Sunday, May 30, 2004

Finished with school, finished with a crazy work deadline, back to my life.

From an article in today's NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE about Christopher Walken:

His bizarro word rhythm and gleeful disregard for punctuation makes even his most banal utterances sound dramatic. At the grocery store, he stared at a plump tomato and then put it back. ''I DON'T. Buy the tomatoes with. The stems. On them. They don't. Degrade. They go. Down the sink. And into the WATER. Then. They get lodged in the throats of little. OTTERS.''

Sunday, May 23, 2004

It's been a long time since I've indulged in the guilty, guilty pleasure of listening to LOVELINE with Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew but I have it on now as I wait for my frozen Trader Joes taquitos to heat up in the oven.

Nelly Furtado is the guest and a caller asked her how she felt about being embraced by the hip hop community.

She explained that she grew up in Victoria, B.C., and, that while it was a very white town, they DID pick up radio stations from Seattle.

Okay, I was in Seattle from 90 through about half of 96 and I'm here to say, if Seattle radio was the alternative-to-whiteness, the hip-hop center that she was working with...well bless her heart.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

I'm listening to the latest round of hearings in D.C.

It's a little bit disconcerting to hear people talking about "JAG Officers".

You can imagine what this makes me think of every single time.

What up cuz?
What up dogster?

Sunday, May 16, 2004

(making my way through the morning papers here...)

John Tierney, writing in NYT:

How, (some conservatives having 2nd thoughts about Iraq) wonder, did so many conservatives, who normally don't trust their government to run a public school down the street, come to believe that federal bureaucrats could transform an entire nation in the alien culture of the Middle East?
From a NYTimes article headlined "Christian Cool and the New Generation Gap"

The actor Stephen Baldwin, a born-again Christian, has just
directed a DVD called "Livin' It," pairing extreme sports
with faith testimony, from which he hopes to spin skate
Bibles, clothing, CD's and Bible-study guides, all tied to
a nonprofit youth ministry.

"This could be the first get-down rock 'n' roll, cool
Christian brand," he said. "I've been to conferences with
youth pastors, and they all said, 'Dude, we've been waiting
for something that's cool and edgy and Christian.' ''

I hardly know where to begin.

Checked out this particular Baldwin's filmography at this fan site and considering that he's been in LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN, HALF-BAKED, THREESOME and THE USUAL SUSPECTS I'm not sure whether Mr. Baldwin is especially alt. in his Christianity or just in need of a job.

Here's the site for the Livin' It dvd which annoyingly has lots of words in blue that aren't hypertext links, they're just in a blue font. But the force behind the dvd (other than He Himself, presumably) is Luis Palau and the Luis Palau evangelical organization who has a homepage here. It looks like an ordinary, evangelical organization except for all the pictures of skateboarders across the top of the page. Luis just got back from China where they were psyched to hear about Christ, same thing is true for India, click here for a sermon, etc. A link takes you to "Ministries" and, from there, "Skate Ministry" which notes:

To reach the “core sports” (skateboarding, BMX, etc.) subculture that so influences today’s young people, LPEA builds a 9,000-square-foot skate park for each of our evangelistic festivals.

At LPEA skate parks, professional skateboarders demonstrate their skills and a skate evangelist gives a hard-hitting Gospel presentations each day.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Chicago Firefighters have been getting a lot of bad press lately.

They maintain a chat room and b.board to discuss issues that are of interest to them.

Earlier this year one topic of interest was the best way to disguise racial slurs when chatting on departmental radios.

Now they are discussing the Fire Department's director of media and public affairs, Molly Sullivan


Director of media and public affairs Molly Sullivan was referred to as a "big-chested babe" and a "hotty" in anonymous postings denounced as offensive by both Sullivan and City Hall.

''Does any of you chiefs have any naked pix of her? I think she should go work at the strip club. Man, I'd be there every day," one posting said.

On Thursday, 22-year veteran fire engineer Richard Anderson removed the postings from the Web site he operates because ''I figured, maybe, it's offensive to women.''

But he inadvertently compounded the insult by saying Sullivan should have been flattered. ''Somebody thinks she's beautiful. Isn't that a compliment? She's got a nice-looking body. She's a hotty. That means someone thinks she's attractive. Don't you think so?''

Calling the sexist postings much ado about nothing, Anderson said, ''What, is there no news in town? Can't you get nothing on the mayor?''

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Okay, this is kind of silly but since I can't do anything about the big issues, here's a small issue.

Rumsfeld has been quoted saying that he isn't going to address "The torture word"

Shouldn't it be "the T word"?

This is a little like saying "we won't be using the fuck word on the airwaves"

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

In 13 hours or so I'm having lunch with my boss, whom I adore. She thinks it's a late "Happy Administrative Professionals Day" lunch. But it's the lunch when I tell her that I've signed up for daytime classes this fall semester. I'm hopeful that I can work for her part time, maybe even get a raise out of the deal. But I'm scared, scared, scared with all this money talk.

