Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Can You Dig It?

I love the wording in this headline. Especially since it's so off-the-mark: Obama is not obligated to "dig out" of anything, because he hasn't, in fact, buried himself.

It's a shame that Rev. Wright has seen fit to throw him under the Whack-Ass Tractor in his vindictive, churchy zeal, but I do NOT think that his behavior any more reflects on Obama than President Bush's business dealings with Saudi Arabia, the country from which the majority of the 9/11 hijackers originated, reflect on him.

OK, bad example. How about: any more than Vincent Foster's suicide reflects on Hillary.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Two Recessional Points of View

Monday, April 28, 2008

Chilly for Springer

Jerry Springer is set to give the commencement speech at Northwestern Law School in a few weeks, and some students are not happy about it.

One student says that many people feel that Springer became successful by exploiting people.

Since they're going to make their livings doing the exact same thing, they'd better get some tips from a pro, don't you think?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Certainly Didn't Welcome Seeing THIS Yesterday...


Friday, April 25, 2008

Advice Is Now a Habit - April 25, 2008 Edition

DEAR AMY: I've been dating "Anabel" for about a year. She is nice, funny and sincere. What I used to consider a quirky endearment, I now consider an annoyance.

Anabel is cheap. She says she is a "frugal environmentalist."

If we get coffee at Starbucks, she'll bring her own mug and take wads of napkins and sugar packets home to use later.

If we go out to eat, she brings her own containers to box the leftovers. She tries to recycle everything. She never buys anything full price, and she clips coupons like crazy.
When we go out to dinner, she always asks what everyone is getting so that she can order something comparable in price. That way, when we split the bill, she won't feel as if she's getting ripped off.

If she needs to run an errand less than 2 miles away, she insists on walking instead of driving.

I had a friend who was down and out, so I lent him money. She absolutely flipped out and said I was never going to get the money back and that he spent it frivolously. She called him a deadbeat.

He's my friend, and I believe friends help each other.

She has a small group of friends and doesn't like to hang out with people she thinks will take advantage of her. Many of my friends don't like her.

How do I get her to tone down this abnormal behavior? I do believe in recycling and all that, but I think she takes it too far.



Let’s take a little inventory here:

Walking on short errands instead of driving = good.

Bringing containers to box your own leftovers at a restaurant = eccentric, but good.

Bringing a mug to Starbucks to cut down on paper waste = good.

Never buying full price = hey, Marshall’s and Family Dollar are my best friends.


Passing judgment on your friends = bad.

Telling you what to do with your money (yes, yours, since you’re not married to this nag and unless you’ve arranged to share your finances) = bad, bad, bad.

When you say she tries to recycle everything, I hope you’re not being literal. There are many, erm, “paper products” that simply shouldn’t be reused. I won’t elaborate.

“Frugal environmentalist” in this case sounds like PC-speak for “tight-ass.” And maybe you should remind her that stealing the sugar and napkins from a restaurant or coffee shop is also something a “deadbeat” would do.

I can understand her not wanting to be taken advantage of, but in this day and age, when people go out as a group, they always cop out and do that “New York Split” thing, believing in theory that most everything on the menu is of a similar price range. She’s going to have a hell of a time finding a group that will tote along calculators to make her happy. In fact, if she’s this unyielding, your Joan of Arc is unlikely to find people that want to hang around with her at all.

Good luck making her see the fallacies in her argument, however. She sounds like one of the extreme ones who’ve too far gone past Nutbush City Limits to see any sort of reason. The hell of radical greenies like this one is that they find the whole entire world obscene for not living by their code. They’re gung-ho to save the planet—for the animals, apparently, since they seem to hate all the people who live on it. Ironic, really.

If she starts buying gasoline and fertilizer, get the hell out of there. Fast.

DEAR ABBY: I'm in my early 40s. I studied marketing and merchandising in college, but after graduation I chose to work in the family business. I married young, and my father hired my first husband so he could one day take over because I wasn't considered "man" enough to carry on this third-generation business.

I have spent the last 22 years learning this business inside and out. The employees respect me, and I have also gained respect within our industry. Although the number of women is still small, more and more women are involving themselves in this and related fields.

My day-in/day-out misery comes from my father. He is 72 and still works every day. He is old school. No matter how much money I make for this company or how much respect I gain from others, he will never acknowledge it. He constantly argues with me, and when he knows he's wrong, he walks out of the room. If I hear, "I have been doing this longer than you have" once more, I'll scream.

I would like to move on with my life -- meaning, get a new career. But being an only child in a family business that started in the 1920s, I feel trapped.
My ex- still works here, which is the company joke and the talk of the town. My birthday was last week, and Dad did not even wish me a happy birthday. Pretty sad for a man with one child he sees every day.

How can I find the strength to get on with my life?



Read my lips: Get. Out. Now.

You’re still fairly young, you’ve made lots of great contacts in your industry, and you said yourself you know your business backwards and forwards (or inside out, or whatever the hell direction it was). Yet your father doesn’t see fit to give you the promotion you deserve, and you have to work with your fucking ex-husband every day to boot? And he's going to be your BOSS someday??

BUH-bye now…

I’d be laying rubber out of that parking lot before Daddy settled down on his hemorrhoid cushion for the day. If he doesn’t even remember your birthday (although that could be senility, I suppose), along with all these other indignities, he’s clearly daring you to walk, and he’s contemptuous enough to believe you never will. Well, it’s time to give the old fucker a surprise. He’s never going to realize he’s wrong (stubborn old bastards like that never do—they’ll always find a way to turn cognitive dissonance to their own advantage – even a thunderbolt over the head is explained away by some kind of superstition about eating turmeric at breakfast or some bullshit like that).

You’ve probably carried that place for years, because they know you will. Well, new world comin’, honey. You’ve done your duty faithfully for years, and you’ve been consistently shortchanged. So now it’s all about you: get out there and parlay those connections into a better job with a different firm.

Don’t feel “trapped” by guilt over this being your family’s business. If Daddykins would rather turn control of his family business over to a non-family member because his petty chauvinism simply can’t allow a woman to run the place, then he’s a fucking moron, and the “family” thing clearly isn’t all that important to him. Try dressing a cabbage up and sitting it in your chair when you leave. I’ll bet it takes that old nutsack a week to figure out it’s not you. And let’s hope he and the ex are very happy together.


