Friday, May 31, 2002

Chunk of the Rock for May 31st

The Illinois Prairie Path is a 61-mile long limestone trail that connects three counties in the western suburbs of Chicago. It was built on an abandoned railroad right-of-way (The Chicago Aurora & Elgin Railroad) that once provided the only mass transportation to the city, from the suburbs. Soon after the construction of the Eisenhower Expressway, the right-of-way failed and the Prairie Path was created. This trail has since been used for hiking, biking and even horseback riding, no motorized vehicles are allowed. Numerous trailside parks and business districts provide easy access to water food and even repair services. Within Elmhurst the main path moves east to west, but a series of smaller trails provide access to the local neighborhoods. Along the Prairie Path, there are a few Gazebos (those not burnt down by misguided teens – what an ass) and benches that provide a resting spot, or a place to relax with a book.

Earliest Memories
Occasionally, the old man would break out the 3-speed and suggest a family bike ride. This was always welcomed with great enthusiasm, until I was reminded of how fast and long he would ride. Not only did he have a much longer stride, he also had the two extra speeds (what an ass). After riding for a few hours, I was glad to see the abandoned Ovaltine factory, which meant we were almost back home. The trip always ended at Mr. G’s, the local dime store / grill, which had awesome shakes. The malted shakes were enough to ease the pain of a chafed ass, caused by the relentless pursuit of my dad on his bike.

Tall brush and clusters of trees provided the teenager (in the 70’s) great cover to party at night. Evidence of this could be seen the next morning, with spent cans and empty cardboard cases. One day, on the way home from school (2nd grade) me and my buddy John found such a location. Curious, we investigated and came across a Cheri Magazine in perfect condition. My first exposure to hardcore porn, and I was thoroughly disgusted. After I flipped through the pages 20- 30 times, I was convinced that I would never have sex (what an ass). Ironically, six years later the Prairie Path was where I had my first real make-out session. It’s funny how that works.

Most recent memory
My last trip there was about 10 years ago (22 years old) with a friend Tony V. Tony didn’t have a bike so he borrowed his brother’s Huffy. Just north of Pioneer Park (off of the Prairie Path) there was some land under construction (now expensive town homes). The backhoes had created artificial hills and valleys made of clay…perfect for mountain bike riding. We camp upon a group of 8-10 year old kids, doing tricks on a half-pipe made of dirt. They were good. Amazed, Tony and I watched for at least 15 minutes. One of the kids took off at full speed, and got more air than anyone else, completed a 360 and landed on a dime. Unimpressed with his own trick, he remained perfectly balanced on his landing, look at Tony and said, “No Huffies allowed”. I’m guessing that was Tony’s last trip to the Prairie Path as well (what an ass).
Now that the FBI has no legal obstacles to domestic spying, and is free to monitor activites on the internet, like this here weblog, I'd like to extend a warm welcome to the agency.

Don't kid yourself for one minute. It ain't only terrorists they're watching.

Update: William Safire's assessment of the new FBI powers. It's a decent piece, but if youa re too busy to read it, here's the most poignant paragraph:
"Consider the new reach of federal power: the income-tax return you provided your mortgage lender; your academic scores and personnel ratings, credit card purchases and E-ZPass movements; your political and charitable contributions, charge account at your pharmacist and insurance records; your subscription to non-mainstream publications like The Nation or Human Events, every visit to every Web site and comment to every chat room, and every book or movie you bought or even considered on Amazon.com — all newly combined with the tickets, arrests, press clips, full field investigations and raw allegations of angry neighbors or rejected lovers that flow into the F.B.I. "

Just because you aren't guilty of any crimes, doesn't meant that you should'nt be concerned about this reach of power.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

Got some time to kill? Play around with Euh? for while. Apparently, it's a "multimedia weblog" of experimental web development tricks and some are really facinating. Check out "name" and see what you get.
(From metafiler)

The Molly Frances Post

An electronic scrapbook for May 4, 2002.

News:

> Mail bombs were found in Nebraska. Eventually, the mail bomber would hit Colorado as well. Luke Helder, 21, a Wisconsin college student and Kurt Cobain enthusiast who was into astral projection was caught later that week and admitted to planning a smiley face pattern with the the bomb locations ala "Fight Club". Here is the US Postal Service pipe bomb warning.
> Vatican side-steps issue of child abuse.
> US announces that it is pulling out of the International Criminal Court Treaty, unilaterally declaring itself to be above international law.
> Harper's Weekly for the week of April 30, 2002
> Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley threaten to seceed from the city of Los Angeles.
> Americans are not getting enough sleep.

Sports:

> War Emblem, a 20-1 longshot, wins the Kentucky Derby and goes on to win The Preakness two weeks later. As of this writing, he is looking to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
> Sox win, Cubs lose day!

Entertainment:

> Spiderman is released and has the highest weekend gross in the history of cinema (for the time being).
> Music charts for week ending May 3, 2002.
> Top 10 television shows for the week of April 29 to May 5: 1. "ER," NBC; 2. "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS; 3. "Friends,"NBC; 4. "Friends 8:30pm," NBC; 5. "NBC: 75th Anniversary," NBC; 6. "Law and Order," NBC; 7. "West Wing," NBC; 8. "Survivor: Marquesas," CBS; 9. "Everybody Loves Raymond, (tied)" CBS; 9."Law and Order: Special Victim's Unit, (tied)" NBC; 9. "Will & Grace, (tied)" NBC. (Source: Nielsen Media Research)
> Internet file-sharing actually boosts music sales.

