Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
SO long, Crawford, Tex. Even before President-elect Barack Obama takes office in 61 days, effectively crowning Chicago as the site of the Western White House, the city is basking in a moment of triumph that is spilling well beyond the confines of politics.
A bid for the summer Olympics in 2016, which once seemed like a fanciful pitch, suddenly feels far closer to a sure thing. (No, the ban on lobbyists at the White House does not apply to a little presidential persuasion on the International Olympic Committee)
A spire is finally poised to be placed atop the Trump Tower here, bringing the skyscraper to 1,361 feet, the tallest American building since the Sears Tower was built three decades ago.
A new Modern Wing for the fabled Art Institute is set to open next spring, including a Renzo Piano bridge to Millennium Park, which sat in the distance of Mr. Obama’s election night victory speech here.
Yet this moment of renaissance for Chicago is about much more than architecture and athletics. For the first time in the country’s history, an American president will call this city home. And as he moves to Washington, a dose of the Chicago mood is sure to follow.
“We’re not Little Rock and we’re not Texas,” said Rick Bayless, a friend of the Obama family, who owns Frontera Grill and is among the city’s celebrity chefs. “It’s easy to put on your cowboy boots and eat all that barbecue. You can’t do that from Chicago. We’ve got a lot of muscle and it’s far too complex of a place for that.”
The complexity of Chicago, a city that is multiplying in its new diversity even as it clings to a segregated past, is rooted in the 200 neighborhoods that make up the nation’s third-largest city. America may well know Oprah Winfrey, who became a billion-dollar name through her rise to fame here, but the city holds a far broader identity.
One sign that the Obama brand is replacing the Oprah brand? The talk show tycoon is not mentioned in the city’s new tourism campaign, which invites visitors to “Experience the city the Obamas enjoy.” Ms. Winfrey’s studio is not mentioned along the list of stops, which range from Mr. Bayless’s restaurants to a bookstore in the Obamas’ Hyde Park neighborhood to Promontory Point along Lake Michigan. And souvenirs are on sale across town, with Obama shirts, hats and knickknacks arriving just in time for holiday shopping.
“It seems like there are eight million people walking around here congratulating each other,” said Scott Turow, the best-selling novelist who was born in the city. “Chicagoans are unbelievably proud of Barack and feel of course that he’s ours, because he is.”
Catching himself, he added: “I guess I should get out of the habit of calling him Barack.”
The marketing pitch, in the wake of Mr. Obama’s victory, offers a window into the two-fold psyche of the city: It is a big enough metropolis not to be easily fazed by events, though the fabric of the community is stitched just tight enough to burst in a rare moment of giddiness.
Chicago has long been a place that seems comfortable — or, at least, well adjusted — to losing, a place where you put your head down and shoulder through whatever hand is dealt you. (How could it be otherwise, considering all the practice that the cursed Chicago Cubs have provided over the years?)
In 1952, when an article in The New Yorker derisively referred to Chicago as the Second City, little offense was taken. It became a marketing pitch, with the thinking that second fiddle was far better than no fiddle at all. (Which, by the way readers, is NOT why Chicago is called the Second City... FY NY! - Chris)
But that gawking, out-of-town amazement — gee, there really is a city here! — has long outlived its currency. Well before Mr. Obama was elected as the nation’s 44th president — a fact that was proudly amplified by Mayor Richard M. Daley, who ordered up banners with a sketch of the president-elect to hang throughout the city — Chicago was experiencing one of its most blossoming periods in food, fashion and the arts.
Now, people around the country and the world are simply noticing.
Jeff Tweedy, the leader of the band Wilco who grew up in downstate Illinois and lives in Chicago, said the city never felt the inferiority complex that outsiders spend so much time musing about. Still, he said, the election of Mr. Obama, a friend for years, has given an unusual boost of confidence in a city that is usually nonplussed. “I think people really do enjoy the idea that we’re living in the center of the world all of the sudden,” Mr. Tweedy said. “There have been all these prevailing stereotypes, and people don’t know how big and urban Chicago actually is. People think of it as being in a cornfield.”
If the country is set to see more of Chicago over the next four years — many people across the city here are too humble, nervous and practical to automatically assume Mr. Obama will be in office for eight years — at least one introductory lesson is in order.
Like I said OH YEAH BABY!!!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
``To some, it said, well, `Bush thinks the war in Iraq is over,' when I didn't think that,'' he said in a CNN interview today. ``It conveyed the wrong message.''
