Thursday, December 29, 2005

Rosenberg Eats Quiche at the Modern's Cafe, Pass It On

I got down to business last night, had a couple beers, and hit the couch afterward for some well-deserved PBS. As luck would have it, I caught most of the new American art documentary _ another rundown of 20th century icons. It was mesmerizing to see film of Duchamp and De Kooning (New York residents), along with Rauschenberg and Warhol working _ you never see footage of Warhol actually WORKING.

As an introduction, it was very compelling _ though I'm sure those involved would agree such a distillation is too simplistic. I don't mean to criticize PBS. Their documentaries can serve as tremendous jumping-off points. I was moved to discover modern theater after seeing "Changing Stages" back in 2000. What these kind of programs need are suggested reading lists. I know I could use the help in catching up on my Clement Greenberg.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Personal Touching

Oh my... I just... I don't know what to say. I've never... had someone give me something like this.

My statcounter company sent me a fruit basket _ for the holidays. I'm... I'm touched. It came with a little note:

"Happy holidays from StatTek. Hope the New Year finds you in good health and fortune. Thank you for using StatTek TrakkerTek 5.0. Look for new add-ons in 2006, including the Electric-Shock-Thru-the-Keyboard FunGram. Send your friends a special message that says, 'I care!'
P.S. There is no microscopic camera in this fruit basket."

I'm putting it right on my desk here. There. Very nice.

Is something humming?

The Terrible, Blinding Dawn

I survived. I survived Monday. I also survived Christmas, but that was enjoyable. We saw my parents, Erika's father's and mother's sides. Food, wine, laughter... I like it more every year. Her family(ies) treat me very well, in spite of my strange appearance and behavior.

I missed being with my two brothers for the holidays. I wish I could be more of a part of their lives. But somewhere, I know, they were hoisting a Molson Canadian for me.

Man, this WeBLoG is flopping around in the water looking for some direction. Looks like I'm waiting till the New Year to refocus. I hate that: People who give up on life sometime in early December and wait till the New Year for the promise of inspiration. Yes, I am one of these people _ at least on a couple fronts. It's the procrastinator's national holiday, New Year's. Or maybe it's not. Maybe this week is the procrastinator's national holiday. New Year's is the terrible, blinding dawn.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Stocking Stufferz

Here's a little holiday present for you, new reader. Please enjoy the old archive (look under "older"), the webdiary Parrot Talk called "... groundbreaking..."

Church of the Thom McCann Gift Certificate

I wish I had taken off more time for the holidays. Well, you'll have to accept this short message in the meantime. Happy holidays to all Woundup readers. I hope things are safe and relaxing for you. Erika and I will make the family rounds starting tonight when we take the Donahues to our favorite little Indian hideaway.

What else can I say? Be good to yourself. See you next week.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Good Vibes Superhighway/Eastern Fronting

Well, well... thank you to Jessica for mentioning this space. I am a fan of her WeBLoG _ a look into the life and mind of Chicago's premier freelance writer. Visit now!

In other good news, the holiday shopping plan is starting to take shape. I dub it "The Winter Counteroffensive" in the spirit of my Russian ancestors. In the spirit of my German ancestors I also dub it "Fritz, Send Me a Winter Coat So I Can Fight the Communists, Bitte." How about that for internal conflict?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Connectivity and Good Vibes

I would like to thank J.R. for linking this site to his. I urge all of you chaps to check out his wonderful WeBLoG. I greatly look forward to reading it each day. As soon as tech services gets back from their annual convention (WeBLoG and Auto Loom Workers United Local 283) in Las Vegas, we'll have our own links section up and running.

J.R. and Marie work in one of these progressive offices where you can drink at your desk. Woundup employees are forced to drink in the service elevator. There's a shot glass set in the emergency phone box. Give 'em a good wipe after you're done.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Clock is Ticking

The question is not WHEN will the New York transit strike begin, but WHEN will the first transit strike-related blog begin. You've still got a shot at the big time...

Beats the Giordano's in Schiller Park

Holiday time, holiday party. The Woundup holiday party is scheduled for next Tuesday, Dec. 20. Because of, ahem, budget constraints (you might remember last year's festivities were cancelled), CEO Tom Blister has granted exclusive sponsorship rights for the holiday party to Anatole France Beaujolais Nouveau...

Come Celebrate the Holidays with the Woundup Corp. Family...
5:30 - 7 p.m.
at the Kinzie Chophouse, 400 N. Wells
One spouse/partner is permitted per employee. The coat check will be closed for this event.
Music provided by DJ Student Loan Pay Stub _ yes, that's our very own Frankie Fitzpatrick from tech services.
And, as always, the annual Content vs. Sales sock volleyball game.
Cash bar till 6:30. Pay parking lot next to the Chophouse. WARNING: Wells is a snow route, you cannot park on Wells after 5 p.m.
We hope to see you there! Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Can I Hire You to Curate My Student Loan Payment Stubs?

Speaking of self-promotion:

Did Michael Azzerad's indie rock book ruin anyone else's positive mental image of Sonic Youth? I don't think I'll listen to a Youth album for at least 25 years now _ though the idea of Lee Renaldo getting in someone's face at a party about a bad review is kind of funny. (MAY NOT BE FACTUALLY ACCURATE) "Hey, man... Why can't you just be... cool?"

It makes my hair turn gray _ like the way "curate" has become a common verb in some circles. The only person allowed to curate anything, in my book, is the director of the British National Museum... but of course, my book never made it to a second printing.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

No More Seconds on Dinner Rolls

Cutting out those between-meal snacks has made a difference in stemming the fleshy flood of my waistline. Those of you familiar might find my over-weight surprising _ but my wife knows the difference.

I was once a trim young man when I hung out at the Cedar Tavern. But somewhere between my first treatise on the bourgeois nature of impasto and the pay line at the Thompson Center DMV, I gained a few pounds. Thanks to my dedicated mate, the YMCA and my own self resolve, I've come a shade closer to my 31x32 jeans from that summer of interning at the Walter Gropius Homesite.

That's all I'm sharing today. This is the automated webpost where I DON'T tell you what I'm working on. It's none of your business. Refreshing? I hope to market my line of non-self-promotional WeBLoGS by Feb. 2006.

Friday, December 09, 2005

From Out the Gloom... Parking.

I walked home from the Loop yesterday in the snow _ Madison & Wacker to Walton & Oakley. Traffic was frozen _ it took me 1.25 hours to get home _ it would've been twice that by taxi/bus. I was soaked when I arrived, and my legs burned, but I felt I had accomplished something. The experience was cathartic, I think. It got my brain working, and I might've figured something important out. We'll see on that one.

They just retired Scottie Pippen's number. I do feel bad for him. He'll always have that one guy ahead of him, and we'll always think of it that way. I suppose it'll be written down that way, too. Perhaps it's a valuable lesson for us mortals that there's always someone better than you at what you do. That's a rather depressing lesson, I suppose. That is, if you count what you do as the most important aspect of your being. There are other aspects, but you'll never see them honored in the same fashion.

What does it matter when we're all going to the same place? Ha. I had you going there. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Makings of a Night Off

I'm 15 minutes away from leaving the Woundup offices here on W. Hubbard St. _ the "Magnesium Mile." Outside, a robust snow storm _ not by Buffalo standards _ but tough enough for old Chicago. What method of escape will I choose? Public transportation or taxi?

Either way, it will inspire a spirited recounting _ if just for tonight, and if just for a few seconds ("Woooo... It is BAD out there!"). All I want to find is my beautiful wife, a bottle of wine and some DVDs on the other end. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Giving My Country Second... Best Crabcakes, 2005 Baltimore Arts Weekly

This has turned into a once-a-week WeBLoG. What happened? Am I... too busy on the job? A little bit, lately, but I'm never too busy. Have I... run out of ideas? It's something to consider. Or, am I... working on more important things? Well, that's a convenient excuse, and it makes me sound a helluva lot more important.

The no. 1 topic for WeBLoGers seems to be why they haven't been updating. Perfect fodder for an opera, says I (us)...

[Der Weltenschtammerer (The Blog Procrastinator)
Torvan, a young office worker, ticks away his days at his desk. Comes home and smokes weed, drinks Stella Artois and watches Comedy Central. He occasionally leaves his one-room apartment to meet friends for sushi or art openings. He enjoys reading modern magazines and taking trips to Mexico when his vacation days roll over. He rarely updates his blog.]

A waste of time? Sorry, but the libretto's already written. See you at the Civic Center.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Don't Turn Your Back on a Day-Old Semifreddo

Erika and I started our holiday gift list last night. It's true, I need some new corduroy pants, but what I really want... is dinner with New York Times food writers Florence Fabricant, R.W. Apple Jr., Eric Asimov and Frank Bruni. Nothing would give me more joy _ aside from the future birth of my children, and the possible first production of a play I've written. I would bring Erika, of course. What the hell _ throw in Peter Meehan and Mark Bittman, too.

I envision a trip to the City. We get there early and spend a few hours staring at the ducks in the cold at Central Park. We head to a restaurant on the Upper East Side and find the group has already ordered _ they say they waited for us. The writers pass the time with Times gossip and snipes at the staffs of Gourmet and Bon Appetit. "Have you had any good meals lately," I ask and am met with icy silence. One-by-one, they slip off to the bathroom and out of the restaurant, leaving my wife and I with the check _ a la "Bonfire of the Vanities." A memorable evening, truly.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Dagwood Jailed as Trotskyist

I'm excited to share with you what I've been working on the past three months. In the service of BigMedia, I've devised a Comics Subversiveness Rating _ a computer program that scans newspaper comic strips for questionable content.

With the old stand-byes (Garfield, Peanuts, Blondie, Brenda Starr) aging rapidly before our eyes, it's up to the newspaper editor to be meticulous in his/her scrutiny of the new generation of strips that will take their place. The Comic Subversiveness Rating is a tool to aid the editor in this process.

Simply feed 10 strips from a prospective comic into the machine and wait for the results. Let's look at some sample tests...

1. Perry Bible Fellowship: a three-to-four panel strip appearing in arts papers. CSR rating: 98.3. Highly offensive with explicit sexual content, free use of blood, satire of important corporate trademarks, perversion of children's stories and disrespect for the Christian religion.

