Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saving the Economy

In an effort to save the economy single-handedly, I've set out to purchase a vehicle.

Last week, I test drove a 2009 Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra and Versa, and Toyota Yaris.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wal-Mart Caters Nazis

EASTON, Pa. (WABC)-- Three-year-old Adolph Hitler Campbell is cute, cuddly and, for now, blissfully unaware of the shock value conveyed by his first and middle names. That may be changing, though.
The youngster was at the center of a recent dispute between his parents and a local supermarket that refused to spell out his name on a cake for his birthday party last weekend. A story in a local newspaper prompted an outpouring of angry online responses directed at Heath Campbell, 35, and his wife Deborah, 25.

This family's story bothered me on each paragraph.

The store refused to have the child's name scrawled on the cake and, in the past, refrained from putting a swastika on a cake. The couple eventually had the birthday cake made at Wal-Mart.

The story starts picking up in its offensiveness at this point where we find out that the family had all sorts of people, several who were of "mixed race," at the party.

The Campbells are busy procreating the master race. Their other children are named JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell.

The father reasoned the name choice on the basis that there aren't other Adolph Hitlers running around, which I won't contend. Perhaps, there's a good reason people aren't naming their kids after someone responsible for killing millions of people. With that logic why not name your kid Sex Fruit?

If you can get by the misspellings in the comments some are pretty good. Several people mentioned the repercussions to the children in the future.

"So who is this guy taking you out tonight Lucy?" a mother asks her teenage daughter.
"Umm...Adolph Hitler Campbell," Lucy sheepishly responds.
"No daughter of mine is going out with an Adolph Hitler. I didn't raise you to be the next Eva Braun."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

At Long Last

It's official. After nearly a year and a half (and 109 blog posts) toiling at internships and scouring classifieds, I have landed a permanent position. Put simply: I GOT A JOB!

I will start in January and will be part of the creative team. My duties will include copywriting, design and media planning. There is talk that I'll have these things called "benefits."

This blog was started as a way to keep sane while looking for a job. I had no inkling that the hunt would take this long, but am relieved it is over. Now, as I assemble my wish list of consumer goods to purchase (a car is high on the list), I renounce my monastic, frugal ways.

To those still fighting the good fight:
  • Network--even if it doesn't lead to a job, it helps to have people to converse with and get advice from. Having a strong social network consisting of friends and family, as well as alumni helps support you and prevent you from hitting the bottom of the pool. Also, don't be afraid to reach out to alumni. You will be surprised at how many people are willing to offer you their advice and share their path to their current job.

  • Setup search agents to do the work for you. I used, which searches several sites.

  • Find a way to be creative. For me, this blog served as a forum to write about the news and the plight of the recent graduate.

  • Volunteer--Whenever you feel that your life is horrible, you need to realize that it is always worse for someone else. Volunteering enables you to get out of the house and give some of your time to help others. An added bonus is you may make some connections.

  • Faith--Probably the biggest thing that got me through this period beside my mom and sister was having faith that I would end up wherever I was meant to be. Pouring on the prayers didn't hurt either.

  • I will continue to post about stories that catch my eye and working always provides stories. Thanks for reading.

    Wednesday, December 10, 2008

    [Bleepin'] Blago

    If 24/7 coverage isn’t enough to satiate your hunger pangs:


    There is talk on the blogs of an insanity defense.

    Beyond Illinois, the Wildcats took a big hit with these arrests. Blago and his Chief of Staff, John Harris, both went to NU. Guess they missed the course on ethics. Can't wait to see these updates in the alumni newsletter.

    It is interesting to see how media handled the expletives. Some opted for f*****, while others left a bit more to the imagination with [expletive]. Sadly, I didn't see any cartoonish #(*%^(@^!.

    Friday, December 5, 2008

    Airport Blues

    From the Tribune news service:

    Bush International Airport will have karaoke booths installed for fliers just in time for the holidays.

    Just when you thought airports couldn't get any more annoying. So now as you page through New Yorker for the second time or ponder if you can make a functioning noose out of single-ply toilet paper you can relax to the sultry sounds of intoxicated travelers singing out their pain.

    Expect such holiday favorites as:

  • "O Come Connecting Flight"

  • "It's the Most Horrible Time of the Year"

  • "I Won't Be Home for Christmas"

  • This effort to provide some entertainment--even if it is amateurs--is a step in the right direction. The move makes sense for airports. Having karaoke provides entertainment beyond the ever-cheerful CNN feed at a minimal expense. There will be prizes. Would a "Go to the front of the line" pass be out of the question?

    Whatever happened to the lounge bands? Airports need a resurgence of groups like Murph and the MagicTones to soother our travel blues.

    I'll be staying away from the airports this holiday season and singing my Christmas tunes like everyone else. Alone in the shower.

    Wednesday, November 26, 2008


    As an added motivation to find employment, I swore off using Facebook. (Sadly it has been replaced with online dating sites.) My logic was based in the fact that Facebook is especially depressing after you graduate. Pictures of parties you weren't at, notifications of who's now in a relationshit and the always inspiring wall posts with the insipid LOL. It has been two weeks since I last touched the sweet nectar. And then tonight, I got this email:

    Unfortunately, the settings that control which email notifications get sent to you were lost. We're sorry for the inconvenience.

    To reset your email notification settings, go to:

    The Facebook Team

    Just when you think you're out, they pull you back in. Lost? Really? You lost my settings. I expected more from you Mark Zuckerberg.

    I am staying strong. The next step is removing the bookmark.

    I'm also working on a video to combat the other posts on Facebook. It'll be huge if I actually make it.

    Tentative title: F Facebook.

    Friday, November 21, 2008

    'Tis the Season for Pardons

    As President Bush's tenure draws to a close, the requests for pardons and clemency start trickling into the White House.

    Today, Conrad Black's lawyers submitted legal papers to President Bush seeking clemency for his conviction for defrauding shareholders of Hollinger International. He was sentenced to six and a half years.

    Dick Cheney was indicted Tuesday for "conspiring to block an investigation into abuse at privately run prisons."

    I think I know what Cheney will be getting for Christmas.


    For all of you who cuddle up to your favorite celebs glossy image in your favorite rag mag you will be delighted by this story. The next issue of People is reported to contain a Scratch-N-Sniff section with the preferred smells of the magazine's sexiest people. So now you can not only snuggle up to their smooth image, you can tickle them! It's like they are in the room with you.

    This is the latest development in the sensory marketing world.

    Usually I relish the crispness of getting the latest issue of a magazine in my mailbox--unless the mailman decided to take a cursory glance during his lunch break in his clown car.

    I don't mind the amalgamation of numerous scents in my magazines, which form some sort of meta cologne, but I'm not sure I like the trajectory of this trend. Just think, soon there could be before-and-after ads for deodorant.

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    Everlasting Moments

    "That which we cannot forget" is how Swedish Director Jan Troell translated Everlasting Moments/Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick, the title of his film that is entered in the main competition for the Chicago International Film Festival.

    Foreign films often provide an unrivaled depth in the characters they introduce to us. Troell intersperses brief scenes with various film stocks that lend a gritty, authentic feel to the life of Maria Larssons (Maria Heiskanen). The director was present along with about 50 attendees for the Tuesday afternoon screening of his film at the AMC on 600 N. Michigan Ave.

    The story is based on the real life of Maria Larssons. Troell's wife met the Larssons' daughter and recorded their conversations during the last six years of Larssons' life. Troell turned those tapes into the book of the same name, which has yet to be translated into English and unlikely will be.

