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Friday, November 30, 2012

Tribune fixer-upper fixed up

Posted By on 11.30.12 at 07:30 PM

Just right!
  • Just right!
Let the record show . . . the Tribune was not as negligent as all that.

In a Thursday Bleader post I assailed the Tribune for (1) letting the headline "Who's fault?" show up Wednesday in its sports pages, and (2) not correcting the faux pas by Thursday online.

Denying neither charge, Tribune sports editor Mike Kellams has pointed out what I missed: the mea culpa — compete with a drawing of a dunce cap — the Tribune had posted online and in Thursday's paper. It can be seen here by following this link and scrolling down.

"How could we possibly have gotten that wrong? Because some days we're just stupid, that's how," explained the Tribune.

Unfortunately, having said what needed to be said, the Tribune forgot to correct the website. But that's since been done.

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A short defense of TL;DR, or Desperately seeking e-newsstands

Posted By on 11.30.12 at 06:00 PM

Theres no need to fear the summarzied Web
  • Rene Jansa / Shutterstock
  • An article and its TL;DR (artist's rendition)
Last week I wrote about a rising new trend I saw among news media online, to make summaries of their articles more accessible to their readers. It comes from the Web's TL;DR (or Too Long; Didn't Read) ethos with which angry forum users complain about a post's length and writers quickly summarize what they're saying. On Wednesday, my colleague Steve Bogira spoke out against the urge to summarize, noting that the real value in the writing so often gets lost in summaries.

It's an excellent point, and one I should have made in the original article—not least of all because I think that, done right, summaries will actually increase the value and visibility of great writing.

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A haiku on being a critic during the holidays

Posted By on 11.30.12 at 04:40 PM

One of the thousand
Total Christmas glut,
Dread of a thousand Scrooges—
Till spirits appear.

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More Saturday night music options: Dancing machines, Internet rappers, and more

Posted By on 11.30.12 at 04:39 PM

Daniel Higgs and Honey Cocaine, together at last
  • Daniel Higgs and Honey Cocaine, together at last
As Kevin Warwick mentioned on the Bleader yesterday, Chicago's about to go into the live-music drought that happens every winter as holidays and tour routing designed to avoid the region's inclement weather conspire to keep acts away from the midwest. So right now music fans in the area should be packing in as many shows as they can, to pack in as much live music as they can take, like a bear getting ready to hibernate. We've got a bunch of great suggestions on Soundboard, but unfortunately it doesn't always have room for every worthwhile musical event happening in the city. So here are a few more suggestions for tomorrow night:

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A different kind of busing approach to desegregation

Posted By on 11.30.12 at 03:45 PM

Buses and trains can help us overcome our divisions
  • vxla
  • Buses and trains can help us overcome our divisions
On a summer day in 1892—120 years ago this year—Homer Plessy boarded a train in New Orleans and sat in the car for white passengers. Plessy, a 30-year-old shoemaker, was mostly white himself: he was an "octoroon"—seven-eighths white and one-eighth African. But that wasn't white enough. Plessy was violating Louisiana's Separate Car Act, which directed railway companies to provide "equal but separate" accommodations for whites and "coloreds." The conductor asked him to move to the colored car; he refused and was arrested, and later fined $25.

Plessy appealed, and his case, Plessy v. Ferguson, ended up before the U.S. Supreme Court. By a vote of 7-1, the court found the Separate Car Act constitutional. States could not be expected to enforce "a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either," the high court said. Separating the races in railcars was no different than providing separate schools for whites and coloreds and forbidding interracial marriage, both of which were clearly within a state's powers, the majority said.

The problem with Plessy's argument, the court went on, was "the assumption that the enforced separation of the two races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority. If this be so, it is not by reason of anything found in the act, but solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it."

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Marvin Miller: champion of free markets

Posted By on 11.30.12 at 02:54 PM

Marvin Miller
  • AP
  • Marvin Miller
When I was an impressionable high school scholar, I don't believe I fully appreciated the ideological implications of Marvin Miller's crusade on behalf of professional baseball players.

In fact, I'm pretty sure I didn't appreciate them at all.

It was more like Miller—who died a few days ago—was this cool-looking cat who looked a little Paul Newman and was sticking it to the robber baron owners of the baseball players I worshipped.

