Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Jokingly, she said, "Korn.... and what's that other band I have that you think sucks? Tool?"
I shot back, "Every CD you had before you met me sucks."
"But I had some R.E.M. CDs..."
"Okay, so you had a few R.E.M. albums and Appetite For Destruction, but other than that..." She also tried to get rid of those R.E.M. CDs -- the only reason we still have them is because I wanted to get rid of my vinyl copies.
Speaking of R.E.M., I have been enjoying the heck out of the recently released collection from their early years on I.R.S., And I Feel Fine. Ah, the good old days when Michael Stipe wasn't so damn weird. He even had a head full of hair. Best of all, that period ends before Green, which includes my least favorite R.E.M. song, "Stand." "Stand" makes "Shiny Happy People" sound deep, and it must have disgusted Sly Stone that it shares a title with one of his best songs.
The first time I listened to And I Feel Fine was on a midnight grocery run. I ended up driving all over the North Side until the first disc was finished. I was tempted to play the second, but it was already 2 AM so I went home.
Although R.E.M. made a couple of great albums after the I.R.S. days, I completely lost interest in the band when they released Monster. I'm still not sure why since I liked its predecessor, Automatic For The People. I guess their time for me had passed. Some bands are like that -- vitally important during a certain period of one's life, then cast aside. And I Feel Fine is a celebration of the years when R.E.M. mattered to me.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
It's been a while since I looked up Biking Illinois on Google. Here are a few of the new links I found:
- Alice at Gaper's Block reviewed my book along with several other Illinois titles, including the venerable Off The Beaten Path.
- My local bookstore, The Book Cellar, has been very supportive. They added Biking Illinois to their Web page of Chicago books.
- My list of the best places to ride in Chicagoland besides the lakefront (North Branch Trail, Des Plaines River Trail (Lake County), Waterfall Glen, Fox River Trail, Moraine Hills, Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail, Busse Woods, Illinois Prairie Path, Salt Creek Trail) is still on the Chicago Tribune's Web site.
- I enjoy seeing my book listed by libraries. I've lost track of which ones I've mentioned, but at least a dozen from all over the state come up on Google. It looks like the Chicago Public Library purchased quite a few copies! At this moment there are six copies checked out throughout the city, including one of the three carried by my local Sulzer Regional Library. My hometown Oswego Public Library has it, too.
Finally, I should mention that I switched to a new version of Blogger this weekend (coincidentally along with Internet Exploder 7.0), so now you can read all of my entries about Biking Illinois by clicking on the "Biking Illinois" label.
The ex-Marine colonel told Nicaraguans that they had "suffered enough from the influence of outsiders" -- a remark meant to criticize Hugo Chávez's support for Ortega but that some, considering North's role in running the covert operation that illegally funded the anti-Sandinista Contras in the 1980s, must have mistaken for a confession.Indeed, Latin America has suffered from the influence of outsiders ever since President James Monroe told Europeans to stay out of "our" hemisphere, especially after Teddy Roosevelt came along with his big stick. North's little scheme was only a brief --albeit shameful -- chapter in our Latin American meddling. For any American to fly down to Nicaragua and make a statement like that to the people takes chutzpah; for North to do it makes him a bastard.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
The entire article is worth reading. I can only hope Americans will pull their heads out of their arses long enough to make the right decisions at the polls today. We've got to get those Repubastards out of power, and taking Congress back from them is the first step.
"In this new kind of war, we must be willing to question the enemy when we pick them up on the battlefield," Bush told a crowd in Sellersburg, Indiana, on Oct. 28, as if in the old kinds of wars, captured enemy troops weren't questioned. (They were questioned, but U.S. policy strictly forbade torturing or otherwise abusing them.)
Then, referring to the capture of alleged 9/11 conspirator Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Bush said, "when we captured him, I said to the Central Intelligence Agency, why don't we find out what he knows in order to be able to protect America from another attack" -- as if CIA officers wouldn't have thought of that on their own.
Bush contrasted his eminently reasonable suggestions with crazy positions that he attributed to the Democrats, whom he claimed opposed detaining, questioning, trying and spying on terrorists.
"When it came time on whether to allow the Central Intelligence Agency to continue to detain and question terrorists, almost 80 percent of the House Democrats voted against it," Bush said, as the crowd booed the Democrats.
"When it came time to vote on whether the NSA [National Security Agency] should continue to monitor terrorist communications through the Terrorist Surveillance Program, almost 90 percent of House Democrats voted against it.
...(omitted call-and-response with crowd)...
But Bush knows the Democrats are not opposed to eavesdropping on terrorists, or detaining terrorists, or questioning terrorists, or bringing terrorists to trial.
What Democrats -- and many conservatives -- object to are Bush's methods: his tolerance of torture and other abusive interrogation techniques; his abrogation of habeas corpus rights to a fair trial; and his violation of constitutional safeguards and existing law, such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which already gives the President broad powers to engage in electronic spying inside the United States, albeit with the approval of a special court.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
I've reached the point where I hardly care who wins on November 7 (especially since I can't vote for Bean or Duckworth anyway -- my congressional district is safely in the hands of Rahm Emanuel). I'll just be happy that I won't have to listen to those negative political ads anymore. Alas, 2008 is just around the corner, and I can only hope Chicago's mayoral election next year doesn't employ the same annoying tactics.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
I won't respond directly, but I'd like to remind everyone that there are plenty of great road rides in my book, too -- rides you won't find anywhere else (everyone asks me about the trails, but the roads took much more research). Also, no one should expect my bike path descriptions to be as detailed as those in Jim Hochgesang's excellent county books -- Biking Illinois covers the whole state, for goodness' sake!
I think Amazon customers deserve more than two reviews of my book. If you've read Biking Illinois, please write your own review at Amazon.com, good or bad. Thanks.
UPDATE 02/14/2007 - I don't know when it happened, but I noticed today that the negative review has been removed from Amazon.