Sunday, December 31, 2006

Rue des Martyrs at night


rue des martyrs night 2, originally uploaded by sindlinger.

Also from the 29th, as we made our way to dinner at an Indian restaurant in the Saint Georges area of the 9th arrondissement. This view is uphill, toward Montmartre. The white dome on the horizon is Sacre Coeur.

View of the Eiffel Tower from
Avenue de New York

This is from the 29th, when we walked from the Eiffel Tower over to the Palais de Tokyo, which is across the river and a bit east of the tower. Hadn't seen it from this angle before, and we caught it during one of its illuminated times (every hour, I think; maybe every 1/2 hour). Red lights behind Judy are cars passing by during the shot.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Just another Thursday dinner at a Senegalese joint in the 11tharrondissement


ile de goree 2, originally uploaded by sindlinger.

Deciding to try something new, we headed out to the 11th arrondissement to see what we'd find and try something different. Good news - we did indeed try something different.
Other news - it wasn't terrific.

We must have passed 10 - 15 restaurants as we walked around Rue Oberkampf and Rue Jean Pierre Timbaud. Many of them looked nice [even nicer on the walk back to the Menilmontant metro stop after our dinner at Ile de Goree]. But we didn't stop at any of them. While I couldn't translate the entirety of menus posted in the windows, I could pick up that they had duck [canard], foie gras, rabbit [lapin], etc., and pretty much assumed it wasn't going to be right for us.
When we stopped to check the menu of Ile de Goree, the manager/owner appeared on the other side of the window, wiping away the condensation that somewhat obstructed our view. And he did this with a big welcoming smile, and we were suckered in.
They had little english, I had little french, but we managed to order. Judy liked her shrimp [surprise], my beef and potatoes dish was alright, and the wine was fine. Not terrible, but definitely not the best way we could have spent the money.


'Learn something new' sidenote: The Ile de Goree is just off the coast of Senegal, quite near Dakar.

What we snagged at the side alley shop


morroccan candle altar 3, originally uploaded by sindlinger.

Most of what was in the store was either too big and crazy to even try to bring back [see around Judy here], or just random and useless. But this thing struck us as cool and worth trying to lug home. According to the shopkeeper, it's a "pre 1960" Islamic home altar to which Muslims can pray. Well, we certainly would have different intent for it in our house, and we were assurred that all of these pieces are cleansed before they are sold/transferred [seemed like this guy buys estate lots or something]. Rationale for the cleansing, which is done by leaving it out in the sun [again, according to the shopkeeper] is because people don't want any vibes - good or bad - to move from house to house. So even if the new owner was going to use the piece for the same purpose, it would be cleansed before being transferred. I want to believe him, so I do believe him. Hopefully it won't turn out to be any kind of bad mojo, a la the Brady Bunch / Tabu deal.

Spotted a shop down side alley


shop down side alley, originally uploaded by sindlinger.

Another relatively low key day here. After breakfast at the apartment and a semi disappointing visit to Maison Europeene de la Photographie where the most interesting stuff to me was a series by Eva Frapiccini, we walked toward Les Halles. On our way we spotted this sign, which was tucked within a side alley within an alley [see the view from inside this alley]. Although you can't really tell by looking at this shot, it was strangely similar to the entry of the place where we picked some cool things up in San Telmo, so we were sucked in.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Best Thai food we've ever had

The restaurant across the street, Sourire de Saigon, was truly the best Thai food we've ever had. Spicy. But not aggressively out-to-kick-your-ass spicy. Fresh. Innovative presentation without just trying to be crazy avante garde for the hell of it. And a 1999 bordeaux for like $35, which was really good.

For dessert the hostess/manager recommended their ice cream, which as Berthillon - she claimed it was the best in France, and based upon what we had, we wouldn't argue. Good stuff.

(Later note/correction: The restaurant, and the food, were of course 'Vietnamienne', not Thai. So it would therefore be the best Vietnamese food we've ever had, and better than any Thai food we've ever had, but technically not the best Thai food we've ever had. My apologies for the confusion.)

Holiday street scene in Montmartre


street scene in montmartre, originally uploaded by sindlinger.

This kind of thing is what absorbed most of our waking time yesterday [12/27].

Late start and a mostly lazy day


side street in montmartre, originally uploaded by sindlinger.

