Monthly Archives: June 2011

In Which I Name Drop Frank Lloyd Wright in a Beach Story

So much new! So little energy after a pick-up basketball game with which to tell you!

The long and short of it:

— I finally broke down and got an iPhone. Find me on Words with Friends.

— I contributed a quick story about beaches in Lake County to the Lake County Journal, and it’s posted today. Check it out here:

— Currently reading “Man in the Dark” by Paul Auster. As a whole, I really love Paul Auster, and have read quite a few of his books. Sometimes, on a page by page basis, though, he can be wildly irritating. I’ll leave you with such a passage:

As I remove my penis from the hole [note: he’s peeing in a plastic bottle at his bed side], I look down at my old comrade and wonder if I’ll ever have sex again, if I’ll ever run across another woman who will want to go to bed with me and spend a night in my arms. I push down the thought, tell myself to desist, for therein lies the way to madness. Why did you have to die, Sonia? Why couldn’t I have gone first?

— Man in the Dark by Paul Auster, p. 44


New Wilco Song

Heard the new Wilco song on the radio yesterday, and am really digging it. I’m slightly biased, as I think there’s a case to be made that Wilco — their longevity, the diversity of their material, the uniform quality of that material — is the greatest American-born rock band ever.

Anyway, here’s a youtube of it I found:

Hopefully the new album is as good as this track suggests.


Extra! Extra!

I’m sort of a sinner, as far as people who write for newspapers go, because I only buy them on Sundays.  I’m not sure if that’s something to feel bad about, considering how few people seem to buy print newspapers these days at all. But during the week, I don’t really have time to spend two hours spread out on the couch with the Times and Trib; even if I did, the money to buy two papers seven days a week isn’t quite there. In short, it’s much more convenient and economical for me to get news online the other six days.

This is why today was my first opportunity to check out the Chicago Tribune’s new design. (OK, so I could’ve last weekend, but it was Father’s Day and didn’t end up buying the paper.) Newcity had a nice little review of the redesign/changes. I especially liked the writer’s point about columnist photos — I, too, am not sure I like having to see the super-cheddar, supposed-to-be-intimidating picture of John Kass whenever I open to Page Two.

Personally, my favorite thing about the redesign is the font. Very clean, much more stoic. The old font was sort of embarrassing. A close second: the new section headings.

It might be my imagination, but it also seems as though the content itself — which had been abbreviated to briefs, basically, in recent years — has gotten longer, and increasingly narrative. Which I think is good, especially in a Sunday paper.

Like the Newcity writer points out, the Tribune is still so skimpy on the books coverage.  I remember, as a teenager, reading three sections: Sports, Travel and Books. Maybe the Trib doesn’t have the ability, as the New York Times still does, to devote an entire section to Books. But the Trib’s Arts&Entertainment section today published a “Best of 2011 So Far” list that included Films, Theater and Music — everything from jazz to classical to pop — but no books.

Still, I am pleased that the Trib seems to be embracing their print product for what it is, and not trying to make it more like their web product.

The Many Faces of a Country Road

Today I was up near Wisconsin for a story I’m working on, and took this picture on the outskirts of Grayslake. Check out that sky:

I love the roads in that nebulus upper-Illinois/lower-Wisconsin region that, within the space of a mile, can morph from a town’s main street into a shaded twister through the woods into an arrow-straight two-laner through farmland. The way it juggles so many identities reminds me of shooting hoops on my driveway as a kid, where I’d be star player, announcer and referee all at once.

B-Ball Game on Aircraft Carrier?

I just came across this tidbit:

Apparently, the NCAA might have the first basketball game of the season on the USS Carl Vinson, which apparently was integral in the first US responses to 9/11 in Afghanistan back in 2001.

It got me thinking: what other sports have been hosted in unusual venues? Fortunately, this Sports Illustrated feature provided an answer:

Some are sort of run-of-the-mill, but some, like Andre Agassi and Roger Federer playing tennis on a  helipad in Dubai and a WNBA game in Radio City Music Hall yield some stunning photographs. Take note of the fact that Roger Federer and Wrigley field appear in like, half of these entries.