DEAR ABBY: How can I make my husband understand that eating out every Sunday after church is not only a waste of money, but also makes going out for special occasions not as important as they could be? I try to explain that we could do something besides eat out, but he only wants to do that.

We spend anywhere from $80 to $100 each week on dinner out. My husband puts it on a credit card. Now, I'll admit that I'm not that "up" on how credit cards work, but I know we'll have to pay them off eventually. We don't have the kind of money to splurge every week. How should I deal with this?


Who gets tired of eating ou--?? Oh, you mean at a restaurant. Well, sure $80 a week is a lot to spend on one meal, but maybe your husband just wants something nice to look forward to after listening to a deadly boring sermon for a few hours. (I’d need amphetamines to stay awake myself, so I don’t even go anymore.) And just for your edification, yes – yes, you will need to pay those cards off eventually. How did you guess??

Maybe you could find an eatery that’s less expensive. Ix-nay on that whole “doing something else afterwards” thing, because I have an inkling that for you, that would entail some sort of horrible crafts fair or something else that only you would like. You should try to compromise on the lunch thing, or you might find yourself rolling around in those aisles all by yourself while hubby stays home in his underwear to watch wrestling.

DEAR ELLIE: My daughter-in-law is phony with me. When I tell her how to do things, she smiles and says, "That's a good idea," but then does what she wants.



Would you prefer “Shut up, asshole?” Because if someone consistently told me how to do things, that’s what they’d get. And I’d skip the smile.

Count yourself lucky, Gramps.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

And This Just In...

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia opens up to the media for the first time and proves that Katherine Heigl was right--some people just shouldn't speak in public.

Which Superhero Are YOU?

(Stephen doesn't have to answer this. We already know he's Robin. And Superboy. And Spiderman. And Bat-Mite. :-))

Apparently, I'm "Galadriel," a character in the Middle-Earth Universe. I didn't know who the hell that was, so I looked it up. I still don't know who the hell that is. She sounds a lot nicer than I am, so maybe I should go back and answer those questions again!

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

So which one are YOU?

**UPDATE: OK, I looked it up, and she's a character from the "Lord of the Rings" series. I should've known. I guess I'm just not that big into science fiction mythology, although I read some Tolkien when I was in middle school. I figure we're all going to be mutants pretty soon anyway, so there'll be no "fiction" about it...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tomato, Tomahto and Warmed Over Lines

In the midst of chiding Democrats over NAFTA yesterday, saying "now is not the time to back out" (and when has his economic advice ever NOT been sound?), President Bush denied that the U.S. is in a recession, preferring to call it a "slowdown" instead.

Right, George...and your mother just has "a little dry skin."


In other news, while on a campaign stop in Youngstown, Ohio, John McCain told supporters that lost steel jobs will never come back, but with proper training the workers can rebound.

Wait a minute, isn’t that straight out of "Primary Colors?” And didn’t the Democrat say it?

Wow…next thing you know, we’ll impeach a Republican!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Color Us All Stunned - April 22, 2008 Edition

What I find the most laughable is that none of these commentators seemed to be at all skeptical about the briefings before they happened. I mean, come on, it’s a briefing about the Iraq War. From the Pentagon. Which works for the President. Who wants to war to go on forever.

The quotes sound like they’re coming from people who are genuinely surprised that the Pentagon misled them. Where have they been living? In France with Johnny Depp?

If you can be this stupid, not that attractive, and still have a great career in the media, then I should never have given up so easily after college…

Monday, April 21, 2008

No Fun Title Today

(I ain't in the mood--my brain hurts!)

Thursday night, I did house managing for the first preview of Hell In a Handbag's "Die! Mommie Die!", the Charles Busch play that spawned the 2003 movie, at Bailiwick. David Cerda did a lovely job as Angela Arden Sussman, a has-been pop singer stuck in a bitter, loveless marriage to Sol P. Sussman (played by Ed Jones), her manager-cum-husband and, in her words, "a son-of-a-bitch shitheel."

Her household consists of Sol; two maladjusted children, the Electra-like, father-worshipping Edith (Veronica Sheaffer) and the mentally slow, childlike, Oedipal Lance (Zach Geoffroy); her housekeeper Bootsie (Merrie Greenfield); and her occasional visitor and lover, Tony Parker (Jeffrey Patrick Olson). As adulterous Angela finds herself boxed in by her hostile, controlling husband, she resorts to desperate measures to break free...

The show was really well-done and HUGE kudos go to the entire assembly, including director Cheryl Snodgrass (in her directorial debut with Handbag). Cheryl was previously seen as Mrs. Bundy, the ornithologist in "The Birds" last fall and as Bigger Lorraine Delvecchio in "Caged Dames" in 2006. As a director, she really knows her stuff--she's flexible, but she pushes the actors to give their best and she choreographed the movements (both humans and set pieces!) down to a T. The set looks wonderful and sound and light cues were perfect, all thanks to Cheryl, company member and assistant stage manager Peter Mavrik and stage manager Brian Guerrero, who performed the same duty for "Rudolph 2007" (and became known as The Only Person Who Kept Us All Sane).

The opening slide show depicts Angela's rise and fall, and the pictures were priceless. The song playing underneath is an original written by David and Jon Steinhagen especially for this show called "This Time It's For Me." Our own lovely Jennifer Joans (Connelly) provided the vocals and it seems like a more appropriate song than the anachronistic "Why Not Me?" that played underneath the movie (I liked the tune, but the bongos and rim shots sounded more 1970s than 1950s).

The preview audiences have been terrific--we had a surprisingly big house on Thursday, and I understand that they had the same over the weekend. Opening night was selling out already. (Official opening is tonight.) Get them tickets now!

Those of you who've seen the movie will get a few surprises in the play, too...

Yesterday, I went back to Bailiwick to catch fellow Handbaguette Adrienne Smith in the closing performance of "A Man of No Importance," about a Dublin bus conductor named Alfie who directs an amateur theatre troupe by evening. Alfie makes some difficult self-discoveries and has trying times, but the show ultimately leaves us with a "life-affirming message" (that phrase always makes me laugh--what's the alternative? One telling us go home and swallow pills?).

