WBEZ | Claire Zulkey http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Signing Off http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/signing-107835 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Photo%20on%202013-06-24%20at%2016.34.jpg" style="float: right; height: 300px; width: 400px;" title="" />You may have heard or read this already or you may have not, but today marks the last day Zulkey.com will be produced by WBEZ. After almost exactly two years of running my blog, the station is taking a new direction in terms of its online content.</div><p dir="ltr">I was thrilled and grateful when this opportunity was first extended to me, and pretty much in disbelief&mdash;I was getting hired to do something I used to do for free, and by one of my main and favorite sources of media? So I cannot thank Justin Kaufmann over there enough, for bringing me on as a blogger, for asking me to come and pitch in on-air, for talking me through a couple of uncertain patches and just being an enthusiastic friend to me. He is my homey, if I may be so bold.</p><p dir="ltr">Many thanks also to Tim Akimoff, Robin Amer, Tricia Bobeda and Elliott Ramos for guiding me through my time at BEZ. I like Andrew Gill a lot too. And even though she hasn&rsquo;t been with BEZ for at least two jobs now, I had a criminal amount of fun working with Kate Dries, who is now kicking butt over at Jezebel.</p><p dir="ltr">Thanks to BEZ for letting me write about stupid things like an Anthropologie sweater sale gone awry&mdash;I never would have thought that something like that would have gotten the traction it did. Thank you for letting me write about my baby, from his inception to his birth to all the ups and downs that followed (and actually I&rsquo;d like to say on the record that the ups have significantly outnumbered the downs, but who wants to read a blog about how cute some lady&rsquo;s new baby is? Not me, or at least, I don&#39;t want to write one.) Thanks for letting me give props to my sister-writers here in the city. We are a rowdy, supportive bunch. Thanks for running my interviews with people like Mo Rocca, Cheryl Strayed, Gillian Flynn, Keegan-Michael Key, Tavi Gevinson and White Sox/Blackhawks announcer Gene Honda.</p><p dir="ltr">Thanks for letting me come on the radio and meet people whom I had only known as voices on-air: Tony Sarabia, Rick Kogan, Louisa Chu, Lee Bey, Susie An, Niala Boodhoo, Becky Vevea, Natalie Moore and especially Cheryl Raye-Stout.</p><p>I will miss saying that I blog for the station but I hope to still work with them in different ways in the future, and I will always, of course, listen. In the meantime I am taking a tiny break next week but starting July 8 you can find me back at my home, Zulkey.com.</p></p> Fri, 28 Jun 2013 08:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/signing-107835 List: The happiest places to work (based on circumstantial evidence) http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/list-happiest-places-work-based-circumstantial-evidence-107833 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Flickr_inSapphoWeTrust.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Costco (Flickr/InSapphoWeTrust)" /></div>The other day my husband and I were stopped at a red light alongside a UPS truck.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;Do you think UPS drivers like their jobs?&rdquo; I asked Steve.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;They usually seem pretty happy,&rdquo; Steve said.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">We have a small shared crush on our UPS guy. He&rsquo;s good-looking, friendly and efficient, always with a nice word or joke but never lingering.</div><p dir="ltr">Then we started thinking about other places where people might like their jobs because their employees tend to seem happy. All we could come up with was Jimmy John&#39;s. I brought this up with some girlfriends at drinks and they shared a few anecdotes about the almost psychotic levels of happiness displayed by some Trader Joe&rsquo;s employees.<br /><br />I opened this up to Facebook: sure, reports come out all the time about the best places to work, but based on simple observation, where do employees tend to seem like happy people? These were some of the most popular and interesting responses I received:</p><p dir="ltr">Nordstrom</p><p dir="ltr">Chik-Fil-A (2 votes)</p><p dir="ltr">Publix (2 votes)</p><p dir="ltr">Caribou Coffee (2 votes)</p><p dir="ltr">Zappos</p><p dir="ltr">Whole Foods (2 votes)</p><p dir="ltr">Mariano&rsquo;s</p><p dir="ltr">Home Depot</p><p dir="ltr">Pinkberry</p><p dir="ltr">In-N-Out (2 votes)</p><p dir="ltr">USAA bank (2 votes)</p><p dir="ltr">Costco (3 votes)</p><p dir="ltr">Southwest Airlines (3 votes)</p><p dir="ltr">PNC Bank</p><p>Now you: based on your anecdotal evidence, which companies seem to have the happiest employees?</p><p><em>Follow Claire Zulkey <a href="https://twitter.com/Zulkey">@Zulkey</a></em></p></p> Tue, 25 Jun 2013 10:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/list-happiest-places-work-based-circumstantial-evidence-107833 Like stealing from a baby: Stealing from the baby http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/stealing-baby-stealing-baby-107820 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/8727806498_5e117df804.jpg" title="The baby and the bath products his mother generously lends him." /></div><p dir="ltr">Babies! They&rsquo;re not just for getting attention or trying to win money through beauty pageants anymore. Did you know that they are actually great sources of stuff that you can steal? More than once I have discovered second, adult uses for baby gear, and the best thing is, when you steal from a baby, what&rsquo;s the baby going to do, call the police? Nope. Here are a few baby items I have co-opted for my own use:<br /><br /><strong>Baby shampoo: </strong>When the baby was born a lot of nice people gave us a lot of baby shampoo. But I gave birth to a very small, bald baby with a small baby head. He is not going to go through all that shampoo anytime soon. So one day, when I ran out of soap, I grabbed a bottle of Johnson &amp; Johnson baby shampoo to use as a body wash. I&rsquo;ve also used the stuff to clean my makeup brushes. The baby, meanwhile, is almost a year old and is just halfway through his second bottle of baby shampoo/body wash. I figure I have time to buy a replacement bottle before he notices.