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{ Category Archives } Favorite Things

Throwback – Riddikulus! (on gerrymandering and Chicago politics)

Originally published on 5 November 2011. Sometimes when I think about politics, I feel like Neville standing in front of the Boggart cabinet in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkiban.  But alas, our leaders dressed like ladies would hardly embarrass them. When I was preparing my Open Letter to Congress last week, I looked […]

Throwback – The Coming Monkey Apocalypse

I’ve been keeping this blog for near-on 10 years, so there’s lots of good stuff in the archives.  I’ll make use of the common Twitter hashtag #ThrowbackThursdays to re-post links to old but great posts.  Enjoy. In the past few months, I’ve become more and more convinced that one of Avery’s children’s books is actually […]

Kickstarter update

I did a post about Kickstarter in September, noting which projects delivered on time and which were late. When both The Agents and Santa Vs. Dracula showed up at the same time yesterday, I thought it was time to update you.  Here’s an update, with changes marked using “strikethrough” and new notations Here’s a breakdown […]

Happy Thanksgiving, friends

We’re spending the day with family, enjoying ourselves and eating a lot and trying to stay warm.  Here’s hoping you do the same. Here are a bunch of pictures of Thanksgiving dinners from Flickr. (Thanks to all you folks who put your dinners online!) Happy Thanksgiving.

You’re Not Doing It Right

You’re Not Doing It Right: tales of marriage, sex, death, and other humiliations by Michael Ian Black MIB is one of my favorite voices in comedy.  He plays smarmy and snarky and disconnected, but there flows underneath a current of thoughtfulness and nervousness that’s moving.  While I enjoyed his collection of essays, My Custom Van, […]

My daddy would never tell me anything that wasn’t so, would you, Daddy?

The annual Miracle on 34th Street post We had a mini-Thanksgiving dinner last night because my mother is visiting, so it feels like it’s a bit later in the month than it actually is.  To follow it up, we watched the best Christmas movie ever made — A Miracle on 34th Street. We also made […]

Changing the story: on plot moments that rewrite a series

Spoiler alert This week’s episode of Castle had the usual formula for the non-serious episodes of the show: murder, something funny or weird is discovered, Castle imagines a bunch of amusing plots, it all works out in the end.  The amusing plot this time around was time travel.  Quick plot summary: Joshua Gomez (Morgan from […]

I know where I’ll be October 17th…

At the Simon Winchester reading at Unity Temple. Viz: The Men Who United the States: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible Please join us for an evening with Simon Winchester discussing his new book, The Men Who United the State: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the […]

Kickstarter results tracking

I’m a bit of a Kickstarter addict.  I particularly like comics and board games on Kickstarter.  I’m a glutton.  I’ve discovered, though, that a lot of projects are not good at delivering on time.  Here’s a breakdown of Kickstarters I’ve participated in and their timeliness: A Show with Ze Frank  expected delivery March 2012, delivered […]

Should someone’s politics influence your enjoyment of their art? (The Ender’s Game conundrum)

I acknowledge up front that nothing I say here will be particularly revelatory if you have been following or thinking about this story for very long. Books and movies you encounter during your formative years often get a pass on critical thinking, at least they do for me.  I’m fond of a number of movies […]

A nice way to start the morning

When Finn came into my office this morning, he presented me with a picture he told me I could “keep forever.” “It’s you and me,” he said.  Then, a bit sheepishly, he added “If we had pink hair.”

Books are Weapons … in the War of Ideas

From the advert page in the front of Murder Wears a Mummer’s Mask: BOOKS ARE WEAPONS — in a free democracy everyone may read what he likes.  Books educate, inform, inspire; they also provide entertainment, bolster morale.  This book has been manufactured in conformity with wartime restrictions–read it and pass it on.  Our armed forces […]

They Might Be Giants at the Vic – Nanobots Tour, 16 March 2013

They Might Be Giants played a great show at the Vic last night.  Being officially old now, we got there early and snagged front row seats in the balcony, where we had a great view.  A few thoughts: My first thought, on seeing the band, was “Wow, they’ve gotten much older.”  But then I realized […]

In which I’m the “zombie dude”

It’s weird how you could make an offhand comment — I’m sure I said something offhand about being the “zombie dude” — and have a reporter decide that this is your nickname.  Anyhow, check out this piece which appears to be the front page article for the week at the Leader. My favorite bit of […]

Thoughts on the circus

Last night we drove to St. Charles, home of the always-enjoyable Scarecrow festival, to see the Piccadilly Circus on the Kane County Fairgrounds.  Jenny called it an “old fashioned circus,” by which she meant it embodied all the aspects of circus tradition that you’d expect without all the whiz and bang of the Ringling Bros […]