The blog of Chicago-based freelance writer David Johnsen.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
What's Next for Apple?
Apple announced a new product today:
Apple Inc. will sell the newly unveiled tablet-style iPad starting at $499, a price tag far below the $1,000 that some analysts were expecting. The iPad, which is larger in size but similar in design to Apple's popular iPhone, was billed by CEO Steve Jobs on Wednesday as "so much more intimate than a laptop and so much more capable than a smart phone."
First the iPod, then the iPad. I know what's next... the iPud. Whenever you're bored, just pull out your iPud. The iPud is "so much more intimate..." No word yet as to whether Steve Jobs will offer a hand.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I Called It
For anyone curious how long I will milk a lame joke, here's a news item:

Laws injured in training

British rider Sharon Laws, tipped to join team-mate Nicole Cooke in the Great Britain women's road race team in Beijing, is to see a specialist to assess the implications of an ankle injury sustained this week after a heavy fall while training with her Halfords-Bikehut team near Abergavenny in Wales.

"Breaking Ms. Laws, breaking Ms. Laws..."

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Friday, May 02, 2008
I'm Stumped
There has to be a good homophone-related joke here, but I can't think of one right now:
HONOLULU - May Day was Lei Day in Hawaii. Volunteers hoping to set a record for the world's longest lei strung together flowers that stretched for more than a mile at Kapiolani Park in Waikiki on Thursday, organizers said.
On a related note, I must confess that, despite being a stickler for grammar, I tend to misuse lie and lay just to amuse myself. Here is the depressing part of the story:
Success seems all but certain, because organizers say there currently isn't a Guinness record for the world's longest lei.
Damn! That means that until now, I could have made a much shorter lei -- because I'm always stringing up flowers in my spare time at DJWriter HQ anyway -- and claimed the record. Another blown opportunity to get into the Guinness book!


The Government Is Experimenting On Me
I've been gassed:
Calling it the most effective tool to date in the War on Terror, the Pentagon announced Monday that it had developed a new chemical weapon called "ennui gas," a nerve agent that overwhelms its victims with sudden philosophical distress over the meaningless tedium of human life and a sinking sense that everything they have ever accomplished ultimately amounts to dust... Symptoms include uncontrollable sighing, repeated utterances of the phrase "What's the use?" a confusion and bitterness regarding one's place in the universe, and an increased proclivity to listen to Lou Reed records.
At least now I have an excuse. And I do have a lot of Lou Reed* records.

* Speaking of Lou, no one told me he got hitched again last month.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008
I Always Associated Him With Motorcycles
Here's some pro bicycling news from earlier this week:

Halfords signs Laws

Britain's leading women's team Halfords Bikehut has strengthened its squad with new signing Sharon Laws. The 33-year old, who has returned to the United Kingdom after working in South Africa and Australia, will ride her first major race for the Team at Flèche Wallonne on April 23.

Judas Priest fans are probably wondering if Halfords will break her.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Thesaurus Fun
Ever try to find the right word in a thesaurus and come across something wildly inappropriate for the tone of the piece? I imagine that's what inspired this recent Onion article:
87 Killed In Violent Kerfuffle

ISLAMABAD—Eighty-seven people were killed and 114 wounded at an open-air market in Islamabad yesterday in one of the worst ruckuses to hit the Pakistani capital in years. Witnesses said that the bloody to-do occurred shortly before noontime prayers, and that dozens were instantly killed by the doozy of a shockwave. Many more were reportedly trampled to death in the rush to escape the foofaraw.
While visiting The Onion online, I also discovered that my favorite columnist, stoner Jim Anchower, has his own homepage!

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Thursday, October 18, 2007
My Tasteless Joke of the Day
If you lend a screwdriver to a Chicago police officer, don't ask for it back.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Why I Shouldn't Be a Boss
I was in a bookstore yesterday with a friend who was recently promoted into a hiring-and-firing position. This book caught my eye: The Disposable American: Layoffs and Their Consequences. I suggested he give copies to subordinates as Christmas gifts just to stir things up a little.

