Category Archives: Random Musings

I Saw A Police Officer Discharge His Weapon

Chalk this up to strange things you witness that will never again be seen by me or most people.  I was driving down Harlem around 130ish and there were police lights up ahead in the left lane and a car in the median coming from the other direction with some damage to it.  Oh, great, an accident.  Traffic’s still moving though so I figure it must not be too bad.  I get closer and the officer grabs something from his trunk and stops our single file line of traffic to walk over to the shoulder on our side and starts investigating something just off the side of the road in the grass.  Traffic starts moving slowly again until the officer once again signals us to stop.  We’re stopped for five seconds or so and then there’s the unmistakable sound of a shotgun being discharged.  TCHHHH!  He walks back across traffic, stows his weapon and lets us proceed.  I hate gaper’s blocks so I didn’t get a terribly good look at the animal that he put out of its misery, but it didn’t look terribly deerish, which was my first guess given the area.  But who knows what a car mangled and bloody deer would look like laying in the grass on the side of the road in the dark.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Genius!

I don’t much follow the MacArthur Genius Grants because they tend to go to individuals for esoteric subjects that I don’t much care about.  This year is different because one of my favorite writers, Ta-Nehisi Coates, was granted a fellowship this year.  Coates has long been a person I would like in my neighborhood and he hasn’t disappointed me since.  Most people like to brag about how they were fans of a band back well before they were famous.  I’m like that with Ta-Nehisi Coates.

YOU SHOULD READ ALL THE THINGS! (Insert Hyperbole and a Half graphic here).  Seriously, Coates is required reading if you want to understand race relations in the U.S. today.  I recently finished “Between the World and Me” which is a masterpiece and should be read by everyone with a pulse.  It is heavy and deep and I’m waiting on a reread before I write my review because it’s a whole lot to take in.  In the meantime, if you haven’t read his two brilliant long form articles, “The Case for Reparations” and “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration“, you should do so.

I look forward to what Coates will do when unfettered by the shackles of worrying about a paycheck.  I expect great things from him.  As does he from himself.

And if that weren’t enough, Lin-Manuel Miranda also was awarded a fellowship this year.  Don’t know who he is?  Me either.  But, I recently posted about his new play, “Hamilton“, which debuted this year and it is well worth listening to the entire awesome soundtrack.  I wonder what he’ll come up with next.

Time To Play Catch Up

I am woefully behind in my blogging.  There are (I think) three movies and one book to be reviewed.  The reason for my lackadaisicalness is that the ‘N’ key on my tablet keyboard (which I use almost exclusively for blog posts) decided to stop working and typing large amounts of text with missing ‘N’s everywhere is daunting.  You gotta type the whole thing out, then remove the tablet from its cradle and hunt and peck every instance of missing ‘N’.  It was hellish enough typing out important emails and pithy responses to Facebook messages.  Those days are now over, though, for I am the brand new owner of a Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 15.  It’s pretty and boots up in less than 10 seconds and has a touchscreen.  I should have probably just gone for a 13″ one as the 15″ is a bit unwieldy dimension wise which will make it difficult to pack, but it’s only 6ish pounds so it’s still light as hell.  On to blogging.

End Time Zones Now!

This one minute video sums up my feelings on the use of time zones very nicely.  They may have made sense at one point, but they make sense no longer.  They just add to global confusion.  Stand up against the time zone patriarchy!

Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen To Good People?

What a horrible week it has been.  First, Jon Stewart announces his retirement from The Daily Show, sadly the best news source on television these days.  Then I go to get my Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks and they say that they’ve stopped serving it for the season.  Oh, the humanity!  What did I ever do to deserve this?

Ouch! Mmmm…

Some friends and I went skiing up at Cascade Mountain this weekend, which is probably the best place to go skiing near Chicago.  Twas a lot of fun.  The weather was perfect.  The slopes were mostly ice-free.  The company was excellent.  I got in a few really fun runs including one where I went faster than I was comfortable with, but still managed to not wipe out.  I only fell twice in total.  Once when I accidentally clipped my skis together when turning (my boots weren’t tightened enough) and once when I went down this sudden and deceptively big dip with my weight well forward (I was stupid). Every time I go skiing, I wish that I could go more often.  Why couldn’t there be a mountain within easy driving distance of Chicago?  Stupid tectonic plates!

