Friday, May 27, 2011

Interesting Facts About Christian Louboutin

Reading Complaints filed in lawsuits can be very revealing, particularly in the area of fashion.  The Complaint lays out the facts of the case, and describes what goes on within the company straight from the horse's mouth.   I finally read the Complaint for the Christian Louboutin v Yves St Laurent trademark lawsuit, and some things caught my attention.  The lawsuit is over this mark:

(I linked to a different red sole mark in my previous post on this, oops.)  This mark was applied for in March 2007, published for opposition in July 2007 (allowing anyone else to complain about its issuance), and registered in January 2008.  The Complaint is against the red YSL Tribute, Tribtoo, Palais, and Woodstock shoes, which apparently are shoes that are all red -- outside, inside, and sole.  The shoes come in blue and purple also, of similar design -- i.e. all blue outside, inside, and sole. 

Throughout the Complaint, Christian Louboutin goes to great lengths to describe the exclusivity, distinctiveness, and fame (or "well known") of the mark.  Here are some paragraphs from the Complaint about the marketing of Louboutins that I found interesting (numbered as they are in the Complaint):

33.  Plaintiffs have made the conscious effort to keep Louboutin Footwear as a recognized luxury item and thus away from what is commonly known as mainstream marketing.  The manufacture, design, promotion, distribution, lending and sale of Louboutin Footwear are all done by Plaintiffs with this fundamental strategy in mind.

34.  Plaintiffs have strictly limited the locations (known in the industry as "doors") where genuine Louboutin Footwear may be purchased.  Louboutin Footwear is only sold in Plaintiffs' own free standing eponymous boutiques, high end department stores, a few very select small individual retailers, and on the Internet via Plaintiffs' website, and the e-commerce sites of Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and Net-A-Porter.com (which is considered by many to be the Internet equivalent of Neiman Marcus or the like).  In particular, in the United States, consumers can purchase geniune Louboutin Footwear in only seven stand-alone Christian Louboutin boutiques located in major cities, at the high end department stores Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom, at a very small number of unique luxury boutiques and via the Internet sites stated above.

35.  To maintain demand, Plaintiffs often will not fill an entire order that a vendor would like to receive, preferring instead to keep product in short supply and sufering "sold out" status from time to time.  Consumers thus watch carefully for all deliveries and often are on waiting lists for a new product.

36.  Plaintiffs carefully screen all requests from editors of magazines, celebrity stylists, writers, photographers and others who make public use of Plaintiffs' footwear to assure that such use will enhance the reputation of the Christian Louboutin brand and the Red Sole Mark.  For example, for publications Plaintiffs screen the readership, photographers, content and advertisers to confirm that the Louboutin Footwear is in the right publication and that the products advertised therein are similar in style and luxury.

37.  Plaintiffs do not give away footwear in return for photography placements or celebrity use, nor do Plaintiffs purchase advertising space in return for use of their products in photograph spreads by the very same magazines or newspapers.  Virtually all products provided for editorial photography or for celebrity events are returned to Plaintiffs upon completion of the event.  This strategy is very different than those employed by competing brands.  If celebrities want their own Louboutin Footwear, they purchase them.  If a magazine wants to use Louboutin Footwear in an editorial, they must request and then return the footwear, if provided at all.  Such strategy has had great results, with both celebrity and editorial use of Louboutin Footwear growing each year through the date hereof.

38.  Although Plaintiffs give a small amount of money as co-operative marketing money to certain of their upscale department store retailers, Plaintiffs themselves do not buy advertising space.  Plaintiffs rely almost entirely on filling the numerous requests to loan footwear for product placements, women's magazine fashion editorials, and celebrity events as the strategy to publicizie and market Louboutin Footwear.  [......]

The Complaint also goes into great detail naming all the celebrities who wear them, movies they've appeared in, Jennifer Lopez's "Louboutins" song, accolades and awards, and social networking sites dedicated to Louboutins.  The claims against YSL are trademark infringement, trademark dilution, false designation of origin and unfair competition (federal and state claims). 

YSL's Answer basically states the following (1) red soles have been in use since the 1600s; (2) YSL has used red soles since the 1970s, and the shoes accused have been sold for years.  They list a huge amount of shoes sold since 2003 by YSL that had red soles; (3) Louboutin lied to the Trademark Office to get the mark; (4) Louboutin interfered with YSL's business by convincing the department stores that YSL was infringing; and (5) Louboutin's trademark should be cancelled.

I'm finding this lawsuit pretty fascinating.  The hearing for the preliminary injunction (which would halt all sales by YSL immediately) is on July 22.

Casey Anthony's Defense Does Not Ring True

I haven’t paid much attention to the Casey Anthony case lately, but now that the trial has started, it’s almost impossible to get away from it. I’ve only read a few articles, but from what I’ve seen, the approach taken by the defense is baffling.

