28 December 2005

Auf Wiedersehen Berghoff

On February 28, 2006, the Berghoff will be closing its doors. After over 100 years of feeding the appetites and quenching the thirsts of Loop-goers, the third generation of Berghoff owners have decided to issue the last call. The restaraunt owns Chicago liquor license #1! My only memory of there is when Eron, Emily and I stopped there to recharge after our museums and Sears Tower adventures. Emily took down a whole weiner schnitzel! I loved the old tuxedo-clad waiter we had. He'd been there a while.
You can go to their website and get a glass, stein or tray. Oh, and the beer and the O'Hare location will still be around.

27 December 2005

One Year

Christmas eve marked one year since my I created this blog and posted the first message. So I thought I'd skim through the archives and pull out some of my favorites. I spent a couple hours re-read my chronicle of the past year. It was very fun to see what all I did, the places I went, and the fun I had. I posted over 330 posts and 37 pictures over the course of the year. My first mention of my iPod came on February 24. :)
There were lots of fun events that I was reminded of..camping, the Guinness tasting event, Notre Dame spring game, Chicago Auto Show, Chinatown, St. Patrick's Day, National Board Certified Teacher event, a new Pope, the Virgin Mary under the Expressway, going to plays, having visitors, and all sorts of festivals. Here are some of the ones that I enjoyed re-reading (you'll have to scroll up, the links will jump to the comments section), some for the post, some for the memory, some for the good comments.
Joy Of Chess, Read This Today,
Stop and Smell (or Listen to) the Roses, Bad Weather Brings Good Times, Mom's Weekend Visit, I got a lot done this afternoon, The Jungle, Day After, Greenleafs in Town, Gearing Up for Episode III, Iowa Has Smart Drivers, Champions League Final Recap, Revenge of the Sith, CTA, Omaha, Role Model, What's in Your Bag, Egg Drop, Lunch, Space Funding, Down with Blimpie, Lunch, Cookies, Newcity & Jake's Best of Chicago, Feliz Cumpleanos, Philantropy, Theft!, Art of War,

Ginger's Ale House

Voted Best soccer bar in the U.S. for the third year in a row ("on the trot" as they as in the UK), according to ussoccer.com
Congrats! Many a fun morning have I spent there enjoying a coke or a pint, listening to the different accents & stories, watching a little footie, devouring their scalding-hot and delicious Shepard's pie and appreciating the diversity of culture there.
Oh Ginger how I miss thee.

2005 Book Lists

I couldn't really trim down my list too much. With only 1 or 2 exceptions, I enjoyed everything I read this year, maybe that means I'm not qualified to be a critic or I am just easily entertained. Whatever it is, here is what I liked this year...

1. To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
2. Bobby Fischer Goes to War - Edmunds & Eidinow
3. Smashed - Koren Zailckas
4. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
5. The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck
6. Night - Elie Wiesel
7. Educating Esmé - Emsé Raji Codell
8. Candyfreak - Almond
9. Emperors of Chocolate - Joel Glen Brenner
10. Domers - Kevin Coyne
11. The Last of the Donkey Pilgrims - Kevin O'Hara
12. How Soccer Explains the World- Foer
13. Making the Corps - Ricks
14. There are No Shortcuts - Rafe Esquith

Please post your favorites in Comments.

24 December 2005

NORAD tracks Santa!

NORAD has been tracking Santa's whereabouts on Christmas Eve for fifty years and this is the first I've ever heard about it. They use their missle tracking systems to hone in on Rudolph's nose (it emits an infrared signal) and offer video tracking on their website. You can also call a toll-free number for updates.
Here's hoping he navigates safely to each of your homes.

23 December 2005

Chicago rapist gets sentenced

Congratulations, praise and prayers for my friend in Chicago. Here's wishing her happiness and peace as she moves on.

20 December 2005

Sound Bites

I love these end of the year lists! Here's Sports Illustrated's sound bites of the year. It's only average, but there are a few laughs hidden in there. There are two pages, so don't forget to click "Continue".
My hands-down favorite...
Antoine Walker, Boston Celtics, former Kentucky star...after asked why he shoots so many three's..."Because there are no four's."

17 December 2005


18 degrees and snow? Sounds like time to grill some brats!

16 December 2005


What a blunder! At least it was the Iraqi security forces that goofed, not the Americans.
And who in the hell in the military says, "treasure trove"? Talk about someone that needs a Code Red!

