Showing posts from 2005


I'm crawling into a long winter's blog nap til Monday. We're heading out of town for a party. Wish I could be with you all standing in moldy lines waiting for drinks, etc. Seriously. I wish I could. Instead, we'll be, um...doing a lot of nothing. Nice. Happy New Year. Don't drive, if you don't have to. Please?!? Smell ya later!

Year in Review-- Biggest Story in Chicago

Doing an entire 'Year in Review' would be daunting, as I can't quite remember what happened 6 weeks ago, let a lone 6 months ago, but what I can do is tell all you--my loyal readers--what I think was/is the biggest story of 2005 in and around Chicago. ....Drum roll please........... The Biggest story in 2005 was the City of Chicago's 'about-face' on live, outdoor music in the City's parks. What? Live music as the biggest story of the year?!? WTF, Parrillo?!? What about the 'Drought of '05', or the White Sox, or Hired Truck, or Marshall Field's closing? Well...those are all good stories. They're all qualified for 'Biggest Story of the Year', but they don't have the same impact to me as the City's Leaders embracing live music. I wrote about it back in July when both Lollapaloza and Intonation were put on to rave reviews, despite the repressive heat. Dunno if you realize what is happening here. We just went from th

Mark Your Calendars--Club Coca Ski Trip, January 27-29, 2006

  As the calendar turns, we here at RhodesSchool and at The Club Coca are focusing our efforts on 2006. Club Coca has a full schedule of events including our annual 'Film Festival'   during the late summer and, more importantly, our annual Ski Trip during January/February. Due to other scheduling conflicts, we're proposing to have the ski trip the last weekend in January. January 27, 28, 29th.   Accomodations will be hosted by the Club Coca Remote Lounge in Coloma Michigan on the snowy shores of Paw Paw Lake. Skiing will   go down at Bittersweet Ski Resort .   Plan now. Let us know if you're interested in heading up there.

Aloha, Library of Congress...

Each year the Library of Congress preserves films and footage for, I guess 'posterity's sake'. They've been doing it since 1989 and to date have 'saved' 425 films. This years list includes 'Toy Story' and 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High  among others. It's an interesting mix: "Baby Face" (1933) "The Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man" (1975) "The Cameraman" (1928) Commandment Keeper Church, Beaufort, S.C., May 1940 (1940) "Cool Hand Luke" (1967) "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (1982) "The French Connection" (1971) "Giant" (1956) "H2O" (1929) "Hands Up!" (1926) "Hoop Dreams" (1994) "House of Usher" (1960) "Imitation of Life" (1934) Jeffries-Johnson world championship fight (1910) "The Making of an American" (1920) "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947) "Mom and Dad" (1945) "The Music

Music Critics Are 'Unimpressed'

So...are people buying 'good' music these days? The answer, plainly is  'no' . Compare the composite of tons of critic's 'Top 10' records of the year with the 'most selling' records of the year: Here are Metacritic's top 10 albums of the year based on highest average score: 1. Illinois by Sufjan Stevens 2. Z by My Morning Jacket 3. Wearemonster by IsolĂ©e 4. I Am A Bird Now by Antony And The Johnsons 5. Hypermagic Mountain by Lightning Bolt 6. The Woods by Sleater-Kinney 7. Arular by M.I.A. 8. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah 9. Minimum-Maximum [Live] by Kraftwerk 10. Thunder, Lightning, Strike by The Go! Team Now, here are the top 10 albums of the year based on sales: 1. The Massacre by 50 Cent 2. The Emancipation of Mimi by Mariah Carey 3. Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson 4. American Idiot by Green Day 5. Monkey Business by Black Eyed Peas 6. X&Y by Coldplay 7. Love.Angel.Music.Baby. by Gwen Stefa

