Friday, April 27, 2012

Midwestern Eavesdropping

Two guys walking down State Street, by the Chicago Theatre, where the Gipsy Kings are on the marquee. One says to the other: "I think they are kind of rote, somewhat like The Chieftains."
--Chicago, State and Lake
Eavesdropper: Trashton

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Retro Video of the Week: "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley

I am almost positive my roommates and I invented "Rickrolling" in 1999, when we left this song blaring on repeat and locked our frat room door when we went to class one day.  When we arrived back home several hours later, one of the guys in the room next door informed us that he would kill us if he ever heard that song again.  God, I miss college.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday Top Ten: Chicago Corner Bars

A couple weeks ago, Metromix posted a list of their staff's favorite corner bars in Chicago.  One of the best things about Chicago is the "corner bar."  Unlike many cities, the bars in Chicago are not limited to the main drags or busy streets.  In every neighborhood, there are bars tucked away off the beaten path, right next to houses.  I assume it's because there are a lot of Irish people here.  Whatever the reason, it's great because you always have your local haunt down the street.  Some are dives, some are surprisingly expensive, and most are somewhere in between.  As someone who hates clubs, listening to shitty music while I'm drinking, douchebags (even if I have apparently been to many of the "douchiest" bars in Chicago), and wearing clothes that make me look nice, the corner bar is particularly appealing.

Here is their list.  If I've been there, I will let you know.

1.  Side Street Saloon, 1456 W. George St.

2.  Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar, 960 W. 31st St.
I think I've been to this place in its previous incarnation, before a Sox game.  It was fine, if I recall, although I don't think a sazerac was an option when I went.

3.  Inner Town Pub, 1935 W. Thomas St.
The only time I went to this one was when I was already pretty drunk.  I do recall enjoying it, especially since a buddy of mine was literally passed out at the bar.  Until five minutes ago, I had no idea what the bar's name was.  Luckily, the internet has pictures.

4.  Jack & Ginger's, 2048 W. Armitage Ave.

5.  Green Eye Lounge, 2403 W. Homer St.

6.  Hungry Brain, 2319 W. Belmont Ave.

7.  Cody's Public House, 1658 W. Barry Ave.
Cody's is one of those bars (like Rocks, below) where you have to be going there to know where it is.  It's not on a main street, so it's not a place you stumble upon when you're out and about.  Like many corner bars, it's got a warm, welcome, woody feel to it.

8.  The Local Option, 1102 W. Webster Ave.
Local Option is pretty close to DePaul, but it's thankfully the antithesis of a DePaul bar.  It has a great craft and import beer selection and surprisingly good Cajun food.  I love all kinds of beer, and I usually order some crazy shit when I'm in there (rather than a standard Bud Light or whatever).  However, I know a few people who have said that they have ordered regular beers and kind of gotten mocking looks from the staff.

9.  T's Restaurant and Bar, 5025 N. Clark St.

10.  Rocks Lincoln Park, 1301 W. Schubert Ave.
Rocks is my favorite bar.  They have great food, a great beer selection, and a great whiskey selection.  It's kid-friendly (up until a certain point in the night, obviously).  The staff is always nice.  Basically, it's a perfect neighborhood bar.  The blurb in the article was a little off, since I don't think the crowd is as "biz" as the article makes it out to be.  When I was in there Saturday night, I congratulated George for Rocks being mentioned in the list.  He said it was awesome, except for the fact that the blurb is copied and pasted from a 2006 review, so it mentions several things that are no longer on the menu, and Rocks now has 10 TVs instead of 6.

11.  Carol's Pub, 4659 N. Clark St.
This place is an institution.  When you walk through the door, you leave Chicago and enter a scene from Urban Cowboy.  It's a country bar with a house band, and they have live band country karaoke some nights.  It's also a late night bar, which makes it even that much more entertaining.

Here are a couple more corner bars I would have added to the list (in no particular order).  I stuck to bars that are actually on street corners:
1.  The Burwood Tap, Burling & Wrightwood
This used to be my favorite bar in Chicago.  If you want to know why, click here.

2.  Wellington's, Wellington & Lakewood
This is just a solid, normal neighborhood bar.

3.  Old Town Ale House, North & Wieland
This is another Chicago institution.  It's across the street from Second City, so it's always full of students or actors and writers after shows.  There are hundreds of erotic paintings on the wall, courtesy of the owner's husband, featuring mostly Second City alumni and fallen politicians.  It's cash-only, and it's open late night.

