Friday, July 30, 2004

Prediction of the week:

Wrigley Field is getting knocked down, or at least completely reconstructed. And, unlike the past when the city would say 'no' to most plans, it will be the city 'forcing' them to do it for public safety reasons. Disco!

Misleading headline of the week

"Former Willow Springs Police Chief Michael Corbitt Dies"

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


The Toyota Prius and the upcoming Ford Escape Hybrid use engines that employ the Atkinson Cycle. The claim is that the engine design enhances efficiency at the expense of power. My question is: a 100% efficient engine would convert 100% of the gasoline to power. No frictional or heat loss. So, isn't a more efficient engine inherantly a more powerful engine? Something is being oversimplified.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Democratic Convention

  • Not sure I ever heard Carter speak for more than a sentence or two.  Well done, especially for an 80 year old.
  • Clinton?  He simply nailed it.  If you didn't see it, he did this thing about how the Republicans "were mean to him," and now they are giving him, a freshly minted member of the 1% club, tax cuts.  He almost sent a thank you note, but then he realized that money was coming out of the pockets of regular Americans and couldn't do it.  Etc.  Busting W's balls for being just a big of a draft-dodging pussy as he was.  It was fantastic.
  • The question is, can Kerry live up to the hype?
  • They are playing for keeps, however.  Positively, but going in point by point and tearing apart the last 3.5 years.


This [c-word]'s version of dirty talk.  What a horrible human being.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Give this a read.


CNN Poll

Don't know if this link will work for long, but it's a CNN poll- which Democrat's speech are you most likely to tune for?  Kerry, Clinton, Edwards or Barack Obama?  I know he's Mr. Wonderful here in Illinois, but I didn't know he was a national figure.  So much so, in fact, that he's beating Edwards?

I also fing it scary that the Republican party hasn't found a candidate to go against him.  Either they have something cooked up (surprise last minute entry, etc.), or they have given up on Illinois.  Which seems very bad- isn't there somebody who has something to say?  Is the GOP so cynical that they're not even going to run a candidate if they can't win?


It took 13 hours (in total) and I can hardly move my arms, but the job is complete.  I:
  • Changed the passenger side tie rod end.
  • Changed the water pump.
  • Replaced the timing belt.
  • Replaced the thermostat.
  • Did a poor-man's alignment.  ("The wheels look straight now.")

That doesn't look like a lot, but the entire front (belt side) of the engine must be disassembled to do it, including removing entirely an engine mount.  And, putting it back together.

As in many things, it's all about leverage.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Mockery, filth and pancakes

  • I'm watching "Check Please!" here on PBS.  Three people recommend restaurants, they all try them and then roundtable about them.  This one guy on here is ridiculous-think Owen Wilson in "Meet the Parents."  Just thought I'd share that.
  • Spent the evening changing a tie rod and doing half a timing belt / water pump job.  Tomorrow I will complete it.  My ass is beat, however.
  • Bought a water filter.  Disclosure: I'm a freak for water.  I don't like the way a standard charcoal filter tastes, it needs to be reverse osmosis for me.  I also have some water quality issues here- the Village gets Chicago water, but they have their own tanks and infrastructure.  The secret ingredient is botulism, I think.  Anyhow, Sears had an in-sink mount Kenmore on sale for $100, and I happily installed it up the other night.

    Reverse Osmosis is complicated.  The basics: the process is based upon a membrane.  Water can pass through the membrane, contaminants cannot.  However, the membrane is sensitive and would become easily clogged if you just dropped the membrane inline with your water.  So water is run across the membrane, under pressure, and exits two ways- the filtered, delicious water, and the waste water.  Rather than capture the contaminants, it allows them to remain in mixture/solution and go away.  This, however, makes the plumbing a bit more difficult.  Also add that this doesn't occur quickly- about a half gallon an hour.  So a small storage tank is necessary.  The membrane is also destroyed by Chlorine, so a prefilter is necessary. 

