Leslie's Omnibus


The brilliant (and bent) mind behind @MayorEmanuel is finally revealed:
For weeks, journalists and insiders have urged the person behind @MayorEmanuel to reveal himself, but he (or she) demurred. Until now. After a protracted email negotiation, the author has outed himself to The Atlantic. He's receiving no compensation.

The genius behind @MayorEmanuel is Dan Sinker, who has a heart made out of Chicago and balls of punk rock.
Read the whole beautiful thing.

I don't know why anyone would pay full price for a meal in Chicago, what with Groupon, YouSwoop, LivingSocial, kgbDeals, Open Table and Village Vines offering wonderful deals. And now there's a new and innovative entry into the market -- gDine.com:
Bargain-hunters, there's another discount-dining game in town.

gDine.com launched in the Chicago market today with about 20 participating restaurants, and owner Rakeesh Thakkar says he'll have 100 restaurants within two months.

"It's Opentable meets Orbitz meets Restaurant Week," Thakkar says.

Positioned as an alternative to couponing, the site lists restaurants and their deals, generally a set menu (with choices) for a given price. Diners select a day and time, pay up front and arrive to dine with the big unknown -- the check -- already paid.

Thakkar says the format is especially helpful to larger parties. Individuals can pay their share up front and enjoy dinner with no "who-ordered-what" issues at meal's end.
Sounds good!

Have any of my readers tried this Provent doohicky?

Looks to me like it would beat the hell out of a CPAP machine or any of the dental devices available on any number of levels -- less invasive, more mobility in bed (YOU try turning over with a hose attached to your head without strangling yourself and/or yanking the machine off the nightstand), and certainly more portability.

I'm seriously thinking about getting the free trial sets, but would be interested to know if any of you have tried this product and how it did or did not work for you.

P.S. -- Given that my dreams, which are once again lasting all night long, have recently featured little pop-up ads in the lower right-hand corner of my dreams, just like the ones at Pajamas Media, anything that would improve my quality of sleep at this point would be welcomed.

Note to self: Pay attention to the weather report and carry a damned umbrella if rain or sleet is in the forecast. You'll pay the price if you don't.

In Memoriam

Frank Buckles, the last of the WWI doughboys, has passed away:
Frank Woodruff Buckles, a onetime Missouri farm boy who was the last known living American veteran of World War I, has died. He was 110.

Buckles, who later spent more than three years in a Japanese POW camp as a civilian in the Philippines during World War II, died Sunday of natural causes at his home in Charles Town, W.Va., family spokesman David DeJonge said.

A total of 4,734,991 Americans served in the military during World War I, from 1914 to 1918.

"I always knew I'd be one of the last because I was one of the youngest when I joined," Buckles told the New York Daily News in 2008, when he was 107. "But I never thought I'd be the last one."
God speed, God bless and thank you for your service, Mr. Buckles.


A fixture from my childhood here in Chicago has turned 90. Happy Birthday to Dr. Lester Fisher, who introduced us to The Ark in the Park at Lincoln Park Zoo!

And since my most persistent ear worm has returned due to these memories, I'm passing it on to you:


Mark your calendars for November, when Rob Kroese's next book in the Mercury series lands! I loved the first one, and can't wait for the new one to arrive!

Things I won't be doing this weekend? Going to WingFest (Wah! No PB&J wings!) or to the IKC Dog Show, where I'll bet you Hickory and several of the best in Group from Westminster will put in an appearance.

I will, however, be at the Irish American Heritage Center working the box office for That Was Then on Saturday and Sunday. See you there?

Traffic Conditions

The evening commute in Chicago ought to be just ducky tonight:
A National Weather Service winter weather advisory that predicts 3 to 5 inches of snow is in effect in the Chicago area and northwest Indiana beginning at 6 p.m. this evening until 9 a.m. Friday.

Locally higher amounts are possible, according to the National Weather Service.

In any case, enough snow should fall in Chicago to break the February snowfall record of 27.8 inches set 115 years ago in 1896. So far, exactly 27 inches have been recorded at O'Hare International Airport, the official reporting station.

Accumulations late this evening may exceed an inch an hour, the weather service said, adding that gusting winds of 25 mph may produce areas of blowing and drifting snow, reducing visibility to under a half mile at times. Driving conditions may become treacherous and snow removal difficult.
Oh. Goody.


The Wisconsin Democrats have fled to Illinois to escape actually doing the job they were elected to do. I hope they have their stories straight when they have to explain to a lot of their constituents that it was more important to stand on their conscience than to save their jobs:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker warned Tuesday that state employees could start receiving layoff notices as early as next week if a bill eliminating most collective bargaining rights isn’t passed soon.

