

Excuse me, but aren't the contestants supposed to be AMATEURS? *HYELL-oooo!*

But, in true "the company's always right/we insist that you be distracted from our doings" spirit, Paula Abdul proves that she's both crazy AND drunk with the following quote:

"If they hadn't already tried to make a name for themselves, then they don't deserve to be in (the) competition."

Paula, Paula, PAULa--let me lay it out on the line for you, just in case you're seeing more than one in your intoxicated state: You're crazy as a goddamned bedbug, you've appeared on television glassy-eyed and incoherent, and you've recently appeared in publicity stills with your hand inside Simon Cowbell's shirt (*gag*). To sum it all up, you're not exactly a bastion of credibility these days.

This is one of the many reasons I'm so glad I never have to watch this shitty show. I just wish I didn't have to hear about it either. I know, I know, everybody slobbers mindlessly over it like Pavlov's dog, but I have a right not to (it's true! Look it up) and frankly, I never understood its appeal to people who actually HAVE talent, like the friends of mine who stay glued to this pile of shit. What's the attraction? Do they somehow imagine themselves being judged and castigated by Simon? Consoled by Paula afterwards? Is there some perverse sexual thrill to it?

Please, I'm serious...someone explain this shit to me.

Is it the "democratic" angle? "America Votes??" That'll be a first. Shouldn't they be saving some of that for the polls? (Oops, I forgot--they were too busy following "American Idol" contestants to become informed about the people vying to run our country. Oh well--an understandable lapse, really...)

To those who would argue that I'm just "bitter," I will counter that if I am, it has less to do with "American Idol" than other of life's circumstances. I think I'm more baffled than anything else, and am just grateful I decided not to let myself get crowdsurfed out on this mosh-pit of cultural zeitgeist just because it was "the thing to do." (I have other things I'd rather do.)

And I truly, truly wish that people would put as much time, energy and passion into their own communities as they seem to throw at some show which couldn't care less whether they live or die. ("Oh, but I don't like politics. They're yucky." And, "oh, I don't like reading. It's boring.")

God help us. Every. Single. One.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

In Which Aaron Answer's Other Advice Columnists' Mail (Redux)

Since I had so much fun with this the last time (and I don't have anything else to write about today), I thought I'd give it another whirl…


DEAR MARGO: I'm a 23-year-old mother of two boys. One night at about 7, I remembered I had to feed my parents' cat while they were away. I told my husband I'd be back in a little while and didn't even bother to put on a coat. I drove to my parents' house, went inside and was accosted by three burglars -- teens would be my guess. They bound me with cords, gagged me with a kitchen towel and dragged me into a closet. When I heard them leave, I began trying to get free, but the knots were way too tight. I'm athletic and in great physical shape, but I could not wriggle loose. The closet was small and dark, and I couldn't stand, so I sat there hoping my husband wouldn't be too long wondering where I was. (We live less than five minutes from my parents' house.) I sat there tied up for over three miserable hours! By the time my husband came and found me, shaking, I was angrier with him than with the little thugs who bound me. He said he was busy working and didn't realize how much time had passed. That was a week ago. He's apologized and brought me flowers and presents every day. I've forgiven him, but we've hardly spoken. Fact is, I'm feeling increasingly embarrassed about having been tied up and am now more upset with my own ineptitude than my husband's failing. I want everything to get back to normal, but I can't seem to come out of this funk. How do I snap out of this?


Margo wasn't fast enough…Aaron says:

Let me get this straight—you got tied up by burglars in your parent's house, but somehow it's your husband's fault for not guessing sooner? And he had to buy you presents and flowers for a week to make up for it?

Where do I apply for your job?

If only you WERE still gagged. Then we wouldn't have to listen to your bitching and moaning. He's nicer than me—if I listened to you spout off constantly, I'd tell you to shut the fuck up and I'd lock the door so I could get some work done. You're angry with yourself? Step in line, sister. You can pick your own damned flowers.

DEAR ABBY: I'm an 18-year-old girl. Romantic relationships have never meant much to me. It's fun to have someone to go to art galleries and coffee shops with, and to make out with in my car, but I don't have a need to tie myself down. I have had a lot of nice "flings" during high school, but it was high school, and it's time to move on.

