Friday, November 30, 2007

To Your Own Special Island

As we descend deeper into the days of Darkness, let's leave November with this in mind...



Thursday, November 29, 2007

If You Were Here

Okay, this was supposed to be posted a couple of weeks ago--but, hey, it's good to have something in your back pocket.

Anyway, emails were aflame at that time amongst my female crew about which movie is better, Pretty in Pink or Sixteen Candles.

Now, PiP initially comes out on top because, well, Duckie. Duh. Not to mention, Andie (okay, also because of her name) works in a super-cool record store just like Cut Corner Records (, and wears perfectly mis-matched and utterly cool vintage or handmade clothes and hats.

But then the spectre of the ending looms: the fact that Andie goes stag to prom, then runs off with Blane (the proto-asshole rich guy name, and let's not talk about the fact that he was a floppy-haired wimp that, inexplicably, my friend Robin lurrrved) and leaves poor Duckie with tears running down onto his bolo tie. Let's just say there's a lot of people who'd snap up the version of PiP with the original, Andie-chooses-Duckie ending faster than Britney scrambling for a loose Cheeto under the sofa.

While Pretty in Pink, then, is as problematic as a Shakespeare Problem Play, Sixteen Candles is as uncomplicated and sentimentally entertaining as Barefoot in the Park. It features not just one, but two young Cusacks, was filmed in its actual location in north suburban Chicago (PiP was set in Chicago but filmed in LA), and was the most quotable movie until, well, 1985, when The Breakfast Club came out.

But this is not a contest between BC and SC; we were discussing the merits of the latter and Pretty in Pink, and Sixteen Candles, without a doubt, has a trump card.

And that card's the king of hearts: Jake Ryan.



Need I say more?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lord Knows I Can't Change

Did you know that Republican presidential candidate--likely the most Bible-lovin' of the bunch; he's a Baptist minister--Mike Huckabee is in a band? The former Arkansas governor (who, strangely, also hails from Bill Clinton's hometown of Hope, AR) plays bass in a classic-rock band called Capitol Offense. Oh, hell yeah.

Clinton and his smooth 90s sax can step aside because this is no cutesy campaign trick: Huckabee received his first guitar after the Beatles broke, and--shades of Bryan Adams--played it til his fingers bled (though it was the Christmas of ''66).

The Huck (surely someone has bestowed this diminutive on him by now) and his pals from his Little Rock administration rock the free world, drifting from hard rock to blues-pop to soul with covers of "Born to Be Wild," "Fortunate Son," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "Dock of the Bay," "Brown Eyed Girl," "Taking Care of Business," "Honky Tonk Woman," and, the track that spawned a million lighters held aloft (and rocked the house in Iowa), "Free Bird."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Now When I Die, Don't Think I'm A Nut

In honor of Steve Martin's new autobiography (and man, do I want to find a signing and get a copy autographed, I just realized), a bit from A Wild and Crazy Guy. Which I have on vinyl, somewhere. Time to visit the iMonster again...

Now let's repeat the non-conformists' oath:

I promise to be different!

(audience repeats)

I promise to be unique!

(audience repeats)

I promise not to repeat things other people say!

(audience laughs, repeats)

Good!

Monday, November 26, 2007

And When I Wave I Lose The Time I Save


Whew. It's been hard to keep up with this daily posting.

I mean, I'm not saying I've been back-dating them, or anything.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

On My Way To Where The Air Is Sweet

What exactly are the needs of "today's preschool child?"

I'm wondering because, with the release of a DVD set of the earliest Sesame Street episodes, ones that aired between 1969-1979--precisely the time I was hearing "Sunny Days" every day on the TV set as a child--comes accompanying the two volumes:

These early ‘Sesame Street’ episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.

Which I guess means "these Sesame Streets are only to be consumed by those over 30 while drinking beers, dredging jingles from the dark folds of memory (and realizing that Maria was hot and Mr. Hooper was not as old as he seemed to be back then), and not for intstructional use for Madison and Joshua, and Ethan and Emma.

I'm not a parent, but I perceive that moms and dads now must--no, are encouraged by some omniscient and omnipresent parental guiding forces, say, a hip but stringent Dr. Spock for the new millenium--gently ease their precious child, more unique and special than any snowflake, into each new phase of life.

