Sunday, August 30, 2015

This Actually Happened

Yesterday we drove for about an hour (each way) to attend a festival for beagles and their owners. In the rain. I can't really explain what motivated this behavior, other than to say that we keep thinking that socializing our little lady more will make her somewhat less crazy. That did not exactly work out, as we got not one but two hostile rug pees upon our return to Chicago.

I will admit that I found the presence of so many beagles to be somewhat amazing, however. They are cute and generally quite friendly, such that I had many approach me and ask to be petted. (I will enjoy the muddy paw prints on my pants for many days to come.) And they gamboled about and played with one another, whilst our little social defective sniffed around pensively and shrunk from any form of contact. Plus there was a fantastic gift bag -- it was just like the Emmys, but more prestigious.

Anyway, I have devolved into madness. And probably will again next year. Frankly, I enjoy the dysfunction.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Best Part

I forgot to mention that my next door neighbors threw a giant party in their backyard last weekend. Featuring very loud Mariachi music. Until very early Sunday morning. I know this because I kept waking up every fifteen minutes or so to think "wow, I can't believe this is still going on," followed by "wow, I can't believe I somehow fell asleep with this really loud music," and then "get your ass back to sleep before you ruin it." I get pretty philosophical at three in the morning, obviously.

So of course we called the police, and of course no one came. I know that noise complaints aren't exactly at the top of the Crimestoppers list in a city with hundreds of murders each year, but I did sort of think an outdoor hootenanny (or the Spanish language equivalent) in the dead of night smack dab in the middle of the neighborhood with the most complainers per capita might draw some attention. Heck, in the era of Trump, I thought there might even be calls for deportation.

But no. Obama's America, people. The good folks of the world can't even watch a Murder, She Wrote marathon without being assaulted by a Spanish-language version of "Problem."

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

On the House

So there was a Full House Lifetime movie this weekend. In the grand tradition of Lifetime movies, it was fairly disappointing.

Now in the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that I don't think I've ever seen a full episode of Full House. Nor do I have any desire to. But the minute I saw all the terrible wigs and inexplicable accents that were to be involved in this particular production, I knew I had to see it. And yes, no one involved managed to look anything like the original actors. The John Stamos was particularly egregious; he would have been a better fit for John Edwards.

The really weird thing to me was that they basically made the movie the story of Bob Saget. As though Bob Saget were still a thing in 2015. They dramatized his inner turmoil, springing from the fact that he did not view Full House as living up to his incredible artistic standards. Which, based on this movie, seemed to demand more dick jokes. I guess the good news is that in the end Bob Saget made peace with Full House and made a lovely speech at Candace Cameron's wedding. Or so I'm told; I fell asleep before that happened.

Anyway, this happened. And the world is better for it. Or maybe not. Let's just hope Jodie Sweetin got a check out of this, because the last I heard of her she was fighting her ex-husband for custody of a 2002 Toyota Sienna and a Kohl's credit card.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Gone Baptizin'

My nephew was baptized yesterday. But you probably already know that, because the media coverage has been so intense. Perhaps it has something to do with our decision to make Ben Affleck's nanny his godmother, who can say? But I have to say, it was nice to be featured in Star magazine's Normal/Not Normal column for once.

Anyway, the young man was honored to become a part of the One True Church. The celebration involved a full Catholic mass (as so many good parties do), a little bit of water and a little bit of oil (but boy, those two did NOT mix), and a nice dinner at a reasonably-priced family restaurant. The guest of honor went off menu for a bottle of breast milk. It was all a fine time.

