So I'm home sick from work today, bored, and I've just been bouncing around the internets. A lot of you know that I'm a big documentary nerd. There's a guy, Eddie Schmidt, who's made a bunch of docs I've liked whose blog I check every once in a while. You may remember I interviewed him for my blog at one point. Anyway, I remembered that he had been involved in a doc about the Warner Brothers (of Warner Bros. fame) that was close to being done. The film is aptly called The Brothers Warner. I thought Eddie was co-producing it with Cass Warner, granddaughter of Harry Warner, but I couldn't find his name on the IMDb entry anywhere. I did another search to see if he was no longer involved in the project. I couldn't find anything, but I was now interested in finding out more about Jack L. Warner (who sounded like a real jag and is pictured above), so I checked out his Wikipedia entry. Turns out he has the exact same birthday as me! Then I went and checked out his IMDb entry. Damn, did this guy produce a shitload of movies (273)! Then I remembered I wanted to look up the John D. and Catherine T. Mac Arthur Foundation because I'd seen their names on plaques at the Shedd Aquarium, the Garfield Park Conservatory and as donors for a bunch of PBS shows and I didn't know who they were. Turns out he made his money in insurance.
And you thought I was looking at porn. Shame on you.
- Sunday we drove down in a horrendous windstorm that had knocked out any remaining snow we had up here. I got pulled over for speeding, but did not get a ticket. That's like the tenth time that's happened to me. I have a horseshoe up my ass or something. We stopped first at a mall I used to work at in high school (Brookstone) to pick up some last minute gifts. It was cold as fuck. We then drove out to my sister's house where we stayed the following three nights. It was nice to have some quality time with my two-year-old niece who is now talking quite well.
- Christmas Eve we usually spend with my dad, but he couldn't make it this year, so it was me, my brother, my sister, brother-in-law, niece, mom, aunt, Megan and I. We opened gifts and ate pizza. Megan got to be bored by a bunch of baby pictures of me.
- Christmas we spent at my mom's. It was low-key. People popped in and out and we sat around and ate Godiva chocolates I had gotten from the guy I work with and drank Champagne. I did NOT get the new racing toilet I had asked for, dammit.
- Wednesday, Megan and I left the 'burbs behind, stopped at the Garfield Park Conservatory and Club Lago Restaurant briefly, then, for the second year in a row, checked into our executive suite at The Drake, a classic Chicago hotel right at the crotch of Michigan Ave. and Lake Shore Drive. This was thanks to Megan's dad who travels a lot for work and had an excess of the hotel equivalent to frequent flier miles that he generously shared. I wrote about it last year. It's weird for me to be around that much wealth. Not weird in that I feel uncomfortable, but in that it's new for me. From there, we headed out to the much talked-about blogger get-together at the Hala-Kahiki Lounge. Everything you've read about it is true. It was great to meet new people and see old friends. Much thanks to Clare and Kristi for the DVDs and Grant and Bubs for the drinks. I'd also like to welcome Chaylene to my blogroll. Her blog is called "Better Living Through Bacon". How could a blog with a name like that have eluded me this long? Hopefully we can do that again sometime and enlarge the circle.
- Thursday we went to the Shedd Aquarium, somewhere I had not been since grade school. It was quite a lot bigger than I remember. We had gotten passes for Christmas which allowed us to bypass the considerable line out the door. Megan got some good shots and will be putting them on her Flickr site (the main reason she rarely blogs anymore). We ended up hanging out with friends back at Lago and then bar-hopping. It was a late night.
- Fuckin' A! How many links does this post have!?
- Friday we were pretty spent, so we took it easy. We went and got some pizza and then checked out the Museum of Contemporary Art that was having a special exhibit on art & rock and roll. We finished the day with drinks and really good soup back at The Drake.
- We drove back at a conservative rate of speed and have been listening to records on the new record player Megan's parents got for us. It was a great time, but it's nice to be back. There was also a new blanket of snow waiting for us. The gifts just keep on coming!
