In contrast to my recent tone of hatred, I feel joy that Fritz Wilson has posted a comment to my blog, with a nickname none too obscure to anyone familiar with Victor Hugo's work. Attention and approval from Fritz is something that I've always craved. I even dress to impress him, even though he lives like a thousand miles away.
None of this is in a gay way you understand! We're just really good friends who went to an all boys high school together!
I'm also happy that Marc has updated for the first time in a while, with SAMURAI MONKEYS!!! Jesus!!! Why America ever deployed nuclear weapons against a fantastic country like Japan I'll never understand. What would be even better is if they came to life and went on a rampage!
However, if hatred is still your thing, my friend Laurie and her roommate Holly are doing good things with their patch of web ground.
The Obama front is absolutely crackling right now, he's on the cover of the New Republic and the New Yorker, with gushing stories on him inside both. Barack has also managed to garner loads of sympathetic coverage because of a wormy little man the Jack Ryan campaign hired to stalk him with a camcorder. The rationale is that this is fair game because they're trying to catch him in an "inconsistency". Good luck, losers, he's not bloody Kerry or anything. I really try not to be a rabid hater of the political enemy like a lot of people are, Ryan always seemed like a nice enough fella, an obstacle to be crushed of course but he had points for having the same name as a character Harrison Ford played twice but I've lately realized, he's just another tool. He's so desperate that he's hired some of the same GOP operatives who ran the campaign against Max Cleland, saying that the war hero who has one arm left from Vietnam is weak and unpatriotic because he thought Homeland Security employees should have health insurance! He has one arm! Ryan issues all kinds of hard right memos now, about how Barack is an out of touch tax and spend liberal who "wanted to leave Saddam in power". Unless Ryan is advocating an immediate invasion of Beijing, then he's in favor of keeping China Communist, a regime that's killed LOTS more people than anyone in Iraq would ever be capable of. That sums it all up: Jack Ryan, Communist.
I fucking hate Cubs fans. Not all Cubs fans mind you, as this is a category that includes probably the vast majority of my friends. But I hate the noxious swarm that descends into My City from the far suburban nether regions on every game day. Last night I was in downtown Chicago conducting some legitimate bidness, appearing in a staged reading of "Psycho Military Yoga Guy", a comedy sketch written by my ex-girlfriend Rebecca David, and also featuring fellow L3K alum Reina Hardy. It was a fun little piece but I was tired and a little sick, and once my L train home hit the Addison stop (where Wrigley Field is) my commute back to Evanston became about five times longer and less enjoyable than it had to be. Their loud, drunken idiot voices are still ringing in my ears. Everyone has something that sends them into a violent, irrational rage and I realize that ignorance of north side of Chicago public transportation is (one of) mine. As the Red Line approached Howard Street, the Chicago/Evanston border where the Evanston train would take me home and take them another leg on their journey back to their distant subdivisions, I heard people asking "Are we there yet?" "Is this where we change?" Fuck you! You slime, you're less than human! Rich, suburbanite parasite scum. Their ignorance and contempt for Chicago and Evanston, as mere necessary evils on the journey from the holes they live in to Wrigley, is what really gets me. As I finally, mercifully disembarked at my home L stop in Evanston, I noticed some of the dickwads were following me. I was very surprised that they were actually getting off at Dempster. But of course, they had a car in an adjacent parking lot. What a shock. On their way to the car they contemptuously talked about Howard Street smelling bad. They gave the impression of having been to Howard before, but only as a pitstop to Addison of course. What fucking balls those tourists have! They take up space on our public transportation system, then complain about our neighborhoods! Well, maybe Howard Street does have a rank odor, but it's our rank odor, so why don't you get into your little resource devouring machine and get yourselves the fuck back to Bannockburn or wherever the fuck you came from and leave Evanston in the state of serenity and peace to which it is accustomed...
While linking to this site from her own blog Twinters describes me rather dismissively as "a liberal in Chicago". Surely there is more to my identity than that. Oh, well as I explain below, I will happily become a conservative if enough reader tell me to become so.
