Thursday, November 2, 2006


Substance in Red Wine Extends Life"... NY Times 11/1/2006

Man, I am fucking immortal!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Desperate Measures

As reported in Wall Street Journal 10/19/2006 in an article about low poll numbers for Republicans in the November election.

House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, yesterday sent an email to the media suggesting House Democrats would "plot to establish a Department of Peace, raise your taxes and minimize penalties for crack dealers.".

So now the Democratic Party is the party of big government, higher taxes and a thriving crack market.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The America I Want To Belong To

Barack Obama gave the commencement speech at NU a few days back. It wasn't Gettysburg address or anything--more of a kind of revamped JFK inauguration speech. But it spoke to things I have not heard this administration which gave us the Abramoff lobbying scandal, the Iraq tragedy/travesty, the antigay marriage amendment, the bullshit flag amendment, and the most divided America I’ve seen since the Viet Nam era, consider, much less address. Obama’s speech is about thinking of others not as people you conquer or ignore, but try to understand.

Some excerpts:

“Cultivate empathy: There’s a lot of talk in this country about the federal deficit. But I think we should talk more about our empathy deficit, the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes; to see the world through those who are different from us the child who’s hungry, the laid-off steelworker, the immigrant woman cleaning your dorm room.

As you go on in life, cultivating this quality of empathy will become harder, not easier. There’s no community service requirement in the real world; no one forcing you to care. You’ll be free to live in neighborhoods with people who are exactly like yourself, and send your kids to the same schools, and narrow your concerns to what’s going on in your own little circle.

Not only do we live in a culture that discourages empathy. A culture that too often tells us our principal goal in life is to be rich, thin, young, famous, safe, and entertained. A culture where those in power too often encourage these selfish impulses. They will tell you that the Americans who sleep in the streets and beg for food got there because they’re all lazy or weak of spirit. That the inner-city children who are trapped in dilapidated schools cant learn and won’t learn and so we should just give up on them entirely. That the innocent people being slaughtered and expelled from their homes half a world away are somebody else’s problem to take care of.

I hope you don’t listen to this. I hope you choose to broaden, and not contract, your ambit of concern. Not because you have an obligation to those who are less fortunate, although you do have that obligation. Not because you have a debt to all of those who helped you get to where you are, although you do have that debt.

It’s because you have an obligation to yourself. Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation. And because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you will realize your true potential and become full-grown.

Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. And it will leave you unfulfilled. I often think about the young Americans, teenagers and college kids not much older than you from all over the country, watching the Civil Rights Movement unfold before them on their television sets.

I imagine that they would’ve seen the marchers and heard the speeches, but they also probably saw the dogs and the fire hoses, or the footage of innocent people being beaten within an inch of their lives; or heard the news the day those four little girls died when someone threw a bomb into their church.

Instinctively, they knew that it was safer and smarter to stay at home; to watch the movement from afar. But they also understood that these people in Georgia and Alabama and Mississippi were their brothers and sisters; that what was happening was wrong; and that they had an obligation to make it right. When the buses pulled up for a Freedom Ride down South, they got on. They took a risk. And they changed the world.

So don’t let people talk you into doing the safe thing. Listen to what’s inside of you and decide what it is that you care about so much that you’re willing to risk it all.”

I’m not one of those who think Obama should be our next president. Hes too untested, but I like hearing from someone who tells us that we are in deep shit instead of telling us comfortable lies. I like hearing from someone who talks about unifying people instead of characterizing as enemies anyone who disagrees with him.

I want to live in the America the Obama describes, not the America Bush has reduced this country to.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Impeach Bush

Funny but sad. Screw around with an intern and it's impeachment time; screw a country or three and you get off with an attempt at censure.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

History eroding--Two Quotes

The greatest of human inventions is the library, a vast repository of collective memory far larger than any single mind can hold….So long as one's narrative survives, one's ideas and versions of history are passed along, like genetic code, to ensuing generations. Control what goes into the library, what becomes the available record, and you control what the future thinks" (The Persistence of Memory, Tony Eprile).

From the New York Times
Feb. 21 -- In a seven-year-old secret program at the National Archives, intelligence agencies have been removing from public access thousands of historical documents that were available for years, including some already published by the State Department and others photocopied years ago by private historians.

The restoration of classified status to more than 55,000 previously declassified pages began in 1999, when the Central Intelligence Agency and five other agencies objected to what they saw as a hasty release of sensitive information after a 1995 declassification order signed by President Bill Clinton. It accelerated after the Bush administration took office and especially after the 2001 terrorist attacks, according to archives records….

Anna K. Nelson, a foreign policy historian at American University, said she and other researchers had been puzzled in recent years by the number of documentspulled from the archives with little explanation.

''I think this is a travesty,'' said Dr. Nelson, who said she believed that some reclassified material was in her files. ''I think the public is being deprived of what history is really about: facts.''

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Swiss Army Knife

This illustration came in the package of a Swiss Army knife I bought recently. I was struck by two of the devices.

Seat Belt Cutter

Doesn't this seem just a bit too specific? Don't use this on oranges, masking tape, pants cuffs, sweater strings, flower stems, drinking straws, or twine. Save the edge for when you are upside down in your Subaru and need to saw through your seat belts before the gas tank blows.

I know my luck. The day I smash the Toyota and am trapped by my seat belt is the day I leave my Swiss Army knife on the dresser

2) Pharmaceutical Spatula

Sometimes called the Dubya blade, this brings back memories of the bad old days of disco, when the guys with the perms wore pharmaceutical spatulas (spatuli?) on a gold chain around their necks.

Check out the French Army Knife

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Bile Beans

Bile beans are the new almonds.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Last Visit to the Berghoff

Yesterday we ate our last meal at the Berghoff, one of the most beloved restaurants in Chicago. When people who had never been to Chicago before would visit, we'd take them to the Art Institute and the Berghoff. Its hard not to fall in love with a city that has both Nighthawks at the Diner and a place that serves great braised lamb shanks with a side of creamed spinach.

The restaurant, which has been in business since 1898 and has the first liquor license issued in Chicago after the repeal of Prohibition, closes at the end of February. A little bit of Chicago history dies then too.

We tried to get to the restaurant at 'tween time to see if we could beat the rush. We got there at 2:30 on a Saturday and we still waited for over an hour. We were lucky enough to get a table on the main floor to see the murals and wooden wall panels one last time. We were also glad to see the Christmas lights were still up.

A table across the room was celebrating a birthday. The waiter presented a woman with a special birthday cake: A rounded pink cake shaped like a skirt with a Barbie doll emerging from the center. The waiter and a busboy started singing "Happy Birthday." The whole room joined in. When the song was over, the room started clapping. The person who had presented the woman the cake held it over his head and the clapping surged and continued.

This isn't just a restaurant with good food. This is a place rich in family traditions and memories. Throughout our meal I saw lots of people asking the people at neighboring tables to take a quick snapshot, a memory of the their last visit to the Berghoff.

Chicago will seem a poorer place without this restaurant.