The story told by the defense goes like this: Caylee accidentally drowned in the pool. Casey’s father, George, found her. He and Casey panicked and disposed of the body. Oh, and George molested Casey. (This was described in excruciating detail in the defense’s opening statement. I do not believe this at all, and feel terrible for George, especially considering that they have stood by Casey during all of this.)

All I can really gather is that the defense believes Casey will be found guilty and is trying to mitigate a death penalty sentence, because the story they are telling does not make sense, and especially doesn’t make sense after Casey has spent three years sitting in jail. As Judge Judy likes to say “If it doesn’t make sense, it isn’t true!”

Let’s imagine for a second that you have a two year old child. You take your eyes off them for a minute; they fall in a pool and drown. What do you do?

(a) Call 911.

(b) Get rid of the body and spend the next month partying. Tell your friends your child is with her nanny. When confronted by the police, make up a story that your child was kidnapped by her nanny and claim you didn’t call the police because you were looking for her yourself. Sit in prison for three years knowing that you did not kill your child.

I’m not a criminal attorney, but the “accidental death” defense seems like a nonstarter, given the events of the past three years. Even if Caylee did accidentally drown, and even if Casey did panic and dispose of her body, doesn’t it seem like Casey would have admitted that to the police over the past three years rather than face the death penalty? She was young (and probably very stupid) when this happened. Wouldn’t you expect her to just break down and some point and say “Here’s what happened. I panicked. I was scared. I didn’t know what to do.” Maybe she still faces prison time, but certainly not death.  Instead, she is on trial and facing the death penalty, claiming that Caylee accidentally died, so thus she did not kill her. That’s the defense?

It’s an odd position to take. Remember that the prosecution has the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. I’m not that into the case, but from what I know there isn’t any pure, direct proof that Casey is the one who killed Caylee, or even how Caylee died. Casey was living in a house with her mother, father, and brother at the time this happened. It seems like some doubt could be raised as to who actually did it, rather than taking the position that Caylee accidentally died, Casey knew about it, and did nothing. That raises more red flags than the “prosecutors can’t prove this to you beyond a reasonable doubt; all they can prove is maybe that Casey was a bad mother in that she was out partying after Caylee disappeared” defense. (Not a great position either, but it’s a big step from being a not so great mother to actually killing your child.)

I don’t know, but the story being spun by the defense seems like a loser to me, simply because if it is true, it makes no sense that Casey would be sitting in the defendant's chair at trial facing the death penalty right now.

Drug Testing for CHA Residents

I really despise the ACLU. I think at one point in time they did good things and helped a lot of people. Now, however, it seems like every time an ACLU spokesperson is quoted or a lawsuit is filed on the ACLU’s behalf, it’s over something that makes no logical sense.  Everything is a "civil liberty" these days.

For example, in today’s Sun Times, there is an article discussing the following:
The Chicago Housing Authority wants to require all adults who currently live in, or apply in the future for housing in any of its developments, to be tested for drugs — including senior citizens.
What is wrong with this? Let’s recall that most of the projects in Chicago were just torn down due to years of dangerous conditions, drugs, and crime that obliterated any good standard of living for the people who lived there. Those have been replaced with mixed income housing in some areas, as well as other new low income housing. Apparently some of the new mixed income housing already requires drug testing. The people who live in this brand new CHA housing (as well as other older CHA housing) are living there at a huge discount, if not for free. And if you aren’t doing drugs, you have nothing to hide, right?

But oh, their civil liberties might be infringed upon! I guess that means their liberty to do illegal drugs while the government pays their rent.  Where is that in the Constitution? 
The American Civil Liberties Union charges the public agency seeks to place a double standard on the poor.

“From our perspective, drug testing without suspicion is humiliating. It’s stigmatizing. There’s a double standard here,” he said. “All across our city and our country, when most of us who are in whatever income bracket rent housing, we don’t have to take a drug test. This is an emerging one standard for poor people and another standard for everyone else.”
Here’s the deal, Mr. ACLU: if someone else -- especially the government -- is paying your rent, you shouldn’t be held to the same standard as someone paying their own rent.  You should be expected to, at minimum, follow the law.

