Wednesday, August 27, 2008


We travel to see what is different, and what is the same. We travel to experience history, and cultures, and to learn more about ourselves. We travel because people in other places are insane. Proof?

In Villa Park, Illinois (home of a branch of the B family) a law is being considered that would (a) ban people in bars from dancing on the bar, on tables, or on chairs, and (b) ban bar employees from being drunk at work. The pros? "'Do we want to give the image of the tattooed person dancing on the table?' Trustee Richard Illian said. 'We're trying to clean up the village. We have an image to protect.'" The cons? "'Dancing on the bar -- you're taking away their freedom of expression,' Shepard said. 'I don't think this board or this town should walk into a business and tell them how to run their business.'"

Wow. Where to start? Tattooed people? The horror! How would Villa Park ever overcome the shame of having people with ink dancing on a table. Freedom of expression? Turns out that Barnes (no relation) already settled that. Seems to me that if they can make you wear a g-string and pasties, they can keep you from "expressing yourself" on a table top.

Meanwhile, in beautiful Baghdad (100 degrees, 14% humidity today) there are big plans for the future. Apparently the city is contemplating building the Eye of Baghdad, which would look similar to this and be over 650 feel tall. In addition, there are plans for a Romantic island in the Tigris, and a SIX star hotel/spa in the city (the sixth star is for sexy). What, no Pleasuredome in this new Xanadu on the rivers? Instead of all that they should build a really tricked out, MTV-Cribs-if-you-have-to-ask-it's-too-expensive palace. That'd be cool.

Jay Mariotti, whose only mention on this blog was in 2005, where I called him "resident asshole Jay Mariotti" quit his job with the Sun-Times today. Jay put out a fair amount of crap about realizing during the Olympics that the internet is the future, and not wanting to be dragged down by the mainstream press model.

If this seemed like an idiotic revelation from someone who just signed a three year contract extension, perhaps it was. Deadspin (link above) is reporting that Mariotti quit because he was "disrespected." Seems that Jay wanted to write an article about Obama. However, it was Rick Telander's turn to be published, and Telander wrote this. It is stupid and crappy, but it is about Obama, at the exact same time that Jay wanted to write about Obama. And so Jay quit. Beautiful. He was a clown, and I will regret seeing him on, or some other page.

On a slightly lighter note, Fan IQ published a bunch of funny college football quotes. My favorite? "'They whipped us like a tied up goat.' - Spike Dykes, Texas Tech."

Monday, August 25, 2008


I generally do not post about politics. Generally I just don't think they are that entertaining, and I think that too many politicians are jackasses. However, John McCain and his team are really reaching a new level of silliness. Today they put out an ad questioning why Obama did not choose Clinton as his Vice Presidential candidate. The ad is embedded in this AP piece:

It seems to me that if McCain does not choose a woman to run with him, this ad is going to come back to haunt him. Kind of like the "celebrity" ad that was parodied by an idiot like . . . Paris Hilton:

Honestly, the McCain "staight talk express" seems to have turned into the McCain for Junior Class President Express. I had really hoped for more from McCain.

Friday, August 15, 2008


That title might be too grand. I mean, a lot of things happened. Some good, some bad. Nevertheless, both of the items below happened in Chicago in the past week, so there.

Yesterday I went to lunch at the Palm. It is one of these places that has caricatures of the famous (and not so famous) on the walls, so it definitely plays kissy face within anyone famous who comes in. Anyway, we were sitting at the bar for a quick lunch, and we see . . . Dennis Farina further down the bar. As far back as the early 1990's Farina was big on his Chicagoness ("It's our beer and they can't have it.")

So, anyway, I look down at Farina and I swear to God he is wearing these glasses:

I think, man, those are some tough glasses. Then I realize that he is wearing a shirt suspiciously like the Seinfeld Pirate Shirt, although perhaps a tiny bit less puffy. It is open too many buttons, and hangs down long at the waste. He is also wearing a necklace. Not a chain. A necklace. And as I am realizing all of this, he says to the bartender "we didn't do no fencing in my neighborhood." And it was everything I could do not to ask him whether he dressed like that in his neighborhood. So, the long and the short of it? Farina has gone Hollywood and doesn't know it.

Meanwhile, last Friday they had the annual duck race on the river. I have posted about it before. Anyway, I had never seen the ducks go in the water. Look at the pictures below. Tell me if anything looks . . . amiss.

So, they dumped the ducks about four feet short of the river. The guys at the truck are throwing, shoveling, kicking, and doing whatever else they can to get the ducks in the water. It was hilarious.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


It is hard to get very excited about the race for the presidency living in Illinois. Obama is going to win Illinois. By a whole bunch. We probably won't even really get campaign commercials. As was true in primary season, it'll be like there's no campaign being run.

However, we are all going to have three months of "insight" about race and politics before we vote again. Sadly, as of August 6, 2008 it looks like we are already scraping the bottom of the barrel of insight. Today's Christian Science Monitor ran an op-ed piece entitled "Could Obama's Rise Signal the End of Black Victimology?" The author, a professor at the Fletcher School at Tufts, makes a bunch of points about different ways to address the legacy of slavery in the United States. Of course, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois had the same conversations, so that part is not very interesting. The money paragraph?
In his book, "Two Wands, One Nation," former governor of Colorado Richard Lamm poses a novel way to think about race and progress: "Let me offer you, metaphorically, two magic wands that have sweeping powers to change society. With one wand you could wipe out all racism and discrimination from the hearts and minds of white America. The other wand you could wave across the ghettos and barrios of America and infuse the inhabitants with Japanese or Jewish values, respect for learning and ambition."
Ah yes. There is nothing more novel than the "model minority" (and here) way of viewing race in America. We all sure like them Jews. They're good at book learnin'. Shame what they done to Jesus, though. Them Japanese are real ambitious, and they can copy any gizmo you give 'em! Why losing World War II was the best thing that ever happened to 'em!

Three more months of this sort of insight. I may stop reading everything except Get Fuzzy by the time this is over.

I know that it seems obvious, but there are real benefits to naming your child. Even if the name is "Filipina," "Lemonjello" (le-MON-juh-lo), or "David" (DAY vid), there is still benefit to be had. For instance, this sentence will never be written about your child: "Chicago Police shot and killed an unnamed man late last night in a shoot-out in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood on the city's South Side."

What will they put on his tombstone? What did his friends call him? Did the lack of a name preclude him from having friends? Were people just not comfortable being friends with "You know. That suspicious guy from the South Side"?

Thanks to Chicagoist for alerting us to the lack of a name for this man.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


No posts for three weeks? That's not good. I was on a nice run there for a while.

Anyway, last night I think our 'hood got hit by some sort of microburst, or other extreme weather event. For the first time I remember tornado sirens were actually triggered in the city, and a few hours later we could feel bursts of wind and rain slamming into the house. Trees were downed throughout the neighborhood. It was really something. Apparently there were up to 10,000 lightning flashes an hour for a while.

So, what did we learn from this? First, U does not like massive storms. Second, our basement is not as well set up for riding out a storm as it should be. Third, I can sleep through a pretty good sized storm.