Thursday, December 27, 2012

Home Town Loyalty

  Recently I have been receiving some grief from present and past mid western friends of mine for being an avid New York Knicks fan. A loyal and not ashamed to say, obsessed one at that. Why, you might be thinking, would I get grief for being a Knicks fan? 
Well, here goes. I hail originally from Chicago - a homegrown nice Midwestern girl (or something like that at least). I grew up accompanying my gym-going suburban mother to the local gym, the Multiplex, from the time I was just big enough to be left alone. Now this was no ordinary run of the mill gym - this was THE Multiplex...a state of the art,  place-to-congregate for suburban moms to socialize while aimlessly climbing on the stairmaster. So while these supremely well-dressed yuppy mothers were sweating our their suburban woes, they left their small children on the benches by the (now quite famed) indoor basketball court. I, usually accompanied by my elementary school friend, Ann, was among these children. You might be musing as to the significance this bears to the current "hometown loyalty" post you're reading...fear not, I am getting to that. Sitting on the Multiplex bleachers for all those years, I was not merely bearing witness to any measly amateur practice. Au contraire my sporty friends. Six, seven, even ten year old me was sitting essentially in courtside seating watching none other than the "World Champion Chicago Bulls!" at their best, in the heart of their prime days. Yes, that's right, while ours mothers worked to keep their Highland Park selves in shape, Ann and I were watching Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippin make history, casually telling Horace Grant we liked his goggles and sneakers, all the while taking the unparalleled experience for granted.
     On top of these other-worldly daily Bulls practice viewing experiences, I, like most Chicago families, had nightly viewings of most Bulls games on TV. My dad would typically order in pizza, turn on the family room TV to whatever channel the Bulls were on that particular night, and essentially mandate that we watch from start to finish. Though for several years I may have mistakenly believed watching the Bulls on TV was "annoying and boring", I know now that it was a magical experience. Being from a place where your home team were the champions year after year was an undeniable high. It was nearly impossible to grow up in Chicago not being a die-hard Bulls fan.
     Now to the present. Many years later, I live nowhere near either Chicago or the Bulls. I'm a New York CIty gal now...and after a few years of transformation, a loyal, true to the core Knicks fan. It took a few years for me to get "Let's go Bulls" out of my head every time I heard the NBA game-time song and adjust it to "Let's go Knicks" but I've now successfully mastered it. Although I still have a soft spot for Black and Red, the colors that warm my heart the most are now Blue and Orange. While my heart still flutters when I hear "Bulls tonight at The United Center", I can feel the more immense excitement at hearing the "Friday Night Knicks on MSG" jingle. And although sometimes I still cannot believe my own emotions, I have come to terms with my New Yorker status and embraced my loyalty for the Knicks. In my opinion, when you reside in a city for the better part of a decade, you are a resident. While I still hail from the Windy City originally, Manhattan is my is now where my heart lies. Having said that, I guess not everyone shares my same stance. 
     A couple weeks ago, I attended a Knicks vs Bulls game at Madison Square Garden. Decked in Blue and Orange, chanting "Let's Go Knicks" at 40 decibals, I was amped and ready for the game between my home town and my current city. I was but, to my chagrin, many of my Chicago peers were not. In typical NYC fashion  I of course ran into several kids from my high school, who (after a reunion-esque hug), upon seeing my Melo #7 garb, promptly boo-ed me. "How could you, Rach?" "I see who's forgotten her roots now." "What an east coast poser." For a few seconds, I tried to defend myself to my former peers but it became quickly obvious that my habitation rants were not going to be successful. So instead I simply smiled, cheered for Raymond Felton in my head, said goodbye and waltzed back to my section 200 seats.
     The Knicks ultimately lost to the Bulls that night but I don't take the loss symbolically. The game was heated, physical and intense, and in the end, the Bulls played better. They deserved the win. And while I needless-to-say wanted the Knicks to triumph that night, I felt a little bit more okay about the loss than I otherwise would have. To see Black and Red triumph over Blue and Orange stung for a moment...and then it didn't. I'm a New York girl now and always with a little bit of Midwest stuck in her blood. And with that, Let's Go Knicks!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Divine Miss M