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Baby lotion:</strong> It&rsquo;s just as good as adult lotion and it smells like a baby, which is more than I can say for the baby, who has a tendency to stink.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Baby wipes:</strong> <a href="http://gawker.com/update-do-you-use-butt-wipes-and-if-so-what-the-fuc-511428757">Despite what Gawker says</a>, these things are awesome. They just get the job done--and not just for private wiping. I have used baby wipes on the dog, on my feet, on my hands, on the floor. It&rsquo;s like if some Good Samaritan was like, &ldquo;Here, stop wasting time running a paper towel under a running faucet: I took care of it for you already.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Sunscreen:</strong> I applied sunscreen for the first time to the baby the other day, squirting out the amount of sunscreen I am accustomed to applying. Did you know that babies don&rsquo;t have a lot of skin, though? And that you can probably just keep them covered by the stroller? I think my husband and I are going to be dipping into that SPF-80 a lot this summer.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Baby food:</strong> We have a plethora of snacks to encourage the baby to practice picking up food and feeding himself, yet all he&rsquo;s interested in, so far, is Cheerios. That&rsquo;s fine. Did you know that in a pinch you can serve baby snacks as a cocktail hors d&#39;oeuvre? I haven&rsquo;t tried this yet but foods like <a href="http://www.mummums.com/">Mum-Mums</a> (made by a company called Hot-Kid, I feel compelled to point out) and <a href="http://www.gerber.com/allstages/products/snacks/lil_crunchies_mild_cheddar.aspx">Lil&rsquo; Crunchies</a> (which taste like Pirate&rsquo;s Booty) would be excellent served in an attractive bowl alongside a nice cold glass of wine.</p><p dir="ltr">I look forward to when he gets bigger and I can start stealing his clothes, too. If you have any creative ways you have used your kid&rsquo;s stuff for your own use, please share.</p><p><br /><a href="https://twitter.com/Zulkey">@Zulkey</a></p></p> Mon, 24 Jun 2013 10:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/stealing-baby-stealing-baby-107820 Get happy: Overview of the 2013 Color Run http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/get-happy-overview-2013-color-run-107747 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9060291088_9c909e2723.jpg" style="float: right; height: 225px; width: 300px;" title="Steve and Claire" />On Sunday my husband and I ran a 5K called the Color Run, which is inspired in part by the Indian festival Holi. The theme of the run is &ldquo;Happy&rdquo; (hence the &ldquo;Happy&rdquo; tattoos I received with our packet pickup) and along the run bursts of colored cornstarch are thrown at you. The idea is that the runners wear all white, and then by the end of the race it&rsquo;s a messy, colorful joyful mess, with a party featuring even more bursts of color. If you&rsquo;re still white by the end of the race, you&rsquo;re doing it wrong (isn&#39;t that just the theme of life, really?)</div><p dir="ltr">A friend told me she was running the race and so I signed up, remembering the happy expressions and ruined shirts of post-Color-Run runners from a few years ago. I had a few reservations pre-run, though. Earlier this spring my friends and I ran another untimed, &ldquo;happy&rdquo; gimmick race called the Rave Run where the idea was that the runners race in the dark, lit up by 5Ks worth of light show and glowing apparel. However, an unlit run at night on an uneven surface (the downtown lakefront) was a very poor idea, and the light show we were promised was pretty paltry.</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9060450882_7c0aa977ee.jpg" style="float: left; height: 400px; width: 300px;" title="Steve" />I am certainly not a very serious runner, but I was also a little irritated by the number of people present who seemed more interested in Instagramming the event than actually making their way down the path. Meanwhile, at the packet pickup for the Color Run (which, annoyingly, was in Grant Park and sucked for anyone who had to park), there was a swag-for-sale tent, encouraging runners (girls especially), to pick up silly running items like tutus and kneesocks and goofy sunglasses. I definitely think it&rsquo;s fun when runners dress up for races and treat it like a party but I never realized that I have a bit of a snobbish point of view in that it&rsquo;s fun when runners DIY it, but it feels mercenary when a for-profit 5K makes extra bucks by selling costumery that will never be worn again post-race. I am aware that I am cranky, however, and I shouldn&rsquo;t begrudge people their right to make their race fun their way.