And of course the residents disagree:

“It’s such an insensitive proposal to even bring to the table,” said Myra King, a resident of the Far South Side Lowden Homes development. She chairs the Central Advisory Council of tenant leaders from CHA properties all across the city.
“Singling us out for this type of humiliation is a slap in the face of what this whole ‘Plan for Transformation’ supposedly is about,” King said. “CHA says they’re doing this plan to make us privvy [sic] to the same standards as any other citizen in any other community. If that’s true, why are we the only citizens to be drug tested?”
Oh, it's so insensitive.  Maybe if we didn't coddle people so much and worry about their feelings there wouldn't be people who live in CHA housing for their entire lives.  Remember back in the day when it was humiliating to be dependent on the government?  Remember when people were embarrassed to use food stamps and leech of others in society?  Maybe some of our government spending problems could be taken care of if we went back to those days, and cared less if we were hurting someone's feelings.  I'm so sick of hearing about "loss of dignity" and all that crap.  Maybe you can create your own sense of dignity by supporting yourselves.  Lots of jobs require random drug testing, why shouldn't housing?  You are the only citizens for housing being drug tested because you are the citizens who expect the government to pay your rent. If the government wants to pay part of my mortgage, I will happily take a drug test. I’ll take one every week! Unfortunately, the government will not pay my mortgage for me.
The measure is among several changes to the lease and CHA’s Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy proposed by CEO Lewis Jordan. Under the policy, a positive drug test would subject leaseholders to eviction proceedings.
Why should people be allowed to continue to suck money out of the government for rent, when they are out spending the money they do have on drugs? There is a massive waiting list for CHA housing right now, so big that only every few years or so they open it up to add new people. I have no problem helping people out when they need help, but if they take advantage of the system, that’s when I have a problem. Let’s allow some of the other people on the list who need help to have their chance by evicting the people who are abusing the system.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lady Gaga Annoys Me Further

I'm still laughing over this quote from her latest Rolling Stone interview:
But, she says, please don’t confuse her actions as attempts to gain attention.
 “I have attention,” she says in the interview. "Is it that you believe that I am attention-seeking or shock for shock's sake, or is it just that it's been a long time since someone has embraced the art form the way that I have? Perhaps it's been a couple of decades since there's been an artist that's been as vocal about culture, religion, human rights, politics.”
Really?  Really?
Gaga continues, speaking directly to her critics, “I'm so passionate about what I do, every bass line, every EQ. Why is it that you don't want more from the artist, why is it that you expect so little, so when I give and give, you assume it's narcissistic?"
Everything about what she says here seems completely narcissistic to me.  But maybe I'm crazy or just a hater.  If she really wants to change the world, I wish she'd stop plagiarizing Madonna and her own previous songs.  I'm just so completely over her.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Random Thoughts on May 22

1.  Once again, Justin Timberlake stole the show on the season finale of SNL last night.  Lady Gaga was there also, and she was all right, and participated in three sketches.  She was okay, but again, she never looks like she is having any fun.  Justin Timberlake takes on every sketch with gusto, and is probably the best host standing right now.  I was never a fan of his, but his ability to make fun of himself and just go for it on SNL has made me a huge, huge fan.  He's awesome.  I couldn't stop laughing at him in the Liquorville sketch last night.  I hope he wins an Academy Award someday.

2.  Speaking of boy bands, I'm going to the Backstreet Boys/New Kids on the Block concert on Wednesday night.  Some of my friends went on the cruise a couple weekends ago and got free tickets to the Chicago show, and since they are already going to like three other shows, they have given me their free tickets.  Hurray!  So, I am gathering girls (much harder than you might think, for this particular show), and we are going.  I saw them live back when they first started the reunion tour, and on the one cruise I went on (out of pure peer pressure), and say what you want about the NKOTB, but they put on a damn good live show.  It also helps that I know the words to every single fucking song.  What happened to me?  Oh well, I'm excited.  It's always good for people watching, at any rate.  And I really love the BSB "Larger Than Life" so I'm kind of looking forward to hearing that live.   

3.  I took a full carload of crap to Salvation Army today (Goodbye all of my VHS tapes!), and still feel like I haven't made a dent in all the things I need to just let go.  (No, the Cabbage Patch Kids are still here!)  It's really weird how you feel like you've gotten rid of a lot, and then when you look at all your stuff it seems as if no dent has been made. 

4.  Drain flies are back.  Not a ton, but Jesus Christ.  Maybe the bathroom remodels will take care of this, when the plumbers get in here.  If not, I don't know what to do.  I'm stumped as to where they are coming from, after checking and taping all of my drains last year and having my sump checked.  I'm convinced they are getting in from outside somehow, and not through my drains.  But where?  And how?  Ugh. 

5.  I thought I could go to Menard's and find a "Garage Door Opener" lightbulb, because on the Internet, there were a lot of specially labelled "garage door opener lightbulbs."  You have to get a special one that can handle the shock of the opening and closing and whatever.  (I mean, who knew?)  They did not have anything labelled as such in the four aisles of lightbulbs at Menard's, and the worker there seemed to think I was crazy.  But I swear I saw them on the Internet.  So, I will either order off the Internet, or just suck it up and take the cover off and see what I need.  For now, I have a flashlight in my car.  I am resourceful, if anything.  And it hasn't been a huge issue, since I only drive my car about once a week.  And if you can't tell, I really don't want to deal with this.  Maybe I should just call a handyman company and tell them I want them to do this for me.  I wonder how much that would cost.  I have, however, determined that if I really push my car over to the far left, that I can leave it in the garage and still change the bulb, so that makes life a little easier.