This is an easy one. An editor could spot it a mile away. The real threat is what is known in the comics monitoring industry as a "trojan horse." For example...

2. Arlo and Janis: a four-panel strip appearing in large dailies nationwide. CSR rating: 94.2 _ the highest mark for a major strip. Thinly veiled contempt for the modern workplace and productivity in general. Promotes laziness, daydreaming, unstructured free time and portrays a free-floating consciousness similar to a drug-induced state.

In contrast, look at one strip that scored low on the CSR...

3. Edge City: a three-panel strip appearing in major dailies around the country. CSR rating: 13.4. The story of a two-parent, two-worker family. Encourages company loyalty, personal goals as stimuli for increased productivity, devotion to religious and traditional practices and the general curbing of non-traditional tendencies.

There you have it. Keeping the nation's mind safe. Tonight I plan to drink a bottle of wine and feed copies of "Heavy Metal" into the CSR machine. That makes it scream.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

RE: Hilarity

What happened in here last night? I opened the door to the Woundup office an hour ago and found empty beer cans, a full ashtray and several copies of "Achtung! Busen!" scattered about. I think the 7-person content team is starting to slack for the holidays. Management must tighten the reins _ shorter breaks, cheaper coffee... and Thai Food Tuesday will be postponed till further notice.

Some of you have inquired about Woundup Corp.'s "Artist in Residence" program. Following the trend of advertising agencies and NASA, we're offering use of the 8'x 8' practice room at our facility on W. Hubbard _ aka "The Magnesium Mile." We want to work with you, the musical artist, to develop Internet-ready content for the 18-35 youth market... ... ... ... ... ... ... Yes. You can sleep in the space.

(On an unrelated note, I would like to welcome our first-time German visitors, undoubtedly clicking here re: "busen." Thank you for helping to break's single-day hit total record. Guten Abend und froliche Weinachten!)


hey, hey, hey, hey! guess what? i am drunk! not exactly. i'm buzzed _ that's what a drunk person calls his condition when he doesn't want to admit he's drunk. it's way past my bedtime. just got back from the ol' hole in the wall. spent some quality time with mr. matt lentz _ a good chap. i've never posted under the influence before. seriously. it's a whole sub-genre of web-journaling. but not me. until now. but, frankly, my buzz is waning. i'll probably eat something, watch some PBS and go to bed. hmph. this isn't exciting at all, is it? lessee here. something to spice up... shows. i used to go to shows all the time. i don't much anymore. i suppose that's age. it's a lot of crap, if you ask me. i haven't seen anything good in a long time. maybe that's tied to age. chicago seems to be populated by superstar side-projects. a lot of bullshit, if you ask me. i think the 21 crowd needs to depose the 30 crowd _ that includes me. kick us off the throne. we're done. out of ideas. just look at this WeBLoG _ out of fucking ideas. pull my plug. finished. matt was talking about some eateries 'round midway airport. christ i'm hungry. l.h. putgrass signing off and heading for the tub.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Peeping Ron

I like living in the Ukrainian Village. It invites the passerby to peek into its collective windows at night. Take a stroll through the Village after dark, and you're sure to spot some interesting living rooms. Why not stand on the sidewalk and peer in for a few minutes? I do it all the time.

When I'm feeling lazy _ which is often _ I just look out our front windows. There's at least one apartment lit up across the street with the drapes open. It's a second floor flat and appears to have the same avocado green paint scheme and lighting as our last apartment on Noble Street. It even has a plant in the window _ just like our old place. I keep thinking I'm going to look over there one night and catch myself staring back _ me, but from last year. I look closer.

(cue psychedelic guitar)

Damn. The Mach 3 Turbo is not the close shave it advertised itself as. Should I go back to electric?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The World of Links

Hey, hey! Thank you to the Baseballwonk crew for linking to this site. I encourage you to visit them in the dugout. As a fan, I am happy to see the flood of new, wonderful posts.

Now the bad news. Some of you _ oh, I can't even say it. It is an electronic tragedy of the first order. Prior to the formation of Woundup Corp., an advanced content team funded by some of our current investors sought to assay the attitudes of the internet youth market. This entailed writing a web diary from the point of view of an android who lived in Orland Park, Ill., with his creator. Well... our technical director forgot to update that old site with a link to our current space... and you know what happens to WeBLoGS that don't get updated, don't you? If there is a ray of sunshine in this sad, sad situation, it's that the content team saved the original posts in Word files. They will be reposted sometime in the next few months.

To All the Flacks I've Loved Before

Part of my job involves talking to PR people _ flacks, as we call them on this end. I've been doing this for over three years, and I've seen a number of archetypes sift out. Let me share some of them with you...

_ The Nut Who Can't Believe You Don't Want to Write About His Stupid Idea: These are usually people flacking their own books or companies. You can hear them blinking in disbelief when you don't express awe at their pitch, say, for a book on Illinois' most famous Mafia gravesites.

_ The New Yorker: Usually a 30-ish woman with a nasally voice. They begin their pitch with the hyphenated name of the PR conglomerate they're enslaved to: Rubenstein-Gidwitz-Stern, Blastula-Thompson-Reed, etc. They speak quickly and are forgotten quickly. A corollary to this is...

_ The New York Hipster: A younger male. Usually flacking big corporate events and tours for cell phones or satellite radio. Their voices are tinged with the irony, condescension and self-hatred that are fast becoming the defining features of our generation.

_ The Jock: Sports flacks. The younger ones are of the ESPN school _ you can hear them smacking gum and sneering over the line. The older ones are like high school gym teachers, which I find comforting for some reason.

_ The Burned Out: Often older. Sighs frequently. At the end of his/her rope and with a constant headache. Maybe you'll feel sorry and agree to write the stupid story. Closely related to...

_ The Angry Flack: Also older. Has survived in the ruthless PR business by being a massive asshole, and you'd better write this stupid story, you peon. Let me talk to your editor.

_ The Yammer-er: Gives you the whole pitch in one breathless sentence before you can even say "Hello." My solution? Say "No," then hang up.

_ TOO Personal!: This was popular with female flacks in our state government offices when I started my job. They call you "sweetie" and "honey." One state flack would open unsolicited calls with a long pause then a whispered, breathy "It's me." Thankfully, this approach has gone the way of the Carrier Pigeon, though we might be ripe for a comeback (shudder).

_ The Speaker Phone Warrior: There's one state flack, god bless him, that tries to convey his authority by using a speaker phone. These kind of people get red-flagged to the front of the line for disparaging fictional representations.

_ The City Worker: Flacks for Chicago government offices are a lot like their brethren behind the counters at the DMV: Laconic, slow-moving, perturbed. The only exception are cop flacks, who are obliging and direct in a cop-like manner.

_ The Nice Flack: I won't say they're rare, but I wish they'd call a little more often.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Caught in a Web

Geezuz Kristmas! These band websites are getting more elaborate by the minute. Don't know what brought me to this one, but goddamn! If their music could even approach the creativity of their webpage, they'd be playing on the roof of the RnR Hall of Fame _ the Rest and Relaxation Hall of Fame in St. Petersburg, Fla. I hope to be enshrined there one day. My lifetime couch-laying average is sitting pretty at .303.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


I just paid for an expensive, stat-tracking webcounter. How expensive? I'd rather not print it here for tax purposes. Needless to say, the Missus and I won't be eating out for awhile

But, I think it's worth it. I need to know who you are. You right there _ the reader. This expensive stat-tracking service can tell me a lot about you. Feeling afraid? Perhaps you should. They say feelings of paranoia peak in one's early 30's _ so most of you, as I check my statsheet printout here, should feel quite edgy.

Oh, don't worry. I can't get your social security number. I don't know what you'll be having for dinner tonight _ though I wish you'd call me once in a while. I'll bring over a nice bottle of wine, and we can talk about how you fit into the target demographic schematic.

Here're a few tidbits to whet your whistle:
89% of Woundup readers enjoy foreign films.
93% of Woundup readers have skimmed a book on communism.
76% of Woundup readers like fur-lined boots.
88% of Woundup readers haven't renewed their subscription to the New Yorker.

Huh. Well, I feel I know a little more about you... Actually, I now know a lot more about you. My machine can smell the fragrant residue of your internet use. Care for an Advil? My data says 99.3% of you would.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A War We Can't Win, Inc.

I'm a bit addicted to Yahoo news blurbs _ the little headlines on their homepage. These outrageous teasers seem aimed at itinerant web surfers looking for cheap thrills. One link caught my eye this morning: "Tuberculosis likely influenced Orwell's '1984.'"

There is a distrust of high culture in A. mainstream journalism and B. the American middle class. In "high culture," I would include serious literature. The work of this Dr. Ross, while intriguing, when it's capsulized on this Yahoo site just feeds the above prejudices _ particularly of B. The way it's cast, it seems that many (or even all) great works of literature were written by the sickly, demented or insane (Shakespeare's syphilis?). The notion that something like "1984" could only be written when, this article suggests, Orwell was not in his right mind is disheartening. Of course, further down, a Stanford professor says that sickness was only a small part of Orwell's creative drive. But that is "further down."

I am leary of this kind of biographical study _ that of the "disease muse." I think it reinforces a negative stereotype that further marginalizes artists _ this time as "sick" and possibly "crazy." It drives the average American away from great literature by allowing them to bolster their laziness and suspicion. "I don't have to read 1984. I don't have to understand it. Orwell had TB. He was crazy."

[And what about this passage?
"In the 19th and early 20th century, tuberculosis -- also known as consumption -- often struck artists and authors who lived in crowded, germ-filled slums. In many cases, infected people slowly wasted away, giving the victims a romantic cast, as seen in the film 'Moulin Rouge.'"
A sneaking glimpse into the bald inner life of ace reporter Randy Dotinga?]

Our mainstream culture does not challenge our citizens intellectually _ that is a rhetorical statement of the first order. This article is a subtle attack on the creative impulse and a reinforcement of America's intellectual infantilism _ the reluctance to face painful feelings and questions. Yahoo provides many soothing entertainment alternatives on its home page.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Great Moments in Agitated Music

In light of the flood of 10-year-ish anniversary re-releases with bonus material, I would like to cast my vote for Six Finger Satellite's "Severe Exposure" (1995, Sub Pop) to receive the royal repackaging treatment. I would kill _ KILL _ for unreleased tracks from this album's studio sessions.

