Posts filed under ‘Chicago’

Meltdown

Once again, the Chicago Cubs choked in the post season.  Am I disappointed?  Absolutely?  Am I surprised?  Not really.  I’m used to it.  Part of being a Cubs fan is accepting the curse.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the ways of the Cubs, let me explain the Curse.  First of all, the Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908.  The Cubs enjoyed success until 1945.  The Cubs were in the World series playing the Detroit Tigers.  The owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, a Greek Immigrant named Billy Sianis, bought two tickets.  One for himself, and one for his Billy Goat, Murphy.  Upon entering the park, people were complaining about the smell, and Mr. Sianis appealed to the owner of the Cubs, P.K. Wrigley, who ordered that the goat was not welcome.  At this point, Billy Sianis, RAISED HIS ARMS and pronounced this curse:  “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more. The Cubs will never win a World Series so long as the goat is not allowed in Wrigley Field.” The Cubs choked in that World Series and after they were swept at home the next year, at which point, Billy sent Mr. Wrigley a note that said, “Who stinks now?”

Cubs fans are used to this, but it’s starting to hurt to always say, “Next year will be our year.”  After witnessing this post season against the Dodgers, even the least superstitious among us can’t help but remember the curse.  Alas, being a Cubs fan means you don’t know success, and you are CONSTANTLY hoping for the future.  “Someday we’ll go all the way”

Which brings me to our musical selection to commemorate this event.  Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam, is a Cubs fan and once met Ernie Banks.  Mr. Banks didn’t know who Vedder was, but when he learned he was a musician, he asked him to write a song about the Cubs.  And as Eddie explained at the concert, “When Ernie banks tells you to write a song, YOU WRITE A SONG!”

October 6, 2008 at 11:45 am 5 comments

Movie Review: Dark Knight

IRF is always in the know.  Between showing you behind the scenes pictures of Oscar Parties and American Idol Backstage passes, we have also brought you pictures of important movies being filmed, such as National Treasure (at Mt Vernon) and last summer, we told you of Batman – Dark Knight being filmed outside my apartment in Chicago.

Last night, I joined in with the pack to see the film (which will have one of the most successful opening weekends of all time).  I purchased my tickets 12 hours ahead of time, and showed up an hour and a half early to get in line outside the theater.  Did I do it for my love of Christian Bale?  Was it an homage to the late Heath Ledger?  No, my urgency in seeing the film was that I knew it was chalk-full of Chicagoness and I’m painfully homesick.

The Chicago scenes did not disappoint.  I was pleased to see the scenes that included the inside pictures I shared with you last August.  It was great.  Christian Bale is delicious and when he’s dressed like batman, he talks like GOB from Arrested Development.  The whole time I was giggling about the scene when Will Arnett and Alec Baldwin were having a face off on 30 Rock and both talking in their Batman voices and Tina Fey comes up and says, “Maybe we can settle it with a talking like this contest.”

Voice and tastiness of Christian Bale aside, let me reiterate how much I adore Morgan Freeman.  He’s great, as he is in every movie.  There was a scene when a smug little lawyer was trying to blackmail Wayne Enterprises and Morgan Freeman’s smug little smile was priceless.

The acting, action, and Chicago scenes all had me happy… My only critique is that it should have ended 40 minutes earlier, in the hospital, as it would have set it up there perfectly for the next movie.  Alas, I had Swedish Fish to keep me happy, so no REAL complaints.  Go see it. If nothing else, it will remind you of the mob presence in Chicago politics as you evaluate other Chicago politicians…

July 19, 2008 at 12:44 pm 11 comments

Happy Opening Day!

I just was finishing my playlist named “My First Love” that has songs like “Go Cubs Go” and “A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request” and “When The Cubs go Marching In” and “The Night Chicago Died.”

I’ll be at the Cubs-Giants game in SF on June 30th.  Hey Chicago, what do you say, the Cubs are gonna win today!

Except, they didn’t… win today.

March 31, 2008 at 11:21 pm 6 comments

Illinoise!

Safely in San Francisco and happy about the beautiful November weather, I can’t help but miss Chicago (Stockholm Syndrome?)  Saturday night I sat home alone and heated up a frozen Gino’s East pizza, and read through my Chicago coffee table book.  And the trifecta?  Sufjan Stevens album, Illinoise

For those of you not familiar, Sufjan plans to make an album for every state of the union (I’m not sure about DC).  The first was Michigan, quickly followed by Illinoise, which has some great songs like “Chicago” and “Casimir Pulaski Day“, the latter of which is below.  

Casimir Pulaski Day Lyrics 

Goldenrod and the 4H stone
The things I brought you
When I found out you had cancer of the bone

Your father cried on the telephone
And he drove his car into the Navy yard
Just to prove that he was sorry

In the morning, through the window shade
When the light pressed up against your shoulder
bladeI could see what you were reading

All the glory that the Lord has made
And the complications you could do without
When I kissed you on the mouth

Tuesday night at the Bible study
We lift our hands and pray over your body
But nothing ever happens

I remember at Michael’s house
In the living room when you kissed my neck
And I almost touched your blouse

In the morning at the top of the stairs
When your father found out what we did that night
And you told me you were scared

All the glory when you ran outsideW
ith your shirt tucked in and your shoes untied
And you told me not to follow you

Sunday night when I cleaned the house
I found the card where you wrote it out
With the pictures of you mother

On the floor at the great divide
With my shirt tucked in and my shoes untied
I am crying in the bathroom

In the morning when you finally go
And the nurse runs in with her head hung low
And the cardinal hits the window

In the morning in the winter shade
On the first of March, on the holiday
I thought I saw you breathing

All the glory that the Lord has made
And the complications when I see His face
In the morning in the window

All the glory when He took our place
But He took my shoulders and He shook my face
And He takes and He takes and He takes 

There are some interesting thoughts and analysis on the song meaning if you are so inclined.  What do you think about the song? 

