static, interference, intervention, intervene, get involved so as to alter or hinder an action, white noise, snow, fuzz, fuzzy, Fuzzy, ME

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Hurricane Katrina passed through the southeast a couple of days ago and is now nothing but a rainstorm in northern New York and Canada. Having said that the southeast is a warzone. Pick the news site of your choice, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox, or MSNBC, the lead stories are all about the aftermath of Katrina. The flooding in New Orleans is still getting worse and the death toll is expected to be in the thousands. President Bush decided he would cut his one month vacation two days short because he figured that he should actually look like he's doing something in the aftermath of the hurricane. All of the groups that I belong to are recommending to those people that want to help to donate money to the Red Cross. The National Guard is trying to handle rescue and relief efforts. They are also trying to prevent looting (unlike they did in Baghdad after the fall of the government). However, many of the units that would be available under normal circumstances are in Iraq. National Guard leadership has complained to the Pentagon that they are hard pressed to act in the southeast because they don't have the troops available. I hope everyone that lives down there can soon return to a normal life.

I was going to talk about some lighter subjects like mishaps that have happened at Fox and CNN while reporting on the hurricane, however it didn't seem appropriate.

In Iraq, two more people were killed today which brought the American casualty total for August to 83 and 1882 in total.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Nada Surf

Their were several stories in the news that I found interesting and thought that I would comment on. First though, I happened to look at my counter this afternoon and saw that I got 40 hits. I have no idea what it was that I said that gave me so many hits, but more hits is always good.

Hurricane Katrina has devolved to a heavy rain storm in the midwest. It left Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama under water and did billions in damage although it could have been much worse. I saw this story yesterday but forgot about it when I went to update my blog. The Kogan family, from Glencoe, had come down to New Orleans to move their son Kyle in to Tulane University. When they got down however, they discovered that New Orleans was being evacuated because of Katrina. They went to the airport and found that they were just giving away rental cars so people could leave. Because of this, the line was extremely long. The Kogan family decided to negotiate a Limo ride back to Chicago for $3700. Other than the fact that they shared the ride with a couple from South Dakota which I thought was a really good thing, I'm not sure how I feel about the story. It was ingenious but $3700 is not small change. While limo rides are not cheap, its a good thing the two couples had the money to use that venue.

On a completely different subject, it was reported on Monday that Ron Popeil, the founder of Ronco, has decided to sell his company for two easy payments totalling $55 million to holding company, Fi-Tek VII Inc. Popeil sold the company name and inventory (Pocket Fishermen, Veg-O-Matic II, Chop-O-Matic, and Mr. Microphone) and has the right of first refusal over anything else Popeil invents. With all of the things that he has invented and marketed in the past 50 years, this was a very good deal for both parties.

One last thing comes up before I list the number of deaths in Iraq. I named this update Nada Surf and have not talked about them at all. What is the connection? I'm Popular.

Two more Americans were killed in Iraq today bringing the total for August to 81 and 1880 in total.

Monday, August 29, 2005


While Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama are dealing with Hurricane Katrina and I am sorry for the people that are having to deal with it, my life was fairly uneventful. This was a good thing because I was working on a program at work that could potentially have been very exciting and not in a good way. As I don't have a lot to talk about, I will document the Americans killed in Iraq in April. Before I do that, I will mention that there was one American killed in Iraq today. This brings the total for August to 79 and the total is 1878.

Now for April, 2005:

April 1: Cpl. Garrywesley Tan Rimes

April 2: SSgt Ioasa F. Tavae Jr., LCpl Tenzin Dengkhim

April 3: Cpl William D. Richardson, Sgt James Alexander Sherrill

April 4: SFC Stephen C. Kennedy, SSgt Christopher W. Dill, LCpl Jeremiah C. Kinchen

