Monday, February 23, 2015

Chicago is Not as Nice in Winter as Hogwarts

I should not complain about the cold. It's Chicago.  It's winter.  It's cold.

But I have words!  I have reasons and words!  I have things to say.  And this is MY blog.  Dammit.

I just went out to bring my recycling bin back to our back porch and it's gone.  I dragged the damn thing out this morning when it was A DEGREE outside (with windchill of eleventy-million and twelve below) and almost got frostbite on my thumb because I am a good goddamn citizen.  But now I don't have a recycling bin because SOMEONE TOOK IT AWAY.  WHO DOES THAT?!?!   I threw my recycling into the regular trash.

Why,  you may be wondering, did I almost get frostbite?  Well, I'll tell you.  My left glove has a hole in the thumb.  You know what you can't buy in Chicago in February?  Gloves.  You can buy a bikini at Target, but you can't buy gloves.   A bikini.  

Like I could put a bikini on anyway.  All I want to do is lie under a blanket and eat things.  

And I know - it's all a matter of attitude.  I should embrace the wild beauty of Chicago's winter.  

But my gloves have holes in them and some asshole stole my recycle bin and and and and...

I'm going to get into a bath with a bourbon.  I'll get out in April.  Otherwise:

Stupid winter.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Last night I watched best picture front runner Birdman.  I'd had an exhausting week and was really tired.  This morning, after having slept for 9 hours, I got up and did a workout while watching last week's Empire.  I enjoyed Empire a lot more.

Now, let's first of all not understate the importance of attitude when partaking of artistic endeavor. When you're tired and raggedy, nothing is going to be as good as the thing you're watching while your endorphins are all revved up and you've gotten plenty of sleep.

But still.

Birdman had these amazing performances.  Ed Norton, Emma Stone and Michael Keaton were all so good.  And Amy Ryan should be way more famous than she is.  I thought those long tracking shots were interesting and made everything feel really exciting.  But fundamentally, I just don't think neurotic, desperate asshole actors are nearly as interesting as Hollywood does.  Birdman is a movie about actors for actors, I think.  Which is fine.  It's why I really like The IT Crowd.  

Empire is a primetime soap.  It's Dynasty meets The Lion in Winter where Henry II is a Russell Simmons-style hip hop mogul (it is not King Lear and everyone needs to stop saying that).  And it embodies the main way TV is beating movies nowadays, in that its breakout character is a hot, fascinating, talented, complicated 40-plus woman played by an actress you can hardly stand to take your eyes off of.  I am so #hereforCookie.

You never see stories about people like Cookie.  That show, in its glitzy, soapy way is showing us something I really don't think we've seen before in mainstream pop culture. And I cannot get enough!

Empire is telling us a new story in an old, but tried and true way. Birdman told us an old story in an exciting, daring new way.

Or maybe I was just tired last night and feeling good this morning.  Either way, Michael Keaton and Taraji P Henson are both world class actors.  I'm just way more interested in Cookie than I am in Riggan.

Who died.  Come on.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Here's To Confidence

Let's have a toast for the douchebags
Let's have  toast for the assholes
Let's have a toast for the scumbags
Everyone of them that I know

There's a game show on TBS called King of the Nerds that we watch en famille.  I love it.  It features  real nerds nerdily committed to various nerdy things.  I thought I'd be fully on Team Colby because he's from Chicago and is (was?) a public school teacher and I watched him on Jeopardy and he seems like a really good guy.  But instead, I find myself firmly on Team Caitlyn (I'm not sure if I'm spelling her name right or if she lost on Friday, because I haven't watched yet and I don't want to be spoiled). I love her because she is supremely confident.  She's all "I am smarter than everyone else here." This is Caitlyn:

(Every season there's at least one contestant that ascribes to Bronyism.)

Yesterday I was at 7/11 waiting in line to pay for my Diet Dr. Pepper, standing perfectly still.  A guy ran into me.  I apologized.  I apologized to him.  He graciously accepted.

Because I am a person who craves approval, I really admire people who don't.  I would love to be like Caitlyn.

Because I am a person who craves approval, I feel an affinity and a sympathy for people who crave approval.  I also like rap music a lot.

This is why I love Kanye West.  It's not just that he's good (and I am far from alone in my opinion that he is brilliant), it's that I feel like he's the kind of guy who squelches the urge to apologize when someone else runs into him by asserting that he's a much better shopper.  And he believes he is a much better shopper at the same time that he wants to apologize. He is such an interesting dude.

And no one is more aware of Kanye's bullshit than Kanye:

Man I promise, I'm so self conscious
That's why you always see me with at least one of my watches
Rollies and Pasha's done drove me crazy
I can't even pronounce nothing, pass that versace!
Then I spent $400 bucks on this
Just to be like n***a you aint' up on this!
And I can't even go to the grocery store
Without some ones thats clean and a shirt with a team
It seems we living the American dream
But the people highest up got the lowest self esteem
The prettiest people do the ugliest things
For the road to riches and diamond rings

I just love him with one caveat: I really wish he'd stop rushing in to defend Beyonce.  Kanye, she is a grown-ass woman more than capable of taking care of herself.  You have GOT to stop doing that. But don't stop that if it means you're going to get boring, OK?

Here he is rapping through a wired jaw.

I  just love him.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I'm Done With the Whole Damn Pritchett/ Dumphy/ Tucker Family

I got into some mild Facebook trouble around the Emmy's last year when I noted that I thought Modern Family was being mistaken for a much better sitcom.  This isn't to say that I thought it was a terrible show. I didn't.  I thought it was fine, good for a few chuckles. Ty Burrell is delightful.

And that's not a bad thing for a sitcom to be.  Not everything has to be Community or Parks and Recreation.  Sometimes a show can be fine, a pleasant way to pass the time.

Until it becomes unpleasant.

Cam and Mitchell have always been the most problematic characters on the show.  They are the kind of bitchy, sexless gay partners that you'd expect from a sitcom 20 years ago.  Worse, they clearly hate each other and are raising a horrible, bratty kid.

Which brings me to tonight.  Cam and Mitchell are giving a painting they love to another couple and have this exchange:

Cam: This was probably how Lily's birth mother felt
Mitchell: Yeah, but we didn't have nine different paintings by five different painters

God, no wonder Lily is such a little monster.

Cam and Mitchell adopted Lily from Vietnam, from an orphanage.  A woman, who was likely poor and without much power, gave up her baby to be raised (badly) by these mean, petty people and this is how they speak about her.

The Modern Family writers forgot about the whole international adoption and landed on a joke about the shiftless whore who gave Cam and Mitchell their daughter.  This is a mean joke.  This is punching down.  This is exactly the kind of ethos that is ruining America: people have less than you because they are bad people.

Lily's birth mother does not deserve to be spoken of like that.

I am profoundly grateful to Laney's birth mother.  She made mistakes.  Laney had a rough start in life.  But without her, I wouldn't have Laney. Just like Cam and Mitchell, I have no way of knowing what led my daughter's birth mother to the decision to give up her daughter. But I am grateful to her. And the very least I can do is to extend her the courtesy of assuming she loved the baby she gave up.  The very least I can do is to give my daughter the comfort of believing that there's a woman in Russia who loves her and who would be glad to know she is happy.

Cam and Mitchell and the rest of that over-privileged, shitty family can fuck right off.

God, I wish Ty Burrell were on another show.