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Regardless, I slapped two &ldquo;Happy&rdquo; tattoos on the backs of my legs and we lined up to run Sunday morning. The race had a rolling starting line, which I liked because it worked well: we had the option of showing up anytime during a specific window, instead of for a specific start time (races never start at the start time, unless you&rsquo;re one of the elite runners up front.)</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Again, the swag factor was huge: the emcee letting out waves of runners threw out lots of free stuff and promised us the chance to get our photo taken with a new Chevy (the main sponsor.) This was a bit eyeroll inducing. But, whatever. Happy!</div><p dir="ltr">A friend of mine who was running her first 5K was worried about being undertrained for the race, but I&rsquo;d say probably half as many people walked as ran, which I had no problem with except people never obey the request that runners stay the left, walkers, right. I tried to run the entire thing but I had to dodge a lot of walkers.</p><p dir="ltr">After running down from Madison to Randolph and back, I ran through the first color zone, which is where the fun starts. Volunteers throw and squirt the colored powder at the runners, which is delightful (the powder has the smell and feel of talc). While the run organizers suggest people who don&rsquo;t wish to be too powdered stick to the middle of the route, I don&rsquo;t remember seeing anyone who did this.</p><p dir="ltr">EVERYONE wanted the color, to the point where at the yellow station, (I ran through, orange, yellow, pink and blue), there was a bottleneck as people slowed down to collect their color. If I were feeling super-competitive that day I would have been annoyed but the temperature was already in the 80&rsquo;s so I didn&rsquo;t mind a little break.</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9058030321_0247c10b6a.jpg" style="float: right; height: 225px; width: 300px;" title="Pre-race" />One part of the race that could have used some improvement was water dispersal. I was feeling competitive enough to skip the super-crowded water station on the route because I figured I&rsquo;d get water at the end of the race. However, the water table after the finish line was also too crowded to penetrate in a timely manner. I feel like water should be the one thing you should have no problem accessing after a race. I also didn&rsquo;t see any food handouts either, such as bananas. There was a tent where you could line up and get a free bottle of coconut water but coconut water is for people with no taste buds. So the water situation was a little bit lacking.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">After the race I met up with my husband, who is not quite as enthusiastic a runner as I am. He was proud of himself for running the whole thing. And, to my surprise, suggested heading to the post-party for a little bit, where, periodically, cannons shot out Costco-sized loads of color. My husband, and I say this lovingly, can sometimes be a bit of a hater&mdash;if you want to talk smack about something a lot of people like that he dislikes for that very reason, he is usually your guy. But I was happy to enter the party zone with him.</div><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/9060278086_8845a5775d.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Steve on the bus" />There&rsquo;s something undeniably childish and awesome about dancing to loud music in a big blinding cloud of colorful dust while totally sober and dirty. For a few moments visibility was nil and it was a hot sweaty claustrophobic mess but it was wonderful (I was especially happy to get some new bursts of color on me because my color had mixed into a muddy greenish brown by the time I was all done.)</p><p dir="ltr">Afterwards, we did get our photo taken in the Chevy tent after all and uploaded pictures of us to social media despite of, not because of, the DJ exhorting everyone there to do so. We gave into the fun, sponsorships and all. Then took the bus home. I highly recommend, at least once in your life, being one of the weirdest looking people on the bus for once. It will make you realize how strenuously people have been trained to ignore CTA oddness.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">In all, despite the commercialism and organizational snafus, I did have a great time on the Color Run and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for some good clean dirty non-competitive athletic fun. I think it would be fun to take the kid to it in a few years. And yes, I did get most of the color out of our clothes, although it&rsquo;s been two full days since the race and I am still coming up with blue boogers.</div></p> Wed, 19 Jun 2013 08:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/get-happy-overview-2013-color-run-107747 List: Upcoming Zulkey events http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/list-upcoming-zulkey-events-107705 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/powells_flickr_quinnanya.jpg" style="height: 200px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Powell's Bookstore in Chicago. (Flickr/Quinn Anya)" />I will be appearing at, hosting, or merely attending some fun events in the near future, so if you&#39;re looking for something to do in the city in the next month or two, look no further!</p><p><strong>June 19: Guts &amp; Glory at Powell&#39;s.</strong> I will be reading a personal piece about my sick need to know the mean things people say or write about me at this series hosted by Keith Ecker and Samantha Irby. Learn more about it <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/160933694084591/">here</a>.