Chicago - Jan. 4, 2009
Music TV Politics Sports Books People Places & Things
 

Warning: include(../sched/must-see_Sunday.php) [function.include]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/db7498/public_html/2008/10/index.php on line 167

Warning: include(../sched/must-see_Sunday.php) [function.include]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/db7498/public_html/2008/10/index.php on line 167

Warning: include() [function.include]: Failed opening '../sched/must-see_Sunday.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php') in /home/db7498/public_html/2008/10/index.php on line 167
Weather Derby

Warning: include(../sched/weather_Sunday.php) [function.include]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/db7498/public_html/2008/10/index.php on line 178

Warning: include(../sched/weather_Sunday.php) [function.include]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/db7498/public_html/2008/10/index.php on line 178

Warning: include() [function.include]: Failed opening '../sched/weather_Sunday.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php') in /home/db7498/public_html/2008/10/index.php on line 178

Beachwood Bookmarks
Moon Landing Hoax
K-Tel Classics
WKRP in Cincinnati
The Clint Howard Show
So You've Decided To Be Evil
St. Paul Saints
Nye's Polonaise Room
Lightning Survivors
The Arcata Eye
Roadside Attractions
This Day In . . .
New York Times History
General History
Beachwood History
History Channel History
Spy Magazine History
Chicago
Indicted!
Under Suspicion
Crime Map
Find Your Towed Car
Cable TV Complaints
Freedom of Information
CTA Alerts
The Mob
Find a Dead Bird?
Report Corruption
Beyond
Scoundrels, State
Scoundrels, Federal
The Odds
Random Flight Tracker
Casting Calls
Lake Wobegon
Obscure Store
Cosmic Log
Ask the White House
Buy Stamps
Beachwood Blogroll
A Handy List
Beachwood Ethics Statement
How We Roll
Today's Horoscope
More of the same.
Do We Sudoku?
No.
Losing Lottery Numbers
Yours.
Daily Affirmation
There's no bright side, so you can stop expending energy looking for it.
Ellie
There are few universal conclusions about the effects of divorce versus unhappy marriages; instead, there are individuals, their specific problems and how they handle them.
Now Playing
Monster Skank/Infectious Grooves
Letters to the Editors
FAQ
About
Tip Line
"The Papers" archive
RSS
Beachwood Link Buttons
Media Kit/Advertising
 

« September 2008 | Main | November 2008 »

October 31, 2008

The [Friday] Papers

"William Cellini has spent four decades as Illinois' ultimate insider, cozying up to Republicans and Democrats alike as he wielded power and influence while trying to stay out of the spotlight," the Tribune reports.

"But the spotlight found Cellini on Thursday when a federal grand jury indicted the millionaire Springfield businessman and pulled him into the center of the ongoing probe of corruption in the administration of Gov. Rod Blagojevich."

Cellini, in fact, is the most classic embodiment of the concept of the Combine - the notion that a group of insiders both Democrat and Republican control the spoils of running state government, regardless of which party is actually, nominally, in power.

"A onetime high school teacher, Cellini latched on to politics early, was elected Springfield's commissioner of streets and public improvements and, by age 35, became transportation czar in Gov. Richard Ogilvie's Cabinet. After officially leaving state government, he became an influential fundraiser and powerful lobbyist who headed up the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association," the Tribune notes.

"His power grew even more during Gov. James Thompson's 14-year reign when he won state contracts, landed a riverboat casino license in Alton and put together a sweetheart hotel deal that turned into a lemon for taxpayers.

"Under Gov. Jim Edgar, Cellini's sister, Janis, served as patronage chief, a coveted position overseeing personnel issues in a sprawling government that runs on friends and political favors.

"When George Ryan became governor, Cellini kept a grip on state government through longtime loyalists he spent years placing in sensitive positions."

When the Democrats finally took the governorship, it didn't matter, as we now see.

"When we're in, we're in," he once said, as recalled by the Sun-Times today. "And when you're in, we're in. We're always in."

And who is "we'?

"His business partners are equally powerful men, including Victor Cacciatore, president of Lakeside Bank; Earl Deutsch, a longtime Democratic attorney who, with Cellini, created Commonwealth Realty Advisors, which invests about $1 billion in state pension funds; Michael Marchese, president of Harlem Irving Companies, and Richard Stein, senior managing director of Mesirow Financial's real estate division."

And that gang has close ties to Michael Madigan, Ed Burke, and, of course, Richard M. Daley.

"Cellini has used the longtime House speaker's law firm, Madigan & Getzendanner, to handle real estate tax work for his apartment projects in the Chicago area," the Sun-Times reported in 1996.

"[Burke's] law firm gets real estate tax work from another Cellini business, Commonwealth Realty Advisers, which advises the state teachers pension fund . . . Burke also bought 5,000 shares in Cellini's riverboat company, Argosy Gaming, when it went public in 1993.

"Burke shares office space with the law firm of Earl Deutsch, another Democrat and Cellini's partner in Commonwealth. While Cellini was raising money for Republican Gov. Edgar's re-election in 1994, Deutsch was one of the major donors for Roland Burris, a Democrat who lost his primary bid for the governor's seat."

It gets better.

"Cellini is also a close friend and business associate of Victor Cacciatore's. Cacciatore is a Chicago lawyer and entrepreneur, whose Elgin Sweeping Services Inc. got its first state contract when Cellini headed the Illinois Transportation Department.

"Cacciatore donated heavily to Burris in 1994 and also has made real estate investments with once-powerful Democrats such as former Chicago parks boss Edward Kelly and former Ald. Edward Vrdolyak as well as Republican Gayle Franzen, now DuPage County Board president.

"Cellini, Cacciatore and Franzen have invested in land together."

And finally:

"Cellini is also a partner in several Chicago area deals with developer Michael Marchese, a close friend of Mayor Daley's."

Cellini is everything Tony Rezko was (successfully) trying to be.

"Cellini has always been the guy behind the guy," John Kass writes today.

"The suits making speeches on TV aren't real politics. They're just the suits making speeches. It is the men on the inside who matter, flying below the radar to swoop down to the public trough and feed without much notice."

*

"And three weeks ago," the Tribune notes, "Blagojevich announced that Cellini's wife, Julie, chairwoman of the state's Historic Preservation Agency, would receive the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial edition of The Order of Lincoln, the state's highest honor."

For the Defense
Cellini's lawyer is Dan Webb, lawyer of the damned.

The Ultimate Political Rally
Will Trade Sex For Obama.

Tricks or Treats
* Meet Principal Stroger
* McCain's Infomercial
* Obama Infomercial Review

Ferdy Film Frenzy
That's a wrap.

A Chicago Girl's Olympic Dreams

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Inimitable.

Posted by Lou at 09:19 AM | Permalink

McCain's Infomercial

Announcer: We interrupt our regular Halloween Night programming for a special 30-minute message from John McCain - 60 minutes on CBS, and two hours on closed-circuit systems in the nation's nursing homes.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud to present in conjunction with our sponsors the Old Country Buffett and Time-Life, John McCain.

McCain: Thank you, Joe the Plumber. My friends . . .

*

Amber waves of grain. Chuck Norris in a field singing a Mellencamp song. Gauzy images of white people in small town Ohio, Pennsylvania coal country, the condominiums of Miami Beach.

*

My friends, many of you have been wondering where the "real" John McCain has been during this campaign. Well, I'll tell you. We've been keeping him here in this cryogenic chamber . . .

*

My friends, as I've traveled with Cindy across the country for these last many months, I've met so many Americans whom I couldn't stand. I mean, really! These are the people I was tortured for? It's all yours, Barack. I'm off to Georgia!

*

Each of us has a story. An American story. Mine begins and ends with beer.

*

Meet Pete. He's a real American, and like many real Americans, he's struggling to understand just who Bill Ayers is, and why I keep talking about him.

*

My friends, let me leave no doubt in your mind: I am not George Bush. Make no mistake, America: I couldn't stand that asshole when I ran against him eight years ago and he's just as big of an asshole now. Now he's screwed me out of the presidency twice!

*

My Facebook friends, I want to express my gratitude for your support, and, um, how do I contact you? No, seriously, I have no idea what this thing even is.

*

Barack, I challenge you to a series of duels. One each day from here until the election. Using muskets.

*

My friends, I was right about why the United States should have stayed on the gold standard. My opponent voted present.

*

Re-creation of McCain in the Hanoi Hilton. Live demonstration of torture techniques on his former captors and random prisoners flown in from Guantanamo.

*

My friends, I implore you. This is America. The last thing we should pay taxes on is beer. Especially great American beers like Budweiser. If you elect me, I truly will be the King of Beers.

*

Testimonial from Rudy Giuliani about Barack Obama's rumored Champagne toast with Bill Ayers the evening of 9/11, with a re-created voice-over saying "On to the presidency!"

*

My friends, I beg of you. No, really, I'm begging you.

*

Meet Bob. Bob, do you think Barack is ready? Me neither.

*

Testimonial from Mike Huckabee. "You know, when the Earth was first formed six thousand years ago . . .

*

My friends, we've mapped out the borders of the real America here in red. On Election Night, if I lose, I want you to attack those living in these blue areas. Make me proud!

*

My friends, if capitalism is wrong, I don't want to be right.

*

Cut to live shot of McCain at a rally in Florida. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And good night.

-

See also:
* McCain vs. McRib
* McCain for McPresident
* Feeling McCain's Pain

- Scott Buckner, Eric Emery, Rick Kaempfer, Steve Rhodes

Posted by Lou at 12:35 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report

Since the Bears had a much deserved bye week, the players caught up on some TV. During the season, most players record their favorite shows, then watch all the episodes during the bye week. Here are everybody's favorite shows:

Bear: Brian Urlacher
Favorite Show: Jon and Kate Plus Eight

*

Bear: Lovie Smith
Favorite Show: Lost

*

Bear: Tommie Harris
Favorite Show: My Own Worst Enemy

*

Bear: Lance Briggs
Favorite Show: My Own Worst Enemy

*

Bear: Brad Maynard
Favorite Show: Private Practice

*

Bear: Dan Buenning
Favorite Show: Two and a Half Men

*

Bears: Anthony Adams and Chester Adams
Favorite Show: Biggest Loser: Families

*

Bear: Mike Brown
Favorite Show: 30 Rock

*

Bear: Robbie Gould
Favorite Show: Smallville

*

Bear: Rex Grossman
Favorite Show: Easy Money

*

Bear: Caleb Hanie
Favorite Show: Do Not Disturb

-

Lions at Bears
Storyline: Throw out the records, it's a NFC North battle! Actually, the Lions are so bad, just throw out the Lions! Yuk, Yuk, Yuk.

Reality: The following shows airing at noon on Sunday appear more interesting than this game: Bowling, Spice Up My Kitchen, Inside Grand Teton National Park, and Paid Programming.

Prediction: Chicago Minus 12.5 Points, Under 44 Points Scored

-

Percentage of sugar in the Blue and Orange Kool-Aid: 75%
Recommended percentage of sugar in the Blue and Orange Kool-Aid: 55%

-

Over/Under: If NFL games were like weddings.

-

Fantasy Fix: The schedule favors Kyle Orton.

-

Eric Emery grew up in small-town Illinois but has an irrational love of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Every week he writes The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report and Over/Under. You can send him love letters and hate mail and he will respond graciously.

Posted by Lou at 12:23 AM | Permalink

October 30, 2008

The [Thursday] Papers

1. The rolling clown show.

2. Memo to mayor: Turns out maybe it could have been prevented. But you don't look back. To be very frank.

3. New mayoral media stategy: Stop reading the papers!

4. Jackie Heard, the mayor's press secretary and a former Tribune reporter, didn't even brief her boss on the Luis Gutierrez zoning story because she found it confusing. Guess she made the right career choice.

5. Michael Miner answers the question before I got a chance to: what's the deal with the Sun-Times's suspicious (again) circulation claim?

6. At CTA Tattler:

* Answers to questions such as "What with the whole Block 37 quagmire, will the stop be reopening (to serve its old role as just a regular stop with a Blue Line transfer, if not its magical role as airport-express-luggage-dropoff-whatever)?"

* Answers to questions such as "Why did (Huberman) take the very consumer-hostile move of doing away with schedules on the train lines, and when will he restore them?"

* A report on the latest budget hearing including a suggestion that the new CTA gift store "The Block 37 Black Hole Bank - you put money in it and it disappears down a black hole."

7. Millennium Park Maples Aflame.

8. The Reader in the news:

* Muckraking's Reward: A Pink Slip

* "Hope I Die . . . ", a superbly written and provocative essay about the Reader's evolution.

9. Todd Stroger is scheduled to serve as Principal for a Day at Kenwood Academy today. We have a preview.

10. Tubular bagels.

11. Gaming the Presidency.

12. Axelrod's Other Job.

13. "All in all, it's a lot like being in Chicago; everyone loves, loves, loves the Barack but no one can really tell you why," our very own Natasha Julius reports from India. "Once people find out I am American, they frequently mention that Obama will be our next president soon and that the rest of the world will thank us for it . . . I'm interested to see just what will happen if Obama hangs on for the win. My impression is that people will be pleased and will generally go about their business, but it's possible this could be a bigger deal than that."

14. Natasha adds:

"I just read the three local papers on hand here at the airport lounge (not a very difficult feat). You'll be happy to know that Indian papers run the same tired seasonal stories our papers do.

"Stories in the Deccan Herald (local Bangalore) included a back-to-school guide for parents after Diwali (this on the heels of the classic 'holiday traffic is bad' story on Sunday), a feature on how to bundle up now that winter is here, and the latest on Brittney's financial drama.

"The Times of India had a classic on Teen Speak, including the tired glossary section and quotes from 'achievers' (i.e., nerds) saying how Teen Speak is only for the weak who submit to peer pressure.

"Outside of that, the Deccan Herald is hugely concerned with local environmental issues. Not surprising as Bang is somewhat lacking in regulations. Apparently, there was a huge fish kill yesterday that some are suggesting might have a little something to do with the gallons of untreated sewage routinely dumped into local lakes.

"Also, the Herald had to go and piss all over the fun of Diwali by pointing out that eye injuries are up this year and that, even though sales of firecrackers are down; environmental agencies have declared this the most polluted Diwali ever due to high levels of particulate matter. In other words, people bought more noxious explosives in slightly reduced quantities.

"All three papers are obsessed with slapping some kind of happy bow on the shitty economic news, with the Herald declaring that heavy losses in the domestic aviation sector have been a boon for train and bus sales and the Times of India is excited that the Indian tourist industry beat domestic industries elsewhere. Sure we're down, but not as far down as those suckers in Indonesia!

"Deccan Chronicle, a Bang-centric tab, thinks the financial markets will like the final figures on the holiday because, again, they won't suck as bad as expected.

"The top national stories include the lynching of a migrant worker in Mumbai. It's the third serious incident of this nature in the time I've been here and has led to unrest as far afield as my temporary home of Pune. Ministers in Maharashtra, Mumbai's state, are reluctant to label this a hate crime but all three papers seem to be in little doubt that the murder has its roots in regional Indian prejudices.

"Maharashtra attracts a lot of workers from throughout India, particularly poorer states in the north such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam. This has created a great deal of tension. Apparently, the man who was killed was attacked by a group of Maharashtrans who had first called him a well-known anti-migrant epithet. It may have been taunting that got out of control, but it's an ugly situation that appears to be worsening.

"Also, you'll be interested to learn as I was that the president of the Maldives has been ousted after 30+ years in power.

"Man, this is the nicest keyboard in the whole of India, I swear. That's not saying much, but still.

"Anyway, the bombings in Assam broke too late to make these editions and, in fact, it's a bit difficult to figure out what's going on there as the TV broadcasts are mostly in Hindi (shocking, I know). And India is playing yet another interminable test match with Australia and this one appears to be getting a bit nasty, with players blocking each other's wickets or some such nastiness. It's just not cricket, don't you know.

"Indian papers have the best games in them. There's this one where you have to draw a continuous loop around a bunch of numbers on a grid . . . I'm totally addicted.

"Finally, the Kingfisher lounge seriously needs new music. This is, like, the 40th time I've heard 'Careless Whisper' and at this point I feel like it's stealing time from more deserving songs in my life."

*

You can read more about Natasha's excellent adventure in India on her excellent travel blog, NJ in India.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Costumes welcome, but not required.

Posted by Lou at 07:37 AM | Permalink

Meet Principal Stroger

"Cook County Board President Todd Stroger will serve as one of eight 'Principals for a Day' at Kenwood Academy in Chicago's Hyde Park/Kenwood community on October 30, beginning at 8:30 AM."

* A half-dozen teachers laid off and replaced by public relations specialists.

* VIP elevator installed.

* Renames nurse's office Stroger RN, LLC, then closes it.

* School lunch contract outsourced to childhood friend.

* A third of classes replaced by do-nothing work study jobs.

* Mimeograph machines replace laser printers.

* Trucks are hired.

* John Daley named dean of students; begins paddling teachers protesting cuts.

* Cousin named chief financial officer; begins bullying students for lunch money.

* Bill Beavers named gym coach; new school mascot is a hog with really big nuts.

* Stroger declares that the school's new chief rival is Tony Peraica.

* Students kicked off student newspaper; job is outsourced to Stroger pal.

* Kenwood Academy renamed "8th Ward Regular Democratic Organization."

* Stroger serves as Principal for Day, but declares Richard M. Daley Principal for Life.

* Forrest Claypool sent to detention.

* Last second illness prevents appearance, but his son takes his place.

- Marilyn Ferdinand, Rick Kaempfer, Steve Rhodes

Posted by Lou at 06:10 AM | Permalink

Over/Under

Last Sunday was a complete wreck. And you know who's to blame? My friend, Dirty Andy, and his wedding.

You know how people have a weakness for weddings? I have a weakness for getting too drunk at wedding receptions.

So I spent Sunday on the couch mostly asleep, though I did manage to wake up in time to see the Steelers snap that ball over the punter's head.

If only the NFL could be more like weddings . . .

* Both teams meet the night before to practice the game. Gives each side a chance to decide who they will hit on the next day.

* Go into uniform shop 15 minutes before closing. Give call to the other team's head coach about the 5XL jersey that was erroneously ordered for the kicker.

* Get to stadium four hours early to talk the best player into not playing today, or for that matter, ever again.

* Worry more about not getting caught picking nose in front of everybody than anything else.

* Bring two fans out of crowd at halftime to make awkward speeches about how much they love their favorite team.

* All players receive rented cleats three sizes too small.

* Starting punter throws the kicking tee into a crowd of special teams players. All players must act completely nuts, punching each other to get possession of the tee.

* Starting RB throws the QB's wrist band to the opposing defense. The defense is required to seem uninterested in catching it.

* Team receives penalty for screwing up the Cha Cha Slide.

-

OverHyped Game of the Week: Cowboys at Giants
Storyline:Don't say a thing. We'll just play the theme from Dallas and Sinatra's New York, New York until your ears bleed.

Reality: It doesn't matter if the Cowboys march out QB Brad Johnson or Brooks Bollinger, their ears will bleed too.

Prediction: Giants Minus 7.5 Points, Under 41 Points Scored

*

UnderHyped Game of the Week: Jets at Bills
Storyline: Interstate rivals (Favre) fight for (Favre) division (Brett) position. The Buffalo Bills are not led by QB Brett Favre.

Reality: Usually these teams are fighting over last place, not first. If ex-Bear and current Bills coach Dick Jauron could actually feel any sort of anger, he'd totally drunkenly call Bears management at 2 a.m. following the game and gloat about how he's led the lowly Bills to a 6-2 record.

Prediction: Buffalo Minus 5.5 Points, Over 42 Points Scored

-

Last week's picks: 2-2
For the season: 18-12-4

-

Eric Emery grew up in small-town Illinois but has an irrational love of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Every week he writes The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report and Over/Under. He also is a spark plug in floor hockey. You can reach him here.

Posted by Lou at 05:32 AM | Permalink

The Government Has The Answers

Life right now is full of questions - the serious, "What happens if my bank goes under?" and the not-so-serious, "Will my 3-year-old ever stop asking me 'Why?'!"

While it can't help all the time, you might be surprised to learn how often the federal government's answer hotline, 1 (800) FED-INFO (that's 1-800-333-4636) has the information you're looking for.

If your question has something to do with the government, they'll answer your question or get you to someone who can.

It seems every day brings news of changes in the financial sector. When you need the official word about changes to FDIC deposit insurance rules or are curious about what recent legislation means for your pocketbook, call 1 (800) FED-INFO. The specially-trained information agents can point you to the right government agency to quickly answer your question.

With all your other worries, you might not be tracking the rules about passports. Did you know that even if you're flying to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean, you're required to have a passport? Or that starting in June 2009, if you're driving to Canada or Mexico, you'll need a passport to re-enter the U.S.? Call 1 (800) FED-INFO to learn more about these rules and the new passport cards now in production.

Elections bring change to Washington, as elected officials come and go and new priorities are set. If you've got questions about the election process, how the transition to a new administration works, or where to find up-to-date contact information for your Representative or Senators, 1 (800) FED-INFO is the only number you need to remember.

The information agents at 1 (800) FED-INFO are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time to answer questions in English and Spanish. For pre-recorded answers to the most popular questions in both languages, call 1 (800) FED-INFO 24 hours a day. On the web, visit http://answers.usa.gov to access the same "Frequently Asked Questions" database the information agents use. Or chat with an agent online - click on the Live Help-Web Chat tab to get your question answered anytime between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

We can't help you with your three-year-old, but for lots of other questions, be sure to call 1 (800) FED-INFO. Your answer may be just a phone call away.

Posted by Lou at 12:32 AM | Permalink

October 29, 2008

The [Wednesday] Papers

"U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez personally lobbied Mayor Richard Daley to back a controversial multimillion-dollar development for a campaign contributor who had just lent the congressman $200,000 in a real estate deal," the Tribune reports this morning.

"Now the congressman's unusual gesture of support is under federal scrutiny as authorities investigate how developers overcame city planners' objections to convert the West Side industrial site into a more profitable residential and commercial development."

It just never ends, does it?

"Gutierrez said there is no connection between the loan and his letter of support for the Galewood Yards project, which is not in his district."

It's just another one of those Chicago Coincidences.

"Gutierrez sent the letter of support after buying a vacant lot from Boender at 1007 W. Fulton St. with the help of a $200,000 loan from him. The congressman provided the Tribune with bank documents stating he repaid the loan at an above-market interest rate."

So . . . he did Boender a favor? I mean, why didn't he get a market-rate loan?

Gutierrez and his wife have a history of investing in local real estate; as the Tribune notes, he "has enjoyed a close relationship with several developers. He has entered into real estate deals with them, and they have helped finance his re-elections."

Gutierrez told the Tribune that "I don't have anything to do with zoning changes. I don't write letters of recommendation; I don't have a vote on the zoning committee. . . . I've done nothing using my official capacity as a [congressman]."

But you just did! You wrote a letter of recommendation in your official capacity - it was on U.S. House stationery.

The Tribune reports that federal authorities are examining the deal as part of an investigation into how zoning decisions are made in City Hall.

Of course, Gutierrez is one just one end of the deal; Daley is on the other end. City planners told Daley they opposed the Boender project. Yet, a compromise favorable to Boender passed the mayor's Chicago Plan Commission; naturally, Boender was represented by zoning lawyer James Banks, the nephew of Big Bad Bill Banks, who conveniently enough is the chairman of the city council's zoning committee.

Alds. Ike Carothers and Emma Mitts also deserve special mention. As reported by the Trib, Carothers compared the development, which would include a 14-screen movie theater and 187 homes, condos and townhouses, to the proposed Calatrava Spire. Mitts, meanwhile, put a down payment on one of Boender's homes, though she ultimately couldn't follow through.

I wonder if she had planned to pay an above-market rate.

Mystery Man of Roselle
Who is Shi Sheng Hao, and why has he given so much money to John McCain?

Magic Mette
"Freed cop Mette back at it in academy training: Officer recently freed in Iowa finds home on SOS replacement."

That makes sense; he already has experience lying to the authorities.

The Daley Show
I'm sure the mayor is broken up about the Jennifer Hudson tragedy, but I'm also sure he's more worried about himself than the Hudson family. How else to explain his latest mumbo-jumbo?

"Mayor Daley said today he's 'not proud' of the fact that Chicago is the homicide capital of the nation, but he said the slayings of Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew could not have been prevented," the Sun-Times reports.

"'We're not proud of it. But, you don't hide it. You don't take the statistics, all the facts and say it didn't happen. It happens,' Daley said, apparently referring to past attempts to re-classify homicides to hold down the murder rate."

Today's print edition leaves out that last clause; either way we're left to wonder just what in the hell the mayor is talking about.

"We'll get it down next year. We'll get it down. We'll do things differently. But, this [Hudson family] crime could never have been prevented, unfortunately."

We'll do things differently to bring down the murder rate by preventing more murders, even though there's nothing we can do to prevent murder.

*

It's not that I think the Hudson case could have been prevented; I have no idea. But it's not acceptable for a flummoxed mayor worried about his Olympic bid to talk so nonsensically in the aftermath of such a brutal crime - especially when all the facts aren't in.

CYA
"15-Year-Old Shot To Death In Backyard."

Daley says it couldn't have been prevented, unfortunately. To be very frank.

Now, about those cop jobs we're eliminating . . .

Cop Shop
"Nearly $900 million in property tax money was siphoned off into Cook County tax increment finance districts in 2007 - 11.5 percent more revenue than the previous year, according to a report produced by Cook County Clerk David Orr," the Sun-Times reports.

Have I suggested a TIF district around police headquarters yet?

Lincoln Log
Seinfeld. House. Macy's.

At least Rick Beard had good taste.

*

Sorry, I'd been trying to come up with a good line for this story for days and this was the best I could do. Send me yours.

Ferdy Film Frenzy
Continuing our blurbing of Marilyn Ferdinand's coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival. Go to Ferdy on Films for full reviews and details.

"Fear(s) of the Dark: Fear(s) of the Dark, an animated horror anthology from France that shows off six of today's outstanding animators, was a great Halloween warm-up. Lorenzo Mattotti's short creates a wonderfully eerie atmosphere right from the start, as a dark figure opens a door and walks in just far enough for a light to strike one wide and sinister eye. The last film, by Richard McGuire, was my favorite by far. This short shows all the crazy details that a man in a strange, unlit house might imagine or encounter. This was the third animated offering at the CIFF I viewed, and it served to reinforce my feeling throughout the festival that I've been missing a great deal by not seeing more animated films."

The trailer:

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Above-market.

Posted by Lou at 08:23 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix

Week 8 is the halfway point of the football season, so a good time to take a look at who should be potential second-half stars. But, first a quick look at how our predictions for great plays in Week 8 turned out.

We predicted:
* Jason Campbell, QB: 220 Pass YDs, 2 TDs vs. Detroit
* Thomas Jones, 100 Rush YDs, 2 TDs vs. K.C.
* Steve Smith, WR: 120 Rec. YDs, 2 TDs vs Ariz.

Actual performances:
* Campbell: 328 Pass YDs, 1 TD
* Jones: 54 Rush YDs, 1 TD
* Smith: 117 Rec. YDs, 2 TDs

Okay, we were at least on the right track with Campbell. We were off the mark with Jones, and the Jets' play selection in general is a mess. Brett Favre started the season strong, but his inconsistency means Jones should get more touches than the 14 he got Sunday against Kansas City. The Jets missed a huge opportunity, but I think you can look for Jones to get the ball more for the rest of the season. Smith was a bulls-eye.

Now, who will be our second-half stars? A look at some of the second-half match-ups, team news and performance trends gives us these potentially big second-half players:

QB
* Peyton Manning: With 10 TDs and 9 INTs, he is still not himself and not trending well, but he's tough as nails, and will guide the Colts on a late winning streak that will see them miss the playoffs, but allow him to regain form.