As Virginia Heffernan pointed out in a recent New York Times column, the citizens of Sesame Street didn't claim to be Einstein, weren't really even our peers (even Bert and Ernie, with their own place and beds with the "B" and "E" on the headboards), and didn't have saccharine-sweetly high voices but were growly, grumbly, and beaky. And they certainly didn't help us to learn how to go to the bathroom.

Heffernan says:

People on “Sesame Street” had limited possibilities and fixed identities, and (the best part) you weren’t expected to change much. The harshness of existence was a given, and no one was proposing that numbers and letters would lead you “out” of your inner city to Elysian suburbs. Instead, “Sesame Street” suggested that learning might merely make our days more bearable, more interesting, funnier. It encouraged us, above all, to be nice to our neighbors and to cultivate the safer pleasures that take the edge off — taking baths, eating cookies, reading.


That's it: Sesame Street was an urban street. A decidedly urban street in the 1970s--which meant parity, not disparity, people of different colors, not white ones pushing two different-colored $1200 baby strollers, old edifaces and sometimes-dirty streets, not cinderblock statement homes and flowerbedded street corners.

And the "safer pleasures?" Now--not so safe. So maybe Cookie Monster should be called the "Fruit Monster?"

No...no. Then it might seem as if he's gay. And then we'd have to explain gay and homosexuality.

And Oscar? Why, he'd scare the shit out of kids today, wouldn't he?




Saturday, November 24, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Give A Little Bit

These were the items given to the studio audience (located this year in Macon, GA, where the Oprah Winfrey Show has consistently received its highest ratings) on the 2007 edition of Oprah's Favorite Things:

SAMSUNG PROGRESSIVE HD CAMCORDER SC-HMX10C $799.99

UGG® AUSTRALIA CLASSIC CROCHET TALL BOOT $120

TOYWATCH $150-$1500

PERFECT ENDINGS CUPCAKES FROM WILLIAMS-SONOMA $59 (set of 9)

MELAMINE BOWLS, MEASURING CUPS AND SPOONS FROM WILLIAMS-SONOMA Bowls $32; Measuring Cups and Spoons Set $18

THE ARTISAN® STAND MIXER FROM KITCHENAID HOME APPLIANCES $349.99

THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL'S PLANET EARTH DVD SET $59.95

KAI BODY BUTTER and BODY BUFFER $28; $55

CLARISONIC SKIN CARE SYSTEM $195

CLAUS PORTO SOAPS FROM LAFCO NEW YORK $42 set of 3

THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH BY KEN FOLLETT $24.95

BREVILLE IKON PANINI PRESS FROM WILLIAMS-SONOMA $99.95

HDTV REFRIGERATOR WITH WEATHER AND INFO CENTER FROM LG ELECTRONICS $3,799

CIAO BELLA BLOOD ORANGE SORBETTO $4.99/pint

RACHEL PALLY SWING TURTLENECK AND SAILOR PANTS $141; $194

SCRABBLE PREMIER EDITION FROM HASBRO $70

UNITED ARTISTS 90TH ANNIVERSARY PRESTIGE COLLECTION $869.98

SHAKLEE GET CLEAN™ STARTER KIT $89.60

O'S GUIDE TO LIFE $29.95

JOSH GROBAN'S NOEL CD $12.99

GRAND TOTAL: $7,105.33

...which would also purchase two semesters of tuition at a large state university (in-state tuition) like, say, the University of Wisconsin. Or send 50,000 lbs of food via Feed the Children to feed a family of four for, well, years.

Or it would buy 107 fresh Balsam Fir Christmas trees, or 130 smoked whole 11-12 lb turkeys ordered from Nueske's meats in Wittenberg, WI. That would be quite a holiday spread for a lot of folks.

Heck, that number of dollars could likely build--or at least start--a house for someone who really needs it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

How To Become Number One In A Hot Body Show

There once was a girl named Beverlee
Who had such a sweet singing voice, you see
In church choir she would
Want to sing "push it good"
But they would not let her be Salt-n-Pepa-ry


This limerick brought to you by special request from its saucy subject


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Want Something That Keep Me Easy

I don't know why, but Purple Drank has been on my mind for the past two weeks since I heard of it.