My best friend of 11 years, "Mick," happens to be a boy. We decided in middle school that our relationship would be strictly platonic. Last night, Mick kissed me and told me he is in love with me. I don't feel the same. I'm not physically attracted to him. I tried to be nice and told Mick it would ruin our friendship, but he disagrees.

With any other guy, rejection is easy. But this is my best friend. Mick has low self-esteem when it comes to girls. If I say I'm not attracted to him, it'll hurt his feelings.

I feel stuck and angry. I told Mick the truth about how I felt a long time ago. Do I have to be mean to get my point across? Here's how I honestly feel: I love hanging out with him, but I find him repulsive-looking, and if he kisses me again he's getting slapped. I've never been mad at him before. Can you please help me?


Abby's All Wet. Aaron Has The Answer:

Dear "Assley"

Just how many "nice flings" have you had, O Femme Fatale of the World? Who are you, the Marlena Dietrich of the mall food court? And what is it with teenaged girls and the name "Ashley?" Don't you have any creativity? Or have you pissed it all away "making out in your car?" It's a good thing romantic relationships don't mean anything to you, because you clearly don't deserve to have one. If "Mick" is so repulsive-looking then why do you hang around him? Oh, I get it—it makes you look better by comparison. Except—that—it doesn't. Take another look in the mirror, cupcake. You have an entire future of "Micks" to look forward to. Better start making peace with them now. Incidentally, if you slap one of today's guys, you better be prepared to be slapped back—they believe in equal rights.

Oh, and keep that car clean—you'll probably end up living in it at some point.

Dear Amy: My husband's daughter from his previous marriage, "Kerry," is getting married in two months. Kerry's mother, who walked out on the family, also is remarried. Kerry has asked her dad to walk her down the "aisle," but I am not invited to the wedding.

Because I am not to be included, he has declined. Kerry also has not invited her stepfather. Her father believes this is to justify my not being invited. His ex seems to have a lot of trouble moving on with her life.

I am grateful that my husband is standing on principle, but I am torn. I believe that his daughter should be able to have both parents and their spouses present.

My husband is not happy about this, but he is steadfast in his choice to not attend this wedding without me.

Should I be the "bigger person" and encourage him to go to the wedding alone?

-- Not Sloppy Seconds

Amy's indisposed in the bathroom right now, so let Aaron:

Dear Sloppy: Hell no! He says he won't go without you, and that's the way it ought to stay. He sounds like a real husband. This little bitch sounds like a typical bridezilla—they think the world revolves around them and their stupid weddings. Send them a waffle iron and let the janitor walk her down the aisle.


Whew! I feel absolutely spent! Was it good for you? It was great for me...excuse me while I go have a cigarette...

Monday, February 18, 2008

"'We ADORE Children!' (They Taste Just Like Chicken)" or "Daddy's First Day Out of Sickbed"

Yesterday, The Joans went to CAN-TV studios for a taping of Chica-Go-Go, a kids' dance show. Since we were lipsynching to a CD, I could get by with a stripped-down drum kit, and I was grateful as hell for that, since my back was still sore and my joints still ached from this god-forsaken whatever-it-was. (It never hit me digestively, so it couldn't have been the flu--I think it was just a really nasty chest cold.)

I went to Taylor's at 11:00 to pick up the kick, snare, hi-hat and stool and shoved them into my/mom's Malibu, which was illegally parked next to a fire hydrant (making me sweat even more--thank God I brought clothes to change into). I took Ashland all the way down to Congress, then realized I could jump onto the Eisenhower and go east for a mile and get off at Halsted, and be a block away from the studio.

No, I couldn't. After I got off Ashland onto the Eisenhower, I quickly discovered that I had to take the I-90 exit to be at Halsted, and then I'd have to be on, you know, I-90, and miss Halsted altogether. So I took the Eisenhower all the way to the next exit (Canal Street), and decided to go a few blocks west from there. Already my head was hurting.

But I got to the studio with time to spare and only drove around the block once before I found a juicy parking spot right across the street (the studio's in Greektown, and there are lots of restaurants and churches in the neighborhood--lots of activity and I was lucky to get a spot so close). I started carrying drum pieces inside gradually, so as not to faint dead away right on the spot. I saw George Joans circling around trying to find parking, and my heart went out to him, but there was little I could do. It's Bitch-eat-Bitch in this crazy old world...

