Gift Week | Bleader | Chicago Reader

Gift Week

Friday, December 1, 2017

More gift ideas: music for your eyes

Posted By on 12.01.17 at 07:00 AM


This week I published my annual gift guide—an eclectic selection of box sets designed to appeal to the most finicky of listeners. I always have to leave a few worthy gifts out, so I've decided to address a few of them in a handful of blog posts—beginning with this one and continuing with a couple more next week. Today I want to mention two stunning 2017 photo books focusing on music.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Who wants to own Alot?

Posted By on 12.17.11 at 11:54 AM

  • Arixystix Creations
I've been a fan of the Alot for a couple years now, ever since a friend who knows my grammar-freak tendencies (it's not hard—some people who have never met me know about my slight obsession with grammar) sent me a link to Allie Brosh's excellent The Alot Is Better Than You at Everything—one of her equally excellent Hyperbole and a Half comics. You should really read it yourself, but in case you're not so inclined, the idea behind it is that Brosh came up with a fictional creature named the Alot to deal with her annoyance at constantly coming across the also-fictional word "alot." Now that creature exists as a plush toy created by Alix of Arixystix Creations. It doesn't look like it's currently possible to buy one, but there are a lot (I know, sorry) of calls in the comments for her to put them on sale, so maybe it will be in the near future.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Shameless Joe

Posted By on 12.16.11 at 04:30 PM

Joe Berrios
  • Joe Berrios
I find it kind of funny that the Bleader’s Gift Week should coincide with what might be called Money Week—but aren't those two almost always connected?

Not in the view of Cook County assessor and Cook County Democrats chair Joe Berrios. As the Sun-Times’s Lisa Donovan reported today, the Cook County ethics board has dropped an investigation into thousands of dollars Berrios “accepted from attorneys whose bread and butter is representing clients seeking lower tax bills.” Of this, Berrios said, “I think what’s ridiculous about this whole thing is no one is going to be influenced by someone who gives you a check to run for office.”

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When picking out gifts, don't do what Mo did

Posted By on 12.16.11 at 12:14 PM

Every so often I fall into a minor panic as I realize that Christmas is still closer and I still haven't picked up any gifts. And this reminds me that I am a mediocre gift giver, and that reminds me that whatever else happens, I need to avoid doing what Mo did.

I first heard about her errors as I was home reading one afternoon this summer, and a squat guy of about 30 began pacing under my window as he spoke on a cell phone.

"Mo, what kind of man do you think I am?"

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I'm that drip from the Bleader

Posted By on 12.16.11 at 10:00 AM

The French have the right word for everything, including the right word for having the right word too late for it to do you any good. It’s the expression l’esprit d’escalier, which means ”staircase wit,” and refers to the snappy comeback you come up with while you’re trudging, or more likely slinking, down the stairs, verbally defeated.

I’ve been on those stairs. Back in college, a verbal amusement known as “pressies” was briefly in fashion.

As in, “I’m Sign, of the Times.”

And “I’m Left, at the Post.”

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In Print: Chicago's Classic Restaurants: Past, Present and Future

Posted By on 12.16.11 at 08:00 AM

What's a "classic" Chicago restaurant? Totally subjective, but Penny Pollack makes a good argument in the introduction to Chicago's Classic Restaurants: Past, Present and Future. The Chicago mag food editor's plaint is that the ever changing menus and "educational" focus of today's restaurants come at expense of kitchen consistency and the diner's ability to let her hair down and order a reliable chicken Vesuvio. By that definition, I'd say it's a bit too soon to classify the ever seasonal Blackbird or relative newbie Girl & the Goat as classic in this contemporary oral history by Neal Samors and Eric Bronsky, but they aren't unwelcome inclusions, if only for the unvarnished accounting from the likes of Paul Kahan, Donnie Madia, Kevin Boehm, and Rob Katz about their origins in the business. Add to that more veteran voices like Rich Melman (who deserves a book of his own), Jean Joho, Lawrence Levy, Rick Bayless, and Gordon Sinclair, and you have a pretty representative accounting of the last 40 years of Chicago restaurant history. And that's just in the chapter on 1970 to the present.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What will they think of next? Wood ties, of course

Posted By on 12.14.11 at 08:00 AM

  • Wood Thumb
While puttering around the many nooks of the Pulaski Field House during the Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market a couple of weekends ago, a friend and I happened upon what looked like the Peanuts "Psychiatric Help" booth. But upon closer observation, it was actually just some dudes from San Francisco selling wood ties. Wait, what? Wood ties? I remember doing a double take and thinking to myself, "Well, that makes no sense whatsoever, what the hell good is a wood tie?"

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Go right to the front of the line, you're special

Posted By on 12.13.11 at 03:41 PM

VIP photo from Shutterstock
In the spirit of the holiday season, the Empty Bottle is introducing one-year passes as stocking stuffers. The FOB (Friends of the Bottle) passes get you into shows at the Bottle itself and also, depending on which variety you buy, into Empty Bottle Presents shows elsewhere—there are two kinds of pass, a base model and a souped-up, all-inclusive, schmancy gold one. Each offers special amenities to make you feel important and wanted for the duration of 2012.

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Mayor Emanuel gives Sara Lee a big, wet, and sloppy $6.5 million TIF kiss

Posted By on 12.13.11 at 10:30 AM

  • Sclaishop/Wikimedia Commons
In honor of Gift Week at the Reader, let's give a shout-out to the most generous gift givers of all—the property taxpayers of Chicago.

Yay, you!

You're apparently so wealthy you can afford to give between $5 million and $6.5 million to Sara Lee, a multibillion dollar food conglomeration.

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Posted By on 12.13.11 at 08:00 AM

A guide to cheap wine? How could one possibly resist? Even our experts say cheap's the way to go.

But as much as I admire Canadian wine writer Natalie MacLean's gumption and brio [scroll down, if you care to], I'm afraid I find her latest book . . . not something you'll be dragging along to Trader Joe's.

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