Archive for March, 2006

against the wall

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Friday Night Throwdown!

At a James Blunt show? Yeah, almost. My wife and I went to the Riviera Friday night to see JB. All the Lincoln Parkers were on hand. We’re back by the bar, minding our own business. It’s a packed show, sold out. About 20 minutes left before the main attraction takes the stage, and out of nowhere, some idiot – some big, drunk, red-eyed idiot – walks up to me, beer in hand, and the following conversation takes place:
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The Damn Ryan Expressway

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Massive traffic jams, limited alternate routes, lane closings. Do you drive the Ryan? Yeah? You are in for quite a treat then. You and the other 320,000 drivers that use it every day. It would suit you well to visit the following site: http://www.avoidtheryan.com. Everything you need to know about this major annoyance that is set to begin Friday at 10pm. This is the largest expressway project in Chicago’s history, very likely to have a major impact on travel times all over the city, as well as the neighborhoods surrounding the Ryan as drivers attempt to avoid the chaos. Makes me happy that I take the Edens to work.

Image courtesy of avoidtheryan.com

UPDATE: From the chicagotribune.com website (reg required):

Illinois Auditor General William Holland said Tuesday he will forward to state and federal investigators a scathing audit accusing state transportation officials of mismanagement and questionable spending for public relations and minority recruitment on the Dan Ryan Expressway reconstruction project.

……

Holland’s audit comes days before the massive $600 million Dan Ryan reconstruction is scheduled to begin on Friday. His findings have raised concerns about whether motorists will be adequately prepared to adjust to the sharply scaled back highway during construction.

Way to go, IDOT.

Time and Money Well Spent?

I am working out in the suburbs and the client I’m working with has experienced some negative press lately. To catch up on the news, I find myself reading the Daily Herald online. Today I noticed a strange tidbit: “Geneva schools might pull Calvin and Hobbes

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Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Waterson

I loved Calvin and Hobbes when it was a comic strip and own all the Calvin and Hobbes books (except that really expensive one that came out recently). As I read the article it really wasn’t clear to me on why the book may be pulled off the school shelf other than the reference that “it was written as an adult book” (big surprise to me) and that “it does refer to violence and sex” (really? sex – where? I missed that). But, if that is the case then movies such as “A Bug’s Life”, “The Incredibles”, “Monsters”, “Bambi” or “March of the Penguins” which either have PG or G ratings should be rerated as PG13 or R.

I find it sad when books are banned. There are more important issues like the health care crisis or the homeless and hungry or parents abandoning their children. Banning books doesn’t seem to accomplish anything except for imposing one person’s (or a group’s) views on the rest of us. Really, if you don’t want your child to read a book that is carried in the Elementary school library, then let your child know and trust that they won’t read the book.

What’s even sadder is that there are limited funds for education and that some institutions decide to spend their money not on teacher salaries or on students, but on administrative staff. It sickens me to see that at my client, the IT staff has decided to pay themselves a “stipened” taking money away from support and training, leaving their users to fail and causing bad press to appear in local newspapers. Even worse is that one of the IT managers orders a $750 “stipend” each month for HIMSELF and still has no idea how to log into the support site or support the newly implemented system.

myspace: Clearly not for Adults

Oh, the internets. What is it about you that baffles parents? How do you manage to be such a puzzle-wrapped enigmacallit? Parents who write in asking advice from columnists have always baffled me, and the Trib has provided a great reason why the newspaper, along with the TV, doesn’t always tell the truth.


Amy Dickinson’s column from last week
reads like a parenting manual from 800 years ago or like advice from someone who has never had a child or siblings. Sure, I haven’t been a teenager for a while but I still know that saying “DON’T DRINK” and “DON’T DATE THAT BOY” only makes me want to get drunk with that boy. Way to lower the bar!

Check out this excellent and educated response to the column that basically tells Ms. Dickinson to pull her head out of her ass.

Open Thread

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Whattup Chitown?

“The Loop” On Fox

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Have you heard about the new Fox sitcom “The Loop?” Apparently it’s on Thursdays at 7:30 Central. Anyone seen an episode? I haven’t watched a typical sitcom in years, but I’m almost curious enough to watch an episode to see how they portray Chicago and its denizens. Almost.

And of course, what modern media venture would be complete without a blog of its own?

A description from the show’s website…
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A Fresh Start in Chicago…

We may be getting a new celebrity resident: Jennifer Aniston. I couldn’t stand Friends, but she gets major points for Office Space and The Good Girl, not to mention being pretty cool about the whole Brangelina thing… and clearly, she now recognizes the superiority of Chicago!

MSN Does It Again: Dating Advice For The Terminally Lame

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“You chop this onion yourself? That’s hott.”

MSN does it again, with “Fun Places” to meet your mate…

At spelling bees
One of the latest ideas for mingling and meeting a mate happens to be singles’ spelling bees, which have become quite a hit. Fueled by the popularity of books like Bee Season, documentaries like Spellbound, and even an off-Broadway hit, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, these events were the brainchild of Zac Kushner, coordinator of recreational programming for Makor (www.makor.org), a New York-based organization that specializes in offbeat mixers. “We’re always trying to host fun events where what’s going on is the focal point,” he explains. “If you meet someone, that’s an additional bonus. That’s definitely the new wave of dating and meeting.”

These spelling bees do sport some snazzy twists from the tense mood you may recall with a shudder from similar events during high school. For starters, at the New York City version Kushner oversees, there’s an open bar for those who feel a martini could help calm their jitters. And the word categories — which include “uncomfortable things,” “band names,” and “mythological creatures”– show no one’s taking this competition too seriously. While Kushner can’t say for sure whether any of the contestants exchanged phone numbers, they definitely seemed to be bonding over their victories and, more often, their failures–which included misspellings of Snoop Doggy Dogg (two Gs!), chupacabra, and chlamydia. “I don’t even think ‘meticulosity’ is a word,” laughs Leah LaRiccia, a 29-year-old biologist who attended the event. But that comment sure beats “come here often?” as an ice-breaker.

Am I hopelessly out of touch or is this the worst MSN dating idea since meeting chicks at the shooting range? Personally, I’d steer clear of any contestant that spelled “chlamydia” correctly. The organizer can’t say “for sure” if anyone exchanged numbers. That’s because all the contestants were hitting on each other in Klingon.

Folks, you can’t pretend that you’re in 7th grade anymore. Yes, the dating “scene” is harsh- a veritable Hobbesian jungle, red in tooth and claw. I know it sucks, but it’s reality and you can’t turn back the clock and pretend that you’re 12 years old all over again, palms sweating, hoping the guy/girl of your pre-pubescent dreams is impressed with your mad vocab.

You know there’s more…
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Big News

My girlfriend woke me up this morning and said “I’ve got some big news,” and I said “what?” And she said “actually two things,” and I said “OK,” and she said “do you want the big news or the bigger news first?” And I said “give me the bigger news first,” and so she says “Harold’s Chicken. They’re opening one in Wicker Park.”

“OK,” I said, “what’s the other big news?” And she said “that guy you voted for lost.”

She was referring to Edwin Eisendrath, the challenger to Blago in the Dem primary, and I expected him to lose, but that’s why I voted for him, kind of a message vote to Rod. He lost 70-30, which isn’t too bad, but I’m guessing that Rod won’t get that message.
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