No Two Ways About It

September 24, 2009

With rising costs come migration, with that hipster migration comes money to new parts of town, and with that money comes business… in some cases businesses that were there before, but are now serving a new clientele.

In the case of Helen’s Two Way Lounge it started simply.  They needed a new jukebox, so the got an internet one.  Than they got some TV’s, a younger hipper but equally rude bartender, and now a new front window.

Inset Left: The Old Facade

I’m also proud that the double-arrow motif that’s now on their window (above) also showed up in my 2007 birthday invitation (below)!  Good times.

Take My Stuff and Pay Me For It – Genesis (not the band)

February 23, 2009

I don’t like giving stuff away, even if it means getting money back in return.  This must change.

It seems I’m increasingly less impressed just by my collections of things, especially because I went about all such collections half-assedly. I also had to concede that, because most music is now bought and enjoyed digitally, having CD jewel cases on display not only seems like a waste of space, but also a somewhat dated (dare I say cliché?) male interior design choice.

Seriously – what’s the point of displaying jewel cases anymore – to prove that you go somewhere and buy proper albums instead of going online?  Is that a claim to fame nowadays?  It’s seems pitiable, and very nearly a failed attempt at elitism. Now, if I was a vinyl junky it would still be cool to have crates of that shit sorted in my apartment, Rob Gordon style, but I am not.  I never got into vinyl. I do not own a record player.  So it’s time to say “bye-bye” CDs and hello to whatever money a record store will give me.

I can’t get rid of ALL my albums at the same time though… they’re my most-prized, but still poorly maintained and disorganized collection. Baby steps.

I decided to start weeding out the ones I never listen to, or will feasibly never take out of their cases again.  Everything was fair game, so long as it is also stored on my external hardrive backup.  This logic only half makes sense. Apparently, I’m only comfortable giving up something I never use so long as I could feasibly use it sometime in the future.  However, this does explain why I have pairs of jeans in my closet that have never worn, never plan on wearing but can’t bring myself to give away.

“So”, I comforted myself, “you’re not really losing any of these albums, just the physical manifestation of them.”  Yes.  That’s still off-putting though, isn’t it?  What is it about saving things on a computer that makes you feel still slightly uneasy?  Why do we still print out important emails?  Why am I abstractly distrustful of Google’s “cloud computing”.  For me, I guess the physical presence of an item is a comfort — an increasingly wasteful, expensive, and unnecessary comfort.  (Just like most comforts!)

So, recalling some Buddhist-like advice (“It doesn’t matter where you start, only that you finish,”)  I grabbed my topmost CaseLogic that was topped by a fine layer of dust, and opened it up to the M-through-P discs.  I then sat my ass down in front of my cheap sleek Sweedish black-painted wood media center and got crackin’…

I’ll try to document my little adventure more later this week.

Drugged-Up Pantless Wonder Wins the Hearts of America

January 13, 2009

#1 Song in the Country.  Jesus.

Lady Gaga was, um, a spectacle on The Tonight Show last week.  There’s something funny about a pantless poorly-cordinated bimbo staggering around stage, attempting to play a keyboard, singing about how she doesn’t know where she is and had too much to drink the night before while Thriller rejects bounce around her.  Roofie-Pop… so hot right now.

This will probably be pulled off of YouTube eventually (but you can see it on Hulu),  so here are my screencaptured highlights:

Lady Gaga strikes a pose:

Lady Gaga does a very loose Robot:

Lady Gaga does a very poor Charleston:

Lady Gaga paws at a piano held up by one of her backup-dancers:

Lady Gaga does the Charleston again, while 24‘s Mary Lynn Rajskub and Dustin Hoffman smirk behind her:

Drew Peterson Murder Countdown: Update

December 18, 2008

Hey hey!  Sun Times finally posted a picture

There is also a Chrissy Raines on Facebook but with no real connection to Chicago… and there’s a NUMBER of Christina Raines none with many local connection.