Space:

> Five planets visible in the night sky! "May 2002: The first half of May is a time of fascinating planetary action low in the west-northwest after sunset. Swarming close by brilliant Venus are Saturn, Mars, Mercury, and the star Aldebaran. Jupiter shines brightly to their upper left." source
> NASA's latest Earth observing satellite, Aqua, successfully launched this morning at 2:55 a.m. PDT. Aqua is dedicated to advancing our understanding of Earth's water cycle and our environment. press release
> 3rd Quarter Moon

History:

> Daily Almanac
> This day in history: Haymarket Riot (1886), Kent State massacre (1970).
> Also "On this day"

Misc:

> Sara Lee to roll out Iron Kids crustless bread! Which elicits minor backlash.
> Free Comic Book Day
> Taurus 2002, Your year ahead
> NYT story on blogs.
> How to fold a fitted sheet thread from Mefi
> NPR's Weekend Edition
> President's Radio Address

Born on this day:

> Audrey Hepburn
> Horace Mann
> Sonny Payne

> "Those born on May 4 are destined to impart to others what they have learned through study or experience. Although they appear mild-mannered, May 4 people have a magnetic power which frequently lands them in positions of responsibility."
"Advice: Avoid being too self-sacrificing; pay more attention to your own needs. Have faith in the ability of your children or dependents to go it alone. Don't worry so much about your image to the world; express what you feel. Remember that you won't get anywhere without daring to fail."
"Strengths: Caring, Warm-Hearted, Stable. Weaknesses: Self-Denying, Resentful, Unfulfilled."
(Source: The Secret Language of Birthdays--best coffee table book, ever.)

Personal:

> Listening to:
Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Source Tags and Codes
Les Savy Fav, Go Forth

> Watching:
The Royal Tenenbaums
Six Feet Under

> Reading:
Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo
Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991 by Michael Azerrad
The Machine

Interesting NextDraft column today about the making of a pop star. (No permalink available, read it now if it all)

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

The state of Texas murdered a child last night in the name of justice.

"Texas executed confessed killer Napoleon Beazley by lethal injection Tuesday evening for a murder he committed in 1994, when he was 17."
Please don't lump me in with those that think that Israel should be blown off the map. In my opinion, the Jewish people are as educated, hard-working and community oriented as any group on earth. Their small numbers means that they would not show up on a ranking of the world's most educated.

However, "The world’s Jewish population was estimated at 13.2 million at the beginning of the year 2000, an increase of nearly 100,000 over the previous two-year period." (Ask Jeeves). The US currently has troops in Saudi Arabia, the Sinai, Afghanistan, Georgia, the Balkans, the Philippines etc. preaching democracy. The last time I checked, the opinion of the majority (excluding the electoral college) was an important facet of a democratic society. There are 5 million jews in Israel and about the same in the US, yet there a billion muslims and 300 million Europeans upset about US/Israel policy. Let's put it to a vote.

Please note that I was able to make a point against a US foreign policy without using the words "ignorant/arrogant/hypocrite" or without referencing George Bush's lack of intelligence.

Monday, May 27, 2002

Friday, May 24, 2002

Chunk of the Rock for May 24:

Elmhurst Chrysler-Plymouth

It must have been the winter of '92 when I got pinched for grass in my employer's parking lot. You see, me and the Chief and Bobby used to like to light up together after every night after work. One of us would leave a minivan unlocked in the parking lot and we would meet up there after everyone else had gone home. It was a juvenile thing to do, really. A drug counselor, or someone like that, would say that we "were crying out to get caught." Nah, we were just stupid and into taking silly risks. Bobby scored 3 sacks of some really good bud that day--one for each of us--and we were dying to try it out. I mean this stuff was minty green and gold and all reeky--a cut above. Not your typical mary for Chiccy G, and still $50 a quarter.

Chief had picked out the van and the three of us piled in to smoke up. He in the driver's seat, me sitting shotgun and Bobby in the back. Boy did we get ripped...

As we sat there contemplating our buzz, a gentlemen startles us out of our collective haze by knocking on my window. "Excuse me, do you guys work here?" he asks a bit too authoritatively. I kinda freak and tell Chief to start the car and get out of here (forgetting that he didn't even have the keys). At this, the stranger--now joined by another man on Chief's side--draws his gun, points it at me, and tells us to put our hands on the dashboard, "Elmhurst police!"

After much "slowly open the door"-type small-talk, the three of us are standing scared outside of the van confronted by two of Elmhurst's (plain-clothed) finest. The officers immediately take control of the situation--and our buzzes. I distinctly remember being bummed (in this order) by my suddenly wasted high, soon to be departed fresh sack, and impending misdemeanor charges. The officers give us a choice: "Empty your pockets and we'll go easy; or we'll search you and make it difficult." After we emptied our pockets, the cops decided to search us anyway. Typical. It was a damn good thing, too, or they never would have found my prized-pothead-possession elk-antler bowl or those white crosses I was carrying either. My friend Marge had given me some pills a week earlier at my favorite Elmrock watering hole. I never was much into pills, but I figured it would have been rude to turn down drugs. Shiiiiiit.

