How are you? Are you stir crazy right now? Quarantining with a toddler during the wettest spring on record has made me very stir crazy. Now that the weather has finally turned the corner to construction season summer, I’m trying to get outside as much as possible. When I can’t go outside, I’m trying to read more to help me unwind. I’m currently reading this tome, but I just finished reading the Salesforce Summer 20 release notes and do I have some fun stuff to share with you.
A lot has happened in the world since I last did one of these posts. These posts were started to help me focus on things that made me cheerful, or content I enjoyed throughout the quarantine. I apologize for some levity here, but know that I’m working on putting some words together on the world around me, and will have that posted soon.
I find the recipe to be a little unorthodox – why you cover the bowl and let it sit for 30 minutes seems odd compared to most cookie recipes – but my taste buds love the results. Thanks to my wife Stef for finding and making several batches of this gluten free manna.
Moving onwards from sweets and food.
Elon Musk is a lot of things. I only enjoy him when he’s involved with SpaceX and last week’s liftoff of Americans on an American rocket was an incredible launch and an important milestone. As someone who was obsessed with the space program as a child, I’ve wept watching the SpaceX Falcon rockets land. My eyes were dry for this launch, but I get a little misty eyed thinking about expanding our presence in the cosmos.
One thing that made me cheerful within the last month was to stop following Pete Souza on Instagram. The former Obama White House photographer made noise three years ago by throwing shade at the Trump administration. But after three years of these bromance posts, the content never elevated itself and it’s all just cheap shots. Plus, Souza would get really worked up in posts when users would criticize Joe Biden and his track record in the senate. One less account to follow for me and I know I’m not missing anything.
I’ve been a big fan of Buzzfeed News for the last several years. Former editor Ben Smith recently left and took a post at the New York Times. Smith kept the receipts from his time at Buzzfeed because he wrote a piece in the NYT in early May that calls out Ronan Farrow on his reporting; that piece also coined the phrase “resistance journalism” which he describes as “if reporters swim ably along with the tides of social media and produce damaging reporting about public figures most disliked by the loudest voices, the old rules of fairness and open-mindedness can seem more like impediments than essential journalistic imperatives.”
Well, this set off a lot of think pieces, and got Farrow himself to capitulate a little bit on his reporting. Two of the standout think pieces are from Glen Greenwald and Erik Wemple.
Greenwald writes, “It is this “resistance journalism” sickness that caused U.S. politics to be drowned for three years in little other than salacious and fact-free conspiracy theories about Trump and his family members and closest associates.”
Wemple writes, “Given that Farrow’s reporting helped to take down a monster, do we care that he retroactively padded his reporting on various occasions on his book tour? Do we care that he embellished the contents of his notebook here and there?”
I have enjoyed Farrow’s work, and believe he’s done some great things, but in this age of a 24 second news cycle, we seek quick answers, brassy headlines, and wit, and we can all fall victim of seductive headings and reporting that reads like a John le Carré novel. Let’s keep working on exposing corruption and holding those in power accountable, but don’t pad the facts.
The last thing that’s brought me happiness is Styx’s Wikipedia page. Can you say vanity writing? Also, beef much?
As a Chicagoan, and one who loves knowing which third tier band populated by one original member and several ringers, will be playing county fairs, I know Styx is still around, and has had some beef the last two decades, but the Wikipedia page has dozens of great lines, all of which need citations.
“DeYoung has not been part of the band since 1999, after being ousted by guitarists James “J.Y.” Young and Tommy Shaw in an acrimonious split. Styx have since sold over 54 million records worldwide.”
Wait, they’ve sold 54 million since the split? Let’s continue.
By the late 1980s, both Styx members’ solo careers gradually simmered down to a modest but loyal fan base.
Meanwhile, James “JY” Young recorded his own solo albums: City Slicker (1985 with Jan Hammer) and Out on a Day Pass (1988), both attracting only minimal attention.
Styx toured across the US in the spring and summer of 1991, but their success was short lived, as they were dropped after A&M Records was purchased by PolyGram Records, ending an over-fifteen-year relationship. The popularity of Grunge was a major factor in PolyGram letting the band go.
I love it when bands of one genre blame a new genre.
Styx also was part of the Super Bowl pre game entertainment in San Diego prior to the Oakland Raiders vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They played a short set in the parking lot, as well as on the field right before the game, playing Queen‘s “We Are the Champions“.
DeYoung has been credited as the writer of more Styx songs than any other Styx member. He was also the band’s most successful writer, penning 7 of the band’s 8 Billboard top 10 singles as well as a solo top 10 single.
the band played a number of small venues and school auditoriums, refining their craft before the song “Lady” propelled them to national, then international, stardom.
