Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Had A Movement

Well, I moved my body, two cats and lots of stuff yesterday from Logan Square to Rogers Park. I used Done Right Movers, and they did good by me. They quoted me a good price and a two-and-a-half hour move. And that's exactly what it was and what they did. Having done three moves in three years, I don't see myself ever going back to the rent-a-U-Haul-and-beg-friends-to-help service I had previously used for so long. Especially since it rained yesterday. Under the old model, it would have taken forever. These guys didn't even mention the rain or complain about it.

Unfortunately, I'm without Internet service at home til Friday. I'm sitting in a diner at Clark and Devon that has free wi-fi. And a decent skillet breakfast - although, dear God, people, don't put carrots in breakfast food! Or veggie burritoes! Stir Frys, yes, go for it. Otherwise, it's just not right.

Anyway, Comcast, my Internet provider, has really become more efficient. Last year, they screwed up after my move. This time, they screwed up a good four days before I moved. I arranged for everything on-line, even using their live chat service to talk to a rep, and set up someone coming to my new apartment tomorrow to set everything up. I did this a good week and a half ago. Everything went smooth as soy milk. Then on Thursday morning last week, I started getting automated calls saying someone would be coming by between 8am and 10am to install my cable. Whuh? I haven't even moved yet!

I had to call information to get their service number and then go through a hall of mirrors-esque series of voice-mail promps that included every option except "Press 3 if we screwed something up." I finally spoke to a live person who, without any apology or acknowledgement of responsibility, simply changed it to the next available slot of Friday. Woo-hoo! Two more days of trying to scam free Internet service from places and not being able to DVR Fringe, Sarah Connor or Burn Notice. Oh, and crap, doesn't Pushing Daisies start up this week? Oh, and, by the way, the economy sucks and Washington is still saying there "might" be a recession if they don't do anything. Might? Banks failing, epidemic foreclosures, McCain susoending his campaign, Bush giving a go-to-war-like talk about the economy... What's a recession? When the entire state of Illinois piles into a big jalaopy and heads west looking for work?

Um, okay, when I notice myself going on a rant about fairly petty things like cable service, I feel compelled to balance it out with something more substantial.


Yesterday, I asked...

"Paul Newman's first starring role came in 1956 when he was called upon to replace whom?"

37% said
"Marlon Brando"

12% said
"Charlton Heston"

13% said
"Tony Curtis"

38% got it right with
"James Dean"

According to My Way News,
Newman's breakthrough was enabled by tragedy: James Dean, scheduled to star as the disfigured boxer in a television adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's "The Battler," died in a car crash in 1955. His role was taken by Newman, then a little-known performer.

No bits here. Paul Newman was a class act all the way. His films are a study of manhood -a rite of passage for guys. His characters often held dark sides and light sides and often persevered in struggling to do the right thing. A role model for everyone and he sets the bar high for all men and all humans who aspire to walk their talk.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Define Victory

So, the first presidential debate was last Friday and everyone expected McCain, riding in on his suspended-campaign-I'll-save-the-economy horse, to implode. Or explode. Or both. He actually may have imploded a few times accounting for the inability to turn his head to the left and make eye contact with Obama. Actually, it just may be an aversion to turning his head to the left.

Just based on performance, I'd say it was a tie. Both candidates had the moments of sounding like the knew what they were talking about and could actually make a difference in Washington. If you do a fact check, Obama won. That is the measure that I think is most important. The candidate who told the truth the most was Obama. McCain still plays old school, such as when he claimed Obama didn't support the troops because he voted against funding. I wasn't a fan of the debate format - although I appreciated the audience having to remain quiet - but it did allow Obama to respond to McCain's lies. He countered McCain by showing that based on McCain's definition, John didn't support the troops either. Both have voted against funding because they disagreed on attachments to the funding, namely timeline or no timeline for withdrawal.

John McCain doesn't want a timeline. We're there until the job is done and our troops can come home in victory. However many are left of them, will be able to raise their heads high because no one will be shooting at them. The question I wish had been asked is "What defines victory?" Obama wants to bring the troops home in a measured withdrawal that would take over sixteen months. He wants to turn Iraq over to the Iraqi government. Isn't that victory? McCain doesn't want to leave until all the fighting stops - or until all the bad guys are killed. That's the battle that could take 100 years. That where you have to ask if it's worth more American lives and trillions of more dollars that we have to borrow and then not spend on our own country.

Basically, John McCain wants to keep us in Iraq because he wants us to look good. He doesn't want to correct a mistake. He doesn't want a repeat of Vietnam where, by his standards, we should have stayed and could still be there. That, my friends, is not victory I can believe in.


