Friday, May 23, 2008

Quickie - An open letter to the editors of NPR's "Morning Edition"

When you are writing a story for radio, one of the most important things to consider is the effect that pronouncing names of people being quotes on air can have when combined with regular English. Unlike television or print media, you can't rely on a captioned photo of said source to explain any confusion.

Case in point, in this morning's story on how the high price of gasoline might affect people's travel plans for the upcoming memorial day weekend, you had some quotes from the American Automobile Association's "National Travel Manager" - whose name just happened to be Michael Pena.

Overall this is a pretty innocuous name, but when Renee Montagne quotes him using the standard "[surname] says" format on radio, it creates - to put it delicately - "problems". Particularly for those of us who are men, and therefore are incapable of not hearing that phrase as "penises" if the diction is not *crystal* clear.

Thus, hopefully, Renee Montagne has learned the importance of diction even in this "go-go internet, product-placement ninja" media society.

Hee hee!

Friday, May 16, 2008

You've sold me!

This week I've actually had an opportunity to get out and run some errands, which is good because a) I haven't had time to do much of that over the last couple weeks and b) I'm traveling for a lot of June and July so I won't get to do much then either. And my milk expired.

But it's amazing how my brain shuts down to advertising messages when I'm not actualyl shopping. It's a sort of "don't talk to me" psychology that, once I turn it off, allows me to suddenly notice all kinds of amusing sales pitches while I'm running errands.

For example:

It's not just any sale - it's SUPER GLOCK sale!!! Of course, one wonders whether the sale itself is "super" ("Hey look at how much less expensive it is to kill people!") or the Glocks have been improved to make them "SUPERGLOCKS" ("Wow, *this* Glock popped a cap on that guys ass *so* much better than my old Glock!"). Note that you can't take advantage of it anymore anyway. Apparently it was only a weekend sale or something.

This next one is a store I drive by on my way to work every day, but I never actually read the sign until I was carpooling with S.Jo a few weeks back. Sure, the color choice makes it kind of difficult to actually read the second part of the store "motto" but if you click on the image you'll get the full-size picture in all its lousy-grammar greatness:

Really? *That* is how you want to get me excited to buy clothes from you - because when the mall closes for the day you're still open? "Oh crap! I need to buy some shirts but it's 3:00 am and I can't get into Macy's for another SIX HOURS! WHAT TO DO!?!?!?"

It's a good thing they've diversified into producing records.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

When mommy starts acting out...

In light of the fact that Mother's Day was this weekend I had to share a picture from the local corner market in my neighborhood. It's one of Chicago's countless storefront groceries that overcharge you for basic food items, but are so much easier to walk to than getting in the car to drive to the Jewel or Dominicks.

Anyway I had to stop in there last weekend to pick up milk and other essentials when I decided to peruse the "wine aisle" that they added a month or so ago when they took out an aisle of food to focus exclusively on wine. Of course there was the standard grocery-store wine fare such as J.Lohr and Beringer, but there were also some wines that I'd never seen before, including this one:

I suppose I can understand why they'd want to put that one out on Mother's Day. I mean, sometimes Mommy needs a time out, right? And if it comes in a bottle, so much the better!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Quickie -

John Edwards just endorsed Barack Obama! Yay!

Now keeping fingers crossed that this whole mess finally wraps up and we can move on...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Quickie - It's not just Spice anymore

Remember when Spice was struggling with the truth that "Stuff White People Like" applied to people exactly like her?

Yeah, well with the latest post I've come to realize that it applies just as much to me. I'm *so* that guy. In every detail - I can't stand when people use the wrong form of their/they're/there and take great delight in spotting grammar errors in major publications*.

I guess this means I'm white. Quite the realization since my ethnicity is normally so hard to detect what with my milky-pale skin and my occasional upper-midwest accent...

Solidarity, Spice-Sister!

* Hell, even minor ones.

Superman vs Jesus Fish

On the way up to the GF's a while back I found myself stuck behind a car of an obviously risk-averse person:

It's a little blurry, I'll grant you. But only because I had to move fast to get a picture before he turned. But you can clearly see the Jesus fish juxstaposed with the Superman logo just to its left. When the end of the world comes, clearly, this guy wanted to make sure he would be saved by *someone* whether it was Superman or Jesus.