    Set in the early 1900s, the film starts with credits over images of vintage cameras. We learn through a voice-over that Maria won a camera at a fair, but the man she was with bought the winning ticket. He insists the only way that she will get the camera is if she married him. So begins Maria's life with Sigfrid (Mikael Persbrandt).

    While the pacing and story development are much more lethargic than American cinema, we eventually learn of the abusive and alcoholic ways of Sigfrid. With an ever-growing family, Maria comes across the camera from the fair in the bottom of a dresser. Desperately in need of money, Maria attempts to pawn the camera. In the process, she meets the gentle store owner Mr. Petersson (Jesper Christensen), who encourages her to take a few photos before selling the camera. Arranging her children in their cramped living area, Maria snaps her first photo of her children.

    The film continues to follow Maria and her family as she turns increasingly to the solace provided by her camera. Everlasting Moments diverges from the predictable cinematic addiction to the Hollywood narrative and ending. She often is subtly presented with choices that would allow her to rid herself of her abusive husband and her negotiating those decisions provides complexity. Maria constantly grapples with her pride and independence. Instead of everything being neatly wrapped-up in 90 minutes, Moments (125 minutes) lingers with characters allowing for more development and depth, subsequently creating more empathy and attachment to Maria and her children. Despite Sigfrid's philandering and repeated abusive rampages toward Maria, at times eliciting gasps and winces from the audience, he is shown with some tenderness toward the end of the film.

    In the post-film discussion Troell responded to a question regarding shots of a butterfly, which are present near the beginning and very end of the feature. He acknowledged the symbolism of the fluttering insect that is finally free at the end and mentioned his previous use of the bug in another film, Il Capitano. When he was working on this film, he noticed a dead butterfly in the window of the factory where he was shooting. Even though this image was not in the script or planning, Troell got a shot of the dead butterfly as it perfectly illustrated the potential future of the young boy in the film had he never left the factory.

    Troell also mentioned the difference between making a film in Sweden and in the U.S. to the few dozen that remained after the screening. "Here you have maybe 100 people behind the camera. If I make a film in Sweden there's maybe 20, at most."

    Like many foreign films that expose life through a different lens, Everlasting Moments/Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick lingers long after the final credits and is a difficult film to forget.

    The film festival runs through Oct. 29 and I have a large list of films to see including several from France.

    Morning Thoughts

    How much must someone hate themselves to start the day with McDonald's for breakfast?

    I play chicken with pigeons in the city.

    And finally, as you'll hear in my upcoming standup debut, I was trying to setup my voicemail message at the front desk this morning after I have been here nearly two months. Frustrated with the prompts and my ineffective attempt to change the prompt to my name, I continued pushing "star followed by the pound key." Then Dana slid a greeting card with a purple inner layer in front of me to sign.

    I scrawled my full name for some unknown reason, then "Happy BDay!" above it. After I hung up the phone, Dana informed me that the card was a condolence card. One of the big donors to the festival had died. Since the card wasn't white, I was strictly anti-White Out, while Dana claimed a mastery level of prowess with the soggy sponge. My suggestion was to simply cut the corner where I had signed my congratulatory note. Or I could leave "Happy" and replace BDay with death. Morbid, but at least it would be quasi-appropriate.

    So, over the white blots I sheepishly wrote "Sorry for your loss." But in reality, I'm sorry to the person who receives that card because you know they will look at the white splotches and try to decipher what was originally written.

    Sunday, October 12, 2008

    A Marathoner's Notes

    "I'm hoping to meet some ladies during the Chicago Marathon on Sunday."

    "But they'll all be running away from you," my mom replied.

    "And that's different how?"

    I have heard from some female runners I know that when they need that extra motivation during runs, when they just want to quit, they envision that I'm chasing behind them asking if they are free this weekend.

    With that encouragement, I woke before the sun to take the blue line into the city on a Sunday, which doesn't sound very appealing. But the annual Chicago Marathon proved too alluring. As someone who has never run a complete mile, I can't fathom the appeal of running 26.2. The Young Alumni Club organized a group of volunteers to work the finish line and I gladly seized the opportunity to see the masochistic saga first-hand.

    After a fair amount of wandering looking for the volunteer tent and my group I finally found my posse.

    Among my recollections and lessons from this day:

    Possibly one of the most rewarding moments came when I spotted two Aussies crossing the finish line. My duty was to provide cool, wet towels to runners to aid them in the cool down process from the atypically warm Fall day (low 80s). As soon as I spotted my soon-to-be fellow mates I hustled over to them and gave them towels. I detected an awesome accent when they thanked me and decided now wouldn't be the best time to discuss my plans to come down under next year.

    The easiest way to boost self-esteem is to volunteer. I had people praise me for giving out towels and thank me for helping. Being appreciated fuels the soul. Some called me "God-send," I said "No, my name is Andrew." Others asked for God to bless me. I'll take it.

    Running a marathon is a religious experience. Apparently atheists don't run marathons because everyone seemed to be praising the man upstairs or the divine blessing of cold towels.

    Marathons discriminate against the obese.

    At least 45,000 people are more fit than me.

    Never underestimate the power of a hose.

    Yes, you can get a sunburn in October.

    Marathons aren't pleasurable. I saw very few people with smiles at the finish line.

    Finally, marathons aren't motivational. Today only confirmed my policy on mobility. There are certain things the human body was not designed for. Running 26.2 miles is one of them. My firm belief is that there are better transportation options for distances greater than half a mile. I will gladly walk distances less than 2 miles. I will bike distances between 2 and 6 miles. For everything else there is the automobile and public transit.

    The only digits I got today were those on the bibs of the runners.

    Thursday, October 9, 2008

    And Now We Wait

    Next week my Fulbright application will be on its way to New York to be evaluated. For those that don't know, my proposal focuses on the role of community media in a media landscape predominantly owned by a few conglomerates. I strongly believe this ownership model of many outlets being controlled by a few players is the future of American media.

    If selected, I would depart next July to spend a year abroad studying at the University of Sydney. Through the power of the internet I have established connections with professors and community media organizers in Sydney.

    This truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity would allow me to grow as a media scholar and researcher while going abroad for the first time. The first cuts of Fulbright applicants will be made in January and final decisions will be made in March/April.

    Coincidentally, Australia recently launched their new tourism campaign. They don't need to convince this ozzie at heart.

    I can't wait for my walkabout.

    Some Recent Pictures

    Wednesday, October 1, 2008

    Whiteboard 9/30

    The lunchroom at the office has an erasable white board, which often has probing questions like "Favorite Full House character?" and "Best Memory from the '80s." Being the dutiful and diligent worker I am, I recently scribed this question on the board:

    Most important lesson from Kindergarten?

    The responses:
    • Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. (This person is clearly a product of the Catholic school system).
    • Don't eat glue. (It's an acquired taste.)
    • Don't run after boys. Let them run after you. (Is power-walking acceptable?)
    • Mrs. Adelman doesn't like me. (Sadness.)
    • Guinea pigs will die if you drop them. (2 out of 3)
    • Wash your hands before you eat. (Over-rated.)
    • Be nice.
    • Never, ever, forget $.35 for a Jell-O pudding pop.
    I learned that I'm, according to Mrs. Smith, dyslexic. She was wrong.

    To answer honestly, thanks to P.J., I learned to tie my shoes, a skill that has served me well every day.