On Friday, I asked...

"A battery charge has been dropped against Jose Cruz of West Virgina who was accused of doing what?"

14% said "aggravated laughing"
- It was the added, "Why so serious?" that pissed off the cops.

15% said "aggravated gum chewing"
- Well, he did chew like a cow. A very angry cow.

No one said "aggravated littering"

71% got it right with "aggravated farting"

According to The Associated Press, according to a criminal complaint, Jose Cruz passed gas and made a fanning motion toward Charleston, West Virgina patrolman T.E. Parsons after being taken to the police station for a breathalyzer test. Cruz denies fanning the gas and says his request to use a restroom when first arriving at the station was denied.

An assistant says Magistrate Jack Pauley signed a motion to dismiss the charge last Thursday.

Having had an older brother who often used farts as a weapon, I say they should throw the book at this guy. And them give him the gas chamber. Or, at least, the dutch oven with his new prison cell mate.

Friday, September 26, 2008

What A Country!

In my race to be completely prepared for movers on Monday, I have been going through boxes of papers. Boxes loaded with written works that date back to college. I'm determined to go through all my boxes and throw out everything I don't need or want.

I found a stack of jokes I tried to sell to Yakov Smirnoff.

Um, let me explain.

In the early-to-mid '90s, I was waiting on tables and temping at an insurance company. I was hungry to make income as a comedy writer. I used to do stand-up professionally, I took classes at Second City, I had an Emmy, for cryin' out loud. I was scouring all the available resources, mainly The Chicago Reader classifieds. Imagine the delight my barely used highlighter experienced when it was finally able to circle the heading "Comedy Writer Wanted." Yakov Smirnoff was prepping a weekly radio show to go along with a show he was mounting in Branson.

Yakov Smirnoff. Branson. And I desperately wanted to write for him.

Uncovered in a small U-Haul box amidst scribbled upon cocktail napkins, Xeroxed handwritten sketches, a 22-page Clash of Context sketch putting the cast of The Jack Benny Show in charge of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) and a screenplay handwritten on legal paper, I found nine pages of jokes I faxed to Yakov Smirnoff.

Yakov was looking for material based on current events (In this case, the summer of 1994). Sifting through the pages, I can see where I blatantly tore the remaining bits of meat from my old stand-up material as well as writing some original stuff, mostly bad.

Here's what I had to say about...

- Telephone companies offering cable TV service -
"Businesses will be able to buy time on my line. "We'll be right back with more about your mother and her operation right after this from Rolaids!"

- 72-year-old Senator Bob Dole running for president -
To show he's fit to hold office, he put together a package of his medical records from the past 50 years. Unfortunately, he forgot where he put it... In Russia, in order to not upset the balance of power, the health of the leaders were always exaggerated (my note: "exaggerated" is not the right word. I should have used the word "downplayed.") A heart condition would be referred to as the sniffles. If someone was bed-ridden, they were taking a little "r and r." Even death was considered a sleep disorder.

- On buying American automobiles -
I hate being followed around by salesmen when I'm looking at cars. I'm afraid they'll try to rip me off when they see how little I know. "What kind of car are you looking for?" "Oh, you know. A red one."..."What kind of mileage do you want?" "Oh, you know. The good kind."...In Russia, you were lucky to have a car, even luckier if it ran. Most cars sat on the street propped up on communist blocks. Ha, ha. That's a joke.

- On Yasser Arafat becoming as father -
Given that Arafat is in his 60s and his wife is half his age, some people have questioned if he is the true father. He responded by saying, "Yasser, that's my baby. No, Sir, don't mean maybe..."

- flag burning -
Congress will soon be voting on an amendment to ban desecrating the American flag. The republicans are the most out-spoken in favor of the proposal. Not because of any deep-seated patriotism. They're afraid someone may attempt to burn the same flag they're trying to wrap themselves in. Is this a big problem, people burning flags? In Russia, we were encouraged to burn flags. For many long winters it was our only source of heat.

- smog levels in cities -
Smog is no longer just a stigma associated with Los Angeles. Many cities across the country are now suffering from it. Scientists are already on the case. They determined that Nashville smog levels could be cut 50% if they can just get Dolly Parton to switch from hair spray to styling gel.

- On Disney -
Disney has bought ABC television network for $19 billion dollars. Imagine that, a mascot of a multi-billion dollar corporation being this cute little guy with a round head and big ears...but Ted Koppel says he doesn't mind the attention...In Russia, there is only one television network. They have TV shows based on hits in the United States. Programs like: "Full Apartment," "The Price Is Right, But The Line Is Too Long," "Pond Watch," and , my favorite, "Russia's Funniest Home Recollections." No one can afford a video camera.

