Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page


I got the Indiana/Illinois hoops game on. IU’s having a shitty year, so we’ll see how this goes.

on Tuesday I made an offhand and pompous aside — replete with a link that no one clicked on — to the Moscow airport bombings in a post containing much sturm und drang about the goddamn Bears. that’s pretty awful. I’d like to revisit the topic if only for a moment.
my brother and I are always busting wise about the heavy-handed response Russians seem to prefer when it comes to things like due process and national security (see the Beslan school massacre here). we’re ethnically Russian — or more precisely, ethnically vague-eastern European — and our forebearers in Gary spoke Russian and went to a Russian church. all of this makes me no more russian than the family dog, but irregardless: it may go a distance to explain why I’m fascinated by that country. and I find it interesting that the Russian public, at least in the media, seems almost nonplussed in response to brutality. like it has a casual relationship with it.  
I read an article on Vanity Fair’s website about precisely this, so maybe me and my brother aren’t as stupid as originally thought. but it is worth your time, I think.

our nation has spent over a trillion dollars on two wars in the past decade, and we’re still in the midst of one in Afghanistan that is rarely headline news, even when they fighting peaks in the summer. gone from the grisly, daily reminders of violence that were all over US airwaves in 2001, Russians shrug through events like the Moscow theatre crisis, the subway bombing and the Chechen wars, while the government presses hard on dissent and tells the world to not worry about it; Russia is open for business. Americans, meanwhile, barely lift a leg to fart when it comes to the Afghan war.

I dunno, it’s just something to think about. anyway, Indiana won. that’s pretty cool! that’s a big W, Illinois was ranked. I stress was.
and here’s my man Bill Murray not taking anything lying down in “Rushmore.”



I’m watching “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” again. my niece digs it. the movie iss well-written, with a healthy number of throwaway jokes, so if you sit down with it and run, you could do worse. what did  Hunter S Thompson write?

buy the ticket, take the ride.

I take it you watched the Bears game sunday. you watch the Bears game? man.
now, I’ll not say anything that hasn’t been said yet, and over and over. there are many professional sports writers bloviating about this, about our mass interest in sports — and most of them don’t care at all for the reasons why we dump so much disposable income on this bullshit, but I’ll admit: this paragraph is definitely a result of Chicago losing to Green Bay in an epically hopeless contest, one in which it was apparent from the opening kickoff that the Bears weren’t going to win. if the Bears had won, you could expect to find a post here featuring a picture of Brian Urlacher and his tribal armband tattoo, mid-sack or interception. but that’s not the case.
they lost. but fuck it. I was in quiet despair on Sunday night, watching Todd Collins underscore his name on a long line of inept quarterbacks, coming to terms with the writing on the wall. it would have been monumental and unbelievable if they had managed to tie the game in the waning moments with a no-name QB facing one of the best defenses in the league, but they didn’t.
they didn’t. the miracle come-back didn’t happen. so to everyone who rides the Bears; who pours too much into professional football rivalries; who buys expensive jerseys only to ignite them in empty, done-before gestures; who fire motherfuckers over their choices in decorative ties … let’s keep it all in perspective. I’m pretty sure FC Spartak wasn’t headlining the Moscow rags this week. the State of the Union is tonight, and there’s going to be an honest-to-god Tea Party response on CNN. and in two weeks, the American Super Bowl holiday will be here, and it really won’t be that bittersweet. it’ll be more savory: there’s definitely gonna be seven-layer salad at whatever party you attend, becauase it’s a goddamn rule that it be provided. 
but jesus christ, if there’s one thing you can hang onto: don’t root for the Packers. fuck them.

here’s some Queen, to wrap up:

big day

I had a helluva week. but it’s ending okay, and the Bears got the Packers in the morning for a spot in the Super Bowl. and yeah, they’re gonna win. I’m gonna sleep in my Chris Zorich jersey.
so get your sleep, and I’ll see you on the other side. check out the Slickers.

working on the cargo ship

it’s been a long week, and it’s only Tuesday.
tomorrow I’m going on an officewide retreat at a country estate that they rent out for these deals, out toward the mountains. I haven’t packed yet.
there’s gonna be roommates and karaoke and an honest-to-god jam session. a book discussion. seminars. and booze. it is my nightmare, but it’s a cool job so I can bear it. today, I wrote a letter to the editor on part of an as-of-yet-unnamed evangelical pastor promoting nurse home-visiting and early education programs. 
yeah. that was about the only thing today that didn’t suck, so you should click on those links; they’re interesting programs. maybe we’ll learn you something.

