Eaglie's Aviary

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Our Olympic Chances (Since This Is an Chicago/America-centric Blog)

Yesterday I teased with how great of odds Chicago has to win the Olympics. 2-1, in fact. That's a pretty safe bet, right?

I mean, Oprah Winfrey is leading the Chicago 2016 delegation to Copenhagen tomorrow. (Too bad the IOC isn't 50.1+ percent American housewives.) And look at the rest of the delegation: Mayor Daley is going. Governor Quinn is going. Michelle Obama is going. Barack Obama says he's going. Michael Jordan... should go instead of wishing he was still playing baseball. That's a full basketball team, with Oprah as the coach, and Education-Teacher Guy Arne Duncan cooling the towels.

And why else should we win? Our secret weapons: one of the biggest sponsors of the Olympics, McDonald's, is based in Chicago. And the rest of the sponsors are American. About every 20 years, an American city hosts the Olympics.

How can we lose?

Easy, based on a few factors. We are the only city in the world that has more people against hosting the Olympics than for them. Many, in fact, are protesting. We also have the least guarantee that our government will handle the extra costs (though they say they will).

Not to mention we're (mostly) not Latin American.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Odds on Chances of Catching Olympic Fever

We have less than three days until we find out if Chicago beats the form-fitting pants off of Rio, or vice versa (only less form-fitting). And Tokyo and Madrid... how are they still in it? And does anyone care? Do you know what that means? Fake odds-making time! And if you want real odds, here. (h/t Chicagoist)

Tokyo, Japan, is pushing their experience in hosting the Olympics. Experience--because they're the only city to host the Olympics. That's what entirety of Cleveland sports could say (back 40 years ago, when they cleaned up the joint), but it isn't bringing them a Super Bowl anytime soon.

Tokyo's odds? 40-1.

Madrid, Spain, no one remembers that you're even in the bid.

Madrid's odds? 800-1.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has among the best chances due to being the first Latin American country to give a serious bid. The downside is that most of the sponsorship will be from prostitution and cocaine rings, who are far more legitimate and concerned about employees' well-being than most corporations in South America.

Rio's odds? 4-1.

Chicago, USA, has pretty good odds, too.

Chicago's odds? 2-1.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

An Olympic Fever of 103

There is a week left until the date that will decide our fate. Will Chicago host the Olympic Games in the year 2016? Will we "make no small plans"? Will we add a fifth star to the civic flag? Will we build exorbitant temporary infrastructure and debt?

Bus ads sound off athletic support every 20 minutes , and parking meters play the Olympic theme every 30 (only one of these is real, for now--guess which). It makes for a piercingly noisy commute. But do I "back the bid"? Or am I one of the many Chicagoans hoping we lose this track & field & pony show?

Well, no: I back this white city's bid. Mostly because I believe Chicago can avoid debt better than any city on earth. Maybe we'll burn her down again after the Games for the insurance money.

Stay tuned: the Aviary will be posting all week about the countdown to Chicago or Rio 2016--Toyko and Madrid... are you kidding me?

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's National Punctuation Day!



Saturday, September 19, 2009

It Be Talk Like a Pirate Day, Yet th'Politicians Be Talkin' 'Bout Health Care! Not In Pirate!

Avast! This health care crisis be a swabby mess on th' Ol' Poop Deck. Public options, beauracrats, an' rude members o' Congress! It be enough to make a good pirate come back t'land, just ta enjoy the yellin'!

I be a foward thinkin' cap'n. Ye don't believe me--I LIE?! Scurvy jackass! I be a man o' th' people, me people, an' they be cryin' out fer the public option. An' I be in agreein'.

Sure I be a free-lubbin' bucko. Sure, me ship offer dental an' vARRRious levels of health coverage. But th'public option be th' best choice fer free-lubbers that be too poor an' too sick ta be livin' a pirate's life like me. Not everyone be a matey on me ship. Th' public option be the option a' choice fer those people. Look at other nations an' how poor they be with pirates! I be lookin' at Canada an' Sasketchawan fer this inspARRRation.