4.  Map Room, Armitage & Hoyne
The Map Room has a great beer selection, but be warned:  do not dress nicely or order Miller Lite.

5.  Lottie's, Cortland & Winchester
This is a good, less hipster alternative to the other Wicker Park and Bucktown bars.  They have a good beer selection.

6.  Roscoe Village Pub, Roscoe & Leavitt
The Anonymous Wife of Alex used to bartend part-time at the RVP.  It was a great time.  There was impromptu karaoke, Sloppy Hookers, and the dispensing of Malort shots to unknowing victims.

Anyone else have any favorites?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

New Book: The Last Testament: A Memoir by God by David Javerbaum

A couple weeks ago, I finished reading God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F*cked by Darrell Hammond, which is Hammond's autobiography.  I'm a big SNL fan, and Hammond was the longest-tenured SNL cast member ever, so I was looking forward to the book.  It was a quick read, but good.  Obviously, it was interesting to get an insider's view about what it takes to make SNL tick.  Outside of that, Hammond struggled with alcohol and drug abuse, as well as self-mutilation, for many years.  He was in and out of rehab several times, and, through therapy, was able to trace his problems back to when he was a child and his mother would injure him for no reason at all.  Despite all of this, he maintained a pretty good and humble outlook on life, and has pressed on.  I recommend it for anyone who likes Hammond or likes SNL (or likes to read about drug abuse).

After I finished that, I read The Visible Man by Chuck Klosterman, his second novel.  Klosterman is one of my favorite authors.  While I generally prefer his nonfiction to his fiction, both of his novels (this and 2009's Downtown Owl) were very good.  The Visible Man is about a psychologist who gets a new patient, a scientist who has invented a cloaking suit so that he appears invisible.  Essentially, it reflects the surroundings, so that it looks like nothing is there.  The book is a first-person account from the psychologist's point of view as she treats the patient.  Of course, at first she doesn't believe him, until he actually shows her how he can disappear.  He uses the suit to observe people who live by themselves to see how they act when no one is around.  Eventually, the relationship between the psychologist and the patient becomes complicated, and things happen that I won't discuss because it would ruin the book.  The premise is interesting because it makes you think about what you do by yourself and how it would appear to an outside observer.  It made me rethink my intensive solo body painting sessions whenever I have the house to myself.  It also made me think that maybe Harley isn't always barking at nothing.  I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I definitely recommend it.

I am moving onto The Last Testament:  A Memoir by God by David Javerbaum, who used to be the head writer for the Daily Show.  This came at the recommendation of Australian Andrew, so I expect hilarity.

Books read in 2012:
A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz
God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F*cked by Darrell Hammond
The Visible Man by Chuck Klosterman

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tuesday Top Ten: Bands and Artists I'm Most Excited to See at Lollapalooza

The line-up for this year's Lollapalooza (August 3-5, Grant Park, Chicago) was announced last Wednesday, and it is pretty solid.  They have also announced who is playing each day, although the schedule hasn't been released. 

Three-day passes are already sold out, so only individual day passes remain for $95 a day.  I was one of the lucky bastards to get the $75 souvenir three-day passes, but I would have happily paid full price to see this line-up.  It's a nice mix of new and old, and a pretty good mix of genres, from the expected "alternative" and indie rock to soul to garage rock to funk to punk to metal to blues, and just about everything else.  The only knock on the lineup this year is that rap and hip hop aren't as well represented as in years past.  I would have like to have seen Tupac, now that he can apparently perform again.  Also, there are even more electronic, DJ, and dance acts than last year, which is apparently what the kids like.  Thankfully, those have their own separate stages, since that doesn't really interest me.

My only real issue is that I want to see all four headliners -- Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Keys, Black Sabbath, and Jack White –- but obviously that will be impossible, since it looks like Black Sabbath and The Black Keys will be playing at the same time Friday night.  That means that The Black Keys will be cut, since I've seen them many times, but such is life.  Sabbath!  Other than the headliners, there a bunch of other bands I want to see.  And of course, one of the best things about Lolla is discovering new bands.  The Lolla website has streaming songs for every artist, so you can figure out which bands that you've never heard of that may become your next favorites.