Wow, just spent twenty hours in bed recently, that was really something. Goes a long way towards not being sick, I find. I always leave situations like this half hoping and half fearing that the world has undergone some sort of massive transformation in the intervening time, but as it turns out, no things are pretty much the way they were.
While watching the very good final episode of Angel the last night I was reminded again of how hilarious local news promos are, in Chicago anyway. "Hip-Hop is increasingly popular in the suburbs: Harmless trend, or dangerous influence?" Wow, that would have been some hard hitting investigative journalism in 1991. Oh wait, no it wouldn't have.
I noticed that today was the sixteenth anniversary of the Lori Dann shooting. A crazy woman walked into a grade school in Winnetka (one of the north suburbs near Evanston) and shot a bunch of kids, one fatally. This was long before the late 90's shootings and I guess had quite an effect on the national psyche, or at least the north suburban Chicago psyche. One of my best friends (whom I didn't know at the time) was at a neighboring Winnetka grade school and has occasionally referenced the craziness of the incident. Why do I bring it up? Because I bitterly remember it as my first brush with current events related censorship. My own grade school class was doing some kind of short play about a couple of outlaw cowboys who break into a frontier classroom and hold the kids hostage, and the kids, I don't know, outwit them or something. I was told by the teachers that the grownups decided to cancel the play because it would "make too many nightmares come back" (which come to think of it might make a good horror movie tagline) about the tragedy. I was only ten years old but I vividly remember stammering "But they're COWBOYS!"
I know the Abu Ghraib story has been pretty much mined to death in this 24 hour news cycle world but I've been meaning to post this link for a couple of weeks. It's a cartoon by my friend Paul Czarnowski. I went to high school with Paul. He was a couple of years older than me so we didn't know each other as well as I would have liked, in retrospect. But he introduced me to the Onion, ten years ago, when it was only available in print form. And he had beautiful rock hair. He doesn't have it anymore, but he's still beautiful.
It occurs to me that this cartoon, portraying the commander in chief in a negative light, might play into the accusation leveled at me by my friend Twinters. Twinters, who calls herself "Theresa", called me a "bleeding heart liberal" in the comments section a few days ago. She's Rockford Republican Royalty you see. (Good luck on your interview today by the way, darling) So it occurs to me, I think I only have three or four regular readers: Fritzie, Tuohy-Buoy, maybe John L's still out there? (I may not like Bush but I share his habit of assigning cute nicknames, John gets the short end) I always strive to please, so I'd like to ask my readers, would you like to see more liberal political content, or more conservative? Because like any ambitious writer I am completely willing to sell out and embrace any convictions my public demands. Please let me know!
My body is suddenly wracked by a desire for total blissful oblivion. Preferably on a comfortable mattress. It happens from time to time...
In my entry about the DNC fundraiser I forgot to mention my brief but direct encounter with Drew Barrymore, which I think you'll agree is pretty pivotal. I mean brief but direct encounters with Drew Barrymore are in woefully short supply in this world. So I edited the entry. Let's just pretend this never happened okay?
I've been italicized! I suppose this happens to the best of men.
It's warm in Evanston now. Warmth in Evanston makes me think back to my youth, to wonder and possibility and beauty. It being the Chicago area, it only lasts a couple of days, as arctic cold gives way to searing jungle heat damn near instantly. As Marc has pointed out over in the <I>Strange Place, young office workers are sometimes subject to the Early Summer Crazy, in which the urge to quit the job and go dancing in the streets in freedom becomes very hard to resist. Every minute I sit behind this desk I get a little weaker and Charlie gets a little stronger...
