Saturday, August 30, 2008

Midwestern Eavesdropping - 8/30/08

It's a bumper crop, probably because I waited three weeks. Anyway, enjoy.

Twentysomething female discusses speech pathologists' salaries: "Dude, they make at least three figures."
--in a car somewhere on I-65 between Indianapolis and Chicago
Eavesdropper: Holt

Scrawled on the guitar of Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello: "Arm the homeless."
--Chicago, Grant Park
Eavesdropper: GMYH (and 40,000-45,000 others)

Law clerk in break room: "The bottom part of the muffin is a complete waste. It's the worst part of my day."
--Chicago, Prudential Plaza

Eavesdropper: 1/2 Pint

Twentysomething female: "I had too many donkey punches."
--location unknown
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Screaming 2 year old girl being carried out of restaurant: "I don't wanna go outside."
Dad: "Then you shouldn't have thrown that knife at me."
--Glenview, IL, Hackney's
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Guy 1: "Am I the only one who thought Shannon Miller was hot?"
Guy 2: "Yes, but she's hot now."
Guy 1: "She was hot then or now?"
Guy 2: "Now. Go to"
--Chicago, Rocks, Schubert & Lakewood
Eavesdropper: RDC

Twenty-something male 1: "Annnd there's a massive roach."
[Twenty-something male 2 stomps it.]
Twenty-something male 1: "That's fuckin' gross."
Twenty-something male 2: "Why? It's just like stomping a cupcake."

--Chicago, Wells & Chicago
Eavesdropper: RobD

Drunk guy in bar bathroom: "I don't know what I said to my nanny tonight but it's not good."
--Chicago, Rocks, Schubert & Lakewood
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Law clerk in break room: "Sometimes I forget I'm part Asian."
--Chicago, Prudential Plaza

Eavesdropper: 1/2 Pint

Federal judge, after criminal defense attorney told her that an order compelling a hospital to turn over medical records might not be honored: "Most of the things I do have no effect."
--Chicago, Dirksen Federal Building
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Twentysomething female during the 4X400M Mens Relay: "I dont think I have ever seen a black German before."
--Chicago, Rocks, Schubert & Lakewood
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Girl in Wrigley Field bleachers in 90 degree heat: "Why would anyone show their tits?"
Girl 2: "I'd show my tits for some air conditioning."
--Chicago, Wrigley Field, 1060 W. Addison
Eavesdropper: Mountie

Thirtysomething male 1: "I got over Disney Channel two years ago."
Thirtysomething male 2: "I didn't."
--Chicago, Rose Lounge, Lincoln & Kenmore
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Twentysomething female: "I can't take another one for the team. I've been taking one for the team all fucking night."
--Chicago, Deja Vu, Lincoln & Wrightwood
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Cubs and Indians fans talk smack to each other in Wrigley Field bathroom:
Cubs fan: "Indians suck."
Indians fan: "Cubs suck."
Cubs fan: "Show me your rings."
Other Cubs fan: "I don't think Cubs fans can really say that."
Indians fan: "Show me your gold medal."
[Everyone in the bathroom is confused.]
--Chicago, Wrigley Field, 1060 W. Addison
Eavesdropper: GMYH

As always, thanks to everyone who contributed. Keep up the good work. Whenever you overhear something hilarious, email it to for inclusion in the next exciting edition of Midwestern Eavesdropping.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Man in the Mirror is Getting Old

So Michael Jackson turned 50 today. Does that depress anyone else? Sure, he's had more than his fair share of issues in the past, oh, 15 years or so, but he is the closest thing to The Beatles or Elvis for anyone who grew up in the '80s. Getting old sucks.

Hair Band Friday - 8/29/08

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Two Heads are Not Better Than One

You've heard of Siamese twins and conjoined twin myslexia, but here's a new one: a baby born with two complete heads. Sadly, the baby -- born in Bangladesh -- died after his (their?) parents took him (them?) home against doctors' advice because the parents were too poor to afford medical care. I sure hope they can afford an irregularly shaped coffin. [Author's note: upon further review, I will admit that this last sentence could be viewed as mean-spirited and perhaps too far.]

Maybe it's just as well, though. Think about that. Two complete heads -- more importantly, two complete brains -- controlling one body. Imagine if you and your brother or sister shared the same body. The thought is horrifying. Obviously their favorite villain is Two Face and they worship the Roman god Janus, but other than that, I am left with a ton of questions.

