Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Life & Death of a Peep

"Easter's almost here! Yay! I can't wait for the Easter egg hunts and chocolate bunnies and..."

"...uh oh..."

"Y'know, all of a sudden, I'm not that hyped about Easter anymore. Go figure."

Every Picture Tells a Story: 3/31/10

Sometime in the 1960s, Ned Locke--better known as "Ringmaster Ned" on the legendary Chicago kids' show Bozo's Circus--did a commercial for a local chain of dry cleaners that was offering an inflatable Easter bunny for sale at a certain price when you spent x-amount on getting your suits or dresses freshened. Both the bunny and Ringmaster Ned look happy to be there.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Every Picture Tells a Story: 3/25/10

"Midnight Martin," who was painted for me by Superbadfriend as a Christmas present, hangs out in the living room of La Casa del Terror. He's trying to be all spooky and stuff, but his bright yellow flowers give him away, as does the smiling presence of his best friend, Orangedotstickbutt.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Every Picture Tells a Story: 3/24/10

Saturday was the Vernal Equinox--the official beginning of spring.

Of course, in Chicago, this means it snowed. Sideways.

That day, the side of the pine tree facing north was blanketed with snow...

...while the side facing south had nary a flake (other then the photographer asking it to pose).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Good News/Bad News

The good news? The United States of Tara season premiere (as ballyhooed on this billboard at the corner of Western & Addison, just over a mile from the series' creator's former home) airs tonight on Showtime. (Yay!)

The bad news? I don't have Showtime. (Boo.)

Every Picture Tells a Story: 3/22/10

Olivia enjoys the abundant sunshine of a Sunday afternoon.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Good News/Bad News

The good news? Tomorrow is the Vernal Equinox--the first official day of spring.

The bad news? It's supposed to snow here--maybe as much as three inches.

Thanks a lot, Chicago.

Every Picture Tells a Story: 3/19/10

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Every Picture Tells a Story: 3/18/10

A face on the old Goldblatt's building--now the Gap--at the corner of Milwaukee and Kimball.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Every Picture Tells a Story: 3/17/10

If this photo seems a little out of focus, it's not because you're drunk. And if you aren't drunk yet...what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Every Picture Tells a Story: 3/16/10

I know I've posted a picture of this concrete stamp before, but it seems more relevant now that this stretch of side walk is now officially 100 years old. Unfortunately, it's also cracking more every year--you can see fractures spreading toward the date--and it's likely that some bright soul with the city will eventually have this whole block of sidewalk replaced with something clean and new and terribly, terribly dull.

Monday, March 15, 2010

RIP Peter Graves

Some will remember him as Mr. Phelps on both TV versions of Mission: Impossible. Others will remember him as the Nazi spy in Billy Wilder's Stalag 17. Still others will think of him as the airplane pilot who asked young Billy if he liked movies about gladiators or had ever seen a grown man naked. There might even be a few who recall him as the grandpa to the Camden brood on 7th Heaven or as James Arness's kid brother.

Me? I'll always remember him as the guy who saved my hometown, Chicago, from being eaten to the ground in the '50s sci-fi "classic" Beginning of the End.

Thank you, Mr. Graves.

Every Picture Tells a Story: 3/15/10

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Buzz Kill

Nothing kills a buzz like walking into a used CD/DVD store, perusing the shelves and seeing several DVDs you sold the week before for bus fare, staring back at me and asking why.

Every Picture Tells a Story: 3/11/10

Monday, March 8, 2010

Oscar Hangover 2010

This year, for the first time in many, many years--perhaps for the first time ever, in fact--I didn't catch even a single second of the Oscarcast. I didn't feel the urge to flip over to my local ABC affiliate and check on the proceedings. I really, seriously didn't care.

Instead, I cooked a bottom round steak and covered it with grilled onions and garlic while Dave Brubeck wafted from the living room. Then I sat down and watched The Oscar on TCM. It's a truly dreadful 1966 movie starring Stephen Boyd as a selfish, manipulative, vindictive bastard who nonetheless snags a Best Actor nomination who goes to the ceremony alone because he's dumped all his old friends. His inexplicably loyal best friend (Tony Bennett!) then tells the story in flashback, starting with their days together working bottom-of-the-barrel clubs with Boyd's stripper girlfriend (Jill St. John, looking fine in a tiger-print bikini) to hooking up with an older woman (Eleanor Parker) who connects him with an agent (Milton Berle in a completely straight role) and up the ladder to success, throwing off friends and lovers left and right. He's finally pissed off all of Hollywood with his asshatery when the surprise Oscar nom comes in, thus allowing him to become more insufferable than ever before, even to Bennett and Boyd's also-inexplicable faithful wife (Elke Sommer, looking lovely in lingerie).

There are lots of other past and present stars throughout the movie, including Broderick Crawford as an abusive small-town sheriff, Joseph Cotten as the head of Boyd's studio, Peter Lawford as a washed-up actor now waiting tables for a living, Walter Brennan as a network sponsor, Ed Begley Sr. as a strip club owner, Ernest Borgnine as a sleazy private eye, Edie Adams as Borgnine's sleazy ex-wife, and loads of people playing themselves, like Edith Head, Bob Hope, Hedda Hopper, Merle Oberon and Frank Sinatra.

All that star power can't make up for a melodramatic screenplay (adapted by Harlan Ellison, among others, from the novel by Richard Sale) that never fully explains why anyone wants to be around this creep, much less help him on his way to the top. Even more inexplicable is the Academy's cooperation with this project--didn't anyone there read the script?

Despite (or, perhaps because of) the utter lack of quality of The Oscar, I had a good time. Or maybe it was the TheraFlu I was drinking to shake the bug I've had for the past week. Or, most likely of all, it was because no matter how awful The Oscar was, it was still shorter and funnier than the actual Oscars ceremony. And that's just plain sad.

Every Picture Tells a Story: 3/8/10

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Every Picture Tells a Story: 3/3/10

Ceiling Cat keeps a watchful eye on Basement Cat.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Every Picture Tells a Story: 3/1/10

The original Margie's Candies, still serving up chocolates and sundaes after all these years.