Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tennis anyone?

It's here, and you know what I'm talking about. The US Open, the only one of the four Grand Slams that's held in the US! Read about it here and here and here. Watch it. Most important, humor me and let me blog and blab about it endlessly. Isn't that what friends are for?

Monday, August 27, 2007

What's on your life list?

Earlier today a good friend (and fellow Chitown thirtysomething) sent me a link to a New York Times article on life lists. You know them – those lists in which people document all those big and small to-dos they hope to check off before they check out. There are even websites (shocker) that help you create your list and share it with others who can presumably encourage you, copy you and perhaps laugh at you behind your e-back. One such website is, which has 1.2 million members. Tops on their list? To lose weight. But wait… how does this work? Do you lose a pound and check that one off only to gain five pounds next weekend after eating two dozen gulab jamuns? Hmm. Also won’t my life list at thirtysomething be different from my life list at seventysomething? Maybe I allow myself to add 20 items every decade? And should the items be more ambitious (eradicate poverty) or practical (get a seat on the 134 bus) in nature? Clearly I’ve got something thinking to do. So before I make my life list, I’m going to make my how-to-make-a-life-list list. Then it will be full steam ahead, and #1 on my list will be to spend less time on this damn blog.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

So I took the plunge

It's not quite the plunge my grandmother's praying for, but it's pretty darn big. I renamed my blog! I came up with part of the name, but I have to give credit for the best part to my cousin RS. (Incidentally, on Saturday nights, this cousin goes by the alias 'Bodacious Bucktown Babe'.) I also decided to start writing again – mostly so I can stop harassing friends to write for me. To those of you who wrote and wrote and wrote… thanks! To those of you who didn't… well, you suck! Lucky for you I'm going to give you the rest of the year to make it up to me.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

In the city... and feeling hot hot hot

*** By PS (Bangalore) ***
Here in Bangalore the monsoon is on, bringing the low temperatures that the city is known for. Over the past couple of months, we've enjoyed temps between 68 and 83, and expect to enjoy similar temps until February, when temps climb up to the 90s and stay that way until June. Long-time residents will be quick to tell you that 10 or more years ago, the city was much cooler and that global warming has raised the temps. Indeed Bangalore was chosen as a capitol of Mysore because its temperature was more bearable to the British colonists. So, as one impassioned blogger claims, is President Bush ruining the weather in Bangalore?
Not quite. In fact residents of Bangalore are responsible for ruining Bangalore. What we're suffering here is not global warming (which doesn't involve large, noticeable temperature changes in specific locales) but the phenomenon known as an Urban Heat Island. Because concrete and asphalt absorb heat far more (and hold it far longer) than greenery, large urban centers tend to have temperatures around 7 degrees higher than surrounding rural areas. Interestingly enough Bangalore used to be known as the 'Garden City'. A drive around Bangalore these days makes a mockery of the name, as stark, ugly, haphazard concrete buildings are everywhere to be found, and green areas are limited to the military base and a few public parks.

In the end rapid growth driven by the IT industry, combined with lax zoning and construction laws (and even more lax enforcement of those laws), has created a sweltering concrete oven where trees once shaded residents and reflected the heat. Global warming is a real problem, but Bangalore is not evidence of it.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Chair-throwing psychos belong in jail

I was going to take a break from blogging this month to focus on harrassing friends to blog for me. However, an incident that took place in Hyderabad was so outrageous I couldn't resist writing. (You'll be shocked to know I'm not one to fume in silence.) Controversial Muslim writer Taslima Nasreen was promoting a book when protestors walked into the venue and, not content to hurl abuses, started hurling whatever random crap they could at her for supposedly making "anti-Muslim" statements. They threw books, bouquets, even chairs. To make matters worse (1) these men were legislators (MLAs), and (2) police initially registered a case against her (for "inciting enmity between different groups"), not the chair-throwers. Justifying the attack, one MLA/loser said, "We are not bothered about our MLA status. We are Muslims first. And it's our responsibility to test those who have said anything against Islam in whichever way possible." In my book, which I usually prefer not to hurl, such people belong in jail. Shame on them!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More "football" madness

*** By CN (Chicago) ***
I know that many of you are thinking to yourself, "Hmm, I wonder how that friend of Bobbe's is doing. The one that likes soccer or football or whatever you call it." Well, loyal readers, let me quench your thirst for an update. But first let me digress and say I was overwhelmed by the number of e-mails sent to Bobbe' asking for more information on the Arsenal game. I am touched, given that you really don't even know who I am (which explains why the e-mails were sent to Bobbe' instead of me; this blogging for someone else can be pretty confusing). Well before I get to The Arsenal (if you really need to know more this very moment, click here) let me tell you that this mystery blogger (umm, that'd be me) is one of Bobbe's nearest and dearest friends.

