Thursday, July 29, 2004
"DiNatale had been less than thrilled by Howard Dean's oratory minutes before, and proceeded to marvel at the disparity of the Dems' trotting out the lackluster Dean only to turn around and 'crank out this guy Osama.' Not since 'maybe Cuomo in the '80s'" DiNatale continued to gush in his thick Boston twang, had he seen a speaker so compelling as 'this guy Osama.'"
--Barack Obama, July 27, Democratic National Convention Keynote Speech
What a great way to put it.
Last month he told Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy to "go f--k yourself" on the Senate floor. Despite the incredible inappropriateness of the comment, not to mention the ridiculousness that Cheney would harbor so much hostility towards Leahy, one of the most easy-going and apparently friendly of senators, the Vermont Democratic party has managed to turn the incident into fodder for its voters. According to Salon.com, they have created a campaign t-shirt where on the front it says "Annoy Dick Cheney, Vote Pat Leahy 2004," and on the back it has a cartoon known as the Young Republican:
The right-wing owned-Washington Times had an interesting way of reporting the Dick Cheney comment, paraphrasing that Cheney told Leahy "to perform an anatomical sexual impossibility." If only those had been Cheney's exact words.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Video footage of a "Curb" episode that was filmed at a Los Angeles Dodgers game included frames of the incarcerated Juan Catalan, who had been accused of murdering a 16-year old, Martha Puebla, though he had defended his innocence with the alibi that he was at the baseball game with his daughter. Before Catalan's lawyer, Todd Melnik found out that HBO had footage from the episode, he had pored unsuccessfully through Dodger Vision and Fox Sports tapes without finding a distinct image of Catalan. Indeed, the frames on the "Curb" footage proved the truth of Catalan's alibi, as the time codes on the film indicated that the time that Catalan was at the game made it impossible for him to have been present at the time of the murder of Martha Puebla.
Larry David said of the exonerating footage, “I tell people that I’ve now done one decent thing in my life, albeit inadvertently.” I love this man.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter gives a thoughtful speech about America's troubled international situation.
Well, with people as accomplished and distinguished as Carter, I sometimes like to imagine them in incredibly profane, normal situations; so this evening, after the convention, I thought to myself, do you think Jimmy Carter has ever eaten Doritos? I think the answer to this question must be yes. Given all of the social functions tht Carter has been to where there has been food available and he has been hungry, Doritos must have been an option at a few. Still, he probably doesn't eat them regularly; I would be almost certain he doesn't buy them. Even so, Jimmy Carter has to have eaten Doritos at a few points here and there. He took on the oil crisis of the 1970s, he helped negotiate peace between Egypt and Israel, he oversees elections in nascent democracies throughout the world, and yes, I am willing to bet he has eaten a few small bags of Doritos.
Also, may I just point out how cohesive the Democratic party is right now? As someone observed earlier this week, the only thing George W. Bush repaired in his promise to be a "uniter not a divider" was the fracticiousness of the Democratic Party. Tonight, Jimmy Carter, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Clinton spoke as the headliners (Carter was noticeably absent from the convention of 1996 where Clinton was nominated for his second term); when the only progressive/moderate/conservative Democrat who is dissenting from the ranks is Zell Miller of Georgia, this party is doing pretty well. Still, unlike the Republican National Party's current belief that to be united, a party must think and vote in lockstep (see for instance, the vote master himself, House Majority Leader and incredibly right-leaning Tom Delay), the Democratic party has a history of productive (and yes, sometimes unproductive) debate that has helped to continuously improve the party and its responsiveness to voters. Still, being united against beating Bush is truly the most practical option right now if any wing of the party wants to achieve its goals.
Sunday, July 25, 2004
Larry David: I'll have a vanilla... one of those vanilla bullshit things. You know, whatever you want, some vanilla bullshit latte cappa thing. Whatever you got.
--where Larry is ordering at a coffe shop from the "Shaq" episode of Curb pretty much sums up the Starbucks culture of today. It's such a simple yet brilliant exchange.
I love coffee and cafes as much, if not more, than the next guy, but I think this above picture is indicative of the "vanilla bullshit" aspect of the cafe industry.
Some of Larry David's most socially uncomfortable situations occur between himself and the fictional parents of his manager, Jeff Greene. Here is Larry with Jeff's mother, played by Mina Colb. In this episode, he accidentally fondled her breast.
One particularly Curb Your Enthusiasm-worthy moment occurred last night at a party. As my friend and I were rounding up people to leave this affair, a guy entered the kitchen with a box of pizza. Not having eaten much earlier in the night, I got excited about the pizza, as this exchange will show,
Me: Is that pizza?
Friendly guy: Yes, but it's all gone.
Me: Oh that's too bad, because I was going to tell you that I would have paid for a slice of that pizza.
Friendly guy: Well, here's a secret: there's another box of pizza on top of the refrigerator.
Understandably, I went to the refrigerator and got a slice of pizza. It was so good that I went back to get another for the walk. As we were about to leave though, I got stopped,
Angry Girl: Where did you get that pizza?
Me: Um...on top of the refrigerator.
Angry Girl: Who told you that you could have that?
Me: I mean some guy just said there was pizza on the refrigerator. I can pay you for it.
Angry Girl: Whatever. Forget about it. (Angrily exits what was a most enjoyable conversation).
The item of contention: the flair up occurred over a mere two slices of Papa John's pizza.