Yesterday, I gave you a quiz to see if you were good Drew Peterson Date Material… today, in keeping with the Shock-Jock & Peterson tradition, Chicago’s Q101 scored an interview with a gal named Jenny who is, allegedly, Drew Peterson’s fiance’s cousin.  That’s hot.  Check out the audio here:

Based on the interview,  here’s what we know now, I guess

  • The unfortunate fiance’s name is Christina “Chrissy” Raines Reigns/Rains
  • Her cousin, who she used to live with, is named Jenny
  • Chrissy’s has a kid
  • She was dating a guy who was taking care of the kid
  • She’s a “hard worker”
  • She likes bad boy types
  • Christmas Dinner will be AWKward

In related news, Chicagoist via the Sun Times dropped that Dead Chrissy’s dad is also (understandably concerned)…

“I said, ‘You need to take that back. If you don’t want to, I will,’ ” said Ernie Raines, 53. “I said, why would you want to marry someone like that anyway? He’s my age for Christ’s sake.”

Ernie makes many good points.  What should make Ernie 80-times madder?  Well… Einstien Wbbm780 reports that Chrissy decided to pop the question to Drew

Hmmm.  I smell a Reality Show that combines the criminal glam of Growing Up Gotti with the assured behind-the-scenes beatings of Being Bobby Brown.

Also just learned alterno-Christina Raines was a 1970s actress.

First Zima, Now Sparks?!

December 18, 2008

How are we supposed to get all hyphy before we ghost ride now!?!?!?!

Sparks Spokesmodel by Ryanwiz Sparks by Al Bar,0,4219784.story

MillerCoors to remove caffeine from Sparks energy drink in deal with states
By EMILY FREDRIX | AP Food Industry Writer

MILWAUKEE (AP) — MillerCoors LLC announced Thursday it will remove caffeine and three other ingredients from its Sparks alcoholic energy drink in a deal with 13 states and the city of San Francisco, who had contended the drink targeted young drinkers.

A coalition of state attorneys general had complained the stimulants reduced drinkers’ sense of intoxication and were marketed to young drinkers, who were already more likely to have risky behaviors in driving and other activities.

*cough* BULLSHIT *cough*.  What the hell.  I’ll have to go back to slamming a pot of coffee, and then slamming a pint of Guiness.  Actually, that doesn’t sound that bad.

Attorneys general and advocacy groups have long been targeting MillerCoors, a joint venture of SABMiller’s U.S. unit and Molson Coors Brewing Co., and market-leader Anheuser-Busch due to the making and marketing of such drinks.

As part of the agreement, MillerCoors agreed to remove caffeine, taurine, guarana and ginseng from Sparks, the leader in the alcoholic energy drink category, and not produce caffeinated alcohol beverages in the future. The company also will pay $550,000 to cover the cost of the investigation into Sparks. The agreement does not mean the company was found to have engaged in unlawful behavior.

I’m glad they’re getting rid of the guano though.

“They are fundamentally dangerous and put drinkers of all ages at risk,” New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said in a statement of the drinks. “Today’s agreement will ensure that from here on out, these drinks are kept off New York shelves and away from New York consumers.”

The MillerCoors settlement also includes the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio and Oklahoma and the city attorney of San Francisco.

“We are always willing to listen to societal partners and consider changes to our business to reinforce our commitment to alcohol responsibility,” Long said.

Time to head back to Wisconsin next time I want to make Hyper Vipers.

The money will be split between the states and San Francisco, MillerCoors spokesman Julian Green said.

MillerCoors noted that labeling and all formulas for Sparks had been approved by the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. It said it marketed the drinks only to legal drinking-age consumers.

MillerCoors President and Chief Commercial Officer Tom Long said in a statement the changes mean the company can keep marketing and selling the brand to legal drinkers.

Thanks for the photo Sikanna! —

St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch said in June it would reformulate its Tilt and Bud Extra drinks to remove the stimulants as part of a settlement with 11 attorneys general.

Groups say these drinks target young drinkers, even those underage, because those consumers are already drawn to highly caffeinated drinks like Red Bull.

As part of the agreement, MillerCoors will sell through its remaining Sparks products and stop making them by Jan. 10.

Green said the company will then start brewing the new formula after that.

