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Showing posts from February, 2019

A Modest Proposal: A Flag for Cedar Rapids (Blue Diagonal)

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Okay, I should state at the outset of this that I am in no way, shape or form, a graphic artist. I did this in about a half hour using MS Paint so obviously, there are other better programs out there that could make this look even better than I think it does. (Granted, I'm a little biased here, but I think it looks halfway decent- and would probably look even better if I had an ounce or two of artistic talent.) So: if you haven't heard the news, Cedar Rapids is looking into getting a new flag, which naturally makes the flag nerd in me squeeeee with delight. There's no official design contest open as of yet-- so I have plenty of time to work up some more proposals or at the very least, make this one look a little better than it does.

But when KCRG asked the question on Twitter, this was more or less the initial concept that sprang into my brain. I think my official answer to the question was this:
A blue diagonal with a gold diamond in the center of it to represent May'…

Netflix & Chill #58: Fyre Fraud/Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

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Fyre Fraud
Watched On: Hulu
Released: 2019
Directed By: Jennifer Furst, Julia Willoughby Nason
Rotten Tomatoes: 76%

Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
Watched On: Netflix
Released: 2019
Directed By: Chris Smith
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%

Competing documentaries on different streaming services about the same subject? Sure I'll watch 'em both and compare and contrast to deliver a doubleheader review for your reading pleasure. There's a lot of similarity between the two documentaries, just because they cover the same disastrous subject matter: namely the story of the Fyre Festival which was hyped the next big thing in music festivals in 2017. Except when attendees arrived, nothing was as glamorous or as swanky as they were promised- in fact, quite the opposite. It was a trainwreck of a logistical nightmare: the swank 'glamped-up' bungalows were not in evidence. The private island that was supposed to island? (That belonged to Pablo Esscobar?) That fell through, so it wasn&…

This Week In Vexillology #283

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This Week in Vexillology, we're tackling one of the big fish in England's happy fish pond of counties with a triple header...  yes, this week we're doing all the ridings of Yorkshire!

In terms of how to get to Yorkshire, it's pretty easy because it's a pretty big place. If you throw a dart at the north of England there's a good chance you'll probably hit Yorkshire. If you're looking for York in particular, then find Leeds head to the northeast and you'll hit York proper. In terms of the ridings of Yorkshire: for the East Riding, find the city of Hull and stay on the north side of the Humber and you're in the East Riding. The North Riding doesn't seem to want to show up on Google Maps, but North Yorkshire does...  it's more or less all the pretty parts of Yorkshire north of Leeds and south of Middlesborough. West Yorkshire is pretty much Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield and points between.

So, let's talk about their flags. First up, East…

Free Write Friday #7: The Hangover

You are a hungover wizard who can't shake the feeling you fucked up last night.

The door crashed open with a song that felt like thunder on the inside of his skull. Dwayne, or as he preferred to be called, Margol The Magnificent sat bolt upright on the couch in his office and immediately wondered where he was and what was going on. The sight of his assistant, Melanie came into focus. She was looking at him with an expression of contempt and disgust written all voer her face.

"What did you do?"

"I don't," Margol groaned. "I don't remember," he said. "There were dancers and a lot of... beers. And then someone figured out how to turn the beer into Jaegermeister and then we turned water into tequila and then... oh man, my head."

"What the hell are you even wearing, Dwayne?" Melanie asked as she strode into the room. "Those aren't even your robes."

"Don't call me Dwayne," he said. "It's Margo…

So Long, Lucky's

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Lucky's Market, one of  the anchor tenants for the Iowa City Marketplace announced last week that it was set to close in early March. Which, naturally leaves Eastsiders wondering what the Iowa City Marketplace is going to do know and what, if anything, can replace that bacon. (Because their bacon was incredible. I will definitely be pouring one out for Lucky's bacon when they close.) There are already a lot of desires floating around there: there's a petition circulating for a Target Marketplace to go in there. People are hoping that New Pioneer Co-op will give up on it's infatuation and quixotic dreams of a bigger and better space downtown and come to the east side, but I think- I hope, that the owners of the Iowa City Marketplace really sit down and think about what could work there long term- and I hope some outside the box, genuinely creative solutions are on the table too.

I'm not against another grocery store. Way back in the day we used to have a Randall'…

Sportsyball: Back In The Saddle

Adopt-A-Team: Last time we checked in with Trabzonspor was the end of October and happily, they're still doing pretty well- currently sitting at sixth in the table- probably on the outside of Champions League qualification and not really in it for the League title, but there's still some football left to be played. So here's what they've done since October:

W vs BAK (Turkish Cup) D vs Bursasport L to Yeni Malatyaspor W vs Fenerbahce W vs Kayserispor D vs Sivas Belediyespor (Turkish Cup) W vs Konyaspor D vs Besiktas W vs Sivas Belediyespor (Turkish Cup) W vs Rizespor W vs Balikesirspor (Turkish Cup) L to Istanbul Basaksehir W vs Balikesirspor (Turkish Cup) D vs Sivasspor W vs Ankaragucu D vs Umraniye (Turkish Cup) L to Galatasaray L to Alanyaspor
Okay, the good news: they're doing pretty well in the Turkish Cup-- they're through to the Quarter-Finals, which is decent enough. The bad news: they can't seem to beat any teams ahead of them. They've lost to l…

Squawk Box: The Looming Tower/The First

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Squawk Box this month features two limited series, both from Hulu: The Looming Tower and The First. I would probably put both of these shows squarely into the category of 'good, but not great' but for entirely different reasons. The Looming Tower suffers somewhat from the fact that everyone knows how the story is going to end, while The First aims incredible high and tries to deliver the goods but sort of gets lost in a muddle of family drama instead.