I take "Exposure" with a grain of nostalgia _ like many of these 10-year plan reissues, it first hit during my greener days at ol' State U. But its caustic nature quickly strips away any such warm feelings. It's one of the best rock 'n roll records _ ever. I'm serious. It rises above its new wave/motorik/noise trappings into the orbit of "Funhouse" _ the measure for all great rock music. I'm serious.

"Exposure" is indeed a lot like "Funhouse" _ the production is straightforward with the rhythm section very prominent. I picture it in this dark vortex _ at least in my mind _ the music is bright red like a muscle or a limb, moving, flexing in space. The Six Finger record, like "Funhouse," gets wilder, more unhinged as it progresses... till you end up with "LA Blues" (or "Board the Bus").

I encourage you to revisit this classic _ or listen for the first time. It'll keep you up at night, and keep your downstairs neighbor a step closer to that domestic disturbance call.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Head Games

Man... for a good time, read Freud's "Civilization and Its Discontents." I laughed out loud several times _ not at his wit, but at the sheer, crushing darkness of his worldview. I'm just starting the section on wo/man's disappointment with participating in society _ the daily curbing of her/his personal desires.

Why do I keep reading it? I do find it interesting, but I'm afraid it will send me over the cliff into despair. The days are getting shorter, and that has also affected my Behavior in the past. But hey _ why not toy with danger? I'm just expressing my Death Instinct.

Part of me thinks I can stand up to the suggestive powers of such an authoritative work _ that I can view it objectively. It's like a test. Don't get me wrong _ I don't pretend to believe I'm stronger than anyone else. I'm probably weaker. I don't know. There's always the Tribune sports section... oh wait, that's a pain-averting diversion! Dammit!!!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Have the Courage to Turn Your Back

I am generally against this sort of thing, but I'd love to write a play or screenplay about NYTimes food writers Florence Fabricant, R.W. Apple Jr., Frank Bruni and Eric Asimov _ I see them all pooling to work in a clown car. Maybe they solve murder mysteries in their spare time. Christ, I've been watching way too much Channel 101. It's a bad influence.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Bull Session

There has been a strange trend, slowly evolving in sports media, in which animals (horses, bulls, etc.) that participate in human-sanctioned games (races, etc. ) are called "athletes."

During a late-season Cubs rain delay, WGN ran a program highlighting 100 great athletes. One of these was Triple Crown winner Secretariat _ a race horse.

Today I leafed thru a recent copy of ESPN the Magazine and found an article on Reindeer _ a particularly ornery bull on the Professional Bull Riders circuit.

ESPN the Magazine extended its typical fawning treatment of human athletes to this animal _ calling it a "diva," and even running a portrait shot at the head of the article like the bull was Dwayne Wade. One expert praised Reindeer's athleticism in the story.

I suppose we should compliment ESPN for its superior mythologizing skills. Over the course of the article, I began to think of Reindeer as a star _ rich with the complexity our greatest sports heroes possess.

Is it cruel to call Secretariat and Reindeer by what amounts to a euphemism? Aren't they forced like slaves into these games? Aren't they goaded _ whipped and otherwise _ to be angrier, more violent?

The ESPN article makes it sound like Reindeer lives a life of splendor _ full of food and mates. The bull's owner seems to think Reindeer understands he is a prized performer _ that he likes it.

It's ridiculous to project human feelings onto animals, calling them "athletes" _ a title only humans should carry. It's insulting _ to both man and beast _ to liken what happens on the horse track or in the bull ring to a baseball game. Frankly, it's insane.

The Comforting Squirt of Brain Chemicals

My dreams are getting stranger _ or maybe it's that I'm remembering them more. There was a time _ a period of years _ when I did not dream. The last few weeks have seen an uptick in my subconscious activity (or is it called alpha/delta wave activity?). I cannot attribute this to anything in particular. Perhaps it's the changing of the seasons.

I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and went back to sleep for an hour. It was then that I had a dream...

I was back in high school, though I later learned it was graduate school. I was in a classroom filled with the classic high school desks with the built-on plastic slab desktops. The teacher was White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. He had us study some pictures of the Art Institute that he drew himself and determine what his psychological problem was from a list of five options (man, I wish I could remember these). Ozzie kept driving out students, who got up and left throughout the class. At one point, one of my real-life co-workers came in with a large dog _ like a Great Dane. The dog had no ears and eyes like a mole _ barely visible. I thought maybe it had been deformed by a firework explosion, but my coworker told the class it was just a rare breed.

What does it all mean? I don't think it means anything _ just an entertaining nocturnal vision _ an assemblage of experiences, longings and ruminations _ a few frames from the human cinema _ a patchwork quilt of our (cont. tomorrow)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

King of the Nighttime World

At some point I fell asleep after drinking a homemade gimlet. Is this one of the warning signs? Of a boring ball game, perhaps. I left Tuman's when the power blinked off, hid my beer in my coat and drank it as I walked through the darkened neighborhood. A telling image from our nation's post-oil nightmare future or another chapter in the continuing story of public miscreancy? I tastefully brought the bottle inside my apartment to throw away _ instead of decorating one of the many renovation sites in the Village.

Again, I feel I should only log in here when I awake during the night. But, then it's been debated whether I should log in here at all. I'm going to bed either way.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

We Never Should Have Taken Out Willoughby

Mike Golic, one half of ESPN radio's morning drive-time squawk team, has no choice now but to talk about the White Sox. Golic, in my opinion, is a Chicago naysayer, but the capricious nature of his show makes him follow the hottest story and__viola!__he is now a Chi-town cheerleader. Screw you, Golic.

As a Chicago resident, I'm supposed to have an opinion on this phenomenon _ the World Series. I am happy for White Sox fans. They can feel the hot breath of the title on their faces. But, I am a Cubs fan, and I am kicking myself that those bastards BLEW IT IN 2003. WHY DIDN'T DUSTY GO OUT TO THE MOUND TO CALM DOWN PRIOR IN GAME 6? WHERE WAS MATT CLEMENT IN GAME 7? WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING, DUSTY???

The Cubs are the kind of team _ unlike, say, the Yankees or Braves _ that get to the playoffs once a decade. So now we have to watch Mark Prior and Carlos Zambrano waste away their careers playing on sub-.500 teams. And maybe they can be the competent, but declining veterans on the next Cubs squad to get mangled in the fanged jaws of the postseason.


Friday, October 21, 2005

Riding the Abuse-cycle

Just got word a small town letters-for-Santa-Claus campaign is getting write-ups in a lesbian lifestyle magazine AND Military Money. Everyone loves Santy Claus, see? In her defense, the flak was very, very nice.

You think I can sit here behind the glass wall and deride whomever I please? Turnabout is fair play, as witnessed a few moments later in the offices of P. Putnall Publishers, Manhattan, N.Y. ...

"Hey Allan, just got a call from Donahue."
"That blogger? That's the fifth time today."
"Yeah. He says he wants a three-book deal. A collection of his bloggings."
"Tell him to go fuck himself."
"Will do."

Don't think it can't happen to you.

It Lacks Lustre

Wow. I glanced at the Empty Bottle lineup for the coming week. I feel like it's 2001 again. Quintron. Get Hustle. Sheesh. For Halloween, I should dress as my favorite personality from 2001 _ and I don't mean the critically acclaimed motion picture. Christ, I hate Halloween.

Now the weather is getting colder, and I am getting... bolder. We'll see what the temperature is like when I hit the streets at 1:45 a.m. tomorrow morning. I'll be on Oakley between Walton and Chicago around that time. I generally carry big bills. Please don't break my glasses if you hit me.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Woundup v. City Spirit, et al

Chicago is over-saturated with BASEBALL news. What did Ruben Bolling say? You can go 10 years without a non-sports-related thought about CHICAGO.

Yes, it was only a matter of time before I put the flashing "NaySayer" light on the hood of my car and hit the gas. Nobody likes a good backlash more than the 7-person content team here at Woundup.

That said, I'm ecstatic Sam Smith's "Inside the NBA" column has returned to its weekly rotation in the Tribune. Let's put the pastoral leftovers of the summer game to rest and embrace basketball _ and the indoor life, in general. I'm a big proponent of the indoor life.

Why do I like Sam Smith? He has fun _ especially when he's hypothesizing trades. He throws out at least one trade idea each week so ridiculous it makes sense _ like today's Kevin Garnett for Dirk Nowitzki straight-up swap. Why not?

There's hope in trades _ change, new beginnings, etc. Who doesn't love that stuff? The 05-06 NBA season is a blank sheet of possibility, so sit down, turn off the lights and CATCH IT.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Greatest

The cosmic connection is positively crackling...

Monday night I went to a local bookstore I hold in great contempt _ but nonetheless patronize _ and bought Erika another copy of "The Crucible" for her student teaching work along with a modestly priced collection of Harold Pinter plays.

I came home and read the introduction to the Pinter collection _ text of his acceptance speech for a German theater award in the early '70s. I spent a lot of time flipping the book over to look at the picture of Pinter on the back _ from the same era _ nattily dressed in a dark suit, purple shirt, tie and gray suede shoes. I placed this book on our plant table in the front room next to the couch, so I'll see it whenever I sit down to watch TV _ a totem to ward off laziness.

And now this.

Pinter is one of the greatest of all time. He is one of my heroes. I write this with the utmost joy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


I've dedicated my life to snuffing out corporo-speak _ at least in those places I have some power over. I, for example, don't use this plastic jargon around the house or on the bus ride to work (though try as I might, I cannot prevent my fellow riders from venerating the B2B Portal on their handheld compu-screens).

As I slash a path through the dense growth of double-speak, I promise to spare one leaden term _ Facility. I like Facility, as in: "We boast a 2500 square foot facility in Camden, N.J. for processing peer-to-client orders." I don't know why _ maybe it rings faintly with the sound of home: "I cordially invite you to our 200 square foot facility for the processing of tofu lasagna and $5 red wine."