It's been reported that Britney Spears, among her other publicly-displayed vices and ill-advised undergarmentless- and child-driving adventures, enjoys chillin' with something called Purple Drank, basically a colorful mixture of the prescription cough syrup your mom would give you when you were eight and barking with the croup all night and Sprite (or diet Sprite in its calorie-conscious version), served, apparently, in a Styrofoam cup (you know, to keep it cold).

Specifically, it's codeine to chill ya shit out and promethazine to roll ya brain (and Sprite for fizz, I guess), favored by the hip-hop community out of the South, like in Atlanta, Houston, and New Orleans. Gin and juice it's not, immortalized in a song by Frayser Boy ("I got dat drank, that purple drank"), who note that it makes you "movin' leanin' slow seemin'." You also drink--er, drank?--it while you're "grippin grain," which was harder to look up but I think means grasping your faux wood-grain steering wheel and leaning to the right while you drive. Or drizive.

Purple Drank is known by variety of other monikers: Southern Lean, Purple Tonic, Texas Tea, Memphis Mud, and--my favorite--Sizzurp. As in "Sippin On Some Sizzurp" by Three 6 Mafia. You can perceive in the lyrics ("Sexy thang on my arm, cup of drank in my palm") hints of the artistic vision would bring them the Academy Award only six years later.

But I think the song's video sheds some light on what actually sipping Purple Drank is like.



It means you may look and/or feel like an animated, plaque covered tooth dancing on some "gums" and eating lots of sugar.

Oh, and it reminds me: I gotta call the dentist. I think I have a cavity.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Spider Pig! Spider Pig!

This actually not only provides insight into the WGA writers' strike, it's a reminder of what we're going to be missing the longer it persists.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Kiss On The Hand...

I had intended to post yesterday's intended post here--yesterday, when I was sidetracked by my ongoing ire with the urban consumerist avalanche, pounding even harder these days with the impending holidays.

And again, I am sidetracked. Today there were those over-your-head ads on the Red Line, the insistent kind that are repeated all. the. way. down. the. car. These provocations were from some national jeweler chain to (I'm assuming single men) to just DO IT and ASK HER each featuring the image of a jaw-droppingly ugly platinum-and-diamond ring the size of the a baby elephant.

It can only be JAR-ED!

Actually, I think it was these gentlemen.

Maybe it's my computer, but that guy sounds like the Men's Wearhouse dude. Hell, he SHOULD work for these guys. Double-hell, James and his Sons should just hook up with MW and start selling their fat-ass rings to the poor guys shaking in their Vans who are picking out a new suit because she is not gonna let him show up at this wedding next weekend in a shirt and dark blazer and pants he's still managed to fit into since the one semi-formal dance he went to in college, why the hell not just grab a ring? I got a big bonus coming and she's been dropping hints like a Miami Dolphins receiver (GOD they suck bad this year. 0 and 9?! De-STROYING my fantasy team.) and it's gotta be the one thing that'll make her happy because it seems like nothing ever seems to keep her happy, not even when I got tickets for Josh Rouse and she was all like, I meant Josh GROBAN, I made you watch him on Oprah when it plays before Jimmy Kimmel, so you should know.

And here I thought women were suffocating under societal pressure to create an Acceptable Identity Through Better Spending. I mean, check out the detailed guide to not just choosing a ring, but proposing.

If you don't know how to propose to the person you're proposing to, then maybe you oughta rethink the proposal, guy.

As for me, these things don't hold much appeal. And I am not surprised at all that the diamond ring ascended as the "symbol of ultimate devotion," given that its popularity was basically engineered by what's pretty much the Rupert Murdoch of diamonds, DeBeers, the cartel that controls the market.

So, I give you something that I find much, much better than a diamond called "Hearts on Fire," sifted by poor dusky youth in Africa, laboring under a global monopoly, cut and polished by the small hands of keen-eyed, dusky children India for another monopoly, designed by a different monopoly, and sold to you in a strip mall by some guy with an initial before his first name (or a first-name initial, or whatever) wearing Mens Wearhouse and talking about "inclusions":

A private freaking Caribbean island.









Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Murder By Numbers

"My silence has painted me as guilty."

At least he no longer has to endure his missing wife's PMS-induced "emotional roller coasters."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

That Ain't Workin', That's The Way You Do It

Okay. I've had it. This is the final straw.
When are we going to come up with an utterly frivolous, deliberately overpriced, indulgent-of-selfish-and-spendy-people service to offer to the status-greedy, Cosmo-sucking, investment banker-dating set who live east of Ashland and south of Irving Park (but north of Grand and west of Halsted--though east of Halsted is okay even though there's too many gay guys and old people, I mean they all smell and you don't see anyone cute when you're running at dusk in your newest fleece from Active Endeavors)?

I mean, Stacy doesn't even have to be there to train her own Puggle.

I want somma dat cash.

Must Be A Special Lady


This is the woman who has 4,000 Pakstani troops surrounding her home in Islamabad ensuring that her house arrest in this "sub-jail" will not be breached.
She must be quite a woman.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Felt The Healing Fingertips?

Whoa:

Using U2's soul-searching anthems in place of traditional hymns during the service, First Presbyterian Church intends to lure younger Christians back into the pews and invigorate the proceedings. Created by Sarah Dylan Breuer back in 2004 in Maryland, churches across the country picked up on the idea and it has become quite the fundraiser. First Presbyterian donates collections from the service to Cooperative Housing Foundation International, a fav of Bono's campaign to provide aid to Darfur. The church's own Revelation Band performs the hits "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "One."


That doesn't lure me. That Jesus-freaks me out.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Tin Soldiers And Nixon Coming

Students who staged an anti-war sit in at their suburban Chicago school have been reprimanded--too severely, in my and others' opinions--by Berwyn school district officials, who claim that their (by all accounts) peaceful demonstration exhibited "gross disobedience and mob activity." The students, who range from sky-high GPA achievers and varsity athletes to average students who participate in a range of school activities, could be expelled. Well, according to some parents and guardians, those middling students could be. The AP-credit darlings seem to be threatened with lesser punishments.

All of these kids should be praised. They should be poised as examples of opinion in action for other kids who are caught up--rightly so--in their own lives full of football, or senioritis, or friends, or World of Warcraft, or TRL Live, or whatever is highly important to teens across the motivation spectrum.

I've been reading about the Seventies this week, some of the text specifically about the incident at Kent State in 1970.

Can you imagine that happening now? We do have an ill-advised, secretively and ineptly executed, and plain old drug-out (as they'd say in Kentucky) war going on. My friend's brother-in-law is returning to Iraq in a few weeks--just before Christmas, of course--for a SIXTEENTH-MONTH tour. In addition to the time that took him away from his family for two other Christmases.

Who's standing up and saying something about?

And why are those who are getting the a less-pointed but still obvious sort of ire that led to Vice President Spiro Agnew to pontificate and condemn the "psychotic and criminal" elements that led to Kent State?

And where's our CSNY to remind us?

Well, I guess there's still Young. But while he's playing to smug and deep-pocketed audiences who can shell out $159.50 (plus fees) to see him play, is he saying the kind of thing that Graham Nash did after the release of "Ohio?"
"Four young men and women had their lives taken from them while lawfully protesting this outrageous government action. We are going back to keep awareness alive in the minds of all students, not only in America, but worldwide…to be vigilant and ready to stand and be counted… and to make sure that the powers of the politicians do not take precedent over the right of lawful protest."

There were some contemporary kids listening, guys.

Look where it's gotten them.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

C'Mon Get Happy

I saw a commercial tonight for a feminine hygiene product, and all I can say about it is that a feminine hygiene was, like, riding a mechanical bull.

I thought the interweb would produce an explanation for this (besides that my bottle of white wine must be older than I thought), but no, I only found this.

Sound effects are um...detailed?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Now I'll Never Dance With Another

I'm trying to post blogs during this month of writing daily (I'm only--sigh--on the SEVENTH?) when I feel compelled to say something, or soon thereafter.