Of course we pleaded with the cops to let us go and promised to be good boys. Didn't they know we worked here and our jobs were suddenly and desperately in jeopardy? They compromised and allowed us to drive ourselves to the police station and enter through the front door. They wouldn't book us, but were going to have to do something. Some compromise. "Let's go." So we followed the pigs to the cop shop.

When we get there, the blond-haired hard-on pulls me aside and says, "I'm going to give you one opportunity to answer this question correctly. If you lie to me, I'm going to bring you down, got it?" Sounded like another cop trick-question to me but I nodded.

"What are these pills you have in the matchbox?" he asks. "White crosses, I think," I hedge.

"Good answer. Now I'm going to go test them and if they're amphetamines, you're in big trouble. Where did you get them?" "From some girl in a bar," I reply, not necessarily lying.

"What bar? Here in Elmhurst?" asks the cop. "I think so." And he proceeds to rattle off every watering hole in the county before I cop to his last choice and my least-frequented establishment, MacGregor's. "I figured," says the officer straining to pat himself on the back for his quick detective work, "I'll be back."

Needless to say, I had inadvertantly upped the "we're going to lose our jobs and get in a shitload of trouble"-ante for me and my friends. And I was now paying dearly for it while we awaited the pigs' verdict.

"Hey buddy," says the blonde cop as he emerges from the back room, "tell your girlfriend she ripped you off. Those pills were caffiene." And we three breathe a sigh of relief at our freshly-carboned "possession of marijuana" citations as we are allowed to go. Before we left, however, we begged the officers to make sure that this incident did not wind up in the Elmhurst Press. You see, the local paper prints the police reports twice a week and it was a source of both amusement and embarrasment for just about everyone I knew. They said they'd do what they could, but "it's a matter of public record now." That next Friday morning, I sped up to the corner gas station to check the "reports". I flipped to the sixth page, or wherever they normally resided, scanned the list and didn't see our names! Amazing. I called Chief at work to share the great news and that's when he informed me to look at the front page. There we were, under a big banner headline, "Elmhurst cops nab a record 8 drug busts last week." Undone and suddenly infamous by the fact that the pigs had a bountiful week of pot pinches. Lopped in with all the usual Ambassador wedding reception pot bust chumps.

So I told my mom what happened, that I got caught smoking pot. It didn't go well. We paid our $300 fines a couple of weeks later. And got to keep our jobs by submitting to a random drug test. The best part is, that when our GM at the dealership was notified by the police about the employee misadventures that took place on his lot, he somehow came away with the impression that we were caught "smoking angel dust." I don't think anyone bothered to correct the inaccuracy.
Memorial Day: Does anyone have stories of their family from war years? I am interested to read them.

My Grandfather, Harry Weber, was in the Navy and drove an amphibious landing craft. He was in North Africa where he sustained a head wound, sat out Sicily, but was part of the first wave on D-Day after he recovered. We have diaries he kept, which he sent to my Grandmother, from November 1942 to January 1945.

The D-Day entries from June 5th and 6th, 1944 are quite moving. On the night of the 5th he wrote about how all the men sat on deck and were silent. This was in contrast to the anticipation and excitement he tells of prior to the African landing, before they were seasoned by battle.

The also wrote on the 5th of his expectation to die, his wife, and the son he had not yet seen. In the face of all that he wrote about how proud he was to be there, his duty to his country, and the protection of his family through Hitler's defeat.

On the night of the 6th his opening sentence was “I can’t believe I made it.” He saw such horrors that day that he asked my Grandmother to understand that he would never talk about it with her. It wasn't until about a year before he died that he shared any stories with me, and I had to pry them out of him.




"The Red Wings have only now. They are, as a team, older than farming." Remember Bernie Lincicome?
Just in time for the holiday weekend, "The Case for Cocktails" and a little alcohol etiquette to boot.
(via 40)

Thursday, May 23, 2002

Whether you agree or disagree with Europe, it seems appropriate that an American President is protested in the very city his predecessors fought to set free. Mr. Bush and the rest of America should be happy to see a free, united, democratic Berlin where protestors can express their opinions without fear of retribution. What could be more American? What other city personifies America’s cold war victory, and the reasons it was fought?

From the invasion of Berlin, to the airlifts over the wall, to Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner”, to Reagan’s “tear down this wall”, Americans have always supported the freedom of the German people. By the end of 1989, what was once thought impossible became reality.

In America’s time of need, as we face an enemy that would destroy us if he could, will Berliners support our interests as we fight for our continued freedom?

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Understanding how the machinery of your brain understands the very understanding that you are reading and understanding this.
Helped to make my day (Tuesday):

I saw a guy riding a motorcycle with a sidecar. A yellow lab was riding shotgun and wearing WWI-style goggles! Both dog and owner seemed to be having the times of their lives. As I pulled past, I gave him a "Right on, man," and a thumbs-up. He reciprocated, grinning ear to ear.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Last week they finally arrested two men in connection with the 1993 Brown’s Chicken murders. Yesterday one on the jailhouse guards punched one of them in the face and broke his cheekbone.

