August 30, 2009

Kid Quote of the Week

Ian: Why do they call it the "tube"?

Brendan: Because that's what a TV is, a giant tube where the picture is projected through

Ian: Oh, I thought it was because of YouTube
- Ian, who was shocked to learn later that YouTube has only been around for a little over four years

August 28, 2009

Great Way To Start The Morning

Don't know why they painted it. Don't care. I think it's fantastic.

Robocop on a unicorn

I'd buy that for a dollar.

August 27, 2009

That Ain't a Chicago 'Stache

Entertainment Weekly has a preview of Hugh Jackman and Danial Craig from the new Broadway play that they are debuting in this September. The play is called Steady Rain and is about two Chicago policemen.

the mustache worn by 3 out of 4 Chicago copsWolverine and James Bond caused a stir here in Chicago about a month back when they dropped in un-announced to tour some police stations and other typical Chicago cop hangouts to get a little background research done. Considering that they are an Aussie and Brit portraying Chicago police officers, it was probably helpful to see how good Midwestern cops handle themselves.

From the photo EW publishes, it's obvious that one of the things that Mr. Craig noticed was the walrus mustache that is so popular with Chicago's finest (see a fine example at the right). Unfortunately, I think Mr. Craig should have taken a few more photos for reference. Instead of sporting a walrus 'stache he ended up with some form of cheesy porn 'stache that looks like he used this website for reference.

Dude, even James Bond can't make that stache look good
Dude, that ain't a Chicago 'stache.

August 26, 2009

The Fat Lady Is Singing

I didn't turn the Cubs game on last night until the 5th inning. At that point the Cubs were losing (at home) to the Washington Nationals (the worst team in the league) by the score of 9 - 1.

The first thought that came into my head, "It's over."

And I wasn't thinking about that night's game. Though that proved to be true as well, as the Cubs limped along to lose 15 - 6.

Just stay at home ZambranoNo, I figured that if it's the end of August and your trailing the division leader by 9 games and your losing to the worst team in the majors by 8 runs in the 5th inning, then your season, for all intents and purposes, is over.

The 2009 Cubs are over. They won't win the division, the Cardinals are too good and are playing too well right now. The Cubs don't stand a chance for the wild card. They are 8.5 games back in that race to teams that have played consistently better baseball all season.

Lou Piniella keeps saying that the team just needs to put together a good winning streak and they'll be right back in the hunt for the division title.

I'd like a little bit of whatever Piniella is smoking or drinking. Cubs haven't won more than 5 in a row all season - and that only happened once or twice. When you're 9 games out you gonna need a bigger winning streak than 5 to even make it look like a race.

The Chicago Tribune published a little factoid in their print edition (I couldn't find it online) that showed what the Cubs would have to do down the stretch (and how the Cardinals would have to play) if Piniella and the boys wanted to win the division. In other words, the Trib did the math on the prospects for the remainder of the Cubs' season.

The result doesn't look good. Regardless of how the Cards play, the Cubs pretty much have to play near or above .700 ball over the next six weeks. I don't think anyone who has followed the Cubs this season believe that this is possible. They've basically been a .500 club all summer. Why would things suddenly change in September?

I will still watch games through to the end, but at this point I'm calling the Cubs season over.

August 25, 2009

5 Things I Think

  • It never fails to astound me how loud people will play their headphones. Rode the train home the other day and it was like being stuck between two dance clubs - lots of bad looping drum machines and the stench of body order.

    People are stupid.

  • Why do so few people like liverwurst?

    I know it’s a horrible name, but it is very tasty.

    I think you should give it a try.

  • I thought advertisers had reached the apex of annoying with their in-show pop-up TV ads, until I saw this story on Wired last week.

    CBS Embeds a Video Playing Ad in a Print Magazine

    Not only does it play every time you open to that page – there’s no volume control. It just plays really, really loud.

  • The Movie Title Stills Collection is a wonderful way to kill time.

