Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Joans Care...Really They Do!

I'm getting ready to head over to Jackhammer and start loading in my stuff to set up for our show tonight. I went shopping today and bought a few new goodies: a new bass drum pedal (with a metal platform and dual chain, for better response), a microphone (not cordless this time--I'm donating that thing to a Taco Bell drive-thru somewhere), microphone cord and stand and cord and a drum mat. I dropped a nice little chunk of change at Guitar Center, and also hopped next door to the Home Depot and bought a hand trunk to make it easier to carry stuff from now on...

I also bought a few new duds for the occasion--because I care. I care more than you'll ever, ever, EVER know about my public.

There. I'm finished channeling my inner Joan, and am ready to be a drummer again.

But speaking of caring, in honor of Joan's spirit of service and because it's Labor Day Weekend, here's a little clip of a long-ago Jerry Lewis Telethon (circa 1966) courtesy of my friend Marty, who posted it on his MySpace page:

I love how Joan jerks Christina's hand and pulls her toward the phones, barely giving her a chance to speak to Jerry at all. She must have known what was in store just over a decade later and decided to staunch the flow of stories!

Have a happy holiday everybody!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Paying It Forward and Other News

Dirk over at Too Disgusting To Contemplate, Too Compelling To Ignore listed me as one of his seven nominees for a blog award, and charged all of us nominees to come up with seven others. Some of the ones I wanted to nominate were already on his list, but since I have many more than seven I'd want to nominate, here are just a few of the ones I like the best:

Sarah at She's An American Girl

Stephen at Are You There Blog? It's Me Stephen

Johnny at A Hole In The Head

Alexandra at Stillettos and Sneakers

BC at Twenty Years and Counting

Michael at Side Effects Include WHAT Now?

Hell In a Handbag Productions Handblog

and of course, Dirk himself. But he's already been nominated, so somebody beat me to it!

Now, all you nominees have to nominate seven others! (But if you've already been nominated, you don't have to do that again.)


Apparently, John McCain has picked Karen Valentine as his VP running mate. Maybe she'll be his good luck charm. He's gonna need it.


Come and see The Joans tomorrow night at Jackhammer!!! Details below:

The Flesh Hungry Dog Show and Jackhammer Present

The Joans In Concert

OPEN BAR FROM 10-Midnight!

WHERE: Jackhammer, 6406 N. Clark St, Chicago, IL 60626

WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 30, 10pm till 1am

WHAT: Open bar 10pm-midnight, guest performances, and a special performance by THE JOANS at midnight.

COST: $20 at the door or online at Flesh Hungry

The Flesh Hungry Dog Show presents The Joans in a special benefit performance on Saturday, August 30, 2008. The Joans will travel to play at the 25th anniversary Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco, on September 27, 2008 and the Flesh Hungry Dog Show is helping to send them on their way. The evening features open bar from 10pm till midnight and a live concert performance by The Joans at midnight.

Admission will be at a variety of price levels including:

Trog - $20 includes open bar (well drinks and domestic beers)

The Faye Dunaway - $35 includes open bar and a Joans T-shirt

MGM VIP - $50 includes advance order on CD Joans (autographed) and a Joans T-shirt

Don't F*ck With Me Fellas! - $100 includes Mommy Dearest DVD, Joan's T-shirt, and autographed CD

Baby Jane Package - $200 includes Track on CD dedicated to person of your choice in liner notes on CD

Pepsi Special - $300 includes 20 minute acoustic Joans set at your private party.

Joan Wins Oscar - $700 includes 40 minute electric Joans set at your private party.

Hollywood Royalty - $3000 includes 2 40 minute sets on New Year's Eve at your private party.

It's a perfect way to celebrate the holiday weekend! Don't miss it! (And I even bought a new shirt and shoes just for you...)

Since You Asked -- August 29, 2008

DEAR AMY: I am the proud father of an exceptionally gifted 7-year-old. We are struggling with finding ways to keep her engaged in school because she is so far ahead of her peers.

Can you suggest ways to help her continue her growth and love of knowledge?

What worked for you?



Oh dear God, is there anything worse than a parental braggart?? Oh, that’s right, there is—a psychophant.

If she’s such a wunderkind, maybe the school could advance her a grade or two. Or maybe you could drain your bank account and send her to one of those ritzy-titzy private schools favored by those with more money than sense. But chances are, you’ve probably worshipped and fussed over her so much that she’s spoiled shitless, and your best option is to yank her out of school altogether and hire a private tutor for her at home.

It’s probably also the safest, since if she’s the insufferable know-it-all most “gifted” children are* (and if she takes after you), she’s likely to get her ass kicked at school.

*NOTE: This does not extend to children who are merely intelligent and thoughtful. Such children actually WORK, and are unlikely to be extolled with the “gifted” label, as are the children of privilege.

DEAR ABBY: My husband's best friend of 40 years, "Nick," started dating a woman about a month ago. Nick has been down on his luck personally and financially for several years. He called and asked if he could bring "Hattie" to our home for dinner. We agreed, hoping it would be a good relationship for him.

Within 15 minutes of meeting her, Hattie told me she was bipolar and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. She has two small children, but when I asked where they were, she changed the subject. Nick doesn't have kids, and he's nearly 50.

When Hattie asked me for something to drink, I offered her tea or soda. She took the soda, then said she preferred beer and wine, and did I have any. I poured her a glass, then she asked for a second and proceeded to drink 2 1/2 bottles of wine. Later, she told me she had a "headache" and asked if I had anything for pain. I offered Tylenol. No, she wanted something with a "kick." Needless to say, they didn't stay long after that because she was looking for prescription medication, and we had none.

My husband told Nick that Hattie was not the type of woman he needed. Nick shrugged off my husband's advice of not seeing her anymore. Personally, I don't want that woman at my house again. If Nick calls and wants to bring Hattie around again, how should we say no?



Granted, “Hattie” doesn’t sound like an ideal guest or girlfriend, but frankly, you sound like a chilly, unpleasant sourpuss. As if you weren’t looking for a reason to dislike the woman from the time she came in your door! My, what expectations you’d built up from a fucking dinner party!

