@MayorEmanuel: A Light Has Faded

A hero has passed this evening and the world is a sorrier place for it.

There are few joys stemming from election season: sound bites, a continual barrage of campaign ads, empty promises…

In this season of loathing, there has been a shining-light of hope: Mayor Emanuel. No, not the recently minted mayor-elect, the Tweeter @MayorEmanuel. A true hero who carried on a companion dialogue to Rahm Emanuel’s campaign, 140 characters at a time.

Unfortunately for fans and readers, according to what may be his final tweet, @MayorEmanuel has faded away–to Journey no less.

Even as late as this morning, the Chicago Tribune offered an editorial, imploring @mayoremanuel to continue.

@MayorEmanuel, if you’re listening: Please don’t [stop]. The fun is just beginning, and the mystery is almost as delicious as the tweets themselves.

The recently minted real mayor-elect of Chicago even went so far as to offer $5000 to the choice of @MayorEmanuel’s charity on the Roe and Roeper Show, as was annotated on CBS.com.

“Here’s what I’m gonna do,” Emanuel said on the Roe and Roeper show on WLS Radio. “After the election, I am offering a donation to the charity of that gentleman or woman’s choice, if they would come forward and identify themselves.”

Around 8 P.M. this evening the fun appears to have come to an end. After a day of mooning around the city and lolling at favorite stops, the song Separate Ways by Journey came onto the radio in the Civic.

And in a what appears a final act, @MayorEmanuel danced in the streets.

Perhaps it is fitting to recall General Douglas MacCarthur, who likewise lifted a speech from a ballad in his exit speech.

“Old soldiers don’t die; they just fade away.”


The Messiah of Music Re-Emerges

Radiohead returns with a new album, The King of Limbs, this Saturday. In a similar fashion to In Rainbows, their 2007 release, the new album will be released on their website. A standard CD will be available on March 28 in record stores in collaboration with XL Recordings. A “Newspaper Album” will be available will be available May 9.

Scott Plagenhoef of Pitchfork points out:

Radiohead have set aside the “pay what you want” patronage model that dominated the conversation surrounding the In Rainbows release, yet have retained that album’s more important business aspects … Once again, we all know exactly when we’re first able to hear a new Radiohead record and therefore will largely all experience it together, something almost completely lost in today’s pop music landscape.

Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune reports on the physical albums which will be following in March and May.

Special-edition physical copies of the album – advertised as the “world’s first Newspaper Album” — will be made available through the Web site May 9, for $48 (with MP3 download) or $53 (with WAV download), that include a CD, two 10-inch vinyl records  and extensive artwork.

According to Radiohead’s website, the “Newspaper” version will consist of:

  • Two clear 10″ vinyl records in a purpose-built record sleeve.
  • A compact disc.
  • Many large sheets of artwork, 625 tiny pieces of artwork and a full-colour piece of oxo-degradeable plastic to hold it all together.
  • A digital download compatible with digital media players.


The Record Spins ‘Round

In movies the good guy doesn’t die, but there’s always one last stumbling block for Good Guy to overcome.

After overcoming insurmountable odds, seemingly stealing victory from the jaws of defeat, Evil Emperor Bad Jones arrives, throwing Good Guy into a fresh new layer of hell.

Things look grim for Good Guy as Evil Emperor Bad Jones lords over him, no doubt explaining all the ways Good Guy failed and is surely about to die.

And yet, in that moment of despair, with darkness ensconcing our hero, something happens–something always happens.

The Good Guy wins!


This isn’t the case with typical life. Dinosaurs are dinosaurs and everything will go the way of the dodo bird.

And yet, while the music industry is down or stagnant, vinyl sales continue to rise. According to Nielsen Soundscan, vinyl records are up 14 percent in 2010, continuing to rise over the past three years.

Vinyl was bolstered by classic albums being re-released, but three of the top five records sold were new releases. Including the Grammy winner for Best Album of the Year, Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs.

The death of the vinyl album was pronounced in 1983, when Sony/Phillips first introduced the compact disc. The CD bragging quality and pure fidelity. For the next five years, as the cost of CD players dropped, Rolling Stone continued publishing articles stating vinyl was dead.

Ten years after the introduction of the CD, collectors found the death of vinyl to be widely exaggerated.

In 1993, two years after Soundscan began keeping track of vinyl sales, Rolling Stone changed their tune.  As Wired pointed out in a 2007 article, vinyl may be the final nail in the CD’s coffin.

MP3s, the supposed usurper of the CD and with a heavy dose of irony, now have software and hardware to transpose digital versions of records to your iPod, as reported by Connected Home.

Records were originally constructed as a means of listening to the dead, as John Durham Peters points out in his book Speaking into the Air. Now it’s the same raspy recordings which audiophiles crave keeping records alive.

