Monday, December 27, 2010

Tastes like... transgression.

It's vaguely peanut-shaped, approximately tangerine-colored, and I guess sort of banana-flavored. I'm referring, of course, to the humble circus peanut, a peculiar confection that manages to decontextualize every one of its disparate elements. Nobody likes them, nobody eats them, nobody buys them, yet they are available for sale at filling stations and convenience stores all across this great land of ours, huddled together in dusty cellophane sacks. I think they put them on those wire racks so the candy section can never quite sell out. They are to the candy counter what most 20th-century music is to the concert hall.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A hangover from days gone by.

Chuck Taylors used to be made in Massachusetts. Now they make them in China. As far as I'm concerned they're not even real Chuck Taylors. They're replicas. Knockoffs. And PBR? Don't talk to me about PBR. The actual, real Pabst Brewery in Milwaukee closed somewhere back in the mid '90s. What they sell now is Pabst Brand beer, contract-brewed to meet a specific price point and skillfully marketed to a target demographic. And just who is buying this incredibly accurate reproduction of a humble working-class pleasure of decades past? They're young folks from the suburban middle class, mostly. Seeking authenticity.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Satsuma season

I have been told that in the 1920s in my family's home village, my Great-grandfather would bring home an annual Christmas orange. The old man would sit and solemnly, with great care, peel the orange. The kids would stand watching, waiting. And he would distribute single sections of orange to one kid at a time until it was all gone. That was it for oranges for another whole year. If they'd been here, now, he could have got sacks of oranges cheap from the supermarket to snack on till dinner was ready. But you can't get the mythic kind anymore.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Showing Some Class

Imagine a fellow who mostly listens to country music but sometimes Classic Rock when he's on a ladder because there's something about perspiring heavily while scraping window frames that makes a guy want to hear "Mississippi Queen" from a paint-speckled boombox on a milk crate. On his birthday, does this guy suddenly figure, "Hey, I'll break out the Schoenberg?" Does a lady who reads those Harlequin romances every day of her life suddenly on Independence Day crack the spine on Finnegans Wake? No. So how come on special occasions I'm suddenly expected to appreciate the complex subtleties of fancy food?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Think simple, elegant furniture

Did you even know there was such a thing as the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement? The idea is, you join the movement through a firm commitment to avoid reproducing yourself. Which, if you think about it, is no way to build a sustainable constituency. See kids, by taking yourselves out of the gene pool, you're actually giving the species a stronger than ever tendency toward procreation. The name's Mendel, baby. Gregor Mendel. Still, they do get a thumbs-up from me for pissing off the Catholics. Not that it matters much. Terms like "voluntary" simply do not apply to the inevitable.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Doubleplusgood Duckspeakers

You can detect them from half a house away, without even really discerning individual words. When one of the Opinionators is on, their strident confidence is audible in every syllable. It doesn't matter which side they're on- like soldiers or point guards, they have more in common with one another than with their teams. And here's the thing; they are not like you and me. We may often find ourselves conflicted, or unsure, or sometimes simply apathetic. But there is no topic upon which an Opinionator does not have a powerful position. I'm not sure what I think about that.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Sometimes when I'm eating something, let's say a sandwich or cookie, I'll get near the end and perceive that the remaining portion is less than two full bites and rather than accept two moderately undersized bites -- or worse, one normal bite followed by a woefully minuscule final bite -- I'll put the whole remainder, nearly two bites worth, in my mouth all at once, which makes me feel kind of piggy and also my food is gone sooner than I'd like. It is not in my nature to be so confessional and self excoriating, but I needed this catharsis.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mondays could start after lunch.

Wait. Wasn't the 20th century supposed to be all about creating technology to release people from the need for ceaseless backbreaking toil so they could enjoy the best things in life? And the best things in life are free, right? So 10 percent unemployment should mean 100 percent of us happily working a 36-hour week. Unless they were lying to us about the 20th century. They wouldn't do that, would they, the folks with the money and power? Cause if they would, it's like we've gone to the movies and left the kids at home with a convicted cannibal pedophile.

Monday, November 1, 2010

And there was one guy doing a pretty good "Al Pacino as Ben Gazzara," too.

On the frontier between the Quarter and the Marigny Saturday night, the street was a river of wildly attired humanity. The standouts? There were some gutterpunks that looked exactly like the real thing, a really great "tired waiter just trying to get home," a couple of extraordinary "glazed-eyed tourists," and my very favorite, some guys doing a conceptual group thing I'd call "downtown hipsters too cool to dress up for Halloween." Me, I went as Eugene Debs. Like him, I'd rather vote for what I want and not get it than vote for what I don't want and get it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Here I sit, broken hearted.

