There are so many intelligent and articulate people covering the hard-hitting
issues in our country these days, that I felt it was my duty to cover the
rather inconsequential bullshit that tends to make up the vast majority of
our lives. Actually, I'll just be griping a lot which, if you weren't aware,
doubles as a synonym for complaining, and as a descriptor for
a sharp pain in the bowels.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chicago: Should it be the Olympic[k]?

So I've only been in Chicago for a bit over a month (today actually marks the exact five-week mark) but I have to say I really love this city, which I think I've already said already (it's already ready already...). If there was something I loved before coming here, well, there'd be a lot of things, but the Olympics would be among them. I've mentioned in here before how, come Olympic time, I'll watch pretty much every single sport. Even catching just the tail-end of summer in the Windy City I can grasp what an amazing Summer venue this makes, Olympics aside. So throw in sports and how could it not be even better right? Not so fast.

I'll ignore that I might not even be in Chicago come 2016, let alone on this planet since that is a sort of selfish and cynical foresight and actually has nothing to do with why I might not want the Olympics to come here. Instead let's take a look at what atmosphere the Olympics really creates. My buddy Jon sent me an article in which David Zirin raises some good points. Yes, existing real estate and parks will be knocked down or built over to create Olympic facilities. Nevermind the displacement of the people who might be living in such areas as Zirin points out, this will create plenty of construction jobs at a bare minimum, will it not? This is true, but what will Chicago do with these facilities when the Olympics are through? Recent host nation China is struggling to recoup the cost of the $450 million Bird's Nest Stadium .

The Nest looks nice at night, but since the Olympics it's a bit of a barren blight.

It's a little worse when you throw in Mayor Daley's assertion that any costs that go over bid will be covered by taxpayers...Oh really? If there's one thing, or at least a thing, I've noted in Chicago, it is the ridiculous 10.25% sales tax. It's also on seemingly everything, including groceries, although it might just be on some of the sugary products I purchase that don't quite constitute food. There's a lot of cool free shit to do in Chicago, which I am sure these taxes help fund, but I can't help but think I'm getting dicked daily by Daley...

Right, and then there's the corruption surrounding getting Olympic bids (see: Salt Lake City), and Hell it'll take effect in constructing facilities and sponsorship as well. And while this might not be the most solid news source, it's a glimpse into Chicago's history of corruption, and the corruption here is no real secret.

But wait, won't these problems exist anywhere the Olympics are taken? The answer is probably yes, but the implications are it could be a little worse here. And so, regardless of the decision of the IOC come Friday, I'll be unsure whether or not to celebrate. One thing's for certain, I'll be drinking either way.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sweet Tooth

If there's one thing about me, it's that i've got a hell of a sweet tooth. Actually, that probably isn't at the top of the list for "one thing about me," but I do have a hell of a sweet tooth. If there's one thing about me it's that, for whatever reason, I've been saying, "If there's one thing..." a Hell of a lot lately, with potentially no end in sight. Back on sweets, I've frightened obese people at casino buffets (and standard buffets) with my consumption and I've gotten some looks at the grocery store when I check out with four tubs of Edy's, a couple boxes of cereal and a two-liter of Dr. Pepper. My whole family is really down with sweets as well, and we've got some good bakers, so I often leave the holiday season like many other people: having overdone it. All of a sudden, a few months back, around March, and lasting until well into June (and perhaps beyond — could I qualify this sentence anymore?), my sweet tooth disappeared. I still consumed the periodic sweet but not with the voracity of days past.

I'm happy to say – because I know people were worried – that my sweet tooth is back. When Edy's is on sale for $2.49 it doesn't hurt either. But what I've really been fiending for lately, is cookies. There is probably a strong correlation with the fact that, while running Sunday afternoon, the scent of freshly baked cookies inexplicably wafted through downtown, even way over by the lake shore path. Also, post heavy boozing I think my body tends to crave more sweets due to the exposure to all of the sugars associated with alcohol. Oh, and then there's the 50 miles a week I've been running, which tends to send my body in search of those simple calories and simple joys. So strong was this compulsion that I ordered six cookies and two ice cream cones from McDonald's last night. "Could I get two McChickens..." The cashier looked at me and said "That's it?" Wanting to give into American overconsumption I said, "Oh, and two ice cream cones and six cookies — chocolate chip." She didn't ask if I needed anything else after that. I enjoyed dipping my cookies into my cones, but I confess I wish there were a Mrs. Field's storefront in close proximity.

