25 December 2007

Merry Christmas!

Or...er...Happy Holidays! Whatever!

I'm off to Portland! Thanks for all of the suggestions!

24 December 2007

"Happy Idea" Chicken

Most days I check to see what search terms have brought readers to the Idea of Progress. Usually they are something like "teleubbies" or "What do tannins taste like in wine?" (which are my top 2 terms). But today I found something kinda inexplicable.

"Happy Idea" chicken.

What the hell does that mean? What could this person want? I can't figure it out. Whatever it was, the Idea of Progress did provide 5 minutes and 25 seconds of reading enjoyment for this person.

Curious, I googled it myself. The Idea of Progress shows up not once on the first page...but twice. Weird.


Reposted from Hometown Pride.

23 December 2007

Blogs of Note

Check out Stories We Tell ourselves About Ourselves. Lotsa good stuff there.


The Idea of Progress will be in Portland, Oregon for the week following Christmas. Posts may be either non-existent or irregular (not in the bowel sense). I've never been to Portland before. Here's what I expect:



-Pinot Noir




-Lots of bikes




Any suggestions from anyone as to where I should visit?

A Somewhat Accurate Guide to Choosing a Bottle of Wine While Knowing Nothing About It

The top search term for the Idea of Progress has been "What do tannis taste like in wine?" for some time now. In light of that, I have come to the realization that people occasionally need help with wine, and don't want to turn to someone or something with a snotty attitude. But the Idea of Progress is here to help. Since many of us will be going to Christmas dinner in the next couple of days, and many of us will need to bring wine to the dinners, how can we choose which one will be good?

May I present the next chapter of the Wine School of the Idea of Progress:

A Somewhat Accurate Guide to Choosing a Bottle of Wine While Knowing Nothing About It

No matter how much you may know about wine, at some point you will be confronted with a selection that you know nothing about. There may be regions you are unfamiliar with, grapes you never heard of, and vintages you are unsure of. How do you know what will be worth buying if you've got no idea of what you are doing?

I've got a few useful tips that I've picked up over the years. They're not 100% accurate, but they've served me pretty well. When I need to buy a bottle, and have no idea what anything is, here are some of the things I take into consideration.

The Label

No, you shouldn't necessarily choose a wine by how pretty the label is. But there's one odd thing I've noticed about good wines and their labels. Is the label a matte finish or a glossy one? For some reason, the chances of getting a good wine are higher when the label is matte rather than glossy. I can only speculate as to why (and this leads to a second tip)--The more the winery is trying to draw your attention to their label, via shiny labels, pretty pictures, etc., the less likely the wine speaks for itself.

The Bottle

Pick up the bottle. Is it heavy or light? Does the glass feel thick or thin? Feel the bottom of the bottle. Does it have an indentation (called the punt)? How deep is the indentation?

Another thing I've noticed is that the more money a winery spent on their bottles, the better the chance that the wine inside is worth protecting. If the bottle is heavy, that's a good sign. If it has a deep punt (all jokes aside), that's a good sign, too. If the bottom of the bottle is flat, that's a very, very bad sign, and I'd generally stay away. The exception to this rule are German and Alsatian white wines (or wines in this style). Their bottles are tall and slender and either green or brown in color. They always have a flat base, no matter how good they are.

The Importer

Some people have a really great job, which is to be a wine importer. Basically, what they get to do is go around and taste wine all over Europe and import the ones that they like. The most well known of these have their names right on the bottle. If you see something on a bottle of wine like "A Kermit Lynch Selection" or "Selected by Eric Solomon," that's a good sign, because they were willing to put their name on the label, signaling that they approve. If someone's name on the bottle, that's always a positive (this typically appears on the back label).

