Seen and heard

As I write this I’m drinking my first-ever Red Bull, part of a promotional package we received today for a new movie …

I’m not liking it much.

I feel like I’m licking from a giant pile of raspberry-flavored sugar.

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There’s been a lot of talk around our office the last few days about “first albums.”

I love nostalgia.

It started with a conversation last week on the subject -- I think when Gin Blossoms’ “Hey Jealousy” came on a music player I was playing.

My friend Liz mentioned that she liked the song, and I said Gin Blossoms’ New Miserable Experience was the first CD I ever bought. It was after a summer of watching a lot of VH1 and MTV (back when they actually aired music videos) and learning to love one of the songs on that album, “Until I Fall Away.” That fall, I began a job sacking groceries at one of the local stores, and my savings plan to buy my first CD player was in full swing. But in fact, I started buying CDs even before I had the CD player. New Miserable Experience was the first, and I had to borrow my little brother’s CD player to listen to it. (He got his a few months earlier, and I believe his first CD was the Spin Doctors: Pocket Full of Kryptonite…) … By February, however, I finally had saved enough money to buy a CD player. I remember vividly the night Dad and I went to a Best Buy to pick it out. A Sony six disc-changer, with detachable speakers, AM/FM stereo and a cassette deck. I paid a whopping $240 for it, and would probably pay barely $100 for it today … Nevertheless, that CD stereo, now 13 years old, is still going strong, although the cassette deck squeaks like crazy …

That Gin Blossoms album sounds even better to me know than it did 10 years ago, with thanks to my Summerfest experience ...

All this, and Liz, who’s a master of writing witty, quirky columns, is now working on a column about our staff’s first albums …

Others to come up in the now week-long conversation …

Those of us who grew up in the cassette/CD era recalled buying stuff like Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits, the Cocktail Soundtrack, Paula Abdul and Hole's Live Through This

The stories from my more experienced cohorts -- the ones who are old enough to have bought their first albums on vinyl -- were more exciting, of course. They relayed memories of rushing to the grand openings of retail stores that don’t even exist in this town anymore to buy stuff like John Denver’s Greatest Hits, The Beach Boys: Endless Summer, Boston, the Rolling Stones, Dave Clark Five and The Beatles. Liz said she remembered saving enough money and going to a Topps store to buy the Partridge Family as her first …

Fun stuff.

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I’ve now finished my first can of Red Bull. And probably my last. It’s not worth buying …

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My industrious cousin made the newspaper ...

Any kid would be lucky to have him as an art teacher.

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With the Olympic committee in town a couple weeks ago, the excitement and anticipation is building around here for Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid

Man, it would be sweet if Chicago swung it … You'd better believe they deserve it -- and they could pull it off. But I’m bias.

So when the notion of Chicago hosting the Olympics came up the other day in our office, one of our guys quipped, “2016 -- that’s right about the time Barack Obama will be finishing his presidency.”

Yep. The excitement and anticipation is building.

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How would you like to be this guy: Man flies first class seated near corpse

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… Yesterday I came back to the office with a police report about a man who came home to find another man passed out on a mattress in his basement. Police eventually came to wake the guy, who was drunk, and he was arrested for trespassing …

When I returned to our office and told my cohorts, out came the stories of some of our drunk encounters …

One of the stories: A man decided he’d had enough to drink and announced to the room of party-goers that he was going home. But instead of grabbing his coat and leaving through the front door, he walks up the stairs and crashes in the host’s daughter’s bedroom … the next morning the guy woke up, went to the kitchen to make his breakfast and realized he wasn’t in his own home.

The image of this guy in my mind was so vivid and hilarious, I couldn’t stop laughing.

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