April 5: Sgt Javier J. Garcia, Spc Glenn J. Watkins

April 7: LCpl Juan C. Venegas

April 8: SSgt: Kevin Dewayne Davis

April 9: PFC Casey M. LaWare

April 12: Cpl Tyler J. Dickens, Spc Manuel Lopez III, Spc John W. Miller

April 13: Cpl Michel B. Lindemuth

April 14: Capt. James C. Edge

April 15: Spc Aleina Ramirezgonzales

April 16: Spc Randy Lee Stevens, Sgt Tromaine K. Toy Sr., Sgt Angelo L. Lozado Jr., Pvt Aaron M. Hudson

April 17: Pvt. Joseph L. Knott, PFC Steven F. Sirko

April 18: Maj. Steven W. Thornton, PFC Sam W. Huff

April 19: PFC Kevin S. K. Wessell, Spc Jacob M. Pfister

April 20: Lcpl Marty G. Mortenson, Cpl Kelly M. Cannon

April 21: PFC Robert A. "Bobby" Guy

April 22: PFC Gavin J. Colburn

April 23: Sgt Anthony J. Davis Jr., SN Aaron A. Kent, Cpl Kevin William Prince

April 24: Spc Gary W. Walters Jr.

April 25: 1st Sgt Timmy J. Millsap

April 26: Spc David L. Rice

April 27: Cpl Joseph S. Tremblay

April 28: PFC Robert W. Murray Jr., Spc Ricky W. Rockholt Jr., 1st Lt. William A. Edens, Sgt Eric Wayne Morris, Sgt Timothy Craig Kiser

April 29: Pvt Charles S. Cooper Jr., PFC Darren A. Deblanc, Capt. Ralph J. "Jay" Harting III, Capt. Stephen W. Frank, 2nd Lt. Clifford V. "CC" Gadsden

April 30: Sgt. Kenya A. Parker, SSgt Juan de Dios Garcia-Arana

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Flower, Sunny Ridge, and Family.

I really like music and while I have examples of just about any genre you can think of in my music collection, the biggest part of my collection is indie rock. One of my favorite bands is Tortoise and I have seen them live many times. While they are an indie rock band, in a live setting, they are very much like a jazz band. Rarely do they play a song that they have recorded but rather tend to use the song as a starting point. Five years ago, the booking agent for Tortoise, Flower Booking, decided to celebrate their 10th anniversary with a series of concerts at the Metro. They (actually she, because, while there was more than one person working for Flower Booking in 2000, the founder and lead personality, of Flower was Susanne McCarthy (now Dawursk)) set up a five night stand called Flower10. After expenses, they were giving the money raised to P.L.A.Y. Tortoise played one night and I definitely had to see them but there were a few other bands on other nights that I was interested in. I wanted to see Califone on Wednesday night and Isotope 217 and The Sea and Cake on Saturday night. I was able to get tickets for Wednesday but unfortunately Saturday night sold out before I was able to get tickets. I really liked Califone but I also discovered The *&^O*& Champs, The Black Heart Procession, Don Caballero, and Trans Am. Friday night had The Lonesome Organist, Antietam, and Tortoise and while The Lonesome Organist was interesting I could have really done without seeing Antietam. Except for the fact that I remember they were really bad, I don't really remember much about them. So, why did I tell this story? Flower has decided to celebrate their 15th Anniversary with a 6 night, eight show stand at the Metro called Flower15. While not all acts have been announced yet, the internet presale has already begun and I bought tickets for two nights, Thursday (Ted Leo and the Pharmacists) and Saturday Early (Tristeza and The Promise Ring). Wednesday is still a distinct possibility (Pelican) but they haven't announced who the headliner is. Tortoise is not yet on the bill and I have to think that that night would be the best fit for them.

Sunny Ridge had their annual consignment sale yesterday and I helped with the clean up as part of One Brick. This used to be a Social and Service Chicago event and my friend Sharon used to run it but SASC is going through growing pains right now and couldn't handle it. Besides that, most of the people that used to do it are now in One Brick. While Sharon wasn't running it and isn't in One Brick, she was there because her sister Karen (who adopted all three of her children through Sunny Ridge) is in charge of the sale. Sharon's friend Jennifer ran things on the One Brick side and I thought she did very well. She invited her Dad, who was visiting her from Michigan, because she was a little short on people and he was nice enough to pick up the tab for lunch after the event.