The job of America's Poet Laureate pays 35 thousand dollars per annum. Traditionally, our poets laureate are plucked from a pool of tenured English professors, to whom that stipend may seem like a stingy smidgen. But it's better than double the minimum wage, and to a whole lot of un- or under-employed citizens that might seem like pretty good pay for what you have to do, which ain't much. Sure easier than mowing lawns or cleaning hotel rooms. Why not fill the position through a nationally televised talent contest? I'll bet the winner would be a young man from Nantucket.

Monday, October 18, 2010

My money's on the blonde

I recently had occasion to do research that had me following links that led to references to a pair of late-'80s teen girl singers named Tiffany and Debbie Gibson and I was pretty sure they meant either Britney or Debbie Boone but I checked and, nope, I was wrong, these are different people altogether and while the only thing Tiffany and Debbie Gibson have in common with Britney and Debbie Boone is that I don't really know what any of them sound like, I for one would pay good money to see all four in a TV wrestling cage match.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Now Joss Whedon wants a Nobel.

I'm the kind of guy, I never win anything. I wasn't hopeful when I filled out the little slip of paper at the Nix Library with my best estimate of the number of Rice Chex in a candy jar on the desk. I won by a mile. The head librarian tells me I got it within a single Rice Check, while nobody else got even close. I got a box of Rice Krispies treats as my prize. They're all gone. I ate them up and did not share. They tasted sweet, like victory. Bet that's how David Simon feels.

Monday, October 4, 2010

pompadour & circumstance

If it hadn't been for Tony Curtis, Elvis probably would have retired from driving truck for Crown Electric in 2000, bought a little trailer on an acre or two near Tupelo. Because it was always the hair, wasn't it, the loops and whorls, the improbable glistening rivulets and distributaries, the whole gleaming artifice of pomades and waxes and perfumed unguents, the jet black shining edifice springing from the brow like some vaselined Athena, an ebon rostral projection emerging from the faultless sculpted helm. They don't have hair like that now. It can't be done ironically, nor made to look accidental.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Because it worked out so well for Youngstown

I'd have never guessed: Apparently, one of the worst things to do with rich alluvial soil and a long growing season is waste it growing stuff. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has proudly announced that by offering $600 million in tax-free bonds, he has managed to attract a large steel production facility to the banks of the Mississippi River. And this is land once thought fit only for agriculture. Isn't ponying up tax dollars to entice somebody to build a steel mill in your cane field is a lot like pimping for your sister and then lending the guy a twenty?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

More choleric than splenetic, though.

You want a rant? I'll show you a rant. Seriously, this week I'm not writing one, just showing you one. It may the best rant ever, by anybody. A rant so quintessentially ranty that to attempt a rant of one's own in the same time frame would be like (insert clever pop culture reference here). So I'm simply turning around, trotting into the locker room, and changing back into civvies. I'll content myself with this 100 Word Intro to the rant you should be reading, by a guy who has been busting my cubes, humor-wise, literally since the Carter administration.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Enlightened shelf interest

Isn't Terry Jones, the mouth-breathing Florida preacher who was threatening to start his own bonfire of the inanities with a stack of Qur'ans, that one guy from Monty Python? Or maybe he's getting paid off by big paper and printing ink cartels anxious to maintain market share in the face of the inexorable penetration of the e-book into their bailiwick, down-loadable data files being less than optimum kindling. Okay, unlikely conjectures, both of them. But I'll bet when he rounded up the volumes he was planning to torch, it was more books than he'd ever owned before in his life.

Monday, September 6, 2010

We have been naught

It's hard to believe, but Labor Day was originally an occasion to celebrate "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations." So let's take a few moments to recognize the hard-working people who make this holiday possible, even the ones being chased across the Arizona desert to get to their jobs. Maybe you're enjoying a regatta or a bass fishing contest. Possibly you're playing croquet or watching the kids bounce on the backyard trampoline, attending NASCAR or the National Symphony. Just thank your lucky stars 'n' stripes you live in a country without a class system.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I've been eschewing normative ideation

I have to tell you the truth. I'm feeling unusually placid, with none of the gritty cerebral irritants so essential to creating the requisite ranty pearls of prose. I've tried. I swear. I checked the news. Plenty of outrageous stuff, but the appropriate responders have responded with appropriate outrage, so there's no work for me there. But I promise you, should I see the opportunity for any sort of cheap joke, BAM! I'll be all over it like an onomatopoeia. And meanwhile, at the Home for Retired Metaphors, all the old similes are sitting around like, oh, I don't know

