Thursday, September 11, 2003

News You Can Use

1. O.J.: The Melrose Cafe is kicking it up a notch with their soundtracks. Apparently O.J. is a regular lunchtime customer of Melrose, and has noticed that each weekday they play music of a different decade. O.J. recommends dining at Melrose on Wednesdays, when '80's music is featured. This would lead me to assume that Mondays are '60's, Tuesdays are '70's, Thursdays are '90's, and Fridays are the hits of today, but I can't assume too much. Wondering what to dine on at the Melrose? O.J. recommends the chicken sandwich.

2. The radio: McDonalds has added a new taste temptation to their menu: apple dippers. Apparently you can now purchase apple slices with caramel dipping sauce at McDonalds. I have to say that I kind of question this marketing decision. I love apples and caramel, but I can easily do that at home, and I question how fresh these apples are going to be. Unless this caramel sauce is seriously awesome I don't see myself being a regular purchaser. What's next, Bumps on a Log (celery w/ raisins and peanut butter for those not in the loop) at BK? I may have to challenge our taste tester O.J. to check these out. My personal favorite McDonalds story would have to be during the summer I interned at former Joliet radio station 100.7 the Bus. Every Friday we would go to an area McDonalds and give out coupons for free fries to anyone who let us put a Bus bumper sticker on their car. This was extremely entertaining, especially when we went to Coal City and Wilmington. Someone in Coal City told me that this would probably be the most exciting thing ever to happen in Coal City, and the kids in Wilmington asked me for my autograph. Note: I was an intern, not on the air or in any way a radio celebrity, but I signed some kid's D.A.R.E. hat.

3.The Herald News: You cannot feed dead squirrels. Yesterday's "Your Life" section had a really sweet article about a family that rescued a baby squirrel and tried to nurse it back to health, but unfortunately the squirrel passed away. The article is accompanied by pictures of the squirrel, "Rocky," including one of him being fed with an eye dropper. The caption of the picture states that the picture was taken before the squirrel died. I would hope that most readers would make that conclusion on their own and not think that the paper was trying to create a dramatic reenactment with a dead squirrel.

4.The FAO Schwarz toy catalog: Rich people are crazy. We got the new catalog in the mail yesterday. I love this catalog because it has the most hilarious items that noone in their right mind would purchase. For example, we have $165 crystal Pez dispensers, this really cool treehouse built out of an old tree for $7500, and my personal favorite, a "junior off-roader" for $30,000 that can be accompanied by a fully outfitted mini camper for another $20,000. You can buy a REAL CAR for $30,000, why would you buy a "junior off-roader" that your kid is going to outgrow anyway. That being said, the Trading Spaces house that you can decorate yourself is awesome. If only it came with Ty the carpenter.

5.Jessica Simpson is dumb: I never thought that the Newlyweds" show on MTV with Jessica Simpson and her new husband Nick Lachey would be entertaining, I figured it would just be really sappy. However, it is just about as hilarious as The Osbournes' first season. The show spares no expense at making Jessica Simpson look like an idiot, and she gives them lots of material. I've only watched an episode and a half, but it's comic gold. For instance, in the first episode, Jessica eats tuna fish. She asks her husband, "Nick, is this fish or is this chicken?" Dumbfounded, he replies that it's tuna FISH. She is confused, and replies, "Well the can says Chicken by the Sea!" In the other episode I saw she goes golfing, and makes the observation that LPGA golfers must not have boobs, because they get in the way of golfing. I have not seen the episode where they go camping, but according to Shannon, she takes her Louis Vuitton bag with her to the campsite. Now if I was sporting real Louis Vuitton (I only have Louis Fauxtton), you can bet I wouldn't be taking it camping. Not that I camp anyway, so I guess the point is probably moot, but still. As an avid watcher of reality tv, I have to say this show ranks almost as high on a comedic level as my personal favorite Paradise Hotel. Side note: Jessica's new song is called "The Sweetest Sin," which sounds like a Designer Imposter cologne. Nick's new album (his first without the other 98 Degrees) is called "Soulo," which sounds. . .dumb, and his new song is called "Shut Up." No comment.

