Friday, February 27, 2009

Daddy's on the drink again

Now that we have a converter box and get WYCC without static, one question has dominated my mind more than any other: How could one country (Canada) produce both the funniest TV show of all time ("The Kids in the Hall") and the un-funniest TV show of all time ("The Red Green Show")?

Still, I think I'd hang out at the Possum Lodge if I had the chance.

Wild weekend

Actually, I don't want to have a wild weekend (but I would like my Teengenerate records back). A bit of peace and quiet is more preferred.

It's already been quite a week in the world of current events, with all the national budget stuff flying fastly and furiously. Also, Norm Van Lier and Johnny "Red" Kerr both died yesterday a la Adams/Jefferson. Bulls fans, such as myself, will miss them. I've sung the praises before of Norm's pre-game raps on WMVP, and things just didn't seem right when they took Red off the air at the start of this season.

I remember a few years ago standing in the bar at Schuba's before a show, watching the Pistons play some East Coast team. I was next to a young guy who was rooting for the Pistons, and somehow we got to talking. "I've always hated the Pistons," I told him. "I've always hated the Bulls," he said. It made me really happy to hear him say that. I don't know what this illustrates except that being a Bulls fan is wonderful because of the rivalries and tradition. Red and Norm were a big part of that.

In other news, they're closing the Borders on Michigan. If that wasn't a wildly successful book store, I really don't know what to think anymore.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Moving toward morning

Dad maybe had a little too much wine at the upstairs Oscar party last night. Dad is me now, of course. Mom was much more sensible, and baby, who was wearing her first pink dress, fell asleep at some point before Best Song.

So, I'm snake-bitten this morning, but that's okay because I survived. I survived a layoff scare on Friday. And I guess I've survived the winter, which seems to be coming to a close.

Since taking this job more than two years ago, I've experienced some acute moments of disbelief following events I've drummed up massively in my head as world-altering. You mean life continues after I: get a new job, have a reading, buy a house, have a baby? It does. It goes on after layoff scares and winter, too. The fact that the sun is out today makes this "after" time seem that much more new/different — makes it feel like we're moving toward morning. I can't yet imagine warm weather and working in the garden, but sure enough that will soon be here.

Unless, I'm hit by a bus. But don't worry. That's not going to happen.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


It becomes pretty clear by age 32 that there are two types of people in life: helpers and hindrances. Granted, if you're some kind of international terrorist who's looking to blow up the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind., (search engine teaser) and the "hindrances" are those trying to stop you and the "helpers" are your abettors, well, then that might knock the whole model out of whack. But generally, you can expect certain people to be quick with a smile, a kind word or helping hand and others to be self-centered emotional/spiritual drains.

It doesn't always shake out so easily, yes. Even the best of friends who would help each other to the end don't always agree and can get in each other's way. I guess I'm talking about consistency — for good or bad. My boss at my first job here in Chicago told me to view my function as a gate through which information flowed freely and easily. Those who had performed the position badly, he said, were more like big rocks that information flowed around — obstacles.

Erika spent some of her day dealing with such obstacles out in the suburbs. I ask you to keep her step-father, John — a good man who has helped us so much with this house — in your thoughts and prayers as he prepares for a major surgery. There are some who didn't quite grasp the gravity of this situation, preferring to attempt to wrestle the spotlight for themselves in some perverse manner. It saddens and angers me that Erika had to spend even one second today dealing with these kind of people — hindrances.

Maybe this is more succinct: It's not always about you. When someone's life is in danger, don't be a fucking dickhead. Grow up. … Yes, I think that'll work for 11 p.m.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Welcome, Ella

It's over — the pregnancy, that is. Erika gave birth last Wednesday, February 4, at 9:40 p.m. to our daughter, Ella Rose. She was 7 lbs. 6 oz. and 20.5" at birth. We stayed a couple of nights at the hospital then came home Friday afternoon.

I took a week off work and have to go back Thursday. I'm dreading it, not because of any waiting backlog, but because I won't be able to be around Ella all day. These last three days have been fantastic. The birth was fantastic, too. I'm just going to enjoy this remaining time and remember that I'll get to see her in the evenings and all weekend. I am also going to look into work-from-home options. Even one day a week would be great.

It was a little hard to believe Erika wasn't pregnant anymore the first couple of days after Ella's birth. We first found out June 1, 2008, and we've been through a lot together in that long time, about 10 months. I feel it brought us even closer, and I will always look back on it very fondly. Of course, I'm glad Erika doesn't have to tote that weight anymore, doesn't have heartburn, doesn't have to pee a million times a night …

So what's next? An adjustment for ol' Woundup. Don't worry. You can check back here for baby updates as well as all the laffs you've come to love. Ella might even provide some new material. She's got a lot of personality.

Monday, February 02, 2009


This might be the most burned out on sports I've been in recent memory. Granted, I was pulling for the Cards, so that probably made me even more reluctant to read the game wrap-ups and usual laudatory afterbirth passing through the Web canal. But a greater sense of football weariness is definitely there, Steelers victory or not. Two weeks ago I was lamenting the quick passing of pigskin season. Now I'm fanning myself, a cold compress on my forehead, glad to see it go.

More and more, I think that postseasons are becoming less significant, even anticlimactic, because more time is spent in the 24/7 sports journo universe hyper-analyzing what's already happened and trying to predict what's yet to happen, squeezing out the here and now. When an actual game occurs, it often seems lumpy and imperfect — even boring — given the propaganda surrounding it. Plus, with another week of matches on the horizon, analysts quickly sail off toward what surely, positively will be football perfection next time.

Applied to a full season, it seems network talking heads can't wait for things to end before they can begin next year's predictions. And with 31 of 32 teams out of luck, more viewers have experienced losing seasons and very much want to hear about the future: the draft, the new schedule, off-season concerns. Media coverage feeds into this, so much so that, lately, the actual outcomes of games and seasons seem more inconsequential or, worse, unscripted. With so much energy devoted to speculation about what should/could happen, when that doesn't happen, it seems we've been slighted in some way — at least in the eyes of experts who lament that "the better team lost" or "it's all about who gets hot late." (Conversely, you could celebrate the fact that life rarely goes according to script — and if it did, what a terribly bland life it would be.)

There also is a recent tendency in 24/7 sport culture to immediately crown a just-played championship game "the greatest ever" or a play in that game "the greatest play ever" less than a day after it's occurred. It happened last year with David Tyree and this year with Santonio Holmes. It's almost as if the networks feel their lavish coverage (witness NBC's this year) automatically equals a historic game. "Greatest" talk is admittedly good grist for the mill because it generates strong discussion, but history is something that shakes out over time, and these instant coronations seem to cheapen championships even further, they're applied so liberally.

Well, I'm looking forward to using February to heal up from football overload. I might peek at the NBA and college basketball a little, but I won't strain myself. Maybe there's a reason football season is so brief. For the players, it's because their bodies can't take any more punishment. For the fans, it's because we can't take any more publicity. Phew.


It turned into a bit of a beery weekend, on my part at least. After the reading Friday evening and last night's Super Bowl, I'm ready for a brew break. I was compelled at the Super Bowl gathering, naturally after drinking, to make my opinions on football loudly known to all in attendance, none of whom were football fans. I snarled, grimaced and frequently flipped off the TV screen. I hope it was at least entertaining. I promise to behave better next year.

Now what? A new week, a new month. More of the same and some things never before seen.