EppsNet Archive: Chicago

I’ve Never Even Been to Chicago

16 Mar 2016 /

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/273263-lightening-strikes-trump-tower-in-chicago-tuesday-night

This is not true, I’ve never even been to Chicago.

— Lightning paw

still-life-with-pug


Happy Birthday, Vincent van Gogh

30 Mar 2015 /
Self-Portrait, Spring 1887, Oil on pasteboard,...

Self-Portrait, Spring 1887, Oil on pasteboard, 42 × 33.7 cm., Art Institute of Chicago

Vincent van Gogh was born on this date in 1853. He was poor and virtually unknown throughout his life and after years of anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness, he died at the age of 37 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

According to his brother, his last words were “The sadness will last forever.” Although he would have said it in Dutch.

You can’t say enough great things about this guy. He’s one of the most renowned painters in the history of the world, one of the most recognizable painters, his work is in all the best art museums. If you want to own a van Gogh, get ready to pay $100 million. That’s for one painting.

His life at the time he was living it must have looked quite pointless to everyone including himself, nothing but suffering and failure. And yet, as it turns out, his life has meant a million times more to the world than anyone could have possibly imagined. So you never know.

The van Gogh self-portrait above is at the Art Institute of Chicago. As it happens, I’ve visited the Art Institute of Chicago . . . one of the things I remember about it is seeing a museum guide with a tour group and the painting they were standing in front of was this:

Gaylen Gerber, Untitled

Gaylen Gerber, Untitled, not dated, Oil on canvas, 96.5 x 96.5 cm (38 x 38 in.)

I couldn’t hear what the guide was saying but usually with works like this it’s some nonsense about challenging contemporary perceptions about art and the process of creation.

There’s some crazy stuff in art museums. Here’s another painting by the same person:

Gaylen Gerber, Untitled

Gaylen Gerber, Untitled, not dated, Oil on canvas, 96.5 x 96.5 cm (38 x 38 in.)

In case you’re thinking “Very funny, that’s the same picture,” it’s not. If you look at them very closely, you can see that they’re not the same. I don’t attribute that to any artistic merit or even intention on the part of the painter, just that if you take two canvases and paint them gray, they’re bound to be less than identical in some way.

The man who painted those gray squares will never go insane or cut off his own ear or shoot himself. Why? Because he couldn’t care less. He takes identical canvases and paints them gray. That’s what he does.

If van Gogh saw some of the stuff that’s hanging in art museums today, he wouldn’t be able to stop throwing up.

Happy Birthday, Vincent!


It Happened 100 Years Ago to Dostoevsky

5 Nov 2014 /

James Baldwin

You read something which you thought only happened to you, and you discovered it happened 100 years ago to Dostoevsky. This is a very great liberation for the suffering, struggling person, who always thinks that he is alone. This is why art is important. Art would not be important if life were not important, and life is important.

James Baldwin, Interview with Studs Terkel, Chicago, 1961

(Willis) Tower of Terror

31 May 2014 /

Cracks appear on Willis Tower’s 103rd-story ledge TODAY

Been there, done that, took a picture:

Willis Tower

It was boring. You know what would make it more exciting? If they put up a sign that said ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK and three to five times a year the glass cracked and people plunged to their death.

Is that too much? OK, switch it to one plunge every three to five years.


Aren’t They More or Less the Same Thing?

23 May 2014 /

Via The Nation:

http://www.thenation.com/blog/179922/university-chicago-bidding-obama-library-activists-would-rather-have-trauma-center#


IRS Refunds $4 Billion to Identity Thieves

1 Dec 2013 /
IRS Seal

The Internal Revenue Service issued $4 billion in fraudulent tax refunds last year to people using stolen identities, with some of the money going to addresses in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Ireland, according to an inspector general’s report released Thursday.

The IRS sent a total of 655 tax refunds to a single address in Lithuania, and 343 refunds went to a lone address in Shanghai.

In the U.S., more fraudulent returns went to Miami than any other city. Other top destinations were Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta and Houston.

Hmmm . . . aren’t there some sort of sanity checks built into the IRS system? Doesn’t a warning bell go off when 655 tax refunds are sent to a single address in Lithuania?

Does this erode your confidence in the federal government’s ability to manage complex systems and gigantic sums of money?