Monday, August 23, 2010

Maybe next week

Yup, there you are. Right on time. All like, “Let's go see what kind of absolutely free rant Dave has provided for us this week.” Did it ever occur to you that I might have something better to you than type up a rant for you on a Monday morning? Like maybe I have a dental appointment and won't have time to write anything, or maybe I'm just the teensiest bit tired of providing exactly 100 words right on schedule, rain or shine, come hell or high water? Maybe this week there just won't be any 100 word rant.

Monday, August 16, 2010

You have to look at the big picture

Gardening up north means growing plants. Gardening down south means killing plants. I was cutting back some weeds that were choking out the kudzu when I made the mistake of looking too close and realized I was scaring the living crap out of a brilliant green newborn anole no bigger than the first joint of my thumb. And I tried not to think of how many little lizards I had hacked in two already, or the teeny snails I was depriving of life-giving shade. And I kept right on chopping. Think that's how government and business leaders feel about us?

Monday, August 9, 2010

They were in a dead heat

You think this is hot? This ain't hot. In a part of Iran called Dasht-e Lut it gets up to about 70 degrees. Celsius. That's around 158 Fahrenheit. The area is abiotic, meaning it supports no life at all, not even bugs or germs. Too hot for people? It's too hot for baking meringue. Meanwhile, the World Sauna Championship ended when the last two contestants lost consciousness and had to pulled from the 110 degree C (100 is boiling) heat and hospitalized. One of them died, which I think means he wins, since he stayed in for his whole life.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Our little drama

Observations and musings from the Interstate: For one thing, the phrase "observations and musings" pretty much relegates me to the category of purveyor of droll anecdotes who ought to be named Josh Something. Dagnabit. Anyway, Alabama license plates used to say "Stars Fell on Alabama," recalling a lovely song from 1934. Now they say "Sweet Home," recalling Lynyrd Skynyrd. Note to Montgomery muckety-mucks: A jump into the 21st century shouldn't require a layover in the '70s. And then, here's my idea for a tribute band that plays Australian hard rock covers absolutely perfect down to the very tiniest detail. OCDC.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Remember when I mentioned that the world's largest pencil was hanging in front of an office supply store in Wytheville, Virginia? I was misinformed, and passed along this misinformation to you, the reader, without doing due diligence, fact-checking-wise. This was irresponsible. It falls short of the high standards you have rightfully come to expect. The City Museum in St. Louis has a 76-foot long pencil. It has 4,000 pounds of graphite inside, so this St. Louis pencil would actually work if you could find something to write on. Compared to it, the Wytheville pencil is a laughable piece of crap.

Monday, July 19, 2010

War has sort of ruined violence for me

The Journal of Psychopharmacology (JOP) reports that in clinical trials funded by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), doctors have been seeing encouraging results using ecstasy (MDMA) as an adjunct to talk therapy for patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). MDs in both the UK and US want to emphasize that these are only initial findings. Still, pretty soon you'll get prescriptions for ecstasy and marijuana, and nobody will want them. See, grownups ruin everything. They ruined baseball with Little League, they ruined rock and roll with a building in Cleveland, and now they're going to ruin drugs.

Monday, July 12, 2010

From my "Irascible Geezer" collection:

Remember when the cool kids had Nike or Adidas and you had to be a nerd or dweeb or doofus to be walking around in old-fashioned Converse? Then you may also recall a time when the hippest eyewear was tinted aviators and you had to be sort of a dork or geek to have squarish plastic frames on your face. But nowadays, it's hip to emulate the most out-of-it, uncool fashion statements you can find. But it somehow doesn't work when you do it on purpose. It turns out that being unselfconscious is one of the hardest things to fake.

Monday, July 5, 2010

After all the fireworks

It seems to me that we should be able to put our heads together and come up with a less fractious set of interpretations of the Constitution than the ones under which we currently operate. The problem, I think, is that we compartmentalize our concerns, picking and choosing articles and amendments to suit our agendas like a TV evangelist quoting chapter and verse. We need a more holistic view. Like, when you study the first and second amendments together, it becomes pretty dang clear that the founding fathers believed shooting somebody with a firearm was a form of protected speech.

Monday, June 28, 2010

To me, Eliot Ness defines class.

