October Treats!

October greetings, friends!

Of course the big news in Chicago right now is the World Series. Brian and I lived about a mile away from Wrigley Field for a couple years, which I always found amusing--how many die-hard Cubs fans would have been absolutely beside themselves to live within a 20 minute walk of the Friendly Confines? But for us it was at best an afterthought, at worst a major impediment to our ability to run errands and just generally go about our lives in peace. We had to get a special parking pass for the car from the alderman's office at the beginning of each season so that we could continue to park in front of our own apartment building. It was a necessary evil that we appreciated in a certain sense, in that it helped guarantee our street wouldn't be completely overrun by folks driving into the city from elsewhere for the game. But the parking enforcement people would always be out in full force the first day of the season and if you'd forgotten to get your pass that year, you definitely wouldn't be spared the cost of a ticket.

I am in no way a sports person, but since I've luckily not been affected by the worst of bad fan behavior (no one ever peed or puked on our lawn, at least that I saw anyway), I try to maintain a certain tolerant bemusement in the face of the packs of people in blue shirts and hats crowing the trains during my evening commute when the team is in town for a night game, or when traffic gets snarled on my way to get my hair cut at my usual salon (which is literally half a block south of Wrigley). People love what they love and I would hope that sports people would be similarly tolerant of me if I ever decided to go to Lollapalooza of the Pitchfork Music Festival again or anything like that.

Mostly, though, I'm tolerant because my mom was a huge Cubs fan. I have a very distinct memory of monitoring the score on TV for her while she was taking a bath, then running to shout the updates to her through the bathroom door. Some of the names from that mid-'80s lineup will remain forever etched in my brain like some sort of sacred incantation: Ryne Sandberg, Rick Sutcliffe, Shawon Dunston.

Like so many other aspects of her life that will now probably always remain mysterious to me, I have no idea where her Cubs fandom originated. I don't recall anyone else from that side of the family being similarly obsessed. I'm pretty sure she didn't give a hoot about most other sports things. My dad certainly wasn't a sports fan, despite his best efforts to occasionally participate in his office's Bears football pool. It's pointless for me to wish that, at eight years old or younger, I somehow would have had the presence of mind to ask her questions about her love of the game and the team. But of course it's also impossible for me not to wonder if I'd have acquired a more informed appreciation of the game if she'd lived long enough to teach me about it. I wonder that about so many other things I remember or have been told about her--if I would have learned to make counted cross-stitch crafts, to drive stick, or to prefer George Harrison's Beatles songs from her.

Rather than getting morose about it, though, it's nice to have even that small additional connection, through her, to the Cubs. It's been fun to carry her love with me as a special little secret reason, beyond simple local loyalty and general zeitgeist, to get excited when they're doing well, and to stay ever optimistic about next year.

What's new on the blog

This month on Queen of Peaches, I take a break from writing about death and more death to go a bit lighter, dishing about, frankly, just a bunch of shit that I like. Consider it my trick or treat offering to all my favorite ghouls and goblins. Click here to read the post.


  • I was asked to write a short essay for the Chicago Review Press blog about the fact that (as I mentioned back in June) I've worked on both editions of Chuck Granata's masterful book Wouldn't It Be Nice: Brian Wilson and the Making of the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds.

  • My old band Tiny Magnets got a surprising play on the Spin with Cyn show on KFAI in Minneapolis/St. Paul, when our old guitarist Kevin Henretta brought the song "Olivia" along with him to an in-studio interview with his new band Ringout! (The exclamation point is in the band's name, but the surprise itself is worthy of exclamation.) You can hear it online here if you fast forward to about an hour and 43 minutes into the show.

  • It's not me, but it's on my Soundcloud page: I recorded the superb talk that Brian gave earlier this month at the academic portion of Cartoon Crossroads Columbus. He spoke about both the correspondence between comics artists CC Beck and Trina Robbins and Beck's theories of comic art. It's a little teaser for those of you who might be interested in his forthcoming book, Captain Marvel and the Art of Nostalgia.

I went through a phase a while ago where I got really into contemporary French pop music. I love the through-the-looking-glass quality of it, how even when it's trying to be faithful to American or UK standards of production and style, it's ever so slightly strange, wonderfully so. Simultaneously too precise and too nonchalant. So it is with Vanessa Paradis's take on "I'm Waiting for the Man." Every note is in the exact right place, she sings all the lyrics faithfully in English, yet it's suffused with a kind of winking shrugginess. Like, she's not going to try that hard to whip herself and her band into any sort of punk-esque rock 'n' roll frenzy despite all the outward appearances to the contrary. Bonus points for the shortest sax solo I think I've ever heard and for the two George Michael lookalike backup singers.

Don't forget that reiki is good for pain relief too! Sure, psychic readings and healings can be good for your soul and can help you get clarity on personal goals and interior growth, but reiki energy can also be a terrific complement to other allopathic treatments. If you or someone you know has recently had surgery or is dealing with any sort of illness that needs a little extra attention, I'm available to give treatments both locally and at a distance.

With as much human dignity as I can muster,