The Looming Tower is a ten episode mini-series based on the book of the same name by Lawrence Wright. It tells the story of the growing threat of Al-Qaeda in the mid-to-late 1990s and details the rivalry between the FBI and CIA and how it might have contributed to the tragedy of September 11th. Jeff Daniels stars as John O'Neill, the chief of the FBI's New York Counterterrorism Center known as I-49 who is convinced that Al-Qaeda is targeting the United States for attack. Joining him as a new agent is Ali Soufan (Tahar Rah…

Netflix & Chill #57: Spiderman Into The Spider-Verse

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Watched On: The Big Screen!
Released: 2018
Directed By: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfield, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Velez, Lily Tomlin, John Mulaney, Nicolas Cage, Liev Schreiber
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Pick: Mine

I took the boys to see this over the holidays and am just now getting around to sitting down and banging out a review of it. But I'll make it short, sweet and to the point: this might be one of the best Spider-Man movies ever made.

The story begins with Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) on his way to an affluent boarding/charter school which he won a lottery to attend. His father, a police officer by the name of Jefferson Davis (Brian Tyree Henry) and his mother, Rio Morales (Luna Lauren Velez) a nurse have high expectations for Miles and despite wanting to go back to the public school he used to attend and feeling like doesn't fit in at his boarding school, he can't quite escape the f…

This Week In Vexillology #282

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Our tour of the counties of England continues this week with our next two counties on deck-- now, in a twist, I was going to go with Derbyshire and Leicestershire, but the latter doesn't seem to have a wiki-page for it's flag- and it's flag seems to be that of it's county council and not of the county itself. I think this is the first county I've come across that doesn't have a historical flag or hasn't seen a move to create it's own flag. So for now, I'm going to mull it over and see if I want to include county councils and 'count' them in this tour or not. I might come back to Leicestershire-- I might not. But this week, we're keeping Derbyshire and skipping over to Nottinghamshire instead.

Let's start with Derbyshire:

The first and most obvious question: where the hell is Derbyshire? Find Manchester and if you sort of go east from Manchester and find Sheffield and then go dead south from Sheffield until you find Derby and you'…

Free Write Friday #6: Welcome To The Core

The Core World, a massive world where all members of every single sentient race are reincarnated, is descending into chaos as an unprecedented number of 7 billion humans are reincarnated due to a mass extinction event.


I always get nervous when the moons are full. Not that you can really see them that well—there are too many hyper towers and skyscrapers and the light pollution is horrific until they kill the lights in the Justice Tower Complex and it abates somewhat. So that was my first signal that it was going to be a bad shift.The second signal was when, on their way out of the door, Gelsanganaranix, whose species didn’t really have a name other than ‘blue’, said with a sneer, “I hope you have a quiet night.”
“Thanks, Gels,” I said. “I hope your mother turns purple.”
“Bite me, meat stick,” it replied. Purple was a highly offensive color in their culture. Then it left and I made some coffee and settle down for my shift.Central Dispatch at the Justice Tower Complex was usually a rela…

2020 Candidates, Konmaried

Yes, unfortunately, the circus is getting back up and running again, so that means we're going to start talking about 2020 here and there and by March we're really going to be talking about 2020 and by the fall we're all going to be sick to death of 2020 and by the time election day comes around in November of 2020 it's going to be a wonder any of us actually bother to vote at all. But anyway: people are starting to run for President. Like, a lot of people. I'll probably revisit this list as it gets smaller over the next few months but for now, here's the comprehensive list I used.

It's way too early to get a sense of what the dynamics of the 2020 race are going to be like. It's going to be interesting though: none of these Democratic candidates are nearly as polarizing as Hillary Clinton was in 2016. (As always with Mrs. Clinton: a lot of the garbage flung at her over the decades has been extremely sexist and more than a little unfair. However, you can…

Bookshot #116: Gladstone

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God bless Roy Jenkins. The man was an incredible historian, a verbose writer and a biographer extraordinaire of I don't know how many British leaders- but he also deserves some recognition for producing books that can double both as paperweights and doorstops if necessary, because dear Lord in heaven, does the man write exhaustively about his subjects.

Gladstone is one such staggering achievement. His biography of Churchill awaits my attention at some future date- (I'll need some time to recover from Gladstone.)

Jenkins immediately teases the reader from the opening pages: he considers Gladstone to be the greatest person to hold the office of Prime Minister- and then spends the next seven hundred pages or so making his case. But that initial hook was enough to get me interested. I didn't know a lot about Prime Ministers outside of the 20th Century. I have William Hague's biography of Pitt the Younger still kicking about somewhere that I need to tackle. I read an excell…

This Week In Vexillology #281

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We're heading back across England this week (after a random week off) to take a look at our next two counties on our Grand Tour of England. This Week In Vexillology, we've got Shropshire and Staffordshire.

First up, Shropshire. Tucked away on the Welsh border, Shropshire shows up in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as far back as 1006. The main town in the county is Shrewsbury and it's  demonym, interestingly enough is Salopian. (Which ties neatly into the county's motto: 'Floreat Salopia', or 'May Shropshire Flourish.') It's got the River Severn, the Shropshire Hills and this bad-ass looking hill called The Wreckin. What's the best way to get there? Depends on what you want to do-- you can find Birmingham and head northwest toward Wales or you can find Liverpool and head south. When you hit Shrewsbury, you've found Shropshire.

So, let's talk about their flag:
First impression: cool. I love the 'W' and the cat faces...  the colors are s…