An odd thing is happening outside my office window right now: it's raining and raining hard. That's not odd, it's just that it's February, when we typically get loads of snow and ice. Instead, I'm hearing thunder! While I didn't enjoy getting caught without an umbrella earlier today, I wouldn't be a true Midwesterner if an unexpected thunderstorm didn't make me wistful for Spring.
And speaking of things that make me wistful for Spring, my co-worker David Ayala just passed my door on his way to his dinner break. David and I talk baseball several times a week - a lesson for every Chicagoan out there, since David is solidly black and white and South Side, while I'm blue-all-over North Side. We talk, we laugh, we make our little digs now and then, but we respect each other's ball clubs, I'll tell you that. Tonight David called out, "Hey, did the Cubs win today?" My week has been so stressful, I forgot about Spring training, forgot that my Cubs had a chance to have a go-round with those pesky Dodgers who made us look foolish last October. Awesome - we won this time.
Do we look foolish now, caring about things as trivial as baseball and the Academy Awards when the global economic situation grows more fearsome every day? After the Oscar broadcast, the media was flooded with photos and critiques of every attendee's gown or tuxedo, when we were promised a "scaled-down," more meaningful show. Hmmm. I saw a news article today, raking actress Gwyneth Paltrow over the coals for her new Web site, www.goop.com. The site offers her glowing, girlish suggestions on everything from the best places to eat in Paris to "fashion...the fun frivolity that can really cheer a girl up." Does the world need Gwyneth's GOOP right now? I can tell you I'd be hard-pressed to afford all but a few of her recommendations, so, well, it's GOOP to me! (Her Web site also needs some serious work - it is the slowest-loading site I've encountered in years.)
But do we need this kind of mindless escape when times are troubled? Do we need a little baseball, a little awards show glamour, just to ease the anxiety?
What do you think? Is GOOP a good thing or just plain goopy? Are the Cubs and Sox a bunch of overpaid bums or all-American boys on our field of dreams? In the midst of all this winter, how long will it really take for spring arrive again? Post your comments here and share with me your thoughts about sports, celebrities and fashion - do they help us or hinder us during difficult days?