Yes, she drank too much, but in your presence, I would too. Ditto on the prescription drugs—in fact, I would’ve brought my own. And here’s a lil’ tip: if you disapprove, why did you open two more bottles, braniac? Why didn’t you just say you’d run out?

Frankly, I feel sorry for replacement S.O.s when they get trotted to the homes of existing friends to be sized up and found wanting. I think they should be allowed to bring along two of their best friends to size you up. Shove a cork in that one, sugar-tush.

And I wouldn’t worry about not having her at your house anymore. I doubt she would want to return. And you and “Nick” can continue your clandestine affair behind your husband’s back.

DEAR ELLIE: My cultural obligation to my parents includes financial help, i.e. giving them enough money to go on vacations. My wife feels they ask too often, and greatly resents that we sometimes can't afford our own vacations and are living tightly, even though we both work. But I feel I have no choice.



I assume you’re living in America now (otherwise, your wife would share your cultural background and be aware of this so-called “obligation”). Living here means you get to do this neat thing: adopt new customs. Drop all your old shit at the Ellis Island door. It’s all part of living in a free(ish) country.

While it’s good for you to offer your parents support and help them any way you can, you are NOT obligated to pay for their grass skirts when they go swanning off to Hawaii. Support should extend to the necessities of living, but they should not extend to vacations. Vacations are luxuries, and if they want luxuries, they should pony up by themselves or do without, as you’ve had to. I’m going out on a limb here and guessing that they’ve never paid for a vacation for you. Have they? I thought not.

So there ya go. If I were you, I’d listen to the wife. She’ll be holding the rolling pin long after your parents have departed, and there’s no reason she should have to suffer perpetually because your parents are dangling convenient “cultural obligations” in front of you. And while you may “feel you have no choice,” you’ll soon find that she does, and she just might go to Reno and exercise it.

DEAR ABBY: For the past 25 years, my husband, "Don," has had his hair cut by a woman I'll call "Barber-Ella." She's slim, attractive and full of energy. Don has mentioned that she often pats him on the leg and kind of flirts with him.

We have been married 35 years, and I've never had a reason to mistrust him. Our life hasn't been a bed of roses. We have a 30-year-old disabled daughter who lives with us. I have rheumatoid arthritis, which causes me pain and saps my energy. The medication has made me gain weight in my belly and face, and I feel unattractive.

Barber-Ella seems to have a lot of influence on Don. She persuades him to buy certain products, and once talked him out of a medical procedure "because it went wrong for a friend." Recently he told me she has been telling him dirty jokes and using four-letter words in the telling. Don says, "She likes to see how red my ears get." Although she is married, I'm not convinced that's all she's up to.

I feel this woman's behavior is inappropriate. Does this have more to do with my own insecurities than with her? Why does she do this? Should I ask him to change stylists? Should I call her and ask when she'll be adding lap dances to her services?
I don't want to put Don on the defensive or make it seem like I don't trust him. Please give me your opinion because I'm losing perspective.



I’ve noticed that everything you’ve heard about “Barber-Ella” has come from “Don’s” mouth. If he had any sort of consideration for you at all, he wouldn’t be telling you how she pats his leg and tells him raunchy jokes. Obviously, it’s his sorry way of preening and implying to you that other women find him attractive (as if Barbie would have any use for him if he didn’t tip well).

So next time he comes home from getting his ears lowered, tell him you just got bonked by the mailman. Let’s see how he likes it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nobody Likes A Bully

Some people won't be cowed by ex-KGB agents with no discernible facial expressions.

It seems that the Asian countries have denied Russia support on its military actions in Georgia. The nations have jointly released a statement that urges "respect of every country's territorial integrity."

I completely agree. And I would remind China that that includes Taiwan.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Monday Morning Quarterbacks Are Still Just Digging For a Few Last Cheetohs in the Cushions...

The world of Armchair Punditry is all abuzz today with critiques of Hillary Clinton's convention speech. "Did she sell it?? How did she do?? What do you think??"

Guys--who gives a flying fuck?

Here's a lil' tip--she's not running for President anymore. That's right. The important issue is not how Hillary DID, it's how Barack is GOING TO DO. Her speech is only important in that it's a call for Democrats to unite: to pull together and win this thing in November. And any Democrat who's NOT a raging moron will back the party's choice instead of being a sore crybaby and cutting of ALL our noses to spite their OWN face by voting for, say, Ralph Nader or (even more apoplectically) John McCain.

In a related story, Rudolph Giuliani says that Hillary's speech only helps the GOP. "She never really answered the key question, is he ready to be president? Which she put out there, rather dramatically, in the primaries."

Really, Grandpa? That's all you brought? "She sang a different tune in the primaries?" Everyone knows that and it's old news. Is that the reason you and Mitt Romney crammed yourselves into a plane with Karl Rove, braving his flatulence and wasting all the expensive fuel to get to Denver? This is the product of your "war room??"


Giuliani also offered this query:

"Why isn't she the vice presidential candidate? Why isn't she the presidential candidate?"

Well, gee, Rudy, why aren't YOU the presidential candidate? Oh yes, that's right, because you got your ass whupped. Sorry. Our bad. We forgot--you're not in because you were voted out. You won't be selected as VP candidate either, because nobody likes you. And no Republican is going to drag a bleeding swimmer into an ocean full of sharks, especially when he's already gone rancid. Face it, Rudy--your family doesn't like you and America doesn't, either.

If it was Karl Rove's idea to drag this corpse along, then it's a sure sign of his serious slippage on strategic matters. And a sign of just how desperate the Repubs are to rally their troops on the "Just A Little More Fear For Old Times' Sake" ticket.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sometimes, Sports Analogies Really Prove How Annoying You Are

Jesse Jackson, Jr. says that Obama has to perform like Jackie Robinson and hit well and run all the bases, or something. He also dropped names like Pee Wee Reese and others that nobody gives a shit about anymore, thereby sounding like some senile old man who doesn't know what year it is.

He did say one thing worth noting: "Nobody wants an angry African-American in the White House."

