Friday, June 29, 2007

Are You People Still Here?

Go away, I'm playing with my iPhone.

Learning Springfield

What Dusty says here is true enough of Springfield. But having moved to other communities myself, I’d just like to say I think this is true anywhere you go and you really notice it as an “outsider”.

Happy iPhone Day: Early Bird Update

At 10:00 this morning there were about half a dozen people sitting in front of the Cingular (At&T) store on West Monroe.

1:00 Update: About a dozen camped out now. The Subway next door stands to profit too.

Friday Beer Blogging: Pizza Beer Edition

Pizza and 'n' beer...pizzabeer. Now that's evolution!

Check this out: a guy in Chicago has married the longest unbetrothed couple in history: Pizza and Beer. He's some of the Chicago Tribune's take:
For years, Tom Seefurth drank what he called "lawn-mower beer" -- mass-produced, canned brew best suited for drinking while mowing the lawn.

Then he tried a small Oregon brewery's dark, rich stout and everything changed. He realized beer could be art.
The real estate broker and father of two turned part of his garage into a brewery -- he added a refrigerator, brewing equipment and hung beer cans from the ceiling -- and went to work. He crafted porters. He crafted pale ales.
And last fall, he came up with something he swears will revolutionize the world's favorite 5 p.m. drink: pizza beer.

While there are no pizza chunks in the reddish-brown ale (the biggest misconception Seefurth fights), the brew does include ingredients and an aroma generally associated with marinara sauce: tomatoes, garlic, basil and oregano.
Not interested the liberal media's leftest slant, then go here to get it straight from Tom Seefurth himself.

"Pizza Beer" was developed Labor Day, 2006 by Tom and Athena Seefurth in our home brewery in Campton Township, IL. It all started with a surplus of tomatoes, a bag of garlic & an idea that started early in the spring when we planted our garden herbs.

The goal was to create a beer that would pair with a wide variety of foods, especially our favorite, Pizza! In the end, we were pleasantly surprised that this "mess" turned out to be the best thing since the guy with chocolate that bumped into Ralph Mouth & mixed up the chocolate with the peanut butter! Indeed, the world will love "Pizza Beer".

"Pizza Beer" IS A DEBRIS FREE product. The Margarita pizza is put into the mash & steeped like a tea bag. A whole wheat crust made with water, flour & yeast is topped with tomato, oregano, basil & garlic. The essence of the pizza spices is washed off with hot water and filtered into a brewpot, where it is boiled for a long, long time. During the process, we add hops & spices in a cheesecloth type bag & filter the cooled liquid into a fermentation vessel. (big glass 6 gallon water jug). After a week or two, the beer is good to go. Keg it or bottle it.

Debris-free beer? Yum!

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

WTAX is Now Officailly Useless

Man, it's hard to believe what was once Springfield's premiere news and information radio station is now such a shell of its former self.

WTAX recently announced it was no longer covering local high school sporting events and today, according to the SJ-R, let go sports director Adam Stark. (And my mighty radio career-killing blog really, really had nothing to do with it.)

WTAX has a really poor news operation, one pathetic local talk show (unless you like large, puking ass-kissers like Crazy Bob) and a whole load of syndicated wingnut blowhards. Wow, what great programming!

I remember in days gone by, WTAX being the information powerhouse rivaled by no other station in town. It's live coverage of high school sports had been it's only redeeming value in recent years. Well, now that's gone too. What a waste of airwaves.

You know, I always do a double take when I go by the old location of the WTAX studios on Dirksen. It seems strange to see the empty field where the station one stood next to it's signature tower. I find that empty field somewhat symbolic these days.

WMAY now clearly reigns supreme. They don't do local sports, but they are largely local in programming and have a far superior news team.

I'm sure the short-sighted lure of easy money led to many of the bad programming decisions at WTAX, but those decisions are killing them in the long run.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Beer Spam

Hmmm, beer spam > spam beer, I would guess. Anyway, I don't know if it's just ramdom spam or I was targeted becuse of Friday Beer Blogging, but I got a beer-mail from these guys in my blog e-mail box. I may have to reward this good behavior.

Since You Were Probably Wondering...

Yes, I'm going to buy an iPhone. Friday, if I can. How can I resist?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dandy Andy

I really do agree with this review of Andy Griffith’s performance in “Waitress”. I felt kind of weird about liking it so much at the time. I mean, it’s Andy Griffith. But now that I see everyone seems to agree that he done good, I’ll come out and admit it too. The entire movie is good; see it if you haven’t.

The Knight's Defense

I didn’t realize Springfield’s Knight’s Action Park figured into that story about the northern Illinois dad accused of killing his family. From Eric Zorn’s blog:
Certain elements of the story didn't seem to add up:

The Oswego [Illinois] family was reportedly taking a day trip to a water park in Springfield when Christopher Vaughn left Interstate 55 and drove onto a frontage road when his wife became ill. He then decided to adjust a loose luggage rack on top of the SUV at which time he reportedly said he was shot. The first 911 call for help came at 5:25 a.m. from a passerby who saw Vaughn on the side of the road.

There are many water parks in Illinois, a number of them closer to Oswego than Springfield, which is a three hour drive. And even supposing the family had a particular fondness for Knight's Action Park and Caribbean Water Adventure in Springfield, that park doesn't open until 10 a.m.

Who needs a luggage rack for a day trip? And who drives way off the highway to a frontage road when a passenger begins to feel ill?
Hey, pal, leave us out of your lame alibi. And when I say “pal”, I mean it in that special nasty way.

Made (Poorly) in China

Can we now take a serious look at our trade policies with China? Even without worrying about contaminated food or unsafe tires, I think a lot of the items imported from there (furniture, electronics) substantially suck. Yet, what seems like 98% of everything sold retail is made in China. You almost don’t have a choice other than the old standby, “do without”.

