Distortion and Cake

Sometimes it’s fun to talk about the promise of urban renewal. Other times, it’s a more compelling use of time to take a look back at a so-so year in loud music or get a break in the British music press.

Which are all well and good, except for those days where you just want to wish a boyhood hero a happy 41st.

Also, for those of you in the city of Chicago, a long-form story of mine about chess, fireworks and suburban youth will be in the upcoming “home” issue of No Touching, which should hit a smattering of independent and fringe bookstores around the city the 28th of this month. Thank you as always for reading.

– AR

Christmas Eve Eve Eve [Chicago, 12/22]

A friend of mine discussing the mystery of Christmas shopping:

“This whole thing makes no sense. Jesus was born, now go buy stuff for people you see once a year. I don’t get it.”

Couldn’t put it better myself, but to honor J.C.’s birthday, turn to page 52 of this week’s Chicago edition of The Onion or keep reading to follow all kinds of other important business like…

…the best show on television. Ever.

…how a journeyman middle reliever and the supervillain of Shankfest 2007 have managed to turn only-in-the-movies things like criminal drug possession and cheating at professional sports into irreparably boring concepts.

…the discussion no one’s having about the recently-departed Quiet Riot frontman

…the soul of lower Michigan

…and, a month later, Thanksgiving. The holiday is passed but the sticking points are, in all likelihood, eternal.

That’s that for now. Talk to you soon, and thank you as always for reading.

‘Tis the Season

Yesterday in Chicago the temperature reached a so-called “high” of 12 degrees, the US dollar reached lows it hasn’t hit in years, oil hit a record high and people are still dying in wars on foreign soil. And despite all that, my fellow Americans were still able to dig deep within their hearts and souls to find the will and the fortitude to go to the mall at 5 a.m.

Let us now give thanks and reflect on the true meaning of the holidays:

From The Onion A.V. Club: Tips for Surviving Office Holiday Parties

From The Onion A.V. Club: Holiday Event Mixlist

From Metal Heavy: Retrospective: Dead Winter Dead / Christmas Eve & Other Stories

And, in case you were wondering, I didn’t go to either of them. Some decisions are just too painful to make.