Friday, May 24, 2002

From Kindergarten to Heroes

Lots to talk about, so I'll work backwards from today. This morning I was lucky enough to attend my neighbor (and protege) Maggie Whalen's kindergarten graduation at St. Ray's. As I went to public school and probably saw more fights and lice epidemics than award ceremonies, this was a new concept for me. I was away at school for Maggie's older brother Jack's kindergarten graduation last year, but I watched it on video, so I knew a little about what to expect. The kids didn't wear caps and gowns, however some of the little boys were dressed in suits, which was mildly disturbing as they looked like miniature bible salesmen. After a performance of some song that involved pointing at the audience (how rude!) and a performance of High Hopes (which, for some reason, different kids sang at different speeds, I don't know if this was intentional or not), the kids received their diplomas. Following a group prayer was the highlight of the ceremony, a performance of the song "Numbers All Around." The song consists of questions about numbers, with the kids holding up cards with the answers. For example, one question was "How many times do you eat each day?" This question was Maggie's to answer, and she proudly held up a sign reading "5." She's a mini-version of me, I have to say. This song was also performed at Jack's graduation, and my brother and I found it hilarious, and made up some inappropriate questions to include in the song, such as "How many times did you pee your pants?" Maggie especially loved that one. One question was "How old do you wish you were," and one girl held up "18," which I found a little disturbing. The funniest part was one overeager boy who kept holding up his number, "8:00," (upside down, by the way) for questions that had nothing to do with time. After the song was over, the teacher gave a little closing speech, during which the same overeager boy stood up and started yelling, "Blah blah blah!" The kindergarten teacher quickly shushed him, but he definitely stole the show.

Last night I got to go to another children's performance, this time it was Jack and Maggie's piano recital, as led by their instructor, reader Melanie of Joliet. Unfortunately the city of Joliet screwed up, as usual, as the staff of the Bicentennial Park Theater managed to doublebook Melanie's students' recital with the recital of the Allegro Piano Academy. The two groups alternated, and the difference between the teaching styles of Melanie and the Allegro teacher's styles was apparent; while Melanie's students played Beethoven and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," one of the Allegro students attempted to sing along with her music (it wasn't pretty), and another played Enya. One of the Allegro students also had a fake blond ponytail and displayed a shocking resemblance to Jon Benet Ramsey.

Before I move on to the tales of last night's adventures at Heroes, I have a disturbing observance about one of my old favorite cartoon shows. While my brother and I were waiting for my parents to get ready for the graduation today, I checked around on TV and saw that Alvin and the Chipmunks was on. While this show never made sense to me-how could Alvin date human girls legally?-I have never been more disturbed than by today's episode. The episode was a flashback in which Dave explained how he ended up adopting the three chipmunks. Apparently Dave was living alone, trying to make some money writing songs, when one cold winter night a cloaked figure left a bundle on his front porch with a note. The note basically said that due to the cold weather and the "nut shortage," the chipmunks' mother was leaving them to Dave. I'm sorry-"nut shortage"? I never saw the Chipmunks eating nuts, they always ate basic human food, so apparently they don't need "nuts" for nourishment. Is this some kind of sick innuendo? Does the chipmunks' mother assume that their children need a male role model, someone with "nuts"? I checked the official webpage, but the only relevant info I found was that Alvin "suffers from 'small munk' complex." "Small munk?" I'm not gonna go there. . .

Anyway, on to Heroes. It was packed last night, so of course adventures were had. There was no ass trilogy, the songs were distributed through out the night, but Chuckie had his flashlight, which Nancy counteracted with a laser light of her own, kind of a small scale Star Wars battle. I saw many former high school classmates, including a fellow JCA alum who apparently is not a big fan of post-bathroom usage hand washing, as both times I saw her in the bathroom she left without using the sink. Needless to say I did not shake her hand that evening. Again Nancy was mistaken for a celebrity, this time Jessica Alba, and Megan was told by a bar patron that he once saw her on Star Search. We met a few interesting lads, one who lives not too far from "Adult Book Store" in Morris (no, he doesn't know Fur Face, but I asked), and another who showed us creative dance moves like "the Dolphin" and "stirring the chili." Another Fashionable Male sported the largest Afro I'd ever seen up close. Express Girl made her rounds, again draped in some kind of furry/feathery ensemble, and according to Nancy, seductively moving her sweater off her shoulders in order to bare her tank top straps. Perhaps she was looking for "Fast Cash". . .