My brother asked me some questions about the commuter newspapers that made their debut in Chicago last year and I've been looking online for stories to back up my own observations. I looked in the Columbia Journalism Review and came across a great story about Adrian Nicole LeBlanc who wrote RANDOM FAMILY. Her family was working class, one reason she connected so closely with the subjects of her book. She took a long time to write the book. How long? Well she got a $20,000 advance on the book:

From the time LeBlanc received her book contract from Houghton Mifflin and paid her agent to the time the book was delivered to Scribner, the money from her advance broke down to $36 a week.

Note to self: Be Brave.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Scrolling through THE COMPLETE BUSHISMS on Slate. Here's one from back in the day:

"The students at Yale came from all different backgrounds and all parts of the country. Within months, I knew many of them."—From A Charge To Keep, by George W. Bush, published November 1999

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Hello all y'all.

It's Saturday evening, close to 9 p.m. and I'm listening to Dave Frischberg on the local public radio station. I went for a long-ass bike ride today, part of that was I stopped by Stanley's on my way heading back home.

The logo of Stanley's Fresh Produce is an old Tony Soprano-looking guy smoking a pipe and flying an airplane fashioned out of a watermelon. They are on Elston put this in perspective, Morton Salt is on Elston avenue as is The Blommer Chocolate Factory. Head up a bit, to the intersection of Elston, Fullerton and Damen and there is the Vienna Sausage (i.e. Hot Dog) factory with its, god help us, factory outlet store.

Chicago, hog butcher and general factory type hoo ha to the world is in evidence, even today, along Elston Avenue.

Let me tell you, when it's May and sunny at 5:45 p.m. and you can roll past on your bike past the intersection of Milwaukee, Des Plaines and Kinzie where it smells like a big pan of brownies because that's where the Bronner Chocolate factory is...mmm mmm I would never trade Chicago for anything.

Anyway Elston has all sorts of industrial stuff not to mention lots of quasi industrial stuff (i.e. "Black Tie Hors Douvres!")

so can I just say here, that I know that "Hors Douvres" isn't quite right. Spelling, I mean

I've plugged it into Merriam Webster and my alternatives are:

Horsewhippers (horsewhippers???)
Whoremasters (that's what I'm talking about)

but nobody is suggesting the word for "appetizers"

anyway, black tie "appetizers" are available along Elston Avenue along with the only Target within Chicago's city limits.

I have heaps of organic produce, a whole messenger bag-full for $20. Stanley's is down the road from Whole Foods which is commonly called "Whole Paycheck" and Stanley's boasts of their low prices.

For a while a few years ago I tried getting a bag of organic produce from a local would pay a flat fee (I think it was $20) per week and you got a big bag full of whatever was in season. It was like buying a subscription to a bunch of forced me to think outside my normal routine and eat different stuff. But it meant a two-hour round trip to the store 1x a week and I had a lot of food that began to mold by Wednesday (okay, I appreciate that there aren't any preservatives but damn, you are telling me that I pick up a bag on Saturday and I have to eat ALL that by Tuesday? Uh uh.)

So now I have organic apples (two kinds) organic pears (bartlett) organic asparagus, collards and both cherry and grape tomatoes. Which is not to shabby, I think.

I'm cooking brown rice now which I will then spread out on a parchment-ed baking sheet to cool and then freeze in individual baggies. And baking (baking!) beans in a covered casserole. Chickpeas that I can baggie-up and keep in my freezer. Next is baked oatmeal so that I can eat wedges of baked oatmeal, topped with apple sauce from Trader Joe's.

How wanky is it to talk about my food on my blog? Well it could be worse. I could be talking about my hip-hop class on Fridays.

Such a good bike ride. Got a phone call from Alex...that's a good thing about Cell Phones; why NOT take a phone call in the south loop and chat for a bit there on Canal Street, across from the Northern Trust headquarters. The Post Office is nearby, the one mentioned in radio traffic reports i.e. "40 minutes on the southbound to the post office" and indeed it takes up an impressive amount of real estate.

How in the world did the post office work before zip codes? Zip codes are recent, under 40 years old (and Amen to whatever unsung person came up with naming them "Zip" rather than "priority" or whatever. But before Zip codes...were there special lifers who could sit in front of mail bins and sort all of California, say? All the Santas, all the Santa Barbaras separate from all the Santa Claras. I know that at one time trains full of cargo would cross the country and sorters would ride the rails, tossing mail into specialized canvas sacks for eventual delivery. Just think of California, what it must have meant for the Post Office to have specialized in those who knew all the "Santa"s apart from on another.

It's tough for me to remember the world before bar-codes. I sure as hell can't imagine a world before zip codes.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Sorry to be so Hall Of Mirrors about all of this but Wonkette has an excerpt from the Whitehouse Interactive site
The Whitehouse has a "letter to the White House"

Q: Tom from Camano Island, WA:
How could this Country who is supposed to represent all that is right in the World allow the treatment of prisoners to happen as reported in our newspapers today? Swift and sure action must be taken to correct this situation (if true).