-Posted by LeMare  

November 15, 2007 at 2:24 am 7 comments

Miller Monday – Justice, a Huge Global Farce

This weekend all three teams I was silently cheering on were eliminated from the MLB playoffs.  Not only were they eliminated, they were all swept in three straight games.  The Cubs, who have not won the World Series in 99 friggin’ years, will have to wait one more to get another shot.  But do you know what?  Don’t hold your breath.  I learned something very important this weekend: There is no justice in this world.

I naively once believed in justice but I know chalk that up to sweet teenage innocence.  If you are still living in a Pre-1908 world, it is time to wake up!  We should have realized this a long time ago.  If there was justice in this world OJ, Phil Spector, and Michael Jackson would be making license plates in orange jumpsuits right now and Lou Pinella would be preparing to meet the Diamondbacks.   But there is no justice.  It is merely a myth.

How does this apply to a much larger picture?  I’m glad you asked.  Because there is no justice it’s time to get what you can while you can.  This principle extends to politics.  It’s time to vote for the candidate who promises the most free stuff and forget the consequences.  Free health care? Yep.  Free groceries? Sure.  Free cars and clothes? You bet.  Who cares what it does to everyone’s taxes?  Who cares if someone else is left with the bill?  If we had to pay for it that would be justice and there is no such thing.

This principle extends to academics.  Why in the world should you study for that upcoming exam?  What a waste of time.  Just cheat.  You can get a better score with less work.  Cheating is the best option because hard work and dedication to an art will get you no further than the Cubs in a world where there is no justice.

This principle extends to entertainment.  Go on, watch Rosie O’Donnell.  Who cares if she is a terrible human being?  Who cares if she is Satan-incarnate?  It’s not like there are any consequences for supporting a bad person, right?

This principle extends to marriage.  Just cheat on your spouse.  Do it.  Even if you get caught it won’t matter because nothing will happen to you.  The justice pendulum only swings one way.

Go on, join a terrorist training camp.  THERE IS NO JUSTICE!

You get my point.  The Cubs taught us all an important lesson this weekend.  I hope we all understand the implications of the playoffs this year and that all of you will be following my lead.  I will not be going to work today, and will instead be staying home to eat pudding and watch Law and Order reruns while I laugh my head off.

Regards,

 

Joe Miller

October 8, 2007 at 9:59 am 10 comments

Miller Monday – Hangover

Due to unforeseeable events, Miller Monday will be postponed.  Please check again in the next few days.  We at IRF apologize for this delay and inconvenience and advise you to please visit and the following website:

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=chc 

Sincerely, 

Joe Miller

October 1, 2007 at 1:11 pm 7 comments

Econ 101: The Candy Show

Every job has its perks.  Mine enables me to attend the annual All Candy Expo.  Chicago’s McCormick Place is taken over by wall-to-wall confections… and I get paid to walk the hallowed halls and sample the newest innovations.  Gum, Candy, Snacks… Last year the biggest trend was dark chocolate and printing the percentage of Cocoa on the package.  This year the flavor that EVERYONE is trying to get a piece of is Blueberry Pomegranate, which I find to be a lovely combination. 

As I walked down aisles 1 and 2, each little piece of Fudge, each sample of hard candy was an utter and complete delight.  I filled my bag like a overgrown, under-dressed Trick or Treater.  Aisles 3 and 4 came and I was still excited, but walking faster, taking fewer samples, and my excitement diminished with every aisle until I finally ended up skipping the last couple aisles.  My coworker one time referred to this phenomenon as the Law of Diminishing Returns.  I said, “More like the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility.”  Like the cool kid that I am.

So, by popular request, I am addressing the difference between these economic laws.  Since I am not a economics expert (other than knowing the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility when I see it), I went straight to IRF reader, Masters of Economics Candidate, Mikel, who quoted from his MIT Dictionary of Modern Economics:

Diminishing marginal utility is exactly like the candy example, usually though it has to do with purchasing something, but same idea. The more you have of something, the less valuable an additional unit is to you. The law of diminishing returns is more specific to production. So, if you have fixed capital and keep adding labor to it, your marginal and then average returns to labor will diminish after some point. You get less output out of an additional unit of labor, as you add more and more labor. Instead of too much candy, this would be like having too many workers and not enough computers. So, it is usually said “diminishing returns to labor” or “diminishing returns to labor with respect to capital”. They both describe curved functions, and the measure of the slope of a curved line. So, graphically they look similar, even though one is describing an individual’s utility function (convex), and the other is describing a production function (concave). They both measure the changing slope of a curved line. I think that pretty much explains it.

So there you have it.  Your first piece of candy is more highly valued than your 10,000th.  The law didn’t stop me, however, from topping off my bag with Almond Joys and Pomegranate Jelly Bellys (and Lemon Heads for Joey).  The Willy Wonka Soundtrack has that effect on me.

Thanks to Mikel for doing his part to educate our loyal readers on this important subject. And I’m here to answer any questions about gum and candy.

Posted by LeMare

September 26, 2007 at 1:09 am 15 comments

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