" That's just the sort of blinkered, Philistine Pig ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage!"

John Cleese

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

John Boehner Is The Fuckstick Of The Week

I'm not going to pretend that I know all the ramifications of the bailout as it was presented yesterday.

Everything I read about it, in an attempt to understand something that oodles of economists even say they don't fully grasp, said the House probably should have bit the bullet and passed it given the alternative.

So as of noon yesterday, House Republicans, according to Boehner, apparently hadn't made up their mind about the most important vote of their legislative careers.

But Nancy Pelosi, right before the vote, said some words in a speech that could be construed as 'partisan', inexplicably CHANGING THE MINDS of House Republicans and caused them to vote against it. (Read it here and decide for yourself if this warrants anything?)

Don't believe me?  It's right here:

Sorry she hurt your feelings, guys.

If Pelosi's speech changed your mind about the bailout, you have no business being in Congress. If that's not 'partisan politics', I don't know what is.

I'm no fan of Pelosi's demeanor, leadership and timing on just about everything but...THEY WERE JUST WORDS!

You changed your mind on the biggest vote in the House in decades because of a fucking speech. And then had the gall to admit it.

And he's the thing.  Boehner voted for it!  And then comes to the excuse-making rescue of the people who rebelled against all his efforts.

You got outflanked by Newt Gingrich and in the end, buckled to the old guard of Republican asshats.

Butch Up, Sally.

Jon Boehner.  You are the Fuckstick of the Week.

Can You See This Comin'?

I really don't think this team is capable of winning 3 in a row but I'm beginning to think they have a shot here.

Of course, if Garcia doesn't strain his neck last night we may be staring into space tonight.

Naturally, I won't be able to attend. Shocker.

And if the Sox are up comfortably late I want Carlos Gomez plunked. Hard.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ummm...This Is A Solution?

So...let me get this straight.  Alcohol sales in Wrigleyville will be cut off from the 8th to the 9th inning only during games that might win a series?

If said clinching game goes into extra innings, the bars can begin selling again?

So bars can't sell alchol for a grand total of about 45 minutes on potentially three days?

Oh, Holy Shit!  What's the point?

If I were a bar owner, I'd be pissed, too.

This is what the city gets for trying to get the Olympics.  

Dippy shit like this.  Oh, and I blame the Baby Boomers.  They're the ones making up stupid-ass crap like this now. 

After meeting with city officials, a group of bar owners near Wrigley Field said today they have agreed to voluntarily cut off alcohol sales after the 7th inning of some Chicago Cubs playoff games.
The voluntary cutoff would only apply to games that could clinch a series.

And, bars participating in the cutoff would be able to resume alcohol sales after the 9th inning if a "clinch" game goes to extra innings.

Office of Emergency Management and Communications chief Raymond Orozco, who attended today's meeting, said the city would hold a news conference Tuesday. He declined to take questions from reporters or even confirm the agreement with some bar owners.

Billy Lawless, owner of the Irish Oak, 3511 N. Clark St., emerged from the meeting with city officials and said of the pact: "I'm not happy with it."

"We are well capable of handling our own business," he said. "You say it's voluntarily, but, c'mon, it's a directive from the city."

It was not immediately clear if the deal reached with some Wrigleyville bar owners would be agreed to by their counterparts near U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox.

City officials are seeking to limit alcohol sales near both ballparks.

The Cubs begin a five-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, while the Sox are fighting for a post-season berth.

Phil Watch: More Words, Still Stupid

For the last 18 days or so, Phil's been a busy little bee.

He's had a column/article a day every day since September 11.

It's been the usual amalgam of game recaps straining for big picture analysis coupled with dumb-ass opinions like "Cabrera Worth Keeping Around" and "Despite Off-Night, Alexei Rookie Of The Year Frontrunner".

And my personal favorite would be Phil passing off the declaration of Arizona as the NL West winner on MAY 1 (!) onto the Tribune instead of himself.

Sorry, Phil.  You can erase your columns in the Tribune archive but BRE diligently keeps all of theirs.  You said it.  Not in your dippy power rankings that supposedly come from a roundtable discussion but your column.

But that's the reason Phil Watch has died a slow death here at BRE.  Phil wore me down.  There's nothing fun about beating up on an unmitigated moron.  You need some level of sanity interjected with stupidity to keep it spicy.  

100% dumb = 100% boredom.

And I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Who reads Phil the first time...and comes back for MORE?

With that, let's go back for more.

Editor's note: These picks are the result of statistical analysis weighted toward pitching and defense and performance since the All-Star break. The Tribune used this formula after the regular season in 2007 and correctly picked Boston over Colorado in the World Series and six of the seven postseason series. That analysis gives us Cubs over Boston in the 2008 World Series.

Thanks for the actual formula.  Oh...wait.  There is no actual formula.  Just some vague reference to 'pitching and defense and performance' (yet another clue that Phil's editor gave up years ago).

1. Cubs (3): Picked to go to the World Series by many during spring training, the Lou Crew handled the heat during the regular season, but it's about to get turned up several degrees. It's a veteran team with quality leaders in Derrek Lee, Mark DeRosa, Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood, but there's no getting around the burden it carries with fans. This is a much better team than the one that got within five outs of the World Series in 2003, but Carlos Zambrano has become a question mark and the lineup remains built around guys who were shut down by Arizona in the 2007 playoffs.

Using Phil's own 'statistical analysis and tying that to players actually mentioned, let's see the results.

Kerry Wood:  3.92 ERA after the All-Star break (good for 18th among closers).  7.45 ERA in September.

Derrek Lee:  .270 5 hr 34 rbi.  OPSed .745 since the break, good for 3rd-to-last among first basemen with 200 abs, ahead of only Kotchman and Millar.

Mark DeRosa:  Has a calf issue, hit .234 in September and his first half was nearly identical to his second half.  Basically had two productive months (with August accounting for nearly one-third of his overall production).

Carlos Zambrano:  Take out the no-hitter from his September starts and he has a 12.71 ERA with a 2.12 WHIP.  

The team was 12-12 in September and a merger 4 games over .500 on the road for the year.  There ARE issues here.

I know Cub fans don't like trends and statistics and...you know...analysis outside of "The Cubs are goin' all the way, baby!!!!  WOOOO!!!!" but can they just be like real baseball fans and look at their team through sober goggles.  Just once.  It would be soooo refreshing.  

2. Red Sox (4): The closest thing to a dynasty at this time, Boston has won two of the last four World Series and is a serious contender again. Jason Bay came up huge after being acquired in the Manny Ramirez trade, which veteran players welcomed. The Red Sox's pitching is set with a rested Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Mike Lowell's hip bears watching.

Okay.  Boston's played well since the Manny trade.  True.  But they basically had a generous schedule, allowing them to a crapload of teams under .500 and they beat them, especially in August.

Lowell's hurt.  Drew's hurt.  Youkilis and Pedroia cooled off dramatically in September and Ortiz still isn't his usual self.

And it was reported 48 hours ago that Beckett's start has been pushed back to Game 3 because of an injured side.  Just check the wires once, Phil.

Oh yeah, and their bullpen has been anything but stellar this year.

This aren't concerns?

3. Rays (1): You need a microscope to find the separation between Tampa Bay and Boston, who could meet in the American League Championship Series. The Rays are a good bet to get past the AL Central survivor in the first round. The strength of this team is its ability to stop opponents from scoring, but none of the starters goes into the playoffs on a roll.

No complaints.  About right.  Though they will be riding into the playoffs without a real closer.

4. Dodgers (7): You know Joe Torre loves taking this team to the playoffs when the Yankees couldn't get there behind Joe Girardi, his replacement. Some say the key to the Dodgers' turnaround was the trade for Casey Blake, not the more widely celebrated deal for Ramirez. Either way, the lineup was successfully rebuilt on the fly. Derek Lowe and Chad Billingsley are a solid 1-2 combination.

Who is 'some'?  He's hit .251/.313/.460 for the Dodgers.  

Let's project Blake's Dodger numbers out to a full season (about 530 abs):

.251/.313/.460  25 hrs, 57 rbi,  30 db, 40 bb, 130 k

Guess how that's astonishingly close to being?  Nick Swisher.  2008 Nick Swisher.  Blake's ever-so-slightly better, statistically.  He had some big hits in August, but a grand total of six RBI in September.

It's cute but entirely wrong to think Blake had a better impact than Manny.  So-So-So Wrong.

Let's project Manny's numbers with the Dodgers out to an entire season (about 560 abs):

.396/.489/.743  51 hrs, 159 rbi, 42 db, 105 bb, 114 k

That's an OPS of 1.232!  And an OPS+ of 213!  Mickey Mantle OPS+ed higher than that exactly once.  Willie Mays never did.  Babe Ruth had a career OPS+ of 207.

You make the call.  Who's meant more to the Dodger turnaround?


5. Phillies (6): Charlie Manuel's bullpen, anchored by Brad Lidge (41-for-41 in save situations), is the envy of just about every team still playing. First baseman Ryan Howard is a serious MVP candidate after a 48-homer, 146-RBI season, albeit with 199 strikeouts. The Phils have a legitimate four-man rotation.

No complaints, really.  I think Howard deserves serious consideration as well.  He hit .352 in September when they needed him to and .320 with RISP on the year.  

I don't know who this 'legitimate four-man rotation' is that Phil speaks of, though.

Hamels = Good

Moyer = Pitched kind of out of his gourd this year

Blanton = Pretty terrible

Myers = One good six-week stretch and absolutely terrible otherwise.


6. Brewers (15): General manager Doug Melvin made some dubious history by sacking manager Ned Yost on Sept. 15. The move did arrest a slide in which Milwaukee had lost seven of eight games, but no one's bragging about a 6-14 record in non-CC Sabathia starts down the stretch. A shaky bullpen is sometimes exposed by poor fielding.

No.  A shaky bullpen is exposed by their inherent shakiness.  They're terrible.

Now.  Someone explain to me how the Brewers are a better team than....THE ANGELS!

7. Angels (2): They led the majors in victories but aren't close to being the best team. Like the Cubs, their key is their organizational depth, especially in starting pitching (Jon Garland and Jered Weaver, who combined for 25 wins, work out of the bullpen in the Boston series). The lineup improved dramatically in the second half, thanks in part to Mark Teixeira, but teams with middle-infield questions usually don't go a long way in October.

100-62, folks.  And in Phil's world, they're no better than the two shittiest teams on this list.

And here's the best part.  See that number in parenthesis up there next to the team name.  That's what they were rated LAST WEEK!  

So using 'statistical analysis based on pitching and defense and performance' since the break, Phil says, as of last week, the Angels were good.  They had the unmitigated gall to go 4-3 for the week, playing their Salt Lake team for the most part, and that drops them to the 7th best playoff team!

They've scored the second-most runs among playoff teams since the break, had the second-best OPS as a team among playoff teams since the break, have a clearer pecking order in the bullpen than any playoff team right now and went 17-8 to finish the season.

What's the problem?

Oh, apparently the middle infield is a concern.  Howie Kendrick has committed a grand total of 4 errors in 446 chances this year and Erick Aybar, while committing 18 errors, never had a error that really meant anything.  How do I know?  I WATCHED THE GAMES!  

If he would have written about concerns over Lackey's consistency and velocity and the second-half fade of Joe Saunders, fine.  Even the crappy second half Figgins had, that would be legitimate.

But there's nothing wrong with Kendrick and Aybar that's going to stop the Angels from advancing in the postseason.  Nothing.

And they are NOT a worse team, given the pitching and defense and performance and trends and heart of the lineup and bullpen and managers and bench and everything else than the Brewers, Phillies and Dodgers in the least and probably the Rays.  I worry about Boston but they beat them 8 of 9 times this year, finally getting over the Red Sox hump.


I'm under no illusions here.  The postseason is a whole new ballgame.  And the Angels have their issues but...


8. Twins (12): Minnesota has come this far only by backing up more slowly than the White Sox. The Twins have gone 14-20 since Aug. 23 with a young starting rotation looking very ordinary. Batting champ Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are leaned on heavily.

I'm still mad about the #7 ranking of the Angels.

9. White Sox (9): Poised on the edge of extinction, it's hard to see Ozzie Guillen's team doing any damage in October. It's a team badly in need of rest, and at this point the only way to get a break is to be eliminated. The White Sox hit more homers than any other team but badly miss MVP candidate Carlos Quentin.

Still mad.

Friday, September 26, 2008

For Your Consideration

This is the man the White Sox will face if they end up in a tie with the Twins:

JHC.   Write.  The.  Script.

Friday Isn't For Thinking

Honestly what more can you say about the Sox that hasn't already been said? Ok..I'll try.
This is what happens when you are a team that relies on the home run. You end up losing. Every...goddamn..time.
It's not "officially" over but when you have to rely on the Royals to do your work for you, you get what you deserve.
I will say however that Carlos Gomez can come down from his gigantic cloud any time now. Come on! Are you fucking kidding me?! And nice Unnecessary Robin Yount Dive on that catch to end the Top of the 9th. Asshole.
Bobby Jenks' 0-2 fastballs really helped as well. Jesus. I need a drink and a shower.
Fuckin' Sox.
I'm going to the Iowa-Northwestern game tomorrow. As odd as it may seem, Northwestern is my most hated team in the Big 10. I know..Northwestern? They've got like 30 fans. Well, they do unless they're winning. When that's happening every douchebag in Chicago acts like they're die hards when 60% of them couldn't even tell you where Evanston is.
Plus, they hate Iowa. Why? Because back in the '80s and early 90s Iowa used to kick their pathetic asses on a yearly basis (just like everybody else) and they thought Hayden "ran up the score". And then legendary Asshole Gary Barnett started playing that card.
They also chanted "state school" once at a basketball game I was at. Snobby, elitist, North Shore pricks. Fuck 'em. If there's one game I want Iowa to destroy the opponent it's this one.
I love how the House Republicans have essentially ruined any chance of John McCain winning the election. Thanks.
For more Sarah Palin dumbassery, here's her interview with Kati Couric:

and part 2

Thursday, September 25, 2008

(Crickets Chirping)

Heartbeat away, folks. Heartbeat of a 72 year old 4 time cancer patient with a history of high blood pressure.

Palin takes questions from press corps for first time
Posted: 12:00 PM ET
From CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

Palin answered some questions from the traveling press corps, her first time doing so.
NEW YORK (CNN) — Sarah Palin took questions from her traveling press corps Thursday for the first time since being tapped as John McCain's running mate.
Speaking to a small pool of reporters following a visit to Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, Palin made a statement and then answered four questions, addressing the war on terror, the re-election bids of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young, and the bailout legislation currently in front of Congress.
Check out the transcript after the jump
PALIN: Every American student needs to come through this area so that, especially this younger generation of Americans is, to be in a position of never forgetting what happened here and never repeating, never allowing a repeat of what happened here. I wish every American would come through here. I wish every world leader would come through here, and understand what it is that took place here and more importantly how America came together and united to commit to never allowing this to happen again. And just to hear and from and see these good New Yorkers who are rebuilding not just this are but helping to rebuild America has been very, very inspiring and encouraging. These are the good Americans who are committed to peace and security and its been an absolute honor getting to meet these folks today.
CNN: On the topic of never letting this happen again, do you agree with the way the Bush administration has handled the war on terrorism, is there anything you would do differently?
A: I agree with the Bush administration that we take the fight to them. We never again let them come onto our soil and try to destroy not only our democracy, but communities like the community of New York. Never again. So yes, I do agree with taking the fight to the terrorists and stopping them over there.
POLITICO: Do you think our presence in Iraq and afghan and our continued presence there is inflaming islamic extremists?
A: I think our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan will lead to further security of our nation, again, because the mission is to take the fight over there. do not let them come over here and attempt again what they accomplished here, and that was some destruction. terrible destruction on that day. but since September 11, Americans uniting and rebuilding and committing to never letting that happen again.
POLITICO: Do you support the reelection bids of embattled Alaska Republicans, Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens?
A: Ted Stevens trial started a couple days ago. We’ll see where that goes.
POLITICO: Are you gong to vote for them?
[no answer.]
JERSEY JOURNAL: What do you think of bailout package before congress?
A: I don't support that until the provisions that Sen. McCain has offered are implemented in Paulson's proposals.

Worse Than Hudsucker Proxy? Me Thinks So.

The Ney household decided to venture out into the theater-going world and catch a movie yesterday.

And I'm proud to say our streak is alive!  The films we randomly pick almost invariably tend to be duds.

This season's selection was....Burn After Reading.

Making a satire about the idiotic randomness of random idiots carries a burden.  It has to be absolutely right.  You don't have to create a 'heart' or 'soul' for the characters/plot/aesthetic, just be meticulous in creating a motivation and be smart at every turn.

Idiots have motivation and to say otherwise is a bit sloppy and kind of morbid.

I can like morbid.  But 96 minutes of nothing but is tedious.

And without true motivation, it's no longer satire.  And without that, what do you really have?

The film begins to feel like the words on the page before filming started looked funny with potential. Something that would come down to execution/staging/timing/pace.  It missed mostly on all counts.  

What it becomes is a comedy based solely on facial expressions.  And not particularly funny ones with nothing to set it up.  The fault of that lies in the writing for sure as some level of protection should be built in, but some comes from the cast who, almost all without fail, try to do their own variations of 'over-the-top' in a way that belies their ability to do so.

In short, so much feels forced and so much falls flat.

It's become a bit trendy among some to say Hudsucker Proxy, upon reflection, had some qualities.  And I've tried.  Oh, I've tried.  It's still nearly unwatchable.  Tim Robbins' portrait of wild-eyed innocence coupled with Jennifer Jason Leigh marbling through screwball comedy dialogue made for a toxic stew.

Burn After Reading is probably worse because it feels so much more strained altogether.

For some perspective, we watched Leatherheads as well last night.  Not a good movie, really.

But there are times that you don't feel like it's a bunch of people so obviously 'making a movie'.  

Again I'd Like To Bring About the Idea of a Literacy Test For Voting

This has become one of my new hobbies.

Presidential election, the economy is on the verge of a massive meltdown, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan continues to rage...number one most clicked on story on Cnn.com?


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCain's New Strategy: WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!!

Update:  A deal has been struck.

Best Barney Frank quote:
The issue of government controls on compensation for executives of corporations that participate in the bailout had ignited a firestorm, with Americans complaining to their representatives in Congress that these corporate chiefs shouldn't be rewarded for failure.

"On the executive compensation thing, it went to the core of their (the Bush administration's) being," said Frank. "It was like asking the chief rabbi of Jerusalem to eat bacon on Yom Kippur. It was the most unthinkable thing they could think of."
What's McCain to do now?  And he can forget about postponing the VP debate as well.  You just knew they needed some more prep time on that one.

Suspend his campaign?

Delay the debate?

I cry Bull----Shit!

McCain Seeks to Delay First Debate Amid Financial Crisis
Senator John McCain said Wednesday that he planned to suspend campaigning on Thursday, and seek a delay in this week’s planned presidential debate, so that he could return to Washington to try to forge a consensus on a financial bailout package.

A short time later the Obama campaign issued a statement saying that the two presidential candidates had spoken on the telephone Wednesday morning about issuing a statement on the financial difficulties facing the nation, but it did not address canceling the debate.

In fact, aides to Mr. Obama said that he was inclined to go ahead with the debate, and was planning to explain his position during a late-afternoon news briefing in Florida. "There are serious global financial issues at stake and the American people deserve to hear how the next president will handle them," said one senior Obama adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Click to read the rest of the story...
Let's see.  What's more important?  Finding a way to be present in the Senate while preparing for a debate that determines one of the most important elections in the last 35 years or suspending his campaign ENTIRELY with a little over a month before said election?

Bullshit!  Bullshit!  Bullshit!  Who's next?

People might want to hear what the next president of the United States might think about such things.  You know, in some sort of debate-type format.  Anything like that on tap?

Just a thought.

And "Country first"?  What does he think we're doing on Election Day?  Voting for the winner of America's Got Talent?

Gee, Didn't See That Comin'

The 5 most predictable things in the world.
5. the Sun coming up
4. Rain on the day I have tickets to an outdoor event
3. The minute I step out for lunch is when the person I'm waiting to call me at work will call
2. There will be someone using the washer and dryer in my apt. building when I try to do my laundry
and .....
1. The White Sox will trip over their dicks and shit their pants the minute they step on the field at the Metro Dome.


The guy next to me at work listens to metal all day. I just heard Dokken. Yep..Dokken. I enjoyed them when I was 14. Now? Not so much.

Signs you're Getting Old #89-80

89. You actually wash your sheets more than once a year (that may be a sign you are no longer single actually)

88. Whether to get a dog or not is a year long debate

87. You look for ways to save gas

86. Haircuts are just a big pain in the ass

85. "Doing Shit" is considered a waste of a perfectly good Saturday

84. You somehow own a lot of black socks

83. actually going to the dentist

82. You say shit like "Is it reasonable?"

81. Storage space becomes increasingly valuable

80. You realize you haven't eaten Bologna in 7 years

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Signs You're Getting Old #100-90

Before we start I'd like to say that I realize I'm not "old". I just turned 35 like 3 weeks ago. But something happens to you in your early to mid 30s. You aren't that far removed from the salad days of your 20s when you drank like a Viking, stayed up until 3 am and large crowds actually energized you instead of making you scurry like a cat from a lake. Your body changes slowly and your mind goes with it. Suddenly things that were fun 5 short years ago or so are now colossal pains in the ass. It doesn't seem to be happening but it is. You are becoming the man you laughed at as a child.
Here's 100-90:
100. You use the word "snazzy"
99. Doing something/going somewhere/dealing with someone is just a "hassle".
98. More than 4 beers means yawn time
97. You say shit like "I'm paying good money for this and I expect..."
96. You know what escrow means
95. Noise of any kind is just annoying
94. I heard Pearl Jam on 97.1 yesterday. They are officially "classic rock".
93. You wanna do stuff like try your recipe for chili
92. You look forward to going to bed
91. You spend more than 2 hours in the book store
90. You realize Suzy Qs suck.

Monday, September 22, 2008

All Rise For The TTO Hero!

His name is Jack Cust.

He is my hero and he should be yours.


Because he is the single-season TTO Champ (he can't lose it with a week left)!

For the uninitiated, Three True Outcomes relates to the DIPS statistic that says pitchers have little control over a ball put in play.

So a walk, strikeout and home run are the three true outcomes exclusive of balls hit to fielders.

Jack, you sly dog.  You're currently sitting at (min 400 abs) 57%!!!!!

And with your 185th strikeout on Saturday, you took the AL record.

I love you and want to have your babies.

Thanks for the memories, Jack.  A truly historic season.

Take the train to happy town.  HOOO-HOOO!

Monday's Emmy Roundup

Just kidding.  Though I wish I would have seen it.  Seems like it was quite the abortion.

I Question It

Despite the fact that Jake Christensen continued to do his best imitation of Frank Burns throwing a baseball on Saturday, Ferentz stuck with him.  Again.

Ferentz was a bit terse in the postgame regarding the issue, saying 'I thought he gave us the best chance to win the game' and Stanzi's little dustup with Ken O'Keefe at the end of the first half probably played a role.  But playing JC and coupling it with play calling chockablock with ineffective weakside dumps made for a putrid stew of ineffective football Saturday.

I'm beginning to turn a corner...and it's a bad corner to turn.  Ferentz's system, without absolutely perfect athletes to run it, makes for a mediocre college football team.  Every year.

The amount of my real football knowledge could fit into a thimble (maybe that's a lot.  Does knowledge have physical properties?), but waiting around for young players to get enough experience to run the system effectively makes for 3-4 years of bad football in exchange for a one year run at goodness.  

That makes you Purdue.  And that's not a good thing.  

This Ought To Be Good

Next Monday, the Chicago Tribune rolls out its redesign.

And this is one of the prototypes that's most likely to be the final design.  Ugh.

Newspapers face a daunting future.  Everybody understands that.  It's a grim time.  But the thing about good redesigns is their ability to conceal its blatant reactionary look.  

The Tribune hasn't exactly been a beacon of superlative journalism for years.  Sure, they've been a more reasoned source than the Sun-Times but that's like comparing something to a steaming pile of crap.  It's a sliding scale. 

This looks to be one more step towards giving up on what made them good.

And completely combining international news with national news?  Great.  I can read how someone saw Jesus in a stain on the wall of a Wal-Mart and how Zimbabwe signed a power-sharing agreement without turning the page.

They have no idea how their already-declining readership reads the paper, do they?

Apparently George Brett Craps His Pants On A Regular Basis


Five More Signs You're Getting Old

1.   Your idea of a perfect evening is doing absolutely nothing

2.   You start to understand why old people put a compass on their dash

3.  You start to have extraordinarily strong opinions about things you haven't even tried.

4.  You watch Access Hollywood and have no idea who anybody is.  Hayden Panettiere?

5.  You routinely say, "Maybe not.  It'll be too crowded."    

Friday, September 19, 2008

Christmas Has Come Early

I wondered this myself.

For Zell, more Tribune hell
A suit filed by his own employees re-opens the question of how the billionaire bought so much for so little
by Richard Siklos, editor at large
September 19, 2008: 11:48 AM EDT

FORTUNE (Los Angeles) -- Real estate tycoon Sam Zell is renowned for putting together deals with head-scratching financial structures that result in him getting his way, getting his pay and giving as little as possible to the government.
But as if the newspaper industry's plummeting fortunes weren't enough to sour his 2007 buyout of the Tribune Co., Zell this week got hit with a lawsuit from his own employees that holds out the promise of an inside look at one of his more Byzantine acts of commerce: the transaction that took one of the country's biggest media groups private in December 2007 for close to $13 billion.
One of the questions the suit aims to explore is the propriety and legality of how Zell, through use of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, gained control of assets that include the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, 23 TV stations and the Chicago Cubs for a personal outlay of a mere $315 million.
The suit, filed this week in the form of a class action by a half dozen current and recent Los Angeles Times writers against Zell and the Tribune Co., alleges dissipation of the value of the plaintiffs' company stock and pension plan rights by means of a wide range of mismanagement.
The suit may well prove to be, as Zell responded in a memo, "a distraction that's unnecessary." And some of the allegations are not exactly news: layoffs of experienced talent; the manning of key operational posts by people with little or no experience in print media; demoralizing, integrity-sapping incursions of the metaphorical wall between church and state (most notably, the transference of editorial control of the L.A. Times magazine to its business staff).
But the notion that these might constitute actionable wrongs is fresh, as is the idea that Zell is a villain for wildly overpaying for the company and saddling it with an additional $8.3 billion in debt.
In a more interesting vein, the suit also alleges that the Tribune's board was seduced into approving the deal in April 2007 by the allure of $25 million in incentive payments to top management and that it therefore overlooked more attractive alternatives and the fact that Zell's plan would foreseeably gut employees'pension benefits.
Zell's personal investment was just $315 million?it's actually in a form of debt, not equity-yet he received warrants that will allow him to buy 40% the company for $500 million to $590 million within the next 15 years. In classic Zell fashion, he put together the deal in a way that exempted the company from paying corporate income tax. He also received a series of blocking rights that put him in effective control of the company, where he was soon named CEO.
As the newspaper advertising market has deteriorated more quickly than Zell has said he expected, the company has divested businesses including Newsday and put other assets, including newspaper headquarters and the Chicago Cubs, up for sale.
One of the more colorful accusations in the 64-page complaint is that Zell had a conflict of interest when he leased out the 23rd floor of the Tribune Tower in Chicago-its former executive suite-to an investment firm run by his sister, Leah Zell Wagner. The suit also alleges that buyout packages for laid off workers have been improperly funded from employee pension plans.
Representing the writers are big-time class-action lawyers Joseph Cotchett and Philip Gregory, of Burlingame, Cal. Back in the 1990s, Cotchett won a $3.5 billion jury verdict for shareholders and bondholders suing Charles Keating Jr. and the parent company of his failed thrift, Lincoln Savings & Loan.
When pigs fly
The plaintiffs are Dan Neil, a Pulitzer-prize winning auto critic who is still employed at the Times, while former writers Corie Brown (a food-and-wine critic), Henry Weinstein (legal affairs), Walter Roche, Jr. (a Baltimore Sun as well as L.A. Times veteran), Myron Levin (consumer affairs), and Jack Nelson (once a Pulitzer-prize winning D.C. bureau chief) are the other proposed class representatives.
They've sued in federal court in Los Angeles under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Among other things, they are asking the court to kick Zell and his appointees out of Tribune and oversight of the ESOP and give the plan -- which owns 100% of the company's equity?some say over its future.
On Wednesday, Zell issued a statement calling the suit "frivolous and unfounded", and added that he hoped "every partner in this company is as outraged as I am at having to spend time and money required to defend ourselves against it."
As you'd expect from a lawsuit brought by a group of fired-up scribes, the suit has some literary touches, first quoting Thomas Jefferson in 1823 -- "the only security of all is in a free press"?and then Zell himself, from 1976: "Grave dancing is an art that has many potential benefits. But one must be careful while prancing around not to fall into the open pit and join the cadaver."
One of the suit's exhibits is a Tribune employee newsletter distributed after the deal closed that highlights Zell's informal and iconoclastic style: on its cover is an image of a sculpture of a pig with wings, and the following caption: "Real pigs are seldom seen aloft. But the porcelain porker shown here, symbolic of the Tribune ESOP, has good flight potential if the company steps up performance."
If nothing else, the lawsuit reveals how deep in the muck the pig is now.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Friday Isn't For Thinking

I don't see how loaning trillions of dollars to people who couldn't afford to pay it back could possibly backfire!
Seriously, when an economic boob like me can see in 2005 that this shit was gonna happen how in the hell couldn't the "geniuses" in Wall Street? Answer: they did. It's called 'burying your head in the sand'.
Or maybe a better term is 'drowning in your own garbage' or 'hoisted by your own petard.'

Eat it, fuckos. Now I own you and when I go into the bank for a mortgage loan I'll basically be getting money from myself.
Another zombie like performance during a pennant chase by the Sox last night. I'm telling you the Twins are gonna win this thing.

And since we're talking Chicago baseball, I no longer want to hear the following terms/phrases used to describe the Cubs (or Sox for that matter): Plucky, scrappy, grinder, Team of Destiny, never give up, resilient, tough, small ball or "This is the year!"
I get to spend a good chunk of Saturday and a good chunk of Sunday painting in what will soon become our new "home". We're still renting but it's bigger and we can essentially do what we want to it.
Anyway, painting is the most vile, wretched, awful, Lucifer's ball sack job on the planet. I fucking hate it with the passion of a thousand suns. But it's one weekend. I'll live. Maybe.
Coming Monday Christo and I will start the "100 Signs You Are Getting Old"...

Here's a preview:

100. Using the word "Snazzy".

Should be wild.

This Is An Answer?

Question comes at 3:22 mark. And her answer sounds like I did when a teacher would corner me and I OBVIOUSLY hadn't read the book.
Folks, John McCain is 72 and has had cancer 4 times. This is who they picked to take over if something happened to him. BRA-VO!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rhymes With Bunt

These fucking hard line Hillary supporters are beginning to really piss me off. Guess who I'm blaming for the continued death toll in Iraq after McCain gets elected and continues the war in the same Bush Fashion? YOU! Not Republicans. Not the Religous Right. I'll be pointing the finger directly at YOU!! You fucking harpies.

Prominent Clinton backer and DNC member to endorse McCain
Posted: 09:00 AM ET
From CNN Political Editor Mark Preston

Lynn Forester de Rothschild was a strong supporter of Clinton's White House bid.
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a prominent Hillary Clinton supporter and member of the Democratic National Committee’s Platform Committee, will endorse John McCain for president on Wednesday, her spokesman tells CNN.
The announcement will take place at a news conference on Capitol Hill, just blocks away from the DNC headquarters. Forester will “campaign and help him through the election,” the spokesman said of her plans to help the Republican presidential nominee.
Forester was a major donor for Clinton earning her the title as a Hillraiser for helping to raise at least $100,000 for the New York Democratic senator’s failed presidential bid.
In an interview with CNN this summer, Forester did not hide her distaste for eventual Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
“This is a hard decision for me personally because frankly I don't like him,” she said of Obama in an interview with CNN’s Joe Johns. “I feel like he is an elitist. I feel like he has not given me reason to trust him.”
Forester is the CEO of EL Rothschild, a holding company with businesses around the world. She is married to international banker Sir Evelyn de Rothschild. Forester is a member of the DNC’s Democrats Abroad chapter and splits her time living in London and New York.

An elitist?! Says the CEO of a holding company who splits time between living in Manhattan and London and is married to a guy named SIR EVELYN!!

Fucking idiot.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Clue #1

The Dow lost over 500 points yesterday. The economy is in the shitter and it's getting worse. A presidential election is 7 weeks away. A hurricane just devastated the gulf coast of the 3rd largest state.
Number one most clicked on story at CNN?


Monday, September 15, 2008

500th Post!

After attempting to do a retrospective on the first 499 posts here at Big Red Egg, the amount of work became too much.

Maybe for the 1000th post.

So let's go with a pic.

Coming soon to the BRE:

* A Spring Tournament of Awful

* 100 Signs You're Getting Old

* Character Profile of  a Meatball Chicago Sports Fan

* Election Night Trip To The Psych Ward And It's Resulting Aftermath

And so much more.

Stay Tuned.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

RIP: David Foster Wallace

He was my favorite living writer...until yesterday.  Hung himself in his home in L.A.

The end of the interview might tell you why.  

Thank You, Mr. Wallace.  You made periods of unbearably ugly darkness seem tolerable.  

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Fatuousness

I, too, apologize for the lack of posts this week.  Though, I am not busy.  I've been on vacation for two weeks and the couch and I have become a little too familiar with each other.  It's been great.

And with the presidential race, a certain level of restraint was prudent at this juncture.  It's brought about a level of anger in me not seen since The Great Brad Banks Fumblitis Incident against Iowa State in 2002.

On Iowa-Iowa State 

It's become a root canal for Iowa fans.  Ferentz's 3-6 record against the Cyclones aside, it comes down to an old platitude - Beat Teams You Should Beat.  Iowa State is only slightly different in my world.  Losing to a team like Western Michigan accomplishes the same poop-like stain in my Saturday pants as a loss to Iowa State.

And if the Browns defensive line continues to play like they did last Sunday (money well spent, guys), the Hawks will be all I have for the rest of the year in terms of potential football goodness.  So let's do this.  It's about me.  Pittsburgh looks like they suck so 4-0 seems doable going into the Big Ten season.

And a side note on the Big Ten.  Don't care if the rest of the teams suck.  Don't root for Michigan or Ohio State to win to make the conference look good.  With how bowls pick teams these days, it doesn't matter.  It's something akin to having state pride, like rooting for Zach Johnson to win the Masters because he was born in Iowa City.

If the Hawks were shooting for a national championship, it might slightly matter.  But this team isn't.  In no world - real or theoretical - will this team sniff a national championship game.  Not yet.  I'll reserve such weirdness for when it's relevant.  

On Palin's Interview

When a person constantly says your name when answering a question, it's a device, something to substitute for a flurry of 'ehs', 'urs', 'ums'.  That interview was embarrassing.  Quayle looks positively statesmanlike in comparison.  

But something seems to be happening in politics in the last few years.  We've migrated from 'Does the candidate understands what it's like to be me?' to 'Is the candidate just like me?' for many voters.  That's scary.  

With Palin's nomination and the resulting excitement over her, an interesting shift seems to have happened and it's something that may say where many are with respect to some pie-in-the-sky notion of the American Dream.  It's akin to thinking 'If I can't attain the American Dream, I'll bring the dream to me.'  

Her meteoric rise to many seems attainable with a few different choices in their lives.     

In other words, Palin represents literally who many are, a strange collection of meandering choices in life that add up to little more than just that...with a little something extra.

It's the new empowerment, a new identification in a fractured, peculiar America.

Keen judgment now means exclusion and calling crap crap means derision and elitism.  Everything's Wonderful!  For further evidence, just watch America's Got Talent.  Everyone's the bestest of the bestest!

And apparently going to an Ivy League school is a bad thing now.  When the Ney household eventually pop out a kid or two, I'll give my right leg for my child to go to an Ivy League school.  Even Brown.   

I'm confident Obama will win.

But I wish people would ask themselves, "Would you vote for you?"

While I'm completely happy with my choices and life, I wouldn't vote for me.

Book Corner

If you were a fan of The Wire, check out Lush Life by Richard Price.  I'm about halfway through and I'm shocked how good Price is in writing the way people talk in this one.  It's a book that the reader shouldn't worry about understanding the hundreds of characters and their motivation.  Just sit back and relish the flow and dialogue.  

As per usual with Price, he's not interested in some pat moral compass for the characters or some definitive story arc.  It's about the unfolding and the small connections in creating a small picture of a small corner of the world.  No good and evil crap here.  Just snapshots of life without some grand creation of 'A Snapshot Of Life'.

So give it a shot. 

On Jay Mariotti

Every indication says that on Monday the Chicago Tribune will announce that they have signed Jay Mariotti to write internet columns for the paper.  

Some reports say that his no-compete option isn't as iron-clad as previously thought and Mariotti's columns could be donning the pages of the print edition very soon.

Bernstein reported Thursday that his sources told him that it was Zell spurring this on and the day-to-day people are furious, threatening mass resignations among the sports staff.

Something entirely interesting here may be the direction that Zell seems to be taking the paper.  The Chicago Tribune used to be the Chicago paper of record with an incredible foreign news section.  Those days are over and there is talk that Zell wants to take the paper in the broadsheet direction of the Sun-Times while the Sun-Times has shown indications that they want to go in the direction of the Chicago Tribune's current structure and look.

The next year for both papers could be fun to watch.

And what was that you said about newspapers being dead, Mariotti?

Friday Isn't For Thinking

First off I apologize that my posts haven't been as frequent this week. A little crazy here at the Salt Mines. Anyway...

I hate playing Iowa State. I just fucking hate it.
I don't really hate Iowa State. I actually kind of sort of root for them. But I hate them this week. Why? Because no matter how crappy they are in the weeks leading up to this game, they play like the '85 Bears when they see the Hawks come into the stadium.
Except last year. Yikes. If you have a tape of that game, burn it. It's not suitable for family viewing. Terrible game--by both teams.
So, let's just get it over with and move on.
Ok, Blue Jays: A) You're not this good and B) I'm getting to the point where I can't watch the Sox, at least for an entire game. They are just maddening. If another fucking relief pitcher leaves a 0-2 or 1-2 fastball over the plate one more goddamn time...And Octavio Dotel officially sucks. I have zero confidence in him.
This is what happens when you are a team that lives and dies by the home run. Good pitching beats you every....fucking...time. That's why even if the Sox do make the playoffs, they'll be done very quickly.
And I don't think they will. Twins will win AL Central. Injuries plus increasingly bad bullpen (nice 9th Wednesday night, Jenks. Jesus!) and a one dimensional offense. Buh-bye.
That said, I hope I'm wrong.
I just remembered that Craig Kilborn used to host 'the Daily Show'...God, talk about the recesses of your brain.
BTW, what happened to him?

Iowa 27 ISU 14
Chiefs 20 Oakland 17
USC 28 Ohio State 16
Steelers 23 Browns 20
Michigan 17 Notre Dame 10

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Slap the Following People

This is going to be something I do every Wednesday.

1. The next guy that calls me "Bro" or "Chief"
2. Any Republican asshole that bemoans the coverage of Sarah Palin's bull shit hypocrisy as "sexist". This is coming from the same douchebags that made Hillary Clinton the Hitler of the '90s. Fuck off.
3. Anyone who's buying that shit.
4. The waitress that puts a big smiley face at the bottom of the check.
5. Asshole Bear fans that have spent the last 3 days smoking Kyle Orton's dick. It's one game against an injury depleted, aging team.
6. The person that designed the parking lots/directions to parking at Ravinia. Cluster...fuck.
7. Randy Moss.
8. Anybody who doesn't like pizza. I've met two of these assholes this week. Who the fuck doesn't like pizza?!
9. Towns (or the people that run them) that ban smoking OUTSIDE. Sig Heil!
10. Brett Favre. Still an assbag.


I don't normally read Savage Love (Weirdos and their sexual kinks don't really interest me)via the Onion AV Club but for some reason I did today. I'm glad I did.

By Dan Savage
The 17-year-old daughter of Sarah Palin, the GOP's vice-presidential nominee, is pregnant. The news was released by the McCain campaign during a busy news week—a major hurricane, the Republican National Convention, Dick Cheney getting us into a war with Russia—so it may not have received the coverage it deserved. So allow me to bring you up to date, gentle readers…
Seventeen-year-old Bristol Palin got her ass knocked up five or so months ago by 18-year-old Levi Johnston. Among the hobbies listed on Levi's since-yanked MySpace page—"fishing, shoot some shit, and just fuckin' chillin'"—was this revealing tidbit: "I don't want kids." But Bristol, says her mom, "made the decision on her own to keep the baby," and is now engaged to Levi "Shootin' Shit" Johnston.
As the adoptive parent of a child born to a pair of unwed teenagers, I'm certainly not in favor of abortion in all circumstances. But I believe that it's a choice teenagers should be able to make for themselves—with input from their families whenever possible—and, so it seems, does the GOP's VP nominee. Sarah Palin is pleased that her daughter made the decision—on her own—to keep the baby.
But Sarah Palin doesn't believe that other girls should be able to make their own decisions. Sarah Palin believes abortion should be illegal in almost every instance—including rape and incest. So Bristol Palin is being celebrated for making a choice that Sarah Palin would like to take away from all other American women. Apparently, today's GOP believes that choice is a special right reserved for the wayward daughters of Republican elected officials.
Oh, and Sarah Palin also believes that birth control shouldn't be made available to teenagers, she opposes medically accurate sex education, and she backs abstinence-until-marriage sex "education."
The GOP has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into abstinence "education" programs during the Bush years. I believe this enormous investment of public funds raises the obvious question: Is our children abstaining? Sarah Palin's aren't. Despite this massive outlay on the part of the American taxpayer and the example set by her Christian parents, Bristol Palin became sexually active while still in high school. Excuse me, but if abstinence education can't keep the daughter of the evangelical governor of Alaska off the cock, what hope is there for the daughters—and some of the sons—of average Americans?
I'm a cad for even writing this, of course, because shortly before Bristol and Levi were paraded before cheering throngs at the Republican National Convention, the Palins asked the media to respect their daughter's privacy.
Another special right: When it comes to respecting your family's privacy, Palin and the GOP see no need. They want to micromanage the most intimate aspects of your private life. And if their own kids fail to live up to the standards that Palin and the GOP seek to impose on your family, well, that's a private matter between the Palins, their daughter, their God, and the thousands of screaming imbeciles in elephant hats waving McCain/Palin signs on the floor of the Republican National Convention

Yeah, what he said.

I've Never Seen It

But I'm sure glad I have now. Make it all the way to the end.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Gettin' Better

"Pray The Gay Away"

From the AP:
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Gov. Sarah Palin’s church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer.

‘‘You’ll be encouraged by the power of God’s love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality,’’ according to the insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has prayed for about six years.

Palin’s conservative Christian views have energized that part of the GOP electorate, which was lukewarm to John McCain’s candidacy before he named her as his vice presidential choice. She is staunchly anti-abortion, opposing exceptions for rape and incest, and opposes gay marriage and spousal rights for gay couples.

Focus on the Family, a national Christian fundamentalist organization, is conducting the ‘‘Love Won Out’’ Conference in Anchorage, about 30 miles from Wasilla.

Palin, campaigning with McCain in the Midwest on Friday, has not publicly expressed a view on the so-called ‘‘pray away the gay’’ movement. Larry Kroon, senior pastor at Palin’s church, was not available to discuss the matter Friday, said a church worker who declined to give her name.
Click to read the rest of the story...

"Alaska will be a refuge at the End of Days"

It's Camanche With A Strip Mall

I don't get it. Dead even in the polls. I just don't get it.

Yay, Socialism!!

I guess Wall Street doesn't mind government meddling when it helps their bottom line.
Barry Goldwater's rolling in his grave.

Stocks surge on housing bailout
Wall Street hails government takeover of troubled mortgage giants. Dow rises more than 200 points, but Fannie and Freddie shares plummet.
By Alexandra Twin, CNNMoney.com senior writer
September 8, 2008: 10:09 AM EDT

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Stocks surged Monday morning, with the Dow up more than 200 points, as investors cheered the government's announced takeover of troubled mortgage firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 225 points, or 2% in the early going, after having surged more than 300 points at the open. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Nasdaq composite also rallied.
Stocks ended mixed Friday after a tough session and week, as rallying financial shares vied with a weak labor market report that amplified recession fears.
But the tone was ebullient Monday morning, as investors breathed a sigh of relief about the government rescue plan of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Fannie and Freddie. The Bush administration said Sunday that it was taking control of the mortgage backers in an attempt to help stabilize the battered housing market and bring down mortgage rates.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the companies were being put under a government conservatorship. He also said their CEOs were being replaced and that the Treasury Department would put up to $100 billion in each company over time so as to keep them afloat, in exchange for senior preferred stock.
The two government-sponsored firms own or back about half the mortgage debt in the country and have lost billions in the housing market collapse. The plan should lower mortgage rates by lowering Fannie and Freddie's borrowing costs. But analysts are split as to how much the plan will be able to help the battered housing market and sluggish economy. Freddie Mac shares plunged 73%, while Fannie Mae lost 81%. But most financial stocks rallied, including Dow components AIG American Express Bank of America Citigroupand JP Morgan Chase
Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley both jumped more than 5%.
Washington Mutual surged 9% after announcing that its CEO has been ousted.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Live Blog: Iowa vs. Florida International

Political Quiz

Population of Wasilla, Alaska
a) 500,456
b) 23,789
c) 12,908
d) 5,469


Roughly the size of Camanche, Christo and Mate's hometown. We had a Casey's and a Tastee Freeze!

Good enough for Karl Rove:

We're Fucked...

Punching a locker? That's so fucking Sox...
In better news the Sox at least don't have to face Cy Young, er, Jared Weaver tonight because of a truly pussyish injury.
Quentin needs surgery on wrist, likely done for '08
September 5, 2008

BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter
Carlos Quentin's season appears to be over as the White Sox left fielder and MVP candidate suffered a fractured right wrist that will require surgery Monday, according to sources.
It's not certain how Quentin suffered the injury, but speculation is he punched a locker in Boston. He was a late scratch before Monday's game in Cleveland and hasn't played since.

Quentin has 36 home runs.
The Sox have options to replace Quentin, including moving Ken Griffey Jr. from center to left field. And Nick Swisher would move to center.

A Hermaphrodite Joke?

Programming Alert:  Big Red Egg is coming up on its 500th post.  Preparations for a celebration are in the works.

Just returned from a brief, two-day sojourn in Cleveland.

And the Ney household is terribly confused as to why everyone is fleeing The Cleve.

After getting a peek at Michael Symon's menus at his two restaurants in the city, Lola and Lolita, we figured a quick getaway was in order.

A reservation was made at Lolita and tickets to the White Sox-Indians were purchased.  We figured the whole trip would constitute a nice meal and a ballgame.  That's it.  And then we'd come home.

What ensued was an up-close-and-personal look at the dynamics of a small market city doing everything possible to keep itself relevant. 

We stayed downtown at The Arcade, four blocks from Jacob's Field, two blocks from Terminal Tower.  And we didn't leave that four block radius (except for a taxi to Lolita).

What was quite stunning about downtown Cleveland was the architecture.  It's a great example of updating buildings while completely maintaining their 20s character. 

What was most stunning, though, was the fact that there was NOBODY THERE!

Really.  It was like 80% of the world was killed last week and those still living were left to roam a once-busy city.  It was eerie.  Whole streets desolate.  Main streets had one or two cars on it...at 5pm.

And the quick walk to the game had less people than the walk-up for a Lumberkings game.

Speaking of Jacob's Field, it wouldn't say it's a must-see, but it certainly is worth the trip if you have the chance.  Truly intimate and, like the rest of downtown, unbelievably clean.

And speaking of eerie, I've never met more friendly and accommodating people in my life.  To the point of making me almost uncomfortable.  I didn't really know how to react.

After finding out the Lola was a half-block away from our hotel, we had lunch there and went to Lolita four hours later.  At both places, there was a level of openness that made it feel like we were talking to representatives of the Cleveland Tourism Board.

Both Lola and Lolita were great meals on par with Avec and Blackbird in Chicago.  Again.  If you find yourself there, go.  And go often.  He's doing some great things that should be tasted.

After finishing up at Lolita and calling a cab, we sat out outside and waited.  A homeless guy came up and regaled us with stories of traveling with Barnum and Bailey's, our waitress told us a story about her planning to put in a 30-foot pool and the cabbie told us a hermaphrodite joke...all in about 10 minutes.  

Our only response was, "This is SO Cleveland."  And we didn't mind that.

Oh, and luxury condos twice as big as most Chicago downtown places were going for $160,000.

For a bit, there was a discussion.