Today I worked on my genealogy. I was contacted recently by a third cousin who was interested in my branch and she sent her family history report to me. I am going to combine her information with mine and send her the updated report along with a list of data files that I possess. Generally the way it works between relatives is a free exchange of data. However, as it looks like she has much of the same data that I possess, we have to figure out what the other person needs like birth, death, and marriage certificates, obituaries, photographs, etc. It will take a while to go through this report but I did get a good start today.

Four people have been killed since Thursday night which brings the death totals for American military in Iraq to 78 for August and 1877 in total.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Liberal vs. Conservative

A study by the Bay Area Center for Voting Research ranked the political leanings of 237 American cities with populations above 100,000 and found that Detroit, MI is the most liberal city in the United States and Provo, Utah is the most conservative. The researchers examined the voting patterns of each of these cities and rated them both on liberal and conservative scales. The study found that the most liberal cities were concentrated in the northeast, midwest, and California and the most conservative to be in the south and interior west. This is no real surprise for those people who have paid attention to politics in recent years. The study also found that the most liberal cities tended to be economically depressed and had large black populations whereas the conservative cities had a very solid middle class and were largely white. While it did find liberal cities that were, as it put it, bastions of upper middle class, white intellectual liberalism like Berkeley, CA and Cambridge, MA, it found that this was the exception rather than the rule. I would tend to disagree, however, with the conclusion that the researchers came up with; that the great political divide is black vesus white. Being a middle class, white, intellectual liberal myself, I would argue with the point that the cities are conservative or liberal because they are white or black. While the most liberal cities do have large black populations, I would argue that education and economics are tied into this as well. We are still fighting the war for civil rights.

I did not comment earlier this week when Pat Robertson suggested that we should assassinate Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela. This is because this was only the latest in the Reverend's outrageous statements. He has also in the past claimed that the 2nd coming of Jesus would be in 2000, that President Bush had said that there would be no American casualties in Iraq, and that Orlando would be destroyed by a hurricane because it was hosting the Gay Games. He has recently apologized for calling for a "jihad" on Chavez after first denying that he said it at all. I really don't like Robertson's preaching and am amazed that he calls himself a Christian. While it is not my job to judge him, and Jesus taught to forgive, I don't think he should be allowed to preach his hate speech to a wide audience.

While it was a quiet day in Iraq and no Americans were killed, far too many have been killed in any case. 1 person killed in this illegal war would have been too many and we have had 74 killed in August and 1873 in total.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Whole World is Watching

I wanted to post this last night, but the site was down when I wanted to post. That having been said, I wouldn't have done much more than review the movie last night. That having been said, not much happened today that was worth commenting on. I biked to work, I worked, I biked home. During the day, I called my brother Marty whose birthday it is today, I called a girl I know who works in an immigration law office because a friend of mine may have need of an immigration lawyer, and I talked to my parents who apparently had some car trouble when they were going home this last weekend. The water pump on my Dad's truck died so he ended up getting it fixed 90 miles from home.

Anyway, back to the movie. I saw The Whole World is Watching which was playing at The Music Box Theatre as part of the Chicago Underground Film Festival and I really liked it. It was a documentary about the protests in New York during the Republican National Convention. The filmmakers went to New York with a group of Northwestern students and much of the movie was interviews with the students after the events but there was footage of several major protests that occurred that managed to cover them without making the protesters look like circus performers or barbarians. Before each protest segment, the name of the protest was listed along with the number of protesters, the number arrested, and the high and low temperatures. Many times it was brought up by protesters that the media portrayed them as radicals or otherwise tried to minimize their cause. Stephen Colbert from the Daily Show was also featured in the movie talking about how the media will slant a news item to be the most sensational and how they are behlden to big money. The movie was very good and I hope someday that the filmmakers are able to find a distributor so the movie can be more widely seen. It is so small right now that it isn't even listed on the Internet Movie Database.

There have been 5 more military killed in Iraq since Monday night, bringing the total for August to 74 and 1873 in total.