Pretty much an entirely nocturnal day, as we left the apartment around 5pm today. Catching up on some rest after all the walking around. Walked up the hill to Place du Terte [the main tourist square in Montmartre] then down the hill toward the neighborhood where we've stayed previously. Took a few pictures, stopped in a few shops, etc. Just relaxing for the most part.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ice skating at Hotel de Ville


hotel de ville 4, originally uploaded by sindlinger.

Not especially clear, but all those people in front of the building are skating.

Hotel de Ville


hotel de ville 12, originally uploaded by sindlinger.

Hotel de Ville, aka Paris City Hall, at night. Next post will show [kind of] the ice skating rink that is set up in front of it.

Nigeria advertising its 'brand' and 'values'

Up until a couple of weeks ago I'd have never really thought twice about the kind of nonsense advertisement I just saw on CNN International for the Heart of Africa. I'd have just dismissed it as more fluff and wasted media money by some deluded and misguided government. But after reading and commenting upon a recent NYTimes article, I had to check out a bit of what they were advertising.
The 'Heart of Africa' site is not much more than an embarrassingly amateurish propaganda effort developed by this half-ass consulting outfit who apparently really feel they are good with the diagrams [see here and here].
For what it's worth, I also found this official press release on the same sex relationship ban within the The Official Information Gateway of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which trades links with the 'Heart of Africa' site.
Net: they are simultaneously trumpeting their ass-backwards views on same sex relationships and their self-annointed status as the 'Heart of Africa'. Any companies doing business with this poor imitation of a modern civilization should be embarrassed.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The living room


P1010217, originally uploaded by sindlinger.

And this is the living room, from which we can see those two restaurants in the previous entries. Exciting.

View, other direction


P1010229, originally uploaded by sindlinger.

This is the view from the living room in the other direction. Restaurant in view is Sourire de Saigon, which I think might be something like Saigon's Smile. Looks good, we'll probably try it before we split.

View from our apartment


P1010226, originally uploaded by sindlinger.

Just a shot off to the right out our living room window. Restaurant is Le Coin Des Amis [roughly, Friends' Corner', I believe]. Haven't tried it yet.

Christmas dinner in


P1010211, originally uploaded by sindlinger.


While there definitely were plenty of restaurants open - Japanese ones, in particular, were all open - we opted for dinner in. Grabbed some pasta, prosciutto and vegetables from a market down the street, along with a bottle of totally non-descript bordeaux. The one bonus was dessert - we picked up what I think officially qualifies as a yule log [clarifcation: this is someone else's yule log, standing in as a proxy for ours, which we dug into right away without bothering to photograph ... maybe next time].

The woman at the boulangerie/patisserie was friendly enough, which I appreciated - bearing with my minimal/non-existent french-speaking capabilities. I think I've landed on a decent new approach for getting by in shops without any real french. It goes like this:

's'il vous plait ... parlez vous anglais?' 4 out of 5 times this will prompt either a 'oui' or even an 'of course', in which case we're off and running. However, a few times I've gotten an unsure 'c'est depends' or 'un petit peu', in which case I follow with what I hope to be a disarming, empathy-eliciting 'je vais essayer en francais, mais je ne parle bien' ... then I just really start pointing ... je voudrais cette ... et aussi cette, etc. Anyway, the woman seemed to give me the credit for giving it a shot and adopted the demeanor of someone who is ready to deal with a 'slow' person - think the scene from Can't Buy Me Love where the girls at the dance see Patrick Dempsey doing the African Anteater dance, and declare "aww, he must be in special ed".
Also, I suppose the fact that we're getting ready to spend money doesn't hurt either.

Christmas stroll in Le Marais


P1010201, originally uploaded by sindlinger.

While there weren't as many stores open as I thought there would be, Le Marais did seem to have more activity going on than our neighborhood [Montmartre], and everyone apparently was looking to eat. Every time we stopped to check for a table in a cafe or restaurant, they were all jammed - so we carried on.
This shot here catches our call home. I was actually just aiming for the blue door in the background, but Judy kept wandering into my shot.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Paris photos - work in progress

Thus far I'm doing zero filtering, so many redundant shots, out of focus shots, etc. But for what it's worth, here's a real-time evolving photo album of our trip.