The Region

A good rule of thumb to have is "The larger the region, the weaker the wine." If the wine only identifies itself as "California Wine" or "French Wine," the chances for it to be good are significantly less that one labeled "Sonoma Coast" or "Bordeaux." The reason for this is that if it just says 'California" that means they can source grapes from all over California, from the good, expensive regions (like Napa) as well as the cheap, high producing but inferior regions (the Central Coast). If it says "Napa Valley, that means ALL of the grapes have to come from there, giving you a more focused and probably superior product. This rule holds fast for the entire world of wine.

The Store

Never buy wine in a supermarket. With the rare, rare exception, they all suck. Stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's are a little bit different--they specialize in wine, and will have someone there who can help you out. But don't buy wine in a supermarket, unless you are buying champagne (since they often will carry Veuve Cliquot or Moet & Chandon). Go to a wine shop, or to a Whole Foods or Trader Joes. Or even Costco, who generally have a few good items there. Places like these will provide someone who works there, who generally knows their wine, or at least knows something about their stock. Ask these people. If they're not any help, follow the above rules.

Following these rules will not guarantee you a superior bottle of wine, but they will give you a fighting chance. If you have any questions, feel free to email me or leave a comment below.

Good luck!

Number 3 with a bullet!


Being technologically savvy, I have just now figured out how to transfer photos from my cell phone to my computer. This will provide a cornucopia of opportunity for allowing others to view the world as through the eyes of the Idea of Progress. We will begin with one that I've been saving up for such an opportunity:

Please file this under perhaps they should have read this out loud before they chose the name.

22 December 2007

Tres Cool!

20 December 2007

Ho Ho hack hack hack!

Do you think that Santa would bum smokes off of the naughty kids?

From snarfd.com.

19 December 2007

Quote of the Day (2002 Edition)

"Tom Cruise is becoming the Scary Flaming Eye from "The Lord of the Rings," and I fear that nobody can stop him."

Cintra Wilson in Salon from 2002.

Press Conference with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D- VT)

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone of you who made it to this press conference today, despite the weather.

The Idea of Progress has left the city. Now, now, I don't want anyone to panic, he hasn't gone far. However, he discovered yesterday that he lost out to Bells On for the prestigious 2007 Drysdale awards. It seems some people felt the the Idea of Progress was not the Least Influential Political Blog out there.

No, he didn't take it well. He also received a letter rejecting a short story of his for publication in the local alternative weekly.

He did feel the story was inferior, that is to be certain, but the sting of such rejection felt twice in one day was enough to send him away to, as he said, "find himself."

He will return soon, he said--after a period of rest and reflection.

Now, I will take any questions from the press.

17 December 2007


Ron Paul's supporters raised $6m yesterday in a 'money bomb,' which essentially means everyone donates money on the same day (yesterday was the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party).

In related news, a roommate of the Idea of Progress paid him the $35 she owed him for last month's cable bill.

13 December 2007

How to Pose

12 December 2007

You Heard It Here First

As 2007 is waning, we are left wondering: What will the trend of 2008 be? Who will be the new Don't Tase Me, Bro? What will be the next musical trend? Who will be our new hero for the year?

You have come to the Idea of Progress for such answers, and the Idea of Progress will deliver.

2008 will be the year of Huey Lewis and the News.

Workin For a Livin.

I Think I Need a New Drug.

The Power of Love.

And the Official Theme Song of 2008:

It's Hip to Be Square.

If you don't believe me, I'm sure you can take the word of Patrick Bateman from American Pyscho on why even he, a serial killer, is a Huey Lewis fan:

For more information on how to make 2008 your Year of Huey Lewis and the News, please visit lewisnews08.com or for those of you on Facebook, please visit Huey Lewis is a Golden God.

And if you need any further reasons, please check out what Johnny Yen discovered about Huey Lewis's news.

Enjoy a little Power of Love to brighten your day (the extended Back to the Future video starring Doc Brown!).

Proof the Geeks Have Won

"w00t" has been awarded Word of the Year by Miriam-Webster dictionaries.

I hope next year the winner is "teh."