    It’s interesting to note how the designs reflect the time periods stylistically as much as they reflect the film they introduce.

  • Empire Magazine’s listing of the 50 Greatest Movie Sequels is a lot of fun to read through.

    I liked that they featured Batman Returns (#13) – which I’ve come to regard as the better of the Tim Burton-helmed Batman films.

    I found their Top 10 particular interesting, but was shocked that The Godfather II was not ranked #1. I won’t ruin the surprise – go read it for yourself – but I think the Empire staff makes a good argument for why they chose the film that they did for #1.
  • August 24, 2009

    Chicago Bears vs. NYC Giants: Pre-Season Thoughts

    Years ago I hardly gave pre-season NFL football much attention. The handful of games before the regular season began was a bunch of throw away exhibitions with non-big name players that meant very little to me.

    But over the course of the past few years – either through shrewd marketing tactics by the NFL or my own growing fanaticism with the Chicago Bears – I find myself not only watching more pre-season games, but sticking with the games longer. I don’t drift off when the first teams don their baseball caps on the sidelines. Instead I stick around to see how the rest of the players make out.

    This is what I thought about Saturday night’s game against the New York Giants.

    Cutler and Forte celebrate
  • The offense needs Matt Forte as much (maybe more) than it needs Jay Cutler

  • How Jay Cutler played Saturday night is more in line with what all Bears’ fans were expecting when the trade was announced this past spring. I hope it continues into the regular season.

  • I didn’t understand it when the Bears gave Devin Hester #1 Wide Receiver money when they extended his contract a year ago and I still don’t see that sort of value in Hester on the field now.

  • After two games I think I’ve heard Al Afalava’s name called more than anyone else on the Bears defense. And I think that's a good thing.

  • Brian Urlacher was looking slow

  • Earl Bennett looks like a much better deal than Hester

    I’m looking forward to this weekend’s game against the Denver Broncos – mainly because of the circus that having Cutler and Kyle Orton on the same field in Denver will bring.
  • August 23, 2009

    Kid Quote of the Week

    "Whenever I hear that bell ring I know you are coming. You're like a cow"
    - Emma explaining to Heather the interesting side effect of Heather wearing the necklace Emma made her.

    August 20, 2009

    5 Things I Think

  • Keith Morrison – worst. TV news person. Ever.

    I run from the room when I hear his voice.

    The man can’t just report on his story, he has to make it into some sort of lame Lifetime movie plot.

  • The couches in our family room are getting pretty beat up (damn kids – its why we can’t have nice things).

    But I think I found the perfect replacement couch.

    I think Heather will love it

  • I think it’s silly to pass judgment on Chicago Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler after one pre-season game, but damn – 6 for 10, an INT, and 3 points?

    I didn’t think I was buying too heavily into the Cutler-Will-Save-Us frenzy that has been whipped up in Chicago, but I was particularly underwhelmed by that performance. So maybe I am.

  • Saw a guy reading this magazine on the train the other day and I almost pee'd my pants I laughed so hard at the title – or maybe that should be "I almost crappie'd my pants."

    Not the exact cover I saw - but close enough
    I know I’m tweaking the pronunciation for a cheap laugh, but come on . . .

  • I think Bill Murray is the best celebrity sports fan out there. The guy demonstrates a genuine love and knowledge of Chicago sports teams, even so far as to show up at road games.

    Bill Murray at the Cubs - Padres game Wednesday night
  • August 19, 2009

    Elizabeth, Explain This . . .

    Okay my sister the big important attorney, you need to answer for your profession.

    From Chicago Bar-Tender:
    A woman has sued the Brookfield Zoo in a slip and fall case that she claims started with the dolphins.

    In the complaint, Allecyn Edwards states that the zoo "recklessly and willfully trained and encouraged the dolphins to throw water at the spectators in the stands making the floor wet and slippery."
    I can imagine a person wanting to try and sue because people are stupid.

    But aren't attorneys supposed to be smart? I thought that's why you went to school for so long.