He never bought any of my jokes. Imagine that.


On Wednesday, I asked...

"Cindy Michaels, a news anchor in Maine, has been getting hate mail from viewers because of what?"

16% said "Her insistence on wearing a burka"
- And then overcompensating by wearing too much eye make-up.

8% said "Her unchecked support of Ralph Nader"
- "Now, unsafe at any speed, is sports with Bud Glickman."

No one said "Her hard-to-pronounce name"
- It is hard to pronounce, but if you get her to say it backwards, she'll disappear.

75% got it right with "Her resemblance to Sarah Palin"

According to The Associated Press, a Maine TV news anchor who bears a resemblance to the Republican vice presidential nominee says she's been getting "hate mail and nasty phone calls" from viewers who think she's trying to copy Sarah Palin's signature style.

I was sympathetic to Ms.Michaels, until I saw this on her news station's website...

Michaels says she would never let this criticism of looking like one of the country's most inspirational women effect her appearance. She says to look like Palin is an honor.

Really? Inspirational? An honor? Then I realized she only started putting her hair up and wearing glasses since the Republican National Convention. Here's a picture of her previous to that interviewing a religious leader...

She's the one on the left.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Believe...

- we already have the technology to significantly reduce oil dependence. We have electric cars and wind and solar power have already proven their effectiveness. If the government would spend less money on wars and handing out golden parachutes to the CEO club and put it towards making alternative energy affordable, we could be off Mideast oil tomorrow.

- that while John, Paul and George may have been prolific musical geniuses (and, yes, I mean "been," even though Macca is still with us), Ringo was and is more fun. I always root for Ringo.

- the Democrats do have a hand in what's happened on Wall Street, if only because they let it happen. But what I find interesting is that the Republican response is to blame someone else. It would be nice if they didn't use words like "responsibility" and "accountability" as campaign buzz words and things they need to hold other people to. I want politicians who hold themselves responsible and accountable.

- I'm tired of people calling Sarah Palin a liar for her Bridge to Nowhere response to congress of "Thanks, but no thanks." It is exactly what she said. She said "thanks" for the free 230 million dollars in earmarks and "no thanks" to giving it back.

- getting your picture taken with Henry Kissinger doesn't give you foreign policy cred.


Yesterday, I asked...

"Archaeologists now believe Stonehenge may have been a place for what?"

36% said "selling"
- It was the Maxwell Street of its time...bratwursts (100% pure goat), bootleg designer tunics and entertaining human sacrifices.

36% said "voting"
- Those arches are the world's first voting booths.

No one said "resting"
- They're right. No toilets, no vending machines, no resting!

27% said "healing"

According to The Associated Press, the first excavation of Stonehenge in more than 40 years has uncovered evidence that the stone circle drew ailing pilgrims from around Europe for what they believed to be its healing properties, archaeologists said Monday.

People stopped coming when it was almost trampled by a midget.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


The above title intentionally has commas and space missing because it feels all like one word screaming in my head.

I'm talking about the economy.

At first, I felt like Nelson on the sidelines pointing and saying "Ha! Ha!". It doesn't affect me.

The Bush administrations coddling of corporations and the raping of the middle and lower class has actually worked in my favor. I have no major investments. I have no minor investments. I have really minuscule investments. IRA's that will cover my ass for about about a week once I retire my wrinkly ass. Millionaires and billionaires are the ones who got hit the worst. And it was at the effect of their own corporate boners for deregulation. Deregulation doesn't work. Give people in power the opportunity to "monitor" themselves, they'll make the choices that make themselves and their shareholders richer.
And that's what they are trying to do in the bailout.

In the last gasps of the Bush administration, Bush and pals have drafted a bailout that gives absolute power to the Secretary of the Treasury, absolute power without retribution. There's also no accountability or penalty against the big corporations being bailed out. It's as if the government is responding to some "Act of God" natural disaster, not the massive mishandling of people's money. They want to get their buddies off the hook and give them a free ride.

This has been typical behavior of Bush's shock doctrine politics. Take advantage of major events, like 9/11, or, in this case, a huge stock market crash, and push policies through quickly while people are panicked. Fortunately, many people have become accustomed to this disaster maneuvering and are able to more consciously respond to the what's going on. Even both presidential candidates (yes, I know, there's more than two, but, really, there's only two) agree that this bailout plan is crap. That's good news.

