Hangover Week

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A.J.'s inside-the-parker: did that really happen?

Posted By on 03.24.12 at 02:19 PM

A.J. Pierzynski wasnt trudging when he hit an inside-the-park homer Friday night.
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • A.J. Pierzynski wasn't trudging when he hit an inside-the-park homer Friday night.
Was it a trick of the drink, or did A.J. Pierzynski really hit an inside-the-park homer last night?

It was no hallucination, but it was hilariously funny.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Gin and juiceless?

Posted By on 03.23.12 at 02:29 PM

Give me gin or give me death
  • Give me gin or give me death

A little part of me is jealous of Lauren Viera. It's been a long while since I've written anything that inflamed as much passion as her freelance piece this week on Chicago's alleged deficiencies in the world of spirit-exclusive craft cocktailing. On the other hand, it's the kind of passion that sounds like hundreds of pitchforks sharpening on the grindstone. The essay makes its argument in 14 paragraphs, but I can sum it up in one:

New York has a bar and a restaurant that serves nothing but gin cocktails. It also has a bar that serves nothing but tequila drinks, where if you're crass enough to order an old-fashioned you're SOL. Chicago has a new, gin-focused cocktail bar also, which could have catapulted our provincial burgh into the front row. But, in fact, Scofflaw serves some cocktails made from spirits other than gin. Therefore, Chicago has for the umpteenth time failed to surpass its genetically programmed Second City status. And that just sucks.

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Do your part to preserve some Chicago bar history

Posted By on 03.23.12 at 06:44 AM

God save the Queen

A few years ago I noticed a hot dog stand was moving into a long-abandoned Chinese take-out joint on Kedzie in Irving Park. Normally this would be a happy development, but I was worried for the sign that hung over the street: a bright yellow marquee touting the "Good Stuff House, Chinese Food, Chop Suey." Not only was that a fabulous name for a restaurant but it was done in that retro Charlie Chan font which appears to actually be called Chinese Takeaway. I don't know if the Souled American side project Good Stuff House took its name from the sign, but I like to think others found it as inspiring as I did, a preservation-worthy piece of neighborhood color.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Your hangover makes you smarter*

Posted By on 03.22.12 at 06:47 AM

This clearly dated piece of propoganda has it all wrong.
  • This clearly dated piece of propoganda has it all wrong.
*Disclaimer: this is merely a theory. My theory. As far as I can tell, I’m the only person to subscribe to it. But it’s true.

As is the case with many theories, the Theory of Hangover-Induced Neurosuperiority [THIN] has its detractors. Yet years of experimenting have yielded facts that strongly support my central hypothesis: namely that the hungover brain is able to make creative leaps that the nonhungover brain is incapable of making.

The sheer number of THIN naysayers was initially discouraging. My theory gained traction, however, when Reader art director Paul John Higgins (who is acutely aware of my THIN obsession) brought to my attention a post on Wired’s Frontal Cortex science blog titled “Why Being Sleepy and Drunk Are Great for Creativity.” The post describes two studies that link sleepiness, drunkenness—and even brain damage—to higher-level thinking.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Things I hate: Wiener's Circle

Posted By on 03.21.12 at 08:00 AM

More like the losers circle, am I right?
  • Seth Anderson/Wikimedia Commons
  • More like the loser's circle, am I right?
Sometimes you want to go where everybody tells you to eat their pussy; sometimes you just want to watch that place on television. Or at least that's the case for TruTV, which has decided to create a reality show for Lincoln Park institution the Wiener's Circle, as reported Monday by the Huffington Post. In case you don't know what the big deal is about Wiener's Circle, well, join the club, because I'm not really sure what the big deal is either. But the nuts and bolts of it are that the Wiener's Circle is a fast food shack in Lincoln Park that is famous for its hot dogs and cheese fries, but more famous for the loud, foulmouthed black women who work behind the register at night until 5 AM. The "novelty" of Wiener's Circle is that the employees who take your order will yell some of the nastiest, most offensive insults back at you when you are likely blind drunk.

Wiener's Circle's lore was given national attention when Ira Glass featured it on This American Life, compounded by its reappearance on the television format of that radio program. Here's the video of that episode (with a scrolling, low-tech, rhetorical question typical of YouTube uploads at the end of the video).

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A filmmaker under the influence

Posted By on 03.20.12 at 08:00 AM

Ward Bond played John Fords alcoholic alter-ego in The Wings of Eagles (1957).
  • Ward Bond played John Ford's alcoholic alter ego in The Wings of Eagles (1957).
Who’s the greatest alcohol-inspired filmmaker? I guess that depends if you mean directors who were known for depicting alcohol consumption or those who often worked under the influence. The first category would include George Cukor, Akira Kurosawa, Blake Edwards, and Billy Wilder; the second would include Nicholas Ray, Sam Peckinpah, John Ford (who made light of his predilection in The Wings of Eagles), and the underrated independent Eagle Pennell (The Whole Shootin' Match). John Cassavetes and South Korea’s Hong Sang-soo straddle both camps, as drinking informs not only the content of their films but their overall makeup. Characters get drunk in their work to make confessions, start arguments, or express their joie de vivre: the movies follow suit, with scenes that circle around an unyielding conflict or else lope brazenly forward.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Make mine a manhattan

Posted By on 03.19.12 at 09:54 AM

Theres no finer cocktail than a perfectly mixed manhattan
  • There's no finer cocktail than a perfectly mixed manhattan
Here begins Hangover Week, in honor of our neighborhood bar guide.

On New Year's Day 1979 the Chicago Tribune ran a piece by my colleague Steve Bogira titled "Lots of nice ways to say you were stinking drunk."

Among the "nice ways": tipsy, stewed, stiff, polluted, reeking, stinko, blitzed, bombed. My favorite is "featured," as in "inspired to believe strongly in his ability to sing a song, to tell a funny story, or to execute a dance."

I've never been able to execute a dance, featured or otherwise. But I have some experience with hangovers. (Never again, I'll say. Then . . . again.)

My hangover remedy in the past had been a can of Dr. Pepper and a dill pickle. It works, but perhaps you'd be better off taking the advice of current professionals.

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Starting today on the Bleader: Hangover Week

Posted By on 03.19.12 at 07:00 AM

The Supper After the Masked Ball, Thomas Couture, 1855
Today begins a new edition of our blog feature "Variations on a Theme," in which we devote digital ink to a topic that fascinates us. This week, it's all things booze.

Hangover Week is brought to you by the Reader's Neighborhood Bar Guide. Look out all this week on the Bleader for alcohol-related writing from Reader writers.

And in case you missed it, here's Disparity Week, last week's "Variations on a Theme."

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