On a final note, I want to give a shout out to my neighbor and little buddy Jack on his debut as a "G-Rated Viewer" for the Herald News. Unfortunately there's no link available online, but Jack's review of a book about airplanes, "Flying: Just Plane Fun" is concise, unbiased, and overall top-notch. While he felt that the book had "too many little paragraphs all over the page, making it hard to follow" and "didn't read like a normal book," he also stated that it "makes flying a plane look interesting. You learn a lot about planes that you didn't already know." His overall grade for the book was a B+. I was a bit confused by fellow G-Rated Reviewer Carmen, who gave the book an A. Check out what Carmen "Liked Least" about the book: "How a man (without a name) showed off his boat and smoked the kids on the dock. That was a mean thing to do to those kids." I thought this book was about airplanes! I also wonder if the man (without a name) ever "rode through the desert on a horse with no name," but anyway. Carmen also comments that the book shows "all the beautiful and wonderful views of the state of Wisconsin." I wasn't aware that Wisconsin was quite so scenic, but I guess the Dells do look pretty cool when you're a kid. I look forward to reading more of Jack and Carmen's reviews soon.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Hey, Hey, Hey, What Is Going On Here?

Thanks to my Saved by the Bell Battle O'Wits on the Tagboard, I cannot get the generic instrumental dance music from SBTB out of my head. For those curious, my other TV trivia specialties are Full House and 90210, the early years (aka pre-college graduation).

In other news. . .the Herald News Open Line has been the site of some inflammatory commentary (that almost rhymes!) lately. Friday's Sports Page included the following entry from an anonymous chauvinist:

No girls
Will the sports editors please explain why we see so many days of 60-70 percent of the total local sports coverage in your paper given to girls. Girls shouldn't be in any sports, they shouldn't play sports and have no business participating in any sports because of their biological defects. A girl's, or woman's, place is in the home, not on the field. Joliet

Oh snap! I was never really involved in sports in school, with the exception of my 2 week stint on the girls soccer team (inspired more by my crush on a guy on the boys' team than any real need to bend it like Beckham), but come on buddy! If only Jessie Spano (yes, SBTB again) wasn't a fictional character, she'd be slamming this guy's head against a locker. And in Saturday's Open Line, the following bit of randomness:

Hard times coming
This one is for the American that grew up in the Fox Valley, the son of the third, fourth generation American. If it wasn't for the Dollar Store, I wouldn't be able to keep my head above water. I can go there and get a medicated tube of some cream I need for a lot less than $6.75. So, these people going to these other stores, I don't know what reality they're living in, but they better look at Sodom and Gomorra, because the time is coming. Yorkville

Two thoughts: 1. Yes, I assume you can buy that "medicated tube of some cream [you] need" for a lot less than $6.75 at the DOLLAR STORE, $5.75 less to be exact. 2. How are we getting from Fox Valley (admittedly I didn't see the original post this guy's referring to) to the Dollar Store to Sodom and Gomorra? This guy's train of thought has left the station.

It was a busy weekend. Thursday night (I consider that the beginning of the weekend, despite working on Friday) I went to Heroes with Shannon and Joe briefly. It was very unexciting, and we weren't there for too long. From what I recall, absolutely nothing interesting happened. Well, I saw a girl with some "interesting" pants in which the sides were cut out, not a fashion look I plan to be going for anytime soon, and a couple was having sex with clothes on on the dance floor, but those things are par for the course at Heroes. The other night we were discussing a line graph describing the "fun level" of Heroes at various times of the year, and we're definitely at one of the valleys right now. Perhaps an occasional theme night can liven things up, we'll have to see.

Friday night Courtney and I decided to go see a movie as usual. As the options at Movies 10 and Ghetto 8 were not too good, we decided to check out the often overlooked Silver Cinemas, formerly known as "Dollah Theater" or "Buck Fitty Theater." As prices keep rising, we'll just stick with "Silver Cinemas" for the time being, it adds a touch of class that the theater is significantly lacking. As Courtney's mom vehemently warned us against seeing Charlie's Angels 2 (she'd heard bad things), we decided to see Daddy Day Care. I hadn't been to "El Cine de Plata" in years (probably Bring It On) was the last flick I caught there, I had forgotten about its charm. The mall entrance by Silver Cinemas was crowded with people, a combo of moviegoers, mall thugs, and kids waiting with their Claire's bags to get picked up by their parents, and I was lucky to find Courtney amid the hubbub. We purchased our tickets (and I purchased an overpriced Icee), and headed to the show. Our moviegoing compadres included an adorable African American little boy who was very, very excited about the movie. He kept looking up at the guy in the projection booth and asking when the movie was starting, and danced during every song in the movie. His commentary was excellent, including "He's peeing!" during a bathroom scene. The movie itself was pretty entertaining. The kids were cute, if not the best actors, and the fact that Cheap Trick performs in the movie gave it many, many bonus points (especially because they sang "Surrender," one of my favorite bar band songs). We'll give it about 2 1/2 stars. My only real complaint about Silver Cinema is that it's a bit distracting to hear the whir of the projector as you're watching the film, I felt like I was watching Mickey Mouse cartoons in the gym during elementary school, only without the lovely combination gym/cafeteria aroma.