Diamond Ring

Wow. What a blue story, especially around the holidays. Well, sad for one, VERY happy for another.


15 December 2005


There's been a few weeks of uncertainty, but the man has arrived. Expect him in Hoops by the mid-January. I'm very excited to see what kind of impact he will have. I think his leadership and presence will be great for the younger players on the squad. I liked his little joke when asked how he will get along with everyone in the clubhouse. I also thought his quote about training hard, playing hard and pushing those he plays with hard, but never expecting anything from other that he would not be willing to give himself was a very good statement. Big things from Celtic in the Champions League next year!!! I may have to splurge and get myself a jersey!

14 December 2005

Crocodile or Elephant, take your pick

Some good information for anyone considering a visit to Zimbabwe. Crocs have taken the bloody lead over elephants in the most lethal beast title, with hippos, lions, and buffaloes lagging behind. Some major efforts will need to be put forth by those species if they are to entertain any hopes of overtaking the two leaders.

(my favorite part "Crocodiles dragged away 13 people -- including children -- and ate them in the first 10 months of 2005" just in case you thought, they just drug them away and then let them return to their homes. Nope, they ate them.)

Excommunications in Puerto Rico

A couple sect leaders got the boot from a Puerto Rican bishop. One said he was the manifestation of the late Pope John Paul II and the other said she was the Virgin Mary. They are quite a pair! And people laying in the aisle during communion to protest and cause problems?! Sounds pretty bizarre.

13 December 2005

REAL Hot 100

This is a cool idea. To contrast Maxim magazine's annual Hot 100 girl list, this group is doing their own Hot 100. Girls who are working, doing, changing, thinking, acting. Check it out. (Link again courtesy of GB) Chicago's Cinnamon Cooper is a nominee. She is the force behind the DIY Trunk Show that Dara's been a part of the last two years.

Rachel Ray in Chicago

Another time I miss Chicago (and that Sur La Table store). Although, to be realistic, I might not have even gone down to see her, since I don't have, nor plan on buying any of her books. But it would've been fun to just see her! Check out this guy's account of it all. (Link courtesy of my beloved, Gapers Block).
The story would be so much better if she had eaten the cheesecake.

Actually, I was thinking about that Sur La Table store a little and thought I'd share this story. December 2003, before I had moved out there, but Dara & I were downtown shopping and Connie had told me how great this store was so I was trying to find it. We end up asking a lady on the sidewalk beside us. We are in the Gold Coast neighborhood and this lady is in a ankle length black fur coat. We are in hooded sweatshirts and stocking hats. She was a little startled (ok, maybe scared) when I approached her, but she was very nice and got us on our way. It really is a great store.


I was listening to NPR this morning as I was packing my lunch, and they were interviewing the creator of this PostSecret website. He has taken 300 or so of the "best" secrets and compiled them into a book (that I will be looking at next time I'm at Barnes & Nobles). I had not heard of the site or project before, but the ones they were reading on the air were so incredible, I couldn't wait to get to work and check it out. The ones on there today are OK, but not in the same class as those that were read.
I love stuff like this. That feeling of seeing a little piece of someone's life is exciting. Some of the secrets are funny (there was a coffeshop worker who wrote on a flattened coffe cup that rude customers requesting decaf get regular coffee) and some were shockingly blunt (one person wrote in and said that they still had not told their dad that she had the same diesese that killed her mother). And the homemade postcards that the secrets are sent in on are very cool. I thought that was cool that the All-American Rejects (a punk/pop band) donated $2000 a hotline the project is associated with and then used a bunch of the postcards in their video. I would like to see that video!


After a string of days where there has been a lack of anything in the frig or on the pantry shelves with which to pack a lunch, this morning I was able to make my lunch again. And, I have to say, I am quite excited to eat it. A little container of mashed sweet potatoes and a wrap. I almost took a picture of this wrap as I was making it this morning. Lettuce, leftover thanksgiving turkey (white and dark meat), heavy on the roasted red pepper, smoked gouda (my favorite cheese), a bit of mustard, pepper and oregano all wrapped in a nice garlic & herb wrap. I'm counting down to lunch. I don't want to jinx myself, but I do have to say I was a little hesitant to put it in the cooler here at work. If it is goes missing.....

