Reading Around on May 7th through May 8th

A few interesting links collected May 7th through May 8th:

  • Barack Hussein Obama’s un-American mustard choice – The latest blogospheric brouhaha? When President Obama ordered a burger earlier this week, he asked for it without ketchup — and with Grey Poupon. No, seriously. Not that this should be surprising by now, but even Sean Hannity has picked up on the story and broadcast it to millions of Fox News viewers. Naturally, in response, various liberal outlets are responding with equal fervor.…Why, then, am I writing about this? Well, because it gives me an excuse to link to a really fascinating article Malcolm Gladwell wrote for the New Yorker a few years back about the science of taste — why people like certain kinds of things like ketchup, spaghetti sauce, soda and mustard. Turns out that those store brand colas really aren’t very well-made, that Heinz really might be the platonic ideal of ketchup and that almost everyone prefers Grey Poupon to patriotic and manly (but lousy) American mustard. From the piece:
  • The Seattle Traveler » Waterfront Fun at Seattle Maritime Festival – Seattle puts its maritime prowess on display this weekend with the annual Seattle Maritime Festival.

    Saturday’s Family Fun Day is always a big treat, and the highlight is the Tugboat Races. These are the largest Tugboat Races in the World = with over 40 boats expected to participate.
    Photo credit: swanksalot @flickr

  • Lawmaker Defends Imprisoning Hostile Bloggers | Threat Level – “Rep. Linda Sanchez responded Wednesday to Threat Level’s tirade against her proposed legislation outlawing hostile electronic speech. Her answer: “Congress has no interest in censoring.”Sanchez, with the introduction of the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act, clearly has a great interest in censoring.”

Reading Around on May 6th through May 7th

A few interesting links collected May 6th through May 7th:

  • Knee-Jerk Contrarian Game – – “Kenny G., for instance. His rythmic session is much more regular, whereas Coltrane’s session seems sometimes to loose the beat.


    Umm, for one, “lose the beat” instead of “loose the beat”. And for second, bhwah-ha-ha-ha, Kenny G!!

  • MenuPages Blog :: Chicago: The Green City Market Is Open! Celebrate at Bonsoiree – “The Green City Market opens for outdoor business today! ”

    photo by me

  • BLDGBLOG: How the Other Half Writes: In Defense of Twitter – “Again, I fail to see any clear distinction between someone’s boring Twitter feed – considered only semi-literate and very much bad – and someone else’s equally boring, paper-based diary – considered both pro-humanist and unquestionably good.
    Kafka would have had a Twitter feed! And so would have Hemingway, and so would have Virgil, and so would have Sappho. It’s a tool for writing. Heraclitus would have had a f***ing Twitter feed.”

Reading Around on May 1st through May 5th

A few interesting links collected May 1st through May 5th:

Reading Around on April 26th through April 28th

A few interesting links collected April 26th through April 28th:

  • The GOP’s base problem – Back in 2002, the Democratic Party was a disaster. It was beset by an establishment convinced that this was a center-right nation, and that the only path to victory was to be Republican-lite. It was outgunned by a conservative movement that had a well-established idea factory and message machine, with a traditional media more eager to pick up Fox News themes than to hold the administration accountable. And it was plagued by a consultant class that still thought the calendar read 1968, and that their campaigns couldn’t associate with dirty fucking hippies or innovate with new tools like the “internets”.Lucky for them, a new generation of activists arose to challenge the status quo…, in addition to a core group of big-money donors willing to invest in a new party infrastructure. … Anyone remember how conservatives gloated when we got Howard Dean elected chairman of our party? Anyone remember how our party’s DC establishment reacted, in genuine horror and fear for the party’s future?

  • image from an unknown source

  • The real reason for torture | Steve Chapman – “Its advocates make it obvious that this cruelty is not an unfortunate byproduct but a positive attribute.

    That’s why so many people endorse inhumane methods while disregarding any evidence that suggests it is ineffective. Their hatred of our enemies has made them indifferent to civilized norms. They want to see our enemies suffer hideously regardless of whether that enhances or degrades our security.

