Monthly Archives: March 2013

Clinton Probably Running, and I’m Confused about a Dumb Joke

Yesterday’s New York Times had a piece about former first lady, New York senator, and Secretary of State — if you ever want to feel horrible about your life’s meager accomplishments, look no further than that resumé — Hillary Clinton, detailing her as-yet-unannounced-but-still-quite-likely run for president in 2016.  Concerning Clinton’s coyness about her plans, her communication aide, Phillipe Reines, had this to say:

‘Everyone’s gotten way ahead of themselves, and most importantly, they have gotten way ahead of her.’

Venting the frustration of all veterans of Clinton politics and the intrigue that constantly surrounds them, he added, ‘What’s that acronym, WYSIWYG? What you see is what you get.’

Reines’s point is, nobody is certain what Clinton’s plans are at this point and the media should stop hemming and hawing over it for now.  However, what I got from that quote was a minute or so of confusedly trying to guess what “WYSIWYG” meant — “Would You Sign It With Your (word that begins with G)” was the closest I got — before reading the very next line.  It wasn’t even in the next graf down.

So remember, people in the media, a group to which I kinda sorta belong, can be remarkably stupid sometimes.  Don’t take everything they/we say as gospel.

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Filed under Politics, Superfluous

Coping Mechanisms to Utilize with Another Cubs Season Upon Us

Well, I mean, they do sometimes.

The 2013 Chicago Cubs will open their season in Pittsburgh 24 hours from now.  This is a team with some emerging talent–Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, opening day starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija–and a growing stockpile of promising young pieces in the farm system, all of which point to some fun, competitive years ahead.  But make no mistake, this year’s team will likely subject their fan base to all manner of dreadfulness before autumn, at its wits’ end about what to do with it, mercifully smothers the season in its sleep.

So, Cubs fans, how should you cope?  Here’s a list of 10 things that might help you get through this difficult time in your life.

  1. Wrigley Field might finally get its facelift.

The place is almost 100 years old and has been crumbling for decades.  Despite the ongoing wrangling between the City of Chicago, the Wrigleyville rooftop owners, and the Ricketts family ownership about how to pay for it, the family has hinted they may go ahead and start with a few tweaks to the player facilities before they get a comprehensive deal in place.  Fear not, gentlemen readers, for your everyone-watching-you-urinate-into-a-trough experience will continue unabated for the time being.

2.  Ronnie “Woo Woo” Wickers is still around.

And for that, we can all be delighted at his antics and ashamed we don’t try to help the man.

3.  Irrational, insensitive, no longer timely Cardinals-hating t-shirts.

Even with Albert Pujols firmly entrenched in Anaheim, I guarantee this shirt will find itself displayed prominently on most Wrigley-adjacent vendors’ carts.

4.  Hopeful closeups of Dale Sveum’s ear.

After an offseason hunting accident with friend and Hall of Famer Robin Yount, which led to perhaps the greatest misleading headline ever, television camera people will hopefully zoom in on the Cubs manager’s injured ear to distract from the gory mess on the field.

5.  Bleacher Nation‘s continued coverage.

No jokes here.  Brett Taylor’s Bleacher Nation is the best Cubs website around and one of the finest examples of what the blog medium can do.  His beast of burden work ethic should be an inspiration to writers everywhere.

6.  Starlin Castro’s errors being blamed on his new fatherhood.

Castro and his girlfriend recently welcomed their first child to the world, so anytime the defensively mercurial shortstop makes a miscue, expect broadcasters to give the ol’, “Must be tired with the new Cub of his own to take care of.”  Many yucks will be had.

7.  “Inigo Montoya Watch” every fifth day.

Again courtesy of Brett at Bleacher Nation, Cubs fans can only hope Jeff Samardzija attacks each hitter he faces as he would the six-fingered man.

8.  Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer “Dream Phone”-ing other GMs into one-sided deals.

Seriously, nobody deserves to be this good looking and this successful.  All the swooning will throw opposing general managers off their game so much, the Cubs’ front office duo might be able to get some quality prospects for damaged goods at the trade deadline.

9.  The Cubs Dixieland Jazz Band.

These guys transport you to the time of rag, a simpler era in which you could gamble at the ballgame then run to the local speakeasy for some illicit hooch.

10.  Chin up, kid, you still get to see them play the good teams!

Want to see the Upton brothers team up?  The Braves will visit Wrigley in September.  Strasburg, Harper, and the boys from the Capital will be in town for a three-game set in August.  With the full-season interleague play MLB will utilize this year, Mike Trout will get to roam the Wrigley outfield for the first time in his career in July.  No matter how grossly overmatched the Cubs will be in those series, it will be fun to see some of the best teams in baseball.  And remember: A window of contention will soon open for the Northsiders.

