June 20th, 2005

flavored with age

It's a beautiful day to be an insurgent

The weather has been sustainedly gorgeous all weekend and into today, and here I am inside working like a sucker.

To spoil this lovely day, here's some politics:

Lileks suggests that people who are against torturing prisoners should be required to commit suicide if torturing prisoners yields information about a terror attack on their hometown. To make sure we know it's him and not some impostor, he frames this suggestion in a Star Trek analogy.

It turns out that in a place like Iraq, you can make the transition from dictatorship to democracy and hardly change anything at all.

To prove that Democrats don't have a lock on the absurd rhetoric, Town Hall's Rich Jacobs one-ups Dick Durbin's Guantanamo/Nazi analogy by using the words "communist", "gulag", "deadly", "invasive", "idiotic", "totalitarian", and "killer" to describe...Canada's health care system.
flavored with age

Seven come eleven, tastes like the boy's gym

Saturday night was the Tin Chef All-Stars 7-11 Challenge at the Rogers Park manse of rum_holiday and her husband. The challenge: prepare an attractive, delicious meal using only ingredients that could be purchased at their local 7-11 convenience store.

I'll let Andrea handle the recap of this one -- I don't wanna steal any of her thunder -- but aesthetically, it was a great success; even the largely inedible Oscar Mayer Pomme Tarte on a bed of hollered-out Hot Pocket was a pleasure to look at, if not to eat. The dessert, which was a Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper and half & half sherbet with hand-shaved chocolate Pop Rocks, was a success d'estime, causing us much joy even as it detonated our insides. And I am now among a tiny elite who can honestly say they have eaten a chicken chowder flavored with a Slim Jim reduction sauce.

Doug & Andrea are probably the most creative cooks I know. The fact that they managed to pull this off at all, let alone pull it off with Richard Fleihr, is proof.
flavored with age

Geeknotes

Okay, yes, this weekend featured beautiful weather. I slept, I wrote, I read, I cleaned, I ate, I hung out with friends, I tried and failed to install OSX Panther, I shopped, I talked to the old man, I got a very sweet and lovely phone call from my awesome girlfriend ninafarina and her Li'l' Duce on Father's Day.

But really, this weekend was all about the big popular junk movies. Behind the cut in case you don't feel like hearing yet more nerd-vaporings from your LJ friends list:

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flavored with age

WHAT ABOUT THE GODDAMN FUCKING CHILDREN

I'm usually on Mayor Daley's side, but he can go fuck himself on this issue.

This is yet another manifestation of gentrification to the exclusion of the huge chunks of the population who can't afford to (or don't want to) drink in a fancy restaurant, upscaling at the expense of character, lip-service about enterpreneurship that ends up screwing small businessmen, and family-friendliness that translates into adults who want to engage in adult behaviors having nothing to do and nowhere to do it. We're perfectly willing to let everyone in Lincoln Park drive a fucking SUV that gets 3 m.p.g., takes up two parking spaces, and irrevocably destroys the air, but we can't have taverns anymore because one of these delicate flowers might have to see someone puke outside of them. The whole crime-magnet aspect is particularly bogus; decriminalizing drugs and getting serious about guns would do a billion times more to cut down on crime than closing down neighborhood bars and liquor stores, but nobody's going to suggest that, because closing the bars is easier. And of course, you don't hear any of these people talking about restricting beer sales inside or around Wrigley Field, despite the fact that Wrigleyville on game day is one of the highest-crime areas in the city.

We've all known for years that these sorts of quality-of-life statutes, whether intentionally or otherwise, have the practical effect of homogenizing our neighborhoods, pricing out low-income and minority residents, and turning some of the oldest and best-loved parts of town into samey faux-suburbs. They also have the effect (of which da Mare is no doubt fully aware) of making the rich richer: restrictive noise regulations are generally used as a crowbar to force out places like Lounge Ax to be replaced by upscale chain stores; liquor laws are selectively enforced to close down neighborhood taverns and small restaurants to make way for corporate-backed eateries; and neighborhood associations are often formed for the express purpose of driving out a 'problem' resident so their property can be razed to build high-profit condos (see the unbelievably sordid saga of Betty's Resale Shop for a perfect example of this in action).

And of course, the complaints are always so reasonable: the noise, the smell, the clientele, the hygeine, the crime, the atmosphere, the children. But you know what? If you get rid of all the neighborhood bars and pubs and liquor stores, the city won't be perfect. It'll still be dirty and smelly and riddled with crime, because this is Chicago, and that's the way Chicago (or any big city) is. There'll still be noise and fumes and scumbags and filth and crime and places you can't take your kids. All you'll do is rob a bunch of small businessmen of their livelihood, impoverish the city's culture, and enrich a bunch of people who are already rich. The decent people who go to taverns will either have to drink at home (and the city gets a little less communal, a little less friendly, a little less human) or at the fancy restaurants with LLC after their names (and let's hope the decent people can afford it). The scumbags who congregate at such places will just go someplace else -- someplace maybe a little less private and a little less safe than a bar. Maybe the park, or the street corner, or the alley behind your house. Feel safer now, Tad and Trixie?

ETA: Note that both the pubs cited in the article, both the targets of complaints, are the farthest things in the universe from dingy shitholes peopled by crack whores and meth dealers: Kelly's Pub is in the ultra-upscale Southport retail corridor, and Glascott's (where I used to drink when I lived in Old Town) is in ultra-ultra-ultra-upscale Lincoln Park. When I went to Glascott's, it was always packed with people who made six-digit incomes; the local judges and aldermen drank there. If anything happened to them, they'd be replaced by Baby Gaps or Sharper Image stores. If they're targeting places like that, what chance does a REAL neighborhood bar have?