Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

Britney’s VMA Performance: A Poop Rocket to Planet Deadskunks

Man, did you guys see that last night? Britney did a performance of an upcoming single from her new album to open last night’s MTV Music Awards… if you can call it a performance. After a week of boozing it up in Vegas, she wandered half-asleep onstage. Her weave showing its roots, her potbelly flopping over her underwear like a sad tomato, she lip-synced about half the song before getting so confused about which track she was supposed to be pretending to sing she just gave up.There was a fall that may have been intended to continue into a lift, but the dancers who caught her didn’t seem to be able to interact with her directly. Britney mostly wandered around as if lost and looking for someone. Near the end she held a hand up and blocked the stage-lights from her eyes, and the camera cut away to 50 Cent, visibly rolling his eyes and aghast. 50 Cent. Aghast at Britney. She’s that disgusting now.Anyway, local artist Dan Telfer is attempting a cheap cash-in on all the palpable failure. Click here, but do not purchase the product, as it is crude and evil.

Chicago Dog makes more sense than Threat Level Orange anyway

From: Threat Level – Wired Blogs:

By now most of us have heard about Chertoff’s gut feeling. I linked the article just in case you haven’t heard. Wired’s Threat Level blog has a great image of how we can better understand the new “gut based threat system.”

To find out what a real Chicago Dog Threat tastes like, I recommend Carl’s Red Hots.

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Adult Cicada With Wing

Originally uploaded by Happy Monkey.

So we’ve mentioned the 17-year Cicadas here and here but according to the news, tomorrow is the day they little buggers start making lots of noise. Last time, I remember that they were mostly gone by July–and that better hold true for this year. Otherwise, the Decemberists show is going to suck.

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Looptopia–So what’d you think?

Looptopia has come and gone, but I sincerely hope that it was successful enough to be a yearly event as planned. I am saddened that it was so freaking cold–the whole experience would have been different if it was just 10 degrees warmer–and it sent me home before everything really got going. But I did get to briefly meet up with Metblogs authors Dan and Goose and catch a few awesome shows.After seeing Rob’s comment, I am sad to hear that things went downhill. What about you? So, was it what you expected? Did you enjoy the spectacle? Or was it just a big cluttered nightmare? How late did you stay? Post your experiences here!

Time To Edumucate Myself

Over the weekend, I participated in a reading of a play about the 1915 Eastland disaster, the details of which, I am embarrassed to admit, I knew almost nothing. I realized afterward that, despite my regular claims of knowing this city inside and out, the truth is that I’m a perfect stranger to it. While I love this town and feel that I’ve earned the right to call it my own, I know very little of its history. I wonder how many other Chicagoans would say the same thing. Probably a lot.

So I’m making a vow – right here, right now – to learn more about my city. This summer, I’m going to hit the museums — first the big guys and then the smaller, more obscure ones. Did you know that Chicago has a holographic art museum? Crazy!

Spotted in Andersonville

r. kelly

Student Arrested for Creative Writing?

Okay, so I can understand that everyone is jumpy because of the Virginia Tech shootings. I’m sure that teachers and school administrators want to do anything they can to ensure it never happens again. I, too, want safer schools and universities.But, I worry that arresting a student for disorderly conduct because of an assignment he wrote for his creative writing class goes a little far.It’s challenging to speculate because the essay hasn’t been made public, but there are a couple of things that bother me about this:1. The charge. Per the Tribune, disorderly conduct is normally prank-related; it’s something that affects the public at large. (Examples include: dialing 911 unnecessarily, as someone could die if the authorities are tied up with nonsense or pulling a fire alarm for the same reason.) How does an essay only written for the eyes of a teacher fit into this?2. I believe in a certain amount of academic freedom, especially in an arts class. I was a high school journalist, so I know that non-college students essentially have no free speech rights in an academic setting. (It’s how schools can expel kids that start underground papers. It’s also why student newspapers are subject to administrative censorship.) There are many reasons why schools have these policies, and for the most part, they make some sense.But, I also went to an arts school for middle and high school. Combine teenage drama with any art form and it can get dark pretty quickly. Part of an artist’s work is to envision himself as someone else, even if that character is vile. Shouldn’t a creative writing course give students the freedom to experiment as artists? Do we want to teach students that they can only create if it’s inside the bounds of good taste?I’m surprised with the teacher’s reaction. Why didn’t this teacher question the writer? Again it’s hard to determine, as the essay and assignment guidelines have not been released, but shouldn’t someone at the school level have considered speaking to the student about the writing rather than just sending in the police to arrest him? Or, does the school hope to make an example out of this student to show how strong it is on student safety?I understand how someone’s writing can be used to make a case against that person. For example, if I’m the main suspect in a homicide case, and after getting a search warrant, the police find a stack of newly-purchased guns and knives in my apartment, leather gloves and other stuff one would use in a murder (pardon the lack of detail here, as I’m not actually a murderer, everything I know is from CSI), books on how to kill people, and my killer’s manifesto, sure that’s the time to question me about my violent writing. But a straight-A student who pens an essay for his creative writing class?It makes me worry about the way we perceive artistic endeavors. Are the actors of the latest slasher film actually murderers? Are the writers? Is the audience for watching it? Is the guerrilla comedy “‘I’m Gonna Kill the President!’ A Federal Offense” really an assault on America? Is Thomas Harris, the author of THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS really Hannibal Lector? Where does best-selling author Stephen King fit into this? Would a writer be a terrorist if she wrote a first-person fictional account of 9/11, as told from Osama bin Laden’s point of view?Are the artists actually the perpetrators? Or are we simply trying to understand them?I first heard about this story on Chicago Public Radio.

Meet Up and the Decemberists

Our esteemed captain and Greg Kotboth beat me to the punch. The Decemberists are going to be back in Chicago to play at Grant Park Music Festival. I think this is a perfect opportunity for a meet up. Mark the date on your calendars folks and take the day off work. This is going to be fantastic.

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It’s Official


Originally uploaded by officergleason.

The US Olympic Committee has picked Chicago over Los Angeles as the applicant city for the 2016 Games. So what do you think? Colossal boon or blunder?

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Sam Zell: Comedian Extraordinare!

No, seriously. Sam Zell is going to save the Tribune and newspapers? I don’t think so. In this article in the Washington Post, Zell explains how it’s time to end Google’s “free ride” off newspaper content.

All I could think when I read that was, “He’s going to hurt Google’s bottom line by not allowing them access to Tribune content for free? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. No, wait. He’s serious? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.”

All joking aside, as Jason Calacanis points out, Mr. Zell has some serious facts wrong. Namely, that Google news is an optional program that doesn’t run ads on the articles so it doesn’t generate revenue for Google. Oh, and Google news actually drives traffic to the paper’s own sites, increasing their traffic… and that it’s already an optional program for newspapers.

What’s sad is the very cluelessness about new media that Mr. Zell apparently suffers from is what is killing newspapers right now. If this type of nonsense is what the Tribune papers have to look forward to from their new ownership, people at the Trib might want to get their resumes in order. Fast.

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