“James E. Degorski, 29, was removed from his cell at the county jail about 6 p.m. Saturday--three hours after he entered the maximum security unit--by another guard who tried to calm him down. Degorski had been crying, saying his life was over, authorities said.

Degorski was sitting in a chair in a hallway outside his maximum-security tier when a 37-year-old correctional officer approached and said something like, "Are you the Brown's Chicken guy? What are you doing out here?" officials said.

Degorski told the correctional officer, "F--- you," and the officer struck Degorski in the face, officials said.”

The officer is going to lose his job, but of course the Sports radio guys chimed in,
“Area residents expressed outrage at the killings. Mike North, a commentator for "The Score'' radio program, offered to help the suspended correctional officer find a job or pay his salary until he finds suitable employment.”

It turns out two people have known about it for 9 years. The murder is chilling, as the two men killed for adventure only. Just as the elimination of the death penalty was being thrown around in Illinois, these two poster children will keep it “alive”. Ha!

Monday, May 20, 2002

PETA has successfully lobbied the NCAA to discontinue the use of leather basketballs. The NCAA will now use balls made of synthetic materials. I was just wondering if the environmentalist will have a problem with this since the synthetic balls are made of petroleum based materials. Next they will ban leather basketball shoes.

We're always looking for new ways to prevent animal cruelty," said PETA's Sports Campaign coordinator Dan Shannon. "We know now not to use fur anymore. We've moved on to leather. Wearing leather isn't a lot different that wearing fur." The article then states, “Shannon said it was hard to put a price on a cow's life.”

It is not hard to put a price on a cow’s life. It’s called dollars per pound.
Did you ever wonder what it would be like to see a water balloon pop in space? here
(via 40)

Friday, May 17, 2002

Chunk of the Rock for May 17:

City of Elmhurst Dept. of Public Works - Part 1

It was the Summer of 1990 and I was working in the Water Department with Lars and Tony before my last year at school. Everyone knows the history of the public servant utilizing the bureaucracy of government to basically slack off and get nothing done. Well, needless to say, we Public Works guys had it pretty easy to begin with and took liberties from there. For example, our daily, union-mandated 10 minute morning "break" time was supposed to be a cup-of-coffee breather, at best. Certainly the idea was not a morning meal or even a sit-down breakfast, but that's what always happened with the department's most opportunist. One of our favorite haunts was the Rainbow Restaurant on North York to chow down a "Rainbow Banquet". The Banquet was a skillet filled with hash browns and melted cheese topped with two eggs anystyle. It was particularly good, we discovered in a smoky haze, with maple syrup liberally doused over the top. One day, Tony snuck away from his supervisor, a low-double-digit-IQ'ed automaton named Roger, to meet Lars and I at the Rainbow. Well when Roger found out Tony was gone he must have felt a canine-like separation anxiety and promptly notified the authorities... our ultimate boss, Tony Cuzzone.

We were all three of us immediately dispatched back to the city garages behind the old Builder's Square to meet with Cuzzone. He asked us for our version of the story and promptly reminded us that morning break was to be 10 minutes long. We fessed up that we went to the Rainbow and quickly added that "everybody does it". (Well, everybody did.) But that was no good. Lars took his crack at explaining our absence from work and put the blame squarely on our waitress when he concluded to Cuzzone, "Tone, look, our eggs were so late they were cold. It's not our fault they took so long."

With steam coming out of his ears, Cuzzone needed a scapegoat. Lars was immune due to the fact that his mom was the DUI Lady of Elmhurst which always and immediately granted him "get out of jail free card" status within the city limits. Meneses was new on the block and didn't have my anti-establishment attitude, so he was good to go. Cuzzone looks at me, looks at my t-shirt and says, "Keenan, you're fired. I've warned you before about not wearing the proper attire on the job and you continue to defy me. Go home." (He had warned me about my shirt and had every right to call me insubordinate)

I really felt it was Larson's cavalier egg comment that did me in, however. Needing the job desperately with one month to go before heading back to college, I tucked my tail between my legs and headed back to see Cuzzone the next morning outfitted in City of Elmhurst regulation orange. I apologized and asked for my job back. He muttered something about it "taking balls to do this" and relented.
House Clears GOP-Backed Welfare Bill - The US Congress, at the urging of the Bush administration, is about to enter into an Unholy Matrimony with the "faith" industry; and in doing so are taking another step towards negating the First Amendment's freedom from religion principle.
Thomas White, Secretary of the Army, is still "the administration's most prominent Enron liability," as was pointed out in this March article from The Nation. So why is he still employed, and why is he not the subject of Congressional hearings or a criminal investigation for his part in Enron's highly fradulent Enron Energy Services division? Because the Dems are big pussies? Because of the continuing period of patriotism? Who knows. Eventually, however, a legal light will be shed on Mr. White's vice-chairmanship at Enron. When it does, will the good-old-boy Bush administration be able to cut him lose before he does any more damage?
US media cowed by patriotic fever, says CBS star - "Limiting access, limiting information to cover the backsides of those who are in charge of the war, is extremely dangerous and cannot and should not be accepted. And I am sorry to say that, up to and including the moment of this interview, that overwhelmingly it has been accepted by the American people. And the current administration revels in that, they relish that, and they take refuge in that."