Another plaza shot


la place du terte [sp?], originally uploaded by sindlinger.

Two years ago we stepped into this restaurant for a moment. Actually sat down and had menus, I think, but bailed and went to La Mere Catherine instead. Great call. This place felt kind of like a hybrid rest stop/beer garden ... not that there's anything wrong with that.

View of Plaza where La Mere Catherine is


la place du terte [sp?] 4, originally uploaded by sindlinger.

One of a few shots I'll post here.

Christmas Eve dinner at La Mere Catherine


la mere catherine, originally uploaded by sindlinger.


Judy and I had dinner here two years ago on Christmas Eve and decided we'd come back this time, too. Got here a little earlier this year [around 10pm vs after 11 last time]. Recognized at least one waitress from previous visit. Think the piano player and chanteuse were the same as well.
Sat in a back room and it was pretty full - with most tables full of French-speaking guests, which was kind of surprising as I had expected a greater tourist ratio. Feels a little bit similar to maybe Cheers [aka Bull & Finch] in Boston used to feel, or how Butch McGuire's in Chicago can feel - definitely draws some tourists, but also has a strong contingent of locals.
Could be the location, the time, or any other intangible variable, but the ravioli au fromage and la soupe a l'oignon are amazing. Also tried a dish called millefeuilles de chevre [sp?], or tomatoes with goat cheese mousse - really, really good.
Ordered a modest bottle of Bordeaux, then noticed virtually every other table had a Beaujolais - note to self: mimic the locals, as they surely know better than I do. But then, the Bordeaux was fine.

Jim Ed Rice -
"Slugger and a Hitter"

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Overall solid articlefrom Nick Cafardo in the Globe.

Including this nice nugget, courtesy of the Rem Dog:

"What Remy likes to point out is Rice was not only a slugger, he was a hitter. Rice is the only player in history with 35 or more homers and 200 or more hits in three consecutive seasons. He's one of 31 players with more than 350 homers and a .290-plus career batting average."

Even his criminal offenses were funky -
James Brown, legend, dies

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Found this article while heading to check out sports news. Sad day for America. Two quotes in particular struck me:

(1) "James presented obviously the best grooves," rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy once told The Associated Press. "To this day, there has been no one near as funky. No one's coming even close."

(2) In September 1988, Brown, high on PCP and carrying a shotgun, entered an insurance seminar next to his Augusta office. Police said he asked seminar participants if they were using his private restroom.

They have to be related. It's the curse of genius. If you are going to have the kind of brilliance he had to create the music he created, you are also likely to have the occasional misunderstandings with insurance seminar attendees.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Holiday Pickle

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I don't even know what to say here. This ad ran in Time Out Chicago, promoting an exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry.
Needless to say, the ad stopped me in my tracks. It even prompted me to consider checking out the exhibit.
I think this would make a great ad lib template:
It's just not _______ until someone ______s the pickle.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

How can anyone take Nigeria seriously?

I found the below article in the New York Times last Tuesday. The circumstances of being on a plane and having the hotel provide me with a copy of the paper that morning were unique. Ordinarily I don't read newspapers. I definitely don't skim through every page of a newspaper [this 'world brief' blurb was buried on page 32 or something]. And I'm not a hawk for human rights stories or the domestic policies of African nations. But this story caught my attention and stuck with me.

World Briefing | Africa
Nigeria: Bill Would Make Meeting With Gays a Crime
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: December 12, 2006
Lawmakers are debating a bill that would ban any form of association with a homosexual, even sharing a meal at a restaurant. The legislation would also prohibit belonging to gay clubs or reading books, watching films or visiting Internet sites that “promote” homosexuality, and proposes penalties of up to five years in prison. It is widely expected to pass. Engaging in homosexual acts is already illegal, with those convicted facing prison terms in the mainly Christian south and execution in the mainly Muslim north. Gays are so closeted and fearful there has been no public opposition to the legislation.
*end article*