At the very least, we get to elect a new president this year. That's a little something to look forward to.
I look forward to seeing everyone that can make it at the Tiki Bar tomorrow (the 26th)!
A few of us got together for a virtual Secret Santa gift exchange, sponsored by our pals Dr. Monkey V.M. (who happened to be my Secret Santa and got me a lovely gift) and Dr. Zaius. The spending limit was anything between $1 and $1 trillion. I drew Suzy at Luminiferous Ether. I must admit I was unfamiliar with Suzy's blog before now, but she sounds like my kind of person - very much into peace, social justice, and very much opposed to anything republican. She's also from the midwest (Madison, WI) and she's a teacher. I'd say she deserves something nice, donthca think?
Let's start out with the stocking stuffers. First, since I know she's pro-labor, how about a CD of pretty union hymns by Utah Phillips and Ani DiFranco:
And what better way to learn the history of our country that the PTB never wants to talk about than with a signed copy of Howard Zinn's classic book:
Now, for the bigger stuff. Having been to Madison to Madison before, the beautiful, progressive capital of Wisconsin, I know that it is nestled between two lakes. It seems like the kind of place you'd want to have a nice kayak, the perfect watercraft for a leisurely summer paddle. Plus, they aren't loud like jet-skis and don't use any fossil fuels. This one is a Dagger, a kayak brand I've become partial to:
For those winter months, I assume Lakes Mendota and Menona freeze over, so I'm giving you a new pair of snowshoes. You have a choice between the new-fangled kind or the old-timey kind:
Finally, I noticed a couple of posts about Johnny Clegg and Savuka, so as your final gift, I'm sending you on an all-expenses paid trip to South Africa. It's a special place for me, having been there a couple times myself and I know you'll love it. There you will see be a guest of honor at a live sunset performance atop Table Mountain in Cape Town and will be seated between Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.
You will tour Robben Island, see the confluence of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and enjoy a safari through beautiful Kruger Park where you'll see Lions, Elephants, Giraffe, etc. in their natural habitats. Enjoy and Merry Christmas, Suzy!
It's OK. I'm not judging. All of us have lied at some point during the course of our lives. I'm just not going to kid myself that there is some paragon of honesty in the field of presidential hopefuls. In a broader sense, I'm not looking for someone who claims any sort of moral purity. I prefer someone who has fucked up at some point (provided it isn't to the same degree as Dubya). I mainly want someone who recognizes problems, studies them, and proposes solutions. I want someone that can articulate what they're thinking in a clear, concise manner. I want someone with a generally hopeful outlook and the ability to be self-deprecating. I'd also prefer someone that doesn't make me want to rip my fucking ears out each time they speak. I need a break from that.
So, I can immediately rule out all the republicans. That was easy. They all suck.
Now, when it comes to the "lower tier" candidates, I can rule out Gravel, Biden, Dodd (who impressed me recently with his stand on the telecom immunity deal), Richarson and Kucinich. It pains me to do that to Dennis. Ideologically, he represents my views more than any candidate. However, as much as I like him, he does not have a chance. Admitting that is equally painful for me because I know that if all the people who like him but say he doesn't have a chance actually stood up for him, it might help. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be enough. The country just isn't ready for him at this point.
So how about the front-runners? I've said before that it makes me very uncomfortable to think that someone from one of two families could potentially hold the White House from 1988 to 2016. Sorry, Hillary. Besides, I've never been satisfied with her explanation about her support for the Iraq War. In addition, I hate to think of the media shitstorm we'll have to endure if she's elected. She's out.
I like Barack Obama. He has most of the attributes I look for in a candidate. He's come clean about his youthful indiscretions. He's a good speaker. He was also right on Iraq from the get-go. I don't know, though. If he gets the nomination, I'll gladly vote for him, but he hasn't excited me the way I hoped he would.