Emergency Annoyance System

What in the hell is going on with the local (I assume) Emergency Alert System. Every ten minutes this morning on WUIS the EAS chirps in, covering up the broadcast for varying lengths of time but delivering no message. I’m told this was happening with one of the local TV stations yesterday afternoon (or it may have been the cable system). Is this routine maintenance or a screwed up system?

Update: According to the SJ-R here, it's an EAS fuck-up. Radio stations here in Springfield as well some in Quincy and Chicago also experienced the disruptions.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Business on the Brink

More economic ruin wrought by the nanny-state smoking ban. The economy truly is about to collapse under the burden.

Taking Flight

Sometimes everyone avoids speaking the uncomfortable truth. For years around here, one of the truths to be avoided has been the failure of Capital Airport. Well, the SJ-R’s Dave Bakke, I think bravely, came out yesterday and said it:
Springfield's airport peaked around 30 years ago when Ozark Airlines flew out of here every half hour. The airport's budget was larger than it is today, and it flew more passengers. In 1978, we had 315,000 boardings - about five times what we will have this year.

Also, the 183rd Tactical Fighter Wing's F16s won't be using our airport. The air show is gone. It's time to rethink and reclassify our airport.

Throw in the towel as a commercial airport. Establish a close working relationship with Bloomington's airport and run daily (free) shuttle service to and from that airport.

If we must subsidize an airport with our tax money, let's subsidize a successful one. Give financial support to the Bloomington airport in return for partnership status and local representation on its board.

Bloomington is the Central Illinois Regional Airport. We are in the Central Illinois region. Having Springfield's support, instead of its competition, makes fiscal sense for our city, for local travelers, for Bloomington's airport and most of all for beleaguered Springfield taxpayers.

We have given the airport enough chances to be a viable commercial airport. It's not going to happen.
I’m not sure I’m ready to call it quits. At least not in my heart. My head says Bakke is right, we just aren’t in a position anymore to run a viable commercial airport. We just can’t keep an airline flying out of here. And that makes me sad. I remember the days of Ozark Airlines. That was back when you could go out on the tarmac and greet deboarding passengers or go up to the observation platform on top of the terminal to watch the flights lad and take off. But those days are long, long gone.

This doesn’t mean we need to pull a Mayor Daley-does-Meigs and go rolling up the runways and planting grass. There would still be an airport, used by local aviators and companies and, yes, even the Air National Guard minus the F-16s; it just won’t be a place where you can get a regularly schedule commercial flight.

And maybe this will lead to better things in the future for the airport. Wipe the slate clean and begin building again from scratch. I don’t know the logistics. Maybe this would doom any possibility for the return of an ANG air wing or annual air show, but I’m not sure we haven’t already reached that point anyway. Maybe it is time to face facts.

Snakes on a Lake!

I have nothing to say about this, I just wanted to do the headline. Well, OK, I guess I could say I now have even more reason not to particularly want to go into Lake Springfield. Maybe Hunter Lake proponents could use this as further justification for the new lake. The old lake has sea monsters!

Friday, June 22, 2007


Saw this on the Daily Show last night. Candidate ringtones make me think the candidate is trying too hard. The cheese factor stinks up the room.

Duh Bomb

Americans can be frightened into almost anything (hence the reign of George W. Bush). But this is just stooopid:

FREEPORT - It's usually not that hard to find a parking spot at Meadow's Shopping Center [in Freeport, Illinois]- unless you have 62 tires and a 200,000-pound Co2 tank in tow.

"This is what we do all the time," said Darryl Sharp, a foreman for the Missouri-based Specialized Hauling Company. "We haul these things from coast-to-coast, either way you go."

Sharp said the tank is empty and does not pose a threat...

"Most of the time they say 'can you get that damn thing out of here?' That's the way it is. Everybody's scared and everybody wants it out of their city," he said.

As an example, Sharp recalled an event as the crew drove through a small town in Arkansas three months after Sept. 11.

"All the sudden there was police officers everywhere around us, and we hadn't no sooner gotten out of our trucks, then they had guns pointed out.

"They thought it was a bomb. They really thought it was a bomb," Sharp said.
America as Barney Fife. Sometimes I think the world should give us just one bullet.

Friday Beer Blogging: Prom Edition Pt. 2

This is the second part of my Brewhaus Prom Night experience a couple of weeks ago. (Part 1 is here).

I wanted to feature my second favorite beer of the night but before I do, I want to give an honorable mention to a beer that I really didn't like that much but came with a surprise prize. Just like Cracker Jack or a box of sugary cereal. Celebrator Doppelbock comes with a toy goat!

Since I had no camera with me that night (I need to start bringing one on my rare beer field expeditions), here's the best picture of the beer and goat I could find on the 'nets:

Former Wingman SK and I had a grand time wearing the goats as earrings.

Anyway, we didn't like the Doppelbock that much (even though it gets great reviews) but we did kind of like the more domestic Tire Bite beer from the folks at Flying Dog.

Goats or no, Tire Bite is chock full of goodness.

And you gotta love the artwork on all Flying Dog products. Tire Bite is no exception.

The next beer field expedition is scheduled for my birthday in a few weeks. I'll be studying the Brewhaus menu, making my list and checking it twice.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Republican Surge

Ha, ha. Illinois Republicans are making a comeback because they successfully got their guy re-elected as mayor of Carbondale.
The fact that Republican incumbent BRAD COLE was able to defeat Democratic challenger SHEILA SIMON in the April race for mayor in Carbondale, showed that GOP ideas and grass-roots activism can defeat "Democratic star power," McKenna said. Simon is daughter of late Sen. PAUL SIMON, D-Ill.
On to Effingham!

