Sunday, July 31, 2005

Not Necessarily the News

I don't know if I have written about this before, but I am going to write about it now.

I have just finished watching the local NBC news and am confused and dismayed. What is offered these days to the viewing public as news is little more than the unfortunate events that have occurred in someone else's life.

The lineup of 'stories' for this evening's program were: Minivan struck by truck running red light- two dead, minivan strikes pole while driving- three killed, car spins out on toll-road- one girl ejected; drowns, new building rivals Trump's project on lake-front, and Atkins company files for bankruptcy protection.

My problem with the 'news' is that the first three stories really do not relate to anything in my life. I feel that there is some sort of perverse voyeurism at work in modern America. What possible benefit will I earn from hearing the sordid and tragic goings on of strangers lives? To me it is mere common sense to be careful when out in the world. Is there some sort of moral to be learned from these tales of woe? Obviously, if the man in the pickup-truck was some sort of crazed-serial-red-light-runner and was part of a society of such people there would be something newsworthy in the tale. As it is, however, I do not think he set out today with the goal of t-boning a minivan full of people returning from holiday. But thanks to the fine people at channel five he has now been made a shining example of something we all know we are not supposed to do. Don't run a red light, duh, got it. Mistakes were made, true, but rehashing again and again things that we have all pretty much agreed upon as rules for a polite society is not going to get us anywhere.

My anger was furthered later in the broadcast when there were two stories (about the new lakefront tower and the Atkins bankruptcy) that I would have liked to know the five Ws about. Where, exactly, was this tower going to be built? In the picture it looks to be taller than the Sears Tower, is that the case? What will it be used for? Strictly residential, or mixed use properties? How and why did the Atkins company come to this financial crisis? Has it been coming for a long time, or was it sudden?

Perhaps I have a more insatiable thirst for knowledge than most--I am, after all, on the defending championship Snowdown trivia team--but mostly I think that the people on the television news are lazy. I long to have been born in a past generation when there was no television, or at least very little. Newspaper reporters, at least in the old days, got out there and investigated the stories that they were going to write, got the facts, and put it out there for the world to read. If you just wanted to get the basic idea of a story you could read the first few paragraphs and be sated. However, if you wanted to know more you need only read further and most of your questions would be answered.

As a lit major I may have over romanticised the role of written language in our world, but the signs are everywhere that it is dying. There have been books written on the subject...books that, sadly and paradoxically, will probably not be read by the people who need to read them. I think I just long, overall, to be part of a different time. Let me explain:

Between reading the early chapters of The World According to Garp and the fashions in the new J. Crew catalog (who I am loathe to report do not produce a big and tall men's line) I can't help but think that I might have been happier growing up during the late 40s to early 60s in prep-school New England. It could just be part of a whole 'grass is greener' business, but whatever it is the appeal is intense. There is something that seems cleaner--more simple--about that time. Not to mention the style of dress was awesome in that era. Who knows. As usual I'm probably just weird...or eccentric as some have called it. Personally I think it's endearing and it should make each and every one of you love me all the more. Ha!

-A.R. Leith

"I have a message, save your generation...from killing eachother, by sleeping in."- Jawbreaker

Thursday, July 28, 2005

thursday night is the new friday night...

Okay, first of all, I am a little bit tipsy. But that is to be expected, because thrusday is the new friday. Tonight I saw one of the most amazing live performances of my life. This will be short and sweet. I just wanted everyone to know that if they ever get the chance to see Lord Mike's dirty calypsonians they should absolutely leap at the opportunity. In addition to there being an amazing live show there were several things better. First, I may have been ruined forever by a calypso dancer. Something about the cute face and the her dancing had me in a trance. Other than that the entirety of the show was spent with two cute girls who were lots of fun to drink and dance with. So all in all the show was amazing. Plus, cake was served. If you can beat that I'll assert that your pants may be on fire. Okay, that's all for tonight. Later kids.

-A.R. Leith

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I love Tasha!

I don't know what else to say. I just plain love her. She is cute, and friendly, and has great teats. Two rows of magnificent teats. Now, if she would just stop shitting the floor we might have something.

Oh, wait. I DO know what to say! Some of you clowns only see fit to comment on my posts when I'm not writing enough of them down for your pleasure... What's up with that? When I ask for a little response I get nothing. That's pretty fucked up. But whatever, I just wanted everyone to know that I am not some sort of "trick pony" that you can get to do "tricks" or wear a "pony suit". But I will continue, because I like to write, and I have recently learned how to read, so I want to try it all out together. Yay!

Okay, as it has been a while since I've written anything here this could get pretty long. I will, therefore, break it down into little bitty bits for more fun and easy reading. Ready? Go!

