Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, April 14, 2021

Have you hung onto those pen-and-paper diaries/journals you kept during your tender teenaged years? Feel like you missed out by not being able to display them to the world, ala today’s MySpace-ing kids?

Here’s the cure: “Cringe Night” and similar bar-based performance art, where 30- and 40-somethings recite their crusty entries for their own amusement (and others’).

“There’s no way you can get up and do this and sound cool,” said Sarah Brown, 29, creator of Cringe Night. Six years ago, she stumbled upon a box of her old diaries. She invited her best friend over and read passages aloud over a box of wine:

Jan. 5, 1991:

Jennifer and I were in Musicland, playing “Stairway to Heaven” on the keyboard and laughing. I was laughing and my hair (thank GOD I curled it today!) fell over my shoulder and for once I KNOW I looked good. Then I looked up and there he was, five feet away, like he was waiting to say something, and I know if he had said something, it would have been, “Sarah?”

I dunno. Purportedly, you’re laughing at yourself, but really, it’s your now-defenseless younger self. What’s the point? Everyone went through their awkward phases. This comes off as just seeing who was geekier than who, and how far they’ve subsequently come.

It may surprise some that I never did keep a journal way back in my high-school days. Not in college, either. Shortly after college, I started a paper-based journal, more out of boredom and to keep my writing skills limber; it didn’t last, and I’m pretty sure I trashed it shortly after abandoning it. A few years passed, and now of course, I’ve got the blog habit to provide a creative (and incriminating) channel.

I suppose I could print out my old blog and recite select posts from there. Since my teenaged angst didn’t make it to the Internet, I’m sure my Cringe Night contributions would be a poor fit.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/14/2007 05:55:39 PM
Category: Comedy, Creative
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Someday, you might have to convince your grandkids that you actually needed a key to open up and start an automobile. Keyless entry and push-button ignition, both still novelty features, are projected to become standard car features on all models in the near future.

For the ignition, it’s sort of a return to the industry’s roots:

Push-button starters are a retro feature, dating back to the industry’s toddler years. In 1913, the Locomobile became one of the first cars to use one. Carmakers also started using keys around that time, after ignitions (and car theft) were invented.

Today’s keyless models use a fob — the small remote control device that most modern cars use to lock and unlock doors — but it performs the additional duty of sending a signal to the ignition. For the car to start, the fob has to be somewhere near the dashboard, perhaps stowed in a cup holder.

I guess this means that future vengeful types will have to find another implement for “keying” some else’s car. I doubt that fob’s going to good for carving into a paintjob.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/14/2007 05:41:26 PM
Category: Tech
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Congratulations to the city of Chicago for making the U.S. Olympic Committee cut to bid for the 2016 Summer Games.

The odds are strong for Chi-town due to a couple of factors. The International Olympic Committee likes to alternate continents, and the next two Summer Olympics going to Asia (Beijing 2008) and Europe (London 2012), so the Americas would be up after that (Rio de Janeiro is also in the running, and the feeling is that if they can put together a credible bid, they’ll get the first South American-hosted Olympiad). Chicago has never hosted a Games before, so it’s virgin territory.

Before all that, though, the Windy City has to address an already-pressing infrastructure issue. Its legendary El mass transport train system, a century old, is already buckling under the strain of everyday commuting grinds.

Actually, a successful Olympic bid is part of the long-term plan for rehabbing the El:

[Mayor] Daley, who by law appoints several members of the C.T.A.’s oversight board, has said that luring the Olympics to Chicago could draw more federal money to assist with long-term upgrades to the system.

So in addition to new sports venues around town, the five-ring circus could also bring Chicagoans a better train ride.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/14/2007 05:29:25 PM
Category: Politics, Sports
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