Walker said in a statement to The Associated Press that the layoffs wouldn’t take effect immediately. He didn’t say which workers would be targeted but he has repeatedly warned that up to 1,500 workers could lose their jobs by July if his proposal isn’t passed.
The Dems will still have jobs and paychecks right up until the next elections, whether they head back home and vote or not. What does it matter to them if a measly 1,500 of their constituents' jobs go down the toilet in the meantime?

Now the Dems in Indiana are playing monkey-see, monkey-do:
Indiana House Democrats took a page from the playbook of their counterparts in Wisconsin on Tuesday, refusing to show up and stalling action on a Republican-backed labor bill.

Most stayed away from the Statehouse completely, and a couple skipped town to neighboring Illinois. Only three of 40 House Democrats were in the chamber when Republican Speaker Brian Bosma tried repeatedly to convene it, leaving the chamber short of the two-thirds needed for a quorum.

And guess where they ran?

Democrat Rep. Charlie Brown of Gary said he... had been driven to Illinois by Rep. Gregory Porter, D-Indianapolis, and didn’t know when they’d return from the Land of Lincoln.
Spare. Me.

I think Richard Roeper is right when he says:

"This is how you deal with an issue? Teachers calling in sick to work, doctors distributing bogus excuses, state senators playing hooky?"
And Roeper's coined a wonderful term to describe the phenomenon:

Think of all the noble stands, all the great marches, all the tremendous gestures made by brave American men and women throughout our history in the name of what they believe in.

In 1775, Patrick Henry stirred the crowd at the Virginia Convention when he declared, “Give me liberty or give me death!”

In the 1830s, journalist William Lloyd Garrison took up the causes of anti-slavery and women’s rights.

In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Ala.

In April of 1963, civil rights leader Martin Luther King wrote his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail.

And in February 2011, Wisconsin “flee-baggers” hopped into their sedans, fled to Rockford and tweeted about it.

Hmmm let’s see. Which one of these is not like the other?



I have just one thing to say to all these noble out-of-staters:

I'd tell 'em all to go to Ohio, instead, but... lookee here:
While Wisconsin remained the main front in the national debate over union rights, similar battles were taking shape in other states. Ohio drew thousands of union protesters Tuesday, prompting officials there to lock the doors to the Statehouse.
Tell me again that the folks we elected didn't get the message. (Well, everyone but the moron we elected here in Illinois... and even he's beginning to get it.)

I finally found a camp where I could imagine my brother, Sammy, V-Man, The Straight White Wonder, Elisson, El Cap, AD, the Criplets (especially C.D.), Holder (yes, a chick), T1G and a few others (even Harvey) would be right in their element:
Explosives camp: Want to get your kid's attention? Ask him if he wants to go to explosives camp. The Missouri University of Science and Technology Explosives Camp has three weeklong sessions in June, where students (11th- and 12th-graders, 16 and older) learn about things like priming and detonating dynamite, explosives-related careers and, most important, safety. Beavis and Butt-head types need not apply; the application process is serious. Check it out at precollege.mst.edu/explosives.html.
Sweet heavenly Lord, that's a frightening thought.

And another thing -- What happened to the left’s hand-wringing over a lack of civility in our political discourse?

It's worth it to join Twitter if only to follow @MayorEmanuel's latest hijinks.
Since September, a Rahm impersonator has lampooned the mayoral campaign on Twitter — a roman a clef in 140-character installments, with a heavy thumb on the "F" key. More than 31,000 "followers" have come to relish the daily romp through the cartoonish world of the mayoral front-runner and his sidekicks Quaxelrod, Hambone and Carl the Intern.
It's a brilliant send-up, but hardly child-friendly.

The Chopsticks Dining Club sounds marvelous! I'm going to have to find some friends and go. Anyone interested?

We need followers, dammit.

"The Subtle Art of Beer Snobbery" is hilarious... but I'd argue that, unlike wine snobs, beer aficianados are actually populists, not snobs.

(Thanks, Kat!)


It's nice to see that people end up here because they've heard fantastic things about my intellect and wit.



Giggle of the Day:


My recent passion for biographies and autobiographies led me to my current read, Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia, by Michael Korda. Oddly enough, I started reading it just before all Hell broke loose in Egypt and I'm still plowing through it as the Middle East sends itself up for grabs. Much of what is happening began with T.E. Lawrence -- the use of guerilla warfare and his prediction that Britain's and France's carving up of the Middle East in World War I would have grave consequences in the future -- and is spot-on relevant to what is happening right now.

I highly recommend this read!

I shouldn't find this funny... but I do. (And Old Crankypants would have cited this as proof positive that all felines are pure evil.)