I have never been a big fan of John Edwards. When he ran in '04, he always seemed a little too slick for my taste. He seemed to be saying the same thing over and over. Lately, though, he's been growing on me. He seems to have the right idea on Iraq and health care. He recognizes and addresses the great disparity between the wealthy and poor in this country. I think he's far more electable than the other candidates. To be sure, he is still a politician and will always be subject to my scrutiny. At any rate, I get a good vibe from the guy and it has absolutely nothing to do with his hair.
OK, maybe it has a little to do with his hair. So he's got my support for the time being. Oh, look, he's blushing.
The truly depressing thing is that I know there are some amazing political writers out there who deserve to be published and read by a wide audience, yet we are offered something as ridiculously titled as "Liberal Fascism". Jonah Goldberg, mega-fuck that he is, is even on TV from time to time. This guy's opinion is actually considered valuable by some.
How this asshole can still be taken seriously by any legitimate media outlet is beyond my comprehension.
For your convenience, here are historian Lawrence Britt's "14 Tenets Of Fascism".
I'm not going to be disappointed if
someone gets me a nose hair trimmer
However, if someone does decide to
get me one,
I want one that's gasoline-powered,
like a lawnmower.
And you should pull a cord to start it.
And it should have a catcher so that
I can bag the clippings.
And it should be adorned with rhinestones
that spell out "Sexy Bitch".
I hope you all have been able to witness Joe Lieberman, in a blatant example of political pandering and out-and-out lying, breaking his word and endorsing John McCain for president. It's featured on my beloved Crooks & Liars. Here's the transcript and my reaction:
(via CNN) KING: Senator Lieberman, let me bring you into the conversation. I want to know how you came about the decision, a dramatic decision, an Independent Democrat as you call yourself, to endorse this Republican candidate for president.
Before you answer, I want you to listen to something you said in our own campaign just about 17 months ago. In July 2006, you were campaigning against a Democrat, Ned Lamont. Much of your party, as you well know, abandoned you in that primary. And you said this to Ned Lamont about the stakes in the 2008 presidential election:
“I want Democrats to be back in the majority in Washington and elect a Democratic president in 2008. This man [Ned Lamont] and his supporters will frustrate and defeat our hopes of doing that.” –07/06/06, Connecticut Primary Debate
SG: Turns out, Joe-Dawg, you're the one doing the frustrating...
KING: Why important now, Senator Lieberman, to elect a Republican President in 2008?
LIEBERMAN: Well, what I was saying in that is exactly the reason why I’m supporting John McCain today.
SG: Huh? Did I just enter some alternate universe? Maybe John McCain turned democrat without me knowing it. "Exactly the reason..."? Senator, you do understand that, um, John McCain is a republican, right? I must admit, I find your strategy to get a democrat elected in 2008 by endorsing a republican a little odd. But hey, you're the smarty-pants senator.
Look, I’m from a tradition of the Democratic Party that goes back to harry Truman and Hubert Humphrey, Scoop Jackson, progressive on domestic policy, strong on foreign and defense policy. My opponent last year and the group around him represented an entirely different point of view, and I stood and fought them. And I said if they won the primary, I worried that they’d embolden and strengthen that element within the Democratic Party.
This is such crap. Joe Lieberman is on the wrong side of the Iraq War and always has been. By 7-6-06, when Lieberman said what he said about his desire to elect a democrat, it was abundantly clear to everyone how the majority of democrats felt about Dubya and his distastrous foreign policy. The majority of democrats were where Ned Lamont was whether Joe chose to accept it or not. Remember, Lamont did win the democratic nomination. So, it's really a case that Joe lied in '06 in order to win over enough democrats to salvage his senate seat. Or it could be that Joe is just too stubborn and clueless to understand that his party left him behind a long time ago. He can relive his idyllic days of Truman, Humphrey, and Jackson all he wants, but the only reason he remains in office is because a bunch of republicans voted for him. I suspect he knew republicans were his only hope back then. Then again, maybe I give him too much credit.
