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Stay away from Iowa, Hannah!

Stay away from Iowa, Hannah!

As a student in the historic and esteemed Iowa Writer's Workshop, I write to express my dismay that the world's premier creative writing MFA program would lower itself to welcome a young writer named Hannah Horvath.

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Russell Brand doesn't get it

Russell Brand doesn't get it

Following last week's elections, reports surfaced in dribs and drabs of voters being turned away from the polls in Virginia and Texas, two states that instituted draconian voter ID laws. It's an off-year election, and the evidence is too anecdotal to understand what kind of effect these laws—...

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Farewell (Sort of) to Off the Markley

Farewell (Sort of) to Off the Markley

I’ve got good news and bad news: the bad news, as you may have noticed, is that the daily posts on Off the Markley have now come to an end. The good news for any fans who’ve stuck around even after I told the world I hate dogs, Michael Jackson, and old people’s naked bodies, is...

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5 Surprising Things That Are Not at All Surprising

5 Surprising Things That Are Not at All Surprising

Right now the news is full of shocking revelations that are not actually all that surprising. Let’s go through the five most shocking (but not really) shocking disclosures.

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Netflix's 'Arrested' Season Falls Flat

Netflix's 'Arrested' Season Falls Flat

I suppose after five years of anticipation and cult hit status, it would be difficult to not let down the fans. Nevertheless, I wanted so little of the fourth Netflix-driven season of “Arrested Development”—the bar was so low. Just put all of those characters back on...

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Linklater Triumphs with 'Before Midnight'

It occurred to me while watching “Bernie,” the totally engrossing Jack Black dark comedy, that Richard Linklater may be one of the most underrated living writer/directors. The auteur who arrived with slacker hits like “Slacker” and “Dazed and Confused” now...

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C'mon Not Even the Pacers Wanted to See the Pacers in the NBA Finals

I know that as a Cleveland fan and general underdog-rooting sports fan, I should have been cheering for the Indiana Pacers to pull off an epic upset of the LeBron James-helmed Miami Heat, but I definitely was not because, c’mon: Not even the Pacers wanted to see a Pacers-Spurs final.

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Check Out Ewing Theory's June 15th Show

Check Out Ewing Theory's June 15th Show

Because I’m famous as f*** I tend to hang out with other super-famous Chicago people, ranging from RedEye’s Ernest Wilkins all the way to RedEye’s Ryan Smith. However, this also means I sometimes hang out with terrific up-and-coming bands.

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On the Chicago Keystone Pipeline Protest

On the Chicago Keystone Pipeline Protest

On Wednesday, President Obama was in town for a fundraiser, and I headed down to the Hilton Chicago on South Michigan to cover the Keystone protest.

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Things That Bugged Me About the New 'Star Trek'

Things That Bugged Me About the New 'Star Trek'

“Star Trek: Into Darkness” bothered me in a number of ways. A warning: if you haven’t seen the movie, spoilers lie ahead. If you read on, get ready for a nerded-out rant, the likes of which you’ve never before seen (unless you read anything else I write about movies).

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#1 Draft Pick to Give This Cavs Fan Ulcer

#1 Draft Pick to Give This Cavs Fan Ulcer

Busy with my life of slinging brilliant insight and watching as much NBA playoff basketball as I can manage, I’d pledged to catch only the second half of Tuesday night’s Memphis-San Antonio game, and in doing so completely forgot to watch the draft lottery.

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Give 'The Office' One Last Chance

Give 'The Office' One Last Chance

I’ll warn you in advance that this column will reveal what a total pussy I am, but here goes anyway.

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There Are Plenty of Scandals, Just Not These Ones

There Are Plenty of Scandals, Just Not These Ones

There’s a familiar template for the “scandals” that have so far “plagued” the Obama administration, in that they are all, for the most part, total bullshit and/or unfortunate events in the vast federal bureaucracy that have as much to do with the guy actually sitting in...

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On Syria, Liberal Interventionism, and The Onion

On Syria, Liberal Interventionism, and The Onion

Like every other college-educated urban white person, I love The Onion. Its satire sometimes feels like everything that's left of the guiding light of civilization.

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Happy 400 ppm Week!

Happy 400 ppm Week!

Happy 400 ppm week! What’d you get me?

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Things I'd Rather Do Than See 'Gatsby'

Things I'd Rather Do Than See 'Gatsby'

When I heard about Baz Luhrmann’s remake of “The Great Gatsby” a bubble of bile rose up in my throat. The director of such opulent visual messes as “Moulin Rouge” and “Australia” bringing to the big screen F. Scott Fitzgerald’s melancholy meditation on...

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3 Reasons the Bulls Should Not Play Derrick Rose

3 Reasons the Bulls Should Not Play Derrick Rose

Here in Chicago, sports talk has become consumed by snide disdain for star point guard Derrick Rose as he remains on the bench during the playoffs while the Bulls hobble on after an impressive if battering series against the Brooklyn Nets. Now that they’re playing LeBron James and the Heat,...

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Baby Alien Skeleton Totally Freaking Me Out

Baby Alien Skeleton Totally Freaking Me Out

So I was perusing Weather.com trying to figure out if it was going to be 85 or 43 degrees in Chicago on a given day, and what should I happen upon but this story about an “alien-looking skeleton” that...

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Hey, Sandra Day O'Connor, All's Forgiven!

Hey, Sandra Day O'Connor, All's Forgiven!

Hey, former Supreme Court Justice of the United States, Sandra Day O’Connor, I just wanted to say thank you so much for your recent interview with the Chicago Tribune’s...

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Weird, Awesome Stuff About 'Tales of Iceland'

Weird, Awesome Stuff About 'Tales of Iceland'

As if I have to give you multiple reasons to buy the weird, hilarious, off-kilter travelogue I just published called “Tales of Iceland,” there are a few very...

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'Tales of Iceland' Now Available

'Tales of Iceland' Now Available

Today is the day, people: “Tales of Iceland or Running with the Hulduf√≥lk in the Permanent Daylight” is now available from nascent media empire GiveLiveExplore.

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'Mad Men', 'Breaking Bad,' and the Race for the Best Show of Its Era

'Mad Men', 'Breaking Bad,' and the Race for the Best Show of Its Era

It seems to me that we should stop defining eras by presidents and begin defining them by the best and/or (possibly) most influential television show.

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Would You Rather Give Up Sex or Cheese?

Would You Rather Give Up Sex or Cheese?

I was having a beer with an old friend from college, and somehow this hypothetical question came up: if you had to give up either sex or cheese for the rest of your life, which would it be?

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How to Survive Denialism

How to Survive Denialism

This past weekend I drank a bottle of wine and watched the harrowing Oscar-nominated documentary “How to Survive a Plague,” which chronicles the story of AIDS activists in the late Eighties and early Nineties. (Normally, I reserve my bottle-of-wine-drinking-solo-movie nights for...

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The Markley TV Club: Final Season of 'West Wing'

The Markley TV Club: Final Season of 'West Wing'

My roommate Pat and I recently, for some reason, watched the final season of “The West Wing” together on Netflix, which produced a number of arguments, speculations, and asides that I have compiled in an e-mail exchange for the inaugural edition of The Markley TV Club. I realize...

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Some of My Most Spectacular Hate Mail Yet

Some of My Most Spectacular Hate Mail Yet

Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to receive some pretty spectacular hate mail. However, what I’ve noticed is that people will never get more offended than by the stuff I’m saying the least seriously, with my tongue most obviously in cheek, that has the least relevance to...

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No, College Basketball is Not Better Than the NBA

No, College Basketball is Not Better Than the NBA

After very much enjoying this year’s National Championship game in which Louisville defeated Michigan, I figured out exactly why: it looked like an NBA playoff game.

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Can You Be Pro-Women and Still Think Sheryl Sandberg is a Tool?

Can You Be Pro-Women and Still Think Sheryl Sandberg is a Tool?

Can you be for female empowerment in the workplace, believe there is an unjust double standard for women in every aspect of life from assertiveness to sexuality, observe Equal Pay Day and generally be just feminist as f*** while still thinking Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and author of “...

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I Am the Worst: Locked in the Bathroom Edition

I Am the Worst: Locked in the Bathroom Edition

Strange things sometimes happen to me, and my mother recently reminded me of where this particular curse-blessing (a curse because they often suck, but a blessing because then I can write about them) may have originated.

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Mike Rice is the Norm, Not the Exception

Mike Rice is the Norm, Not the Exception

Not to defend Douche Bag Supreme Mike Rice, former coach of the Rutgers men’s basketball team, who was fired after a video surfaced showing him...

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Watch This Video of Me Reading From 'Tales of Iceland'

Watch This Video of Me Reading From 'Tales of Iceland'

You're probably thinking to yourself, "Oh shucks, Markley debuted his new travel book 'Tales of Iceland or "Running with the Huldufolk in the Permanent Daylight"' at Essay Fiesta, and I missed it because I was icing a cake." (Or some other activity that you might have been doing).

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In Defense of Political Calculation

In Defense of Political Calculation

I’ve been mulling over a recent column by Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan in which he excoriates politicians and pundits over their cowardice. He uses the examples of Democratic and liberal support in the lead-up to...

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The Worst Fortune Cookie Ever

The Worst Fortune Cookie Ever

I don’t normally use my massive platform as a cultural and political force here at the 16th highest trafficked blog at RedEye to stick it to individual companies. After all, in the pursuit of a reliable and profitable business, all companies make mistakes. New Coke, Starbury...

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Climate Change Spells Doom for the Middle East

Climate Change Spells Doom for the Middle East

As President Obama makes his first stop in Israel on his much-touted trip to the Middle East, I think it's appropriate to place the generations of strife in that region into an environmental context. No matter what happens between Israel and Palestine or Syria or Iran, no matter what happens in Iraq...

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What the Stuebenville Case Teaches Us

What the Stuebenville Case Teaches Us

Ever since the news broke of the Steubenville sexual assault case, in which two high school football players, Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond, raped an unconscious girl at a party, I’ve been trying to place that story in some kind of context.

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Who Ya Got? (For March Madness, Stupid, What Else?)

Who Ya Got? (For March Madness, Stupid, What Else?)

As anyone who even remotely follows college basketball understands, no one knows anything about what will happen in this year’s NCAA tournament. Total crapshoot even for a tournament that’s intended to be a crapshoot.

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'Tales of Iceland' to Debut at Essay Fiesta

'Tales of Iceland' to Debut at Essay Fiesta

In a previous post, I mentioned that I would soon be debuting new shit. Well, that new shit, I’m happy to report, is almost here, and you can get a sneak peak this Monday at Essay Fiesta at the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square.

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Ryan Budget Makes for Great Unintentional Satire

Ryan Budget Makes for Great Unintentional Satire

You know how these popular political shows like “Scandal” and “House of Cards” are always trying to keep the hokey out of their political characters? For instance, my roommate is obsessed with re-watching “The West Wing” on Netflix right now, and it got me...

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Is the Wildly Entertaining 'Book of Mormon' Also Kinda Vapid?

Is the Wildly Entertaining 'Book of Mormon' Also Kinda Vapid?

I just saw the super-ultra-atmosphere-piercing smash hit musical “The Book of Mormon” and had two conflicting feelings about it. Yes, it’s entertaining, clever, and funny as hell, but also, has anyone noticed, that much like some of the lazier “South Park” episodes, its...

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The Floor Mattress is No More

The Floor Mattress is No More

One of my calling cards as a writer and human being is that through all these years my stock has soared here in Chicago, I have remained a man who sleeps on nothing but a mattress placed directly on the floor. Otherwise known as a “floor mattress.”

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