    The point of torture is torture. It is not a means to an end. It is the end itself. ”

  • BARTANNICA » B.L.U.E.S. | Chicago, IL – I’ve got the quit-making-out-in-front-of-me-and-rubbing-each-others’-legs-and-standing-up-from-your-stools-and-bumping-into-me-you-gross-old-people-from-the-suburbs-that-have-had-too-much-to-drink-and-should-just-get-a-room-and-I-know-that’s-what-you’re-thinking-because-I-just-saw-you-pop-a-Viagra blues. Deh dah-dah dum dah-dum dah-dum …


Reading Around on April 26th

Some additional reading April 26th from 07:43 to 20:01:

  • Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway (or, the Privatization of the English Language) | Zen Habits – "Her lawyers asked me to insert the (R) symbol after the phrase, in my post, and add this sentence: “This is the registered trademark of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. and is used with her permission.”
    Yeah. I’m not gonna do that.
    I find it unbelievable that a common phrase (that was used way before it was the title of any book) can be trademarked. We’re not talking about the names of products … we’re talking about the English language. You know, the words many of us use for such things as … talking, and writing, and general communication? Perhaps I’m a little behind the times, but is it really possible to claim whole chunks of the language, and force people to get permission to use the language, just in everyday speech?"
  • Democracy Now! | Flashback: A Look Back at the Church Committee's Investigation into CIA, FBI Misuse of Power – "We take a look at one of the most famous special Senate investigations of government misconduct. In the mid-1970s, a US Senate committee chaired by Democratic Senator Frank Church of Idaho conducted a massive investigation of the CIA and FBI’s misuse of power at home and abroad. The multi-year investigation examined domestic spying, the CIA’s attempts to assassinate foreign leaders, the FBI and CIA’s efforts to infiltrate and disrupt leftist organizations, and more. We speak with Sen. Frank Church’s widow, Bethine Church, and Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr., who served as chief counsel to the Church Committee"
  • A Guide to Beating the Fears That Are Holding You Back | Zen Habits – "Just got a copyright infring. notice from lawyers of author Susan Jeffers, bec I used the phrase "feel the fear & do it anyway" in a post."
    Some moronic author, Susan Jeffers is asserting copyright claim to this phrase, and sending threatening letters to my cousin Leo, who used these words in a blog post. Come on, get real. Hasn't she (or her lawyers) heard of the phrase, "everything that has been said has been said before". There are only 26 letters in the alphabet – phrases can't be copyrightable.
  • Que reste-il de Kurt Cobain ? | Rue89 – my photo of Kurt Cobain graffiti used (with poor link/credit, but I'm working on that)

Reading Around on April 16th

Some additional reading April 16th from 17:21 to 20:40:

  • Chicago Reader | The Works | Ben Javorsky for Mayor! Responses to your responses to our story about Chicago’s parking meter lease deal By Ben Joravsky – I heard Daley on the radio say, “You have to monetize your assets or else they become liabilities.” What an idiot. Never took an economics or accounting class at the U. of C., that’s for sure. Vote the idiot out. —South Looper

    Now, now, don’t harsh on Mayor Daley. He didn’t have time for economics or accounting—he was too busy studying for that bar exam for the third time.

  • Daily Kos: Why yesterday's protests were stupid – What was the message? Too much taxes? I didn't see many bank executives and Wall Street types out on the streets. And coming on the heels of the biggest tax cut in American history, almost entirely directed at the middle class, this message didn't have much salience. Furthermore, the theme of these protests "taxation without representation", was pretty silly considering that these people did have representation. It's just that they lost the elections, which sort of happens in a democracy. "Representation" doesn't mean you always get your way, it means that you have a vote. So it was an indefensible frame to base the protests around.

    That's probably why the crowds didn't easily rally around it, deciding to freelance it instead. So there was talk about pork barrel spending! And bail outs! And wanting to stick a knife in Obama's eye! And secession! And Obama's birth certificate! And Obama taking away their guns! The American taxpayers are the Jews for Obama's ovens! Obama is Hitler!

  • GO TO 2040 Blog -Edible Change is Enticing at 4th Annual Food Policy Summit – "In its fourth year the summit Edible Change! Building Networks for Policy Action, hosted by the Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council (CFPAC) reached full capacity bringing together over 250 people from the Chicago area and around the region with amazing diversity of geography, ethnicity, and age to talk, learn, and share stories about food. "

    photo of produce by me

Reading Around on April 12th through April 14th

A few interesting links collected April 12th through April 14th:

  • Adventures In Foodie Land: darkness, lasers, ninjas, and child labor » NileGuidance: A Travel Blog – “Moto: In Chicago, the epicenter of the molecular gastronomy, Moto is the place to go for an adventure in food technology and what even qualifies as ‘food.’ Listed on the edible(!) menu are post-modern, multi-sensory concoctions by chef Homaro Cantu using mediums such as liquid nitrogen and Class IV lasers. Chili-Cheese Nachos as a dessert, made with chocolate and flash-frozen mango? Sounds like an adventure to me.

    photo of swanksalot

  • The Inevitable Clash of Management and Unions | new curatorWhat’s the best way to diffuse a situation between the management of a museum and a union representing your disgruntled workers?