Stuck in the Chimney

Hope Santa brought you guys everything you ask for! I had a good few days with family and friends. The holidays always go way, way too fast. Next up: New Years Eve. What's on the docket, you ask? I'm not sure. Nat and I may be heading to a few 'house parties' in Chicago or we might be heading to Coloma Michigan. Interested in joining us? Drop me a line. As for gifts, Nattie Claus gave me the Sirius Sportster Replay and she activated my Sirius account. Too cool. She also got me a 'home' dock, so I can listen to Stern at home! I've only begun to fool around with the radio and I'm already all geeked up about it. This should be lotsa fun. Santa Claus scored me a new pair of courderoys (not Corederoys!) and a vaccuum (not a Dyson !), which was needed. Inside the family, we do a 'grab-bag', where you only buy for one person with a limit of $75 or so. Shaun had me. I got Blind Faith's self titled release , Cream Live, Volume 2 , and Rick Danko

Blogging Awards

Anil touches briefly on Blogging awards and their explosion : The last reason that blogging awards are so popular isn't usually mentioned, but a powerful incentive for hosting and running an awards competition is to help make the host a center of power in the community. By creating the forum, inciting the inevitable drama, setting the rules, and (likely) helping to entrench one's friends and supporters as powers within the new community hierarchy, those who create awards are likely to reap significant benefits from doing so. Hmmm...there's an 'awards' deal that we're still working on for JoinCross.  Illinois Fifty is set to 'rock out' during the Spring Legislative Session. I'm awaiting some information before development is complete. Should be cool. Maybe Corederoy Partners needs to give out 'Political Blogging' Awards. Hmmm....that may not be a bad idea...

Yahoo! Buys

I have never really considered myself to be a Yahoo! guy. I use Google. I use Gmail. I use AIM. But...  now I'm a total Yahoo! guy .  In addition to Flickr, now Yahoo! owns, which powers savedstuff , a little project that Rick and I and a few others use. Flickr is an incredible project. It takes you about 5 minutes to 'go pro' and use the hell outta that site. If you want to have stuff populate 'Saved Stuff', just tag it 'savedstuff' in If you want me to see it for this blog, tag it 'forjake'. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then it's time to go noodle around there . Once you 'get', you'll be hooked...especially if you use Firefox!

Can't See the Line, Can Ya, Russ?

Christmas music doesn't do a helluva lot for me. I dig Mele Kalikimaka , but I have disagreements with Nat over listening to the Lite --which plays all Christmas songs. (she has great taste in music normally, but around Christmas, she goes a little batty with the tunes and decorations...I like it, I'm just not used to it!) Regardless, maybe this EP can change my mind . It's the Arcarde Fire doing a few Holiday tunes!

Chicago: Second City, Again

WTF, Robert Scoble ? What? Is Chicago a 'Second Class City' ? Live Local, which launched in beta today as promised, has such views of 12 American cities (notably missing is Chicago), which are beautiful high-res images better than any other mapping service is offering right now, but for a couple reasons they're not nearly as useful as they could be. You want us to believe that you're listening? Then, get me Chicago! Its the greatest city in the world, and you don't include it? WTF?!?

No Snow Brushing Needed

This morning was the first morning in a year and a half that I've truly appreciated having a garage!

Playing God with Radiohead

Stylus plays God with Radiohead's Pablo Honey : It’s easy to forget that in 1993 Radiohead didn’t have much of a future. A more menacing Fine Young Cannibals, the band had just released Pablo Honey, a record with one smash single (“Creep”), a spattering of mediocre Pixies-aping album tracks, and wretched baby/candy/flower cover art. They were one name-change removed from presenting themselves to the world as On a Friday, and Thom Yorke sneered hilariously in press photos. Pablo Honey failed to produce even the semblance of a second US hit.