On that day, when I find Facility hiding in some lexical thicket, I'll trap him in a cage and set it on the back porch so I can admire his dull, gray feathers while I take my morning tea.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Give My Regards to the Fourth Estate

Proving Woundup is the internet's foremost cosmic hub _ at least for the theater world _ Hedy Weiss is now involved in a flap with the producer of a local, big-budget show. Read here. Woundup thinks Weiss is right on. These Broadway productions are huge cash cows. God forbid someone question one of them and threaten to stem the flow of money. "Broadway" and "Quality" are NOT synonymous, and in a "free" country we should be notified accordingly.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Thank You Lord for the Gift of Guilt

I was sitting on our new couch in my underwear watching the Sox game last night. The lights were off in the apartment. Tadahito Iguchi had just a hit three-run homer, making the Red Sox pay for Tony Graffanino's Bill-Buckner-esque error on a ground ball. I sank deeper into the down cushions and thought, "This is all I'm gonna do tonight."

The commerical break came, and I switched to Channel 11 _ "Chicago Tonight," our local PBS news, arts wrapup. And who was Bob Sirott speaking to? Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times theater critic. "I get the hint!" I yelled to the TV, and after the game I went out on the back porch to work.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Lunch with the Gray Lady

Apart from the time I spend with my wife, nothing brings me more joy than the NYTimes Wednesday Dining section. I know I'll always find a quality front page story on local (New York) or international cuisine, along with intriguing pieces on booze and the restaurant industry.

It seems a colorful world _ restaurants _ and though I'd never enter its frenetic confines for work, it remains rich for fictional use. I can think of only two films on the cooking life, "Big Night" and "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman." I know there must be more, and also plays, novels, poems. Someone help me out.

That said... It's time for lunch.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Film Studies Majors Unite

Feeling better, feeling better... breaking out of the "Communicative Jail Cell" makes us feel better.

And what else, you ask, lifts our spirits? Tedward tipped me off to a fantastic site, and I am not embarassed to shill for it:

Channel 101

Watch and love... or retch.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Falling From the Tree

I have a strange family. I don't see them that much, so I usually live under the illusion that they are "normal." I hate that word, but it's the only one that conveys what I'm trying to get at.

I love my family, but I don't understand them _ specifically my mother. I imagine we're all in this same boat. The Family is the no. 1 source of material for playwrights, so that isn't all bad...

I think I'm taking it all too seriously, but I can't help feeling something. It brings out contours from the map of my life _ the moments of failure, weakness, irresponsibility _ and makes them seem the dominant tone of the whole thing. I don't know. We have hope for change. It takes personal action. I just don't like people telling me when/how I should take that action.

That feels better. There is your emotional content for today.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

We Do It The Old Fashioned Way...

One of the local sports talkers is running an infomercial for a football betting hotline. It's very elaborate _ designed to sound like a regular sports talk show. Back at school, the editorial soldiers fretted about the new, insidious ways the advertising insurgents were dynamiting their objective sanctity: advertorials, corporate-sponsored magazines, etc.

Nothing works like going through the front door. A nice eggs hollandaise breakfast can turn a 1200-word interview into free advertising quicker'n you can say "kid gloves." That or a goat cheese omellette. I'd like a large orange juice with that, please.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Broadcast Notes

1. Fans of 94.7 FM, the Zone, were decimated yesterday when their nouveau-metal home morphed into an oldies station _ a change as shocking as the earlier capitulation of Oldies 104 for soulless Jack FM. This now gives Chicagoland listeners TWO oldies outlets, as the new 94.7 joins stalwart AM 1690. After listening to the candied-up FM offering, I advise "real" Oldies fans to stick to the AM band. 1690 is almost entirely pre-Beatles and Stones. A welcome respite.

2. WLUP 97.9 FM has resurrected the classic dancing fat guy TV commercial from its old AM arm's glory days (read Early Jordan Years). If you don't know what this commercial is/was, go back to whatever backwater burgh you came from. Just kidding! I love you people! Tune in next week for more notes.

Guns for Hire

One of pro football's more curious aspects emerged on the heels of this weekend's New York Jets match. After losing their starting quarterback, Chad Pennington, along with his backup, Jay Fiedler, in the same game, the Green Machine found themselves dangerously low on signal callers _ their playoff hopes dissipating like morning mist off the Jersey swamp.

With no other choice, Jets brass started calling every out-of-work quarterback with NFL experience. There is a hidden pool of players currently out of the league that can be hired in such an emergency situation: Tim Couch, Vinny Testeverde, Jeff George, Quincy Carter...

I picture, say, Kordell Stewart working offshore on a clam boat. He's pulling up the nets when the shortwave crackles to life. It's Ravens owner Art Modell. Kyle Boller went down on Sunday. When can you get here? Stewart rends his coveralls revealing a Ravens uniform and full pads. He dons his helmet and dives into the cold waters of the Chesapeake Bay, heading toward Baltimore.

Who doesn't love a rags-to-riches story? One minute you're counting turnips in New Hampshire, the next you're running a bootleg at the Meadowlands.

I know it's a long list, so I expect Herm Edwards won't call till after lunch... ... ... Lemme check my voice mail again...

Monday, September 26, 2005

I Smoldereth Yet

The fire still burns within me...

We went to a Ukrainian church rummage sale this past weekend. I should have my collector's card revoked. After dicking around at the housewares table with the baby monitors, I saw a portly 30-something walk past with a vinyl copy of NEU! 1 _ priced at 1 dollar.

He wore the poker face of the pro record shopper _ tinged mechanically with smugness. Our eyes met. I knew I could grab the NEU! and bolt for the door, past the patriarch's portrait and out onto Rice Street. But then I saw his young son. It would be a bad scene.

So I waited in the alley outside. I never saw him pass, but Erika found me 15 minutes later _ a thin film of sweat covering my face.

"Are you all right?" she asked.
"Oh... just getting some fresh air."

We walked home, and for a few moments more I felt the fire. I don't think it'll ever go out. Not until the last Ukrainian hippie has donated his record collection.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

In the Tragedy Business

I slept nearly 12 hours last night _ the makeup game for my nighttime carousing (see below). Erika gave me a free pass, so I headed for bed around 8:30 p.m. Woke up around 2 a.m. Read a little on the couch, then returned to the chamber for the second act. I only remember one dream _ in which I gave a pep talk to some Chicago Bears.

Ashamedly, I admit I am entranced by CNN's "'Cane Cam" (my term). I look up every few minutes to see if the path of the hammer has swung northward. I don't want anyone else to die or get hurt or go homeless. Yesterday's NYTDiNe section had a sad story on the horrible impact of the last storm on the city's restaurants.

So if we're all against human suffering and economic catastrophe, why is there a little weather map showing the hurricane's path on a constant loop? I think you know the answer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Beer Roulette & Theoretical Parking

Had a wonderful evening witnessing Diamond Nights at the (soon-to-be-good-riddance) Bottom Lounge. They were tops, as usual. Check 'em out if you haven't already.

I started playing "Beer Roulette" _ a game popular with myself, acted out in bars that organize their brew choices along a shelf like a police lineup. The results can be devastating, and though I mostly kept my composure last night, I felt sodden when our party arrived at Estelle's. Hanging desperately to the last rags of my self-control, I did not enter _ choosing instead to look through the window at the throng of dark, moving shapes.

Tim and I had veggie burgers at the underground hot dog stand. It was great to see him. I wish I could live there again, or they could live here, or we could all in live in an amalgam city with the best features of both. Hmmm.... NewChiYorkago. Can you imagine permit parking in the East Village? Alternating, street cleaner parking in Wrigleyville? Yes, it always comes down to parking...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The End of an Era v.3.1

I made a bad choice in this morning's post. See if you can find it...

"... sounds a bit like my younger self. You might remember my younger self. He was last seen at Home of the Hits looking for Mahavishnu Orchestra LPs."

Mahavishnu Orchestra. And it gets less funny the more I look at it. What would've been a better choice? Right now, I'd like to replace it with "Bob Newhart LPs." I think that's in line with my idiom _ the image I've created (or rather, the seven-person content team created).

Is this what they call meta-blogging? Uh-oh. Another buzz expression. They're leaking in all over the place! I think the content team is out looking for... uh... Brecker Brothers LPs __ wait! I've figured it out!

Fusion is no longer funny.

Lend a Hand, Take a Stand

Reading back yesterday's post... I promise you reader, I will not use this space to give myself backhanded compliments and secretly trumpet my own personal wealth. I was not bragging about my TV last night. It's a more of an albatross... or maybe a large egret.

What I mean is... "So, I, like, just bought this Blackburry..." Well, welcome to the adult race. We're happy for you. All those years of punk rock ideals out the window. Congratulations for giving in to the great TechnoSatan. You're a big person now.

A saucy post... sounds a bit like my younger self. You might remember my younger self. He was last seen at Home of the Hits looking for Mahavishnu Orchestra LPs. Come back! We miss you!

Monday, September 19, 2005

SunBox + Sun Times =

More thoughts...

1. We now have a big living room with a big TV. No, it's not my idea of the American dream _ and it's definitely not Erika's. Frankly, I'm embarrased to have this fucking hulk of plastic. But, shit, does football look good on it. I'm watching the early Monday night game _ Giants vs. Saints. I can see the sweat between Eli Manning's eyebrows. I don't think I could handle HD at this proximity. It would kill me.

2. Speaking of technology... many of my friends and associates have these powerful little laptop computers. Wouldn't it be nice if I could sit in my big living room, in front of my big, pagan idol TV and write, say, something light like this? I will deny "blog" is a verb till they send the paddy wagon for me _ and don't think it won't happen.

3. I've been vegetarian since July 1st-ish, and lately I've felt the longing... It happens in short, intense flashes _ for the worst meat possible. The bus stops in front of Burger King. Triple-decker angus beefburger _ known in the medical community as "the college funder." Oh man. The smell of meat met my nostrils last night at the local church fair. I could hear the sizzling juices. My mind raced: Ribs. BBQ sauce. Shrimp cocktail. Spicy cocktail sauce. Fried catfish. Tabasco sauce. NO. NO. I WILL NOT GIVE IN. MEAT IS OBSELETE. Just remember that. Put it on your evolutionary billboard. Meat is obselete.