Measure This

OK, I recognize the Chicago-complex Springfieldians have, especially when it comes to the governor preferring to live in the Chicago area as opposed to the Governor’s mansion. But this accounting to the penny of the cost of Rod Blagojevich’s travel between Springfield and Chicago, and the running of the stopwatch to measure to the minute his time on the ground here, is just silly.

Yes, there are good reasons for the guv to stay here while budget negotiations are going on. He should be here while the legislature is trying to craft a state budget. But the $52K or 76K or whatever the figure is, really doesn’t affect anything and is virtually meaningless in the larger picture. I mean, you could come up with offsets to that money from savings realized by the governor NOT living in the mansion, or, say, of the governor not commuting every weekend, etc.

Again, I’m not condoning the seeming lack of attention Blagojevich is giving the budget process, just asking we put down the stopwatch and calculator. It’s really petty.

Shitty Music


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Nice Pair

The International Space Station and the Space Shuttle are orbiting earth next to each other and will be visible over Central Illinois tonight. The Shuttle Atlantis recently decoupled from the ISS and is preparing to return to earth tomorrow. Tonight though, weather permitting, look to the Northwest at 9:54 and you will see the pair move across the sky to the southeast. The sky is supposed to be mostly clear tonight.

10:00 PM Update: OK, that was awesome.

All for Obama

I think the headline and lede in the Pantagraph overstate the Barack Obama connection to the move of primary day in Illinois.
Illinois changing primary date for Obama's presidential bid

SPRINGFIELD -- In a move aimed at helping U.S. Sen. Barack Obama seal up early support in the presidential primary season, Gov. Rod Blagojevich Wednesday approved a plan to move the 2008 Illinois presidential voting date to Feb. 5.
Yes, going earlier with the primary to give Obama a boost from his home state was mentioned by some lawmakers when the change was proposed, but I think the main motive behind it was to keep up with the Joneses (or the Californias and New Jerseys).

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fun With Real Web Cams

I know, this is kind of geeky but I got a kick out of it. My daughter is in New York City this week as part of school trip. I went out looking for web cams in NYC and found one in Times Square. She told me she was going to Times Square this afternoon so I immediately asked her to go to the intersection of 46th Street and Broadway and wave to me. Well, she called late this afternoon to say she was in place and I went to the Times Square cam. And there she was (circled)...

It was kind of cool. I would say go here and on my screen she would go there, all from my desk at work. I think some of my coworkers might have thought I was having cyber-sex or something hearing only one end of the conversation. Things like this might have seemed strange:

"What are you wearing?"

"Can you move over a little?"

"Are you there yet?"

"Are you having fun?"

Stuff like that.

Anyway, like I said, it was kind of a cool in a dorky dad sort of way. I appreciated her wasting valuable New York time indulging me.

My “Pal”

This moron, posting at the Huffington Post, is falsely claiming that Illinois state workers get the day off for Casimir Pulaski’s birthday:

On the first Monday in March of every year, Chicago school children are allowed to stay home and learn nothing and state employees are given the day off to do whatever state employees do on their days off (not move slowly, not scowl, not itch their heads with pencils) while the rest of us enjoy less congested expressways, rains and buses.

The reason? Why, it's Pulaski Day, of course.

Ha, ha and those state workers are soooo lazy. Everyone knows it. They shouldn’t get that day off even if they already don’t.

I submitted a comment to the post correcting his holiday error and thanking him for his fine characterization of Illinois state workers. But my comment never appeared. I’m assuming it’s because I call him *gasp*, “pal”. Specifically what I said was “…and thanks for the ridiculous characterization of state workers, pal.”

The reason I think the obscenity “pal” got me in trouble is because I’ve had people take real offense to it in the past. I especially remember an incident about 20 years ago when I inserted the dreaded “pal” into a telephone conversation with an attorney who was representing an individual with whom I was involved with some litigation. So offended, he hung up on me. Ever since then, I have reserved playing the “pal” card for instances when “asshole”, "dumbass” and “fuck-tard” don’t seem powerful enough.

So, in the interest of civility, I guess it’s OK to let the post stand as incorrect. Better to be inaccurate than a “pal” of mine.

Trash Talking

I know I’m way out there in suggesting that garbage pick up in Springfield should be a municipal service, but it’s better than all the half measures being discussed here. It may seem like a crazed communist idea but it really does work other places, even here in Illinois. It won’t completely stop fly-dumping since you will still have people who do not live in the city getting rid of their trash on the cheap but it will go a long way to that end.

And may I take this opportunity to say that trash pick up, no matter who is doing it, is still one of the greatest values out there. The cost of trash pick up, verses the situation you would have without it, can only bee seen as a huge bargain. God bless trash haulers.

Monday, June 18, 2007


The hardest part of being over 40 is that, for the most part, life becomes a defensive action. That is, we spend a greater percentage of time staving off disaster and keeping what we have (such as health or income or skills –our kids). That differs from the first half of life when we are most often on the “offense” trying to learn life skills (driving, a work ethic) to build credit or gain an education, getting through those first few jobs of a “career”, struggling with young children and so on.

And so it was with some sadness (and relief) I learned on Father’s Day that my father was giving up his driver’s license effective his birthday next week. He’ll be 74 but it isn’t age per se, rather a medical condition that has made this decision for him. He told me about this almost in passing yesterday but it struck me as kind of sad. This man, who had been driving for nearly 60 years, is now just giving it up –forever. It’s just as well; he is probably a danger to himself and everyone else on the road.

Still, this was the guy who drove me to school, who drove the family on every vacation, who drove to work everyday before retiring. We depended on him to be able to drive at one time and now, well, we don’t. It seems like there should some sort of ceremony for someone who is relinquishing his driver’s license with a nearly perfect driving record and after decades of driving service to his family and friends. But alas, nothing honorary is coming from a society that demands you drive half your life away.