Saturday I went to the mall during the day and noted that yet again, we have a new store in the mall that is not The Gap, Abercrombie, Banana Republic (I know, that's asking too much), or anything else that would be of use to me. Instead, we get Lids. All hats, all the time. Playa please! During the evening Rob, Courtney, Megan and I made a brief stop at North Beach in Downers Grove because Courtney's co-worker was having a free party that gave us free admission and free drinks and food for an hour. My opinion of North Beach can be conveyed by the amount of time we spent there: we entered for free, waited for the free drinks/food to start, consumed free drinks/food, talked to aforementioned coworker, danced for 3/4 of the "To the windows! To the walls!" song, and headed back to Joliet. It's not a bad place, just not the most entertaining. The free food was quite enjoyable: the cheesesticks beat out the Hot Skillet's, and the mini pizza quiches were good although they had a bit more sausage than necessary. On a more disturbing note, we saw a large and in charge girl commit a "free drink hour" faux pas. Hard Drinkin' Harley stood in line as we waited to order our first drink. She ordered a drink, stood at the bar (blocking us from getting to the bar) and consumed it, and proceeded to order another one before we could even order our first drinks. I feel that "free drink hour" is a Grab N'Go situation: order, leave the bar, socialize and consume the drink, then go back and get another one. It's not the Toys R Us shopping spree, you don't have to make every second count! We might have said something, but she looked like she could snap me like a twig, so it was best to keep quiet. We also had a celebrity sighting, as the bouncer informed us to talk to "Jason Biggs" to get our wristbands. Luckily the free food didn't include pies so we could all breath a little easier.

When we got back to J-town we met up with O.J. (who gave me some "News You Can Use" I'll put up later in the week) at O'Charley's. It appeared to be Cowboy Night at O'Charley's, as we saw many men in their faux Stetson hats. Our personal favorite cowboy was decked out in a hat, wifebeater, tight Wranglers, and boots. We noticed him early on and wondered what he thought of life in the big city. Apparently he also noticed our crew chillin' on the patio and moseyed on over. He got my attention by touching my stomach (huh?) and asked Megan and I for our assistance. Confused but amused (a real rhyme this time! Ooh, there's another one! This is fun, but now I'm done!), we decided to see what the "Young Rider" had in mind. Apparently it was his pal's birthday, and "Young Gun" asked if we would serenade his friend with "Happy Birthday," Marilyn Monroe style. After some deliberation (I don't think his friend was Mr. President), we declined, which apparently angered the young stud. His boots were made for walkin' as he angrily stomped off inside. Seeing as we were now wanted dead or alive, we left soon after.

Sunday Rob, Courtney and I met up with my sister and my friend Julie in Chicago to do some shopping in the Lincoln Park area. We bought some very entertaining t-shirts (I can't spoil the surprise online) and saw some others we didn't purchase including, "Poker in the Front, Liquor in the Rear," "Gardeners Do It With Hoes," a girl's Hustler half top which featured a woman grabbing her chest and the words "Hot Bitch," or perhaps "Sexy Bitch," and a shirt with a picture of a case of beer with the words "Off Duty Cop, Finishing Up a Case."

Speaking of the PD, I'll finish up with an entry from Saturday morning's Blotter:

Man tells police he was pushed from moving car
JOLIET — A patrol officer found a man lying unconscious on Larkin Avenue and learned when the man came to that he was pushed out of a moving automobile. The 26-year-old man was tended to by Fire Department paramedics and taken to Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center for further treatment following his discovery by the police officer shortly after 2 a.m. Friday. He complained of leg pain, police said.
The officer found the man on North Larkin Avenue near Ingalls Avenue. He called for medical assistance, but the man began to come to before paramedics arrived.
The man reportedly told the officer he had been at the Plainfield Road bar Just For Kicks with a friend and left the bar with this individual.
The man and his friend argued after leaving the bar, police said, and the friend pushed the man out of his car.
The man refused to cooperate any further with the officer, police said, and stated he would "take care of the problem himself."

I think it would be more appropriate for "Leg Pain Larry" to have been kicked out of the car, considering what bar they were at. But about that leg pain. . .I hear there's a good cream available at your local Dollar Store that'll ease that for considerably less than $6.75, but you better buy it before the hell fires start burnin'.

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