The sign was hung on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, when Bush landed on the carrier wearing a flight suit to declare that major combat operations in Iraq were over. That speech has since served as a rallying point for critics of Bush's policies in Iraq.
Bush also cited other regrets in the CNN interview, which was conducted aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid in New York after a Veterans Day ceremony.
``I regret saying some things I shouldn't have said,'' Bush said. He cited comments he made after the Sept. 11 attacks, when he said of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden: ``I want justice. There's an old poster out West that said, 'Wanted, dead or alive.'''
He also said he regretted telling Iraqi insurgents in 2003: ``There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring 'em on.''
In the interview yesterday, he said, ``My wife reminded me that, `hey, as president of the United States, be careful what you say.'''
Bush, 62, also described his Nov. 10 meeting at the White House with his successor, President-elect Barack Obama, and said he asked former President Bill Clinton for advice on handling the transition.
``It was interesting to watch him go upstairs,'' Bush said of Obama's visit. ``He wanted to see where his little girls were going to sleep. Clearly, this guy is going to bring a sense of family to the White House, and I hope Laura and I did the same thing. But I believe he will, and I know his girls are on his mind and he wants to make sure that first and foremost, he is a good dad.''
Bush said he would return to Texas when he hands over the presidency Jan. 20 and may write a book.
``I want people to know what it was like to make some of the decisions I had to make,'' he said. ``I've had one of those presidencies where I've had to make some tough calls, and I want people to know the truth about what it was like sitting in the Oval Office.''
Monday, November 10, 2008
Since Mom's passing, I've been horribly remiss in writing to her sister Jane, however Jane has remembered my birthday and sends Christmas cards. I know, I'm a heel, but Mom and Jane were close so writing her is going to be hard. But today seems like the perfect day!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Hissy: Unlike a Tizzy, the Hissy Fit is brought on because the thrower believes he or she has been wronged. It has elements of a Tizzy, in the it contains physical moments that the thrower cannot control. However, in the case of the Hissy, these movements can often be quite effeminate, which is why a Hissy thrower will never refer to the outburst afterward as a Hissy, though everyone who witnessed it will. Hissy throwers often have an overgrown sense of entitlement. They want what they want when they want it, but they don’t like to get their hands dirty. They’d rather just bitch and twitter. A Hissy thrower is unlikely to ask you to step outside and rumble. They will, however, speak to your manager and have you fired. For several examples of classic Hissies, I suggest you rent the Elton John documentary Tantrums and Tiaras or get a job as a personal assistant for one of the Velvet Mafia.
Conniption: The dictionary defines conniption as “a fit of violent emotion”. Indeed. Though there is a good deal of violence in the Conniption Fit, it is by far the most focused and justified of the fits. The Conniption thrower is not unreasonable, he’s just had enough and he’s not going to take it anymore. He might “blow a gasket” or “rip someone a new one” but he’s usually right and in complete control. Angela Bassett setting her cheating husband’s car on fire in Waiting to Exhale is a conniption, albeit a simmering, tightly wound one.
Shit: Look the fuck out. Shit fit throwers are not just reacting to the perceived injustice of the moment. No, a lifetime of disappointment and rage bubble to the surface as well. The Shit Fit thrower is out of control, dangerous, and probably a little bit crazy. Jack Nicholson smashing someone’s car with a golf club, and the “no more wire hangers” scene in Mommie Dearest would fall under the category of Shit Fit.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
(yes, though I swore I never would, I sometimes have to eat at my desk, which I detest)
Once in a while one of my favorite blogs will have a comment from someone who's comment is fun enough that I follow their link and look through their blog. Today while checking out OhNoChrisO I found a HOOT of a blog. it's called Margaret and Helen - Best Friends for 60 years and counting.
These two ladies live in separate states, but blog together after one of their grandsons showed them how. I haven't delved into their blog yet or figured out how long they've been around, but talk about readership. Their blog today already has 129 comments. The one from yesterday has 471! Go see them (below) and read up. We should all be so spry at that age!
I couldn't stay up long enough to see the final counts, and honestly, I didn't want to. Once the voting is over or getting toward the west coast being over, it's just pins and needles for me so I stop watching and wait until I wake up the next morning to find out the outcome.
It was a joy to wake up this morning to Channel 5 news this morning and the first three words I heard on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 was "..Obama is President"
I could have stopped there and the day would be perfect!
I wanted to dig up "Brand New Day" from the Wiz on YouTube, but they must have had copyright issues because I can't find anymore. Intent on keeping with the genre of good over evil, I found this... same thing. Witch, Bitch (from Alaska...etc)