One- There has been an alarming trend lately in the footwear industry--led by the folks over there at 'sketchers'--towards making every pair of sneakers on the market look like bicycle shoes. I've seen the ads on the television and, quite frankly, I am disturbed. There was once a time when shoes made for athletics were of some substance. (Actually, there was a time not too long before the time just mentioned when all athletic shoes were converse all stars, but we'll talk about that in a minute.) The advent of the modern 'dress sneaker' is distressing because of its tendency to make dressing down more socially acceptable. Nobody wears dress shoes anymore. Okay, that's not true; only women who care about how they look and businessmen wear dress shoes anymore. The only real problem I have with this is that it leads to people and events becoming less important-seeming. Nothing has much weight to it anymore, and that is sad. Plus, practically NOBODY--with the exception of some attractive mothers in cropped trousers--looks good in these shoes. They just seem odd-looking to me. Maybe it's the velcro, or whatever, but they just don't look like adult shoes. Not to mention how fem they make most men look. But that is a story for another day.

Two- Because we are discussing shoes and I have just been to the Warped Tour (never again, by the way) I would like to talk about punk-rock shoes. I would assume that, with the purchase of converse by the ubiquitous Nike corporation, that many of the punk-rock kids will have to switch over to the only other old school classic, the Vans Old Skools. However, kids who are concerned enough with the way they look, being into punk or not, will probably be pretty slow on the uptake and not know that their favorite everyday canvas shoe company is not owned by the darling of sweatshop globalization Nike. Fact is, no matter how much of a difference I used to think there was between the punkers and the 'regular' kids it's just not true. I can't say for sure if it ever was true, but I am inclined to think right now that it is not. Just because the look is 'different' does not mean that these kids care any less about the image they are projecting. So, it would seem that kids everywhere are just trying to find an identity, and that's fine, so long as you do it well. It is downright healthy, I think. Although it was said of me lately that I am dress very preppy. I am fine with that. I like the preppy look. I am disgusted, though, by the kids on that MTV show, 'My Super Sweet Sixteen'. They are far too materialistic, but I suppose must be excused because their behavior can be chalked up to capricious youth.

Three- It has been raining like a mofo here in Chicago for the last two days and I could not be happier about it. Not only do we need the moisture, but the change of weather is a blessing as well. In fact, one of the reasons for my decision to summer in the Windy City was because of the more variable climate. I was just in the Pacific Northwest and was severely let down to have nothing but clear blue skies for a week and a half. If I wanted that kind of weather I would have stayed in Durango. But here in the middle west we have had a banner week. We've gone from 102 and 103 degrees with 70% humidity over the weekend to torrential downpours on monday and tuesday. It truly is exhilarating and invigorating.

Four- For anybody who cares, I have decided today that I will be leaving Chicago on the 15th or 16th of August to return to a little mountain hamlet called Durango. I will be glad to be back, to say the least. I look forward to the slower pace of life and hopefully having a real job again. Kind of.

Okay, I'm tired of typing for now and will retire to my sleeping chamber. You should all hear back from me soon. Laters.

-A.R. Leith

Quote: "You can sit next to me; we can talk or just kiss. You can rub my palm and say 'better than this.'"- The Lawrence Arms

Monday, July 04, 2005

Oblivion and Charlie Brown

There are Irish people in Chicago. Yep. No two ways about it. The Swedes settled Minneapolis (and as any drunken business traveler lounging at DIA can tell you--whether you want to hear it or not-- that is why so many there are so many good looking young women in that area), the Germans Milwaukee, and the Irish, Poles, and many Latins ended up in Chicago. However, my focus and my main purpose right now is to discuss the Irish.

Charlie Brown would lament by saying "Oh, good grief" where his little red headed girl is concerned. They are everywhere here, and soooo cute. Oblivion wrote a song about Charlie's crush on the little red headed girl, and it's a good one--and I know what they are singing about. Everywhere I look these days there is some pale girl with shockingly orange hair that I have trouble looking away from. I don't know what it is, but there is something captivating about redheads. I don't know if it is the fact that you know, somewhere deep down, that they are absolutely batshit-crazy, or if it's just because they are different from the majority. And I know, I is wrong for me to even think about. Just think of the sickeningly pasty children such a union would produce. They would have to wear specially made suits to go out in the sun lest they burst into flames from exposure. I would not want to wish that on anybody, but still, I have a staring problem when it comes to a cute redhead, and it would seem there is nothing I can do about it.

On the subject of breeding--I think I should marry a petite, dark skinned, dark eyed, dark haired woman to try and counteract the genetics I will be contributing to the mix. I think it would be the only responsible course of know, for the kids. Just think about it.

Sorry for doubling up on the posts today, but stuff is on my mind. Before I go I would like to shout-out (kids are still shouting-out, right?) to the folks at Nissan for putting skiers--rather than snowboarders--in their most recent ad for how Xtreme their Xterra SUV is. (Ha ha, Morgan, Xtreme!) Skiing is making a comeback...we hope. Okay, laters.

