Eaglie's Aviary

Monday, June 26, 2006

Yesterday, the Pink Line opened here in Chicago, and I celebrated with $200 worth of champagne.

Actually, not really.

I did ride the Blue Line though, just to see the difference. The moment I got into the Washington station, there was a brilliantly shiny aluminum Forest Park train waiting for me. I'd like to think this was because of the alleged expanded FP service.

Every stop, the train stayed an extra few minutes to inform people that this train was not going to 54th/Cermak, and that to catch the 54th/Cermak, people needed to ride to Clark/Lake to get on the Pink Line to 54th/Cermak. If you're wondering why I'm repeating 54th/Cermak instead of replacing it with some pronoun, my reason is to set the mood.

While on the train, I watched a group of Hispanic teenagers get on. My first thought was, shit, they got on the wrong train. Which is a terrible thought, both then and now. But as it turned out, I was right.

They needed the 54th/Cermak, but that was to be found a few stops ago on the Pink Line. Explaining the new deal with the CTA was difficult, as they refused to understand the train we were on did not go to 54th/Cermak, or that they couldn't transfer to the 54th/Cermak train at Racine. They ignored the announcements, although I expected that. The only people that listen to train announcements are white people looking busy while desperately ignoring the crippled panhandler walking down the aisles.

Eventually, the teenagers got off at Clinton. Hopefully, they got on the O'Hare like the large group of attentive CTA passengers (AKA mostly white) instructed them.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I posted a comment on Dave's blog:

"I disagree with your assessment of other cities' sports fans, Dave, but then again, I'm a Cubs fan."

I received an answer back:

"Eaglie; You have my condolences." - Dave

:: cry ::

I disagree with your assessment, Dave, but then again, I'm a Cubs fan.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Paul McCartney turned Sixty-Four today, which, at the risk of being cliche, I am celebrating along with Father's Day.

And you can stop asking: yes, my grandchildren will be named Vera, Chuck, and Dave (contractually).

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I... uh... uh... well... what was the murder weapon again?

I roll with Bob; I dunno about you.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Polish Hussars are powerless to stop the German Tanks! Germany wins, 1-0!


More cartooniness, this time in the form of a Top Ten... ahem... Twenty list.

Germany V. Poland: The Soccer Match to End All Soccer Matches

Many of you have noted that something called the World Cup is being played in Europe right now. At first, I figured it was a lame version of the World Series, but, as true as that is, it turns out it's a soccer thing. Soccer (or Quidditch, as it's known throughout the rest of the world... wrongly, I might add) is a game with a goal to kick a ball through two posts, hopefully forcing some woman to strip down to a sports bra and run around... slowly.

One of the most talked about matches is tomorrow, a rematch between plucky Poland and the hometown favorite, Germany. Andy, being of a heavily German background, is watching this intently. Me and him have a friendly wager going. Personally, I think Poland is just hungry enough to do it, after losing their first match. Poland is due, and, personally, they might just have enough pluck to kick it through the posts before the German fans pelt them to death with novelty foam hands. But maybe I'm just a betting man.

Let's have a look at the previous match between these two powers, shall we?

One Acre of Polish land, $12. Five Polish mail order brides, $39. One Polish mathematician... uh... Cheap jokes, priceless.

As you can see, Germany completely bypasses the Maginot Line...

Wrong game, sorry. That'll be the France vs. Germany game in a few weeks (unless France surrenders first! *Rimshot!* Yeah!). Germany instead uses a Bliztkrieg to send its midfielders (Eight, Tenth, and Fourteenth Armies) up through Kracow, and splits them, sending Eighth Army to help the forward Fourth Army against the Polish forward Lodz. Poland's stars Bialystok and Warsaw weren't able to counter later in the match, and so the German strategy worked brilliantly. Poland lost the match within a month, though no one will ever say it didn't go down without a fight.

Seriously, Poland, we're not playing polo here. This is soccer.

Unfortunately for Germany, Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union (you must remember, this match is quite a few years old) all came down and delivered several decisive defeats, not allowing Germany to advance to the title game (the US and Soviet teams did that).

After all this time, I believe Poland has the hunger to beat Germany, but it will be tough. Germany may try a few of the same tricks, and Andy says they have gotten much better, even adding nuclear weaponry to their arsenal. But Poland has that burning desire for bloody, bloody vengeance.

By the way, I bet on both teams.


Monday, June 12, 2006

The Essence of Childhood

Summers have always been meant for running through fields, chasing frogs, licking popsicles, skinning knees, and not crying about it until you get home and Mom can hear you. I loved playing in the alleys and fighting over who had the duty of running into each yard for each foul ball. Those memories are exactly why I’ll live somewhere where my children have to play baseball in an alley. You can’t live until you’ve learned what it is to be chased by a German shepherd and an old woman with a garden hoe.

