Tuesday, March 15, 2011



It's been nearly two years since I've updated this blog, so I think it's about time I did so. I'm going to start posting columns here that I've done for the SouthtownStar over the years, while preserving the old content you'll find below.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine

Years ago, before television numbed our minds with incessant celebrity news, stories were king. Stories were what entertained the masses. Movies were an extension of that.
For some of us, stories continue to rule. I'll take a good story, regardless of medium, over nearly any other kind of entertainment.
Sure, I also enjoy music, and try to see bands play live whenever possible. I also enjoy sitting on my patio, grilling up some food, having drinks with the family and listening to recorded music.
But when evening hours threaten to turn into morning ones, or when a long, busy day has given way to that wonderful resource known as "down time," stories are king.
Here's the best way to ingest stories: reading. And here's a good source for stories: Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine.
Disclaimer: I enjoy nerdy literature. Neal Stephenson and Neil Gaiman are two of my favorite writers.
No matter. Stories are stories, no matter what the source, and while I typically read novels, I keep an eye out for good short-form fiction. And Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine is usually the place I turn to for short stories.
Here's one reason I like short stories: They introduce me to new writers. I've read all the Stephenson and Gaiman that's out there (note: I'm now getting into Vernor Vinge).
I've just gotten my copy of the August/September issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, and I'm looking forward to reading a story in this issue by Bruce Sterling, a guy whose work I've never checked out. So I'm glad to have the chance. Nancy Springer is another auther who comes recommended, but whom I've never had a chance to read. So I'll do that.
Here's the opening line of a story by a guy I've never heard of: "I was there when the dragon first appeared - it ate the Eiffel Tower." It's a story called "The Art of the Dragon" by Sean McMullen. I think I'll start there.
You can too. Check them out at www.fandsf.com

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Cat food

This can of cat food is my...

Monday, May 04, 2009


Bad name for a bar, but at least you can hide from zombies there.

Seen in Chicago Heights

Sunday, April 05, 2009


Ditty Twister, live at Tavern in the woods


Friday, February 27, 2009


My fake album cover

I thought this turned out well.

To create your own album cover:

1 - Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random”
or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to "Random quotations"
or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use photoshop or similar to put it all together.

Monday, February 23, 2009


The cheap beer taste-off

At the first-ever Chicago Heights cheap beer rating event, eight people blindly tasted five beers and ranked them based on a scale of one to five, five being the best and one being the worst.
Here were the participating beers (in alphabetical order):
- Busch
- Corona (not cheap, but we decided to throw it into the fray because someone had brought some over)
- Miller High-Life
- Old Style
- Schlitz

It was fun and came up with some surprising results:

5 In Fifth Place:
Note: Funny thing is, a couple of the guys participating are regular Busch drinkers. During the blind test, both identified a different beer as Busch.

4 In Fourth Place:
Note: Surprising result for easily the most expensive beer in the contest, and only one that was poured from a bottle. Post-results speculation centered on the fact that Corona really relies upon a lime wedge for taste. Otherwise, it can't stand up to even the cheapest beers.

3 In third place:
Miller High Life
Note: This was surprisingly my highest rated beer. I'm not typically a fan of it, but in our blind taste test, it fared well.

2 In second place:
Old Style
Note: No longer "fully krausened," Old Style nonetheless outscored all other cheap beers but one...

1. And the winner is....
Note: The beer that made Milwaukee famous is back and better than ever, at least judging by the results of our blind test. A few of the guys tasting hadn't had Schlitz since the Malt Liquor days and were astounded when the results were revealed.

So there you have it. We may do it again and include Pabst, Old Milwaukee, Hamms and other cheap beers. For now, the reigning champ is SCHLITZ.

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