I don't have much use for Socialists, to be sure, but I'll make an exception for Senator Bernie Sanders on this issue, at least:
The last you heard from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, he was filibustering President Obama's tax-cut deal with the GOP. Today, the Independent and self-described socialist has his eyes on a different Washington target: the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

Sensing an opportunity in Chinese President Hu Jintao's stateside visit, Sanders is attacking the museum for its practice of selling tchochkes made abroad—mostly in China—in the gift shop.
Right on, Senator!

For those of you who think Michael Vick has learned his lesson and is truly sorry for what he did to all those dogs he abused so badly, take a gander at this video of how he and his band of thugs deal with the owner of one of those rescued dogs:

Here's Steve Dale's follow-up interview with Mel's owner.

Tell me again why Michael Vick should have a second chance at owning a dog??? He may be a great football player, but, as far as I'm concerned he's a piss-poor excuse for a human being.

Late Night Ramblings

Where've I been? Busy, my friends -- very busy.

First of all, Seanachai Theatre Company's new show, "That Was Then," by Gerard Stembridge, opens this Saturday, but has preview performances available for $10/ticket this Thursday and Friday Nights.

It's a black comedy, and the early buzz is fantastic. Follow us on Twitter to get updates on meet-the-cast and dinner theatre availability. Join us at the IAHC, won't you?

Yes, I'm now tweeting -- for Seanachai. Another "never" crossed off my list. (Tweeting, not Seanachai, that is!)

Brian Jacques may be gone, but the world he created in Redwall lives on. My favorite characters were frequently to be found among the dibbuns. What's a dibbun? Behold:

Badger babies! How utterly adorable at this age!

I just found this cool site where a page a day is posted from Jim Henson's "Red Book," and sometimes a good deal of historical information comes with it.

If you're a Muppets, Fraggle Rock, Dark Crystal fan like me, you'll love this!

Via Pat Hickey, why I luuuuuuuuuuurve me some Col. Allen West:
“Over this past week I have watched and listened to members of the House of Representatives from across the aisle.

“I am appalled at their ignorance, belligerence, and dishonest rhetoric filled with empty emotional platitudes. Have they no shame in realizing that their inept, incompetent failures are the reason why we are debating this continuing resolution. They failed to pass a budget during the 111th Congress.

“Have they no honor in realizing that their fiscal irresponsibility over the past four years has resulted in our standing on the precipice of a fiscal canyon from which we may not recover.

“Also troubling are the events in the state of Wisconsin which mirror those that happened in Greece several months ago. We are witnessing the abject hostility of a unionized entitlement class that is being lauded by the liberal left, seemingly to include our President.

It is such a critical time for our Republic, yet there seems no visionary leadership — it is as if America stopped producing adults. I have never seen a greater assembly of petulance and sophomoric behavior as what I have witnessed this week on the floor of the House of Representatives.

“To those across the aisle, please explain to the American people how your economic policies have created a better environment for long-term sustainable growth.

“This debate is about jobs and the economy.

“It begins with remedying the spending problem on Capitol Hill. It includes tackling the burdensome taxation and regulation policies strangling our country. It is the understanding that Keynesian tax and spend policies did not grow America’s economy, but the indomitable, entrepreneurial spirit of the American people.

“Government sets the conditions for job and economic growth, it does not create jobs."
I love a guy who'll call a spade a spade. Well done, sir.

What else was I busy with? Well, I spent a good deal of the weekend up to my eyebrows in bridal photography websites.

Don't faint! It's not for me.

I now have not one, but two weddings to attend in September -- one in Houston and one in Las Vegas, and both of which make me very happy. I can't wait!


Spit Take

How is it that I had to hear about this device from listening to the erudite Dr. Milton Rosenberg on his radio program, and not anywhere else in the blogosphere?

It's the next best thing to riding the mechanical bull at Gilly's, I think.

Going to the Dogs...

I'm equally in love with GCH Foxcliffe Hickory Wind, the Scottish Deerhound and GCH Tolkien Raintree Mister Baggins, the Bearded Collie.

I know some people love Pekingese, but I have a hard time getting excited about a hairy hassock with beady eyes. The Shar-Pei with the great name was nice, but she just didn't have the pizazz that the other two had.

With three more groups to go, I may lose my heart again, so stay tuned.

Dogs to watch for the future (in my opinion)? The Wirehaired Daschshund, the Affenpinscher, the Pomeranian, the Lhasa Apso and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Oh, yeah -- and Bunny's daughter, the Ibizan Hound.


Tuesday, February 22nd is HSUS's 17th Annual Spay Day.