So, why am I still brain yelping "HolyCrapWe'reF**ked!"?

While congress has become more saavy to Bush's shenanigans, they're behind the curve of most of us. And we've seen him slide all sorts of crap through to the point of making the U.S. Constitution a curious historical document. And I recently read
The Road. In Cormac McCarthy's apocalyptic novel, he never explains how we got to this point. What's happening right now with the economy, our ever-increasing trillion-dollar deficit, our immense trade deficit, our spreading our military resources so thin... well, this is a way to get us on The Road.

What can we do? Really? Not much. Short of millions and millions of us storming the White House with torches and pitch forks - an idea I do condone - there's just not much we can do before November 4th. And I don't envy Barack Obama. If he gets elected, he has eight years of red tape to untangle and unmangle. It's change we can believe in, but it ain't going to happen over night. And there are a lot of rich, powerful people who don't want change who will be doing everything they can to keep it from happening. They don't mind if we all end up traveling the roadways with our broken down shopping carts foraging for food. They have their thirteen cars to protect them.


Yesterday, I asked...

"Scientists in Japan are working on a new way for man to reach space. They refer to the technology as what?"

36% said "Space Tube"
- Yes. And we have to carry messages when being shot through the tube.

10% said "Space Escalator"
- Just remember to not block the path. Stand on the left, defy gravity on the right.

9% said
"Space Balls"
- Yes. And our astronauts will be giant hamsters.

45% got it right with
"Space Elevator"

According to
The Times Online, the finest scientific minds of Japan are devoting themselves to cracking the greatest sci-fi vision of all: the space elevator. Up and down the 22,000 mile-long (36,000km) cables — or flat ribbons — will run the elevator carriages, themselves requiring huge breakthroughs in engineering to which the biggest Japanese companies and universities have turned their collective attention.

My life is a sitcom. My luck, I'd get stuck two miles above the planet with a pregnant lady and have to help her give birth in zero gravity. Ew.

Here's an artist's rendering of what the elevator station would look like on earth.
Here's what the other end looks like...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chaos Into Order

I hate moving, so I do it well. I make sure everything is packed up, labeled, stacked and ready to go. In spite of my diligence, there's always a box or two that slips through the cracks. What's in the box? I don't know. I usually don't find out until after the move because the box had yet been unpacked from a previous move. I opened a box here to find that it had dirty laundry in it from two apartments ago. My goal is to not let that happen this time. All current boxes will be gone through. Items will either be repacked, thrown out, or donated to Salvation Army.

There's also something about having a project where things need to spin out of control a bit before you can see the end. Directing improv shows and sketch shows where the cast develops the material is in a similar vein. Make a big mess, then keep what works, throw out what doesn't. Yes, yes, I know. My mother meant well when she gave me the white teddy bear with the script Ohio and plastic-encased State of Ohio quarter embedded in its chest, but it's time for it to move on. Just as soon as I take a brick to that plastic casing.

Here's what bothers me the most...How the hell did I accumulate so many plastic hangers?


On Friday, I asked...

"Scientists will be using the same satellites used by Israeli defense forces to do what?"

27% said "study Mideast air emissions"
- Camel methane?

18% said "track litter"
- Not much litter there. People actually pick up after themselves. Or have their hands cut off.

No one said "analyze human depressions effect on tropical depressions"

55% got it right with "count kangaroo rats"

According to The Associated Press, scientists plan to use satellite photos to count Giant Kangaroo Rats, the first-ever monitoring of an endangered species from outer space. Scientists will examine images taken from the same satellite used by Israeli defense forces to find the circular patches of earth denuded by the rats as they gather food around their burrows

Why are scientists interested in counting kangaroo rats? Because, silly, they are so frickin' adorable!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Steamer Trunk - $200

This is a really cool wardrobe steamer trunk that I picked up from a junk shop a decade ago (anyone remember Betty's on Lincoln?). Four drawers, original wooden hangars, can use it as a small dresser or close it and flip it on its side and use it for storage and to put stuff on. It has been used as a dresser, coffee table and entertainment center with me.

There is no logo or any kind of insignia that tells me the manufacturer. Inside the top drawer is a tag for a J. C. Higgins piece of luggage that is NOT the trunk. The tag, via my modest detective skills, place it anywhere from the late 1920's to late 1940's and possibly sold by Sears and Roebuck. Closed and upright, as it is in the picture, it is 42 inches tall, 21 inches wide across the top and 21 inches across the sides.

If you are interested, shoot me an e-mail. I live in Logan Square. You would have to arrange for picking it up. joejanes1065@comcast.net.