I was afraid to suggest it, but I thought it would be nice if dad took an official last drive. I didn’t bring it up because he really shouldn’t be driving. It got me thinking though; what would be my last drive if I were faced with having to give up my license (and it was still safe and legal for me to do so). I think I might take the car to the place I first drove on a public street. That would be at a point near West Washington and Bradfordton Road, not far from where I live now.

I still remember that hot July morning in 1976 going out with my behind-the-wheel class, listening to Wally Phillips on WGN (the driving instructor’s choice, not ours), and accelerating east on what was then a country road with just farms on either side. My senses were alert and I felt fully alive in a way a forty-something rarely, if ever, feels while driving.

Driving to the store, hauling the kids around, going to work, they all seem so dreadfully dull as driving goes, but it’s hard to imagine having to give up that ability to do so. I dread the day.

Friday, June 15, 2007

His Master’s Voice

In the debate over immigration legislation, Senator Trent Lott (R-State Farm Litigation) let this slip:
Comments by Republican senators on Thursday suggested that they were feeling the heat from conservative critics of the bill, who object to provisions offering legal status. The Republican whip, Trent Lott of Mississippi, who supports the bill, said: “Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem.”
Now, that’s only true if by “America” you mean “Conservative America”. And it’s been that way for 15 years. The alternate reality created on conservative radio (and Fox “News”) presents a problem for those who are at the intersection of Wingnut Fantasyland and Reality, a place Republican lawmakers often find themselves. Sadly, they have no choice but to pander to the delusional base which is their bread and butter.

Friday beer Blogging: Prom Edition

As has been discussed here and other places, I went on a beer field expedition last Saturday night. With me, I brought Mrs. TEH and Former Wingman SK. We stopped at the always fertile grounds-of-suds known in beer academia as Brewhaus.

Upon our arrival, we were stunned to find out that we had stumbled onto the annual "Brewhaus Prom". It's an event where people too old for proms have one anyway and get to drink beer. We skipped the formal attire and stuck to drinking the beer.

After getting our beer menus, we decided that we would take the scientific approach to discovering new and good beer by picking the beer with the longest name. In this case, it was Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier.

Turns out this is awesome stuff. And if you couldn't tell, it's German.

Weihenstephan is a brewed by these people. If you follow the link, click on the English version with intro. The intro will make you want to go poor a tall stein of good German beer and is worth watching and especially listening to.

I'm going to be checking with Friar Tuck's to see if they stock Weihenstephan.

Weihenstephan: the Prom King of Beers.

Next week, if I don't change my mind I'll have our second favorite brew of prom night.

Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

It Was 50 Years Ago Today...

That other tornado hit town. From the National Weather Service:
June 14, 1957A tornado moved across the south and southeast sides of Springfield. The tornado destroyed 25 homes and severely damaged 175 others; property damage was around $3 million. On the north side of town, the storms produced a wind gust of 98 mph at Capital Airport, which still stands as Springfield's record wind speed. Two people died during the storm, with over 50 injured.

How Real Americans Feel About Immigration

Ha, ha (well, mostly)
Flexing their new-found political muscle, Native Americans — the only “true” Americans — have now weighed in on the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill, lobbying Congress to provide for the immediate deportation of all Mayflower descendants.

Speaking for the National Council of American Indians, Chief “Running Tab at Foxwoods” asserted that the Mayflower settlers “not only entered this country illegally, without visas or work permits, but behaved very badly –spreading disease, raping our women, despoiling the land, and worst of all, stealing our very identity for their sports teams.”

While most tribes oppose any type of amnesty, some have supported a limited trail to citizenship, requiring the Mayflower descendants to pay a fine consisting of their scalps, and the return of the Great Plains.

Other tribes have proposed a “touchback provision,” requiring the illegal squatters to return to the 17th Century, for four centuries, before applying to live here legally in
the present.

Some Native Americans would also grant favorable treatment to those who have high-tech skills, such as converting corn to ethanol.

This proposal has predictably drawn a huge outcry from the WASPS, who claim that they’re merely doing the jobs that Native Americans refuse to do, such as running investment banks and hedge funds.

Things That Make Up Our Lives

Anyone who’s ever had the bittersweet experience of closing out the affairs and dispensing with the estate, particularly the home, of a loved one will want to read this Eric Zorn column.

Not So Special Treatment

When you have nothing else to blog about, there is always Paris Hilton. I’ve withheld any outrage over her legal issues because I knew most of my animosity would come directly from my dislike of her fake and parasitic media persona rather than the merits of her case. And it turns out much of the outrage over her recent release from jail and accusations of “special treatment” may have been unwarranted:
The [Los Angeles] Times analyzed 2 million jail releases and found 1,500 cases since July 2002 that — like Hilton's — involved defendants who had been arrested for drunk driving and later sentenced to jail after a probation violation or driving without a license.

Had Hilton left jail for good after four days, her stint behind bars would have been similar to those served by 60% of those inmates.

But after a judge sent her back to jail Friday, Hilton's attorney announced that she would serve the full 23 days. That means that Hilton will end up serving more time than 80% of other people in similar situations.
So maybe she wasn’t being shown all that much favoritism. Still, I think we all get a little joy out of Paris having to endure this little bit of discomfort. It can’t be as bad as the discomfort we’ve all had to endure watching here baseless celebrity over the years.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Highest Trivia in the Land

Speaking of Reagan, anyone care to guess what president, out of the last 10*, left office with a higher approval rating than when he went in? Hint: this president also had the highest approval rating of the last 10 when he left office.

That’s right: Bill Clinton.

I only post this to highlight the weird distorted reality that is the right-wing echo chamber. They can talk themselves into believing anything.

*George W. Bush’s time as president is not over yet so I’m not including him (not that he's going to have anything close to a good approval rating when he is done).

Cops Gone Missing

Hey, someone is swiping Peoria police officers:

OK, so it's a slow blog day.