Now I watched the West Wing and intellectually admired the storylines about gender inequality in some Muslim nations, but never thought much beyond the abstract notion of it. And you hear about various governments being less open and free than ours. But all governments have warts, all systems are impefect [e.g., 2000 election anyone?]. So, to some extent, it can be difficult to get charged up about degrees of freedom in a country's political process. I tend to blow these things off as inevitable.
But reading something like this Nigerian law that "is widely expected to pass" --- that is just so completely backwardit amazes me. How can anyone take such a country seriously? Where is the global disdain for this kind of thing, as there was for South Africa's apartheid? I'm sure it's not the worst governmental offence in the world, and I imagine that there's little I can do to effect any evolution in such assinine thinking, but it was enough to make me wonder what can be done. Are there groups that pay attention to companies that profit from dealing with countries like this? How/where can I get a list of them? How can people let those companies know that they should be embarrassed to deal with a country that has pre-caveman notions of what's 'right' and 'wrong' in society? In a world where Darfur has to advertise to get help and issues covered in big budget movies with all-star casts won't make people think twice about buying more diamonds, I hold little hope for stirring outrage for Nigeria's current laws against 'promoting' homosexuality or 'associating' with homosexuals. Just had to post my little rant and tilt at this windmill for a moment.
Links:
Wikipedia entry on gay rights in Nigeria.
BBC article on this issue.
Amnesty International's coverage on Nigeria

A plea:
Mr./Mrs. Fingers of Flying Fury -
please chill out

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
An open letter to anyone attending a conference anywhere who intends to take running notes with his/her laptop:

Please, please learn how to type with a modicum of respect for your fellow conference goers. I, too, appreciate the convenience and efficiency of taking notes via laptop rather than with pen and paper, so I recognize and understand your motivation. I may even admire your passion for the presented material that so moves you to zealously capture all your thoughts immediately ['Can't wait to share this with the team! This has Implications for us.']. However, can you freaking learn how to type with moderation so that anyone sitting within 20 feet of you doesn't feel like he just walked into an 80's era arcade full of hopped-up teenagers competing in a Defender tournament? Why must you pound your keyboard so vigorously? You're not urgently trying to get yourself into hyperspace, you're taking notes. Chill.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

You're killing me. Seriously.

Mustache update

On day 11 of facial hair growth, I shaved the goatee crutch down to a true mustache for about 3 hours of public ridicule. Will post pictures once I have them. The unveiling occurred at Butch McGuire's Tavern on Division. Fortunately, this bar is usually a bit of circus anyway, so it's not a bad place to roll in with a stache, as you can find other people's antics provide some cover. This afternoon, for example, there were girls from Yahoo getting a little racy with a blow up doll that had been Santa-ized.

Note: This post was edited on 5/30/07 because I was getting 30+ referrals per day related to the 'blow up doll' reference, so I unlinked from the image I had found back in December.

You Should Check Out Current TV

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I've grazed a bit of Current TV in the past and been intrigued, but recently have been watching blocks of it at a time and am deeming it worthy of my viewing effort. However, I primarily watch it 'time shifted' via TiVo. I find it can be frustrating trying to watch live, b/c it is truly random and you can get caught with the occasional crap pod or a re-airing of something you've already seen.
If you haven't heard anything about it, I'd describe it as an amalgamation of MTV News, NPR/BBC, and Punk'd/The Tom Green Show - and it shifts deftly between these poles from pod to pod. Some of the content might be a bit earnest for many people's liking [if so, by all means flip the channel back to your According to Jim rerun]. And I'll grant that a few feel like the self-indulgent senior project of affluent-but-serious Sally the communications major. But the variety of topics they cover and the on-the-ground-level style in which they cover them are a refreshing break from the absolute garbage you find on many other channels. The range of clips moves from the National Italian Greyhound dog show to an Egyptian-American's take on Wuhan, China [sidenote stat: China has more than 150+ cities with pop. >1MM; US has 8], to the art of Kehinde Wiley [another sidenote: his art is kind of gimmicky, but it's an interesting gimmick, so give him credit for that]. So, if you've had enough of crap like this, this or this, look for Current on your cable lineup. Better yet, TiVo a couple hours at a clip and see what you think. Learn something. Think.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Brilliant view

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I've been in Chicago for 9+ years now and last night was the first time I made it to the campus of the Adler Planetarium. I see the city's skyline in some form or another every day - driving along LSD to/from work; from office windows facing all directions at 35 West Wacker [building in the middle], flying into O'Hare, etc. But the view from the Adler was pretty amazing. See a full size version of the thumbnail above here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Bringing sexy back, mustache style - Day 1



Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


So, due to a combination of my personal incompetence and a string of unlikely circumstances, I now must grow a mustache for ~2 weeks. Today is day 1 of not shaving.
Note: This has been edited to remove a link to a mustache image b/c I was getting 40 visits a day from people looking for mustache images.