I’m sure they’ll do a much better job managing health insurance, right? Right?


How the Willis Tower Got Its Name

17 Aug 2013 /

When the Sears Tower opened in 1973, Sears, Roebuck & Co. was the biggest retailing company in the world. The annual Sears Christmas catalog was like amphetamines for American schoolchildren. (This was before half of America’s schoolchildren were already on amphetamines.)

Sadly, as time passed, the fortunes of Sears & Roebuck declined. Sears moved its offices out of the tower and sold it to some guy named Willis, who was so sick and tired of listening to people say “What you talkin bout, Willis?” that he renamed it to the Willis Tower.

Now when people say “What you talkin bout, Willis?” he says “You want to know what I’m talkin bout?! I’m talkin bout THE TALLEST BUILDING IN NORTH AMERICA! That’s what I’m talkin bout, you pricks.”

Looking down from Willis Tower skydeck, 103rd floor

Looking down from Willis Tower skydeck, 103rd floor (Photo credit: Paul Epps)


The Obama Bounce Fades

12 Sep 2012 /

And through it all, there is no presidential leadership. He’s too busy raising money to run ads so he can tell us what a great leader he is.

Everywhere we see, in ruins, Obama’s plans for our country. His foreign policy has encouraged revolutions that have brought our worst enemies to power in the Middle East . . . His education reforms have no teeth and he sits by passively as they are challenged by his own local teachers union.

Credit much of the quick end to his bounce to Romney’s ads which, right off the bat after the Democratic Convention closed, rapped Obama for trying to convince us that we are better off than we were four years ago. Obama’s campaign essentially poses the question: What will you believe — your own eyes or my speeches?


Second City Comedy

9 Nov 2011 /

In the middle of an Occupy Chicago teach-in this week, traders at the Chicago Board of Trade dumped several sheets of paper on top of the heads of protesters below. Demonstrators were angered to find out they were showered with employment applications for McDonald’s.

Mediaite

Twitter: 2010-09-09

9 Sep 2010 /
Twitter
  • RT @fakerahmemanuel: Why leave the White House to be mayor of Chicago? The same reason that guy from White Star got the fuck off Titanic. #

Twitter: 2009-10-02

2 Oct 2009 /
  • http://bit.ly/2djWf1 via @TheOnion – Federal Judge Rules Parker Brothers Holds Monopoly Monopoly #
  • I just poured hot coffee in my shoe. No, not on purpose. Yes, it was on my foot at the time. #
  • RT @Aimee_B_Loved: I think Chicago needs a hug. #
  • Man bites dog biting dog: http://bit.ly/i9fhA #news #

The Chicago Tea Party

19 Feb 2009 /
Thomas Jefferson

This is America! How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage? President Obama are you listening? How about we all stop paying our mortgage!

Rick Santelli (video), CNBC Chicago

I’m rolling over in my grave, as the gentleman from Chicago has already noted. Count me in for the Chicago Tea Party!

A little revolution now and then is a good thing; the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

I’ll bring Samuel Adams along. Not the beer, you yahoos, the patriot! He has experience with this sort of thing.

P.S. Medary.com has provided a Chicago Tea Party broadside, or whatever you call them nowadays.


Blago’s Football

15 Dec 2008 /
Rod Blagojevich

This guy is beyond satire:

[Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich] rarely turns up for work at his official state office in Chicago, former employees say, is unapologetically late to almost everything, and can treat employees with disdain, cursing and erupting in fury for failings as mundane as neglecting to have at hand at all times his preferred black Paul Mitchell hairbrush. He calls the brush “the football,” an allusion to the “nuclear football,” or the bomb codes never to be out of reach of a president.


It Seems Obvious in Retrospect . . .

17 Nov 2007 /
Woman talking on rotary phone ca. 1960

. . . but something I just learned is that area codes were originally assigned according to the population density of the city or region, with the lowest numbers going to the most populous areas. Keeping in mind that phones in those days had rotary dials, and higher numbers therefore took longer to dial, the thinking was that areas with the most people should be the easiest to call.

That’s why New York City got area code 212, Chicago got 312, Los Angeles got 213, etc. (Zero actually counts as a high number — a 10, essentially — because it takes the longest to dial.)

Conversely, the area code for the entire state of Alaska was (and still is) 907.