I am one of the godfathers, so I am responsible for the little scamp's spiritual upbringing, a role to which I am of course uniquely suited. I've been brushing up on the old testament, which is why I no longer wear clothing woven from more than one kind of cloth and spend most of my time stoning adulterers. So far, however, all I had to do is stand there. Oh, and anoint him with oil. Which clearly I would have been doing anyway.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Obedience School Dropout

Yes, it's true. It seems that a four-year obedience college is not for Ms. Aubrey, nor even a two-year junior obedience college. After months of dragging her there only to watch her wilfully ignore all the other dogs, get distracted by the mere existence of a cat section, and occasionally tremble, we have decided to call it quits. It just wasn't worth the struggle any more, especially since it tended to conflict with a lot of quality television. Not to mention the fact that the instructor spent easily half of each class dealing with personal dramas on her cellphone while calling it "free play time." Oh, and the fact that she hated it -- I'm pretty sure at least one or two revenge poops have resulted.

Not that there weren't some successes. She has mastered sit, stay, and down. Well, she actually whiffed on sit today when we were in the pet store and she was nervous. But as a general matter she's got them. And she's walking a lot better, though there was nothing but room for improvement on that one. She always seemed to wait until we were at least a mile from home and then sit and refuse to walk any more. Given the choice between dragging and carrying, I went for the latter, but it was quite a spectacle.

So yes, I'm a failure as a parent. It's okay, though -- that leaves me in very good company.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Keeping It Real
Another season of Real Housewives of New York (or as urban sophisticates allegedly call it, RHONY) has come to a close. Before I get into it, I want to make clear that I do not really consider myself a person who “watches” the Real Housewives. I’ve only done the past few seasons of RHONY and the one season of Beverly Hills that featured Lisa Rinna and Eileen Davidson, both of whom I remember from the days when Days of Our Lives (or DOOL, if you will) was truly insane. We’re talking like pregnancy faking, live burying, demonic possessing insane. But anyway, the point is that my interest in the housewives is casual at best, even if it might seem super intense and obsessive based on everything I say here.
Full disclosure: I have also seen various housewives of other cities in their appearances on Celebrity Apprentice, which I also want to make absolutely clear I do not “watch.”
Anyway, this season was all right. I mean, I kind of lose all credibility because I really enjoyed last season, which was the lowest rated ever, and featured like four episodes of a vacation in Montana. But I thought this season was a step up from that. I was previously rather unfamiliar with Bethenny (if not her alcohol), but I enjoyed her running commentary on all the other women. Clearly everyone is afraid of her and it’s something to behold. Carole seems to have had some truly excellent work done, and provides a nice laid back counterpoint to everyone else’s hysteria. Sonja is like a Tennessee Williams character played for laughs, though there comes a point in every season where I genuinely become very concerned about her mental health. Heather seems kind of redundant now that Bethenny’s there, Kristen has always just kind of stood there blinking, and Dorinda is at least an entertainingly incomprehensible drunk. The Countess and I have a complex relationship, but I do admire her statement jewelry. And Ramona’s always made me nuts, but at least she’s somewhat more grounded now that she’s been publicly cheated on and dumped by a man who just last season wrote and sang a horrible lite jazz number in her honor.
These are my thoughts. Now I can hopefully use my brain for more important things. Although I do still have the three-part reunion special to contend with.

Monday, August 10, 2015


How did I not know that Salt N Pepa played Market Days this weekend? They were three blocks from my house and somehow I didn't get out there to take my top off and throw it at them. I feel like this is really the fault of the liberal media, and not mine at all.

True story: a friend of mine almost booked Salt N Pepa to play her wedding when she was drunk at her bachelorette and googling. She discovered just how reasonable their rate was and was only thwarted when her fiancé (sober) refused to give her his credit card number. Of course, there was an open issue as to Spinderella's availability, so I think it was better for her that it didn't go through.

They also had En Vogue and All-4-One at Market Days this year, making it pretty much exactly like my prom, except with slightly more public hand jobs.  Oh, and they had Blu Cantrell, which must have made for a pretty interesting set for the fifty-seven minutes she wasn't singing "Hit 'em Up Style."