    How can any attorney accept this case with a straight face and clear conscience?

    Dude, Just Go Away

    Even though he was the bane of Chicago Bears teams for years, I was always a fan of Brett Favre when he played with the Packers.

    However, my opinion of him has gradually eroded with his inability to finally hang up his helmet.

    Dude, just go away.

    August 16, 2009

    Kid Quote of the Week (Classic)

    "The power is up your's!"
    - Ian, circa age 3, not quite getting Captain Planet's battle cry right.

    Fast Food Mafia

    I think this is bloody brilliant.

    Fast Food Mafia by silentsketcher
    The art was created by silentsketcher

    August 14, 2009

    How I Met My Wife

    Did I ever tell the story about how I met my wife?

    It’s a spine tingling epic full of laughter, tears, and dolphins; but it started with Heather winning over my attention pretty much like this:

    August 12, 2009

    Top Fifteen Movies

    A friend sent this to me via tagging me in a Facebook Note. I thought it was fun exercise, but I couldn't bring myself to participate in the spammy element of the note and re-sending it out.

    So I'm posting it here.

    Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen movies you've seen that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. (Here's the spammy part I won't participate in:) Tag fifteen friends, including me because I'm interested in seeing what movies my friends choose.

    The Godfather
    The Empire Strikes Back
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Bringing Up Baby
    The Usual Suspects
    Bugsy Malone
    LOTR: Return of the King
    It's A Wonderful Life
    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence
    Pulp Fiction
    On The Town
    Viva Las Vegas
    White Christmas
    It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
    Spirited Away

    Venn Diagrams for Relationships

    Sheldon captures relationships perfectly in his "Venn Diagrams for Relationships" strip today.

    snippet from 08.12.2009 Sheldon comic strip - click to see the whole comic

    The strip is too large to re-publish here. Click through and read the whole thing.

    August 11, 2009

    5 Things I Think

  • Has anyone done an acoustic version of "Back In Black" by AC/DC? I think that would be interesting to hear- and I’m not an AC/DC fan. I like the opening riff to that song and think it might sound better acoustic.

  • I wonder if Patrick Kane beating up a cabbie over $0.20 is a sign of tougher, more physical hockey playing Kane or a drunk, stupid 20 year-old?

    My guess: drunk, stupid 20 year-old.

  • I can’t think of a more versatile and consistently excellent actor than Cary Grant. I was reminded of that this past Sunday when TCM featured the actor’s films.

    The man did all sorts of movie – goofball comedy, romantic comedy, suspense, drama – and was always excellent and believable in them.

  • I think it is amazing (and slightly disturbing) that amount of grown adults who never grasped the bigger lesson behind their parents asking the question, "If your friend was jumping off a bridge, would you?"

  • Ian starts organized football through his school this week. I don't think Heather and I or he fully understands what's about to happen to us.

    I'm curious to see how things play out once practices and games start up, but the build up to this point has been a lot of fun.
  • August 10, 2009

    Is Kane Paying for Problem to Go Away?

    Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks was allegedly involved in a robbery and assault against a Buffalo, NY cabbie this past weekend. According to the cab driver, Kane and another man beat and robbed the cabbie when he didn’t have twenty cents to make change.

    On Sunday the 60 year-old cabbie was claiming that he "wants the case to receive the same type of prominence from the mayor's office, police and prosecutors."

    On Monday morning the cabbie’s lawyer’s was on WGN radio with this to say, "It's pretty much been blown out of proportion," LoTempio told WGN. "It's a dispute over the cab fee and unfortunately Mr. Radecki didn't recognize Mr. Kane and just thought they were a javascript:void(0)couple of college kids."

    Last season Patrick Kane made $3.725 million playing hockey for the Blackhawks.

    One word comes to mind – "payoff"

    August 09, 2009

    Kid Quote of the Week

    "Dad, be funny"
    - Zoe walking up to me with a friend in tow, looking for me to perform on the spot.