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Subway Shops as Subway Stops

Courtesy of The Atlantic Cities, this is a peek at what the city of Baltimore would look like if each Subway sandwich joint in the area were to double as a subway train stop.

The map’s creator, Chris Nelson, had this to say:

Nelson runs a well-known site in the city,, that’s been plotting regional homicides in the area since 2005 on Google Maps. The Subway/subway project was a bit of a departure. ‘As far as my thinking,’ Nelson tells us in an email, ‘well I like to imagine what my city would be like if I were running all the planning decisions.’

Just imagine what would happen if we let every guy with murder on the brain run our city planning departments!

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Broadening My Horizons with Politics

Just like anyone else, my interests expand as I get older.  Unlike most people, though, they don’t necessarily change; I just add to the pile of time-sucking obsessions, like movies, television, baseball, music, comic books, hockey, and for the last year or so, politics.  I’m still in the process of determining a solid perspective on where I stand, but I love the Al Gore “raging moderate” quote from way back when.

I want to figure out the most perfect (although I understand that nothing is absolute) political ideology for me, and I think it involves a more literal understanding of the word progressive.  To me, it seems like most places, be they the liberal Salon or the conservative National Journal, think of progressives as the farthest left as you can go without being overt socialists, the kind of people who constantly rage against the world’s injustices no matter what kind of social change happens in their lifetime; it may be important to realize everything is always a work in progress, but at least learn to celebrate when you win.

I think a little differently on that matter, as my version of progressivism would involve a moderate, left-of-center approach, gladly accepting the progress at the root of the word and not caring about how things get done so long as they do.  A lot of data analysis should be included, as well.  Oh, and way less screaming from both sides of the spectrum.

For example, in the current gay marriage debate, I couldn’t care less whether the Supreme Court decrees the United States as a whole must accept marriage equality or simply strikes down the Defense of Marriage Act and makes it a states’ rights issue — which The Dish’s Andrew Sullivan suggests might be the best way to go, as it would allow for a slower, less culturally shocking integration of the idea to more conservative states, which would conceivably help reduce hateful backlash.  If either happens, fine.  Good.  Go for it.

There are plenty more issues to discuss, and as I try to figure my best way forward in political thinking, I invite you to join me, debate, and converse.  You can make fun of my relative inexperience with the topic if you want, but calm, reasoned discussion is what will help.  So let’s dip our toes in these waters.

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“The ‘Net” in 1995

Wonkblog’s Brad Plumer posted this video earlier, which is a 1995 look at the internet’s capabilities, back when it was still new and wondrous.

Besides the multicolored Apple logo and a New York Times journalist’s primary internet function being “electronic mail,” something that struck me was the host’s incessant way of trying to make “the ‘net” sound hip, like some secret club he’s benevolently revealing to us.

Was “the ‘net” such a widely used term back then?  I was only six years old at that time and my family didn’t get an internet connection–via America Online–until a year or two later.

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Chinese Iron Man 3 To Be Different from U.S. Version

With Marvel deciding to release a different version of Iron Man 3 in China, what are we to wonder?

Of course, it probably has something to do with the fact that the evil terrorist trying to take over the world is named The Mandarin.  Or maybe Disney wants to replicate Marvel’s decades old variant cover plot to sell “collectible” versions of the same story multiple times.

My guess, though?  In the Chinese version, Tony Stark will have recurring dreams about unicorns and his true nature will be more explicit.  Bing bang boom, cult classic.  Call it a scoop.

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Filed under Movies, News

McConaughey, Through the Wormhole

Per Deadline, Matthew McConaughey, whose surging career has led him to such recent critically acclaimed films as Magic MikeThe Lincoln Lawyer, and Killer Joe (although he mostly played second fiddle to Clarence Carter in that) is in negotiations to lead Christopher Nolan’s upcoming science fiction movie, Interstellar.

If he were to accept the role, that might be one of the only pieces of information we get about the film until a trailer hits, given Nolan’s borderline compulsive propensity for secrecy.

But the premise of the suddenly-not-half-assing-his-way-through-romantic-comedies McConaughey toplining a wormhole adventure story is an exciting one.  With Nolan’s pedigree and the space trappings, the 2001: A Space Odyssey comparisons will likely abound, but hopefully the Inception director will subvert our expectations and reveal his real plans: Melba Toast in Space.

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