But the point is I missed all of it. I did go to Market Days, but only briefly for purposes of drinking. So I guess it wasn't a total waste.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Baby Talk

My nephew is just over two months old now. I have to admit I've never really been a "baby person," though I'm told I was myself in fact a baby person at one point. (This has never been proven to my satisfaction.) My general view of babies is that they add nothing to the national economy and ought to get jobs if they want to be taken seriously. I mean, no one seems to think it's cute when I just lie around shitting myself and asking to be burped. (Well, only a very small minority thinks that's cute.) Also, babies don't really do enough to satisfy my natural desire for incident, sort of like the Teyonna season of America's Next Top Model. (She will never be MY next top model.)

Anyway, it turns out Jack is pretty solid, for a baby. He rolled over like, almost immediately, and has gotten into the smiling and the babbling already, which sort of reminds me of the Republican presidential race. Also he has a wide array of outfits, which he wears like there is no tomorrow. And he is so serene and pleasant, at least when I'm there, though I'm told he can scream with the best of them when he doesn't have an audience, kind of like Julia Roberts. I'm enjoying getting to know him, although he seldom responds to my trenchant comments about season six of Mad Men. Perhaps he's already finished with it, like most of America?

So I'm sort of coming around on babies, if not to the extent that I have any desire for one of my own. And I've always enjoyed toddlers, what with the mischief and all, so I'm really looking forward to the next chapter. Let's just hope that by the time we get to the sullen teen years we'll all be dead.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Here We Go Again

I've been delinquent. Not a surprise at this point. As far as excuses go, I was in the twin cities for a wedding? Also I have a very rich and active social life. This is part of what you like about me, admit it.

The wedding was nice. I had too much white wine (!) and commandeered the DJ stand. So many nineties classics to play. I was this close to getting everyone to rock out to Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn."

I also had some down time while I was up there and decided to check out the Science Museum, which I loved as a kid. That was of course a terrible idea. Turns out the reason I liked it as a kid is that it is for kids, and it was swarming with them. There were so many toddlers screaming and pulling on the interactive exhibits about cold fronts that I got to do very little screaming of my own. The educational play about the water cycle was pretty solid, though.

Aubrey did not do what one would term well with the change. We bought a giant gate to hold her in the guest bedroom and she somehow knocked it askew and made an escape. Also, while we were away at the wedding, she woke Ian's mother at three in the morning to clean up her urine. You really have to be Kesha to be able to get away with that kind of behavior.

Anyway, I'm here, and aspiring to do better, though I likely won't. This is America, after all.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Chicago Med

Having spent a fair amount of time helping my mother navigate the medical system this past year, I have to say it's maybe not my favorite thing in the world. (I do still like it more than intestinal parasites and Kim Kardashian, however. But I repeat myself.) Today, for instance, I took my mom for an endoscopy. This is a seven minute procedure. We were there for four hours. Now, of course, some of that was waiting for the anesthesia to take effect and wear off, but a lot of that was also just dicking around. After they got her checked in and prepped we literally sat there for an hour without anyone so much as checking in on us. There wasn't even a TV so we could catch up on our Y&R or something while waiting. Just anecdotes about my mom's students from twenty years ago. Pretty compelling stuff.

On the plus side, the actual waiting area where I sat during the procedure was pretty amazing. Lots of comfy chairs and couches, ample outlets for charging of devices, and even a piano in case Chopin dropped by for a tummy tuck. Oh, and they gave us a little electronic buzzer so we would know when it was our turn, just like at Bennigans. Plus the views were surprisingly great. Which is what you really want when a loved one's life is on the line (or in this case, their acid reflux).

Big thumbs down to the cafeteria cheeseburger, however. Limp lettuce and one tiny tomato? You can tell it's not McDonald's, because I ain't Lovin' It.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Love, American Style

I've been watching a bit of American Ninja Warrior lately. Now, it's important to me that you know I'm not like fanatical about it or anything; I haven't developed a rooting interest in any of the contestants and I'm unlikely to fly to Kansas City to try to attend a taping any time soon. But it is quality, low impact entertainment to have on in the background while you are, say, bathing a dog for the third time in as many days because she won't stop rolling in trash or writing an analysis of the constitutionality of an obscenity statute. (Basically the same activity.) I enjoy it for a number of reasons:

-- People are ridiculously earnest and say things like "this is for all the kids with troubled childhoods out there."