Here are the ten bands and artists I'm most excited to see (with the links to their artist page on the Lolla website so you can check out their songs):

I saw these guys at Schuba's late last year, and they put on a great show.  They are a soul and R&B band, in the Stax and James Brown vain.  It will be cool to see them in a venue bigger than Schuba's.

These guys won the Rolling Stone "Choose the Cover" contest last year, so they were on "the cover of Rolling Stone fucking magazine," to quote Jeff Beebe.  They play '70s-inspired rock.  That generally goes over well with me.  Plus they're from Saskatoon, so that's more interesting than, say, Regina.

I don't have any of their music, but I hope to one day own some.  They kind of sound like the Detroit Cobras –- a garage rock version of a '60s girl group.  I dig that.

This is another neoclassical soul band, and I only recently found out about them.  I don't have any of their music, but I've heard some clips, and they sound pretty good.

I discovered Gary Clark, Jr. last year, and he is a solid blues guitarist.  Of course, the night I discovered him and was listening to some clips from his EP, I checked his website and he was playing in Evanston that night, so I didn't get to see him.

These guys were born out of the ashes of a band I liked called Be Your Own Pet (who I saw at Lolla in 2006), and I know they played in Chicago recently supporting the Dead Weather, but I missed that show.  They get a lot of noise out of two people, so I'm interested to see them live.

I missed them when they headlined in 2006 because I was attending my first Second City comedy writing class.  Thus, the last time I saw them was the Little 500 concert at Assembly Hall in 2000, which was awesome.  I know they'll bring some energy.

I'm excited about Jack White's new album, due out next week.  The White Stripes were my favorite band from last decade, and White's side projects have always been good too.  It will be interesting to see what his solo stuff sounds like.  I'm expecting stripped down blues, and I'm expecting it to be awesome.  Anyway, I'd probably have him at #2 if he was joined by his ex-wife on stage (Meg, not Karen).

The Gaslight Anthem is one of my favorite bands from the last few years.  I saw them a couple year ago at House of Blues, and as far as I know, they haven't played in Chicago since then, so I'm in need of a fix.  They're going to be putting out a new album at some point this year, so that's cool too.

This is supposed to be the original line-up, which should be phenomenal.  I know that guitarist Tony Iommi has been going through chemo to battle lymphoma, so hopefully the fact that the band agreed to do Lolla is a sign that his recovery is going well.  Also, according to a recent episode of That Metal Show, drummer Bill Ward may not participate because of some impasses in contract negotiations.  Hopefully that all gets resolved because I would love to see all four original members on stage while it's still possible.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I Love Lucy

Every now and then, a present falls in your lap at the expense of some DePaul students named Patrick and Lucy.  Friday, Jester was doing her daily parkour routine when she literally stumbled on an envelope next to the sidewalk.  It was sealed, and it looked like it could have contained a birthday card.  The single word on the outside of the envelope indicated it was intended for someone named Patrick.  Jester's name is not Patrick, but she opened the envelope nonetheless hoping for a good laugh courtesy of that wry old lady in the Hallmark cards.  What she found inside was even better:
Holy shit.  This is why you should always tell someone you cheated on them in person.  Or maybe just don't cheat on them in the first place.  Either way, Lucy must pay for her misgivings.  Let's dissect some drunken college agony:

This is kind of hard for me to tell you but I need to get it off my chest.  
Do you think it was a coincidence that she used the words "hard" and "chest" in a letter about banging another dude?  I'm just sayin'.  Also, I'm concerned that this is only "kind of" hard for Lucy to tell Patrick.  It makes me question her morals.

You know how we went to Dave's St. Patty's Day party?  Well that night I hooked up with him.  
Wait, you cheated on a guy named Patrick on St. Patrick's Day?  That's pretty cold, Lucy.  That's like banging a guy named Judas on Easter.

I know he is your best friend and I am really sorry that it happened.
For the casual reader who doesn't know Dave, Patrick, or Lucy, this provided some really good contextual details and adds a whole other level of complexity.  It's almost as if Lucy wanted this to be found, since Patrick clearly already knows that Dave is his best friend.  Either that, or she just wanted to rub it in.

I was completely drunk  
She might as well have said, "Sometimes when I have too much Vitameatavegamin, I pull down my pants and let the nearest boy stick fleshy things in me.  Blame anyone but me when that happens."

and had no idea what I was doing.  
Dave.  You were doing Dave.  By the way Dave, what the fuck, man?  