Random drunk guy by charleym143

Marketing of the brand will also change, the agreement said. The company must also eliminate all references in advertising to caffeinated formulations and not promote Sparks as a mixer for caffeinated drinks. It will remove the plus and minus symbols — which evoke a battery — found on the blue and orange cans for the product. The company also agrees not to use batteries, rockets, lightning bolts, or the terms “powered by” or “ignite” in marketing the new formulation.

sparks! by minicloud

The company also took down the Web site for the brand, as part of the agreement, which said MillerCoors may launch new Web content for Sparks to promote only the reformulated version.

Green said the company will continue to expand the brand. SABMiller bought Sparks and Steel Reserve, a slow-brewed lager, from McKenzie River Corp. for $215 million cash in 2006.

Sparks holds about 60 percent of the alcoholic energy drink category, he said. But in MillerCoors’ portfolio it makes up less than 1 percent of the brewer’s total volume. The brand is growing, though. Data from AC Nielsen in a recent 12-week period showed the brand’s sales in convenience stores were up 15.9 percent from the same period last year, Green said.

drunk by ksosmall 

He noted that advertising for the brand was minimal, compared with the company’s other brands like Miller Lite, and said there had never been any television ads for Sparks.

“We remain committed to the Sparks franchise, including the possibility of line extensions,” Green said.

Steve Gardner, litigation director for public advocacy group the Center for Science in the Public Interest — which has a suit against MillerCoors over Sparks — applauded the agreement. In September the group filed a suit against MillerCoors to stop the brewer from selling Sparks, saying it’s going after teenagers with the drink.

Noah rocks Sparks Lite in the ZML by justin 

“It’s a devil’s brew of a product because it combines caffeine with alcohol,” Gardner said.

He said much of what the group wanted from MillerCoors — to remove caffeine, guarana, ginseng and taurine from the product — was accomplished in the agreement. He said he was not yet sure what the agreement means for the case, which was pending in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

Randall + Sparks = by Phil Sharp.

The Drew Peterson Date Material Test

December 17, 2008

Please take the test below to see if you could be compatible with Drew Peterson.  If your answer to the question is “yes”, “maybe”, or “depends”, please move down to the next question.  If your answer is “no”, you are not a good fit for Drew Peterson:

  • Would you date?
  • Would you date a man?
  • Would you date a man who is a police officer?
  • Would you date a man who lives in the Chicago suburbs?
  • Would you date a man who is a police officer in the suburbs?

Congrats.  You have passed Stage One of the Drew Peterson Funnel (DPF).  You are now considered: An Eligible Bachelorette

  • Would you date a man who is over twice your age?
  • Would you date a man who exclusively dates people 30+ years younger?
  • Would you date a man who sits around in bars?
  • Would you date a man who has been divorced?
  • Would you date a man who is overweight?

Yep..  You have passed Stage Two of the DPF.  You are now considered: Open-Minded

  • Would you date a narcissist?
  • Would you date a man who has kids from a previous marriage?
  • Would you date a man who drinks excessively?
  • Would you date a man who has left two wives?
  • Would you date a man who has left three wives?
  • Would you date a man who has left four wives?

Nice.  You have passed Stage Three of the DPF.  You are now considered: Slightly Confused

  • Would you date a man that, in some circles, is considered infamous?
  • Would you date a man who has been fired from his police force for misconduct?
  • Would you date a man who has been accused of police brutality?
  • Would you date a man who, in some circles, would be considered a sociopath?
  • Would you date a man who has a history of domestic battery?

Hmmm.  You have passed Stage Four of the DPF.  You are now considered: A Bad-Boy Aficionado

  • Would you date a man who exploits personal tragedy for moderate fame?
  • Would you date a man who hits the talk show circuit immediately after his wife has disappeared?
  • Would you date a man who begins dating a few months after his wife has disappeared?
  • Would you date a man who taunts bereaved families by using the death of their daughter/friend as a bizarre ploy to date younger women via a radio show promotion?
  • Are you an O.J. sympathiser?