My favorite bar at University Of Illinois was the Illini Inn. It had a lot of things going for it. For one, it was a nice escape from the bigger meat-markety bars in campustown. It was close to where I lived. They sold six packs of Old Style to go. They had awesome pinball machines. Most of all, upstairs a guy named Willie sold pizza slices (and nothing else). Even if we weren't drinking at the Illini Inn, we'd usually pass it on the way home and stop for a cheap slice.
I think all restaurants, Chinese places, German restaurants, what have you, should offer pizza by-the-slice.
The same goes for the credit card-thing at the supermarket checkout. Maybe I'll start doing like they did in the olden days and just make an X.
The home is on the Atlantic coast and the architect had written that the light structure reminded him of a whale skeleton. You'll have to be the judge of that. Anyway, I decided to stick with the nautical theme in my design, modeling my gatehouse after a boat, perhaps in pursuit of the white whale (dead as it may have been). I attached the two homes with an elevated "pier". The nautical references are pretty obvious: the shape, the porthole-like windows, the railing details, the crow's nest, and the sail which I saw as some sort of light canopy. I was criticized in my final critique for being too literal. I built a model of it as well which I no longer have. It looks really simple, but it was actually kind of neat. Granted, looking at it now, I see tons of problems and changes I'd make, but this was my first real design project and I felt good about it.
The other day I received a mailer from a builder I've worked for. He featured a remodel project I had done:
It was an existing lakefront house that the owner wanted to update and enlarge. We converted the attached garage into a big, open kitchen/great room, redid the outside, and added a detached two-car garage with second-floor living space. it sounds like the client was happy with the results. Here is a computer rendering to compare:Here's the garage:
Finally, here's a mock-up of a different home I worked on. I was thrilled to learn that I could insert my own pictures into the model, so I changed what was on the TV screen. I'm not sure if the clients ever noticed.
Here is a quick description of my symptomology.
If any of you have experienced this, please advise on
the type of treatment that has worked for you.
First, there is a pulsating orange glow just above my asscrack.
and bullets between my shoulder blades.
A few people have thrown darts.
- GKL would like a place with a good tequila list.
- Lulu would like to meet somewhere on the north side, but how far north I'm not sure.
- Bubs suggested going to a Tiki bar, although he didn't say which one.
- The Idea Of Progress wants alcohol present (I think that's feasible).
Edited to add: Duh! Thanks, Splotch, for pointing me to Bub's post about the Tiki bar. Does this sound good to everyone? It's kind of a nice, central location for city-folk and people coming from the 'burbs. Thanks, Bubs.
First of all, NONE of these candidates (with the possible exception of Kucinich) has any right to claim they know the minds of the "average American". Fuck you. Don't insult our intelligence. You are at the highest levels of a self-perpetuating power structure that is completely detached from the general populace - We, the average. Part of how I know this is that you claim that average Americans are sick of personal attacks.
Are you fucking kidding me!? We LOVE personal attacks! We LOVE conflict! We eat that shit up with a fucking spork! We love to see people getting in other people's faces. We love to see shit get NASTY. Have you watched TV lately, Mr. Candidate? Have you seen the covers of the magazines in the supermarket? They're right by that thing they use to scan groceries to calculate the price. Ever seen one of those? They're amazing!
In fact, just take a look at how we deal with other countries. We name-call and insult. Christ, you politicians do it to each other more that anyone! It's the American way!
Speaking for myself, most of my days are fairly conflict-free. I get up, do my thing, and enjoy my simple life. I suspect this is the case for many other average Americans. Most of the conflict I witness is in the media and is happening between powerful people or fictional characters. It's too bad, because I think there are ways to stimulate people and entertain them without the constant reliance on conflict. It's harder, but it's possible. Unfortunately, average Americans AND politicians share one general characteristic - intellectual laziness - and so, conflict and mudslinging will continue to rule the day.
