Archive for September, 2007

Banned Books Week

Starting tomorrow, libraries and bookstores across America will be celebrating Banned Books Week (September 29-October 6). The purpose? It’s a great celebration to our freedom to read even when the words written are unpopular or unorthodox.The American Library Association, The Newberry Library, and the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum will be celebrating with a Read-Out tomorrow, Sat. Sept. 29, from 1-4 pm at Pioneer Court (that’s the big plaza south of the Trib building that meets the Chicago river). There will be music, readings, and a general hootenanny at this free event. Can’t make it? There’s also an event online at Second Life happening during the same time.Factoid: AND TANGO MAKES THREE by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell was the most-challenged book of 2006. It was challenged for “homosexuality, anti-family, and unsuited to age group.” It’s the story of a family of penguins in picture book format.Consider reading it. Or any banned book this week.

Automated Crime Detection?

It sounds pretty futuristic–entrusting law enforcement to the machines–but the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) is working with IBM to spruce up Operation Virtual Shield which is the ominous name for the network of video cameras being deployed around the city to fight crime. Apparently, IBM is going to be developing some software to analyze the video footage and automatically detect “suspicious behavior”.

I’m sure that will give peace of mind to those paranoid about crime in the city, in spite of the fact that recent studies have suggested that London’s extensive camera network doesn’t really help solve crime. Phew, that’s a relief… I mean, I sure would hate to give up my civil liberties for a costly and ineffective system! Er…

Body of Nailah Franklin found.

More on story here.My condolences go out to the friends and family. Nailah went to my high school (Homewood-Flossmoor) and graduated the year after me. Her sister is also a respected member of the stand-up comedy community I am lucky to be a member of. So, turns out we shared many friends of friends and I was really hoping this would turn out well.I hope this brings much needed closure and the community built around her can begin to grieve now.Regular updates can be found on this thorough crime blog.Update: My wife tells me that Nailah’s sister went on NPR and stated that there was some dispute over whether the body had officially been identified by the uncle, but I can find no documentation of said dispute online.

40 free days at the MCA

I work just blocks away from the Museum of Contemporary Art and I always tell myself I’m going to stop in after work on free Tuesdays, and I so rarely do. It’s going to be a lot easier to just stop by for the next month or so, because the museum is celebrating their 40th anniversary with 40 free days. Saturday, September 29 to Wednesday, November 14 the museum is free every day and there are a ton of special events.

Chicago Carless on the Children’s Museum

Chicago Carless interviews the administrative staff of the Chicago Children’s Museum and discovers that some of their problems may be a lack of communication:

According to Natalie [Bortoli, the Director of Student and Educator Programs], for museum staff it’s hard to know where to begin to tell their story. “When we get a new employee, it takes an entire day just to tell them about all the departments and programs.”

“Don’t you have an elevator pitch?”

“An elevator pitch?” asked Public Relations director Natalie Krieger.

“You know, a focused, 30-second speech that you can use to pitch the story of the museum to people who don’t know what you do. Don’t you have one?”

“With all of our diverse programming, I don’t know where we’d start. We usually use our mission statement.”

(via Gapers Block)

Oh, stick that .com anywhere

Oh yeah, .com

It’s OK, Moishe, we’re all dreaming of the day when technology will exist that will allow one to adjust the size of letters. (Or maybe it shook loose during the long trip. Wassup, NYC?)

The Darjeeling Limited prequel

Wes Anderson’s new film The Darjeeling Limited opens Saturday in New York (October 5 here in Chicago), but there’s a 13-minute short film, Hotel Chevalier, that’s a sort of a prequel to the film. Hotel Chevalier will be screened tonight for free at the Chicago Apple Store (679 N Michigan) at 9 pm. Darjeeling screenwriter Roman Coppola will be on hand to answer questions. Tomorrow the film will be available as a free download through iTunes.

(via Daring Fireball)

Good Cop, Bad Cop

It’s no surprise that cops usually don’t write other cops tickets. And it’s also no surprise that cops would get used to the privilege and come to expect it. What is a little surprising is that no one would think that it would be a little unseemly to publicly complain about the rare occasions when a cop does actually write up another cop. But that’s what Cops Writing Cops is all about — a place for cops to complain about cops who were “Dicks” (that’s their word) to other cops. Oddly enough, the site has given me a bit more respect for the Illinois State Police today:

[…] Once she got to my window, she took my license and told me that I was clocked by airspeed doing 84.9 miles per hour. That seemed a little high, but we know not to argue. She asked why the hurry. I told her I wasn’t in a hurry and that I was en route to give a LAW ENFORCEMENT defensive tactics training seminar in Springfield. I actually gave her the business card of my contact at the Police Academy. The same academy that trains the state police! I then mentioned that I have been law enforcement for almost 15 years and would appreciate a break. She then told me that she couldn’t do that because she was the “catch car”. I then rattled off a couple names of who might be flying the plane that was above (Butler, Galvan). I worked with a couple during a DEA detail once and I KNOW they would give me the nod. That didn’t even phase her. I then realized that I was getting a ticket. After stopping hundreds of cops on Lake Shore Drive, some state, I was getting a ticket. I have friends in state police districts 2, 5 and of course Chicago. This troop, Trpr Schroder #3512, from district 6 is the only officer to ever give me a ticket while I have been a police officer. Congrats to you.


Contacts within ISP [Illinois State Police] tell us that they write even their own. How pathetic!!! I’m sure there are 12,000 or so officers from a “big city” that are itching to catch a ISP Trooper. Hope they only return the favor to district 6.

(via Boing Boing)

Blogs As Label

Have you ever tried to get really up to date information on a hot show or music act? Really the only place to go is one of the many music blogs that patrol the internet for what’s happening and what’s not. Sure some publications have good information, but if it’s not an online edition you’re most likely missing what your friends already know about.

That brings us to an article in the Chicago Reader entitled The Blog As Label. More times than not these writers are the eyes and ears discovering new acts, posting MP3s and befriending the artists. Seems like a good idea that these blogs would take the next step and promote their favorite shows and CDs. But where do the lines blur between some friendly notes and links about a band and actually joining a partnership with them and selling the artist? How do you help to release a CD for an artist then honestly review it on your site?

Photo of the Week

Rmadan“Rmadan 2007″Photo by Ejaz Khan

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