People were definitely getting freaky last night. First, we saw one girl, either very drunk or very skanky, that was having what some people might call "sex with clothes on" (much worse than the person that term was coined for) with a variety of males. Let's just say they were simulating sex in a very uncomfortable place, and I'm not talking about the back of a Volkswagen (Mallrats was on at lunch today). She made quite a scene. Later on in the night Nancy, Megan and I stepped outside to escape from the heat. We glanced over to the outside bar and saw some people behind it, and it was quickly established that there was some hanky panky going on. We walked back inside, and a guy who was a couple years younger than me in high school, who I hadn't spoken to all night, approached me and said, "There's people f**king out there." I don't know how he knew this for sure, as when we looked outside again it appeared that the people were wearing clothes (of course, it could have been sex with clothes on), but this JCA alum seemed pretty sure of his story. Needless to say we spread the word to Shannon Murphy, who tends to be good at finding out such things, but nothing's been confirmed yet. I know there were other funny things that happened, but I can't remember them right now, so Nancy, Megan, and Kelly, feel free to add anything else you remember. This weekend the co-originator of the phrase "Whiskey Tango," Jen DeGeus, will be back in J-town, so adventures will be sure to occur. I'll leave you with one final quote, overheard in the bathroom of Heroes: "My thong's riding up the wrong way."

Thursday, May 23, 2002

Adventures at the Adult Book Store and Herald News Hijinks

Since no exciting stories can come out of last night's adventure of sitting on my tired ass and watching Felicity with my mom, I will share with you a classic Whiskey Tango tale today, along with a couple Herald News items. Read and learn,

Last summer a bunch of us (I believe it was Melanie, Ryan, Melissa, Jake, and I) headed to the Grundy County Speedway in Morris to cheer on our good buddy Sean Murphy in a midget car race. Note: the cars are midgets, not the people. I did briefly stop at a midget wrestling event once, but that's another story. Anyway, after enjoying some cheap food and beer, receiving our very own "Midgets Rule!" t-shirts, and watching Sean win his race, we had some time to kill before Sean's award ceremony. Note: we got to be part of the honorary "pit crew." Definitely a high point in my life, I looked up to good old Dale Earnhart in the sky and said, "I'm with you, Number Three." Well, maybe not. Melissa, Jake and I decided to make a "pit stop" (haha car joke!) at the local adult book store we noticed on the way to the Speedway. The store, which I believe went by the creative name of "Adult Book Store," carried quite an extensive collection of dildos (of all races), windup toys (sorry, no Jolly Pecker, though I asked the burly store owner), and a section, probably much like the MMLC at Northwestern, where lusty patrons could watch videos. There was a sign over that section that read "One person per booth," which made me wonder what kind of orgy-like activities had occurred there before to merit such a warning. I looked through the card section to see if I could find an appropriate "Congratulations" card for Sean, but I don't think their congratulatory cards had anything to do with car races, if you know what I mean. I asked the guy at the counter for ideas, but nothing seemed right. Suddenly a furry creature brushed past me, and I saw a cat on the floor. Apparently this feline was the house pet of "Adult Book Store," and enjoyed free reign of the dimly lit place (though of course, it probably couldn't bring fellow cats into the video booths, one "word that rhymes with wussy" per booth of course). I was really curious about what the name of this cat was, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to ask the burly owner. I waited expectantly after asking the question, fearing the worst. The answer? "Fur Face." Melissa, Jake, and I walked out of the store, empty-handed but with increased knowledge of dildos, plus size porn (WHY?), and what NOT to name your cat.

And now for today's Herald News. First, from the blotter. . .

Joliet man dodges gunfire

JOLIET — A man sitting on the front porch of an Elwood Avenue house dove for cover when a gunman opened fire on him late Tuesday night.

The 23-year-old told police he was on the porch of the house in the 500 block of Elwood about 11:45 p.m., waiting for his cousin when he heard footsteps on the sidewalk.

Thinking his cousin was approaching, the man called out, "What's up Cuz," police said.

But this was not his cousin. It was a small man in black jeans, a black coat and white hightops, and this small man pulled a handgun and opened fire.

The man on the porch leaped away, diving to the ground alongside the house. He was not injured.

I wonder if the cousin ever stopped by, if the cousin is also a small man, and if indeed when he came by, if the man on the porch again said, "What's up Cuz."

Then there's this front-page story:

Crossing privacy line

Oops, wrong number: Local man victim of error on Pepsi cans

JOLIET TOWNSHIP — A misprint on the back of a Pepsi can has prompted hundreds of pop-drinking, auto-racing fans to call Roger Zabel's house at all hours, day or night, in search of answers to their most pressing questions. What's it cost to get into Chicagoland Speedway? Are they racing this weekend? Where can I buy tickets to see Jeff Gordon race? Ahhh, the joy of Pepsi. Zabel will experience it only after the calls to his unlisted telephone number stop. The soft-spoken Caterpillar worker filed a lawsuit in Will County Circuit Court last week against Pepsico, Inc., and the owners of Joliet's Chicagoland Speedway over the misprint on the backs of what he believes are millions of Pepsi cans. The promotional cans encourage fans to call the NASCAR track for information about the July 14 race featuring driver Jeff Gordon. MORE. . .