* Tony Romo: He won't have a full second-half, but he's the key to the Cowboys season and his coach's job. He'll have Roy Williams as an option when he comes back, which also means more TDs to T.O. My prediction for Romo is he'll deliver more second-half pass TDs than either Drew Brees or Philip Rivers, the top throwers of the first half.

* Kyle Orton: it's true he's getting better every week, and though he's got two games left against Green Bay's solid pass defense, he also has at least three games against teams in the bottom 10 on the pass defense ranks.

RB
* Frank Gore: Samurai Mike has taken over in San Francisco and doesn't like his starting QB, his starting TE or the overall effort. That means we'll see a lot more Gore.

* Adrian Peterson (The Viking version): He's second in the league in rushing, but missed out on many chances in Minnesota's messy offense. He's got one more game against the Bears, which could be good for 150 yards alone. He'll get the ball a lot more.

* Steven Jackson: St. Louis is still pretty bad, but starting to put its offense together, and Jackson is a notorious second-half stud.

WR
* Anquan Boldin: Back from getting his face broken, he had a huge game last week, and will start to take catches, yardage and TDs away from teammate Larry Fitzgerald. Arizona continues to have the second-ranked offense in the league and may grab the top spot from injury-plagued New Orleans.

* Andre Johnson: Has had two monster weeks in a row, and Houston's offense is starting to click. He'll see more of the end zone in the second half.

* Eddie Royal: Sort of a sleeper. Denver has been troubled, but still has a hot offense, and some teams leave him alone a bit too long because they over-play the Brandon Marshall threat. Started strong, and will get back down to business.

TE
* Tony Gonzalez: How many years has this been said: He's Kansas City's entire pass offense, and with Larry Johnson possibly out for a while, their entire offense, period. He's been complaining a lot but won't go anywhere, and should catch almost all of K.C.'s pass TDs from here on out.

* Dallas Clark: Manning will find himself and then find Clark, who is a key ingredient when Indy wins. He had 11 TDs a year ago, and only two this year so far, and Manning and the Colts probably will notice that as a way to right themselves.

* John Carlson: There are problems in Seattle between Mike Holmgren and Julius Jones, and it still remains to be seen which QB may see the most snaps in the second half, but Carlson was an early season constant, and Seattle probably will come back to him.

I know, a lot of these guys are taken, and if you don't have them already, you may need to offer a lot for them. If you are looking for a second-half waiver pick-up that probably no one has jumped on yet, his name is Shaun Hill, and he's very likely to start at QB for San Francisco after that team's Week 9 bye. He certainly can't be any worse than J.T. O'Sullivan has been. If he throws 10 INTs and loses 5 fumbles the rest of the way, he'll still be an improvement for owners who started the year off drinking the O'Sullivan Kool-Aid. That includes me.

Hoops Poop
The Fantasy Basketball season started last night (so did the real basketball season) but unless you are particularly confident and incapable of regret, the time for second-guessing your fantasy team strategy began with the very first round of your draft.I drafted two teams within the last week, and neither of the drafts went as planned, though I'm not necessarily complaining - in fact, not at all. In one league, a Yahoo! glitch initially postponed the draft for a few days, but the real surprise was that a couple of people I had expected to register teams did not do so, and a league for which my draft strategy was designed around 10 teams became an eight-team league. That worked to my advantage, particularly in the first three rounds. I drew fifth and got Dirk Nowitzki in the first round. My 10th-ranked pick, Caron Butler fell into the second round, where I happily claimed him, and in what I hope to be my draft coup, Dwight Howard, who I was sure would not make it past the last pick in the second round, fell to me in the third round.

The entire league moved on big men early, as Chris Bosh, Kevin Garnett and Elton Brand all went in the first eight picks of the draft, while Shawn Marion, Dwayne Wade and Deron Williams fell to the second round. The downside of my draft was that I abandoned my previous commitment to take from the top ranks of a shallow point guard pool early in the draft. Carlos Boozer was too good to pass up in Round 4, and Rudy Gay's 20.1 points-per-game seemed like a steal in Round 5. Unfortunately, that meant I missed out on Chauncey Billups, Derrick Rose, O.J. Mayo and my particular favorite, Brandon Roy. Instead, I picked up the aging Jason Kidd, still available in Round 6 as other owners were going for the younger stars and would-be stars at PG.

My second team, in a 12-team league where we used an auto-pick draft, the results were intriguing. I picked up King James at the Number 3 spot in Round 1, and got Dwight Howard near the end of Round 2. The latter made me wonder - am I valuing this guy too high? Marcus Camby and Andrew Bynum went right before him. Howard is supposed to be at least a marginally better free throw shooter this year, and I see all other categories nudging upward, but I guess some owners aren't buying the argument.

Otherwise, I saw right away that I had been too focused on ranking rebounders like Greg Oden and Spencer Hawes strategically ahead of where I thought most other owners would rank them. I missed out again on Roy and other PGs I wanted because I had left mid-draft PGs too low in my rankings. So, now I have two teams lacking PG depth enough that I'll need to work the waiver wire early and develop some trade ideas.

My rosters (in the order players were drafted):

League 1
* Dirk Nowitski, PF/C
* Caron Butler, SF
* Dwight Howard, C
* Carlos Boozer, PF/C
* Rudy Gay, SF/PF
* Jason Kidd, PG
* Lamar Odom, SF/PF
* Corey Maggette, SG/SF
* Andre Miller, PG
* David Lee, PF/C
* John Salmons, SG/SF
* Francisco Garcia, SG/SF
* Raymond Felton, PG/SG
* Tayshaun Prince, SF

League 2
* LeBron James, SF
* Dwight Howard, C
* Rashard Lewis, SF/PF
* Rasheed Wallace, PF/C
* Hedo Turkoglu, SG/SF
* Greg Oden, C
* David Lee, PF/C
* Kevin Love, PF/C
* Raymond Felton, PG/SG
* Tayshaun Prince, SF
* Mike Conley, PG/SG
* Spencer Hawes, C
* Luis Scola, PF/C

So, besides Howard, Felton and Prince are the common players. Felton was in the top 10 in assists last year, which makes him a great late-rounder for a team owner that didn't draft better point guards earlier. Prince is a consistent scorer on a boringly effective team, who gives a decent number of rebounds and blocks from an unlikely position.

Who should I go after if I want PGs? These guys are available in both my leagues, and I'm betting, in many more:

* Jamaal Tinsley: 8.4 assists per game (Injuries an issue)
* Earl Watson: 6.8 APG (The NBA's Mighty Mite)
* Anthony Carter: 5.5 APG (Will start for Denver)
* Steve Blake: 5.1 APG (Will start in Portland)
* Antonio Daniels: 4.8 APG (With Arenas out, will start in Washington)

-

Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears weekly, analyzing fantasy football and basketball trends with the goal of helping you become the envy of your league, the ire of your spouse and the winner of one of those little virtual trophies. Send him your gripes, compliments, suggestions and broker's fees.


Posted by Lou at 06:11 AM | Permalink

Memory Geeks Unite!

NEW MEMORY AND MENTAL CALCULATION WORLD RECORDS EXPECTED IN MEMORY OLYMPIAD

Dateline: Istanbul, Turkey
Contact: Mr. Sinan Kilic
Email: pr@memoriad.com
Web Address: www.memoriad.com

For the first time, both top memory and mental calculation brains will compete in Memoriad (Memory Olympiad) 2008 in Istanbul, Turkey. The event, organized by the Memoriad Foundation, will take place on the 1st and 2nd of November at the Marmara Hotel, under the patronage of the Turkish Tourism and Culture Ministry.

2008 World Memory Champion Ben Pridmore, 2008 Mental Calculation Champion Alberto Coto Garcia, and former champions such as Gunther Karsten, Andi Bell, Jan van Koningsveld, Rudiger Gamm, Johannes Mallow, Jorge Arturo Mendoza Huertas and Robert Fountain are just a few world celebrity brains that will compete in Istanbul.

Over 40 competitors from more than 10 countries will take part over two days in eight different comprehensive tests of memory and mental calculation disciplines. These include:

* Binary Numbers
* Names and Faces
* Numbers Marathon
* Speed Cards
* Speed Mental Multiplication
* Speed Mental Addition
* Mental Square Roots
* Mental Calendar Dates

The winner of each category will be given $1,500. The second place winner of each category will be given $750 and the third place winner of each category will be given $500. A total of $22,000 (USD) will be given out. Sponsoring the prize money is the Memoriad Foundation.

For the first time, Memoriad competitions will be managed by a professional software called Memoriad Competition Simulator. With this improvement, manual evaluation errors of results will be totally eradicated. Memoriad software, prepared by Memoriad Foundation, can be downloaded for free by all prospective competitors to practice with.

This means that everybody can test himself or herself with this free software which can be found at: www.memoriad.com

At the opening ceremony of Memoriad, Bernett Orlando will do a blindfolded Rubik's cube show. Rudiger Gamm (the human calculator), Ulrich Voight (the Pi Man) and finally John Louis (the memory man), will do some extraordinary mental calculation and memory shows.

Mr. Melik Duyar, the chairman and the founder of Memoriad says, "Our mission is to support the development of human brain through memory and mental calculation games. By organizing such events we also contribute to world peace with mental sports Olympiad."

Mr Duyar goes on to say, "The event will also be record breaking with the greatest number of top memory and mental calculation mental athletes from the most wide range of countries ever, including Germany, Spain, France, Nigeria, USA, Algeria, England, Peru, Turkey, India, Netherlands, Singapore, Malaysia, Mongolia and Lebanon." Mr Duyar also added that they plan to organize the next memoriad in the Continent of America.

*

MEMORIAD, also a trademark in 148 countries as Memory Olympiads, is an organization that holds memory, mental calculation and photographic speed reading championships all over the world. Although MEMORIAD takes place every four years internationally in parallel to Olympic Games, the World Memoriad Committee supports National Yearly Memoriads financially in different countries.

Issued by Memoriad Organization, a more detailed press release can be downloaded from: www.memoriad.com in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish languages.

Posted by Lou at 05:58 AM | Permalink

October 28, 2008

The [Tuesday] Papers

Programming Note: For those so inclined, you can hear me at 9 a.m. on Mornings With Ray Hanania at WJJG-1530 AM. If you miss it (sorry for the late notice!), Ray makes podcasts available here.

Torture Trap
"Back in Chicago, Burge Pleads Not Guilty."

So he committed perjury again.

Waiver Wire
"Brian J. McPartlin quit as Illinois Tollway director last week. But he can't start his new job with a politically connected engineering consulting firm quite yet," the Sun-Times reported on Monday.

"Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has asked the Illinois Ethics Commission to delay approving McPartlin's request to join Chicago's McDonough Associates, a firm that has done millions of dollars of work with the Tollway.

"McPartlin, 42, had asked for a waiver of the 'revolving door prohibition,' which requires state officials to wait a year before taking a job with a company they hired or regulated. An ethics law loophole allows the commission to grant these waivers. Only one request out of 14 has been denied since 2005."

Name the other 13!

Meanwhile, Rich Miller writes at his Capitol Fax Blog that "Tons of those afore-mentioned revoving door waivers have been approved without a peep from Madigan."

Paging assignment desks statewide!

UPDATE 10:25 A.M.: A Beachwood reader in a position to know writes:

"There is no procedure to let anyone know, even the AG, who has applied for a waiver. McPartlin made the announcement at the last (September) tollway board meeting, and it got into the press; that's why the AG even knew to slow down the process. The Executive Ethics Commission does not list applicants for waivers, and is barred by law from making any such list known. So on this point, I wouldn't blame the AG so much as the provision in the 2003 ethics act. Which needs a tweaking, I'd say."

Like I said, paging assignments desks statewide!

Home Stretch
Today we offer a playlist with commentary from Slacker.com's McCain Radio channel, as a companion to our previous Obama Radio entry.

Plus, check out the updated Political Odds - for entertainment purposes only. Including gambling.

Ad Mad
"Titan Worldwide [is] an out-of-home-advertising company. Earlier this month, Titan began testing the first digital ads on buses in both New York and Chicago, bringing external video-enabled ads to public transportation for the first time. Advertisers in the test include Oreo, Dunkin' Donuts, Sleepy's mattresses and Sony Pictures, for the James Bond flick Quantum of Solace," Advertising Age reports.

"Titan is rolling out similar tests in Chicago, with which it has a separate 10-year contract signed in April and expected to generate about $101 million in new revenue, according to Chicago Transit Authority spokeswoman Catherine Hosinki. The extra ad dollars have become crucial for Chicago as well, which by law must cover 50 percent of its annual budget with revenue generated from fares, advertising and investment income.

"Provided the new tests go well, Ms. Hosinki said she expects the CTA to equip 100 city buses and all 144 rail stations with 1,500 digital displays by next summer. An expansion is also being made to the city's subway platforms to keep riders informed with real-time travel information. 'In addition to providing a venue for advertising, the digital display boards create a new channel for the CTA to communicate with its customers,' Ms. Hosinki said in an e-mail."

Halloween Hoedown
When Pumpkins Drink. (Thanks, Rick)

Atwater
Our very own Marilyn Ferdinand sends along programming information for Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story, which we've been blurbing here and she's reviewed in full over at Ferdy on Films:

I don't see any theatre listings, but WTTW and WTTW-HD will be showing it on "Frontline" as follows:

Frontline: Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story
Airs Tuesday, November 11 at 9:00 pm

Encore Airings of this Episode
Sunday, November 16 at 2:00 am

On WTTW Digital (HD)
Encore HD Airings of this Episode
Wednesday, November 12 at 1:00 am
Wednesday, November 12 at 6:30 am
Wednesday, November 12 at 10:30 am
Wednesday, November 12 at 2:30 pm

Ferdy Film Frenzy
Ferdy also has generously supplied us with an exclusive capsule of Good, which premieres in Chicago on Wednesday in advance of a nationwide rollout in January. Details below.

"Good: Based on the hit drama by Scottish playwright C. P. Taylor, who died shortly after its London premiere in 1981, Good examines John Halder, a German professor of literature and author of a novel that ends with compassionate euthanasia, who comes to the attention of officials of the Third Reich. He is flattered into writing an academic argument for euthanasia, little realizing that the Nazis intend to use it to eliminate persons with genetic defects. Steadily, Halder is corrupted by his growing status in the new Germany without seeming to truly see what is happening to him and the world around him.

"Although Good is regularly revived in Britain, it's hard to know why a 27-year-old play seemed like a good bet for a 2008 film. The growth of Nazism has been more than well documented in feature and documentary films, and corruption and betrayal resonate more strongly in such films as 2007 Oscar winner The Lives of Others, which takes us to a divided Germany nearly 50 years after Hitler. The film's telescopic look at a myopic John who is bent on saving one friend without seeming to see all the other victims of National Socialism may be a lampoon on academics in their ivory towers, but the entire film seems antiseptic. From what I've read, Halder's tendency to disassociate himself from reality by imagining the people around him are singing - a certain rip-off of British screenwriter Dennis Potter's musical interludes - might have played well on stage. In the film, it just seems like a distracting afterthought. Changing Halder from a Goethe to a Proust specialist might have been intended as another irony - In Search of Lost Time, Jewish writer, and all that - but weakens his German identity and makes his embrace by and of Nazis nearly incomprehensible. There are a lot of good actors in a film without a lot of good characters. Competent but rather pointless, Good smells like Oscar bait.

"Chicago audiences can attend the U.S. premiere of Good on October 29, before its nationwide rollout in January 2009. Attending the premiere will be director Vicente Amorim and its co-stars Viggo Mortensen and Jason Isaacs. Mortensen will receive a Career Achievement Award from the CIFF at the screening. Good shows at 7 p.m. at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph. Tickets are $35 (main floor) and $40 (balcony) for non-members of Cinema/Chicago."

The trailer :

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Good, like Gary Busey.

Posted by Lou at 08:17 AM | Permalink

McCain Radio

Little did we know when we listened to Obama Radio on Slacker.com and posted a playlist that Slacker went all non-partisan and put together a McCain Radio channel as well. But they did.

"McCain Radio plays the favored music of John McCain including his personal song picks, tracks from his favorite artists and music played at his events," Slacker says. "Hear an eclectic mix of tunes ranging from Elvis Presley and The Beach Boys to Hank Williams Jr. and ABBA."

Let's listen in.

1. Centerfield/John Fogerty. Ugh.

2. Sweet Caroline/Neil Diamond. Why?

3. S.O.S./Abba. Because his campaign has capsized?

4. Gonna Fly Now/Bill Conti. Also known as the theme from Rocky. To which we say, please! (Are the opening lyrics really "trying hard now"?)

5. Treat Me Nice/Elvis Presley. Also on Blagojevich Radio.

6. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes/The Platters. Beautiful. But not very McCainy.

7. Walk This Way/Aerosmith. I have no idea what this is doing on here. Maybe this is a Sarah Palin contribution. Or a Levi Johnston pick.

8. Caught Up/Usher. Is it the part when he sings "I'm the kinda brotha emmm, movin' doin it my way emm, getting' my way for years," or the part when he sings "Her body was so tight, I'm lookin' for her in the daytime with a flashlight, my homies say this girl is crampin' my style"?

9. You've Got to Stand for Something/Aaron Tippin. You know, or you'll fall for anything.

10. Long Tall Sally/Little Richard. She's built for speed.

11. Only in America/Brooks & Dunn. Only in America could Brooks & Dunn have a career.

12. Gasolina/Daddy Yankee. I think this is about supporting a temporary suspension of the gas tax, but I'm not totally sure.

13. Johnny B. Goode/Chuck Berry. John McCain was born in a log cabin.

14. You Got It/Roy Orbison. Nice song, but I guess I see McCain listening to oldies older than this plus some G 'N' R.

15. If We Make It Through December/Merle Haggard. Too easy.

16. All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight/Hank Williams Jr. Well tell them to keep it down, the Obama people are trying to study.

17. She's Not Just a Pretty Face/Shania Twain. How nice to include a song about Hillary Clinton.

18. God Only Knows/The Beach Boys. Teaching Shania Twain a little bit about songwriting.

19. Danger Zone>Kenny Loggins. And there it is!

20. Dancing Queen/ABBA. Irresistible. Sort of like Obama.

-

From the Beachwood jukebox to Marfa Public Radio, we have the playlists you need to be a better citizen of the Rock and Roll Nation.

Posted by Lou at 04:58 AM | Permalink

Illinois' Top Campaign Corrupters

TOP 10 DONORS TO LEGISLATIVE CONTESTS GAVE $4.3 MILLION

Same Donors Gave Another $440,000 to Anti-Con-Con Group

With a week to go before Election Day, many candidates for General Assembly are raising campaign money at a furious pace and just 10 contributors account for nearly 20 percent of all funds raised by legislative candidates in recent months.

A dozen legislative races are approaching or have passed the $1 million mark; all told, legislative candidates have raised more than $20 million since July 1.

The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR) and the Sunshine Project examined campaign disclosure reports filed by incumbent legislators and candidates for the General Assembly to compile this list of top donors.

Illinois has no limits on the source or size of campaign contributions. Many of these groups have made contributions to candidates that would be illegal if made to candidates in other states or for federal office. Much of this money is reported as receipts by caucus and party leaders, who in turn transfer funds to individual candidates.

*

Top Donors to Legislative Incumbents and Candidates, 7/1/08-10/26/08:

1. Illinois Education Association: $877,000

2. Illinois State Medical Society: $565,000

3. Illinois Federation of Teachers and affiliates: $558,000

4. AFSCME: $410,000

5. Illinois Health Care Council: $398,000

6. Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois: $389,000

7. Illinois Hospital Association: $305,000

8. Personal PAC: $267,000

9. Fred Eychaner, founder of Newsweb: $253,000

10. Illinois Association of Realtors: $251,000

11. Illinois Chamber of Commerce: $236,000

12. Illinois Trial Lawyers Association: $229,000

13. Altria Group/Philip Morris Tobacco: $228,000

14. Service Employees International Union: $225,000

15. Ameren: $258,000

16. Associated Firefighters of Illinois: $194,000

17. Illinois Dentist Association: $194,000

18. AT&T: $180,000

19. International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150: $161,000

20. International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399: $153,000

*

Many of these Top 10 donors have also helped fund the opposition to a referendum to authorize a state constitutional convention. The Alliance to Protect the Illinois Constitution, a political organization formed earlier this year to oppose the "con-con", has raised at least $1.2 million since July 1, including $440,000 from these top legislative donors. By contrast, two organizations in support of the con-con, Con Con Yes and Metro Chicago United PAC, have together reported total receipts of just $5,000.

*

Top Donors to the Alliance to Protect the Constitution:

1. Illinois Federation of Teachers and affiliated: $300,000

2. Illinois Education Association/National Education Association: $225,000

3. Exelon: $100,000

4. Illinois Coalition for Jobs, Growth, and Prosperity: $92,500

5. (tie) American Insurance Association: $50,000

5. (tie) Health Care Services Corp: $50,000

-

ICPR and the Sunshine Project do not endorse candidates and have not taken a stand on the constitutional referendum. ICPR and the Sunshine Project are monitoring reports on those targeted legislative races. For a chart of contribution totals on those races, visit www.ilcampaign.org.

Posted by Lou at 04:18 AM | Permalink

October 27, 2008

The [Monday] Papers

"With police hiring slowing to a crawl and Chicago homicides outpacing New York and Los Angeles, Police Supt. Jody Weis vowed Friday to deliver on a promise made and broken by at least four of his predecessors: beat realignment," the Sun-Times reported over the weekend.

"'They haven't been moved around since 1978. That's three decades of people making empty promises. Nothing against my predecessors, but at some time, you've got to look at a problem and say, I know I can't make every one of the 50 aldermen happy, but we have to make sure we have the right resources in the right locations,' Weis said. 'I'm 100 percent committed to that . . . I know we'll upset some people. But we have to have fair police service to every community'."

Weis is right, of course. But two observations: First, it wasn't just his predecessors who made empty promises. It was the mayor himself. And second, he has now acknowledged that the police department has not been providing services fairly to every community. Guess which ones have been on the short end of the stick?

"If we move people into other districts and other wards, we've got to take from some other place," he said. "... I want it to be based on factors that ensure all citizens ... get equal police coverage based upon the threat that they're facing."

Again, this is an acknowledgment that police coverage has not been based on the crime threat. In fact, it's been the reverse.

Finally, there is a way to avoid reducing police services in some districts and wards in order to deploy services where they are needed most: hire more cops to fill the gaps.

*

Weis's statements came at a city council budget hearing. In the Tribune's coverage, beat realignment was only accorded the final sentence in its article:

"Weis also said he is still looking at realigning city district beats, something the city hasn't done since 1978. But he doesn't have a target date yet for that."

*

From The Papers, March 20, 2006: "The media as a whole, for example, refuses to adequately explore the issue of realigning police beats according to where crime actually occurs."

Tracking Torture
"To our discredit, too many of us left Burge alone for years," Carol Marin wrote on Sunday.

She goes on to remind us that the evidence was staring the city - and the mayor in the face. It wasn't just the letter from Richard Brzeczek that Richard M. Daley (and Dick Devine) ignored.

"A few years after the [Andrew] Wilson revelations, the then-head of the Office of Professional Standards, the watchdog over police misconduct, raised serious questions about the electro-shocking of suspects," Marin noted.

"When told, the Chicago Police Department did nothing.

"In 1990, OPS investigator Michael Goldston catalogued 50 cases of alleged police torture. The department suppressed his report and made Goldston's life a living hell. Thanks to a court order, the report was finally made public in 1992.

"It was front-page news for a minute. But nobody, including the mainstream press, law enforcement, state or federal prosecutors or the judiciary did much of anything to demand answers."

And there was the U.S. attorney's office before Patrick Fitzgerald - and the Clinton Justice Department.

"[Lawyer Flint] Taylor had meetings in 1989 with federal prosecutors in Chicago and with then-Attorney General Janet Reno back in the '90s. A delegation that included U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush and Judge R. Eugene Pincham went to Washington to talk to her.

"'We told her about torture,' Taylor said last week. 'She was very attentive but noncommittal.' She was hardly alone, he said. 'Everybody since Reagan passed on it'."

Marin asked Taylor why.

"My instinct is that racism, pro-police bias and bias in terms of poor black suspects, made it something that the press and prosecutors didn't want to deal with," he said.

Two observations: First, this is another example of the difference betweeen Patrick Fitzgerald and the typical insiders who usually hold his post. I'm fairly certain that Fitzgerald - who has the undying respect of street cops - would have pursued these allegations aggressively back then. And many U.S. attorneys would not have pursued Burge on a perjury charge now.

Second, Taylor's explanation is largely right. In newsrooms that are supposed to be street-smart and skeptical of official claims, many reporters (and more so, their editors) remain naive and direct their skepticism toward those who would puncture the childhood myths of how authorities behave. I am grateful every day for the kind of training I received as a young reporter, including an editor early in my career who once told me "It's always ten times worse than you think it is." That's the way the media should proceed in its reporting, even when it doesn't turn out to be true. But it usually does.

Torture Today
Did Jon Burge leave a legacy?

"The news this week that former Police Commander Jon Burge has been indicted on federal charges nearly thirty years after the alleged crimes is very important," Tracy Jake Siska writes at Chicago Justice. "This long overdue prosecution exposes the striking, continuous, and deliberate refusal by the accountability departments within the agencies, policy makers, the media, and the courts, to focus their attention on what occurs inside Chicago Police interrogation rooms. The reporting of the indictment relies on retrospective coverage of the abuse that occurred at the hands of the Chicago Police Department. However, the discussion fails to evaluate if Burge's tactics are part of history or if they have only been refined for modern use."

Siska offers up a case study, and concludes:

"For all the bellowing about the fact that more should have been done twenty years ago to stop Burge, nothing is being done to stop the illegal and abusive tactics of today."

Ferdy Film Frenzy
Continuing our blurbing of Marilyn Ferdinand's coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival. Go to Ferdy on Films for full reviews and details.

"Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story: Lee Atwater - the man who called Strom Thurmond his mentor and Karl Rove his protege - gets a thorough going-over in Boogie Man as a win-at-all-costs political operative for the Republican Party until he died of brain cancer in 1991 at the age of 40. By the time Atwater had performed his dirty magic tricks on Reagan's behalf, he had already ruined Democrats Tom Turnipseed's and Max Heller's bids for Congress by charging that the former was "hooked up to jumper cables" (mentally ill), and running a independent Christian candidate to slam Heller for being a Jew and having this straw candidate drop out after the damage was done, thereby leaving the door open for Republican candidate Carroll Campbell to win.

"There are subtle, but damning commentaries on the media in this film, particularly the Washington press corps, which one interviewee characterizes as lazy and looking for something juicy. Bush Jr. hit it off famously with Atwater and certainly would have had Atwater ensure that his 2000 race against Al Gore was not so close had Atwater lived. As it is, the press corps did Atwater's job for him, having learned how those well-chosen lies and steadfast adherence to a narrative can sell newspapers, make careers, and garner power."

Here is the trailer:

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Hynotized and mesmerized.

Posted by Lou at 08:40 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday

Happy Bye Day Bears! It was a much better pre-bye season than anyone anticipated after all. Sure, it could have been better . . . three beautiful fourth quarter leads . . . blown . . . argh. But this team is more than a little intriguing and has more than a little potential to make some noise in the next two months. I'll take it. I'll also take a Sunday of looking around the league a little bit, at least at the late afternoon games.

Since this year's Bears clearly aren't the "get off the bus running and play mean-streak defense 'til the cows come home" type team we're supposed to prefer around here, I thought I'd check out the two teams who best answer that description so far this season. And they just so happened to be facing each other. One-loss Pittsburgh (going in) hosted the one-loss New York Football Giants on Sunday and while it would be wacky in this topsy-turvy NFL to dub any contest a "Super Bowl Preview," this game is as likely as any other this season to eventually fit that bill.