So... when's dinner?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Mehr Ausreden

I don't have anything else to do, and now I'm here. I really don't want to be. If I could just get out of it...


Uta: Es handelt sich hier folglich um mein Verständnis und meine Sicht.

Klaus: Nein.

Uta: Meine Methode ist einfach.

Klaus: Nein.

Uta: Die Annahme eines Ubw mit so weitreichenden Wirkungen versetzt dem Glauben des Rationalismus.

Klaus: Nein.

Uta: Es liegt im Wesen des Ubw, dass es als solches – direkt – nicht beobachtbar ist.

Klaus: Nein.


Klaus: Nein.



Klaus: Nein.

(Uta scheidt aus. Enden.)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Self-Pity, Self-Help, Self-Serve Buffet

Phewff... It's been one of those days. My morning commute _ once like riding on an air conditioned cloud _ has turned into a elbowing match with Chicago's young and ambitious. Funny how an extra .5 miles can alter your reality (and mood) infinitesimally.

And, of course, I forgot my own mother's birthday, so I had to call her from work. She turned 60 yesterday and none of her three sons phoned to wish her well.

I am trying to laugh. If I've learned anything from my years on the couch, it's that I can choose how to react to occurences in my life. So, I choose not to be upset. I choose to comfort those I love, support them and listen to them. I choose to continue my creative work despite self-doubt. And all the rest I blow out my nose.

Later, Erika and I will fight traffic out to Barrington to attend a wedding rehearsal for a couple everyone is predicting will divorce in two years. I hope at least the dinner's good.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Crystal Purity

Three points...

1. I'm drinking the first of my six Naleczowianka waters _ a sparkling mineral water from Poland. $5 for the whole pack. It's a peculiar bottle _ 1.5 liters _ and it's narrow in the middle, the plastic pinched to form a handle with tight grooves to facilitate grip. It makes the bottle look like the ship from "2001." There's a more traditional, bottom part on which the label is affixed. The top part, above the grip handle, balloons out and up to the nozzle. This top, bulbous region makes a little lake of bubbly sparkling water with the ridged plastic of the grip area forming a sloping floor like tiny, underwater sand dunes. It reminds of the last sequence of "Heavy Metal," where that woman with the sword is swimming in the underground pool in front of that giant statue. Now I can imagine a little person or maybe a little boat floating in the upper, bulbous part of my Naleczowianka bottle, and that makes it all the more enjoyable to drink.

2. I was thinking about buying the six pack of water all day.

3. I am one of those irritating people who soils my conversation in the real world with content from my blog. Wait... In this case, it's the reverse. In this case, I am one of those irritating people who uses dull material from my own life to populate my blog. One of my friends will read this and think, "Christ. He's still talking about the fucking water." Guilty.

We Love You, Jim O'Donnell

I've intimated in these electronic pages in the past my digust with the work of Sun-Times sports writer Jim O'Donnell. But lately he's grown on me _ purely for his brazen and continuing crimes against writing logic. Witness today's latest and this passage in particular...

"Of equal importance, (Fasano's) presence -- in lockstep with backup tight end John Carlson -- enabled Weis to glide through a concerto of five-receiver sets and double-tight-end formations with all the ease of Jimmy Buffett at Wrigley Field."

How about Daniel Barenboim? Wouldn't that match up with "concerto" better? I know he's trying to be topical with Buffet, but I don't think of Der Parrotfuhrer first when...
A. Discussing football.
B. Discussing an elegant, well-performed piece of music.

Another hallmark of the O'Donnell style is the impenetrable, head-scratching lead...

"If (Fasano) accidentally cut off a car as he blew by on the Garden State Parkway or the Indiana Toll Road, the rear-viewed driver would be wise to glance up and thank Fasano and St. Anthony with the same salute."

What is the cut-off driver glancing up from? His hands? His dashboard? Wouldn't he already be watching Fasano cut him off _ and not have to glance up to thank him? If that is indeed the case, then where are these person's eyes rising to? A St. Anthony medallion hanging on a rear view mirror? If so, in order to thank both St. Anthony AND Fasano, Fasano would have to be behind the driver. Didn't he just cut this imaginary person off? Is he looking up to heaven? Why would he look there to thank Fasano? And why would this person thank Fasano, anyway? Presumably, it's because he's so charming. But if you bring St. Anthony into it _ and say "thank" _ it sounds like Fasano prevented an accident. What if the passenger smiled or blushed, instead?

Regardless, I'm still towing the new party line. Keep up the good work, JOD.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Four day weekend! Yes, I'm coming off a four-day weekend. The new apartment is wonderful, and we christened it with our first guest last night _ who was our first guest at the old 1228 house, if I remember correctly _ a certain J. Stockton. Erika and I ripped open the book boxes and put our favorites in the beautiful glass hutch in the dining room.

Our place is coming together wonderfully. Next steps include getting new furniture and tearing up the carpet. We love the neighborhood, the shops, the proximity, everything. There's an enclosed back porch on which I've constructed a makeshift writing desk of milk crates and a cardboard box. So far it's worked wonders.

A house-warming is in the mix, though I don't have an exact date. Maybe we can get it to coincide with the next Diamond Nights show. I applaud those stolid men of metal who broke free from the prison of hyphenated web addresses. See here. You've probably noticed Woundup has a hyphenated web address. That's because this guy got here first. Hey buddy. UPDATE.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

New Home, New Questions

I finally feel I have a minute to write. Erika and I did a power move Tuesday night with the help of her family. We couldn't have done it without them.

Now we're in a new house _ with more space than we've ever had before _ much more than our last place. There are closets and hutches and cabinets and store rooms... I am a perfectionist, an organizer and a neatnik, so my mind grinds as we figure out what to put where. I want it to be just right. And it will be just right. So what more can I tell myself? ... ... ... it will be just right... ... ... I want it to be just right... ... ... such is the operation of my mind.

I think I should challenge myself to relax and take things in stride, not only in this situation, but in general. Can a person change his/her behavior? Maybe. I don't know. I can only try myself. It takes effort. It is uncomfortable. Should we fight our natural tendencies. Can a child's mind be molded despite its natural tendencies because it has no knowledge of them? I am no longer a child _ as much as my generation wishes a 29 year old could be a child. I don't know.

And what is an adult? Can there be more than one idea? Are artistic pursuits adult pursuits? Is the dissolution of dreams and the laying aside of ambitions _ aside from those which further the "home" adult? I don't know.

Enough. We need a shower curtain.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hope You Are Safe

Just heard Bay St. Louis, Miss., one of our favorite stops on our June honeymoon, was hit by a 22-foot storm surge. We hope all the wonderful people we met along the Gulf Coast are safe, and their properties are spared damage. The same goes for New Orleans.

We're moving tomorrow. Details in the following days.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

With the First Pick I Select... Jim Harbaugh

Well, the fantasy football fantasy draft took a great big crap this morning. Yahoo rejected us due to an odd number of players, and now everything's in turmoil. I'm planning to make a speedy run back into the arms of the work league. Such upheaval!

If you think I'm bad, check out Meat Loaf _ yes, the singer _ and his serious fantasy football addiction. Mindblowing.

I'd Like to Claim 29 Child-Size Sundaes, Please

Today is my 29th birthday. Erika, whose 25th birthday was yesterday, surprised me with a party last night at Tuman's. It was wonderful. I caught up with a lot of folks, and I think we all enjoyed ourselves _ the best birthday in recent memory. The only thing that would've made it better would've been my dear old pals from out of town. I know I'll see you all soon enough.

Happy birthday to my great friend, Aaron. We were born on the same day, a year apart... back in the mid-70s _ a magical time.

Monday, August 22, 2005

We Live in a Big City

The two big running stories since the weekend...

_ Something fell off a plane during the airshow on Saturday and landed in the lake between Division and North Ave. Ominous, particularly for us, since that's the view from our front window (16 blocks away).

_ The "Cloud Gate" sculpture _ the giant metallic bean _ is less than a week away from a re-unveiling following many months of buff work... and criticism it was constructed incorrectly.

There have been stories on both topics on multiple channels since Saturday. I'm hoping they can make it through the whole week _ just to see if they can do it. A pending Air Force investigation has breathed new life into MissleRailGate (page 1 Sun-Times today).


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Heavy Manners

Here's a tidbit about New Orleans, where we spent a large part of our honeymoon. It's from an article re: N.O.'s rising murder rate...

"Researchers last year conducted an experiment in which police fired 700 blank rounds in a neighborhood in a single afternoon. No one called to report the shots."

I feel bad for the people who live in that neighborhood _ not only for the level of crime they endure, but for the fact they're subjected to these kind of obnoxious police experiments. They are a captive, beaten audience.

The CPD used to do its police roll calls in my old Humboldt Park neighborhood. They'd all blow down Campbell with their sirens blazing, get out at the corner of Potomac and assemble for a brief show of dominance for the local thugs. I don't know if this ever worked, but it made me feel like I lived in a police state.

Chicago has been creative in its manufacture of sophisticated band-aids for deep urban wounds: police saturation patrols and camera boxes, military academies and r.o.t.c. But like shooting rounds and rounds of blanks off in a bad neighborhood, these do nothing but remind many in our city that they've sunk to a new level of hopelessness.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Happy Birthday, Francine

Whew! The Woundup Diaryland archives are safe! I renewed the referral page just a moment ago. I need to keep that large body of evidence against me online.

There are many birthdays coming up including Erika, my brother Terry, my buddy Aaron and my Mom in early September. Let's hear it for Leo's and Virgo's and their various combinations. A wonderful group of people.

And let's not forget... Me. August 23. I will be 29 years old. What do I want for my birthday? One of the many books by Steve Allen... barring that, a pleasant dinner with my wife and maybe a little theater. What else is there?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


After all our apartment searching (over 30 places), it turns out the landlord is planning to re-do the place in the image of our habitat dreams. Now we must decide between staying or moving to a 3-bedroom place on Walton, down the block from Stellas. It's tempting, but so is the rest of a year without heavy lifting. One thing is certain _ we need new furniture. On that, there will be no compromise.

