Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's going to snow tonight. The temperature has dropped about 35 degrees since yesterday afternoon and the sky is milky.

Of course the rule of television news is that you have to send a camera crew out to the airport (because flights are delayed due to snow--this is, you know, news) and WGN has, indeed, sent someone out to O'Hare to determine that, even though there is no actual snow yet, there will be snow and therefore delays (bring on the visuals of groggy visitors dozing uncomfortably in airport chairs).

But no snow yet and so, in a bold move, the station sent Juan Carlos Fanjul (rhymes with "Tool") out to the city's road salt storage facility for the broadcast's lead story. There will be salt dispersal vehicles on the go, per Fanjul.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

In Toronto for the week. Last night we attended a gay wedding and, as part of the reception, ate unbelievably gay salads.

What, you may ask, tags a salad as being identifiably homosexual? Two words: grilled cantaloupe.

Friday, November 10, 2006

There are some pop cultural phenomena that I just avoid in the hopes that they will go away (see: Danity Kane) but Kevin Federline has crossed over into some deeply weird realm where he is worth paying attention to just for the car wreck factor (see: Courtney Love)

It's worth remembering every now and again that marketing and nepotism will only get you so far.

As a side note, this is the most peculiar approach to promoting his new record. Go ahead click on it, even it you're at work. It doesn't make any noise and it doesn't make a lick of sense (thanks to Mike for the tip)

Anyway, Mr. Federline was in Chicago promoting his new record on Wednesday at the House of Blues. Ticket sales were not especially robust so they gave tickets away. "We would have gone if I was there," Alex pointed out, correctly, "we could each pretend it was the other one's fault."

Sadly, Alex is not yet living here but thankfully someone calling himself Captainkiwi did attend the show and has written all kinds of entertaining stuff about the experience here.

Captainkiwi points out that a bunch of Northwestern Law Students went all Rocky Horror on the concert, dressing in fine Federline style (wifebeater under blazer, fedora, etc.) and carrying signs reading "Cry Me a Wigger" and that the ultimately large-ish audience was 100% there to mock hard.

"Watch out Billboard.... " Captainkiwi concludes, "The new 'Tom Arnold of the Music Industry' is headed your way.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Listening to the Bush press conference where he came right out and said that he lied to a trio of journalists about his support for Rumsfeld because he thought that would be more advantageous than telling the truth. Amazing. From Ana Marie Cox, liveblogging the press conference at Time:

1:12: "I didn't want to inject a major decision about the war into the final days of the campaign." Even though it might have saved my majority. I am an asshat. Alternate translation: "I lied because I could not tell you the truth." ALSO: talk about playing politics with foreign policy!
1:13 "I thought we were going to be fine... shows what I know!" So they're sticking with the "we are actually political strategy idiots" defense, rather than the "we were lying about that too." Well, that's kind of comforting.

Also in the post-game analysis, it's cheering to see that conservative Arizona managed to reject an anti-gay marriage amendment.
One exciting, old-school bit of apparent election stealing going on here in Chicago yesterday.

Chicago is in Cook County and there is a post called Cook County President. I'm not entirely clear what the position does, other than hand out patronage jobs. The incumbent was a man named John Stroger who won the primary back in the spring in spite of the fact that he had suffered a massive stroke and vanished from public view.

The Stroger family insisted that he was totally running the show, he was just staying sequestered because he's a private kind of guy. Then he finally resigned and the local machine muscled his son Todd into the spot. Followed that so far? Dad ran for the primary election (while vegetative) and won, now he's been swapped out for his son.

Last night, after I had gone to sleep, Republican challenger Tony Peraica and his supporters went to the Cook County Administration Building to demand ballot integrity. Cook County Clerk David Orr, who is apparently in charge of the whole shebang, continued to insist that the ballots were protected by cops. The Sun Times picks it up here:

Orr emerged from his office to say "hooligans" were trying to break into boxes with election cartridges inside.

"Drunks or whoever, they were trying to block people from bringing them up," Orr said. "And the freight elevator was broken."

Still, Orr said the integrity of the election hadn't been compromised.

Media cameras captured boxes being ripped open by unknown people, and others lying over the boxes to protect them. One man was arrested for allegedly damaging the elevator.

"It's just absolute anarchy over here," Peraica spokesman Dan Proft said. "We just saw a box coming in that was open . . . it's just been chaos."

Cook County officials said all of the ballot materials had been accounted for.

Peraica urged his supporters to leave the election night party at the Hotel Intercontinental and march about a mile to the building at 69 W. Washington.

Once they arrived, a Stroger campaign volunteer was seen briefly wedging himself into the revolving door. Eventually, most supporters were allowed in, and Peraica and six supporters met with Orr, along with seven Stroger supporters.

"I smell a rat here," Peraica said, citing $60 million in upgrades county taxpayers funded to improve voting equipment since a similar debacle in the March primary.

Peraica's venomous response was a stark contrast to Stroger's reaction. Stroger, a Democrat, giggled as he told supporters he was going to bed for the night and would wake up today "just like Christmas" and celebrate.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Recently I watched the documentary The Last Man Standing about a 2002 race in Texas where cute Democrat Patrick Rose defeated incumbent and self-described "right wing nut" Rick Green in a race for a seat in the state legislature.

Today, the right wing nut tried to beat up his former opponent outside their polling place in the dreadfully named community Dripping Springs. From the Austin American Statesman:

A witness said Rick Green shoved and then punched state Rep. Patrick Rose, D-Dripping Springs, while both stood outside a polling place this morning at Sunset Canyon Baptist Church east of Dripping Springs.

"Patrick Rose looked like he was trying to get away and then a bunch of men came over and pulled Rick Green off," the witness said. "He continued trying to go after him and kept shouting 'You need to stop lying' and 'Let him defend himself, the big baby.' "
I should really pace myself so that I don't totally over-nerd myself too early in the day. However, dorky though this is, I am kind of proud that Jack Shafer at Slate used my tip (and my name) in his story about Lame Election-Day Journalism.
From today's Washington Post:

Then there's the Republican manual for its poll watchers in Maryland. The tone of the GOP message ("Your most important duty as a poll watcher is to challenge people who present themselves to vote but who are not authorized to vote") compares unfavorably with that of the Democrats to their poll watchers ("Your primary job is to ensure that every eligible voter who wants to vote gets to vote").

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I know that normal people are sick of hearing about the mid-term elections, sick of the advertisements, sick of the commentary. I'm already a little sad that it will all be ending soon.

Unless, of course, it takes days or weeks to count all the ballots and dispute the counts which is entirely possible. Both parties have encouraged voters to vote early or vote absentee and most locations have rules saying that those ballots can't be counted until either election day or after the polls have closed on election day. So it could be a while.

My current, favorite story is about the woman who is running for asshole Tom DeLay's former seat, representing the folks of Sugarland, Texas. In order to vote for this candidate, voters will need to "write in" her name. However, the voting machines are electronic so there is no writing at all but rather rotating a dial and selecting the letters one at a time, like using an old-fashioned label maker.

Her last name? Sekula-Gibbs.