Dan Rather finally speaks up and says what we already knew, very few Americans were willing to stand up and ask tough questions for fear of being branded "unpatriotic".

Thursday, May 16, 2002

Hey was everybody actually working today? Where's the post about the Bush pre-9/11 hijack info?
Listening to NPR on the way home, it sounds like the CIA knew there were hijack plots, and the FBI knew there were terrorists taking flight lessons. All this money we spend on these organizations is worthless if they don't communicate with each other.
I don't know if I miss smoking so much as I miss my Zippo.
(via 40)
Socialism Takes a Beating in the Netherlands

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Jerrold Schwartz, who pleaded guilty to sodomizing a Boy Scout, is free on bail and allowed to continue running his tour business for Scouts and students this summer.

His company, Adventure Trails Inc., runs summer camps in Colorado, and winter and year-around camps in the Northeast.
If I were the parent of a boy scout heading off to summer camp, this is information I would want to know immediately.
Daniel Pearl was killed for no other reason than because he was a Jew.
I can’t stand Dan Rather, but CBS was right to air whatever portions of the Pearl killing tape they did. The article posted on CBS.com is scary. The video is now being used to recruit other Jihad soldiers.

On the video, before they cut his head off, they force him to say, “My father's Jewish. My mother's Jewish. I'm Jewish,” and, “We Americans cannot continue to bear the consequences of our government actions such as the unconditional support given to the state of Israel.” If we abandon Israel will everything be OK? Come on!

They are bent on destroying Israel rather that fighting for the rights of the Palestinian people. Countries like Jordan and Syria never offered Palestinian refugees citizenship. Instead, they round them up in refugee camps. That is why they insist on the “right of return” for the Palestinians to Israel.

This jihad is nothing more than the envy of a failed people, trying to destroy what they could never build.
Judicial Activism and Affirmative Action
I’m torn on this one. I will first qualify this post by saying John Fund of the Wall Street Journal is to the right what Maureen Dowd of the New York Times is to the left. He has an editorial addressing procedural irregularities in the Federal Appeals Court’s ruling on the University of Michigan’s admissions policy. It speaks to the issue of activists vs. literalist being appointed to the bench, and the battle between Leahy and the White House.

Even though this is all BS, I believe there has to be affirmative action in admissions policies at universities. Poor minorities need access to education or they will never escape their economic dungeon. Don’t get me wrong, my hearts not bleeding. Providing education advantages is a better option than perpetual low income, high crime areas that depend on redistribution of wealth to survive. Only by offering these opportunities can the mindset switch from entitlement to empowerment.

It will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court handles this case. Affirmative action and racial quotas violate the equal protection clause of the constitution, but are a necessary evil.
The Repulican Party's Lincoln bedroom: GOP plans to sell Bush 9-11 photo
New Antarctic iceberg bigger than Delaware

Another one, not a re-post. Don't bother reading the story. It just says that due to global warming, huge state-sized chunks of Antarctica are breaking off at an alarming rate. If there is any inherent justice to the universe, the berg will take out an oil rig or two along the way.

Monday, May 13, 2002

In creating the Chunk archive yesterday, I noticed that most old comments are gone. I have mentioned before that this can and does happen, but it appears that they are being flushed with increasing regularity. Since we rely upon a free, separately hosted commenting system, we are at the mercy of the kind folks at BlogBack who will clean comments off of their servers as they see fit. So I have decided to switch over and try YACCS which appears to be more fully-functional. I will probably do this tonight, so if there is any current or ongoing commentary that you find valuable, let me know and I will try to cutandpaste save it.

Eventually, as I have mentioned before, I would like to make this weblog easier to use for everyone and in the process ease and (possibly) increase participation. I am considering either switching to Blogger Pro (which would allow you to post and even comment through email), or utilizing another blog tool (like Moveable Type or Grey Matter, for example) but which would necessitate having the blog remotely hosted, with a new url. Either move means money, between $35-350 a year. The upper end is a total guess that reliable web hosting would cost about $29 a month. Please note that I am only throwing this out there for discussion and ponderance at this point. But I would like to hear your thoughts. Here's the tradeoff... If 20 people regularly get something from this blog (even on a lurker basis), then we're talking about $15 per year per blogger. (You would donate through the site via PayPal.) At that price, you have a tremendously increased ease of use with email notification and posting. Food for thought for now. I will do some research on the different tools and/or hosts and determine exactly the functionality we could add and I will post the findings. And since this weblog is patterned after our homeland, it is a representive democracy. You will be able to weigh in on my research, I'll pretend to listen, and make up my mind however I want anyway. :)
What is Carter doing in Cuba? Is he trying to prove the Bush administration wrong in their assertion that Castro is involved in biological weapons development, or is he just looking for some free cigars?

