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  • 05:26:51 pm on October 30, 2008 | 0 | # |

    It’s probably not a good sign when the pumpkins and haystacks outside of a bar make you more nostalgic than Halloween itself. But it’s hard to get nostalgic over a holiday that has been completely ransacked and left on the foliage ridden streets to die. It has morphed into another excuse to get drunk and dress in a way that would make my grandmother do back flips in her grave.
    What happened to getting drunk on fun size Butterfingers and trying to convince our parents that our complexions were turning green from leftover face paint and not overeating? While walking around a costume shop today, I was in awe of how they have taken the most innocent thing and made it… revealing (just a euphemism). Bumble bees, Little Miss Muffet, even Hermione Granger. When I was four years old and told friends I was being a cat for Halloween, there were no questions. If I were to declare the same thing to friends today, the follow up questions would probably surround what kind of black spandex leotard I was planning to wear.
    This isn’t meant to be a self-righteous rant, but you have to admit it is sad when even Raggedy Ann looks like she belongs at the Playboy mansion.

     
  • 11:02:44 pm on October 28, 2008 | 1 | # |

    I’ll try not to echo my writing for broadcast professor’s sentiments too much as some of you heard it for yourselves yesterday, but in the past few days my friends and I have been mulling over the coverage of Jennifer Hudson’s family since their losses.  It isn’t a matter of being cruel so much as it is a matter of asking why this is what everyone wants to hear and read about.  The stories on the performer’s family have painted the covers and centerfolds of newspapers since Saturday morning and while this is certainly newsworthy and a tragedy for the family, it’s obvious that it would not be so publicized if it weren’t the family of a celebrity.  I realize I’m stating the incredibly obvious but this fact began to bother me deeper than the surface.  One woman quoted in the Red Eye said “I’m a person wh has compassion for human life… I just wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t come to pay my respects.”  Of course this woman was saddened by what happened and those are genuine words, but these things happen every single day throughout the city.  I would like to think most of us do have compassion for human life, yet not one of us goes to pay tribute to every life that’s taken each day.  That same issue of the Red Eye had a small blurb about an 18-year-old woman who was shot and killed in Englewood, the same neighborhood Ms. Hudson’s family lived.

    In talking about it, I just wondered if any of you think that this kind of coverage for our celebrity-obsessed lives is unavoidable?  Is there a certain line where the excess challenges how news outlets are actually covering the news that affects the community at large?

     
  • 08:52:56 pm on October 23, 2008 | 0 | # |

    It was after my third time entering 7/11 this week and selecting peanut butter M&M’s and a Diet Coke that I realized malnourishment is creeping up on me at an alarming rate. At the risk of commenting on what millions have already said, I really do think it’s a college thing (or at least let’s hope so). I look at my friends and we all have terrible eating habits beyond choosing unhealthy foods. I know two girls who are currently “challenging” themselves by eating 1,000 calories or less a day when the recommended daily intake for women is almost 2,000. Another friend recently asked, “Well, where do you want to eat? It needs to fill me up for the rest of the day.” That’s right, one meal a day and we wonder why we slug into a 10:10 class on the verge of physical meltdowns when most of the world has been up and functioning for hours.

    Daily staples... Premature Health Problems/Anti-Christ... Tomato, Tomahto

    Staples? Premature Health Problems/Anti-Christ? Tomato, Tomahto

    This doesn’t apply to everyone, of course. My roommate would put any follower of Dr. Atkins to shame with her eating habits and overall lifestyle… however, she’s one of the few 21-year-olds I know who merit that. The variables- mainly lack of money, time, and high consumption of AB products- are all playing against us. I’m not sure if the loss of the meal card or the elevated number of all-nighters in the past two years has caused the change, but even with all the tips out there, the unhealth kick many of us are on doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Perhaps not shopping for my meals at a convenient store that sells 64-ounce fountain drinks would be a baby step in the right direction.

     
  • 11:29:15 pm on October 21, 2008 | 1 | # |

    Everyone has taken their stabs at Sarah Palin and it has almost (almost) reached the point of being excessive and losing its initial zing. The Vice President hopeful agreed to take a stab at herself for a change by appearing on Saturday Night Live this past weekend. The performance was what any of us could have expected. Since campaigning is still going on, Palin could only go so far in her quips but even so the skits are worth watching. It’s not that Tina Fey or the skits have stopped amusing us, but the fact that the stings are everywhere is beginning to cause yawns. I couldn’t even enjoy my pizza bagel in peace today as a picture of Sarah Palin was staring me in the face the entire time.

    Even CBA off the Armitage stop is jumping on the bandwagon.

    Even CBA off the Armitage stop is jumping on the bandwagon.

    Yes, the jokes are still funny, but seeing this picture today only further reminded me that everything these candidates are saying is torn apart to exhaustion. It’s not the same as telling a bad story to our friends and it being forgotten in five minutes. Every mess up follows them, and of course that comes with the territory. But if the aim is to veer voters away from a certain candidate, it’s not working for me. All the redundant jokes make me veer towards is the desire for us to fastfoward fourteen days to November 4th.

     
  • 09:53:41 pm on October 16, 2008 | 0 | # |

    After a good deal of negative feedback, Chicago Reader writer and Senior Editor, Michael Miner shot back to his critics today. I should preface by saying that I don’t pick up the Reader very often and so perhaps this isn’t out of the ordinary for him. Miner used the article, “To Serve and Project”, to defend himself against two blog comments from last week and to clarify his position on his blog post. He had voiced his concern and disagreement with the Tribune’s decision to ask its readers thoughts on which presidential candidate they support and what they would say if they were writing an endorsement to one of the runners.

