Archive for July 2012

Balena: Pizza, pasta, octopus and overall awesomeness

Balena: Pizza, pasta, octopus and overall awesomeness
I visited Balena, 1633 N. Halsted St., on Monday night with my wife and sister-in-law. Balena – which I would describe as a hip Italian restaurant – has received good reviews from both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Magazine since opening. And from my first steps into the restaurant, I got a good vibe from... Read more »

The 2012 Olympics: Wait, why am I watching handball again?

The 2012 Olympics: Wait, why am I watching handball again?
In the past three days, I’ve watched handball, boxing, badminton, cycling, volleyball, swimming, gymnastics, archery, skeet shooting and Mr. Bean – all of my own volition. The number of times I’ve watched any of those things in the past four years before the past three days? Zero. Pit countries against each other and I’m in,... Read more »

'Strong!': A new Olympic documentary worth watching

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I was having trouble sleeping last night, so I found myself awake and watching PBS. #firstworldproblems Usually, a little TV is the perfect thing to help me sleep. I like having the sound on, but I can ignore it just enough to fall asleep. That wasn’t the case last night, however, as PBS was debuting... Read more »
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The best thing about 'The Watch'? The U.S. debut of Richard Ayoade

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I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll go to a theater to watch “The Watch,” which the Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips recently reviewed. But if I do, it will be because of one person in the cast: Richard Ayoade. Many here in the U.S. haven’t heard of Ayoade before – and certainly he doesn’t stand out... Read more »

On turning 31: Continuing to float on the lazy river of life

On turning 31: Continuing to float on the lazy river of life
Today is my birthday. I’ve been pondering lately what exactly I should think about turning 31. It’s not old. It’s not young. It not middle-aged. It’s just 31. I have nothing particular different planned. My wife and I will celebrate my 31st birthday on Saturday in much the way we’ve celebrated most of my birthdays... Read more »

Sprecher Brewery tour paradise for this root beer fan

Sprecher Brewery tour paradise for this root beer fan
As I wrote in yesterday’s post, my wife and I used a weekend trip to Milwaukee to take a tour of Sprecher Brewery, which makes my favorite root beer in the world. Like many things in life, I didn’t recognize root beer soda for the awesome drink it is when we first met during my... Read more »
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Best Wisconsin butter burger not too far from Chicago

Best Wisconsin butter burger not too far from Chicago
I love burgers, however I don’t eat them very often these days – maybe one ever six months or so – since as I get older I prefer my arteries run more like an empty lazy river than a sink pipe at a busy restaurant. But because I eat burgers so infrequently, when I do... Read more »

88 books that shaped my life

88 books that shaped my life
Recently, the Library of Congress selected 88 books that shaped America, including such classics as “The Sound and the Fury,” “Joy of Cooking,” and “Everyone Poops.” (OK, that last one isn’t really on there. But it should be.) After reading through the list, I started wondering whether I could find 88 books that had shaped... Read more »

Wait, how much does a new mattress cost? No, really?

Wait, how much does a new mattress cost? No, really?
My wife has been wanting a new mattress since – oh – just about around the time we got home from our honeymoon three and a half years ago. But as someone who hates replacing things unless they are completely broken and unusable – I drove my last two vehicles until they became scrap –... Read more »
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'Encyclopedia Brown' author passes: Kid detectives all across the world mourn

'Encyclopedia Brown' author passes: Kid detectives all across the world mourn
I was sad to read on the New York Times website that Donald J. Sobol had died. Sobol was the author of the Encyclopedia Brown series, which focused on a super-smart boy detective who solved both important and petty crimes using logic. He was like the Spock of kid sleuths. I devoured the Encyclopedia Brown... Read more »