So, when The Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There" began to play on the internet radio station I've favored for the past couple of days--one that I haven't needed to switch too often when something unendurable comes on like Avril Lavigne or Third Eye Blind--I immediately clicked open a new IE window and waited for a wiki on the song to load up. Before I could finish the entry, from which I learned that Lennon scoffed at McCartney's original nugget of a lyric ("'She was just seventeen,' and then: 'Beauty queen'”) and that Please Please Me was almost recorded live at the Cavern in Liverpool, the radio station made a logical but highly egregious follow-up.

Paradise Tunes, classic rock available through Itunes is not to be confused with Radio Paradise, which I got sick of after one too many afternoons of Snow Patrol followed by Air. I mean, zzzzzzzzzzz. A girl needs some classic rawk and soul to get to the bottom of a spreadsheet in the afternoon.

Paradise Tunes played--Jebus on a raft--"Ebony and Ivory" after the 1963 b-side to "Please Please Me."

And there's nothing I learned from Wikipedia that made me enjoy a single note of E&A. Nuthin. Not even Stevie. I attribute this mess to the part of Paul's brain that also made him think marrying Heather Mills was a good idea.

But I did learn that the song is favored by people who write karaoke duet scenes for their television characters.

EDITED TO ADD: Paradise Tunes has redeemed itself by playing Stevie Wonder's "Ordinary Pain" at 5:05 pm. Any entity that publicly plays any portion of Songs in the Key of Life (especially when not using a radio edit but the break-it-down part 2 of this song) is forever off my shit list.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

We Can Still Come True

Today I received an email forward (is that what you call those things? Forwarded email? Chain email?) for the second time. It was the one with the pages from the 1977 JC Penney's catalogue that someone posted on their blog (and someone tell me how one gets one's blog to be read so much that excerpts are circumnavigating the cyber-globe).

Anyway, this time I read it more closely and noticed a reference to Seventies hottie (if you like blond and Lutheran--he was born David Solberg to a Lutheran minister, so I can say that) David Soul. He played Hutch on Starsky and Hutch and was a pop singer, scoring a number-one hit with "Don't Give Up On Us." So, not really the Justin Timberlake of the day but more like the, I don't know, Mandy Moore? Or that Hannah Montana girl?

Anyway, of course I had to go look me up some David Soul on the interweb. Before he was chasing bad guys by leaping from the roof of one building to another in a Sansabelt, David was a folk singer in the late 60s and early 70s, one who learned the form in Mexico while attending university there after he turned down an offer to play for the Chicago White Sox. I am not shitting you. I mean, duh, draft-dodge much, David?
His first big break came when he reinvented himself as a singer known only as the Covered Man. Yes, he'd sing and play guitar in a mask, like on the Merv Griffin Show. Things dried up some when he removed it, not surprising given his eventual popularity in the UK, where a cell phone ring can top the charts.

If that bio isn't crushed-velvet 60s enough, the title of his eventual hit album, Playing to an Audience of One, is so 70s-sensitive-guy-pouring-you-wine-by-the-fire, I couldn't believe the track listing from his greatest hits album, Best of David Soul:


I'm ready to pledge myself to you, baby, right here on your Naugahyde sofa wearing my belted fair-isle cardigan sweater but after I corner some bad guys in my striped Torino, hug my buddy, and give some skin to Huggy Bear.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Can't You See Me Standing Here, I Got My Back Against The Record Machine

I don't really understand how the whole NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) thing works yet, but I am not making the daily posts on their site, but rather here, on my own bleepin blog.

Anyway, I guess Diamond Dave had an understandably hard time finding something to rhyme with "jukebox." Because if the song went, "I got my back against the jukebox," he would've had to sing,

"My heart's all caught up in locks"

"I ain't wearing tube socks"

"I sprang outta Fort Knox"

"We're the world's biggest cocks"

"Meet Petey, my pet ox"

"You're a hot silver fox"

"Been working down on the docks"

"Just ate a bagel with lox"

Just doesn't have the same clean, plaintive tone, eh?

I'm Only Human, Born To Make Mistakes


Oops. I powered down the desktop last night and forgot to post.

I mean, it was only going to be a lazy one, a photo.