Monday, August 22, 2005

More food, more updates, and a movie

I seem to come back to food a lot and most of the food that I talk about is junk food. Off the top of my head, I remember talking about chocolate and hamburgers several times and today I'm going to talk about Coney Islands. The Chicago Tribune today had an article about American Coney Island in Detroit. This place is a family operation that has been in operation for 87 years. The restaurant and it's coney dogs are an icon to Detroit like Pat's King of Steaks and their cheesesteaks are to Philadelphia, Brennan's and their Cajun food is to New Orleans, or Union Oyster House's clam chowder in Boston, (or the Billy Goat Tavern here in Chicago). Like the Chicago hot dog, an American Coney Island dog does NOT have ketchup. It is served with chili, onions and mustard (and, oh is it good!). My brother Marty lives in Detroit and both times I have come to visit, we have made a point of stopping there. The restaurant is wedge shaped with doors on both ends and the grill is in the center. Their are pictures on the walls of the celebrities and sports figures that have visited and the place is open 24 hours a day. So what are you waiting for? Go! Go Now! American Coney Island!

I mentioned in December about the guy who had been living in the bridge over the Chicago River. The police removed him and he has since had trouble trying to live a normal life (as could be expected for a "homeless" person). He has been in jail twice and is now in a counseling facility that his family found for him. To him homelessness is total freedom, which sounds very much like what the main character in the book, Into the Wild, thought before he tried to walk across Alaska and starved to death.

I am going to the Chicago Underground Film Festival tonight to see a movie about the RNC protests and subsequent arrests in New York last year. It is called The Whole World is Watching. I am very interested in seeing it although as I have not yet seen it, I cannot give a review. That will be tomorrow.

The death toll in Iraq today was 4, bringing the totals to 69 in August and 1868 in total.

Synthesizer innovator Robert Moog died at his home on Sunday of an inoperable brain tumor. He was 71. Moog started in the music business assisting his father making theremins; his innovations in electronic keyboards tie his name as tightly to the synthesizer as Les Paul is tied to the electric guitar.

He spent the early 1990s as a research professor of music at the University of North Carolina at Asheville before turning full-time to running his new instrument business, which was renamed Moog Music in 2002. The roster of customers includes Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam, Beck, Phish, Sonic Youth and Widespread Panic.

Moog is survived by his wife, Ileana; his children, Laura Moog Lanier, Matthew Moog, Michelle Moog-Koussa and Renee Moog; a stepdaughter, Miranda Richmond; and his former wife, Shireleigh Moog.

A public memorial is scheduled for Wednesday in Asheville.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Looking back

As you may notice, there is a counter on the lower right side of this page. I do check it to see where my hits are coming from. Several months ago, in January as a matter of fact, I saw a movie called The Assassination of Richard Nixon. It was a dramatization about the true story of Samuel Byck. A high school dropout and failed salesman who also had psychological problems. He began to blame his problems on the government and came up with the idea of running a plane into the White House. My update on January 11 was about the movie and about Samuel Byck and to this day, many of my hits are from people looking for info on Samuel Bicke.

Last September, Mt. St. Helens started erupting. I have periodically posted about conditions at Mt. St. Helens since then. Present conditions have a very large lava dome forming in the crater, low level seismic activity is fairly constant, and low levels of ash and steam have been periodically occurring. Hiking on Mt. St. Helens is presently prohibited.

One more soldier lost his life in Iraq today which brought the total for August to 65 and the total for the war to 1864.

In March 36 Americans lost their lives. They are as follows:

March 1: Spc. Lizbeth Robles

March 2: Spc. Wai Pyoe Lwin, Spc. Azhar Ali, Spc. Robert Shane Pugh

March 3: SFC Michael D. Jones

March 4: SSGT Juan M. Solorio, Spc. Adriana N. Salem, Capt. Sean Grimes, SFC Donald W. Eacho, Spc. Wade Michael Twyman, Cpl. Stephen M. McGowan, Sgt. Seth K. Garceau

March 7: PFC Michael W. Franklin, Sgt. Andrew L. Bossert

March 9: Spc. Matthew A. Koch

March 11: SSGT. Donald W. Griffith, Jr., Spc. Nicholas E. Wilson

March 14: Lcpl. Joshua L. Torrence

March 15: SSGT Ricky L. Kieffer, Spc. Paul M. Heitzel

March 16: Spc. Rocky D. Payne

March 18: PFC Lee A Lewis, Jr.