‘Time’ to Rewrite History

Time magazine headline:
The Speech That Brought Down a Wall

Apparently, Reagan's "tear down this wall" line actually brought down the Berlin Wall (years later). I love revisionist GOP history as presented by the so-called liberal media.

I see the logic though. In fact, a similar thing happened to me the other day. I stood next to my neighbor’s yard and declared, “Mr. Neighbor, mow this lawn!” And you know what, a few days later he DID MOW HIS LAWN. I’m so awesome. Just like Reagan.

Monday, June 11, 2007

It's Not Nice To Fool Mother Nature

What kind of loser would prank the National Weather Service.
BLOOMINGTON -- False reports of bad weather aren’t just a problem for meteorologists, but are felony crimes similar to a fake bomb threat or emergency 911 call.

So says the National Weather Service office in Lincoln, which has received about a dozen fictional reports of severe weather since mid-April through an online form on the service’s Web site. False weather reports also have been made in other parts of Illinois and in Wisconsin.

Chris Miller, warning coordination meteorologist at the Lincoln office, said most of reports were made during severe weather. The Web poster made false claims about fallen tree limbs, hail or a tornado in a scattered area, including Taylorville, Charleston, Blue Mound and Mattoon.

“There doesn’t seem to be a pattern,” said Miller. The weather service doesn’t know who is submitting the false reports or why, but the FBI is investigating.

“This is a very serious offense,” he said. “It is very similar to falsely calling in a bomb threat or 911, because reports that come in have to be followed up on.”
My question would be, why is the NWS taking weather reports from just anybody? I guess any information to assist in warning of a potential threat is useful -as long as its real. But I know they train their own spotters. Maybe they might want to just stick with them and local law enforcement. It's like when radio stations like WMAY open up their phone lines for eye-witness reports during bad weather, there's always at least one asshole calling in bogus information.

Just Off the Top of My Head…

Yes, the top of my head (bottom center of second photo found here) has been outed in the blogosphere. Damn Commies. Former Wingman SK (whose birthday we were celebrating) is next to me excitedly reading about the fine qualities of the beer he is holding.

News-Free News

Reading the news and blogs today is much easier than usual. See, I don’t give a shit about the Sopranos and that allows me to skip about 80% of everything being discussed in and around the media and internets. Now, what’s Paris Hilton up to today?

Mocked By Bloggers! The Horror!

This is the funniest thing to come along in the courtroom since the Twinkie defense…
In what may be a sign of things to come, the lawyers for I. Lewis Libby Jr. last month invoked the rarely used courtroom tactic: the “bloggers can be mean” defense.

The issue was whether to release the more than 150 letters written to Judge Reggie B. Walton of Federal District Court in Washington, nearly all in support of Mr. Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.

When representatives of the news media asked that the letters be released, Mr. Libby’s lawyers argued against that, saying it “needlessly risks undermining the fair administration of justice.”

Then, alluding to the sometimes combative world of online media, they added there was “the real possibility that these letters, once released, would be published on the Internet and their authors discussed, even mocked, by bloggers.”

The judge rejected these arguments on May 31…
Poor Scooter, the bloggers are mean to him. Maybe you and Paris Hilton could form a lawbreakers’ support group for privileged crybabies. Or maybe get a hold of Mid-West Family management for tips on standing up to the blogger menace.

The Arrogance of Youth

If you’re a parent, keep in mind that you should know that you're too old and stupid the ‘get’ Facebook. At least that’s what I got out of some of the kids quoted in this post from the HuffPo. Poster Fernanda Diaz, a college student, asked friends how they would feel if their parents joined Facebook and tried to ‘friend’ them. While I can appreciate the privacy concerns many of them expressed, they also took the opportunity to proclaim their technological and social superiority. Look at these portions of some of the responses:
I always thought it was a little weird when parents had screen names or facebook accounts...don't they have better things to do, like bring home the bacon? - Amanda, 20

While I respect facebook's right as an emerging social -- and not just college student -- networking site, a parent is not a typical adult, and friending a child is almost an act of invasion…. Facebook, and the internet in general, is a new social atmosphere for our generation, and every generation deserves to have a social atmosphere with boundaries. - Kyle, 20

What's more, if parents join [Facebook] just to show how irreverent or playful they can be, that's even more sad. -Ian,

…if my father were to join Facebook, he would become a member of the "City of Seattle" work network, as well as the "Seattle, WA" network, but the redundancy would be lost on him after the five or six hours of grueling physical and emotional labor, such as flailing the mouse around, roaring at the computer, or giving it the silent treatment, that it took him to set the account up. -Chris, 19

i would be fine with my parents being on facebook if they would just learn to use text messaging.. - Tim, 21
Those are just the low-lights and there are some actual thoughtful comments I did not include. Still, It’s amazing how stupid these kids are in thinking parents are complete, uncool idiots. Too bad that in five to ten years they’ll be just a moronic in the eyes of the next generation of brats.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Naked Truth

Want to show up in the news but don’t want to do anything violent? Do something nude in public. Seriously. Stories “from the lighter side”, or “kickers” as we used to call the less-then-serious stories at the end of broadcast newscasts, love things done naked. Here’s today’s nude story. Ha, ha, people naked –that’s funny! Whatever.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

If Cox Met House

I was just thinking: there should be an episode of Scrubs or an episode of House (or both!) in which Dr. Perry Cox (played by John C. McGinley)...

...has to work with Dr. Gregory House (played by Hugh Laurie)

They are almost the same character except one is in a comedy and one is in a drama. They would certainly hate each other since they are both deeply jaded and cynical wise-crackers. I'd say even make them live together in their own series but their characters would never do that (they'd both be dead at each others hands in the first episode). But I could see them having to work together for an episode, even if the cynicism emanating from the screen might melt house plants in the room.