I am so sorry.  
The double underlining indicates she's really serious here, guys.  

I wish things could go back to the way they were.  
You will.  It will just be the way things were before you knew Patrick and Dave.

I wish we could just pretend this never happened and spend the night laughing as we read the missed connections on Craigslist.
Yeah, that one about the chick getting knocked up because she let a dude with pentagram gauges raw dog her in the bathroom at the Motörhead/Megadeth concert was pretty funny.  

I just hope that one day you can forgive me.
That's adorable, Lucy.  There is a woman I haven't forgiven because she ordered a filet mignon at dinner after the Homecoming dance my freshman year of high school.  You fucked his best friend.

The hand-drawn heart was a nice touch.  It says, "Sure I hooked up with your best friend and probably ruined your relationship with both me and him, but I think I'm cute enough to get away with it."

Of course, the fact that Jester found this means that Patrick never did.  This leaves us with several questions:
1.  Did Lucy stick it in Patrick's door or on his windshield and it flew away?  Did it fall out of her backpack on the way to class?
2.  If his best friend and his girlfriend were at the same party, where the hell was Patrick?  He should have been there to banish Dave's trouser snake from Lucy's emerald isle (I assume she dyed her pubes green for St. Patrick's day).  
3.  Is Lucy's carelessness with such a serious letter indicative of her carelessness with her vagina?  Maybe this whole thing was a blessing in disguise, Patrick.
4.  By now, is Lucy thinking, "Wow, Patrick must have been totally cool with me hooking up with Dave.  He hasn't even mentioned it."?
5.  When Patrick reads this post and undoubtedly finds out for the first time that Lucy and Dave hooked up, will he call her and say, "Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!"?  Or will he just break up with her without any pop culture references?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Love Me Like a Reptile

Back in early February, I went to see Motörhead and Megadeth play at the Aragon.  I would describe it as enchanting and whimsical.  My experience was different than at least two other concert-goers' experiences.  Ryan sent me a link to an article entitled, "Help Find Man Who Impregnated Woman In Megadeth/Motorhead Concert Bathroom."  Disregarding the fact that the article does no place an umlaut over the second "o" in Motörhead, the story tells a classic tale of mosh pit lust gone adorably awry.

As I mentioned in my recounting of the concert, I got into a text message conversation with a friend of mine (who happens to be of Danish descent), whereby we tried to make as many Megadeth-related ejaculation puns as possible.  Phrases like "Countdown to Ejaculation" and "Jizzing is my business…and business is GOOD" were thrown around without any idea that they would be so prescient.

Some silver-tongued devil, demon wench anonymously posted the following on Craigslist's "Missed Connections" page, under the title "Did we hook up at the Megadeth/Motorhead concert? - w4m - 28 (Aragon Ballroom)":
Me: Blue hair, silver tube top, fishnets, Knee high black biker boots.You: Red mohawk, black pentagram gauges, viper piercings. I was grinding on you in the pit, then we went to the bathroom, and got f***ed up. You had a nice c**k and I was wasted so I let [you] raw dog it in the stall. You were really good and you had to gag me so I would[n't] make too much noise.
 Anyway I'm pregnant. It's yours. contact me if you want to be part of your child's life.
When Lemmy sang the line "get yourself some original sin" during "Fast and Loose," I don't think he meant go to the bathroom and let a dude with pentagram gauges "raw dog" you -– at least not without being on the pill.  I don't judge.  Hell, I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom.  I'm crazy.  That said, if my memory serves me correctly, this is the exact reason why God invented the morning after pill.  For Christ's sake, woman, if this is the kind of thing you do, you should have a bowl of RU-486's on your nightstand next to your bare mattress in your garden apartment in the Ukrainian Village.  Take one every morning after you're done vomiting up blood.  But seriously, you should probably get an abortion.  There's still time.  Unless, of course, you want to have this conversation:  "Mommy, can you tell me about daddy?"  "Well, Axl, your father was a wonderful man.  He loved moshing, grinding, doing drugs, and mutilating his body.  There was this one time I'll never forget when he entered me repeatedly in a bathroom during a metal concert, and he covered my mouth so that no one would hear us.  That was just how he was.  Also, he had a nice cock."