If you or someone you know a pet who needs spaying or neutering and is strapped for cash, this is important info. In Chicago:
“We’re participating in Spay Day, although nearly every day is Spay Day for us,” Fasseas said. On a regular basis, PAWS Chicago offers free, or low-cost spaying or neutering several days a week — Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. It’s free for pet owners on Medicaid or public assistance. They also offer free procedures for pets and owners who live in the following zip codes — 60617, 60619, 60620, 60621, 60628, 60629, 60636, 60639. Otherwise, the fee to spay or neuter a cat is $25 and $125 for a dog. Participants must pre-register. Call (773) 521-7729.
Outside of Chicago:
To find participating vets, clinics and pet centers nearest your, visit humanesociety.org/spaydayfind and type in your zip code.
Spaying or neutering your pet is a kindness to the animal.

That's Sweet

In the spirit of Valentine's Day...

Not one, but two stories of long-lasting loves!

The year was 1927. The setting was rural Nebraska, on the eve of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. She was 14 years old, a little shy and "too young to date," she recalls. He was 19, an outgoing, blue-eyed farm boy who made his living picking corn by hand.

"We met on the dance floor," he remembers, then turns to her for confirmation. "Wasn't it at a dance?"

Yes, she nods and smiles.

They married in 1930, just five days after she turned 17. "A neighbor told Grandma, 'That ain't gonna last,'" she says.

"Everyone who knew us and our families," he adds with a grin. "They all said it wouldn't last."

But Elza and Vivian Moses surprised them all. He is now 102, and she is 97. They have become minor celebrities in central Illinois since September, when they reached an astounding milestone of marital longevity: their 80th wedding anniversary.

It goes to show you never can tell!

When the couple were introduced by friends in 1954, he was a devout bachelor and she was a devout bachelorette. They both were older, had never been married and never thought they would build a life together that has been anything but routine.

Henry Hines, who turns 96 on Saturday, is fit and trim and still walks with his back straight. Mattie Hines, 88, is petite and soft-spoken. On the day I visited them, she wore a magenta jogging suit. The Hineses admit they have no secret to their longevity in life or love. Just a story:

"You look at the statistics today, and it seems some people don't stay married 55 minutes, let alone 55 years," Henry said. "Maybe it's that I used to run on the road and absence makes the heart grow fonder."

"But, Henry," Mattie said, "you've been retired since 1980 and I've been retired since 1988 and we've been together ever since. We enjoy each other."

"We really do," he said. "We've never had major arguments. We disagree sometimes. But we've never been too set in any particular way."

"When we go out, you see one, you see the other," she said. "We're always together. At home, we watch movies or we go to our separate rooms, but we always come back together. We enjoy each other."

"We really do," he said.

How lovely is that?

And those stories, my friends, are my Valentine gift to you.

Going to the Dogs...

... quite literally.

Tonight I'll be glued to the Westminster Kennel Club's 135th Annual Dog Show.

I've got my list of groups and breeds printed, and can't wait for the show to begin.

While I do have a particular favorite breed in each of the seven groups, I do try to hold off picking favorites until I see the dogs in the ring. There are always a few who stand out not only because of their beautiful conformation, but because they have a love of showing off and they just plain sparkle more.

So... if you're as nuts about the Westminster as I am, weigh in in the comments tonight as to your own favorites.

On what network can you find the dog show? On USA Network, starting at 8-9 p.m. ET or CNBC at 9-11 p.m. ET tonight and on USA Network from 8-11 p.m. tomorrow. (I'm watching one network tonight and another tomorrow.)

So, yes -- I'm going to the dogs. How about you?

Sunday Schedule

So cute I almost can't stand it:

(One day I will have one of my very own, just you wait!)

Giggle of the Day, Part I:


Giggle of the Day, Part II:
When confronted with the allegations of force-feeding the activists meat, using them as ad hoc latrines, leaving them incapacitated in fast food restaurant dumpsters, and ‘farting on their heads,’ the organizer declined to comment in detail. “That’s just our secret handshake,” assured the organizer.
I apologize to no one for laughing myself silly over this. (Thanks, Denny!)

Now here's a lovely love story:
“All of the sudden, I realized, my God, am I 16 again?” she said “What’s the matter with me? I was sitting there hoping he’d call! It just surprised me that I was having that good of a time.”
Love is not strictly the province of the young... and we should all be thankful for that!

World Tour

Fiji??? It must be the LOLcats...

In Memorium

I just saw the news that Brian Jacques...

... author of the Redwall series...

... passed away this last weekend.
Jacques was a milk delivery man when he wrote the first Redwall story for children at the Royal Wavertree School for the Blind in Liverpool, one of the stops on his route. The book's hero was a timid mouse named Matthias who found the courage to protect his home, Redwall Abbey.