March 19: Spc. Jonathan A. Hughes

March 20: Spc. Francisco G. Martinez, Sgt. Paul W. Thomason III

March 21: Lcpl. Kevin S. Smith

March 23: Spc. Travis R. Bruce

March 25: Cpl. Bryan J. Richardson

March 26: Sgt. Isaiah J. Sinclair, Sgt. Lee M. Godbolt

March 28: Pvt. Mark Stephen Dobson, PFC Samuel S. Lee

March 30: Spc. Eric L. Toth, Sgt. Kenneth L Ridgley, Sgt. Kelly S. Morris, WO Charles G. Wells Jr.

March 31: SFC Robbie D. McNary

Details on thene people can be found at Iraq Coalition Casualties.

Weekend with the fam

I try to come up with a title for my post before I actually start writing but at this point, I really can't come up with anything that would seem to summarize the last two days. I guess I will have to write and see if anything pops out that could sum things up. My nephew Sebastian's 3rd birthday is this weekend (actually, it falls on the 21st) and my parents, my sister Melissa, and her two sons, Devon and Carter came down for his birthday party which was today. They actually came down Thursday night and are leaving tomorrow. I saw them yesterday and today but won't see them tomorrow before they leave.

A few weeks ago, I read an article about this hybrid sweet corn that is grown in Harvard called Mirai. It's supposed to be crisp, sweet, and generally very good. I wanted to get some but I had not been able to because it would have involved about a 90 mile round trip. A friend and co-worker of mine however, has parents that live in Karvard and picked some up for me after a visit to his parents. I wanted to get some so my family could try it out. Results? Everyone really enjoyed it.

Before I went over to my sister's house yesterday, I had some things that I had to do. Primarily, I had a three hour volunteer shift at WLUW answering phones for their pledge drive. It was a lot of fun, I took several pledges and I got to talk to several DJ's for shows that I enjoy. I then ran down to Australian Homemade to pick up some chocolates for my sister, Tracy, who's birthday was on Wednesday. I then had to run back home to pick up several bottles of wine that my brother, Marty won in an online wine auction and couldn't have mailed to him because of liquor laws in Michigan. And on my way up to my sister's house, I stopped to pick up some pictures that I had developed.

I got to Tracy's house and Melissa's friend Pam was there. She had come up from Peoria, where she is now living, to visit Melissa. I have known Pam since she was a young teenager and it was nice to see her however briefly.

I went to visit everyone today also, but I waited until after Sebastian's birthday party and after everyone had had a nap. While I waited, I downloaded 98 songs from the internet. I got a bunch of various stuff from Insound, of which their were many that I had never heard of but the writeup sounded cool. They eventually will end up on my Iriver after I listen to them, but I do have to listen to them, make sure I like them, make sure the data is correct, and then upload. I also watched the weirdest movie I have ever seen, Naked Lunch. It was pretty good, but as I said it was very weird; a noir on drugs that involved extermination, addiction to bug powder, giant bugs, typewriting, and homosexuality.

One more soldier lost his life today in Iraq, bringing the total to 64 for August and 1863 in total.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