    Undaunted nonetheless, I commenced to installing.  Three trips to Menard's later, production began.  After the proscribed flushing, etc., I now have a steady supply of delicious, tasteless water.  The way it's supposed to be, I might add.
  • The chipotle (smoked, dried jalapeno) pepper is too popular for its own good.
  • I'm also on a quest for new deodorant.  I don't know what my problem is.
  • Avoid triclosan.


You don't see many people named Illinois.  I'm surprised I never heard of this guy.

Cow town!

The potato chip wars.  Jay's kick ass, especially the barbecue flavor.  They are red as a fire engine.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Can you see the spaceship?

Check this out, especially the large version.  Expand it to full screen and do the cross eye thing.  If you "focus" on the Sun, you can see its surface appear to shimmer, and Venus appears to float in front.  Cool.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

More Kitty Blogging

Meet Mr. Peebles!  My mother has a smallish cat, Bear (or 'Cuatro' to its closest), that I'll bet doesn't weigh much more than that.  A very light cat.

And there is no Perkin, IL.  It's Pekin.  PEE-kin.  Come ON!

It'll be a sad day when the last Seinfeld joke/reference is made.  And a hell of a long time from now.

Why is it named Bear/Cuatro?  When it was born 18 years ago, it was very runty and fourth born.  We didn't know if it would live, so it was named Cuatro temporarily.  But it lived, and got renamed Bear because that's what it looked like.


They're the worst.

Neil Steinberg of the Chicago Newspaper Sun Times points out, quite correctly, that the only thing we have to fear is ourselves.  For every "reduction" in freedom that is perceived, there is a frightening segment of the population who thinks it's not enough.  Despite all of our fancy talk we are still a very reactionary animal, and those who dream of power tend to exploit that.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


What upsets me about this?  Of course, it's the ridiculous DuPage/Kane county adressing scheme.  It may be perfection if you're a map grid designer type guy, but it is simply ugly.  And they put the adresses on their mail boxes like that!  Awful!

Monday, July 19, 2004

IMDB for Music

Has anyone seen/used this site?


Have you seen this?  Terrifying.
That's his helmet there in the middle. 

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

Found in today's Chicago Sun Times.

Friday, July 16, 2004

What you need is a computer!  21st century style data manipulation.  Good stuff.


How do we stop this?  What can be done so that nobody ever gets infected again?  What can be done so that even some people never get this again?
Is it simply waiting until there is a vaccine?

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


This one is even worse, and I'm subjecting you to it.

For example, "How's my driver? Call 0x00000000"
Should really be:
"How's my driving? Call 0x320-22B-4BC!" (that's 800-555-1212 in hex)

Bike Ride

Having owned a bicycle for a week and a half, I just returned from my third ride. I intend to improve upon that. It's going to get boring quickly though, because the area I'm in is pretty much land-locked for bike riding. The only place I can get any distance going heads me through the refineries towards unpleasant areas to be unarmed in. The nice thing about bike riding is that, besides the prostate massage, you've got built in wind. I was riding around not feeling like I was accomplishing much- not very sweaty or winded. Now that I sit down, I'm sweating like an Irishman. Nice.

I rode East down 128th Place, under the Tri-State, and over to Pulaski (*). Passed by the Swap-o-Rama Flea Market and vowed to go this weekend since I have never gone.

(*) Even though both of my parents called the street Crawford, it has always been Pulaski to me. Odd. I wonder who this Crawford feller was, anyway?

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Fair and Balanced

Slate trys its hand at analyzing President Bush. Kinda scary.

Monday, July 12, 2004



Sunday, July 11, 2004

Revitalized by Bruce Jenner's Hair

Notes for today:

Stopped off at the O'Hare Oasis for something to drink, and ended up getting a Road Gyro. Oh yeah. I was just checking out the menu when the delightful Greek girl behind the counter entranced me. It was a pretty damn good gyro- approaching Rosie's. It's all in the tsatsiki (tzatziki?).

I can't remember what else I had.

Sheer joy

I was driving down Dempster Road in front of Lutheran General when an abortion protestor appeared in the middle of the street, right (illegally) in the median. The joy part was when I flipped him the bird and it really pissed him off. Juvenile? Of course. But I must confess that it was more for being in the middle of the street than for holding his stupid opinions. Once again, what about this guy's opinion trumps my ability to drive down Dempster?