So, for a post that's supposed to have passed, here's a photo from the past, one that reminds on this day of impending bluster that'll probably strip trees of their last leaves--summer was not that long ago.

Friday, November 02, 2007

You Know Baby It's the Fondue Man

I receive a weekday email update called "DailyCandy." It's basically direct-marketing of female-upscale-urban-Trixie life specific to your city (there's LA, Boston, NY, DC, Atlanta, etc. editions as well), delivered into your Inbox or Blackberry in the wee early-morning hours, long after its punny, private-college-pedigreed and probably stiletto-ed writers have put their cyber-missive to bed. They are to lifestyle writers as Snoopy, atop his doghouse typing "It was a dark and stormy night," is to novelists.

Today I learned from DailyCandy that you can hire a guy--I mean, a dude--to come to your house and make fondue for you and a guest. So as to, you know, impress said guest. For only a Ben Franklin and a half, he delivers himself to your kitchen and prepares melted cheese in a pot and serves it with torn pieces of baguette and and tiny pickles you can get at Trader Joes for $3.99 a jar.

He's called The Fondude.

Here's just a nugget (or bite, as it were) of DailyCandy's typical "wit:"
The tete-a-tete makes for a magical evening. And she considers
ordering the fromage รก trois for the next time around.

Cheesy but true.

At first I was thinking, Serial Killer, but then this is too chic and possibly gay to be.

Rather, it's another consumer-tunity for the Trixie/Wixie/Lixie (Logan Square Trixie--you know they're a-comin') to spend money on because her career and manis-pedis impinge on her cooking time...

Why not just cook your own fondue, since it's, um, melted cheese and bread? But cheap does not impress. Hiring a chef--that impresses.

As Kerri says:
Cheap? Not even. Especially after dropping $300 for hair cut and highlights, $30 Mystic tan, $75 mani/pedi, $85 microderm, $45 for polish lady to clean super cute apartment, $50 scented candles, $85 on La Perla bra & panties (found at Filenes...shhhh), $375 trapeze dress from super cute boutique on Armitage, borrowed Manolo's (two sizes to small but SCORE!), $4 plus tax for 2 bottles Charles Schwab (totally thought that Fondude came with fancy wine, but he doesnt, so had to speed walk to Trader Joes last minute for 2 buck Chuck and bring it home and pour it in a vase/carafe I bought at CB2), $20 on Plan B morning after pills, $45 firming/tightening/pulling/sparkling/scented body shimmer, $25 lip plumper (free
make over at the MAC counter).

But I do wonder: what would happen if you hired Fondude and dressed yourself up in your finest (or engaged in the preparation ritual Ker has described above), invited no guests and just...watched Fondude melt cheese in a Crate and Barrel pot? Just silently watched...?

Cheese encounters of a different rind.

DailyCandy should hire me.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Everybody Wants To Look The Other Way When Something Wicked This Way Comes

Alright. They have thrown down the gauntlet, and I'm picking it up, despite the fact my sinuses are on fire right now due to an old office building dust/forced-air heat/dry leaves/typical city pollution conflagration--oh, and that I have a thesis to write before May.

June. May. I mean--MARCH.

I loathe November. I love deadlines--well, not love, but deadlines make me make things happen (see above).

So, I'll bring it. I'll try to post to this blog every day. I mean, I have to have an opinion about something at least once a day, right?

And if not--hopefully posting photos is allowed.

I wish I'd taken a photo of this: I biked to work yesterday (and today--my intention until my body--or sinuses--cry "quit it!" as the temperature keeps dipping each morning), and just after I stopped at a red light at Wells/Division, another cyclist pulled up beside me. "Good morning!" he greeted me in a hollow voice. And it was hollow, because this dude was wearing a carved pumpkin. On his head. A real pumpkin. He confirmed he could indeed see through the gourd's nose holes. I rode behind him to Chicago Avenue, and man, he was poised for having no peripheral vision. The head bobbled a bit and he'd have to straighten it, but the looks on people's faces--especially those in that "I-don't-react-to-anything-strange" morning mode--were priceless.

And, for the first moment since I spied Halloween candy at Walgreen's in August, I was in the holiday spirit.