I managed to spend two hours browsing without buying anything, which is quite an accomplishment for me in a bookstore. I was very tempted to purchase I Hate Myself and Want to Die: The 52 Most Depressing Songs You've Ever Heard, but I'll wait until I finish a few of the books I already have.

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Thursday, March 30, 2006
The Latest Spin on Chinese Democracy
It's a running joke with my brother to say, "I hear the new Guns N' Roses album is coming out," followed by uproarious laughter. We've been hearing about Chinese Democracy for how many years now? Six? Eight? And Axl Rose has had more guitarists than Spinal Tap had drummers, though at least Buckethead and the others escaped with their lives.

Well, Gunners, your long wait is over. Check out the special preview of Chinese Democracy in the latest issue of Spin magazine. Go ahead and read it now. I'll wait for you... (spoiler ahead)...

Interesting, eh? I hope you figured out before you got to the bottom that this isn't a real review. The funniest thing about it is that Axl is such a wacko that one can actually believe much of this satire. Hmm, maybe Axl would refer to the architect who designed his topiary garden. Maybe he would tell bassist Tommy Stinson to replicate the bass line from "Another Brick in the Wall." But Bob Ezrin and Phil Ramone as producers? Well, maybe sometime in the past decade. After all, it seems like everyone else has worked on this album, and Axl has fired several producers.

Oddly enough, I found out about this review on a Soul Asylum e-mail list. Someone was excited that Chinese Democracy was going to include "an embarrassing 'roots rock' duet with new buddy Dave Pirner titled 'You're Still Too Sweet Not to Be My Baby Anymore.'" Another list member noted that Soul Asylum and GNR toured together in Europe years ago. Then someone pointed out that it's an April Fool's Day joke. You would think fans of a band that did a song called "April Fool" on their best-selling album Grave Dancer's Union would catch on, but instead they argued that it just couldn't be a fake. More amazing to me was that no one was incensed that their favorite band's lead singer had become the butt of a joke. Incidentally, Soul Asylum has taken a GNR-like eight years to come out with a new album, due this summer. In the interim, their original bass player died, being replaced by -- oh, the irony -- GNR's Stinson.

In defense of those Soul Asylum fans, the review originally ran online without the obvious "Fast Facts" clue: "This version of Chinese Democracy only exists in an alternative reality ruled by the fools of April." And the original URL and date on the story didn't reflect April 1; apparently a date shift into the waning days of March was enough to give the review credibility in their eyes. But if the magazine's date doesn't naturally fall on the first, they're going to use whatever issue date is closest to April 1.

Another red flag is that this is Spin magazine. Anyone who has heard "Get in the Ring" from GNR's Use Your Illusion II knows that Axl hates that magazine. Why on earth would he give them exclusive access to his new album?

In related news (not April fool's), the Chinese won't be reading about Chinese Democracy in Rolling Stone -- government regulators are shutting down the magazine's Chinese edition after just one issue. The chief editor there hopes to get things ironed out soon. Maybe he'll get the magazine going before Axl puts out the album, which some sources say will be July 2006. My brother and I will believe it only when we see it.

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Saturday, March 25, 2006
Hail to the Chef
The Chicago Sun-Times had a headline Friday:
Daley appoints Trotter emergency chief
Chicago Fire Commissioner Cortez Trotter is probably an appropriate choice for the new position of chief emergency officer. At first glance, however, I left out the "i" in chief. It just so happens that the executive chef and owner of one of Chicago's fanciest restaurants is Charlie Trotter. If I needed an emergency chef, I think he'd be the guy to call.

I wouldn't know from experience, though. Charlie Trotter's is the sort of place where a meal for one costs as much as a week's worth of groceries for two. Any dish with a name ten words long is far beyond anything I'd want to eat. The Grilled Beef Tenderloin Cobb Salad is made with quail eggs, for goodness' sake!

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