    What is the most important lesson you learned in Kindergarten?

    Does that come in anything besides 1T?

    First go here. I'll wait...

    I want his outfit. His shoes are off the heezie.

    The City Is My Muse

    Pictures from 9/30. Cubs rally in Daley Plaza and shots from the walk home.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    It's Not You. It's My Genes.

    Swedish researchers have discovered that there is a gene that affects a man's "monogability" (my word, not theirs).

    The Week provides brief synops from editorials/opinions in The Times, both New York and London, and the Baltimore Sun

    I just envision all the future conversations.

    -"Honey, would you stick this Q-Tip in your mouth?"
    -"I do love you dear, but my genes have made me a skirt-chaser. Don't take it personally."

    Maybe future research should be done to explore why women ARE monogamous. Just a thought.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    The Intangibles

    I should have known when I was asked my height and how much I could bench press that my real title would be "office muscle," not marketing project intern.

    There are certain things that cannot be conveyed on a resume like body measurements, ability to boost office morale or to think quickly and solve problems. In my first two days interning I believe I have given a glimpse of my potential for greatness.
    First, however, we'll need to discard the story of how I jammed the copier in my first hours on the job. Sabotage?

    My fringe skill set that can't be conveyed on card stock was first displayed when I was asked to grab a binder from a high shelf. This is nothing new for me as honorary member of the Cincinnati Shrine Circus. At least once a month some hag, I mean sweet old lady who confused moth balls for perfume, asks me to get her the jar of pickles on the top shelf at the grocery. I love pickles as much as the next guy, but do the geriatrics think this preserved cucumber has magical properties?

    My other strong showing came yesterday with the shuttling of several heavy boxes filled with festival guides. The boxes needed to be sent to various arts outlets in the city. A glut of the boxes were in the conference room and needed to be in the vicinity of the reception area for the messenger service. After lifting two heavy boxes, I used my brain.

    I loaded a wheeled chair with three boxes and slid the chair to the front. Brains over brawn. Every day. This saved not only time but precious back muscles. While I do trust that my pilates regimen has been doing wonders to strengthen my lower back, I save all the energy I can. I also saved the company from potential workman comp claims for physical therapy which could have reached tens of dollars.

    So, future employers (whoever you might be), when you hire me and give me the sweet corner office and keys to the corporate bathroom remember that you are getting more than a sometimes hard worker with diverse experience, and more than the experience listed on my resume. You are getting all the intangibles.

    Sunday, August 24, 2008

    Is that you quasi-employment?

    Tomorrow marks the start of my third internship.

    Tuesday marks the start of my fourth internship.

    Somewhere in between 8:30 a.m. Monday on the train and 6 p.m.-ish on the train home Tuesday I will likely question the purpose of my life. Both internships are unpaid, but cover travel expenses. One will be marketing and PR work and the other will be video editing and production for a comedy theater in the city.

    Beyond the main issue of not having a permanent job, these internships signal the end to a style of life. I was getting accustomed to looking for jobs all day. I didn't say I liked that style of life.

    I am an anti-shaving, anti-socks, anti-belt, shorts-wearing kind of guy. This doesn't always mesh with corporate America. I suppose they'll want me to shower on a regular basis too. When does it end? I will not be molded. Lots of people talk about settling into a career, but I need to draw the line somewhere.

    In reality, I am looking forward to these opportunities. I am always looking for more material and I am pretty sure people don't like hearing about the job I saw on Craigslist. Now, I'll have something to talk about on the phone beyond that crazed squirrel in my backyard that thinks it's a cat. And there's always the hope of an office romance. For the record, I have nothing against long as they can provide the lifestyle to which I am accustomed and deserve--four square meals and cable television.

    Yeah Mondays.

    Thursday, August 21, 2008

    Missing: HUGE Whale

    Please post this flier at local beaches and underwater oases. This story is very upsetting. I hope things work out for baby Colin.

    For the video from Australia...

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008


    Perchance Mount Isa is the paper bag capital of Australia or even the world.

    My love grows more and more for Australia with each story I read about the happenings in Oz. The latest comes from the Times Online.

    John Molony, the mayor of Mount Isa in northern Queensland, suggested to the Townsville Bulletin newspaper:
    “If there are five blokes to every girl, we should find out where there are beauty-disadvantaged women and ask them to proceed to Mount Isa. Quite often you will see walking down the street a lass who is not so attractive with a wide smile on her face. Whether it is recollection of something previous, or anticipation for the next evening, there is a degree of happiness.” He added: “Often those who are beauty-disadvantaged are unhappy with their lot. Some, in other places in Australia, need to proceed to Mount Isa, where happiness awaits. And, really, beauty is only skin deep. Isn’t there a fairy tale about an ugly duckling that evolves into a beautiful swan?”
    Since my secondary plan for my trip to Oz involves the search for a wife, this story has proved beneficial in informing me of the apparent lack of lasses in Queensland. The ladies of the town, of which there are suspiciously no pictures in the story, have naturally taken to protesting this disparaging view of their Aussie sisters by the mayor. He will not back down. Clearly the town is in need of some objective judgment. Therefore, I submit my application to deem whether Mount Isa women are fuglier than other cities. This will be exhausting work, but I've been training for this all my life.

    The story continues:

    One 26-year-old man described the town as the “beer goggles capital of Australia” because the male population was not at all choosy when it came to the opposite sex. Paul Woodlands, 25, a builder, told the Townsville Bulletin: “There’s definitely a lack of beautiful women. Blokes are not as picky - you take what you can get.”

    The Ribbon is Our Bitch

    Olympic Greatness:

    Also go here for more.

    Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    Pig Squeels for Wellies

    First, check this out.

    If you are too lazy to click a link, here's the synop: Six-week old piglet Cinders cleverly discovered a way to avoid a certain future in a skillet near you. Perhaps while watching a recent episode of Monk, Cinders plotted her "fear" of mud.

    Cinder's owners fitted her with her very own pair of "Wellies," formerly adorning their child's key chain. I did expect for the Wellies to be a bit more fashion-forward like these:

    Now, Cinder can walk in the mud sans fear of getting dirty.

    Mr Keeble and wife Debbie, both 42, run a sausage company and keep about 200 pigs on their 1,000-acre farm.

    But the father-of-four said there was no chance that Cinders would be slaughtered.

    "She's more of a pet really now and she's going to live a very long and happy life," he said.

    With a name like "Cinders" is their doubt that the piglet was destined for the stove?

    I'm sure they tell ALL the piglets that they will live very long and happy lives, all the way to the slaughterhouse.

    Cinders isn't the first pig thirsty for fame. She comes at the curly-tailed end of a long line of porcine princesses.

    There was , also a compulsive worrier.

    Then came our literary friend Wilbur in E.B. White's .

    All leading up to , the mistaken-identity pig who can impress in the sticks as well in the city.

    I fully expect Cinders to extend her brand beyond the fenced confines of North Yorks. Expect her own line of Wellies, perhaps with sausages or lil piglets flying. I also heard a movie deal was in the works, after a guest spot on next week's episode of Monk.

    Friday, August 1, 2008


    China gets all the perks. First it was announced that they would play host for this year's Olympics. If that weren't enough they also got the total solar eclipse.

    You can go here to check it out in case you missed it. They have a few videos recapping the amazing event. Totality occurs a little after 51 minutes in the telescope-only video.

