This must be a first ...

Posted by JP on Mon, 06/16/2008 - 22:08
Earlier this month, an arsonist nearly burnt the Texas governor's mansion to the ground. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has vowed to rebuild the mansion. That was the news peg for a story examining governors' living arrangements (to clarify -- many govs don't live in their mansion) around the country. Here's the link to the story, which found some truly interesting property and political arrangements for executive living. The stunning part? Not a single mention of Gov. Rod Blagojevich choosing not to live in Springfield.

He created the monsters (updated)

Posted by Sean Stangland on Mon, 06/16/2008 - 16:16

One of my Hollywood heroes died late Sunday at age 62.

Stan Winston, perhaps the last true artisan in the field of visual effects, had been battling multiple myeloma for seven years, according to the Associated Press. Winston was nominated for ten Oscars from 1982 to 2002, and won four of them: visual effects awards for "Jurassic Park," "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and "Aliens," and a makeup award for "Terminator 2."

Monday morning roundup

Posted by Sean Stangland on Mon, 06/16/2008 - 00:03

• "Hulk" smash: "The Incredible Hulk" exceeded industry expectations this weekend, but did not equal the first-weekend take of its 2003 predecessor. But word-of-mouth should make Edward Norton's smashy superhero a bigger hit than Ang Lee's angsty version. M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening" also overperformed, but negative Internet buzz will probably nip it in the bud.

No "Shama-lama-ding-dong" jokes, please

Posted by Sean Stangland on Sat, 06/14/2008 - 14:49

The reviews are in, and there seems to be a national consensus: Film critics and Internet geeks have decided that M. Night Shyamalan's career is over.

With the notable local exceptions of our man Dann and Roger Ebert, the film geeks just loathe "The Happening," Shyamalan's new throwback to '50s B-movies where the horror on the screen is delivered with a heavy-handed message about the horrors in real life. In the '50s, it was nuclear power and Communism; in "The Happening," it's global warming and pollution.

Stop the bleating

Posted by Bruce on Sat, 06/14/2008 - 10:11
It's easy to get a reaction out of some people. Take something called _ please. Yesterday we asked Cubs manager Lou Piniella about the plans for the Cubs to participate in Monday's exhibition game at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Lou was being totally honest when he said, "It's something we really didn't need."

Durbin's statement on Tim Russert's death

Posted by JP on Fri, 06/13/2008 - 16:49
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a Springfield Democrat, put out this statement following the death of Tim Russert. "The American political scene has lost a hall-of-famer.” “I was honored to be asked to appear on Meet the Press with Tim Russert. An invitation to appear on his Sunday show always meant that you had to do your homework and be prepared for the best and toughest questions on the political scene. He was so skilled because he started working on the Hill and he respected our political process. He refused to stoop to the cynical style which many others use as their trademark.”

Hey-hey! Atta boy, Len (and an interesting lineup)

Posted by Bruce on Fri, 06/13/2008 - 15:17
Loved Len Kasper's tribute to Jack Brickhouse on Jim Emonds' ninth-inning homer yesterday. For those of us who grew up listening to Jack, the call brought back great memories. All in great fun and done respectfully. Cubs go this way tonight: Theriot, SS Hoffpauir, 1B Lee, DH Ramirez 3B Fukudome, RF Soto, C Edmonds, CF DeRosa, 2B Patterson, LF Gallagher, P As we warned, Lou's going to make it interesting every day with Soriano out.

Naperville Dem got impeachment memo

Posted by JP on Fri, 06/13/2008 - 15:04
Naperville Democrat Dianne McGuire tells us she was one of the candidates who received the now infamous 14-page impeachment memo from Illinois Democratic Party Chairman Michael Madigan. McGuire said she’d not requested the memo, which arrived as an email attachment. But McGuire said when she's campaigning she hears frequent complaints about the governor and corruption. She saw nothing wrong with the timing of the memo. “I don’t know that there’s ever a wrong time to call for honesty and integrity,” she said. McGuire is running for the 96th Illinois House seat. Incumbent Republican Joe Dunn is not seeking re-election. The Republican nominee is Darlene Senger of Naperville. Jennifer Witt, also of Naperville, is the Green Party nominee.


Posted by JP on Thu, 06/12/2008 - 23:03

State Auditor General Bill Holland released several audits on Thursday including a rather voluminous one on the Illinois Department of Human Services filled with things auditors don't like.

The department opened its own bank accounts and, whoops, forgot to tell state officials.

The department didn't have adequate procedures for disposing of confidential information.

The department didn't keep adequate records on its vehicles.

But the one that stood out -- especially since the department has problems getting rid of confidential information -- was that taxpayers spent thousands on 39 "high capacity shredders" and, a year later, 22 of them had not been installed let alone put to use.

Iron, "Chef"

Posted by Sean Stangland on Thu, 06/12/2008 - 16:07

The "Top Chef" is from Chicago:
Congratulations to Chicago's Stephanie Izard, who won the title of "Top Chef" last night in the fourth-season finale of Bravo's brilliant cooking competition show. Stephanie appeared on WGN's noon newscast today and told Micah Materre and Tom Negovan that she planned to use the $100,000 in prize money to open a new restaurant in the Chicago area sometime next year.