"I wanted to write something visual that I could read to the children," Jacques said in an interview published on the website of publisher Random House....

He said he chose animals as his characters because they were more popular with his target audience, kids aged 9 to 15. His inspirations included the books he read as a child, such as Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows," H. Rider Haggard's "King Solomon's Mines" and the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey."

"A dirty rat, a sly fox, a slippery snake, an heroic mouse, a homely mouse, a friendly badger ... these are all prevalent in the folk tales of Europe and they suit the medieval setting well," Jacques said.
His books are magical (I think I've read all but the last two), and I intend to read every one of them to Mr. Monkey Toes as soon as he's big enough.

Thank you for every second of pleasure your books brought, Mr. Jacques. Thank you for incredible characters, especially my beloved Baby Dumble. Godspeed, sir.

Quick Stops

Giggle of the Day:


While it may be true that you can't be dooced anymore, trashing your employer on Facebook or a blog or Twitter is still pretty damned stupid.
Employers should think twice before trying to restrict workers from talking about their jobs on Facebook or other social media.

That's the message the government sent on Monday as it settled a closely watched lawsuit against a
Connecticut ambulance company that fired an employee after she went on Facebook to criticize her boss.

The National Labor Relations Board sued the company last year, arguing the worker's negative comments were protected speech under federal labor laws. The company claimed it fired the emergency medical technician because of complaints about her work.

Under the settlement with the labor board, American Medical Response of Connecticut Inc. agreed to change its blogging and Internet policy that barred workers from disparaging the company or its supervisors. The company also will revise another policy that prohibited employees from depicting the company in any way over the Internet without permission.
Yeah. But try getting someone else to hire you when they find out why you're now out of a job.

Ooooo! Carnitas Stuffed Shells? I'm going to have to try these, as they look like a plate full of awesome.

I wouldn't have thought of pairing wine with chicken and waffles, but apparently there are some good choices! (And who knew you'd choose a different wine for KFC than you would for Popeyes?)

Quick Stop

My take on Superbowl XLV:

Leah Michele's version of America the Beautiful.

The commercials -- every single one of them.

The halftime show.

Ms. Aguilera's pitiful attempt to pump up the National Anthem.

The Steelers actually turned it into an interesting game in the second half.

Saturday Ramblings

I'm now curious what the cost/benefit ratio turns out to be from this ad campaign:

I can't help but think this will be one of the few places that Christie actually wastes money, instead of saving it.

Even if you're not a girl, you're very feminine.

You're in touch with your feelings, and your heart rules you.

A bit of a emotional roller coaster, one moment you're up and the next you're down.

But no matter what, you try to be as cute and perky as possible.

Yep -- perky. That's me alright. (*snort*)

Actually, this is more like it:

You are smart as a whip... maybe a little too smart for your own good! Other people tend to annoy you.

You tell it like it is, and you're not about to spare anyone's feelings. You're very blunt.

You are assertive to the point of being aggressive. You know what you want, and you're going to make sure you get it.

Deep down, you're trying to be helpful. You give good advice, even if people don't want to hear it. You always shoot from the hip.

And I played that role in scenes from You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown when I was in High School, too!

Found in my Blogger stats:

I've never heard of it, but apparently I've had 11 visitors from there in one day!

Very, very cool!

Giggle of the Day:


Book Your Ticket

I really enjoyed keeping a list of my reading last year, so here's the kick-off to my 2011 monthly reading list.

January - 4

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, Laura Hillenbrand[1]

Autobiography of Mark Twain: The Complete and Authoritative Edition, Volume I, Edited by Harriet Elinor Smith and Other Editors of the Mark Twain Project[2]

Rab and His Friends, John Brown[3]

Don’t Tell Me Words Don’t Matter: How Rhetoric Won the 2008 Presidential Election, Joel B. Pollack[4]*

[1] By the author of Seabiscuit: An American Legend, this story of Olympic miler Louie Zamperini who survived Japanese prison camp in World War II. An outstanding read.

[2] Authoritative is the word, too. The book is a very strange hybrid of very serious people passing on very serious background material, thought and facts about a very irreverent author who refuses to cooperate with their seriousness. I read all the notes, skipping nothing but the bibliography. Given that this book is 760 pages long, my reading list is short this month!

[3] This short story by Twain’s dear friend John Brown was mentioned in his autobiography a couple of times, so I put the autobiography aside, ordered this on Kindle, read the short story, and then bounced right back to the autobiography. It helped me to flesh out Twain’s friend.