So I added him to my list of childhood heroes, an eclectic group consisting of Mike Royko, Norm Van Lier, Foxy Brown, and assorted other characters, real and fictional, who were sticking it to the Man. Even if in some cases—i.e., Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry—they were the Man.

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Jazz: Dutch cornetist Eric Boeren's Ornette Coleman thing

Posted By on 11.30.12 at 02:00 PM

Last December Mike Reed's People, Places and Things played a terrific show at the Hungry Brain, devoting one of their sets to treatments of modern classics by their contemporaries in the Amsterdam free jazz scene, including Joost Buis, Guus Janssen, and the late Sean Bergin. Reed's group is currently on tour in Europe and yesterday it was in the studio to play some of that material, where they were to be joined by some of the players who wrote the material. One of the tunes slated to be tackled was "What Happened at Conway Hall, 1938?" which appears on a new album by the fantastic Dutch cornetist Eric Boeren.

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This Sunday's moviegoing dilemma: programs screen simultaneously

Posted By on 11.30.12 at 01:40 PM

From Starewiczs Revenge of a Kinematograph Cameraman
  • From Starewicz's Revenge of a Kinematograph Cameraman
In an unfortunate coincidence, two of the week's most interesting film programs both screen on Sunday night at 7 PM. In Hyde Park, Doc Films concludes its excellent found-footage series (which has presented works by such notable experimentalists as Peter Tscherkassky, Chick Strand, and Ken Jacobs) with a collection of shorts by Phil Solomon. In Wicker Park, the Northwest Chicago Film Society presents a program of works by Wladyslaw Starewicz, a pioneering figure in stop-motion animation whom Wes Anderson cited as an influence on his Fantastic Mr. Fox. The Starewicz program is sure to be the funnier of the two (his singular Revenge of a Kinematograph Cameraman, from 1912, uses realistic-looking insects to tell a story of infidelity and voyeurism!), but a Solomon screening is nothing to sneeze at. A confessional-poetic filmmaker in the tradition of Stan Brakhage (who was a longtime champion of his work), Solomon manipulates preexisting footage through chemical treatments and other processes to create, per Jason Halperin at Cine-File, "living, crackling, bubbling, blistering memories, [which] grow off the screen in an almost tangible surface texture." Solomon hasn't permitted his work to be released on DVD, as much of its power comes from the texture of the celluloid image, making this rare Chicago screening a noteworthy event.

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Urine trouble!: American Masters, with Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly

Posted By on 11.30.12 at 01:10 PM

Noted postmodernist Glenn Beck
When Americans went to the polls earlier this month to select their new leader, I shared in their concern about what the postelection season could look like. As a "writer," what would I do at work all day long if I couldn't spend my time making lowest-common-denominator jokes about lowest-common-denominator politicians? Thus began a search for meaning.

Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly faced the same problem and have reinvented themselves as cultural critics. Glenn Beck heard about the guy who submerged the crucifix in a container of piss and, 25 years later, formulated his rebuttal: he would relieve himself in a jar and stick a little dashboard Barack Obama in it, and deem it art, and explain the project in a rambling disquisition in which he'd repeatedly cite the men's "ding-a-lings" that are so prominent a feature in the annals of Western art. Was this "provocative," as Beck intended? No, it was far too weird to provoke. It read, like any given public appearance by Ann Coulter, like a nuanced, multilayered performance piece, a send-up of a send-up of a send-up: satire so long dead that it had to be revivified, just so Glenn Beck could kill it again. The jar of Beck's piss sells for $25,000. "A fear of sex this latent but pronounced makes for a fantastically charged visual paradox," the art critic Jerry Saltz observed of the proceedings.

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Young bacon outlaws and other food news bites

Posted By on 11.30.12 at 12:29 PM

E&P R.I.P.

DNAinfo reports on the next generation of bacon outlaws.

The Stew broke the news on Next's 2013 menus: the Hunt, vegan, and Bocuse d'Or.

Kevin Boehm of the Boka Group found inspiration at the friendliest Wendy's in the world.

Lottie + Doof make Dorie Greenspan's speculoos buttons.

The Local Beet has intel on where to get your Christmas turkey.

Beard Papa, in the Block 37 pedway, has closed.

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