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Apropos of Nothing

Monday, August 6, 2012

One dozen emotions I experienced immediately after buying $260 worth of records in Madison on Saturday

Posted By on 08.06.12 at 01:03 PM

The tough life
In order of appearance:

Disbelief
Remorse
Self-loathing
Indifference
Amusement
Happiness
Conviction
Pride
Indecision
Doubt
Shame
Acceptance

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Since when is "iPhone" a unit of measurement?

Posted By on 06.26.12 at 02:37 PM

Not the phone in question—or the sandwich
  • marco mayer/shutterstock
  • Not the phone in question—nor the sandwich
I just got a press release for an ongoing eating contest at Phil's Last Stand; contestants have to consume a six-pound shrimp po'boy, a pound of fries, and a 32-ounce drink within an hour. That po'boy, the PR continues, is "three iPhones in length, one iPhone in width, and an iPhone in height." I realize that iPhones now fill every purpose imaginable, from virtually simulating breast augmentation to sending messages from a virtual girlfriend—there's even someone who deep-fries them and calls it art. But old-fashioned though it may be, I sort of think inches and feet are more useful than iPhones as units of measurement. As a coworker pointed out, it's not terribly useful for girth. And even with an iPhone sitting in front of me, I can't really picture the size of the sandwich. At least, I couldn't until I looked at the photo attached to the message, which is below.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

What does it mean to be a sugar baby?

Posted By on 06.18.12 at 01:57 PM

He could be just what youre looking for
  • iofoto/Shutterstock
  • He could be just what you're looking for
I recently got a press release with the breaking news that Chicago ranks number nine in the U.S. for having the most single women per capita who are under the age of 25 and looking for older men (Hoboken is first, followed by Dallas). It's a dubious distinction, made more dubious by the fact that the survey was conducted by a dating site that "connects men and women looking for mutually beneficial arrangements." I sort of thought that was a goal of any relationship, but apparently this is code for sugar babies looking for sugar daddies (and vice versa).

But what does it really mean to be a sugar baby? According to the press release, probably not what you think it means! "The term 'sugar baby' usually calls to mind a gold digger, looking for wealthy, old men to buy her everything her heart desires . . . that outdated stereotype couldn't be further from the truth," it says. Their survey shows that most women using the site don't expect "lavish gifts"—they just want to find a man to take them to dinner. Oh, and they want to dress up in heels and skirts while being taken out. They're just old-fashioned, really. (If you are an "Established Man" or a "Perfect Princess," you too can find your match!)

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Groupon guy's gonna tuck you in

Posted By on 06.05.12 at 01:54 PM

Adam_Goode.jpg
  • Adam Goode
So, about this Groupon deal: this guy, whose name is Ben Kobold and who is a Groupon employee and who is "disease-free, physically," will tuck you into bed for $100. Reuters explained yesterday that it's a joke but also not a joke, in the sense that it's a joke but it's also an actual genuine business transaction that people—like you—could partake in. So far there have been two partakers, which isn't surprising considering that $100 could go far toward purchasing some other, more traditional sleep aids, like bourbon or kava. Anyway, Chicago—two days and ten hours left on this one. Here's what you get:

Upon entering your bedroom, Ben Kobold immediately begins to analyze your linen seams and pillow placement, planning a tucking strategy as you enjoy a glass of water he has poured for you. After you hydrate, Ben's sinewy, well-groomed fingers delicately raise each sheet and blanket over your body until you're comfortably bundled. Careful not to disturb any children who may be in the adjacent room, Ben leans in and uses his summer-breeze-like voice to gently sing you one of the five lullabies he has authored. Once your body temperature has fallen and your breathing has slowed, Ben and his legally required entourage of two or three companions will slip soundlessly out the front door and into the night. He'll return to his sleeping barracks, where he’ll tuck himself in and whisper his lullabies to himself.

More here.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

All week long, taking a trip down memory lane

Posted By on 04.16.12 at 06:35 AM

A park in Hungary literally called Nostalgia Park
  • Burrows/Wikimedia Commons
  • A park in Hungary literally called Nostalgia Park
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "nostalgia" as: 1) the state of being homesick, or 2) a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition. Nowadays, nostalgia seems to be popping up everywhere, from the recent reemergence of Mad Men to news coverage of a long-gestating Lyndon Johnson biography to a book with the premise that nostalgia is the overriding current of present day culture. There's no shortage of discussions about nostalgia on the Internet, itself sometimes appearing to be little more than a limitless archive of media and information.

