Author Archive

Blondie Redux

November 26th, 2012 No comments

Comics Page Audience Survey

Do you prefer A?

Or B?

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Merry Christmas!

December 28th, 2011 No comments

From the Evanston Patch:

Two men allegedly robbed their drinking companion at gunpoint at 3:10 a.m. on Christmas Eve morning on the 1700 block of Emerson Street. The men wree [sic] reportedly drinking with two other men when one pulled out the gun and stole $300 cash, a U.S. Cellular cell phone, a driver’s license, a set of keys and the man’s jeans.[…] The victim grabbed his jeans back from the two robbers and then ran into a nearby house. The assailants left the scene.

Now I’m sorry I missed the office Christmas party.

Categories: News Briefs Tags:

Mac Geekery Update

November 9th, 2011 No comments

I ran into some trouble.

Categories: News Briefs Tags:

Mac Geekery

October 2nd, 2011 No comments

I’ve switched to Open DNS. I will let you know if I run into any trouble.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Who’s profiled in Grant’s Facebook page?

July 21st, 2010 2 comments

My wife and I recently visited Galena, Illinois, site of the Ulysses S. Grant Home.

Later, I posted this photo on facebook:

Eagle Ridge Resort - Galena, IL. The keyboardist was playing "Bohemian Rhapsody."

Brendan Gardiner responded:

The milk in that little general store is extremely expensive. I recommend seeing if you can tolerate water on your Cheerios for the duration of your stay.

I responded:

Brendan, everything in Galena is expensive. Especially the fine for peeing in Grant’s bed. Sic semper tyrannis!

Brendan responded:

The fine is pretty exorbitant when you consider how short a time he actually lived there. They are fiercely proprietary over everything Grant there, though, even the jokes. They can’t let the punch line to “Who peed in Grant’s bed?” widen out to include people like you. The whole brand would lose some cachet.

The joke is on them, though, because it is a Trick Question. Like all such plurium interrogationum, Who peed in Grant’s bed? seems to have an obvious answer – GRANT, owing to the fact that he was a first-class drunk who couldn’t hold his liquor, especially “between the sheets.” But that so-called fact is wrong, as wrong as starting a sentence with the word “but,” for Ulysses S. Grant was as sober as you or I.

Grant’s celebrated alcoholism was actually a carefully planned ruse, crafted by the young lieutenant, as he fought in the Mexican–American War, to lull his enemies into a false sense of security and curiosity. Grant knew that no soldier, not even an enemy soldier, would shoot another soldier, not even an enemy soldier, who was vomit-stained, missing one flipflop, and quietly mumbling himself to sleep, i.e., intoxicated. It would be against The Soldier’s Code, and Grant used that knowledge to turn himself into a human booby trap. As his attacker would draw near to subdue this inebriated, docile rival, Grant would suddenly cry, “Jujitsu!,” throw dirt in the now widened eyes of his erstwhile captor, and then either seize or kill the combatant, whichever was more expedient. If, on the other hand, a company of soldiers advanced on the “drunken” Grant, he would alter his strategy by lobbing a grenade fashioned with a bayonet at them.

This ruse worked astoundingly well, and Grant rose quickly through the ranks, first to lieutenant general and then to President of the United States. Of course, the President of the United States has no enemies and no need for ruses. Not wishing to let his talents lay fallow, Grant ingeniously transformed his “Drunk Subterfuge” into a “Drunk Routine,” which he performed annually at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and at various celebrity roasts to great acclaim. Grant also had a beautiful singing voice.

But this is not why it is a Trick Question. Who peed in Grant’s bed? is a Trick Question because it is not Grant’s bed!

The bed in the Ulysses S. Grant Home is merely a prop, placed there by the U.S. Grant Historical Society, or “Grant’s Gang,” in 1953 to make the strangely empty bedroom more attractive to the large number of visiting moto-tourists that President Eisenhower had produced through sheer stamina. Grant himself never used a bed, preferring to sleep standing upright – sometimes leaning against a wall, arms akimbo, but most often standing in the center of the room, without visible support, arms at his side.

Historians disagree – loudly – on the causes of Grant’s unique sleeping habit. Some argue that all Presidents of the United States sleep standing upright, required to do so by the Constitution. A close reading of the Constitution, however, neither confirms nor refutes this requirement. Other historians yell that outgoing President Andrew Johnson simply told incoming President Grant that the Constitution required the Presidents to sleep standing up, you know, as a joke, and he never thought the crazy fucker would actually do it; not for the rest of his life, anyways.