    Hint: Don’t go saying they give “the public sector a bad name”.

  • Can the Statusphere Save Journalism?Recently, I enjoyed a refreshing and invigorating dinner with Walt Mossberg. While we casually discussed our most current endeavors and experiences, the discussion shifted to deep conversation about the future of journalism in the era of socialized media with one simple question, “are newspapers worth saving?”
    [photo by swanksalot]

Reading Around on April 9th through April 12th

A few interesting links collected April 9th through April 12th:

  • Technic News » Can the Statusphere Save Journalism?Recently, I enjoyed a refreshing and invigorating dinner with Walt Mossberg. While we casually discussed our most current endeavors and experiences, the discussion shifted to deep conversation about the future of journalism in the era of socialized media with one simple question, “are newspapers worth saving?”

    photo by swanksalot

  • Gapers Block : Mechanics : Chicago Politics – The Erosion of Daley and the Coward DefenseThe excuse we always hear (off the record of course) from Aldermen, community groups, think tanks, and the rest, is that taking on the Mayor is just too darn scary. He’s too powerful. But what makes him powerful, like all bullies, is the constant refusal of anybody to stand up to him. And of course, it isn’t fear: its convenience. That whole “…but he’s our sonofabitch” mentality. We saw how well that worked with Augusto Pinochet and Saddam Hussein.
  • Washington Post Reporter Says It’s Not His Job to Check the Accuracy of People He’s Quoting – talk about stenography to the powerful. Why would anyone read the Washington Post with this sort of attitude towards politicians? Can just read press releases at the Senator’s website for all the good Paul Kane does.

    Pathetic. and this quote makes me laugh, perhaps not in the way Mr. Kane intends:
    Someone tell Media Matters to get over themselves and their overblown ego of righteousness.

Everything In Its Place

Reading Around on March 24th through March 27th

A few interesting links collected March 24th through March 27th:

  • Is Jon Stewart Our Ed Murrow? Maybe… – Mr. Stewart. Yes, he makes funny faces and starred in Death to Smoochy, but, along with Stephen Colbert, his ability to entertain is what lends him his authority in the first place. Think about it. Why should we care who this or that newspaper publisher endorses for president? Answer: we only care because we care about the editorial influence on the audience. Presidential candidates don’t go seeking the endorsement of high school newspapers because, well, dude, kids don’t vote. Stewart and Colbert have the audience that powerful people want to reach; yet at the same time, these two men do not participate in a pack mentality, and that’s what makes them politically invaluable (and at this point, irreplaceable).
  • The President Vs. the Press – The Daily Beast – There you have it. CNN wants emotions, theatrics, the stamping of feet, mano-a-mano anger, and outrage contests. This is a presidency defined by cable news food-fights and Maureen Dowd-style armchair psychoanalysis. Obama wants to “know what he’s talking about,” pick the best policy to achieve it, and explain it as calmly as he can to his country. … Take a look at the blogging of the news conference by the New York Times’ Helene Cooper and Jeff Zeleny: At 8:28, Cooper writes: “Finally! A break from the wonkish budget talk.” Eight minutes later, Zeleny adds, “At the half-way mark, Mr. Obama has yet to make much news.” In the meantime, Obama has been trying to explain, in part using the press and in part going over the heads of the press, why what he’s trying to do with his budget will address the source of their concern about their futures. Where’s the fun in that?
  • All Ears: Dancing with the Scars (Emotional Ones) – Photo Credit: Seth Anderson
  • Beer drinkers could purchase direct from local breweries under compromise plan | Texas Watchdog – Shiner beer photo by flickr user swanksalot, used via a Creative Commons license.

Reading Around on March 20th through March 22nd

A few interesting links collected March 20th through March 22nd:

  • Spring Cleaning Hits Chicago | Today’s Photos: Today’s best Chicago photos, handpicked by our editors. in Chicago – Cleaning Cloud Gate photo by swanksalot
  • Chicago Tribune Twitterizes masthead | Geek Gestalt – CNET NewsHe added that, “If you’re a reporter or an editor, Twitter is a great way to get in touch with your audience in real time, and if you do it right, if you follow the right people in your sphere of knowledge, you will get a lot out of it.” And, in an experiment to show the many Twitter users among the paper’s audience that the Tribune gets the microblogging service, and to make it easy to get in touch with the top editors and executives, the publication decided to publish, for one day only, the Twitter-friendly masthead. “We were talking at dinner,” Adee said, “and maybe we had too many glasses of wine…but we were just all talking, and we were like, ‘Hey, let’s do it.’ Tomorrow, it’s back to normal, but you never know when it will spring up again.”
  • [1960 Playboy Magazine advertising image via]