Taylor was the first one there when I arrived. I was a little surprised, since I'd heard him upstairs at his house while I was in the basement gathering my drum things, and I wondered just how the hell he'd gotten there so fast without getting a ticket or blowing a policeman. But his car was there a half a block away when I pulled into a spot.

I pressed the buzzer and was allowed entrance into the building by a device that sounded a lot like a dentist's x-ray machine. Only longer and louder. The studio was a lot like the ones I remembered from my college days as a radio/TV major, so I felt sort of at home. The kids started arriving shortly after we did and went downstairs to the hospitality room. Taylor and I waited for the other Joans and they came within a few minutes. Our dressing room was very tiny, but it had groovy mirrors and lights:

(Davy Joans in our luxurious dressing room. THIS'LL learn him to say he doesn't want to see the picture when I offer to show him the playback image!) :-)

It occurred to us before we went on that although we had the cleaned up version of "Mad At The Dirt," the word "hell" was still in it, but Jake the producer said that that wasn't a problem. So we were all set--now we just waited for our turn. Since we were a band and had to "set up," the process consisted of taping the first two songs with no break, and just an introduction by Miss Mia. After we got all our stuff onstage, I sat on my stool and began sweating under the lights. Thank God for all the powder. "We heard 'five four three two one," then waited for the sound of the music to begin our fake playing.

I have to say, fake drumming is probably the hardest thing on earth to do. No matter what you hit, you're gonna make noise, and it's REALLY hard not to hit anything--it's against our nature. But this wasn't rocket science, and everyone was there to have fun, and besides they were watching Davy, not us. He really worked the group well. He even had all the kids chanting "Mad At The Dirt" at just the right time. And they always nailed it.

I can feel confident in our futures now. Finally. If they can figure out the hand gestures to "Mad At The Dirt," then that "balancing the budget" and "cleaning up the atmosphere" thing should be a cakewalk.

After we were done, Miss Mia asked each of us our name in turn. She interviewed Davy as our spokesperson, and she did a great job feeding him questions that were Joan-specific, esp. with regards to rats ("Well, Bette Davis once fed her a dead rat for lunch, so she didn't like them very much") and performing for the show ("We're happy to perform here--we ADORE children"). Davy also gave the kids in the studio and at home a very simple lesson:

"If there's anything you dream about doing, you don't have to think about it, you can just do it. It's really easy."

I think we might have added a few new little members to the JoanNation yesterday.

A kids' show certainly wasn't what I ever expected to do with The Joans, but it was kind of fun and the kids were very enthusiastic. They LOVE to be on TV, and they enjoyed dancing. They were having a hell of a good time!

And it's good for The Joans, too. It's always good to plant the seed early, don't you think...?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Daddy Sick, The Nicest Kids in Town and More...

I'm getting over something today...I don't know what it was, but it came on when I woke up Thursday night and had chills (despite the radiator being on and putting out an INSANE amount of heat, as it always does--and let's not even talk about the fucking noise it makes--it sounds like my Uncle Horace hiccuping after a big meal). I got up to use the facilities and get a drink of water and every step hurt and made my head ring. Like a fucking moron, I went in to work anyway, because I didn't want to use up any sick days (I figure when I have the nervous breakdown, I'll be glad I hoarded them). So I spent a not-TOO-difficult day with a mostly skeleton staff, since so many folks in our office suite were at off-site meetings or sick themselves.

However, the longer the day dragged on, the worse I felt. By the end of the day, I was literally walking like Mrs. Wiggins on the "Carol Burnett Show." My energy was gone. I had brought jeans to change into, thinking I may stop off at Big Chick's for a few quick ones, as is my Friday custom. But as 4:00 rolled around, and I had an hour left to go, it was apparent that I would be spening the evening curled up in a fleecy blanket and watching my "All In The Family" discs from Netflix. I should note that my mini-plague did NOT stop me from going to the gym yesterday at lunch. But I only did the elliptical machine for a half hour and didn't lift at all (I would have dropped it on my head). Any my workout music? Gilbert O'Sullivan.

