Thursday, July 30, 2009

10 places to avoid in Chicago (if you weren’t already…)

Well, it’s official: On the lackluster “After the Final Rose” episode, our latest Bachelorette told Chris Harrison she will soon be invading my fair city. Luckily, in “10 things you don't know about Ed Swiderski of 'The Bachelorette,'” the Chicago Tribune has revealed some of her fiance's favorite places – so if you’re afraid, like I am, that you might be rendered deaf and/or blind by running into Jillian’s incessant squealing and/or Ed’s shorty-shorts, I suggest you avoid the following:
  1. Sushi Samba
  2. Blue Frog
  3. Air and Water Show
  4. Green Door
  5. Innjoy
  6. Cubs games
  7. Lake Shore Drive
  8. Michigan Avenue
  9. Lincoln Park
  10. River North

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Guinness IS good for you!

Because my boyfriend just sent me this link, I thought it was "news," but upon further investigation, it appears the BBC officially deemed Guinness "good for you" in 2003... nevertheless, the story inspired me to post.

According to the article, University of Wisconsin (naturally) researchers "tested the health-giving properties of stout against lager by giving it to KK patrons dogs who had narrowed arteries similar to those in heart disease," and found that a pint a day "may work as well as a low dose aspirin to prevent heart clots that raise the risk of heart attacks."

Wonderful news for Guinness drinkers! I'm afraid, though, that you'll still have to endure random comments at (American) bars (unless it's St. Patrick's Day), such as:
  • "Guinnes, ay?!" [accompanied by mouth-gaping confusion/surprise]
  • "Looks like you're chewing your drink tonight!"
  • "I've never seen a girl drink Guinness before!!"
  • "That just looks so HEAVY."
Although, instead of rolling your eyes, perhaps you can respond to these comments with a bit of Guinness trivia: Apparently the 1920s "Guinness is good for you" ad campaign "stemmed from market research - when people told the company that they felt good after their pint, the slogan was born."

Well, who can argue with that?

(Photo Source:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Politically correct, or so politically incorrect?

Now, I'm not saying I haven't been pushed to the edge of Monday-morning sanity upon realizing my nearly empty Coffee-Mate is missing - presumably tossed out during the Friday refrigerator clean-out, but I found this note a little obnoxious.

At first glance, "no basura" seemed to be a racist spin on the passive aggressive post-it - you know, the kind that's written in all caps or embellished with numerous exclamation points or underlining.

Or is it? Perhaps the note is on the other end of the PC spectrum - as it respects the fact that the U.S. does not have an official national language. Hm... think I'm going to stick with my initial assumption.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fashion Victim

Lately the news has been warning us that "Skinny Jeans May be Dangerous to Your Health." According to this article, a condition called meralgia paresthetica, or "tingling thigh syndrome" can occur "when constant pressure...cuts off the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, causing a numb, tingling or burning sensation along the thigh."

The article quotes a woman who noticed the odd sensation "when she wore a pair of super-tight skinny jeans to dinner with friends." And when she walked around, "She felt like she was almost 'floating,' because she couldn't feel her legs."

So... that's weird and all, but I think this woman's bigger problem, unless she's a runway model, is that she probably looked ridiculous. Isn't the real danger of these so-called skinny jeans that they actually make everyone look fat and awful?? Bring on the meralgia! Anything that will make this trend go away!

And according to the article, "tingling thigh syndrome" is exacerbated by high heels, the very accessory that can help these heinously unflattering jeans look halfway decent on a lucky few. (A chiropractic physician quoted in the article says, "The teetering shoes tilt the pelvis forward, increasing the pressure on the nerve.")

So what's the fashion-chasing, burger-eating Midwesterner to do? Step into a pair of dreaded ballet flats after pouring herself into her trendy jeans?

Please, can we stop the madness? Not to avoid the health risks, but to avoid the humiliation! Let's just stick with what we know best: relaxed fits, sweats, grease stains.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Don’t Fall in Love With Your First Draft

Most of what I learned in school has turned out to be utterly useless in the “real world.” In fact, rather than equip me for professional success, much of my academic life actually handicapped me, puffing up my ego and helping me build the analytical skills I could then use to obsess over the gap between undergraduate expectations and corporate reality.

There was one piece of advice, though, that could have helped me adjust, had I ever taken it to heart: “Don’t fall in love with your first draft.” In my memory, these words appear on a classroom poster of a hamburger — I’m not sure why… I think maybe the buns were the introduction and conclusion surrounding the “meat” of the story… (?) Well anyway, I never really took this advice because I believed everything that flowed from my mechanical pencil was pure genius.

Lately I’ve come to realize, however, that it’s an occupational hazard to fall in love with my first draft. Because at the bottom of the totem pole, where my cubicle is located, your job is to write first drafts — which you then hand up to more important people to review, modify, tweak and toss around until it’s a Frankenstein everyone can take credit for, or on the flipside, deny having had much say in, if it’s a flop.

So I’ve decided “Don’t fall in love with your first draft” is my new mantra. (At my last job it was “Happiness is a fragile flower that must be cultivated to grow,” adopted from a trade magazine columnist I used to edit.) I’ll regard my drafts as I would my children, if I had any.

As a parent you try to lay a good foundation, teaching your kids right and wrong and all that, but one day they go out into the world and are influenced by all kinds of random people you have no control over — teachers, classmates, the tipsy trophy wife next door. Maybe you’re overprotective of your first born, but by the second or third, you don’t even bother to lock the liquor cabinet.

I think maybe the most valuable — and versatile — lesson in life is the one about letting go (helpful for parents, writers, crazy ex-girlfriends, Brett Favre, the list goes on...).
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