Draft Yelp Review of Holiday Inn Express, Springfield IL, on 8th Grade Field Trip

The lobby ran out of lemon water at 11:30PM. The room did not come equipped with a microwave, safe, toaster, or mini-fridge. I brought popcorn and I had to eat the unpopped kernels for dinner.

They have no pool. My colleagues and I had to go (in the cold) to the *nice* hotel next door. There, I was poisoned by mild chemical weaponry in the form of pool chlorine. The hot tub was under construction.

I suspected tub feces. I awoke with pinkeye. The wifi password is “cupcake”.

The shower was cold and riddled with mold. Overall: best hotel experience I’ve ever had.

Collection of Newspaper Box Inserts, 1991 – 2014

Ever since I was 11 years old, when I had my first paper route, I’ve loved newspapers. To this day, S-L and I have The New York Times delivered directly to our door. It’s a daily joy to receive it, even if the contents are not joyous.

I’ve written before about my newspaper collection. I also have collected newspaper box inserts– the slide-in paper/ plastic sheets that are placed underneath the newspaper display on a newspaper vending machine. Here’s what I’ve got, going back to 1991:

And here’s a video of me explaining each one:

Newspaper Box Slide-In Insert Collection from Daniel X. O’Neil on Vimeo.

This is some documentation of 65 newspaper box inserts that I’ve collected from 1991 to 2014. I buzz through them, giving short narrative, context, and date for each one.

Some notable items:

The insert from the Chicago Tribune on the day we invaded Iraq, in January 1991:

Newspaper Box Insert: Full-Color Strategic Map of War Zone, Chicago Tribune, January 1991

Jordan’s comeback from retirement:

Newspaper Box Insert

The OJ Verdict (I actually have three different ones of this):

Newspaper Box Insert

Bulls set the record for most wins in a season:

Newspaper Box Insert

U.S. Bombs Baghdad in 1998:

Newspaper Box Insert

Patriotism after 9/11:

Newspaper Box Insert

And my most recent, the Pride Guide outta Portlnad:

Newspaper Box Insert

There are many more. View!

Three Great Places Named After Former Mayor Jane M. Byrne

As reported first by (who else?) Michael Sneed, Former Chicago Mayor Jane M. Byrne passed away today. I just drove through her highway interchange yesterday and was thinking that it’s an odd thing to name places like that after people.

When she died, I lamented that there was no natural (safe) place to gather in her honor, if anyone was so inclined. Chicago sage Andrew Huff was pretty certain that I was wrong, and it turns out I was.

There were three great places— all of which harken back to the projects she worked on and the places she loved— named after our former mayor this year:

I found them all in the legislation lookup tool maintained by the Chicago City Clerk— it’s a great resource; it has everything.

Here’s the paper copies of the legislation. I love all the lawmaker signatures. These things matter.

The only other place that might be appropriate would be where she lived for a while— the former Cabrini-Green apartment building where she lived for three weeks. One day at a time.

Bedroom Wall Colors

Who I Voted For, November 2014

Today I voted at Club Lucky on Wabansia. This was also the first place I ever cast a ballot as a teenager. Here’s a look at some of the lines I drew. Please also keep in mind my ethics statement.

  • Governor Pat Quinn: He’s a good man. He is not a crook. He has done what he can, given the hamstrung sickness of state politics. And he is a Democrat who supports what I believe in— minimum wage, human rights, and other baseline policies. I listened to Rauner— I was truly open to voting for him, given the fact that I sense (often it was just a sense) he’s a classic moderate Illinois Republican. He never closed the deal with me
  • Senator Dick Durbin: the chances of replacing a “career politician” (as Oberweis characterized his opponent) who has worked endlessly for Democratic ideals,  with a career loser Republican campaigner who has fought for nothing except milk and money were very low. Go Durbin, go!
  • Toni Preckwinkle for Cook County Board President. She’s changed everything. It’s easy to lose sight of how terrible things were. So terrible, in fact, that I voted for a Republican in 2006
  • I voted for every other major office Democrat on the ballot, except for Joseph Berrios. I just didn’t feel like it
  • I didn’t vote for any judges. I developed a policy long ago that I vote for no judge I have not seen in person
  • I voted for yes on both constitutional amendments and the three advisory amendments, as they all seemed like common sense good citizenship to me

Yay democracy!

 

Preparatory Thoughts for “What are the Rules? Digital Media and Citizen Action in #Ferguson”, Tonight with the Illinois Humanities Council

Tonight I’m joining a discussion hosted by the Illinois Humanities Council. Here’s the framing:

Not long after protests over the shooting of Michael Brown began in Ferguson, MO, online hacktivist collective Anonymous took up the cause. Though its tactics have been polarizing – one member publicly, incorrectly identified the shooter – the group has undeniably impacted the media conversation and the real-world situation in Ferguson. As a computerized voice in a recent Anonymous YouTube post put it, “social media has changed the rules.” 

And here’s the questions— with some starter answers on my end— that will be posed tonight.

  • According to the rules of a democracy, justice is determined by the state and the media’s job is to investigate and inform the citizenry.
  • What does the work of Anonymous, and Americans’ response to it, tell us about these ever-changing rules?

The rules are not changing at all. There’s been no change to the criminal code, no usurping of institutions, and no real shift in power. We’ve seen this time and again, when the outcome of criminal cases that don’t comport with pop culture estimations of guilt or innocence.

  • What are the rules in the digital media age?

Again, the rules in the digital media age are the same as it ever was; it’s just more tools. During the OJ Simpson trial, before the dawn if the popularization of the World Wide Web, reports that he was on the redeye to Chicago from LA on the night of the murder was well-publicized immediately, based on reports from fellow passengers.

  • How should conflicts between freedom of information and privacy be handled in a world where citizens -at-large can often access information more effectively than traditional journalists?

The rules around conflicts between freedom of information and privacy are well-established in almost every forum. Actual FOIA requests are governed by applicable law, and they all have provisions with regard to privacy. These laws have led to a series of cultural expectations, like the expectation when there is a police-involved shooting, that basic facts are revealed as quickly as possible. The conflicts occur when these expectations are not met, not when more people get into the info-gathering business.

  • What are the ethical considerations under the circumstances?

There are no more greater ethical considerations under these circumstances than any other circumstance on Earth. It is better to be kind, and love one another, than not.

I look forward to our discussion this evening!

Who will watch the watchmen? Reed!

Who will watch the watchmen? Reed!