Oh, yeah--Daddy decided to embrace his impending old age with gusto.

I went to bed very early (well, 9:30 which is early for ME on a Friday night) and woke up this morning feeling a little more refreshed. I did laundry, had breakfast and took longer over my toilette than usual (so as not to be thrown on a wooden cart when the man went by calling "bring out your dead").

I went to a table reading of two proposed shows for Hell in a Handbag, being considered for Summer Camp, a full run, or of them was very, very funny, and right up our street. But I won't say another word about it--just yet. We'll leave that to our artistic director, Mr. Cerda. He always does splashy announcements so well!

I just got back, after stopping off at the crack Jewel (as my friend Dave Awl used to refer to it) for some ice cream (hey I need a little comfort now!), low-fat pasta sauce (but not TOO much comfort) and bananas. I may go out for a bit this evening just to be social, but I need to catch a lot of Zs tonight, becaaaaauuuuse...

Tomorrow The Joans are guesting on Chica-Go-Go, a "dance music program for children of all ages." We'll be lip-synching to a cleaned-up version of "Mad At The Dirt" that we put together for a friend of mine who's a musical director of an NPR station in Wisconsin. Since we're miming, I don't need to bring my full kit, so I may just bring the bass drum, a cymbal, the snare and a stand...I'll figure it out. We're called at noon...

I'm not sure when this particular show is being telecast, but the shows air twice a week, and up-to-date information can be found on their MySpace site (which currently was last updated before we officially accepted, so they'll probably post our air date in the next couple of days).

Peace out...but don't PASS I'm about to...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Because In Texas, Even the LIBERALS Are Fascists

I can't tell you how fucking angry I got after reading this. What the fuck are these assholes thinking? "Duh, gee, we gotta make it intimate and appwopwiate for tewevithion, so we can't have it in a big pwace." Bullshit--they televised LiveAid, where there were 100,000 people, for God's sakes. They ought to be able to pull this off with less stress. You don't have to show the whole audience, dickhead.

The Keystone Kops circus clowns organizers of this event seem to have forgotten the long, long history of grassroots politics in the Democratic Party of Texas. This ain't a $500-per-plate fundraiser kind of state--if you want that, stay in fucking New York or Boston. This event ought to be open to the people who they're trying to suck up to, don'tcha think?? What kind of message is this going to send to your few allies in an otherwise conservative state? Do you want to piss them off so badly that they'll figure the Dems are no better than the conservatives and not even go to the trouble of voting in November?

Here's a lil' tip: that "lesser of two evils" thing only works when it IS, in fact, the lesser of two evils. Not so much when the evils match.

When the Anticipation is Worse Than the Realization

Sometimes I forget what real service is like. It's become so foreign to me, living in a big city, that I've come to expect sarcasm and apathy from nearly all the government facilities and services that I've encountered, and approach every transaction with my finger on the nozzle of the Whoop-Ass can, knowing at any second I will be called on to spray, spray, spray like an exterminator...

So this morning's experience was a pleasant surprise to me. Let me back up:

As I've mentioned before, I'm driving my mom's car right now, since we've had to close her apartment up and there's no where to park it (and storage seems foolish, since it runs so well and it would encourage the drain of the battery). So we decided to put MY car (the '94 Cavalier) in storage in Chillicothe while I drive my mom's, and ultimately just sell the Cavalier down there (I'm not driving it back up here--no way).

In order to sell it I will, of course, need a title. I paid the car off nearly 10 years ago, and moved to Chicago almost immediately after receiving the title in the mail. Somewhere in the move, the title got lost. I'd been meaning to apply for a new one for some time now, but never got around to it (in that way that good intentions always have of falling to the side). Since I'm now paying $68 per month for storage, however, I knew the issue was now forced: Gotta sell the car. Gotta not pay for storage every month indefinitely. Gotta get a new title.