  • The Venereal Disease Channel Imaginatizes Greatastically « Whatever – “Apparently one of the motivating factors to change the name from “scifi” to a phase-changing-vowel-filled homonym was to have a name that was trademarkable and extensible, and it seems no one else in the world actually uses the word “syfy” for anything. Well, except Poland, where the word is used to identify crusty, scabby sexually transmitted diseases, and no, this is not a joke. No one there is going to use the word to associate with their product, any more than someone here might try to market, say, Chlamydia™ brand adhesive bandages.

    Note to SciFi Channel: when your new brand identity means “venereal disease” in any language, it’s the sort of thing that — excuse the term — gets around.”

Reading Around on March 17th

Some additional reading March 17th from 13:38 to 14:12:

  • Taste of a thousand lemons – Los Angeles Times – On a wiltingly hot late summer evening, when all the plants are fainting and there’s not a breath of wind, you pour a tiny glass of limoncello straight from the freezer. It’s colder than ice, and it explodes in your mouth with all the freshness and optimism of lemon. Each sip seems to say, “Poor kid! Poor kid! What a scorcher that was! But everything’s all right now — your old friend night is on the way.”They know a lot about hot summer evenings in Sicily, where limoncello was invented about 100 years ago. It might just be the most sympathetic after-dinner drink there is, as bracing as a gin and tonic but more cheerful and fragrant. Limoncello’s fans have found a lot of other uses for it too: spiking lemonade, flavoring cocktails and splashing onto ice cream, poundcake or fresh fruit
  • Pallini Limoncello

  • Seattle Food – After Homemade Limoncello, You’ll Accept No Other – page 1 – Limoncello, the southern Italian after-dinner treat, is an invigorating refresher with an aroma and flavor unmatched by any citrus-flavored vodka or dessert wine. It’s the sensory equivalent of eating lemon meringue pie on a lazy Sunday picnic in the middle of Paolo’s lemon grove. It’s a potion that gets you to stop and live in the sun-drenched moment, even when it’s cloudy outside.

    The Luxardo brand that your state liquor store may carry is all fine and well, but once you’ve had homemade limoncello, you’ll accept no other. This recipe is a monthlong project that yields huge rewards for just a little patience and hardly any work.

  • Swanksalot’s Solipsism: Fifth Ward – Milwaukee, with biker – “As a billionaire, there would be a lot of buildings I would purchase in Milwaukee. This was one, for some reason. I’d turn most into art collectives – cheap studio space for artsy-fartsy types”

Reading Around on February 27th through February 28th

A few interesting links collected February 27th through February 28th:

  • Debunking the Clean Coal Myth : EcoLocalizer – “There is no such thing as “clean coal” in the U.S. today. Coal is responsible for 32% of CO2 emissions in this country and 83% of the CO2 emissions from producing our electricity. In theory, we could retrofit this nation’s coal plants to capture their pollution and store it. Here is my question: If every single coal plant needs to be revamped to be truly “clean,” why not just invest that time and money in truly clean, renewables?” [Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Seth Anderson]
  • April Winchell » Barack Obama is tired of your motherfucking shit – Ray, a fellow classmate of Obama’s, was also bi-racial, and also trying to define himself. But what set him apart was his colorful manner of self-expression. Ray cursed like a motherfucker.

    This would all be snickerworthy enough, but it turns out that Obama actually read the audiobook version of Dreams From My Father.

    And that means he read Ray’s quotes.

    And that means you’re about to hear the President of United States using language that would finish Cheney off once and for all.

  • Chicago Reader Blogs: Chicagoland Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all: The Chicago Journalism Town Hall – “In other words: journalism isn’t dying. (Journalists are dying, of course, but even I don’t blame the Huffington Post for that.) The institutions are dying. That’s it. We’ve isolated the problem!

    Journalists (I will irresponsibly use this as a synonym for “people who work in broadcast or print,” even though we’re all kind of journalists, which I will get to later) blame the bloggers (ditto, for people who work online). Bloggers blame the journalists. Everyone blames the economy, and management. Was it Ben Goldberger in the Blog with the Aggregator? Or was it Eric Zorn in the Newspaper with the Inverted Pyramid, or Sam Zell in the Boardroom with the ESOP?”