 Hmmm.  You have passed Stage Five of the DPF.  You are now considered: Amber Alert Worthy 

  • Would you date a man who is, in some circles, suspected of murdering his wife?
  • Would you date a man who is, in some circles, suspected of murdering his wife by drowning her in a bathtub and using his position in the police force as a means to cover it up?
  • Would you date a man who is, in some circles, suspected of murdering two of his wives?
  • Would you date a man who is, in some circles, suspected of murdering his second wife, stuffing her in a barrel, manipulating his stepbrother in assisting of it’s disposal,  whose grief then drives the step brother to attempt suicide days after the wife’s disappearance?

Huzzah!  You have passed Stage Six of the DPF.  You are now considered: Drew Peterson Date Material!

Unfortunately, Mr. Peterson has recently announced his engagement to an anonymous 23-year old girl who, God willing, will soon become Drew’s 6th wife.  Sorry Gals.  We wish them luck, but, don’t give your hopes up… Drew will probably be available again in the forseeable future… roughly 2010 or so.

Atomic: Blow’d Up

December 10, 2008


I just learned from Milwaukee Music Blog Fan-Belt that the beloved Atomic Records store is closing in February.  This is tragic.  It’s a local music icon that I’ve spent WAY too much money at.

Rick the (owner) writes on the Atomic Records homepage:

The reasons for shutting down are many — and I’d hate to bore you with wonkish details of shifting demographics, downward market trends, changing consumer habits, etc. — but the decade-long (and running) decline of the music industry combined with the recent economic downturn have made it impossible to continue doing what we love to do … First off, THANK YOU! It has truly been a pleasure serving the music lovers of Milwaukee for the past 24 years. Much gratitude goes out to our customers. The recent words of encouragement — the likes of “hang in there,” “please don’t go out of business,” “what would I do without you?” — mean more than you can imagine. I only wish we had the wherewithal to continue on.

Terribly, part of me is excited though, now that my “Fueled By Atomic Records” bumper sticker and Atomic Records T-Shirt will now be that much awesomer.

Backstreet’s Back? Alright.

August 22, 2008

Um yeah. Day winding down at work when I get a surprising email whose headline reads:


Ohhh, that sounds nice. I open that email up and lookie here:

So yeah, The Backstreet Boys will be rocking my work Atrium on Monday. Exciting? Sure. Baffling? More so. What inspires an advertising company to book resurgent boybands man-bands to play?

I’m also curious how much BSB charges for these little occurrences. Hmmmm.


8/22 @ 4:52 Follow-Up: A buddy I know that works down the street at Leo Burnett just mentioned they’re playing THERE on Monday too! So… DFCB is probably not paying anything. BSB, on the other hand, are prolly doing a pride-swallowing tour of Advertising Agencies to get the industry to drop them / their new tunes in commercial spots. Awwwww.

Jeremy writes:

backstreet boys
performing at Leo Burnett for employees

for real.
im just as embarrassed as you are.

They don’t care who you are… just as long as you love them.

Awkward, but with Poise

August 13, 2008

©Ruthie Hauge | Lightstalkers I see a bit of Sally Mann here, and a bit of Rineke Dijkstra. 

(photo by Ruthie Hauge)

I see a bit of Sally Mann here, and a bit of the awkward with attitude posing that reminds me of Rineke Dijkstra.  Hauge is employed as a newspaper photojournalist, but her journalistic endeavors also give us a chance to see some impromptu slices-of-life.  When you think about it, both a photojournalist and a photographer try to capture the moment, except that a photojournalist can’t tell you to do it again. 

Hauge’s online portfolio is available here and check her forays into video reporting here. (Type “Hauge” into the search video box for all of her pieces.)



Plushie DIY

June 26, 2008

Sounds gross right?  Sounds like one of those things they do an MTV Doc on … “True Life:  I’m a Plushie”. Don’t worry, it’s not. 

I’m talking bout plushie art here.  Sort of where the neo Arts & Crafts movement (ah-la Renegade) and collectible toy enthusiasts (ah-la Rotofugi) merge.  There’s also a sprinkling of Cute Overload in there too.

Anyway, I’d highly recommend checking out the DIY Plush Custom Exhibit and Launch Party at the Rotofugi Gallery this Friday, June 27th.   Local and national artists will display their decorated (and most-likely adorable) plush toy creations.  Think of it like that ridiculous “Chicago Cows” thing a couple years back but smaller, cuter, and more tasteful.