Mark's blog

Sporadic posts about a wide variety of topics.
The Great Recession of 2008

The Great Recession of 2008

I cannot process the economic depression is unfolding here in the U.S.A. over the last few days. A crushing, amorphous weight has me plastered to the sofa in front of the TV. My breathing is labored, and my heart stops beating every now and then for ten or fifteen...

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Social media smorgasbord: Four weeks wandering Web 2.0

Nothing in particular has inspired any new blog posts here in recent weeks. Instead, I've spent much of my free time playing around with a few of the endless new gizmos that are hatching every minute in the now four-year-old world of "Web 2.0," the cross-fed,...

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Rick Warren’s Saddleback Civil Forum

There were a number of interesting moments in Saturday night's "Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency," but one that I have not seen mentioned came as part of John McCain's response to a question about taxes. Part 5 of Pastor...

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Election 2008: It’s God time

Election 2008: It’s God time

Reading Andrew Sullivan's acclaimed piece pn Election 2008 in last December's Atlantic magazine, I noted the emphasis on Barack Obama's religious conviction and how one Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright introduced Obama to Jesus Christ. Sullivan was wowed: To deploy the...

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Recipe: Roasted Potatoes with Mustard and Rosemary

Recipe: Roasted Potatoes with Mustard and Rosemary

For more dinner ideas, see our list of Easy dinner recipes, chicken recipes, side dishes. As the weather here already begins to turn cooler, our oven is getting some use again. Last night we roasted a chicken, accompanied by a simple, rustic roasted potato recipe that...

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Enablex commercial: Class reunion of urine-filled balloons

Enablex commercial: Class reunion of urine-filled balloons

So I'm sitting here eating my lunch in front of MSNBC when I hear the familiar voice of Andrea Martin during a pharmaceutical commercial depicting a class reunion. This is slightly troubling in itself, because Andrea Martin is one of the most talented and funny women...

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‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ (Guillermo del Toro movie, 2006)

‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ (Guillermo del Toro movie, 2006)

I had been wanting to watch Pan's Labyrinth for many months, prepared to love it. I already love The Devil's Backbone, the 2001 ghost story by Guillermo del Toro, and Pan's Labyrinth is a kind of companion piece to that picture. Unfortunately, this movie is not as...

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Goldfinch in, House Sparrow chaos out

Goldfinch in, House Sparrow chaos out

We have stopped the madness, and the backyard is much better now. We have cut way back on House Sparrows, and we're touting the American Goldfinch as the bird to feed for Racine's elite, birdfeeding smart set. Goldfinch houses Many readers arrive here after searching...

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‘Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie’

‘Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie’

Even on public television's extensive menu of food and cooking shows, Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie is a standout offering. It's a globe-hopping, half-hour magazine of on-location footage and interviews featuring all sorts of fascinating topics from the primitive to the...

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‘Top Chef’ Chicago

I'm not a huge fan of reality TV, but I am feeling my pulse quicken at the thought of a new season of Top Chef premiering Wednesday night on Bravo at 9 p.m. Central. Throw in the fact that this season's competition is set in Chicago, and I almost want to start phoning...

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Chef José Andrés: ‘Made in Spain’

Chef José Andrés: ‘Made in Spain’

Update, April 17, 2009: With the addition of the new YouTube Shows section, you can now watch all 13 episodes of Made in Spain at YouTube. I seem to be on a little bit of a Spanish kick with my posts here recently, so let's go for trillizos. If you like chefs with...

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Olde Madrid: Racine, WI restaurant offers tapas, paella

Olde Madrid: Racine, WI restaurant offers tapas, paella

Olde Madrid (OldeMadrid.com) 418 6th St. Racine, WI 53403-1218 (262) 619-0940 Having enjoyed tapas and paella over the years at Don Quijote in Milwaukee, Cafe Ba Ba Reeba and especially Emilio's Tapas in Chicagoland, we were excited when Manny Salinas and Natalie Pope...

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Political campaign robocalls: Mosquitoes of election season

It happened last night, at seven minutes before seven o'clock. Amy and I were savoring our dinner of Cranberry-Pear Chicken (PDF recipe; we added fresh thyme), steamed asparagus and a cheap Zinfandel, and we were engrossed in Casino Royale, watching James Bond playing...

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Tornado in Kenosha, Wisconsin: January 7, 2008

Tornado in Kenosha, Wisconsin: January 7, 2008

As people all over the world have heard, there was some frightening tornado activity in Kenosha, just a few short miles from here, on the afternoon of January 7. I received a lot of calls and emails from co-workers, friends, and family, but happily I had nothing to...

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National Civil Rights Museum at Lorraine Motel in Memphis

National Civil Rights Museum at Lorraine Motel in Memphis

Today, on the national holiday celebrating the birth of the Martin Luther King, Jr., there's a news story about how King has been simplified into an icon and a catchphrase, and the details of his life and work have been softened, blurred, and appropriated. Being seven...

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Fleece jacket by Patagonia is lightweight, warm in winter

Every once in a while, you buy a product that turns out to be worth every penny you paid and then some. I was out walking for an hour or so today ahead of tonight's ominous wind chill advisory when it occurred to me that I really love my Patagonia R3 fleece jacket....

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Vimeo: HD video on the Web

We heard a story on NPR's Weekend Edition yesterday from Dallas Morning News technology reporter Victor Godinez. He was touting Vimeo, a video-sharing Web site which, unlike the others, offers high-definition. According to Wikipedia, Vimeo has been around since...

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‘The Story of Stuff’ with Annie Leonard

Update, 3/9/2010: Annie Leonard's project has just been published in book form. It is called: The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff Is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health-and a Vision for Change (Free Press, 352 pages). Here's an infectious...

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Terry Armour, 1961-2007

Terry Armour, 1961-2007

I'm sure everyone in the Steve Dahl Show family is stunned and saddened tonight as Amy and I were upon learning that Terry Armour has died from an apparent heart attack at the Chicago Tribune offices. Terry was an endless source of fun and humor at the remote...

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Pierogi recipes from my mom: Pierogi dough & fillings

Pierogi recipes from my mom: Pierogi dough & fillings

s a Chicago-born guy of Polish descent, these pierogi recipes have always been central to my Christmas holiday. The humble pierogi is Poland's take on the ubiquitous filled noodle dumpling, enjoyed elsewhere as ravioli or kreplach or...

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