What I read

People have wondered where I get all of my information. I have been told that I have a wealth of trivial knowledge and I know what is happening when. I am a voracious reader and read about 20 books a year. In addition, I am subscribed to The Nation and TimeOut Chicago. The Nation gives me my worldview and TimeOut Chicago lets me know whats going on. I also really enjoy The Reader and The Onion but they aren't always the easiest papers to find so I don't get to read them often. These are just the things that I read in paper format. There are also many things that I read online on a regular basis. For my regular news, I read both the electronic versions of the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun Times. Working Assets, a progressive company that offers cellular, credit card, and long-distance services and uses a portion of your bill to donate to a variety of non-profit organizations such as Union of Concerned Scientists, Democracy Now!, Oxfam, and the ACLU has a news and opinion section on their website called Working for Change which prints Op Eds from a variety of newspapers and also has a blog by David Sirota. For music news, I can't beat Pitchfork which does news and reviews mostly of indie and punk artists although they also do some rap, some electronic, and even some pop. I frequently hit CNN and MSNBC (but NEVER Fox). Lately, I have also been reading Gapers Block and I just discovered Oh My Rockness which lists all of the indie shows in Chicago every week. So this is where I get much of my information. I do pick up some stuff in other places but I can't let everyone know where I get everything can I ?

In Iraq today, there were 4 more military killed bringing the total to 63 for August and 1862 in total. The continued documentation of those killed in Iraq will restart this weekend.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


As I said yesterday, I had nothing outside of work that I had to do today yet still I remained busy. I had lunch today with an engineer at work that I don't see often. I would like to call him a friend but he is just a little too annoying to be taken in anything other than small doses. When he started, he latched on to me as a friend and I just went along with it. He now travels quite a bit so I don't have to deal with him often. It was kind of cool to see him today.

After work today, I paid bills and started to wade through my email. I am down to 46 unread emails in my inbox (down from 120). I also had to send off a couple of emails. One to a coworker of my brother who was wondering about how to find someone using the internet. Marty referred her to me because I have done a lot of genealogy research on the internet. When he referred her to me, I understood that this was a genealogical quest and thought I was going to be asked about the websites that I use. When she sent her email, it appeared that she was looking for a living person which is cosiderably harder than trying to find a dead one. I told her this and referred her to the websites that I have used. The other email I fired off was to my friend Jacques to give him the address of this site.

I also ended up talking to a distant cousin (third cousin on the Grice side) about my genealogy work on the Grice family for about 45 minutes. I talked to her once before and we exchanged information. Unfortunately, I had lost her address. She sent me her info on the Grice family now I can send her mine. I did notice that there were a few problems in her data that I can correct.

In other news, Rusiia seems to be creating stoner cows. A herd of cows will be fed bails of confiscated marijuana after their normal feed of sunflowers and maize had to be destroyed during the confiscation of the marijana because the marijuana was planted among the feed plants. "I don't know what the milk will be like after this," said a Federal Drugs Control spokeswoman.

The music world was saddened this weekend by the death of John Loder, producer, engineer, and founder of Southern Records and Southern Studios. He was 59. As the online magazine Pitchfork Media reports, Loder died in his bed at he London Institute for Neurology where he had been being treated for a brain tumor.
Founded in the mid-80's by Loder and the punk group Crass, Southern was instrumental in the spread of the indie gospel throughout the world. While I am sure that Southern Records will continue, they will certainly be lesser for his loss.

In Iraq today, 2 more soldiers were lost, bringing the totals to 59 for the month and 1858 in total. And the Republican administrationstill thinks that this is a winnable war.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


I don't seem to know how to slow down when I'm home. I'm so busy that even when I get to spend a day at home (after work), the things that show up on those days that I am doing something are waiting for me and so I'm still busy. I had a pretty busy day at work, after which I came home, changed my clothes and went to WLUW. They are doing their semi-annual pledge drive and I said I would help by answering phones. I really like WLUW. While they are on the campus of Loyola University, and most of what they play could be considered college music, they are not supportesd by Loyola. They are run by the local NPR station and have to raise their money the same way, pledge drives. While I was there, I met one of the DJs. Her name is Katherine and she does a pretty cool show. It normally runs Saturday mornings from 6-9 AM but she switched with another DJ and is running her show tonight. I am listening to it right now and I like it. It is truly free-form, she has played The Arcade Fire, Teenage Fanclub, Psychedelic Furs, Aretha Franklin, and the New York Dolls. Where else would you here this?