Hey cracker: it's Saturday afternoon- shouldn't you be tending to all the unwanted children? How 'bout volunteering in a day-care center so the non-aborted childrens' mothers can work? Oh, is that too hard? And I bet it feels so much better to work yourself into a lather with a disgusting sign on the side of a road? Yeah, well, like my daddy used to say, "don't matter how good it feels, you're still just jerking off."

(I'm using 'cracker' in the judgemental, forcing morals upon others, "Laura Bush" sense.)

(Yeah, that's right, I'm blaming her. If she hadn't tried to fix W, we'd at least have Marvin or Jeb in the WH, and I think they'd be a little more fun.)

(Also, if your stupid opinion pounds down the rights of others, I reserve the right to pound you down with impunity.)

(Christ, now I'm starting to sound like D.)

Friday, July 09, 2004

Mammatus Clouds

This site, which I found only today, is fascinating.

Steinberg goes nuts again

My wife called, as upset as I've ever heard her, that inarticulate sobbing where a person can barely breathe, never mind speak. "What? What is it?'' I demanded. My first thought was that she had snapped and murdered the children.


I've always had a non-specific problem with art types who define art as some sort of challenge to the audience. The people who want to make the audience feel something. The cross urinators, the Tom Greene "scream until you hit me" performance artists, the "I'm doing every other frame in black and white in a reverse Fibonacci sequence to cause tension in the audience" style filmmakers.

My problem is, I think that it's presumptive. What right do they have to challenge me? If I don't wish to be challenged, who do they think they are to not respect that?

There was a thing on PBS this morning about some of the directors who were early, groundbreaking TV directors, and when TV went vanilla they moved to filmmaking. Frankenheimer and Altman were the ones that I remember, and who sparked this. Altman talked about his style, which was pretty chaotic and unrehearsed. He'd tell the actors who their characters were, what the situation was and where the story was going, and just turn the camera on and back off. M*A*S*H, for example, is a powerful movie that tells a hell of a story, yet it is almost completely unassuming- no crazy editing, ridiculous camera work or jarring sound effects. He has an idea of the story, and trys to tell that story to the audience as he sees it. I respect that.

Frankenheimer spoke of having unpolished plots to annoy the audience, to keep their attention. Peter Falk talked about how Frankenheimer would purposefully upset the actors to get the proper emotion out of them. Or using camera tricks to convey emotion, even using abrupt edits to "slap the audience in the face." That's a quote.

Which is an obvious lack of respect for the audience, and I think it is an example of what I'm talking about. It seems like the lazy way out as well, a pornography of sorts. Rather than present a story or concept to allow the viewer digest and analyze it on their own, the 'artist' crams their view down your throat. Enrage? Or engage...

Swimmer's Body!

She shaves her head and eyebrows, but leaves the earings in?

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Geek Humor!

Not really. It's more like loser humor. This website is reliably good for taking the easy joke route in any issue. Like the Sun Times' editorial cartoonist, they don't understand satire. It's a little more subtle than simple angry or mean sarcasm.

Top 11 Reasons Geeks Stay Up Late

Numbers 8, 7, 5, 4 and maybe 2 are funny. The rest are just fellatio. Win98? Seriously?

* I'm not saying I can be do better. I'm saying that if you claim to be something and then put yourself out there as that something, expect criticism from clowns like me. This goes in with the other thing I did there with people and their stupid opinions. You don't have to be a civil engineer to know when a road is bumpy.

Another example

Of people thinking their crappy opinion is worth something.
"It's a fans' forum, it's freedom of speech and I don't think it's down to
George to take his ball home and say 'I'm not playing any more'," the fan wrote.

"The fact of the matter is that people have opinions and they are entitled to them, that's what a forum is for.
It's his website, moron. When I think of the word 'forum', I think of a public place where you go to share your opinions in front of others. What the internet versions of this miss is the inherent threat that if you are completely obnoxious (or worse) that real live people could potentially kick your ass.