UPDATE: 11/29/2008 - This is still available. I have since moved to Rogers Park in the northern part of Chicago along the lake.

Pine Dinner Table - $35 - GONE TO SALVATION ARMY

More From The Jack Thomas Collection of Stray Tables.

This pine table has spent more time as a desk than as a dinner table. The surface area is worn from the years and there's a few nicks, scratches and stains. It's pretty solid, though. It also can be dismantled and remantled with a screwdriver, which I have done on a few moves. It is 29 inches tall, 47 inches long and 29 inches wide. Portly cat not included.

If you are interested, shoot me an e-mail. I live in Logan Square. You would have to arrange for picking it up. joejanes1065@comcast.net.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Table That Wouldn't Die - $25

I have been in possession of this table for almost twenty years. It used to belong to this guy. Jack moved to LA shortly after I started camping out at his apartment. He left it behind and it has been following me around ever since. It's an odd table. It has a wood panel surface and green metal legs. It is 29 1/2" high, 3' long and 23 1/2" wide. It has served me well in a multi-purpose kind of way. It's great in laundry rooms and helpful for providing extra counter space in kitchens. Makes for extra desk space, too. It ain't pretty, but it's useful and has a nice personality.

If you are interested, shoot me an e-mail. I live in Logan Square. You would have to arrange for picking it up. joejanes1065@comcast.net.

Big Ass Coffee Table - $50 - GONE TO SALVATION ARMY

This is another solid piece of furniture I picked up from CostPlus World Market. It has a few nicks and scratches from the years. It has also done double-duty as a makeshift dinner table, desk and entertainment center. It is 17" tall, 47" long, and 27" wide. Not sure of the weight, but it's always been a two-person move job for me.

If you are interested, shoot me an e-mail. I live in Logan Square. You would have to arrange for picking it up. joejanes1065@comcast.net.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Vote, Foo's!

I have a secret. I thought I might not vote this year. Total f-up on my part. My driver's license still has the address of my old apartment and I'm moving out of this one October 1st. And since you need verification of your new address, like a utility bill, I didn't think I'd have one in time for any last minute registration.

I even thought about registering under the old address, but there's no guarantee I'd get it forwarded in time, if at all.

On election day, I was just going to cross my fingers and hope enough people vote for my candidates to carry the day with wide margins.

That's probably not going to happen. As we have witnessed in the last two presidential elections, the game seems to be to keep it as close as possible. Shut out as many people as possible or deter them from voting by lying to them about when and where to vote, or simply, throw a wrench in the machine.

The only way to combat this is for every eligible voter to get out there and make sure his or her voice is heard. Don't screw up like I almost did. It doesn't matter whether or not you live in a swing state. There are more races going on than just for president.

I found out that I actually have until October 7th to register. There's even a fourteen-day grace period, if I screw that up. Find out all the details for Cook County, Illinois HERE.


Yesterday, I asked...

"In order to encourage families to prepare for emergencies, Homeland Security has partnered with whom?"

22% said "The Osbornes"
- Duck and cover. Then bite the head off the duck.

11% said "The Osmonds"
- The key to survival. Keep copulating and making more Osmonds.

11% said "The Lohans"
- Surviving disasters or causing disasters?

55% got it right with "The Muppets"

According to The Examiner, in a move that will make Bush administration detractors bring back those duct tape jokes again, the Department of Homeland Security has partnered up with the famous children’s show Sesame Street. “We all want our children to feel safe in this world,” said Meryl Chertoff, wife of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, at a ceremony held at the John Tyler Elementary School to announce the partnership. "And who better to do that than our Sesame Street friends, Grover and Rosita!”

I hope they have done their research here. Very embarrassing if they find any ties between the Count and Al-Qaeda. They already have to reign in Burt.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Print Is Dead


I am not immune from the occasional and stereotypical actor's nightmare, but last night's dream was quite different. I was performing a play that I wrote. There were other characters, but I was the only person onstage. The other characters were referred to as being on stage, but their voices were pre-recorded. Matt Elwell and Dianna Driscoll were in the booth and, I must say, did a fantastic job with all the light and sound cues.

Everything was going as intended. Even had a packed house. After one group scene, again, where I was the only person on stage, I walked into the audience. As directed. As planned. What happened next, though, was not a part of the show. A group of people from the audience jumped up on stage and took over. They somehow quickly and miraculously set up musical equipment and broke into "Jeepster" by T. Rex. It was awesome. The crowd dug it and I dug it. It was much better than the crap I was doing alone. After their set, an argument erupted with two couples in the middle of the audience. It had everyone's attention. The argument morphed into an original acapella song. Then another group of people in the back of the house started singing an acapella song.

