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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Making your bike imitate a horse, a necessary measure

Posted By on 12.05.12 at 06:00 PM

Rimshot/Wikimedia Commons
  • Rimshot/Wikimedia Commons
  • Here's a hint: It doesn't "neigh"
Because of course it did, Original Content London—a "creative concept and innovation studio" located on the other side of the pond—dreamed up a way that your bicycle can mimic the clip-clop of a trusty steed ambling down a cobblestone path. Fitting to the bike's front brake mount, Trotify is an elaborate wooden device that ships flat in one amalgamated laser-cut piece and breaks apart for home assembly. The purchaser is next tasked with locating a coconut, slicing it in half and gutting it, and securing it to the device so that, as the bike moves, the top half claps with the bottom and creates a charming sound of yesteryear—yep, think Monty Python.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

"Hey, I have an idea," this week on the Bleader

Posted By on 10.08.12 at 08:47 AM

Paved paradise, put up Chicago in a lightbulb.
  • Paved paradise, put up Chicago in a lightbulb.
Today marks the first day of Chicago Ideas Week, a festival/conference/seminar from now until Sunday that features a range of presentations and events, all seemingly about "ideas" . . . but not really. Featuring discussions with topics such as "Future of News: What's the Story?" (presented by Time magazine) and "Explorers: Seeking the Edge" (presented by the edgy Hyatt hotels), the conference also boasts a number of famous people, in politics (Colin Powell), film (Edward Norton), and sports (Lance Armstrong), among others. To coincide with this elaborate, vague conference, we've decided to make this week's Variations on a Theme about "ideas."

If Chicago Ideas Week has any precedent, it's transparently the TED talks, traveling, videotaped "webinars" wherein a variety of people give oddly new-agey presentations about big, unwieldy topics. In other words: glorified Introduction to Philosophy classes. TED talks, as have already been recounted elsewhere, have become viral Internet memes. This nascent industry seems to have spawned competitors with its success, and Chicago Ideas Week is our local edition. And how was this conference able to book so many famous people? It's sponsored by J.P. Morgan, which is presumably footing the bill.

All week long, check back here for writing about ideas, which will be about ideas and possibly about this new notion of "ideas," where talks about inspiration and ungraspable topics are packaged and disseminated as ways to spend your time. And in case you missed it, go here to read writing from Marathon Week, last week's Variations on a Theme.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Starting today on the Bleader: Squirrels Week

Posted By on 08.20.12 at 06:43 AM

  • Peter Thomas Ryan
Last Thursday's cover story by Reader restaurant critic Mike Sula examined a protein source that's rarely cited as a delicacy: the urban eastern gray squirrel. Since we often dedicate each week's installment of our Variations on a Theme series to the prior week's feature, it didn't take us long to make the leap to Squirrels Week. And judging from the speed at which the comments thread is progressing, the topic of squirrels—if not the practice of turning them into stew—is picking up momentum.

To keep the conversation going, this week's edition of Variations on a Theme is devoted to everyone's favorite bushy-tailed, acorn-nibbling, public park terrorists. Every morning we'll be posting varying takes on an animal that some consider to be a tiny, furry friend—and others liken to "chicken thigh, lean and not at all tough."

In case you missed it, here's a link to Botany Week, last week's Variations on a Theme (and do read "The grow house next door," the article by Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky that inspired it).

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Monday, July 2, 2012

This week's Variations on a Theme: duh, Independence!

Posted By on 07.02.12 at 10:51 AM

Peter Fondas American flag patch from Easy Rider!
  • Peter Fonda's American flag patch from Easy Rider!
This week's Variation on a Theme is—you guessed it—"independence."

With the Fourth of July falling this week, we opted for the obvious when deciding what to write about in this iteration of our Variations on a Theme series.

Obvious isn't bad. Compared to the options we considered and ultimately rejected—Freedom Week, America Week, Revolution Week—Independence Week felt more worthy of exploration. That's because "independence" encompasses all of those things.

Tune in throughout the week to hear what others have to say about the meaning—beyond barbecues, explosives, and blind patriotism—of "independence."

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

What I'd rather be doing on this 96-degree summer day

Posted By on 06.28.12 at 12:34 PM

Hanging poolside as the 13th Floor Elevators serenade me with "You're Gonna Miss Me."

More specifically, hanging poolside like the tweaked-looking guy in the rocking chair at about one minute and 27 seconds in as the 13th Floor Elevators serenade me with "You're Gonna Miss Me."

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mitt Romney's "Better Amercia"

Posted By on 05.30.12 at 11:13 AM

Amercia the beautiful
  • Amercia the beautiful
Typically, when someone makes a huge, embarrassing, public mistake, I feel bad for them. People make mistakes with humiliating consequences, especially me. (Let's just say I learned the hard way in high school it's not pronounced "a tom bomb.") But if you're a presidential candidate, and your campaign makes a huge mistake, that's hard to overlook. Because, come on, you want to be president! Also, sometimes the mistake is hilarious.

Take our old friend Mitt "Mittens" Romney. Last night, the Romney campaign launched a new Web app called "With Mitt." The app allows people to overlay Romney campaign slogans on photographs. One of the slogans: "A Better Amercia." That's not a typo: Amercia. And on the Internet, a typo like that, and one that's primed to become a meme . . . well, you can see where this is going.

God bless Amercia! My favorite's after the jump. And for more, check out this gallery at the Wall Street Journal (h/t Tim Hanrahan).

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Concerning hot sauce . . .

Posted By on 05.14.12 at 01:25 PM

Throw this on some eggs
  • Throw this on some eggs
Hot sauce is the most make-or-break condiment. The proof is in the 57 comments on Grant Brissey's four-sentence blog post for the Slog, titled "Dear Restaurants Who Carry Tabasco as Your Only Hot Sauce." Though Tabasco's chipotle version has been deemed by (a pair of) Reader employees as serviceable, we agree with Brissey that the hot sauce brand is typically weak and too often offered as the only option at restaurants. He offers a levelheaded, cost-effective suggestion:

"You need to also carry, at the very least, the superior-in-every-way Tapatio sauce—it's also made in the United States of America, has a fuller flavor, and is a bargain anywhere it's sold. What's more, it's made in the West, and we all know the West is the Best."

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