On the other end of that, the guy is just as much to blame.  This guy is in for a train of consequences.  First of all, you can't just walk into a metal concert with a red mohawk, pentagram gauges, and viper piercings and not expect some chick with blue hair and fishnets to let you raw dog her in a bathroom stall.  You wanted it, you asked for, and you got it.  Second, what guy has unprotected sex with a chick in a bathroom at a Motörhead/Megadeth concert?  Maybe it's just me, but if I was single and looking to pull some wool, I would have serious concerns about any chick who would let me bang her in the bathroom at a Motörhead/Megadeth concert, no matter how "nice" my cock may be.  Also, I would always carry condoms (with spermicidal lubricant) and dental dams with me.  Sometimes the chase is better than the catch, buddy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Retro Video of the Week: "November Rain" by Guns N' Roses

This weekend, Guns N' Roses will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  I had pipe dreams that the "classic" Appetite-era line-up would put their differences aside for one night and play together for the pinnacle of any band's career.  Those dreams were crushed today when Axl Rose proved once again that he is, in fact, an asshole by writing an open letter to the LA Times explaining not only that he will not be attending the induction ceremony, but also that he is requesting that he not be inducted into the Hall of Fame.  At least Slash, Duff, and Steven Adler will be there (and maybe Izzy).  Anyway, back when things were still copacetic (kind of), the band made beautiful music and one of top five music videos of all-time.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday Top Ten: Real Rock and Roll Names

Rockers come up with great stage names for themselves. Sid Vicious. Ringo Starr. Blackie Lawless. Slash. Mick Mars. Jello Biafra. Freddie Mercury. Rat Scabies.  But every now and then, a child is given a name befitting of a rock and roller, and he or she keeps it, only to become a rock and roller.  Perhaps it's destiny.

This is my list of the ten best real rock and roll names.  I'm including given names, so if someone goes by their given middle name and their last name, that counts.  Also, I'm including nicknames that are actually nicknames for the person's real name, such as Bobby for Robert, Rick for Richard, and Johnny for John.  However, I am excluding nicknames that aren't derivative of the person's real name, such as Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, John "Ozzy" Osbourne, William "Axl" Rose, or Thomas "Artimus" Pyle.  These are in alphabetical order.

Honorable mention:  Jack Blades; Lindsey Buckingham; Rivers Cuomo; Cherie Currie; Don Dokken; Lita Ford; Sammy Hagar; Jimi Hendrix; John Lee Hooker; Huddie Ledbetter; Darlene Love; Mike Love; Chris Mars; Keith Moon; Sterling Morrison; Gunnar Nelson; Scott Rockenfield; Carlos Santana; Eddie Van Halen; Ronnie Wood

1.  Ritchie Blackmore.  For a pioneer of heavy metal, having a name like Blackmore certainly had to have helped more than, say, if his last name was Sunblossom.

2.  Bobby Blotzer.  Blotzer is the drummer for Sunset Strip rockers, Ratt.  Given the excesses of the '80s, his name is perfect, since it sounds like it means to get hammered.  "What did you do last night?"  "I got blotzed on Night Train and then saw Jetboy at the Roxy."  "Radical."

3.  Johnny Cash.  If he had been born in the '70s or '80s, he'd have a hell of a rap name.

4.  Neil Diamond.  He's a good man with a good name.

5.  Stone Gossard.  As the guitarist for Pearl Jam, Gossard's name seems to be as grunge as his music.  He could have also chosen a career in 1880's Wild West law enforcement and fit right in.

6.  Mick Jagger.  His name has become so familiar that it's sometimes easy to forget how badass of a name it is.  It rhymes with dagger, people.

7.  Elvis Presley.  I'm not saying it's the coolest name in the world, but it flows very well off the tongue.  It sounds regal and dangerous all at the same time.  Do you think rock and roll would have been what it is if Elvis's real name was Don Presley or Elvis Grabowski?

8.  Bob Rock.  Best known as the producer of Metallica's Black Album and Mötley Crüe's Dr. Feelgood, Rock was also a musician.  Either way, his name is perfect for playing or producing rock and roll.

9.  Rick Savage.  Savage, who is Def Leppard's bassist, has a name suited for hard rock.  It would be a tough name to have if he was a concert flutist.

10.  Mark Slaughter.  This is another great hair band/hard rock name, although it would have been an even better death metal name.

