September 30th, 2010

Hitch-hiker's Guide

Sleeping With The Fishes

I've been considering going on a vacation to Florida sometime next year.  Ostensibly, part of the trip will be to visit Harry Potter World and visit my parents.  At the same time, though, I've never really had a vacation before.  Last time I had a vacation, I was a kid, and my family went to Green Bay.  Several family members from my mom's side were close by (which is always just Heaven on Earth).  We spent a significant amount of time at the Green Bay Packer Hall Of Fame.  At the time, they had an Atari 2600 wired to a big screen TV where you could play football.  Always a gaming geek, so I had some fun, but definitely not my first choice.

As I mentioned, I've never had a real vacation, certainly not one since I became a legal if not mental grown-up.  I would be relaxing, getting away from my job.  And I don't see the point of traveling 2K miles just to relax, I can do that up here and still be close to my stomping grounds and creature comforts.

Discussing this with my teacher, she was pretty ambivalent, but she thought my problem was simple.  I need something not only worth seeing, but worth going to see.  It's possible I'm in a sort of funk.  I have no idea what is at Harry Potter World, so I don't know if it would be better than Great America in my own backyard.  Then again, considering I haven't been there in a while, either, it's possible I need something more than a theme park to get my attention.  Nicole Bobek, a former Chicagoan who was a figure skater before things went really really wrong spends part of the year in Florida, but I believe that would be considered "stalking".  I'm a fan, but I don't want to creep her out.  Miami is home to the biggest ska scene in the US, but I think the rudies would take one look at me and think I was a poser or something else that screamed "not one of us."

So, what would be interesting?  That pic I posted of the bedroom?  That has to be a resort somewhere (you can sort of see a wall on the left, and the depth makes me think that, if it actually was the ocean, the tides would partially expose it).  Someone at work said it was Atlantis.  Well, that tells me it's already too expensive for me.  How about something closer to home, relatively cheaper?  Like... say... Jules' Undersea Lodge?

In Sound Waves #5 and 6, Rhapsody and Melody stumble across an undersea home where The Professor and his family live.  Jules' Undersea Lodge (yes, named for Jules Verne) is a former marine lab in the Emerald Lagoon, Key West, that's been repurposed into a hotel of sorts.  Access to the hotel proper requires you to be a certified diver, you swim to get there (which means I really need to get my ass in shape).  It's 30 feet under the ocean surface.  You're looking at about $550 a night.  No hotel offers THIS ocean view....

The only thing I can't figure out is how I would get pizza delivered.  But I might not care.  I can see myself at one of the benches in the background and just watching for hours.

Personally, I'm glad I don't have to clean the windows in these places.
Ben Stein for Prez

Politics Makes For Strange Bedfellows

It's the worst kept secret in Washington, which is really saying something.  The rumored plan is that, tomorrow, Obama will announce Emanuel's departure.  If Rahmbo isn't already here, he'll fly out this weekend.  He's already arranging a neighborhood "listening tour", to gauge his support in Chicago before his official declaration of candidacy.

That sound you hear is Mike Madigan blowing a gasket.

There was actually talk that Emanuel might not be able to run because of the city's residency requirement.  Anyone who really thought that would be an obstacle needs to retake Introductory Illinois Politics.  Focus on the chapter about how Alan Keyes was able to run for the Illinois Senate seat despite only living in Illinois for two months.  Use your highlighters, there will be a test.

Oh, this is going to be messy.  Fun, but messy.  Madigan and Emanuel don't get along.  If Emanuel becomes mayor, he's going to flip his shit.  You know, cloud, silver lining, all that....

The reason for Rahmbo's behavior is because money won't necessarily help him here.  He has a huge war chest of national funds.  Problem -- none is local, so he doesn't have a base in Chicago to get the word out.  First problem is this national angle.  Rahmbo is tied pretty close with Obama.  Election results indicate that isn't exactly a plus.  I think it's just anti-incumbent, not specifically anti-Obama.  EVERYBODY'S running scared right now.  I don't think the unions are a problem.  I used to be union, and the union did some pretty dippy shit politically (and they got pissed at me for telling people about the candidates, making some of them throw out their palm cards).  The big test, the one that will probably have the biggest impact on Emanuel's decision, is how does Alexi Giannoulias do in the polls.

Giannoulias is facing an uphill battle in the polls.  He worked for the family-owned Broadway Bank, which went belly up earlier this year.  Feb 14, 2006, it loaned $22.75 mil to Riverside District Development LLC.  One of the owners is Tony Rezko, Chicago's biggest fixer.  No D in Illinois gets anywhere without him being involved somehow.  (Giannoulias' opponent, Mark Kirk of the R's, is also playing fast and loose with the facts.  He told the Sun Times the family "took $70 million out of the bank before its collapse".  Uh, most of that went to pay taxes, dude.)

Campaign commercials for Giannoulias feature Obama making stump speeches about how wonderful he is and kind of push him to the background.  If he wins, it will be seen as proof that Obama is not a liability to candidates.  If he flops, Rahmbo will return to Washington.

An Emanuel campaign effectively kneecaps Guitierez's campaign.  Rahmbo moves too quickly, he was the head of Daley's Hispanic patronage army, so he likely has lots of favors he can call in to sew up the Hispanic block.  Tom Dart is Daley's friend, and while he doesn't get along with Madigan, Madigan has given his blessing.  Faced with a bigger pain in the ass gunning for the biggest city in Illinois, Madigan will start shifting resources towards Dart to try to beat this guy.

That takes care of the Hispanic and white tribes in Chicago, what about the blacks?  With Triple J (Jesse Jackson Jr.) officially a street pizza, Meeks is still looking like the front runner, despite some comical competition.  Roland "Tombstone" Burris wants to run.  Burris has an ego the size of Canada.  Oak Woods Cemetery has a tombstone monument for him, and it's huge.  It features the word "trailblazer".  Burris likely chiseled it there himself.  Never mind that he ran for mayor back in 1995 and only got 36 percent of the vote, and that was before he became the flak catcher for Illinois D's in Congress.  Also talking is Carol Mosley Braun.  Braun was once famously described by Aaron Freeman as "the first politician to destroy their career without making any money".  Braun has a LOT of baggage, and if she makes it to the run-off, she's gonna get spanked.  The question is, can the black tribe have enough support to lift Meeks to the run-off?  Remember, getting people keyed up about politics is one thing.  Getting them to actually go to the voting booths is a whole other problem.