The performances were marvelous and the music was superb. I'm really glad I got a chance to see this one. I was a soggy mess at the end, and I could hear other heaving sobs in the darkened house (thank God I didn't do that! I just sniffled a lot). I was sitting next to Cheryl and fellow Handbaguette Trish Austin (we'd all come to see Adrienne) and we were all post-nasal drips at the end! What an emotional journey...this deserves all the accolades it gets!

In other news, I talked to my Mom on Saturday, and was relieved that she was up (I'd tried to call on Thursday and the nurse said her headache was bothering her and she was staying in bed). Mom's voice sounded fine, but she sounded surprised that I'd called--and I mean "taken aback" surprised, not "how lovely to hear from you!" surprised, like she used to be (I think her mind is seriously deteriorating at this point--it's hard to watch). She asked when I was coming down again and I told her I'd be there in two weeks. So at least she still remembers I live in Chicago and that I come visit! That's something anyway...

Hope everyone has a great week! Later, taters...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Advice Is Now a Habit - April 18, 2008 Edition

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating "Louis" for six months. Things are going great. I know he is my soul mate, and I need look no further. He's intelligent, artistic, appreciative, caring, and we have the same political and spiritual philosophy. We are both optimistic about a wonderful future together.

There is just one problem. Louis is emotionally constipated. He has trouble saying, "I love you." We discussed it, and he told me his last girlfriend -- his only other serious relationship -- just said, "Oh," when he told her he loved her. So now he's afraid of voicing the sentiment. Also, I heard his mother tell him she loved him, and Louis didn't respond to her.

He has asked me to move in with him for the summer while we're on college break. He says I'm an inspiration, and he's never been happier. He says our relationship is like an oak tree, solid and forever growing stronger. His aunt has also "casually" mentioned that she has Louis' grandmother's wedding ring if he wants it anytime soon.

Should I tell Louis I love him and risk scaring him off? I couldn't stand for him to say "Oh" to me. What's your advice?



If I hear the term “soul mate” one more time, I’m going to puke. All over you, probably. I suspect lots of other people feel the same way, so if you’re going to continue to bash that term over the head when you’re out in society, you’d better find a good dry cleaner. Only women use that term, and you wanna know why? Because men don’t have souls. It’s true—we can’t see ourselves in the mirror (that’s why our hair is always messed up). But that’s a discussion for another time…

Six months is not really that long, and it’s clearly not long enough to develop a relationship when both parties are emotionally retarded inexperienced. Obviously, you’re really young, or you’d know that this guy’s a fucking sap. He finds you to be an “inspiration?” For what—abstract sculpture? And pardon me, but that “afraid to say I love you” thing is a big cop-out. “Oh my last girlfriend emotionally scarred me when she didn’t say it back, boo-hoo-hoo!” “I’m all closed off now, boo-hoo-hoo!” “I’m sensitive and artistic, boo-hoo-hoo!” And he won’t even say it to his own mother? He sounds like a spoiled prick. Emotionally constipated, my ass! It's time for some "emotional roughage." Nature's broom, don'tcha know. But if I were you, I'd stand back when all the crap starts coming out. You won't like what you see.

But that’s beside the point, which is really that it’s too soon to expect anything resembling commitment at this point. You’re not likely to get much further than the “inspiration” line with this dude—things are great for him, so why should he stick his neck out of his comfort zone? Forget about this “soul mate” shit and stick with Coffee Mate instead. It’s more reliable.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: What do you do when your only daughter has her mother (a redneck) escort her down the aisle instead of her living father? The mother is the force behind this.

As a young couple, the two divorced early. My brother went his way, and she did also. Over the years, he supported the child monetarily and not as much physically.

Her mother's side is more controlling. As aunt and uncles, we all sent gifts, but all went unrecognized. We have excused this with lack of manners from parents.
Should we lower ourselves as rednecks and take care of them in a restroom? Or pretend their actions are a slap in the face to our family, especially my brother, who did the best that he could as a young dad and adult? It leaves me to believe that they are vindictive and money grubbers.

Please help me understand their ignorance. Your comments and suggestions are important and much needed.


WTF?? What's the alternative to “a living father?” A dead one? Must be a barrel of laughs in your house.

I don’t know where you draw your characterizations from, or what you think qualifies this girl’s mother as a “redneck,” but by making these disdainful remarks about her family, you’re saying a whole lot more about yourself than you are about them. It might behoove you to realize that your niece is half "redneck," too. How nice that your brother financially cared for his daughter while she was growing up, but that’s what those in the legal world call “the least he could do” if one of his little sunbeams made it through the F-stop.

You implied yourself that he didn’t have much to do with her emotionally, and here’s a clue for you: weddings are emotional times for young ladies. Otherwise they wouldn’t turn into such bitches during wedding season. It’s clear that she needs the emotional support of the person who’s been giving it to her all her life. Is it really her mother’s fault that she behaved like, well, you know, a mother? Would you rather she’d dropped her daughter off at a kennel?

And I'm not quite sure what you mean by "take care of them in a restroom." Are you offering to dispense hand towels? Lotion? Breath mints? God help us, what else is there? No, wait, don't tell me--I don't want to know.

Sorry that your gifts went unacknowledged—that does suck. But there ain’t much you can do about lack of manners except respond with lack of manners, and who really wins then? Nobody. Build a bridge and get over it.

DEAR AMY: I have been in a relationship for about three months. We are two mature adults who work full time and are very happy with each other.

My problem is that her ex-boyfriend still has keys to her condo. He stops by frequently to hang out, talk to her and play with the dog they got when they were together.

I've told her this makes me uncomfortable.

My girlfriend claims they broke up a year ago, but I've seen his shoes and a razor at her place. She says he'll stay over on occasion but sleeps on the couch. She said he pays part of the mortgage.

Now she has invited him to a destination wedding in the Caribbean next fall. She says they'll share a room but they're just friends.

When I asked to spend the night at her place, my girlfriend said I couldn't because her ex might come by — she said it would be mean because he is helping pay for the place.

She says she really likes me and wants to have a long-term relationship with me. I really like her and want the same thing. She told me to be patient about this.

— J


Did you know that you can work from home and make thousands of dollars a month? It’s true!! Write to me, give me your credit card number, and I’ll show you how!

Boy, do you need someone to bitch-slap you or what??! Does “J” stand for “Jackass?!”