</p><p><strong>June 25: <a href="http://www2.mcachicago.org/event/the-mca-store-presents-lily-koppel-the-astronaut-wives-club/">Lily Koppel at the MCA</a></strong>. Zulkey.com interviewee <a href="http://zulkey.com/zulkey_test/2008/04/httpwwwyoutubecomwatchvj1resjy.html">Lily Koppel</a> will be reading from her new book <em>The Astronaut&#39;s Wives Club</em>.&nbsp; I predict it will be an awesome time.</p><p><strong>June 29:<a href="http://www.thekates.org/"> The Kates.</a></strong> It&#39;s an all-lady humor night at the Book Cellar, my favorite bookstore! Walk around Lincoln Square, drink some wine, have a laugh, eat some dinner. You could really do a lot worse, you know?</p><p><strong><a href="http://www.zulkey.com/funnyhaha.php">July 19: Funny Ha-Ha: Hot &amp; Bothered</a>.</strong> Fun! Chicago&#39;s favorite literary humor reading series returns with some old friends and new faces. Make sure you save the date.</p></p> Tue, 18 Jun 2013 08:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/list-upcoming-zulkey-events-107705 Out, damned teeth! http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/out-damned-teeth-107702 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/151723586_ed691c6800.jpg" style="float: right; height: 158px; width: 300px;" title="Flickr/Justin Mclean" />I used to brag about my teeth for two reasons:</p><ol><li>I have never had a cavity.</li><li>I only had two wisdom teeth.</li></ol><p>Thank you, good genes.&nbsp; Dentists did recommend I get my shorthanded supply of wizzies (that&#39;s a cool nickname I&#39;ve come up with for &quot;wisdom teeth&quot;) pulled, but I suspected they were just trying to make a quick buck. They were fine. They were better than fine. They were mine and awesome.</p><p dir="ltr">We all know that pride goeth before the fall, though, and that fall occurred when my new dentist proclaimed that my wisdom teeth needed to come out, and she demonstrated this by showing me, in the mirror, how riddled with cavities they were. I felt ashamed. I ran a half marathon. I got my master&rsquo;s degree. I gave birth to a baby. Yet I was somehow unable to stick my toothbrush a half inch further back in my mouth to prevent them from rotting.<br /><br />Well, screw those teeth. They were ruining my perfect cavity-free record, so I would finally have them removed, out of spite more than anything else.</p><p dir="ltr">I went to consult with the oral surgeon a few weeks ago but the experience did not fill me with confidence. I was led to an examining room that displayed a pillow with the phrase &ldquo;Botox saved my marriage&rdquo; needlepointed onto it and a framed piece of art chronicling the evolution of pubic hair through the decades. Um, what? (You can go <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/zulkey/9066747263/">here</a> to check out this not-quite-safe-for-work image yourself.)</p><p dir="ltr">For some reason, pop culture has bestowed a creepy sex vibe upon dentistry. We saw it in <em>Little Shop of Horrors</em>, with the masochistic Orin Scrivello. Then there was <em>Seinfeld</em>, where Bryan Cranston may or may not have done something bad to Jerry while he was under sedation. Then there was the female rapist character played by Jennifer Aniston in <em>Horrible Bosses</em>. And most recently there was a disturbing call to the Savage Love podcast from a woman who wished to be sexually manipulated while in the dentist&rsquo;s chair. Something about the power exchange made dentists seem like icky sexual puppetmasters.</p><p dir="ltr">So you can imagine that this hilarious framed image did not make me want to get put under anytime soon.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Uh, what&rsquo;s with that drawing?&rdquo; I asked the hygienist, who barely seeemed to register it.</p><p dir="ltr">The oral surgeon wasn&rsquo;t much more helpful.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;A woman who performs cosmetic procedures works in this office,&rdquo; he explained to me.</p><p dir="ltr">I&rsquo;m not that prudish but I didn&rsquo;t want to see a drawing, even in cartoon form, of a woman&rsquo;s clearly-defined labia during a weekday in the Loop. ESPECIALLY at the dentist&rsquo;s office. Once the dentist was done consulting with me, I considered throwing the frame in the trash but merely turned it around to face the wall, hoping to give its owner a hint.</p><p dir="ltr"> </p><p dir="ltr">Back to the teeth. I was told that in terms of knocked-out-ness, I had the following choices:</p><ul dir="ltr"><li style="">Novocaine</li><li style="">laughing gas, which the hygienist said would make me feel like I&rsquo;d had a few glasses of wine</li><li style="">an IV sedative where I would be almost totally unconscious but not quite</li><li style="">being completely knocked out</li></ul><p dir="ltr">Novocaine was out because I didn&#39;t want to witness any part of the procedure, let alone a needle in my gum. Three glasses of wine did not seem sufficient for how litle I wanted to feel. The prospect of going completely under scared me almost as much as the prospect of getting my teeth pulled out. What if I never woke up? Was I really going to get the same treatment for tooth removal as people do for serious surgery? So I decided to go for the IV.