    August 07, 2009

    John Hughes

    John Hughes died suddenly this past Thursday of a heart attack while out for a walk.

    Hughes single-handedly created the modern American teenager movie with films like Ferris Bueller's Day Off, 16 Candles, and The Breakfast Club in the mid-1980's.

    There have been plenty of things written in tribute over the last two days for the producer, writer, and director; but of all the posts and articles I've stumbled upon, the two I've enjoyed the most are Empire Magazine's 20 Reasons Why John Hughes Rocked The 80s and this piece of art from Cliff Chiang riffing on the poster for The Breakfast Club.

    Cliff Chiang artwork

    Now I think I'd like to go watch Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

    My Health Care Rant

    I've been baffled and frustrated with the debate over health care that has been so dominate over the last few months. I didn't understand the rush to pass legislation and I don’t care for the scare tactics and incendiary language that both sides use when publicly debating the issue. Don’t give me "what if's" and "coulds," give me facts so I can decide for myself.

    Then I found this article on Huffington Post by Dr. Mark Hyman and realized what was really bugging me about the great Health Care Reform debate – The White House and Congress isn't working on reforming health care in America, they are reforming health care insurance.

    Hyman argues that what we need to do is work on creating better value out of health care, not lower costs so we can do a greater volume of care. If we change our approach to health care so that it focuses on creating a better product – healthier people who don’t get diseases or illness – then lower health care costs will follow.

    It’s an argument that makes more sense to me than the idea of government run insurance plans and negotiated lower prices from pharmaceutical companies. Improve how we deliver health care – what the grand purpose of health care is - and the upside is healthier people who are reliant less on the health care system downstream.
    "If the medical visit does not incorporate the science of 'health creation', in addition to symptom suppression, then the burden of disease and the cost of health care will continue to rise unchecked. There is only one problem. The focus in health reform is on doing what we already do better, not doing the right thing. We are looking for ways to pay less for what we are already doing, not pay less as a result of improving the 'product' of health care - the health of the individual, and communities."
    Of course, in a health care system that has grown up around a premise of treating the sick, this kind of change will be difficult. Nobody wants to give up their golden goose.
    "The unspoken secret in health reform is that if we are to reduce our costs, including improving value through improving health outcomes per dollar spent, and health care costs are potentially reduced from $2.5 trillion to $1 trillion annually, then some in the health care system will be out significant amounts of cash. We can't just keep doing the same thing and pay a little less and expect a different outcome. The industries that profit from the sickness and obesity of Americans will have to retool to profit from health promotion, or go out of business."
    Ultimately I have little hope that the men and women in Washington crafting their reform package will actually deliver a plan that has lasting positive value. In the end, any bill passed will probably be an exercise in re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic and at a considerable high cost to tax payers.

    I Don't Drink Coffee, Thanks

    I know I post a Pearls Before Swine comic here about once a week, but I just can't help it. The guy is fantastic.

    Pearls Before Swine - 08.07.09

    August 06, 2009

    When is Her Album Coming Out?

    Emma is 8 years-old and wrote the song "Snow Day" all by herself.

    I thought the song, and her performance, was awesome.

    Then I saw/heard her playing "Notion" by Kings of Leon, and now I'm a fan.

    Tempted to move us to Seattle so we can all start taking lessons from Heartwood Guitar Instruction

    Investment Opportunity?

    Maybe I buy stock now and sell for profit 20 years from now for the bankroll to have my own tattoo removed.

    Tattoo removal firm aims for IPO as black ink flows
    "Tattoos are becoming more common in the workplace and in society," Keefe (Dr. Tattoff's chief executive) said. "My suspicion is that along with that, the tattoo regret factor will only grow as people get older."

    I'm Not Who I Thought I Was

    I was cleaning out some boxes in the basement last night getting items ready for a donation to the Purple Heart Veterans organization when stumbled up this:


    Amazing, huh?

    Not sure how my parents kept this secret for so long.

    Apparently I am a full year older than I thought I was.