Thing is, I kind of relate to these guys. Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and see House. Oh, not physically (although after a few days of not shaving a resemblance does start to emerge) but the middle-aged, and I hate to use the word again, cynicism and weariness of the human condition. I'm not as jaded, addicted, blunt or egotistical as House. Nor am I as talented in what I do. But still, there's a bit of House living in me. I would guess a lot of 40-somethings do.

The show (House) itself isn't one of my favorites because, frankly, the weird medical cases give me the willies (ditto E.R.). It's the force of the House character that keeps me watching it from time to time.

Anyway, I think it's time Dr. Cox meets Dr. House and let the clash of cynical (did it again!) witticisms begin. I know they're on different networks, but can't we make an exception for this deeply cynical (d'oh!) experiment?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday Beer Blogging: Shirt Edition

You can get anything put on a shirt, especially a t-shirt. Not surprisingly, beer-related themes often show up on people's chests and backs. Here are a few random internet pictures of beer shirts.

Let's start with the basics. This one has a simple declarative message of suport for beer.Expanding on that, sometimes the message has to be spelled out for full effect.

Very inspirational!

Then there's beer formal...

Well, it has a collar.

And you can be socially conscious with your beer shirt.

The environment is truly grateful.

And finally, even shitty beers have a following.

Schlitz rhymes with ...well, you know.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

My Canadian Drive

Sorry, but this is too cute.

I was in my home office this evening surfing the 'net when my almost four year-old son came in with his Jello and sat down next to me. He looked at the world map I have on my wall and asked where we live. I got up and pointed to a spot just southwest of Lake Michigan. He then stood on his chair, pointed to Canada, and asked if that was the driveway.

Working in My Underwear

More of this please. I could do 98% (maybe 100%) of my job sitting at home as long as I had the right connections through the internet. I suspect there are a lot of people who could do the same. Nationally, that would result in a huge amount of saved energy. Mrs. TEH already works for a large corporation from her home office. Why can’t I?

Guilty As Pleasured

Local bloggers have been challenged to post their musical guilty pleasures. I used as my database a series of five CDs I burned a few years ago. These contain songs for which I would not go out and buy the whole CD, but still kinda wanted around. This was done just barely pre-iTunes so, yes, I stole them (cuff me and take me away).

Anyway, here are ten (in no particular order) from those CDs that I am mildly embarrassed to admit I wanted:

1. Adam Ant – Desperate But Not Serious
2. Stone Temple Pilots – Plush
3. Devo - Mongoloid
4. Van Halen – Unchained
5. Duran Duran – Waiting for the Sound of Thunder
6. Marshall Crenshaw – You’re My Favorite Waste of Time
7. Quicksilver Messenger Service – Fresh Air
8. Procol Harum – Conquistador
9. Veruca Salt – Volcano Girls
10. Elastica - Connection

Now, here are ten songs I make no apologies for that also appear on my 5 CD set (again, in no particular order):

1. Patti Smith – Dancing Barefoot
2. Nirvana – Man Who Sold the World
3. The Yardbirds – Shape of Things
4. Opal – Northern Line
5. Smithereens – Blues Before and After
6. REM – Don’t Go Back To Rockville
7. The Smiths – How Soon is Now?
8. The Ramones – I Wanna Be Sedated
9. The Dream Syndicate – That’s What You Always Say
10. Jimi Hendrix – Voodoo Chile

More Branson, Illinois

I’m not the only one who thinks the whole “Let’s build our own Branson” idea seems a little fishy:

SPRINGFIELD - A land swap aimed at paving the way for a Branson, Mo.-like vacation destination to be built in Southern Illinois is on indefinite hold.

At the request of environmental groups, a state lawmaker put the brakes on the plan Wednesday, saying he wants to make sure the groups get a chance to review the proposal.


[Executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, Jonathan] Goldman said it was alarming to environmental groups because the proposal surfaced as the spring legislative session was set to adjourn.

"It is typical end-of-session sleight of hand," said Goldman.

Further, he said the lack of information coming from the company raises questions.

"No one knows who this company is," said Goldman.

Since the project became public, the company has not made representatives available to answer questions. Repeated telephone messages left with company owner Anthony Watkins have not been returned.

Late Tuesday, Jacquie Vick, who is listed on the company web-site as a media contact, referred questions about the project to Andrew Ross, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Ross said he was unaware the company had directed inquiries to him and reiterated an earlier statement that the state is aware of the project.

State Sen. Dave Luechtefeld, R-Okawville, said he has been skeptical of the project, but said he is willing to let the land swap move forward as long as the state is protected in the transaction.

This may all be a very legitimate project, but it’s sure dressed in scamware. I think we need to think on this one before we start turning over state parks to pie-in-the-sky developers. Personally, I’m not buying that this thing is going to bring a Branson-like boon to Perry County and I’m more than a little suspicious about what’s really going on here.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Although I haven’t been in the place in a very long time, I’m sad, for nostalgic reasons, to see Spillway Lanes close. I still think of it as Town and Country Lanes.

Aside from bowling there often as a kid, it was also the first place I ever played a pinball game and, yes, a video game. In 1974 (I think) a very primitive black and white ‘Tank’ game showed up in the arcade area. It was basically you commanding a multi-pixel “tank” and playing against the machine. It was about as complex as Pong but looked remarkably like the Tank game I now have for my Wii.

Also, in my early teens it seemed to be the place to go to do things kids shouldn’t. Like smoking cigarettes and other “stuff”. I remember even drinking beer in car behind the bowling alley with some coworkers when I was 16 working at Balestri's Grill. I’m not sure what it was about the bowling alley that seemed to attract that sort of activity back in the day. Anyway, even if I wasn’t always doing what I should have been back then, the place will always remind me of good times.