  • Do they both control bodily functions?
  • What if one is gay and one is straight? "We are not fucking that dude." "Maybe you aren't, but I sure as shit am."
  • Or what if one guy thinks some chick is hot and the other thinks she's ugly? Would it be an epic struggle of continually taking one step forward then one step back? "Seriously, dude, you're completely ruining my game here."
  • If they have sex with someone, is that considered a ménage a trios (or, more appropriately, a devil's three-way)? And if each of them makes out with a different girl at the same time, is that a four-way? I'm assuming masturbation is not even an option, since your brother is always right there. I'm not even going to attempt to get into the logistics of cunnilingus.
  • What if one is a meat-and-potatoes guy and the other is a vegan?
  • What if one of them is a boxer?
  • What if one of them is a genius and one is a dumbass? Do they both go to Harvard or do they both go to Purdue? Or do they do a rotating semester thing?
  • How does a job interview work? Are they a package deal? "We weren't all that impressed with your brother's resume, but we think you have a real future at this company." But then if they get a job at the same place, do they get one or two salaries?
  • How would they be classified by the Social Security Administration?
  • What if one is a total pederast and the other is a stand-up guy?
    Chick: "Did you touch my ass?"
    Head 1: "No, that was my brother. Dammit Steve!"
    Head 2: "Hey, it's not like you stopped me from squeezin'. Barkeep, another sloe gin fizz."
    Head 1: "Haven't you already had enough?! Why I oughta!"
  • What if one drinks and the other doesn't?
  • What if one's a night owl and one's an early riser?
    Head 1: "I'm tired. I think I'm going to sleep."
    Head 2: "That's cool. I think I'm going to stay up, have a few beers, and watch this Small Wonder marathon. Then I might go chase some tail down at Applebee's. I'll wake you up if another devil's three-way presents itself."
  • Can they sing in perfect harmony? If not, are both of them willing to take voice lessons?
  • What if one is a little bit country and the other is a little bit rock and roll? Do they drag each other to Anne Murray and Guess Who concerts, respectively? And is it weird that they're both way too into Canadian music?
Needless to say, this has sitcom written all over it. The Odd Single, The Really Odd Couple, and/or That Freaky Ass Dude with Two Heads.

You Would Too If Your Wife Only Had One Boob

For some reason, the University of Illinois is bringing John Edwards to speak on campus in October (thanks to the unnamed wife of Alex of the link). The timing is nothing short of impeccable. In other news, IU has invited Eliot Spitzer to speak, probably about the state of young titties in his face, and Northwestern has invited Gary Hart to speak about the dos and don'ts of boating in 1984. Actually, if you think about it, Edwards coming to U of I makes complete sense. Both think they're better than they actually are. Both have a habit of getting close to the grand prize, but both always come up short. And both have foolishly tried to get away with things they can't get away with, which came back to bite them in the ass ("Now that my wife has cancer, I think it's a good time to have an affair" vs. Chevy Blazers and "Now that one of our most promising young basketball players has drunkenly crashed his car and left his friend for dead, I think it's a good time to give him a redshirt year.").

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Shawn Oteri?

I finally figured out why Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson won the hearts of millions more so than Nastia "The Forehead" Liukin or Alicia "Clubber" Sacramone. The answer comes in the form of none other than beloved former SNL actress Cheri Oteri. You see, folks, Shawn Johnson kind of resembles Cheri Oteri. Cheri Oteri was/is well-loved. Ergo, Shawn Johnson is well-loved. Don't believe me? Check out these pics:

New Poll - Drinking Age

It appears that many of you were impressed enough with Michael Phelps's efforts over the last two Olympics to anoint him the greatest Olympian ever. 45% chose Phelps, who barely edged out Carl Lewis with 40% of the vote. Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Paavo Nurmi, and Jesse Owens each took home 5% of the vote, whilst Bjørn Dæhlie, Larissa Latynina, and Mark Spitz were shut out.

On to more important things. As I wrote last week, there has been some rumbling by college presidents that maybe the drinking age should be lowered to 18, and I'm all for it. How about you? I know many of you like the sauce, as well you should, but affinity for booze doesn't necessarily equate to wanting 18 year olds to have even greater access to Mad Dog and Boone's. Many countries have either no legal drinking age or 16, an overwhelming majority of the world has a legal drinking age of 18, nearly all of Canada has a legal drinking age of 19, Japan and Iceland (and a handful of others) put it at 20, while the US is one of the few countries in the world with a drinking age as high as 21. And of course there are some Muslim countries who forbid alcohol altogether. So this week's poll asks: What should the drinking age in the US be? Somewhere under 18? 18? 19? 20? 21? No drinking age (prohibition)?

New Book - Dubliners

Well, I finally finished Rogue Warrior by Richard Marcinko, and it was pretty good. Essentially, it's Marcinko's autobiography, from working-class New Jersey kid to his rise through the Navy to found both SEAL Team Six (an elite counterterrorism unit) and Red Cell (a covert unit designed to exploit U.S. military security weaknesses in an effort to fix said weaknesses before someone else exploits them). It was a pretty interesting book. Marcinko started with the Navy in the late '50s, was a member of the Underwater Demolition Team and later the SEALs, spent a couple tours in 'Nam, was an intelligence attaché in Cambodia, and did a whole bunch of other stuff, including spend time in federal prison for conspiracy. The man is a hardass, and he's not afraid to tell you how much of a hardass he is.