    The certificate clearly states that I was born in 1971. Not 1972 like I've been walking around telling people all these years.

    Oh, and I guess I can't be President of the United States either.

    August 04, 2009

    5 Things I Think

  • Reading this article makes me want to take a day off of work, head over to the Art Institute of Chicago, and spend an afternoon sketching.

  • ESPN is producing a documentary about Steve Bartman – the poor guy who reached to catch a foul ball in Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship series between the Chicago Cubs and Florida Marlins.

    According to ESPN, the purpose of the documentary – which will probably not feature Steve Bartman – is to answer the question, "Can Bartman ever forgive Chicago?"

    I wonder when ESPN and other sports media will come to understand that this isn't a story anymore. It was interesting for about 15 minutes because Moises Alou threw a tantrum about missing the ball and childishly blamed Bartman. Since then I think everyone understands that this one misplayed foul ball didn’t ruin the Cubs' chances of getting to the World Series, it was the poor play by the Cubs after that foul ball and in Game 7 that doomed the Cubs.

    Bartman only remains a story because outfits like ESPN keep bringing it up.

    The question I think should be asked is, "Can Bartman ever forgive ESPN for making more out of this than anyone else is actually interested in?"

  • I love stories like this: Organic food not healthier, study finds

    Of course next month there will be a study showing that people who eat only organically grown food live, on average, 13.2 years longer, earn 11% more than non-organic eaters in the same jobs, and routinely experience multiple organisms while riding their Vespas.

    Doesn't matter to me. I like Ho-Hos.

  • I wonder how much longer Lou will tolerate Carlos Marmol’s horrible pitching.

    The guy simply can’t throw strikes. Every time I see him go out to the mound I want to turn the game off. I don’t want to deal with the stress.

  • Finished reading Echo Park by Michael Connelly yesterday. It was a book I picked up at the library used book sale for a $1. I recognized Connelly’s name as a popular crime/suspense writer and thought I would give him a try.

    The book was interesting enough. Well plotted and thick on police procedural. However he lost points with me because he wrote a story that made too many assumptions about the reader’s existing knowledge of previous Connelly-penned books starring the same character.

    I understand that Echo Park was like the fifth or sixth book featuring Detective Harry Bosch of the LAPD, but even your fifth or sixth book is still somebody else’s first book.
  • August 03, 2009

    My Navel Gazing Post for the Month

    Maybe it sounds obsessive, but I am always reconsidering and re-evaluating what I think and how I feel about my parents’ divorce. At this point, it’s been almost 30 years since they split, but I still find myself dwelling on what happened and how it has affected my brother, my sister, and me.

    During these last 14 years I’ve received a new and different perspective on these past events as they have been filtered through my own experiences as a husband and father. I can’t help but compare and contrast my own marriage with the failure of my parents’.

    It is because of this perpetual naval gazing and introspection that I find an article like this one at the New York Times so particularly fascinating. A wife refused to accept her husband’s decision to quit on their marriage, but interpreted his request for a divorce as something else. Her response was unique and unconventional by today’s standards of lawyering up and a quick exit. Even though it appears things have worked out for them at the end, I can’t help but wonder if going through that ordeal will make their relationship stronger or introduce a larger specter of doubt.

    Regardless, I found the writer’s observations about the source of personal happiness and relationships interesting and good fodder for my own constant self-evaluations.

    And then I wonder how things may have been different if my father and mother had read her article 30 years ago.

    August 02, 2009

    Kid Quote of the Week

    Zoe: "Did you pay for Ian's gift?"

    Brendan: "No, Mom stole it from Target."

    Heather: "Zoe, I paid for it."

    Zoe: "Oh, that was a good idea."
    - Zoe inquiring into how we obtained Ian's birthday gift and revealing her well developed sense of right and wrong

    Being An Adult

    Sometimes this is exactly how I feel - like I'm pretending to be an adult.

    xkcd comic from 7/28/09via xkcd