This Post Is Made Possible By That New Netflix Deal Where You Get Like 17 Hours Of DVD-Watching Online In Addition To The Three-At-A-Time Delivery...
I was on a flight not that long ago that offered free in-flight entertainment. It was the first time I saw an episode of "30 Rock". I liked it, although I was a little lost when it came to the various character histories. I'm one of those types that has to get in on the ground floor with a new series. If not, I either try to get caught up somehow, or I just wait for the whole thing to come out on DVD. Thanks to the new deal from Netflix, I've been able to work my way through the entire first season at my convenience. What I've learned is that "30 Rock" is an excellent comedy. It is a series I will make a point to watch from now on. I've been able to catch some of the second season (you can watch full episodes free at NBC.com). It hasn't disappointed.
This show has a great mix of hilarious smaller characters and a solid foundation of Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. Tina Fey is cute as a button and Baldwin is perfect. It got zaniness and heart. They even throw in some politics. If you have Netflix and you have some time, it's a show worth checking out!
A- A title favorable to a Republican candidate. Everyone wants to be comforted. The reactions were primarily positive to a speech in which Romney only used the word "Mormon" once. There is no mention of the fact that Mormonism is one of the only major denominations that has rituals that are not open to the general public. Why is this? There is also a blurb about Gennifer Flowers and Hillary Clinton. These folks just can't let it go, can they? This is the top left entry, so we assume this is the most important news of the moment.
B- A bullshit piece of fluff about how some arrogant rich dude who craves attention leaves a big tip. No legitimate news value whatsoever. This one actually warranted a picture. It is a close second in importance and the picture gives it a lot of prominence.
C- Some important piece about online bullying. Obviously one of the most important issues our society faces right now. Sorry to make light of it and I certainly feel bad for any person who endures any type of bullying, but to give this the number three spot, basically, in rank seems a bit disproportionate.
D- A blood and guts story. Something that ultimately affects a very small circle of people.
E- The smallest print of the different sections, this is where the more important stories are tucked away. Things that may be critical of the president, such as "Bush Admin. Credibility Suffers After Iran NIE Report" usually end up here along other throwaway stories as "Eight-Month-Old Tips Scale At 41 Pounds".
I wonder if the people who work at Fox News feel pride in the work they do. Do they honestly feel that they are providing something of value to our society? It's hard to imagine.
- John-David Stuart
- Eunice S. Poe
- Andre Hanson
- Rory Zamora
- Lamar Lloyd
- Krystal Drummond
- Loretta H. Kimball
- Mikael Rivera
- Bobbie Johns
- Stephanie Bacon
- Randall Clarke
- Carter Landry
Answer: They each sent me e-mails today informing me of revolutionary new ways to increase the size of my penis.
A few people have tagged me with Splotchy's viral story. Since this strain is not as far along as the others, I'll continue it:
If you are one of the carriers of this story virus (i.e. you have been tagged and choose to contribute to it), you will have one responsibility, in addition to contributing your own piece of the story: you will have to tag at least one person that continues your story thread. So, say you tag five people. If four people decide to not participate, it's okay, as long as the fifth one does. And if all five participate, well that's five interesting threads the story spins off into.