    I will always be amazed by the cosmos. I do recall a solar eclipse when I was in elementary school that was truly amazing.

    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    Patch Print Problems In Three Easy Steps

    I'm a parasite.

    A leech.

    According to this article in the Maui Time Weekly I am part of the problem, not the solution. Ted Rall makes some interesting market-based points about how to remedy the tanking print industry. Among them, all newspapers should pull the plug on their online offerings.

    Other suggestions included copyrighting every article and cease participation in wire services.

    Other key points:
    • "The New York Times or the big city daily has better news, but how much better?" said San Jose State University business professor Joel West. "If it's $20/month (or even $10 or merely requires a login) will readers bother? Most won't. As with other commodities, better loses to 'good enough.'"
    • "A reader of The New York Times' print edition generates about 170 times as much revenue as someone who surfs (This is because print readers spend 47 minutes with the paper. Online browsers visit the paper's website a mere seven minutes)."

    Friday, July 25, 2008

    Be Gabriel Almeida

    Attention journalists: You may recall introductory lectures from your journalism classes instructing you on a story's legs and newsyness. Well, Gabriel Almeida is getting the press all of our professors foreshadowed.

    SAO PAULO (Reuters) - An 11-year-old boy is enjoying a flash of fame in Brazil after biting a pitbull that attacked him as he played in his uncle's back yard, local media reported on Thursday.

    Gabriel Almeida, who lives on the outskirts of Belo Horizonte in the state of Minas Gerais, broke a canine tooth when he bit into the dog's neck to fend off an attack. Since then, he has been pampered in the studios of several TV stations, where he has been recounting his ordeal.

    And what do we all know class? Dog bites man isn't a story, but Man bites dog certainly is.

    "I grabbed him by the neck and bit," he told O Globo newspaper. "It's no big deal. It's better to lose a tooth than to lose your life.

    "He was freed when bystanders pulled the dog off him and needed four stitches in his arm.

    Thursday, July 24, 2008

    What's Wrong With 'Sex Fruit'?

    From the AP wire/Yahoo! News:
    WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A family court judge in New Zealand has had enough with parents giving their children bizarre names here, and did something about it.

    Just ask Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii. He had her renamed.
    I don't see many problems with Talula, perhaps the problem arose due to the 'does the hula' part. It sounds more like an instructional video than a name. Using verbs as middle names is inventive. At least we know the girl's parents took something from school. They can form simple sentences. Subject. Verb. Object.

    The story continues saying the judge listed other odd names that were prohibited. I wonder if the recent celeb baby names were on the list. Among some of the nixed names were: Fish and Chips, Yeah Detroit, Keenan Got Lucy and Sex Fruit.
    • Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin take note; naming your kids after food = not cool.
    • Everyone knows Detroit sucks.
    • I'll take a guess that Keenan and Lucy were the parents.
    • Frankly, I see no problem with Sex Fruit. I was planning on attaching that moniker to my first born.
    According to the story, allowed names include "Number 16 Bus Shelter" and "Violence."

    Prez Candidates' Reps Discuss Media

    TV Week posted this article yesterday regarding McCain's and Obama's views on media ownership and access.

    Candidates’ Differences on Media Outlined

    Barack Obama would more closely examine broadcasters’ public-interest obligations, while John McCain would ensure that the government doesn’t take steps to interfere with the Internet’s growth, surrogates for the candidates are suggesting.

    At a forum Tuesday sponsored by the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council, former FCC Chairman William Kennard, speaking for Obama, and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce John Kneuer, speaking for McCain, offered sharply different views of the Federal Communications Commission’s future under their candidates.

    This was an interesting point refuting the Web as an equal alternative to traditional broadcast.
    Mr. Kneuer, now senior VP of strategic planning and external affairs for Rivada Networks, also said proponents of consolidation wrongly cite the Internet and new media as providing competition, when most Americans still get their news and information from traditional broadcast and cable media. Advertisers too spend most of their media dollar on the traditional media.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008

    File Under C for Coincidence

    This one comes from the Tribune wire services.
    NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A Continental Airlines flight carrying former presidential candidate Ron Paul and six other members of Congress to Washington, D.C., made an emergency landing in New Orleans on Tuesday after a loss in cabin pressure.
    Here's where it gets good:
    The seven congressmen, all from Texas, were trying to get back in time for a Tuesday night vote on an aviation safety bill when the flight landed without incident, a spokesman for one of the representatives said. No injuries were reported among the 128 crew and passengers.

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    Are You On the List?

    The other day I received an email invite to a bar promotion near Wrigley. I pride myself on these open bar opportunities, not because I'm a lush but because I'm cheap. Open bars, like all-you-can-cram-in-your-mouth buffets, are largely wasted on me. Most open bars tend to have stipulations like only beer or cheap well drinks. For someone with the discriminating palette of a finicky 15-year-old girl, I stay away from wasting brain cells on things that don't taste good. I am still holding out for an all-you-can drink amaretto sours night.

    Nevertheless, the email flier said to print out the email and bring it to the bar. I'm a guest list kind of guy. A guest list has panache and cachet that a printed piece of paper just can't compete with. Essentially, it's a coupon for free admittance. While I am a firm believer in the power of coups, I don't like bringing them to clubs. Perhaps it's my own paranoia but I never thought coupons woo the ladies.

    The issue of guest lists reminds me of their negative elements. Due to the burgeoning Greek life at Northwestern, some fraternities applied some lessons from econ class to create demand at their functions.
    Eager to see what all the hullabaloo was associated with frats I ventured out one winter night with some dorm mates. The frat had a rotund fellow at the door equipped with, what else, a clipboard. My posse briskly walked up to the entrance where the bass beat was steaming out of the open front door. In a deep bass voice, he inquired "are you on the list?"

    Stupefied, we stood there for a moment. We didn't know anyone in this frat. Meanwhile, the females in our congregation walked right in. Speaking quickly with chattering teeth we decided to hit up a different frat with more lax admittance policies.

    At one point, I was hired to be a bouncer. I'll save that story for another post.

    I, like most people, prefer to be on the list.

    Thursday, July 17, 2008

    Race for Blanco

    As a child (and arguably as an adult) my art skills weren't even good enough to elicit platitudes comparing my work to abstract. I remember going to my grandma's house and coloring. For school and at home, I had the standard box of eight crayons. But when I went to my gram's I got to choose from 64, everything from sky blue to fire red and those sparkly ones. The rainbow in a box also had a white crayon, which had hardly been used.

    As I fill out applications for internships and job openings I am increasingly irritated. In addition to causing posterior pain, the self-identification section is hurting my self-esteem.

    In an application I can't mark any of the good boxes. I'm a fully abled, non-veteran male who is able to work legally in the U.S. with no prior felonies. If that weren't bad enough, I'm also "white." Every other group gets better options, like Pacific Islander. I'd hire a Pacific Islander solely on that fact.

    Obama gave his race speech. Here is mine. I want a race option that's better than a non-color. Thanks to my sister, who is an artist and coincidentally able to color inside lines, I learned that white is not a color. I want something with a hyphen. Whoever makes these applications usually sticks "white" at the bottom of the options. So, as I'm going through the application I'm reminded of all the things I'm not.

    Furthermore, none of the other groups are defined by color (or non-color in my case). But what are the alternatives? Caucasian? Cracker? Honky? All viable options, but none of them sing to me like a Pac-Islander.

    In my paranoia and attempt to explain why I don't get called for interviews I deflect all personal responsibility. I do what most "white" people do. I pass the blame.