It was great. Everyone was having a blast. And I lost my pants somewhere. Is there a lesson? I guess. Art sure is a lot more fun when you include people. And always keep track of your pants.


Yesterday, I asked...

"Time, Inc has just launched the beta version of a service called Maghound which is best described as what?"

36% said "The last gasp of a dying industry - PRINT IS DEAD!"
- Um, yah. Maybe. But not what I was going for here.

27% said "Napster for magazines"
- Hmmm, a magazine sharing service? You can keep your Playboy, thank you.

18% said "YouTube for magazines"
- Great. Time magazine is now posting pictures of people getting hit in the nuts.

19% got it right with "Netflix for magazines"

According to Folio, after four years of development and testing, and almost a year after first being publicly announced, Time Inc. has finally launched the beta version of its virtual newsstand delivery service Maghound.com. The membership pricing is tiered— three titles for $4.95 a month, five titles for $7.95, seven titles for $9.95, and $1 per title for eight titles or more. Memberships can be entirely managed online, as well as by email and phone, from changing magazine title selections to updating personal information and placing magazine delivery on hold for a temporary period. All titles sold on Maghound will be classified as single-copy sales. Maghound will pay the publishers a fixed fee for every copy of each title that is sold.

That's actually kind of cool. Like Netflix, you pay a monthly fee and get "x" amount of titles, but you don't have to return them. They're yours. I sound like I'm pitching this. I swear I'm not getting any money from this. As a person who sometimes buys a magazine or two, but doesn't want to commit to a whole year's worth of anything, this is great. It's like having a bevy of literary mistresses. I feel naughty and well-informed.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Not For Sissies


Yesterday, I asked...

"An auction of works by artist Pietro Psaier has been postponed over claims he may be what?"

50% said "a four year old"
- These days, that's just a quirky asset that jacks up the price of the artwork.

34% said "Stephen King"
- They figured it out because the paintings are much larger than they need to be, recycle subjects of previous paintings and tend to ramble.

No one said "muslim"

16% got it right with "made up"

According to The Telegraph, works by Pietro Psaier have appeared at sales all over the world, including several held by Christie's, Sotheby's and Bonhams, attracting prices of up to £14,000.

They were given added kudos by the claim that Psaier worked in Warhol's studio, the Factory, and that the pair were friends who collaborated on several pieces.

However, officials at the Andy Warhol Foundation have come forward to say they have never heard of Psaier, and suggested that the whole relationship may have been a hoax.

The auctioneer John Nicholson, of Fernhurst, Surrey, the leading Psaier dealer, is trying to prove his existence and has even hired a researcher. In the meantime, he has been forced to delay the latest sale of Psaier's work.

...This is awesome. This Psaier guy is like the Forest Gump of the art world. He even apparently died in the famous tsunami in Sri Lanka in 2004. This is an amazing and ugly facet of art. There are many brilliant painters out there who will never be more than a faint blip on the radar. Someone tells someone who tells someone that this guy knew Warhol and that Warhol may even have collaborated with him and people go nuts. I'm going to start spreading the rumor that Mamet helps me write my plays.

Here's Psaier's "Not For Sissies." It's nothing special. Some fun pop that "samples" DC artwork. But if Warhol really did look over his shoulder and suggested the shade of red for Superman's shorts, add $10k to the price tag.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Towne Square Glider Rocker - $75 - SOLD!

This is a Towne Square Glider Rocker. Pretty well known and there's lots of information about them on the web. They tout old fashioned craftsmanship. The logo under the frame seems to indicate it was made in 1993. It's very sturdy. Cat tail friendly, too. A search on-line also has these going for hundreds of dollars. Even resale. It is 25 and a half inches across the arms and 38 inches from floor to top in a resting position.

If you are interested, shoot me an e-mail. I live in Logan Square. You would have to arrange for picking it up. joejanes1065@comcast.net.

Rattan Chair - $75

This is a chair my "roommate" left behind. There's no information on the manufacturer and there are some scratches on the back and one of the seat slats is broken, but you don't notice it. Pretty sturdy. The cats have spent many hours on that cushion, so I don't recommend this for anyone with allergies. Unless you replace the cushion. I did a search on line and couldn't find the exact chair. Similar chairs were going for hundreds of dollars. It is 26 inches from arm-to-arm and 40 inches from floor to the top of the back.

If you are interested, shoot me an e-mail. I live in Logan Square. You would have to arrange for picking it up. joejanes1065@comcast.net.