To class up the L a little bit, I started reading Dubliners by James Joyce, which is a collection of short stories written by Joyce between ages 22 and 25 (the ages when I was, for some reason, in law school). I read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in high school English class, and I don't remember anything about it other than it was touted as an example of "stream of consciousness" writing. Other than that, all I know about Joyce is that (a) he is Irish, and (b) Ulysses is considered by many to be the best novel ever written. Therefore, Dubliners can only fail to meet my expectations.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bands I've Seen Recently

The past month or so has been a whirlwind of live musical activity. It would be criminal if I didn't share my thoughts on each and every performance with you. So, here they are, with grades on the traditional A-F scale, as well as any fuzzy or completely indecipherable pictures I might have taken of the performance courtesy of my new Blackberry that has a camera, which replaced my stolen Blackberry that didn't have a camera.

July 23 - Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island
Styx - Grade: B
I saw them last year when they opened for Def Leppard. It was essentially the same show. Pretty good, but nothing overly exceptional.

Boston - Grade: A-
As Bohmann will tell you, at some point in high school I defiantly declared Boston to be the greatest rock and roll band of all-time. I don't recall this, but I don't doubt that it happened. While System of a Down has since changed my mind, I still enjoy a good Boston song -- which is ALL OF THEM. Anyway, singer Brad Delp committed suicide last year, and Boston managed to find a vocal doppelganger who works at Home Depot to take over lead singing duties, as well as Michael Sweet, former lead singer of Christian hair band Stryper. To hell with the devil! Anyway, the show was excellent, even if Tom Scholz is the only remaining original member.

August 1 - Lollapalooza, Grant Park
The Enemy UK - Grade: B+
Brit-pop punk. I have no pictures.

Louis XIV - Grade: A
These guys are awesome. At least this time I didn't call the drummer the wrong name after he bummed me a cigarette. Then again, I didn't bum a cigarette from Matt, I mean Mark, this time around.
Black Keys - Grade: B+
Having seen them in smaller venues, its difficult for me to gush over their performance. Of course, I was pretty far away from the stage, which never helps.Your Vegas - Grade: B
I caught three or four songs of their set, and they were pretty good. Brit pop/rock, some of which was obviously inspired by U2. It may have been more enjoyable had their not been a very intoxicated/hopped up shirtless gay Asian man who looked like a mini Chong Li in front of me jumping around like a banshee, pausing occasionally to get molested by his much older American lover. Not that there's anything wrong with that.The Raconteurs - Grade: A
As with their performance a few years ago at Lolla, The Raconteurs brought the pain, playing a nice mix of stuff from their first and second albums.

CSS - Grade: B+
I only caught the last song of Brazilian dance-rockers CSS's set. It had enough energy to tide me over.Radiohead - Grade: B-
Their lightshow and stage was cool, but I'm not a huge Radiohead fan. From what I could tell on the jumbotrons, Thom Yorke is not the most energetic front man. I'm just pissed they don't ever play "Creep."