    The Future is Near

    YouTube and TiVo are teaming forces to integrate YouTube content into TiVo's services. The story was reported here in The Hollywood Reporter. This marks what will certainly be the trajectory of future media, incorporating Web content on the TV.

    I think this will class up the ever-erudite destination for sneezing pandas and crudely-made montages.

    The partnership, according to the article, will only allow those with the latest series of TiVo to access the content.

    Words of Encouragement

    The Wall Street Journal ran "The Declining Value Of Your College Degree". It focuses mainly on older graduates, but I think the situation has worsened for recent grads.

    Thursday, July 10, 2008

    Splish Splash

    The joys of unemployment and summer never cease. With a pal from university, I headed to the local water park for an afternoon of slides, ogling and luke warm agua. Leaving my Venice Beach lifeguard shirt at home, I had hopes of a possible Sandlot moment, where I'd be rescued by my very own Wendy Pfeffercorn.

    It should be mentioned that my swimming ability is on par with that of the gorillas.

    Side note if I may. So, as I was writing the above sentence I researched to find an animal that can't swim. Google led me to Yahoo! Answers. Beyond the numerous comedians, scroll down to Fallin' Angel's (apparently their wings are broken) post. I'm not sure why the person posted their message. Why would you go on Yahoo to promote Google? Do they work for Google? Are they trying to? Is Fallin' Angel a Google disciple, a goociple, if you will? That just sounds like a dessert no one wants.

    -"I'm all out of ice cream. Can I interest you in a goociple?"
    -"No. It's getting late. I should get going."

    In no way does that assist the person. Why would you take the effort to post "check out Google"?

    I also learned, according to Betty, that kangaroos can't walk backwards. I'll have to verify if/when I go to Oz.

    Back to the pool...with my protective triple coating of Ocean Potion to prevent additional burnage, Brian and I surveyed the park's offerings. There was a kiddy pool with barely enough water to dip in my big toe. But, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't drown in the 2 inches of water. We skipped that and headed for the slides.

    There were four slides. Two for body luging and two for tubin'. The teal slide was a leisurely descent into the pool. The pink slide was deceptive. I usually equate pink with peaceful. This slide made me scream like a six- and 3/8 ths-year-old girl. An added benefit was the nasal colonic. This wasn't mentioned in the brochure, if it had there might have been a larger geriatric representation. I think water managed to blast all the way through my sinuses and to my brain.

    The tube slides were fun and cushioned my ever sensitive bum from the re-entry.

    Another enjoyable activity, in addition to people watching, was the Coral Corral. The ideal for laziness. Step one: sit in inner tube. Step two: let water push you around. That's it. It was pretty relaxing aside from the kids that thought of the lazy river as some sort of bumper tubes game. I decided that someday when I have excess money and a large estate, instead of a moat I'll install a lazy river thing. For when I want to move in the water without any physical effort.

    It was a fun time, but the park could have used a regular pool for those interested in that sort of thing. I'm not saying I'm at the stage to be swimming laps but I'd like the option.

    Friday, July 4, 2008

    Epic Display of Patriotism

    "This is one of the greatest moments in sports history."

    "The passion is raw, but the hot dogs are cooked."

    Nothing screams American pride quite like competitive eating. Nathan's Hot Doge Eating Contest just finished after a five dog eat-off between Joey Chestnut and Takeru "Tsunami" Kobayashi, which apparently has never happened in the annual Coney Island-hosted event. This year marked the 93rd time eaters pitted their stomachs against others.

    I love the hyperbole used in sportscasting. The announcers managed to hang the future of the world on the outcome.

    Winning hot dog count: 59 (plus 5 dog eat-off).
    My record for hot dogs eaten in a day: 4.

    So this Fourth of July, be sure to load up on calories and forget about all those who are starving elsewhere in the world.

    Wednesday, July 2, 2008

    ...And the Murrow Goes to

    It struck me a bit odd today when I read that media awards themselves for disaster coverage. The RTNDA announced the 2008 winners of the Edward R. Murrow Awards, honoring excellence in electronic journalism. The awards will be presented at a swanky dinner on Oct. 13, in New York.

    Isn't standard award procedure to announce the nominees, THEN have a dramatic reveal at the dinner? This sounds like a pseudo event. They are doubling their news coverage of the awards. Maybe we can secure a late award for best coverage of the awards?

    Despite all of the negative press regarding Katie Couric as host of the CBS Evening News, the program won for best newscast. Take that NBC and ABC.

    The awarding of disaster coverage reminds me of Mitch Hedberg's sketch regarding reservations at restaurants.

    Sadly, our blog did not bring home any Murrow's. Consequently, there will be no after party. We'll get 'em next year.

    Saturday, June 21, 2008

    It's In The Stars

    The other day I read my horoscope as I was paging through the Chicago Tribune. I was instructed that today would be a good day to ask for a raise. Seeing as I currently pull down the large sum of zero dollars an hour, which totals $0 every two weeks, I thought it was good advice. Some day, hopefully soon, when I have a job, I await the return of this horoscope. At which point I will walk into my superior's office, slam down the torn piece of paper and say "I think we need to talk."

    Has anyone ever followed the advice of their horoscope?

    I'm waiting for the "Today is a 1. Go back to bed." horoscope. Usually the forecasts for the day are at least a 3. Maybe the writers fear their influence on the person anxiously reading their horoscope as they inch toward the ledge of a skyscaper seeking some advice what to do.

    I have yet to read an obit that says someone was found with the horoscope section beside them. The grim prediciton: Today is a 1. That sounds like a short film. Who wants to film it with me?

    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    And I send my tape to...?

    I'm pretty sure he won't be back. Then again, he's been with the station since 1990, according to Wikipedia. Now, to whom do I send my demo reel?
    I could do crazy stuff like this. He should have looked down at his "script" or made some sort of pause.

    Odd Jobs

    As I spend most of my day trolling through the classifieds and online advertisements for alleged openings, I come across some opportunities that seem too good to be true. Such as this posting on Craigslist:

    Drive Icecream Truck, Make Kids Happy, Get Paid Daily!!

    Here's the full ad:
    Date: 2008-06-19, 9:32AM CDT

    I am looking for someone clean cut (check) and has a good driving record (debatable). This is a 6-7 days a week job. Hours will be from around noon until dark. Different pay options available. Commission or Hourly. Pay starts at $10.00. Call Jason Today (his last name is Today? That must be rough.) to set up an appointment. Applicant must be at least 18 years old or older (Isn't that covered when you said "at least"?). Male or female (Check). Must live within 15 miles from Elgin (double check) Spanish speaking a plus! Cash Paid Daily (I love cash)! 847-###-####. Do not email me.

    A few things here:
    • I had a good driving record until that ticket for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign.
    • I think this should be reworded to "This job will be your life."
    • I love making kids happy.
    • There is no mention of being able to tolerate "Turkey and the Straw" for hours on end.
    Please post other dream jobs you come across.

    Taking Pilates Back

    It has come to my attention that mentioning my penchant for pilates is construed as feminine. The mere mention that I got my quasi-chiseled physique through the aid of pilates elicits a giggle from the people I tell, mainly the ladies. Therefore, it is time that the record be set straight about the intensity and hyper-manliness of pilates.

    For those unaware of the history of pilates, the exercise was developed to keep veterans mentally and physically strong.
    "...emphasizing control and form to aid injured soldiers in regaining their health by strengthening, stretching, and stabilizing key muscles."

