Wednesday, June 25, 2008


This week I've seen another magazine/newspaper/news show with a "30 Under 30," "40 Under 40," etc. feature, which heralds those professionals who are setting a standard of accomplishment in their lives, even though they are of the junior set. 

Good for them. Let's see where you are in another 20 years, hotshots.

While those who accomplish things before they reach 30 or 40 should get a nice pat on the back and a good meal, what about those who are over 30 or over 40? Shouldn't they have goals to shoot for after they've passed certain chronological benchmarks? Shouldn't they be recognized for making things happen and not resting on what they have or have not accomplished even though maybe they don't have anything more to prove? Or better yet, maybe there are folks in their 30s or 40s or beyond who may have messed up a thing or two in their youth and now are getting their acts together and  moving on up -- a decade or two delayed, but impressive nonetheless, no? 

Hey, anyone can ride a head of steam to blow past their peers when they are in their 20s and 30s, but for those who have taken a more indirect route, to at some point in their 30s or 40s to realize that they've got to right their ship and not merely settle for where they happen to be at the moment, well, they deserve some  recognition, as well.

Not that, um, I um, am like any sort of, er, late bloomer here myself ... (ahem). 

UPDATE: Oh crap, I just realized that one of my most favourite bloggers around, the youthful Stephen Rader, is involved with one of these such honors. So I'm including a disclaimer to clarify that I do not mean to criticize these sorts of awards or features or anyone who has accomplished something cool before they hit 30 or 40. But I think it's more of a challenge to make your mark after the world has kicked you around for a decade or more after you've been on your own. 

Maybe I should start an award for "20 or 30 over like 30 who kind of fucked things up a bit every so often in their 20s and 30s but are now not fucking things up as much or hope to be relatively fuck-up free by their mid-40s." The banquet dinner could be interesting, at the least.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Obama Pride

To anyone, especially the Hillary backers, who say she is the one who has talked about GLBT issues and concerns in this presidential campaign, whereas Barack Obama has not, well, here is your video proof of how wrong you are.

Now then, what are you waiting for? What are your excuses now? Get on the bandwagon already.

If Only They Had Cooler Phones...

I really wish sometimes that U.S. Cellular was my mobile phone service provider. There are many reasons for me to admire this company; namely, that they are a Chicago company, giving jobs to Chicagoans, they used to have some really funny commercials with the always entertaining Joan Cusack, they sponsor the Chicago White Sox, and now I learn this, via Andrew Sullivan, from NPR. The company has a no e-mail on Friday rule. 

That's right, a couple years ago, the company institute a ban on e-mails between employees on Fridays. The company says the move was made to get employees talking more and personally interacting more, thus leading to more innovation and collaboration at the workplace. Some people there balked at the idea at first, but some have made some astounding discoveries, such as people whom they had never met but had e-mailed regularly WORKED ON THE SAME FLOOR AS THEM! The move had an unintended consequence of people at the company actually talking to and getting to know fellow employees! Imagine that! 

Now if only the company had a better reputation for phone reception both in and outside of the Chicago metropolitan area and if only they did have cooler phones. I'm with T-Mobile partly because I love the Motorola [another Chicago company!] cell phones, but hey, in a couple/few years time, Motorola may be no more and all cell reception may basically be about the same quality, so we'll see. Now if they'd only bring back Joan.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

No More Words

Well, at least enough of these words. It's only June, but I'm compelled to issue a mid-year moratorium on the following words, as I am sick of hearing them. Most have been used in political settings, but I'm not tired of any of these particular words or phrases because of who has uttered them, I just can't stand to hear them anymore because with their repeated use and overuse, they have long ago worn out their welcome, and carry little weight any more. 

* Formidable
(as in "-- is a formidable opponent")

* Vet/Vetting/Vetted

* "Under the bus"

* Disenfranchised
(unless you're talking about losing your McDoanld's store)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Shelagh Take a Bow

As a devoted disciple of Morrissey, I have pored over album covers, lyrics, bits of biographical information about the man and his influences for years, so in the same way that someone who has always been a fan of a band but has never seen them tour and hardly expected them to would go mad when they hear that such a near-mythical group is going on the road, I jumped for joy last year when I saw the press release from the Shattered Globe Theatre, which said the group was putting on Shelagh Delaney's "A Taste of Honey" this spring. Last weekend my Stephen scored a pair of tickets at a nice price, and we made our way to the Victory Gardens Theatre, which is in the middle of the post-collegiate beer-soaked alley that is Lincoln Avenue just south of Halsted Street, near DePaul University, to see it before I had to go to work. 

Delaney started writing "Honey" in the late 1950s, when she was just 17. It's the story of a Manchester teen, Jo, and her mother, Helen, and the men who come into their lives. Helen likes to drink and she likes her men. Jo never knew her father, who was just a one-night (or afternoon) stand for Helen. They move around a lot, sometimes to get away from the men Helen gets involved with. The play takes place in the latest dank, dreary, smelly and noisy flat they've moved into. The flat is filled with tension and anger and shouting and not much happiness, whether the action involves Jo and Helen, Helen and her latest man friend, Jo and her boyfriend (who becomes the father of her child and who we never see after the night she becomes pregnant), Jo and her gay friend Geoffrey (who stays with Jo after her mother abandons her even though Jo is riding an emotional roller coaster), Helen and Geoffrey or the whole lot of them together at once.