When Carter returns and makes his predictable report that he saw no evidence of development, all the Castro sympathizers will engage in the typical “lift the embargo” and “see Castro’s not so bad” routine. Just watch, Castro will play him like a fiddle, and get every BS public relations message out he wants, through our former President

Sunday, May 12, 2002

Can't stop saying "Saku Koivu".
Chunk of the Rock Archive

2003
February 21: "Kiss Off"
February 14:...took the week off - Happy Valentine's Day!
February 7:...took the week off.
January 31: Bob Eckert
January 24: Keeler's Candies
January 17: Going off the rails...
January 10: Special secret hidden park
January 3:...took the week off.

2002
December 27:...took the week off.
December 20: An Xmas Story
December 13: Jack Haerr's Christmas Tree Lot
December 6: Rainbow Restaurant
November 29: The Kucerics
November 22: Paul Smith
November 15:...took the week off.
November 8: Butterfly Market
November 1: McGregor's
October 25: The Paradise Restaurant
October 18: Mr. Kamka
October 11: Bryan Junior High
October 4: The Quarry Redux
September 27: Portillo's Hot Dogs
September 20:... took the week off.
September 13: Dispensa's Kiddie Kingdom and Castle of Toys
September 6: Mies van der Rohe house
August 30: Visitation Catholic Church
August 23: Roberto's Pizza
August 16: Movies To Go
August 9: Hamburger Heaven
August 2: The Frank Lloyd Wright house
July 26: Elmhurst Chrysler-Plymouth, Part 2
July 19: Rick Nielsen
July 12: The Underpass
July 5: Shagbark Fourth of July Party 1993
June 28: Lanphier's Swimming Pool
June 21: Ebeneezer Flop N' Slopper's Waterslide
June 14: Guest by Tony Meneses: The Pat L
June 7: WRSE 88.7 FM
May 31: Guest by Rick Fowich: Illinois Prairie Path
May 24: Elmhurst Chrysler-Plymouth
May 17: City of Elmhurst Dept. of Public Works - Part 1
May 10: Visser Heating & Air
May 3: Guest by Dan Hosler: “Elmhurst Sucks” & “This Sucks”
April 26: The Firebell Pub
April 19: Elmhurst Baseball League
April 12: Guest by John Eberle: Salt Creek
April 5: Fannie May Candies
March 29: Guest by Michael O'Connor: York Commons
March 22:... took the week off.
March 15: Saint Patrick's Day Parade, 1987, Chicago, Ilinois
March 8: Guest by Michael Cisar: Andy's Pizza
March 1: Timothy Christian H.S.
February 22: Jemm's
February 15: Yorktown Restaurant
February 8: Rainbow Records
February 1: ... took the week off.
January 25: Sam's
January 18: Elmhurst-Chicago Stone Co.
January 11: Eldridge School
January 4: Elmhurst Bowl

2001
December 28: The Candy Bar
December 21: Soukup’s
December 14: Eldridge Park
December 7: Graue Mill
November 30: Baderbrau
November 23: York Theatre
November 16: Al's Hobby Shop
November 9: Salt Creek
November 2: Joe Newton
October 26: York Commons
October 19: Plunkett Park
October 12: Korvett's Department Store
October 5: Chipain's Sporting Goods
September 28: Spudnuts Donuts

Chunk of the 'Rock
Every Friday
Will be a tale of an Elmhurst, IL establishment, patch of land, person, instituon, or general hangout (currently existing or otherwise) that factored into my development in some fashion. Said entity will then be open for discussion and memory-sharing.
Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 10, 2002

Chunk of the Rock for May 10:

Visser Heating & Air

Formerly Visser Bike Shop, and formerly located on Butterfield Road just west of York. The high-rent bike store in low-rent south Elmhurst became a high-rent HVAC store in high-rent downtown Elmhurst in the early 80s. Visser's used to be located where the McDonald's is now. It was there for quite some time and supplied the youth of Elmhurst with a steady flow of state-of-the-art BMX bikes. Well, it supplied some of the youth. Visser's stocked the only the finest brands of the time: PK Ripper, Haro, and Redline. And most of the youths I knew growing up didn't have parents that were willing or able to shell out a few hundred bucks for a passing fancy. Let the future-convict SanFillipo brothers have their Rippers, I have my homemade hybrid! I took the hand-me-down purple monstrosity that my parents must have bartered for in some dingy southside market and turned it into my own off-road work of art. I took the rusted ape hanger handle bars off and replaced them with BMX-style bars complete with crossbar pad and tacky grips. I took the sparkly cracked banana seat off and replaced it with a sleek black single seat. And I replaced the worn whitewalls with some knobbys and I was set. Except for the fact that my bike was still a coaster-brake model when all the BMXes were hand-brakes. It didn't matter, though. As my parents had surely and correctly envisioned in not ceeding to my non-stop pitch for a Ripper, I was off of that fad just as quickly as it began and soon had a shiny new Huffy 12-speed purchased from that cutting edge purveyor of bicycles, Venture.
I don't know why, but I just love Euro-bashing.