    That's right. Soldiers and veterans. No mention of yuppies or soccer moms.

    A cursory glance at fitness/pilates DVDs provides a view to some Arian society, where all the members are slim, fit females. There are very few discs that have a man as the instructor. I'll blame Mari Winsor and Los Angeles for this travesty.

    My interest in pilates began when I started going to physical therapy for a hip injury incurred while practicing for a dance show. I attempted to do a dip with my partner and my leg wasn't positioned properly. Subsequently, my leg moved in a way it wasn't supposed to move.

    The therapist and orthopedic doctors said I injured my hip flexor muscle, so this wasn't a standard boo-boo. Among my recommended strengthening exercises were some pilates movements to strengthen my legs and abs. I've never been one to exercise consistently. I'm a walker not a runner. After about a month of rehab I started to notice muscles in places previously characterized as nondescript. These muscles came at a price. Pilates isn't easy. It involves sweat and, for me, a reminder of how inflexible I am and how far my toes truly are. So, I continued to do pilates and the stretching exercises. I bought a Swiss exercise ball and began branching out in my fitness regime.

    So, men, rise up. It is time we reclaim pilates as our own. Women, you can keep the tight-fitting aerobics wear, but your theft of our masculine exercise regimen is over.

    Tuesday, June 17, 2008

    That Other 10 Percent

    During an IHS lecture by Carolyn Lochhead of the San Francisco Chronicle, she mentioned how showing up is 90 percent of the battle of being a journalist. As I recall the other 10 is miscellaneous factors to being a good journalist. Inspired by this, I have decided to show up at area newsrooms ready to work.

    The other 10 percent could be actually being permitted to work someplace. Nevertheless, I am resolute in my goal of employment. I wonder what sort of reaction I'd get by simply showing up. My theory is a quick refusal by security or the receptionist, but it certainly would show moxie.

    I've also thought of going to local city hall and school board meetings to write briefs about what happened and submit them to the local papers. It would serve as a pencil sharpener for my writing skills and could be a foot in to a job.

    Monday, June 16, 2008

    Travel back home

    For some of us going home proved more difficult than anticipated. It was hard enough saying goodbye to the new friends and free beer. While promising to stay in touch as if it were some semblance of summer camp, travel woes exacerbated the pain. For me, it was clinical separation anxiety. It all I said my farewells with Brian. You may have seen the now famous chest bump video, if not it is definitely Must See tv.

    The trouble truly began with the chest bump and doing it a second time for Kristy and her camera. Brian and I were going to take the train to the airport with Jen from Seattle, but I wanted to say my buh-bye's and one thing led to another...Brian and I got to the train just as the train pulled up. There was a problem. Neither of us had any cash. So the train system that strands you downtown when it sprinkles, will also leave you out in the heat if you are without cash.

    Here's where I may have changed the future. I never thought I had any supernatural powers, but this may be exhibit A. So, I missed the train. I called to see if my flight was on-time, which United told me was on schedule. At that moment, thinking it was possible for me to miss my flight, I thought please let my flight be a little delayed. Famous last words.

    We took the next train and switched at 30th Street station. It was on the second train that I had a super gross-out moment. I had stashed some donuts, a half of an egg bagel and an apple in my carry-on for an in-flight snack. On the train, I popped a donut in my mouth. After a few bites, I glance down into my bag. Little ants crawling all over the place. I stopped chewing, reached for a napkin and promptly expelled all contents from my mouth, possibly including teeth, into the napkin.

    We arrived at the airport around 4 p.m. and I made it to my gate by 4:30. My flight was supposed to leave at 5:35.

    It was delayed...and didn't leave until 10:30. Yeah airlines!!! In my mind, I saw this delay as a cinematic opportunity to say some dramatic farewells. That didn't happen.

    If that wasn't bad enough, the real fun began when I landed in Chicago. I had to go into the city to meet up with my mom and sis at a hotel near Wrigley Field. That should be a 30 minute trip. I got my luggage, got on the L and was on my way. After two stops the train halted. There was construction on the track. So, I had to take a bus around the construction to get back aboard the train. I ended up taking a taxi from where the bus dumped me in Jefferson Park to Wrigley. I put my bags down at 1:30 a.m. local time. That's right friends, 10 hours of traveling using trains, trolleys, cabs, buses and don't forget the feet.

    I would have rather spent time with my friends then sitting at the airport.

    Feel free to share your travel woes. I have set the bar. Jump over the bar.

    Saturday, June 14, 2008

    A Week In Review

    Their motto was "Sleep Less. Think More" at the Institute of Humane Studies. Initially I was opposed to this credo as it goes against most of my core values, namely "Sleep More. Think Less." According to my crude arithmetic skills, I spent 44 hours in discussion groups with nearly 70 attendees and nine lecturers during the 7-day seminar, but each waking moment fostered lifelong friendships and memories.
    The amount of sleep lost--I think I averaged 4-5 hours of sleep a night--is inconsequential when compared to new pals and intellectual stimulation.

    Here are a few of the many things I learned:
    • No one can ever truly be well-read. There are too many great books. But I will certainly try.
    • If you stick 70 people on a college campus with a supply of alcohol crazy things will happen.
    • To differentiate yourself: Know something big. Do something big (Kevin Williamson, Deputy Managing Editor National Review).
    • The Simpson's can explain everything from philosophy to economics.
    • Ask questions of everyone. Be inquisitive.
    • Be Great at one skill. Good at two. OK at 2-3 (Chris Harper, Professor and former international correspondent).
    • Be edgy.
    • Grand Funk Railroad was not a funk group from the '70s.
    • Journalists work for their readers.
    • People with good handwriting always end up being the writer in groups.
    • All great businesses get started in bars or garages.
    • The handicap shower stall is far superior to the regular one.
    • Don't wait for opportunities, create opportunities.
    I would highly recommend those around college age participate in seminars like this one from IHS. In addition to the social benefits, you are exposed to different ways of thinking and alternate ways to view the world. I wish my college experience had been like this seminar. All of the lecturers were interested in getting to know the participants and helping in whatever way they could, whether that be explaining a topic or discussing what music they rock out to.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    We The People

    It is one thing to read about the history of our country in text books. It is quite another thing to go where our country was founded. Suddenly it all becomes real. The founding fathers become more than text on a page, more than aged, two-dimensional images.

    Along with a group of more than 20 other seminar participants, I ventured into Philadelphia to take in the sites in the sweltering heat. There were rotations of who was the leader. I enjoyed a brief stint as guide and failed to lead the posse to the Old Tavern. Nevertheless, we went to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

    The gravitas of our founding sunk in during the lecture at Independence Hall. The bravery that was required to separate from the oppression of British rule is remarkable.

    Apparently in Philly, if there is a thunder storm the Septa train line we took shuts down. Subsequently, the final group of eight who stopped for a nightcap had to take the underground, then a trolley, then walk a good 2 miles back to campus. We made it, somehow.

    I was glad I was able to share the experience with so many of my peers from the seminar. While we did wander around in search of places to eat and see I think we succeeded in getting a taste of the history of our fair nation.

    Philadelphia is my mistress.

    Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    Are Journalists Mutants?

    In the long line of evolution from the Greek forefathers of journalism, Herodotus, Pheidippides, Thucydides, journalists have developed genetic modifications allowing them to write and process information faster.