Flirting with the Jakester

Nat started a new job with the American Red Cross a few months back. She's in charge of events in Chicago and she's really into it. I mean 'TPS Reports'-into it and 'proximity card'-into it. Tonight it all pays off with her first event. She's worked really hard on it and its bound to be a success. Metromix covered it, too , which is nice. Flirting for Disaster The Kerryman 661 N. Clark St.  Dangerously attractive  We know, fellas: When you sport the fitted jeans and vintage shirt, the bar-ometer goes into overdrive. Flash your hazards at other young professional singles at The American Red Cross Auxiliary Board's Flirting for Disaster networking party. Includes Corzo tequila sippers, apps and raffle prizes, plus $3 cosmos and $2 beers. Dec. 1: 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Price: $20-$25. Proceeds benefit the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago If you have no plans tonight, make sure you get there. I have to go to the Village's Tree light

Thanksgiving Traditions

It's Thanksgiving, and in my world that means 2 things. The Last Waltz and stuffing. I'm already halfway through the first record. I'll watch the film a bit later. Utilizing horns one more time, this was the gig of the Band's life and one of the greatest in rock history. We are privileged that it exists in a form where we can hear it as often as we want. -- Rob Bowman , All-Music Guide

Napolean Follow-up

Whitney Matheson wonders if serious films will kill Jack Black Will Jack Black's starring, semi-serious stint in King Kong change the comedian forever? Not to worry: This photo from Nacho Libre, director Jared Hess' follow-up to Napoleon Dynamite, shows Black looking ridiculous again, dressed in lace and covered in doves. (Sounds like a Prince video, doesn't it?) In the movie, he plays a wannabe Mexican wrestler. Black is also set to star in the oft-delayed Tenacious D movie, now set for a spring release. I'd link to the trailer, but this is a family-friendly blog ... Here's the pic she was talking about...

Save Our Bluth's!

Hitting pretty close to home, eh Mitch ? "Arrested Development" creator Mitch Hurwitz isn't giving up on his show -- but he is using an upcoming episode to poke fun at the skein's latest near-death experience.  Seg, dubbed "S.O.B.s" -- for "Save Our Bluths" -- finds the show's Bluth family fighting to save their fictional construction company. They decide to mount a big event -- "Some kind of 'Save Our Bluths' type thing," as George Bluth Sr. says in the script for the episode.  "It's very self-referential," Hurwitz told Daily Variety, noting that he finished the final draft of the shooting script Wednesday.  In one scene, Jason Bateman's character, Michael, notes, "Our backs are against the wall. ... It's just hard for me to accept that it's really come to begging."  There's also a conversation about whether the Home Builders Organization -- HBO -- might be willing to

TiVo ToGo

Engadget is reporting that you'll be able to rip Tivo'd programs to your video ipod. Today TiVo is expected to announce an enhanced TiVoToGo service, which would allow subscribers to transfer recorded programs directly to their iPods and PSPs. Of course, many of you are already taking steps to convert TiVo’s MPEG-2 format to MPEG-4 - a process which requires video conversion software and several manual steps to load up your portable. But TiVo is promising background conversion and automatic, overnight transfer directly to your iPod or PSP via your connected PC - a two-hour process for a one-hour show.

E-Mail is Sooo Five Minutes Ago

So says Business Week . Though the likeliest scenario is that e-mail will remain the prime tool for notification and one-to-one communication, "a huge percentage of collaboration will occur outside of e-mail, with a continued rise in these other tools," says Clay Shirky, associate teacher in the interactive telecommunications program at New York University. "There's an enormous untapped value to be gotten by getting collaboration right." I've told some of my customers the same thing, but they want email blasts and more email blasts...I'm pushing blogs, they want Photo galleries.

Metromix Going Nationwide

Metromix going national ? Yup. There's no "official" announcement, but a blogger who works for the Tribune Co. is putting out the word that the company is turning Metromix, its online entertainment guide in Chicago, into a national site. It's up now in two other Tribune markets: Baltimore and Orlando.  In some ways this development harkens back to the dot-com boom, when major media companies thought the winning strategy was to create new national brands. (At Knight Ridder, where I was new media director for the Miami Herald, we rolled out an entertainment guide called JustGo in all of the company's markets.) This created internal tension at the papers and also some consumer confusion, since those papers already had print entertainment guides with other brand names.  I see at least one important but subtle difference this time around: The Tribune Co. isn't abandoning the newspaper's traditional brand names in local markets. For instance, the si

Base to Google

Wait no longer. The Craigslist Killer Google Base is here: Google Inc launched a service on Wednesday that gives Web users an online venue to publish anything from a recipe to a research paper.  The service, called "Google Base," invites users to choose labels and attributes for their content that will make it easier for other people to search the site.  The service ( is free and gives a unique Web address to each user's content, allowing people to easily post information without the need to create and maintain a Web page.  Depending on the relevance of the content, users' information may also appear on other Google properties like Froogle and Google Local, Google said.