I've had two thoughts about matters of taste. First: people who complain that the great mass of people have none should be grateful, since if the hoi polloi shared their preferences they would be required to despise what they currently love. Like a music fan who buys every record a band makes until they finally cut a hit. Then they hate 'em. There's no middle ground between obscurity and selling out. And second, definitions of taste. Good taste is when you have internalized the standards of your class. Exquisite taste is when you understand the unspoken standards of your betters.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Miller Barber: High Life and Vitalis

Here's the sort of cutting edge journalism you don't get from Cal Thomas or that mean girl with the red hair: Suggested drinking games for the long hot summer ahead. Not alcohol drinking games; the only real fun one is called "try to maneuver the concave end of the vessel somewhere near your slack and drooling piehole." No, this is variations on the Arnold Palmer, half iced tea and half lemonade. You get to make up other vintage golfer related beverages. Lee Trevino: horchata and coke. Tom Weiskopf: beer with a nice head on it. Johnny Revolta? Not going there.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I reach for my revolver

Roger Ebert says video games aren't Art. Which annoys some fanboys, but leaves a lot of us wondering why he bothered to opine on the topic, being as qualified to talk about anything but movies as Richard Dawkins is to give spiritual advice. Stick with what you know, I say. Plus, "what is Art?" is sort of a turn of the last century question anyway, isn't it? Capital A "Art" came in with The Sorrows of Young Werther and hasn't meant anything since 1914. "Art" is propaganda in the hands of dilettantes - it's a commercial nobody's paid for yet.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Oddly, it's poison to pigs.

Palmer Amaranth may sound like a J.D. Salinger protagonist, but it's actually a nuisance weed spreading across the American south. Also called "pigweed," it's immune to most pesticides. It's incredibly competitive, thriving even in extreme heat and drought conditions. And it's moving north. But here's the thing; this 6 1/2 foot tall plant has a one kilogram edible seed head with more and better protein than whole wheat, while the leaves and stalks are more nutritious than spinach. If I was a farmer, I'd be doing everything I could to keep cotton and soy out of my amaranth fields.

Monday, May 31, 2010

still spewing

It doesn't matter if we say we never buy junk food. The stuff keeps flying off the shelves and down our bottomless gullets, and that's the only opinion that counts. The marketing racket calls that the shopping cart vote. So, who doesn't like a climate controlled house, a comfy commute, plus healthy returns on their 401k? That's yummy as a poptart. Getting all those things at the same time requires willing complicity with mentally deficient delusional greedheads. Now hop in the car -- we're driving down to the protest march to yell at BP for doing what we voted for.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Already nostalgic for tats and soul patches

We've almost plowed through the first decade of the 21st century and still don't have consensus on what to call it. The two-thousands sounds way too Mr. Wizard: “Radiotelegraphs from Pluto! Dirigible service from Siam to Rhodesia! Who knows what other wonders the two-thousands may bring?” The aughts only works if you're a coot and/or geezer: “Yep, I 'member back in aught-three, I wuz ridin' with ol' Stinky Liederkranz...” My modest proposal – why not just call it the First Decade? It works great as a noun or adjective. Sample sentence: “Dude, that stubble 'n' fedora look is totally First Decade.”

Monday, May 17, 2010

100 word requiem

Around the world
From Rome to Rio
We mourn the loss of Ronnie James Dio.

There's no more joy,
There's no more glee-o
There's no more, no more, Ronnie James Dio

We ask ourselves
How can this be-o?
Goodbye goodbye to Ronnie James Dio

He replaced Ozzie
But who'll replace he-o?
There's no-one now like Ronnie James Dio

He sang con fuoco
He sang con brio
He sang with Rainbow, Ronnie James Dio

We weep now 'neath the old oak tree-o
The voice that rang from sea-to-sea-o
Is silent now, his soul is free-o
Ronnie James Dio
Ronnie James Dio

Monday, May 10, 2010

Wild thing, you make my heart sing.

Somewhere between one and four percent – that's how far short of being fully human most of us are. It seems that when the first humans came out of Africa they enjoyed cordial relations with some of their Neanderthal cousins, with the result that the only folks around who can claim to be entirely free of caveman DNA are certain Sub-Saharan Africans. Ordinary white people everywhere can rejoice at this little troglodytic tang in an otherwise vanilla gene pool. I welcome this addition to my messy Mischling heritage, especially if it means I can take off another set of holidays.

Monday, May 3, 2010

It's like, deep down inside, I'm nine.