So I began researching the IL Secretary of State's websites for the various documents I'll need. The form I'd need (VSD 157 or something) is NOT available online, so I need to physically go to the SOS's office over on Randolph (Daley Plaza, the closest one) and pick one up and mail it with my processing fee of $65 to the office in Springfield. That didn't bother me so much--it was the list of documents I heard I'd need when I called the State of Illinois automated phone thingie that spooked me. Tax Certificate, Bill of Sale from the dealer--these things are long, long gone. And getting a bill of sale from the dealer? On a purchase made over 14 years ago? I can hear Bob Grimm Chevrolet's laughter even now...

So this morning, I sucked it up and just decided to call the SOS office and talk to a live person. She answered fairly promptly and was even fairly pleasant. Wow. I explained my situation and she said to simply call the lienholder and get a copy of the lien release form, bring it in to the SOS office and apply for the new title there.

Now here's where I got real nervous: my car loan was through CEFCU, my old bank in Peoria, and I don't have any of those statements left, so I don't know what the account number was. I was afraid of sounding like an idiot, so I called the CEFCU main line and was transferred to a very nice girl named Monica in the title department). I explained my situation, she listened politely (I did try to make it concise, so that probably helped) and asked me to hold for a second.

The following events took less than 90 seconds:

She looked up my social security number, verified my name and asked where I'd like the lien release verification mailed. I gave her my current address and she said they'd send it out today.

No fee.

No attitude.

And I'll probably have it Tuesday or Wednesday.

Again, wow.

Sometimes I forget what it's like to deal with real people.

I wonder if she does hardwood floors, too; those need seeing to also.

NOTE: This does not mean I am in any way considering moving back to Peoria. Oh, hells to the no!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

If That's What It Takes To Get Up, I'll Stay Down...

(No, this isn't what you thought it was, you dirty bastards.) ;-)

I came across this column today on NPR that says maybe being sad occasionally is not such a bad thing.

Yes! Sad! Just a little! It won't kill you!

This will come as a shock to all those out there who panic at the first sign of the blues, squawking about "depression" and reading do-it-yourself health articles for tips on letting in more sunlight, eating more turkey and oranges (for the tryptophan), and running around the block compulsively every two hours (to get the endorphins a-goin'). As this column points out, there is an advantage to occasional bouts of sadness: it inspires us to work towards happiness (you know, SOLVE our problems?) and it provides balance to life. In extreme cases, sadness has also been the cornerstone for a lot of great artistic achievement (although admittedly, some of the best "sad artist" types were suicidal--Van Gogh, Edith Piaf, Billie Holliday--which begs the question of how sad is TOO sad).

But today, people want to be happy-happy-happy all the goddamned time. It constantly amazes me at work when people pass by my desk and ask what's wrong because I'm not wearing an eerie Stepford-esque grin all the time. "What's wrong, Aaron?" I hear from the terminally cheerful. "You're frowning!"

(AUTHOR'S NOTE: If I'm frowning, it's probably from something called "concentration." It goes in tandem with that whole "work" thing, which is probably why they don't recognize it. But that's another story, for another blog.)

And the extremes we go to to stay "happy" are unreal: with all the anti-depressants, anesthetics, and psychological crutches available out there, how can we tell when we're really happy or just buzzed??

Besides which, perky people irritate the fuck out of me. Not only are they annoyingly squeaky and headache-inducingly upbeat most of the time, but they're also nosy as hell. I remember the days of the old workplace when a simple "Fine" was sufficient answer to the question "How are you?" and "nothing special" was enough to satisfy the curiosity of those who asked, "What did you do this weekend?" Now, we have these horrible little ten-and-twenty-somethings who want to know all about your life, exactly where you went, who you did it with, and a urine sample.

For Christ's sakes, back off already! Turn off the TV and stop watching "Gossip Girl." And lay off the uppers. They're clearly poisoning your mind.

For those of us who enjoy a little contemplation every so often: it's OK to be a little grey or even a little blue sometimes, don't you think? It adds variety to life (in moderation, of course). Hence the popularity of the blues and country music--creative, constructive ways to deal with the sadness of life. You can turn it into something positive without drugging it (and yourself) into oblivion while you wait for better times.