    After several lectures enumerating what it takes to be a journalist, certain traits were repeated. One of the first lectures of the week by former foreign correspondent and current journalism professor Chris Harper emphasized the importance of a resilient liver. In his travels he often had to build confidence with his sources by spending times in the local saloons (not sure if Rocky Raccoon was also present). Story after story stresses the dirt that was uncovered at the local bar.

    Another modification is the over-sized bladder. This comes from the Murdoch book I referenced earlier, where the author cites another journalist who covered a meeting with Murdoch. Chenoweth explains that the secret to getting the story is largely influenced by being able to sit for long periods of time without bathroom breaks.

    Carolyn Lochead, D.C. Bureau Chief for the San Fransisco Chronicle, professed the benefits of sharp elbows and all talked about thick skin.

    A photographic memory and ability to write concisely have all become part of the journalist's ability to get the story no matter how sloppy their notes or how badly they need a bathroom break.

    When I was speaking with someone about my theory, she had mentioned one of the major weaknesses of this "mutant race." Near-sightedness. Journalists without their glasses or contacts are lost. It is their kryptonite.

    Sunday, June 8, 2008

    Got to Circulate to Percolate

    Is it brotherly to charge $10 for a $7 train ride? Aside from the suspicion of being duped on the public transit fare, yesterday began my voyage to Philadelphia and journalistic enlightenment.

    The flight went smoothly and was a series of firsts. It was the first flight with on-board entertainment. A group that will be appearing on Conan's show Wednesday night was also flying from Chicago to Philadelphia. The front-woman for the group sang "At Last" acapella, including a shout-out to the captain toward the end of the song ("For you, Captain, are mine at last."). The other first also featured the pilot of our air bus, which coincidentally was an AirBus. June 6 happened to be his son Drew's birthday. So, before we took off he called his son and everyone on the plane sang "Happy Birthday."

    I ended up making it to Bryn Mawr without much difficulty aside from the sweltering heat. Temperatures were in the 90's with high dew points; a bad combination. I did keep track of weight loss due to sweat. Current total: 6.7 lbs.

    The seminar thus far has been a great experience. The open discussion format makes me wish that my college experience had been different. The lecturers/professors are open to discussion and sharing their expertise. The lecture last night by Chris Harper pertained to being an international correspondent. Harper has worked for the AP, Newsweek, ABC News and traveled the world, sometimes taking his family along, covering news.
    He provided tips on getting started in international reporting along with stories from his career.

    Below are some of the quotes:
    "Look where the crowd isn't."
    "Got to circulate to percolate."

    "The first casualty of war is truth."

    "Give war a chance."

    Harper shared a story about time spent in Russia and the mandatory drinking the established rapport with his future sources. It seems an unwritten skill set that journalists should have is a high tolerance and functioning liver.

    Initial Hotel/Dorm Report: The bed is reminiscent of concrete. The air conditioning is more like a fan. The toilet paper is single-ply. Room size is generous and has a scenic view. No mint on my pillow.

    Also, Uzbekistan is the new Siberia when someone references being dumped in the middle of nowhere. More lectures today. Off to breakfast.

    Tuesday, June 3, 2008

    It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Media Sector

    My most recent trip to the local library netted two books: Rupert Murdoch: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Media Wizard by Neil Chenoweth, and Media Madness: The Corruption of Our Political Culture by James Bowman.

    Bowman presents some interesting arguments in his text. His thesis pertains to how the swelling of journalist's self-importance, "lack of humility and sense of proportion" have affected our culture. I found some of Bowman's points valid. He explores how the pretense of objectivity in the news ignores the reality that bias is inevitable, how "sensationalism and hyperbole used to sell more papers or television advertising warps the media's sense of reality," and how the media affirms its intellectual superiority by being able to decode hidden objectives for political actions. Bowman wrote the goal of the book was not to "attack the media" but how media madness "has produced a breakdown of the common political language and an impoverishment of the ability of the two sides in a democratic debate to talk to each other."

    There were some issues and arguments to which I agreed with the author and others I didn't. Yet, when I came to the below passage I found Bowman's solution to a societal problem disturbing. He was discussing the circular reasoning and "root causes" media uses to explain situations. Bowman uses the example of poor schooling. Media, he wrote, claims less obvious root causes to justify their role as information disseminators.
    "Ignorance, for instance, as a result of poor schooling, cannot be caused by the poor schooling itself, which would be the obvious cause. No, the poor schooling must itself have a less visible cause that, in effect, exonerates the educators who are doing such a poor job. (pp. 86)"
    The following quote is what shocked me:
    "I believe, for instance, that it would be relatively easy to get rid of failing schools and give all children a decent primary and even secondary education. It could be done in very short order if all you did was clear out the incompetent and ineffectual teachers and administrators who are consuming public resources to no purpose and give their replacements the necessary moral and legal as well as educational tools to do the job properly. Among these would be the right of individual teachers or administrators to discipline pupils by any means they chose, including physical punishment. (pp. 87)."
    I included the whole passage so as not to misrepresent what Bowman wrote. He doesn't claim to be an expert on education, but I find his solution disturbing and ineffectual. I concur that there are teachers and personnel who aren't suited for the education field. I don't, however, think that physical discipline is the solution. Education is certainly a problem in our society and there is an alarming disparity in funding for different schools. Some under-performing schools already serve as daycare centers for youth. Bowman's remedy sounds more of a prison, where disobedience is met with physical violence.
    There is nothing like fear to educate. Bowman makes the same style of brash simplification and conclusion that the media does in its reporting. He too asserts his opinion as fact.

    Friday, May 30, 2008

    Proposed Network

    The networks have released their proposed schedules for the Fall season, with most stations maintaining previous lineups. The new additions got me thinking.

    Fox will add an X-Files-esque show, Fringe. CBS said they will mix-in new dramas and comedies. In addition to more reality offerings, ABC will try importing a Brit procedural, Life On Mars. The peacock network will attempt to claw its way up from the bottom without making many changes.

    You can read all about it here.

    With these new lineups being pitched to advertisers I have my own pitch. A network, possibly TNT, devoted solely to Law & Order. They came pretty close to having all justice, all day on Memorial Day with 13 hours of the crime procedural. If you are a master of the remote, you can piece together your very own L&O network by flipping around the cable spectrum. For those who don't wish to skip around from channel to channel an all-encompassing network would fill the gap. Advertising could be bought by the ambulance chasing lawyers often found in midday television.

    Hey Batter Batter

    On May 18 I attended my second Cubs game of the week. The Cubs matched-up with the Pittsburgh Pirates for a 1:20 p.m. game. Marcel, a former journalism professor of mine, met me at the park to observe the news. An acquaintance from high school also met us in the bleachers. I would have potentially had my pick of bleacher spots had there not been an accident on the expressway delaying my bleacher mate was traveling to the park. Had Marcel been on time I wouldn't have been able to witness what I consider one of the biggest crimes in Cubsville.

    Had Marcel been on time I wouldn't have been able to
    witness what I consider one of the biggest crimes in Cubsville. I was pacing by the Harry Carey statue when I stopped to take a look at Harry. To what did my wondering eyes see but a passerby stop, assume the position and puke right in front of Harry. Unluckily for Harry, the sculptor included Harry's famous glasses in the rendering allowing him to see the extreme party foul.

    I opted to take the unreliable expressway and made surprisingly good time (30 minutes) getting to Wrigleyville.