And that's why his father didn't get elected.

Oh Snap. Yes, I went there...

(Of course, we put a pencil-necked elitist in back then instead, and look where it's gotten us...)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Since You Asked--August 22, 2008 Edition

DEAR ABBY: I'm afraid my best friend's daughter, "Kami," may have Munchausen syndrome. People with this condition consciously fake the symptoms of a physical disorder.

Kami is 30, a former nurse, and married with a toddler. She lives to be sick. She is always in the emergency room for something. Kami often claims she has cancer and is dying. In fact, she recently told me proudly that she had "died" twice. Ladies from her church clean her house and bring her meals because they think she's at death's door, yet Kami and her husband are planning a water-skiing and snorkeling vacation.

Kami's husband and parents are extremely protective of her and become defensive if anyone suggests that Kami may not really be physically ill. A sister-in-law who mentioned Munchausen is no longer spoken to.

The final straw for me came when she arrived late to a wedding, making the grand entrance in a wheelchair, and by the end of the night was on her feet swing dancing at the reception.

She's losing friends, because to be friends with Kami means you are completely invested in her illness. Most people are staying away. She exhausts us.

I care for this young woman and her family, but don't know how to help her. Have you any thoughts?


I’m guessing that before “Kami’s” kid came along, she was the belle of the ball and the apple of her husband’s eye and he worshipped her. Now that baby makes three, the child is naturally (or at least should be) the primary focus of attention. As crazy as it sounds, Princess Kami’s not ready to let go of the tiara yet, and this malingering is her way of getting people to cluck and fuss over her. Her parents are not doing her any favors by encouraging this, and I hope she ends up moving in with them.

I don’t think she's got Munchausen syndrome or any other “syndrome.” I think she’s probably just a fussy, whiny little hypochondriac who’s surrounded by enablers. Her friends need to stop bringing her soup and just bring her a pair of pliers to pull her thumb out of her ass. She’s got a kid of her own now, so it’s time to stop acting like one before Social Services pays her a little visit.

DEAR ABBY: I want to thank all the wonderful people who make biking to work possible. I am a mid-40s professional and never thought I could do this, but I am. My goal was to bike at least once a week to work -- 15 miles each way -- and I have been doing it since May and loving it!

Thank you to the drivers who respect bikers, the municipalities who planned for safe cycling, and the companies that provide showers and lockers. It has been so much fun.

I never thought I could do this because of work schedules, kids' activities and weather, but with a little thought it works. It's good, fun exercise. Help the environment, save energy and get fit, America!



Shut up, asshole.

DEAR ELLIE: My live-in girlfriend is a hot Latin beauty who's brought fun into my life after my divorce. But she maintains contact with her estranged husband and hasn't completed a separation agreement with him after three years apart. Lately she's been staying out late, even gone for a whole weekend, and not explained where she's been.



Getting suspicious, huh? Boy, there are no flies on you!

Considering that your little hotcake is still married and doesn’t show any signs of separating and divorcing after three years, I’d say your suspicions are well-founded and you’re pretty slow on the uptake. Let me guess—you’re also paying the rent, aren’t you?

I wonder how “estranged” this husband is…my guess is there are plenty of conjugal visits going on, and since they’re still legally wed (and not even formally separated), that makes you “the other man.” Are you willing to settle for that?

I think Senorita Thing is just having a little “fun,” too.

DEAR MARGO: I have been with my fiancé for almost a year and am deeply in love with him. We're planning a future together and talk about it often; however, I have a slight problem with his "religious beliefs." He was raised a Christian, yet we have sex on a regular basis.

I plan to move in with my sister and her fiancé to a two-bedroom apartment next month, and I asked my boyfriend to move in, as well. He declined, his reason being, "My religion does not believe in living in sin." He is OK with our sleeping together, though. I also believe that his parents would give him grief over our living together.

My problem is this: I was at first angry with his "buffet style" beliefs, but made peace with it and set a few rules for when I do move in with my sister and her fiance: He cannot spend more than one night a week at my apartment, and he cannot come over every single day to use the electricity and eat the food. If he wants to spend more time at my place, I will have him pay rent because it would be just like he is living there. Everyone says I'm being mean and trying to "punish" him for not moving in. Am I being harsh or just asking something reasonable of any ''squatter''?



Are you going into the hospitality field? Because it seems as if you’re looking for a hotel guest. If so, this might be great practice. I say it’s fine for you to charge him rent for the time he spends at your place, provided that you throw in maid service. (Thank heavens you’re letting him spend that one night a week without paying—otherwise, I might have thought there was a different business arrangement going on here!)

Whatever your ultimate goal is, I think you can drop “deeply in love” out of the equation, because if you really were, you wouldn’t even think of charging him rent for coming over to visit. Even your family thinks you’re being a bitch. Take the hint.

And eating the food?? Seriously?? C’mon—get a grip—how much trouble is it to cook five pork chops instead of four? Of course you’re punishing him for not wanting to move in together, but it’s likely to backfire if he finds another girl who will give him his pork chops for free. Besides, his “Christian beliefs” are obviously based on his parents’ wishes, not his own. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be doing the Horizontal Hip-Hop with you already.

If you want to punish someone, punish the parents—try organizing a parade of Hare Krishnas on their street, or arranging for all polyester garment-makers to go on strike, or putting all the garden gnome manufacturers in their area out of business. One of those should hit them where they live.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: The service people who come to my home—handymen, repairmen, food delivery, etc.—all seem to think I want to hear about their lives, their health and even their pets. I feel as though I am being held captive and paying for it as well.

I don't want to be rude because I need the services they were hired to do, but I think they are rude for using my time. I do not want to be their friend, and I am not interested in their lives. All I want is for them to provide the service they have been hired to do. Is there a polite way to get this message across without coming on too strong?



Coming from you, I doubt it. But consider this: as long as they’re working while they’re talking, and performing the “service they have been hired to do,” you have no cause for complaint. I understand that it may be uncomfortable to hear the life story of a relative stranger, but these people probably perform very monotonous work, and tend to view their individual customers as the only thing that makes one job distinguishable from another. Plus, they haven’t had the benefit of your superior training in social class divides, Lady Bellamy.

