Thursday, February 24, 2005

Preening Before the Mirror

It's looking more and more like we'll be representing ourselves in the March 23 lawsuit showdown. With a little legal advice, I feel confident we can kick that mechanic in the shins and get our $$$ back.

Usually, here at Woundup, I would dramatize the situation with a little off-the-cuff dialogue (say, of me questioning a witness on the stand). NOT TODAY. I'm feeling ill, so just rent "Bananas" and fast forward to the last half hour. That's what our court date will be like.

As a part-Pole, I'll be sad when the big guy (the Pope) passes away. He looks pretty close to it today. Chances are they'll give the job to some Vatican City insider. How 'bout an Irish pope? An Ecuadorian one? Are the Lapps Catholic?

Hey, that's funny: One-in-10 Catholic Lapps are lapsed Catholics.
Good night.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A War We Can't Win

Hey, NYC pals. Go see this play and tell me how it is.

Definitely the funniest turn in the battle over the spiritual merit of post-war slash 'n burn urban renewal. Take a look at the cast of characters under "people."

Monday, February 21, 2005

Pack of Jackals

I always thought Hunter S. Thompson was used in a totemic manner by the journalism community to show that, since he was a journalist, they too were cool by association.

The newspaperman loosens his collar after a long day, "Heh heh, yeah I met him once..."

There are countless anecdotes on the 'Net that begin like this, after which the teller crawls back into his/her hole and keeps his/her opinions to him/herself. This is journalism, after all.

P.S. -- If you're a writer, DON'T settle on a ranch/farm/compound in a sparsely populated western state in your twilight years. (i.e. Thompson, Hemmingway, et al)

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Bumping Into Mariotti's Chair

Spring training has begun, and baseball is thick in the air like Ortho spray at the Orland Hills par-3 golf course. Just breathe it in.
This is my all-time favorite Friendster profile. Speaking as a couch-surfing TV spectator, I'm glad we still have Hawk and DJ.

My Kind of Town -- Pt. II

You gotta love this Park Grill flap getting play in the papers. The Mayor's big, ugly baby, Millennium Park, also contains a big, ugly restaurant, the Park Grill. Turns out the Grill's partners got an illegal 20-year lease for the place, and don't have to pay for things like garbage collection. Of course, the restaurant is backed by clout-y investors with ties to City Hall and the Bridgeport political machine.

The best part of this is that Millennium Park donors have complained about what an eyesore the Park Grill is _ it's sign and it's outdoor barbecue grill that throws up smoke in front of some of the park's artwork. Daley and his counsel have since backpedaled on the Park Grill, putting the blame on the Park District _ which it should rightly share.

There you go. It wouldn't be a true Chicago project without...
A. Something garish and unnecessary to divert public attention (Millennium Park)
B. A tie-in for political insiders (Park Grill)

The Grill's design shows what the City really values. Yes, it got its million-dollar trinket (Millennium Park) to signify it has culture and thus is a REAL city. But, that's not so important as allowing more cash cows for friends. The fact that their strip-mall aesthetics belong more in Downer's Grove is the icing on the cake.

Art can wait for a slow-cooked CHICAGO-STYLE slab of ribs.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Pulled from the Jaws of Memory


I went to Andrean High School in Gary, Indiana (South Gary... or the nice part) for my first two years of high school. It's a Catholic school with a lot of rich kids, and was the scene of some of my awkwardest moments at age 14-15.

Unlike the lackadaisical Williamsville (N.Y.) South High School class of 1994, with whom I actually graduated, Andrean '94 built it's own class reunion website. On a whim, I put my old pal Phil Wielgus, who I haven't seen since 1992, into the Google machine. And from there I found the AHS site.

Turns out they had a reunion at a yuppie bar here in Chicago last year, just two days before my birthday.

I'm looking over the class list and these names... Unfortunately ol' Phil (perhaps wisely) didn't give any info and probably didn't show up for the reunion. I wouldn't fault him there. But another school chum of mine is now THE LEAD SINGER FOR A FAITH NO MORE TRIBUTE BAND.

It definitely wasn't the happiest time in my life, but looking at these names I am awash in a warm nostalgia. I wonder if they'd even remember me.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Juicin' 2: Liquid Snob

For all my crowing about relaxation yesterday, I'm finding it difficult to get things started.

In the past I would've turned to the help of , uh, substances. Yes, I was once a WeBLoG juicer. A large part of my career has been darkened by the hand of blog-enhancing drugs.

In fact, I'm writing a book about it. I was even asked to do a little interview on the Timmy Thomas show (CAN-TV) to be aired tomorrow night at 8 p.m. Here's an excerpt...

Thomas: Do you admit to using blog-enhancing drugs?
Donahue: Absolutely.
T: What did you use?
D: Vitrodine, which is synthetic vitriol. I cut that with an irony enhancer like Symptrol. I also injected Cavex, which is a taken directly from the pituitary gland of a French existentialist. It boosts levels of alienation.
T: You've said this behavior is rampant in the WeBLoG industry.
D: I would say 80% of all bloggers use blog-enhance substances.
T: And you've also said you're willing to name names of those who are using.
D: I could tell you one right now.
T: Okay.
D: That'll be 50 bucks.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Just Stopped By...