Anyone else I'm missing?

Monday, April 09, 2012

Happy Easter, Arrrrrgh!

Easter once again has some meaning now that Daughter is old enough to hunt for eggs and help me reenact the Passion.  That said, this is my kid, so naturally she has somehow gotten it in her mind that Easter involves not only bunnies, but pirates.  In the weeks leading up to Easter, whenever anyone asked her if she was excited about the Easter Bunny, she would say something like "Yes, and the pirates are coming on Easter too, and they bring you presents and candy."  Jester and I have no idea where this came from.  Not even our Somali nanny can figure it out.

Saturday afternoon, we went out to my mom's house.  Without reason, my mom has switched from your standard two-ply toilet paper to something I would describe as prison-grade.  This is neither here nor there, but Saturday I was having some gastrointestinal issues, so I became painfully acquainted with this development.  I don't even know where she gets this stuff.  She lives in the suburbs, not on Rikers.

Anal plundering aside, Saturday afternoon was an exciting one for Daughter because we dyed hard-boiled eggs.  I could just about choke the bastards at the egg-coloring monopoly Paas.  First, none of the colors of the tablets match up with the actual color of the dye.  So I drop a red tablet into some vinegar, and it's yellow dye.  I drop a purple one in, and it's orange.  Second, they now have some kits with glitter.  I supposed I should be more pissed at Jester for buying this than Paas for making it, but I choose to chop the heads off snakes.  Glitter gets everywhere.  For someone who enjoys eating copious amounts of hard-boiled eggs, I can't express my frustration enough.  It's a big enough pain in the ass to pick the egg shell off without having to worry about getting glitter all over my hands and precious egg.  In the midst of my angst, I made a deviled egg (sans glitter):
Sunday morning was generally enjoyable.  I wish I would have been videotaping Daughter's entrance into the living room because it was an unmitigated disaster.  My mom and aunt have a very real illness when it comes to taking pictures.  These are the people that would make my brother and I come down the stairs several times on Christmas so they could take a picture of us looking excited when we saw our presents beneath the tree.  If I am ever in a picture and making a face that makes me look like a jackass, it's because I was forced to wasted hundreds of hours of my life sitting for unnecessary pictures (and usually multiple pictures in one sitting "in case one doesn't turn out").  Anyway, as a result of this disorder, while Daughter was on her way downstairs in the morning, they had already propped Lollipop up right in front of the Easter baskets and wanted Daughter to sit next to her when she entered the room, in hopes of taking a nice picture of the two sisters in front of their Easter baskets.  (Lollipop was given an Easter basket too, even though her religious leanings are more Zoroastrian than anything else.)  These women somehow believed that Daughter would walk into a room containing a basket full of candy and dinosaurs, and willfully sit still for a picture.  She did not.  When she noticed her Easter basket, Daughter broke into a brief sprint towards Lollipop and the baskets.  In her excitement, she tripped and fell forward, knocked her head into Lollipop's head, sending Lollipop tumbling face first to the ground like a domino (since babies don't know how to catch themselves when they fall), and causing both of them to start the day in tears.  Happy Easter!

After a minute or two, Daughter calmed down.  Chocolate has that effect on children.  She then began hunting for the eggs the Easter Bunny expertly hid.  I would rate her hunting skills as fair, at best.  She missed some obvious ones, but of course, she has no competition at this point, so there is not a need to ramp up the effort.

Lollipop, on the other hand, placated the sexagenarians in the room by pretending to be Carmen Miranda dressed up as a rabbit.  Notice the traditional Easter "worm wreath" in the background.
As you may or may not know, this year I gave up meat and sweets for Lent.  I started hitting the chocolate pretty hard Easter morning.  For some reason, my mom did not have any meat options at breakfast, which is a slap in the face considering that dinner the night before was chicken (I ate cheese and bread).  Needless to say, lunch yesterday was at Taco Bell.  Those beef and potato burritos are pretty damn good.  Then again, so is everything there.  With the T-Bell and gorging on chocolate and jelly beans the whole day, I essentially equalized the several pounds I lost in the last month.  Thanks, Jesus.