09 December 2007

Quote of the Day

“J.F.K.’s speech was to reassure Americans that he wasn’t a religious fanatic...Mitt’s was to tell evangelical Christians, ‘I’m a religious fanatic just like you.

- Jon Krakauer, quoted in the New York Times.

If you haven't already had the opportunity, I'd recommend Krakauer's excellent and frightening book Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, which tells the story of the Mormon church, which is more interesting and disturbing than you might think.

07 December 2007

Gettin' around

Ron Paul supporters have purchased a blimp for his campaign. The Idea of Progress took a look at what modes of transportation that the other Republican candidates are using:

Mitt Romney - Horse and buggy

Fred Thompson - Rascal scooter

Rudy Giuliani - Firetruck used in 9/11, because he was there, you know, on 9/11

06 December 2007

Best of Craigslist

Latin King at East Bank Club - w4m - 25
Reply to: pers-499860386@craigslist.org
Date: 2007-12-05, 3:46PM CST

Considering EBC is such a high-end health club, I was stunned to see a Latin King gang member there. Furthermore, I was even more stunned to find me attracted to such a thug. How did I know you were a Latin King? Well, maybe the Latin King tattoo in old english gave it away! What were you doing at EBC? Have you been to prison? And most importantly, are you single??

original post

A few words for Mitt Romney

"Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone."
--Mitt Romney, speaking today, Thursday December 6th.

Mitt Romney, shut the fuck up.


Combining ideas like 'freedom' and 'religion,' and making them sound inseparable, is as asinine as telling someone they're either with you or against you. The concepts, while often intertwined, are not the same damn thing. And more often then not, religion is used to extinguish freedom, often under the maxim, "If you're not with us, you're against us."

Shut up, Mitt Romney, and go back to that hole you crawled out of.

Wow, am I angry.

05 December 2007

Gift Ideas for the Idea of Progress

Looking for a holiday gift idea for tIoP? Wonder Sauna Hot Pants!

Several things to note:

-The word 'long' is inside the word HOT

-Both models look like they are being forced to wear those things at gunpoint (especially the guy--look at his expression)

-A commenter on Boing Boing (where this was found) mentioned that they look like "Still-suit shorts for summers on Arakkis," which if you get means that a) you probably found it as funny as I did and b) are giant nerd.

(the Hot Pants were discovered by Monica), who graciously allowed me to post about them.)

I don't get Google

I spend a good ten minutes crafting the finest picture of a whale clad in trousers that the world has ever witnessed. I label the file "Mr. Splashy Pants." I label the post "Mr. Splashy Pants." I use the name 'Mr. Splashy Pants' about a dozen times in the post.

Go to Google images, there are no pants-wearing whales to be found. My whale is not present. Google "Mr Splashy Pants" and my blog does come up--on page 13.

But not that image! Instead, it's the cover of an album I posted six months ago! No splashing or pants or whales to be found! What the F (as the kids say)!

Least Influential Political Blog???

I'll show Grant Miller who's least influential...Mark my words...

03 December 2007

Monday News Feed

-Larry Craig, the gift that keeps on giving, has been accused by eight other men of engaging in dirty deeds with them (sex!). Before I even got to make the joke, it turns out that one of these men was Mike Jones, the same male escort that the Rev. Ted Haggard was busted for, and yes, they did have sex in a men's room. This is what I call reality stealing my material.

-Gillian Gibbons was pardoned by the president of the Sudan for naming a teddy bear Mohammad. She will be heading home today, according to the press, missing out on all of the fun fatwas and riots. Interesting side note- according to her MySpace page she is a Leonard Cohen fan, so she's cool in my book.

-Sound familiar? A new report released today shows that Iran halted their attempts at making nuclear weapons back in 2003. Hmmm....accusing a country of seeking weapons of mass destruction, and then it turns out we were misled by the administration. So...in what way is this not like Sadaam and the WMDs?