[4] Pollak ran against my current representative, Jan Shakowsky, in the last election. Thus my interest, in this book. He’s a very persuasive writer with some very good points, no matter whether you voted for Obama or McCain.

*Read in paperback.


Roadside Diner

I just finished opening my rather stuffed up sinuses with one of my favorite quick and delicious winter indulgences.

In a sauce pan I sauteed up about a third of a pound of diced ham and bacon deli ends* along with a small diced onion and a tablespoon of diced garlic. Then I added some leftover chopped up chicken tenders** and tossed them in the pot. Next, I added 2-1/2 cups of water and a can of Ro*Tel diced tomatoes with lime juice and cilantro, and brought the whole mess up to a boil.

To the boiling liquid I added 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and then dumped in the contents of a package of Vigo's Jambalaya Cajun Rice Mix, covered the pot and let it simmer for 25 minutes.

While it's good right away, I like the leftovers, which I freeze in individual portions, even better after they've been sitting in the freezer for a while. The heat -- and there is heat -- just seems to bloom more that way.

That's a huge pot full of goodness for a very reasonable amount of money.

*My local grocery store always has these if you know where to look. I can usually score a pound for about $1.50. When I make these rice pots, I'm not totally wedded to pork. Chicken and/or turkey ends are good, too.

**Sometimes I order these out for dinner, and I can never eat the whole plateful by myself. I'm too damned cheap to let perfectly good protein go to waste, so I bring them home, even when it's only a single one. I store them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer to use later in soups or rice dishes. I do the same with popcorn shrimp, which I'd probably add in the last few minutes of cooking.


The only downside of having a grandson, instead of a granddaughter, is that he'd have no appreciation for Nana buying him this adorable set:

Then again, only two figures from the whole set are female so...

Nah. I just can't do that to Mr. Monkey Toes.

You know how I love me some dealios, and this article has several for the Chicago area for the month of February. (I've proposed to my Sainted SIL that we go to Macellos either before or after Disney on Ice, and I'll be sure to visit the Halsted Street Deli several times for that breakfast deal!)

Also, Goggles4u is having another big sale on spex. When you can get a complete pair or single-vision glasses with coated lenses (lots of cool styles and colors) delivered for $8.99 + $4.99 shipping, you're nuts if you pass up this deal! There are also deals on progressive lenses and designer frames. What are you waiting for?

Want to see me go weak in the knees? Whisper sweet nothings like:
Also great: the kimchi burger ($6), a glorious glorp that renders both hands a mess with orange chili oil and clear beef juices, its components falling onto the table at first bite. Song's mother makes the kimchi — the cabbage is not overly aggressive, an appropriate 4 on a 1-to-10 pungency scale. Most of the tingle comes from the gochujang mayo, the sweet fermented soybean-chili paste found in every Korean pantry.

For me, the burger's success lies in the buns, a sesame brioche with a gentle crispness surrounding a buttery, airy interior.
The Philly cheesesteak egg roll ($2) is the unholy confluence of Song's dual-cultural upbringings. I don't apologize about my feelings on this: I would cry foul if the local T.J. McGamer's sports bar served this, but because this comes from an Asian chef, it's as if he — speaking for his race — is giving tacit permission to bastardize the egg roll.

So bastardize on, young man. The deep-fried egg roll, stuffed with chopped rib-eye, grilled onions, white American cheese, and an artful squiggle of ketchup and ranch, is unapologetic bar grub you shake your head while eating, all remorse and grease, but there's no stopping till it's gone.
Be still, my beating heart!

@MayorEmanuel kicked over the ol' giggle box. I love me some fine political humor!

The Trib's take on this hilarious Twitter feed? "I would look at the @MayorEmanuel account as the social media equivalent of a newspaper cartoon. It gives people a virtual caricature of Rahm."

Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.

Bacon has not merely jumped the shark. Bacon has taken all the sharks, stuffed them with cupcakes, ice cream, sausage, lipstick, alarm clocks, and mayonnaise, wrapped them in bacon, deep-fried them, then jumped that. Using a ramp made of bacon.
It's lies, all lies, I tell you!

(A tip of the cap to my green-thumbed pal!)

World Tour

Even from Islamabad, Pakistan, they come for the LOLcats...

Go figure.

In Case You're Interested...

... Yes. I'm actually going HOME tonight.

I'm just hoping all the sidewalks are shoveled between the train station and my house!

A Word of Thanks...

... because everyone else is still bitching about how long it took to get rescued, how long the power's been off, and just how miserable it's going to be to dig yourself out of your house -- but I think we should all feel blessed.

