Friday, March 30, 2007

Tiff's Digital Valentines Day Card- I look like a doofus

This is my Valentines Day Card this year for Tiff, and she is coercing me to post it on the blog. Anyways, the end has a photo slideshow of pics from when we were dating. I did have fun making it, though.

Monday, March 19, 2007

China seeks to eliminate public spitting by 2008 Beijing Olympics

A recent Fox News article reports that Chinese officials only have 500 more days to eliminate public spitting before proving to the world that they are a civilized nation at the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing. How will they enforce it? Well, officials hinted at posing fines on public spitters, but I'll be surprised if any of this will work. I've read horror stories of wintertime icy spit slicks near bus stops (and other areas of high traffic) that take down even the most careful pedestrians.

Adviser Zi Huayun declared the "four key bad habits of Chinese: spitting, not waiting in line, widespread smoking and swearing in the Beijing dialect." The first on their list to eliminate is the spitting, probably because it is the most atrocious, and noticeable, to foreign visitors. The Olympics Committee is really trying to improve their international image in preparations for the games.

I'll report back later this year about public spitting in Tianjin. Call me pessimistic, but I'm avoiding bus stops at all costs.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Kurt Elling Comes to Town

Last night, my friend Jeff treated Tiffany and I to an early birthday present and a magical evening with my favorite performer, Kurt Elling. The show was phenomenal! He has a new album coming out in the next few weeks, so he played mostly new songs and arrangements that I hadn't heard from him before. He, along with his accomplished collaborator/pianist Laurence Hobgood (and Rob and Willie on bass and drums) combined sweet melodic lines with virtuosic voicings, improvisation, poetry, and good ol' fashion Chicago grooves and jive. This quartet plays extremely tight together and have mastered the art of on-stage musical communication with each other.

Kurt is well-known for mastering the art of vocalise: writing lyric to inspirational hooks and improvised solos of past jazz masters. For his final song of the set, he sang his version of the classic "Body and Soul," which he interpreted the standard as a love song to his 17 month-old daughter (same as Ellie), Luiza. Needless to say, the entire concert was absolutely electrifying to say the least.

Anybody mildly interested in jazz needs to investigate Kurt (even if you are an elitist instrumental jazz snob), and see him live in their lifetime; It is an experience! I have been trying to see him for years and came close to making several trips to Chicago to see him live (he plays every Wed night at the Chicago Green Mill when not touring). We didn't think we would be able to see him for years. We are very fortunate to have Jeff and Cristi who surprised us by making this long time dream come true sooner than I ever imagined!
Kurt feeling the groove of legendary John Hendricks' "Soulfood."