But if ye be less fer the public option than them, if'n ye be hatin' th' beauracratic way life could be goin': try t'join me ship, send a resume, an' don't be worryin' 'bout this mess more. Pay yer taxes (I do). Stop yellin'. Ye jus' have a great TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY!



Friday, September 18, 2009

Some Countries Stay Perched on Dragons' Tails Forever

Mary Travers, an icon of the protest-with-flowers-and-guitars movement, died two days ago. And there is one song I put on repeat all day yesterday, and you can guess: it's not about white doves sailing and times a-changing:

"Puff the Magic Dragon" is about--besides the obvious--nostalgia. More specifically, the death of childhood, growing up and remembering playing on Cherry Lane. This is exactly what America is about.

America is nostalgic. Everyone these days is having parties themed by decade, writing books about small towns and small-town politicians, and referencing old toy commercials. They even just released a video game about The Beatles.

Why is such a young country stuck in a fleeting past? Britain has been the same empire for a thousand years with only a few minor coups, civil wars, and political beheadings, so they have a right to be nostalgic. Us? We're barely over 200, and we're already calling the new democracies "whippersnappers," even though they, just like us, only like a good roadside fireworks show.

After the Soviets gave up and the walls tumbled nearly two decades ago, weren't we supposed to bring about a New World Order, sans Hulk Hogan? America, why are we so stuck in the past?

It's because they don't make cartoons like this anymore:

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Loose Cannon with His Rhetoric

Do they let every opinionated white guy with a connection write for CNN now? Disregarding the thoughts Mr. Feehery's presented--where I don't find much to argue for or against--gander at the terrible lead:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- It is altogether ironic that the one person to have a Sam Adams beer at the infamous beer summit, hosted by the president, was Skip Gates, the Harvard professor whose arrest led to the summit.

Sam Adams was the key revolutionary figure in the Boston Tea Party of 1774, the spark that lit the American Revolution.

And now, 235 years later, Tea Parties have sprung up around the country as a reaction against the rule of President Obama and the Democratic Congress.

It is unlikely that Skip Gates will be spending any time addressing a Tea Party in his hometown of Boston any time soon.

And unlike the popular perception promoted by some in the media, the Tea Party is distinct from the Republican Party, probably as distinct as Sam Adams beer is from Bud Lite.

"Altogether ironic"? This guy's a loose cannon with his rhetoric! Yes, Henry Louis Gates' choice of beer is the cultural irony he draws. It's not even Obama's lager. This "writer," Mr. Feehery, probably thought he was quite clever, too.

Editor's note: John Feehery worked for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert and other Republicans in Congress. He is president of Feehery Group, a Washington-based advocacy firm that has represented clients that include News Corp., Ford Motor Co. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He formerly was a government relations executive vice president for the Motion Picture Association of America.

That explains it: a Hollywood rightist. Still, you're going to have to clean up your act, CNN, or I'm going to start editing all your Op-Eds.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A Day Without Cats: The Battle for the Soul of Teh Internetz

"It's 9/9/9. September has 9 letters, Wednesday has 9 and its the 252 day of the year added equal 9." --@MarketTraders

Why is today so important? There's that first statement from some crackpot on Twitter. There are also some who say the gods decreed that cats will have a day off on their most sacred numbered day--9/9/09. Nine lives. Whether these gods were Egyptian, Etruscan, or Catholic, I do not know. We'll say probably all of them. Most religions have pretty similar stories, don't they?

I would have ignored the signs. I might have been Jonahesque. Then I saw this video:

So while I do not normally post pictures of cats, and I hardly email them, I will support Urlesque and their cult. No cats today. At all. I have one rule: this eagle does not commit hubris.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

"Welcome Back, Comrade"

No, wait, I've got a better one than the title: Saved by the Bolsheviks' Drums! And then they can have a Bread Line Years edition.

In a half hour, President Obama will indoctrinate the nation's children, which I understand scares many parents. I mean, this is a national scale this guy is telling kids to keep reading, riting, and rithmeticking. I understand exactly why so many are afraid.

I've forgotten to study up beforehand on the speech (but glancing at it, I realized I sometimes wonder how Mr. Obama's speech teachers all felt). Rest assured, though, I will be watching and listening live, and scanning for subliminal lasers shooting out of my computer.

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