A: Dr. Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor:
. . . Those pictures were awful because America -- American men and women in uniform, active and reserve, are serving in Iraq at great sacrifice. People are losing their lives. We came there to help to liberate the people of Iraq. We came there to build schools, and to build clinics, and we want very much that the images of Americans should be the images of helping the Iraqi people.

and now Wonkette weighing in

You hear that? Someone screwed up and released the wrong images. It's like during the civil rights movement. The protesters kept emphasizing the lynchings and the angry mobs; they never showed photos of the terrific restrooms and water fountains the white folks so thoughtfully provided. You can see how people got the wrong idea.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

My brother wants to know why Bush didn't apologize to anyone on Arabic language TV.

From today's Chicago Tribune:
"I believe that the politics of contrition is for losers," said Scott Reed, a Republican consultant who was the campaign manager for Bob Dole in 1996. "The American people look to their commander in chief to be optimistic, forward-looking and strong, and Bush is not going to get caught in this trap. Nobody in the world thinks the commander in chief of the United States is in charge of managing a specific prison in Iraq."

This may or may not be true about Americans/their commander in chief/etc. but it does overlook the key fact that it might be also nice to influence other people elsewhere in the world as well. Bush is quick to claim that others Hate Our Freedom when it is no doubt more accurate to say that They Hate Our Smug Arrogance and Self Centeredness.

Fred Kaplan writing in SLATE:

It seems the president is allergic not just to the words but to the concept of responsibility that underlies them. To apologize would be to admit he'd made a mistake. And mistakes are forbidden in the Bush White House.

His resistance is particularly unfortunate here. An Iraqi who watched the two American generals apologize, and then watched the American president fail to, would certainly notice the difference—and might, understandably, wonder about the officers' significance and sincerity.

It is not just the press that's hung up on the S word. It has been claimed that Arabs like to hear it from those who have done wrong, but my guess is this would be true of any people who had been senselessly humiliated by the world's superpower

Too often, the president began a sentence with the words, "People in Iraq must understand ..." or "The Iraqi people must understand …" or "People in the Middle East must understand … ." He probably didn't mean it but, to an Iraqi audience, these phrases may seem insistent, overbearing, even autocratic, coming from the man who is currently occupying their country.

This is public relations 101, no? There are multiple audiences. An oil company might need to assure stockholders that they are searching for oil in new areas while simultaneously assuring others that they have high environmental concerns.

I'm sure that, as Kaplan suggests, U.S. voters (the red state folks, anyway) will find it re-assuring that Bush went on Arabic language news and spoke some platitudes and that's fine but incredibly insufficient. Couldn't there be a way to accomplish BOTH goals...appease the people who we claim will be a soverign government any minute AND toss a bone to those here at home? Well sure but there has to be a willingness to believe that such a thing is necessary or desirable and so far that doesn't seem to be the case.

Corporations know that bad PR is bad for the bottom line. The Bush White House has asked for another $25 Billion for Iraq just to tide us over until the next fiscal year begins.

Monday, May 03, 2004

I'll just give you the first and last paragraphs of this article.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is trying to stop two Ohio brothers from making and selling bobblehead dolls in his likeness.

and then

The brothers market other dolls, too. Their best seller is model Anna Nicole Smith, followed by Jesus.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Who cares about brown people and democracies anyway; let's talk about flavored tobacco!

William Grimes writing in The New York Times about the new Kool "Smooth Fusions" flavored cigarettes-Mintrigue, Mocha Taboo, Caribbean Chill and Midnight Berry:

Midnight Berry, which really did smell like berries when I tentatively sniffed the unlighted tobacco, seemed murky. It was sweet, but not in a specific way. I wanted fruit salad in a satisfying smokable format. What I seemed to be getting was a cab's air freshener set on fire.

From this morning's Washington Post:

President Bush said yesterday that people who have skin that is "a different color than white" are capable of self-government.

"There's a lot of people in the world who don't believe that people whose skin color may not be the same as ours can be free and self-govern," Bush said.

"I reject that. I reject that strongly. I believe that people who practice the Muslim faith can self-govern. I believe that people whose skins aren't necessarily -- are a different color than white can self-govern."

Interesting to me for two reasons...first of all who exactly is he talking about? As the article goes on to say, neither Bush nor his press secretary Scott McClellan would ever say who Bush is rebutting here.

But the second point is that it's difficult to use an example of bigotry and then set yourself up as the opposite. In my Public Relations class, a student was very upset with the last press conference. "He was talking about brown people, who is he to talk about brown people?!?" asked the student. The phrase was included in the speech to defuse charges of bigotry (some unnamed others might not think brown people are good but I think they're awesome) but what came across to my classmate was some white guy smirking about brown people.