August 2 - Lollapalooza, Grant Park
Dr. Dog - Grade: B
These guys were pretty good. They seemed to be influenced heavily by '60s pop and psychedelic rock, so that's always a good thing.Foals - Grade: A-
Having never heard of these guys before, I checked them out, and they were great. They kind of sound like Franz Ferdinand on speed. Moreover, they were one of the few bands who had the presence of mind to wear shorts on stage.MGMT - Grade: C
For some reason, there was a buzz about these guys, but I found them to be mediocre. Plus, there were rumors of a certain top-hatted guitarist who might be making an appearance as the "special guest" in the "Perry & Special Guest" that was to be happening at the same time.Perry Ferrell & Slash - Grade: Incomplete
Perry was playing on the "Perry's" stage, which was one of the smaller (if not the smallest) of the eight stages at Lolla. His special guest was Slash, which was obviously awesome, except for the fact that the audio went out right about the time Slash came on stage. Thus, no one really got to hear anything, which sucks because they were playing "Jane Says." Perry was obviously frustrated, so he turned the mic to the crowd and the crowd sung the song a capella with the faint sounds of Slash's unmic'd guitar amp in the background. Due to the lack of audio, they left after that one song. While that was a bit of a disappointment, after the show, Perry and his wife and kids were being shuttled around in a golf cart, and I was able to slap five with the man who makes this all possible, so that was pretty cool.
Explosions in the Sky - Grade: C-
The program described this instrumental group (who apparently did the Friday Night Lights soundtrack and have music featured in various movies, TV shows, and commercials) as "widescreen, thundering soundscapes of gargantuan beauty." I found that to be an accurate description, but as far as I could tell they only played one song for their hour-long set. While the music may be a nice backdrop for film and television, it didn't translate well into a live show.
Lupe Fiasco - Grade: B+
Last year Lupe saved the sweat-drenched, tired crowd waiting for Pearl Jam from boredom, and he brought the energy again this year. Can you really find any faults in a man wearing a white suit? No, Kevin, the answer is no.Toadies - Grade: B+
They treated me well, my sweet an-gel, so help me Jesus. Je-sus.Rage Against the Machine - Grade: A
I've never seen Rage before, and they kicked ass. I was close, but thankfully not too close, where people were getting injured and such close to the stage. After the second song, Zack de la Rocha had to ask the entire crowd (bear in mind, there were probably 40,000-45,000 people there) to take 5-10 step back because people up front were getting injured. He implored us to "take it easy" so that no one got hurt. Then they kicked into "Bullet in the Head." This was as effective at calming everybody down as giving a hyperactive five-year-old a liter of Mountain Dew to get him to fall asleep. Needless to say, de la Rocha had to ask people to back up a few more times, each time playing one of their soothing bubble gum pop ballads to bring the energy level down. Also, bassist Tim Commerford has an awesomely large, Red Dragon esque black tattoo covering his entire back, upper arms, and chest.
August 3 - Lollapalooza, Grant Park
John Butler Trio - Grade: A-
Despite my best intentions, I didn't make it back in time to see all of their set. From what I did hear, though, they were pretty awesome.Black Kids - Grade: B
The kids love the dance-rock these days.Flogging Molly - Grade: A
I didn't know much about these guys, other than that they play punky Irish rock. I will tell you this: these guys put on a hell of a show. There are 7 of them, and they're jumping all over the place, playing various rock and non-rock instruments (accordion and banjo, included).Gnarls Barkley - Grade: A
Bohmann described Cee-Lo's voice as "velvety," and I have no reason to disagree.The National - Grade: C
This was another one that came highly recommended that didn't live up the hype. It came across as average indie-pop. Hell, you can barely even see them.Nine Inch Nails - Grade: A-
I chose to see NIN over Kayne West because I saw Kanye a few years ago at Lolla. NIN puts on a pretty good show. Like Radiohead, they had a solid lightshow going on. Unlike Radiohead, there was some energy to their show. Most importantly, some chick standing next to us had the same Lollapalooza '94 t-shirt I once owned and that Tron also once owned. Both of us at some point foolishly got rid of said t-shirts, and were extremely excited to see one again. Here it is.August 9 - Carol's Pub, Clark & Leland, Chicago
Diamondback - Grade: B+
Gsell is moving to Cali and chose to have his going away party at Carol's, a classic (if not infamous) country and western dive bar in Uptown. As far as I know, Diamondback is the best country cover band that plays until five a.m. that I have ever seen.

August 10 - Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island
The leather (or possibly pleather) pants were out in full force and with good reason.
Ratt - Grade: B
I was pretty excited to see Ratt, especially because lead singer Stephen Pearcy is back with the band. Other original members included drummer Bobby Blotzer (real name) and guitarist Warren DeMartini (real Chicagoan). Also in the band are one-time Motley Crue replacement lead singer John Corabi (on guitar) and some dude named Robbie Crane (on bass). Noticeably absent was guitarist Robbin Crosby. Too soon? Tragic AIDS-related deaths aside, Ratt put on a good show. Good, not great. Pearcy had a habit of cheesily calling out every single song before it was played. For instance, before "Lack of Communication," he asked the crowd how they were doing and, after the obligatory cheers, he said something along the lines of "there's definitely no lack of communication goin' on here." Or before "Way Cool, Jr." when he said, "This is way cool."

The Scorpions - Grade: A
I was more excited to see Ratt than The Scorpions, but the Scorp's ended up blowing Ratt out of the water (or should I say, out of the cellar? Zing!). Sixty-year-old lead singer Klaus Meine can still belt it out like he's 30. Guitarist Rudolf Schenker seems to have a different Flying V for every song, including the rarely seen acoustic electric Flying V. The drummer, James Kottak (the only non-European in the band), had one of the better drum solos I've seen in a while. The remaining members of the band left the stage, and Kottak pounded away for about 10-15 minutes. You can't handle that shit on strong acid. He successfully whipped the crowd into a frenzy, then one-by-one asked his bandmates to come back out. How often do you have the opportunity to hear someone ask, "Is there a Klaus in the house?" and the answer is "yes"? For me, it was a first, but hopefully not a last. Bottom line is that The Scorpions put on one hell of a show.