Moving My Body Sale!

I'll be spending the morning, after I do laundry, posting pictures of more stuff I want to sell before I move this bag of meat, bones and water from Logan Square to Rogers Park. I'm looking forward to being close to the Red Line, Devon Street, A New Leaf, Heartland Cafe, The Side Project and Lifeline Theatre.

So, today and tomorrow, look for the final push of stuff I want to sell before I shift north.


Yesterday, I asked...

"Sheikh Saleh al-Fozan, a senior Saudi cleric, has called for the death penalty for those appearing on television whom many clerics refer to as what?"

36% said "TV Reality Show Hosts"
- Finally, something I can support them in.

10% said "Zombies"
- Probably not, otherwise they would have offed Condoleezza Rice already.

No one said "Ogres"

54% got it right with "Sorcerers"

According to Reuters, a senior Saudi cleric has said purveyors of horoscopes on Arab television should face the death penalty, a paper said on Sunday, days after another cleric argued death for TV owners. "Sorcerers who appear on satellite channels who are proven to be sorcerers have committed a great crime ... and the Muslim consensus is that the apostate's punishment is death by the sword," Sheikh Saleh al-Fozan told al-Madina daily. "Those who call in to these shows should not be accorded Muslim rites when they die," the prominent cleric added. Many of the hundreds of Arab satellite channels have sprung up in recent years specialise in horoscopes and other advice to callers on solving problems that is seen as "sorcery". In their capacity as judges, clerics of Saudi Arabia's austere form of Islam often sentence "sorcerers" to death.

OFTEN sentence sorcerers to death!?! Glad to see these guys are earning their keep and focusing on the true spirit of their religion. This sounds familiar to Americans. Does the test for sorcery involve throwing someone into a lake and if they sink and drown they are NOT a sorcerer?


Monday, September 15, 2008

The BS News Quiz of the Day

On Friday, I asked...

"Authorities in Nevada raided several homes across the state recently and seized nearly 200 illegal what?"

8% said "aliens"
- Nope. All the restaurants and hotels would come to a stand still, if they did.

8% said "marijuana plants"
- "No, man. It's hemp. I make my own pants."

No one said "prostitutes"

84% got it right with "frogs"

According to The Associated Press, authorities seized scores of illegal African clawed frogs from Nevada residents saying they have traced the creatures — banned because of their potential for ecological damage — to a company that sells tadpoles over the Internet.

It turns out the tadpoles from Florida-based Grow-a-Frog — which markets them as an educational tool — are illegal in Nevada and at least 10 other U.S. states, authorities said.

Agents seized 119 of the frogs from three Reno homes last month and publicized the raids to get the word out they're illegal. Inundated with calls, they recovered another 68 this week in seven Nevada counties.

Florida-based Grow-a-Frog called the shipments to Nevada a mistake and agreed to pay a $3,600 fine and stop sending the unwelcome guests, said Capt. Cameron Waithman, the Nevada Department of Wildlife warden who led the months-long investigation.

Banned as an illegal invasive species, the creatures live mostly in the water and grow as large as bullfrogs. They can destroy ecosystems if they escape by voraciously eating native fish, Waithman said.

...And the fine is only $3,600 and a promise not to do it again? Are they the Haliburton of science education? That's barely a slap on the webbing for nearly destroying an ecosystem.

This is what their ad looks like...

They should consider changing it to this...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Shakespeare, Improvis-ed


Tonight at iO in the Del Close Theater. Tickets are $15 and they usually sell out. Get there early or buy them on-line.

Dost thou wish to see me strut across the boards in wanton abandon? Then be there good sir or madam, tonight!

I haven't done ISC in about a year! Come see me blow the rust off my codpiece. Joining me will be my good friends Ric Walker, Brendan Dowling and Nick Wagner.

Not able to make it or have never seen it?

It's sort of like this. Complete with screaming girls and jealous male hecklers.


Yesterday, I asked...

"Italian comedienne Sabina Guzzanti faces possible prison time for doing what during one of her shows?"

20% said "Praising Mussolini"
- He did make those trains run on time. We could use a little Mussolini in Chicago.

No one went for "Violating Topo Gigio" or "Applying lipstick to a live pig"

*0% got it right with "Insulting the Pope"

According to The Times UK, an Italian comedienne who said that Pope Benedict XVI would go to Hell and be tormented by homosexual demons is facing a prison term of up to five years.

Addressing a Rome rally in July, Sabrina Guzzanti warmed up with a few gags about prime minister Silvio Berlusconi — her favourite target for her biting impressions — before moving on to some unrepeatable jokes about Mara Carfagna, the Equal Opportunities Minister and one-time topless model.