Vinyl isn’t dead, it’s only getting worn in.

Filled Lacuna: Thursday

By The Muslim Brotherhood

In a letter to the New York Times, the Muslim Brotherhood spell out their participation and intentions in Egypt

#Authentic, #World, #Egypt

Huffington Post is AOL; AOL is Huffington Post

Arianna Huffington sells the Huffington Post to American Online. LA Times complains it’s journalisms loss.

#Unauthentic, #US, #Journalism

Mubarak Does Not Step Down

Hours after a senior army official meets with members in Tahir Square, Mubarak informs Egypt he will not be stepping down. Al Jazeera offers a live blog of the current events.

#Unauthentic, #World, #Egypt

A Divided Republican House

With a rejected Patriot Act renewal, the Tea Party sends a message to their Republican overlords they will not be rank and file. New York Times offers their opinion.

#Authentic, #World, #Egypt

Filled Lacuna: Wednesday

Egypt and Everything After

The protest continues, but Egypt remains far away from a democratic process. Al Jazeera weighed in with potential candidates.

#Authentic, #World, #Egypt, #Politics

Blocking Burge’s Pension

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sues to stop convicted police Cmdr. Jon Burge from pension.  The Chicago Sun-Times agrees.

#Authentic, #Chicago, #Politics

Potential Pot-Grower Penalized

An enterprising entrepreneur called the cops to find out how much trouble he could get into for selling weed. Nobody was stupid enough to write an opinion on this.

#Unauthentic, #Dumb

Friday Conversation: Egypt

Ra’s: I’m watching the Riots in Cairo on Al Jazeera. It’s just pissing me off …

Loki: Cos the gov’t hired counter protesters?  At least for the most part it’s gone smoothly, plus Obie backed it last night, too.

Ra’s: I just watched it live it was effing Horrible… Basically, he plans on leaving the country in ruins once he leaves .

Loki: I don’t think it’ll happen, there aren’t enough of the police to take on the protesters and the conscripted military will grow a backbone, otherwise the international community will get involved.

Ra’s: I don’t think so. No One Country wants to take a Stand against Muby. So he makes a speech saying if I’m not in control the country will turn to Shit . Then suddenly… Bam you got a fight… I’m sick of the Condemning Speeches from all the Leaders, they need to grow a pair and pick a side.

Loki: what are you talking about? Obie said last night it was time for Mubarak to step aside and let the change happen. Even Israel is saying the change needs to happen. It’s late in the game for them to be endorsing it, but at least the international community is saying the change needs to happen now. The protesters need leadership. I know there were a bunch of them meeting, but they need a plan for what to do next, how to hold the elections they want and who will run in them. To me that’s the scariest part.

Riddler: Well yeah, Mubarak needs to go but who have the protesters decided to follow?  That’s the tough part.  Are they just so angry they’re rioting without thought or do they have a plan?

Loki: they’re not rioting, it’s the police and some other thugs who are doing the rioting. i believe that’s where the police went when they were missing for three days. the protesters, for the most part, haven’t moved. they’re sticking in one spot. but i completely agree with you on the leadership aspect of it. El Barade isn’t charismatic enough to be the first president of the new republic. at least the Muslim Brotherhood are fairly moderate in Egypt and the protesters continually say this isn’t a religious movement.

Ra’s: There’s some idea but it will take time I admit they probably should have had a person in mind but eh those are details and if your Oppressed you just want the Change. If it’s one country to stay out of the conversation… It’s Issy. They should just keep quite. Don’t draw any attention to themselves. Yeah, they’re nervous, but the Anti-Muby folks haven’t had any hate speeches towards Issy… All that could change if they don’t Shut it .

Loki: i disagree. if ever there is a time for Israel to take an active, non-war stance in middle east politics it is now, and they should be doing what they can to support the protesters. a) they share a border with Egypt b) Egypt was one of the only countries there to have an actual peace treaty with them, and one that worked. but yes, they need to do this with a deft hand, they shouldn’t try to put themselves into a position to make demands, they, like the rest of the world, should only be there for support, not influence.

Ra’s: According to Al Jazeera the Quieter Israel is the Better. Since there is no exact party or Group in Charge of this Protest  that levels the playing field for after Muby leaves. What they don’t want is a Group saying  “See  Issy wants to influence and weaken us… Screw the Peace treaty“ And that is a possibility.

Riddler: Also, we want nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood.  Let’s get that out there.  That group is tied to virtually all of the bad stuff associated with the bad guys.

Loki: right, but the Brotherhood is going to be in power in some stretch. plus one of the only reasons they are bad guys is mubarak throwing them into prison where they started all of the horribleness. the chapters in egypt are more moderate and again this isn’t a religious revolution. i like al jazeera, and i think they are the best example of the pulse of the arabs, but i think israel should at least offer assistance out there, even if they’re not asked.

