cooper dot se.

this page is called because it represents much of my thought since studying for a semester in sweden in the spring of 2005. this thought process has continued on down to the beginnings of my real adult life....what comes next? let's talk about it....and many other things of course.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Winter, Spring, Summer, Winter, Spring.

We're all over the map here in Chicago. I wore a sweater to work last week, sat on the warm beach for three hours on Sunday, then froze through a Cubs win tonight at Wrigley. The weather here in Chicago never ceases to amaze me. We'll be back to 70 within 48 hours apparently.

I was reading about the dot-com boom and bust today for some reason. My thoughts: there is never any "new economy". This got me thinking about basic business and economic principles. They don't change and they can't change. They can be manifested in different ways, but even I-of-no-business-classes-ever know that you can't produce nothing and suddenly be worth $97 million.

I think something kind of like this was in the Bible. Something like there is nothing new under the sun. It'll happen again.

I continue to not be able to put this thing down, despite being able to solve it in no more than eight minutes or so.

Ummm....yeah there's a little semi-stream-of-conscious-with-a-few-links-thrown-in for you. Until next time.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Bernstein and Gershwin

I am no right wing nut job, nor am I a commie-leftist-michael-savage-could-fill-in-the-blank-better liberal, but if there's one thing that's true, it's that I think the United States is a great country.

No, not necessarily the best. No, not divinely ordained as the best, but a great country.

Every time I hear one of my peers talk about how much they wish they didn't live here or so eloquently state that "America sucks", I often want to stop and ask them what it is that makes them feel this way.

No, I am not a fan of either war that is going on. Yes, I am well aware of some of the sordid history of this country. Yes, I think the military-industrial complex is a bit frightening. No, I don't believe all the stories of American exceptionalism.

I do think that my generation often overlooks some of the great things about America.

Yes, I think Italy/Sweden/France/Germany/Scanda-who-via/Japan/Australia/South America are incredible places with incredible cultures and history. I happen to be fortunate enough to have seen some of these places and I think they are wonderful, vibrant places with much to be learned from. That's why I've traveled and will travel—to remember that I'm part of the larger world and the way I do things isn't the one right way.

It does just sadden me sometimes that many Americans my age have no idea some of the great cultural accomplishments here. Each morning at work I still marvel at the skyscrapers of Chicago that were created in the aftermath of a great disaster. I still can barely believe television and computers are real.

But for me lately I have been learning more about some of the artistic achievements in this country. In fact, the more that I hear of George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein my mind is just boggled by the creative energy they exhibit and the way their music fits into western traditions but is also so American at the same time.

Watching the New York Philharmonic play the music of George Gershwin (see below), a Russian-Jewish-American, in Pyongyang, North Korea last week and seeing the way that even the most controlled people in the world reacted to this music really made me proud to be an American.

Fine, call me cheesy, but at least I am proud of where I live on some level.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

On Voting and Public Transportation

Super Tuesday, the following Saturday and Maine today have provided some fun election fare. Everyone is talking about the election, even at the Valentine's Day party I went to last night.

In fact, on the way home from work on Tuesday on the train I sort of had an interesting thought. I wonder how long our generation's new interest in politics will last. Will this be a sea change where people our age actually pay attention to politics and vote, or is this all driven by Barack Obama's charisma?

I sort of think it's like riding the train to work actually. Very few people rode the train to work 15 and 20 years ago. Just this morning I heard a woman on the train sitting down (I was standing because it was so crowded) talking about how much the Ravenswood neighborhood has changed and gotten younger and how almost no one got on at that stop before. The CTA also has had its ridership increase tremendously in the last 10 years or so. A lot of people in the city are thinking, "Geez, why didn't we take the train before? It's fast and easy."

I almost think that's what voting could become like for our generation. "Geez, why didn't we vote and get involved before? It's interesting, easy and important." It makes me think of the T-shirt that my friend Stephen was wearing last night. It remains to be seen if our generation takes on a newfound civic duty, or just gets excited for one election.

