ah, summer.

A stretch of home games for the Cubs and the traffic nightmare that is the Taste of Chicago have turned downtown into a one-two punch of appalling annoyingness and shuffling white people. Michigan Avenue is just not really that interesting, especially when you can’t make your way down the sidewalk at anything resembling normal speeds, owing to the mooing bovine herds in from Naperville or Boilingbrook or some other suburban shithole who, honestly, could stand to be hustled along with a cattle prod. Surely they have Forever 21 and Borders in the mall in those places. You have to have seen this shit before. Chop, chop, people.  And I say this as someone who is usually half a block behind my significant other because he is TALL and I am SLOW.

God forbid you should have to say, run any kind of errands within the boundaries of the Loop, whether that be making a quick Trader Joe’s run for staples (beer, melatonin, cat food, parmesan), trying to get frozen yogurt at one of Chicagoland’s fine Pinkberry imitators*, or buying outlandish five dollar dangly earrings from H&M that will be worn exactly three times before they break into tiny fragments from the insistent pressure of your cell phone. Gotta love that far eastern quality control!

It’s certainly enough to make you go all What About Bob, i.e. to wear this:

Shirt available at Found Item Clothing, and seen in action here

The Onion’s AV Club has an excellent piece on the summer-induced recession-heightened tourist deluge that is upon us. Link here.

Rachael Ray’s $40 A Day says: “Rachael Ray toddles into the Windy City of Chicago with a farmer-sized appetite and just $40. She hits Kitsch ‘n on Roscoe for breakfast, and BackStage Bistro for lunch. For dinner she tries Greek Islands, a Greek family restaurant. The evening ends at Navy Pier with macadamia popcorn.”

But they forgot to mention: That frugality needn’t go hand in hand with scattershot dining choices. Also, no evening should end at Navy Pier.

Never listen to anything Rachel Ray says. “EVOO” is just not going to happen, because it’s an absolutely un-bloody-necessary acronym. And, there’s the whole part where she can’t cook. Howevs, I will concede that her magazine is kind of cute. Probably because you can’t hear her yapping beagle voice when you read it. That’s a start for making her, oh, an eighteenth more tolerable.

The Onion article also links to this website, which you can use to scare the bejeesus out of yourself and plot the incidences of various crimes on each city block. It was one of my most favorite activities before moving from Kentucky.**

Which, in light of the fact that Chicago’s longstanding handgun ban was just struck down, means there will likely soon be a lot more dots on that little crime map. Just in time for a rousing summer round of my fave summer game: “Fireworks or Gunshots?” Not to mention that the New York Times can reward us with charming gems like this, that go so damn well with your a.m. iced coffee–

Last school year, 258 public school students were shot in Chicago, 32 fatally, on their way to or from school, traveling through gang-infested territory and narcotics wars on the South and West Sides.

Oh, woo. If you need to shoot pheasants on weekends in Wisconsin, get a friggin’ rifle. Otherwise, the second amendment can GET BENT.***

*I love Pinkberry and the denizens of imitators it has spawned. I now long to go to Korea because I fondly imagine that you can get tart frozen yogurt everywhere. The streets are awash in it. Pinkberry’s motto is “Swirly Goodness,” which sounds like the kind of kink you would normally hear some traumatized woman call in to Savage Love about. And think to yourself, lordy, glad I’m not fucking that guy. No? Just me, then.

**And also try to parse the language of incident reports. Why is domestic violence classed as “simple battery”? It seems like the convergence of factors that feed into household violence are mind-bogglingly complex.

***I must steal a tweet from Charlie Brooker (about David Cameron, zoinks!), and co-opt it for my own purposes: “LEAST SEXY AMENDMENT EVER.”

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