Picture This

Stuff like this drive me crazy. Here’s the headline from the Decatur Herald & Review website:
Police release photo of murder suspect, request help from community
OK great, we can all take a look at the picture and maybe help police find the perp. Or, for the more self-centered among us, perhaps run the other way if we see the guy. One problem: The photo doesn’t appear online with the story. WTF?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Tough Nut

As I mentioned yesterday, Ray LaHood is at least contemplating vacating his Illinois 18th Congressional District seat. Some dreamers think this might be an opportunity for a Democratic pickup:
Illinois' 18th district has a PVI of R+5.5 and voted for Bush by 54-44 and 58-42 margins in 2000 and 2004, respectively. While it wouldn't be the easiest nut to crack, an open seat coupled with a strong local Democratic name is always a game changer, even in a lean-Republican district like this one.
OK, all that’s needed is a “strong local Democrat”. Does such a thing exist in the 18th? I know nothing about Peoria politics but I doubt the rest of the district would have much to offer.

So we may be left with a revised version of the old Steve Martin bit on the how to become a millionaire: “First, get a million dollars”. How can the Dems take the 18th? First, get a strong local Democrat.

The Satirically Impaired

I have no idea if the real Kevan Kavanaugh wrote the following comment in response to this post.
I've been told of your post by some of the staff in the office and I felt the need to respond. Let me make this perfectly clear, you are not responsible for the departure of Mr.Pierce and Mrs.Michaels. Far from it. I am unable to go into details for legal reasons but understand, you're little internet blog doesn't scare me or our multi-million dollar business. You are dreaming if you think one small man can bring down what Brian and Kellie brought to this city.

Kevan Kavanaugh
Mid-West Family
Whoever left the comment has no sense of sarcasm. It’s amazing to me that no matter how many times I state that I am sure I had nothing to do with the “departure” of Brian & Kellie from WNNS, I still get admonished for allegedly claiming I did.

All snark from my old post aside, I once again assure everybody that I don’t really believe I got Brian & Kellie “departed”. Nor do I believe my "little internet blog" can bring on the departure of anyone else from that radio goup or any other radio group.

Additionally, since I have no way of knowing who actually left the comment, I’ll refrain from pointing out the childishness of commenter; childishness that would be even more disconcerting if it actually did come from the manger of a local radio group.

Branson, Illinois

So, Illinois is getting its own version of Branson, Missouri? Two articles (here and here) in today’s Southern Illinoisian suggest as much.

Basically, the plan is for an area in Southern Illinois near Pinckneyville in Perry County to be developed into something Branson-esque, whatever that means. But I guess I’m a little skeptical when I read this:

Todd Britt, a lobbyist representing the company's interests in Springfield, said the company would get the 2,000 acres of state parkland by giving the state an equal amount of nearby land - plus an estimated $1 million - south of Pyramid State Park.

The company intends to build bicycle racing tracks and a small golf course on the tract as a precursor to the larger development patterned after Branson, Britt said. Eventually, the development could cover 9,500 acres.

Bicycle racing tracks? A “small” golf course? (What, is Putt-Putt going to reopen downstate?) And the rest is TBA?

I’ve always thought the development of Branson, a place I’ve never been but have heard and seen much about, was a brilliant idea. It all seems to come together with some serious vision and even more serious marketing. I’m a bit skeptical that lightning can strike twice in this regard. But hey, that part of the state really doesn’t have a whole lot to look forward to economically, so if they want to give it shot, I say go for it. I just hope it doesn’t turn out to be a boondoggle that results in the taxpayers holding the bag. Who knows, maybe the real Branson started off as just a small golf course.

Live by the F-Bomb, Die by the F-Bomb

Well, what the fuck do you know; an appeals court has ruled broadcasters can’t be penalized for airing certain words because, among other things, our national, very moral Republican leaders use those words all the time:

Under President Bush, the F.C.C. has expanded its indecency rules, taking a much harder line on obscenities uttered on broadcast television and radio.

…the judges said vulgar words are just as often used out of frustration or excitement, and not to convey any broader obscene meaning. “In recent times even the top leaders of our government have used variants of these expletives in a manner that no reasonable person would believe referenced sexual or excretory organs or activities.”

Adopting an argument made by lawyers for NBC, the judges then cited examples in which Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney had used the same language that would be enalized under the policy. Mr. Bush was caught on videotape last July using a common vulgarity that the commission finds objectionable in a conversation with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain. Three years ago, Mr. Cheney was widely reported to have muttered an angry obscene version of “get lost” to Senator Patrick Leahy on the floor of the United States Senate.

Ha, ha. Cheney’s “go fuck yourself” turned around and bit him in the ass. I hope this sends a clear message to the sanctimonious, arrogant, hypocritical dumbshits that rule us.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Bored in Washington?

Is Rep. Ray LaHood thinking of leaving congress? This item in the Peoria paper makes one think he is- seriously.
PEORIA - With six congressional terms under his belt and his party dumped from power on Capitol Hill, Republican U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood has his eyes on Bradley University.

LaHood, 61, said Friday he’s seriously considering applying for the position retiring President David Broski officially vacates at the end of June.
Hmmm…So who’s on deck to run for the district seat in his place (obviously only Republicans need apply) if LaHood moves on to something new?

They Can Do it; Why Can’t We?

Is there something wrong with Springfield? Why do we struggle (and then give up) to put on an air show but Rockford can draw huge crowds?
ROCKFORD — People showed up in record numbers for AirFest 2007.

Event organizers estimate that 140,000 people showed up for the three-day event. That tops last year’s attendance of 75,000.
Maybe Rockford draws from the western suburbs of Chicago. But considering every summer there also is an air show on Chicago’s lakefront to the east, a Quad Cities display to the southwest, and to the north the nation’s largest air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, I’d say they did pretty well.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Not Springfield

I think someone else around these blogparts spotted this once before but I can't remember who. Or maybe not; I'm too old to remember things.

