Sunday, February 26, 2006

Smile (Or the Joy of the Mutually Reinforced Pattern)

Abby had been smiling in her sleep for some time now, but never while awake. That all changed a few weeks ago. Now, with each day, she smiles more often and for greater durations. With that "social smile" she's also become far more interactive, swiping at the odd little creatures dangling off her mobile, making sustained eye contact and chattering away. It's giddy stuff for us. We thought we should share some of it with you. There is video posted here. It's pretty compressed, and while that translates into a grainy picture it does have the benefit of downloading fairly quickly. We'll try with future video posts to toy with making the quality of the image better without making it so it takes too long to download. No fancy editing here either-- maybe in the future we'll try to make some more creative short Abby films available.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Missed the Shore

Bopping along to my Best of 2005 mix on the way to catch the El this morning, I politely declined somebody handing out political flyers by the Bryn Mawr entrance. It wasn't until I was halfway up the stairs to the platform that her introduction had registered through the batter of my musical biscuits. "Hi, I'm Debra Shore!" "No thanks," I had mumbled as I walked into the station. But wait...Debra Shore?! Wasn't there an article about her in the Chicago Reader a couple months back? Didn't Cathy tell me more about her? And, in fact it was her.

Shore is running for office, one of those offices that you usually don't give much thought about (if you're like me, you find an organization you trust who has already vetted the qualifications of such mystery candidates and offers their recommendations-- this is particularly useful when it comes to judges) but one that's incredibly important nonetheless. She's running for the office of Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water District (or MWRD, which I've heard my fair share about through Cathy) and she deserves your vote. You can read more about her here. Here's a little taste of what makes her so worthy from her campaign site:

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District is a vitally important and altogether overlooked public agency. With an annual budget of more than $800 million and as owner of more than 7,000 acres in the region, it deserves more scrutiny. Its responsibility to treat wastewater and to manage storm water for the five million residents and many industries in Cook County makes it an essential contributor to our quality of life.

Yet few people know what the agency does and it has virtually no benchmarks with which to measure performance. With your help I intend to bring environmental accountability and leadership into the MWRD. I believe we cannot be merely users and abusers of natural resources but must become caring stewards

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Two With Jeff Bridges

Originally uploaded by chrisbreitenbach.
Watched Fat City and Thunderbolt and Lightfoot this weekend, a couple early 70’s films with Jeff Bridges. Has there, in the last 40 years, been a more amiable American actor, one more nonchalant and consistently likeable? I dig the dude. A couple years back (!) when I placed these films in my Netflix queue I had recently watched K-Pax, that supremely inane film, and marveled at how, even when surrounded by such cloying ontological piffle (his film career is studded with ridiculous but ephemerally pleasant crap like this) Bridges was still singularly entertaining, keeping his distance from the shark-jump hamming of Kevin Spacey and keeping the film watchable.

Back in the early 70’s Bridges excelled in playing rascally, ingratiating good ‘ol boy characters as both his supporting roles in Fat City and Thunderbolt and Lightfoot nicely showcase. He’s good in Fat City as a young boxer with potential, playing wholesome against Stacy Keach’s (surprisingly good—I almost got the taste of Mike Hammer out of my mouth) gone to seed former pro. But he’s really really good in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, a big hit when it was originally released, in full ingratiating rascal mode and playing Eastwood’s sidekick. The film itself veers a bit too widely from comedy to tragedy but there are a ton of rewards along the way to make it worthwhile. Eastwood, for one, is great here in one of his first comedic roles- laconic and graceful and already a legend. And most of the film takes place in Montana, something the director, Michael Cimino, takes full advantage of by including various shots that languorously take in the big sky and the rolling landscape adding a gentle, reposing texture to the film and its strange mix of the zany and tragic. And perhaps most importantly, it also stars Geoffrey Lewis, who will forever be a part of those early days of cable when I must have watched Every Which Way But Loose a few dozen times over the course of a couple months.