It was a very fluky affair. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has been very good so far this fall, played his worst game in a while. He tossed four interceptions and rarely got the Steelers going on drives of any duration. For the longest time the Giants failed to take full advantage. Finally, after four John Carney field goals and the Steelers' second furious goal-line stand, the game turned on a punt snap. The great thing about going for it on fourth-and-goal at the one is supposed to be that even if you don't get it, and the defense steps up, the opposing team has to of course punt from way back and great field position is virtually guaranteed. When the Steelers held at the goal line in the first half, the Giants defense forced a quick three-and-out. The resulting punt was returned deep into Pittsburgh territory. The Steeler defense held again but Carney kicked one of his trifectas. When it happened again in the fourth quarter, the Steelers couldn't even get the punt off, leading to a safety, a tie score and a free kick. After returning that kick to about midfield, the Giants finally drove down for their only touchdown of the day, which clinched a 21-14 victory.

I was struck by a few things in particular as the game progressed. First, I want to send out a thank you to Mathias Kiwanuka, one of the Giants' defensive ends. Kiwanuka recorded a big sack at the end of the first half, pushing the Steelers well out of field goal range and ensuring his team would have a lead going into the break. And then he gave all those young viewers out there a quick lesson in how to celebrate after making that sort of a play. Kiwanuka had ripped the ball away from Roethlisberger as he finished off the play but he was immediately aware of the need to not do something stupid. So his first priority was to find an official to toss the ball to, which he did. Then he turned to find his teammates, leaping and smashing into one and executing a power high-five with another before they headed to the sideline.

Is there anything worse in football today than defensive players who, even after making what should be considered routine plays, rush out away from everyone to make an individual spectacle of themselves as they celebrate? That stuff is just so weak for so many reasons. Those include the fact that the guy probably made the play because a teammate made something else happen nearby, i.e. he drew a double-team that left a seam for his teammate to shoot through or his penetration forced a ball-carrier to make a bad cut, or good coverage in the secondary made the quarterback hold the ball for an extra beat. In basketball, the smartest players make a point of pointing to teammates who made the great passes that set up a crowd-pleasing dunk. Football players should be trying to do something similar.

Also, haven't so many of these guys arrived at a point, say a starting spot on a good defense, where highlights are expected? When you are a well-paid professional athlete at least some of those standout plays should be routine, shouldn't they? And finally, hey TV cameramen and directors, you don't have to put these ridiculous displays on the air. Surely there's another nutty fan in the stands who will be overjoyed to learn from a friend that they were on TV for the few seconds you chose not to devote to whichever preening egomaniac just made a solo tackle to set up a second-and-eight.

*

So it turns out a team survives an injured punter better than it does an injured long snapper (you're the best, Patrick Mannely - be careful out there). OK, OK, so Pittsburgh punter Mitch Berger wasn't injured as seriously as snapper Greg Warren but still . . . Berger suffered a hamstring pull late in the first half and then gutted out the rest off the game, pounding a 50-yarder at one point in the second half. As for Warren, well, Fox TV gave us a special replay of Greg Warren's knee going sideways after he foolishly tried (and the Steelers' trainers foolishly allowed him) to walk off the field. I didn't quite get the number of the teammate in question, but one of the Steelers came in as Warren was limping along to try to swat Warren on the backside. Warren flinched, his foot landed awkwardly and his knee bent in a direction none of us should ever be forced to watch.

Warren was out and linebacker James Harrison was in. Whoops, Harrison launched his first snap over Berger's head and out of the back of the end zone for the pivotal safety.

*

During breaks in the game I checked in on Mr. Singletary's debut at the helm in San Francisco. I was impressed when Singletary - partly ticked off after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and partly ticked off by a nonchalant attitude - sent tight end Vernon Davis to the locker room without any supper. Davis left to go to the locker room initially, only to have Singletary stop him and tell him to get his helmet before he went. Davis is the over-hyped (he was drafted sixth a few years ago after absolutely acing the combine - another dim-witted draft choice based on weightlifting and sprinting rather than game performance) and underperforming tight end who is such a symbol of the 49ers' recent travails. Lions' coach Rod Marinelli could have sent a similar no-nonsense message to malcontent wide receiver Roy Williams during his team's game with the Bears a few weeks ago. He did not and the Lions continue to lose. Perhaps Singletary's move will be a wake-up call for the Niners. Probably not, but, maybe.

I was not impressed when Singletary had his team punt with 4:30 or so remaining down three touchdowns. Sure it would have taken a miracle or two for his team to have rallied but punting at that point was designed to try to make the final score a little less embarrassing. You're better than that coach.

Hawksville
What a terrible loss for the Blackhawks on Saturday. And don't give me that hockey mumbo-jumbo of "well, at least we got a point against a tough team." What a crock. The Hawks had the Red Wings down by two heading into the third period at home and choked the game away.

I thought we had all figured out that Nikolai Kabibhulin couldn't be trusted. I thought we all knew he couldn't hold a lead against a good team even if his life depended on it. Now I know there isn't a heck of a lot a goalie can do if the defense breaks down completely in front of him. But the great ones stand on their heads occasionally to make the big save that preserves a big win. And not only did Kabibhulin allow the tying scores in the third period after the Hawks led 4-2 going in, he also gave up what would have been the Wings' game-winner had not the Hawks caught a huge break with a long, late two-man power-play advantage. Patrick Kane scored the tying goal that sent the game into OT. Of course then the Hawks went on to lose in a shootout.

Wasn't the reason Cristobal Huet was signed to a big ole' contract in the off-season - a contract the meant the Hawks had more than $10 million tied up in one position, and one position alone this season - that it was time for someone else to have a chance to hold a Hawks lead in a big game?

Coach Joel Quenneville is still new in town so we won't completely lose it at this point, but Joel, next time you play Detroit and Huet isn't totally exhausted after playing three games in five nights or something like that, put Huet between the pipes.

And coach, remember that just because the Wings are even better this season after winning yet another Cup last spring doesn't mean that gaining a point off them is "a good point." A point gained because you didn't quite completely gag away a two-goal third period lead against your primary rival (and thereby forced a point-earning overtime) is a lousy point.

I propose if Mr. Quenneville hasn't figured all of this out by New Year's Day, when the Wings take on the Hawks in that game at Wrigley that has received a bit of attention so far, and that if the coach starts Kabibhulin despite his lousy local history, we bust out our first-ever round of "Quenneville Sucks! Quenneville Sucks!" It is important to get the jump on this sort of thing.

-

Jim Coffman brings you the city's best weekend sports roundup every Monday because he loves you. You can write to him personally! Please include a real name if you would like your comments to be considered for publication.

Posted by Lou at 06:34 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Life With Bon Scott

LIFE WITH BON SCOTT

"Powerage." I didn't know it at the time,
But it was

"Powerage."

I was in high school, attending Naperville's "Last Fling"
Labor Day carnival. Steel dinosaurs trampled the muddy grass
In Knoch Park. I was waiting in line at the Tilt-a-Whirl.
The ride was run by a grizzled, burly man with tattoos,
Years before they were chic, and then common.
With a pony-tail, years before
They were chic, and then common.

The music assaulted us from large, ground-level speakers
At this most daunting of rides for the average suburban
Teenager. I was transfixed, mute, flummoxed. My ass
Was being kicked beyond recognition. "Man, this sounds like
The Stones!" Two guitars slicing their way through the pocket,
Four hands playing one guitar. The voice, reptilian, like
A crocodile gnashing its fangs, shrieking its way through
A bad acid trip.

Now I know: it was
"Powerage," on 8-Track.

"Gimme a bullet to bite on, something to chew.
Gimme a bullet to bite on,
And I'll make believe,
I'll make believe

It's you."

Got up the nerve to ask the carny who, what, It was.
"AC/DC . . . " So when they came to Rockford Fairgrounds
The following summer ('79), for a July 4th festival, and Cesare
Got us work at the soft drink stands there, we made the
Pilgrimage. "Concessions" meant BACKSTAGE. We did have
To work for it. As we slung Cokes and Fantas to the pressing
Lemmings, once again I felt the low-end violence to my soul.
AC/DC was onstage. "I'm out of here!" I vowed, and stepped outside
To see Angus atop the left speaker column, a shirtless peanut
Monkey shot up on speed, shredding his strings and flailing his
Hair, hundreds of feet above the ground.

Unprecedented. At eighteen, I was a concert veteran. But this was
Unprecedented. Lean, ripped, coiled, burnished burgeoning ballistic
Grooves. Fuck the Babys and, frankly, fuck Cheap Trick. This was
Blistered blues from Holy Hell, lockjawed onto my shrivelled,
Squirelly nuts. Concession=BACKSTAGE. Dear Jesus! Here comes
Angus! "My man! A photo?" No sweat. He was even shorter than me
And that's short. The single most pleasant and sweet-faced rock star
I've ever met. "Concession?" he said in his Scottish (not Australian)
Brogue, seeing my t-shirt. "Yeah, we're selling Cokes . . .
Man, you sure sweat a lot!" He let Cesare take a picture of me with
Him. Cheap Trick was too cool for photos. Chumps.

Later that year, they were at the Aragon. Tuma and I
Drove up from Illinois State, straight to Broadway and Lawrence.
You could see Bon's crank through his jeans from the balcony.
When Angus fell down to spin his way through a solo,
He left a thick sheen of hot sweat on the stage. When he took to his
Roadie's shoulders to solo his way through the crowd, they came up
To the balcony, and as they passed behind me, I gently patted Angus'
Sweaty, zitty back. Center stage: Bon. Acid Crocodile, Preening
Ringmaster, Fang-Tooth Shaman. Bigger records and bigger halls
Loomed as he achieved his Inevitable Hell, and I was there, too,
But if you were tuned in then, you got a chance to get a genuine fang

Scar burnt permanently onto your roiling, ever-teenage brain,
But good.

-

J. J. Tindall is the Beachwood's poet-in-residence. He can reached at jjtindall@yahoo.com. Chicagoetry is an exclusive Beachwood collection-in-progress.


Posted by Lou at 12:36 AM | Permalink

Ironside: Light at the End of the Journey

Our look back on the debut season of Ironside continues.

*

Episode: Light at the End of the Journey

Airdate: 9 November 1967

Plot: Shortly before he's to meet his old buddy Ironside for a rib dinner, private investigator Ted Bartlett is gunned down waiting for a hotel elevator. Not even a blind witness is enough to stop Ironside from getting his man. As the cop says to the coroner, "If you were going to kill someone, would you kill a friend of Robert T. Ironside?" Only if you had a death wish!

Guest star: Katherine Crawford (Yeah, I'd never heard of her either).

Special guest star: Robert Reed (AKA Mr. Brady) as the blind woman's overprotective fiance.

San Fran DOT: The dump truck in front of police headquarters is back, still filling that bottomless hole to China.

For whom the bell tolls: As Bartlett leaves his hotel room, a repeating chime on the soundtrack tells us the Grim Reaper is paying a call, and he's taking the stairs.

Top of the Mark: I've only been to San Francisco a few times, but I knew the exterior shot of the fictional "Hilltop Hotel" looked familiar. It's the Mark Hopkins Hotel, a famous landmark building on Nob Hill built in 1926.

There are worse ways to go: Staring at the body of his fallen colleague, Ironside says, "Nobody should die in a hotel hallway." As opposed to, say, dying on the battlefield of a foreign war 7,000 miles from home.

Fancy-schmancy: We can tell the Hilltop Hotel is one plush place to stay by the gold and cornflower blue color scheme going on in the lobby - it's like a magnificent, over-sized powder room.

Fly girl: Eve's chocolate brown leather coat has an incredibly wide collar. Very WWII bomber girl.

Introducing the timid Miss Norma Wales and her domineering fiance Jerry Pierson: Eve has located a witness whose elevator just happened to open onto the murder scene. Norma could identify the killer - if only she wasn't blind! Tough break, Ironside.

Hey Chief, are you blind? Ironside's powers of observation must be failing; upon meeting Norma he hasn't a clue that she's blind. No matter that she's wearing a thoroughly obvious pair of dark sunglasses indoors and is staring off at an odd direction, away from Ironside when he enters the room.

Ironside (to Eve): "Well?" Eve: "You're not going to believe it."

Ironside: "Are we on an investigation or playing Twenty Questions?"

Eve: "She was on the elevator when it stopped at the fifth floor."

Ironside: "Miss Wales, did you see anything?"

Norma: "No."

Ironside (cocking his head in surprise): "Nothing at all?"

Norma: "Nothing at all, Mr. Ironside. I'm blind."

D'oh! Ironside's mouth drops open and he shoots a look at Eve as if to say, "Well, why didn't someone tell me!"

Like a bickering married couple: Ironside and the Commissioner never converse. They yell, yell, yell.

Willing and differently-abled: Ironside convinces the Commissioner that the only way to catch the killer before he offs the witness is to set the blind girl up as a decoy. Though Norma looks thirty years old, they keep referring to her as a girl, as in, "If the girl's willing, that's exactly the way I'll do it."

Two sitting ducks and a sweetie bird: Of course Eve is the cop left to guard the pretty engaged couple in their hotel room. (For a previous use of "sweetie bird," see Ironside, Episode 08: Tagged for Murder.)

She's packin' heat: Eve's handbag is just big enough to carry a handgun. When she opens the door to Ironside and Mark, she continues to hold the gun at waist level, pointing it directly at them as they enter the room. "Easy with that," Mark says. "We're on your side."

Fraidy cat: Norma is utterly and completely dependent on her fiance Jerry, and he seems to like it that way. Jerry's dead-set against Norma helping Ironside set a trap for the killer and she's not too keen on it either. Norma turns Ironside down, saying, "I live with fear all the time. Fear of little things that don't matter to people like you . . . I can't. I can barely live with the fear I have now. I can't add more to it. Please don't ask me."

Wait until dark: As soon as Jerry leaves, Norma's hotel room becomes a haunted house of menacing sounds. Rapping, tapping and foreboding footsteps freak the girl out in less time than it took for her to recite the above speech and she immediately changes her mind to help Chief Ironside catch a killer.

Suspicious coincidence: Wait Until Dark, the film starring Audrey Hepburn as a blind woman terrorized by drug smugglers in her own home, opened just a few months before this episode originally aired.

Pre-pre-steadicam: Ironside stages a press conference with Norma on the police station steps. The news crew has set up the equivalent of a TV studio on the sidewalk with multiple cameras on wheeled tripods.

If we wanted your opinion, we'd ask for it: Jerry sulks in the back seat of the limo like a sour teenager. "I don't suppose anyone is interested in what I think about all this."

Doppelganger: This is the second episode in which Eve poses as a witness by dressing in an identical outfit and switching places at a crucial moment. This time she impersonates Norma, waiting in the hotel room for the killer to show. It's a good thing she and Norma are both bleach bottle blondes.

Good plan: Threaten the uptight white guy with the ex-con black dude: When Ironside tires of Jerry's stick-in-the-mud interruptions, he says, "Mark, what were you doing the first time you were arrested?"

Mark: "I do believe it was in the middle of a rumble. Some of us, some of them. If I remember correctly, I was pushing this guy's head through the cement."

Ironside: "Think you could do the same thing on the side of law and order?"

Mark: "Be glad to. (To Jerry) Care to wrastle?"

Guilty much? Jerry is suffering from a classic case of Magnificent Obsession syndrome. Turns out he was responsible for the car accident that caused Norma's blindness; he was driving the car.

Sisters aren't doing it for themselves: When Chief Ironside asks Norma what she's been doing in the two years since her accident, she replies, "Done? I've been blind . . . I'm helpless. I need Jerry to take care of me."

"This chair is my white cane. Where's yours?" In a tender moment, Ironside rains on Norma's pity party when he reveals to her his disability.

Anything else I can do for you sir? The killer checks into the hotel where Norma is staying (along with Ironside and fifteen other cops.) I'm so distracted by his pulling out a couple of lousy quarters as a tip that I nearly miss who's playing the bellboy. It's Mike Farrell everyone!

They had time to set up a warning system? On his way out of the room where Norma is being held, Chief Ironside flips a switch, which triggers a flashing red light located in a nearby room. A group of cops who look like they're standing in a utility closet stare at the flashing bulb - I think they've got the signal.

Gunfight at the O.K. Hotel: It's hardly a fair fight. One guy with a silencer against seven uniformed cops with guns, including a female officer who looks like a meter maid.

-

Previously:
* A Cop and His Chair
* Message From Beyond
* The Leaf in the Forest
* Dead Man's Tale
* Eat, Drink and Be Buried
* The Taker
* An Inside Job
* Tagged For Murder
* Let My Brother Go

Posted by Lou at 12:08 AM | Permalink

October 24, 2008

The Weekend Desk Report

Weekend Desk editor Natasha Julius remains on assignment in India. Stephanie Goldberg once again fills in with her Five Dumbest Ideas of the Week.

1. Halloween is rapidly approaching, and we're still searching for the perfect costume.

* Too obscure.

* Too weird.

* Too scary.

* Too ethnic.

* Just right.

2. The latest in weight reduction is the Banana Diet, all the rage in Japan. If that doesn't do it for you, we can suggest a few others.

* The World's Oldest Box of Chocolates Diet.

* The Donatella Versace Diet.

* The Miracle Pig Diet.

3. We have a soft spot in our heart for the Pitbull Mom Boutique "for women who want to take a bite out of life." It's the place to go for Republican Red lipstick - red but not pinko, if you know what I mean. Best of all, a portion of the profits is donated to either the Republican Party or the Special Olympics, which, curiously enough, are virtually indistinguishable these days. (Ouch.)

4. In case you're interested in being a hockey mom - or dad, here's an instructional tape of rousing cheers.

5. So Ashley Todd's reverse-Tawana Brawley story is a hoax? Color me shocked.

-

Catch up with The Papers and previous Weekend Desk Reports.

-

Ferdy Film Frenzy
Continuing our blurbing of Marilyn Ferdinand's coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival is a two-fer. Go to Ferdy on Films for full reviews and details.

"Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story: Lee Atwater - the man who called Strom Thurmond his mentor and Karl Rove his protege - gets a thorough going-over in Boogie Man as a win-at-all-costs political operative for the Republican Party until he died of brain cancer in 1991 at the age of 40. By the time Atwater had performed his dirty magic tricks on Reagan's behalf, he had already ruined Democrats Tom Turnipseed's and Max Heller's bids for Congress by charging that the former was "hooked up to jumper cables" (mentally ill), and running a independent Christian candidate to slam Heller for being a Jew and having this straw candidate drop out after the damage was done, thereby leaving the door open for Republican candidate Carroll Campbell to win.

"There are subtle, but damning commentaries on the media in this film, particularly the Washington press corps, which one interviewee characterizes as lazy and looking for something juicy. Bush Jr. hit it off famously with Atwater and certainly would have had Atwater ensure that his 2000 race against Al Gore was not so close had Atwater lived. As it is, the press corps did Atwater's job for him, having learned how those well-chosen lies and steadfast adherence to a narrative can sell newspapers, make careers, and garner power."

Here is the trailer:

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: The genuine article.

Posted by Lou at 04:10 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

1. The mayor is not sorry at all about torture.

2. Will a reporter please ask Obama if the mayor he endorsed should share any portion of responsibility for Jon Burge?

3. "Daley said he suggested the United Center as an 'easier' and more 'controlled' alternative to Grant Park [for Obama's Election Night party]. But, the mayor said he was turned down by Obama campaign staffers who insisted on holding an outdoor rally," the Sun-Times reports.

"Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt countered, 'We checked before we requested space [in Grant Park]. Celine Dion is booked for the United Center the night of the election.""

Gee, which one should I go to?!

4. The mayor is not sorry at all for using your hard-earned money to make up for his continued mismanagement of Millennium Park.

5. "The purpose of the hotel tax was to bring tourists into the city," said Daley.

You mean our hotel tax is an attraction? Can you go look at it somewhere?

6. Rick Perlstein thinks we've been living in Nixonland, but I contend we've been living in Reaganland. Even the Clinton years were Reaganistic in their "greed is good" let's-all-get-rich trade-as-foreign-policy get-tough-on-crime sort of way.

But maybe it really is finally over.

7. Alan Greenspan illustrates how very smart people can still be very naive and very out of touch with the way the world works and how at least a certain segment of people with a certain set of values behave.

8. "Half of U.S. Doctors Use Placebos."

Probably the same half that finished, er, in the bottom half of their class.

Well, I tried.

9. It was nice of the Tribune to mention in its little promo of "A Sandra Bernhard Halloween" right here in Chicago that she threatened Sarah Palin "with gang rape if the V.P. candidate sets foot in Manhattan, but curiously the paper left out the part where Bernhard said it would be her "big black brothers" doing the raping.

Over at the Sun-Times, Misha Davenport interviewed Bernhard but gave her a pass.

10. "Palin Now Much More Media-Accessible Than Biden."

I'm sure Obamaphiles are as outraged about Biden's media sequestration as they were about Palin's.

11. I don't know about you, but if I was asked to be vice president, I wouldn't have a thing to wear. Michelle Obama, on the other hand, would because she famously loves designers like Maria Pinto so much.

12. Plus, Sandra Bernhard made fun of Palin's glasses, haircut, and shoes, so I suppose she had to upgrade her wardrobe or face the ridicule of gang-rapists in Manhattan.

13. A free taco isn't all every American has won.

"Earlier this year, Dr Pepper promised to give one can of soda to every American if Guns N' Roses delivered its latest album, Chinese Democracy," Advertising Age reports. "Now, it's official. The album will be released at the end of November, meaning Dr Pepper's promise is coming due."

"The American edibles industry: Feeding America . . . one event at a time."

- Scott Buckner

14. I wonder if McDonald's will serve New Coke with its new double cheeseburgers that will contain less cheese. It could be part of their new Clueless Menu.

15. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has started a 72-part project on drinking called "Wasted in Wisconsin."

16. These are GOP talking points, but still an interesting exercise in dot-connecting.

17. "The political press corps' most striking attribute is its remarkably low intellectual caliber."

18. Former Sun-Times reporter Eric Herman is now a spokesman for Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan; former Sun-Times reporter Steve Patterson is now spokesman for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart; and former Sun-Times reporter Lucio Guerrero is now a spokesman for Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

19. Cook County State's Attorney candidate Anita Alvarez appeared in a full-page ad for O'Briens in the Tribune this week, gaining the Old Town restaurant's all-important endorsement. Of course, Andy Martin has also appeared in an O'Briens ad.

20. Continuing our blurbing of Marilyn Ferdinand's coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival is a two-fer. Go to Ferdy on Films for full reviews and details.

Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story: Lee Atwater--the man who called Strom Thurmond his mentor and Karl Rove his protege--gets a thorough going-over in Boogie Man as a win-at-all-costs political operative for the Republican Party until he died of brain cancer in 1991 at the age of 40. By the time Atwater had performed his dirty magic tricks on Reagan's behalf, he had already ruined Democrats Tom Turnipseed's and Max Heller's bids for Congress by charging that the former was "hooked up to jumper cables" (mentally ill), and running a independent Christian candidate to slam Heller for being a Jew and having this straw candidate drop out after the damage was done, thereby leaving the door open for Republican candidate Carroll Campbell to win.

There are subtle, but damning commentaries on the media in this film, particularly the Washington press corps, which one interviewee characterizes as lazy and looking for something juicy. Bush Jr. hit it off famously with Atwater and certainly would have had Atwater ensure that his 2000 race against Al Gore was not so close had Atwater lived. As it is, the press corps did Atwater's job for him, having learned how those well-chosen lies and steadfast adherence to a narrative can sell newspapers, make careers, and garner power.

Trailer:


"Shorts 2: Animation Nations: Is it an exercise in futility to review short films, either animated or live action? Outside of film festivals, the chances of seeing any short films is slim to none - that is, if you're thinking about standard film venues. Through virtual film festivals, websites, and various social networking venues, film fans will once again be able to experience the unique pleasure of the short stories of cinema. The 11 animated shorts in Shorts 2 include Hot Dog (USA), the story of a dog that wants to join the fire department, Lavatory-Lovestory (Russia), a sweet story of a lavatory attendant who has a secret admirer, and Keith Reynolds Can't Make It Tonight (United Kingdom), the explosion of a frustrated middle manager.


Here is a preview of Keith Reynolds Can't Make It Tonight:

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Animate your complaint.

Posted by Lou at 08:15 AM | Permalink

Obama Radio

Slacker.com has introduced Obama Radio, described by the station as "the favored music of Barack Obama including his personal song picks, tracks from his favorite artists and music played at his events." I've been listening to it all morning and I think you'll see from the playlist that the concept is, well, a bit of a stretch.

1. St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)/John Parr. Not a great way to start. I mean, c'mon! I seriously doubt Obama likes this song in the least, but I guess he is "a man in motion," so there you go.

2. Ain't No Mountain High Enough/Marvin Gaye. There ain't no mountain high enough, but pretty predictable.

3. I'm On Fire/Bruce Springsteen. Um, Obama's horny and he has a really bad headache?

4. For Once In My Life/Stevie Wonder. I suppose this is thematically correct, especially if Wonder wants to make love to Obama.

5. There's Hope/India.Arie. Nice.

6. Maggie's Farm/Bob Dylan. Oh, I don't know. Maybe if he was singing that he wasn't going to work on Emil Jones's farm anymore.

7. Sing A Song/Earth, Wind & Fire. At least it's not "Celebration," though I'm sure that's in the mix here somewhere.

8. Believe/Yellowcard. Who?

9. Bennie & the Jets/Elton John. Okay, why? Because the spotlight's hitting something that's been known to change the weather? Or because the kids are plugging into the blinded faithless?

10. Sinnerman/Nina Simone. Shouldn't this be on McCain Radio?

11. Touch of Grey/Grateful Dead. Shoe is on the hand that fits, thats all there really is to it. Whistle through your teeth and spit, but it's alright.

12. Living in America/James Brown. Yes.

13. Waiting on the World to Change/John Mayer. Dedicated to Jennifer Aniston.

14. Start Me Up/Rolling Stones. Obama is so great he even has a way with the dead.

15. Lose Yourself/Eminem. Because if Obama doesn't come up with the right raps, he'll lose his one chance to fulfill his dreams.

16. Beautiful Day/U2. Cliche campaign song of the oughts.

17. One Is The Magic/Jill Scott. Fine.

18. You Are the Sunshine of My Life/Stevie Wonder. Fine. Sigh. Sort of. Not!

19. Still The One/Orleans. At least it's not the Shania Twain song of the same title, because that would be unbearable.

20. Move on Up/Curtis Mayfield. Yes.

-

From the Beachwood jukebox to Marfa Public Radio, we have the playlists you need to be a better citizen of the Rock and Roll Nation.

Posted by Lou at 06:29 AM | Permalink

The Periodical Table: Brando, Barr & Mugabe

The New Yorker seemed to slump over the summer but it's come back this fall with a vengeance, especially in a series of outstanding profiles. In the current issue alone, you will find compelling portraits Bob Barr, Robert Mugabe, and (the late) Marlon Brando.

Let's start with Brando.

I have a high appreciation of the art, power, and technique of film, but I am by no means a buff, so I can't say whether what Claudia Roth Pierpont writes will be new to students of the cinema, but I found it pretty interesting.

This isn't a full-blown profile, but it may as well be. Pierpont uses Brando's Method acting style to plumb his psyche and what she finds is disturbing.

While other actors preserve boundary lines between their private lives and their performances, "no such boundary existed between Brando the actor and Brando the man," both of whom suffered from what [author Stefan] Kanfer, assisted by several psychiatrists, labels "oppositional defiant disorder," and an "oral fixation." This is not entirely news: long ago, Harold Clurman wrote that Brando's acting had "its source in suffering," and Peter Manso, the author of a previous biography, consulted his own set of psychiatrists to diagnose the actor's "dissociated personality," "manic-depressive mood swings," and "anxieties over sexual identity," among other afflictions. (Brando appears to have slept with an uncertain number of men and a staggering number of women during his life.) But nothing has approached Kanfer's assertion that the "Rosebud in Brando's life" was "the mental illness that had dogged him for decades," an illness that made his achievements all the more a marvel and his failures no surprise."

The piece is subtitled: "How the greatest American actor lost his way."