</p><p dir="ltr">The prospect of the surgery scared me much more than the idea of labor that struck me when I was eight months pregnant, (because the beauty of pregnancy is that by the end, you are so sick of being pregnant that you don&rsquo;t care what happens.) However, my teeth were much less obtrusive than the very active fetus in my abdomen. After labor, I would be rewarded with a baby and an unpregnant body, but after my wisdom teeth came out, there would be no reward. I would just have two fewer teeth. &nbsp;I was worried that the IV wouldn&rsquo;t work. I was worried that I would feel everything. I was worried that I would hear my teeth coming out. I was worried that I would see my bloody long rooty tooth after it was extracted. I was worried I would throw up. I was worried about &quot;dry socket,&quot; whatever that was. I read as much as I could about IV sedation (and unwisely watched a video of a woman getting her wisdom teeth out while she was under it; she seemed a little too conscious for my taste.) Even though everything I read about the IV said that it was awesome, I was not satisfied because not a single article said, &quot;Here is what you, Claire Zulkey, will feel when you get your wisdom teeth out.&quot;<br /><br />The morning of, I asked my husband not to make fun of me or take my picture or take any videos of me after the surgery (&ldquo;Why do you think I&rsquo;m evil?&rdquo; he asked.) When he dropped me off and asked whether he should wait for me or come to pick me up, I got panicky and said &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know, you decide!&rdquo; before fleeing the car. I nervous-pooped. I considered asking for a Valium. I had been warned that I had maybe waited too long to do this, and that it could be difficult. My poor coworker Carrie at work had come in several days after her wisdom teeth had come out with awful-looking green and brown bruises striping her throat. Jesus.</p><p dir="ltr">But sometimes things work exactly the way you&rsquo;re told they will. After getting hooked up to some monitors and having an oxygen nub placed over my nose, the dentist chit-chatted with me as he put in my IV. He told me a story that seemed incredibly tedious about going to a square dance and knowing the guy who was calling the dances despite not hearing from him in 40 years. We talked about children. My legs started to feel relaxed but my heart was still pounding furiously. Then I closed my eyes and I opened them again and I was all done. I didn&rsquo;t hear, see or feel a thing, not even the IV coming out. The whole event lasted 20 minutes (thanks to the superiority of my only-two teeth which had long broken through and were not impacted.)</p><p>Here is where I wish I had some hilarious anecdotes about how loopy I was after my teeth came out, and maybe actually a funny video where I mourned my teeth or something, but sometimes things just work out the way people say they will. I was led to a recovery room where I texted with a friend. My husband arrived and I got my medicine. I went home and relaxed while he went and bought me some supplies for liquidy eating. I watched &quot;30 Rock&quot; and &quot;Community.&quot; I discovered I enjoyed blended-up chicken noodle soup. I chilled out on some painkillers. It all went well. The doctor did a great job. Next time I will perhaps not judge so harshly when I visit an office that has a ribald drawing of the female anatomy on display.</p><p>(No, I probably will.)</p></p> Mon, 17 Jun 2013 08:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/out-damned-teeth-107702 The Drew Magary interview: Dadspin columnist and author of 'Somebody Could Get Hurt' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/drew-magary-interview-dadspin-columnist-and-author-somebody-could-get <p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/magary.jpg" style="float: right; height: 449px; width: 300px;" title="Photo: Pat Serengulian " />I bookmarked the parenting columns on <a href="http://drewmagary.kinja.com/" target="_blank">Deadspin</a> written by today&#39;s interviewee long before I had a baby. His straight-shooting advice, paired with salty language I could get down with, made me feel somewhat prepared for parenthood, but moreso feel heartened that one could be a new parent but still be a human. He&#39;s got a new memoir about parenting out called <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Someone-Could-Get-Hurt-Twenty-First-Century/dp/159240832X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1371154960&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=someone+could+get+hurt" target="_blank"><em>Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of Twenty-First-Century Parenthood</em>,</a> which follows the highs and crushing lows that have accompanied raising three kids. You can read more from him over at <em><a href="http://www.gq.com/contributors/drew-magary" target="_blank">GQ</a></em>, where he&#39;s also a contributor, or on his <a href="https://twitter.com/drewmagary" target="_blank">Twitter feed</a>.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>When, where and for how long do you write each day?</strong><br />I write from about 9 a.m. in the morning to about 4:30 p.m., taking breaks for lunch and the gym and finding stupid crap to post on Twitter. &nbsp;But I&#39;m at the point now where writing stuff is kind of an all day process. Even if I&#39;m not working, sh*t is bubbling on the stove. If there&#39;s an idea, my brain will spend part of the evening working it and shaping it and adding completely unnecessary swear words to it.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Is domestic happiness good or bad for creativity and ambition?</strong><br />I think it completely depends on the person. I know most comics are miserable wretches but I don&#39;t think that always has to be the case. You can be happy and still have the mental dexterity to dream up something creative and funny. Some people feel like they NEED misery in order for it to work, which is all well and good. The whole &quot;suffering for your art&quot; thing. But I&#39;m far too wimpy to endure that kind of lifestyle. I&#39;d far rather be content AND make dick jokes that are perhaps 5 percent less effective.