But then she got religion, and after warning everyone that within 20 years Italian teachers would be vetted and chosen by the Vatican, she got to the punchline: "But then, within 20 years the Pope will be where he ought to be — in Hell, tormented by great big poofter devils, and very active ones, not passive ones."

The joke may have gone done well with her crowd on the Piazza Navona in Rome, but not with Italian prosecutors. She is facing prosecution for "offending the honour of the sacred and inviolable person" of Benedict XVI.

There is an actual law that is part of a treaty between Italy and the Vatican that says no one can insult the Pope or the prime minister. I guess they got into hissy fits back in the day punishable by pouring scalding hot oil down someone's throat. Hopefully, this won't go any further. The Vatican should be relieved. She threw out the original joke - "You can put lipstick on the Pope, but it's still the Pope." Way too offensive.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What's Wrong with Lipstick on a Pig?

By now you have heard the petty name-calling and grade school insults that are becoming the standard daily fare of the presidential campaign. All very wearying and clearly a tactic to keep us from getting bored hearing the candidate blathering on about the issues.

Fun is fun, but Obama really crossed the line this week.

Last week, at the RNC, Sarah Palin made a reference to the only difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom is "lipstick." This was a brilliant display of Oscar Wildean wit on her part. Sophisticated and dry. While humorous, it was also a glowing tribute to pit bulls who like to breed and hockey moms who like to poop in the yard.

Less than a week later, Obama made a play at smacking down Palin and it was not nearly as clever. He referred to McCain's economic plan as "just putting lipstick on a pig." Several things are wrong with this joke. For one, if you are going to stick it to Palin, you need to at least refer to her. Just saying "lipstick" isn't enough. Nudge or wink or hold up a picture of her. The joke needs context! Secondly, it's stolen. McCain has already used the line several times, once in reference to Hillary Clinton and her health plan. Get some fresh material, Barack! Your lack of experience has made you so insecure that you are stealing other people's lines.

The joke that's even more insulting to Palin came after the lipstick reference and everyone is ignoring it. Immediately following the pig poke, Barack said that a stinky fish wrapped in paper is still going to be stinky eight years later. Clearly, Mr. Obama is going after Palin's personal hygiene with a crude comment such as this. She's from Alaska. She hunts moose. She's a tough broad. Things are bound to be a little funky down in Juneau, if you know what I mean. No reason to call it out. This, my friends, is where Obama really got sexist.

So, let's stop the shenanigans, Democrats! Enough is enough! Get back to talking about the issues. Like that swollen gland hanging off of McCain's jaw like rising dough. Or why we have to still hear Fred Thompson give speeches. Why aren't we talking about that stuff?

By the way, one more problem that I have with your "joke," Mr. Obama... What's wrong with lipstick on a pig? If a pig wants to improve his or her appearance with a little make-up, then I think that pig has a right to do so without being derided for it in a national forum. Or maybe it's work related. Maybe they are testing cosmetics for some big company. It's their job!

Leave the pigs, alone, Mr. Obama, or surely you will see my vote go for that old goat!


Today's is the day we remember that horrible tragedy and, if you swing that way, commemorate the fallen and the brave with some thoughtful, reflective silence or prayer. Unless you're a republican involved in a presidential campaign. Then 9/11 is your party's new mascot and you'll want to hit all the parades to remind people how terrifying dying is and how this kind of thing hasn't happened since all because they have been keeping you safe. Of course, they'll avoid talking about how they did nothing to prevent it in spite of numerous warnings and stood in a complacent stupor while it was unfolding. But I digress. Honor the innnocent and the brave.


Yesterday, I asked...

"New Zealand's national airline wants to promote a new system to reduce check-in times by advertising where?"

36% said "On security metal detectors"
- Sorry, sir. I need you to walk through again. You missed reading the other side of the sign.

19% said "On womens' bottoms"
- It already takes me too long to read the word "Juicy."

No one went for "On screaming children"

45% got it right with "On bald guys' heads"

According to The Associated Press, New Zealand's national airline is offering to pay bald travelers to use their heads — literally — in a new advertising campaign.

Air New Zealand said it wants 70 recruits to stand in lines in three airports — while wearing temporary tattoos on the back of their heads so the displays can be seen by people lining up behind them.

The airline would pay 1,000 New Zealand dollars ($660) for each walking billboard, a company official said.

I should do this. I'm already giving away lots of free advertising with the back of my head. Other guys see me and think, "Hmm, maybe I should pick up some Rogaine."