Revolting Revolutionary
It's easy to forget that Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe was once seen as a liberator. Now his country lies in ruins.

"In the weeks after the election, as the political stalemate persisted, the value of Zimbabwe's currency plummeted," Jon Lee Anderson writes. "Before crossing the border from South Africa, I had exchanged a hundred American dollars for three trillion five hundred billion Zimbabwean - thirty-five billion to a dollar. Most of the cash was newly minted five-, twenty-five-, and fifty-billion-dollar notes, with pictures of giraffes and grain silos. A few days later, the going rate was a hundred billion to one. Food prices tripled overnight, and many salaries were made virtually worthless. Cash was becoming nearly impossible to obtain; banks were allowing customers to withdraw the equivalent of only one U.S. dollar per day. The effect was a state of existential madness. Prices bordered on the fantastic, and ordinary people had to grapple with calculations in the trillions for the most prosaic transactions. One day, I wandered into a supermarket to buy some water. The price for a half-litre bottle was $1,900,000,000,000. On a nearby shelf, I found a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black for $83,000,000,000,000."

Barr Enterprises
Bob Barr's journey from moralistic conservative to tolerant libertarian is interesting, but not as interesting as his life and times, which is equal parts Obama, Liddy and Gingrich..

"He was entering the third grade when his family moved to Baghdad and rented a house near Tigris . . . The family's experience in Iraq established a pattern. As an expatriate, Barr enjoyed unusual personal freedom. He was detached from American society as well as from the culture around him. In Panama, where his father briefly took a job, the family one night attempted to have dinner in the American-controlled Canal Zone, but were turned away because their car had a Panama license plate. ("Even though we were U.S. citizens, and this was considered U.S. territory, we were second-class citizens," Barr told me.) Before Panama, Barr's family lived in Peru, where, as a teen-ager, he learned Spanish. He went to parties, drank, and smoked. A friend of his recalled, "Really, there were no rules, and we didn't like rules, and the few rules that there were we really didn't follow." On expeditions into the Amazon, Barr fished for piranhas, and hunted alligators at night. "You would take a .22 rifle and creep along the riverbank with a flashlight," he told me. "The light would catch their eyes, and you would see these two glowing points of red, and you would shoot for that." Barr learned to adapt. "You make friends quickly," he told me. "But you don't become too attached, because you know you're not going to be with them for that long."

Barr went on the work as a CIA analyst specializing in Latin America after he graduated from the University of Southern California. Then he went to Georgetown Law, followed by a move to Atlanta to start a law practice.

He was aggressive and took risks. Once, fearing that policemen might harm a client, an accused cop killer, on an airplane, he hired another plane and flew behind them. When the brother-in-law of Baby Doc Duvalier, the Haitian dictator, was apprehended in Puerto Rico on drug-smuggling charges, Barr and his law partner, Ed Marger, flew to Port-au-Prince to help. ("Ed and I were sitting on this couch in this beautiful residence with Baby Doc and his wife, and all of a sudden this big rat runs across the room," he recalled.)

Eventually, in 1994, he won a seat in Congress, which he held for eight years.

Toon Trophy
Samantha Church of Chicago won this week's New Yorker cartoon caption contest. I wonder if this is her.

Posted by Lou at 06:09 AM | Permalink

Illinois Pols' Secret Economic Interests

REQUIRED ECONOMIC INTEREST STATEMENTS ARE WOEFULLY INADEQUATE

MOST POPULAR ANSWERS ON FORM: "NONE" AND "DOES NOT APPLY"

tate and local candidates on the November ballot are required to complete "Statements of Economic Interest," but the government form requires so little information that most answers are of little to no value to voters, according to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

Because the questions on the form seek minimal information about income, investments and potential conflicts of interest, 28 percent of all state legislators and their opponents in the 2008 election answered "none" to all eight questions on the Statement of Economic Interest.

ICPR examined SEIs filed by incumbents and candidates for the General Assembly, the six statewide officeholders and candidates for open judicial seats. The findings included:

* More than 75 percent of SEI questions were answered with "None" or "Does Not Apply."

* A side-by-side comparison of the state and federal forms submitted by congressional candidates who are members of the Illinois General Assembly demonstrated the weakness of the Illinois SEI. The federal forms revealed information about personal income and investments that did not even have to be mentioned on the Illinois form.

* Fourteen of the 280 state legislators and challengers disclosed a "close economic association" with a lobbyist but did not - and were not required to - disclose any information about the magnitude of the "economic association."

* Even though the Illinois Constitution and state statutes make it clear that candidates for state office must file statements of their economic interest and all do file SEIs prior to the primary election, more than one-quarter of the candidates for the General Assembly did not file updated forms prior to the May 1 deadline for filing forms detailing economic interests for 2007.

"Upwards of 100,000 public officeholders and employees complete these forms every year, and virtually all of them are worthless," said Cynthia Canary, ICPR Director. "Voters deserve to know the sources and amounts of income and about the investments held by state and local officials, but Illinois laws are so weak that the Statements of Economic Interest hide much more than they disclose to the public."

ICPR's report made the following recommendations for strengthening state requirements:

* The Illinois Statement of Economic Interest should mandate reporting of the person's source and amount of income; value of investments and income from each; the purchase and sale date of investments; and whether investments and income accrue to the filer, spouse or minor child.

* Information should be reported about investments held outside of Illinois, as well as those currently reportable investments within the state, and the disclosure threshold for investments should be low enough to capture all investments of $100 or more.

* In addition to asking the identity of any lobbyist maintaining a "close economic relationship" with the filer, the SEI should elicit information about lobbyists who are related to the filer, and the extent of their financial benefit.

* SEIs should be filed electronically and in a searchable format.

* Winners in primary elections should be required to file new reports for the previous calendar year no later than May 1 of the election year.

* Enforcement of the economic disclosure laws should be enhanced, and the Illinois Secretary of State should be required to conduct random audits to determine the accuracy of filed SEIs.

"Illinois' Statements of Economic Interest are deplorable," said David Morrison, Deputy Director of ICPR and lead researcher and writer of the study. "The questions on the form were drafted more to obfuscate than to enlighten. By failing to ask meaningful questions and demand detail, the questions keep potential conflicts of interest hidden, and Illinoisans are left in the dark."

The full report can be found at www.ilcampaign.org.

Posted by Lou at 05:13 AM | Permalink

Chicago's Secret Police

The Chicago Headline Club, the largest chapter of Society of Professional Journalists in the country, strongly protests the arrest of a journalist, Mike Anzaldi, and confiscation of his equipment at the scene of a police shooting Oct. 21.

Anzaldi, a free-lance photographer for Spot News Chicago, a 12-year veteran of Chicago news coverage, and holder of police credentials, was charged with resisting and obstructing a police officer. His two digital cameras were confiscated and Anzaldi said his still photos - approximately 500 photographs - were deleted after covering a crime scene that involved an attempted armed robber who was shot and killed by an off-duty Chicago Police officer. Anzaldi's video camera and videotape were also confiscated and still have not been returned.

Police said they arrested Anzaldi because he crossed police tape at the scene of the shooting and thus violated the Municipal Code. "I never crossed the police tape," Anzaldi said Wednesday in a phone conversation with the Chicago Headline Club.

However, the City of Chicago Municipal Code permits, under 4-328-010: No person shall pass police and fire lines for the purpose of gathering and editing spot news or photographing news events unless such person is a legal holder of a news media credential as provided herein.

"Regardless of whether Anzaldi crossed the line or not it seems pretty clear that the police crossed the line," said David Cuillier, chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists' Freedom of Information Committee. "A journalist is doing his job gathering information for the public, not hurting anyone and police cuff him, drag him to jail, take his equipment, and then delete information they don't want the public to see. That sounds a lot like Russia to me, not America. The right thing to do is drop charges, apologize, and move on."

The Chicago Headline Club asks that charges against Anzaldi be dismissed and his equipment, with film intact, be returned immediately. Anzaldi's digital cameras were returned at his release at 9:20 p.m. Tuesday night, but with his photos were erased. Later, Anzaldi was able to retrieve his photos through a photo recovery process.

-

* Mike Anzaldi on SportsShooter.com

* What role did police spokesperson Monique Bond play?

* Spot News Chicago

Posted by Lou at 04:57 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report

Chicago scratched out a victory last week largely due to the efforts of the special teams. In a game where a previously inept Minnesota offense scored 41 points, Chicago showed a weakness: They don't play defense well when they don't know what the offense will do. This shows that skill alone won't get the job done. Here are some ways the Bears can get up-to-date information on the opposing team's game plan.

* Intercept game plan in old school way: Rob train carrying the mail.

* Intercept game plan in new school way: Hire Bill Belichick as Director of New Media.

* Call Brett Favre.

* Send Frank Caliendo impersonating Brett Favre into their huddle.

* Offer a federal bailout in return for their playbook.

* Tell them Obama wants them to share.

* Tell them everyone gives a little to officials in Chicago.

* Make assistant coaches take screening jobs at airports where they can read playbooks as they go through security.

* Wink while you tell them that Palin wants them to share.

* Use bye week to get heads out of their collective asses.

-

Bears vs. Bye Week
Storyline: The bye week comes at a perfect time for Bears to rest and reflect.

Reality: In all the free time, Kyle Orton will remember that he's Kyle Orton, and Brian Urlacher will impregnate a half dozen more women.

Prediction: Bye Week plus 4.5 points

-

Percentage of sugar in the Pitcher of Blue and Orange Kool-Aid: 55%
Recommended sugar in the Pitcher of Blue and Orange Kool-Aid: 51%

-

Over/Under: Exit polls for the NFL.

-

Fantasy Fix: Who to count on in Week 8.

-

Eric Emery grew up in small-town Illinois but has an irrational love of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Every week he writes The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report and Over/Under. You can send him love letters and hate mail and he will respond graciously.

Posted by Lou at 04:38 AM | Permalink

October 23, 2008

The [Thursday] Papers

A new Tribune poll shows that Gov. Rod Blagojevich's popularity in Illinois is so low he has to look up to see George W. Bush.

Only 13 percent of registered likely voters surveyed said they approved of the governor's job performance; only 10 percent said they wanted to see him re-elected in 2010 for a third term.

The president's approval rating stands at 18 percent. Maybe Blago should invade Wisconsin.

Further, only 19 percent of Illinois Democrats surveyed say they would like to see the governor re-elected. The poll did not ask how many would like to see the governor indicted.

"The poll results point to the polarizing figure that Blagojevich has become," the Tribune writes.

But Blagojevich isn't polarizing at all; nobody likes him.

Asking Anita
"Just a couple of hours after the feds charged former police commander Jon Burge with perjury and obstruction of justice Tuesday, Democratic state's attorney nominee Anita Alvarez conceded that Cook County prosecutors - which would include her current boss, state's attorney Richard Devine, and her onetime boss, Richard M. Daley, though she didn't use their names - should have done more to bring the accused torturer to justice," Mick Dumke reports at Clout City.

File Under Burge
In addition to Division Street, I've been contributing items to the new local NBC site that launched last week. In this post, I wonder, among other things, if we'll find out just which companies were willing to hire Jon Burge as a security consultant despite his grisly reputation.

*

Lots of new stuff on Division Street, including the skinny on Barack's dentist, why Arne Duncan is a better bet than Paul Vallas to be his Education Secretary, what Ad Age thinks of Obama as a marketer, McCain's Chicago, and more.

He's No. 1
A proposition submitted for your approval: Patrick Fitzgerald is the best public servant in Chicago, in Illinois, and possibly in America.

He might even be our next U.S. attorney general. But would that be a good thing? Don't take him away, Barack! That's just what Daley wants you to do.

Party in the Park
If Barack Obama drew 100,000 people in St. Louis the other day and 200,000 in Berlin, how many do you think he'll draw to Grant Park on Election Night?

My God, it could be half a billion or more, don't you think?

I mean, it won't just be Chicagoans showing up; I would guess that African Americans in particular from all over the country will make the trek.

It's an entirely appropriate event to hold, but it sounds like an organizational and security nightmare.

"Attendees likely would face metal detectors and have their possessions searched, just as at all Obama events," the Tribune reports. "The process is similar to going through airport security and can create lines blocks long."

Some streets in the area "likely" will be closed, the Trib says.

That sounds like an understatement to me. I wouldn't be surprised if the entire downtown was sealed off.

Beale Street
"A South Side alderman on Wednesday demanded to know why Mayor Daley was spending $8.1 million in hotel tax revenues to secure and maintain Millennium Park when upkeep of the park beset by construction overruns 'wasn't supposed to cost taxpayers a dime'," the Sun-Times reports.

"'We cannot find money to . . . maintain the parks in our community. We can't find extra police to put on the street every single day. But we can find $8 million to take care of Millennium Park that wasn't supposed to cost taxpayers a dime. Not a dime,' said Ald. Anthony Beale (9th)."

In response, the mayor sealed off Beale's ward.

Scrubs
"Cook County's independent hospital board wants to spend $100 million more than last year," the Sun-Times reports.

Geez, for that much we could build one-fifth of another Millennium Park.

Taco Night in America
You may not realize it, but you won a free taco last night.

Homeward Bound
"Lathrop Homes residents and supporters will rally [today], for a new proposal to lease vacant apartments at the CHA development," Community Media Workshop reports.

"Two-thirds of Lathrop Homes' 900 units are vacant. Recent residents report that many are in 'pretty good shape,' and some have been rehabbed within the past 15 years, said [Logan Square Neighborhood Association] organizer John McDermott. The groups are proposing that 300 vacant units be leased, and has identified a variety of possible funding sources."

But . . .

"CHA stopped filling vacancies at Lathrop Homes in 1999, when it announced its Plan For Transformation aimed at mixed-income redevelopment. In 2006 the agency said it intended to demolish the development and rebuild 1200 new units, including market rate, affordable, and public housing. Shortly thereafter the working group discussing plans for Lathrop Homes was disbanded, and its future is still listed as 'to be determined' by the CHA - the last development with that designation."

Ferdy Film Frenzy
Continuing our blurbing of Marilyn Ferdinand's coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival. Go to Ferdy on Films for full reviews and details.

"The Sky, the Earth and the Rain: The Sky, the Earth and the Rain is that extremely rare film that truly turns down the noise of the world, creating a meditative state that allows one's body and being to relax totally and be in the moment. Its likely to leave many people feeling fidgety, waiting for something to 'happen.' In fact, a lot does happen in this film, but its story is told with an economy of exquisitely designed visual compositions that unmistakably communicate developments in the plot and extremely spare dialogue that can't amount to much more than 25 lines in the entire film. This Chilean film is the epitome of show, don't tell."

Film clip:

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Onward and upward.

Posted by Lou at 07:55 AM | Permalink

Over/Under

Somehow in American society, polls now represent and measure every possible thought and belief within our society. Concerned about fishing in California? What about the preferred gift for Father's Day? Ever wonder about the size of people's iPods? I didn't, until I found this. Polls express and solve everything. In this spirit, I propose that the NFL cancels the regular season, and allow polls to decide the winners of each division. In fact, we already have some exit results.

*

NFC East Contenders: NY Giants vs. Washington

At issue: The evil contained in New York vs. the evil contained in Washington. Truly, it's a decision between two evils.

Beachwood Projected Winner: New York Giants. When evil happens in New York City, it stays in New York City.

*

NFC Central Contenders: Chicago vs. Green Bay

At issue: Who wins the holy trifecta of quaint Midwestern attributes: grossly obese residents, nasally accents, and reliance on cheap lawn ornaments.

Beachwood Projected Winner: Chicago. Our accent isn't quaint.

*

NFC South Contenders: Tampa Bay vs Carolina

At issue: Which city can care less about the other major sports teams in the area.

Beachwood Projected Winner: Carolina. Tampa Bay showed that the best way to make the World Series is to have a fan base that doesn't care about the team. Are you taking notes, Cubs fans?

*

NFC West Contenders: Arizona vs. St. Louis

At issue: Cardinals used to reside in St. Louis. Now, a different crappy team resides in St. Louis.

Beachwood Projected Winner: St. Louis. They were who you thought they were. And you let them go.

*

AFC East Contenders: Buffalo vs New England

At issue: Crab cakes vs. chicken wings.

Beachwood Projected Winner: Buffalo. Duh.

*

AFC Central Contenders: Pittsburgh vs Baltimore

At issue: Which city is more "blue collar."

Beachwood Projected Winner: Baltimore. Ohioan "Joe the Plumber" probably hates the Steelers just as much as he hates paying taxes.

*

AFC South Contenders: Tennessee vs Jacksonville

At issue: Which fan base will be less distracted by college football?

Beachwood Projected Winner: Jacksonville. They stopped following the Gators when Spurrier left.

*

AFC West Contenders: Denver vs San Diego

At issue: Mile-high living vs. sea-level living.

Beachwood Projected Winner: Denver. Because John Denver said so.

-

OverHyped Game of the Week: Colts at Titans
Storyline: There is nothing in this world Peyton Manning can't do. In fact, he even used his doppelganger skills to become Eli and win the Super Bowl last year.

Reality: Talking about evil, shape-changing beings, the Colts look more like the 1984 Colts than a playoff contender.

Prediction: Tennessee Minus 3 Points, Under 42 Points

*

UnderHyped Game of the Week: Cardinals at Panthers
Storyline: A battle of two teams that most people don't care about, unless you're related to one of the players or perhaps the equipment manager.

Reality: You really cannot predict what will happen. If you have watched each team play, you wonder how they actually win. So chances are that the winner will win through some totally unostentatious method, such has running the ball effectively.

Prediction: Carolina Minus 4.5 Points, Over 44 Points Scored

-

Last week's picks: 3-3
For the season: 16-10-4

-

Eric Emery grew up in small-town Illinois but has an irrational love of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Every week he writes The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report and Over/Under. He also is a spark plug in floor hockey. You can reach him here.

Posted by Lou at 01:04 AM | Permalink

Judging the Judges

Chicago Appleseed Fund For Justice Aims To Educate Illinois Voters On This Year's Judicial Candidates Running For Re-Election With VoteForJudges.org Campaign

VoteForJudges.org, a program run by Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice, is a non-partisan group dedicated to providing voter education for the upcoming judicial elections. On November 4, voters will be asked to decide whether or not over 70 judges running for re-election should remain on the bench. VoteForJudges.org makes it easier than ever to educate yourself on the qualifications of these judges by providing voters with over a dozen different bar associations' evaluations and recommendations, as well as the recommendations from newspapers and other publications.

Judges have a profound impact on all of our lives. Every day they make important decisions on fundamental issues such as education, housing, health care, divorce, and custody hearings. Since judges make fundamental decisions ranging from personal matters to broader social issues, it's vital that the public elects judges that are qualified and free from political and economic influence. Unfortunately, many voters don't know anything about the prospective judges running for retention. Some voters will simply guess or make partisan-based decisions.

Therefore, VoteForJudges.org wants voters to know that on November 4, they have the power to ensure that only qualified judges are retained to make decisions that will affect them, their families and their communities. By visiting the site, voters can review and download the non-partisan evaluations and recommendations provided by over a dozen bar associations, newspapers, and other publications.

Evaluations of the candidates were based on a variety of factors including: Fairness, legal competence, integrity, knowledge of the law, judicial temperament, impartiality and professional conduct. No consideration was given for political affiliation.

"It's vital to the health of our judicial system that the voting public elects only qualified judges," noted Malcolm Rich, Executive Director of Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice. "By taking just 15 minutes out of their day to review the information provided on the website, voters can be confident that they are making an informed decision in the ballot booth. "

VoteForJudges.org provides voters with the following information:

* Non-partisan, judicial evaluation and recommendation results from the members of the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening, the Chicago Bar Association, Chicago Council of Lawyers, and the North Suburban Bar Coalition.

* Sample ballot from the Committee to Elect Qualified Judges that can be taken into polling booths.

* Judicial evaluation charts & information on the individual candidates.

* Information and recommendations from newspapers and other publications.

Vote smart! Educate yourself before you vote. Visit www.VoteForJudges.org for more information.

Posted by Lou at 12:13 AM | Permalink

October 22, 2008

The [Wednesday] Papers

The story of Jon Burge is as much a story of media failure as anything else. As noted in the Sun-Times's editorial this morning, "As early as 1982, public officials got wind of rumors of Burge's torture tricks in the basement of a South Side police station." And as Mark Brown writes in his column this morning, "From the time the accusations were raised in 1983 by attorneys for cop killer Andrew Wilson until fairly recently, the collective attitude in this city was of disbelief, of not wanting to believe such a thing possible and perhaps worse - not caring enough to demand the truth."

What could possibly account for the "collective attitude" of the city? Where in the world do people get their views? Were citizens carrying on conversations about Burge apart from what appeared in the media - somehow receiving information to shape their views from other sources like, say, transcendental meditation?

If the media had been as aggressive about the Burge torture allegations as they have been about, say, the Hired Truck scandal or, even more to the point, how great the 2016 Olympics will be or the status of Kerry Wood's arm, perhaps this would have been resolved - and with more satisfaction - long ago.

Even the lone reporter whose heroic reporting was long ignored by the mainstream media despite its obvious and amazing thoroughness had to swim upstream in his own shop. "His editor suggested he move on to the next subject," Brown writes of John Conroy, a journalist more deserving than anyone in this city of a Pulitzer Price and a MacArthur genius grant and whatever else could be bestowed upon him.

Instead, he was laid off last year so the Reader could take his surprisingly paltry salary off the books.

Conroy tells Brown that the people of Chicago would have been more willing to believe the Burge saga if we lived in rural Mississippi, not a (supposedly) sophisticated metropolis in the 1980s.

Here is where I think Conroy, for once, is wrong.

On the same day that Burge was finally arrested, Thomas J. Maloney died. Maloney was the Cook County judge convicted in 1993 for fixing three murder trials. Chicago is exactly the kind of place where this sort of thing happens.

And what of our mayor?

"Richard Brzeczek, who was police superintendent, informed Richard M. Daley, who was Cook County state's attorney, in writing that there was credible evidence Burge and his men had tortured a suspect," the Sun-Times editorial notes.

"But Daley looked away."

The paper hasn't had any problem endorsing him for mayor every four years, though.

"Mayor Richard Daley, who was state's attorney at the time, and current State's Atty. Richard Devine, who was then Daley's top assistant, also turned a deaf ear," the Tribune says in its editorial today.

The paper hasn't had any problem either endorsing him for mayor every four years.

Just what would it take to disqualify Daley from office - photos of him personally attaching alligator clips to a black suspect's testicles?

I saw some video of a squirming and smirking Daley taking questions about Burge on Chicago Tonight last night. It was disquieting to say the least; there was our fair leader trying to slough off queries about systematic torture with bad jokes about not holding newspaper reporters accountable for the headlines that appear over their stories.

I'd like to see Daley meet with the torture victims and their families and josh around with them.

The mayor then denied any responsibility - literally saying "You can't hold me responsible."

The Sun-Times found this remarkable given that Daley said in 2006 that "I'll take responsibility for it."

But that was baloney, and we all knew it. He went on to say then, "I'll apologize to anyone . . . Everybody should be held accountable."

You can feel the meaningless insincerity dripping off the page.

Apparently the Sun-Times believed it.

On Tuesday, Daley tried again to deflect blame by asserting that "You don't look back."

Only if something is gaining on you.

"He was asked again about the Brzeczek letter, and just as he was about to explain it and get himself in deeper, he decided otherwise," John Kass writes.

"'Well, I'm not going to go over it, so how's that?' he said."

Even as Daley was insisting to the Chicago press corps that nothing could be done then or in the future about whatever a rogue individual decides to take upon himself - denying the proven scope (122 cases by one count) and institutionalization of the torture that took place here - he was singing a different tune to the New York Times, presumably through the far more articulate voicebox of chief propagandist Jackie Heard.

"Obviously, the Burge case recalls a terrible chapter in our city's history," Mr. Daley said. "Some of the police behavior at that time was detestable, which is why steps have been put into place to ensure that the kinds of acts associated with Jon Burge never happen again."

But don't hold me accountable.

"It took too long - 26 years," Carol Marin writes. "And it took the intervention of the feds.

"That's because neither the Chicago Police Department nor the Cook County state's attorney's office nor Mayor Daley, who once served as state's attorney, nor a court-appointed special prosecutor had the courage or the political will to stand up against the shame that Burge brought upon this city."

Richard M. Daley is in his 19th year as mayor.

Posted by Lou at 08:45 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix

Before we turn our eyes to Week 7 in the NFL, which saw even more stars steered from their starting line-ups by injuries and other issues, let's focus our attention on matters in which we can still invest some hope. That's right, the Fantasy NBA season is only just beginning, and not too much has gone wrong yet - unless you're a wishful Washington Wizards fan eager to show your support by drafting Gilbert Arenas (PG) and Brendan Haywood (C) early. If so, please reconsider, as both have suffered season-obliterating injuries.

Here's a quick position-by-position round-up of the players worth watching this season:

PG
Best Man
* Chris Paul. Duh . . . Will be the No. 1 pick in most leagues. Will lead NBA in assists and steals. Should improve points-per-game, field goal percentage and may lead New Orleans deep into the post-season.

Sleeper Studs
* Jose Calderon. Getting more popular by the minute. Will lead strong Toronto attack. Great FG% and free throw percentage, and will improve in every stat category.

* Jordan Farmar. We mentioned Mike Conley as one sleeper last week. Farmar's another. Show-off hi-jinks aside, he's having a great pre-season. He'll spell Derek Fisher and Kobe, but may see more time as the season progresses.

Avoid
* Baron Davis. I know - he's a Top 10 stats player to a lot of people, but he's already got a finger injury nagging him and we haven't even started yet. Too injury-prone to pick where his numbers rank him.

SG
Best Man
* Kobe in a landslide. Again, no surprise. Will probably lead the NBA in points again, but could be even better than last year all-around with a strong group around him.

Sleeper Studs
* Brandon Roy. Yes, he's a PG/SG, but SG-like numbers say it all. All eyes may be on Greg Oden, and that will help Roy by the real key in Portland.

* Ronnie Brewer. Strong pre-season. Will start at SG in Utah, but probably splitting time with Kyle Korver. Would help if he could shoot the trey, but brings great all around game, stealing balls like a PG.

Avoid
* Andre Iguodala. He is really moving from SF to SG, and shooting all those jumpers may not be his thing. Elton Brand will take the scoring load that used to be his alone after Allen Iverson left town.

SF
Best Man
* Lebron. This is the easy part, as with Chris Paul and Kobe. More of the same, but even better with the Cavs set to play a faster game behind PG Mo Williams.

Sleeper Studs
* Francisco Garcia. In Sacramento, he'll back-up John Salmons, who himself was a sleeper stud last year, but Garcia's got huge 3-PT potential and scores quickly once he's on the court. Draft him ahead of where you feel comfortable drafting him.

* Jamario Moon. Was a sleeper last year, but a little inconsistent. I'm a big believer in Toronto this season, and his chances as Jermaine O'Neal and Chris Bosh lure defenders away.

Avoid
* Hedo Turkoglu. Tough call here because he was so fun to watch last year (although not at the United Center), but the NBA's Most Improved Player from last season can't help but disappoint this year. I like Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis to come on even stronger this year, and the Turk may suffer.

PF
Best Man
* Amare Stoudemire. Great offensive threat. Supposedly will improve FT% this year, and has worked on his generally weak defense. Could have a slim chance to lead the league in scoring if he stays healthy.

Sleeper Studs
* Antawn Jamison. Supposedly is healthy. We'll see, but he averages a double-double, which we love. Could score even more as he and Caron Butler share the load with Arenas out.

* Zack Randolph. Yes, a multiple-season bust, but re-born under Mike D'Antoni in New York. Watch those rebounds and minutes rise as D-Antoni gets tired of tired, old Eddy Curry.

Avoid
* Drew Gooden. Don't believe the hype. You can't build an offense around Gooden, even if his shot has improved. I think Vinny Del Negro will be doing a lot of experimenting, and Gooden will end up with his usual respectable numbers, but not much more. Pick him in the final round if he's still available.