But that's not to say it's an entirely joyless play. Delaney's writing (when seen on stage, since I had already read the play long ago) struck me as a tough, sharp and rapid-fire sort of Oscar Wilde. The banter between Jo and Helen is sometimes like something between two characters out of "His Girl Friday," so fast and funny it sometimes is. The two women, Helen Sadler as Jo and Linda Reiter as her mum, are amazing, especially when they are together on stage. Sadler is from England, but honestly, watching the two of them together, I could not tell which of the two was the English one, since their accents were both spot-on, as was their handling of the material.     

It's not difficult to see why a young Stephen Patrick Morrissey, growing up in Manchester, would have liked this play. He played tribute to the writer by making Shelagh Delaney a 'cover star' on some Smiths album and single covers, and some dialogue from the play has found its way into his music (Like when the sailor tells Jo, "I dreamt about you last night. Fell out of bed twice," or when Geoffrey says, "The dream is gone but the baby's still real.")

The play tackles head-on what life must have been like for a lot of people (or at least those around Delaney) in Manchester or any industrial city in the mid-20th century. It's honest, true, sometimes sad, sometimes funny. It was written at a time when such stories were just not put on the stage, when people who went to the theatre instead saw ladies and gentlemen trading witty barbs around a drawing room, and everything ended happily, more or less. There is no happy ending in "Honey." There's hardly even an "ending." Not every loose end is tied up, but hey, that's life, and its for the audience to draw their own conclusions about how things might have evolved for Jo, Helen, Jo's baby and the others. "A Taste of Honey" is scheduled to close the first week of July. Go see it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rock On, Johnny C.!

I've always thought John Cusack was super cool, and this ad for moveon only confirms what I've thought. So much for John McCain the "Maverick," the "Straight-Talker," the rogue Republican. He's really, when it comes down to putting your money where your mouth is, no different from George W. Bush, now is he?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Lacy Banks is No Man of God

A few months back I began to feel sorry for Sun-Times sportswriter Lacy J. Banks, in spite of the fact that according to all reports, he was a pretty crappy reporter and writer who owed his continued employment at the Bright One to the efforts of his union. That's because he disclosed that he had prostate cancer, a bad heart and at least one other serious potentially life-threatening ailment. He owed his continued survival to some great doctors and an unwavering faith in God. I admired his Job-like resolve in the face of these obstacles, until now.

Thanks to an alert via the brilliant Steve Rhodes's Beachwood Reporter, I found one of the Reverend's latest blog entries, in which he describes his sex life after prostate surgery. It wasn't enough, though, for the frequently demoted Banks to talk about the glory of getting it on in his condition, he had to use his blog post as a forum to condemn gays, lumping homosexuals with rapists, "fornicators," adults who have sex with children, adulterers and those who have incestuous sex. He says all of the above could find their way into heaven, if only they repent. 

It's sad that facing death so closely hasn't made the Rev. any more tolerant, nor has it helped his writing. It's infuriating that the Sun-Times would allow this hate to make it onto their virtual pages, and its hypocritical of a paper which called for the head of Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen's head when he called columnist Jay Marriotti a 'fag.' Where will the full-page columns calling for the firing of Lacy Banks be? Will he go sensitivity training like Guillen did? Or will he just get a pass, because his idiotic opinions may possibly generate hits on the Web site?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Twist and Shout!

Dave and Kristine are back and Thursday nights will not be the same! 

They are best known for hosting Chicago's Planet Earth 80s New Wave night over the past 15 years, but they also are into 1960's Soul, Northern Soul, Ska, British pop, Motown, 60s girl groups, etc., and they have a new gig where they will spin all this and more, starting this Thursday, June 5. Called Twist and Shout, the new night is happening at the World Famous Holiday Club, at Sheridan and Irving. Dave will be spinning, Kristine will be pouring, appropriately Mod images will be flickering, and there will be shuffling across the dancefloor. 

The Holiday Club, with its "Swinging 60s" Rat Pack decor, is the perfect venue for this night. Even better is that not only can do do the mashed potato, you can have a plate of mashed potatoes, with gravy, maybe alongside some turkey, at the Holiday Club, as well as cheese fries, nachos, massive burgers, pizzas, and food that far exceeds what you get at most bars. 

The recently departed Bo Diddley once sang, "Let the kids dance," and now on Thursdays, at the Holiday Club, they'll be able to do just that.

Quick Hits

So much to say, so little time to blog. But here are some quick questions, which may or may not be expanded upon at a later date.

• Hillary: What's Your Point?
• Hillary's Supporters: Why The Anger?
• Liberals Who Aren't Ready For Equal Marriage: If Not Now, Then When? And Why Not Now?
• The IRS: What the Fuck? You Call $367 a Stimulus? Where's The Rest Of It? 
• Hillary, Again: And When You Go, Take Ozzie Guillen With You.
• Avenue Q Playwrights and Actors: You Are Brilliant. You Have Transcended The Medium.
• People "Outraged" at Rev. Pfleger's Sermon: C'Mon, You Just Don't Want a Black President. 

All You Need Is Morrissey

His new video, for the song, "All You Need is Me," has just been released. Those of us who saw him in concert last year got to hear the song before it was released. It sounds much better now, and the video, in which actually acknowledges the camera, unlike many of his recent videos, is quite lovely, as well. I hope I can age as gracefully as he has.