Because they WILL come--do you want to be doped up and semi-conscious when they arrive?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Cabaret and Company

God, what a miserable weekend weather-wise. Never have I objected so much to the cold as I have this year, probably because I've been obliged to spend more time in it. I suppose I should be glad, since this indicates that, with so many reasons to be out of the house, my life is vibrant, active, exciting and all that shit, but frankly, I'd rather just stay in bed (even alone) on days like we had over the last 48 hours. I nearly killed myself three times taking my clothes to the laundromat, since the sidewalks in my neighborhood are completely iced over (and salt makes no difference at all).

But finally I got it all done and was able to enjoy myself a little. I finally got to see fellow Handbagger Trista Smith and her partner Jason Grimm in their cabaret act "What Are Cabaret: A Cabaret" at Davenport's on Saturday night.

I actually got there a little early since parking wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be in that neighborhood (I literally parked right across the street). The show was hilarious: filthy, raunchy, disreputable--everything I hope it would be! Smith and Grimm have been performing together for about six years and they have a great onstage chemistry. There's one more performance at Davenport's on February 23, so catch it if you can. It's a $15 cover and two-drink minimum. Well worth it!


I also watched the entire first series of "Two's Company," the BBC comedy starring Elaine Stritch and Donald Sinden that ran from 1975-1979. I had high hopes for the show when I ordered it from Netflix, and it did not disappoint. The fashion in Britain during the 1970s was to use some sort of animation/cartoon in their sitcom themes, and "Two's Company" opens with the two characters as a goose in an evening gown (Elaine) and a lion in a tophat (Donald) voicing the Sammy Cahn-penned theme song:

Two's Company ordinarily
Two's Company, but contrarily
We disagree no matter what it happens to be

You're the perverse one

I agonize

Night and day with you

To compromise

There's no way with you!

I wish I had picked a large boa constrictor, my friend

DONALD (spoken):
Are you trying to tell me something

You're the perverse one
Two's company

DONALD (spoken)

Two's company


How'd we embark on old Noah's ark, pair by pair?

Not so loud!

So ask me, who's company?

Whenever I choose company

I gotta say, two's company

Except for this affair

You give me mal de mer

Do you know what that means?

Can we let in some fresh air?

No madam

Au contraire

The show is funny, but it's more like a stage play than a sitcom, in the way that many British comedies are. The premiere episode features Dorothy (Elaine Stritch) answering the door to Robert (Donald Sinden), who's come to the house in answer to her advertisement for a manservant. Upon learning that she's a woman and an American, he's prepared to decline the position, but Dorothy insists he at least stay for a drink before he goes out into the rain again. What ensues is at once great comedy and a very clever cat-and-mouse game, as Dorothy challenges him to overcome his prejudices against women and Americans and to prove he's as good at his job as he claims to be. In fact, she's SO determined that he'll take her bait that she ends up taking HIS bait, offering him a very attractive salary and a self-contained flat.

As the series continues, they maintain their rivalry while developing a grudging respect and admiration for one another. They also become more familiar with each other in different situations: Robert injures himself on the stairs, forcing Dorothy to accompany him to the hospital emergency room, allowing the crusty American to make a commentary on the ineffectiveness of British socialized medicine; Robert's overbearing mother comes to stay while she's passing through London, at Dorothy's insistence and despite Robert's reluctance, and quickly takes over the house; and Dorothy asks Robert to "chaperone" her visit from an aggressive and amorous suitor so that his photographer nephew will take pictures of her for his magazine, and she ends up fending off the advances of the obnoxious suitor while Robert is engrossed in a televised cricket match.

If you're an Elaine Stritch fan, this show is a must-see. It will make you a fan of Donald Sinden as well (I have to admit I'd only previously heard his named dropped in an episode of "The Young Ones," but have since learned that he's a very accomplished actor in Britain. I've added Series 2 of "Two's Company" to my Netflix queue, and hope to get it by the end of the week.


We learned on Friday that mom's insurance will no longer pay for her nursing home. Fortunately, Mom has some money in savings, but of course we don't know how much will be required, so this is quite worrying. But as my aunt said, we'll just do what's necessary. It won't be for very much longer, in any event, and we'll just cross the bridge when we reach it...

Friday, February 08, 2008

She's Still Here! (In a Paper Sleeve...)