If you don’t want to converse, it’s not that big a deal—you can make a polite excuse about having to go check on something in another part of the house. No harm, no foul. You do know what “polite” is, don’t you? Can you bear to be pleasant to a mere plebe for even a few moments?? Heavens, I hope so. Otherwise, you’d better keep these avenues of conversation open. They’ll soon be the only ones you have.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Preserved Forever...For Posteriors--Er, I Mean, Posterity

Yesterday, Davy, Taylor and I went back into the recording studio to lay down some more vocal tracks for The Joans CD. It was the first time I'd gotten to hear the updated tracks for some of the songs, and I was really liking the way they sounded! Ryan (the engineer) said that they're not even mixed at all yet, so once that's done, they'll sound even better.

My biggest challenge was doing the Phil Spector-ish "wall of sound" vocals for the guitar solo on "The Girl Next Door." When we did the first demo at Taylor's house, it just consisted of singing three-part falsetto. It worked out fine. Then. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to pull it off yesterday! But in the end, it sounded decent enough, and I did hit the notes (don't ask me how).

We've now finished "Mad At The Dirt," "We Are The Joans," "Joan World" and "This Is Your Life." We're getting close on "Faye Dunaway," "Berserk," "Cool" "The Girl Next Door" and "Joan Crawford Goes To Hell." Just a few more vocals to add...

The keyboards sound really good--very late 70's/early 80's punk organ (think "Candy Slice," the Gilda Radner character's band on SNL, or "Switching to Glide.") I wasn't there when Ed and Taylor were working on those sessions, so it was a nice surprise. The guitar solos are great, too--Taylor's done some nice stuff!

I'm quite looking forward to hearing the completely finished product...because it usually sounds nothing like me. :-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rasslin' and Hasslin'

To me, this just sounds like foreplay. But then I'm kinky that way...

Monday, August 18, 2008

VIVA LA DIVA--the Hell In a Handbag Benefit TOMORROW!!

Get ready for the event of the summer! (Well, Indian Summer, anyway):

The Hell in a Handbag Benefit!!

Hell in a Handbag Productions presents a benefit that their fans have come to expect from us--a FUN benefit!

VIVA LA DIVA celebrates the old school Divas that we all aspire to be, or at least dress like.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 (Yes--tomorrow! There's still time!)
From 7:00PM to 9:30PM
Mary's Attic
5400 N. Clark Street (Andersonville)
Chicago, IL

Fun folks! Fun entertainment! Great food! Open bar! Great prize raffles with cool-ass prizes and an online silent auction! (Lots of cool shit there, too!)

Did we mention open bar??!

That's right--your admission is good for 2 hours of open bar and yummy delicacies from Hamburger Mary's kitchens. VIVA LA' DIVA will also showcase Handbag ensemble members and special celebrity guests as they perform scenes and songs from classic DIVA performances.

Scheduled performers include Smith & Grimm, Bethany Thomas and Dynasty divas Joan Collins* and Linda Evans* reading from their super secret diaries, and more TBA!

Joan and Linda

*At least, that's what they told us!

Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door.

Get your tickets in advance HERE!


If you don't come to the benefit, Suzanne Somers will get mad...and you wouldn't want her to get mad.

If you can't be there, you can still contribute, so that shows like The Birds, Posiedon! An Upside Down Adventure, and Caged Dames can continue to be produced!!

Send checks payable to Hell In A Handbag Productions to:

HIAH Productions
2034 W.
Farragut, #3
Chicago, IL 60625

Thanks! And Handbag thanks you for your support!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Since You Asked--August 15, 2008 Edition

DEAR ABBY: After I ordered at a fast-food establishment, the cashier informed me of the amount of the bill. I had the correct change and placed the money on the counter. She looked at me and told me it was rude to place the money on the counter instead of into her hands. She asked me if I had a problem with handing her the money.

I was offended. Since I have never worked in the fast-food industry, does placing payment on the counter send a negative message? What are your thoughts, Abby?



Perhaps you should remind the cashier that you’re free to take your rudeness to another establishment. As long as you paid fully for your meal, what the hell should she care?

Where I live, many fast-food places have bullet-proof glass windows in front of the cashier, with a metal drawer for customers to deposit payment, and from which to collect their change (kind of like a gas station). Placing the money directly in cashier’s hands isn’t even an option. Furthermore, it’s not her business to criticize you for being rude. She’s there to take orders, not give etiquette lessons. I can understand her umbrage if you squirted ketchup on her or hosed her down with Coke. But complaining about where you put the money is a little nitpicky. If she’s so offended by it, perhaps little Miss Emily Post, Jr. should switch professions.

DEAR CHERYL: I'm 28, never married. I had a rough childhood, and it affects my adult life. I was raised by a single mother with a sister two years older. My mother's idea of punishment was dressing me in girl's clothes and curlers and having me do the housework. My sister and her friends put makeup on me, did my nails and tied ribbons in my hair. I left for the Navy 10 days after high school and haven't seen either since.

Some of this has carried over. I don't wear women's clothes or makeup anymore, but I do enjoy having a woman comb and brush my hair and put it in curlers. I've had two steady girlfriends, and it took me a long time to tell them. The first woman didn't enjoy it but would do it once in a while.

It took me a year to tell Barb, the second woman. She said it wasn't a problem and really indulged me. She even gave me a perm and bought a shampoo chair at a garage sale. I can't tell you how many dinners I ate with a curly do, a barrette or ribbon in my hair.

Barb moved for a better job to another part of the country. But before she did, she gave one of my co-workers a picture of me with my hair in curlers. Why would she do that? I'm now wondering if I should ever tell anyone again or try to keep my fetish to myself.



Why would she do that, you ask? The words “cheap,” “disgusting” and “hosebag” spring to mind. There are other words, too, far less printable, near the top of the list (which I’d also use to describe your mother, your sister and her skanky friends).

But that’s the problem with break-ups: you’ve shared intimate details of your life with someone, and then the relationship ends, and with it, their loyalty to you. They then show their true character by spreading those details around.