&nbsp;</p><div>I also don&#39;t buy that having a wife or kids somehow distracts you from your job. I think the second a kid is born, a man&#39;s ambition gene kicks in and he&#39;s like OH GOD I GOTTA MAKE MONEY TO FEED THIS BEAST.<p dir="ltr"><strong>As a writer, it&rsquo;s hard to balance social networking versus actually working or taking care yourself and family. Do you have any rules about how much you let yourself get sucked in online?</strong><br />Not really. I&#39;m sure I check Twitter and email far too often, but I&#39;m perfectly happy being a distracted, brainless zombie. Most times, I find that I get sick of staring at the phone at some point anyway. It usually happens on a plane. I&#39;ll usually be like, &quot;I am sick of staring crosseyed at this stupid tiny screen. I&#39;m just gona stare off into space for an hour.&quot; And then I do.</p></div><div><p dir="ltr"><strong>How much does your wife read your stuff before you publish or post it?</strong><br />Never before I post. Ever. If she did that, I&#39;d throw up, She&#39;ll read all the GQ stuff, but no sports stuff, and not too much dick jokey stuff. She&#39;s supportive, but that doesn&#39;t mean she enjoys reading questions about what the world would be like if people had butts where their genitals are and vice versa.<br /><br /><strong>There&rsquo;s so much internet judging about parenting but I&rsquo;ve been surprised by how few times so far in real life I&rsquo;ve actually questioned someone&rsquo;s parenting (one involved a dad letting his toddler pet a cat that its owners had repeatedly warned him was unfriendly.) What have been some real-life situations where you thought to yourself &ldquo;OK, that&rsquo;s some actual poor parenting&rdquo; (pop culture tan-mom type situations aside)?</strong><br />You&#39;re much more diplomatic in real life. No one EVER questions another person&#39;s parenting to their face. I&#39;m the kind of person that will see another parent do something I don&#39;t approve of and then I will SEETHE. The whole walk home, I&#39;ll say to my wife CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT THREE YEAR OLD HAS AN XBOX?!<br /><br /><strong>Do you ask advice from older parents who muddled through without so manyy books or sites dedicated to parenting? What&rsquo;s the best input you&rsquo;ve gotten from them?</strong><br />Nah I never ask my parents&#39; opinion. They&#39;ll be more than happy to offer it regardless.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>My husband is not a sports guy and has told me it&rsquo;s my job to teach our son about sports in order to be a successful human being, which seems like a lot of pressure. What&rsquo;s your philosophy towards teaching your kids about sports, in terms of being a fan and an athlete?&nbsp;</strong><br />I just let them like what they like. If I try to push them into sports or something like that, they&#39;ll just rebel anyway and get into glass blowing. I don&#39;t bother having set expectations. I&#39;d rather let my kids surprise me. It&#39;s hard in today&#39;s environment because kids are SO scheduled. I&#39;&#39;ll see some other kid play on eight different soccer teams and I&#39;ll be like, &quot;Christ, should my kid being kicking a ball that much too?&quot; It makes you very self-conscious.</p></div><div><p dir="ltr"><strong>As a sports writer and as a father, how do you feel about the debate over whether fans should conduct themselves at sporting events in a kid-friendly way vs. you buy your ticket, you get to do and say what you feel (within certain rules)?</strong><br />There&#39;s no point in trying to rein in terrible fan behavior at sporting events. People will just do what they do. You&#39;re better off taking your kid to a minor league baseball game, saving your cash, and watching real sports at home on TV, where it&#39;s more enjoyable anyway.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>What&rsquo;s the agenda and menu for your ideal Father&#39;s Day?</strong><br />Nothing. I&#39;m all about not having to plan or think of anything. Even opening a card is too much work.</p></div><div><p dir="ltr"><strong>How does it feel to be the 352nd person interviewed for Zulkey.com/WBEZ?</strong><br />Do I get two tickets to Supertramp?</p></div><p><em>You can read a lot more interviews <a href="http://www.zulkey.com/interviews.php" target="_blank">here</a>. You can follow me <a href="https://twitter.com/Zulkey" target="_blank">@Zulkey</a></em></p></p> Fri, 14 Jun 2013 08:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/drew-magary-interview-dadspin-columnist-and-author-somebody-could-get Team Daddy FTW http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/team-daddy-ftw-107669 <p><p>When the baby was born, my cousin Regina generously passed on some baby clothes for him to wear, since we were woefully unprepared in that department. I was very grateful for this wardrobe, although, my husband had one quibble with it. The clothes were decidedly pro-Mommy:</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/elephant_0.jpg" title="" /><br />&nbsp;</div></div><p>Not that Steve was anti-Mommy, but he just felt a little bit left out. So, for Christmas, &quot;the baby&quot; (i.e. me) bought &quot;himself&quot; (i.e. the dad) a onesie that proudly declared the existence of and approval of Daddy:</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ifyouthink.