Seeing as how I'll be in town this weekend, and the only event I'll be going to is Smith and Grimm's cabaret at Davenport's tomorrow night, I plan to spend the rest of my Saturday (in between trips to the laundromat) watching my new find on Netflix, "Two's Company," a 1970s sitcom featuring Elaine Stritch as Dorothy McNab, a famous author, and Donald Sinden as her butler, Robert. (From the description, he sounds a bit like "Benson"--a servant, yet the "smart one" in the house.)

I actually giggled with glee and clapped my hands when I got the red envelope at work today (I have them sent there, because I'm afraid that they won't fit in my home mailbox if I get too much other stuff).

I love Elaine Stritch in just about everything I've ever seen her in (except "Cocoon II," and that wasn't her fault). I just hope this doesn't prove to be one of those stuffy Noel-Coward-knockoff sitcoms that Britain tended to crank out in the 70s to appease the codgers who refused to watch "Are You Being Served?" (You know the type of shows I'm talking about--WE'RE producing them NOW.)

I know Elaine was living in England at the time while she was married to John Bay, so I think she still had a pretty fair amount of choice in the stuff she did, and at that point, just a few years after "Company," I think she had reached the point where people brought projects to HER with her in mind, rather than having to take whatever shitty thing she could. (The aforementioned "Cocoon II" being a rare exception. OK, and that "Ellen Burstyn Show," too. But she stole that one--all three episodes of it.) But the jist of the show is that she and her butler are constantly trading insults, but like each other deep down. So it has to be pretty good.

I'll let all of you (OK, both of you) know how it is...if I like it a lot, I may splurge at Amazon and buy it.

We Are Family (Yes, ALL of Us)

In a shocking anthropological twist, scientists have determined that all blue-eyed people come from a single ancestor.

Shit--this reduces my dating prospects by about 75 percent. And the odds weren't all that great to begin with.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

If You're In Chicago And Not Doing Anything Tonight...

The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind Or Visually Impaired (hereinafter referred to as "The Lighthouse") is hosting its annual "Sweets For Sight" event at The Melting Pot (609 N. Dearborn) this evening from 6:00-8:00PM. Only $25 gets you unlimited chocolate martinis (from a FOUNTAIN, no less, people--a FOUNTAIN), champagne and delicious chocolate and fruit fondues.

There's also an exciting raffle, and the grand prize is four tickets to "Wicked" on February 26 with a backstage tour conducted by members of the "Wicked" cast! (No, I don't know which ones. But I'm sure they're lovely.) Tickets are $10 each or three for $20.

So if you're not doing anything tonight, stop on by! (You CAN get drunk on chocolate martinis, as I discovered last year--I thought the caffeine in the chocolate would cancel out the alcohol, but not so...;-))

So Tragic...And...Somehow...Yucky

This is so very sad. But I'm torn between feeling incredible sympathy and extreme revulsion.

We've GOTTA get some blenders to those folks.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Retro Recap

It occurred to me that I never wrote about my weekend...and since I have nothing else to write about (except the local election results, which were mighty disappointing to ME), and it's a crappy, wet, cold Wednesday (and I think I'm coming down with something AGAIN, goddamnit!), and I'm too tired to be angry and rant about anything, I'll just describe what I did over the weekend...try not to fall asleep.


I went to the Flesh Hungry Dog Show at Jackhammer, and there were two bands that I really enjoyed--and I won a T-shirt! I had to leave before the third band was finished, because I was heading down to Peoria on Saturday morning and wanted to be on the road at 7:00. I'm usually running late, though...


I was running late. After I cleaned the car off, I hit the road about 8:30. I took along season 3 of the Doris Day Show on DVD to watch with mom at the home (she has a TV and DVD player in her room). I got to Chillicothe just before 11:00, and stopped by the store to see Aunt Fay who works there, and pick up some cereal, hot sauce and crackers (Kroger brands were on sale). Then I went over to the home and spent the day with mom. We had a nice visit and she and Peggy (her roommate) enjoyed the "Doris Day Show." I noticed that when mom goes into the bathroom now, she goes on her own--I'm not sure if she's supposed to do that, but I asked Peggy if she'd done it before, and Peggy said yes. So I decided not to worry about it (she did it twice with no mishaps, so it must be fine--she didn't seem shaky either).