People have all sorts of unusual fetishes and turn-ons, most of which, including yours, are completely harmless. However, the “unusual” part guarantees that anybody who hears about them will razz you mercilessly, because their own sex lives are extremely boring to non-existent, and their partners can’t stand to look at them unless the lights are off. So your story provides vicarious spice to their dull-ass lives.

As to your second question, I would say yes, it’s OK to keep it to yourself. It’s nobody’s business unless you’re really in a relationship. Chances are those who know you already know about it, thanks to Barb. Once the novelty of it wears off, they’ll forget about it. And the right woman will come along who will accept you and not use it against you.

As for Barb, no doubt she’s probably found a new boyfriend by now who’s given her a case of the crabs.

Hope she still has that shampoo chair (even if she has to sit in it upside down).

DEAR ELLIE: I'm getting married in mid-October and would like to invite my ex-boyfriend. He's had a girlfriend for the past few years, and she hates me because she believes that during the first early months they were together, I was trying to win him back. I was single then, so I was calling and wanting to see him more often.
There was also a time about a year into their relationship when I was drunk at a bar and apparently she saw me try to kiss him. We were supposed to stop communicating on a regular basis after that, but we remain in contact, which she knows.
When addressing the invitation to him, is it rude to put his name plus a guest, instead of putting her name on the invitation? They're not living together.



Are you a guest on Jerry Springer or something?? Why in the hell would you want to invite an ex-boyfriend to your wedding, unless you’re trying to stir up trouble and have it be on your very own “special day” so you can make the drama All About You? Or is this another example of the Bridezilla Nutzies?

You’ve conveniently glossed over the trashy behavior that led to the girlfriend’s suspicions in your horribly clumsy attempt to sound like some kind of innocent bystander. Nice try, gurlfrin’. Why were you calling him more often after you’d broken up? You may have been single—he was not. Of course you were trying to win him back. She has every reason to be suspicious, and so does your fiancé, if he isn’t already.

To answer your question, yes, it would be rude to invite him “plus a guest.” They’ve been together for long enough that they’re an established couple. If you invite him “plus a guest,” just who in the hell do you think that guest will be, dipshit?

I’m not surprised his girlfriend hates you. So do I, and I’ve never even met you. You have all the twisted values and ass-backward motivations that keep the residents of Wisteria Lane running to the doctor for antibiotics. If you’re serious about getting married, forget about the ex-boyfriend. I’m sure he’ll be happy to make it mutual.

DEAR AMY: My wife is addicted to playing "World of Warcraft." She plays it from the time she wakes up in the morning until she goes to bed at 2 or 3 in the morning for days on end, to the exclusion of practically anything else.

She met a friend online and had an affair with him.

He is one of their "guild" players, and they talk online every day.

She is totally unapologetic about playing 12 to 15 hours a day, and doesn't believe she is neglecting her family.

I am feeling sad and neglected as I pick up the slack around the house and try to explain things to our kids. My wife's attitude is that we can accept this or take a hike.

I don't mind her playing the game, per se. I'm not even asking for equal time, just some time.

The ironic thing is that she is an expert in the field of addiction.

I love this woman dearly. We have been married for almost 20 years, but the past six months have been hell. Forget counseling.

Anyone married to a top player knows that you can't even talk to players while they are playing. They don't respond when you try.

I am desperately trying to save my marriage but I am at a loss as to what to do.



I take it that this “expert in the field of addiction” isn’t seeing too many counseling clients or writing too many journal articles with the joystick in her hand. If she feels like throwing away all she’s worked for, the hell with it—it stops being your problem if she refuses help.

But your kids shouldn’t have to watch her downward spiral. So take her up on her suggestion that you “take a hike.” If she honestly spends over 20 hours a day on the computer and doesn’t think she’s neglecting her family, she’s probably too dim to notice you’ve gone. But first, remove the toilet and padlock the refrigerator door, and take the keys with you when you leave. Expect frantic calls within a day explaining her change of heart (and asking for a change of underwear).

I’d also bet that her little “gaming buddy” is probably three feet tall and has eczema under his facial hair. (There’s a reason these people hide behind computer games.)

DEAR MARGO: My husband and I have been married for five years. We have two beautiful daughters, ages 3 and 1. My problem is that my mother-in-law buys gifts for my oldest daughter and signs the card with the name of her deceased son (my daughter's uncle). I explained to her that I didn't think this was the correct thing to do, because how do you explain to a small child that a dead person is buying her gifts? She became quite angry and told me that this was an acceptable practice. Now I'm wondering if I should have kept quiet about it. What's your opinion?



Does your mother-in-law have a pet monkey that died recently? And a bald butler? Is her name Norma? Somehow, I’m sure I know her…

Anyway, about your question: ix-nay on the dead-guy gifts. It’s nice that your mom-in-law chooses to keep her son’s memory alive, but there are more appropriate ways of doing that. Like sitting down with the kids and going over old pictures. Kids eat that shit up!

The gift thing is too confusing. Kids like to be able to thank their benefactors personally, and it’s awfully hard to do once they’re gone. And telling your daughter she can thank him “at night in her prayers” (because I know that’s where this will be headed) is just a little too “The Waltons” for me. Tell MIL to sign her own name. Or you will.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Enthusiastic Supporter Hurts Cindy's Hand!

Cindy McCain had X-rays at a Michigan hospital and was treated for a minor sprain after an "enthusiastic supporter" shook her hand a little too vigorously. Poor creepy Cindy...

Apparently, Cindy's had previous surgeries for carpal tunnel syndrome, which is related to repetitive stress.

Me wonders what Cindy's been doing repetitively to hurt her hand. Here's a clue: John IS always smiling...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Classic Revised--With An Eastern Twist

Ladies and gentlemen, presenting "Singing In The Rain II".

(a/k/a "Sino Evil, Hear No Evil.")

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What a Charming Invitation

Charming Invite

But I hate it when they don't leave their phone number.

Monday, August 11, 2008


John McCain took the opportunity to play Camera Cowboy this weekend and warn Russia of "severe consequences" over the Georgia crisis.