Your problem is, and I hate to break this to you, that you’re dating a 12-year-old. A crafty, smart 12-year-old, to be sure, but clearly someone who isn’t prepared to stand on her own and move on with her life. Or else she just doesn’t want to. This condo is an excuse for her to hang on to this “ex” and “play with the dog” (and if I’ve ever heard a worse euphemism for whacking the donkey, I don’t want to remember it). He pays for half, so he can come and go as he pleases? Bullshit! That’s when she decides to either buy out his half, sell him her half, or both of them decide to sell the whole damn thing and part ways.

And I’ve heard of this “long-term relationship” she wants to have with you. It’s called “Sugar Daddy.” Stop dropping lumps in her tea.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Well, We Knew This Would Happen, Didn't We?

This is what happens when massive egos get in the way. (And I'm sorry, allegations of "sexism" aside, Hillary has been the meaner of the two. I don't care what anyone says.)

Oh, and that whole "bitter" controversy surrounding Obama? Bunch of bullshit. The man didn't say anything that wasn't absolutely true, and anybody who says he's "condescending" is clearly grasping at straws.

But I have news for all these "disaffected" Democrats who are starting to swing McCain's way: he's every bit as hawkish (if not more so) than Bush. Maybe even MORE dangerous because of his temper.

You really want that in the White House?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Toe In the Water...

I bought myself a new Flip video camera over the weekend. It turns out to have really good picture quality and sound quality for such a small device. One of my MySpace friends does a video blog with this and I was really impressed with the quality, so I decided to give it a whirl myself! So here's my first video blog ever...

The sound and video didn't synch up when I played in back on my home computer, but seems OK on other ones...

Check out this video: First Video Blog Ever!

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Scary Hairy

Yesterday, I drove downstate to visit Mom (I go every three Saturdays). She was happy and perky, although she no longer has any grasp on reality. In many ways, she's very childlike--she's happy to see EVERYONE and, as I've mentioned, she makes up stories all the time (I can't tell if she's just making them up, or if she really thinks these things have happened--my guess is a combination of the two).

Anyway, yesterday she happened to be getting her hair highlighted in the beauty shop down the hall. The girl that does her hair mixed up a batch of the highlighting stuff (it looks a lot like white pudding) and put the cap on Mom's head (she looked delightfully Mennonite for a few minutes) and pulled strands of hair through with the little hook dealie. She applied the solution and when she was finished, she had over half of it still left.

She turned to me, with mischief in her eyes. "You want yours done?"

I stared back, with misguided adventure in my eyes. "What the hell, why not?"

She didn't put the cap on me, but she did what she called "blocking"--just pulling tufts of hair into spikes and putting the solution on. She had us both sit there for about 20 minutes, then it was time to wash it out.

When I asked "Why not?" I shouldn't have made it a rhetorical question. THIS is why not:

Aaron New Hair

You can't really tell by the photo (I had to correct the levels because the flash washed it out), but I have not been this blond since I was about 16 years old and used to go to the public outdoor swimming pool in town every afternoon. And put Sun-In and Oxy Wash in my hair to lighten it. It looked good back then.

I'm afraid it may look a little goofy now. Don't get me wrong--Julie did a good job (that's the beauticians name and I remembered while I was there that she and I had gone to grade school together), and applied it just the way she should have. But on me, the color looks less "Troy Donahue" and more "Link Hogthrob." I haven't spent all that much time outside the last few months (go figure!), and my skin is as pasty as biscuit dough. Not to mention the grey hairs in my goatee.

I'm getting used to it, though...and I'll have plenty of time to do so. My hair grows about 1/2 inch every two months, so I'll have lots of time to get accustomed to it.

Tomorrow we'll see if I get any points and snickers on the bus. I'm bringing the sharp-ended umbrella just in case...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Another Song From the Jackhammer Show

Thanks to Richard Bluestein, who's posted another song from last Friday's show. This is "Cool," a song I wrote for Davy last keeps getting faster and faster! Eventually, we'll have performed it a day previously...

Advice Is Now a Habit - April 11, 2008

Here comes the choo-choo...


DEAR ELLIE: My boyfriend of over three years is completing his college degree and is unsure of his priorities; he's wondering whether he wants to be single and career-oriented. Though he says he can't imagine being married or having a family with anyone else, he feels that we need to part ways so that he can find out what he really wants.

We've talked and cried about our impending breakup. Yet I believe letting him take whatever time and space he needs to figure this out is the right thing. We've pledged to stay friends.

I'm aware that his soul-searching may involve dating other women. We've laid out some ground rules, and I'm prepared to deal with it, though not thrilled about it. It leaves me wondering how much influence he should have on any of my decisions about where to live and whether to date.
I worry that if I put my own life on hold while I wait for him, then I'm possibly missing out on other opportunities.



Oh boy, the “wild oats” syndrome. Boyfriend “just can’t imagine being married or having a family with anyone else,” but wants time to “figure out his direction.” Blah, blah, blah. Trust me, it’s not his “soul” that he’ll be searching. And when you say “we’ve cried and talked about it,” don’t you mean that you’ve cried and he’s looked at the floor sheepishly and just tried to plan a quick escape?

The truth is, he can’t imagine being married or having a family, period. He’s about to get this shiny new degree and is afraid that being tied to one partner will cramp his style as a ladies’ man. Because every young college guy wants to live like the beer commercials say. Well, fine: let him make his way on his own and be single and “career-oriented” as a fresh graduate with no experience. He’ll be glad he lives alone then, since ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese go further for one.

And forget about his approval during this penis-pumping soul-searching process. Do you think he’s going to call you for advice every time he stumbles home full of Coors and chicken wings on Friday night with some semi-conscious ho’? He’ll be too busy “living the life” to worry about what you’re doing. You’ll be glad he took a powder five years from now when he’s still single and has the clap.

DEAR ABBY: My 13-year-old twin daughters were very close, considered each other their "best friend" and got along beautifully sharing a room. Disagreements and arguments were rare and nearly always minor.

However, during the last few months, out of the blue, they have begun fighting and arguing frequently. They scream and yell at each other over the pettiest of things. Instead of being constant companions, they no longer want to do anything together.

Now they spend time separately with friends. They are even asking us to get a bigger house so they can have separate rooms. They refuse to share the bathroom in the morning -- which had never been a problem before -- claiming to need privacy from each other. This makes things very difficult during the morning rush because we also have a 15-year-old son who needs to get ready for school.