Wilco Countdown--4 Days

It's coming pretty fast.  I just burned AGIB for one of my mates who is heading to the show on Tuesday with us. He has YHF, but didn't get 'Ghost' because it's not 'out on vinyl' yet. The good news about that is that it's coming March 8th with 'new cover (not the infamous egg)'. In other Wilco-related news, ' Golden Smog ' is set to record a new record . Attention all drummers: Golden Smog is getting ready to make another album.  Actually, former ZuZu's Petals drummer Linda Pitmon -- who filled the Smog's ever-rotating drum slot at October's Rock for Karl show -- will likely play on the new CD alongside the usual suspects: Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), Dan Murphy (Soul Asylum) and Jayhawks past and present Gary Louris, Marc Perlman and Kraig Johnson.  Manager Jake Walesch, who is Soul Asylum's point man, says the Smog plans to record in Spain in March. The fact that the gang is going overseas to make the album suggests

FCC Hasn't Been Calling

For what it's worth...this is the 3rd straight day that I haven't been **asked** to take anything down from the blog or **modify** anything either. That's got to be some kinda record. I love these session days. The 'bigs' have better stuff to do than surf over here to check up on me...either stuff has just been really bland. Not sure. On most days if you get over here by like 8:30ish you can see all the 'entries' in their 'unedited' state. By like 9 or 9:30 someones figured out that we shouldn't be 'saying that' on the Tom Cross Blog. Ever see 'Fight Club' ? Who knows? Maybe I'll start inserting a bit of somethin' every once in a while. Gotta keep the 'bigs' on their toes! **UPDATE** 10:19 a.m. The streak is over.  Sadly.  Or not.

2 Headed Dogs? That'll Make the 'kids' Watch!

MTV2 apparently has a new logo . Not to sure what to think.... What on Earth is the two-headed dog?  It's the new logo for MTV2 and the creature behind MTV's viral-marketing campaign to create all-important buzz for MTV2's new look and programming. Yesterday, MTV plastered its headquarters in Times Square with the two-headed dog profile.  And for the past three weeks at New York's coolest concerts, rock-loving hipsters have been bombarded with T-shirts, hats and hoodies emblazoned with the silhouette of a two-headed dog. Hmmm....they're going to preview the 'new' MTV2 at halftime of the Superbowl on Sunday. (check out the's pretty crazy) I don't get MTV2, I don't think...but I did just get my tv all set up. My dad came over and assembled the stand and helped me lift the thing up onto it. Some rearranging of furniture happened too. I'll post some pics later tonight. Needless to record collection does not hav

Too Much Bright Eyes?

I know...I know...Bright Eyes is all over the place today....I'm not totally digging it yet, but this show  helped push me into Connor's camp. It's a webcast from 'All things Considered'. Give him a might like him. Besides...he's Winona Ryder's latest indie-rocker boyfriend . (Hat Tip, Whitney Mateson via my sister Vic)

Super Bowl Chow

Lance...Are you gearing up for the Super Bowl? Is Mrs. Stevens going to be putting out a  spread ?  "It's the day the whole nation goes into a frat mentality. It's a day devoted to gluttony, a day devoted to eating the worst foods possible under the guise it's an American tradition. After a long day knocking on doors out in Aurora, I could use some chowder.

Still Not Sure About Blogs and Their Effectiveness?

Steve posts about the journalist's 'dirty little secret' : With the pro journos actively swimming around the blogosphere waters like sharks in search of dinner, there's absolutely no excuse not to at least monitor what people are writing on blogs. **Waving hello at StateHouse Reporters**