The weather is mellowing in Chicago. I like this time of year. We survived the summer, though there may be a heat push before the week is over. The comics in the Sun-Times, at least three of them, reflected late summer boredom today _ their little cartoon people languishing in the grass. We'll miss it come February.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

One Word... Classy

Erika and I had a fantastic dinner last night at La Scarola on Grand. Fantastic. The walls of the place are covered with pics of local and national celebs _ heavy on media stars. And who did I see, grinning down at me from on high, but Chet "Chit-Chat" Coppock in a promo glossy straight from 1989.

I used to listen to the Chetster's evening sports show on AM 1000, the old WLUP _ that powerhouse of Chicago radio in the '80s and early '90s _ home of Jonathan Brandmeier, Kevin Matthews and Steve and Garry.

When I think Chicago, Jordan years, Mike Tomczak, Don Zimmer, WILL PERDUE _ I think Chet Coppock. I remember listening to the NBA draft on 'LUP in 1990. I was 14. And when we moved to Buffalo, I would try to find AM 1000 on my bedroom radio at night, remembering that the AM waves travelled farther. But I only found garbled whispers.

It was an honor to tread upon Chet's faded footsteps. Oh, don't worry, he's still here and going strong, and I'm sure he still eats at La Scarola. I recommend the macaroni arrabiata.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Our Game

Another football season is cranking up. I love watching football. The Bears squeaked out a win in their first preseason matchup last night.

The more I've watched sports and sports media, the more I've become sympathetic to the players. Rookie Bears running back Cedrick Benson, touted as a real workhorse during the draft, is holding out for more money. I think he should get it.

This young man is going to be carrying a football 20-25 times a game for 17 weeks _ maybe more. He's running straight at 300-400-pound men every time. He's getting crushed at the bottom of piles and blind-sided. He should get all the money he wants. He could blow out his knee in the first week, and then where would he be? He has a family, no doubt. And even if he makes it through a 10 year career (doesn't go far beyond that for a back), his body may be damaged in hundreds of ways.

Let him have the money. If we continue to go to sporting events, watch them on TV, project ourselves upon the players and coaches... if the teams and leagues and networks continue to hype the games and sell the tickets, then let Cedrick Benson, whose body is a sacrafice, have as much money as he wants. He is not selfish. As long as we want him to run, he is not selfish. As long as the idea of professional athletics persists, he is not selfish. If the football game continues as our escape or need or diversion, then the players should be compensated.

The Rambler

I should write in the middle of the night more often. That could be a theme blog _ which seems to be the way to succeed in this business. And by succeed, I mean... more than three readers. But seriously, how 'bout I set my alarm clock for 4 a.m. and then get up and write _ every night?

Writing. What's so great about being a writer? I suppose they get the final say in some cases. Maybe most cases. They can put the exclamation point (or semi-colon) on your career/life. Witness Peter Jennings and John Johnson. How do you get this privelege? A way with words? Why is that so important? They're the crystalline statues of human history, eh? They persist... provided you get that second run.

No one's going to be carving anything from Woundup into a public sculpture anytime soon. But, to lighten the mood... it's birthday season, and I have some gifts to buy. Some ideas have popped up. Some good ones. It happens to be my birthday this month, too. I don't have any ideas for myself _ maybe a nice bottle of wine I could share. A nice Italian dinner with friends. Or a public sculpture tour of Chicago... to see the Michael Bilandic bust is a definite must.

Monday, August 08, 2005

We Couldn't Think of Anything Better

This has never happened to me. I was lying in bed for a few minutes and felt an undeniable urge to write again. If I could bottle that kind of gumption...

Something that scares me is the thought that our society may mold itself in the image of a fictional reality for lack of better ideas. I feel sorry for the writers/filmmakers who invented worlds so vivid they've come to be seen as inevitabilities. Chicago's love affair with the surveillance camera draws comparisons to "1984," and, to many of us, it seems natural things would go that way. Is that because of Orwell's book? What if he'd written about a fun-loving society of vegetarians? Well, you'd be looking hard for his book in the basement of the downtown library. We love horrifying visions of the future.

Now we have a benchmark for what could go wrong, and perhaps it's unconsciously influencing our progress. I'm a big believer _ as a lazy person _ in mankind's laziness. We gravitate toward the easier/pre-existing idea/model.

But, I'm also not a paranoid person. If you want my opinion, I don't think a "1984" scenario is possible. Can you imagine the city of Chicago running a sophisticated program of mind control?

Harold: Agnes, there's something I want to tell you. I... well...
(meanwhile, back at the Richard M. Daley Citizen Compliance Center)
Bill: Hey, where's that reproductive acts authorizing form?
Richie: I dunno, Bill. I'm on lunch right now. I can't talk.
Bill: Christ... (into a microphone. his voice comes through a print of a Rembrandt in bill and agnes' living room) Hey pal. The authorization hasn't made it to our system, yet. You're gonna hafta wait.
Harold: But I'd like to make love to my wife.
Bill: Sorry, buddy. You can try back on Monday.
Richie: (to Bill) Monday's a holiday.
Bill: I thought you were on break.
Richie: I am.
Bill: (to Harold) Monday's a holiday. Try back Tuesday.
Harold: All right... (to Agnes) Monopoly sound good?

The Hour in the Middle of the Night

It's quarter-to-four a.m. I don't usually write this late/early, but I'm feeling inspired. I just finished a book, and a lot of you know the anxiety that goes along with that _ what to read next? Erika and I made some quality finds at the Communist bookstore on Ashland. So, I've been taking a few of those books around with me _ in the car, to the bar _ to test them out. I read them a little, feel their weight, look at the cover, etc. And if it feels right, I go for it. Erika has scolded me that I should read a novel again. Maybe I will.

Would we be happier if there were, in the course of the day/week, places/situations we could go to that would permit us to behave in a way we may no longer do? There's been a lot said about embracing the inner child. But I'm talking about embracing my inner 17 year old. He needs a place to be an awkward, sullen jagoff, too. Get a large group of people behaving this way... and you've got material for sketches for days. G.F.M. (grist for the mill)

I had some wine last night. After we got home, I took off all my clothes and fell asleep on the couch with the light on. I woke up a half hour ago, touched the three-day-old growth of beard on my face and felt like a transient. I'm going to crawl back into bed right now.

PS -- Hello to all new/past Woundup readers. I found out about two more people this weekend _ a wonderful surprise. This occurrence is what we in the WeBLoG business call an "organic sitemeter."

PPS -- Are time travel and telepathy two definite impossibilities in science? Is there someone working on them right now? I say this because, any day walking through the Loop, I feel the only place we can go in communication technology _ after we master the video phone _ is the "brain phone." This would be followed quickly by the "brain answering machine." Good night.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Cheer Up, Chap!

Oh... nothing brightens my spirit quite like Fawlty Towers. Here's Fawlty entertaining/insulting some German guests with an impersonation of a certain... well, you can figure it out. Never gets old for the Brits.

Tears in My Morning Coffee

Class ended last night. It was a good session _ good discussion. Now it's over. Too soon, it feels to me. I've taken three classes since I left school. I like them. I've learned at least one piece of useful knowledge from each _ often more than one. This class followed that. I'm going to work on my next idea attuned to a few new dimensions.

It made me sad. I feel like I'm trying to break into something I'll never be a part of. I'm not a good talker. You can get into a lot of places talking a good game _ we all know that _ even if your work is shit. People make careers out of it. My work may be shit. I'm not saying it isn't. But, breaking the barrier...

I've gotten past it in other parts of my life, but it's taken time. I'm taking very, very, very gradual steps toward something _ getting into a community. I would like that. I very much liked being a part of the indie music community _ particularly in Cincinnati. The arts need all the soldiers they can get. Nobody's gonna get famous on this. Those days are gone. So what's left... work.

One thing that didn't happen this class _ the collection of email addresses to start a "writing group." It never pans out _ more of a formality. Funny thing, I thought everyone had good stuff in this class. I wouldn't mind being in their group. I should've sent that lonely, half-torn piece of notebook paper round the circle. There's always next time, I suppose. I know I'll be back.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Two Years to the 21st Century

Speaking of poetic geniuses...

Just last weekend, Tim, Ted and I were sharing a good laugh 'round the ol' breakfast table about the demise of Ian Svenonious _ mocking the stale idiom of his Weird War group. Now I'm eating my words. "Illuminated" is a great song. I might even buy the album!

Shades of 1998: Poetry, Svenonious AND that fake Weird War press conference reminds me of a similar stunt the Young Americans pulled for a cable access show in Gainesville. I'd pay a lot for that tape...

Thoughts on a Weathered Tree Stump

I've put the finishing touches on my poem. A poem? Well, as a twist, the members of our writing group switched genres for a session. Our three poets wrote plays, and I wrote a poem. I haven't written a poem since I was 21. In fact... Yes, I remember it! I was sitting deep in the woods of Glen Park in Williamsville, NY, next to Ellicott Creek. I had just graduated from college and wanted to continue my writing. In fact, I know I still have the poem. Later that year, I would write a story about a college grad who moves into a suburban park to live and write poetry _ unfinished, rough, but a joy whenever I open the file. My latest effort isn't going to revolutionize the artform, but, hey, you have to reach sometimes. I'm glad I did.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Structureless Prison Yard

I'm taking another class. I've found they give me a good shot of excitement/confidence. I wish I could take them year-round. My instructor is great, and he's helping me, indirectly, to realize I should get over myself. I'm trying to celebrate the process and not fret about the end result _ a common human tendency.

What else is there to say? Try to be better than yourself, not your contemporaries. That's what William Faulkner said. Lately, I've been wrangling with doubts/questions about my life's purpose, and amid those moments I sometimes see an answer _ that I was given my brain, my body, my spirit by nature/god/chance, and that I must/can/should use them/it for their/its highest purpose _ that being my natural tendency. And that is the tendency toward creativity.

