(Im)possible Chicagos is a series of hallucinatory joyrides through one hundred and twenty five asynchronous Chicagos.

Alexander Trevi‘s first joyride through (Im)possible Chicago traversed Acer Necropolis.

Trevi recently completed his nineteenth, wherein:

At night when you’re out driving, you can tell which neighborhood you’re in by the light of the streetlamps, because each ward basks in its own different hue. For instance, if the streets are all aglow in azurite, you’re definitely joy riding around Marquette Park.

Zoning codes require that windows are tinted according to the neighborhood’s chromatic identity, so no matter how the interiors are lighted, houses, skyscrapers and 7-Elevens do not give off wayward wavelengths.

Even your car lights beam out the same color. But when you cross over into another ward, they instantaneously switch filter to match that ward’s assigned spectrum.

(Im)possible Chicago #19

headline of the day, II

FDA warns of strangulation with massage machine

“They are tearing out part of the heart of Buenos Aires”

The interior of the historic Cafe Richmond was gutted a couple of weeks ago; a spot once frequented by Jorge Luis Borges and Graham Greene may be replaced by a Nike Store.

The plight of the Richmond has dominated local media since the cafe’s insides were gutted last Monday morning. Apparently to ensure it could not be returned to its former splendour even if the local government rules against the Nike shop, the Richmond was emptied of its historical interior, right down to its grandiosely comfortable Chesterfield wingback leather armchairs, in a 3am raid. The movers took the precaution of pulling down the security camera on the front of the building first.

“It’s against the law,” said Monica Capano of the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission. “The Richmond is one of the city’s emblematic landmarks.”

For a personal view: Oh, no: La Richmond by my friend Charlie.

the birth of a nation, part two

We have this horrible contemporary phenomenon in the Tea Party – a real menace not only to America but to the world. Because if it goes on like this, they will destroy our economy and they will destroy America. They have no democratic vision, and I don’t mean with a capital “D”, I mean with a small “d”. They frighten me. They’re like the early followers of Adolf Hitler, and I’m willing to be quoted on that. They are a sickening phenomenon. That is because they have not read deeply and widely enough. But then maybe they’re not to blame, because American education – even in elite universities – has become a scandal in my opinion. It has committed suicide.

Harold Bloom on the state of American democracy.

Previously, on clusterflock.

the birth of a nation

The majority of Republicans in the United States do not believe the theory of evolution is true and do not believe that humans evolved over millions of years from less advanced forms of life. This suggests that when three Republican presidential candidates at a May debate stated they did not believe in evolution, they were generally in sync with the bulk of the rank-and-file Republicans whose nomination they are seeking to obtain.

I don’t see how this isn’t a fundamental problem for the future of American democracy.

(via @fivethirtyeight)

quote out of context

While many of the Spears generation remained sans pubic hair (but with jobs), the younger generation was, arguably, the first generation in history to have more pubic hair than their predecessors.

headline of the day

NM Mayor: I Was Quite Drunk When I Signed Those $1 Million Contracts

quote out of context

The tension, as I see it, is that if free will is a myth then it’s not clear why we should have an ethical goal of changing people as little as possible.

Don’t Forget the Motor City Lawndale

I was looking at pictures of Detroit (from my Flickr friend Jan Normandale and from the archives of the Reuther Library at Wayne State University), and now I have to stop looking for a while.

I’ve visited Detroit a couple of times, and in truth there’s a lot I like about it, but I can’t think about it anymore. This afternoon I’m recollecting a blisteringly hot afternoon in Chicago, late July, when I thought to avoid the expressway and take a parallel route down Roosevelt Road to where I was going.
Read more

It Gets Even Worse

From a recent NYT editorial:

If you thought the do-it-yourself anti-immigrant schemes couldn’t get any more repellent, you were wrong. New laws in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina are following — and in some ways outdoing — Arizona’s attempt to engineer the mass expulsion of the undocumented, no matter the damage to the Constitution, public safety, local economies and immigrant families.

The laws vary in their details but share a common strategy: to make it impossible for people without papers to live without fear.

Las Reinas Chulas: “Que Suave Patria”

Please don’t turn aside take a look even if no hablas español (not even dumbass texan spanish).

¡Las Reinas Chulas reglan!

Dozens of plastic foam heads rain onto the stage. Four drug traffickers in fringed jackets and sparkly pink cowboy hats bat them into the audience with toy AK-47s. All the while, the cast croons, “Let them slit our throats, let them pack us up . . . let them not ask any questions, let them not investigate.”

This is cabaret, Mexico style. Las Reinas Chulas, or the Beautiful Queens, parody drug violence in a show the women first produced in 2005 and that still fills nightclubs around Mexico, including a performance in the tourist town of Taxco this weekend.

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“Oh, go fuck yourself”

That such brutal language as “You cock-sucking son of a bitch!” “You prick-eating bastard!” “You cunt-lapping dog!” “Kiss my ass, you son of a bitch!” “A dog must have fucked your mother when she made you!” “I fucked your mother, you sister, your wife!” “I’ll make you suck my ass!” “You cock-sucker!” and many other revolting terms are used by a limited number of players to intimidate umpires and opposing players, and are promiscuously used upon the ball field, is vouched for by the almost unanimous assertion of those invited to speak, and who are competent to speak from personal knowledge. Whether it be the language quoted above, or some other indecent and infamous invention of depravity, the League is pledged to remove it from the ball field, whether it necessitates the removal of the offender for a day or for all time. Any indecent or obscene word, sentence, or expression, unfit for print or the human ear, whether mentioned in these instructions or not, is contemplated under the law and within its intent and meaning, and will be dealt with without fear or favor when the fact is established by conclusive proof.