We're all entitled to have any opinion we want. But if we choose to share it, we ought to have to at least consider that others might just share their opinions right back.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

In honor of Scotty

It may not be transparent Aluminum, but it's a low-tech start.

Chicago's Finest

I don't think this woman did one thing right.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Dang Hippies

Didn't King of the Hill do this last year?

Protections of Society without Paying for it?

The Archdiocese of Portland is filing for bankruptcy. That'd be pretty funny if it wasn't so enraging. Well, fine with me- on one condition: gotta start paying taxes.

The Casino Era of Business

Casinos have, for a long time, known who the winners and losers are, and try to entice both of them to keep spending money. Free drinks to people at the tables, room upgrades to winners to keep them playing and free dinners to the losers so they come back next time they get the itch.

The strategy has infiltrated marketing and retail, and it won't be long before it becomes possible to target retail pricing to the individual in all but the smallest environments. Are you a "good" customer? Then you get the good pricing.

Made up band names

Pete Geraci and his Info Tapes
Allegheny Telephone Pole
Detrius d'Art
Raymond Burr's Dressing Gown
Rancid Poodle

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Good Times

Strip-club owner jousts with IRS

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Hangin' around Old Town

So I drove up to Village Cycle to buy a bicycle. They seem to know what they're doing, and they promise to put the bicycle together in an hour. So I had that going for me. I bought what the creepy salesman told me to buy, paid and went for a walk. I needed some lunch, and figured I'd pick whatever looked good.

I ended up at McDonald's.

I almost went into the "New Jerusalem" for some middle eastern food, but there was something weird about the place when I first walked by. So, I tried the taco salad thing at McD. Pretty darn good, as it damn well ought to be for $5. I was shocked to find that it tasted almost exactly like a taco salad my mother used to make.

When I was done, of course, the sky opened up and the world tried to end. I had another half hour to burn, so I high-tailed it to where I thought a bookstore was. Turns out the bookstore moved but left their sign. So, I had to peoplewatch for a little while.

Turns out I was loitering directly across the street from this little piece of the cityscape. I'm surprised I didn't get arrested.

I got my bike, rode it in the rain back to my car, and learned very quickly how to disassemble it to cram it into my car.

Just the facts, Jack.

I watched this interview of disgraced Senate candidate Jack Ryan briefly last night. He wouldn't answer one question- it was nothing but soundbites or pure misdirection. I had to turn it off. He still wouldn't deny or own up to it. I get the "not dignifying that with a response" thing, but this isn't a reporter asking him when he stopped wearing women's clothing. (358K, worth it's weight in gold) This is something that's out there that Jack went on the television to discuss. It's an insult to my intelligence to think that non-answers and blatant misdirection are going to mollify my concerns. On the other hand, maybe this interview wasn't for the viewers- maybe it was for the vast majority of people who didn't watch and only briefly heard that he was going to address the issue. They can labor under the faulty assumption that he actually addressed the issue and, in their minds, believe he's got it all cleaned up and he's ready to be elected next time he runs for something.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Brando is Dead.

@ 80 years old.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

The Cos'

He does it again. Check out the photo of him railing on, with an ENRAGED Jessie Jackson in the background.


I bought "Cabin Boy" today for $5.99. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Also bought a Bluetooth adapter for the the computer. My Palm talks bluetooth and I wanted to play with it. Interesting. In a year, this shit's all gonna work nice. You hook up the laptop or pda to the GSM phone (inherantly data-capable), right to the internet. No wires. Delicious.

From the comments:

as bad as it sounded, i didn't think it'd be enough to knock him out of the race. go figure.
I thought the same thing. The easy explanation is that the IL GOP simply didn't like him and used this scandal to attempt to replace him with someone more Barak-resistant.

I wonder, however.

He won that primary fair and square (and soundly, if I remember), he has been working his ass off for a really long time and spending a lot of money. It seems odd that a guy with such a successful resume would just... give up. So I have to think: whatever he thought was going to happen between now and November if he stayed in the race had to be worse than just giving up. And it's interesting to ponder what that might be.

It's a shame guys like this don't win more elections.


I love it when a news story pays off.