Media news

Today: Kellogg conference on social media marketing

Kellogg Logo

Hey, all. I’ll be blogging later on about this conference the Kellogg Business School is hosting. It should be interesting, because it’s about marketing.

Here are some questions for the speakers:

1) Why have all attempts at social media done by big companies failed? (Except for, say, AOL when it started)

2) How can companies be innovative when they essentially turn into bureaucracies? (Think Microsoft, Yahoo, and maybe Google in the future)

3) How can brand engagement even be accurately measured online? Hits? Visits? User testing combined with these statistics? I think that even if McDonald’s had a cool Web site, I won’t be more inclined to go buy a Big Mac.

These are just some questions I may have, but by the end of the day, I certainly will have blogged about the conference.

Chicago 2016

Chicago 2016 Update: No hometown discount for tickets?

2016 Update

A Sun-Times report places estimates for Chicago 2016 tickets as high as $950 for the opening ceremonies.

I find it strange that Chicago 2016 brass aren’t publicizing ticket costs. Then again, I’d be surprised if they actually want people from Chicago attending Olympic events.

If it ends up that Chicagoans (and Illinoisians) have to foot the bill, they should at least get some sort of hometown discount for tickets to the Games. Even if it were 10 percent or so, we’d know that the Chicago 2016 committee actually cares about us.

Who’s with me?

My articles

The Chicago Epicurean restaurant review: Vinnie’s Sub Shop

Chicago Epicurean
Vinnie's Sub Shop

Vinnie’s Italian Sub (above), along with a Filbert’s soda are two of my new Chicago favorites (Photos copyright Daniel B. Honigman)

Vinnie’s Sub Shop
1204 W. Grand Avenue
(312) 738-2985
9:00 am – 6:00 pm
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Closed Sundays
Get directions

Verdict: If you like subs, check this place out. STAT.

It figures that I’d write my first review of a sub shop, right? But after visiting Vinnie’s Sub Shop this past weekend with Mollie, I realized that there would be no better way to start off this feature.

After hitting up the Intelligentsia Coffee tour on Saturday, we walked along Grand Avenue looking for a place to eat. We decided to stop off at Vinnie’s Sub Shop in the River West neighborhood of Chicago.

Vinnie’s is a charming, family-run, standing-room-only establishment. Festooned with historic photos of Chicago, I was hit immediately with an old-school vibe when I entered.

And then there were the sandwiches.

The Italian sub was outstanding. It may, hands-down, be the best sub I’ve had in Chicago. Piled high with capicola, genoa salami, mortadella, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, a mix of hot and sweet peppers, homemade basil oil and balsamic vinegar, on a fresh French bread, this sub was a steal at less than $6. Mollie ate the Vinnie Special, which featured a mix of ham, salami and provolone (no tomatoes for Mollie!)

Vinnie’s bubbly proprietor, Darlene, directed us to try their homemade tuna salad. I don’t usually like tuna fish – at all. But, with Mollie nudging me, I gave it a try.

Now, I still won’t eat tuna salad. But I’ll make an exception for Vinnie’s.

“We make three big party bowls every day, and every night it’s gone,” she said. Darlene wouldn’t give us the secret recipe, but it was seasoned with basil, tomatoes and onions. It’s absolutely to die for.

Vinnie’s features soda from Filbert’s of Chicago, a family-run beverage company in the city’s Bridgeport neighborhood. The sodas are quite tasty, by the way.

Here are the ratings:

Food: 4 of 5
Decor: 1.5 of 5
Cost: 4.5 of 5
Bathroom: N/A
Total: 4 of 5

Vinnies Sub Shop on Urbanspoon

Chicago 2016

Chicago 2016 Olympics Update: USOC to meet with Chicago 2016 committee

2016 Update

According to a Chicago Tribune report, an 11-member delegation from the U.S. Olympic Committee is in town to meet with Chicago 2016 for an informal dinner tonight.

On deck for tomorrow: eight hours of meetings.

Sounds like fun, eh?

(On a side note, Tribune reporter Phil Hersh has done a good job covering the Chicago 2016 happenings. Kudos to him, although I don’t agree with him sometimes.)

Media news

Study: RSS feeds poor way to keep up with news

Not that I regret posting this or anything, but results from a recent study conducted by the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda show that those who keep up with RSS feeds from mainstream media just aren’t getting the news.

In fact, the feeds are useless for people who want little more than infotainment or the latest celebrity dirt from PerezHilton. The study says that most people should just stick with Google’s “Top Stories”. Also, some news outlets may prefer to keep some coverage out of its RSS feeds.

It’s an interesting report and I suggest at least giving it a look.

Chicago 2016

Chicago 2016 Olympics Update: CTA upgrades with 2016 Olympics?

2016 Update

In this month’s issue of Budget and Tax News, Dennis Byrne reports the inadequacies of Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Chicago 2016 plans.

According to University of Chicago sports economist Allen Sanderson, not all of the costs of hosting the Games have been considered. He cites the CTA upgrades required to handle a rider surge during the Olympics, nor a backup plan if – or when – it goes over budget.

(To date, London 2012 costs have tripled to $18 billion and Beijing is pouring $40 billion into the 2008 Olympics.)

I don’t think the CTA can get any worse than it already is, to be honest…

Media news

What’s in it for Yahoo? (Update on possible Microsoft/Yahoo merger)

According to a story in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal, Yahoo doesn’t appear interested in a possible merger with – or sale to – Microsoft.

