Sunday, February 29, 2004

My hip-hop class had a recital today. I was nervous before but grew relaxed while sitting and watching the other classes...bhangra one and two, carribbean one, flamenco one, etc.

I got to meet the other two hip hop classes, the ones that meet on Monday nights. And, as Boogie likes to do, she added in stuff at the end. "Y'all are gonna be dancing to Fela!" she announced as we took the stage, even though we had been practicing to Missy.

Jamilla stood in front of me and when she spun, her dreads flew up, revealing the price tags still attached to her green jersey so it could be returned after the show. That's keeping it real.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Kevin Arnovitz writing in SLATE:

(I have witnessed) a Nader rally up-close. Who will you find at a Nader For President rally? Those in the "citizenry," as his web site posts, who "wish to declare their independence from corporate rule and expanding domination"? Women? Latinos? Blue-collar laborers? Immigrants? Gays? The underclass?

No. Head to the nearest Nader '04 tour stop and you'll find a lot of white guys in earth shoes, and hipsters with ironic Izods — in short, those who cannot delineate between Republicans and Democrats and, frankly, those who can afford the luxury of political myopia.

Monday, February 23, 2004

When I watched FACE THE NATION yesterday morning I was not expecting a pithy little editorial from host Bob Schieffer about how much he hoped that Carrie would end up with Mr. Big on the finale of SEX IN THE CITY.

I gave up after the 3rd season and the few episodes I tried from Season 4 just got on my nerves.

Friday, February 20, 2004

A little slow on the uptake here...I bought Jurassic 5's POWER IN NUMBERS last year but am only now getting around to listening to it. That's the downside of buying used CDs...I'll buy 3 or 4 discs at a time and don't give each one the proper attention.

"Damn, I gotta play that song AGAIN" I keep thinking with almost every track, a good and rare thing. Anyway there is one rhyme that I'm especially loving:

Yeah, like Kevin Lockerbie
Rockin' some beige Wallabees

Went to the web to look up Kevin Lockerbie...he works for a firm that manufactures sports facilities and provides sports management. They did indeed work on some buildings in Sydney which would certainly give him access to the aforementioned beige wallabies. Weird that they name checked him in a song.

As you might guess, it's the end of the day and I'm no longer really working, I'm just in attendance.

Great headline from today's SUN-TIMES

No Child Left Behind standards are lowered

Insert your joke here.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

I don't think anyone would confuse Mayor Daley (the current, not his dad) with a progressive but he is practical. Daley's dad was notorious for screwing non-white people; the current Daley wisely worries more about political power than about white power. Anyway I was pleased to see this quote in today's SUN TIMES...reporters were asking the Mayor about the gay marriages in San Francisco:

A devout Catholic, Daley scoffed at the suggestion that gay marriage would somehow undermine the institution of marriage between a man and a woman.

"Marriage has been undermined by divorce, so don't tell me about marriage. You're not going to lecture me about marriage. People should look at their own life and look in their own mirror. Marriage has been undermined for a number of years if you look at the facts and figures on it. Don't blame the gay and lesbian, transgender and transsexual community. Please don't blame them for it," he said.

Yes indeed AND he managed to give props not only to Gay & Lesbian but also to trans. You go Richie. If an extremely pragmatic politician is on board, this bodes well for the future.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

NASCAR is on, a big race this afternoon. I've had the sound down and Dick Buckley on the radio although it looked as though driver Michael Waltrip might have died so I turned the sound back on.

This is terrible but Bush is at the track, shaking hands in the pit before the race and I thought how devastating it would be if Bush attended a NASCAR race where a driver died. I mean, that would suck so bad for the White House to have a nice, flattering photo op ruined by death. And the opposition could call him a death cloud, bringing destruction wherever he goes. If the republicans are going to paint John Kerry as a North Eastern weirdo who is to the left of Ted Kennedy, I think the Dems really have to hammer Bush as somebody who leaves every campsite a little worse than he found it.

I feel bad about being opportunistic over the death of Michael Waltrip but it does seem to me that the Bush strategy is to pretend that his approaches to Afghanistan and Iraq have actually been successful and have actually completed some goal rather than simply laid the ground for some big-ass screwups in the future. And lots of folks are dying getting THAT done.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I saw this footage last night on MSNBC. The Chicago Tribune's Rick Pearson ran this story about it today:

Howard Dean has not exactly been flush with political success on the campaign trail. But that didn't stop Dean, a physician by trade, from sharing his knowledge with a Longfellow Middle School science class in LaCrosse, Wis., on Tuesday.

He told the 8th graders studying microscopic particulates that water from a freshly flushed toilet would prove to be cleaner than water from the nearby Mississippi River.

"That's disgusting," a girl shouted.

"Now let me remind you of one thing," Dean said. "Do not say that Howard Dean came to my classroom and advised us to drink water from toilets."

Dean asked the pupils the sources of their microscopic samples. One student shouted out, "dog pee."

"Which has more bacteria--dog pee or river water?" Dean asked. "I do not recommend drinking urine, but if you drink water straight from the river, you have a greater chance of getting an infection than if you drink urine. . . .

"Now, there are chemicals in urine, waste chemicals that the human body doesn't need," he continued. "But unless you have an infection, urine is cleaner."