A self-taught keyboardist, DeYoung quickly became one of the most notable keyboard players in rock.
Influenced by the recent release of Emerson, Lake & Palmer‘s first album, DeYoung – a novice synthesizer player at the time – used a modular Moog to record the keyboard tracks for Styx’s debut album in 1972. This album featured a rock version of “Fanfare for the Common Man“, more than 5 years before ELP came up with a similar idea of recording this classical composition as a rock band featuring the synthesizer that would later become one of ELP’s best known recordings.
He’s got beef with Emerson, Lake & Palmer? A band who is more synonymous with the synthesizer than Styx will ever be? Holy smokes. That’s like saying you played a Stratocaster with a Marshall amp before Hendrix.
Lastly, there’s this list of TV Shows where Styx songs have played on DeYoung’s page. All without citations. Sadly, I think I’ve seen most of these episodes.
That’s it for this post. Take us to church Jason Segal.
I was planning to write another reasons to be cheerful post today, but there’s not a lot to be cheerful about the last several days. I’m saddened and horrified by what happened to George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. I’m mad and frustrated. I’ve been reflecting how how I, a WASP male who lives in an affluent suburb, may have contributed to the systems that failed George, Breanna, and Ahmaud.
I stand with the protesters and I empathize with their anger. The white hegemony in this country must come to an end. I condemn the use of violence as a means to express their frustration at the institutions who have failed them.
I haven’t done of these posts in a few weeks because I’ve been busy at work. I’m cheerful that work has been busy these last several weeks. As a lot of customers deal with the pandemic, there are novel situations arising which means novel solutions for me to design and I’m cheerful to not only have a job, but to have steady work, and to work at a company who’s at the forefront and is a thought-leader in how we return to work. More on that in a coming blog post.
But let’s talk about the food I’m cheerful for as that’s how all of these posts start. My mom made a gluten free pineapple upside cake, and it was amazing. Pillsbury makes a great and dependable gluten free yellow cake mix, and the pineapple and cherries are incredible. Smother it in whipped cream and eat in mass quantities.
Speaking of food, one source of a lot of cheer for me has been Dunkin’ Donuts. I’ve been going to this Dunkin’ location for decades and it is by far the most consistent and dependable Dunkin’ in all of DuPage County. I’m thankful that they’re open and still serving that sweet, caffeinated nectar that I love.
A lot of these blog posts are about the material and commercial things I’m enjoying during this quarantine. I think of myself as not being materialistic, but I must confess that I am stress-buying things. However, with items not shipping immediately, I am second guessing many purchases. This has caused me to pause and abandon many carts. If I can’t get it in two days, and it’ll be here in two weeks, do I really need it? This is something I should ask myself more often.
I’ve written before about my grey hair. As the only days are today, yesterday, and tomorrow, I find that identifying more grey hairs during this quarantine is really helping me identify the passage of time.
I recently spent a night exploring the history of The Carpenters, a group I know very little about. I discovered Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story and it is surreal. Highly recommend watching it. Full video here.
Another thing that brings me immense joy is this GIF I made a few weeks ago.
And lastly, music is helping me through this. So let’s rock.
Even after being defeated in the March primary, the crusade against the sale of recreational marijuana in Naperville continues to be a nimby zombie.
An upcoming city council meeting is slated to take place, albeit virtually, to “provide direction regarding the roadmap that will be used to facilitate the creation of zoning regulations for adult-use cannabis facilities.”
Opt-Out Naperville believes that because the meeting is virtual, “many residents and businesses require transparency and this item is no exception, as the city looks to propose a citywide map identifying locations for marijuana stores. [We] request that this item be tabled indefinitely until a safer time, with a workshop so people can learn and understand the proposal. Transparency.”
As someone who files a lot of Freedom of Information Act requests, I agree that transparency is more important now than ever, as elected officials may not be subjected to the scrutiny of their constituents, and there are unprecedented measures being taken by governments that should have a light shone on. But to Opt-Out Naperville, there is never going to be a good time to discuss this.
Their email goes on to say that we should call the city council and argue that “This matter can reasonably be postponed as it is not a core service of the City. Tabling is appropriate to safer times, as is a workshop.”
The core business of the city is to keep running and be fully operational, even in a remote setting. Tabling this topic or any topic will be detrimental to the city’s well being and governance.
Their talking points are full of filler about democracy and transparency. Again, a majority of people in Naperville voted in favor of this, and as a Naperville citizen I believe the process has been fairly transparent. Even if we weren’t in a pandemic, these conversations would still be happening. To opponents, there will never be a safer time and arguing to table and delay this conversation means indefinitely, and that is the antithesis of a democratic process.