OK, there are two problems with this:

First of all, he's not the President. We know he wants to be, but he isn't right now (and probably won't be, if there is a God--of course, I said the same thing when Bush was elected--twice--so maybe I can't use that as a benchmark anymore). As such, McCain doesn't get to decide foreign policy. President Bush does that, and Bush only attacks weak leaders who don't really pose a threat. Putin is a ruthless, glacial monster who openly mocked Bush behind his back after Bush famously declared seven years ago that "he had a good feeling about him." (We've since learned to disregard Bush's feelings--they're as poor as his reading skills.) Putin isn't afraid of the U.S.--he's a steely-eyed android who poisons his opponents. McCain's bullfrog-faced bluster isn't likely to cut ice with him.

Secondly, the whole McCain-military thing is wearing out its welcome, when you consider that the war he runs around crowing about was one that we sort of, you know, lost.

But he portrays himself as a tough guy because he spent time as a prisoner of war. No doubt he had a very hard time, but let's think about this for a minute. Now forgive me if I'm wrong here, but being captured by the enemy was not exactly a measure of success the last I heard. That he makes this a centerpiece of his whole campaign really speaks to the absolute vacuum of ideas in his head for how to run this country. That he makes fun of Obama's oratorical gifts is just another example of sour grapes.

Couple that with the fact that he got his success the second-oldest way in the world--marrying it--and it becomes harder to see what's so wonderful about him. All you have to do is look at Cindy--she looks emaciated and terrified standing next to him, and it's not hard to imagine her wearing a dog collar and eating out of a bowl on the floor while he spanks her ass. I don't want her as my First Lady. We already had Nancy Reagan, and that was one waif too many.

Call Obama what you want, mislabel him as a Muslim (if that's all you brought), make stupid puns about his name, say that the "hope" platform is empty (although nobody can deny that's what we're sorely lacking and may be our only salvation), but you can't deny that he earned his success by himself. From absolutely nothing. I don't care about his pastor (who I believe threw Obama under the bus with his comments, anyway, so it becomes irrelevant). I don't care about all these alleged ties with the radicals in Illinois. He's a black man in Chicago, dealing with the black communities' problems. You know what? Some people living in those communities and dealing with those problems are radical! Go figure. Guilt by association is a paltry measure of any person.

You want guilt by association? Try these names on for size: Tom DeLay. Tom Reynolds. Karl Rove. Dick Cheney. These sons-of-bitches are as soul-dead as the most corrupt Democrat you can pull up to devil Obama with. And Obama's just plain smarter. Clearly he was better educated than the hillbillies who've been running the show here for the last eight years, and I'll bet he drinks out of a glass instead of a brown jug. That gives him an automatic leg up.

And this whole "experience" thing? Please. How much has our previous leaders' "experience" helped us lately? They've used it to cheat us, involve us in pointless wars, and steal the bread right out of our mouths, while they play the terrorism-bogeyman card and try to pass their thievery off as necessary to protect us. If that's the kind of "experience" we've come to expect, then the bar has been sadly lowered.

The reason that Putin and the rest of the world view us as a bunch of idiots is that the country has been represented by idiots for so very long. One screwup after another, and we're left with an eight-year-old black eye that refuses to heal. Maybe if these world leaders got to deal with a savvy, diplomatic politician, they'd begin to see the side of us that's been missing for so long.

One thing's for sure: McCain's dirty jokes and "folksy" sense of humor won't fly on the diplomatic front. And neither will his pale, watery "tough guy" act.

How Out of it Am I?

This happened around the corner from me, and I knew nothing about it. Of course, I wasn't on Morse when it happened, although I did take the L home at about midnight Saturday night, and the station is next door to this theatre. I hope it wasn't too badly damaged--that place has been empty for so long, it would be nice to have something vibrant in that block. It needs something desperately (besides the take-out pizza place, that is).

Saturday, August 09, 2008

When Snakes in the Grass Are a Pain in the Ass...

Residents of Barbados are hoppin'-ass mad at U.S. scientist S. Blair Hedges, who recently "discovered" the world's tiniest snake--so small that it can curl up on the surface of a quarter--and named it leptotyphlops carlae, in honor of his wife, Carla.

Locals say that Hedges have no right to claim "discovery" of the snake, since it's always been well-known to locals, who call it the "thread snake." Hedges pointed out that most species scientist have "discovered" were already familiar to the local population and the term discovery is really for the purposes of genetic testing and documentation in scientific journals.

That was my first thought when I read the article--I mean, how many of these people are going to read scientific journals about reptiles? I can't think of a single animal on earth that's commonly referred to by its scientific name. People will still call it the "thread snake." It will make no difference in their lives. I can understand their territoriality, but seriously, I doubt that tourists the world over will flock to Barbados to see this thing. The local ecology will not be upset by "reptile pilgrims" clambering all over each other to see the thread snake. So chill out.

Anyway, if anybody has a right to be upset, shouldn't it be Carla Hedges? Who the hell wants a snake named after them??

My favorite line in the article was Hedges' quote near the end, when he accused the Barbadans of overreacting to the issue:

"Snakes are really apolitical."

Where has he been for the last eight years?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Since You Asked: August 8, 2008 Edition

DEAR ABBY: What is the word on men wearing baseball caps into a fairly nice restaurant and not taking them off? I think it is rude, and ruder still for them -- and women are guilty of this too -- to dress like they just finished mowing the lawn. How do you feel about this?



Frankly, I don’t care either way about it, and if you had a life, you wouldn’t either.

I personally wouldn’t dress sloppily to go to a nice restaurant, and I think people who do don’t have much self-respect. But I would hardly call it “rude.” "Rude” would be the man coming over and spitting in your dinner. As it stands, it’s pretty tacky, but not really any of your business. Mind your own beeswax and focus on the person you came with (assuming you could find anyone to put up with you) and admire each other’s pretty clothes. Ignore the people whose appearance offends you. I can assure you they’re doing the same to you.