Ah, but the game. Friends arrived at 5:50 am. I was joined by Bryan (fellow Hebe, about my/Bobbe's age) and John (English and soon-to-be septuagenarian). It was a little nerve-wracking and exciting waiting for the game to start. Well we could have waited a little longer. The game was scarcely 50 seconds old when our keeper (Jens Lehmann, a German international that was perhaps the best keep in last year's World Cup) made a poor clearance and allowed the visitors to score. Needless to say, it was an ignominious start to the new season. Arsenal dominated the game from then on but could not break down the opposition keeper. Finally Arsenal scored on a penalty kick (earned after Kolo Toure was impeded in the box) that was brilliantly taken by Robin van Persie. Then in the dying seconds of regulation, Alexander Hleb managed to put in a brilliant individual effort to rescue three points for the club. For the most part, watching the game was akin to being on a small boat in choppy seas after an all-night bender. I felt sick for long stretches but after the relief (of the goals in my case), I felt slightly better. Until next time...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Crazy about "football"... or just crazy?

*** By CN (Chicago) ***
Ah, the excitement of the upcoming season. Yes, it's footie time my friends. No, I'm not talking the Bears. In fact, I'm not even talking the NFL. I'm talking real football, I'm talking the Premier League.

What's that you ask? It's top-flight English football. The passion of the game is unlike anything that we see in the U.S. Here, a "big fan" is one who can name most of the starting line-up and has a satin jacket emblazoned with the team logo. In the U.K., it's an altogether different story. Fans there are truly die-hard. Many fans travel to away games, even those that are played mid-week. And some of the big tournaments require international travel. No problem… being a supporter means a willingness to use a passport.

Games are attended by throngs of supporters who sing throughout the entire match. My favorite club is Arsenal, which is based in North London. Each player has his own chant that is sung when he makes a good play. My personal favorite is for Arsenal's young midfielder Cesc Fabregas (sung to the tune of Salt n Pepa's ‘Let's Talk About Sex’). “Let's talk about Cesc, Baby… let’s talk about Flam-in-i, let's talk about Theo Walcott, Freddie Ljungberg and Henry… let's talk about Cesc. Well (Freddie) Ljungberg and (Thierry) Henry were both sold this summer (I find that brilliant too – players don't get traded, they get sold for cold hard cash. In Henry's case, Arsenal netted $32 million), so the song will have to be re-configured, but it's kinda catchy all the same.

Now, you're probably asking, "What does this have to do with a kid from Chicago?" (OK you're probably really asking, "Why am I reading a blog supposedly written by Bobbe' when, in fact, this is just an entry by a friend of hers I don't know.) Today Arsenal opened their season against another London team, Fulham (most notable because they are owned by Mohammed Al-Fayed, Dodi's dad). I was joined by three friends, one an Arsenal supporter for over 60 years. I will be pulled out of bed way too early – my friends should arrive about 10 minutes to 6:00 (just to be clear, that's 5:50 am and on a Sunday). And you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way. Come on you Gunners!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

How to choose a President

*** By MS (Chicago) ***
Is Mr. Edwards too much of a pretty boy with his $400 haircut? Are his features a bit too feminine? Mrs. Clinton dresses too masculine? Her cleavage not sexy enough? Mr. Obama doesn’t have enough gray hairs of wisdom?

One of the morning “news” shows did a segment on “appropriate” presidential pets. Apparently America prefers to have a president with a dog rather than a cat. Not only is feline discrimination widespread in this country, so is size discrimination. The dog has to be just the right size for the pug to be America’s first pet.

Will Mr. Obama’s ability to speak Indonesian or Monsieur Romney’s fluency in French hinder their chances at being the leader of the free world? If history is any indication, these candidates might be in for a rude shock

And, yes, the most crucial factor in electing a president is BBQ – not barbeque silly, but Beer Buddy Quotient. It is a measure of how comfortable an American feels having a beer and kicking back with the presidential candidate. George Bush fared very well on that test, which offset his miserable performance on general knowledge tests. His plain speaking mannerisms and southern charms still dwarf his flagrantly incompetent actions for 30 percent of Americans.

And at the end of the day it all boils down to the potential first spouse. America envisions her first lady to be a docile, sweet, sophisticated woman with a nice pearl collection. If your wife happens to be an independent-minded, smart woman like Teresa Heinz Kerry, then you can kiss your dream goodbye. Or if your spouse chooses to work and carry on with her normal life like Mrs. Dean, then she is not “supportive” enough. Gee, if you can’t get your wife to support you, forget about America!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Justin Timberlake = Pablo Picasso?

*** By DB (Chicago) ***
He's got a lot of fans, most of whom are post-adolescent Myspacer girls. But the admiration he receives from throngs of teenyboppers is nothing compared to how highly Justin Timberlake regards himself. I once heard the guy in an interview talking about one of his pop songs ‘Cry Me a River’, saying that there is so much going on in the song that "it's like a Picasso". I'd be willing to bet $1000 that Mr. Timberlake wouldn't be able to pick a Picasso out of a lineup of assorted paintings.

Nonetheless Timberlake apparently fancies himself as an analytic cubist among recording artists. It's worth mentioning that Picasso's cubism inspired related movements in music. For example there is jazz music out there that has been regarded as being musically analogous to cubism, utilizing fragmented arrangements, geometric chord progressions and multiple perspectives of the same material. The idea is to get into the spirit of deconstructive reconstruction, building tunes and solos out of small blocks. ‘Sexy Back’ might be catchy and danceable, but it's hardly avant garde.