I've had so many things I've wanted to write here and so little time and energy to do it in. I've forgotten them. Let's see what I remember of the highlights of last weekend:
On Friday night, I attended a Democratic National Committee fundraiser for "Young Professionals". I'm not sure I really count as a young professional, I'm really more of a young bohemian. Put the monkey in a jacket and tie and he's still a monkey right? But I attended of course, because Barack was present. The event was theoretically in honor of Hillary Clinton. Hillary is one of the strangest figures to me, because she is so loved and so hated and I don't really come down on either side. The insane hatred of her on the right can pretty much be chalked up to naked misogyny but I guess she's equally beloved for the same reasons, because she's a smart, powerful woman, of which there would seem to be plenty in the world. She's not one of my heroes or villains, so why she inspires the passion she does eludes me. Anyway, Hillary and the other big pols got up to give brief speeches at the end of the night but what I loved was that they all basically opened for Barack. I mean, Hillary opened for Barack, not the other way around. That was awesome. And he went on to give pretty much his standard brilliant stump speech but he prefaced it with the slightly disingenuous comment "Hillary was just saying to me". I mean it was like Abraham Lincoln saying "You know, my friend Bob said the other day that a house divided against itself cannot stand and I really agree with him". What a class act, that Barack.
The other really notable person there was Drew Barrymore, who's making a documentary about politics or something. Drew didn't speak, my only encounter with her came when I saw her interviewing the DNC Chairman. There was a mini-crowd gathering her and basking in her celebrity glow. I had to get through the to the other side of the crowd so my shoulders wound up brushing up against her shoulders. I vowed never to wash these shoulders again. I've broken that vow, though.
After that I went to Miss Molly Fitzgibbon's birthday party, with many of my actor friends. And they all spent much of the night saying bad things about Republicans. Same script, decidedly different production values. I was the only monkey in a jacket and tie there.
To borrow a phrase from a friend I am tickled senseless and thrilled pink at all the media attention Tina Fey's been getting as one of America's true comedy icons because of her new movie Mean Girls. I saw the movie on its opening night out of extreme excitement and want to see it many more times. Sure the thematic territory is well trod but I don't think its ever been done with this combination of wit and heart, that only Tina could mix in this unique way. My love of Ms. Fey goes back to the late 90's when my friends and I were regular Second City patrons. Her genius as a writer/performer was evident then, though to me she was in the shadow of Rachel Dratch, who'd been there a couple of years longer and had earlier opportunities to win my heart. (The third member of the female triad, Jenna Jolovitz, was awesome and everything, but never a serious condender) Then, when she became Head Writer, and "Weekend Update" anchor for Saturday Night Live, she got famous and became a sex symbol. Her transcendent hotness, I admit, didn't come across as much onstage because she hadn't grown her hair out and was not yet wearing the Glasses. Anyway, I can't help but feel that nerdy, obnoxious, I saw the Pumpkins' first show at the Metro back in '88, sense of propriety with anyone who came out of that Second City crew. You couldn't possibly appreciate them the way I do you know. In fact if it hadn't been for me shouting out this one brilliant suggestion during their improv set I very much doubt they'd be where they are today. But now, I'm just delighted at all the magazines Tina's on the cover of. It's beautiful. And further confirmation that she and I need to end our days together on a remote tropical island.
The movie was also full of north suburban Chicagoland references! The largely teen audience I saw it with at the Evanston movie theater erupted every time of Evanston or Northwestern was mentioned. Old Orchard was portrayed as an indoor mall which is what they get for filming in Canada. I lost it in the scene where characters from "Marymount Academy", which was a blatant riff on my high school Loyola Academy come in. They're portrayed as total dorks, which I'm hardly in a position to dispute.
Tina's success is of course prelude to the Greatest of Them All, Scott Adsit, finally attaining superstardom. He's been laboring in relative obscurity for years but he's gonna be in a Spielberg/Hanks movie this summer, after the release of which, my religion holds that he will ascend to the right hand of the Father and rule Heaven and Earth, making us all laugh quite a bit in the process.
And rounding out the entry on Second City gods, this New Yorker article on Harold Ramis was very cool. Reading it made me want to get him and Bill Murray back together, which is how Beatles fans must have felt throughout the 1970's.