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">(In case you can&#39;t see it, it says &quot;If you think I&quot;m cute, you should see my Daddy,&quot; which is much less objectionable, in my opinion, to ones that say things like &quot;Sexy like mommy.&quot;)</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Anyway, things were even for awhile, until someone who shall go nameless but, to give you a hint, gave birth to the father of my son, started getting in on the act. First she sent us this:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bib.jpg" title="" /><br />That&#39;s true. No problem. But then things started to get a little bit more aggressive:<br /><br />&nbsp;</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rookie.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Daddy&#39;s Rookie. This implies that there are teams in this house and that Paul is on Daddy&#39;s team. Also, since he is Daddy&#39;s Rookie, what does that make me? Daddy&#39;s journeyman veteran who is about to be put out to pasture? Then look what happens:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/allstar.jpg" title="" /></div></div><p>Daddy&#39;s ALL-STAR? Wow, that happened quickly. (Also, interesting how the baby gets #36. I wonder if it was retired in honor of all babies, sort of like #42 was for Jackie Robinson.)<br />&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/mommy.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Wait, how did this get in here? I just want to point out that &quot;Mommy&quot; is apparently a big smiling dinosaur.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Finally, we got this:</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/aewsome_0.jpg" title="" /></div></div><p>So, to sum up: according to my son&#39;s wardrobe, Daddy is: cute; loving; the owner of a successful team that represents at the All-Star game; awesome. Mommy is: in possession of a big guy.</p><p>That&#39;s fine, Daddy. Your day is coming up, after all, anyway. I suppose you are pretty awesome. Happy Fathers Day from the big smiling dino.</p><p><em><a href="https://twitter.com/i/connect">@Zulkey</a></em></p></p> Thu, 13 Jun 2013 09:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/team-daddy-ftw-107669 List: Genders for American words http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/list-genders-american-words-107622 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4896822030_e7fa872658.jpg" style="height: 401px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Flickr/kristin_a " />One of the reasons why Americans are so terrible at learning new languages is that other languages assign genders to nouns, while American English avoided this.&nbsp;</p><p>Well, that grand experiment failed.</p><p>It&#39;s time to start giving English words genders to help our children learn French, Italian, and even more useful languages than that. Here are a few to get you started.</p><p>Happy learning!</p><p>computer: boy</p><p>iPhone: girl</p><p>book: boy</p><p>magazine: girl</p><p>jeans: girl jean</p><p>shorts: boy</p><p>hand sanitizer: girl</p><p>Vaseline: boy</p><p>pencil: girl</p><p>pen: girl</p><p>eraser: boy</p><p>paper: boy</p><p>paper pulp: girl</p><p>toaster: girl</p><p>Kitchenaid mixer: boy</p><p>Tabasco sauce: girl</p><p>Sears Tower: girl</p><p>Willis Tower: boy</p><p>Blackhawks: boy</p><p>Bears: girl</p></p> Tue, 11 Jun 2013 08:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/list-genders-american-words-107622 A Q&A with Nathan Rabin, author of 'You Don't Know Me but You Don't Like Me' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/qa-nathan-rabin-author-you-dont-know-me-you-dont-me-107617 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Nathan-Rabin_jpg_595x325_crop_upscale_q85_jpg_595x325_crop_upscale_q85_jpg_595x325_crop_upscale_q85-thumb-575x314_1.jpg" style="float: right; height: 164px; width: 300px;" title="" />Chicago writer (and friend of mine) Nathan Rabin, formerly of the A.V. Club and now of Pitchfork&#39;s <a href="http://pitchfork.com/news/50949-introducing-the-dissolve-a-new-film-site/" target="_blank">The Dissolve</a>, is publishing a new book tomorrow titled <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/You-Dont-Know-Like-Misadventures/dp/1451626886" target="_blank">You Don&#39;t Know Me but You Don&#39;t Like Me: Phish, Insane Clown Posse, and My Misadventures with Two of Music&#39;s Most Maligned Tribes</a></em>. Since I&#39;m fancy I already acquired a copy and am enjoying it very much, despite a limited knowledge of Phish (one concert, completely sober) and very little of Insane Clown Posse. I think you will enjoy it as well. Even if you don&#39;t care for either band, it&#39;s a story about love, mental health, pop culture affinities and a lot more.</p><p><strong>Which additional fan bases would you fold into this book if you could?</strong><br />The original vision of the book was to write about a broad range of subcultures. To that end, I attended the Disco Biscuits&#39; <a href="http://campbisco.net/">Camp Bisco</a> and&nbsp;booked travel for my girlfriend and myself aboard both the Jam Cruise and the <a href="http://www.kidrockcruise.com/">Kid Rock Chillin&#39; The Most Cruise</a>, both of which were even more ridiculous than you would imagine.</p><p>The Lonely Island has a song called &quot;Japan&quot;; the concept is that every lyric is just an excuse to force their record label to pay for an insanely expensive music video. My book project felt a little like that in the beginning, that it was just a preposterous excuse to go on the Kid Rock Chillin&#39; the Most cruise and justify it as both a professional necessity and a tax expense.