I thought I'd just pop in the office and, well, you know how it goes. I sit down in the chair. I check my email. Then I think: "Gee, this new webpost interface is so easy to use, why don't I write a little something for the readers?"

There you go. Nice and easy going. Of course, I'm in our home office, so that helps me relax. And this cup of herbal tea surely can't hurt. Things have been breezier since the move.

Tonight some friends are coming here to act out my play _ just a cold reading with a little action. I'm really looking forward to it.

That's that. Keep it calm, folks.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Liked... But Not Well Liked

Oh jeez. I wrote about Mr. Miller yesterday and look what happens...

¶ ROXBURY, Conn. (AP) _ Arthur Miller, the Pulitzer prize-winning playwright whose most famous fictional creation, Willy Loman in "Death of a Salesman," came to symbolize the American Dream gone awry, has died, his assistant said Friday. He was 89.
¶ Miller died Thursday evening, said his assistant, Julia Bolus.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

More Schlock, Less Rock

for more information on Brian Epstein. Many of you will remember the Epstein parody, Leggy Mountbatten, in "The Rutles."

It should be noted that while Stones impresario Andrew Loog Oldham is invoked as a patron saint by modern hair boys, NO ONE will EVER name an indie label after Brian Epstein.

Canon Shots

That bit of dialogue came from Joe Orton's "Up Against It" _ the screenplay he wrote for the Beatles in 1967 (that was rejected by Brian Epstein).

Erika is undoubtedly sick of my raving about Orton. If I could be 1/10 the writer he was, I'd die happy. And if I ran America's public schools, I would substitute ONE Arthur Miller play in good ol' English 3R (New York State system) for Orton's "Loot" and/or "What the Butler Saw."

Granted, he was English, which may not jibe with educators hung up on representing "American Voices, " but I would make them submit to my will. How 'bout a little Mamet or Shepard, speaking of Americans?

How does a book or play enter the mainstream educational canon? Can you campaign for it like sportswriters campaign for potential Hall of Famers? Get a grass roots buzz going? More questions to ponder on lunch break.

Obviously Not My Dialogue

OLD MAN: Freedom from tyranny!

McTURK: (with interest) Are you oppressed?


McTURK: Then why are you calling for freedom?

OLD MAN: I always do at these meetings. I've been coming to them all my life. (He waves a flag.) Death to the oppressors!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Vanity, Thy Name is Jimmy

Best Superbowl XXXIX experience:

Talked to a regular at Erika's bar who's also a personal friend of a crooked contractor getting a lot of face-time in the Sun-Times.

Apparently the contractor complained to his buddy about the paper's choice of pictures.
He said all the photos they ran made him look fat.

Meet Me in the Politburo

So, what do you think of this new site? It gives me a little room to stretch out and pile on pithy comments throughout the day. It's an experiment _ kind of like communism.

Speaking of communism... anyone who has ever dealt with the City of Chicago knows the Soviet-style bureaucratic labyrinth squirming in its guts. Erika and I will be closer than ever to the city's grinding wheels at the Department of Consumer Affairs hearing next week for our car's botched transmission job.

Does it make you depressed, Chicago reader, that many people treat the city's political corruption like a tourist attraction?

Chicago: home of Baseball, Michael Jordan, "Great Architecture" and those oh-so-lovable City Hall kickbacks. My kind of town.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Mirth U

Don't forget, we're also part of the "every step of my life is fodder for publication" generation.

Maybe after "My Ivy League Education is a Scam" this chap's next book will be, "How I Got Screwed by the Publishing Industry."

Diploma Factory Blues

A young scribe with better credentials beat me to the wire on an expose of lax college grading standards. I had that one on the back burner for a couple years, but things got in the way. You know how it goes.

Said piece appears in the latest Atlantic Monthly on p. 95 (frequent readers of this page might think I subscribe to the A.M., but it's really the only thing kicking around the office on a slow day). The article targets no less a vaunted institution than Harvard University.

Now, I'm always sure visitors to our home pass my wall of diplomas with the gold leif parchment from good ol' MIDWEST U displayed prominently. I feel this gives an appearance of intellectual effort I would like people associating with my name.

But to pop the head off this _ to say it was all EASY, a breeze _ would cause terrible damage. Right? Well, not necessarily. In light of this article, it appears every college degree earned by our generation is a bit of a joke. Even a Harvard B.A.

Take out that piece of paper and look at it. In the bright reflection of its plastic sheath you might see yourself and remember that paper in 200-level poetry class, "Whitman's Transcendentalism Echoed in Punk" OR "Gender Confusion and Cosmo Magazine." Tracts inspired not so much by research, but by the contents of a dorm room. I wrote my share of those.

That paper doesn't shine the same now, does it? I've given away my secret, but I feel a weight of dishonesty has been lifted. If you visit our apartment in a few months, you might see a new diploma on my wall _ from Clark's Barber College.

Finally, an honest job.