"It’s a scheme worthy of a Bond villain: flood high-unemployment Europe with unassimilated low-skilled young men, whom the state is obliged to put on welfare just to keep them from rioting, and hey presto, your enemies will be funding their own downfall — ON HER MAJESTY’S SOCIAL SERVICE. Say what you like about that so-called ‘American Taleban’, John Yoko Ashram Fonda Country Joe and the Fish Walker Lindh, but at least his loopy Marin County parents put him through terrorist training school on their own nickel and not at the taxpayers’ expense. At the moment, alongside the ranks of Europe’s terrorist welfare queens, Jihad Johnny has the distinction of being the West’s only private-sector Islamabaddy."

Pro-Palestinian Class Proposal Under Review

Although they are trying to change the course description after the fact, here’s a great example of University Liberalism tolerating the intolerant.
I heard this on NPR this morning and thought it was pretty funny. Its something called Amy's Answering Machine. Her mother leaves her crazy messages. There are links at the site to listen to them.
Check it out. Sweet Justice for you Kev from the nay-sayers and do-nothings.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

No such thing as global warming, Mr. President?

"...Another in an increasing series of massive icebergs... has broken off the frozen continent of Antarctica. [It's] ...almost ten times the area of Manhattan." story
Teen turns in dad for growing pot - Look, I'm not condoning this, but I can't resist thinking that the kids' chances of going to college just dropped. (via obs)
Maryland's governor issues death penalty moratorium

Two down, 36 to go.
Macromedia on the "leading edge" of movement to incorporate blogs in business.
The Official Korean Guy Homepage: REAL ULTIMATE POWER

Saturday, May 04, 2002

Molly Frances Keenan

Born: Saturday, May 4, 2002, 8:26 a.m. MST
7 lbs. 6.5 ozs., 20.5 inches

Mother and baby are both healthy. Pics!

Friday, May 03, 2002

Verisign

(why?|what?)
You may have seen this one, but it is worth repeating.

This isn't like other quizzes; don't bother getting a pen and paper. The point isn't the answers but it's really good - just read.

1.Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2.Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3.Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4.Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
5.Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for Best Actor and Actress.
6.Name the last decade's worth of World Series Winners

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They're the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Now here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1.List three teachers who aided your journey through school.
2.Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3.Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4.Think of five people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5.Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
6.Name a half dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.

Easier?

The lesson? The people who make a difference in your life aren't the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They're the ones who take the time to care.

When you have a chance, pass this on to people who've made a difference in your life. I just did!
Guest Chunk Of The Rock for May 3, by Dan Hosler:

“Elmhurst Sucks” & “This Sucks”

Anybody that hung out with “The Gang” (as everyone referred to us in High School) had to have visited one of our 2 clandestine drinking locales collectively titled “Elmhurst Sucks” and later on “This Sucks” (although this locale would undergo a name change to “The Woods” in the Summer of 1986). Ah, where to begin. Let’s start with the name itself. The moniker “Elmhurst Sucks” came from some graffiti that was scrawled on an electrical power junction building behind which we used to drink our forbidden liquor. The building was no more than a shack and was located along the Prairie Path which allowed us to remain hidden while we drank and screamed Judas Priest songs all night. One of the memories I have is of Rob “Shitz” Doty having a horrible, disfiguring, bicycle accident and needing about 35 stitches put into his face and his jaw being wired shut. We all thought that Shitz’ streak of consecutive weekends getting wasted was at an end. However, sure enough, on the following Friday, Shitz showed up with a shiny new straw with which to suck the sweet Stroh’s out of his container. We all scream-laughed and broke into a chorus of “Breakin’ The Law” before smoking another bowl.

Unfortunately, we soon outgrew “Elmhurst Sucks” as we began to pick-up more converts to our “three 30 packs per night” drinking program. We were notified by Maggie Ward that there was a copse of trees about 45 yards across from her house that was just dead real estate and that really had no purpose. We immediately annexed this and called it “This Sucks” (in a comic reference not only to our former watering hole, but also to the horrid mosquito populations that must have gotten as drunk as us by sipping our blood). “This Sucks” soon became an underground hit. People used to bring guests, girlfriends, or just meet up in groups of 15-20 people for impromptu parties. Some of these parties were true feats of gluttony where people just forgot their inhibitions. I remember once being at the woods and looking over and watching UMOC feeling up a large breasted blonde who had joined us for the nights festivities. The lass did not protest, but instead just closed her eyes and allowed UMOC to grope away. Another time I witnessed Tony Vaisnoras almost burn down our haven while trying to ignite a mouthful of Everclear. Instead he merely succeeded in lighting his hand on fire and severly burning his mouth.

Unfortunately, like the Beatles we soon began to believe our own hype and became far too overconfident. Our impromptu concerts became even louder and the sentries that we used to post as police guards refused to do their duty for fear of missing out on another shotgun contest or chance to watch Bailey dry-hump Val Olzanowski. One night it all came crashing down as the EPD decided to spring their trap. Unfortunately for them they let a female officer scream “Freeze”. The thought that a female cop would catch one of us was ludicrous and it made us into even bigger punks. As we ran away scream laughing we knew that our time at the woods was at an end. We gave the woods a 2 week cooling off period. When we returned we discovered that another group of younger punks had “squatted” and claimed our territory as their own.

