Road Blogging Woes

Trying to stay up to date on the road presents problems. Hotels don’t provide free internet in the room (why is it the more expensive the hotel, the less likely the free internet?). Using a tablet for longform typing = not ideal. Your schedule’s messed up. You may not sleep well.

You have to go to a bar to watch the Gold Cup semifinal (tonight at 7 pm EST on Fox Soccer). Well, it’s not all bad

Sometimes, you do get cool side benefits like alterations to the workout routine:

 

run

 

Map Link…

Anyway, more quality coming soon, including a book review and reactions to comicon news.

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St. Louis Pick – City Museum

St. Louis is an easy drive for us, just fine for an occasional overnight get-away or day trip.  With the kids out of school for spring break, we decided to head down for a few days.  We split time between the Zoo, the Magic House, and the City Museum.

The St. Louis City Museum – weird, imaginative, cool – was our pick for the trip.  Many friends had recommended before, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Had heard it wasn’t so much a museum as a kind of artistic jungle gym, and this is an apt description.  The City Museum is like this great maze of a playground, with subtle (and not so subtle) animal, cavern, jungle, and urban themes.   It begs exploration and imagination from kids, and ours were more than happy to partake.

A couple of exhibits weren’t yet open for the summer season, and we really didn’t see everything – including the aquarium.  That’s OK – we’ll be back.  For kids four and above, this is a great, great imaginative site.  There are tunnels and climbing everywhere.  Little kids could get confused, lost, and upset – so bear that in mind.  Also, adults who don’t want to crawl and wriggle through the mazes and passages will have a hard time keeping up with their kids.  The wife and me both had bruises and soreness to show for our efforts.  This place gets the official Beemsville on Tour recommendation.

Continue reading

Fossils and North Lake

The second day of our fun, fun family trip took us downtown to the Chicago Field Museum.  The kids were very excited to see the dinosaur bones (naturally) and we were lucky enough to get about 10 minutes of  Q&A with one of the museum’s paleontologist’s at the Sue T-Rex exhibit.  Was a little apprehensive about all the animal exhibits, because as impressive as the specimens are, they’re only dead stuffed critters after all.  Kids these days are used to seeing these animals on the big HD screen, or digitally animated, or in bad movies with digitally animated mouths making bad jokes at the expense of second-rate comedians.

But they did like the exhibits, and they were interested, and the older two spent some time reading the placards and multi-media, searching out the regions on the globe for habitat, and learning in that time-honored museum way.  They were asking questions, formulating their little hypotheses about the similarities and differences of the animals, and generally making me proud. Continue reading

2010 Faves

2010 is over and the year-end retrospectives are thick on the interwebs.  Not to miss out, Beemsville presents some favorites of the year in no particular order.

Fave Book: House of Chains by Steven Erikson.  This is the 4th book in the Malazan series and certainly worthy of the epic descriptor.  HofC features Karsa Orlong, one of the most formidable and memorable characters in years.  Favorite book actually published in 2010 would be Ben Percy’s, The Wilding.

Political Faves: The pivot towards addressing the nation’s spiraling debt – whether brought about by noisy outsiders and an angry mid-term election, the continuing trouble economy, failed policies – is our favorite.  It’s past time the debt-spending ratios were front-and-center in Washington.  Least favorite in politics:  the fact that the entire Blagojevich fiasco seems to have had no discernible effect on the Illinois political landscape.

Fave Sports Moment: Could there be any doubt?  This is up there on the all-time list.

Least favorite would also be soccer and World Cup themed:  with FIFA awarding the 2022 tournament to Qatar over the U.S. Continue reading

Mondays in Winter

Winter continues to linger, as many have noted, and the State of Iowa is no exception.  Having just returned from Ames, where they have a couple of feet on the ground, and thinking about the Orlando area in sunny Florida preparing for a possible freeze and the poor bastards in the Northeast facing another big snowfall, I concluded that we in Central IL have gotten off relatively easy.  A couple of Monday thoughts…

  • Iowa has more hills than I would have thought.  Of course when you grow up where I did, anyplace seems to have more hills.  Ames seems like a pretty nice town, but you have to question the garbage burning facility right in the town’s center beside their (presumably) oldest city park.
  • With this weekend’s sterling display, the Fighting Illini are pressing hard for a prestigious NIT bid!  Once again Coach Weber’s motion offense becomes stagnant and predictable at the end of the year.  We’ve noted this the past three seasons.  Seems like coach might want to adapt his strategy a little.
  • A fun weekend of fellowship hosted by former SIU allies, Ben and Lisa, with Clint and Gillian along for wontons and shenanigans.  We feasted and told many tales, by Crom, and the children behaved themselves reasonably well.    If you’re in Indiana, you can catch a reading by Ben at Wabash College in Crawfordsville (March 2-3) or Purdue (March 4). Continue reading

No World Cup Madness for Chicago

The US Soccer Federation recently announced its list of final 18 host cities for our country’s official bid for either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.  Not among the finalists:  Chicago.  That’s Chicago, Capital of the Midwest*, third largest city, home of Soldier Field, Blago and Mayor Daley, etc.  It’s a glaring omission and a blow for the Windy City – especially when you consider the 18 cities that did make the cut will be representing our country for the biggest sporting event on the planet.

So what gives?  According to the boys over at Pitch Invasion, Mayor Daley’s office couldn’t be bothered to get behind the effort, which presumably would’ve included some presentations, encouragement of cooperation, and general professionalism.  Olympic bid-fatigue, perhaps?  USSF President Sunil Gulati speculated on this, also noting Soldier Field would have been the smallest stadium in the mix at 61,000.   Another theory might be the USSF (which has its HQ in Chicago and presumably knows the town) looked at all the data, including the ridiculous taxes, the corruption and graft at all levels, the woeful financial situation, and just decided Indianapolis and Kansas City would serve the Midwest just fine, thanks. Continue reading