Sensing she was losing me, Jester made it her mission to play the sport of queens, badminton.  When it was determined that my mom did not have a net, any racquets, or any shuttlecocks, Jester sprung into action.  Limited by the holiday and that fact that there is no demand for badminton anywhere, especially in a notoriously windy locale, Jester managed to track down a set at a Menard's two towns over.  She hopped in the Blaab and returned a little while later with a shit-eating grin and a badminton set.  We set it up in my mom's yard, and quickly realized that a $14 badminton set contains mediocre shuttlecocks.  No worries.  This also doubled as a volleyball set, since volleyball nets are usually six feet tall and barely able to withstand a strong breeze.  We inflated the volleyball that was included in the set, and quickly realized that a $14 badminton/volleyball set contains a mediocre volleyball.  It was made of lightweight rubber, and was more appropriate for punting than for serving.  I like punting things.

With that, we burned the net to the ground, had a good group punt, went inside, watched a man with lady hair win the Masters, ate some dead pig, and talked about resurrecting the net we just burnt to the ground.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

25 Douchiest Bars in Chicago

I didn't have time to write a Tuesday Top Ten this week, since I spent most of the day getting hammered on pineapple brandy and trying to corral two children under 2.5 years old.  But thankfully my dear friend Tradd sent me a link to an article on Complex entitled "The 25 Douchiest Bars in Chicago."  I'll be honest, guys.  I hate douchebags.  I hate being around them.  I hate looking at them.  I hate smelling them.  I hate going to bars where they might be.  As a result, this is a very helpful article.

Here's the list, with my commentary.  I've been to 16 of these bars.  I've not sure what that says about me.
25.  McFadden's.  I've only been there once, when I was somewhere between 21 and 23.  Thus, I was probably a douche at that time.
24.  Nick's Uptown.  It's a late-night bar, but it's not as bad as many of the other late-night bars.  Last time I went there, Gregerson walked home, which was approximately two miles from his residence.
23.  Mad River.  Jester and I went there once for dinner on a Sunday.  We were the only people in the bar, and yet we didn't get our food for 45 minutes.
22.  The Boundary.  I was only there once for one drink before going to another bar.
21.  Schoolyard.  Last time I was there was St. Patrick's Day 2007.  Their "special" was Guinness and Smithwick's that cost $1.25 more than they did on any other day.  I have boycotted it since.  Is there a list of douchiest bar owners?
20.  Fado.  It's an over-priced Irish bar in River North, but I wouldn't call it douchy.
19.  The Original Mother's.  It's a Rush and Division institution, and probably one of the least douchy of the bars in that area.
18.  Mother's Too.  Same observation as The Original Mother's, although this is a little dingier, but not douchy.
17.  Club 162.  This is right by Wrigley, and it used to be Hi Tops and Harry Caray's.  I haven't been to it in its new incarnation, but it was your typical Wrigleyville bar, which is, in fact, douchy.
16.  English.  I've only been there once, and frankly, I don't remember much about it.  However, it is located between the River and Division, so it has a 90% chance of being douchy.
15.  Tai's Til 4.  I haven't been here, but I like that the name is very explicit about how late it is open.
14.  Sluggers.  Sure it's in Wrigleyville, but it's probably the least douchy bar in the neighborhood.  They have skee-ball, for Christ's sake.
13.  Debonair Social Club.  I haven't even heard of this place.
12.  Murphy's Bleachers.  Another Wrigleyville bar, but not too bad on the range of douchiness.  To be honest, if you can get a seat, it's a great place to go before watching the Cubs lose.
11.  LaSalle Power Co.  I haven't been here since it was Lalo's and, before that, Michael Jordan's restaurant, so I really have no opinion, other than I wish it was still Michael Jordan's restaurant.
10.  Trace.  Never heard of it.
9.  Vertigo Sky Lounge.  This is located at the Dana Hotel.  I don't go to bars at hotels unless I am staying at the hotel.
8.  The Cubby Bear.  It's douchy if you consider Cubs fans douchy.  So, yes, it's douchy.  But it's also the bar where I met Steve McMichael, and the owners' daughter was an All-American diver at IU, so it's still not too bad.
7.  Spybar.  Never heard of it.
6.  Big City Tap.  I hate this place.  It's commonly referred to as "The Big Shitty."  I haven't been there in probably 5 or 6 years, and I refuse to go there when offered.
5.  Casey Moran's.  Another Wrigleyville bar.  It's giant and always packed before and after Cubs games.
4.  Empire Liquors.  I haven't been there, but I hear Music Town is threatening to buy it.
3.  Smart Bar.  I've been to The Metro to witness musical acts perform, but I haven't been to Smart Bar, which is attached to The Metro.
2.  Angels & Kings.  I've never been there, but it's owned by Pete Wentz.  Enough said.
1.  John Barleycorn.  It's been a while since I've been there, but I agree that it should be on the list.