For this week's edition of "Variations on a Theme," we'll be exploring all things nostalgia on the Bleader. And hey, remember books? You know, those collections of paper with words on them? Well, that's what we wrote about last week. You can read all of our Spring Books Week coverage here.

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Today in useless inventions: Rube Goldberg machines

Posted By on 04.06.12 at 02:56 PM

scratch2.gif
I've come across some really entertaining Rube Goldberg inventions in the last few months—first a page-turning device by computer programmer Joseph Herscher, who's also come up with several other contraptions (including one that squishes a Cadbury creme egg). More recently, I saw a video of a 2011 demo of Rob Higgs's enormous wine opener and pourer. I'm not sure whether the latter really qualifies as a Rube Goldberg machine: while its cogs and gears are incredibly complicated, it doesn't involve nearly as many steps as, say, Purdue University's 300-step machine that inflates and pops a balloon. The contraption was demonstrated several days ago at the annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest and breaks Purdue's own Guinness World Record for the Rube Goldberg machine involving the most steps—which it set last year with a 244-step machine. Videos after the jump.

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Opening-day predictions

Posted By on 04.05.12 at 03:46 PM

Adam Dunn will hit more homers than Prince Fielder this year, sez me.
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Adam Dunn will hit more homers than Prince Fielder this year, sez me.
It's opening day, and time to make baseball predictions if I hope to regain the Golden BAT. I neglected to make any formal predictions last year, and that was unfortunate, in that I was all over the Milwaukee Brewers, although to be honest I would have picked the White Sox as well.

Yet this year I'm picking the White Sox again—a bolder choice, as the team has been predicted by Sports Illustrated to lose 95 games. (The magazine's jinx struck again last week, when it put Ohio State's men's basketball team on the cover; shouldn't the jinx work in reverse when the magazine predicts something bad to happen?)

I think the team's pitching could be very good, with Chris Sale in the rotation and if Jake Peavy returns to form. And I think the offense will be good enough with a revived Adam Dunn. In fact, here's another prediction I'm willing bet on (at the right odds, say Rebel Yell to Blanton's): Dunn will hit more homers than the Detroit Tigers' newly acquired Prince Fielder.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

70s throwback Ralph Nader ruins everything again

Posted By on 04.02.12 at 01:18 PM

The season of blaming things on Ralph Nader would seem to be long past, which makes it startling to see Jonathan Alter so comprehensively lose his mind in his National Memo column, which is headlined “How Ralph Nader’s Sins Set Trayvon Martin’s Killer Free” so that it will draw traffic.

Nader actually isn’t given very much more than a parenthetical treatment in the text proper, in which Alter hazards a “butterfly effect” analysis of political history. Neither is Trayvon Martin. But behold Alter's theory: In the 1960s and ’70s Ralph Nader was a high-profile consumer activist. In 1971 Lewis Powell, shortly before joining the Supreme Court, wrote a memo to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce entitled “Attack on American Free Enterprise System.” In it he singled out Nader as the “single most effective antagonist of American business.”

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Friday, February 17, 2012

More Saturday events to consider

Posted By on 02.17.12 at 04:12 PM

Mardi Gras, 1948
Every Chicago Saturday is brimming with activities, shows, concerts, and parties, so how can we fit everything that we want to in our weekly Agenda? Answer: we can’t. So, while you may have planned on hitting up a screening of the Joffrey Ballet doc at the Siskel or a show at the Bottle, here are a few other events to expand your freedom of choice this Saturday.

Things are going to get crazy

If you can’t make it down to New Orleans this year for Mardi Gras, Chicago Samba’s Carnaval offers an alternative that’s closer to home this weekend with a Brazilian Mardi Gras-themed celebration. Be ready for performances, dance lessons, live music, and a parade. Brazilian food and drink will be on sale to replenish your energy. (Those 21 and older can get a little wilder.) 10 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, $15. 18+

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A bedbug horror story

Posted By on 01.31.12 at 08:00 AM

shutterstock_64437049.jpg
Back in 2005, I was living in an awesome two-level apartment in Roscoe Village—the setup was pretty luxurious for a 20-year-old college student. Back then, Roscoe Village was still a little grimy (and a lot more affordable)—a far cry from the puppy and stroller haven it is today. The apartment I lived in is no longer there, having been demolished several years ago to make way for a million-dollar condo.

Three of us lived on the top floor throughout the lease. I remember being told that the girl who had just moved into the first-floor bedroom discovered she might have bedbugs. I didn't even know bedbugs were real—I thought "sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite" was a cute nursery rhyme. And I ignorantly believed that, being on the top floor, I was immune to bedbug bites. I was wrong.

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