Yahoo recently signed contracts with 12 newspaper publishers to run the company’s ads on their Web sites, and these publishers represent more than 260 newspapers and the Web portal of Comcast Corp.

C’mon, Yahoo, stick to the content. You’re still have your “cool Web start-up” status. Don’t lose it by selling to Microsoft!

Chicago 2016

Chicago 2016 Olympics Rumor: Phil Cline to head up Olympic security detail?

2016 Update

In a Chicago Sun-Times column today, Neil Steinberg reported that Chicago Police Supt. Phil Cline may be tapped to be head planner in charge of drawing up the Chicago 2016 security plans.

Steinberg writes:

I’m all for that. Cline is only 57, with plenty of good years left in him. Why bring in some perfumed security analyst from France who’ll have us all prisoners in our own city, squatting in the sun, our fingers laced behind our necks? A Chicago Olympics should be protected by a Chicago cop, and Phil Cline, for good and ill, is exactly that.

Isn’t this the same guy who just resigned as superintendent? (Cline is serving in the post only until a replacement is found.) In a department where corruption and brutality are almost a welcome part of the work environment (cough, Anthony Abbate) Cline was the great enabler, turning a deaf ear to what went on.

While Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley doesn’t believe the video hurt the city’s chances of getting the Olympics, bringing him on the Chicago 2016 campaign would. Phil Cline doesn’t belong in the mix.


Welcome GapersBlock readers!

If you’ve arrived at this site via my GapersBlock piece, “Maxwell Street, Ellis Island of the Midwest”, I’d just like to welcome you to

I’m a 23-year-old aspiring journalist. I’m also Google’s #1-rated blog on Chicago 2016 and the #4 site overall. I’ll also post some of my favorite hip-hop videos.

But enough of that. Thanks for coming and please check out some of my favorite blog posts:

The Bridges of Cook County – Here’s a piece I wrote for the April 2007 issue of North Shore magazine.

Here are all of my Chicago 2016 posts.

Some thoughts on the CTA, which were also run on

Interesting sites from around the Web, compiled in a regular Site of the Day feature.



Hip-Hop album review: J Dilla – ‘Ruff Draft’

Album review

by Daniel B. Honigman (from

Sadly, it’s always the dead musicians who develop the biggest following. Underappreciated when alive, J Dilla – arguably one of the best hip-hop minds ever – and his records have amassed scores of new listeners since his death. But many of these new fans maybe haven’t heard of Slum Village, and because of that, weren’t exposed to his full range of talents. Ruff Draft will help change that.

Originally released in February 2003 as a vinyl-only album distributed by German label Groove Attack, Ruff Draft is some of Dilla’s last solo work before his lupus diagnosis in 2005. Now it is indie powerhouse Stones Throw (who also released Dilla’s Champion Sound collab and Donuts), to re-issue the obscure LP.

Ruff Draft begins with a short intro: the artist himself. “It’s Ruff Draft. For my real niggaz only. DJs that play that real live shit…like it’s straight from the motherfucking cassette.” The album then dives into one lush soundscape after another. Let’s Take It Back, the first full track, is highlighted by the strumming of tonal synth-samples, and it relaxes your ears as he rides the beat with some adroit emceeing. Reckless Driving, ups the ante as the synth-heavy light beats have an epic, energizing feel because of the well-placed bass. As always, Dilla pulls this off without a hitch. But he still teases you, as he knows what’s to come.

Nothing Like This and The $ are the album’s two biggest heavy-hitters. The first, a love poem comprised of several simple quatrains, solidifies Dilla’s status as one of hip-hop’s most unique talents. It’s a love song, but it’s far from Thug Love. Simple strings and percussion are distorted to create an emotive accompaniment for his expressive lyrics; “Incomplete when you’re away/You turn my nights into day/You show me the light, uh-huh/Gotta have you right away.” On The $, he uses ascending horn synth samples to give the song an old-school, b-boy feel.

Xylophone and M.O.P. samples form the background for Make ‘em NV, a song about changes in hip-hop culture; “These backpackers want to confuse it/Niggaz is icy ain’t got nothing to do with the music/So, hater, mind ya biz and getcha own/You know what time it is, we get that glow.” The only lackluster track on this album, Crushin’ (Yeeeeaah!), uses a grindable beat to describe his seemingly endless desire for ass. It’s terribly average and notches below what we’re accustomed from Dilla’s dazzling soundscapes.

The original album ends with a track of shout-outs, but is reborn with several unreleased tracks. After an alternate introduction, Wild takes the stage. A sample from British glam-rock band Slade’s Cum on, Feel the Noize is processed to make the song sound child-like. Take Notice, featuring fellow Detroit rapper Guilty Simpson and an alternate outro end the album on a high note.

Overall, the album’s wonderful. He doesn’t overload you with complicated beats and rhymes. Because of this, and because of the album’s length – it runs less than half an hour from start to finish – you’ll be left wanting more. Dilla’s legacy is still growing. His popularity hasn’t yet crested nor has his name been cheapened – a la Tupac – by scores of lechers looking to make a quick buck off of yet another subpar remix album. Along with the all-time great emcees, Dilla is an artist people will listen to many years from now.

Let’s just hope hip-hop’s not dead by then.

(Check out the original review on