Apparently, the correct number to call for racing info is (815) 727-RACE, but the number posted on the cans is (815) 722-RACE, Mr. Zabel's phone number. I haven't tried calling either number myself, but if anyone does do so, please let me know and I'll post the results here on Whiskey Tango.

Finally reader Nate of Evanston wondered whether the Eddie Z mentioned in Monday's entry also owns the window treatment chain
Eddie Z's Blinds and Drapery. This I do not know, but apparently Mr. Blinds and Drapery makes in-home visits, and I really hope that Eddie the DJ does not do the same.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

The Heritage Corridor and the Herald News

Well I'm done with my internship for the week so updates will be more frequent until next Tuesday. However, this also means no more train time this week. For some reason the number of hot guys I see on the train is infinitely larger than the number I see at the bars. However, the train (though people do drink beer on it) is just not a pick up atmosphere.

Yesterday's Herald News contained a delightful police blotter entry that I like to call "I Feel Like Chicken Tonight."

Police seize cash among chicken

PEOTONE — A tractor trailer hauling frozen chicken parts happened to have bundles of money among its load, police said, and the thousands of dollars found mixed in with the chicken was taken by the law.

State Trooper Chuck Arceneaux and Agent Herb Hardy of the Cooperative Police Assistance Team stopped the truck Friday evening during a motor carrier safety inspection and interdiction effort held at the Interstate 57 southbound scale in Peotone.

The drivers of the 1994 Freightliner raised suspicion during questioning, police said, and a consent to search the truck was obtained.

Trooper Chad Brody and his drug dog, Buster, then were called in to check the outside of the truck.

Buster indicated something was amiss, police said, and the truck was searched for contraband.

Police reportedly located 32 bundles of cash stuck between pallets of chicken parts in the trailer. The bundles of bills of various denominations totaled $328,980, police said.

The two "team" drivers, brothers Cruz and Jose Gaitan, ages 51 and 44, respectively, denied any knowledge of the money, police said, claiming it was not theirs and that they had no idea how it managed to find its way into the chicken.

Police then seized the cash.

The Gaitans were allowed to continue with the Dallas-bound chicken.

Buster the drug dog. . .doesn't that sound like the name of a puppet that one of those DARE officers would have?

The Wright family is all over the Herald News these days, as a column about Jennifer's sister Elizabeth appeared in today's paper. A couple years ago there was an article about the culinary habits of Jennifer's mom. . .when will the feature on Jennifer appear? Soon, we all hope.

However, I do have a beef with the weekly "Teen Scene" section of the Herald News. Maybe I'm just bitter because they didn't have high school correspondents when I was in high school, but come on, can we find some people who can write focused articles? This week contained two crappy articles about proms. Unfortunately, I can't find these articles online, so I'll give you the highlights. Mark Mason, a Minooka High School Junior wrote the creatively titled "All About Prom." I'm very tempted to type up this whole article, but it's just too much. Here are some favorite quotes:

"The mighty Honda-CRV roars, and Benjamin "Chuckletrousers" Young (aka Chuckles, for his goofy laugh) and I sit in silence for several minutes. . ." "Bob is a lofty senior who sits at my lunch table, loves hard rock and extreme sports and can build anything provided it will explode." "Chuckles, our beautiful dates and I drift off into the beautiful Joliet evening, Corey Posvic behind us majestically releasing stolen purple balloons into the silent dark sky." " 'Did you have a good time tonight?' my date asks me, her eyes sparkling and her voice like softly falling snow.' "

Maybe it's just me, but I think it's time that Mark Mason's poetic license was revoked. The other prom article, written by Lincoln Way Central junior Beth Starczewski and entitled, "My Funny Prom," is a classic in its own right. As it is fairly short, I'll include the entire article. Bold sections in parentheses are my comments that I added to the article

Two funny things happened at prom that I will never forget.(Really, only two?) The first one happened at the dance in Ashton Place in Willowbrook: During the crowning, the junior class officers were on stage, crowning the princes, princesses and the king and queen. Well, Natalie Schultz, president of the junior class, was in charge of crowning the king and queen. She was really nervous and ended up crowning the first-runner up prince, Scott Behrens. Everyone started cheering and the look on his face was out of this world. The look on the faces of teachers who were on stage with us (Nice way to imply you were part of the court) were of astonishment. They could not believe what just happened. Finally, they ended up taking the crown off of hm. The funny (Really? Was it funny?) part of the whole situation is that when the teacher announced the actual king she said, "And now your 'real' king is Kevin Schaefer." (I'm sure Scott Behrens found the situation simply hilarious.)