6.    The French Open has started!  Yay!  Federer is the underdog, but you can't count him out.  I'd like to see him blow past Nadal and Djkovic.  There are no women from the U.S. in the draw that anyone has ever heard of.  It's kind of ridiculous how everyone pulls out of Roland Garros because its on clay because of supposed injuries, when you know they are all just getting their game ready for Wimbledon.  You'd think that wouldn't be allowed, but tennis is weird.

7.    My asshole neighbor who has had his place up for sale for the past year or so and was under contract (yay!) had the contract fall through (boo!) because the appraisal came out too low.  This also happened to another of my friends.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't market rate be what someone is willing to pay?  I had to get two appraisals when I bought my place for the same reason, because they brought up a guy who lived in northern Indiana the first time who had no fucking idea about the neighborhood and location to do the appraisal.  It seems to me that the housing market may be suffering not due to people wanting to buy or not being able to buy, but to appraisals that aren't reflecting the market price (i.e. what people are willing to pay, within reason) of the house.

I Will Soon Be Completely Alone

My roommate is moving out next weekend, Memorial Day weekend.

Bet you didn't know I had a roommate, did you?  Well, she's not a roommate in the traditional sense of the word.  What happened was, when I was getting ready to close on my place back in summer of 2009, she was looking to get out of her roommate situation, and her company was getting ready to send her out of town for a long while on a consulting assignment.  So, the deal was, she gets to move all her furniture in, and pay me rent, and have a place to stay for the one weekend a month she was allowed to come back to Chicago.  So, I have a roommate, but I don't, really. 

She's only been here one weekend a month -- if that, because sometimes she goes other places -- for the past year and a half.  And I've had the added bonus of not having to rush to furnish my basement and extra bedroom.  (When I moved in, I would've had to do all of that, since I moved into a much bigger place than I moved out of.)  We get along great (she's one of my good friends from law school), so it has worked out fine, and was a win/win for the both of us, since I charged her much less to store her stuff than any other "landlord" would have.  Plus, I got to use her Wii.  Now I have to buy my own.  Boo. 

So, she has decided to move to the location of her consulting gig, at least for the foreseeable future, so she is moving out.  The timing is right, since I am ready now to furnish the rest of my place.  I will miss her a lot, but I'm practical and this is a great career move for her.  (I am all about career, in case you haven't noticed.)

However.

This means I get to spend Memorial Day weekend in a cluster fuck with her and her mother (who is coming up from Florida) packing her things, getting Salvation Army over here to pick up her furniture that she doesn't want to take (and I don't want) and the whole debacle of moving.  I absolutely hate moving.  I was ready to kill myself when I moved into here it was such a pain in the butt.  Putting everything you own into a box takes a lot more boxes than you realize.  A lot more.  And everything needs to go into a box for a cross country move.  I know; I did it back in 2001.

So, after next weekend, I will have an empty basement and an empty second bedroom.  I can't furnish either until my bathroom and painting and carpet is done, so it'll be about August before my house is truly a home.  Once again. 

She has informed me that "Oh, I'm not giving you back your key!" so, I will have guests in the future.  But, that's okay.  I'm going to miss her a lot.  Even though she was usually out of town, I always knew she was coming back to hang for a weekend.  While she will be back sporadically through the end of the year (for Lollapalooza and work stuff as she transitions out of the Chicago office), and will be staying here, it won't be quite the same.  This just means she and I will have to take some vacations together, so I guess it's not all bad.  I hate it when friends move away.     

Friday, May 20, 2011

Things I Have Been Considering Doing

I'm on a "Things" roll, apparently.

1.  I may take the lead from Up in the Air, and start actually posting what I wear to work each day.  I'm in a total rut.  I have a closet full, full of beautiful clothes, yet I always reach for the same damn black pencil skirt and blazer or the same damn dresses.  I also never change out my purses anymore, and generally stick to the same old shoes, even though I have a ton of great shoes to wear and a ton of great purses to carry.  I feel like if I have the pressure of actually having to report what I'm wearing, it may force me to branch out and make an effort, because I know I will be judged.  (Ha ha...)  My camera is a little old, so I've ordered a new one with my Sony rewards points, so once that gets here, I'll see how clearly I can take pics of myself in my full length mirror and go from there.  I think this might be a good thing for me.

2.   I absolutely have to get involved with something artsy here in Chicago.  I just can't decide between the Art Institute, the Library, the film stuff, the theatre (and if so, which theatre?), the opera...ugh.  I love it all.  But I can't do it all.  I have to choose. 