C
Best Man
* Dwight Howard. His pre-season rank puts him in the fourth round or so (probably his C-only eligibility hurting his position), but for God's sake, take him at the end of the second or early third. Will lead the league in rebounds again, and I bet he finishes second in points among C-eligible players behind Stoudemire.

Sleeper Studs
* Andrew Bogut. Besides Spencer Hawes, who may be a deeper sleeper, Bogut will be the biggest surprise at C. With Scotty Skiles in town, his defensive stats will be up, and he's capable of 17 PPG or more.
Al Horford: He's not really a C, but fills that role in Atlanta's system. Double-doubles will be in abundance. Was decent but tentative last season. Will be just plain good this year.

Avoid
* Jermaine O'Neal. Has there been a more disappointing player in the NBA the last two seasons? Toronto looks very good, but Bosh, Moon and Calderon will be doing more of the work.

That'll be the position-by-position guide I have in mind this week as I draft in a 10-team league. More specifically, here's who I'm gunning for the first five rounds:

Round 1
Target: Amare Stoudemire (PF/C)
Back-up: Caron Butler (SF)
Analysis: Stoudemire's injury issues scare me, but the buzz about his improvement doesn't. Butler is often underrated, and it is not out of line to call him a mini-LeBron. If a draw the 10th spot in the draft order, I may still get sneers, but I'm taking Butler.

Round 2
Target: Deron Williams (PG)
Back-up: Steve Nash (PG)
Analysis: I'm a big believer in locking up big-name PGs early, as many owners devalue assists. Williams may miss the first few games, but will just keep getting better, while Nash is sliding but still good.

Round 3
Target: Dwight Howard (C)
Back-up: Jose Calderon (PG)
Analysis: Maybe I'm over-reacting, but I'm actually scared someone will take Howard in Round 2. Same with Calderon, a chic pick at PG if you're drawing late in the round.

Round 4
Target: Paul Pierce (SG/SF)
Back-up: Carmelo Anthony (SF)
Analysis: It depends on how much you believe in the decline of the Celtics this year, but don't doubt the veracity of The Truth. 'Melo's points are a bargain if he's still available here.

Round 5
Target: Brandon Roy (PG/SG)
Back-up: Lamar Odom (SF/PF)
Analysis: Roy we've talked about. I think he'll survive under the radar to Round 5. Odom averaged a double-double last season in is part of that strong Lakers group around Kobe.
There you go. Follow that plan, and you'll have one-third or so of a championship roster. Next week, I'l talk about how this plan worked out for me, or perhaps how it didn't work out at all.

-

Fantasy Football Round-Up
Returning to the gridiron is something some of you may want to do at this point, considering the following Week 7 disappointments:

* Tony Romo, QB, injured, out Week 7 and maybe Week 8
* Reggie Bush, RB, 55 Rush YDs, 5 rec. YDs, 16 Ret. YDs, out indefinitely after knee surgery
* Larry Johnson, RB, out Week 8, assault allegations
* Kellen Winslow, TE, out, staph infection and Week 8 suspension
* Laurence Maroney, RB, injured, out for season
* Jon Kitna, QB, injured, out for season

All of these injuries or incidents occurred within one week. So, who's healthy and surprising us with strong performances?

* Dan Orlovsky, QB: 265 Pass YDs, 1 TD
* Mewelde Moore, RB: 120 Rush YDs, 3 TDs
* Matt Cassel, QB: 185 Pass YDs, 3 TDs
* Calvin Johnson, WR: 154 Rec. YDs, 1 TD

Can we count on any of those guys in Week 8? Lions Orlovsky and Johnson have a very tough assignment against the Washington secondary, so count them out. Moore deserves more chances, but Willie Parker probably will be back for Pittsburgh. Cassel should light up St. Louis, but that's what the Cowboys had in mind last week before the Rams crushed them.

Okay, then, who can you count on in Week 8? Predictions:

* Jason Campbell, QB: 220 Pass YDs, 2 TDs vs. Detroit
* Thomas Jones, 100 Rush YDs, 2 TDs vs. K.C.
* Steve Smith, WR: 120 Rec. YDs, 2 TDs vs Ariz.

Next week is the mid-way point of the season. We'll take a closer look at the players who should be star performers down the stretch.

-

Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears weekly, analyzing fantasy football and basketball trends with the goal of helping you win the envy of your league, the ire of your spouse and one of those little virtual trophies. Send him your gripes, compliments, suggestions and broker's fees.


Posted by Lou at 06:11 AM | Permalink

Cleveland Rocked

I'm not from Cleveland so I have to admit I'd never heard of Upbeat before. But now I've got the Internets and so I'm clued in. Upbeat was to Cleveland what Shindig and Hullabaloo later became to teen America in the mid-60s: The TV cradle of everything that mattered in rock 'n' roll. Everyone who meant anything to rock's classic era played on that show, which was syndicated out of WEWS-TV in the mid- to late-60s. The reason they did is that Cleveland, of course, was rock 'n' roll's greatest testing grounds: If you could score a hit record there, the theory went, you could score one anywhere.

Upbeat had a staff photographer during that golden era: George Shuba. He had a chance to take some of the most amazing, luminous, black and white shots of the likes of The Beatles, The Who, Jackie Wilson, James Brown, pretty much everyone who appeared on the show during the most exciting time in music history. Those pix are now on display in a new exhibit at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in, naturally, Cleveland. They're not the same ones you see all the time of these legends.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer did sort of a mini-documentary of Shuba's work, with the man himself narrating it, as an adjunct to the RRHOF exhibit. I'm including it below, but jump below the fold because I've singled out some of the highlights of what Shuba says not only about the photos shown in this presentation, but also of the art of rock photography in an era when there no 35-millimeter, digital SLRs!

Rock and Roll photographer George Shuba

George Shuba on:

The city of Cleveland: We are the home of rock 'n' roll. We started it. (Editor's note: Eat our shorts, Memphis!)

The Beatles: I wasn't in tune with them. I had to watch The Ed Sullivan Show to find out who they were. At the concert I got beat up by the police because the kids started to riot. I was taking pictures of the police, and they didn't want to be portrayed in that light. I managed to get some important shots.

Aretha Franklin: She served me coffee backstage. I said I should be getting coffee for you. She said, "No, you're the media. You make us famous." (Editor's note: YES, dammit! That's how all rock stars should treat the media.)

Jackie Wilson: After his performance, girls just threw him down on the ground and lip-locked him. I was using a roll-film camera, no 35-millimeter, motor-drives. I had to re-crank it, re-cock the shutter, and shoot the next photo. You had to anticipate what they were going to do before they even did it.

James Brown: He would drag his hand across a line of silk suits, touch every one, until he felt that was the suit for that night and that performance.

Stevie Wonder: Why did they put him on riser? He's blind. He knew exactly how far he could go.

Jimi Hendrix: I never knew who Jimi Hendrix was. I spent the whole day with him.

Jim Morrison: I told Ray Manzarek, Jimmy's out of it. He said that was part of the act. I said, yeah. Look at the dilation of his eyes. They were so dilated, I could read the back of his head.

-

From the Beachwood Country All-Stars to Dylan's Grammy Museum, the finest bones of rock 'n' roll are rattlin' 'round Don's Root Cellar.

Posted by Don at 12:54 AM | Permalink

October 21, 2008

The [Tuesday] Papers

BREAKING: The news broke this morning that federal authorities have arrested Jon Burge and he will face and "charges that he obstructed a civil rights investigation by lying in a civil deposition."

Message Control
"In the first day of City Council hearings on Mayor Richard Daley's 2008 budget, several aldermen questioned why the administration spends millions of dollars to get out its message to the public," the Tribune reports.

In order to drown out stories like this one!

"The aldermen on Monday cited a recent Tribune article detailing how City Hall spends $4.7 million on salaries for more than 50 public information officials and has paid millions of dollars more to public relations firms."

The mayor apparently told disgruntled union officials that if they get three men to a garbage truck, he gets three men to a press release.

"[Daley budget director Bennett] Johnson said public information officials deal with inquiries from the media and Freedom of Information Act requests."

And it takes a lot of people to say No!

"Daley has defended the public relations contracts as being 'worth it'."

And he's said it brandishing election results as he's rushed off to another puff interview with Time.

*

But to be fair to the mayor, I have to point out a correction I added late Monday afternoon to the item "Mayor Bribes Students." Sometimes the mayor wastes private money, not public. Still, I regret the error.

Unity Ticket
"He will have a role as one of my advisers," Barack Obama says of Colin Powell.

"Like, if I ever need to send someone to the United Nations for something really important!"

Health and Stealth
Obama's doctor won't talk, but his dentist will.

Polling Place
Rich Miller finds some nuggets in the Tribune's poll data today that didn't make it into their story.

Tales From The CTA
I didn't know they still played the shell game on the El.

Patti's Problems
Peter Contos is the investment bank executive who hired Patti Blagojevich for her connections but was disappointed by her failure to bring in business, including state pension funds. A Peter G. Contos III is described on his firm's website as the company's chief compliance officer.

I don't know what a chief compliance officer does at a financial services firm, I'm just sayin'.

Rock Lobster
I came across the fake receipt for this yesterday on several websites. I thought the signature was off.

Morning Man
WVON's new morning host is Jeremy Levitt. Levitt will fill the 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. slot Monday through Friday.

Levitt's bio from the station's website says that he is "a public international lawyer, political scientist and Africanist . . . [he] has traveled, researched or worked in 27 African countries. He has authored one book, The Evolution of Deadly Conflict in Liberia: From Paternaltarianism to State Collapse . . . and is currently working on a ground-breaking study, Illegal Peace? Examining the Legality of Power-Sharing with African Warlords and Rebels . . . [he] has served as a consultant or technical expert to various institutions, including the World Bank Group, Directorate-Operational Policy and Country Systems; World Bank Institute; International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty; and the United Nations Commission for Refugees."

Duh 101
It took a lot of supposedly smart people gathered by the Nieman Foundation at Harvard to figure this out:

"A panel of top journalists tries to derive some lessons from the elite media's failure to challenge what turned out to be a specious argument for war in Iraq. Among its conclusions: Journalists should aggressively defy the spin machine; should build on each others' work; should write for Americans outside the Beltway; should embrace accountability reporting on every beat; and should avoid the he-said she-said stories and instead adopt the directness and transparency increasingly found on journalistic blogs."

In other words, go back and read your Journalism 101 syllabus. I mean, really.

Hero of the Week
Some people choose to be happy.

Blaise of Glory
A friend from my college paper, The Minnesota Daily, starts a new series at his upstate New York newspaper about his battle with cancer.

The Wondrous World Wide Web
Wookieepedia.

The Model Train Master
The Trib's Rob Elder profiles Ron Barber today, an artist who works on the model train exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, which "replicates the trip from downtown Chicago to Seattle."

The best part of the story is near the end when we learn that "Each builder/designer has his own fingerprint, usually a hidden oddity - or 'Easter egg' in the model.

"For example: A tiny Bigfoot lives up in the hills. Somewhere in downtown Chicago, the Incredible Hulk lurks. Dozens more lie hidden away, including a scene from 'Singin' in the Rain.'

"Even today, Barber is sketching out a UFO crop circle, a la the movie Signs. But he won't say where.

"'Oh, that's the trade secret,' he says. 'That's the puzzle. Little kids go nuts trying to find 'em.' (Their presence in the model is mentioned on the museum's Web site.)"

Here is the video that goes with the story:

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Out of this world.

Posted by Lou at 09:32 AM | Permalink

Chomsky: Obama The Lesser Evil

First Colin Powell, now Noam Chomsky! But put away those illusions, he says.

-

And as long as we're here, let's check in on some other recent Chomsky video.

Nader, Chomsky On The Bailout, Capitalism

-

You Have To Work

-

Ali G Interview

Posted by Lou at 07:05 AM | Permalink

Big In Japan: Chicago Blues

It is ironic that while Japan is considered one of the most ethnically homogeneous countries, its music scene - specifically in Tokyo - is one of the most creative and diverse in the world.

Whatever a fan wants, Tokyo has it. Drum and bass? Japanese pop? If it exists, you can find it here.

Like big-name foreign acts? So do the Japanese: Billy Joel, Lenny Kravitz, Radiohead and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are popular and find time to tour the Tokyo area. The summer brings two huge music festivals, Fuji Rock and Summer Sonic, which headline popular Japanese groups as well as foreign acts like My Bloody Valentine, the Sex Pistols and Death Cab for Cutie.

Are you a fan of club culture? That, too, is big in Tokyo. All-night venues like Womb, Unit and others host a variety of DJ music every night of the week. There is even a smattering of reggae and hip-hop thrown in the mix for good measure.

Still not satisfied? Maybe you need some blues or jazz? Tokyo mainstays like American bass great Paul Jackson sling soul while local musicians show their love for making foreign styles their own. A healthy amount of dark, smoky clubs that mark the genre are spread throughout the city.

Looking for something more . . . Japanese? Add J-pop, J-rock and traditional Japanese music to the mix and the result is a truly unique, and sometimes stupefying, Tokyo music experience.

When an urge for live music hit me Friday, I decided to visit one of Tokyo's best-known live blues/jazz clubs, Jirokichi.

Located in west Tokyo's bustling Koenji neighborhood, Jirokichi is this city's answer to the underground jazz and blues caverns of Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New Orleans. Upon entering, patrons are treated to a low-lit main room adorned with wall graffiti and avant-garde art - or as my companion for the evening put it, "something like post-modern confusion." A splash of the tropical can be found as well, as fake palm trees dot the club's corners.

According to legend, Jirokichi the Rat was the Robin Hood of 19th century Edo (now Tokyo). How appropriate, then, that after paying the 2,700 yen (about $26) cover charge, I felt a bit like I had been robbed. Even more disappointing was the manager's insistence that I not take any pictures. Oops!

soulmusic.jpg

Although advertised as a blues bar with "real black music," we were instead treated to a softly crooning Japanese songstress with a love for overly loud, slow and disappointingly long Japanese elevator-jazz ballads.

akemi.jpg

She is Akemi, the frontwoman for Akemi no Sekai (Akemi's World), and although she had decent pipes, by the end of the performance, it seemed I had heard "The Girl from Ipanema" a dozen times.

The experience was not all bad; the encore was a satisfying blues number about a painful breakup, and the ambiance of Jirokichi demonstrated why it has attracted a cult following for almost 30 years. And despite being fleeced on the cover charge, it cost only 600 yen (about $5.65, moderate for Tokyo) for a beer - and from what I hear, that's a bargain at Wrigley Field these days.

dan.jpg

-

Previously in Big in Japan:
* Not Fukudome
* The Yokohama Cubs
* The Chicago Way
* Not The Olympics
* Charisma Man
* Not American Football
* J-Girl Style

Posted by Lou at 06:46 AM | Permalink

October 20, 2008

The [Monday] Papers

"It is hard to imagine the Bears executing better on offense (they basically put a half a hundred on 'em . . . half a hundred!) despite still not running the ball very well," our very own Jim Coffman writes in SportsMonday. "Silly stories in both dailies late last week argued it was a problem that the Bears were getting away from their "identity," which is of course pounding away at defenses with power backs. But even if such an identity really exists (and it hasn't since Mr. Payton was running amok in the 70s - and he didn't win a championship until he hooked up with a competent thrower for a little while in the 80s, did he?), it is mostly because the team's last long-term star at quarterback was Sid Luckman.

"Maybe it is time for a new identity."

Family Affairs
"Cook County President Todd Stroger's best friend's wife, county purchasing agent Carmen Triche-Colvin, was suspended after an inspector general investigation found she violated county policies for awarding contracts and used a fax machine in violation of federal law," the Sun-Times reports.

And that may have been the appropriate punishment. But here's the problem: If Triche-Colvin had committed a serious enough offense, would Stroger be willing to fire the wife of his best friend?

And here's where it potentially gets even more complicated: The person who suspended Triche-Colvin was county chief executive officer Donna Dunnings - Stroger's cousin.

*

Stroger's best friend is identified in the article as state Rep. Marlow Colvin, who was appointed to Stroger's legislative seat when Stroger was appointed to his aldermanic seat, before he was appointed to succeed his dad on the ballot for the Cook County board presidency.

Daley's Health Plan
So, basically, more flies in your soup.

Two-Faced
* Neil Steinberg has made it known of late in his columns that he's liberal, including today's description of George Will as a "smart, fair man" - even though he's a conservative Republican. Perhaps Neil thinks we've all forgotten the raging right-wing editorials he wrote - and collected a paycheck for - while the editorial board was controlled by Conrad Black and David Radler.

Aural Fantasy
Cathleen Falsani's explication of her aura today sent me scurrying to my Skeptic's Dictionary, which notes that "In the New Age, even the lowly amoeba has an aura, as does the mosquito and every lump of goat dung."

In short, auras are bunk.

"That auras reflect health is a common notion among true believers," the Skeptic's Dictionary says. "However, there is no consensus on what the colors mean. Edgar Cayce not only gave a meaning to each of seven colors and related the colors to possible health disorders, he also connected each color to a note on the musical scale and a planet in the solar system."

Pontiac Prose
A Beachwood reader writes: "Stupid family-oriented businesses . . . " (fourth item)

Mayor Bribes Students
"Daley Defends Paying Students For Grades: 'Wealthy parents - they give their kids a car'."

Not with taxpayer money they don't.

*

CORRECTION 4:28 P.M.: The program is funded with $2 million from private sources. So while mildly amusing, my crack about taxpayer money has no basis in fact. Sorry!

*

"Critics contend that the bounties are tantamount to 'bribery' and that long-term success depends on self-motivation and the love of learning.

"Daley strongly disagreed."

With which part?

*

"Green for Grades is the brainchild of a Harvard University economics professor."

Where do I start?

Design Master
"[Local design guru Charles] Harrison got the chance to upgrade the View Master in 1958 when he was working at Robert Podall Associates at Wacker and Michigan," Sandra Guy writes in the Sun-Times.

"Harrison redesigned the View Master so that it could be made by injection molding, which made it lighter and gave it its bright color."

Thank you, Charles Harrison, for enriching our lives. I still don't get how those things work.

Back in Black Ice
* Jim DeRogatis gives AC/DC's new record, Black Ice, three-and-a-half stars, and writes:

"Thirty-five years and 17 studio releases into a career that has sold 200 million albums worldwide, Australian hard-rockers AC/DC aren't about to mess with the formula, but they don't need to, since the formula never grows old."

DeRogatis then compares AC/DC to beer: "There's no such thing as having too much in the fridge."

Jim DeRogatis, I salute you.

* Greg Kot writes: "How long can a band get away with making the same album? If the band happens to be AC/DC, the answer is, '33 years and counting'."

Ferdy Film Frenzy
Continuing our blurbing of Marilyn Ferdinand's coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival with a two-fer today. Go to Ferdy on Films for full reviews and details.

"Happy-Go-Lucky: Before the sold-out screening of Happy-Go-Lucky, CIFF founder Michael Kutza introduced director Mike Leigh by letting us know that Leigh's very first film, Bleak Moments, won the Gold Hugo Award for best feature film at the 1972 CIFF. Now, 25 years later, we were about to view his 18th film, with a title diametrically opposite to his first film. In between, Leigh has turned in some pretty dark stories of the human condition. Had Mike Leigh finally gotten his fill of pain? Was Happy-Go-Lucky to be his breakthrough from beneath the heavy mists of English pessimism?

"Not quite, but with Happy-Go-Lucky, Leigh seems to signal that he's willing to accept it all - good, bad, indifferent - and help the naysayers adjust to some new realities of British life: multiculturalism, the firm grip of feminism that allows people like his main character Poppy (Sally Hawkins) to remain happily single, and death to the Angry Young Man (maybe). In point of fact, however, Leigh has been aiming for a new humanism for a very long time. In Poppy, he creates his and Hawkins' version of a guiding light."

The trailer:

-

"Heaven on Earth: A pre-wedding party of a large group of Indian women dressed beautifully in vibrant, gold-threaded saris, armfuls of bangle bracelets, and many-tiered chandelier earrings danced with joyous freedom, preparing a beautiful bride named Chand (Bollywood star Preity Zinta) for her journey to Canada to meet her betrothed for the first time. I expected Chand to experience many feelings that go along with being in a strange environment among strange people. But I did not expect this radiant bride to become the extremely unhappy, isolated victim of spousal abuse. Indians are taught that cobras are very powerful and can assume the shape of anything they wish. Chand did not make the connection between her imagination and the miraculous appearance of a cobra in Brampton, Ontario. Cut off from her roots, abused and reviled by her witchy mother-in-law and the men in the family, she suffered the usual fate of domestic abuse victims. The folklore of the cobra connects directly with the first scene - the celebration of the women. It is in the suppressed feminine power that Chand finds strength and a way to defeat her abusers."

The trailer:

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Happy-go-lucky.

Posted by Lou at 07:33 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday

I almost hopped in my car and drove down to Soldier Field to volunteer for cornerback duty for the Bears on Sunday. But I just can't get out of my back-pedal like I used to. OK, OK, I can't even get into my back-pedal. Fortunately, good old Zack Bowman, who moved up from no-string to third-string to first-string in the last week bounced back from what appeared to be a significant arm injury to finish off the 48-41 victory (you can't really call it a triumph can you? I mean, 41 points against? We're not calling it a conquest either) with the Bears' fourth interception.

What's that? You say you haven't had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Bowman? Well, he's a rookie free agent out of Nebraska who grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. At Barlett High School there he starred on the football and basketball teams. On the court he teamed with 2008 Final Four hero Mario Chalmers. The Bears' web site (which contains all these fun little nuggets) spells his name two different ways (Zackary and Zachary). But it identifies his father as Zackary Bowman and that's the clincher. In his first NFL game, Bowman put up six points to go with his pick and he now leads fellow former Cornhusker Mike Brown 1-0 in two categories on the season.

By the time he notched his interception, Bowman was practically an old pro. He was the gunner on the punt coverage team who not only recovered the muff that became the Bears' third touchdown of the first half but also forced it when he pushed return man Charles Gordon into the bouncing ball. There was also the fact that Brad Maynard's beautiful, booming punt turned over perfectly and bounced back away from the goal line just like they drew it up. But the guy whose actions were most pivotal during that whole sequence was probably former Oregon State standout Joey LaRocque. It was LaRocque, another rookie, who initially dove in and prevented Gordon from falling on the ball after it deflected off his arm. All in all, it was a huge day for first-year guys, what with Craig Steltz smothering Chris Kluwe's pathetic attempt at a first-quarter punt after he dropped a perfect snap, and second-round running back Matt Forte doing all the things he does so well, and first-round pick Chris Williams . . . well, Williams was still on the bench recuperating from a back injury the Bears should have known he would suffer, but that's neither here nor there. It was also an eventful day for all sorts of veterans.

So much to write about and only one little column . . .

* It is hard to imagine the Bears executing better on offense (they basically put a half a hundred on 'em . . . half a hundred!) despite still not running the ball very well. Silly stories in both dailies late last week argued it was a problem that the Bears were getting away from their "identity," which is of course pounding away at defenses with power backs. But even if such an identity really exists (and it hasn't since Mr. Payton was running amok in the 70s - and he didn't win a championship until he hooked up with a competent thrower for a little while in the 80s, did he?), it is mostly because the team's last long-term star at quarterback was Sid Luckman.

Maybe it is time for a new identity. After all, the one way to guarantee putrid performance is to insist on running the ball when your strengths and the opponents' schemes favor passing. Now it did appear that for a short stretch there in the second half (when high-priced free agent defensive end Jared Allen almost earned this week's paycheck of however many hundreds of thousands of dollars with a couple sacks and a forced fumble), the Bears paid a price (measured in increased pressure on the quarterback) for a lack of balance. But they scored 34 offensive points. It doesn't matter if they're running or passing. They are scoring. And don't tell me they're wearing out the defense by not possessing the ball more. The defense stunk from start to just before the finish (but those last two plays were pretty sweet huh?). Fatigue had nuthin' to do with it.

Kyle Orton has proven himself capable of making it work with a series of wide receivers during the past month. How impressive was it that he kept going back to (Marty) Booker after one egregious drop of a potential touchdown pass and another off the fingertips that seemed at least reasonably catchable (but really wasn't in part because Booker didn't seem to pick up the ball until too late). Part of it was necessity, due to the fact that Devin Hester had joined Brandon Lloyd on the injured list and Rashied Davis wasn't finding open space, but it was also a matter of Orton giving yet another guy a chance to show what he could do.

As far as pass-catchers in general go, the one guy who has been a constant all season has been Greg Olsen (did Forte catch a pass Sunday other than that one early screen?). And it wasn't a coincidence that Olsen started the scoring with his second touchdown of the year, piled up a half-dozen catches in between, and ended it with a big catch and run right before the huge first down that forced the Vikings into truly desperate straits during their last possession. Olsen can get open and Orton can get him the ball. Fellow tight end Desmond Clark had his moment in the sun in the second half, running a couple exquisite routes right in a row, the second of which (when combined with a typically perfect Orton pass) sprung him to the goal line. Unfortunately, Clark can't seem to finish plays in the end zone the last month-plus. If he's not being knocked off quick-hitting routes that require a little more strength than he seems capable of mustering (against Philadelphia and Tampa Bay), he's fumbling the football just before reaching the goal line. Fortunately his teammate was Rashieedy (Davis) on the spot to give the Bears a 41-31 lead.

* That field goal at the end of the first half was huge. To have gone into halftime tied after not just one but two tremendously lucky special teams touchdowns, well, that might have pushed the Vikings confidence level into the danger zone. A couple other things: watching Kluwe's terrible play on the first punt snap reminded me yet again of how fortunate we are to watch Pat Mannelly toss perfect long snap after perfect long snap to Mr. Maynard, who never misses them. Speaking of Maynard, good call not having him squib that punt with a little over a minute remaining, Lovie!

* I once again had a chance to take in large amounts of Sunday's game on the radio as well as the screen, and while squawk box stalwarts Jeff Joniak and Tom Thayer were very good on some things, they were weak on others. Joniak had the worst call of the year on Adrian Peterson's goal-line run at the end of the Vikings' first possession, proclaiming "He's not going to get in!" before being forced to back-pedal (and his back-pedal isn't any good either) and note that, whoops, Peterson did advance the ball into the end zone with some room to spare. And Thayer described Corey Graham's interception as primarily a great play by Graham. On the TV side, analyst Tim Ryan correctly pointed out that the pick was almost completely the result of a terrible pass by Gus Frerrote.

* The chaos at the corners explained away some of the Bears' defensive deficiencies, but not nearly enough of them. The Vikings scored five touchdowns and two field goals despite benefiting from only one Bears turnover. The worst play of the day was that long Peterson touchdown run. Replays showed how Lance Briggs not only took the wrong angle toward the Vikings' backfield on that one, he also partially cut off Brian Urlacher in the process. Third linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer dove and missed a tackle, strong safety Kevin Payne over-pursued, and free safety Mike Brown couldn't make up any ground in the last 20 yards before pay dirt.

* The last few years of Tommie Harris's career wouldn't even fit into a movie. It would have to be a mini-series. Hopefully the awesome one-handed sack on the third-to-last play is the start of a happy stretch, if not a happy ending.

* At some point this season, Mike Brown is going to break up a pass. Heck, maybe he'll even record an interception. But I'm not sure I can take another game's worth of his arriving a beat (or more) behind the ball on pass after pass. He came up and made a few solid plays in run support on Sunday, but he just can't seem to make a decisive play in coverage any more.

And finally . . .

Just a thought or two about the Denis Savard firing. You can't pretend to be a competent organ-i-zation when you're firing a coach four games into a season. If there was even a small chance this was going to happen, the firing needed to go down way back in the off-season, when a new coach would at least have had a chance to organize things the way he wanted them in training camp and on into the season. The Hawks may have enough talent to make this a successful (simply qualifying for the playoffs will be enough after not doing so 11 times in the past 12 years) season despite this ridiculousness. But they won't improve as much as they should have because the brass either wasn't decisive enough early enough (I don't think so) or it didn't give Savard the chance he deserved after the team improved by leaps and bounds under his leadership last year (I do think so).