DEAR MARGO: My husband of four years, "Ralph," served in the Air Force before we met. He received an injury to his leg and was deemed permanently unfit for combat. The first morning we spent in our new house, he put several pictures of another airman on our mantle and he never took them off. He won't tell me who the guy is, and he never tells me anything about his years in the Air Force. I can understand the PTSD and the fear of loud noises, but I can't handle the secrecy. I once tried to put up Christmas decorations on the mantle, and he became so angry he knocked me to the ground. I love this man and want to stay with him, but I keep feeling that the mystery man is more important to him than I am. What do I do?



Let me get this straight: he has pictures of another man on your shared mantle and won’t tell you who he is? Creepy. Especially since he’s chosen to keep them in the space that you share. Yes, that’s right—share. That means that the space is yours, too, and you’re entitled to know who it is. If this is someone from his past he doesn’t want brought up, why does he scatter his pictures all over the pace? To me, this sounds like his way of baiting and withdrawing. It’s a childish game and a sick power play.

My thoughts are that there are two possibilities: either this guy’s a big old closet case and having these pictures around is his way of rubbing your face in it and demonstrating his resentment without having the cojones to actually speak up; or the man in the photo is an Air Force buddy who was killed. Either way, he at least owes you the courtesy of a brief answer if you ask, since he practically shoved the pictures under your nose. Even if it’s just to say he’s a friend who was killed and he doesn’t want to talk about it again, at least then you’d know your boundaries.

But then there’s the whole issue of his knocking you down. So scratch all that stuff I just said—he’s a big freak. Divorce his ass and “accidentally” break the pictures on your way out the door. But first, kick him square in the balls. Hard. See how he likes it.

DEAR AMY: What is a tactful way of asking siblings for help in taking care of elderly parents?

My brother lives in Texas, my sister is in Nevada and my parents are in Wyoming. I live the closest to our folks, about 50 miles away.

I try to see my parents about once a week, which uses a tank of gas and a day of my time. I don't mind driving to visit them—we go special places together, and I try to make sure they are well.

I would at least like for my siblings to give me gas money because it takes a lot of money for fuel these days.

My siblings are way better off financially than I am; I live on Social Security.

I hinted to them once that because I live close to our parents my siblings "owe me big-time," but they didn't take the hint.



Of course they didn’t take the hint. People never do, especially when they know it’s being dropped to them and they don’t want it. Anyway, your hint about their “owing you big-time” is just annoying and nebulous. They don’t “owe you big-time” because you live closer. They “owe you big-time” because you’re taking care of your parents while they’re not around, so in essence, you’re doing the job of three people. So to answer your question about a tactful way of asking for help, try a new tactic:

“Excuse me, Rockefeller! I hate to bother you, but while you’re out there living the high life and shitting nickels, I’ve been schlepping back and forth every week to make sure your future inheritance isn’t lying on the floor turning blue, depriving you of another day’s compound interest. I’ve asked for help before, but you didn’t seem to get the message. Let me ask another way: you wanna kick in a little gas money to help me out here, or shall I sell their house and ship them out there to live with you?”

Always go for the double-choice question—never the open-ended essay. It leaves them too many options.

DEAR ELLIE: My father-in-law is a tough, stubborn man who talks to my wife like she's still a child -- barking orders, dismissing her ideas. She's depressed after every visit but still wants to see her mom.



Household accidents are alarmingly common among older folks. Why, he could fall off a ladder while changing a light bulb, or slip on some urine in the bathroom and crack his head against the sink. The next time you visit, unscrew the light bulbs and pee on the floor. Then she can visit her mother in peace. They’ll probably even have a good laugh about Daddy Buttertoes.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

No Tears Here

Why am I not sad to read about this?

Oh, that's right--because he's a mean, pissy old queen.

Whew! I hate it when I forget things...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Daley In Beijing: Let's Hope He Stays

Boss Tweed Mayor Daley is now in Beijing studying the $7.7 billion subway system in his quest to find out what makes an Olympic city tick.

I especially liked how the article described him as being in "the bowels of the city." He must have felt right at home there. Apparently, he's being treated like a "rock star." Sadly, that rock star doesn't appear to be Jim Morrison or Jimi Hendrix.

A month's salary says he'll come back here and start demanding expensive upgrades to the CTA system, which will naturally fall on our taxpaying backs.

The upside to all this is that if we go through all this trouble and expense and put ourselves in the poorhouse, and Chicago doesn't get the Olympics, he and his mottled, purple face will get bundled out of town faster than Baby Doc Duvalier.

It's too bad they can't decide BEFORE we throw ourselves into hock.


So apparently, 47 percent of Americans say they're tired of hearing about Barack Obama.

Seriously?! For real?! I mean, truly??

Well, sorry folks, but this is an election year, and this a pretty important election. Since he's the presumptive Democratic nominee, you'll be seeing and hearing a lot more about him, so if you're tired, you'd better take a nap.

I suspect, however, that what they're really tired of hearing are the stupid fluff questions that gawky, awkward pop-culture whore reporters throw his way, like "what kind of underwear do you wear?" and "how do you like to unwind?" Authors of questions like these try to excuse their triviality by saying that the answers "give a lot more insight into the man than people realize," or some such bullshit, but that's all it is--bullshit. The answers to those dopey questions may provide those with vacant minds and prurient interest enough amusement to tide them over until the next episode of "Gossip Girl" or "America's Next Top Model," but it doesn't amount to a full and reasonable assessment of someone who might be the next leader of our country

I think if people were to hear reporters talk about the real issues, instead of dumb bullshit like "which barbecue sauce do you like best?" they might be more inclined to take an interest. After all, the answers to those questions are the ones that will really affect them.

They can choose their own underwear and barbecue sauce.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Joans at Schuba's TONIGHT!! "Eating Raoul" TOMORROW!!

A last-minute plug for our gig tonight at Schuba's (sorry, between recording and rehearsing, the time's gotten away from us!)...