3.  Getting rid of some of my massive book collection.  This may not happen, but I am considering it.

4.  Clearing out my box o' cords.  This is definitely happening this weekend.  I do not need chargers for phones I don't have, and I do not need ten cable cords.  Hopefully someone at Salvation Army can deal with this.

5.  Trying to figure out what to do with the 10 cans of paint the previous owner left here.  I do not need them, and per the Internetz, you can't just toss paint in the garbage.  Thanks, previous owner. 

6.  Buying some "put together" furniture for my roof deck.  It's a roof deck in the sense that it is on top of my garage, behind my house.  I am sandwiched in between two other units, and have a spiral staircase up to it.  It's not bad, except when you want to get furniture up there, because the access is a bit lacking.  Also, patio furniture is ridiculously expensive.  I never realized this.  So, my best option is to buy cheaper stuff that gets shipped to me in a box and left on my doorstep, that I then have to carry in little by little as I break open the box and pull the pieces out (because I probably can't drag a 100 or 200 lb box into my house), and then take the pieces up to my deck and put them together up there until voila my deck looks great.  Ugh.  Or, I pay a helluva  lot of money to have some dudes put it all together and carry it up there for me. I think I'm going for the former, but I also think I am going to wait until the end of the summer to hopefully get some sale prices.  I'm spending enough on the inside of my house this year -- deck furniture can wait.  So, in October or so you may hear me bitching about putting together deck furniture in the freezing cold.  Que sera, sera.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Things Used to Be Much Easier

I feel like I spend half my life updating, syncing, backing up, uploading, and downloading.  The iPhone and iPad alone create a ton of work.  I have to transfer purchases from both to my computer, constantly make sure everything is synced, and constantly download App updates.  Then there are all the virus scans, software updates, and back ups to make sure I don't lose my entire music collection, photos, videos, and all that business from my computer.  My camera card contents have to be uploaded to my computer.  Everything has to be uploaded, downloaded, or synced.  (Am I spelling that right?  It looks wrong, but I'm too lazy to go over to Dictionary.com right now.)

It can really be exhausting at times.  While I love the ease of much of today's technology, it's somewhat of a pain in the ass to make sure you are doing it all right and keeping everything up to date and in check.  It would be horror if my hard drive crashed, even though I do have it backed up.  Pretty much.  Every few months or so it occurs to me that I should copy everything over to my external drive.  So, I do it.  But if you've ever accidentally clicked on a trojan or other virus and seen your entire computer shut down -- that is horror.  And I'm careful about things!  I honestly can't believe my mom hasn't run into issues yet, but I make sure her Anti-Virus is up to date.

Yes, right now I am syncing my iPad, downloading the new software for my iPad, and running a full scan and disk defrag on my computer.  It's taking forever.  And annoying me.  Maybe this should've gone in my last post.     

Things That Are Currently Annoying Me

1.  I went to get a new iPhone back in around March.  The guy at the AT&T store told me there was probably a new one coming out in June, so maybe I would want to wait for that.  I decided I did, because what's a few more months?  The problem is, my iPhone is about 2 1/2 years old, and the touchscreen is crap.  It's not making me happy.  So, today I hear that the new iPhone may not be out until September.  Ugh.  I have to deal with this BS all summer?

2.  I hate it that shoe designers are not consistent about sizing.  I like to order shoes online, and not have to mess around with searches on the Internet about whether this style runs big or small or true to size, or whatever.  It's such a pain.  What brought this on is a new pair of Tory Burch flats I ordered from Nordstrom.com:


I thought they would be cute and comfy for summer.  I have eight pairs of Tory Burch shoes.  All of them are a size 8.  That is my size.  However, these feel a little big in an 8.  I could maybe take a 7.5, which I don't ever take in any shoe ever.  Of course the brick and mortar store doesn't have these in stock for me to go try on, so now I debate -- put in a heel grabber and wear them as is or maybe put in an insole, or return them for a 7.5 at the risk of the 7.5 being too small, and then have to return the 7.5 to get the 8 back.  Because I want them, and I can wear the 8, but maybe the 7.5 is better.  Ugh.  Why not just be consistent in your shoe sizing, Tory Burch???

3.  I can't stand the way Ginnifer Goodwin spells her first name.  Every time I look at it, it conjures up the image of a bratty little kid.  For the most part, I hate any out of the norm spellings of names, especially when they look ridiculous.  I get what she was going for, with the alliteration, but come on.

4.   V, Law and Order LA, Criminal Minds Suspect Behavior, Detroit-187, and The Defenders.  All shows I DVRed and watched last season, which are now canceled.  I don't know why I bother watching anything on network television anymore.