At first glance, Esther Duflo and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab sounds like a plastic playset with action figure included. Or a musical group that collaborated with Henry Threadgill for that one album. But no. Esther Duflo is a MacArthur genius grant winning economist who uses statistical tools to quantify the effects of microeconomic variables vis-a-vis poverty in the developing world. And the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab is an academic center at MIT focused on applying controlled research methodologies to socioeconomics. Nothing funny there. I singled them out for cheap laughs based solely on their names.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I think they have these at Waffle House

This just in: In a strategy called “taste-aversion learning,” scientists in Australia are making little sausages of toad leg meat and a nausea-inducing compound in order to train wild carnivorous marsupials known as quolls to avoid attacking giant cane toads, invasive amphibians with large venom glands in their shoulders. I learned this from the BBC this morning. Did they add an extra Fool's Day to April this year without telling me? The longer I look at it, the more it seems that absurdity is like gravity or the speed of light – a fundamental property of the physical universe.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Watch out for unbearably cute baby animals

Just a heads up as you plan your activities for the week: Thursday is Earth Day. I intend to mark this event by remaining on or near the surface of the planet most of the time all day long. Also, I will participate in various promotional activities in my area, like I saw in the paper where Target will send you a reusable, Earth-friendly shopping bag when you mail five plastic Target bags in to them. Mail them. In an envelope that goes on a truck to travel across the country. Guess what color the bag they mail back is.

Monday, April 12, 2010

John Goodman is a local landmark.

There is this architectural stock footage shorthand the movies and TV use to indicate what city you're in. Chrysler Building means New York. Big Ben means London. And of course, the Taj Mahal means absolutely anywhere on the Indian subcontinent. So I want to give the new HBO series Treme credit. They stayed away from the stereotypical stuff everybody sees on their first trip to New Orleans, like Bourbon Street and the Cafe Du Monde. Instead, they dug deep to focus on brass bands, Indians, Vaughn's, Susan Spicer, WWOZ, and all the other stuff everybody discovers on their second trip.

Monday, April 5, 2010 maybe life isn't like a river?

You know the old joke about the resort, where one guest complains that the food is terrible? The other guest replies, “Yes, and the portions are so small.” Life's like that. Or like when you're at a party and it's not very fun and there's nothing to do but you stay and stay because you're just sure something will happen the moment you leave. At least maybe somebody will drink too much and humiliate themselves. Then you realize in one sad sick sinking rush that it's you. This world is a terrible place, and we have to leave so soon.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A bright cold day

Progressives and liberals and other whiny types who like to hide behind the Constitution like it was their mommy's skirt are all upset about a recent Supreme Court ruling that allows unlimited political contributions from corporations. Get over it. Sure there's a downside; it's now a matter of legal precedent that an abstract business entity enjoys all the rights of citizenship. But look at the bright side. Thanks to the Supreme Court, anything you want to do with your money, from buying an election to scoring crystal meth to hiring a hitman, is now theoretically defensible as constitutionally protected speech.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Importance of Membership

We know you depend on 100 Word Rant each and every week and that's why we're coming to you during our fundraising drive to ask won't you please do your part your support is important maybe you're in your car or talking around the water cooler and the topic of 100 Word Rant comes up and when you get right down to it this is a community and the people behind the scenes here at 100 Word Rant who bring the quality you've come to expect imagine if you woke up one Monday morning and 100 Word Rant wasn't there.

Monday, March 15, 2010

More Big News

The world's largest catsup bottle is located in Collinsville, Illinois. The locals there united to form the Catsup Bottle Preservation Group to save this historic structure from demolition, thereby preserving a spelling which has of late been falling into desuetude. At one time, there were two dominant brands of America's favorite condiment: Heinz Ketchup and Hunt's Catsup. They sounded much the the same. They tasted exactly the same. Each devoted a sizable chunk of energy and resources to convincing the consuming public their product was in some way superior. I can't think of a better metaphor for our two-party system.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Noblest Obbligato

Talk about aftershocks. A hideous horrible natural disaster has forced us all to say the word Chile more often than we are accustomed to. The other day I got corrected because I said it as if it was chili, like a bowl of chili. “No, no, no,” she said. “CHEE-lay. It's pronounced CHEE-lay.” I was appropriately chastened, but then I got to thinking; I'll bet she says Paris and not pah-REE. Berlin, not bear-LEEN. But Chile is south of the border. Condescension is what it is. And it ruins an old third-grade joke that also invokes Turkey, China, and Denmark.

Monday, March 1, 2010

We are professional grade

One of the reasons new restaurants keep opening and closing all the time is that folks who love to cook good food keep thinking they should get into the business of serving strangers. But the service industry is a tough scuffle for people accustomed to luxuries like self respect. It that sense, cooking is like playing music or being funny. So if you like cooking and are thinking of opening that little bistro, look at it this way: You probably like sex, too. You may be very good at it. That doesn't mean you should start doing it for money.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Love in a canoe.

I'm done with drinking pretty much the way I'm done with high school; I got everything I could out of it and can't imagine ever going back. Yet I couldn't help but notice that Anheuser-Busch has rolled out what they call the world's lightest beer. It's called Bud Select 55 and it has 55 calories per bottle, with 2.4% alcohol. Piffle. Many's the time I've safely driven home with more than that in my bloodstream. I figure the stuff is essentially a 50/50 blend of Budweiser and club soda. Actually, any dilution of Bud's taste is probably a good thing.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Now how much would you pay?

Remember the Pocket Fisherman? It was this little stubby fishing rod and reel to carry with so you could fish anywhere. The same guy brought us the Veg-O-Matic, Mr. Microphone (Hey good lookin', I'll be back to pick you up later!), and a sort of toupee in a spray can that made for the weirdest half hour of television ever. There's not a single real invention in there, but there is an admirable pattern of enthusiastic marketing innovation. So here's where I'm going with this: I believe that Steve Jobs is nothing less than the Ron Popeil of our generation.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Save your fork. There's pie.

An idea called multi-level selection posits that behaviors are as influential as genes in determining the survival of a species. There’s this guy David Sloan Wilson, a major proponent of the theory, who says, “Selfishness beats altruism within groups. Altruistic groups beat selfish groups. Everything else is commentary.” Here’s a pinhead’s view of how that works: if you eat all the food, including what’s on your kids’ plates, you will be fat and happy and live a long life. But your tribe will die out. Whether or not this has already occurred within the human species is an open question.

Monday, February 1, 2010

February 1st is always cut 'n' paste day!

From the frozen North, a request for some creative thinking around Milwaukee's “image marketing and brand identity.” Here are my suggestions:

Top 10 Milwaukee branding statements:

10: Like Minneapolis, with cheese!

9: Milwaukee: did you order this weather?

8: We used to brew beer.

7: Why is this lake named after the wrong state?

6: Small town thrills, big city charm.

5: Up to 15 days of sunshine every year!

4: Hey! Who remembers the Pacer?

3: If Chicago was New York, we'd be Jersey.

2: At least we're not Cleveland.

1: Milwaukee: A great city with a great motto.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Highway to Hell

Let's skip right past the hybrid and electric cars and start believing in magical ones. The only way to make a green automobile is with a coat of paint. See, 50% of our electrical energy comes from coal-fired plants – that means strip mining and mountaintop removal. Calling it clean energy is like pretending store-bought meat is slaughter-free. Plus, getting lithium out of the ground is a dirty process in itself – in some mining regions, the extraction process uses up two-thirds of the drinkable water. And why do electric cars need all that lithium? Simple. Their batteries are bipolar.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The resale value's gonna be nil

Remember that WC Fields movie where he's swerving the getaway car wildly all over the road and the passenger says gimme the wheel and he yanks it off the steering column and hands it over? Government is a lot like that. Some people thought Obama was going to be the messiah and some were afraid he was all four horsemen of the apocalypse. They drew Hitler mustaches on him or compared him to everyone from Lincoln to Wilson. But seriously, here's a smart, pragmatic guy surrounded by party hacks fighting over the helm when the rudder's busted. He's America's Gorbachev.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fanny pack! Camera! Action!

Here's a great way to have big family fun without spending a lot of cash: be a tourist in your own hometown! When was the last time you rode the elevator to the highest floor of your area's tallest building? Okay, maybe you work there... what's important is that sense of wonder and discovery. Try this: go to Chi Chi's or Olive Garden and pretend you've never heard of any of these exotic foreign dishes before – get your server to explain foods like spaghetti or taco salad. Act all excited and curious. Then when your food comes, ask for chopsticks.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Post-modern? Try post-Copernican.

Some folks want to get back to nature and fix things back the way they used to be, which if you think about it the way things used to be is the direct cause of the ways things are right now. How can you call yourself a progressive thinker if you share with folks like Ptolemy and Augustine of Hippo a belief in the fundamental schism between humans and the rest of creation? As far as I'm concerned a bowl of organic granola, a nice fresh Twinkie, an anthill, and the Large Hadron Collider are all equally products of nature.