So, here goes:
I woke up hungry. I pulled my bedroom curtain to the side and looked out on a hazy morning. I dragged myself into the kitchen, in search of something to eat. I reached for a jar of applesauce sitting next to the sink, and found it very cold to the touch. I opened the jar and realized it was frozen. (Splotchy)
My first idea was to put the applesauce in the microwave. Hey, I was still tired. Could I scoop some out and put whipped cream on it? No, too solid. Why was it so damn cold in here? I walked over to the thermostat and saw that the heat hadn't clicked on all night and the temperature had dropped substantially overnight. Now, tired and hungry, I opened the access panel on the heater. There's the problem: why was someone cooking a duck in here? (SamuraiFrog)
I bent down and scooped up the uncooked duck carcass. There was no way I was going to let it go to waste, especially considering I had applesauce on hand. I placed it in a roasting pot and went back to reset the heater. As I continued to wake up, I realized that my roommate had spent the night at his girlfriend's place and couldn't have put the duck there. "How the hell did it get there?" I wondered. Just then, an already odd situation became even stranger. The lifeless duck animated, flapped its featherless wings, and began to speak. (Some Guy)
What? You mean you didn't have Easter morning turd hunts when you were kids? You missed out.
Anyway, Bolton is a sack of shit. He is quickly filling the void on my loathe-list that's been left since Rumsfeld faded from view.
This is me tonight from my brand new laptop computer. I'm sorry to disappoint all the Mac people out there. I like Macs a lot, but because of the already expensive software we use for our architecture work and its compatibility, we had to stick with a PC for now. I'm excited to have a computer at home now. This is the first post I'm doing from it and I hope it is just what this blog needs to rescue it from its lackluster quality as of late. Thankfully, the computer guy who helps us out was able to salvage the files from the ailing desktop, so I can breathe a little knowing I don't have to fuck around trying to reacquire all my music, photos, and videos. It's been a tense few days and a testament to how reliant I am on my computer.
Tonight has been a nice break from all the tension. First, Megan and I watched the season finale of Beauty And The Geek. The show is a nice mix of people showing genuine human kindness and reality-show cheesiness and conflict. The finale was no exception. I know some of you may consider the fact that I watch something like this a character flaw, but I make no apologies. Those of you who read my list of TV shows know that I'm beyond hope anyway.
Then I sat down at the computer to find that Megan had changed my desktop to this:
Probably because earlier I had shown her a recent gem of a post at The Idea Of Progress that implies that Winnie The Pooh is preparing food with feces in it.
Then I saw my brother pop up on my IM thing. He has a webcam and now I do, too. It was a good chance to make stupid faces at each other:
I know I haven't been leaving a lot of comments under your blog-trees lately, but I am reading all of it. Hopefully now that I have this baby, I'll be more in the loop. You guys make my day!
Who's up for a little Chicago blogger holiday get-together? Word is that our friends out west, sisters Vikki and Kristi will be in town. I know that Lulu will be back with exotic tales of Bangladesh and I hope she'll have a little free time. A date has been proposed by others for something on the 26th. Now, I know the holidays are crazy with family obligations and gift-returning, but it sure would be cool to meet a few more of you in person. I'm looking for suggestions as far as where to do it - preferably someplace easily accessible that could accommodate a large, impromptu group. Looking at my list-o-links, the following people may be Chicago-types. Please spread the word to anyone else who you think might be around or interested.
- The boys of Nevada Thunder
- Grant Miller
- Frank Sirmarco
- Phil @ God's Own Suburb
- Geoff @ Say It Ain't So, Geo
- Johnny Yen and family
- Tenacious S
- Dave @ Bad Art Global
- K.I.D.? (Where is she anyway?)
- The [Cherry] Ride
- The Bubses
- Evil Genius?
- Samurai Frog
- The Idea Of Progress?
I really questioned how the director could keep me interested in such a mundane topic for 80 minutes. Surprisingly, it wasn't too tough. First, it was neat to see the degree to which we are surrounded by Helvetica each and every day. It's something most of us (i.e.: Everyone except the people in the film) take for granted. It first gained popularity during the Modernist movement and became the go-to typeface for corporations looking to establish an identity. The movie traces its history, including some examples of designers who rebelled against Helvetica.
The movie focuses on Helvetica, but is more a study of graphic design in general. I love how movies like this can expose us to quirky people who are passionate about weird things like typeface. Granted, these kinds of films are a little dry, but if you have any sort of attention span they can really be fascinating.