I haven't talked about the war in a while. Its still going on and most people think its a bad idea to be there. The President and his cronies are still in denial that this was a bad idea and therefore are denigrating the sacrifice that too many of our military members have made. Last year at about this time 914 American military had died in Iraq. That number has more than doubled in the last year and now stands at 1856. I had been naming the soldiers that had been killed but I stopped in February. I will start with March tomorrow or Thursday.

Casualties by month:
March - 36
April - 52
May - 80
June - 78
July - 54
August - 57

Monday, August 15, 2005


Yes, I know. It's been over a week since I have updated. I was on vacation in Michigan (at my parents' house) and while I did have internet access, I have a hard enough time keeping up with my email let alone updating my blog. I always had stuff to do and people to see, so I didn't have time to spend on the net. I had a wedding to attend on one weekend and a family reunion on the next so I decided to spend the week there. Gas is too expensive and I had been very busy prior to my time off so I decided it would be a good time to take off. It would also save me on gas. The wedding I went to was my sister Kathryn's best friend Deanna. Kathryn has known her for about 10 years so she has known me for about as long. I suppose I'm like her big brother so I got invited. The vacation was nice, I got to relax, spend a good amount of time with my family members, and see some people that I didn't expect to see. I ran into Melissa Kinney at church. I had seen her at church a few months ago but it's still a trip to see her. I hadn't seen her in about 22 years when I first ran into her. She is now married, has a daughter that will be 1 on the 17th (my sister Tracy's birthday) and is still very nice looking. I saw my friend Guy of course, after knowing him for 25 years, he might as well be family but I also met three young artists who are doing a fellowship at Northwood University. Vanessa is a dancer and composer of some rather Baroque music, Carly is a filmmaker, and Lacey is a metal worker. Lacey also lives in Chicago and has a taste in music like I do. We ended up exchanging about 10 CDs. I also saw Guy's older brother, Jacques, his wife Kari, and their daughter Ashton. It was good to see him as I don't get to see him often enough. They are now living in Hawaii, where Jacques works in computer security. I have no idea how much I can say about that so I will leave it at that.

The family reunion, which essentially ended my week, was small.

I drove home on Sunday, went back to work today, picked up 10 bottles of wine for my brother, Marty, which he had one at a wine auction, and ended the day with our monthly book club meeting where we nominally discussed David Sedaris' book, Me Talk Pretty One Day. Bottom line about the book, it was pretty good and funny, there just wasn't much to discuss about it.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A heart attack on a bun

A couple of friends (Jon and Terry) and I met our friend Bob at Paradise Pup today for lunch. It was recently rated in Chicago Tribune Magazine as one of the best burgers in the Chicagoland area which is really saying something because the other places were fairly high-end places in the city. The price for burgers at the other places ranges between $8-12 whereas a char cheddar burger with everything at Paradise Pup costs about $3.50. Granted Paradise Pup's burger is a little smaller than the other places (6 oz. vice 8 or 12) but the size is sufficient to make an average man full. The place is pretty small with almost no seating inside and a waiting line that ran out the door but there were six or seven round picnic tables beside the building. I had a bacon cheddar char burger with everything and 3 layer fries which are cajun fries with cheddar, sour cream and bacon bits and I didn't need dinner tonight. The food was very good although it was necessary to either eat quickly, use a lot of napkins, or both. The burger just wanted to slide out of its bun.

I have commented in the past about Hardee's Monster Thickburger about the size, calories, and fat. Paradise Pup's burger, while it isn't nearly as big, is sufficiently good to make me think that it is very unhealthy and should only be eaten rarely but savored when it is eaten.

Monday, August 01, 2005

John Bolton

I would like to say that I could make a lucid commentary about Pres. Bush's recess appointment of John Bolton as ambassador of the UN but I really don't have much to say. John Bolton is one of the president's worst appointees and he may be even more dangerous as UN Ambassador than he was as Under-Secretary of State for Non-Proliferation. Bush has expressed that he wanted to work more diplomatically with the Legislative Branch but this simply proves that he is unable to admit that he is wrong or even compromise and the only way that he will work with Congress is if they do what he wants. My hope for Bolton is that the rest of the world treats him as a lame duck because he was not confirmed by the Senate and he is unable to make any radical changes.