I get like this whenever I miss a few days of writing, which has happened more frequently the last three months. It is doubt, guilt and disappointment. I question my conviction. I don't know... all I can do is pick it up again. It's good to be in class.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Whatever You Can Dream Up

I love this story. Not much of a surprise. I want them to release details of the kinds of payoffs made, and the bands they were made for. There's a reason we continue to hear Audioslave: three cases of Red Bull and dinner at Peter Luger's... ... and $15,000.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Monosyllabic, Polyrhythmic

It was great to see old friends and meet some new people this past weekend. I'm sure most of you who read this already know, but if you don't, check out Diamond Nights outta NYC. It was my first time seeing them live, and I loved it. Fantastic rock 'n roll.

Not much else to say. I'm joining pals to see the Cubs game tonight. Rain threatens, tho. Threatens. Heh, heh. Monday.

Friday, July 22, 2005

This Is Work? Sign Me Up!

While visiting my folks up in Green Bay, I found an older book on playwrighting. In the token "writing life" section, it mentioned some playwrights surround themselves with artifacts or totems related to their current work, or even dress up in the costume of their subjects _ to, y'know, immerse themselves in the subject.

I want you to know I always wear the business casual uniform of the poor schlub I'm portraying. It's almost like I work in an office. But, I assure you, I've just returned from a 9:15 trip to Jewel with some garbage bags and rice pudding. The laundry lies in piles at my feet as I sip my herbal tea. The cat is on my lap. This is the life I've always dreamed of...

A freelance parrot writer.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Collusive Converging Confluence

Today is moving along at a good clip. If I ration out my tasks, I'll be back home and in the seat in no time.

Erika and I joined the YMCA on Halstead and have already been twice to use the exercise equipment. I plan to work on my jump shot in the coming months. Exercise is great. I'm getting back to my old form _ whatever that means.

They're installing a camera in our office. This is what they call "convergence," I suppose _ the consolidation of content. Woundup is on board with that. So here's another picture for you... Political satirist Mark Russell!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

New Kicks

Wow. Google Images is going to revolutionize our ways of reminiscing. Just type in the title of a favorite old album and BANG a full page of identical cover art thumbnails hit you like a warm wave of... right, right. Try it. It's fun!
(I always liked Polvo's cover art)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Read This

Something really worthwhile _ Erika's account of our honeymoon. Updates upcoming.

What About My Outside Interests?

How 'bout these pictures? I never knew! The perfect ploy to divert attention from my short and substandard posts. Here's my favorite playwright, Joe Orton.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Recovering Narcissist's Reading List

It's the All-Star break and here are your halfway leaders. Yes, there's been a lot of baseball lately. I'm making a promise to Erika (and myself) to forsake sports literature and return to the gnashing, modernistic fare that made me famous. Hello "Absalom, Absalom!"

As a parting shot... I'm not one to over-sympathize with pro ballplayers, but it's a strange profession where a complete outsider can make a living off calling you a fraud for games played nearly 50 years ago. I'm talking about Bill James' assessment of Dodger great Don Drysdale.

He even hired an assistant to prove Drysdale wasn't Hall of Fame material. That time James saved on coffee runs really sealed the big righty's fate. In his defense, Drysdale was no Juan Marichal, but he made one helluva mocha latte.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Do Over

As Yogi Berra once said, "You only get one life, so don't fuck it up." Well, he didn't really say that, but I'm sure he echoed the sentiment at some point during his Hall-of-Fame career behind the dish _ perhaps to Jim Bouton.

If I had to do it all over again, I'd be a baseball play-by-play man for radio. Maybe there's still time, but I don't know how my voice stacks up against the greats...

"We've got a beautiful day for baseball. The Cubs are in their traveling whites: blue socks, blue caps, black shoes. Carlos Zambrano is your pitcher. 6'3" 220 pounds. The big Venezuelan took a beating last week in Oakland and is looking to bounce back. Ronnie, we saw him warming up earlier, and his sinker was really working. Today's pre-game show is brought to you by Ace Hardware. Don't miss the Ace super summer grill sale. Jerry Hairston is leading off today. He has a .388 on-base percentage over the last week. The Cubs have needed a consistent lead-off man. It looks like he might be filling that role. Ronnie, you know a little bit about leading off."

(Ron laughs) "No, Pat. No... I don't."

Maybe I could write Pat Hughes' banter. I dunno...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Hoo Ha! More Marriage Hookum

More marriage-related news items. I really feel like I'm on the winning team here.

This was an option Erika and I considered, and it's still a possibility. Combinations include...

Rockefeller (my suggestion)

Monday, July 04, 2005


Fourth of July. Scourge of the American intellectual. If the Right knew how little it took to disrupt the KReaTiVe LiFe machine, they'd push for more dynamite-themed holidays in Congress.

How many anti-Bush spray paint campaigns will be foiled this year because M-80's drove the conspirators to bed early while still in the planning stages?

"I just (BOOM!) need to (BLAM!) drink some herbal tea and (POW!) go to bed. I can't take this shit."

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Drunk Again at the Old Town School of Music

I'm really going to Tuman's in a few minutes, but I liked that header so much... now's it for the ages.

Friday, July 01, 2005

And then... And then...

I couldn't figure out anything else to do, so I'm here now. Not always the best idea. I might say something I'll regret. It happens a lot in this business _ more than you think. And you might not know how much work goes into each post. This is my fourth draft of this post, and it's only a few lines long. Scratch that. This is my fourth draft of this post, and it's only a few lines old. No. Scratch that one. This is my fourth draft of this post, and it's not even--NO NO NO. Dammit. This is my fourth draft of these posts--FUCK.

I'm going to fucking lunch.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

A Hazy, Lazy Re-cap

Taking a trip to New Orleans and Southern Mississippi prepared me for the summer here. Our heat wave in Chicago feels like a pleasant Holiday Inn sauna, while the thermostat in the Big Easy is currently set to "Vietnamese Prison Camp."

I never thought I'd like Mississippi, but it turned out to be our favorite stop on the honeymoon. Southern people are friendly people _ particularly in a small town like Pass Christian, where we stayed. And you always have a conversation topic _ THE HEAT.

We rented a beautiful house for a few days in P.C. It was a writer's dream _ desks, big windows, silence. I'd go back in a second. I'd even live there. Life sprung from every little stream _ filled with fish and bugs. Cattle grazed lazily by the streetside.

New Orleans was interesting. Yes, that's vague. It had it's good points _ history, nightlife and the gorgeous Audubon Park _ but Erika and I felt relieved when we left. Lots of tourist traps. It's like Times Square, but with much more booze. Don't try the Hand Grenade, not matter what Ludacris says.

And the wedding? I've tried to resist shopworn phrases, but there's some truth to them. It did go by quickly. I wish I had more time to talk to old friends and family. But I believe most everyone had a great time. We had a great time. What more is there? I don't know.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Return of the King Drive Construction

Back! We're back! Back from our honeymoon. Now, I'll fill you in, in a bit on the details. Firstly, please check out this video from our wedding. I recommend the high quality link, as it looks much better. Thank you to my old friend Adam Rosen for putting it up and to Marshall for shooting it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Yes, We Have Spicy Cole Slaw

I just read about the Mekong giant catfish, which can top out at 10' in length. They're critically endangered in their native Thailand.

If I was the King of Thailand, I'd take up the cause of this gentle giant and trumpet the natural bounty of the mother nation. I'd hold a news conference and wade into the Mekong River in my regal robes. My assistants would hold one of the giant catfish, flapping wildly, so I could put my hand on its dorsal fin and make a pronouncement...

Today, this fish is our most important citizen _ not just this fish, but all his brothers and sisters wherever they may be swimming in the 1,500 navigable miles of the Mekong River in Thailand, which I might add, are perfect for your next rafting or kayaking vacation. We are blessed by nature's bounty to count such a large creature among our native fauna, and a tasty creature, I might add. I was dining on giant catfish last night and--

(assistant whispers something)

I'd like to clarify that last statement. I was not dining on giant catfish, it was pad Thai with sauteed tofu. And now, as King of Thailand, I proclaim this fish--

(fish thrashes violently)

This fish, which could be fried nicely or diced and breaded into several hundred sticks _ put some hot sauce on there, a little red beans and rice--

(assistant whispers something)

THIS FISH is hereby off limits.

(the fish has stopped moving)

It's dead, your majesty.

What a pity. I'm speechless.

(the assistants wrap the fish in a giant newspaper)

I'd like to direct you all to the press tent. Lunch will be served in 20 minutes.

I've never eaten something I've covered before. How should I feel?

I think this is what they call "new journalism."

Sting of Rejection (c)

Four days till D-Day. My suit is ready. We have booze. We have truffles.

I'm taking my yearly playwriting class in an effort to better myself. The sting of rejection clouded my mind the other day, but now I'm feeling more reflective, and I'm trying to see what the other three plays had that mine didn't.

Enough of my fucking carping. I'll try to keep these wranglings outta the funny papers. That said... go get 'em!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Insert 75 Cents for Learning Experience

After months of anticipation... my play was not picked. I came very close in one competition. That should encourage me, right? I don't know. What's the point? Well, one should enjoy writing first and foremost. The accolades are just plastic olive wreaths. Sure, it'd be great to see the work come to life, but do it for yourself.

This is what every book on writing I've ever read has said on the subject of "Recognition." Now I'm free of this project. That is my reward. I can do whatever I want now... And what I really need to do is the dishes.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Topical Humor Ltd.

Do you have the Google toolbar? I was disappointed the "stock quotes" function meant stock market and not, say, a canned witticism relating to your search term.
For example...
Student Loans
stock quote: "Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of student loans". Oscar Wilde

Thursday, June 02, 2005

How Bad Ideas are Born

I promise! Not another post about how I don't write in here anymore. I do write in here anymore. I'm writing right now as you read this. In fact, I'm only a few words ahead of you, that's how fresh this copy is.

Now there's a WeBLoG idea. The writer tries to outpace the reader. There'd have to be a timer. Would it be quality? Some real gems could squeeze out, but I imagine most would be dross.

Work, work, work. Let's go to work. Tonight we work. I'm getting fucking sick of the banter on the desk today. I need some earplugs. AHA! Another idea! Canned office chatter on tape. Are you a data entry specialist who works alone? Or are you sick of the idiotic noise invading your cubicle? Just pop in a tape. Choices include...
_ insurance office
_ dentist's office
_ taxi dispatching office
_ Fed EX warehouse office (now with PA announcements)
_ Cook County probate court records office (NEW!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

It's On My Planner

Woundup has been collecting a lot of dust over the past week. I'm not promising increased content _ and I'm not predicting less content. What happens... happens.

