Mark's blog

Sporadic posts about a wide variety of topics.
Canon PowerShot A570 IS ordered

Canon PowerShot A570 IS ordered

I finally bit the bullet and bought a compact digital camera this afternoon — the Canon PowerShot A570 IS I am the exact opposite of an impulse buyer. I tend to fret and study and postpone for months before purchasing anything, so this is a landmark day of both relief...

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Military casualties: Sacrificed lives

Last night on MSNBC'S Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was named Worst Person in the World. He was recognized by Olbermann for this quote about American military casualties: Nobody is happy about losing lives but remember these...

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Lidia’s Italy coming to Milwaukee Public Market

Yesterday we stopped at the Milwaukee Public Market and Amy noticed a poster announcing that Lidia Bastianich will be appearing there for a cooking class and book signing this Saturday, December 1 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $75 from MPTV Friends. That price supports...

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Kohl Children’s Museum in Glenview, Illinois

We took our niece Nadine to the Kohl Children's Museum in Glenview, Illinois last Saturday. She's 20 months old, so she's just entering the age when she can enjoy trips like this. Meanwhile, we're just entering the season when we start looking for indoor activities to...

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‘Steve Dahl Show’ moves to mornings

‘Steve Dahl Show’ moves to mornings

On Sunday, all of my clocks were pushed back one hour. On Monday, my working day for The Steve Dahl Show was moved up eight and a half hours. It's going to take me some time to fully adjust to this new normal. One of my favorite rituals so far is morning coffee alone...

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Oprah Winfrey’s MySpace: I’m not Oprah-worthy?

Oprah Winfrey’s MySpace: I’m not Oprah-worthy?

Now I understand how David Letterman must have suffered. It's like an unexpected punch in the stomach. It's difficult to even breathe, and I just sit here in absolute disbelief wondering what I ever did to deserve this. In the hopeful early morning hours of October...

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Christopher Walken cooking Chicken with Pears

Christopher Walken cooking Chicken with Pears

Well, this is right in my wheelhouse! I watch a lot of chef shows and cooking TV, and I love strange Internet finds. There is a YouTube playlist out there intended to hold my food and cooking favorites, but there are only two videos on it so far. I never imagined...

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Matt Taibbi, a breath of fresh air

Matt Taibbi, a breath of fresh air

I'm sitting here 90 minutes north of Chicago in my shorts and flip flops after mowing the lawn on this 77 degree October 21. While waiting for the 60 Minutes story on mega-fires in the American west, I find myself nostalgic for certain individuals, now dead, who used...

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Laundry tips: How to keep clothes looking new longer

Laundry tips: How to keep clothes looking new longer

Washing machines, dryers, laundry detergents, and fabric softeners can turn your magnificent new apparel into lint in no time. Want to still be wearing the garments you bought last weekend well into the 2020s? Sure you do. Here are my top seven laundry tips for...

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Google SketchUp

Google SketchUp

By this point, everyone on the planet knows how amazing Google Earth is, but did you realize that Google also makes a powerful 3D drafting application available to you free of charge? Google SketchUp is easy and fun-to-use...

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‘Idiocracy’ (movie, 2006)

‘Idiocracy’ (movie, 2006)

Watch enough TV, eat enough fast food, drive through enough construction, absorb enough cable news, shop in enough malls, wait on hold for enough hours — sit through enough movies — and you can't help but suspect that civilization is getting dumber and dumber....

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‘The War’ (Ken Burns World War 2 documentary, PBS)

‘The War’ (Ken Burns World War 2 documentary, PBS)

Thanks to the miracle of the video recorder, Amy and I have been wading into The War, the seven-part, 14-and-a-half hour documentary on World War II from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that has been airing on PBS since Sunday night. It is excellent. [includeme...

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Stop watching football?

Stop watching football?

I think I'm going to stop watching football. It won't be the first sport I've given up on. After the 2002 season, I stopped following baseball. I had come to the conclusion that 162 games of over three hours each was way too much time for a 42-year-old to be devoting...

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‘V for Vendetta’ (Natalie Portman movie, 2006)

‘V for Vendetta’ (Natalie Portman movie, 2006)

Never really into graphic novels (or comic books, as they used to be called), I had some initial resistance to this movie about a vigilante in a Guy Fawkes mask in post-American Britain who uses fantastic swordsmanship and martial...

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Frozen pizza that doesn’t suck: Amy’s

Frozen pizza that doesn’t suck: Amy’s

Some evenings, after a hard day's work, one does not feel up to preparing Herb-Roasted Rack of Lamb with Flageolet Gratin, Roasted Radicchio, and Tapenade for dinner. One prefers instead to throw a frozen pizza into a 425° oven and eat it from paper plates about...

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Faucet instructions from Peerless are funny

Faucet instructions from Peerless are funny

Amy and her boss were replacing a faucet yesterday. They began by dutifully reading the instructions. Pretty soon they were laughing out loud at lines like "Good luck to you, and may all your coupling nuts turn freely," and "Step 1G: Spit and drink a pop. See? We told...

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‘Jesus Camp’ (2006 documentary film)

‘Jesus Camp’ (2006 documentary film)

Jesus Camp is an Oscar-nominated documentary about an evangelical Christian camp for kids in Devil's Lake, North Dakota, and, more broadly, about the political militancy of America's religious right. It was directed by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing. [includeme...

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Summer 2007 update: Long time no post

Summer 2007 update: Long time no post

Greetings from my air-conditioned bunker as summer 2007 clatters apart overhead like an unbalanced engine. Amy's at work, I'm on hiatus, and out in the backyard the heat and humidity are mounting over the soggy vegetation — a prelude to an afternoon forecast of...

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The Atlantic: Magazines and coffee beans

The Atlantic: Magazines and coffee beans

One of the first realizations that hit me when the World Wide Web was emerging was that magazines were doomed. Suddenly, all the color and photos and graphics and layout possibilities of magazines could go through a wire along with the text, without waiting for...

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Backyard gardening: Playing in the dirt

Backyard gardening: Playing in the dirt

It will yield you brambles and thistles, as you eat the produce of the land. By the sweat of your face will you earn your food, until you return to the ground. as you were taken from it.— Genesis 3:18-19, The New Jerusalem Bible We've been spending a lot of time on...

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‘Bouchon’: Thomas Keller’s French bistro cookbook

‘Bouchon’: Thomas Keller’s French bistro cookbook

A few weeks ago, while buying a book I needed, I added this one, which had been sitting on my wish list for a year or so. Thomas Keller's Bouchon, published in 2004, is pretty hefty for a cookbook. It's about a foot square, weighs almost six pounds, and features...

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Twitter it away

There has been quite a lot of Internet buzz in the last month or three over Twitter. It's a Web 2.0 service that encourages you to publicly post (via Web, IM, or text message) very short descriptions of whatever you happen to be doing at the moment. [includeme...

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