Clearly this was written by someone who owns a bar on Hubbard Street, because there are several there that probably belong on the list.  Also, no Beaumont?  No DePaul bars?  There should also be more Rush and Division bars.  Has the author not been there?  I do like the inclusion of many Wrigleyville bars, but most of their choices were sports bars.  They overlooked the many other bars in the neighborhood.  What about Red Ivy?  That place sucks.  And let's not forget Wicker Park and Bucktown.  Hipsters can be douches too, you know.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Championship Game Nonsense

As you watch tonight's NCAA championship game between the forces of evil and Bill Self.  I don't really care about Kansas, but I hate Kentucky.  Plus, Jester will succeed where I have failed (i.e., in March Madness bracket pools) if Kansas wins.  Here are some stats to consider when you are watching the game tonight, but not before and not after:
  • This is the third time that schools beginning with the same letter are playing for the national championship (and taking "University of" our of the equation).  The other years this happened were 1941 (Wisconsin over Washington State) and 1951 (Kentucky over Kansas State).
  • Between the two schools, they have 10 combined national titles (7 for Kentucky and 3 for Kansas).  This is the only the fifth time the schools meeting for the national title have 10 or more titles between them (at the time of that particular game), and the first time that has been done without UCLA participating.
    • 1975:  13 - UCLA (9), Kentucky (4)
    • 1980:  10 – Louisville (0), UCLA (10)
    • 1995:  11 - UCLA (10), Arkansas (1)
    • 2006: 11 - Florida (0), UCLA (11)
    • 2012:  10 - Kentucky (7), Kansas (3)
  • The schools also have 29 combined Final Fours (15 for Kentucky and 14 for Kansas).  If you look at all-time Final Fours for championship game teams (regardless of whether they were obtained that year, prior, or after, or if they were later vacated), this year's championship game is one of only ten where the championship game participants' combined Final Fours is 25 or more (in order for this to happen, two of the nine teams with at least 8 Final Fours that I mentioned last week have to be involved).
    • 1968:  36 – UCLA (18), North Carolina (18)
    • 1975:  33 – UCLA (18), Kentucky (15)
    • 1964:  33 – UCLA (18), Duke (15)
    • 1957:  32 – North Carolina (18), Kansas (14)
    • 1978:  30 – Kentucky (15), Duke (15)
    • 2012:  29 – Kentucky (15), Kansas (14)
    • 1991:  29 – Duke (15), Kansas (14)
    • 1980:  27 – Louisville (9), UCLA (18)
    • 2009:  26 – North Carolina (18), Michigan State (8)
    • 1981:  26 – Indiana (8), North Carolina (18)
  • If you take away subsequent Final Fours and only count the Final Fours earned up to the date of the championship game (including that year's Final Four), the 29 between Kentucky and Kansas is the most ever for two teams playing in the championship game, and only the fourth time the schools in the championship game have 20 or more combined Final Fours.
    • 2012:  29 – Kentucky (15), Kansas (14)
    • 2009:  25 – North Carolina (18), Michigan State (7)
    • 2005:  22 – North Carolina (17), Illinois (5)
    • 1995:  21 - UCLA (15), Arkansas (6)
  • Bill Self coached Kansas to the 2008 national title over John Calipari's Memphis Tigers.  This is only the third time that the same two coaches will coach against each other for the second time in a national title game.  The other sets of coaches with which this happened were Cincinnati's Ed Jucker, who defeated Ohio State's Fred Taylor in 1961 and 1962, and Indiana's Branch McCracken, who defeated Kansas's Phog Allen in 1940 and 1953.
  • If Kansas wins, Bill Self will become the 14th coach to win two or more NCAA titles, much to the chagrin of Illinois fans.
  • If Kentucky wins, John Calipari –- who is already one of only two coaches in NCAA history to have two Final Fours vacated -- will become the first coach to have an NCAA title vacated, much to the delight of everyone except Kentucky fans.