To the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department and Chicago's Streets and Sanitation Department who made sure we were safe and did their level best to clear the streets in absolutely miserable weather, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

To all the men and women who worked round the clock to fix downed wires and restore power to freezing and unhappy customers, for your sacrifice and hard work, thank you.

To good Samaritans who brought water and sandwiches to complete strangers stuck on Lake Shore Drive, there's a place for you in Heaven. That goes double for people who helped dig out or push out cars stuck in drifts when they could have stayed warm and safe in their own homes.

That is all.

Update: Not, that's not all, after all. I forgot to thank the El drivers and other CTA workers, as well as the great engineers, conductors and rail workers at Metra who kept trains and Els moving, and a HUGE debt of gratitude to CTA bus drivers everywhere, but especially the ones who were stuck on Lake Shore Drive and kept opening their doors to take on more and more frozen refugees of the LSD fiasco.

Hidden Treasure

I'm tired of snow, snow and more snow, so I'm going to throw up some photos of a beautiful sculptural piece that sings of warmth:

All the pieces together represent a woman in repose. This angle looks from her head at the far end to her toes nearest.

I have a friend who's a docent with the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and she loves showing off hidden wonders. Thus, when we were out heading from one place to another one recent evening, she stopped short and dragged me into this building down in the financial district. Lo and behold, there was Amber in Repose by Martin Blank.

Update: Seems that I'm not the only one who's sick of winter and pictures of snow. Go visit Marathon Pundit for a change of scenery.

Have you done an anti-winter, anti-snow photo post lately? Let's share!

Traffic Alert

If you're anywhere in the Midwest and don't have to drive today, STAY HOME.
Wicked blizzard winds continue to take their toll this morning, with hundreds of cars still stranded, many major roads closed and Metra shutting down five lines and running Sunday schedules on the rest.

As the National Weather Service put it: "Crippling and potentially killer blizzard to continue to this morning."
Seriously, I can hardly make out the building across the street, and it's a high-rise.

Not that bad, you say?
The forecast calls for 2 to 5 inches more this morning, with high winds continuing into the afternoon, at times gusting to 40 mph. Total accumulations will be in the 12- to 18-inch range over north central Illinois and the 15- to 24-inch range in the Chicago area, the weather service said.
I'm not kidding about not driving.
On Lake Shore Drive, firefighters checked dozens of vehicles, shining flashlights inside to check on any motorists. As of 6:30 a.m., fire officials said anyone who wanted to be rescued from their cars had been. Both directions of the Drive remained closed as cars were towed away.

In Kane County, snowmobiles were used to reach people stranded along a stretch of road near Hampshire. Will County officials said they were having problems reaching stuck motorists.
Most of those people who are stuck have been there since about 6:00 p.m. yesterday.

Don't be a moron and wait for the City, Town or County to close roads. We've had more than our fair share of warnings about how bad this would be. Metra has shut down some lines and moved to a Sunday schedule on others. CTA buses are running, but you're going to wait a long time for one, and it'll take you a long time to get to your destination. Seriously -- stay home.
Update: If you were one of those folks rescued off of Lake Shore Drive last night, call "311" and they'll tell you where your car was towed to. Also, let them know if you ran out of gas and the city will send a truck to help you.
Ooooo! They're now predicting up to 25 inches of snow here in the city!

Winter is Coming

... and I'm not talking about the Great Blizzard of 2011:

Love, love, LOVE Arya!

Traffic Alert

Well, we were warned:
The blizzard warning for Tuesday and Wednesday forecasts up to 20 inches of snow. Wind gusts of up to 60 mph will create whiteout conditions, making travel nearly impossible, possibly flooding stretches of the lakefront and knocking down power lines.

The snow is expected to hit between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. today, falling at 1 to 2 inches per hour. The worst is expected to come between 9 p.m. today and 5 a.m. Wednesday with a snowfall rate of 3 to 4 inches per hour, Santiago said. Lake effect snow could add an additional 6 inches.

Winds are expected to reach 50 mph inland and 60 mph near the lake, where authorities have issued a lake shore flood watch from noon today until Wednesday afternoon.

Waves at the shoreline are expected to reach up to 25 feet, Santiago said.

The Chicago OEMC was to open its emergency control center at noon. The multi-agency center will be located on the third floor of OEMC's office building on Madison. From there, authorities will monitor conditions around the city through street cameras, Santiago said.

Santiago reminded drivers they must yield to emergency vehicles and should not drive unless absolutely necessary.
I'm certain that every moron who never drives in good weather has his keys clutched in his fist and intends to head out the door at 9:00 p.m. on the dot, as a result. *Sigh*

Stay in and stay safe, will ya? (And if you're stuck here in Chicago from out of town, you might be able to use this bit of good news right about now.)


