Thursday, April 22, 2004

Nicoll Highway Front Page

The folks in Singapore had a horrific disaster on their highway system a few days ago. One of their major traffic arteries collapsed, killing four men and postponing more work on their MRT (similar to the CTA system, but MUCH MUCH nicer) lines. Prime Minister Goh is working to get the damage repaired and to find out how this accident happened. From what I've read of him, he's the right Prime Minister for the job.

Singapore is one of those places I could consider as a second home. It's got the right weather, a great infrastructure (this mishap notwithstanding) and all the other comforts an American could enjoy if he were to live overseas. (I'll also mention that the food is excellent as well.) A lot of people in the rest of the world complain about the political situation there, but really it's not much different than what's here in Chicago. Singapore is better than you think. I'd encourage anyone who hasn't been outside the country to go there if they're looking for a beautiful tropical-yet-urban vacation spot where everyone speaks English.
Chicago Tribune | Report: Airport Screeners Perform Poorly -- Registration Required

In other news, water is still wet.

I'm still wondering how all these other folks got to be screeners. Maybe the TSA should have first tried recruiting veterans who were too old to get back into the military, but still sharp enough to screen baggage and willing to serve their country?

I certainly don't remember seeing anything like that in the ads for screeners.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Daily Egyptian : Pikes receive death penalty

It looks like one of the fraternities at SIUC have truly screwed the pooch. Hazing plus the death of a pledge during an initiation stunt has resulted in the permanent suspension of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. The Pikes have earned the dubious honor of being the first frat to be permanently banned from the university. The frat deserves no less of a fate. Will this change life at other fraternities and sororities? No, sadly, it won't. The boozing and hazing will continue. There will, however, be no room at the table for this fraternity.

The fraternity's representatives will most likely appeal this on the grounds that the punishment is too harsh, but when you consider that someone died as a result of fraternity-sponsored activity, the sentence seems fair. I can't say I was ever leery of the Pikes, and some of them seemed to be really decent guys after an incident where a psychotic roommate of mine tried to force his way into the frat. The latest actions of their brothers brings down the image of the Pikes as the top dogs on campus. A permanent ban of the frat is justified in this case. Sorry, guys, but when you screw up royally, your entire group goes down. Take it from someone who was a member of the biggest frat in the US (the Department of Defense). It only takes one "aw, shit" mishap to ruin a hundred "attaboy" reports. The Pikes have had their mishap, and now they're gonna pay for it.

Monday, April 12, 2004

SJ-R.COM - Toby McDaniel Column

Toby McDaniel's columns can either be really hard-hitting, or occasionally sentimental. Today's isn't bad, starting off with a find about the Leland hotel, where the horseshoe sandwich was first invented. It sold for $1.75 back in the days when you could get a good sirloin steak for $3.85. Not that I've ever seen that low of a price for a sirloin steak outside of Las Vegas, but it's nice to see another piece of Springfield culinary history in the news.
Illinois General Assembly - Bill Status for HB4075

Well, it's been passed over to the Senate now, and is currently in the Rules committee. I am very happy that Rep. Mathias voted for this bill, and hope that Sen. Jones will also look favorably upon this bill as well. The 53rd District looks like it's served quite well by these two men. Now let's see what they can wrangle to get this bill passed and sent to Gov. Blagojevich.
When I first moved here, Isaac and Gretchen were the first friends I'd made since getting out of college, and they made me part of their little band of merrymakers. Okay, so it's about 20-25 people, so it's not exactly a little band. Because of them, I've been able to go out and enjoy a lot more that the Chicago area has to offer. I've found a couple of really good sushi places and been able to get back into the gaming groove again. Gretchen and I have a lot in common, and a similar sense of humor. She's one of the few women I can hang out with and have a decent conversation about history. Isaac and I click like some kind of long-lost comedy team. We've left more than a few people doubled up from laughing so hard, but it's usually Gretchen who has to endure our horrible-yet-funny jokes.

Today is their first wedding anniversary. Congratulations, you two!

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Before it gets too late...

Happy Easter everyone.

I spent today with friends, and had a fine time just hanging out today. Well, other than the fact that my nose is running o beat the band.

I'm still looking for some more news stuff to work with, but just not today.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

St. Louis Cardinals : The Official Site

It's the day after Opening Day, and our beloved Cardinals have already dropped a game to the Milwaukee Brewers. This must be rectified immediately. I recommend a penance of getting into the playoffs.

I love baseball. Living near Chicago means that I am truly a stranger in a strange land. Here I am, a tried-and-true Cardinals fan, living among those strange creatures known as Chicago Cubs fans. Had it been fifteen or twenty years ago, I'd have gotten in many a schoolyard brawl defending the honor of the Redbirds. Now that I have a lot of friends who are Cubs fans, I realize that they're still great people to hang out with despite their misguided allegiance. Sitting back and having a beer or two while watching or listening to a game is a pleasure that has been denied to me since the playoffs. Now I have the rest of the spring and all of summer to enjoy the National Pastime.

The rivalry between St. Louis and Chicago is also a thing of beauty. It's not quite as vicious as the New York-Boston rivalry, nor is it as weird as the rivlaries between the Cubs and White Sox or the Mets and Yankees. It's one of the friendlier rivalries despite the frequent fistfights that can break out in Central Illinois between drunken fans. It's a great feeling for each side to be able to look at their rivals after a particularly humiliating loss and say "How 'bout them Cardinals, huh?" or "My oh my, YOUR Cubs are certainly fighting for last place this year, aren't they?" That's about as bad as it gets.

Though I doubt the Cubs fans would be as honorable to root for the Cardinals during the playoffs as we did for the Cubs.

And now, I run for cover.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Suburbs fear they could lose if gov gets more control of RTA

So, Ol' Blaggie wants the Regional Transportation Authority under his control? Considering that I don't mind using public transportation on a regular basis (this would assume that I actually had a job that was near a bus route that served my area, right now it's driving-access only) I don't like this proposal. Adding more control by Chicago could restructure it to the point where it becomes even more difficult to get from the burbs to the city. For example, if I want to take the train into Chicago on a weekend, I'd better drive to Mount Prospect. Why? Because the Wheeling line is only Monday-Friday. If I want to take the bus there and back, I have to walk about a mile to the nearest bus stop, and then hope that it runs more than once an hour. And I'd better not want to stay late in Chicago, because the buses won't run for long. There need to be a lot more bus routes out in the Northwest suburbs. It'd be a lot easier to get to work in winter without having to scrape off all the ice and snow from my car, that's for sure. Tipping the balance in Chicago's favor compared to the suburbs could be a very bad thing for areas serviced by PACE and Metra. We need better service out here, too.
Chicago Tribune | Blast Ends Madrid Suspect Hunt; 4 Dead -- Registration required.

All I can say is I wonder if the Spanish citizens are beginning to realize that electing a new administration that sought to mollify terrorists by pulling out of Iraq was a bad idea? Did they really think that distancing themselves from the United States was really going to give them some kind of magical shield against Islamic terrorist attacks? Well, you got what you wanted, but don't be surprised if terrorist groups decide to renege on their promise to leave you alone.