The second thing that happened that we all thought was hilarious (well, as long as you all thought so. . .)was when my group and I went to dinner at The Wildfire in Oak Brook. There were four of us, so we were sitting in a semi-circle booth. It gave us a great view of the restaurant. There happened to be these three ladies who were sitting right in front of us. Well (Beth seems to like that word a lot), to use up some pictures, we decided to take them sitting in the booth. One of the ladies turned around and asked us if we wanted her to take a picture. We said sure. Of course, we all wanted one, so there were four cameras so she directed her two other friends and a waitress to help in the picture-taking. The funny part (Beth, was it funny?) was that she was acting like our mother. One of the two guys in my group had spun his bow tie around the back of his neck because it was bothering him. Before the lady would take a picture, she asked him to turn it around. He very politely said that it was OK, but she did not take no for an answer. She literally (literally?) jumped into the booth and fixed his tie for herself. It was so funny! (Again, Beth, was it funny? I didn't get that from your article title, "My Funny Prom.") She told us that she had four daughters at home, and boy do we feel sorry for them!

Beth, your article just wasn't funny, honey. I'm not saying that the hard-hitting profiles of Becky Shinn and what kids are doing for spring break that I wrote for The Student Prints in high school were Pulitzer material, but I believe that if I had written an article entitled "My Funny Prom," it would have been a lot more amusing. Yes, probably more mean spirited, and probably focusing on my fellow classmates' poor fashion choices, but still funny.

This Is a Test

of the computer b/c i'm having computer problems with the website. Please work!

Monday, May 20, 2002

Parents, Patchwork, and Afro-Man

Actually this weekend was fairly Whiskey Tango-free, I'm sad to say. Saturday's episode of Cops did include a Patchwork sighting, this time on a male! On Cops: Mardi Gras (a must-see if it's re-run) a patchwork clad man was arrested for selling counterfeit Rolexs on Bourbon Street. The things multi-colored denim can make a man do. . .

Saturday night's adventure was a trip to Tuckaway Tavern with Melanie, Megan, Ryan, and others. Unlike the usual cover bands, Saturday night Heroes had a DJ: Eddie C. (or Z., I'm not quite sure). My only prior knowledge of Eddie C came from a friend who knew him socially and a trip to Friday's, where, for some reason, they had Wednesday night DJ's this fall, but I hadn't paid attention to him, as I was busy eating my Jack Daniel's chicken. However, after seeing the Edster at work on Saturday night, I can safely say I hadn't missed much. While Eddie, clad in a Wooly Willy shirt, would occasionally play a good song that would get people on the dance floor, he would follow it with an immediate floor clearer, for example, "Ninety-nine Luftballoons." What the hell does that song mean anyway? We'll just say Eddie doesn't seem to have much stamina. He also had an annoying pattern of scratching in the middle of the songs. No, not scratching himself, all you sick minds out there, but scratching the record in a way that really didn't go with the song. Perhaps this was one of Eddie's first big gigs and he was a bit nervous, but overall I have to say that he was no "guy in the booth at Heroes." Speaking of Heroes, it was really disconcerting to hear dance music at Tuckaway. I thought to myself, "I'm at Heroes. . .but I'm at Tuckaway. . ." My head could have exploded from the profoundness (is that a word?) of that thought.

I went to Fox Valley with my mom on Sunday. Two odd things occurred; first, I was at Victoria's Secret and I noticed the area where you could make personalized bras and thongs. One of the options was "Marry Me" written in rhinestones. Question: does the woman wear this thong in order to propose to her boyfriend when he undresses her, or does the guy buy it for the woman? Either way that's a tough story to explain to the kids later. A little while later we headed to Too Cool, the Hello Kitty/Sanrio store to find a kindergarten graduation (again, what the HELL? I never "graduated" from kindergarten, we just had to go to school all day the next year) present for my neighbor. They play some sort of Asian pop music at the store, I think it's Korean, but I could be wrong. All of a sudden, I heard a familiar melody and rhythm coming from the pink Hello Kitty boom box, and I realized it was a Korean(?) version of "Because I Got High" by Afro-Man. I thought this was an odd song to translate, and I wonder if it had the same lyrics in whatever language it was. However, I didn't feel it was appropriate to ask the employees. Also, how can Hello Kitty get high? She has no mouth!

Finally, today's Herald News had little in the blotter, but the front page carried a huge color pic of Mark and Adam Brsan (this link may not work tomorrow), aka Melanie's dad and brother! Those diehard Joliet Jackhammer fans headed out to the team's first away game against the Schaumburg Flyers. The game was called with a tie of 2-2 in the sixth inning due to rain, but I'm sure Joliet's Whiskey Tango Pride won over the crowd. We really are the "City of Champions."

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