The majority of historians, though, scream bloody murder that Grant really was a first-class drunk who had hollowed-out tree trunks for legs, which allowed him to drink even more and prevented him from falling over when he regularly passed out.

You are now “in” on the “trick” of this Trick Question. The next time some blowhard in a bar bets you $50 that you can’t answer Who peed in Grant’s bed?, you, in fact, do know how to answer. Draw the bettor closer to you by vomiting on yourself or losing one flipflop. Suddenly cry, “Jujitsu!” then throw your Mojito in his now widened eyes. Swipe his $50 to pay for the Mojito you just wasted, and then either seize or kill the combatant. Whichever is more expedient.

Categories: Celebrities!, Photos Tags:

Just fire Leno

January 13th, 2010 No comments

Categories: Arts, Celebrities! Tags:

Except the one.

November 25th, 2009 No comments
Categories: My Body Politic Tags:

Everybody OMBO!

October 8th, 2009 No comments


When you only have one “C,” you have to use it very arefully.

Categories: Advertising, Photos Tags:

Oprah Loves Chicago!

September 20th, 2009 No comments


Oprah Winfrey showed her renewed love for Chicago today by letting a huge one rip on Michigan Avenue.

Categories: Celebrities! Tags:

Why put a blanket over the head of a statue of a horse you’re installing?

August 17th, 2009 No comments

Because they spook easy.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

A Plea for Civility

August 13th, 2009 No comments

Remember, no one likes being called stupid.
Especially, stupid people.

Too Long For Twitter

August 12th, 2009 No comments

I’m thinking of giving away my 34-year old drumset.


Yes, it might; especially with the meticulous way I’ve stored them in a floody basement all these years.

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A short scene from Abbott and Costello Meet Alien

August 1st, 2009 No comments

From a suggestion by Scott Simon:

Costello: (Alone. Alien bursts out of his chest.) Chick! CHICK!

(Alien retreats back in chest as Abbott runs in.)

Abbott: What is it? What’s the matter?

Costello: (Stutters. Can’t get the words out.)

Abbott: Don’t you know I’m busy? Stop kidding around. (exits)

Costello: (Alien bursts out of his chest.) Ch-ch-ch-ch… CHICK!

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Cash for Clunkers theme song

July 31st, 2009 No comments

The “Cash for Clunkers” program has been very successful, but it would be out-of-this-world successful if it had a theme song like the “Kars 4 Kids” program has.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Categories: Advertising, My Body Politic Tags:

Camp Wellstone

July 17th, 2009 No comments

I thought it would be fitting to start my Camp Wellstone adventure by sipping a latte. I just hope I don’t spill it all over the limousine.

FC Redux 3

July 15th, 2009 No comments

Comics Page Audience Survey

Do you prefer A?


Or B?


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Levi’s back!

July 15th, 2009 No comments
Levi Johnston speaks during a news conference in Anchroage, Alaska, on Thursday, July 9, 2009. Johnston, the former fiance of Gov. Sarah Palin's 18-year-old daughter, says he knows why the Alaska governor is resigning - for money. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

Levi Johnston speaks during a news conference in Anchroage, Alaska, on Thursday, July 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

Oh, Levi. Welcome back. We missed you so.

Here are the parts I especially liked from Mary Pemberton’s AP article:

Levi Johnston, 19, whose wedding to Bristol Palin was called off earlier this year, says he believes the governor is resigning over personal finances.

He claims he heard the governor several times say how nice it would be to take advantage of the lucrative deals that were being offered, including a reality show and a book.

Johnston made his comments at a news conference Thursday at the office of his attorney, Rex Butler.

Johnston came forward, Butler said, because Alaskans want to know why Palin has decided to resign. She made the announcement last Friday.

Johnston also is pursuing his own book deal. He is working as a carpenter while also pursuing a movie deal.

He held a press conference!

Because Alaskans want to know why she resigned!

His attorney’s name is Rex Butler!

As noted, Levi is also pursuing a book deal! He has more, exciting things to say!

I assume the book will be entitled, Keepin’ It Classy.

Categories: My Body Politic Tags:

Overheard at Al Franken’s swearing-in ceremony

July 8th, 2009 No comments

Franken Senate

“Welcome back, Senator.”

“Excuse me?”

“I said, welcome back.”

“Um, this is my first time here, Senator.”

“Sure. Since you ran for President.”