Additonal terms of this deal, which was part of our fantasy football league rules, include not being able to tell anyone why I'm growing a mustache [other than to say things along the lines of, 'because mustaches are cool'], and I cannot dodge work-related events. I plan on somewhat complying. My action plan is to grow a general beard for 2 - 5 days, which should take me into or through the weekend. In between I've got the CIMA holiday party tonight, which will be cool, seeing everyone in the Chicago interactive marketing community with a day's worth of unkempt facial growth. I also have the Leo Burnett / Starcom annual holiday party on Friday. So I'll then see everyone I work with on a daily basis, plus all the company mgmt, etc., with 2 days of ragged beard kickin'.


By Monday I'm hoping to have a semi-respectable goatee, which I'll use to guard what I'm expecting to still be a pretty weak stache, along the lines of what this guy is sportin'.:


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


This goatee will be just in time for a conference that I'll be attending, meeting a good number of industry peers for the first time. Cool. Also a small chance I'll be participating in a new business pitch with goatee.


Next hurdle is the Starcom / Miller holiday party on the 14th. Will probably maintain goatee through that event, then bring it down to a stache on the 15th, at a full 10 days of growth, and will keep it for as long as I can tolerate or until the rest of the league can gather to publicly, collectively witness my foolishness.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A nice lodge for your consideration

As part of a work-related trip to Seattle, I was able to stay at Willows Lodge. Nice joint. Not 100% sure how far we are from downtown, but it's decently located if you're interested in visiting the Microsoft campuses.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

You should be watching Saxondale

BBC America continues to deliver the goods.



Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


The folks who put the original The Office on the air, as well as Coupling,
The Kumars at No. 42
, Ed vs Spencer and, my personal favorite, Peep Show are now airing Saxondale.


It's genius. The Mustang. The Tull-like [possibly actuall Tull, I can't say I'm fluent enough to confirm or deny] intro music. The jean jacket with faux lamb's wool collar. Brilliant, all of it.

What the hell is wrong with NBC5 Chicago?

I know that taking shots at local news is easy. And it's fair to say that if you're watching local news, you get the content you deserve. That said, I can't resist asking what the hell the producers of NBC5 Chicago's 10 o'clock news were thinking last night. First, does no one there believe that somber stories should be covered with a little dignity? They had Marion Brooks reporting on a murder while wearing a pimp hat.


[Note: I couldn't find an image of Marion sporting the pimp hat in question, but I can show you Marion Brooks and a reasonable facsimile of the pimp hat she had on.]



Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting



Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
.




Really? Is it appropriate to dress like you're joining the Road Rules / Real World crew at Hogs & Honeys as soon as you close up shop on this little murder story? Am I the only one who is amazed at how tacky and disrespectful that is? Unbelievable.


Next, is anyone paying any attention to story sequence just in case things are shaking out so that your anchor has to make a ridiculous segue, like say moving from this story about a missing college student for whom the Chicago police are searching the bed of the Chicago river, to this story about a lost parrot. Seriously. A lost parrot. No disrespect to the family who lost their pet bird. I'm sure that isn't easy. But seriously, is it on par with a story where the city is mobilizing dive teams to recover someone's missing and possibly deceased son?
I know the bar is low and my expectations should be lower, yet I still found myself stunned at how moronic that 3 minute sequence was. Congratulations, NBC5, you've outdone yourself.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Beware ParisAttitude.com

Anyone looking for a short-term apartment rental in Paris should beware of the 'customer service' provided by ParisAttitude.com. Below is the full email exchange I had with one of their representatives, so you can judge for yourself how useful they might be for you. But net for me was I took my business to another agency [Lodgis] where my questions and needs were handled much more professionally.

Email 1, received upon submitting an inquiry through the Paris Attitude website

From: Charles de La Ferrière

Dear art SINDLINGER
Thank you for your request and your interest in Paris Attitude. You have selected apartment reference numbers : 1288, 1681, 1448, 701. I am glad to inform you all of these apartments are available for your dates from 24-dec-2006 to 01-jan-2007.