I am at my wit's end trying to deal with this. I have no idea what caused this sudden rift, and the girls don't seem to understand it either. Please help.


Hello?!! Two girls—twins, no less—have been putting up with each other constantly for the last 13 years, and you’re wondering why they don’t want to share a room and can’t get along NOW?!

You have a 15-year-old son, and you’ve never heard of “puberty?” A 15-year-old son who’s old enough to get a boner and probably even shave? With something sharp? And you have no clue as to what caused a “sudden rift” between two teenage girls with raging hormones who can’t co-exist in the same cramped room?! And you expect them to SHARE a BATHROOM?!!

I’m not surprised that you’re at your “wit’s end,” since “half” isn’t a very long way to go. Give these kids back—you’re too clueless to raise them.

DEAR ELLIE: My boyfriend of three years and I are planning to be married this year; he's my first relationship. His previous relationship ended badly, and he hasn't talked to his ex since.

Recently he said he's never had sex, but the two had fondled each other. The details he described sounded pretty much like sex to me. I know it's odd for us to discuss this three years later, but I had to know. Yet it's caused me to have serious breakdowns.

I can't stop thinking about what they did together and I cry for hours. I still want to marry him, but I'm afraid this'll keep coming up after we're married. I know he loves me, but it's not enough. He's given a part of himself to someone else and I can never have it. I'm angry, frustrated and upset, and I can't change anything.



So your boyfriend maybe had sex before you met. What’s it to ya?

You don’t own his past, Sunshine. That’s a place you can’t go. And you don’t have much right to expect him to be squeaky-clean (he has no right to expect that of you either, BTW). Life is dirty and relationships leave us the most sullied of all, for a variety of reasons, sex being the least of them. I’d worry less about his not being a virgin, and more about his possibly having a simmering, murderous resentment against women that will eventually manifest itself when he skins you to re-upholster a sofa.

Or is the real issue that you’re pissed because he may have had more fun than you did? Cheer up—maybe it sucked! (They are broken up, after all.) And look at it this way: would you really want to give the rest of your life to a guy who’s never been for a “test drive?”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A neighbor of mine recently delivered an "extra batch" of her fudge that she was making for a bake-off. I was disappointed to discover that the fudge she had made came with walnuts, almonds and peanuts, all of which I am allergic to.

Not wanting it to go to waste, I took it to work, where visitors to my cubicle were happy to help themselves.

When my neighbor saw me the next week, she asked how I enjoyed her fudge. I stated, "Unfortunately, I am allergic to the nuts that were in the fudge, but I'm sure it was spectacular."

She was absolutely horrified by my response and called me "rude and ungrateful."

I'm not quite sure what I did wrong. How could I have better handled this?



Next time, try this: “The fudge was delicious! Did you pack it yourself??”

But seriously, it sounds like you have a Clara Edwards on your hands. Remember Clara Edwards? She was Aunt Bee’s friend on “The Andy Griffith Show.” She was SOOOO proud of these pickles she made that won ribbons at the county fair. Pickles, pickles, pickles, that’s all she could talk about. Worship her fucking pickles or beware!

And she went on to be a Satan worshipper in “Rosemary’s Baby.” Take heed.

Some people do not want an honest opinion. They want unqualified praise. Silly old them for asking, I say! If you really wanted to be nice, you could say, “It was very good, although I had to pick around the nuts, because unfortunately I’m allergic.” (Hey, she doesn’t have to know you gave it away—and I bet she’s plenty familiar with nut-picking, too.)

Honestly, though, didn’t it occur to her that people might be allergic to nuts? The whole world is teeming with nut allergies now—it’s the new Bleeding Heart Cause du Jour. Every school in the country has parents lining up, bleating “I’m going to sue you because one of the parents sent peanut brittle—and my son was too stupid not to eat it!” “Step in and protect us, government! Ban the peanuts altogether so my kids don’t have to think!”

We’re all one giant San Francisco now. Where has she had her head buried?
If it’s the same place the fudge came from, be glad you didn’t take any.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Can't They Just Let Her Have Her Moment??!!!

Neil Patrick Harris, shut up.

I know that "How I Met Your Mother" is YOUR tour de force, the bench from which only YOU hold court. But finally, Britner Spears did something good and looked good doing it. But can you just let her have that? Nooooo, you have to sit there with your artistically-tousled hair and denigrate it because "they're getting guest stars for the wrong reason."

Um, what are your ratings like, Neil? What were they after she came on the show? Exactly. Zip it, Zelda.

I'm not a huge fan of Britney, either--I find her vapid, talentless, pre-fab and mass-produced. But finally she did something that was quasi-entertaining, even if it was brief. We should be ENCOURAGING this behavior, not belittling it. Stop with the sour grapes already. It makes you look like what you're destined to someday become:

A pissy old queen. (See "Elton John.")

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Stupid Republicans + Firearms = Party Time!

Well, this sounds barking mad to me, but then, I don't live there, so I suppose I mustn't complain.

Oh, fuck that--I'm gonna complain. Because this is a slippery, slippery slope, people--once one state has it, you know every other state's gonna slowly follow suit until we basically live in a vigilante state.

We're not talking about a place that's largely rural here. This is a state with a LOT of urban areas. How is it safe to carry a gun everywhere? And once they're allowed to CARRY the guns (in their cars--you know the cars they're supposed to be paying attention to the road, and NOT their guns, while they're driving?), how will the law be bent, distorted and manipulated until it allows people to shoot whomever they feel threatens them?

I'm sorry Charlton Heston kicked off and all, but this is a piss-poor tribute.

My favorite quote is from Sen. Durell Peaden (Republican--as if you had to ask!), who said that the new law secures citizens' rights under the Second Amendment, "the right to bear arms," and that our founding fathers would approve.

"That was what was dear to their hearts," he says.

Oh, really? From everything I've read, I thought drinking whiskey and having sex with their servants and not getting caught were more dear to their hearts. But I suppose the guns were nice, too.

So now Florida has the "Take Your Gun to Work" law. So how do they reconcile this with "Take Your Daughter To Work Day?" What happens when the two coincide? And the daughter is like Rhoda from "The Bad Seed?"

