Friday, April 29, 2011

Great Comment About Birther B.S.

This is a comment from "Shane E" regarding a post on Clarence Page's blog about birther blow-hard Donald Trump:
Looking at this circus from a more detached, foreign perspective (I'm Australian) it amazes me that a country once as progressive as the U.S has become so bogged down in these kinds of fringe, almost lunatic politics.
In many ways I think this reflects most poorly on the education system in that it has produced a culture of anti-intellectualism, where evidence becomes secondary to rhetoric, where logic and reason can no longer compete with scandal, conspiracy and rumour-mongering. 
Democracy is a wonderful thing but the U.S politic system is seriously at risk of degenerating into a government of the idiots, by the idiots and for the idiots - with serious thinkers marginalised to the point of powerlessness.
There's not really anything I can add to that.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Borders Recommends...

Months ago I read a review of a since-forgotten book that favorably mentioned Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz, so I put it on my list. Subtitled Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, it is not the sort of book I normally would purchase or even come across (I rarely browse the Religion section of a bookstore). After searching many Borders bankruptcy sale shelves, I found it last week for about $3.50. Although many other books were calling to me when I got home, I chose to read Blue Like Jazz right away.

Tuesday I got my semiweekly e-mail from Borders Rewards. It starts with a section called "Picked Just for You: Personalized recommendations we think you'll enjoy." Usually they recommend things that I probably would not enjoy, so I have no idea how their system works. seems much better at predicting what I will like based on previous purchases. But this time, the first book listed was Blue Like Jazz! How weird is that? I cannot recall ever getting a recommendation for a book while I was reading it. It's not like they are pushing a new release either; the book came out in 2003.

Animal Groups Send Mixed Messages

I received e-mails this week from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary regarding the upcoming holiday.

The HSUS writes:
No Hoppy Easter
Animal shelters take in a large number of rabbits following the Easter holiday. Learn why you should give the real bunnies a break and stick to the chocolate ones.
Okay, but then Best Friends writes:
Happy, hoppy Easter
We hope you have a very happy Easter! And please take a moment to remind everyone you know that we want the bunnies and chicks of the world to have a happy Easter too, which means please don’t give them as Easter gifts.
Shit, now I'm confused. Although the underlying message is the same, I don't know whether my Easter should be hoppy or not!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Something to Crow About

If I had to name the most embarrassing album in my CD collection, it might be Sheryl Crow's debut, Tuesday Night Music Club. I liked it well enough when I bought it (I still like that line about being born the day Aldous Huxley died*), but I had no idea how much I'd dislike everything that followed in Crow's career. I have not even remotely considered buying another disc from her since. I do enjoy singing along when "Every Day Is A Winding Road" comes on at the grocery store, but only to change the lyrics to "Sheryl Crow is a whining broad" (and I mean no disrespect toward women; broad just fits the meter well).

But this entry is not about Crow's first album or her whining song. It's about one of the best lyrics I have ever misunderstood. One day "Soak Up The Sun" was playing at the grocery store (perhaps Crow's genre is grocery store music).  Then as the song was ending -- always the best part of a Sheryl Crow song for obvious reasons -- I thought I heard her say, "I'm gonna soak up the sun/Got my 45 gun/So I can rock on."

I thought that was the coolest line ever. What a delicious twist! The whole sunny song suddenly turned dark. I could imagine Crow caressing her trusty .45 caliber, planning to launch a killing spree of vengeance against everyone else in the song (after all, she's singing about all the things others have that she does not).

Alas the next time I heard "Soak Up The Sun", I figured out that Crow was singing "Got my 45 on" and that she was referring to a 45 rpm single, not a .45 caliber pistol. Damn, that song could have been so much cooler.

* For anyone who doesn't already know this bit of trivia, Aldous Huxley died the same day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. And for those who believe such things come in threes, C.S. Lewis died that day, too. Someone even based a book on it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No Space Shuttle for Chicago

What a bummer. I was already thinking about how much I should contribute to the Adler Planetarium for the building to house one of the retired space shuttles, but all we get is the old simulator from Houston. Now I guess I'll save that money to travel to Washington or Los Angeles instead (I have no intention of willingly visiting Florida ever again). Sigh.

Advice to Mayor-elect Emanuel

Whenever you're not sure what to do about one of Chicago's problems, just ask one of my suburban relatives. They always seem to have all the fucking answers.

Isn't it strange how people who don't live here -- have never lived here -- take such an interest in telling us how our city should be run?

Friday, April 01, 2011

Borders Bucks

If I told you I earned $55.00 in Borders Bucks last month, would you think it was an April Fool's Day joke?

Okay, then go ahead and think that. And don't do the math.