Another beautiful childhood memory is Capture the Flag. This is not your Halo CTF, your Team Fortress CTF, or your Warsong Gulch CTF (in World of Warcraft). This is a simpler game, outdoors and covering much more than just a tiny selection of pixels. It doesn’t matter what your screen resolution is.

There are, of course, many ways to play CTF. The greatest variety is how people get "out" in the game. It could be a simple game of tag (with a jail) or you could have a game of shooting each other with water guns, Nerf dart guns, snowballs (in the right conditions), or combining all of those… Water Guns and Snowballs, a reenactment of Hitler’s invasion of Russia! These memories drive every near-twenty-year old to want to play again. Thus began the saga of the Red Snakes versus the Blue Pirates… the First Battle of Taylor Park… June 9, 2006.

The last time such a match occurred with my friends, the stalemate was called off when we began to need flashlights to tell team members and curfew-enforcing cops apart. The last time before that, rocks were thrown, effigies of Uncle Sam were burned, and several pieces of construction equipment were blown up. To say the least, I missed those days. I’m a sucker for childhood memories, being immature myself. I so loved those innocent days of squirt guns and cooties, so when I was approached about the match, I said “Heck yes!” My exact phrasing was, “I’ll probably be there!” just in case I had a date with some hottie to schedule instead.

Taylor Park was a place I’d spent many days pulling up grass on the sidelines for the Bulldogs, my former soccer team. Therefore I knew the park well, but I still showed up alone and early, roaming the future battlefield for nooks and crannies, in hopes of finding the hidden tunnel or two I’d dug during my benchwarming days. They seemed to be long gone. Damn. Those would’ve been useful.

Before long, I saw two flags marching with their respective crowds of blue and red shirts. Everyone was wearing their team’s colors (I was in red, by the way). The Jolly Roger waved over the blue crowd, and a white flag with a hissing snake was hoisted above the sea of red. Our referee, Chris B., carried a map of the park and the official Boy Scout Capture the Flag rules. This would be a game of tag, with jails, but to tag someone, you had to hold on long enough to say "Capture, capture, capture!" This was a real man’s sport—scrapes, grass stains, broken tibulas and all—the true essence of childhood.

The game began with a few complications. At the onset, we only had a small area within the park to play, since a soccer scrimmage was going on. I was in jail within five minutes of the opening whistle: my Snakes had attempted a blitzkrieg, a brilliant strategy, alas, thwarted by obvious cheating. They had loads of speedhacks, and I warned the ref about them. The ref called me crazy, but I bet he started watching them because they stopped using them as soon as their fastest rushed our poor undefended flag and captured it for their first point. 1-0, Pirates lead the Snakes.

After this score, we finally got to spread our wings, sails, and fangs: the soccer was over and the field was wide open. The field was divided across the whole block-sized park, and all places within the park were legal to travel through. The foliage was now beautiful cover for an ambush. For over an hour, the battle rages, and many were jailed in each territory. The Pirates especially had many of their mates by our makeshift lightpost prison. By the size of the jails and lack of jailed Snakes, it was obvious the Snakes were playing a more defensive game since that initial blitzkrieg (I’m telling you, they hacked the game!).

Finally, the Snake hero Miles did it! He snuck around sleeping-at-their-posts Pirates into bushes nearby, then performed a beautiful distraction move, and took off with the flag! He rushed for the safety of our own territory, cradling the precious flag and barely looking back…

Actually, I have no idea how Miles did it. I was patrolling a bunch of bushes with a Maglite for the past hour and a half, and I wasn’t about to run so soon after smacking into some tree branches (short story: I am too tall). I wasn’t paying attention until Miles ran past me. I just know he scored without many blue shirts chasing him (they were all in jail). 1-1, a tie!

And, that’s where the saga ends. Or maybe it begins there. Or maybe we were just tired of running around a lot: my joints, two days later, are still hellishly sore. Maybe there’ll be another battle, someday, or perhaps some other kind of rewriting of these childhood stories of ours? Only time will tell, but some of us need to get a move on. There’s no telling when I’ll get diagnosed with arthritis.

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I am leeching off a person's Internet above, below, North, or South of me. I officially consider this a pirate broadcast.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

My colleague Sam almost bought these in Florida.

(Yes, poached from Dave Barry)

Seth MacFarlane's Address to Harvard

(Swiped from my colleague Danny)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Financial Advantages of Early Death by Dave Barry

You need a Trib account to read it.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Quote my friend Chief: "The word for "fear of the number 666" is hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia. In Greek, that's literally 'sixhundredsixtysixfear.'"

Any demon sightings today? Or sightings of any reigning Four Horsemen?

Friday, June 02, 2006

Avoid Spider-Man spoilers, or click here.

I have one fun thing and another fun thing, both from a good friend.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Since when is this "a more unique personality than others in the Bat-family?"