-

Jim Coffman brings you the city's best weekend sports roundup every Monday. It's always a pleasure, isn't it? You can write to him personally! Please include a real name if you would like your comments to be considered for publication.

Posted by Lou at 02:19 AM | Permalink

TV Notes: The Hills, Drs. Drew & Katz, Mighty Putty

1. If you, like me, watch The Hills - don't be afraid to admit it - you will love The Hills According To Me, which must be a total mindfuck to LC, Audrina and the gang, seeing as how it is MTV itself viciously satirizing its own show, as well as an example of the meta-meta media universe we now live in.

Here's a sample:

-

2. I don't understand this commercial.

-

First, why are they using cell phones to communicate? One microphone would do the job, right. Second, a total bogus presentation of legislation as unnecessarily complicated. "Need clean water, guys? Aye!"

Well, you know, just how are you gonna get clean water, firefighters? The water won't clean itself.

3. I'm a huge Dr. Drew fan and he's got a fascinating if squeamish new show, Sex . . . With Mom and Dad, in which he moderates therapy sessions with teens and their folks talking about . . . sex.

But geez, this is . . . wrong.

-

4. I watched The Real Housewives of Orange County and its New York City sequel with hateful fascination, but I just don't know if I can invest emotionally in the new Atlanta version. Two of the four wives (out of five) are the spouses of professional athletes and that is just . . . uninteresting.

5. TV show mash-up idea: Saving Nancy Grace.

6. I know this is old, but in case you missed it, George Foreman is a grillionaire.

7. New episodes of Saving Grace won't air until March, but I just started watching at the tail end of the last season. I have to say that Holly Hunter's Grace Hanadarko is a compelling character, but the show is kind of ruined for me by the angel. It would be more interesting if not for this contrivance.

8. Home Movies reruns are back on Comedy Central, and that's a very good thing.

-

Also recommended: Dr. Katz reruns. Still in Squigglevision.

-

9. Metalocalypse rules.

-

10. Is there anything Mighty Putty can't do? And it's not even a glue!


Posted by Lou at 01:27 AM | Permalink

Inflight Radio: American

We've already brought you the inflight stylings of United and Delta; comes American, which compiled its attempt at a hipster playlist in the sky with the help of Paste magazine.

Featured tracks:

1. Goodbye Midnight/The Spring Standards

2. Without a Word/Giant Sand

3. Wreck/The Bittersweets

4. Furr/Blitzen Trapper

5. Varsity Drug/Slow Runner

6. Life Like/The Rosebuds

7. Everything Has Changed/William Fitzsimmons

Other featured artists:

1. Freebo

2. Stacie Rose

3. Kathleen Grace Band

4. Dick Van Dyke and The Vantastix

5. Queen & Paul Rodgers

6. Seth Kauffman

7. The Spinto Band

8. National Eye

9. The High Strung

10. The Peekers

11. Golden Boots

12. Tulsa

13. Pepi Ginsberg

14. Matt Duke

15. Side F/X featuring Kim Cameron

16. Lily Wilson

17. The Weepies

18. Old Crow Medicine Show

19. The Submarines

20. Lisa Miskovsky

21. Raine Maida

22. Kathleen Haskard

23. Thea Gilmore

24. La Fleur Fatale

25. Aubry Agard

26. Laura Borealis

27. Greg Summerlin

28. Raining Jane

-

From the Beachwood jukebox to Marfa Public Radio, we have the playlists you need to be a better citizen of the Rock and Roll Nation.

Posted by Lou at 12:36 AM | Permalink

Reviewing the Reviews: Abraham Obama, Super Slackers, Scorsese & Eggers

Who knew - among us mere civilians - that Robert Todd Lincoln, Abe's son, had such a strange life.

"He knew that he would never have been made Secretary of War or Ambassador to Great Britain without the Lincoln name, and his weird accidental presence at the assassinations of Garfield and McKinley, in 1881 and 1901, must have seemed a fateful punishment for refusing his father's invitation to Ford's Theater on April 14, 1865," Thomas Mallon writes in the New Yorker.

Paging conspiracy theorists and spiritualists! I mean, my God!

"Robert Lincoln is the unhappy central presence in Looking for Lincoln: The Making of an American Icon," Mallon writes. "Among the nearly fifteen thousand books published on Lincoln since his death, this one, which will appear next month, is an oddly magnificent downer, lavish and pictorial, but more wince-inducing than anything else, covering a post-Reconstruction era that prompted Frederick Douglass to pronounce emancipation, in its actual practice, 'a stupendous fraud' against Southern blacks and Lincoln himself."

Abraham Obama
"Abraham Lincoln does not a democracy make," John R. MacArthur writes in You Can't Be President: The Outrageous Barriers To Democracy In America.

"And even then," Zay Smith of the Sun-Times writes, "remember that Abe was his time's version of a corporate lawyer.

"MacArthur lays out the story from the days of the Founding Fathers to these days. It is a story of power out of money and money out of power, the two embraced and twirling on a ballroom floor, and woe betide you if you tap a shoulder and ask for the next dance."

It is a story that MacArthur lays out to the present day.

"As for Obama?" Smith writes. "MacArthur starts the narrative: 'To read Obama's list of prominent bank, media, law-firm and corporate contributors - 11 of which were also in Clinton's top 20 - was to see a man already deeply compromised . . . '

"The narrative takes us, also, through the story of a candidate who came up from real public service on the Chicago streets the only way a politician can really come up in Chicago, which is to knock on the door of the Daley Machine and never have, after that, the audacity to say nope. You have to dance the dance. You have to unthumb the nose. To lick the metaphorical platter clean, you have to play ball."

Super Slackers
"Sure, Batman got all the attention this summer as The Dark Knight swooped in," Mike Danahey of the Sun-Times News Group wrote this week.

"But there are less-somber, quirkier protectors of the universe ready to take center stage in the new book Who Can Save Us Now? Brand-New Superheroes and Their Amazing (Short) Stories.

"The cast of alternative good guys includes the Meerkat, the creepy Silverfish, Manna Man, who manipulates the minds of televangelists, and west suburban Wayne native Sam Weller's lovable slackers, who aren't exactly sitting up nights worrying about truth, justice and the American way."

"Weller's story, titled "The Quick Stop 5," features five slackers working at a gas station convenience store in Iowa. When there's a biodiesel spill outside, they transform into their alter egos as they huff the fumes.

"'In the process, they inexplicably gain the powers of whatever product from the convenience store they were holding when they inhaled. One becomes a human Slurpee machine. Another turns into beef jerky. Another morphs into a glop of chewing tobacco. It ain't pretty,' said, Weller, a comic book aficionado since childhood."

Roger and Marty
From the University of Chicago Press blog:

"Roger Ebert wrote the first film review that Martin Scorsese ever received: in 1967 for I Call First. Both Ebert and Scorsese were just embarking on their careers. Scorsese by Ebert offers the first record of America's most respected film critic's engagement with the works of America's greatest living director, including reviews, interviews, and reconsiderations. We have an excerpt."

*

Roderick Heath also offers up a Scorsese retrospective over at Ferdy on Films.

The Staggering Story of Illinois
FYI: The Illinois chapter of State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America is written by Dave Eggers.

Posted by Lou at 12:32 AM | Permalink

Cab #583

Date Taken: 10/15/08
From: Downtown
To: Wicker Park

The Cab: A van cab. It was first in line at the Hilton Suites Hotel so I got it all to myself. But I never feel right as a sole rider in a van cab. This one was weird though - not a bench seat but two individual seats behind the driver. Also, an odd odor. Not quite a dead person, but somewhat Seinfeld-ish. I wonder if I'll be able to get it out of my hair. And while the van is clean, it is also vaguely dispiriting in its appearance; there is an odd deathly hue inside the cab. I'm getting faint. I suddenly feel as if I might just die. There isn't even a bench seat to lie down on.

The Driver: Deadly silent. No radio, on private phone conversation. I can't even hear him chomping on his gum. Maybe I'm already dead.

The Driving: Maddeningly passive. Could we more perfectly hit a red light on every block? I could crawl home fast than this. A complete inability to change up the rhythm of the road. Exacerbated by the odd decision to take North Avenue the whole way instead of jumping on the freeway or taking Grand to Milwaukee to Wicker Park. Maybe this is my life passing before me - block by block.

Overall rating: 1 extended arm. And that arm is awarded only because I arrived home safely, though I'm still unsure if I now smell. This ride made me feel bad about myself, and that's not what you want from a paid car trip.

- Steve Rhodes

*

There are more than 6,000 cabs in the city of Chicago. We intend to review every one of them.

Posted by Lou at 12:13 AM | Permalink

October 19, 2008

Mystery Presidential Debate Theater

We wouldn't want your Beachwood collection to be incomplete, so here's where you can find our presidential and vice presidential installments posted over at Division Street.

* Mystery Presidential Debate Theater #1
* Mystery Presidential Debate Theater #2
* Mystery Presidential Debate Theater #3

Also at Division Street:

* Mystery Vice Presidential Debate Theater

* Mystery Democratic Convention Theater #1
* Mystery Democratic Convention Theater #2

* Mystery Republican Convention Theater #1
* Mystery Republican Convention Theater #2
* Mystery Republican Convention Theater #3

-

See the entire Beachwood collection!

Posted by Lou at 09:37 PM | Permalink

October 18, 2008

The Weekend Desk Report

Weekend Desk editor Natasha Julius remains on assignment in India. Stephanie Goldberg once again fills in with her Five Dumbest Ideas of the Week.

1. This election year has been notable for pols and pundits bleating a few hack phrases until most of us were ready to jump out a window. To rank their popularity, we turned to the Google Cliche-O-Meter. The winner by far: "Obama" and "change" with 79,100,000 results, followed by "McCain" and "experience" at 349,000,000. The runner-ups:

* "Wall Street" and "Main Street" - 6,820,000
* "Palin" and "breath of fresh air" - 432,000

Two that showed early promise but peaked too early:

* "knocked it out of the park" - 41,000
* "throw him under the bus" - 14,500

I'd say I'll miss them, but that would be a lie.

2. The revelations about Joe the faux Plumber just keep coming. Now it can be revealed that Joe is no mere working stiff but the scion of a famous family. In fact, his mother and father have written the book on clean toilet bowls.

3. Who knew that Martha Stewart was a cougar? Or that Luke Russert was so versatile?

4. So Angelina Jolie wants to adopt more children. Here are my nominees:

A) The SwiftKids for Truth
B) Cousin Oliver
C) Little Lourdes, Rocco and David

(Can we please have a big, messy, humiliating divorce like McCartney-Mills?)

5. Well, it seems the Tribune is going hyperlocal with a vengeance. This week its parent company announced it is terminating its use of Associated Press wires in two years. The good news is that the Trib has cornered the market on high school bowling scores.

:

Posted by Lou at 07:49 AM | Permalink

October 17, 2008

The [Friday] Papers

I sense that most of my readers will not want to believe this, but John McCain showed last night that he can deliver an outstanding comedy routine. See for yourself.

Party Central
I've also made a post called "Chicago Prepares" over at Division Street. Among other things, I linked to Lynn Sweet's brief report about the possibility of a Grant Park celebration for Obama on Election Night. In today's paper, Sweet adds this nugget:

"Turns out that the campaign let the news out Monday in an e-mail to its elite donors so they can start making travel plans. No surprise; the campaign has been attentive to the care and feeing of its best donors and fund-raisers from the start."

She said it, not me. Take your complaints to her.

Plumbing the Plumber
It's certainly interesting that Joe the Plumber doesn't have a license and owes back taxes (hey, who doesn't?!), but getting far less attention is his comment at the very end of this story.

That's Neil
"I dwell in the shadows," Neil Steinberg writes today, "in the compromised, egocentric, corrupted, skewed, slanted netherworld of pals and politics, logrolling and back-scratching. The difference between Robert Feder and myself is that he's never accepted a free lunch, and I've never turned one down. He's trying to cover the news; I'm trying to enjoy myself."

He said it, not me.

Savaging Savard
"Maybe Savard took committing to the indian quite literally and gambled Martin Havlat away at Ho-Chunk Casino," EamusCatuli comments on Deadspin. But seriously, what in the name of Esposito is going on here?"

Mr. Praline notes that "At least they're keeping the epic 80s moustache continuum" with the hiring of Joel Quenneville.

Doyle McPoyle estimates the Quenneville moustache is worth "10 wins easy."

I just like to say Quenneville. Quenneville.

Vote Affy
According to one of the few ads in the Sun-Times, Affy Man is running for president. I like his platform.

The Late Show
McCain appeared on Letterman last night, saying that he "screwed up" canceling his previous appearance to head back to Washington to deal with the imploding economy.

Yes, it's always more important to tape a stale comedy show than prevent the most powerful nation in the world from sliding into insolvency.

Police Patrol
Jody Weis appears to endorse Barack Obama. (h/t: Second City Cop)

Stone's Throw
I suppose Steve Stone could be an effective endorser for some products - baseball gear, for example - but is anyone really more likely to buy a Hyundai because he does commercials for them now?

If so, I have a website I'd like to sell them.

Hobby Heaven!
This looks awesome.

Talking Term Limits
Here's a piece I wrote for City Hall in New York City.

Miss Managed
"Aldermen may have stood and applauded the mayor afterward, but nobody could pretend to be happy about what he'd said," Mick Dumke writes. "Some of the out-and-out skeptics, like Bob Fioretti, Pat Dowell, and Scott Waguespack, wondered why some of the 'management improvements' hadn't been implemented already if they were such great ideas. 'We plan six months ahead; other cities have five and six-year plans,' said Waguespack. 'There's no way you can say you didn't see some of this coming'."

Recession Coming
We read the (extremely funny) tea leaves.

Halloween Heaven
From Sound Opinions:

"On Halloween eve (October 30), Chicago Public Radio's Sound Opinions, the world's only rock 'n' roll talk show, presents the Rolling Stones rock documentary Gimme Shelter at the Music Box Theatre.

"Called 'the greatest rock film ever made,' this landmark documentary follows the Rolling Stones on their notorious 1969 U.S. tour. When 300,000 members of the Love Generation collided with a few dozen Hell's Angels at San Francisco's Altamont Speedway, direct cinema pioneers David and Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin immortalized on film the bloody slash that transformed a decade's dreams into disillusionment.

"'The Maysles brothers' Gimme Shelter is that rare look behind the wall of hype and secrecy that surrounds a legendary band at the height of its powers. The movie traces the Rolling Stones' road to Altamont, a concert that became a war zone. If there's a scarier movie about rock 'n' roll, I don't know what it is.' - Greg Kot, Sound Opinions co-host."

Doors open at 6:15; show is at 7. You can get tickets at soundopinions.org or at the door.

Ferdy Film Frenzy
Continuing our blurbing of Marilyn Ferdinand's coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival. Go to Ferdy on Films for full reviews and details.

"Native Dancer: The mountains that separate Kazahkstan from China form a brilliant backdrop for the patch of barren, brown earth on the side of a highway where Aidai, a powerful baksy (shaman), helps people in need. But a young, arrogant gangster named Arman wants Aidai's land so he can develop it for his own profit. The juxtaposition of Lexus SUVs and mud huts, mixed drinks and sheep's blood, high heels and cloth mocassins throws the disconnect between Aidai's world and Arman's into high contrast."

The trailer:

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Free and clear.

Posted by Lou at 10:03 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report

Last week, the Bears fell to 3-3. Like their other two losses, the Bears employed one of their favorite plays: Fill the adult diaper with crap. Unlike their other two losses, though, the Bears used a little creativity. I appreciate their efforts, given that if the Bears were to simply use the same path to defeat all year, writing about them would become tedious and uninteresting. Perhaps the Bears need additional suggestions for thinking up interesting ways to lose. Below are some other creative ways to disappoint the Kool-Aid Nation:

* Lovie Smith replaces the playbook with the U.S. military's original counter-insurgency guide.

* Lovie replaces Kyle Orton with Richard M. Daley. To make Daley feel comfortable, Lovie only calls misdirection plays.

* Allow fans to make next call through text-message voting.

* Bring back Kordell Stewart on the basis that "fans never really gave him a chance in Chicago."

* Only try to win if Oprah promises a Bears victory on her "Favorite Things" episode.

* Kill all first-born Bears players at halftime, unless they painted lambs' blood around their door the night before.

* Players get to vote one player off the team after every possession.

* Send a practical joke letter on NFL letterhead stating that yards of offense, not points, determines the winner.

* Stop drives at the 47-yard line to give Robbie Gould the opportunity to break the record for longest field goal.

* Release Brian Urlacher so he can explore his favorite hobby full-time: making babies.

-

Vikings at Bears
Storyline:The 3-3 Vikings play the 3-3 Bears. Even though these teams are average, it will feel a bit more than average since it's a division game. Division games make mediocrity interesting.

Reality: This game couldn't be more average if both teams used 5' 10" men with a household income of $50,233. Expect a tie. Luckily, you'll doze off early in the first quarter and be spared the agony.

Prediction: Vikings Plus 3.5 Points, Under 38 Points Scored.

-

Percentage of sugar in the Pitcher of Blue and Orange Kool-Aid: 50%
Recommended sugar in the Pitcher of Blue and Orange Kool-Aid: 50%

-

Over/Under: Halloween costumes for NFL fans.

-

Fantasy Fix: Kyle Orton is still a bargain.

-

Eric Emery grew up in small-town Illinois but has an irrational love of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Every week he writes The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report and Over/Under. You can send him love letters and hate mail and he will respond graciously.

Posted by Lou at 08:47 AM | Permalink

Signs A Recession Is On The Way

1. New strip mall construction sign stating "Future Home of Happy's Restaurant" now reads "Future Home of County Soup Line."

2. Soup lines are hiring.

3. Coming soon to every corner: Soupbucks. "I'll have a Hot Venti Lentil with a Two-Shake of Salt and a non-fat Pepper Pour.

4. 401(k)s are now valued lower than 501 jeans.

5. 401(k)s are now 401(z)s.

6. 401(k)s now worth $401.

7. Moving back in with your parents sounds like a good idea.

8. Moving back in with your grandparents sound like a better idea.

9. Stealing your grandparents' identity sounds like the best idea.

10. Hummers are re-purposed as homeless shelters.

11. Condos are re-purposed as public housing.

12. Hummers are re-purposed as condos.

13. You can suddenly get home loans really cheap. Er, wait . . .

14. Bankers consider jumping out of windows.

15. Customers personally escort bankers to the ledge.

16. Cities impose out-of-network suicide fees.

17. Donald Trump's new high-rises only go 11 floors.

18. Donald Trump replaces all full-time employees with apprentices.

19. Donald Trump gets into the public housing business.

20. Bankers light their cut-rate cigars with mortgage papers.

21. Insurers light their cut-rate suits on fire with cut-rate cigars.

22. Homeowners light their homes on fire to avoid foreclosure.

23. Media companies sell newsprint to U.S. Treasury so they can print more money.

24. Milton Bradley sells Monopoly money to U.S. Treasury.

25. Milton Bradley named U.S. Treasurer.

*

- Eric Emery, Marilyn Ferdinand, Marty Gangler, Kathryn Ware, Bethany Lankin, Tim Willette, Steve Rhodes

*

New additions:

26. Chicago's next hot, up-and-coming neighborhood: Hooverville.

27. Chicago switches to wrought-plastic fencing.

Posted by Lou at 03:31 AM | Permalink

October 16, 2008

About Those TV Ads . . .

Facts about Tone of Presidential TV Advertising Campaign from the Wisconsin Advertising Project

MADISON, WI - In the presidential candidate debate last night, both candidates made empirical claims about the tone of the other's television advertising campaign. Barack Obama argued that all of John McCain's advertising has been negative and Senator McCain countered that Senator Obama has aired more negative ads than anyone in history - and that he can "prove it."

The University of Wisconsin Advertising Project, using data from the Campaign Media Analysis Group, has tracked and analyzed the targeting and tone of presidential advertising in the last four presidential campaigns. So, what does the evidence say? Was Obama correct? Did McCain prove it?

Professor Ken Goldstein, director of the Wisconsin Advertising Project, issued the following statement:

"Analysis from the Wisconsin Advertising Project of Sen. John McCain's television advertising for the week of September 28 to October 4 shows, in fact, that all McCain campaign TV advertising did have significant negative content - either spots that were comprised completely of attacks on the Democratic nominee or ones that combined attacks on Sen. Barack Obama with some talk about Sen. McCain's own plans.

"We reported this finding in a press release last week that was widely publicized and this was clearly the number that Obama was citing in last night's debate.

"That said, McCain's advertising has not been completely negative over the course of the entire campaign. Looking at the tone of all of McCain's advertising from June 4 to October 4, we found that 47 percent of the McCain spots were negative (completely focused on Obama), 26 percent were positive (completely focusing on his own personal story or on his issues or proposals) and 27 percent were contrast ads (a mix of positive and negative messages).

"But what about Obama? Our analysis reveals that 39 percent of all general election Obama TV ads have been positive (solely about his record, positions or personal story), 35 percent have been negative (solely focused on McCain) and 25 percent have been contrast ads - mixing a bit of both. So, on a proportional basis, the McCain campaign is and has been more negative than Obama.

"But, Obama has aired over 50,000 more ads than McCain. So, hasn't he simply aired more of everything - including negative ads - than McCain has this year, or than anyone in history, as McCain may have alleged?

"If one just looks at pure airings of negative ads, McCain has aired more than Obama. If one allocates contrast ads as half positive and half negative or considers contrast ads as negative - as the Advertising Project does - the tone of the McCain and Obama campaigns has been absolutely identical.

"According to some press reports, the McCain campaign is backing up its claim with an analysis of TV ad spending from September 12 to October 11 that shows that Obama spent more on negative ads than McCain during this time period. Does that analysis mean that the Obama campaign has aired the most negative ad campaign in history? Well, since, there was no television for most of history and we only have systematic data since 1996, we'll have to restrict our analysis to the last four contests.

"And it was in 1996 that former Sen. Bob Dole aired the greatest proportion of negative ads in recent presidential elections. Seventy percent of his ads in his contest against then-President Bill Clinton were pure negative spots and 12 percent were contrast. In 2004, 60 percent of President Bush's ads were negative and 12 percent were contrast. Multiplying the proportions by ad expenditures in 2004 reveals that the Bush campaign aired the greatest number of negative ads in recent history and spent the most money doing so. While there are still three weeks left in this contest, President Bush in 2004 has the record for the most number of negative spots aired in a race.

"Negative advertising does not always work. Witness the apparent lack of effectiveness of the recent McCain barrage of negative spots trying to tie Senator Obama to former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers. Furthermore, even with all the attacks on political advertising in general, and negative advertising in particular, there is strong empirical evidence that voters can learn from advertising. What they don't learn much from is whining about negative advertising."

-

Using data obtained from the TNS Media Intelligence Campaign Media Analysis Group, the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project codes and analyzes nearly all of the political advertising that is aired in 2008 federal and gubernatorial races across the country. The Ad Project, considered the single most important and credible source of information on campaign TV advertising, is funded in 2008 by a grant from the Joyce Foundation.

The Wisconsin Advertising Project codes political television advertising for sponsors, issues, tone, and numerous other characteristics - all in real time. While most of the attention will be focused on the presidential race in 2008, it also tracks candidate, party, and interest group advertisements in congressional, gubernatorial and other down ballot races nationwide, with a particular focus on the Midwest and the five states that comprise the Midwest Democracy Network (Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.) Findings will be released in a series of real time reports over the course of the campaign.

-

Ken Goldstein, professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the co-author of Campaign Advertising in American Democracy (Temple University Press), directs the Advertising Project. Goldstein has overall responsibility for the project and is available to work with media and policymakers during the entire course of the 2008 election year.

The Wisconsin Advertising Project coded virtually every significant political advertisement broadcast in the top 75 markets in 2000 and in the top 100 media markets from 2001 to 2004. In this process, using videos and storyboards of ads captured by TNSMI/CMAG, project staff first research the entity responsible for airing each separate political spot aired. In relation to campaign finance regulations as well as noting the names of sponsors, the project categorizes sponsors between those paid for by candidates, parties, hard money interest groups and soft money interest groups. Each spot is then further researched to attribute it to a specific candidate that the ad sponsors hope to elect. Once this is done, project staff codes the content of each ad, using a battery of questions. This extensive coding allows for the compilation of a massive database of the content of commercials that can be used in a variety of ways by scholars, the media and policymakers.

Posted by Lou at 02:14 PM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

Now that was a debate!

An actual exchange of policy and theory - you hardly ever knew a moderator was there.

And the split-screen ruled!

We've got what you want over on Division Street today - our new installment of Mystery Debate Theater. It's pretty good.

Crocodile Tears
Robert Vanecko - the nephew's mayor - has a lot of nerve. He refuses to answer the entreaties of Sun-Times reporter Tim Novak for more than a month, then writes a letter to the editor after a story involving him appears in the paper complaining that Novak got it all wrong.

Please.

Vanecko's excuse for not getting back to Novak is that "it's been a crazy 10 days," as he said in a story published yesterday.

But the truth is, Vanecko has a history of not answering the media's inquiries.

What Vanecko doesn't seem to understand is that he's not subject to scrutiny merely because his uncle is Richard M. Daley; it's because he's landing millions of dollars in city contracts including the investment of pension funds in risky deals. He would be worthy of scrutiny if his best-known relative was Joe the Plumber - and with public funds comes the responsibility to answer the public's questions.

Ace Rothstein Is Dead
FrankRosenthal.com.

Budget Games
Among the budget cuts proposed by Mayor Daley: No more free jumping jacks for neighborhood festivals. I kid you not. I don't know what it means either.

FROM GARRY JAFFE 2:05 P.M.: They're those inflated little playhouse like things that kids climb into & jump up & down in. The city must rent them & then brings them & sticks them in the middle of the street. I wonder which of Daley's relatives has the contract.

*

Fines on ovedue library books would also double - form 10 cents a day to 20 cents.

*

Best Seinfeld one-off character ever.

-

Luna Retro

-

Programming Note
That's all for today, this week has been insane. Tomorrow I'll be back with a full column and new stuff all around the site.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Satisfy your impulse.

Posted by Lou at 10:58 AM | Permalink

Over/Under

With Halloween just around the corner, you might consider dressing as your favorite team's mascot. The problem is, however, the mascot may not be indicative or representative of your city. Worse yet, the mascot may represent some archaic person or word that no longer means anything meaningful. To help the fans of the NFL and Halloween, here is the city and some alternate mascot names:

City: Green Bay
Alternative to Packers: The Overweight Triple Bypass Heart Patients
Halloween Costume: A bottle of brandy eating fried cheese curds.

*

City: Nashville
Alternative to Titans: The Guys Who Would Rather Watch NASCAR
Halloween Costume: Beer can, wearing a "These Colors Don't Run" hat.

*

City: Boston
Alternative to Patriots: The Insufferable Know-It-All Sports Fans
Halloween Costume: Dress as Bill Maher, complete with an arrogant smile.

*

City: Pittsburgh
Alternative to Steelers: Mustached-People Who Only Wear Black And Gold
Halloween Costume: Go as yourself.

*

Cities: Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville
Alternatives to Dolphins, Buccaneers and Jaguars: People Who Can't Run An Election
Halloween Costume: Go as a ballot so confusing you accidentally voted for Bob Barr.

*

City: Chicago
Alternative to Bears: The 2016 Olympic Hosts
Halloween Costume: An otherwise empty box labeled "promises" with a stack of overdue bills inside.

-

OverHyped Game of the Week: Broncos at Patriots
Storyline: It's Monday Night Football people! Even those who don't watch football know that both of these teams are good!

Reality: This game should come with a disclaimer, much like pharmaceutical ads: "Don't watch this game expecting Tom Brady, good defense, or inspired coaching."