When I woke up this morning, I was still craving cookies. I checked my email and immediately googled "cookies." Thanks to those featured links, Cheryl and Co popped up. Overpriced and fancily packaged, I was still thinking, "I should order myself a few dozen," and was reminded of how the Home Shopping Network and as-seen-on-TV products must clean up.

On a way more Jersey note, because I always like to stay in touch with the homeland, I read this article about Millburn High School's slut list. Millburn is a ritzy suburban Jersey town (we've got a lot of those) known for having the top-ranked public high school in the state and alumnus Anne Hathaway. Hathaway always struck me as a turd, but I've never met her and I try to be nicer these days. Hell, I'm sure plenty of people that see me as a stranger think I'm a turd. They might not be wrong.

In the interest of one of my other interests, namely booze, a friend recently linked over this 1990 GQ article on the drinking exploits of the late Ted Kennedy (among other things). While GQ is generally about 900 million pages of high-gloss ads, I'm periodically (oh the unintentional puns, sorry Maddox) alerted to some really solid interviews/biopics contained within. This goes on that list.

Finally, amidst a pretty excellent weekend of football viewing, there were these sideline gems that, of course, I was able to find just now with a quick youtubing. First, billionaire oilman and Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones picking his nose on national TV. Not much of a digger, but I'll take it! Far more amusing in my estimation was Bears' QB Jay Cutler having his helmet knocked off by a referee (skip ahead to ~20 seconds to catch it).

I am off to buy some produce and, let's be honest, probably some cookies as well...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It's a Midwest Thang

Well shootz brah it's been a long time. It's ya boy Jeb here, hollerin' at you from Chicago. I had planned to churn out one last nugget of love from my old Jersey IP, but alas it wasn't to be. Hell, I've been here a week and a half and I'm just getting to this now. Under ordinary circumstances I don't like to make my blog too synopsesy (yeah, we all know it's not a word), and yet it probably ends up happening a shit-ton anyway. In general blogs are themed, sort of niche marketing if you will, and my theme is that there is no theme except that the words put down here tend to be related to my retarded brain and interests.

So in the world of track, a world I'd inhabit a bit more if I were much faster, things have been going down. The world championships took place a couple of weeks ago and Usain Bolt did what Usain Bolt does, rewrite the record book for the 100m and 200m. Demented is a word that comes to mind when I watch this guy run, this guy who is younger than me. Of course, I'm biased towards the longer distances I have competed in in my lifetime, so when Dathan Ritzenhein crushed the American Record in the 5k, I was pretty stoked. I think it certainly helped that it seemed more unexpected than Bolt's tremendous performances and that Ritz graduated the same year as me in high school and I've been following the guy from my earliest love of the sport.

The only knock against Bolt, for me, is that he's so amazing I turn my surprise-o-meter off when watching him. I'm hoping humble little Tyson Gay can put things together after his impending groin surgery and make things interesting. Yes, I called Gay little because according to his USATF bio we are the same height and he only weighs ten pounds more than I do. Considering I run 50+ miles a week these days and my bicep is roughly the same size as my tricep, well, that surprises me. Not as much as reading that the man in the photo below apparently also only weighs ten pounds more than I. Corresponding photo of self on its way sometime in the next decade.

Blah blah, nerdly track commentary. Before I wrap up though, shout out to Matt Tegenkamp as well who dipped under the coveted 13-minute barrier in the 5k himself.

Quick notes on Chicago include that it kicks ass. It's a city, no question, but there's a friendliness to it that I never quite found in Boston and New York. Just roaming the streets as I try to get a feel for things I have had many a spontaneous conversation with strangers. On my runs too, I've been feeling the love. I have no problem admitting, as I frequently do in here, that my appearance might be something the average dick and jane are not used to. I'm shirtless, in tiny shorts, cross country flats rather than traditional trainers, probably sweating gratuitously and, oh yeah, I run like I'm sitting down. I must reassert as I always do, that when I'm running it doesn't feel like I'm adopting such ridiculous posture. I hope the high-fives from bikers continue but I think that as the weather gets cooler I will be one of the few souls out roaming the streets.

Also, every time I see photos people have taken while in Chicago they tend to include this giant shiny orb and I definitely was kind of thinking what and where the eff is that thing until I walked by it in Millenium Park. As usual I tend to forget my camera when doing anything so my own chronicling of the orb will surely follow...maybe.

So, until they create the camera built into your eyes or hand, I am going to continue to forget to photograph a bunch of pretty cool shit I have been lucky enough to see here and there. That applies to uncool shit as well, like the tow truck that backed up and crushed the front bumper of a Subaru that wasn't even going to be towed, just in the wrong place...Welcome to September folks, wake me up when it ends.
Thanks for stopping by…you stay classy Planet Earth.