Saturday, March 20, 2010

Abe Lincoln: Ass-Kicker

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter has hit bookstores with a vengeance. Who knew the Great Emancipator wielded his ax for more than splitting rails?

"I cut Williams' head off... When it fell to the floor, his eyes were black as the shoes he had been polishing. I have not the faintest idea what his crimes were, nor do I care. I care only that there is one less vampire today than there was yesterday."

Yowza! Author Seth Grahame-Smith shows this heretofore unknown side of the 16th prez. When he launched his book tour at the Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, many historians cried foul. Too bad, because this is awesome stuff. Watch the video below to see for yourself.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Plumbers of St. Patrick's Day

They're at it again, those magical, plunger-wielding gents of the local plumbers' union. They're dying the Chicago River green tomorrow at 10:45am. (The how's and why's are described in this earlier post.)

The St. Pat's Parade queues thereafter. Then the beer drinking commences. Two excellent places to get your Irish on are the Irish American Heritage Center, which has a first-floor pub that opens on Friday and Saturday nights only and fills with oldsters from the Old Country; and Christina's Place, a corner tavern that pours $2 pints of Guinness all day, every day, year round. It's fiddle players and fish-and-chips in the former, karaoke and microwave pizzas in the latter - both fit for the finest of plumbers.

Friday, March 5, 2010

When the Polkaholics Met L'il Wally

What happens when the Polkaholics, Chicago's favorite punk-polka band, meets L'il Wally, old-school polka meister and frequent Lawrence Welk guest? Find out at the documentary premiere of Polkaholics at the Chicago International Movies and Music Fest.

Be assured it will involve jaunty accordions and Wally classics like Hot Pants and In Heaven There is No Beer (that's why we drink it here). Wally died a few years ago, but not before racking up 17 gold and 4 platinum records and a personal blessing from Pope John Paul, who said "God will reward you for all your hard work."

The swinging begins at the Cultural Center at 8pm tonight.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Podhalanka: Cheap Eat of the Day

This restaurant pick is in honor of Pulaski Day. It's a Chicago public holiday held the first Monday in March to honor Revolutionary War hero Casimir Pulaski, a mustachioed Pole who trained the cavalry.

We can only presume Pulaski liked pierogies, and if he was around today he'd tie up his horse at Podhalanka (1549 W. Division St.). Of all the Polish restaurants in town - and there are many, since Chicago has the largest Polish population outside the mother country - Podhalanka ranks among the most authentic.

It's like entering your grandma's kitchen in Krakow circa 1984. There's a bar with red vinyl seats and tables with green vinyl placemats. A picture of Pope John Paul hangs on the wall. The Polish staff take your order, and soon heaping portions of dill-flecked white borscht, tender ribs, crispy potato pancakes, and fat pierogies come out. You'll need a nap by the time they clear the plates.

Main dishes cost $4-9. The restaurant is open 9am-8pm Mon-Sat, 10am-7pm Sun.