  • John Bolton at CPAC: The Benefits of Nuking Chicago | Mother Jones – “Former UN Ambassador John Bolton believes the security of the United States is at dire risk under the Obama administration. And before a gathering of conservatives in Washington on Thursday morning, he suggested, as something of a joke, that President Barack Obama might learn a needed lesson if Chicago were destroyed by a nuclear bomb.”


  • BULLS: Sam Smith: He was always Stormin’ – “Chicago understood Norm because it is known as the Second City. It is in the flyover region. Norm couldn’t crack the big time and run with the big boys, not among the playing elite and not afterward. But he never accepted being less than them and always was sticking his foot in the door to remind them he wasn’t going away.

    Norm was like us. Never really appreciated despite working so hard at it and giving everything he had every time. Norm broadcast harder than some guys played the game, and he let them know it. Someone was speaking up for us, and we loved Norm for that. And he loved us because he understood, if not accepted, rejection.”

  • SLAM ONLINE | » First Person: Norm Van Lier – “It was my dad who helped me let go of my anger. Before he died in 1988, we watched “The Godfather” together. Afterward my dad asked me, “Why do you think the Bulls owe you anything?”

    I told him about this and that, slights and slams, stuff that had grown into huge obstacles in my mind.

    “Did they pay you on time?” Yes, sir. “Were their checks good?” Yes, sir.

    “Well, then they don’t owe you a thing. So get up, stop feeling sorry for yourself, and go to work.”

    I swear, from that moment on, my attitude was completely different. I’ve not looked back since.”

  • The Sports Guy: Bill Simmons Welcome to the No Benjamins Association – ESPN Page 2 – Ru-oh.
    “For once, the league’s problems have nothing to do with talent, drugs, racial issues or how the sport is being played. With the country embroiled in its worst economic crisis in 80 years, the NBA is quietly bracing for its own little D-Day … only outsiders don’t fully realize or care. Clearly, we wouldn’t put this budding debacle on par with the Gulf War, the collapse of American car companies, the real estate quagmire, the implosion of Wall Street, the decline of the American dollar, the shaky footing of previously untouchable media institutions (newspapers, magazines, TV networks, movie studios and publishing companies), or even Vegas and the porn industry caving financially. “
  • Media Matters – Media Matters: In support of shunning – Will has made false claims about the Voting Rights Act and the New Deal. He made a claim about China drilling off the coast of Florida that was so wrong, even then-Vice President Cheney — who cited Will in repeating the claim — acknowledged it wasn’t true. When even Dick Cheney thinks you’ve gone too far in spouting pro-drilling falsehoods, you have a problem. But neither Will nor the Post corrected the error.

    Last year, Will claimed in his Newsweek column and on ABC that Social Security taxes are levied based on household income. Not true. He claimed that McCain won more votes from independents during the primaries than Obama did. Wrong. He claimed most minimum-wage earners are students or part-time employees. False. Will has even lied about Hillary Clinton’s Yankees fandom.

    Basically, George Will routinely makes false claims large and small, holds politicians to disparate standards, and engages in ethically dubious conduct on behalf of his preferred candidates.

  • The George Will Affair : CJR – Undeterred, on Tuesday, the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, Friends of the Earth, and Media Matters for America sent a joint letter to the Post reiterating the call for some form of correction or clarification. It cited three key problems with Will’s column: that he misused data on global sea ice levels from the Arctic Climate Research Center; that he misrepresented the World Meteorological Organization’s position on global warming and climate trends; and that he “rehashed the discredited myth that in the 1970s, there was broad scientific consensus that the Earth faced an imminent global cooling threat.”

    “George Will is entitled to his own opinions, but he is not entitled to his own facts,” the letter concluded. “We respectfully ask that you immediately make your readers aware of the glaring misinformation in Will’s column.” But the Post’s position remains the same.

Reading Around on February 8th through February 9th

A few interesting links collected February 8th through February 9th:

  • The Kaplan Daguerreotype of Abraham Lincoln – The Forensic Evidence – Numerous accounts have revealed that Lincoln underwent a noticeable change in his physical appearance beginning in January 1841 as a result of a grave emotional crisis {6}. This coincides with his reported failure to go through with his scheduled marriage to Mary Todd, leaving her literally waiting for him at the altar. (They were married the following year.) This emotional crisis, just one of a series of such episodes to plague him throughout his life, was the cause of Lincoln losing a considerable amount of weight
  • Breaking Down the 2009 Trade Deadline | Dabullz – Photo by swanksalot on Flickr