Archive for April, 2010

Bizarro (4/30/10)

April 30, 2010

I’m lucky in that I haven’t had a lot of dental surgery. I had one cavity as a child and four cavities last year (apparently orange juice is bad for your teeth). Between those fillings, I had my wisdom teeth extracted; all five of them at once. At no time during any of those procedures was I offered helium. I was given either Novocaine or, in the case of my wisdom teeth, some sort of intravenous anesthesia. That’s a shame, since the prospect of nodding off to laughing gas seems downright pleasant, especially when the only alternative is getting poked with a needle.

In the Bleachers (4/29/10)

April 29, 2010

Say what you will about baseball, but America’s pastime does mirror the country in certain vital ways. The past 15 years, for example, saw recognizable maladies invade the game; trends like costlier tickets, an increased presence for large corporations, and a fascination with bratty millionaires took hold. But perhaps the most significant development of the bubble years was the growing number of Latino ballplayers. My hometown Chicago Cubs have three pitchers named Carlos (Silva, Zambrano, and Marmol, for the record) and it’s only a matter of time before all three of them appear in the same game. Nor is this trend confined to the field. When the Cubs sought to revive their sad-sack offense this past winter, to whom did they turn? A bilingual (and highly regarded) hitting coach, naturally.

Brenda Starr (4/28/10)

April 28, 2010

While the rest of the country gears up for the midterm elections in November, folks in Chicago are pondering the fate of one Richard M. Daley, the son of former political giant Richard J. Daley, and a six-term mayor in his own right. Will Daley run for a record seventh term early next year, when municipal elections are held? His multiple missteps (leasing the city’s parking meters to a company that jacked up prices; bidding for an Olympics that could have cost taxpayers billions; allowing train tracks to deteriorate to the point that massive, commute-clogging repairs were needed) suggest otherwise. But his habit of winning elections by ridiculously wide margins suggests another term is in the offing. To date, no prominent public figure has issued a challenge to Daley, so he could remain mayor by default.

Jump Start (4/27/10)

April 27, 2010

I’m no expert on comics coloring, but something seems awry in today’s Jump Start. The above strip, scanned from the pages of the Chicago Sun-Times, shows a black man talking to a white woman. (Or a light-skinned Latino woman, given that her name is Ruiz.) I clipped the strip because the way the woman was drawn in panel two made it look like she was wearing a mask. I thought that was a cool (if probably unintentional) effect. Then I went online and found the following version, in color:

It turned out the woman in the strip was dark-skinned, not light-skinned, which seemed to me to lessen the mask effect somewhat. (Generic masks are usually white, including many of those I saw on my recent trip to Venice.) But no biggie, I figured I would convert the image to grayscale and:

Okay, wait a minute. This image looks completely different from the one I saw in the newspaper. It appears that the woman’s face was lightened for publication, for reasons that escape me. Of course, the change in skin tone could be the result of human or mechanical error (although I’m not sure how that would be possible.) The whole thing seems pretty bizarre, but at least it resulted in a nifty Phantom of the Opera-type effect on the comics page.

Cathy (4/26/10)

April 26, 2010

My wife and I have been married for a little more than a month and, to date, our mothers have not pressured us to have children. A lot of other people have asked us when we plan to start a family (a reasonable question), but our mothers have managed to stay out of those conversations. That might be because we warned them not to expect grandchildren until we were both in our thirties. And what happens if we miss that deadline? There may be some subtle hints or guilt trips to be had, but I prefer to think that any complaints will be laid out in unmistakable terms, along the lines of today’s Cathy. At least that way, we can confront the issue head-on.

Daddy’s Home (4/25/10)

April 25, 2010

Every morning, I wake up and am faced with two options: I can either put on jogging attire and run around the neighborhood, or I can turn on my television and “exercise” using the Wii Fit. I chose the latter option only once and was completely dumbfounded by the jogging program, which prompted me to run in place while holding a controller. That’s not running. I’m not really sure what it is, other than awkward. When I run outside, I have a destination in mind and can feel my legs carrying me toward that destination. When I “run” using the Wii Fit, I stare at a caricature of myself on a television screen and try not to trip over my own feet.

The Duplex (4/24/10)

April 24, 2010

I spent the afternoon at the ballpark today, watching the Chicago White Sox play the Seattle Mariners. And even though I had great seats (courtesy of my wife’s employer), I still shivered through much of the game. Baseball in April can be downright nasty, especially in cold weather cities like Chicago. I can only imagine the conditions they have to put up with in Minnesota, where the Twins made the inexplicable decision to build an open-air stadium. The night games there must be absolutely brutal. At least the Milwaukee Brewers had the good sense to put a retractable roof over their new ballpark, lest the cold weather cut into sales of Miller Genuine Draft.