Prediction: Denver Plus 3, Over 46 Points Scored

*

OverHyped Game of the Week: Chargers at Bills
Storyline: Once Chris Berman stops quoting the Eagles, he'll say something about how "Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills." As a result, you'll be busy cleaning your ears with a butcher knife, hoping you never hear another overused line from Berman again.

Reality: By the time the ER looks at your ears and you get home, you'll miss a game where Chargers fans use a butcher knife to carve out their eyes so they never see another Norv Turner mismanaged game.

Prediction: Buffalo Plus 2, Under 46.5 Points

-

Last week's picks: 2-3-1
For the season: 13-7-4

-

Eric Emery grew up in small-town Illinois but has an irrational love of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Every week he writes The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report and Over/Under. He also is a spark plug in floor hockey. You can reach him here.

Posted by Lou at 09:44 AM | Permalink

Your Boss Sucks

TODAY IS NATIONAL BOSS'S DAY: HAVE ANYONE TO THANK?

When Patricia Bays Haroski registered "National Boss's Day" with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1958, she wasn't playing a practical joke, or even sucking up. She was working as her father's secretary in a State Farm Insurance office in Deerfield, Illinois. Haroski wanted to let her father know she appreciated his willingness to always go the extra mile and provide the attention and support his employees needed, even when a host of other priorities competed for his attention. Haroski chose her father's birthday, October 16th, for the holiday because she believed a great boss should be celebrated with the same positive regard and enthusiasm typically reserved for his or her birthday.

Let's hope the previous paragraph isn't read by too many people at once, otherwise the collective roll of their eyes might tilt the earth off its axis. Most Americans just don't have much to celebrate on National Boss's Day. According to a recent study published in Human Resource Executive magazine, a third of US workers spend a minimum of twenty hours per month in the office complaining about their boss.

Things aren't any better overseas. After reading a study that found employees have lower blood pressure on the days they worked for a supervisor they think is fair, researchers from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health decided to take a closer look at this phenomenon. They followed British civil servants for a period of fifteen years to see if the type of boss one works for has any impact upon long-term, physical health. The team from Helsinki found that employees working for a bad boss were 30% more likely to develop coronary heart disease than those who did not. What's more, the incidence of coronary heart disease - the #1 killer in Western societies - was measured after the researchers had removed the influence of typical risk factors, such as age, ethnicity, marital status, educational attainment, socio-economic position, cholesterol level, obesity, hypertension, smoking, alcohol consumption, and physical activity.

The Gallup Poll estimates U.S. corporations lose 360 billion dollars annually due to lost productivity from employees who are dissatisfied with - you guessed it - their boss. And if there's but one hard truth the Gallup Polls have taught U.S. Corporations in the last decade, it's that people may join companies, but they will leave bosses.

In the days of a strong dollar, bulging tech bubble and robust housing market, people working for a bad boss had options. Careers were mobile and talent was in short supply. It was a snap to pack up and leave. But nowadays, things are decidedly different. Jobs are scarce and workers are staying put, even those stuck under what I like to call "the seagull manager."

Instead of taking the time to get the facts straight and work alongside their staff to realize a viable solution, seagull managers swoop in at the last minute, squawk at everybody, and deposit steaming piles of formulaic advice before abruptly taking off and leaving behind an even bigger mess than when they started. Seagulls interact with their employees only when there's a fire to put out. Even then, they move in and out so hastily - and put so little thought into their approach - that they make bad situations worse by frustrating and alienating those who need them the most.

Today, seagull managers are breeding like wildfire. As companies flatten in response to the struggling economy, they are gutting management layers and leaving behind managers with more autonomy, greater responsibility, and more people to manage. That means they have less time and less accountability for managing people. It's easy to spot a seagull manager when you're on the receiving end of the airborne dumps, but the manager doing the swooping, squawking, and dumping is often unaware of the negative impact of his or her behavior.

If "seagull manager" doesn't describe your boss, you are one of the lucky ones who actually have something to celebrate on National Boss's Day. If you are unfortunate enough to be working for a seagull manager, perhaps a copy of this article should find its way onto his or her desk on National Boss's Day.

Of course, if you think you might have succumbed to some seagull behaviors in the last year, it isn't too late to turn things around. Give the following five strategies a try, and you just might get a gift next year on National Boss's Day:

1. Don't Pass the Buck: When you set expectations for your staff, make sure you're the one explaining what will be expected of them - don't pass the buck to someone else.

2. Check In Everyday: Make your communication with your team frequent and sincere. You can't help people get results if you don't know how they're doing.

3. Block Time to do Your Real Job: Schedule time in your calendar each day where you can be up and out of your desk, focusing solely on the needs of your team. Remember, as a manager, the primary purpose of your job is managing people.

4. Leave Your Door Open: Seagull managers lose touch partially because they're not approachable.

5. Show Them the Way: When it comes to managing performance, balance praise with constructive criticism. Your team needs you to show them when they're doing things right, as well as when they're off track.

-

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the president of think tank and consultancy TalentSmart.

Posted by Lou at 08:56 AM | Permalink

October 15, 2008

The [Wednesday] Papers

I'm swamped and I'll be appearing on a panel this afternoon at the Strategic and Marketing Innovation Summit of the International Newspaper Marketing Association (!), so there will not be a Papers column today. But if you look to the right you'll see plenty of quality Beachwood material to keep you occupied as you try to pass the time before tonight's debate. ->>>

And oh, what a glorious debate it will be. In an alternate universe. This one is likely to be a snooze even if John McCain is desperate and needs a "game-changer." What can he do, call Bill Ayers on his cell right there on the stage?

Anyway, we'll have a Mystery Debate Theater installment tomorrow on Division Street, where I've been putting them lately. See you then.

The [Tuesday] Papers
"For years, James J. Banks, a nephew of Chicago's powerful Ald. William Banks (36th), has been the attorney of choice for developers who need the city's OK to knock down homes and small businesses and replace them with three- and four-story condo buildings," Tim Novak reports in the Sun-Times today.

"Now he's their money man of choice, too, financing projects through his 2-year-old bank."

And while it may not seem like a good time to be in the banking business, it most certainly is if you have the right Chicago connections.

"Among [the bank's] customers: developers James Banks represents before the City Council Zoning Committee run by his uncle."

But that's not the only completely coincidental family link.

James Banks's bank "has funded several condo projects involving his wife, Grace Sergio," Novak also reports. "In some cases, Banks got the property rezoned by the City Council Zoning Committee - headed by his uncle, Ald. William Banks."

So much to talk about at holiday dinners!

The board of the Belmont bank, by the way, includes mayoral pal Fred Barbara, the nephew of the late mobbed-up Ald. Fred Roti and grandson of Bruno "the Bomber" Roti; state Sen. James DeLeo; and Ald. Willam Banks's brother, Samuel.

An Axelrod to Grind
"The ability of a mayor, a governor, a president to do favors is one of the political levers through which they get things done," David Axelrod wrote just three years ago in a Tribune Op-Ed defending patronage.

Easy Marks
You don't have to fool a lot of people to fool the media. Only a few reporters are actually on the trail; the rest work in the echo chamber.

Gas Bags
"On the brink of the cold-weather months, more than 56,000 natural-gas customers in the Chicago area remain disconnected for lack of payment," Crain's reports. "That's up 36% from last year, putting pressure on utilities and local officials to get disconnected households back online before winter begins in earnest."

That's not surprising given what I presume is a skyrocketing increase in natural-gas prices. I presume because I used to pay about 15 bucks a month for the few times that I use my gas stove (I don't have to pay for my own heat) and now I'm paying about 40 bucks a month. For what? Just to be hooked up.

Even worse, People's Energy forecasts an 11 percent rise in prices between now and March.

Kid Rock
Can we all just leave Levi Johnston alone now?

SwiftBoating McCain
Michael Miner plumbs the tale that Rolling Stone is telling.

First Call
It was 25 years ago this week that the first wireless phone call was made. And it was made from Soldier Field. Beachwood Labs was there.

Favorite Son?
Reading the (more complicated than you think) tea leaves of who the Tribune and Sun-Times will endorse for president.

Consumer Index
The Ramen Souper 6-Pack is now $1.29 instead of 99 cents at my corner Walgreen's.

I did get two DiGiorno's Supreme pizzas for $5 each, though. So who knows.

Cheat Sheet
According to this Oprah.com survey, more than 50 million American men are currently cheating on their wives.

But Beachwood Elder Tim Willette points out that - according to the U.S. Census Bureau - there are only an estimated 61 million married American men in all.

Expert AC/DC Analysis
In response to our RockNotes item on AC/DC, a faithful reader sent me a research paper from a University of Calgary economics professor entitled "ON THE EFFICIENCY OF AC/DC: BON SCOTT VERSUS BRIAN JOHNSON."

Here's the abstract:

We use tools from experimental economics to address the age-old debate regarding who was a better singer in the band AC/DC. Our results suggest that (using wealth maximization as a measure of "better") listening to Brian Johnson (relative to listening to Bon Scott) resulted in "better" outcomes in an ultimatum game. These results may have important implications for settling drunken music debates and environmental design issues in organizations. (JEL C7, C9, D6, Z1)

Dusty & Ozzie
We pull down the curtain on another fine season of The Dusty & Ozzie Show.

Chipped Block
Former Cubs play-by-play man Chip Caray, via TBS, is announcing some of the MLB playoff games despite the fact that he still can't distinguish between a shallow fly ball and a home run.

Street Art in the West Loop

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: A strong-arm tactic.

Posted by Lou at 09:13 AM | Permalink

Ironside: Let My Brother Go

Our look back on the debut season of Ironside continues.

*

Episode: Let My Brother Go

Airdate: 2 November 1967

Plot: What, no murder to solve? This week's episode casts Ironside as a tough-hearted Mother Teresa. The Chief is having trouble getting his Big Brother program for at-risk youth off the ground. It seems the boys in the hood would rather make zip guns than play touch football in the park with a bunch of off-duty cops. Sheeze, kids.

Whatever arrangement Ironside thought he'd worked out with a resident gang isn't working; the Mambas continue intimidating anyone from joining in the fuzz-sponsored reindeer games. Perhaps pro-football star "Bat" Masterson, who happens to be a childhood friend of Mark's, is just the star attraction Ironside's boys' club needs. Unfortunately, Bat comes with his own set of baggage - a no-good, ex-con younger brother. Before you can say "wheelman," we've got us a dead man.

Guest stars: Ivan Dixon plays Charles "Bat" Masterson. You might recognize him as Kinchloe from Hogan's Heroes.

Here come the fuzz. Here come the fuzz: The episode begins with a parade of police vehicles, including the Ironsidemobile, driving through San Francisco with lights flashing and Ironside looking particularly stone-faced. The Chief is dead serious about something and he's got the backup to prove it. Their destination - the clubhouse where the Mamba gang hangs out. Ed is the first cop to hit the ground, banging on the door in that perpetually pissed-off way he has about him.

Kind of wordy for a password at the door, but I guess it works: "Well, whaddaya know. We got the fuzz out here."

Number of times the word "fuzz" is used in this episode: 11

Sometimes you feel like a nut: The fuzz enters the club while Ed yells at the Mambas to stay where they are. The place is surrounded! Inside, the Mambas pose like a page torn from the 1967 Sears catalog: all bright solid colors, patterned vests, and striped tapered pants with sneakers. After taking a grim assessment of the room, Ironside scolds, "I thought I was your friend. I thought we were working things out pretty good. Even had jobs in sight for some of you. I suppose that makes me some kind of nut."

When you care enough to steal the best: The Mambas are caught with an incriminating piece of fancy audio equipment - a Hi-Fi set. Oh yeah, and a stash of handguns hidden in the wall.

Triple-word score: When a search warrant is flashed in the gang leader's face, he says, "Like man, I was a dropout. I don't groove with those big words."

Bartender, keep 'em coming: At the end of the day, Ironside is taking his failure with the Mambas particularly hard. Time for a drink. Mark joins his boss in throwing back a few, observing, "This job doesn't pay much and the hours are terrible but it's a swinger for fringe benefits."

In the days before we "watched" TV: Mark tells The Chief, "I'm going to my room to look at television."

Is there a problem, Officer? Bat Masterson's first brush with the law is a close call with a fire hydrant. Luckily, all it takes is an autographed football and a promise to move his car to avoid a ticket.

Not enough autographed footballs in the world: Bat's ex-con brother Joe has a decidedly different opinion of the fuzz. "Cops, man. When you walk out on parole, you're their property big brother. And let me tell you, they owns ya."

Complimentary continental breakfast: In one scene, Bat dons a brick red blazer. He looks like he's off to work the front desk at the Hyatt.

What the well-dressed policewoman will wear: Brrrr, it gets mighty cold there in San Francisco, as evidenced by Eve's camel hair coat, trimmed with a fur collar and cuffs. Taupe handbag and white gloves finish the look.

It's fun to stay at the YMCA: Despite what Mark says, ("The chief will swing for our kids in the neighborhood") it's not that kind of a boys' club.

Who wears short shorts: When we see Bat coaching a few kids in the park, the only cop on the field is illuminated by the huge number 43 on his football jersey. He's also the only white guy and he's sporting knee socks and incredibly short, tight shorts. If all the football-playing cops look like this, there's a reason why more neighborhood kids aren't participating and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Mambas.

West Coast Story: The Mambas hit the streets to beat down the kids who played ball with the cops, jazzed up with Quincy Jones' soundtrack. Again, the kids are wearing straight-legged tight pants, Keds, striped t-shirts, and solid button-down crew neck shirts. All that's missing are a few Bob Fosse moves and jazz hands all around.

Does this gang have a retirement plan? These "kids" look like their average age is pushing 30-something.

Chief, cook and bottle washer: Ironside and his crew sit down to a meal of spaghetti and Chianti. While we watch Ed and Mark stuff unruly pasta in their mouths, Ironside says, "This isn't bad Eve. You're no Mama Turino but you're improving."

Eve's flirtatious comeback: "Thank you Chief, I won't tell her you said that. It might hurt her. I had her put it up for you." Then, in her best Eye-talian accent, she purrs, "Mama, she's a-cooked it a-for you hurrself, the way you laayike it. Spayshul." She ends with a wink and salutes Ironside with her wine glass. As always when someone makes a joke at Ironside's expense, there's a reaction shot of each of the other team members looking . . . confused.

Service with a smile: Eve serves coffee in this episode twice, once as the self-proclaimed "den mother of this snake pit."

The latest in Hi-Fi surveillance equipment: Ironside plants a bug on Joe's coat that's the color and size of an iPod ear bud.

Keeping a low profile . . . Not! Ironside and the crew wait in the van to tail their suspect. When Joe leaves the house and crosses the street, the hulking Ironside paddy wagon creeps out from around the corner to follow fifty feet behind Joe. For all their subtlety, they might as well be driving a blaring ice cream truck.

-

Previously:
* A Cop and His Chair
* Message From Beyond
* The Leaf in the Forest
* Dead Man's Tale
* Eat, Drink and Be Buried
* The Taker
* An Inside Job
* Tagged For Murder

Posted by Lou at 08:44 AM | Permalink

Barack Obama, Master Hypnotist

Editor's Note: Be on the alert for this as you watch tonight's debate. And also be careful of John McCain's unusual ability to induce sleep.

*

THE ABILITY TO HYPNOTIZE: Master Hypnotist Says It Is One Of Barack Obama's Most Effective Skills

MSNBC's Chris Matthews said that listening to Barack Obama speak sent a "thrill up his leg" while prosecutors in St. Louis volunteered to join the "Barack Obama Truth Squad." When you ask Obama's supporters why he has their vote, the answer involves the word "change" with little or no specifics.

Dr. William D. Horton is not only a highly trained psychologist but he is considered the leader in NeuroLinguistic Psychology and a master hypnotist. He is also certain that Barack Obama is using multiple hypnotic techniques that are designed to circumvent what's known as the "critical factor" or conscious part of the brain that is responsible for reason, logic, and rational thoughts. Upon doing so, the subconscious mind is wide open and vulnerable to his influence and suggestions.

In your interview with Dr. Horton, he will explain in no uncertain terms why he is convinced that Barack Obama is able to gin up such emotion among his followers. Whether it's a supposed objective media exposing itself as blatantly biased, crying fans, or an alarming amount of sentiment that he is "The Messiah" when his past indicates he is anything but, one should at least question the causes of Obama-mania, says Horton.

"When people think of hypnosis, they generally think of being put in a state of extreme relaxation to the point of almost being asleep," Horton says. "However, that's just one of two types of hypnosis. The other involves disarming the same inhibitors while the subject(s) are completely awake. Based on the multiple techniques I am familiar with and that Obama is using, I have no doubt his followers have fallen victim to hypnosis."

*

Editor's Note: What about all the candidates' unique ability to induce bingo and drinking games among debate viewers? At any rate, the Mystery Debate Theater team will be on hand once again tonight to send you into a hypnotic state of comedy and despair. I've been posting these on Division Street of late, so look for the new installment there tomorrow morning. And in case you're wondering:

ABOUT DR. WILLIAM D. HORTON
Dr. William D. Horton, D. Psy.D, CADC, CI, MH, Considered by many to be the world's Leading NLP Trainer, is also a Licensed Psychologist, Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and Master Hypnotist.

He was one of the few non-law enforcement people to be asked to attend the FBI Crisis/Hostage Negotiation Course at the FBI academy.

Editor's Note: Wasn't Andy Martin the other one?

He is the author of the books, Mind Control, How To Get Other To Do What You Want, Primary Objective- Neuro-Linguistic Psychology and Guerrilla Warfare and Co-author of The New Psychology of Sales. His two new books will be out this fall, Subconscious Communication, the Key to Success, and Fat Loss Forever, a 12-Step Approach to Weight Loss.

His courses and workbooks have won acclaim for their easy-to-understand format. His articles are considered a must-read in the field of hypnosis and psychology. His passion for this technology comes from personal experience. He has a Black Belt in Karate and has won tournaments and been published in Martial Arts Journals. Learn from the leader in the field.

Dr. Horton's articles are featured regularly in The Journal of Hypnotism, the country's largest hypnosis publication.

Editor's Note: And one apparently without a website. At least in a conscious state.

He presently travels throughout the world training people in the skills of NeuroLinguistic Programming, Hypnosis, Performance Enhancement, and the Art of Business Communications.He is the founder of the National Federation of NeuroLinguistic Psychology-NLP for the 21st Century and creator of several best selling home study courses in NLP and Hypnosis You will often find him on your favorite radio or television station sharing his extensive knowledge with his audience. His next book, Mind Control in the 21st Century, will be out this fall.

Here is What the Leaders in Our Field Say:

"Of all the NLP programs I have been exposed to, Dr. Will Horton's course teaches the best information, in the most effective way I have ever experienced. It's a true hands-on training, where you can use what you learn in your daily life today, All this, plus taught in a fun, easy-to-understand way,"
- Elsom Eldridge, Jr., EdM

"NLP, as taught by Dr. Will Horton, has expanded my talents as a social worker and helped in other areas of my life as well. It was one of the most impacting courses I have ever taken. Take it if you want to enrich every area of your life!"
- Elana Schondorf, MSW Licensed Social Worker

'This is the single most valuable set of skills I have learned for my work as a counselor. The return on my investment will be many times over in the near future."
- Warren Schneider, MSW; Ohio

"This work is the most cutting edge technology available today, and taught in an easily understood, fun and rapid manner . . . Everyone in the personal growth, human change work field should have this information NOW! It is a steal; he should, and could, charge thousands more!
- Kevin Hogan, author of Psychology of Persuasion

"The techniques presented are applicable to my personal and professional life. The course was educational and inspirational"
- Christine Silverstein

"NLP can be an enormous enhancement to your everyday people skills as well as effective in your practice. I used the basic skills to not only get into Harvard but secure a scholarship. Thanks."
- Marie Looby, Rockland, MA

What Do The Experts Say?

"NLP may be the most powerful vehicle for change in existence."
- Psychology Today

"NLP could be the most powerful synthesis of knowledge about communications to emerge."
- Science Digest

Posted by Lou at 07:09 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix

A week after we suggested no one cares about kickers, NFL booters made us pay by deciding three games in the waning seconds, sending another into OT and factoring heavily in at least six games. By now, everyone in the Chicago area is achingly familiar Week 6's most prolific kicker, legendary Bronco-turned-Dirty Bird Jason Elam.

Elam kicked 5 FGs, including the literally-last-second 48-yarder, his longest of the day. He now leads Yahoo! Fantasy Football in kicker points, but may have been undrafted or unclaimed in many leagues thus far (still only 34 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues as of late Monday).

Top 5 Kickers
* Jason Elam: 16 FGs (league-leading seven from 40-49 YDs), 13 PATs
* Matt Prater: 13 FGs (league-leading four from 50+YDs), 17 PATs
* Joe Nedney: 14 FGs (four in Week 6; only 17-percent owned in Yahoo!), 13 PATs
* David Akers: 13 FGs, 18 PATs
* Ryan Longwell: 14 FGs, 9 PATs

Most of these guys are complementing moderately-successful offenses, which is really what you want to look for in a kicker. If he gets plenty of PATs but no field goal chances, it should guarantee a minimum number of points per week, but he won't help you all that much with those 40+ and 50+ FGs that can really make him a valuable fantasy team contributor. Longwell is the exception in the Top 5, providing a lot of scoring for a truly inept offense.

QBs
Tony Romo looks to be out for four weeks with a broken finger, which made me feel badly for the guy in my 2-QB league who landed both Brady and Romo, but not too bad. If you're in a 1-QB league, you probably have plenty of choices, if you're in a 2-QB league, you might as well grab Romo's sub, the aged Brad Johnson, lest you get stuck with Ryan Fitzpatrick, who probably will have his molecules re-arranged this week against the Pittsburgh defense.

Here's a few QBs still less than 70-percent owned in Yahoo! leagues:

* Kyle Orton: (seriously, only 62 percent owned as Tuesday morning) 1,386 Pass YDs, 8 TDs, 4 INTs
* Derek Anderson: (67 percent owned, and back on track after MNF) 853 Pass YDs, 5 TDs, 6 INTs
* Chad Pennington: (33 percent owned, leading tricky Miami offense) 1,101 Pass YDs, 5 TDs, 2 INTs
* Matt Ryan: (35 percent owned, bye, but good match-ups Weeks 9-12) 1,164, 5 TDs, 3 INTs
* Jeff Garcia: (19 percent owned, back from injury against woeful Seattle D) 487 Pass YDs, 3 TDs, 2 INTs

RBs
Meanwhile, the biggest Week 6 Fantasy Football performer you have never heard of is . . . Patrick Cobbs, RB.

* Cobbs, Week 6: 138 Rec YDs, 2 TDs

Cobbs is buried under Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams on Miami's RB depth chart. He probably will not have another week like this the rest of the year, but isn't that what so-called fantasy experts always say before unknowns like Cobbs manage a string of big weeks? It's unlikely, but Miami does seem to be pulling out a lot of tricks on offense with Brown getting snaps and Pennington executing flea flickers. Pennington also is passing to the RB a lot. He could be worth consideration if you are getting slammed with bye-week sitters.

Hoopsville Draft Day
We now turn our attention to Fantasy Basketball, as many fantasy hoops draft likely will be held this week and next week. We'll have a broader position-by-position overview next week, but here's my Top 20 picks and 2008-09 sleeper picks:

Top 20 Studs
1. Chris Paul, PG
2. LeBron James, SF
3. Kobe Bryant, SG
4. Amare Stoudemire, PF/C
5. Dirk Nowitzki, PF
6. Elton Brand, PF/C
7. Dwayne Wade, PG/SG
8. Kevin Martin, SG
9. Deron Williams, PG
10. Chris Bosh, PF/C
11. Dwight Howard, C
12. Caron Butler, SF
13. Danny Granger, SG/SF
14. Shawn Marion, SF/PF
15. Pau Gasol, PF/C
16. Kevin Garnett, PF
17. Paul Pierce, SG/SF|
18. Carlos Boozer, PF/C
19. Baron Davis, PG
20. Jose Calderon, PG

COMMENTARY: Paul, as an all-around stud, seems to be a consensus No. 1 pick this year. I'm knocking Stoudemire down a notch because he's already suffered a minor pre-season injury, and tends to have bad luck in that area. Brand will have great impact in Philly. Howard is set to have a monster year. Garnett's minutes-per-game will continue a downward trend. Calderon will be even better than expected, heading up a strong Toronto attack and primed to finish with more assists than everybody except Paul and D. Williams.

Top Sleepers
1. Mike Conley, PG: He really came on strong at the end of last season after being lost in the Memphis mix and injured earlier in his rookie outing. Memphis lost big-time scorers in Gasol and Mike Miller, and Conley should pick up a lot of the slack. Per-Game Prediction: 16.5 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals

2. Greg Oden, C: Former No. 1 picks can't be sleepers? We know Oden will be good, but I think he'll be among the leaders in rebounds and blocks despite what will probably be tender treatment from the Portland coaching staff. Per-Game Prediction: 14 points, 13.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocks.

3. Spencer Hawes, C: He didn't see all that much playing time last year, but its seems like Brad Miller could be headed out of Sacramento this season, leaving the C job to Hawes. Even if that doesn't happen, he sees more playing time. Per-Game Prediction: 12 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2 blocks.

Next week, we'll draft our championship-winning team.

-

Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears weekly, analyzing fantasy football and basketball trends with the goal of helping you win the envy of your league, the ire of your spouse and one of those little virtual trophies. Send Dan your gripes and gratuities if so inclined.

Posted by Lou at 06:11 AM | Permalink

October 14, 2008

The [Tuesday] Papers

"For years, James J. Banks, a nephew of Chicago's powerful Ald. William Banks (36th), has been the attorney of choice for developers who need the city's OK to knock down homes and small businesses and replace them with three- and four-story condo buildings," Tim Novak reports in the Sun-Times today.

"Now he's their money man of choice, too, financing projects through his 2-year-old bank."

And while it may not seem like a good time to be in the banking business, it most certainly is if you have the right Chicago connections.

"Among [the bank's] customers: developers James Banks represents before the City Council Zoning Committee run by his uncle."

But that's not the only completely coincidental family link.

James Banks's bank "has funded several condo projects involving his wife, Grace Sergio," Novak also reports. "In some cases, Banks got the property rezoned by the City Council Zoning Committee - headed by his uncle, Ald. William Banks."

So much to talk about at holiday dinners!

The board of the Belmont bank, by the way, includes mayoral pal Fred Barbara, the nephew of the late mobbed-up Ald. Fred Roti and grandson of Bruno "the Bomber" Roti; state Sen. James DeLeo; and Ald. Willam Banks's brother, Samuel.

An Axelrod to Grind
"The ability of a mayor, a governor, a president to do favors is one of the political levers through which they get things done," David Axelrod wrote just three years ago in a Tribune Op-Ed defending patronage.

Easy Marks
You don't have to fool a lot of people to fool the media. Only a few reporters are actually on the trail; the rest work in the echo chamber.

Gas Bags
"On the brink of the cold-weather months, more than 56,000 natural-gas customers in the Chicago area remain disconnected for lack of payment," Crain's reports. "That's up 36% from last year, putting pressure on utilities and local officials to get disconnected households back online before winter begins in earnest."

That's not surprising given what I presume is a skyrocketing increase in natural-gas prices. I presume because I used to pay about 15 bucks a month for the few times that I use my gas stove (I don't have to pay for my own heat) and now I'm paying about 40 bucks a month. For what? Just to be hooked up.

Even worse, People's Energy forecasts an 11 percent rise in prices between now and March.

Kid Rock
Can we all just leave Levi Johnston alone now?

SwiftBoating McCain
Michael Miner plumbs the tale that Rolling Stone is telling.

First Call
It was 25 years ago this week that the first wireless phone call was made. And it was made from Soldier Field. Beachwood Labs was there.

Favorite Son?
Reading the (more complicated than you think) tea leaves of who the Tribune and Sun-Times will endorse for president.

Consumer Index
The Ramen Souper 6-Pack is now $1.29 instead of 99 cents at my corner Walgreen's.