For Timberlake to liken ‘Cry Me a River’ to a Picasso because of its poppy, polished, cluttered, and muddy composition with "a lot going on in it" is, in my not-so-humble opinion, more than just a bit misguided. Perhaps a more apt comparison in the world of visual arts would be one of those ‘Where's Waldo’ cartoons.

Ahh, Justin Timberlake... one of the great virtuosos of the 21st century... a bohemian visionary trapped in a plastic world.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Sometimes I wonder? Not anymore!

*** By CN (Chicago) ***
As many of you reading this are undoubtedly aware, our dear friend Robert (some of you know her as Bobbe’, but I generally prefer to call her by her given name) has asked us for contributions to her blog. At first, I thought I'd much rather have contributed to something worthwhile like, oh I dunno UNICEF. But then I thought, well what the heck has UNICEF done for me lately? So much for the prologue. Well, in the spirit of blogging and friendship, I am going to attempt to answer ALL of the questions posed by Robbe’ on her ‘sometimes i wonder’ list.

Will my friends blog for me?!
Yes, but they will do so grudgingly. At least I will.

Is young Hollywood crazy?
Yes, but then so is old Hollywood.

Is Bush determined or delusional?
Both. I don't think that it's mutually exclusive. Bush is determined because he thinks he's right. But he thinks he's right because he's delusional.

Will Federer be "best ever"?
Actually, no. Tennis stopped in the 80's for me. I loved watching Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe. The competition was great and even some of the lesser names were great fun to watch. Since then, the game has been diluted. Federer really can only challenge himself against one man, Rafael Nadal. Without real competition, Federer can never really push himself to true greatness. Still he does have one redeeming quality. Say ‘Federer’ five times in a row. It's really quite fun.

Is amnesty a good idea?
The system is broken no doubt, and there needs to be true reform. However, I have major problems with rewarding people for breaking the law.

Why aren't you posting comments?
Here's a comment – stop criticizing your friends.

Do you expect life to be "fair"?
Expect, no. But to even things out I depend on my two good friends – Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson. Just kidding – I'm pro-gun control.

Are newspapers passe?
Not yet. You wouldn't want to take a computer to the john. But I will say the writing in (most of) them is terrible. Still, it beats the local news. That's truly drivel.

Can Clinton or Obama win?
Clinton yes, Obama no. If Obama were to win the nomination, his flaws would be out under a microscope. We've just seen what happens when a country elects a President with little or no real experience. Obama hasn't even served a full term in the Senate but he thinks he should be President? I think he's just an opportunist. Plus he has all sorts of questionable links to the indicted Antonin "Tony" Rezko and did a land deal with him while Rezko was under investigation. Click. Other deals? Click here. Even if Obama claims it was a "mistake", it was exceptionally poor judgment. A quick side note: Dyou know that you can bet on who will win the nomination – legally? You can wager up to $500 here if you're interested.

Is Hollywood thin or is Chicago fat?
Both. Thank goodness we live so close to makes us look positively svelte in comparison.

Rosie or Elizabeth?
One is a shrill know-it-all. The other is completely gormless. Here's a tip: Avoid daytime TV whenever possible.

Why have cake if you can't eat it?
Who has cake and doesn't eat it? The concept alone is simply mind-boggling.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Terrorists on monkey bars

*** By DB (Chicago) ***
It has become apparent that the War on Infidels will ultimately be won on the jungle gym. All al Qaeda recruits undergo extensive physical training on monkey bar obstacle courses set up in the middle of the desert. Maybe someone mistranslated "guerrilla warfare" when they wrote the al Qaeda training manual. Countless media reports over the past five years have incessantly featured stock video footage depicting this grueling military-style training regimen, instilling fear in the sedentary middle-aged couch potato purveyors of 24-hour cable news networks. I, myself, was invited to the playground recently, but fear of these Jihadist badasses in black ninja suits forced me to take a raincheck. There have also been unconfirmed reports of even more heinous al Qaeda recruit training methods not yet caught on grainy video tape, such as ball pit training and inflatable trampolines drills. Look out, U.S. Special Forces.

In August... Bobbe' doesn't blog

I've decided to shake things up on this blog, because that's just the kind of girl I am. This month my millions of adoring fans (i.e., the two people who check this blog after being harassed by me) will not get to peer into my soul on these web pages. They'll get something better – the chance to peer into my friends' souls. I've asked (i.e., begged) pals to blog for me this month so as to showcase them in all their brilliance and randomness. Now I won't be the only one who sees how silly, cerebral, sensitive, smart and crazy they can be. (Sometimes in just one conversation.) I've sent out feelers to a few folks I think would be well-suited “guest contributing bloggers” as my friend described them. If you haven't gotten a feeler but have gotten the feeling you should do it, send me a paragraph on anything (or nothing). The rest of you… read their thoughts and reflect (i.e., laugh).