My thought for the day.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Super 72 Hours

Why yes, I have taken a wee bit too long to update here. It's certainly not for lack of things I have been thinking about. In fact, after a lackluster week of work, mercifully saved by a productive and happy Friday, I have been quite excited for this weekend and leading up to Tuesday.

Last night I went to see my younger brother Lucas play at the California Clipper, a truly original Chicago bar. He was playing with Susie Gomez and her Multiple Cats, he being the drummer "cat". I strongly recommend this bar if you want a little slice of authentic Chicago. It's been open for around 70 years and is hip enough without being the least bit pretentious.

Lucas is quite the multi-faceted and talented musician. I also had the privilege of seeing him at Smoke Daddy on Sunday evening. However, this was his acoustic guitar singer/songwriter stuff. You can see video of this and some of his jazz trio as well on his Youtube channel or check out his website.

This blog is not a music, live music or Chicago bar blog. It's a Cooper blog, so I am going to turn to Sunday. There is a little something going on in my home state that you may have heard about. I am excited for the Super Bowl if only because it means we will either see one of the biggest upsets ever should the Giants win, or the conclusion to one of the greatest seasons ever should the Patriots win. Personally, having lived in a little town in Massachusetts as a child, I am greatly hoping for the latter.

The Patriots are a difficult subject though. They are playing some of the most incredible, smart-guy football out there, but there is the lingering suspicion that much of it only came about because of cheating. There have been some interesting stories about the Patriots leading up to both the AFC Championship as well as the Super Bowl.

For a good piece on Tom Brady and why the Pats losing would be as memorable or more than them winning, I thought this piece by Chuck Klosterman was well-written. It also makes you realize that most American males would gladly trade places with Tom Brady if given the chance.

Above I made reference to how the Patriots are a thinking-man's football team. I really believe this, with this article I read yesterday only strengthening my feelings about this subject. In fact, I would love to be an Ernie Adams kind of person. He seems to have some varied interests, enjoys reading about many kinds of subjects, particularly great people, and has seen some astounding success. The article does leave you with the lingering suspicion that this is the guy who could read the other team's signals as they came up on the monitor. Either way, this guy seems to have an incredible mind and has applied it to football of all subjects. This piece is some real journalism on ESPN, which is fairly shocking considering the paltry offerings of Page 2, including this, this and this. Blegh.

Not long after the Super Bowl festivities have ended will I be turning my attention to Super Tuesday, which I think should be a national holiday. I mean, IA, NH, NV, SC and FL were fun enough, be we're talking 22 (!?) primaries in one day! This is a political junkie's dream come true. Obama's post-Edwards momentum is pretty remarkable. As this Washington Post article points out and I have been thinking for some time, I think the more people see of Obama the more they want to vote for him. He needs to see as many people as he can between now and Tuesday when the polls close. It should be a lot of fun watching returns on Tuesday.

All right, so this post was a little rambly. I hope you enjoyed it. I will write again soon. Have a super 72 hours!

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Some things for a Saturday

Just got back from walking to Uptown Bikes at Leland and Broadway. I carried by busted bike all the way, though it really wasn't that far. Moving around on this chilly but sunny day feels nice. I will have a fully rehabbed bike by Tuesday!

Today I have been listening to 'Watch My Feet' by 'Dude N Nem'. This song isn't even really totally my style, but it is infectious, has a cool video and is from Chicago. I also have some Caribou on, currently the song 'Yeti'. I haven't even watched that video, but it's a free place to hear the song.

I realize that it's only January 12, but I can feel the beginning of the beginning of the hints of the beginning of spring in the air. I left work at around quarter to five yesterday and not only was the sky still blue, it was a light-ish blue. The thought of more sunlight each day is not only comforting, but sustaining.

There's still so much on my mind, I don't know how to share. So instead I will try and come back in a few days with thoughts on all kinds of things.

Broadway and Leland (click to see the larger map and hit street view):

View Larger Map

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