Saturday, October 30, 2010

Support the USO

This morning my wife said, "We got a calendar in the mail from the USO full of touching moments."

I replied, "Well, I'd rather get a calendar of touching moments from the USO than from NAMBLA."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mayor Rahm Fucking Emanuel?

I don't know whether Rahm Emanuel will be the next mayor of Chicago or even whether I will vote for him, but there's one thing I love about the guy: his language. While the Mayors Daley (father & son) have been known for malapropisms and other colorful speech (Daleyisms predate Bushisms), Emanuel curses like a truck driver. When the mayor is under fire at a press conference, I'd rather see Emanuel dropping f-bombs like a B-29 than Daley sputtering some sort of incoherent response.

Suggested campaign sign slogan: "Rahm Emanuel: Fuck Yeah!"


The other day I was watching TV when one of those cheesy "Omnaris to the nose!" commercials came on. And I thought, Wouldn't it be great if Omnaris treated hemorrhoids instead?

I can see it now... Those guys dressed like a Devo tribute band shout, "Omnaris to the anus!" which is already an improvement because it rhymes. Then you see those little guys scaling some fat truck driver's hairy ass. When they get to the crack, they tip the Omnaris bottle like Marines planting the flag on Iwo Jima!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Illinois' Proud Political Tradition

Last Sunday's Chicago Tribune included an interesting history of the U.S. Senate seat up for grabs this year (Obama's former office, currently filled by Blagojevich appointee Roland Burris). Among the many rogues in our state's past, William Lorimer (senator from 1909 to 1912) stands out:
After the legislature picked Lorimer as senator, one lawmaker confessed that he had traded his vote for $1,000. (A Chicago Tribune editor paid the lawmaker three times as much for his confession.) Soon other legislators also admitted taking bribes. But the U.S. Senate ruled Lorimer could keep the seat, noting that the number of corrupt votes was smaller than Lorimer's margin of victory. When even more allegations piled up, the Senate finally expelled Lorimer, who turned his attention to his other business: banking.
My favorite part is the parenthetical sentence. Paying the legislator -- who, though unnamed, is the real villain in Lorimer's tale -- three times the bribe he took in exchange for a confession isn't exactly a high point in Chicago journalism.

Fun math problem: If, instead of being paid to that legislator, the $3,000 had been invested in stocks at an average rate of return (and assuming it didn't get wiped out in the Great Depression), how much would it be worth today? Would it be enough to bail the Tribune Company out of its financial woes?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

An Editorial Mystery

As an editor/proofreader, my eyes are drawn to errors whenever I read. As a writer, I sometimes wonder about the origins of those errors. Simple typos are obvious, but consider this from A.J. Jacobs' The Know-It-All:
That's an strange concept, I think to myself. (page 66 of paperback edition)
It is possible that the author initially typed an instead of a, and no editor caught it.

But maybe an was correct in the sentence's original form. Perhaps instead of strange, the author first described the concept as odd or unusual, in which case an would be appropriate. Then in a revision the author or editor changed the adjective to strange but neglected to change the article to a. That seems more likely to me.

Needless to say, Evelyn Wood's acolytes would not pause to ponder such editorial mysteries.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mayer Vs. Mayor

Take this quiz over at Mental Floss to guess whether twelve quotes are from John Mayer or Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

For what it's worth, I totally kicked ass on this -- I only missed one! (And I hardly know John Mayer except for a recent Rolling Stone interview.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Why does thinking about how fat I have become make me so hungry?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Missed Graphic Opportunity

I watched the Chicago Bears play the Carolina Panthers today. Starting quarterback Jay Cutler got a concussion last week so he didn't play. Whenever they showed him standing on the sidelines, I think they should have had little birds flying around in circles over his head like they do in cartoons.

You know you're getting old when...

You're watching a football game and start thinking, Gosh, those guys fall on the ground a lot. They have to get up a lot. I'd get tired if I had to do that for a whole game. I'm getting tired just watching it on TV. I think I need a nap. I hope I wake up before the game is over. *Sigh* They'll show the highlights on the news later anyway.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

You Won't Find This Ride in Biking Illinois

Some places are never bicycle-friendly:
Bond was set at $200,000 Friday for a south suburban man charged with riding a bike on an O'Hare Airport runway Thursday night, then trying to go inside the terminal through a security door.
If you are traveling with your bicycle and don't want to ride around aimlessly on the runways dodging 747s, check out the Bike Access website. It includes information about airlines, airports, trains, packing, shipping, rentals, and more. Much of the site consists of posts by cyclists sharing their experiences. The page for O'Hare Airport is here.


When I look in the mirror, I see a middle-aged, overweight caricature of myself.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Big-Ass Headphones

I was walking down my block today and saw a kid walking a dog. In spite of my generally sour blogging demeanor, I am surprisingly neighborly so I prepared to exchange hellos. Then I saw the D-cup-sized headphones covering his ears. In this age of discreet iPod ear buds, there's no better way to announce to the world that you want to be left alone than wearing big-ass fucking headphones.*
Search for headphones

* If you ever doubted that hyphen placement matters, picture a pair of big-ass fucking headphones and then picture a pair of big ass-fucking headphones. Gee, I wonder why no one has asked me to write a grammar primer for elementary school students. (I hope I'm correct in assuming that my mother no longer reads this blog.)