Bad Break

Debated whether or not to post this, but due to how it affects us around here

The boy fell and broke his arm on Thursday.  Took a spill off playground equipment at school.  It was a bad one, a .02% break of the humerus at the elbow.  What do we mean by .02%?  Well, the doctor told us she’s treated probably a thousand similar breaks in kids during her career, and this was only the second one requiring her to go in surgically to reset the bones.  So he was under about twice as long as they’d estimated, and yeah, we were starting to get alarmed.   I started thinking about what a break like this would have meant a few generations ago, and it’s not pretty.

Good news:  the bone has been set and pinned.  It wasn’t a compound or spiral fracture.  The initial concerns about swelling and compaction have diminished.  We go in for our cast tomorrow.  He should be able to recover fully.

It’s been a tough few days, though.  A lot of pain for him, not much mobility, and the realization that his soccer season is over just as we were about to ramp it up.  The wife has been in Mommy-adrenaline mode and will need to find a way to rest soon.  Even big sister has been fighting off some kind of persistent sinus infection and hasn’t felt right.

Fortunately we had a flood here in Springfield the night of the break, so that’s given us plenty of work to do to take our minds off it!

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Power of the Cup

“Who would win?” my son asked me.  “Michael Bradley and Graham Zusi vs. Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan.  It’s two-on-two.”

“No goalkeepers?” I replied.

“Zusi and Bradley get Tim Howard.  The other guys get Brad Guzan.  Three-on-three.”

“Why Landon?” I asked him.

“Well, you keep saying he should be there with the team…”

That’s my boy!   For the record, I took Dempsey, Donovan, and Guzan.

This discussion took place out of the blue last week.  Before the World Cup, my eight-year-old son barely knew the U.S. Soccer team.  He knew a few of them, but now he knows the entire roster.  He’s interested, engaged.  He and his sister sat and watched nearly all of each group stage match – two of them out at sports bars/restaurants, one in town.  He can’t get enough World Cup.

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FCBD Observations

This past Saturday was Free Comic Book Day – which many have characterized as a great idea, often poorly executed.  One of our local stores celebrated FCBD with some local promotion and an event.  They had a good-sized crowd at the outset.  They had lots of kids in the store.  They had professional artists there signing their stuff.  All the basics of a fairly decent FCBD.  But they also made some pretty basic mistakes – some of which would be relatively easy to correct.

To begin with, the store needs to promote better.  We knew about their FCBD because our friend and son’s school classmate printed up a bunch of flyers and distributed them at our school.  But what about the other 15-20 grade schools in town?  What about the library?  We realize comics stores don’t have much budget for marketing, but even a spot in the local alternative weekly paper would have helped.

Get your website straight.  This store’s site happened to be under construction, slow to load, and generally awful on the one day of the year you want to project competence.

Other issues have more to do with store/event layout and execution: Continue reading

Reforms Face Uphill Battle

Illinois has a tradition of inept government, and while some people would like to see changes and reform efforts, the system tends to favor the status quo.  Witness initiatives to add term limits to elected officials.  Both gubernatorial candidates, Bruce Rauner and Pat Quinn, support term limits, though Quinn has found that position a little less pleasing now that he’s attempting to win a second term.

But in order to even get such a proposal on the ballot this November, it needs a 3/5 majority from both (heavily Democrat-controlled) legislative houses and approval from the State Board of Elections.  Ask yourself this – how likely are career politicians like Mike Madigan and John Cullerton to let this happen?  After all, they’ve built their fortunes and power base through longevity.  It term limits did make it onto the ballot, polling indicates the voters would support it – but that’s if, if such an initiative can be worded simply enough for everyone to make sense of it.  Anyone who’s voted in Illinois a few times has seen their share of vague and murky language.  Still, if Rauner threw some money behind it, maybe we could get term limits. Continue reading

Science & Industry

Last week we took in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, which turned out to be the highlight of an otherwise low-key Spring Break for the family.  What a place – especially for curious young minds.

museum-S-I-2A lot has changed since the last time I visited this museum (way back in high school).  The volume of interactive exhibits and activities is impressive.  Seems like everywhere we turned we found another place to do stuff as we learned about it.

I remember being excited about going to museums as a kid – I loved to see and read, see and read about the displays.  At the Museum of Science and Industry, though, they’re not content with only reaching the readers.  As a result, the whole experience seemed more immersive, more kinetic (and certainly a little more chaotic).

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Hey, Nike – We are Fighting Illini!

A big fuss in Champaign-Urbana this week:  the much anticipated Nike uniform brand update happened at the Krannert Center, with Illini athletes from the various sports teams modeling the new look.  It’s a pretty big deal for the University of Illinois in this era of brand identity, intensive marketing, and team gear residual sales.  We get a new look, a unified new font, an updated shade of orange that’s easier to mass reproduce, and 1LL1NO1S.  We get two logos, one new and one very familiar:

We have Nike marketing guys talking about how they studied the history and tradition of the University of Illinois athletics, how they incorporated the Galloping Ghost, etc.  Our type face that “leans forward ready to take on the competition”, with “sleek and powerful serifs”.  It looks good – don’t get me wrong.  The design elements are slick; I really like the look of the football uniforms; the orange really pops, and the Victory Badge look fantastic on the volleyball shirts.  Check the official gallery.

But they seem to have forgotten one very important detail:  We are FIGHTING ILLINI.  If you look at the new unis, you see a lot of 1LL1NO1S, but you don’t see much Fighting Illini.  The question for most of us:  was this a Nike call or a University call?

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Now 342% more fuel efficient

Sometimes you have re-assess and analyze things.  Then you have to trust your conclusions.

This winter, which has been the worst in quite a few years, had about two days when I really needed my truck’s four-wheel-drive.  And even on those two days, I could have and did go out and about in the van (aka the tank).  This realization, while filling up at the pump and wincing, led me to a little analysis of what I’d actually hauled with my truck over the past year.  True, we hauled a piano on a flatbed and took a mattress and box springs over to my Mom’s house, but other than that…  Primary cargo is children.  Children to an from activities.  Mostly in town.  I did a little more analysis on cost-per-mile.  Then I started researching, shopping, assessing the options, and…

Ninja-mobile

Ninja-mobile

Yeah, we’re a Prius clan now.  Beemsville:  now 342% more fuel efficient (14 mpg to 48 mpg).

So far, we like it.  It’s the little black ninja-car.  Silent, stealthy, quick, patient.  The dashboard setup and controls remind me of Darth Vader’s Tie-Fighter.  It has lots of secret compartments.  Will it pay off for us in the end?  That’s probably a 3-4 year question.  Check back with me then.  Just keep Dirty Mike and the Boys away from my house.

And now a moment of silence for Scott Beem, truck guy.  14 years with a truck – many-a-couch, television, second-hand exercise bike, boxes upon boxes, and loads of firewood hauled.  Many moves facilitated.  Grandpa always said you needed a truck around, and as a farmer all his life, he did.  Grandpa also liked cool gadgets and new technology.  He was good with math, too.  And we still have the tank (van) for long trips and intermediate hauling…

And, hey, I’m the Prius and Mini-Van guy…  Did that just happen?  Maybe we need to start looking into a motorcycle or speed boat or some powered combat armor or…