What THEN, hmmmmm???

You see? They don't think these things through properly...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Next Time, Take the Thousand Words...April 8, 2008 Edition

Here are a few backstage Joans photos from Friday night's Jackhammer show (courtesy of George Joans, except for the one of him--I took that):

Davy and Aaron Pout
If you run around with a sour-puss, you're bound to catch vinegar: Davy Joans and I perfect our "trout pouts" for the Collagen Injectors' Society of America.

Dashing Taylor Joans
All strung out: the dashing Taylor Joans practices his guitar with his teeny-tiny amp and headphones in the dressing room.

George Joans 040408
The right to bare arms: George Joans opts for a well-ventilated look in this photo. (He never DOES smile when I take his damn picture! Even when it's with his camera!)

Jen Joans Coffee
Jennifer Joans loves her coffee. It gives her the Serenity to Dream It and the Energy to Achieve It.

Carol Ann Red Bull
Carol Ann (Ed Joans) prefers Red Bull. She needs LOTS of energy after spending the day dress shopping!

Hope you're all having a swell day! And always ask yourself: What the hell did I ever do to deserve this?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Video: The Joans "Faye Dunaway" Live

We've posted a live version of this before, but this is brand new. Our friend Richard Bluestein was at Jackhammer last Friday night, and shot probably the best quality video ever taken of us live. This is from his website, Insane Films.

Check out the "Faye Dunaway" entry and select your viewing method (QuickTime, Windows Media Player, etc.) to watch.

What Started As a Fun Weekend Took An Ingmar Bergmann Kind of Twist...

This weekend, The Joans played the Flesh Hungry Dog Show, a monthly queer-themed rock showcase at Jackhammer in Rogers Park (NOT Edgewater, as the gay media insists because Rogers Park makes them too squeamish and isn't fashionable enough--yes, gay snobs are rife in Chi-town). We've played the show several times before, but this one was by far the best and most fun we've ever had playing it.

This was partly because of the other bands sharing the bill: Bric-A-Brac (featuring our friend Johnny C.), which boasts a sound "like listening to AM radio in your parents' basement in 1964," opened the bill and their sound lives up to its reputation. Very retro in a good way! Also, finishing out the bill was Jinx Titanic, a high-energy queer punk band that was playing their last live show in their current incarnation. The place was packed! I saw lots of friends, a few neighbors from my building who've been coming to the show each month, and a few old friends Chicago Gay Men's Chorus (which I sang with for eight years, up until three years ago).

I had driven to work Friday since I knew I was picking my drums up at Taylor's. Since we did our sound-check first, I was able to leave right afterwards and run home (six blocks away, which takes two minutes to drive) and take a shower and change into my performing clothes). I made a pot of coffee and smoked three cigarettes (hey, we all have our rituals) and headed back to Jackhammer. There was still lots of parking! AND I got a 9AM-6PM meter, so I didn't have to pay anymore! Life was good...

Taking the drums down and loading them in the car at 2AM was not so much fun. But I was able to get a decent night's sleep and take a nice walk Saturday (the weather was beautiful).


I had a sort of painful epiphany this weekend, too.

Saturday night I'd visited a friend and we watched "Relax...It's Just Sex," a gay-themed romantic comedy from 1998.

The movie had Mitchell Anderson from "Party of Five" (which was hot property back then so people knew who he was), Jennifer Tilly and Serena Scott-Thomas (Kristen's sister). The others were folks I hadn't really heard of and don't care if I do again.

It was one of those navel-gazing, meaning-of-love-and-friendship, tripey romantic thirty-something comedies that were really popular back in the mid-late 1990s, when "gay" was becoming chic and America was still prosperous. People had nothing important to worry about, so they worried about love and urban angst and being cutesy. Indeed, Mitchell Anderson as Vincy (yes, not even "Vince"--he's too cute for that, so he has to be "VincY") spends most of his time worrying about whether one of his revolving-door tricks is "the one," or if any of them are.

The catalyst is a dinner party at Tara's (Jennifer Tilly) house. Javi (Eddie Garcia) revealing to his friends that he's HIV-positive in a sort of "It's My Party" kind of atmosphere. Vincy has brought along his trick-du-jour, Buzz (T.C. Carson), who he provokes an angry discussion by claiming that HIV has nothing to do with AIDS and that the whole AIDS epidemic is a blanket stigma that society has used to blame and persecute gays (apparently, he's not a big reader of scientific text). But after the dinner party, he's seen hooking up with Javi as Vincy and Tara overhear.
(Well, at least the son-of-a-bitch is a man. That proves it.)

Javi has reservations, but Buzz assures him that there's nothing romantic between him and Vincy (maybe he should have told Vincy, ya think?), and ultimately Vincy gives them his blessing.

The whole thing just seemed so inconsequential and was treated in a cutesy, revolting way that gave me acid indigestion. Probably because there was not a SINGLE PERSON IN THIS MOVIE THAT I COULD RELATE TO. It takes place in L.A., so everyone's thin and beautiful, two things that I've never, ever been. (And I've never had any desire to even visit L.A.)

The movie had big aspirations to be a Woody-Allen-esque introspection festival, as evidenced by the annoying vocal jazz score than played underneath throughout.

Nothing happens and nothing happens, oh-Vincy's-in-despair, what's he going to do with his life? Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, a gay bashing: Vincy and Javi are set upon by a pack of yahoos in a beat-up Toyota in an alley immediately after leaving the other friends after an evening's hanging out. The two are beaten by the yahoos until Javi's screams bring the other friends running to assist, dispersing the bashers. Then, in a moment of blind rage, Vincy turns the tables on the lone remaining basher and commits an act of violence that shocks and horrifies his friends. This harkens back to an earlier revelation that he was once bashed in college and of course the authorities did nothing about it (reassuring to know some things never change).

So now he's good and angry, and his amorous ruminations have ended! DANH-DANH-DAAAANNNHH...

It was instant gravitas after a lengthy period of levity, and it sat in my mind like a heavy meal sits on an empty stomach: not well.

Through all this, though, there were two characters that I really DID like: Jennifer Tilly as Tara, a straight girl who holds the whole group together, and Lori Petty as Robin, a butch dyke who's in a new relationship with lipstick lesbian Sarina (Cinda Williams), who's newly dumped by bi-sexual Serena Scott-Thomas. Confusing? You bet. But I cared more about those two characters than any of the others, because they were the only ones who seemed to care about anyone besides themselves.