    Chicago Tribune- Getty Images

    Chicago Tribune- Getty Images

    Just as we talked about what kind of stories go into a paper and who is being marketed to, Miner’s article went on to criticize the Tribune for changing its content at the same time the paper was undergoing a face lift. In his opinion, a paper that once showed guts with what went to print has turned into an a giant interest piece to promote readership rather than show facts. While I’m sure conflicting views of a journalist’s job description have always existed, it seems that with citizen journalism and the growing number of people responding to blogs, the debate of what a reporter should focus on is growing larger. It’s not the most settling feeling as most of us are coming into journalism just as it’s being redefined, and our own views on what we think should be sent out for the public are going to be demanded before we commit to any publication.

     
  • 11:41:55 pm on October 14, 2008 | 7 | # |

    So everyone would love to get their picture on the cover of The Rolling Stone… even if that picture is a tad more compact than the 40 years of predecessors who have graced that cover. An article from the Chicago Tribune came out today about how the Rock Bible will be changing the size of the magazine to look more like other magazines while maintaining the same amount and content of information that has made the magazine an icon.

    What struck me about the article is the fact that it is newsworthy, even if it seems like such an arbitrary alteration. People will notice the change, and some may be initially saddened by it. Just as we have been talking about “noticing what you notice” and digging deeper into our observations, I thought that the response that this change has gotten and will get from the smaller size is interesting. The article notes the air of nostalgia that’s linked (usually unknowingly) to what we have come to accept as constant. Not completely relevant, but I started perusing the magazine’s website and came across the feature that shows every cover from the past 40 years and noticed that the format has changed in the past… something else that the article notes. It seems Rolling Stone can do no wrong for most fans, yet the change is still being talked about. I suppose we’ll all see the real reactions when the new size comes out Oct. 30th.

     
  • 08:08:47 pm on October 9, 2008 | 0 | # |

    With constant delays, re-routes and the smell of urine wafted towards your face everytime the doors open, the el is not everyone’s ideal mode of transportation. However, the train does have its redeeming qualities: Extra time to read before class, zone out with your ipod, zone out sans ipod. Probably the main draws to public transportation in Chicago are the affordable and convenience factors. But the CTA announced today that there would be yet another fare increase beginning January 1st. The fare increase for 2008 was realeased this same week last year by the CTA.

    It’s hard for me to complain now that we have our u-passes, which really are bargains. But many of us will be graduating in two years or less, and this is going to keep affecting us. The fare increase is still in the planning stages and was mapped out today in an article by the Tribune. Part of the reason there is a need to increase fares is because of students like us who get discounted rates, along with senior citizens. If it weren’t for our u-passes, our lifestyles would have to change drastically. For as many of us who live in Lincoln Park and Lakeview and the million other neighborhoods north of the Loop, getting to class would be that much more of a hassle. Maybe it’s not a huge dent in anyone’s wallet at the end of the day, but it does impact some and I wonder how much you all would be willing to pay before throwing the towel in on public transportation? I figure when your wallet is getting hit hard, that lingering smell of pee isn’t going to be as tolerable.

     
  • 11:45:56 pm on October 7, 2008 | 4 | # |

    Something about NASCAR has always triggered my gag reflexes.  Then I watched it.  I have to admit, it’s more of an enthrallment that I have developed with it than an actual interest in the sport itself.  Talladega was this past Sunday, and Tony Stewart ended his streak of 43 winless races with a much talked about victory.  The Subway (formerly Home Depot) sponsored driver won the 188-lap race in the final seconds as he pressured the less-experienced Reagan Smith below the yellow lines of the track.  Dipping below these lines may be allowed in other races, but is not a move allowed at Talladega or Daytona.  My favorite thing about the whole ordeal is that when Stewart was asked if he purposely pressured Smith below the lines, his response: “You’re damn right I did.”  American.

    I’m not poking fun at NASCAR in any way.  It is an intense and admirable sport in it’s own right.  But there’s something about having a crowd of 175,000 listening as a priest blesses the superspeedway and NASCAR that puts it in a class of it’s own.  Of course, it’s all a matter of what you grew up with.  The following article has more details about the yellow line rule: “In the Pits”

     
  • 06:35:03 pm on October 2, 2008 | 1 | # |

    The upset for the Cubs last night left a solemn face on Wrigleyville.  The neighborhood hardly turned into a ghost town, but the same air of confidence that was there post-clinch was missing.  I heard different sentiments during and after the game.  Some have already started the “well of course they choked… always do” comments, while the more optimistic fans looked like they were tossing up Hail Marys in their heads the whole night.  It was the first game though, and while I’m not about to slap the title of “sports connoisseur” on my forehead, I don’t think it’s time to start saying “there’s always next year.”  I don’t blame these defeated voices.  I have to give Cubs fans major props… the whole 100 years thing merits a tip of the hat to those who have stuck by this team.

    But for me, this whole season has been about the buzz that the Cubs’ successes have left on this city and I’d prefer to notice the things last night that won’t be around come (hopefully) the end of October.  I could see the DirectTV blimp from the Armitage el platform.  “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” could be heard from a friend’s rooftop.  Police officers were huddled on the corner of Sheffield and Waveland as if they were at a party as opposed to on the job.  Rather than speculate what will happen in tonight’s game against the Dodgers or the rest of the weekend,  let’s try to focus in on those parcels of camraderie that only sports can bring about and have brought about in this town.

     
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