Archive for July, 2010

Completely Random and Very Cool

by , posted on Sunday, July 25th, 2010 at 6:28 am

A guy I work with came in yesterday and said to me “I don’t know why, but I saw this very cool thing yesterday and immediately thought that if anyone I know would know the right person to do it, you would.”

And then he told me about this: the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is running a contest to find the right person to live at the museum for a month and blog about the experience.

I don’t want to dispute my friend’s conclusion that I would know someone who would be perfect for this, but that person is not coming immediately to mind, so I thought I’d throw it out here on the blog.

If you are chosen, and you make it through the month, you will receive $10,000, a packet of tech gadgets, and of course an experience you can tell your grandchildren about.

Deadline for entry is August 11, 2010.


Health Insurance and Unintended Consequences

by , posted on Saturday, July 24th, 2010 at 7:34 am

I helped write a preservation ordinance once and discovered in my research that you really need to write a clause in there forbidding teardowns while the ordinance is being considered, otherwise there’s always some asshole who will invest a ton of money in destroying his building just to prove a point to the city council about what he thinks of the proposal of the measure.

So there may be many who will be surprised to discover insurers doing things like ceasing to write insurance policies on children in order to avoid a provision of the health insurance reform bill that will kick in later this year and force them to cover children who are already sick, and there may even be those, like the author of this AP piece, who call it an “unintended consequence,” but not me.



I hate to be a nag…

by , posted on Friday, July 23rd, 2010 at 8:08 pm

but I am just so damned good at it. So one more time: Can you help?

Besides the author of the diary linked above promises free beer…of course the author of the diary linked above once invited me to a virtual spaghetti dinner fundraiser. Not too filling, but it was a hell of a lot of fun.


And Now for an Official Jobs Report

by , posted on Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 at 8:44 am

This morning the Labor Department clued us in to something most of us living out here in the real world already know: no jobs for you.

New claims for unemployment insurance jumped by 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted 464,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.



Hump Day Jobs Report: Riffed

by , posted on Wednesday, July 21st, 2010 at 6:27 am

I know this woman – let’s call her Sue, since both she and her company shall remain nameless, you know, to protect the innocent, and by innocent I mean Sue and definitely not her company – who works for a large corporation which provides a service that is actually doing well right now. Sue says that, as the corporation is well aware and loves to tout, their service is actually in demand in a down economy, so actual sales are up and business is booming. But this is not stopping them from maximizing profits at workers expenses. Because the down economy is providing them with the opportunity to do so, or as the managers put it: “because we can.”



The Stuff I Bring Home

by , posted on Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Working at a library I see all sorts of books pass through that I want to read – way more than I am going to be able to read in a normal lifespan – but this doesn’t keep me from checking them out and taking them home with the best of intentions. Some I get to, some I renew them three times (renewal limit at my library) and am forced to return unread. I could pretend that I make a list of this stuff to get back to, because that would be the logical thing to do, no? But I honestly don’t even try, because I have a constant stack of 30-40 library books making me feel guilty at all times.



NFTT: Lost in Afghanistan

by , posted on Monday, July 19th, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Right before my son got on the plane for his first deployment to Afghanistan at the beginning of May, he called me for one last quick conversation. I asked him if he had any concerns or regrets he wanted to talk about, and he, knowing full well I meant concerns about his deployment or regrets about joining the Army to begin with, said “Well, yes, I have one huge regret.” (long pause) “I deeply regret that I’ve been watching Lost for six damned years and will now miss the last few episodes.”

I recognized this remark as the brand of smart-assed black humor used as a coping mechanism in gravely serious situations that he learned at his parents’ knees, so being the last person who could complain about his use of it, I instead laughed dutifully, though I hardly felt like laughing. On the other hand, I realized there was a part of him that really meant it. The loss of Lost is a big deal to him, representative as it is of losing touch with the version of civilization that has been familiar to him his whole life and so much of that revolves around instant connectivity and constant communication with friends, loved ones, and the world in general.



Baby, I promise it’ll be different this time…

by , posted on Monday, July 19th, 2010 at 6:47 am

Yesterday, under the full glare of the sun and at the day’s peak of the heat we have been experiencing, I ended up standing on hot asphalt in a parking lot having a debate with a Democratic friend about the party’s prospects in November. When we encountered each other, she’d asked a general question about my opinion of party prospects this November, and I’d started my answer with a concern about where progressives stand in all of this – i.e. virtually no progressive position has been forwarded since the last congressional election.



Blago Trial Mystery!

by , posted on Sunday, July 18th, 2010 at 7:36 am

If you go to the Daily Herald’s website this morning you’ll find that their feature story is entitled “Trial Mystery: How did this guy ever get elected twice?” Said title being superimposed over a photo of Rod Blagojevich. Click through to the story and you will be treated to a scathing review of Blago’s character, intelligence and work habits, freshly revealed to the Daily Herald via wiretap tapes being played at the trial. You know the trial of which I speak? The one occurring years and years after the two elections they are talking about.

Early on in the story we are offered a solution to this mystery:

The answer is an only-in-Illinois mix of luck, skill, blind partisanship, scandal fatigue and the power of money.

Well, I’d like to offer up for the Daily Herald’s consideration a quarter with which to buy a clue as to another possible factor that might just have contributed to the mysterious behavior of voters in electing this guy twice:



I live in affluent, prosperous St Charles

by , posted on Saturday, July 17th, 2010 at 7:15 am

I’m well aware that people from throughout the area tend to view St Charles, and the Tri-Cities (Batavia, Geneva, St Charles) in general, as affluent and prosperous. And so they are, in general and comparatively to Elgin and Aurora, to our north and south, and to the more rural communities to our west, where the city services and infrastructure are not so built-up.