The best part about skiing infrequently is the sore muscles the day after (Ok, two days after.  I’m getting old).  There’s just something extremely satisfying about sore muscles after physical exertion.  It’s almost like a sense of accomplishment.  There’s that softly screaming pain getting up after sitting still in the same position for a period of time. There’s that dull pain after every movement.  After a physical exertion like skiing there’s also always that one muscle that aches louder and longer than any of the others.  This time it’s the upper portion of my right calf muscle.  I almost collapse under my own weight when I first stand to walk.  It’s a sharper ache than all the others and it takes longer for the muscle to work its way back into functionality.  This likely explains why I was having knee issues on my right leg near the end of the day.

I would exercise all the time if the sore muscles didn’t eventually go away with too much exercise.  If only there were a way to bottle that feeling…

I Suddenly Want To Learn Archery

This is absolutely insane.  This dude Lars studied how archers of old shot bows and arrows and then replicated it.  It is moar awesomer than anything you can possibly imagine.

This Is Why You Can’t Yell “Fire!” In A Crowded Theater

I went to see science rockstar Neil deGrasse Tyson at the Auditorium Theater last night with some friends.  And it was AWESOME!  Yeah, you’re jealous.  Allow me to bask in your jealousy for a moment…  Ok, done.  Our seats were less than stellar.  (Ha!  See what I did there?  I’m funny.)  We were on the sixth floor in the third from last row.  There was no elevator.  Past the fourth floor, the theater can only be described as purposely death-trapish.  The lighting is dim.  The stairs are black.  The railings are the same color black and groin level.  And when you get to the seats, the stairs are small, steep, and tilted forward towards the abyss.  The rows are cramped and the seats are tiny.  There was just enough room to fit my smaller than average frame and my back is still hurting from the experience.

There was an older gentleman who sat behind me.  He was overweight, had to walk with a cane, and was near death from exhaustion and likely fear by the time he got to his seat.  The poor guy ended up having to sit on the stairs because the seat was so uncomfortable for him.  He was far from the only one having issues.  If there was an actual emergency in that theater, I do not know how much of my level would make it out alive.  If one of those bigger guys goes down, which they invariably would, they’d block the exit for everyone in that section and it would be almost impossible for them to get back up given the conditions.

It’s because of places like the Auditorium Theater that we have building codes.  Governmental regulations aren’t made in a vacuum.  They are usually preceded by a tragedy, but experience and forethought have given us the ability to predict problems and regulate against them before they happen.  Yes, I’m sure some regulations are stupid and/or out of date, but most are not.  They are there to protect us whether you can understand them or not.  So the next time you want to complain about governmental overregulation, take a trip to the sixth floor of the Auditorium Theater and get back to me.

You Should Read The Weekly Sift

Perhaps my favorite blog out there right now is The Weekly Sift.  The gentleman who writes it is one of the most level-headed and insightful people writing on the interwebs these days.  He only posts on Mondays so there’s no garbage and everything is well researched and insightful.  I give a little squee of dorkish delight every Monday when his posts pop up as I’m scrolling through my RSS feed.  I want to be him when I grow up.

His latest is Am I Charlie? Should I Be?  It is pitch perfect and not only gets to the heart of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, but drill into the soul of the Freedom of Speech debate.

Go Read Someone Who Knows How To Write

My friend Austin Gilkeson has talent, something that is sorely lacking on this blog.  His is, alas, still an undiscovered talent and as his quest for the One Book Deal continues, he occasionally pens brilliantly subversive children’s short stories and indescribably awesome true life stories (in a James Frey sort of way).  His latest is up on The Toast and it’s called “How I Defeated the Tolkien Estate“.  You should read it.  I’m sure my blog will rocket him to the fame and inevitable drug and alcohol induced glorious flame-out he so richly deserves.

You should also go read his Mab Ipswich stories over at Underneath The Juniper Tree.  I’m too lazy to check which issues have his stories in it, but it’s a pretty decent magazine so you should thumb through (or whatever the digital equivalent is) it.  How Nickelodeon or Netflix or someone hasn’t yet made Mab into a cartoon is beyond me and a testament to how unfair the world is.  As a new father, I’m sure his soon to come additions to the series will be even more wickedly brilliant given the hallucinations that go with newborn-induced sleep deprivation.