Joans Schubas

And tomorrow night, Hell in a Handbag's Summer Camp continues with the opening of Eating Raoul! Come and see Smith and Grimm as Paul and Mary Bland--just a couple of nice, ordinary folks in Los Angeles who would kill (literally!) to finance their dream of opening a restaurant. Featuring a talented cast of singers and hoofers, including: Trish Austin, Edward Fraim, Rodrigo Ignacio Cruz (as Raoul), Bethany Thomas, Tim Reardon, Steve Kimbrough and Danni Smith.

As an added bonus, we have the cutest house band imaginable: Taylor Joans and myself on bass and drums, respectively, and music director Randy Fleer on keyboards.

Hilarious stuff! Just think you could spend every night this week hanging out with attractive folks and laughing! Like America's Top Model, without the meth!

Don't miss these two great shows!! You'll be glad you came!!

Oh Bitch, Please!

Kathy Hilton, a McCain donor, is upset about his new ad likening Obama's celebrity to that of people like her daughter and Britney Spears, saying it's frivolous and draws attention away from "serious issues like people losing their jobs and homes."

Like Kathy Hilton gives a shit about other people's problems. Get over it, toots. Frankly, if you're dumb enough to give him money, you deserve to be disappointed.



(/Paris impression)

Friday, August 01, 2008

Since You Asked - August 1, 2008 Edition

DEAR AMY: Last month I broke my ankle and had surgery. I live alone and am confined to a wheelchair six more weeks.

Recently a friend from another city called and said she wanted to come for a visit. Usually I try to make her visits similar to a "vacation at a resort." I virtually wait on her hand and foot, plan excursions and have plenty of food available.

I tried to dissuade a visit, indicating I could not be a hostess at this time.

She still insisted on coming, so I arranged for grocery/liquor deliveries, prepared the guest room, planned activities, etc.

The day she was due to arrive, I called, and she said that she had changed her plans and would not be driving through my city after all. She indicated that she should have called but "the time got away from her."

I was dumbfounded but didn't say so.

Now that I've had time to think about this, I feel hurt, angry and inconvenienced.

My first inclination is to end the friendship. This type of behavior on her part is more the norm than the exception. I'd like to handle this in a mature, adult way.



“The time got away from her?” That’s the lamest fucking thing I ever heard, especially when you had to call her—the very day she was supposed to arrive. If you hadn’t, what would have happened? Would she have even remembered where she was supposed to be while “time got away from her?” What a bitch. She should have called you as soon as her plans changed (which, frankly, they shouldn’t have, since she must have known how much trouble you went to and the least she could have done is come and visit if only to help you out a little).

My guess is that she was probably taking some sort of training class in your city for work or something (assuming she even has a job) and her company was too cheap to pay for a hotel room, so she decided to come freeload off you, and then the company decided to hold the class in a different city. I wonder if she has a patsy in every port.

You’re better off without this pile of asswipe, and I recommend you cross her off your Christmas card list.

DEAR ABBY: At 17, I learned I could never have children. I was devastated. I thought there would never be a "happily ever after" for me. I was wrong. I have been happily married to a wonderful man for four years. I was honest with him about my infertility, and it made no difference to him.

The problem is my father-in-law. Although my husband has two sisters, he is the only son of an only son, and his dad is always pushing the baby issue. He says things like, "If I could only have a grandson before I die," or, "When are you going to get busy and have me a baby?" When I remind him that he has a grandson, he says it doesn't matter. He wants one with HIS last name.

My husband thinks I should just tell his father the truth -- that I can't have children -- but I'm afraid his parents will hate me. It has been seven years since I learned I can't have children, and I still feel an emptiness inside. And just when I think I can't feel any worse, my father-in-law's comments make me feel broken and useless. I could use some advice.



Is this guy senile or just a douchebag? Either way, he has no tact and doesn’t sound very bright. So there’s no need to tell him the truth (and frankly, he doesn’t deserve to know). Next time, just tell him you’ll make a deal with him: say you’ll have a grandson after he dies. That way he’ll never live to be disappointed.

Oh, and by the way, your husband thinks you should tell his father that you can’t have children? Instead of telling him as a couple, which shows a united front?

Clearly the douchebag gene is a dominant one in that family. It’s a good thing he won’t pass it down.

BONUS QUESTION (or is that “BONER?”)

DEAR ABBY: Why do people write messages such as "Happy Birthday" to dead people in obituary columns in newspapers? I comprehend the idea of memoriams, but to wish someone who has died a happy birthday or anniversary seems ludicrous to me. Will you point this out to your readers and comment?



I’d rather point out to you that you’re an asshole. And also that it’s none of your goddamned business how people choose to remember an important date in the life of a lost loved one.

I’m sure people don’t expect this loved one to be sitting on a cloud, fingering through the obituaries to see who their new roommates are going to be in Heaven. It’s more a way of helping the living deal with their grief and showing friends and family that they still observe the date as an important one in their shared life, and that it’s OK to celebrate that day even though the loved one has departed.

OK, dickhead? Now, Happy Birthday or Anniversary.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have, for some years, been hiking a relatively secluded, wooded trail that hugs the side of a canyon where I can enjoy the peace, tranquillity and gentle sounds of nature.

Recently, the setting has been altered by a man who has chosen to practice bagpipes near the head of the trail. The acoustics of the land are such that sound carries for great distances, and even well into my walk I can still hear him.

As a devoted amateur musician and lover of most music, including bagpipes, and with sensitive hearing, I find myself dismayed that the aesthetics of this natural setting have been altered. I might add that the player does not seem to play songs, but rather tends to improvise. While this may not rival the intrusiveness of booming car stereo music that rattles one's windows, I still find it incompatible with this hitherto tranquil place.

Am I incorrect in questioning the player's judgment in choosing this venue, and, if not, is there a polite way of communicating with him?



Jesus, who are you, Evelyn Waugh? Where did you learn to write like that? “Hitherto?” “Aesthetics?” What the hell?

I hate to break it to you, Maria von Trapp, but the hills don’t only belong to you. Unless you have a deed on this land, he has as much right to be there as you do. If you don’t like the music, try walking sometime when he’s not playing.

Alternatively, you could buy a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. They’re a little pricey, but I’m sure you could nanny some children or clean some convents to pay for them.