“I… I didn’t run for President, sir. I ran for the Senate.”

“Wait. Aren’t you the guy from that TV show?”


“With the cops and the chung-chung.”

“Oh. No, that’s Fred Thompson. I’m Al Franken. From Minnesota.”

“Oh, you’re the wrestler.”

“No. That’s Jesse-”

“The singer? With the mustache and the wife?”

“No, that’s-”

“The basketball player?”


“The football coach?”


“The guy from The Love Boat?”


Dukes of Hazzard?”

“No, Senator. I’m Al Franken. From Saturday Night Live.”

“Oh. Well. I apologize, Al. I really do. My staff told me you were famous.” (exits)

(turns to CSPAN camera) “Live, from Washington, D.C. It’s the U.S. Senate!”

Categories: Celebrities!, My Body Politic Tags:

State budget cuts threaten arts organizations

July 5th, 2009 No comments

Here’s something I wrote last month, before the start of the state’s fiscal year.

ST. CHARLES – Directing a musical is a difficult undertaking, especially in a small theatre with limited financial resources. Donna Steele, Founder and Artistic Director of Steel Beam Theatre in St. Charles, was proud of her latest show—a world premiere. Now that it had opened, she could turn her energies into developing the theatre’s budget for the upcoming year.

Last week, though, she received an email from Ra Joy, Executive Director of the Illinois Arts Alliance, an arts advocacy organization that lobbies in Springfield. The email stated that in the budget passed by the Illinois General Assembly on May 31st, state funding for the Illinois Arts Council dropped to $6.4 million, a 75 percent cut from the previous year. The Steel Beam Theatre received annual grants from the Illinois Arts Council, and Steele had seen their amounts drop over time, from a high of $14,000 to $10,000 last year to $9,000 this year. But this budget threw into doubt the idea of receiving any funding from the IAC for next year.

“It’s pretty frightening seeing the state put the arts on the back burner,” she says, “and making them such a low priority.”

As the start of the next fiscal year on July 1st draws near, state officials are taking their “doomsday” scenarios to the public, and the people who depend on state agencies’ support are preparing for the worst.

Eliud Hernandez, Deputy Director of the Illinois Arts Council says, “Last year, we awarded approximately 1300 grants to organizations and 150 grants to individual artists. This [budget] impacts our dollar amount support for artists, artist organizations, community organizations, schools, public radio and television, and humanities councils.”

Ra Joy puts it more bluntly.

“We’re facing catastrophic cuts. It’s shameful how the arts are funded in Illinois. We must act now.”

Although Steel Beam Theatre is enjoying steady attendance figures, Steele is adopting a budget for fiscal year 2010 that cuts 10% across the board, and more in some areas.

“This is the first year we’re rolling the budget back instead of increasing it,” she says. “We don’t want to cut into our staff, so we’re putting less into printing, postage. Recycling sets and costumes.”

Kay B. Holley, a board member of the Celebration Company, a theatre organization in Urbana, agrees. “We would try not to skimp on production costs, but the biggest way it might affect our community is in higher ticket prices. That could have an impact in these economic times. It becomes a luxury.”

Private and corporate donors may also begin seeing funding the arts as a luxury, as well. As the recession continues, theatres fear private donors will increasingly fund only the arts organizations that they think are the “best.”

“In my opinion,” Steele says, “an Illinois Arts Council grant is an endorsement that this is a fine organization, a stable organization. It encourages private funders, which is important because it’s very competitive.” Implicit is that if the grants disappear, so may the donations.

Joy sees the current crises as the latest point in a disturbing trend. “The arts are already underfunded in this state,” he says. “In fiscal year 2008, when other states increased their arts support, Illinois was one of only three states that decreased their funding. We’re still working to dig ourselves out of the budget hole.”

And while he notes that a strong arts community makes for a good quality of life throughout the state, Joy knows that to convince legislators to reopen their purse strings, it must also make good economic sense.

“Arts are the cornerstone of tourism in our state,” Joy argues. “Chicago has a $1.1 billion arts industry, with over 30,000 jobs. In these times, we can’t afford to not support them.”

In the meantime, though, Donna Steele continues on with the day-to-day business of running a theatre company. She checks her voicemail for reservations, sets the props for the next performance, and, for another year, prepares to improvise.

Categories: Arts, News Briefs Tags:

Finally, a remake of “Them!”

July 5th, 2009 No comments


And I can’t think of a finer cast.

Categories: Arts, Comics Page Tags: