I'm a WARTIME blogger.

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Baghdad Burning

Found a truly remarkable blog that will let you in on what its like to be in Baghdad these days. It's a nice to see what ordinary people are like in a different culture. I learned a lot about the Ramadan fast in the latest post.

Apparently , (the Baghdad Burning blog mentioned above) annoyed some right winger so much that he created three fakes of the blog -,, and to deceive the public. Another blogger has been tracking the deception.

Typical sleaze from that side of the fence. And it is definitely from that side of the fence. Another blogger finds that the imposter is a retired ex-military GOP Team Leader.

Another good Iraq blog - ...turning tables..., is by a soldier who was in Afghanistan and is now in Iraq. He's about to get out, but his blog is a good read historically.

posted by geek | 10/31/2003 02:08:00 PM

No blogging today

I'm not feeling so creative or fearful right now. I am feeling a little nauseous from the flu shot I just got. My injector was named Olga. It's the sort of name you'd expect for Igor's wife in Frankenstein. I've never met an Olga until today. Of course I'm sure she never met anyone with my name either.

posted by geek | 10/31/2003 01:44:00 PM


Time out for a Daisy Break

One of my favorites. Hey, it does address an old fear. Girls, ick.

posted by geek | 10/29/2003 02:58:00 PM


I was just out of high school when GRID (Gay-related immunodeficiency) became AIDS. Until that point, the media had warned about a new disease going around in gay men, Hatians and IV drug users. In the middle of the Fundamentalist Christian revival, assisted by the rise of Reagan, AIDS was a cudgel to beat abstinence into the youth of America. "If you have sex, you'll die." What better threat? For a while, there wasn't even a test to identify people or blood with AIDS. You had to take it as a matter of faith that you were clean.

I hadn't used condoms with my high school girlfriend (yes we were young and dumb), and continued not to when I started a long term relationship with a college girl that lasted seven years. I was spared the fears of friends of mine who had more partners for shorter periods of time. I still got tested just to be sure and held my breath when I called in for the results (which were negative, which is a positive thing).

A plague did eventually catch me - the plague of abundance. I developed asthma, high blood pressure, and diabetes because of my low level of activity and high level of consumption of food and drink. Ron Santo, a childhood hero who played for the Cubs, has lost both legs below the knees to diabetes. All these conditions cause higher risks of heart disease. Two of them can lead to premature blindness.

When I was on my own, these risks seemed abstract and immaterial. Now that I've gotten married, they seem too real. There's nothing like someone else depending on you and loving you to make you take care of yourself. I'd like to live to see my children be born grow up and get married. That's why I'm having a salad with light dressing for lunch and hitting the gym after work today.

Some fears can be conquered.

posted by geek | 10/29/2003 11:02:00 AM



When I was a child, I was told we were in imminent threat of annihilating nuclear fire by a group of people a world away. The intent of some who told us this was to awaken a love of our country and a fear of the other. The intent of others was to show us how mad the world was and to teach us to oppose the men who would destroy everything in a nuclear conflagration.

The effect, however, was to plant nightmares in our heads. I remember dreaming of flames engulfing the lawns and trees and houses of the near-Western suburb of Chicago I grew up in. A book told us that thirty miles out from a missile hit on the city, the trees would burst into flame, the roofs flash, cars explode as the gas in their tanks caught and any people would of course be cooked either by the flame or microwave-like by the intense radiation that followed.

Although I knew the buldings downtown would be vaporized, I pictured them in flames. How could you imagine vaporization? But fire was something to wrap a nightmare around. I'd seen many times in class and on TV the film from Hiroshima and the pictures of buildings in London and Dresden and Tokyo set afire by bombs and rockets. In my mind's eye, the corncob of the Marina City was black with smoke punctuated by licks of flame. The Sears Tower, its windows smashed, burned like brush on the prairie.

I thought of these nightmares when we returned to Chicago and learned of both the fire in the County Building and the massive fires in San Diego. The pictures reminded me of my dreams. I don't know that I have any fear worse than fire, and I hope that the victims of both these tragedies died swiftly without pain.

Getty Images


This week, in honor of Halloween, I'm going to write pieces on personal fears. It's healthy to reflect on horror as long as you aren't consumed or obsessed with it.

posted by geek | 10/28/2003 11:45:00 AM


Dude, I'm Married

Yes, it's true. I got hitched. More later. Massive thanks to all who shared the day with us.

Two key phrases from the honeymoon (no, not that part): "When the nav system says, 'Make a U-Turn,' make a U-turn." and "Simmons Beautyrest". I've never slept on a better mattress.

posted by geek | 10/26/2003 09:11:00 PM


Sun-Times Screws Up

Big-time. OK, sure, the Smoking Gun has it as well now, but the Chicago Sun-Times published the name of the fan who stopped Alou from making a play on a foul ball last night. I'm not going to publish it here or link to the sites. You can do that yourself.

On top of it, they made it easy to find the poor guy, who sounds liek a true-blue lifelong fair and foul weather fan. On top of it all they published the name of his employer and the name of the Little League team he coaches. The HR department of his employer even decided with him that he shoudl stay home today.

Just when you think the Sun-Times is in danger of turning into a decent paper, they pull a stunt like this. Are they still associated with Murdoch or is this residual taint?

This is serious stuff, this guy's life is in danger. If a half-drunk Sox fan will have a go at a first-base coach just for the fun of it, think what could happen to a guy despised by a city of crazed Cub fans, starved for victory. The police are taking it seriously enough to station a squad outside his home.

I'm thinking this guy better look into baseball in Toronto next year. Let's hope for his sake, that Kerry Wood will be able to pull the win out tonight and this all becomes a footnote to the . If not, this poor schmuck better think of relocating, pronto. It's going to be a very long winter.

posted by geek | 10/15/2003 01:17:00 PM

Oh. My. God.

Leon Durham, your table's ready.

I'm so stunned I can't even speak now. Saint Kerry of the Wood, please deliver us from the everlasting pit of failure.

posted by geek | 10/15/2003 06:11:00 AM


Holy Allegory, Batman!

posted by geek | 10/13/2003 12:11:00 PM

The End is Extremely F'ing Nigh!

The Cubs could have closed it out last night, but they got smoked by the Marlins' Josh Beckett. Beckett pitched a hell of a game and the Marlins deserved the victory.

Tuesday, they shift back to Chicago and Mark Prior. The weather is supposed to get very chilly with gametime drizzle and fog. I don't know if we'll get the game in, but when we do, Prior should be able to shut down the Marlin machine.

Here's hoping.

posted by geek | 10/13/2003 10:10:00 AM


Rush Limbaugh is a Skiny Pill-Popping Idiot

Yep, Rush admitted an addiction to pain-killers today, and said he's going into rehab.

Now normally I wouldn't be so happy about this, but I do like seeing a hypocrite get roasted. In 1995, Limbaugh said, "if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up".

"If(Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders) wants to legalize drugs, send the people who want to do drugs to London and Zurich, and let's be rid of them.
-- Rush Limbaugh show, Dec 9, 1993

"By legalizing drugs, all you're going to do is define further deviancy downward. We have a duty to pass on values to our descendants, values that will maintain the standards of behavior and ensure the survivability of the American way of life. And drugs are no different. You end up destroying more than yourself."
-- Rush Limbaugh Playboy interview, December 1993

"What this says to me is that too many whites are getting away with drug use. Too many whites are getting away with drug sales. Too many whites are getting away with trafficking in this stuff. The answer to this disparity is not to start letting people out of jail because we're not putting others in jail who are breaking the law. The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river, too."
-- Rush Limbaugh show, Oct. 5, 1995

Some are reporting in 1998 he changed his stance, - "What is missing in the drug fight," he told a call-in listener, "is legalization," but read the next few lines. "If we want to go after drugs with the same fervor and intensity with which we go after cigarettes, let's legalize drugs. Legalize the manufacture of drugs. License the Cali cartel."

Do you think he really wanted to legalize the Cali cartel? Or does it sound like he was mocking those who think our drug policy is more destructive than drugs themselves?

Oxycontin is a powerful drug. A friend of mine who took Oxycontin after surgery on his shoulders told me recently, "I think everyone gets a little addicted to that stuff". There's no shame in the fact that Rush couldn't handle his drugs. That's kind of the point of drugs, really.

However, consider that Rush will do no time most likely, and will come out of his encounter with the legal system relatively unscathed while similar less well connected people who get caught for the same thing will go up the river.

This is the same treatment that Noelle Bush received when her father Jeb pushes draconian laws to punish users of the same drugs she was caught with. Some would say this is the treatment that our current president received when he was caught with cocaine in his "youth" (mid-30's).

It's the hypocrysy, stupid. You can't lock up the poor and let the rich run free for the same infractions. Rationalize our drug policy now. I don't really want to see Rush in jail (well, maybe, but not for drug use). I also don't want to see Joe Nobody in jail for the same addiction and weakness. Right now our system saves the well-known and punishes the unconnected.

The solution, which has been proposed for decades is expanded treatment, legalization of soft drugs, and education about the relative risks of drugs. Kids aren't dumb. When you tell them pot kills or funds terrorists, they understand you're the one who's been smoking something.

posted by geek | 10/10/2003 03:20:00 PM


Best Bush-ism in a While

From Slate:

"See, free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don't attack each other. Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction."—Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 3, 2003

I'll be sure to let the Japanese know.

posted by geek | 10/09/2003 01:29:00 PM

Big Softie

Maybe I'm just getting to be a big old softie the week before my wedding, but I'm actually touched by the dedication and love Siegfried Fischbacker is showing towards his longtime partner Roy Horn after Horn was injured by a tiger on stage.

Yes, they're flamboyant. Yes, they epitomize the Vegas of Liberace. Yes, they play with white tigers on stage, but really, read this and tell me it isn't touching.

posted by geek | 10/09/2003 11:17:00 AM

Cubs win, Red Sox win (ho hum)

Cubs thrashed the Marlins last night in homer-fest. Prior allowed two solo home runs, and won the game 12-3. While the Cubs were frying up some Marlin, the Red Sox went into the Bronx and beat the Yankees 5-2.

While the Cubs-Marlins series may someday be seen as the start of a long time rivalry between two evenly matched teams, the long deep hatred between the Red Sox and Yankees and their fans is legendary. I stumbled on this little tribute to how the Sox fans feel about the Yanks.

posted by geek | 10/09/2003 09:39:00 AM


Who Ya Gonna Wear?!

Adbusters! I can't hear you. This entry is the reason I blog anonymously.

I hold a position of responsibility in a firm that, well, pimps for corporations. At the same time, however, I have a deep-seated love of the "culture jammers", those people who deface billboards so change the message to something more honest or accurate, who create parodies of ads to point out the dangerous silliness of many ads; People who generally mess with the branding of everything in sight and the endless battering of your psyche with commercial messages.

Adbusters magazine, published by the Adbusters Media Foundation, has been the flagship journal of the culture-jamming world. They are now taking their fight to the enemy's territory. In January, Adbusters will start selling sneakers with a black spot on the side (where the Nike swoosh would normally go). The idea - make the swoosh passe and irrelevant.

The sales of the Black Spot will also allow the AMF to get ads on the air on media outlets that have refused to take their previous work. Some of these spots are great.

In my workaday world, fucking with a brand is the ultimate sin. I'm very happy to say I will be buying the Black Spot sneakers the second they come out in January. I'm somewhat ambivalent about the sweatshop charges levelled at Nike, which are what seems to get up the AMF's noses the most. Nike could certainly afford to pay its workers much better, but is no job better than a locally good paying job that pays low on the global scale? What annoys me about Nike is the fact they sell ugly ass sneakers at exorbitant prices to the people who can least afford them.

Adbusters also promotes the anti-consumptive idea of the annual Buy Nothing day, scheduled for the busiest shopping day of the year, right after Turkey Day. Try buying nothing for a day. It's tougher than you think. (OK, it's easy if you stay home. Go out, Poindexter!).

Just to complete my betrayal of the industry in which I work, here's a little something from Adbusters:

posted by geek | 10/08/2003 03:49:00 PM


Arnold is Governor

And the Cubs lost. All is wrong with the world.

ADDENDUM: Plus, the Chemistry Nobel prize went to two guys in Maryland and the East Coast. No U of Chicago connection.

Having a good discussion in the comments on one of locussolus's posts about Schwarzenegger's and Clinton's indescretions, political hypocrisy, and personal responsibility in a feminist context. No, really.

posted by geek | 10/07/2003 11:28:00 PM

The Ex-Cub Factor

Ron Berler discovered what has become known as the "ex-Cub factor". The Factor explains that a team that has more than three ex-Cubs on their roster cannot win in post-season, or if neither team has three or more, the one with the most ex-Cubs on its roster is doomed. The ex-Cub factor has been a reliable indicator of the playoffs since 1981.

But wait - the Braves lost to the Cubs this year. Does that mean the factor is no longer operative?

Not necessarily. As shown here, the Braves had four EX-Cubs (Will Cunnane, Matt Franco, Ray King, Greg Maddux), while the Cubs had plenty of current Cubs, but only two EX-Cubs (players that had once been Cubs but left and then came back (Doug Glanville, Mark Guthrie)). Cubs win.

If the factor is not dead, the Cubs are in trouble The Marlins have only one ex-Cub - Lenny Harris. Generally a team has to have three ex-Cub players to be in trouble, but if you add coaches, Gary Matthews and Gene Clines both played for the Cubs, but only Andre Dawson on the Marlins side spent a stint in Chicago North, leaving the total at two for the Fish and four for the Cubs.

Laugh, but the Giants had three ex-Cubs and they fell to the one ex-Cub Marlins. The Yanks should have fallen to the Twins based on the Factor (the Twins, alone among playoff teams, had NO ex-Cubs), but I think Steinbrenner bought them a second chance.

Our only hope is that the ex-Cub factor doesn't apply to the team that spawns them, like a spider or snake being immune to its own venom. Couldn't we put Glanville and Guthrie on the DL for a week?

Looking at the other league, the ex-Cub factor should dicatate the BoSox over the Yankees, but again, there's the Steinbrenner factor.

Cubs in Six. I'll walk under a ladder and let a black cat cross my path if they win.

ADDENDUM: Guthrie the ex-Cub serves up the Winning HR.

posted by geek | 10/07/2003 03:54:00 PM


All The Way!

I wa sin the middle of the mass of humanity at Clark and Addison shortly after the Cubs finished off the Braves to advance to the NLCS series, or as it might be known, the Pennant series. The crowd was positive and LOUD, chanting "Cub-bies! Cub-bies!", singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame", and most interestingly, chanting "All the way! All the Way!"

Chicago thinks this team can win the World Series, and why not? They knocked off the Yankees at Wrigley during the regular season, including one game matching Wood against Clemens. They beat the Marlins more often than not this year, and they have two of the best strikeout pitchers in baseball.

I expect Zambrano to win on Tuesday. The Marlins may eke one out in Miami, but the Cubs are on a mission. Dusty Baker is on the verge of becoming Phil Jackson or Mike Ditka.

One piece of old business - Mike Fick of the Braves should be heavily fined and suspended for the first part of next season for his attempt to injure Eric Karros on Saturday. It was a play worthy of the Green Bay Packers. Maybe Fick will have time to think about what he's done as he sits home and watches the Cubs take on the Marlins this week.

posted by geek | 10/06/2003 09:25:00 AM


You Know What Your Problem Is?

I'm hoping the Cubs problem on Wednesday was a lack of home cooking. They are all tied up with the Braves 1-1 after winning one and losing one in Hotlanta. Tonight the matchup is between two amazing pitchers, Greg Maddux an Mark Prior. Throw is a gray rainy day and I'm expecting a low scoring game tonight.

My prediction is the winner of this game win the series. If Maddux gets beaten, I expect Matt "What the hell is that on his chin?" Clement to win tomorrow. If Prior loses, I think the Cubs' spirit will be crushed and they'll lose either here on Saturday or back in Atlanta, even with Wood pitching again.

Maddux is one of the best pitchers ever, and he has experience with Wrigley and foul weather, but he's also 37 and has n ERA two points higher than Prior's. Prior is a machine but hasn't pitched a playoff game yet. Still, Prior was hotter than any other pitcher in the league near the end, and he's got nerves of steel.

Cubs win, 2-1. Let's hope, eh?

Tonight is also my bachelor party. The plan is to watch the game, then head to Second City. I have my suspicions that may not be the whole agenda. I'm packing my spare liver, just in case.

posted by geek | 10/03/2003 10:34:00 AM


Z Takes a Nap

Carlos Zambrano notched a loss as the Cubs fell to the Braves tonight. Even up, we head to Friday for Prior vs. Maddux.

Cubs in four. It's been my prediction all along.

posted by geek | 10/01/2003 10:17:00 PM

ESPN gets its Rush Controversey

There was little reason for ESPN to hire Rush Limbaugh save the desire to create controversey. Well, it's Week 4 and here's the first good controversey. During a pre-game show, Limbaugh, whose racist comments from the past were documented in an earlier blog entry of mine, said the following:

``I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well,'' Limbaugh said. ``There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team.''
I guess Limbaugh's never heard of Michael Vick, Steve McNair, or any of the seven black QB's starting last week.

I saw an interview on ESPN with McNabb today, and I have to say I just became an Eagles fan (with the Bears as bad as they are, I need someone to cheer for and not just hope they don't embarass themselves). McNabb came off as a real class act. He dimissed the comments like what they were - the attention-starved rantings of an idealogue out of his element. He was more amused than angry. Count me now as a McNabb fan.

CUBS WIN! Let's take Game 2 tonight!

posted by geek | 10/01/2003 01:14:00 PM
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