5.  Speaking of shoes, why do so many designers make their cutest shoes have 4 or 5 inch heels?  Hello, not all of us want to be teetering around all day.  Why can't you make them in a 2 or 3 inch heel?  They will still be cute, I promise.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I Wasn't Lying About the Wildings

Oh, look at this.  CBS has picked up on the violence in our main tourist area, here in Chicago:  Police Step Up Patrols After Lakefront, Downtown Mob Attacks.  No one else has, but CBS is a start.

Just a bit from the article:
Sources say in the past three weeks, there have been more than 35 arrests for wilding and flash mob attacks.
And not a word about this in the mainstream media, until now.  I don't know, but 35 arrests seems like a lot to me for a three week period, particularly in the main tourist area of Chicago.  Surprising that we haven't heard anything about this.
Sources say the lakefront has been targeted by large groups of teens, carrying out wilding incidents. Two people riding bikes on the path at North Avenue Beach were recently surrounded by about 100 teens.
Both were knocked off their bikes, then thrown into Lake Michigan.
WTF?  Be wary if you want to ride your bike down the nice bikepaths we have along the lake, I guess.  You might get mobbed and thrown into the lake.  Probably their bikes were stolen also.
The same thing happened to a person who was walking along Navy Pier. The pier was shut down for a few hours after the incident, and a Navy Pier spokesman claims the incident never happened.
Um...Navy Fucking Pier was shut down, and there was no news about that?  Navy Pier, one of the top tourist destinations in Chicago?  Who is right?  The "spokesman" who said it never happened (much like at the McDonald's at Chicago and State?) or the report?  Did Navy Pier in fact shut down?  Surely someone knows.

I don't know who to believe anymore, but after spending a few evenings down in River North, I can say that there are a lot more "questionable" people walking around.  What is surprising is that no cell phone cameras have caught any of this and gone viral, although, maybe people record things and don't upload them.  All I know is that the silence surrounding this is disturbing.  Be aware and careful if you come to Chicago, that's all I have to say.

Random Thoughts on May 15

1.  I can't even believe how comfortable my Christian Louboutins are.  They are Mater Claude 85mms.  Not high, by any means, for Christian Louboutin, but hardly flats.  I wore them out, I've worn them to work, and my feet don't feel any worse than any other heels, so kudos to you CL.  Unfortunately, this makes me want to buy another pair.

2.  My townhome remodeling debacle will begin on June 27.  Three bathrooms, painting the whole place, and tearing out some walls/closets in the basement.  Expected to last about a month.  (Followed by new carpet, yay!)  In the meantime, I need to pick out all the stuff I want in the bathrooms (tile, sink, vanity, toilet, tub, mirrors, lights, etc.) and the paint colors.  I am not looking forward to this at all.  How on earth can I design three bathrooms at once?  I really don't get all that jazzed about home decoration, although somehow I seem to do a good job at it.  I was originally going to go with a light beige for the whole place minus some accent colored walls (I don't care if accent walls are dated, I like them!), but now I'm leaning more toward a light gray.  Sage greenish for the master bedroom.  (I love green.)  Whatever choices, the house has to flow.  I'm also going to finally get some new furniture for my basement and bedroom.  Real, adult furniture.  It's all Ikea right now.  However, Ikea rocks and lasts. 

3.  Jersey Shore has arrived in Italy.  I have a really, really bad feeling about this, and I think someone will end up getting arrested, especially given all the rules surrounding their visit and the filming.

4.  My sister M is really depressed about losing her daughter back in January.  I wish I could make it go away.  Instead I keep calling her, texting her, Facebooking her, and sending her son cute outfits from Gymbo.  I also gave her a bunch of clothes and coats when I saw her -- the stuff I was going to consign.  She's so thin right now -- thinner than I've ever seen her, but not so thin that she looks ill.  She was eating, though, at least the weekend I saw her.  I don't really know what else to do.  I just want her to know I'm here for her and I love her.

5.  I've been walking around my neighborhood (Lincoln Park) in the evenings after work, exploring every single side street.  Some of the streets are supremely gawkworthy.  Huge, beautiful homes.  But then next door there might be a crappy looking, old rental.  At some point, all of those old rentals will be transformed into beautiful homes.  It's happening little by little.  The sidestreets are the history, and really beautiful.  Some of the homes are so old (although some are redone inside), and I always wonder who lived there first?  I love Chicago.   

6.    I recently discovered this product:

I might be behind the game, but this is truly amazing.  You can buy it at Walgreen's or whatever your local drugstore is, right by the band-aids.  Band-Aid Friction Block.  It's a little tube that you can roll on your heels or toes, or wherever you get friction in new shoes.  And it really, really works!  I have a couple of pairs of Tory Burch flats that have been bothering me in the heel, but with this, any rubbing goes away.  It's small enough to carry with you to reapply also.  Amazing, amazing product.