We had our wedding shower on Sunday and received many wonderful household gifts _ particularly for the kitchen.

What else? Well, let me offer you some excuses from
_ Oh man, I have been so busy lately.
_ There's just, geez, been a lot on my plate.
_ I really need to buckle down and just do it.
_ Things have been so crazy around here.
_ I got your message but, well... (laughs)
_ I'm starting tomorrow. I'm serious.
_ Hey, give me your email and I'll write you.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

LunchTime: A Hunger Reduction Inititative

Man, I'd love to head over to Jim's Steakout for lunch. Thanks to the magic of WeBLoG, I'll just step in the ol' teleporter here and ZZZZAP!!!

Whimsical Gems Fall From My Pen (part 2)

I thought it was going to be a quiet one today _ just the five of us here _ but something happened a few minutes ago, and now one of the editors is lamenting his soon-to-be-lost job. Gee whiz, what a cruel bizness.

But let's not talk about that anymore. Let's talk about time management. I told my shrink (or analyst, if you'd prefer this was the '60s and I was, say, Jack Parr) that I'm now able to visualize the moment when I choose whether to write or not write. It's like standing at the corner of Milwaukee and North and Damen and having the choice to go to Myopic Books or maybe get something to eat at Sultan's Market or STOP STOP STOP BAD METAPHOR. RESTART.

Really, it's nice to be in touch with free will. I'm not saying I'm any more in touch with it than anyone else, but I'm trying to be a more efficient writer, and that requires becoming intimate with one's own procrastinative impulse (my analyst's term). If you can pin down the exact moment when "I'm going to write a Pulitzer Prize-winning play!" becomes "Pistons-Pacers game six--It's FAN-tastic!" you've gained a little more perspective on what we call the creative life.

Now, if you'll excuse me, there's an '81 Astros-Phillies game on ESPN Classic tonight _ Niekro vs. Carlton. I've made my choice.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Chest Thumpin' (cough, cough)

I got a little further than I expected. I entered the play in three competitions. I became a finalist in one _ it would've gotten a real production at a very real Chicago theater _ but they didn't pick me for the final cut.

My old teacher told me there were more than 70 scripts submitted, so I feel fortunate. No word on the other two contests, tho I just sumbitted to one of 'em today.

Don't worry. This isn't going to turn into the "LOOK AT ME" WeBLoG, but I had to share a little. If it makes you feel any better, I was looking at the play today and thought it was awful. Is this the perpetual dissatisfaction of the creative life? Is the glass half empty? Oh, I don't know. See you at the desk.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Monday, May 09, 2005

Look Away, Veal Cutlet. Look Away.

Yes, folks, you heard it right. After June 18, I'm going VEGETARIAN. It's part of our pre-nuptial pact: Erika quits smoking, and I quit meat.

My folks think Erika will have the harder time. I tend to agree, but the Donahues didn't ease my transition into greener pastures by ordering 24 pieces of Popeye's chicken yesterday.

I'll miss the many meats in my life: bacon, ribs, duck, catfish ... We've had some fine times together. A favorite meat memory? Anytime I strapped on a bib and joined my friends in devouring 50 wings at Duff's.

It's been a good run. Goodbye Italian beef pizza topping. Goodbye fried calamari. Goodbye chicken whopper. (sniff)

Of course, I can still eat cheese. Maybe this five-inch slab of triple-cream Havarti will dull the pain.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Foie Gras? Make It a High Life.

Per yesterday's entry. We're still working on the Tuman's interactive beer guide. At the moment, it's the pay phone outside Rite Liquors. Call me at home and I'll give you my recommendation. I can't help if you get knifed, tho.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I Brought My Own Snifter

I, like all my blogging brethren, harbor a secret ambition to horn my way into the respectable writing world. And nothing's more respectable than the New York Times dining section's booze-tasting panel. Drinking high-end vodkas and Austrian Rieslings on the Times' dime is the only way to get hammered, in my opinion.

But until I get that call on the golden telephone, I must be content with my seat on the Tuman's Tavern tasting panel, which meets every Friday evening at 2:30 a.m. ...

Jason: Here's another one. A canned beer. (drinks) Brisk. Playful.

Mark: (drinks) Simple but... assertive?

Erika: (drinks) It tastes like the floor of a taxi. (removes the cover)

Mark: Old Style again.

Erika: Don't we have anything else?

Jason: Amstel Light.

(Pause. Jason puts the cover on another Old Style.)

Jason: Here's one. A canned beer...

The World, Briefly

Coming to a mail slot near you _ a wedding invitation. Yes, we're sending them out today. Please reply by June 1st. Hope to see you there.

(The CTA clowns are on right now. What more can they say? It's the same ultimatum. The Mayor is up there, too. If the cuts go through, it's his ass _ like Bilandic and the snow plows.)


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Warm Up the House Organ and Play Us a Tune

The Web-savvy CTA has beat us to the punch, trying to stem the stream of vitriol. What is the computer ownership rate among CTA riders who don't have a company transit card program? You only get a half-hour on the public library terminals.

Monday, May 02, 2005


Is a two-syllable name the key to success in the theater?
For example:
_ Pin-ter
_ Ma-met
_ Bec-kett
_ Al-bee
_ Or-ton
_ Ge-net
_ Chur-chill
_ Buch-ner
_ Ib-sen
_ Strind-berg
and, of course...
_ Shake-speare

noted exceptions...
one syllable: Brecht
four: Ionesco, Pirandello

Buried Lede

I'm in a pit looking up this morning _ figuratively, of course, but always a little less so on a Monday.

The deadlines have passed. I've submitted my play to two different competitions. In the pit, you hope the big hand of Recognition will appear from out the clouds and pick you up from the muck.

But I must remind myself that...
a.) It's more than likely I'll be rejected.
b.) There are at least 2,500 other people trying to do this in Chicago.
c.) I should just get back to work and not worry about it.

In real news, Erika won a $100 prize for the best poem at Loyola University this year. Congratulate her the next time you spot her. She's definitely earned it.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Corner of Lake and State, Please

Tonight, ABC 7 will air an expose on cell phone use by cab drivers. Chuck Goudie got out on the streets and in the faces of some cabbies downtown.

In journalism school (much like creative writing school) they told us to look at our own lives for story ideas. You'll be surprised, they said, how many interesting stories you can come up with.

On his way back from Gibson's, Chuck Goudie takes a cab, and, sure enough, his driver is talking on his phone. Maybe Chuck has to give directions twice because the guy is in the middle of a conversation. Maybe, after a moment of silence, the driver says something. Chuck thinks he's being addressed and answers, "Excuse me?" But the driver continues on, a little wire hanging from his ear. Chuck is embarrassed.

There you go. Instant story idea. Chuck Goudie, leave the cabbies alone. Sure some of them are the worst asshole drivers in the city, but leave 'em alone. Let 'em talk to their buddies or their wives.

How 'bout a story on one the shittiest jobs in Chicago _ driving a cab. Go out there and get behind the wheel. Then you'll have something to tell those students at your next Medill School lecture... "I've chased mob bosses in the court house, I've crossed more police lines than I can count and I even drove a cab..."

If ABC 7 has accepted West Side poverty as inevitable, it should accept cabbies on cell phones as inevitable, too. That's two topics crossed off the list. If they wish hard enough, maybe some Buffalo will run down LaSalle Street.

Up on the Roof

Some writers work best very close to a deadline. They waste away months and weeks of advance time on diversions. But when that date starts to smolder, they clear the desk of beer cans and type frantically.

In much the same way, Humankind responds to environmental concerns. We've had years, decades to fix the oil situation, the greenhouse gas situation, the air quality situation, but only when the deadline looms (oil shortage, child skin cancer rates increase, American Lung Assoc. unhealthy rating for Cook County) do we decide to take action.

I'm talking about this because the gravest threat to America's W.O.L (Way Of Life), high oil prices, has turned mainstream media's attention toward the environment. Look at the front cover of today's Sun-Times _ a woman has planted flowers and vegetables on the roof of her suburban garage. This is supposed to absorb CO2 and lessen heat affects on the atmosphere.

Sure, the Sun-Times is making fun of this woman and her garage _ it's a wacky photo opp. But there's more than a hint of The Future. We've put a noticeable dent on the environment, so now we'd better hurry the hell up and fix it, or it's our ass. Yes, dear readers, THIS could be The Future.

The garage roof garden craze sweeps the suburbs _ a no-brainer tie-in to the do-it-yourself, home-improvement craze. "Cubs baseball is sponsored by Ace Hardware _ get your garage roof garden starter kit at Ace Hardware today."

A writing assignment passes, an editor's ire dissipates and all returns to normal. But the human toll on Planet Earth may stay with Us for a long time _ perhaps permanently. So, get up on your roof, Chicago. Get up on your roof, Downer's Grove... And get to work.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Heh, heh... been having a little trouble with ol' blogspot here. Just a glitch in the---------------not too bad at work today------------------------------writing my book----------------Bulls game-----------uh----------------------I-Pod--------------------------gas prices--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - - -- - - - -- -

Friday, April 22, 2005

Write This Novel...

A scandal-ridden humanities professor, the young heiress to the tensabarrier fortune and a pontoon boat blown miles off course.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Greetings From Bridgeport

UIC celebrated the 50th anniversary of Richard J. Daley's first inauguration today.

Some of the Mayor's greatest hits. See also here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

10th Ring Opened to Accommodate More Damned

I've found my calling! It came to me last night over a beer with Erika at the Rainbo...

What this impending CTA CRISIS needs is a WeBLoG. But not just any WeBLoG _ nothing informative, with protest times and petition pdf's. NO!

What this CTA CRISIS needs is a good ol' fashioned, mocking, non-committal WeBLoG!!! I can make fun of the CTA, the protestors and the riders. I could call it "Hangin' With Frank (Kruesi)!"

"I want to feel sorry for these people, but the smell of urine on the 66 bus makes it difficult to read 'Talk of the Town.'"

Hello book deal! Viva la America!