-- People frequently fall face first into the water shortly after delivering statements like the above.

-- The commentators get way too excited about everything and act as though these are celebrity athletes on, like, a LeBron James level, when in fact it's sub Oksana Baiul.

-- The inspirational backstories they put together make it seem like there is no one in the world who hasn't lost a parent in a tractor accident, had lupus, or started an after school martial arts program for disadvantaged youths.

-- They're on like their third interchangeable blond lady as their contestant interviewer, and they still haven't found one who doesn't look like she fears for her life when she talks to these people.

Anyway, it's happening. I'm not proud of it, but there it is.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Dispatches From A Month Ago

So we finally watched A Deadly Adoption this weekend. You know, the Will Ferrell/Kristen Wiig Lifetime movie that was filmed in direct implementation of my dream journal? It was a topic of discussion about a month ago? Yeah, I've been busy. Mainly with alcohol, but still.

Anyway, I enjoyed it. Anyone who was looking for a straight up parody must have been pretty disappointed, but I loved the fact that it was basically just a regular Lifetime movie with bad acting that was slightly more purposeful. Will Ferrell's beard deserved an award of some kind, and I'm glad they finally shined some light on the seedy world of financial planning book tours. Kristen Wiig was basically dead on, with an important message about dock safety to boot. Plus there was a sassy gay friend in classic Lifetime tradition. And diabetes.

Oh, and there must be a special shout out for the impromptu kitchen dance party at the end. All Lifetime movies basically end with non sequiturs. I'm pretty sure this one was choreographed by Twyla Tharp.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

In Which I Am Helpful

Recently I was down in kind of the tourist area of Michigan Avenue (I wasn't hustling up the Hancock or anything; pretty much every physician I've ever had is right near there) and I kept getting stopped by random strangers with questions.

A woman with two kids and an old person in tow asked me if this was where you board the trolley to Navy Pier. Of course I did not. But this did not seem to satisfy her, as she persevered to re-ask the question in several different forms. Eventually I kind of made up a halfhearted answer that probably had the effect of getting her entire family murdered. I didn't have the heart to tell her that Navy Pier was within easy walking distance. Or that it's terrible and no one should go there.

Another guy asked me if the place he was looking for was at the top of the steps we were standing near. It was. But when I told him that, he complained that he couldn't climb the steps because he had knee problems. That seemed a bit beyond my jurisdiction (was I supposed to carry him?) so I just kind of made a frowny face.

It was kind of weird, because I don't usually get stopped multiple times in the same day, much less the same trip. But later I realized that it was probably because I was wearing a suit that day. I think people feel much less worried about people in suits murdering them. Because of course everyone knows people in suits are much more likely to sell us worthless investments and spend the profits on dolphin racing or something.

Monday, July 06, 2015

July, Forth

Had a truly fine holiday weekend this year. Friday we dropped Aubrey off for her tryout at doggie day care and went to see a movie. She passed, but only because standing in the corner and looking disdainfully at all the other dogs for four hours isn't technically a disciplinary infraction. And when we picked her up she looked at us as though they'd been beating her and forcing her to watch The Facts of Life Goes to Australia the entire time.

The movie was Jurassic World, which was pretty good. I saw literally every plot element coming a mile away and the characters had about as much dimension as the Real Housewives, but it was enjoyable. Dinosaurs are fun. And Chris Pratt is funny, although you wouldn't really know it much from this particular sample. It was of a giving velociraptors meaningful looks kind of role.

Saturday we went to my friend's roof party in West Town, where we had a stunning view of fireworks both official and un, as well as easy access to vodka-based jello shots. And cute pugs. Of course, every dog in America was collectively shitting the bed over all of the fireworks noise, but I guess that's the price we pay for freedom.

And last night we had a lovely dinner outdoors with some friends. There was homemade paella involved. And rose. I can't say it with one hundred percent certainty because I don't really know her that well, but my feeling is that Lady Liberty would have approved.

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