get Hub Arkush on the phone

first: ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier has landed in Haiti. holy shit!

second: I hope you are excited about this as I am, young world: the Chicago vs. Green Bay summerslam set for next weekend. the players don’t seem to care anything extra, but who cares?
I came to this realization earlier today while watching the game: I am a sports pessimist. or I’m just a Bears fan. but whatever it may be, I’ve been a skeptic all season, and Chicago is hosting the conference championship against their ancient rivals. so I’ll just go ahead and predict they’ll get killed, and maybe that will help.

third: I am watching “Outland” starring Sean Connery. it’s described as a “space western.” not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing so far, but it’s wearing that early eighties take on outer space pretty well as of yet. more ‘Alien’ than ‘Blade Runner.’ but you get the idea; I’m only forty minutes into it. anything can happen at this point.

back with the movie. I’m at an hour and twenty minutes now (I write really, really slow), and it’s … yep. a western as billed, set on a mining colony on a moon. there are a lot of gruesome deaths, a lot of scenes set on a racketball court, and a lot of awful acting.
so, obviously, get to your Netflix account and dial that son of a bitch up!

annd … yes. in summation, it’s been a long weekend. and I wanna go back to work, almost, I swear to god. but the key word is almost. to close: here is a great Black Keys song. it’s pretty strong.

DeGeneres is on to something

to those of you who kill time on this blog at work: my bust. every once in a while, I go through a week a mixture of writer’s block and indifference. but it has been a hell of a week or so. I think tonight is as good a night as any, better than most, to get caught up.

I am freshly returned from Indiana. I have discovered something called “Grooveshark.” I am playing online chess. and the goddamn Packers are whupping the tar out of Atlanta. that’s good and bad. bad, because: fuck them. good, because — and I’m getting ahead of myself here — Chicago should beat the Seahawks tomorrow, and therefore set up Armageddon.
we will definitely lose that fucking game. Bears/Pack for the NFC Championship, played in Chicago? definitely. we’ll definitely lose that.
and that’s okay, I’m alright with that. see, I didn’t even flinch when we got blown out on national television by the Patriots. because? the Bears are entirely well compensated and too human for me to give a shit about whether or not they lost by the thirty points to New England. they’re are quite falliable, and every once in a while fuck up big time, just like you or me. plus, they’re not easy to like — the quarterback is allegedly a dick — which makes them more likable.
so what I’m trying to say: I love the Bears, and I hate the Green Bay Packers. but even though I’m a pessimist and expect Chicago to lose, I’m still hyped as shit about this. they’ve been playing for as long as my grandmother has been alive, these two teams, and a meet this deep in the playoffs has never happened. exciting!

update: the football game has ended, and I have shifted over to a movie called “Phantasm,” which I have never seen, but is the dumb kind of independent horror that I can really get on top of; the kind flick that will, by god, work in at least a couple of scenes where a chick takes off her shirt. Netflix says it’s a “1970s classic.” so yeah, we’ll see.

meanwhile, everything in between:
I saw a bunch of buddies, some “school-time chums” while in Chicagoland. I weighed myself; picked up a full five pounds in four days due to a steady diet of ham sandwiches and potato salad.
I’ve started my mind, again, to running. that doesn’t mean I’ve started running, it means that recently I’ve gone once, and have been thinking about going more.
I started reading another book, called “A Canticle for Liebovitz.” post-apocalypic speculative fiction!
and …

I watched an online documentary about the rule of law in Haiti a year after last year’s earthquake. raise your hand if you haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about our hemisphere’s humanitarian disaster of the young century.
anyway, this is a hell of an installment of Frontline, and you should really watch it when you get a chance.

mississippi leg hound

happy new year. I went to church yesterday with my brother and niece, and it was a trip, man. I was baptised there a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. I hadn’t been back since we left for grayer, flatter climes in northwest Indiana in 1993, though I’ve clipped past it on Mass Avenue a bunch.
but how about the ambiance? well, at the afterward coffee hour, I checked out a Sunday School bulletin board with letters to Santa posted on it. this following one was my fave:

I heard that. get this kid the Xbox, pronto.
so yeah, it was much as I remembered. the cathedral isn’t big on the inside, and the Orthodox are big on standing. but sometime in the last eightteen years, the iconography has been updated, and it is pretty legit. there are no empty spaces. so if you’re not into the whole God thing, and have found yourself in church anyway, you will have plenty to look at. 

anyway, it’s back to work til Wednesday, when I head out to Indiana for the Orthodox Christmas celebrations. way to get in the spirit, eh? nothing like family vacation. and in the spirit of that, here’s some Cousin Eddie: