Spotted: Secretary of Education Arne Duncan introducing flame-haired indie goddess Neko Case at the 9:30 Club last night. But ... why? Is the Cabinet member a devoted Neko fan, or is she a big supporter of education reform? (A friend who was at the concert said she put in a good word for Obama's education plans.)
As it turns out, the backstory proves, yet again, just how tied the administration is to the Chicago scene. Last week, the Department of Education hired Tim Tuten, co-owner of The Hideout, a hip Chicago club, as assistant secretary for communications and outreach. (He's also been a schoolteacher in the Windy City.) Tuten is friends with Neko, a fixture in recent years at The Hideout, and he set up Duncan's introduction. "That's all Tim making something like that happen, connecting those two things [education and music]," Duncan told The Chicago Tribune through a spokesman on April 1. "No one thinks like him. We need more of that here." And Tuten's not the only music promoter on board at the DOE: He was brought on by Peter Cunningham, "a Chicago musician and media specialist," according to the Tribune.
Completely unrelatedly, I watch with amusement the never-ending drama of the Office Fridge Police. Does every office have their own? I don't doubt it. Ours are people compelled, driven to ensure that the fridge capacity, content freshness, and temperature are monitored at all times. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that if these people performed mail merges with the same amount of diligence, we could quadruple the amount of mail processed onsite.
Anyway, periodically, one of these vigilant souls wanders around, interrogating people, trying to figure out whose spoiled Chinese that is or whose carrots are sprouting. For some reason, it's important to know the identity of the culprit and to burn a lot of time figuring this out before tossing the offending item. Or possibly the goal is to summon the owner of said spoiled food to personally pitch it into the trash--a sort of disciplinary gesture. Or, more likely, it's fear of germ-i-ness. Which, frankly, really makes me conjure up the various ripple effects of OCD on a system.
Long have I argued in favor of the more efficient "Fridge is cleaned on X day. Take or mark what you want to keep, the rest goes into the trash" approach. But, alas, I just went into the kitchen to see someone had posted our new policy, in which, due to lots of food in the fridge, we are all requested to each please go in and toss our stuff every Friday.
Yeah, that'll work.