Some pupils doubled over with laughter.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Oh God

Water Polo

Last year I went to Texas after a lot of obsessing over the state and how I thought that I would really be happy living there-this was based entirely on theory. And when I got there a dozen things became readily apparent that I had NOT anticipated and which meant, in fact, that I would not be happy living there and I would be crazy to move. I basically viewed the whole endeavor as a colossal flop but my friend Katie pointed out that I would never have known those things had I not visited so really it's a good thing that I visited and figured them out. It's better to conduct the experiment than to try and perfect the theory.

Intellectually this makes sense but in my hard-wired inner self I want to get the theory right before I put myself out there.

So I thought I had sussed out a good chunk of the water polo stuff. Lots of endurance required (working on that), found a gay team that was happy to teach a newbie, not that many experienced people, all good stuff. I wanted to come and observe but Juan, the captain, said I should attend a practice.

The pool where the team (Chicago Riptide) normally practices was unavailable so we went to a pool in the Pilsen neighborhood, where Juan actually learned to play water polo. One of the guys drove down there, that was my ride back.

Pilsen is kind of isolated geographically from the rest of the's served by Mass Transit but not so much in the evening. I'm not sure what time the trains stop running. Anyway this is how I am evaluating my evening-I did not get out of the pool, put my clothes on, and go out into the night attempting to make my way back home. God knows I wanted to and even spent a moment calculating the cost/benefit ratio of such a move.

Nice, nice guys. If you were going to learn a sport, it's a good group to learn with. All adults and no one trying to make anybody look bad or anything.

I have basically played no sports whatsoever. In gym class I would just take a posture of passive disobedience...those people who wanted to dive for the ball should dive for the ball. Me? Nuh uh. And what this means is that not only do I not know how to play water polo specifically, I don't know how to play sports in general.

This, it turns out, matters. Like I have a clue about stuff on a stage...if someone said "Drew, you're upstaging yourself." I would know that I am not facing the audience. If someone told me to Project I would know to speak louder and from deep in my chest.

However I have not the foggiest idea what it means when someone explains a drill by saying "you're cherry picking that guy as if he has a defender and then setting up for his pass"

I should mention here that everyone is wearing lycra (you grab onto players in an attempt to gain advantage although we came nowhere near anything like this) and everyone has remarkably good bodies. These were not the lumpy-yet-athletic bodies of the Welles Park pickup team. These were extremely well-maintained gentlemen. Except me of course (lycra trunks, thanks, not a speedo bikini thing).

We started out just playing catch. Water polo is a one handed game, touching the ball with both hands is a foul. You are expected to catch and throw with one hand. And it's, you know, wet. And you are treading water while this is happening. Juan and I got to one side and threw back and forth. I got to where I could almost always throw it properly and catch it maybe every one out of 30 times.

"Juan?" one of the other players asked,"uhm how much longer do you guys need?"

Well, we could have taken the whole evening (the whole 105 minute evening) and I might have gotten catch down but I was going to have to go forth not really getting it. Which sucks. That's one thing about gym class, I could always rationalize "well I'm gay, hell, what do they expect?" Here it's a different matter, here in water polo I'm a sissy who can't catch the damn ball.

Then a drill which I kept watching and participating in (the aforementioned cherry-picking was going on) and I finally figured out what the hell I was supposed to do but then of course you had to throw and catch while doing this stuff ("elbow Drew!" meaning Use It While Throwing)

Finally time to learn offensive plays and, since I was new I went to play goalie so I could observe these plays. Like I say, nice bunch of guys and going to the goalie is apparently crappy, like being chosen It for tag. When of course the real truth is "woo hoo! Goalie! Watch! Woo hoo!"

The remaining six guys arranged themselves in two lines, there were wings and three different manouvers, red, white or blue. Someone was to throw the ball to the hole (is the hole me? The goal? or someone else in front of the goal. never did figure that one out) and Juan would call out one of the colors and players would splash to new positions, and pass the ball. Okay there's only three combinations, red, white or blue and not only was I there observing from my goal position but each one was explained in detail and I still have no fucking idea what happens on each one.

"Drew, you want to rotate out of goalie?" one of the guys asked.

"Nah I'm good, thanks."

How could I rotate out????? I literally had no idea what was happening. It wasn't even that I felt confused between red, white and blue, I had no idea what any of them was and, seeing others start the pattern didn't help any.

I think it's within the realm of possibility that I could learn water polo. And certainly, a good-natured group of fellows. But I didn't leave thinking "man that was hard but I felt so alive!!!" I left being proud that I stuck out the whole goddamn thing and got my ride back up north instead of storming out like a weirdo.

I really Went To Texas on that whole water polo thing.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

I am half-paying attention to The Grammies right now.

A week ago I was with my friend Alex listening to a dreadful cover band performing at an ice rink in Toronto. And they played a song I thought was by U2 although now I'm realizing it might have been this "Clocks" song that Coldplay just won an award for. Can't tell the difference. Which is a distressing sign of old-man-hood. "These songs all sound ALIKE."

Nice to see Prince who no doubt is annoyed that he can only duet with Beyonce rather than write songs for her and bed her.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Back at it after a short, excellent visit to Toronto. More about that soon.

Lillian suggested a cool site that lets you make a map of states you have visited (or countries for those less provincial than I).

Kind of nice to see it all laid out like that-here's mine (been to the red, not to the green) Below you'll notice links to the site so you can make your own.

create your own visited states map
or write about it on the open travel guide

At work now, time to go home and see what's up with the primaries.