Jennifer Tilly really had acting chops in this one, which we see as she faces her own personal tragedy near the end. Of course, all the friends rally around her (it's the LEAST they could do, for fuck's sakes), and we are left with Vincy's narration (he IS the writer in the group, God help us) and the sense that life will go on.

It left me with weird mixed feelings. They were hard to identify at first, but then I recognized them: nostalgia and envy. As much as I rolled my eyes inwardly at these characters, there was a time, years ago, when I was first coming out (around the time I moved up here and of this movie, actually, which I never saw until Saturday) that I wanted to BE one of these people. I guess that's why I came here: I wanted to LIVE that hip urban lifestyle and have goofy Seinfeldian conversations and obsess about absolutely nothing at all.

First the nostalgia: it seemed like nothing happened during the 90s. I drifted along on a sense of powerlessness, waiting for something to happen, until I realized (too late, really) that I had to make it happen. And so I moved to a bigger city, still unattractive and pushing 30. Wow! Talk about your great ideas. By the way, some of us don't get any more attractive as we get older...did you know that? I didn't either, but boy I do now!

Then 9/11 happened, and the whole world changed. We will probably never have a period of life where we can feel peaceful and concentrate on love ever again. Any movie or play about such a thing will be retrospective and set in the past...

Then the envy: I missed out on that phase of life. I don't have a "group of friends" with a shared history that I can hang out with. I certainly don't have a bevy of beaus lining up outside my revolving door like Vincy (for obvious reasons), and I don't really do anything fun (except for The Joans). I work and I go home. And I watch the people around me on the train with a growing sense of disdain at their pettiness and rudeness, and a panic engulfs me as I realize our growing age gap and that these little shits are the ones who are poised to take over.

Can we just hang it up NOW??

When did I turn into my grandmother?? Fuck!

And I'll be 40 in June. Double-fuck. Triple-fuck. This is all happening way too fast. I keep getting this nagging feeling that life is nearly gone, and I barely got a slice...

Fuck, fuck, fuck...

(There! Now I should be at about 55% on the Cuss-o-Meter.) :-)

*Sigh* Ah well...tomorrow is another day closer to the Grim Reaper. Yeah--another day! :-)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Advice Is Now a Habit

It's that time of the week again...the time I read the advice columns and pick out their most complex (read: clueless) readers' problems, and answer them the only way they'd TRULY understand...

Ready? Let's go down the slide. Wheeeeeeee...!


DEAR ABBY: Help! I am engaged to a man with three kids -- a 7-year-old girl and 9-year-old twin boys -- and soon to become a stepmom. He has them about half the time.

The family all believe their biological mother is failing miserably, and I feel as though they view me as a suitable substitute. I like his children, but I have three of my own. One is grown; two are teenagers. I see the light at the end of the tunnel and do not want to start over again raising someone else's kids.

Can I marry this man and not have to raise his kids? Or is that what a stepmother does? I would be happy just being their friend.



Poor little you! “Can I marry this man and not have to raise his kids?” “Can’t we just lock ourselves in the bedroom and leave a jar of peanut butter outside for the little monsters?”

Do you want the short answer or the long answer? Well, you’re in luck, because they’re both the same: No.

I guess it can be confusing for second-time marriages when kids are involved, but this ground has been tread for years and years and years (Christ, the Brady Bunch was 40 years ago, and even they knew this shit). Where’s the mystery now? It’s common knowledge, Precious: if you marry a man/woman, his/her kids are part of the deal. Period. You said yourself that the family feels their biological mother is failing them. You don’t say WHY they feel this way, but they obviously need something that they’re not getting from her. If you’re married to Dad, you will therefore become Mom.

These are all young kids, too—they’re at a rambunctious, sly, and devious age, and they need firm parenting. As Dad’s partner, you will either become surrogate Mom, or end up like the poor substitute teacher whose drawer is full of frogs and whose chair is full of thumbtacks.

If you think it’s possible that your “mom quotient” is part of the deal your fiancé is putting together, and you’re not ready to pull that duty again, you’d better clear the air now.

Before three teenagers are in the bathroom stinking it up again…

DEAR ELLIE: My boyfriend is too attached to his older sister. Their parents died when they were teens, and she helped him a lot.

But I'm sick of visiting her place every other week. We have to eat early because of her young kids' schedules, help bathe them and read to them etc. I'd rather be out at a club having fun for our age group.



You don’t say what your “age group” is, but from your letter, I’d guess that you’re not old enough to be going to clubs anyway—although it’s possible that you’re just a really immature, snipy early 20-something. And if you’re any older than that, God help you—you’re way too old to be channeling Lindsay Lohan.

Here’s a cold slap of reality for you, Tawny: some people feel very strongly about their families. They actually even--*gasp*--LIKE them, and want to spend time with them, especially when they’re grateful for an emotional lifeline like the one your boyfriend got from his sister. This gratitude is especially strong when the event is not far removed, and it sounds like their teenage years, and the death of their parents, is not that long ago.

Is it really asking too much to visit her and spend time with her kids once every two weeks? If it is, do your guy a favor and break it off—give him the freedom to find a worthwhile partner who shares his love of family and isn’t a skank. And then, by all means, run, with your nipples to the wind, to the nearest nightclub. Throw your dress over your head and dance like there’s no tomorrow. Drink until you pass out. Face down. In the toilet.

But when you vomit, at least have the courtesy to hang your head OUT of the cab window. Taxi drivers don’t make nearly enough money to put up with that shit.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a very health-conscious person. When I was a child, I was obese and was picked on by my peers. But with hard work and determination, I have lost a lot of weight. The problem is, my family and friends, many of whom are overweight, don't pay attention to their health.

When we go to social gatherings, I eat light foods and order diet sodas right in front of them. I always feel this cold mist of jealousy around me. Is this good manners? Or should I just indulge myself with them for that night?

HUNGRY MORON (OK, I made that up—so what???!)


Are you expecting a pat on the back? Well, now that your arms are so goddamn skinny, you can reach around and do it yourself. Geez, could the fat-free chip on your shoulder be any bigger?

What makes you think that anyone gives a rat’s puckered behind what you eat? (Although I have a helluva suggestion for you.) Are you sure that you’re not projecting? That it’s not YOU who exudes a “cold mist” around your family and friends who “don’t pay attention to their health?” Sometimes the cheap seats allow the best view, but the mirror has a big-ass blind spot.

If I were you, I wouldn’t worry about it—you’re not likely to be troubled by too many social invitations. Your family and friends aren’t as dumb as you think.


That's all for this week! Hope it was good for you. I have to go take my anti-depressants now...see you next time!

And Lo, A Miracle Happens...

I came home from work last night to find my caller ID box flashing...

"But...but...that means I must have a DIAL TONE, and that the phone RINGS...!" I sputtered. With a trembling hand, I picked up the receiver, and yea, a dial tone issued forth!

I looked at the front of my modem to see if the "phone" light was lit up, and it was--as well as the "send" and "receive" lights, meaning that I possibly had Internet access, too.

I switched my computer on, and after the usual gurgly ritual of booting up, my Desktop Weather icon flashed up, meaning that I was online.

I did a little dance and accidentally stepped on the cat's tail.* But it's always good not to have to spend $49.95 for an unnecessary service call. I called Big Cable and cancelled it forthwith.

My usual bad luck did not prevail--you know, the kind where everything crashes immediately after I cancel the appointment? This was a good sign--if tomorrow night's Flesh Hungry Dog show is a rousing success, then I consider my good luck to be complete.**

*Aww, she had it comin'!

**I will, of course, want it to continue, however...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A Fun Friday Night!

FHD 3 Anniversary

I know where I'll be...

You won't wanna miss it! If you're in Chi-town, make a point of stopping by Jackhammer (6406 N. Clark Street at Devon) to catch the Flesh Hungry Dog Show's Third Anniversary show! Featuring Bric-a-Brac, The Joans and Jinx Titanic in their last show ever! Great music, fun raffles, AND signed copies of the new CD from Donita Sparks of L7 (that's "Camel Lips" to those of you who've seen "Serial Mom").

So come on out Friday!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

BONUS POST: I Fucking HATE April Fools Day

Here's a tip, douchebag*: when you send out fake e-mails or press releases announcing catastrophic information, just to rattle the cages of folks who've had enough and are ALREADY rattled, and you do so just to provide yourself with a few minutes' amusement, that doesn't make you funny.

It still makes you a douchebag.

If you want amusement so bad, renew your subscriptions to the various online porn sites that you've allowed to lapse, grab a roll of Bounty, and stay the hell out of sight for a few days. Got it?

Now go and wipe.

No, I'm not kidding.

** I won't embarrass the person (and I use the term LOOSELY) to whom this is really addressed, and they should be damned glad...however, I WILL get even.

Oh Lordy, yes...

Midnight Madness and All Systems Down...

Sunday started so nicely. It was productive, at least for the brief time I participated in it...we had a very good Joans rehearsal, and are rarin' to go for this Friday night at the Flesh Hungry Dog Anniversary show (show starts at 9:00, get your tickets in advance!).

I went home, made some din-din, straightened up the place a little and went to bed around 10:00. It was still fairly warm outside (probably in the mid-40s), and the radiator in my bedroom never does shut off all the way (it's a knob issue), so I had the window cracked and the fan going.

About 1:30 in the morning, I woke to the smell of something burning. I bolted up and searched the apartment, but there was nothing to be found--no smoke, no coffee pot left on (like last time), nothing. I figured it must have been a car going through the alley burning oil or something and went back to sleep.

Twenty minutes later, I woke up to the same smell, only this time it was stronger. Something definitely WAS burning--and it was close. I still couldn't see any smoke (it was hazy outside because of the humidity, so if there were any smoke, I wouldn't have known it under the orange lamps in the alley) but I smelled it and it was sickening. I looked at the building across the way and saw a flickering reflection in one of their stairwell windows.

Shit! Something WAS on fire and it was in my building, next to my apartment! But none of the smoke alarms was going off, and none of my neighbors (some of whom were still up) made any noises that indicated they were evacuating. Just then, I heard the sirens of an approaching fire engine and figured somebody must have called them. I heard water being pumped in the alley. I leaned further to look out my living room window, and saw them spraying inside a dumpster.

So that was it. Somehow a fire got started in one of the dumpsters, and since my bedroom is about 15 feet along the back wall, the smell drifted along and the fan blew it into my window. But not the smoke itself, which would have set MY smoke alarm off. The whole thing was over in about 15 minutes and the firemen were on their way. After they'd left, I tried to go back to sleep, but couldn't. I still smelled the gross debris from outside.

I decided to go surf the internet for a while and see if there was anything decent on iTunes. And the internet was down. Damnit, of all the times! Oh well, I thought, I'll just go back to sleep. I woke up a 6:00 with a miserable sore throat and nausea from the smell outside, plus I was groggy from so little sleep. It dawned on me that since I have the "bundled" services from my cable company (internet, phone, cable TV), my phone may not work either. Sure as hell, I lifted the receiver and heard no dial tone.


So I called into work with my cell phone, leaving that number as my contact number if they needed to reach me. I finally did get back to sleep for a few hours and when I woke up, I realized I'd better call Big Cable Company and ask what was up. The rep asked for my information (then made me repeat all of it when SHE got my phone number wrong), and said that they'd have to have a technician come to my apartment. Of course, no appointments were available yesterday (when I was actually HOME), so the earliest one was today between 2 and 5 (because they have to keep you hanging around waiting for hours--they can't give you even a one-hour window--they're just SO busy). The soonest I can get an appointment between 5 and 8 is on Thursday, so that's what I've ended up doing. At a cost of $49.95 to myself, naturally.

I wondered if the dumpster fire might have something to do with it, but I went outside to look, and the dumpster was nowhere near the cable boxes. So apparently it just went out on its own. So, until Thursday, I have no functioning internet or home phone. I'll have to check all my e-mail, etc., at work and use my cell phone at home (which doesn't have the greatest reception).

Anyway, I may not be able to post much, or read anyone else's blogs, until Thursday. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep up a little...

UPDATE: The cable TV did come back on its own last night, so that's one thing I have, at least. It's pixilated and cutting in and out a lot, but at least it's working. I wish the Internet and phone would come back on THEIR own too! But so far, no dice...