For once I don't have a long-winded shpiel but for some reason today (perhaps due to her imminent upcoming movie for the first time in way too long), I want to just give a gentle nod to my first favorite diva, the Divine Bette Midler. I think I've written enough papers, paid tribute to my love via innumerable posts but I felt the need to say thank you today. After all these years, Bette, you are still fabulously divine, and despite your much-too-short hair do, you are looking fierce and brash as always. You were always the one I looked up to (I refuse to write the words wind beneath my wings anywhere except within the harsh confines of a parenthetical side note) from my awkward pre-teen years through post-college despite my inability to sing or shimmy on stage. But in all seriousness, thank you, Bette Midler, for existing in this world and being so fabulous, forward and fresh. Cannot wait to see the new movie...if you are playing a grandma, I guess I really am getting old. But alas. L'chaim to you and keep being divine.
CC Bloom Mode

Tis the Season...again

Well well well, here we are again. Back in the joyful delight of holiday season in media. Cookies abound when we are not remotely hungry, drinks flow when we feel no trace of thirst, iTunes gift cards rain from the sky. It's a good life this time of year as an overgrown college kid in the fun-filled place we call media. I love the holiday time - even though it happens each and every year, there really is always something seemingly fresh and new about the season despite how many times I have lived through it. It feels somehow innocent and childlike - a chocolate kiss never tastes better than when wrapped in green foil taped to a red Seasons Greetings card. Every time I see the dancing Hershey Kisses commercial on TV, try as I might to feel cynical about the worn out longevity of the TV spot, it never fails to warm my heart.  So said the nice Jewish girl from Chicago. Hypocritical as it may seem for me to sit here waxing about the joyfulness of the Xmas season, I don't see it that way. To me, the season is not so much infiltrated with religion as it is permeated with fun that crosses all boundaries. It is a particular breed of fun: fun for the human spirit. And, of course, I would be remiss to omit the swag doesn't hurt either. So thanks, media, for keeping me young, fresh, and always ready to embrace the holiday spirit.  Cheers.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hating Homeland Haters

     Let me begin by saying that I am not a TV gal. As a whole, I find sitting in front of a black box watching fake people do fake things for hours on end to be a waste of mass proportions. So many of us are more in tune with what is going on in the land of sitcoms and dramas than within the walls of our own homes. And this is a travesty. Now, as I've said before, I will proceed to put on my hypocrite hat if only for a few moments.
     Within the last year or so, I have gone from impartial citizen to adoring fan in one particular realm -- Homeland.  Coming off of last night's Season 2 finale, I am certain that anyone who claims to be a Homeland fan should agree that last night was utterly epic. It was by far and away the best episode of the season. From the opening scene where Carrie and Brody gaze lovingly into each other's eyes in the woodsy cabin where they first consummated their terrorism-meets central-intelligence love affair, to Saul watching Abu Nazir's white-sheet-wrapped dead body dumped into the the BONE CHILLING final scene...a veritable governmental graveyard up in flames. My soul was enthralled, horrified and in love. In love with Homeland itself.
     In recent weeks (until last night's earth-shattering episode really), I had been privy to quite a few hate-filled articles, social media posts and (gasp) live conversations, all of which conveyed the supposed "downward spiral" of the show since its freshman season. "How predictable." "What a joke of a plot." "#hatinghomeland". I actually was witness to all of these tweets and snippets in the virtual sphere. I don't make a habit of imposing my own judgment onto others' opinions, particularly in the realm of television, however I must make an exception here. To all those who claim that they personally could have "written a stronger plot" or "spent the night laughing at the absurdity", I would say this. I dare all of you to create an original series that inches anywhere close to being a quarter as brilliant as Homeland. Hats off to you, Alex Gansa, last night and always.