    The weather, typical of Chicago, varied by the inning. If the clouds impeded the sun, it was chilly and windy. When the sun decided to grace the bleachers with its radiance, it felt like 85. I felt like one of those Russian dolls, taking layers on and off depending on the sun.

    I also learned thanks to Marcel that the hot dog vendors aren't shouting for "hot dogs." Rather they are extolling the need for "CONTEXT" in journalism.

    The game itself was a good duel with the Cubs pulling out a 4-3 victory on their road to the playoffs.

    Bleachers are an interesting place to see a game. I usually prefer the comforts of a seat with a back but every once and a while you need to experience the Cubs from the famed bleachers. Toward the end of the game I commented to my party of three how the bleachers should be a singles only area. I'll pass that along to the higher ups.

    Friday, May 23, 2008

    Fully Baked

    Man tries to buy snacks with pot (Chicago Tribune--May 21, 2008)

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A New Zealand man who offered to pay with marijuana when he did not have enough money for a snack was caught by a police officer who overheard his unusual proposal, a news report said Tuesday.

    Wade Churchward, 28, went to a service station on March 22 in
    the capital, Wellington, where he picked up two packets of M&M's candy and some potato chips, the Dominion Post newspaper reported.

    But when he reached the cashier, he realized he didn't have enough money and instead offered a container with 0.042 ounces of marijuana and a pipe for smoking it, the report said.

    Churchward failed to notice a patrol car outside and a police officer standing behind him in line — who promptly arrested him.

    Sounds like an extreme case of the munchies. You have to give the guy credit though. He was able to find his way to the store (and jail). If only the chips were Funyuns or Sun Chips.

    I'm not sure on the exchange rate of pot to cash, so was this was a fair trade? Churchward was also quite generous; he offered the pipe too.

    I wonder if and how he posted bail.

    Ripped From the Headlines

    Belligerent donkey gets out of jail (Chicago Tribune--May 22, 2008)
    TUXTLA GUTIERREZ, Mexico — A Mexican donkey has been freed from jail after doing time for acting like a jackass.

    The Televisa network Wednesday showed Blacky gobbling food from a bucket after spending three days in a jail that normally holds people for public drunkenness and other disturbances.

    Blacky was jailed for biting and kicking two men near a ranch outside Tuxtla Gutierrez, capital of Chiapas state. Officials freed the donkey after its owner paid a fine of $36 and the $115 hospital bill of the men, who suffered bites to the chest and a broken ankle. Authorities say he also must pay $480 to each man for missed work days.
    In regard to the headline: was the donkey really belligerent? I'm sure a donkey can put up a good fight, but belligerent? Did it refuse an attorney or assert its innocence? Did Blacky scream discrimination or profiling?

    What the article doesn't mention is whether or not Blacky's wife and children were awaiting his release. Can you imagine the reactions of the others in the drunk tank when they tossed Blacky in the clink? Did the policia dangle a carrot in front of the donkey's head to get it in the jail?

    Blacky had no comment when released.

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    Medium Rare, Please.

    Dinner? How did the cow get this big? The secret is hinted at half-way through: eating another cow.
    Cow in England stands 6-foot-6
    Cow in England stands 6-foot-6

    Friday, May 16, 2008

    Around the Web

    Two quick stories I read on Reuters today:

    Game of cat and mouse blacks out city

    TIRANA (Reuters) - A cat chasing a mouse in Tirana's main power station caused a 72-hour blackout across parts of the Albanian capital, the electricity company said on Friday.

    "A cat and a mouse ran into the high-voltage cables," a company spokeswoman said, showing pictures of the electrocuted animals. "We took pictures because we've never had anything like this."

    Albanians complain bitterly about the power cuts that have plagued them for decades, and are mostly blamed on drought and the dilapidation of the communist-era grid. Most homes and shops in Tirana rely on petrol generators.

    And we worry about terrorists cutting our power. We need to reexamine our priorities. Have we learned nothing from Tom & Jerry?

    Oh deer! Man cops wrath of amorous stag

    SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian man was gored in the thigh on Friday by an amorous stag after entering a deer paddock in the middle of the breeding season.

    The 26-year-old worker at the tourist farm near Sydney ignored signs on the paddock gate warning people to keep out and was charged by the stag, the husband of the farm's owner told Reuters.

    "It was the middle of the rut (breeding season), that is why the animal was acting like it did," Barry Hibbard told Reuters.

    The man, who was apparently trying to feed some grass cuttings to the deer, was taken to hospital after the incident and is expected to be sent home later on Friday, Hibbard said.

    Hibbard said the animal was usually very docile, but did not take kindly to the intrusion of another male into its territory.

    "He had six or seven girlfriends, you can imagine he would be protective in those circumstances," Hibbard said.

    "I know I would be if I was that lucky."

    I'll add this story to my brain bank as I study up on the country for my fellowship application. As the adage goes, don't hate the player, hate the deer during rut.

    Tuesday, May 13, 2008

    They've Got The Hustle. They've Got The Muscle.

    The Chicago Cubs are on their way. As were my mom and I for last night's game against the San Diego Padres.

    Surprisingly, in my 15 years of going to games and nearly 23 years cheering and drooling for the Cubbies I had never been to a game with my mom.

    The game consisted of nearly all of the requisite Cubs experiences, excruciating drive into the city, scavenging for a place to park, being offered multiple copies of Streetwise, public drunkenness, hot dogs, cheering and high-fiving.

    You may have noticed an omission in the list of Wrigley experiences. As per my advice to those who like clean restrooms, AVOID Wrigley's facilities if at all possible. I recommend the McDonald's across the street, unless of course you enjoy waiting 20 minutes and sloshing around the pool that doubles as a washroom.

    As to the game, my mom scored us seats in the Terrace reserved outfield section. They were decent seats save the steel support beam and the woman double fisting Mai Tai's. Also a credit to my mom, in my years of going I have never seen batting practice. She managed to get us down to Wrigley in enough time to see the Padres take some swings.

    The first few innings went quickly with the Cubs taking an early lead off of a Derrek Lee double. SD answered in the top of the 3rd and went ahead in the top of the 5th on a solo home run. But this year's team isn't like those of the past. The Cubs exploded with 6 runs in the 5th and another 5 in the 6th.

    We took off after the 5th and headed for the car. It was a little cold and the Cubs seemed to have this one in the bag.

    So, for the statisticians keeping track, the Cubs are 1-0 when my mom and I go to Wrigley.

    You Sing It

    As the angelic choir chirped in with the Rolling Stones that you can't always get what you want I wondered if I could just get what I want every once and a while.

    On that upbeat note, my efforts to secure a job as a writer/director with Jellyvision have, at this point, been foiled. After completing a unique writing audition/assessment regarding how gliders work my prose didn't make the cut. I'm growing tired of these feats of strength and brilliance that companies put you through. Let's just skip all that and have a Darwinian extreme elimination obstacle course.

    The prospective employers can stand by while jeering and throwing rotten fruit. There could be hurdles, a three-legged race, pie eating, a writing assessment, something from that British show where you had to urinate in order to buzz in. Let's make it one HUGE, ludicrous spectacle. There could be judges and those not chosen get exiled to Elba. Trump could oversee the festivities. Oh the possibilities.

    Subsequently, I am seeking funding for this ridiculous reality show, so if you know anyone...

    By the Rolling Stones logic, it looks like I need to be unemployed.
    Listening to: The Rolling Stones - You Can't Always Get What You Want
    via FoxyTunes