Toy Story Guilt

Over Easter, I went to visit my sister M in northern Michigan.  My mom also came.  Much to my surprise, she had completely loaded her Mustang with garbage bags containing my childhood.  My varsity letter jacket, clothing, toys, all of the crap that has been stored in her basement for probably around the past 20 years.  She wants it out, which is fair.  I just hadn't realized she was going to dump it all on me that weekend.

I fit as much as I could into my car -- surprisingly, a Mustang has much more trunk space than a BMW 3 series -- and brought it all home.  I won't lie -- I was pissed.  I had planned on going through it all this summer at her house.  Instead I had to load it all into my car, then drag it all into my house, go through it, then drag most of it back out to my car and drive it over to Salvation Army.

Some things were easy -- clothing from 1991 was tossed, my varsity jacket, my rowing jersey, my high school graduation gown were kept.  Some knick knacks and trophys were kept, others were tossed.  The many CD cases (I have all my CDs in big books now, and I though I had all the cases here with me, but apparently not) I'm keeping for now until I figure out what to do with all my CDs.  I guess I will at some point make sure they are all digitally loaded on my computer and then give them all away.  This is like 500 CDs.  Ridiculous.

The most difficult thing to deal with are the Cabbage Patch Kids and other stuffed animals.  There are serious, serious memories attached to these things.  It was fun pulling them out of the garbage bag and staring at them.  I remember all of their names -- Elinor Idelle, Frank Ross, Russell Daniel (my crazy preemie with the tuft of hair), Nicky Peggy, Felicia Cara, and Cheesecake the pet, who is currently wearing a Detroit Tigers uniform.  They are frozen in time, in the last outfit I put on them before they got put in a box, where they've sat for over twenty years.  Looking at their faces made me feel guilty, but they are still smiling.

Right now they are lined up in my living room watching TV.

I know this makes me look like a crazy person.  Last weekend I forgot they were there and brought some friends home after the bars, and they were like "um..."  After I explained the mom dumpoff of childhood things, they all got it.  But I still felt a little silly, like I've turned into a doll hoarder overnight or something.

I also have two Santa Bears (Hudson's made these every year) and an Afghan dog stuffed animal that we bought on clearance at Kiddie Land when they were going out of business.  I loved that Afghan dog.  He was my favorite stuffed animal for years, until Monkey came along.  Monkey was also in the garbage bag.  He was Gund and soft until I loaned him to a girl from school for the night and came back a little natty.  I think her dog had some fun with him.  But still, he was Monkey and I adore him.

So what the hell do I do with these toys?  It doesn't help that I just watched Toy Story 3 on cable, and feel that they have feelings.  (Dumb, I know.)  All I know is that I'm not ready to give them away.  But now I also feel bad about putting them back in a garbage bag and tossing them in my basement.  Maybe I will buy a special plastic container for them.  I don't know.  I hadn't thought about any of these toys in years, but now that they are here, I can't forget them.  For now, they are lined up, watching TV.    

Friday, May 6, 2011

Can American Apparel Avoid Bankruptcy?

American Apparel has been warning that it might have to file for bankruptcy.  The first line of the linked article states:
American Apparel is losing its appeal among young urban shoppers.
I can't imagine why: 





 


The "Vintage" section of the American Apparel website is truly an assault on the eyes.  I feel like I'm looking at a J.C. Penney's catalog from 1988.  While the 80s have come back (unfortunately), I can't imagine the younger crowd is going to embrace high waisted pants and the schoolmarm look.  It's one thing to bring the 80s back with a twist and in an updated manner.  It's another thing to simply copy it entirely.  The above is the latter, not the former.     

However, when I was out last night, I saw an early 20s girl wearing red high waisted elastic waist cotton pants (not vintage) with a button down shirt tucked in, and she was doing so in a completely serious, "I'm trying to be trendy" manner.  (This wasn't just a poor soul with no fashion sense.)  Maybe it's because I lived through the 80s and have already been there done that, but I can't see anything remotely attractive about that look.  I wish I would've taken a picture.  My friend and I couldn't stop staring and giggling.  (I know, we are immature.)  She was a cute girl, but the pants were so unattractive.  They would've looked bad on Giselle.     

American Apparel doesn't need new financial advisors -- they need a new fashion designer/buyer.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Concealed Weapons Ban in Chicago is a Joke

Governor Quinn opposes concealed weapons, “saying Tuesday that he would veto any measure lawmakers sent him that would allow citizens to walk around with loaded guns in public.” Nevermind that 48 other states have such a law. People are apparently too stupid in Illinois to be able to carry concealed weapons.

Meanwhile, let’s take a look at a few incidents that have happened on Chicago’s North Side over the past month:

From Chicago News Report:
A North Side neighborhood grocery store was robbed at gunpoint, leaving the clerk nearly traumatized.
At approximately 11:19 p.m., an armed robbery was reported at 521 West Diversey Parkway in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood.