Ra’s: Egypt is not like other Middle Eastern  Countries. The Brotherhood doesn’t have the Pull like the  other Groups in Palestine for example. They’re not seen as Liberators or Organizers of this movement.   Since the US press does no research and fear titles The Brotherhood  is getting the limelight.

Riddler: I agree the press sucks but the Brotherhood isn’t a tea party, even in Egypt.  Read sleeping with the devil by Robert Baer.  A lot of the guys high up in the Brotherhood got their start in Egypt.  The Brotherhood is scarier in other countries, but it’s not a walk in the park in Egypt and it would be naïve to think their influence won’t be significant.

Ra’s: Your book reference would have merit If we were talking about Saudi Arabia. Egypt is a by far a more Moderate nation. Lebanon or Turkey, Jordan ect… all have a less toleralant liking to extremism. Now is there an Extremist view point in Egypt sure. But it has to do with Economics  more than a feeling that they should return to  Caliph-esqe state.

Riddler: No offense but I’ll go with the guy who lived in Egypt for years rather than yours on this one.  Of course the Brotherhood is worse in other countries like Saudi Arabia, but to pretend they’re all a bunch of pussycats just wanting their bellies rubbed in Egypt is just wrong.

Ra’s: Every spokesperson, college leader, ect in Egypt has said this Protest has more to do with Economics than religious based Politics. I’m listing to Protestors right now saying it so it doesn’t matter what Anybody says. This is where there at…

Loki: How old is the book? The brotherhood used to be a lot worse than it is now. While I agree they’re not pussycats, they’ve also showed some reform and can work with other parties. I don’t expect any of the different parties to be pussycats… That’s why I’m optimistic about all three different groups talking. Hopefully no one will have a majority and they’ll all keep one another in check.

Riddler: Dude, I’m not arguing why the protest is taking place.  I know it’s about economics.  However, that doesn’t change the fact that the Brotherhood was founded in Egypt and all the scary dudes in other countries are trying to take advantage of this unrest and get the local Brotherhood to get more radical.  That was happening before and it sure as heck will happen more now that there is an opening for discord.

Ra’s: I didn’t say it cant… There are other factors that help nut Jobs take control  Illiteracy , a current Climate of western hatred, a need to return to a Caliph. The 2 main ones are not a factor in Egypt that’s the main difference between them and other countries in the region. Egypt is a more educated nation  that helps . It’s all in the Air .. But I notice on the news every western station is pushing Baradei… Hinting he should take over Should he ?? Who knows… Anything is possible.

Loki: Yeah, that book is from 2003. A lot has changed since then. From what I’ve read in the news the protesters are very cognizant of the religion questions and fighting against it. Egypt won’t be another Iran or Afghanistan.

Riddler: I don’t disagree.  I’m just talking history so the date of the book is irrelevant, the history is still there.  If you idiots could read you’d realize that you’re arguing against something I’ve never said.  I’m just saying that any time a country opens itself up for a change in power all of the factions that want more power will be involved.  The brotherhood in Egypt is one of those factions and it’s naïve to think they can’t be influenced by their more vocal branches in other countries.

Ra’s: No one said it’s not possible. They will be involved in the process that has already been said. No one is defending the Brotherhood but you have to pay attention to what contributes to the rise of these groups. And since you want to discuss history lets go! Any time you have a dictator or religious group take over these are ALWAYS 3 REASONS THEY Come in to Power!!!

  • They have to be seen as the liberators of Western Oppression via Current Presidents or Ecomomics  (Cuba , Iran , Iraq, Palestine)
  • An anti western climate already has to be in place  (there holding Yes We Can Too signs…)
  • A desire to return to Caliph (Questionable but hasn’t been shown yet In Current Egypt. During the 70’s, yes, also toss in Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Saudi ARABIA (DURING World War I.)

Riddler: I know. Loki just indicated their involvement was a good thing and I don’t think I agree.  It’s not necessarily bad either, because other forces are at work, but it’s a concern.

Loki: I do think it’s a good idea to let the brotherhood have a say in the government. If it’s going to be a democracy then all parties must be represented, to not let them be represented would cause more problems and that’s when people start speaking with bombs to make themselves heard. I completely agree with Ra’s’ assessment of this. Your an idiot if you can’t get this through your thick skull.

Riddler: Sigh.  Learn to read.  I’m not saying they shouldn’t be involved, I’m just saying that their involvement isn’t necessarily something to cheer for.  The militant factions of the brotherhood have been trying to push them to crazy levels for years, so being all fired up for a group that could potentially be manipulated by folks who hate us seems like an odd choice.  Seriously, do you read every other word or something?