This may or may not be an actual memo sent to Major League Baseball players in 1898 as part of a campaign to eradicate foul language from the game, but who gives a fuck, you worthless ball licker?

(via the browser)

“I think my heart is more open to all interactions with other people,” one volunteer reported

Researchers at John Hopkins University School of Medicine have been studying the effects of psilocybin, a chemical found in some psychedelic mushrooms, that’s credited with inducing transcendental states. Now, they say, they’ve zeroed in on the perfect dosage level to produce transformative mystical and spiritual experiences that offer long-lasting life-changing benefits, while carrying little risk of negative reactions.

Looks like this may finally be gaining traction.

headline of the day, IV

David Simon Agrees to Make Sixth Season of ‘The Wire’ If U.S. Agrees to End War on Drugs

What if the U.S.D.A subsidized gardens?

Roger Doiron of Kitchen Gardeners International, a Maine-based nonprofit, has put together this nifty graphic that shows the planting layout of the White House vegetable garden – which is more an ideal than a typical garden, but not uncommon in its choice of plants – and then re-imagines how it would look if it were to reflect the crops that the federal government supports. The change is pretty stark. The data is culled from the Environmental Working Group’s fantastic farm subsidy database.

This hits straight to the heart of the heartland.

Can(nes) of Worms

Lars von Trier made a monkey of himself this past week and no lie. Yeah yeah sure sure, he was indulging in low-key Scandihoovian humor. It just wasn’t funny. “Where’s my rubber chicken?”

But for the Cannes festival’s board of directors to issue the equivalent of a restraining order? C’mon, people. You just opened a can of wriggly worms.

Animated Fowl and (or in) Trousers

“You’ll notice you never saw an animated duck wearing pants.”

Nope. Never. Same for animated parrots.

But take a look at the animated rooster, Panchito Pistoles, in this clip from Disney’s The Three Caballeros (1944).

“Get that cock into a pair of britches, fer crissake!”

in defense of flogging

An amusingly obnoxious essay — in defense of flogging as a counter-argument for America’s ineffective prison system — that actually does a pretty good job of framing the larger problem:

America now has more prisoners, 2.3 million, than any other country in the world. Ever. Our rate of incarceration is roughly seven times that of Canada or any Western European country. Stalin, at the height of the Soviet gulag, had fewer prisoners than America does now (although admittedly the chances of living through American incarceration are quite a bit higher). We deem it necessary to incarcerate more of our people—in rate as well as absolute numbers—than the world’s most draconian authoritarian regimes. Think about that. Despite our “land of the free” motto, we have more prisoners than China, and they have a billion more people than we do.

(via the browser)

quote out of context

We are all the massive beneficiaries of millennia of accumulated human scientific knowledge and cultural output, and not one of us did anything do deserve a jot of it. We’re all just extremely lucky not to have been born cavemen. The greatest creative genius alive would be hard pressed to create a smiley faced smeared in dung on a tree trunk without that huge and completely undeserved inheritance.

Mid-Century Preservation — or Not — in Chicago

Talk about your perfect storm for losing a piece of architecture! This building on S. State Street has it all: it’s in a busy area, it’s a retail facade, and it’s Midcentury in origin.

It’s slated to be remodeled into something forgettable. Blair Kamin wrote a an excellent summation of the who, what, why, and why-it-shouldn’t.

(From a chicago sojourn.)

Threats to Digital Preservation

In an attempt to damp down anti-government protests, the Egyptian government shut down the Internet in their country. One copy of the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine is hosted at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. As I write it is accessible, but the risk is clear. But, you say, the US government would never do such a thing, so the Internet Archive is quite safe. Think again. Senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins are currently pushing a bill, the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010, to give the US government the power to do exactly that whenever it feels like doing so.

via David Rosenthal

Wolverines merit endangered species protection, but must wait

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced Monday that the wolverine warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act, but the listing will be delayed because other species take higher priority.

Wolverines, who are members of the weasel family, are only a candidate for listing, and their status will be reviewed annually, the agency said.

This kinda steams me. I like wolverines, and I invite any female wolverine with kits to come to my neck of the woods. We have deep snow that settled early this year, so she can dig a den for her youngsters out behind my house, and I will help her guard them.

Tim Berners-Lee: Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality

The world wide web went live, on my physical desktop in Geneva, Switzerland, in December 1990. It consisted of one Web site and one browser, which happened to be on the same computer. The simple setup demonstrated a profound concept: that any person could share information with anyone else, anywhere. In this spirit, the Web spread quickly from the grassroots up. Today, at its 20th anniversary, the Web is thoroughly integrated into our daily lives. We take it for granted, expecting it to “be there” at any instant, like electricity.

High Society

With the illicit drug trade estimated by the UN at $320 billion (£200bn) a year and new drugs constantly appearing on the streets and the internet, it can seem as if we are in the grip of an unprecedented level of addiction. Yet the use of psychoactive drugs is nothing new, and indeed our most familiar ones – alcohol, coffee and tobacco – have all been illegal in the past.

From ancient Egyptian poppy tinctures to Victorian cocaine eye drops, Native American peyote rites to the salons of the French Romantics, mind-altering drugs have a rich history. ‘High Society’ will explore the paths by which these drugs were first discovered – from apothecaries’ workshops to state-of-the-art laboratories – and how they came to be simultaneously fetishised and demonised in today’s culture.

High Society exhibition. 11 November 2010 – 27 February 2011 at the Wellcome Collection, London.

Ground Control to Major Tom

“Getty Images steals public domain NASA image and will ‘license’ it to you for money,” re-twitters archival colleague Kate Theimer, pointing to this HiLobrow post:

. . . images gathered in the course of NASA missions belong to the American people; they’re born in the public domain, part of our cultural commons. On what basis does Getty claim the image?

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