The address belongs to a business called The Market Place Food Store.

The three black men, one armed with a gun, stole money from a safe and $50 to $60 worth of coins from the grocer, said police.
Also from Chicago News Report:
Authorities are looking for two suspects who robbed a victim at gunpoint in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.

The incident occurred around 12:10 a.m. on the corner of West School Street and North Wilton Avenue.

The victim was accosted by two black men. One of the men was armed with a blue steel semi-automatic handgun, said police.
And another:
A CTA security guard was reportedly robbed at gunpoint at a downtown train station.
 The robbery occurred around 1:30 a.m. on the platform at the Randolph/Wabash “L” station at 151 North Wabash Avenue.
One from Skyline:
A 29-year-old man was exiting his car in the 300 block of West Wisconsin Street when an unknown offender approached him from behind, put a blue steel handgun to his waist and said “Give me everything you’ve got and empty your pockets.”
The victim handed over $100 in cash, an iPhone and the keys to his car, a white 2001 Daewoo. The offender, a man wearing a black leather jacket and believed to be in his mid-thirties, then got in the car and drove away. The incident occurred just after midnight on April 17.
And one more from Skyline:
At around 2:30 a.m. on April 8, three unknown suspects, armed with handguns and brass knuckles, entered an apartment building on the 1200 block of North La Salle Boulevard and held the occupants — five men and a woman — at gun point while they looted the home.
At the beginning of the robbery, the offenders attacked two of the male victims with the weapons. The suspects took several thousands of dollars worth of items from the home, including a $3,500 computer and a Louis Vuitton backpack valued at $1,500, before driving away in a tan four-door sedan.
Are you noticing a pattern here?  Clearly the current law is working really, really well.  What do all of these crimes have in common? GUNS. Wouldn’t it be nice if the victims of these crimes could have lawfully put a gun in the face of their attackers?  By the way, these incidents all happened in the "nice" areas.  If I rounded up incidents involving guns in the "less safe" areas this post would go on forever.  If I rounded up the various assaults, muggings, robberies, and burglaries that occurred on the North Side without a gun, this post would go on forever.  Wouldn't it be nice if maybe the criminal had to worry that their intended victim might just pull a gun out of their pocket or purse and shove it in their face?  Wouldn't that maybe deter at least some of this activity?

Meanwhile, the wildings are still going on. As one poster at Second City Cop stated:
How long is the media going to ignore this?

018 [Note: Gold Coast/Michigan Avenue] was waaaaaay out of control tonight, flash mobs and wilding all over the gold coast; from rush st to water tower wild packs of 50-60 deep would bum rush stores, steal, and flee. Also a couple strong arms thrown in for good measure, as well as a group of almost 100 on the lake front knocking people off of bikes, and beating people at random.
And it’s not even summer yet.

If you notice I didn't quote any mainstream news sources in this post, it wasn't for lack of trying.  Only the bloggers are reporting on this stuff, while the Tribune, Sun Times, and other reported "news sources" have their heads in the sand.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Royal Wedding and Osama Bin Laden

How awesome would it have been if Osama Bin Laden had been killed on Thursday night or Friday morning?

Imagine watching the news media’s heads collectively explode from London as they tried to figure out how to effectively cover both events -- two events that couldn't be more different. Wouldn’t that have been simply amazing? It’s been fairly amusing over the past four days watching every single newspaper in the country try to outdo each other with headlines and stories…first of the wedding and now on Osama Bin Laden. Multiple news stories on every little detail for both events. Twitter, dresses, photographs, viral, Facebook, the royal kiss, burial at sea, and blah, blah, blah.  The front pages of all the major news sites are astounding right now.

You’d think only two things have happened in the entire world in the past four days.

While I’m happy for William and Kate, and the wedding looked lovely, I’m of the opinion that you could get married in a burlap sack in Westminster Abbey and your wedding would still be the stuff of legends. Is that a beautiful church or what? It’s been incredibly frustrating that the coverage of that event was so wall to wall. To anyone who says “turn if off if you don’t like it” it was the only thing on the news for most of the day on Friday. (Maybe a tiny blurb at the bottom of the screen about the devastating tornados in the south.) Do people in this country really care so much about the wedding? I know I don’t. Even during the weekend I kept unintentionally catching highlights of it on the cable channels as they were replayed over and over and over again. Man, enough is enough.  Next up, Royal Baby Bump Watch.

And now…Osama Bin Laden is dead. Allegedly. Some great news to be sure, and maybe the push we need to cut all aid to Pakistan right about now. But even the Tribune and the Sun Times right now are still wall to wall Osama Bin Laden coverage. I’m pretty sure there were a bunch of murders and robberies in Chicago over the weekend…how about some coverage on that?  It's so annoying the way the news seems only capable of covering one story at a time these days.