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the latest waddle:

good morning, wordpress - 10:36 a.m. , 2009-07-03

elaborate murder attempt - 2:56 p.m. , 2009-07-01

building a tractor in the basement - 10:42 a.m. , 2009-06-19

ask no questions tell just a few lies - 3:17 p.m. , 2009-06-09

my long lasting flavor really lasts long - 1:10 p.m. , 2009-06-04

2004-03-09 ... 10:15 a.m.

Yesterday's bus scene: Crowded, a line to get on, and a toothless boozehound in an army jacket is yelling, "Come on, let's go! Hurry up, assholes! Let's go!" When he called one woman, who was having some trouble with her transit card, a "stupid cunt," you could feel a ripple of hatred run through the normally mild-mannered #155 bus riders, and I hoped with all my heart that I was about to be witness to a beatdown. Why was Mr. Night-Train-Stench in such a hurry, anyway? I seriously doubt he was late for a job interview.

It reminded me of an actual bus beatdown that I witnessed years ago, when I lived on the South Side. I used to get off the train at 55th and then take a bus through several ghetto-fabulous neighborhoods to arrive at the gentrified (and deadly dull) island of Hyde Park. One afternoon a skinny black man, obviously drunk and obviously crazy, and proceeded to yell very loudly, several times, that he was "KING OF THE NIGGERS!" Then he said many nasty things to the well-dressed woman sitting across from him, which she regally ignored, showing a whole lot more class than I would have shown. The whole bus was watching this little drama unfold, not wanting to overstep boundaries and interfere on her behalf, but also wondering how she could sit by and let this man, crazy drunk or no crazy drunk, be so insulting to her. Eventually His Royal Highness reached his stop, and to our surprise the well-dressed woman got up and followed him off the bus. As we waited for the light, our noses pressed against the bus windows to see what would happen next, she approached a gaggle of men on the street corner, the sort that hang out all day doing nothing much, and spoke to them briefly. Immediately they all moved off down the street toward the weaving-around-and-shouting King, with a certain anticipatory tension in their gaits that spoke of Great Violence To Come, and the bus erupted in whoops of horror/amusement/solidarity/satisfaction as we realized that total strangers were about to kick the shit out of another total stranger, just on one sister's say-so. While I know it is probably not fair to beat up the crazy for their craziness, I will admit to being down with the karma of it all.

I think winter is getting even to me, and I'm the most bundled-up girl on the block. I like my black tights and my baggy sweaters and I like all manner of indoor activities, but lately I am itchy to be outdoors without it being a BIG HUGE MAJOR DEAL. I have visions of eating outside, on a patio, which is weird because not only do I hate eating outside but I don't even have a patio. I have these visions of sitting on a park bench, feeling the warm breeze lift my hair, sipping on my discreetly-hidden 40-ouncer of beer (maybe some kind of knitted cozy to help with the discretion? Come on, all you knitty girls, get knitting), and watching Nora go down the baby slide at the playground. Of course in order for this to happen not only would Chicago have to warm up considerably but Nora would have to become less of a toddler and more of a little kid, because right now when you set her down she immediately gets all interested in the playground wood chips and not so much in semi-independent play. Thank goodness for light, foldable strollers, because this in-between stage, where Nora is too big (and too wiggly) to be carted around constantly like a baby, but not steady or cognitively advanced enough to walk in a straight line from A to B, is downright awkward when scooting around town.

Cold wind or no cold wind, Saturday evening LT and I dressed Nora in coat, hat, mittens, and lap-blanket and logged some playground baby-swing time, and Sunday morning we reenacted the scene and walked her to Borders. I was hoping to find a useful book or two on toddler development---you know and I know that Nora is a genius, but speaking as a fretful mother it is nice to have reference books. The most comprehensive thing we found was from the What To Expect series, and although I think some of their ideas are wack we bought it anyway. As LT put it, "We need a definitive resource to ignore."

On the way back we could see that my neighborhood was slightly ramped up (as ramped up as the Orthodox get, anyway) about Purim. We saw lots of decorations and lots of little kids dressed up to go to their parties and costume parades. I did not quite realize that Purim costumes are not restricted to characters from the Book of Esther---we saw a little boy dressed as a bear cub and one dressed as a Coke machine. This would seem to indicate that anything goes when it comes to Purim costumes, unless these Purim-celebrants are working with a very different version of the text.

And lo, the bear cub put fifty shekels, for the purchase of a Diet Sprite, into the Coke machine of the Egyptians. And the shekels rolled down, and no Diet Sprite appeareth. And the bear wailed, beseeching unto the heavens for the machine to either return the shekels or dispense the beverage. And thus G_d spake: Woe unto thee, O bear cub of the Israelites! Procure a stone tablet and inscribe upon it that the machine be defective. At dawn the moneychanger shall arrive, bearing a handtruck of aluminum cans, and the shekels be returned to thee.

I blithered a bit on BBC Radio Scotland recently, on the Arts Show. Their home page is all obfuscated and hard to deal with (plus it will make you wrestle with RealPlayer), so I have not heard myself yet. It was not a real "interview," but more of an NPR-style vignette, wherein I stutter and mumble and babble in between proper Scottish programming, like The Haggis Report and Kilts Today! and Sheepfactor. (Okay, I made those up.)

Because I have a compulsion to always do The Worst Possible Thing, I did consider affecting a Trainspotting accent for the entire radio experience, or bringing a flask of Scotch at the very least. How did I get on Radio Scotland? I had to go to a Chicago radio station, and Scotland called on an ISDN line, and it was all very technical and complicated and involved me being left alone in a sound studio while engineers raced around and muttered about "bit rate" and "framing." I was in the very same studio that is used to broadcast Bears games during the season, so on the desk were dozens of cartridges labeled FIGHT SONG and BRETT FAVRE INTERVIEW that I considered stealing but did not. I also considered lifting my shirt and flashing the guys in the next studio, which housed that station where they give! the news! every! ten! goddamned! seconds! Yes, I was that bored. Anyway, if anyone is more interested than I am,* feel free to send me the actual link to my portion of the show if you find it. I think it aired yesterday.

*How slack am I? Can't even get it up to find my own publicity.

Something I know now that I didn't before: they won't let you say "blowjob" on Scottish radio!

---mimi smartypants wants to Penn your Teller.


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