About 6:00, I went to Monical's and got a pizza and brought it back to the room. Mom and I and Peggy ate the pizza and watched "The Simpsons." I hit the road about 7:30, stopping to get gas on the way out of town. I got back to Chicago at 10:00, and was going to stop somewhere for a drink on the way home, but couldn't find parking I just went home! On a Saturday! Can you believe it?! I just checked my e-mail and listened to some music for a while. Then I heard some scratching and looked over to see my cat pawing at the rug I just put in front of the door (to leave my wet boots). A small wet spot was freshly made in the middle. And it wasn't from the boots.

"Oh no, you DI-ENT!" I screamed. I got up to go get a closer look and my cat Pisspot Sophie took flight. I chased her around the apartment until I was winded she crawled under the bed where I couldn't reach. But I saw glowing eyes peering out at me periodically while I was on the computer.

"Yeah, you better stay under there, you little bitch."


I made a lovely breakfast of banana milkshake and toast and a pot of coffee, then went to see my friend Stephen's play "Lyle Lyle Crocodile" across the street at the Lifeline Theatre. (It's a kid's show--I saw it three times. The first time, because Stephen was in it, and the second and third times because I love the actors that play the Mom and Dad, especially the mom. She has a great voice.) I bought a cast recording this time, too, because I quite like some of the songs, especially "People Like You," which has a touch of "Don't Rain On My Parade" to it and "Soon We'll Have You Home Again," which is pure early 70's Carole King.

Then in the afternoon, I went to Taylor's house for Joans rehearsal. We were minus George (the bass player), because he had to work overtime, it being Super Bowl Sunday (he works for a caterer). So we just went over a few songs, and called it a day at about 5:30. I was too tired to go out to the bar to watch the game (and I never watch it at home alone), and I didn't really care about the game anyway. Not even the promise of Lori Tom Petty's half-time show was enough to induce me to watch. So I just went home and watched "Maude" on DVD and read for a while. My life is so exciting.

Maude Cover


Back to work--ta-dah! One of my bosses is on vacation this week, so I've had a bit of a break from his usual (self-induced) crises and's almost like having a vacation myself! Almost...

Hope you're all having a great week! Hello? Are--are you awake?

*whispers* Oh...I'll just close the door quietly on my way out...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

In This Month's Issue of "Brain-Dead Reality TV Watcher" Magazine...

Toddlers who witnessed a brutal attack on their city by shadowy enemies in 2001 may suffer from behavioral problems afterwards.

Wow. You're kidding. Seeing a real-life nightmare that even panics your parents will make you act out? Say it ain't so.

Seriously, who funds these studies? And why did they feel they needed a study to prove this link?

And what's next: tornadoes may cause damage?

Friday, February 01, 2008

She Really Is Wonderful

During a visit to Alexandra Billings' blog this morning, another commenter and I got to discussing Lynda Carter, who portrayed screen legend Rita Hayworth in the 80s. This commenter very kindly pointed me towards Lynda's website, which has her entire 1978 "Portrait" album in MP3 format. Yes, that's right: I downloaded the whole effin' thing! So now, for the first time since I was 10, I can hear Lynda's version of "Just One Look." Hokey and dated now, for sure, but sometimes ya just need a little pick-me-up.

And how's this for a pick me up: Lynda's a Democrat! And a big Hillary supporter, according to an interview with Billy Heller of the New York Post. About using her fabled "lasso of truth," she says she wouldn't use it on her kids ("it wouldn't work"), but admitted that it might be useful to use on the current administration:

"I don't really care who the president has sex with. But I do care about being lied to about important things," she says. "Lie to me about sex - everyone lies about who they have sex with. It's not about war and killing people."

She also shared her grilled cheese sandwich with Billy. Now if THAT ain't wonderful, what is?

My first big childhood idolization (well, right after Jodie Foster) is vindicated. I was on the right path after all. Who knew?

In fact, although I'm thinking Hillary and Obama should be Prez and Vice Prez (unlike others, I have no particular preference which is which, as long as those two are doing the jobs), I think Lynda should be in office herself--that is, when her cabaret show finishes its current run. I even made a campaign poster for her:

Anyone else wanna hop on the invisible plane with me?