Big happenings and burrito let-downs.

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

There are certain weekends that are just destined to be great.  This weekend may be one of them.  This weekend not only marks the beginning of the Olympics (of which I have mixed feelings this year but am still growing daily more excited for) but it also contains the day on which I turn another year older.  I’ll get to see my family this weekend and some of my best friends, and no matter what kind of events unfold, it’s an August weekend, so I know it will be a good one.

If I may, then, I’d like to designate in advance another sure-to-be-awesome weekend: September 19-20.  I don’t know how to begin building this up with the right amount of suspense, so I’ll just give you the facts:  Friday night we’re going to be in Chicago to see… Jenny Lewis!  Ahh!  Jenny and her acid tongue.  I can’t wait.  Then the next day we are driving all the way up to Green Bay for, are you ready?  The Art Table Reunion Show!  It’s officially happening!  September 20th at the Eagle’s Club.  Be there, all right?  We’ll even have a few new songs, just for you.

Finally, I’d like to close by saying that today I had lunch at a popular burrito chain which I suppose will go unnamed.   I went there because I won a coupon for a free burrito, otherwise it’s not really on my dining circuit.  On the way in I read a sign on the door that said, “Our burritos are so good you’ll need a cigarette when you’re done.  Just don’t smoke it in here.”  Funny, right?  It was their attempt at a clever spin on the No-Smoking sign, meant to suggest, I assume, that their burritos are as good as or better than sex.  Kind of a bold assertion (probably wouldn’t want to explain that sign to my kids) but more upsetting than the crude analogy was the basic encouragement of smoking.  Just not there.  Smoking is cool, but not in our restaurant, okay?  Smoking doesn’t give you lung cancer, and our burritos won’t give you a heart attack.  Heck, why am I protecting them?  The restaurant was Chipotle Mexican Grill!  Kind of a tasteless move, for a pretty tasty burrito place.

Quitting can be noble.

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

There are a few things that happened this week that I didn’t write about. Okay, all right, there are more than a few things that happened this week, especially if you are speaking globally, which I am about to, in which case there are billions of things that happened this week that I did not write about. Something that I’ve been meaning to comment on, though, was news this past Tuesday when I was busy getting swept away by Barack. This Tuesday news to which I refer is Steven Spielberg’s announcement to step down from his role as artistic adviser in the 2008 Beijing Olympics to protest China’s role in the Darfur conflict (story here). Although I wouldn’t consider myself a huge fan of Spielberg–his movies, though nice, are a little too polished–I think that his statement is an especially loud one and I give my applause (if it means anything to a Hollywood giant). These are the kinds of drastic actions that shake people into noticing.

China, Khartoum’s staunchest ally, makes the following claim on their website concerning the 08′ Games’ slogan:

“One World One Dream” fully reflects the essence and the universal values of the Olympic spirit — Unity, Friendship, Progress, Harmony, Participation and Dream. It expresses the common wishes of people all over the world, inspired by the Olympic ideals, to strive for a bright future of Mankind. In spite of the differences in colors, languages and races, we share the charm and joy of the Olympic Games, and together we seek for the ideal of Mankind for peace…

Peace? Really, China? By being the leading seller of arms to the Sudanese government? By snuggling up next to Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and battling off any attempts at UN intervention and peace-making? By investing heavily in Sudanese oil and funding violent “policy” for an embarrassing amount of time? Would you consider that charming, China?

China’s response to Spielberg was one of indignity, claiming, “”As the Darfur issue is neither an internal issue of China, nor is it caused by China, it is completely unreasonable, irresponsible and unfair for certain organisations and individuals to link the two as one.” So this “bright future of Mankind,” though global in ideal, is really only local in practice, is that what China is suggesting? We could be upset if it were the Chinese who were being persecuted by their government (let’s not even get started there) but not a country on another continent? That’s not China’s responsibility? It’s totally irrelevent either way, because the fact is that China is not simply turning a blind eye to the violence in Darfur, it is propelling it, with its money, with its weapons, and with its unabashed “diplomatic,” political support. I don’t know what happened to the “Genocide Olympics” label that cropped up a while back, but I think it still applies. (Some more facts here, and something you can do.)