Just thinking about it obligated me to have the mental debate of "Who would win in a fight between them" all the way up to the GF's. But then she had made dinner so I promptly forgot about it until I was cleaning out my phone last night and the image stayed hidden away from public view until now. And truthfully now that I'm writing about it I'm having the inner debate again about which one would win in a fight...

I should go get lunch.

Walgreens hates art!

Well it looks like the GF and my timing was impeccable. The city of Berwyn tore down the Spindle the weekend before last. A sad day indeed. I blame Walgreens and their hatred of all things art. After all we saw the parking lot where it is located and there's plenty of room for both the Spindle and a Walgreens, so logically the only reason the Spindle was dismantled was because Walgreens hated it and wanted it to die.

Here's one last picture I took from the visit:

Posted by Picasa
The odd thing is according to the article they saved the top two cars in case some future artists wants to restore them and use them in building a new Spindle. But don't you think that artists would want to maintain the artistic integrity and have *all* the cars? Either that or use all new cars? Surely some bastard combination of old-Spindle + new cars would create a very incoherant aesthetic - perhaps to such a degree that Walgreens would try to tear *that* one down too.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The perils of food experimentation

When I got home from work today, I decided to make myself a light dinner because I wasn't terribly hungry and could stand to lose some "winter insulation". After all, it's spring which means the odds of me being seen in a bathing suit go up significantly - particularly if I have to go to Europe for some reason and get assaulted by the speedo gestapo for not wearing one.

After some thoughtful consideration of my cupboard inventory, I decided to make a peanut butter sandwich*. Sure, it's got some fat, but I really like peanut butter and hadn't made a peanut butter sandwich in a long time. But to jazz it up a little, I thought I'd stick it in the George Foreman for a minute or two to toast it up nice and crispy. Occasionally I'll do stuff like this to experiment with radical new approaches to classical Grrbear food favorites. Like when I tried mixing a little salsa into mac-and-cheese (tasty!) or peanut-butter-and-nutella sandwiches (not as good as you would think, and nowhere near the "candy sandwich" of my dreams).

In general, I have to say that the toasted PB sandwich was a success, except for ones small thing - the Foreman doesn't exactly heat super evenly, and the sandwich I made developed some undetectable pockets of super-hot liquified peanut butter that had a tendency to erupt out when one bit into them. The first time I hit one it took me quite by surprise, squirting its molten peanutty goodness onto my shirt across my chin. Once I finished shrieking like a little girl, I understood why the defenders of medieval fortresses used cauldrons of boiling oil to drive away attackers - that stuff stings!

Of course, it didn't stop me from finishing my sandwich. I just let it cool a little longer and ate it more warily. Yum!

* No jelly because I think jelly is weird and probably secretly supports the terrorists.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The GF is way cooler than I am...

On Sunday of this week, a new television show premiered in Chicago that the GF worked on. I'm not going to say what she did, because then people will be able to read the closing credits, find her name, and then the whole carefully-woven illusion of secrecy that I promote on this blog by just referring to her as "the GF" will be rent in twain.

Anyway, it's a really good show and I'm just too proud not to share at least a little bit. The show itself is called "IL-Informed" and it's a political satire show that focuses on the local politics of Chicago. Needless to say, if you know anything about local Chicago politics, you know that they will have more than enough material to let the show run well into the 22nd century. And it's chock full of awesomeness.

Here's a clip on housing. If you listen carefully you'll hear the GF screaming in the background...

Hassan Ali Bursts the Housing Bubble from Schadenfreude Media, LLC on Vimeo.

And a clip from a bit where Mayor Daley plays advice columnist:

Dear Mayor Daley from Schadenfreude Media, LLC on Vimeo.

And then there's a spirited debate about urban renewal featuring two of Chicago's most notable stereotypes: the urban hipster vs the "Lincoln Park Chad":

Upwater Point/CounterPoint from Schadenfreude Media, LLC on Vimeo.

Finally, how could a satire show air on public television without poking at leat a *little* fun at pledge week?

WTTW Pledge Drive from Schadenfreude Media, LLC on Vimeo.

After all, Elmo seems equally disinterested in both...

I have a hard time believing that Elmo was traumatized by Katy Perry's decollatage after discovering that he had already "been arou...