Anyway, if you Google Image "Springfield, IL" the very first picture you get is this one:

It is contained in a blog post (scroll way down to Monday, March 27 2006) from Mark Gallagher's Blog. He describes the photo as "Amazing photo of the tornado that hit Springfield, Illinois on March 12, 2006". He also says he used to live here in the 1980s.

But does anyone else see a problem or two or three with this photo? For example, I see at least one palm tree. Notice too, that building doesn't look like anything in Sangamon County much less Jerome. And the tornado here struck after dark and this picture is clearly showing daylight.

Not to pick on Mark Gallagher (he has some very nice shots on his blog) but that ain't the Springpatch I know. In fact, I think I remember the picture as that of a tornado in Florida. Just a case of mistaken identity I guess (I assume he got it from some other source that got it wrong, maybe even some idiot living here).

No harm I guess, except I hate to see the very first Springfield Google Image to be of something other than Springfield.

Update: Per gotshoo in comments, the above photo was circulated in an e-mail as being Springfield. That's surely where Mark Gallagher got it. Gotshoo busted the bogus pic in this post and Dave Heinzel posted this picture showing the REAL Springfield tornado scene:

The Simpletons

If you read nothing else in today’s SJ-R, look at the first half of this article. It makes our Springfield seem downright metropolitan compared to Springfield, Minnesota. Ironically, the city manager of that town sounds like a character from the very Simpsons show he professes to be too old for. Just go read it.

Friday Beer Blogging: Legislation Edition

I woke up this morning realizing the holiday Monday had thrown me off a day and I had forgotten all about FBB. So I have hastily assembled this weeks edition. This is in contrast to the Illinois legislature which is not seeming to be able to do anything quickly and is now in overtime.

Speaking of legislation (segue alert!), I was interested to read this Chicago Reader article from a few months ago about how bad Illinois law is, *gasp*, chasing beer away at least one from the state.

AT THE MAP ROOM, a Bucktown bar with a tap list the length of a novel, the beers of Bell’s Brewery are suddenly what everyone wants. “They’ve never been more popular,” says bar owner Laura Blasingame. “If you can’t have it, you really want it.”
Wanting won’t help. Due to a much-publicized dispute with its Chicago distributor, the southwest Michigan brewery has pulled out of the state entirely. It might seem like a bewildering decision for a brand that’s been a fixture in local bars and stores for more than a decade: Chicago is a bottomless beer market, and craft beer doesn’t have a ceiling in sight. Sales were up 11 percent nationwide in the first half of this year—that’s on top of a 9 percent increase in 2005 and a 7 percent increase in 2004. Meanwhile sales of American mass-market brands fell in 2005 and are up less than 2 percent this year.

But Bell’s founder Larry Bell has had it with a state law that legally ties him to a distributor he says doesn’t care about his beers. The only way he feels he can control what happens to his brand is to take his ball and go home.

TO UNDERSTAND WHAT happened to Bell’s, you have to understand what happened in the 1930s, after Prohibition, when modern alcohol law and the three-tier system were created. The system, which stipulates that all alcohol has to pass through a middleman, was established to ensure that producers couldn’t run bars and limit consumer choice by exclusively serving their own drinks, a situation known as a “tied house.” The repeal of Prohibition effectively gave states the right to regulate alcohol within their borders, and the resulting patchwork of laws has meant that distributors are usually in-state companies.

Goose Island took advantage of the only exception to the three-tier system: if you serve the beer where you brewed it, you can sell it yourself. “When we first came into the market in the 1980s,” says brewmaster Greg Hall, “we went with a brewpub instead of a microbrewery because no one was interested in talking to us.” The brewpub was a hit, but seven years passed before Goose Island inked a deal with a distributor, Union Beverage. Goose Island did phenomenally well until 2000, when sales leveled off. Union was selling Goose Island everywhere it went; to get bigger, the brewery needed a distributor who went everywhere, period. That’s why this August Goose Island agreed to sell a minority interest to the Portland-based Widmer Brothers Brewing, which is partially owned by Anheuser-Busch. The move gave Goose Island the skeleton key of beer sales: access to Anheuser-Busch’s distribution

Neither California nor Colorado, the states with the most breweries in the nation, has a franchise law. “Colorado’s certainly an example of how not having franchise laws has helped foster a bunch of start-ups,” says Paul Gatza of the Brewers Association.
“The question is, why do I have to have somebody else own my brands and decide what’s best for my beer in the state?” says Larry Bell. “I’m the owner—shouldn’t I get to decide what’s best for my beer?”

While Bell certainly isn’t the only brewer to raise the question, to the best of anyone’s knowledge only one other brewer has pulled out of Illinois because of the franchise law. “I had a very bizarre experience,” says Deb Carey, president of New Glarus Brewing in Wisconsin, perhaps the most respected brewery in the midwest. Carey says that after River City Wine and Spirits, her distributor in parts of northern Illinois outside Chicago, was bought out by Southern Wine and Spirits in 2002, she was told that the new company wouldn’t be distributing her beer. “So I wrote them saying I’d like to buy back the product and POS [point of sale merchandising] and anything else. I got a letter back saying, ‘If you don’t want us to distribute your product, you owe us $20,000.’ They would not give me a justification for that price. I thought that was ludicrous since they had no intention of selling my beer.” (Southern Wine and Spirits officials did not return calls for this story.) Carey didn’t have $20,000, she didn’t have money for lawyers, and she was already having trouble meeting demand in Illinois. She felt her only option was to pull out of the whole state—including Chicago, where she was having no problems with her distributors. And so she did

Read more here.

The distribution laws seem stupid to me but I really don’t know much about them beyond what I just read in the Reader article. I suspect this is another case of special interests being able to buy favoritism though campaign donations and lobbying efforts. My guess is nothing much is going to change. Hell, the Illinois legislature, with a solid Democratic majority, can’t even get a budget passed on time.