Garages are Nice

I have a garage for the first time in my life. So that means no scraping, no cleaning off snow, no bitterly cold car in the morning. When renting, I usually view a garage as a luxury, but since I could do a three month lease (December, January, February) and it is only $25, I thought it would be worth it.
And today, I definitely was thankful as I saw all the cars parked outside sporting a heavy coat of white, courtesy of Jack Frost and I was just able to get in my car and go. Ahhhh, the good life.

09 December 2005

World Cup Draw

The Draw to find out which team will be pooled together in the 2006 World Cup in Germany took place today. 350 million people were expected to watch it. Europe, Africa and South America came to a halt. Here are the results in a nice wall chart format showing that the top two teams from each group of four will advance to a knockout bracket. As I looked it over, I see Groups C and E as the "Groups of Death". Unfortunately, the US is in Group E. But, on a positive note, it is their presence in it that makes it a group of death. US soccer is improving and currently ranked 8th.
Here is a basic synopsis on each of the 32 teams. And one on the coaches. Oh, and Adidas has release info on the '06 World Cup ball ("Teamgeist").
Start the count down. 181 days til the first match. (England vs Paraguay)

08 December 2005

Chicago Smoking Ban

Finally! It passed, but the main comprimise was that bars/taverns have until '08 to phase it in. That part sucks, but restraunts, CTA platforms, etc have to comply by January. I'll stay off my soapbox and just say I'm happy to see it pass.

07 December 2005

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

The Victoria's Secret fashion show was on ABC last night and I have to say I found it pretty entertaining. It was pretty cool because they gave pretty much equal time to what was going on behind curtain as they did to the runway in front of it. The set construction and decoration was pretty cool too. They had gigantic oversized toys on each side of the start of the runway. Stuffed bears, wooden soldiers, and two wooden letter blocks,"V" and "S" naturally, that were at least 15-20 feet tall. Plus, it was the last show for Tyra Banks as she is retiring from the runway to pursue other interests. Oh, and Seal (Heidi Klum's husband) and Ricky Martion performed. Ugh, Ricky was not good.
Of course I don't mean to tell you that the subject matter of the show was not interesting on its own. The models, which included Giselle Bundchen, Heidi Klum, Tyra and dozen or so spectacular others, were captivating and their 'outfits' were very cool and almost theatrical. We saw one girl lose her shoe when its heel punctured the runway and it wouldn't come back out. This girl didn't even break her stride. She continued struting down the glitter-covered walk, keeping her foot arched to match the 5" heel that was still on her other foot. Then they cut to the guy in the back on the radio freaking out, "Get her shoe, Get her shoe off the runway!" Great drama.
I think I'd love to go to the fashion shows in NYC sometime. They look like a lot of fun.

05 December 2005

Bowl Schedule

All the bowl berths are filled. Check 'em out. Start prognosticating.
Here's some info on Iowa and their game.

02 December 2005

Incredible Spam

Got this email in my Junkmail box today. Usually I just skim them to make sure no good mail got in there and then delete everything, but this one looked a bit different, so I opened it. It is so preposterous. Seriously, what is their rate of getting replies on this kind of crap, complete with spelling and typing errors? I definitely wouldn't want them to "consificate" the money! I'm pasting it below for your enjoyment....

This mail transmission is been sent by a lawyer. It contains
information that is confidential, privileged, praoprietary, or otherwise legally exempt from disclosure. There is no intent on the part of the sender to waive any privilege,including the attorney-client privilege, that may attach to this communication.
Dear Welch,
I am Mr.Paul Bentlin, an attorney at law. A deceased client of mine, by name Mr. Johnson Welch, who hereinafter shall be referred to as my client, died as the result of a heart-related condition in April 1999. I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money left behind by my client before it is confiscated or declared serviceable by the bank where this deposit valued at 45million dollars is lodged.
This bank has issued me a notice to contact the next of kin, or the account will be confiscated because there is a government gazzette/mandate/authorising all banks to freeze or consificate any account that has not been servicable in a long period of time,this is geared toWelchs capital flight for the economy.
My proposition to you is to seek your consent to present you as the next-of-kin and beneficiary of my named client, since you have the same last name with my deseased client, so that the proceeds of this account can be paid to you.
Then we can share the amount on a mutually agreed-upon percentage. All legal documents to back up your claim as my client's next-of-kin will be provided.
All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this transaction through. This will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.
If this business proposition offends your moral values,do accept my apology but if not, then contact me at once to indicate your interest,By giving me your telephone/fax number so that i too can contact you.
Best regards,
Barrister Paul Bentlin