Of course, after that I felt pretty bad, but I have to say, the beauty of being indoctrinated with CYE is that it lends a new angle of observation to these generally unpleasant situations.
Friday, July 23, 2004
Thursday, July 22, 2004
My special goal is to steal as many cans of diet coke--my favorite beverage--as I can.
So far I'm at five.
Four from the McCormick Tribune Center (there must be a conference this week), and one from the Block Cinema Moving Picture exhibit opening, though this one was technically not stolen because I volunteer at Block and thus am authorized.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Construction of Gehry's pavillion
Millennium Park is certainly a feat in many ways. First of all, it turned a former unsightly and unproductive railyard into a grand public space. It also advances Chicago's already solid reputation as a city that welcomes and inspires architectural grandeur of many styles and origins. Among the architectural contributions to the park: Jaume Plensa's Crown Fountain, Anish Kapoor's "Cloud Gate" sculpture--known far and wide as The Bean, and Frank Gehry's musical pavillian and great lawn. As Chicago Tribune architectural critic Blair Camin desribes it, the pavillion appears "with its stainless steel shells suggesting waves of sound washing over the audience" (A no place transformed into a grand space ; What was once a gritty, blighted site is now home to a glistening, cultural spectacle that delivers joy to its visitors). Kamin's review of the park unfortunately is a bit over-the-top. He has very few criticisms of the park. I only hope for the City of Chicago's sake that they commission him to right the Millennium Park offical brochure.
"Cloud Gate," aka The Bean, has received much attention, much of it positive. The Chicago Tribune has been an especially avid booster of the Bean, writing overly cute articles about its naming process (Naming the Bean) with descriptions like this one of how the sculpture "lures, mystifies and delights visitors with its fun-house distortion game" (picture caption).
Millennium Park reminds me a lot of Chicago's Worlds Columbian Exposition of 1893. It seems a very conflicted public work, just as the 1893 fair was. While architect and planner Daniel Burnham and the other distinguished architects who he won over to the project sought to create an overwhelming set of neo-classical structures that would introduce the rest of the world to Chicago's status as a first class city, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (who designed Central Park, among many, many other projects) wanted to create a natural and publicly accomodating fairground.
The Peristyle: one of Millennium Park's successes
Millenium Park suffers the Burnham-Olmsted conflict. On the one hand, it is open for the public, with architecture is not merely cold and detached from its landscape--as "Cloud Gate" and the fountain suggest, but rather the public space is enhanced and encouraged by the architecture. However, the park also seems to have an air of iconoclasm about it--more a monument to Frank Gehry and Jay Pritzker than to the city. Of course, these men and the park's other patrons should be honored for their irreplaceable contribution, but since the public contributed 270 million to the park, can't there be a pavillion named after the people of Chicago? Should are public spaces be monuments to individuals or monuments to the beauty and excitement of public-spiritded works of art?
One last note: with Illinois' and Chicago's current budget crisis (yesterday, for instance, the CTA was saying it might cut routes and raise fares because of a huge deficit in its budget), Millennium Park should not have received as much public financing as it did. Even if it began in 1998, when states were experiencing surpluses and other financial boons, the city would only be irresponsible not to consider that a deficit could be just around the corner. I don't know about you, but I could do without The Bean if it meant more investment in the city's public schools and transportation system.
Still, my brief respite from bad news ended later that week when I read that California Governor, former body builder, and still-movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger called that state's Democrats "girlie men" for not passing his budget. Schwarzenegger has capitalized on his easy recognition as a movie star in his campaign and in his tenure as governor of California. On the campaign trail, he integrated many of his well known movie lines into his public appearances, such as this comment on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno:" "I can promise you that when I go to Sacramento, I will pump up Sacramento."
I think it can be easily argued that Arnold got elected as governor because of his huge celebrity status, despite several accusations that he had fondled and sexually harassed various women over the course of his career, and despite that both of his Democratic opponents, Grey Davis and Cruz Bustamante, were far more experienced. (Ironically, Schwarzenegger's allusions to his body builder status are derived from a recurring sketch that "Saturday Night Live" cast members Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon performed, where the men poke fun at the body builder type, clearly inspired by Schwarzenegger. Basically, Arnold in using the language of these characters, is cheerfully acknowledging a skit that makes fun of him).
Which brings me back to Ditka: had Mike Ditka declared his candidacy, he would be running against Barack Obama, a man who was editor of the Harvard Law Review, a community organizer, a scholar and professor, and a senator representing the Hyde Park area of Chicago in Illinois. To run Ditka would risk this man who has a history of saying and doing obnoxious things, owning a restaurant, and coaching football, win as Arnold did, on his easy name recognition, over the incredibly qualified and well-liked Obama. My opinion is that Ditka would not have had a chance; Obama is just too fundamentally appealing, but it was an insult to the importance of public office to suggest him over other more qualified candidates in the first place.
Illinois avoided catastrophe, but unfortunately, California endures their's, day by day by day...
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Sunday, July 11, 2004
-need fulltime BODYGUARD for family (North Suburbs)
-i need to photograph a Mexican-American grandma (Hyde Park)
-Have you just had surgery (knee, shoulder, chest,lung, spine,abdomen)? (Done By Mail)
-Enrique Iglesias look a like (Chicago)
-Help me sell my cubs t-shirts on game days only (wrigleyville)
-Need Help Changing My Bike Tires! (bucktown)