Here is the information about apartment reference number : 1288
The total price for 8 nights is 891 Euros including the agency fee. There is also a refundable security deposit of 685 Euros that you get back at the end of your stay. You will find a detailed description with the pictures of the apartment, either in the attachment or on this link

Related to apartment ; 1681
The total price for 8 nights is 891 Euros including the agency fee. There is also a refundable security deposit of 685 Euros that you get back at the end of your stay. You will find a detailed description with the pictures of the apartment, either in the attachment or on this link

The information regarding apartment ; 1448
The total price for 8 nights is 891 Euros including the agency fee. There is also a refundable security deposit of 685 Euros that you get back at the end of your stay. You will find a detailed description with the pictures of the apartment, either in the attachment or on this link

And the apartment ; 701
The total price for 8 nights is 862 Euros including the agency fee. There is also a refundable security deposit of 663 Euros that you get back at the end of your stay. You will find a detailed description with the pictures of the apartment, either in the attachment or on this link

Please, let me know as soon as possible, if you want to reserve one of these apartments. I will then e-mail you the necessary documents to book it in your name.
I hope to hear from you soon.
Sincerely,

Charles De la FERRIERE.
Paris Attitude
6 rue du Sentier
75002 Paris
Tel : +33 (0)1 42 96 80 45
Fax : +33 (0) 1 42 96 27 86

My same day reply:

Thank you very much for your quick reply. I am glad to hear that these are available. I will review the options with my wife and I intend to confirm one of them with you asap.
Best Regards,
Art

My same day follow up [to which I never received a response]:

Hello again -
I believe we are narrowing down our selection to either 1681 or 701. Can you please confirm if 701 has a TV? I do not see it on the description or in the photos, but would like to double check that before I make my final selection.
Thank you very much for your help.
Best,-
Art

My subsequent request to move ahead with a specific property:

Mr. de La Ferriere:
I have spoken with my wife and we would like to take the next steps toward reserving 1681. Please advise what else you need from us to place this reservation.
Thank you again,
-Art

Mr de La Ferriere's next day response:

Dear Mr Sindlinger,
I just had the owner on the phone and the apartement is available. However there is a majoration of 30% because of christmas period. Therefore the price including the agency fee for 8 days is 1183€. Are you still interested.?
Regards,
Charles de La Ferriere.

My response to the news of this 'majoration' [to which I never received a reply]:

Mr. de La Ferriere,

Thank you for the update. That is a pretty substantial increase. I think I would rather explore some other options. I will continue checking your site for alternatives, but please let me know if the owner of 1681 changes his or her mind regarding the majoration, because we would still be interested at the original rate that was quoted [891 Euros].

Best,-Art

My next day request for more information on other properties listed on their website [to which I did not receive a reply]:

Mr. de La Ferriere -

May I inquire about a few other apartment options? I have reviewed more of your listings and found some alternatives. Could you please advise if they are available and, if they are, what the rental price would be for our desired dates [arrive 24-Dec, depart 1-Jan].
The listing numbers are:
894
1586
1682
1514
1479
1683
We are still very interested in securing an apartment through your service and greatly appreciate your assistance in helping us find a place for our holiday. My wife and I were engaged in Paris and will be celebrating an anniversary with this trip.

Thank you again.
Best,
Art

Random comment of the day

"I'm going to need you to help me with that fruit."

Burrito joint recos from people who care

Useful discussion on Chicago burrito joints - one of the most immediately noticeable and welcomed things about moving to Chicago ~10 years ago. You don't have 24-hr burrito joints on every corner in Boston or DC, at least not while I was there.

SomaFM

Found this through the iTunes radio lists. Worthy eneavor, throw them some dollars.

SomaFM independent internet radio

Glimmer of hope for US politics?

I don't know anything about his politics, but I heard about Pete Ashdown on Wired's Listening Post podcast and his approach gave me at least some brief moment of hope for democracy in the US. His campaign platform is collaborative, wiki style. His calendar is published publicly for anyone to see. This could be a superficial gimmick that I'm locking onto without doing my own due diligence to confirm, but even if that's what it takes to get this kind of idea out in the public, I'll accept that. Here's hoping it's just the start of a trend and that the 'constructive optimism' streak that the Millennial generation is alleged to have in spades really begins to manifest itself in ways such as this.