&nbsp;</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Io6Jg8dCXc8" width="420"></iframe></p><p>So I actually went and did all of that extra research into all these other groups of fans and didn&#39;t really get anything I could use out of it for the book, beyond contributing substantially to the cratering of my finances that helped lead to the nervous breakdown at the epicenter of my book. So I actually went and explored a number of fan bases that I did not end up writing substantially but if I had to write about an additional fan base it would have to be super-fans of &quot;Weird Al&quot; Yankovic, who I perhaps not so coincidentally wrote a book for/about with (it&#39;s called <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Weird-Al-Book-Nathan-Rabin/dp/1419704354"><em>Weird Al: The Book </em></a>and is a book about Weird Al). I was fascinated by this very brainy, nerdy subculture of Weird Al devotees and super-fans who memorize every lyric and get Al tattooed on their bodies. The fan bases of Phish and ICP tend to be very hedonistic; I was intrigued that Al&#39;s fans (and Al himself) tend to veer towards the opposite extreme while still embodying the sense of fun and escape at the heart of both music&#39;s primal, enduring appeal and the subcultures I wrote about.&nbsp;</p><div><div><strong>I know you to be a pretty open-minded guy, but what adventures took place in the book that, a year or so earlier, you could have never fathomed you&#39;d ever take part in?&nbsp;</strong></div></div><div>My very first day at the Gathering of the Juggalos I watched Ron Jeremy host a &quot;Miss Juggalette&quot; pageant where one of the contestant masturbated vigorously as the climax of her performance (no pun intended) and witnessed the famous debacle of Tila Tequila being inundated with bottles of piss and sh*t during her ill-fated performance at the Gathering. A year before that might have struck me as a little odd but spending over two years documenting the curious ways of the domestic Juggalo has profoundly altered my conception of what qualifies as &quot;odd.&quot;</div><div><p><strong>Which experiences made you think, &quot;Wow, now that I&#39;ve done that, I&#39;m glad I never have to do it again&quot;?</strong><br />Having taken an 18-hour trip on a Greyhound night bus from New Jersey to Ohio, I am not keen to repeat that experience ever again, especially with a crack-addled rapper (I knew he was a rapper because he would rap softly to himself as I gave up on the prospect of sleeping ever again) as my seat mate for at least part of the journey.</p><p><strong>If my son had to grow up and become an extreme Phish follower or an extreme Juggalo, which would you choose for him (and me)?</strong><br />I would choose Phish because life is harder for Juggalos. They&#39;re more public and more visible and more reviled, whereas Phish fans can more easily blend in with the rest of society and pass as &quot;normals&quot; (in part because they are normals). I would love the hell out of my extreme Juggalo son or daughter even as I realized that life would not be easy for them.</p><p><strong>Can you name one lesson you&rsquo;ve been able to take away from each book that you&rsquo;ve written?</strong><br />With my <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Big-Rewind-Memoir-Brought-Culture/dp/B005DID4XE/ref=la_B001JRXKP0_1_3?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1370884355&amp;sr=1-3">first book</a> I felt like I had to get everything out in case I never got to write another book again. As a result, I probably overdid it a little, even though I&#39;m enormously proud of the book. Going into <em>The Big Rewind, </em>I had no real conception of how tough the publishing industry is and how few books actually make a profit for their publishers (only about one in 10, I reckon) so I had unrealistically high expectations for it, especially when it attracted a tidal wave of publicity and attention. When I found out the book under-performed commercially I felt like a real failure as a writer and an author. Now I&#39;ve come to understand that a book&#39;s value and its merits often have nothing to do with how it sold, that that&#39;s a bullsh*t metric for which to judge anything even vaguely resembling art. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/My-Year-Flops-V-Cinematic/dp/1439153124/ref=la_B001JRXKP0_1_2?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1370884355&amp;sr=1-2"><em>My Year Of Flops </em></a>taught me restraint and understatement, that sometimes less is more and that oftentimes jokes hurt more than they help.&nbsp;With <em>Weird Al: The Book </em>I learned to write for another person. Though Yankovic was my childhood hero, I was a gun for hire whose job was to realize Al&#39;s vision for the project rather than my own. That was a useful and important structure; it&#39;s important to learn to write within limitations. In this case, that entailed writing a G-rated book for a very specific audience. And with <em>You Don&#39;t Know Me </em>I learned a number of important things, chief among them don&#39;t write a book that costs more than its advance. Also, do not write an ambitious travel book without doing <em>any </em>research or preparation or anything that can even generously be deemed homework. Know your sh*t! Don&#39;t leave everything to chance or you will end up like me, with a crazy, entertaining book you&#39;re super-proud of, even if it nearly cost you your career, sanity and life.</p><p><em>Follow Claire Zulkey&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/Zulkey">@Zulkey</a>.</em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 10 Jun 2013 11:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-06/qa-nathan-rabin-author-you-dont-know-me-you-dont-me-107617