We soon realized that the greener pastures of College (and for me the Army, and no drinking age overseas) awaited and spent the remainder of the summer at the rocks on Lake Michigan in front of the Adler Planetarium. Alas, that is another chunk for another day.

Posted By Daniel A. Hosler (aka “El Hombre de Supremo”)

Thursday, May 02, 2002

funny
The Intrusion Explosion - "You never did have federal privacy rights."

Make no mistake regarding the Hollings bill, however. While it may contain privacy protection measures, it also contains serious oversteps to prevent "piracy" that will actually hamper consumers' accessibility to digital media. It would also put the federal government essentially in charge of approving the way hardware and software is manufactured: "Anyone selling -- or creating and distributing -- 'digital media devices' may not do so unless they include government-approved security standards."
"You say your Mustange 5.0 gots somethin to show me? Well reed em and weap fool. I got 6.0L under the hood!!!" (via mefi)
Since I know you're all as concerned as I am, a little update: Drifting dog finally coming ashore.

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

Internet radio goes silent today to protest the proposed royalty program laid out by Copyright Office (and lobbied heavily for by the RIAA) that will effectively kill the industry.

Save Internet Radio!
In the news today: Lawyer urges court to grant Auman new trial

A little background on the subject: In 1997, Lisl Auman, then 21 years old, asked a "skinhead" acquaintance, Matthaeus Jaehnig, and three of his friends to help break into her ex-boyfriend's home to retrieve some belongings. After the burglary, Denver police wound up chasing the two suspects as the fled in their car. While Auman was subsequently caught, handcuffed, and placed in a squadcar, Jaehnig escaped on foot and was chased by a police officer, Bruce VanderJagt. As VanderJagt was about to catch Jaehnig, the suspect shot and killed the police officer and then turned the gun on himself and took his own life. Auman, in the back of the cop car (remember), was charged and found guilty of murder in the officer's slaying and is currently serving life in prison without parole. "She is the only person ever Convicted in the history of Colorado for murder while she was in official police Custody," notes the good Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.

This is the logic that qualifies for justice in this case:
"On behalf of the state, Assistant Attorney General Paul Koehler said Auman had masterminded the burglary, planned aliases in the event that she and her accomplices got caught and lied to police after the shooting. 'She was not some sort of innocent person who was undone by scoundrels,' he said. 'She knew she was out to do something bad.' Said Koehler: 'It doesn't really matter where she was. She set this chain of events in motion.'"

Under that scenario, perhaps her mother should be doing ten to life for giving birth to Lisl in the first place. Apparently Denver District Attorney, Bill Ritter, was merely applying the law that murder resulting from commitment of another felony results in a murder charge even if you didn't do the actual killing. It's like aiding and abetting. Except that it wasn't the Ritter's stated intention the day after the crime. But he has a right to change his mind about the charges. Except that the three other men involved in the break-in were not also charged with murder. But that's because the two arresting police officers remembered two days later that Auman had "set something down" for Jaehnig. Obviously, the prosecution argued, the murder weapon. Even though there were no fingerprints or witness testimony to support this inference. Got it?

Too bad the cop-killer killed himself. It obvious that somebody had to pay for taking the police officer's life and it might as well have been Auman. It didn't matter what Ritter had to do, whether it be to change the story by coercing testimony, pressuring the jury to convict, or tailoring the interpretation of the law to make a stronger case.

See also:
Diane Carmen's outstanding series from the Denver Post - 1|2|3
An excellent Westword piece by Juliet Wittman - "Zero to Life"
Report: Half of Americans breathing bad air.

What a shock. Certainly the air pollution problem did not begin when Bush Jr. entered the White House. But, as covered here previously, it is definitely not going to end before he leaves.

Something you can do.
Campaign Finance: They never read the First Amendment.

It is astonishing that the Congress of the United States would pass a law that limits the activity of issue advocacy groups 60 days prior to an election. That’s when most Americans start paying attention. Isn’t this incumbent protection? This hurts organizations from the left and the right, from the Sierra Club to the NRA. The Campaign Finance reform bill only serves to stifle opposition and minority dissent. Advocacy groups are made up of non-millionaires like us, who pool their money on an issue they support.

Sen. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) spent tens of millions of his own money in 2000 to win his Senate seat. That's ok, it's his right. The problem is he then voted for this law that limits the rights of groups who oppose him. Same thing with Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington). After she spent all her money on the election, her tech stocks tumbled, and she threw soft money fund raisers to pay her debts. Now that is arrogant hypocrisy!

Why is soft money so bad? So what? Would we rather have publicly financed "campaigns" where our tax dollars would subsidize incumbents that can’t be unseated? Private money in government is not a bad thing. It makes politicians look for funds elsewhere besides tax revenues and, it keeps them beholden to those that support them. Does bad money filter in from the Chinese or Enron? Yes, but it is better than tax dollars being used on campaigns.

The Democrats gave up a lot of ground in the short term by agreeing to double the individual hard money contribution from $1000.00 to $2000.00. I would love to say that both parties voted on conviction, but the incumbent protection in the bill points to a self serving, oppressive, kill the competition direction. Bush signed it knowing much of the bill will be struck down in court, but that the doubling of the hard money contribution would be an advantage to his party.
Cool New Pictures from the Hubble