Loki: Well it doesn’t help when you change your argument midway through a discussion, Riddler. You were saying your precious 8-year-old book had labeled all of the brotherhood as bad guys, and you were saying you didn’t think it was a good thing they were involved. Ra’s and I, correctly confronted you and disproved the fact your 8-year-old book was now out of date, and our argument was that you were wrong and that while the factions of the brotherhood have been involved with scary stuff it’s a democracy and all parties should be involved. If it’s any consolation, if we were discussing this in 2003 I would probably agree with you and your 8-year-old book. But people change. I don’t agree with the message they convey, but they have learned and developed. Your fear tactics of them would involve them turning it into a religious government. Ra’s did a fine job of putting you in your place about this. Perhaps you should go listen to Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising and think of how sweet life was 8-years-ago.

Riddler: My fear tactics?  Easy there Glenn Beck, your paranoia is showing.  Yes, the book is 8 years old.  How recently have you read up on anything in the Middle East?  Never?  Oh, ok.  The book provides the history of the place, it’s not a newspaper, it’s not current, but the history remains the same. If you want to pretend that being pro-egyptian muslim brotherhood makes you enlightened then go for it.

Ra’s: The  history of the middle east always differs though depending on which organization that person worked for…

Riddler: Oh I agree.  But that’s part of the issue, isn’t it.  We say that an ex-CIA agent is biased and so we doubt his opinion, but then we value our own over anyone else’s and let’s face it, for all the news clips, stories, etc that we see we still know far less about the area than we’d care to admit.

Loki: I think Al Jazeera, written by Arabs, for Arabs, explaining Arabs probably know their own history and are more up to date. The BBC is also a fine institution capable of doing research as well, so, yes, I think I’m informed… You’re like a southern teacher using the text book that said blacks fought for the confederacy in the civil war.

Riddler: I don’t doubt that Al Jazeera knows their stuff.  The question is, how can you understand it truly?  You can’t, because everything you see is through your own prism.  You were raised Christian surrounded by white people in a primarily Christian country with no history of ongoing bloodshed.  You can try to understand, but you can’t ever understand the way someone from the area would.  This isn’t a rip on you, it applies to everyone.  So relying on good sources is a good choice, but let’s not pretend that any of us actually know what the region is dealing with in any honest way.  That’s just childish.

Loki: No, I agree with that. I guess I’m more inclined to try to get as many viewpoints as possible and then process it for myself. Cos yes, at the end of the day that’s all we can really do.

Snow Day Chicago

A snow blower grumbles and North Bridge answers. Crystal tears are thrown to the wind, wiping the sidewalk slate clean.

west town-ghost town

The hotel employee is friendly. Everybody is friendly in a ghost town.

Less than twenty-four hours ago the mass exodus happened and everything disappeared. Cars spun wheels in vain irony while traffic stabbed west, escaping the North Loop. The 65 was packed with people, puffy jacket to puffy jacket, cramming its way home. The notion that it was faster to walk than ride was lost upon them.

the storm

They contented themselves to the luxury of wait. Put life on pause; stall with it. Embrace: stoplights, stop signs, vehicles trapped midway through an intersection.

Today, though, everything is beautiful, pristine. Snow stacks itself in frozen waves, cresting against buildings–never breaking, just resting.

Exchanging a nod with a  fellow pedestrian, she takes a picture of the untarnished snow. Perhaps she knows, too, in a matter of hours this will all go away. It, all of this, shall be replaced with the grime of the city, charring everything to dull gray.

Music chimes from headphones as another drift is summitted, another street crossed. Lyrics and song from somewhere far, far away, without intention, flesh out the soundtrack. The moving picture plays before the eyes, filling in the dialogue for the people dancing down Michigan Avenue.

red jacket


A laugh ripples through the strings, arresting attention towards a school girl falling backwards, down, into the powder. Her arms flutter up then return to grace. The chaperon holds hand to heart, before blanching face to smile.

after the storm

At the bridge, still a few blocks north of the loop, a TV crew idles. This is not the struggle, the violence, the war against weather they wished for. Instead the eye of a camera, playing for those not here, witnesses steam curling off a cup of coffee from one of the few shops opened. In the contrast, a man walks against windows, his reflection spinning the only chaos against an otherwise unpainted picture.

A jeep kicks up slush and the dream is over.

Awakened to discover the city is not nearly as hostile as they were lead to believe, the world rises. Setting down books and loved ones, they allow the whipped-cream to melt into hot chocolate, promising themselves to wash it clean after half-a-workday.

Ride Into the Sun

The wind cuts and the soft snow turns razors against the face, sending tiny stings into frozen cheeks.

It’s time to go home.

Tomorrow this will be in order. The next day it will be forgotten. A footnote in the history of life. One to speak of with subdued passion upon short rumination.

“Yeah, I was there. It wasn’t really that big of a deal.”