-A.R. Leith

p.s.- I think it is hilarious that Fall Out Boy named a song, "Tell that mick he just made my list of things to do today." I'm pretty sure it's a quote from something, but funnier out of context. Then again, I also think it's effin hilarious that the Dillinger Four named a song "Honey, I shit the hot-tub." So take all of this for what it's worth, right? (And last but not least, the word "effin"--see two sentences ago--is awesome because it reminds me of the beleaguered and flightless Puffin. I want a pet Puffin.)

Liar, Liar...

The question has been posed, "What does one young mand need with so many pairs of shoes?"

The answer, it would seem, is that those shoes do not go with these pants. There is a problem of leg opening, coupled with breakage and overall length, that makes it necessary for different styles and sizes of shoes to be purchased in order that a pair of pants is properly accentuated. If all of these ideas are observed and, indeed, followed the result should be the maximum flattery for the wearer. Everyone wants to look good in their trousers. Anyone who says that they have no such desire is a liar; whose pants are probably in danger of catching on fire anyway.

While we are on the subject: in the event of a pants related fire I would strongly suggest against this dirty "rolling-around-on-the-ground" business that your Average-Joe-Fireman would tout. Instead the steps to be followed are: 1) Have a little chat with yourself. Ask, "how much does this really hurt?" Does the prospect of the pain--or the cessation of the pain--warrant getting dirty? If the answer is "yes" go directly to the last step. 2) Attempt to find some sort of non-flammable liquid with which to douse your trousers. Ideally, you could actually find a fire extinguisher that would work nicely (as its name would predict). 3) If no such liquid or foam retardant is not readily available, or forthcoming in the foreseeable future, you should quickly remove your pants. The reasons for this bold move are threefold a. this will help limit damage to your epidermis... b. "You can learn a lot by taking your pants off." c. "If you don't take your pants off, you'll never know if she wants to take her pants off..." 4) If all else fails I suppose it would be wise to give in to the business of mucking about on the ground to put the fire out, but you might want to explore some other avenues on your own first.

I know all of this information is truly thrilling and worthwhile to you, and that is why I write it here. However, the real reason I signed in today was to tell you all about something that happened a couple of nights ago. After having consumed a good deal of malt liquor I awoke to find myself in the bed of a hefty stranger. Anyway, long story short; I may be a father in the next 8-10 mon... wait a second, that's not the story I was going to tell. That's not even a very good story at all. Nobody wants to hear about that.

Two nights ago I attended a rock 'n' roll show at Bottom Lounge here in Chicago, IL. Alright, so three of the five bands were pretty miserable. The other two were FUCKING AMAZING. (If I knew how to underline things on this infernal machine, I would have done that too) I was taken back to a time when you could watch an entire set by a band and just be blown away by the music, the stage presence, the crowd response...everything.

I don't know if anybody who reads this blog is now, or ever was, into pop-punk, but it has been so long since I saw a good show of that variety that I had to search my memory long and hard, and only came up with two truly good examples. The two that came to mind were Chixdiggit at the Fireside Bowl (circa 2000/2001), and The Queers, Mr. T. Experience, and John Cougar Concentration Camp (a year or two earlier). To see pop-punk at its finest is to be faced with a wall of sound coming from a band who loves the music, and loves to entertain. (To clarify, we are not talking about your Blink 182, Simple Plan, Yellowcard variety punky-corporate-pop, no, we're talking about the Ramones-style snotty-gritty-three-chord-pop-punk.) The two bands that rocked the Hizze the other night were Teenage Bottlerocket (members of the Lillingtons) and The Methadones (members of Screeching Weasel, Squirtgun, The Queers).

When Teenage Bottlerocket opened up the show I was taken back to my High School days. There is something about a four man setup of Bass, Drums, and Two Guitars that just makes things seem faster and louder. It doesn't hurt when the band opens their set with everybody but the drummer standing in the rocker splits at the front of the stage, and just rocking the fuck out. Harmonies and gang vocals abound and the fists are pumping in the crowd. Everyone is as one on the floor and on the stage. A good time was had by all, I can assure you. It was so loud, and so good. It's hard to explain, so all I can say is try and see one of the following bands if you can in the near future and on a stage with a reputable sound man, and you won't be dissapointed:

Screeching Weasel
The Methadones
The Queers
The Mr. T Experience
Teenage Bottlerocket
The Riverdales

That's all I can think of right now that are still around in some form or another, I think. But yeah, no frills, no gimmicks, no bullshit. Just straight forward rock, and a good time.

I believe that is all I feel like writing today. Happy holiday, and remember to try not to fuck things up as much as our predecessors have. Thank you, and goodnight.

-A.R. Leith