Zorn posted this table of Chicago's ten biggest snow storms of all time:

1. 23.0 inches Jan 26-27, 1967
2. 21.6 inches Jan 1-3, 1999 (I spent this one camped out at a friend's house because I couldn't get home)
3. 19.2 inches Mar 25-26, 1930
4. 18.8 inches Jan 13-14, 1979 (I was the last car through as roads were closed all the down to Macomb, IL, on my way back to school after Christmas break)
5. 16.2 inches Mar 7-8, 1931
6. 15.0 inches Dec 17-20, 1929
7. 14.9 inches Jan 30, 1939
8. 14.9 inches Jan 6-7, 1918
9. 14.3 inches Mar 25-26, 1970 (Snow days in junior high!)
10. 14.0 inches Jan 18-20, 1886

I'm camping out again tonight, rather than go out in all that mess. It's another adventure for the books...


Somebody's got to have a sense of humor about this...

Update: Thunder snow!

Update 2: Lightning, too!


My Magic Cheezburger and I have awesome predictive powers when I comes to Carol Mosley Braun's chances of landing her butt in the Mayor's chair here in the Windy City.

I'm giving her style points for her latest blooper:
At a debate on Sunday at Trinity United Church of Christ, Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins said Braun was returning to Chicago politics after having been “missing in action and lost somewhere” — and Braun responded by saying, “Patricia, the reason you didn’t know who I was for the last 20 years is because you were strung out on crack. I was not strung out on crack. I don’t have a record.”

Watkins, who has acknowledged using pot and coke as a teenager, says she’s been sober for 25 years and has demanded an apology.More comments from around the town on Braun's

“This says a lot about her character,” Watkins said.

Or lack thereof.
More comments from around the town on Mosely Braun and her big mouth:

P.S. -- I asked my Magic Cheezburger what were Mosley Braun's chances of beating out Emanuel and Chico in the mayoral race. Cheezburger sez, "SRY. I EATED IT." (I'll bet you the leaders of the black community that pushed so hard for her to be the "unity" candidate wish they had a Magic Cheezburger of their own and had consulted it a long time ago.)

Update: Ms. Mosley Braun offers up an apology to everyone but the one person she owes it to."
I want to apologize to her, to the congregations and members of Trinity United Church and of New Pilgrim Missionary Baptist church and all of the families and friends of those who are or who have been caught up in the tragedy of drug use. I meant no disrespect of the sanctuaries in which campaign tensions spilled over.
She gives the word "ungracious" a whole new face.

One hundred and eighty degrees in the opposite direction of black women in Illinois politics is Toni Preckwinkle, on whom I am developing a tremendous girl crush:
“The proposed budget represents the first step of a restructuring of county finances for a long-term plan that will address the structural deficit and lay the groundwork for the rollback of the sales-tax increase,” Preckwinkle said. “We must break the habits that got us here. We must build a new foundation to stabilize our finances.”
You go, girl! (Can we clone her a couple of times and send one to Springfield and the other to the White House???)

While this news is not good, it does not in the least take away from the fact that a toddler would not be dead if his mother hadn't left him alone to play in the hallway of a hotel while she fooled around with her boyfriend:
A switch used by a 2-year-old boy to open an elevator door before he fell down the shaft last week should have been locked up, Joliet’s chief building inspector said Monday.

David Mackley said the exposed switch in the Plaza Hotel elevator car was a code violation. He told a city council committee that the switch either should have been in a shielded case or the device should have required a key to operate.
This whole mess saddens and enrages me in equal parts.

Cool Quotes of the Day:


The last living WWI veteran, Frank Woodruff Buckles, turns 110 today. God bless him!

In the middle of the biggest recession in a long time, Caterpillar's workers take this brilliant step:
Union members at Caterpillar Inc. facilities in Illinois and three other states have authorized the United Auto Workers to strike if necessary.
This is why it took my father-in-law 30 years to get fully vested in a 20 year pension/retirement benefit.

I'm heading home. Wish me luck.

More later!

Update: Strike that heading home thingie. I'm on the reception desk until 5:30 p.m. Yahoo.

Anyone who thinks having the Muslim Brotherhood in charge in Egypt seriously needs to rearrange their thinking:
A leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt told the Arabic-language Iranian news network Al-Alam on Monday that he would like to see the Egyptian people prepare for war against Israel, according to the Hebrew-language business newspaper Calcalist.
There's your religion of peace for you.

And, by the way...
If Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak is toppled, Israel will lose one of its very few friends in a hostile neighborhood and President Barack Obama will bear a large share of the blame, Israeli pundits said on Monday.
This is unbelievably awful foreign policy on the part of the U.S.