I did get two DiGiorno's Supreme pizzas for $5 each, though. So who knows.

Cheat Sheet
According to this Oprah.com survey, more than 50 million American men are currently cheating on their wives.

But Beachwood Elder Tim Willette points out that - according to the U.S. Census Bureau - there are only an estimated 61 million married American men in all.

Expert AC/DC Analysis
In response to our RockNotes item on AC/DC, a faithful reader sent me a research paper from a University of Calgary economics professor entitled "ON THE EFFICIENCY OF AC/DC: BON SCOTT VERSUS BRIAN JOHNSON."

Here's the abstract:

We use tools from experimental economics to address the age-old debate regarding who was a better singer in the band AC/DC. Our results suggest that (using wealth maximization as a measure of "better") listening to Brian Johnson (relative to listening to Bon Scott) resulted in "better" outcomes in an ultimatum game. These results may have important implications for settling drunken music debates and environmental design issues in organizations. (JEL C7, C9, D6, Z1)

Dusty & Ozzie
We pull down the curtain on another fine season of The Dusty & Ozzie Show.

Chipped Block
Former Cubs play-by-play man Chip Caray, via TBS, is announcing some of the MLB playoff games despite the fact that he still can't distinguish between a shallow fly ball and a home run.

Street Art in the West Loop

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: A strong-arm tactic.

Posted by Lou at 09:37 AM | Permalink

Nader Belts & Party Hopping

I feel like he's been strapped around my lap forever!

-

See the rest of the fabulous Citizen Kate collection!

Posted by Lou at 08:00 AM | Permalink

The World's First Cell Phone Call

As noted in item No. 2 here, the world's first wireless phone call was made 25 years ago this week at Soldier Field. What was the call about? Beachwood Labs has produced some options.

-

1. This place is huge! It would be perfect for Olympics opening and closing ceremonies one day, if they don't tear it down!

2. The Cubs will win a World Series before this thing gets small enough to put in your pocket.

3. I told you never to call me at work, honey!

4. Hi, baby. What are you wearing?

5. Look, nobody's gonna ever plunk down ten grand just for the privilege of buying season tickets in this place.

6. So you're telling me that if I roam down to the end zone I have to pay additional fees?

7. Wait, that's a telemarketer on the other line . . .

8. Can you hear me now? But I'm standing right next to you!

9. Hold on a second, I'm going to walk through the players' tunnel . . .

10. I promise, mom, I won't use this while I'm driving . . .

-

- Julia Gray, Brian Rhodes, Steve Rhodes

-

Suggestions welcome.

-

11. Marty Gangler: "No, mom, I don't need money."

12. Brian Rhodes: "My friends, I will be in support of the surge in 25 years."

Posted by Lou at 07:34 AM | Permalink

The Dusty & Ozzie Show 2008!

Now that Dusty is back in a dugout in Cincinnati - and still spouting weird theories that are driving Reds fans nuts - we thought it would be fun to bring The Dusty & Ozzie Show back from its popular run in 2006. After all, Ozzie hasn't changed either.

*

And now we close out the season on The Dusty & Ozzie Show with this final gem:

No "I" in Ozzie's Team, but a You, September 26: "Orlando is a big part of this ballclub, and if we're going to win, we win as a team. If we lose, well, he's the first guy to look at because he's the only guy that's played almost every day."

column_dusty_ozzie.gif

Ozzie Still Whining, September 16: "We're in the pennant race? Not really," Guillen said sarcastically. "There are a couple people [who believe that], but the Cubs are in the pennant race, and we're not. Maybe people feel different, but I feel that way. It was harder for us and we had a tougher season than they had from the beginning. They dominate the league, the division. That's why Chicago people feel sure about the Cubs going and we're not."

Um, what? The next time you're the best team in your league and you haven't won a World Series in 100 years, give us a call and we'll see how much attention you get. Meanwhile, just tend to your crappy little half-game leads over the Twins.

Dusty's Formula, September 8: "Baker's Winning Formula? Big Money, Good Players."

Mine too!

"Asked what it takes to win in Chicago, Baker quickly said, 'Have a good team. That's what you need. An outstanding team.'"

Yes. A team good enough that any manager could win with!

Ozzie Headhunter, September 2: Joe Cowley writing in the Sun-Times: "Manager Ozzie Guillen - never one to pull punches - seemed put off by the situation, calling both players out loudly in the clubhouse by insisting that if Lee had such a problem he should've hit Pierzynski, and if Pierzynski had a problem with the hurler, he should've just charged the mound."

From August 4: "A.J. Pierzynski said. 'Ozzie doesn't play like that, we don't play like that, this organization doesn't play like that. We're not going to start hitting guys.'"

Ozzie the Pundit, August 30: In response to noted Sox fan Barack Obama criticizing Cubs fans, Ozzie had this to say: "I have to tell people in Chicago, don't misunderstand what he wants to say. A lot of people will say if you go to vote for him, all of the sudden you're a Sox fan."

Really?! Name three. Three of the stupidest people on the face of the Earth.

"Some people out there are ignorant and say, 'We're not going to vote for him because he's a White Sox fan.' That will happen."

Oh Lord.

"I don't think he needs the White Sox fans' vote."

Unless they're white, working-class women.

Catching Dusty, August 24: "The Reds say they want to give rookie catcher Ryan Hangian a good look down the stretch, but when Edinson Volquez or Johnny Cueto are starting, it's always veteran Paul Bako crouched behind the plate."

Sigh.

Dusty Dust, August 23: "With his team at 56-72 going into last night's game at Colorado and mired in last place in the National League Central Division, Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said things would get better even though the Reds were closing in on their eighth consecutive losing season.

"We're going to get this together," Baker said. "I'm convinced of it. We're going to do it."

As Cubs fans know, hope is not a strategy.

Dusty's Blame Game, August 17: "For the first time since 1983, the Cincinnati Reds may finish in last place, in Dusty Baker's first season as manager. He apparently would like you to know he is not the problem.

"'This is Wayne Krivsky's team, not Walt Jocketty's and not mine,' Baker told the Dayton Daily News."

Familiar Excuses, August 17: "It ain't right that teams come in here, like Houston and these guys (St. Louis) and hit more home runs than us. I was warned about this place at this time of year but I hadn't seen it until now," Dusty says, recycling the supposed home field disadvantage bit he used while here. "[Pete Rose] said good pitchers won't come here and you can't win in this ballpark because of the way the ball flies."

All About Dusty, August 17: "Over the course of the years, I was looking it up, and St. Louis and Houston have beaten up on the Reds," said Baker. "That's No. 1. That can't happen, not in this division. I ain't going for that. Me and Tony hook up pretty good. I think I'm ahead or we're pretty close to even head-to-head."

Dusty Ducks, August 9: "Baker's postgame press gatherings are getting shorter and shorter, 'Because, like I say, I don't know what to say. We have two choices. We can give up or keep fighting. We're still fighting. I'm running out of things to come up with to say.'"

Poor Pitiful Ozzie, August 7: Ozzie just never gets enough credit. "It's funny how people look at it," says the most vain, insecure, sensitive, self-absorbed manager in all of sports. "I win 400-something games, and Joey [Cora] wins one game and he got more credit than me. I win 11 big ones, and I got people putting in my e-mail: 'You should stay in your office of whatever you did [Tuesday] night."

Ozzie the Head-Hunter, August 4: "You think I'm going to bring in somebody to hit somebody with an 82-mile-an-hour fastball?"

Well, yes. You're trying to hit a guy, not hurt him.

"That's the baseball I grew up with, not the shit we play right now. We didn't even hit him. I should have, to teach them a lesson on how to play baseball."

I thought that was how you played Ozzie - you know, like a man. Didn't you send a guy to the minors last year for failing to hit a batter?

"I know we were losing, but we don't pull that stuff," A.J. Pierzynski said. "Ozzie doesn't play like that, we don't play like that, this organization doesn't play like that. We're not going to start hitting guys."

Right.

"[Two weeks ago], I told Carrasco to hit him," Ozzie said.

Throwing A.J. under the bus!

"This time, no, I'm a professional. If they think we hit him on purpose, they are wrong."

See, the thing is, you lose the benefit of the doubt when you're known as a head-hunter.

-

"I've hit people before on purpose," said Guillen. "Yes I have. Because that's my job. Protect my players."

But all it really does is put his players in more danger. And someone - White Sox or not - could lose a career as a result.

Dusty Ruins Two Seasons At Once, August 4: "Asked if it isn't about time to think about next year and tinker with things, Baker said, 'Not for me. Most of the guys who are pretty close to being major-league players are here already and have been most of the year. It isn't like we have 10 prospects at Triple-A who are ready to take a job up here."

Right. So Dusty pines for Jerry Hairston Jr. to heal up and get back into the lineup, and wastes at-bats on Corey Patterson (.195). So, so familiar.

"'I always want to win, no matter who I put out there. It has been only a few seasons that I went into September and it didn't mean anything.'"

I.

(And only a few?)

"In our division, a lot can turn around in a hurry. If you get hot, man, I've seen it. People think I'm the eternal optimist, but I can be that because I've seen that and done that. You try to finish as high as you can finish."

Instead of thinking about the organization's future.

"These are primo times for somebody. When you are playing inside your division the last two months as much as we are, well, it might as well be us."

So, so familiar . . .

Bonus Dusty: "[Jay] Bruce smiled when it was mentioned he was dropped from third to seventh on this night because Parra might have been too tough.

"'Dusty has no evidence as to why he shouldn't do that, but I know that I'll have no problems with lefties soon enough.'"

The Dusty Nostalgia Tour, August 3: Dusty's reference points remain the olden days. Here's what he had to say about a players-only meeting the Reds called:

- "As long as they ask for permission, which they did/ We used to do that [with the Dodgers], except we didn't ask for permission. We just kicked [Tommy] Lasorda out."

- "I remember [former Giants manager] Roger Craig telling me as a coach, 'Don't let your players hold meetings. It looks like you've lost the team,'"

- "If I'm not in there, I'm hoping everybody has something to say. We have some young guys. Sometimes they need to hear it from a player. We heard it from Hank [Aaron]."

Bonus Dusty quote: "I think we overmeet as a society."

Public Ozzie #1, July 31: Whatever it was Ozzie was screaming at Minnesota Twins fans from the top step of the dugout was surely imbecilic. Still looking for a report.

Ozzie's Straw Critics, July 30: "Everything I do in this town is fight for my players. And everyone likes to hammer and hammer and hammer how horseshit I am."

Really? Name names.

"I don't give a fuck what they think."

All evidence to the contrary. If that was so, you wouldn't keep insisting up on it.

"I don't understand the people out there. I don't get it. I sit with [Kenny Williams] and we try to do stuff and all of a sudden we get pounded like we don't try or don't care to do good for the fans or for us. And I don't get it."

I know! Why don't fans worship you more? You try!

"I'm going to rip a lot of people apart if we win this thing this year. Enough is enough."

Does that mean we can rip you apart if you don't?

Classy to the end.

Dusty Justice, July 23 "I thought about starting Corey," Baker said. "But his last two starts would be against CC (Sabathia of the Brewers) and Peavy. That's not fair."

Maybe sometimes it's harder to play against worse competition.

Dusty Logic, July 22: "'Every time he doesn't get a hit, his odds of getting a hit go up every time,' Baker said of his shortstop."

Advance Scouting 101, July 22: "Still inexplicable is the Reds penchant for playing to the level of the competition - good against teams with records above .500 (32-29) and bad against teams with records below .500 (16-23). The next 12 games are against poor-record teams - San Diego, Colorado, Houston, Washington.

"Baker said it is sometimes more difficult to play teams like the Padres. 'They have about 10 new guys and we don't know much about 'em. It's like September call-ups. You can't overlook anybody, especially teams like San Diego that you don't know much about."

All About Dusty, July 20: "Beyond the obvious benefit to his ledger, though, Baker believes it would be 'good for the organization and the town' if the Reds produce their first winning season since 2000."

Ozzie the Professional, July 20: "It's a funny thing about it. I like people when they are good. I don't like people when they are [bad] and they are cocky. When you are good and cocky, that's fine with me. But when you aren't that good and you try to pretend like you are that good," he said to an MLB.com reporter. "He showed a couple of my players up, and I don't like that. He showed my dugout up in that inning and that's why I screamed at him. The only reason I was screaming is because he was not professional."

Dusty's Law, July 17: "The law of averages is on our side . . . big-time," Baker said of facing Johan Santana and the Mets, who had won nine straight going into Thursday.

Memo to Dusty: The law of talent is indifferent to the law of averages. (The Mets won 10-8).

Dusty's Schoolhouse, July 6: "[H]is lineup construction and in-game decisions make him an easy target for critics . . . Baker craves speed at the top of the lineup, even if it means using Patterson and his .293 career on-base percentage. He also asked three of his best power hitters - Edwin Encarnacion, Dunn and Votto - to bunt late in games because 'that's how I was taught to play.' Never mind that all three are capable of moving runners over and driving them in with one swing. Encarnacion and Dunn did just that: Each failed to execute a sacrifice bunt, then hit a game-ending home run."

Jealousy, June 21: "The unfortunate thing for me is it's a shame that a certain segment of Chicago refused to enjoy a baseball championship being brought to their city. The only thing I can say is, 'Happy anniversary,'" said White Sox GM Kenny Williams, putting the ball on the tee (and as if Chicago didn't properly appreciate the 2005 World Series. What more do you want us to do, award you free blowjobs for life?)

And then Ozzie swung.

"Happy anniversary . . . it's the truth. People need to think about the way we feel. They celebrate not winning for all that time, and they don't appreciate us winning. Kenny was right. I don't understand why people are making a big deal of it. Everyone is allowed to state an opinion, and Kenny has the right to say what he wants to about it. One thing about it, especially around here, people don't like to hear the truth.''

The truth as Ozzie sees it?

"People think that we dwell on it all day, but we don't,'' Guillen said before dwelling on it. ''We're just stating facts. We know we will never be respected like the Cubs - we won't. All we ask is just be fair with our organization. You love the Cubs more here, fine, but be fair. You don't have to like us, you don't have to love us, our players expect that. It's not a jealousy or us feeling like we're the second part of the city, because we know that already."

Um, respect is the last word I would use to describe the way people have felt about the Cubs - especially their fans.

''But like in the paper every day, 'This day, 1908, this happened for the Cubs,' and you see it over and over and over. I think the Cubs have been to the playoffs more than us and they haven't done anything. I'm not criticizing the players, the organization or the fans, but be fair."

Yes, the media should ignore the 100th anniversary of the Cubs not winning a World Series. They should recap the Black Sox season instead.

''We're the second-class citizens? No shit. Nobody has to tell us that. But in the meanwhile, our owner, our general manager, our organization does a lot of great things here and no one gives us enough credit. Just show us respect.''

Maybe show us some maturity first.

Curses, June 12: "I don't believe in that. I've heard enough of that shit in Chicago," Baker said. "Sometimes it's outfielders, sometimes it's pitchers if that was the case, I was cursed before I got here because Gonzo was hurt was before I got here."

On the occasion of injuries to former Cub Jerry Hairston Jr. and Alex Gonzalez - not that Alex Gonzalez, the other one, but still.

Position Play, June 12: Baker was asked if he'd consider moving Brandon Phillips to shortstop.

"No," Baker said. "I know everybody says that, and he could probably do it, but how many guys do you want out of position? You want one or you want two or three?"

From the man who played Todd Walker at first.

Deja Vomit Vu, June 12: With Hairston on the DL, Baker went with Jay Bruce in the leadoff position "through process of elimination."

"I just talked to him about my experience with batting leadoff, and just hit the same," Baker said. "I know he's not your prototypical leadoff hitter, but neither is Hanley Ramirez, Bobby Bonds, Alfonso Soriano . . . Chris Young."

Just hit the same, Jay Bruce. A two-fer!

Don't say we didn't warn you, Reds fans.

Deja Vomit, June 12: "Boy, Jerry was doing a hell of a job," Baker said. "I'm going to have to get Corey (Patterson) in there sometime because he's starting to swing the bat good again."

Oy.

Dusty Belicheck, June 10: "This ain't the NFL," Baker said, shrouding injuries in mystery just like he did in Chicago.

Dusty the Road Warrior, June 8: "I always thought, as a player, that it was easier to play on the road," Baker said.

'People think that we dwell on it all day, but we don't,'' Guillen said before dwelling on it. ''We're just stating facts. We know we will never be respected like the Cubs - we won't. All we ask is just be fair with our organization. You love the Cubs more here, fine, but be fair. You don't have to like us, you don't have to love us, our players expect that. It's not a jealousy or us feeling like we're the second part of the city, because we know that already."

Um, respect is the last word I would use to describe the way people have felt about the Cubs - especially their fans.

''But like in the paper every day, 'This day, 1908, this happened for the Cubs,' and you see it over and over and over. I think the Cubs have been to the playoffs more than us and they haven't done anything. I'm not criticizing the players, the organization or the fans, but be fair."

Yes, the media should ignore the 100th anniversary of the Cubs not winning a World Series. They should recap the Black Sox season instead.

''We're the second-class citizens? No shit. Nobody has to tell us that. But in the meanwhile, our owner, our general manager, our organization does a lot of great things here and no one gives us enough credit. Just show us respect.''

Maybe show us some maturity first.

Curses, June 12: "I don't believe in that. I've heard enough of that shit in Chicago," Baker said. "Sometimes it's outfielders, sometimes it's pitchers if that was the case, I was cursed before I got here because Gonzo was hurt was before I got here."

On the occasion of injuries to former Cub Jerry Hairston Jr. and Alex Gonzalez - not that Alex Gonzalez, the other one, but still.

Position Play, June 12: Baker was asked if he'd consider moving Brandon Phillips to shortstop.

"No," Baker said. "I know everybody says that, and he could probably do it, but how many guys do you want out of position? You want one or you want two or three?"

From the man who played Todd Walker at first.

Deja Vomit Vu, June 12: With Hairston on the DL, Baker went with Jay Bruce in the leadoff position "through process of elimination."

"I just talked to him about my experience with batting leadoff, and just hit the same," Baker said. "I know he's not your prototypical leadoff hitter, but neither is Hanley Ramirez, Bobby Bonds, Alfonso Soriano . . . Chris Young."

Just hit the same, Jay Bruce. A two-fer!

Don't say we didn't warn you, Reds fans.

Deja Vomit, June 12: "Boy, Jerry was doing a hell of a job," Baker said. "I'm going to have to get Corey (Patterson) in there sometime because he's starting to swing the bat good again."

Oy.

He's the only one. No wonder the Cubs' home record sucked when he was here.

"All you've got to do is worry about eating and going to the ballpark, basically. You can turn your phone off if you want. You don't have to worry about kids waking you up . . . Your life is simplified."

All you have to do is wait at the airport, breathe crappy airplane air, change time zones, stay in unfamiliar hotels, cope with visiting locker rooms where nothing is where you are used to, and play in unfamiliar ballparks before hostile crowds. It's a snap.

Same Old Strategy, June 8: "our team was built for our strategy - as a power-hitting team," Baker said. "We're a team that really depends on home runs. Sometimes, balls don't go out on the road as well as they go out at our park."

Generally Managing, June 8:"If Baker can keep his office door locked, he plans to give Ken Griffey Jr. today off.

"'I'm going to try, but he'll fight me,' said Baker. 'He's still sore and it's a day game after a night game. It'll be the last chance before our next day off because we go home to play St. Louis and Boston and I want him in there.'"

Dusty will try, but he's only the manager. The players make the decision. Hey, Sammy Sosa would look good in a Reds uniform!

Dusty's Demos, June 6: "Watch all the kids and how they gravitate toward me," Baker said. "The people I get along best with, honestly, are elderly people and young people. The people that don't like me most of the time are people my own age, because I don't think like them."

Baker, by the way, blames a San Francisco radio guy for fixing him unfairly with the "veteran's guy" tag, but I think we saw enough around here to know that it's true.

"If you think Baker was oblivious to the surplus of young talent when he signed a three-year deal in October, guess again.

"'Heck yeah, that was one of the things that sold me,' Baker said. 'It was one of the things that sold me [with the Cubs]. Before I go someplace, I ask somebody to research for me what they got coming.'

"For those who suggest he's anti-youth, Baker points out that he has run a baseball school in California the past 25 years and has a 9-year-old son, Darren, scampering around the house. Though Baker's teams in San Francisco generally were veteran-oriented, he'd find a place for a Royce Clayton here and a Marvin Benard or Darren Lewis there if they were ready to contribute. He did the same in Chicago for Matt Murton and Ronny Cedeno."

Brrrriiiiinggggggg! It's reality calling: It wants Jerry Crasnick to come home immediately.

Lineup Lunacy, June 5: Forced by injuries to bring Corey Patterson back up to the big leagues, Dusty promptly wrote his name into the two-hole in the lineup. "Corey gives me the speed I need," Baker said.

Indeed. Patterson walked very quickly back to the dugout after going 0-4 with a strikeout.

Ozzie's Other Empty Threat, June 3: For the billionth time.

"Sometimes I create my own problems. That's me. I'm going to say what I have to say. Some people say the same stuff I say, but they don't get attacked like I do.

"I love this job, don't get me wrong. But sometimes it's like, wow, is it worth it to put up with this stuff?"

Ozzie's Empty Threat, June 1 & 3: Oooh, we're scared.

On Sunday: "I expect Kenny to do something Tuesday. Because if we don't do anything Tuesday, there's [going to be] a lot of change in the lineup.

On Tuesday: "I put the lineup the way it should be. I didn't make any changes because I still believe."

Killer Corey, May 28: Corey Patterson was demoted to the minors.

"It was a mutual decision," Baker told the Dayton Daily News. "I was going to call Corey in to talk to me, and he came in before I could call him in. He said, 'Hey, I have to get my act together and change some things.' He knows and we know he's better than the way he's playing. He's got skill. He's got talent. He's only 28 years old. It's a good move to go down, stay awhile and get his stuff together.

"He's still one of the best runners in the game. He's got an outstanding throwing arm. He's an outstanding outfielder. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can make a change. I'm not just going on whether I like or dislike somebody. No, I like the skill. I know skill when I see skill. I know talent when I see talent. If he was 35, it might be different."

The move meant that Reds fans finally got to see the player they had been clamoring for, Jay Bruce, regarded as the top prospect in baseball. In his first three games, Bruce went 4-for-9 with two doubles, three runs, four walks, and two stolen bases.

Dusty Deja Vu, May 21: "Once again, the Reds seem to be road vagabonds, not even close to being kings of the road. Lose, lose, lose. If Baker could fix it, he would. What's a manager to do?

"'We've covered this,' he said. 'No. 1, get the lead and then keep it. This has gone on before I came here. It is hard to change things overnight. It's an attitude, a mindset, and I haven't put my finger on it yet," he added. "I'm still really assessing things. I'm trying to decipher a lot of things."

Bonus Dusty Deja Vu: "Yes it's a concern," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of his team's 7-17 road mark. "But we play for the home run. Every other ball park is bigger than ours and we're going to have to change the form of this club in order to have a chance to win."

Dusty Don't Care, May 21: "Managers were on a conference call Wednesday concerning orders for umpires to enforce rules to speed up games, and Baker said, 'Hey, man, I ain't got no opinion on this because they don't ask me, and it doesn't matter what I say. Not one bit. You have to talk to somebody who can make a difference.'"

Um, I think the point of the conference call was to solicit input from managers.

Dusty's Still Dusty, May 11: "Based on his offensive numbers this season, putting struggling Reds center fielder Corey Patterson in the leadoff spot seems to be the equivalent of putting the square peg in the round hole," MLB.com reports.

"Yet for the 21st time in his 22 starts this season, Patterson was perched at the top of the order on Monday vs. the Marlins. Coming in, he was batting just .196 with a .252 on-base percentage over 34 games. That included a 2-for-18 skid . . .

"What makes it kind of rough is I'm trying to stay away from too many left-handers in a row," Baker said. "He's going to get going. Usually guys end up where their average always is. Jacoby is working with him. We don't have a bunch of speed. We need speed, especially in close games."

Ozzie vs. the World, May 10: "And if we win it all again, oh man, I will be so cocky this time they won't be able to stand my ass. I will rub it in people's faces."

Ozzie Guillen: Always classy.

Ozzie vs. Lou, May 8: "Who's the manager they remember the most? Billy Martin. They don't remember Sparky Anderson. They remember Billy Martin because he was the crazy one. Why do you think people like Lou Piniella? Because Lou is good? Great guy. Great baseball people. But people love Lou Piniella because he's fucked up."

Um, I think people love Lou Piniella because he was a popular Yankee as a player who has gone on to amass a career managerial record of 1,612-1,502 career managerial record over 20 years, including a World Series win.

And people these days think of Joe Torre when they think of Yankees managers, not Billy Martin.

Deja Dusty, May 7: "Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker gave shortstop Jeff Keppinger a day off, while placing Corey Patterson and Jerry Hairston Jr. at the top of the batting order."

Ozzie vs. Women, Fans, Himself, May 5: "I got real thick skin."

*

"Before Sunday's game, an unnamed player positioned two nude female blow-up dolls in the clubhouse with bats belonging to most of the players fanned out around them, almost resembling a voodoo ritual to get the club going and loosen up a suddenly uptight clubhouse," the Sun-Times reports.

"Several Toronto newspapers made it a big deal, and the Sox were feeling the backlash by Monday afternoon. If those offended were expecting an apology from Guillen, however, they must not know him very well."

And we're off . . .

"One hundred percent of the people in the clubhouse are 18 years old, and that's a private thing," Ozzie said. "If the players do it in the dugout where everyone can see or in the hotel lobby - we did it in our clubhouse, and a lot of things happen in the clubhouse. I don't really know why people are making it a big deal. If people got their feelings hurt because of that . . . they don't really know much about baseball

''I don't think they should make a big deal out of it because that's our clubhouse, and I don't think there's anything illegal there. I'm not going to apologize and not [going to] make the players apologize. It used to [be], whatever was in the clubhouse stayed in the clubhouse, and then all the [bleep] changed. But I don't think we did anything wrong to make people upset.

''Those toys, don't worry, we [still] got our ass kicked. Hopefully we come up with something better. We don't need dolls. We need hits. People get mad, hey.

''I'll take the blame . . . because of who I am. I said early in the season, 'Ozzie has to be Ozzie.' They want to make a big deal about it in Chicago because of me and my team, good for them. At least they have something to talk about.

''When I leave Chicago, they're going to miss me because a lot of people aren't going to make a lot of money off of me. Because they talk a lot of [bleep] about Ozzie. Keep it up. Now they have something to write and talk, big deal. They're going to miss me, but I'm not going to miss them.''

Yep. Thick skin.

*

"Well, whoever did it spent a lot of money," said Ozzie. "That's the type of guys we have."

Ozzie vs. Chicago, May 4: "One day after joking that his son Oney could play second base, Guillen went on a tirade after a reporter jokingly asked him if Class A outfielder John Shelby Jr. could get promoted after hitting three home runs in a game," the Sun-Times reports.

"Right now everyone in Chicago is making lineups - 'Call up this guy, call up that guy,' " Guillen said Sunday morning in a profanity-laced end to a pregame interview.

"If we had 50 people allowed on the roster, we could do that. That's what ticks me off about Chicago fans and Chicago media: They forget pretty quickly. A couple of days ago we were the [bleeping] best [stuff] in town. Now we're [bleep]."

-

"We won it a couple years ago, and we're horse[bleep]," Guillen said sarcastically before the Sox (14-15) lost to the Blue Jays 4-3 and fell below .500 for the first time since April 3.

"The Cubs haven't won in [100] years, and they're the [bleeping] best. [Bleep] it, we're good. [Bleep] everybody. We're horse[bleep], and we're going to be horse[bleep] the rest of our lives, no matter how many World Series we win.

"We have the worst owner (Jerry Reinsdorf). The guy's got seven [bleeping] rings, and he's the [bleeping] horse[bleep] owner."

-

"How about the Cubs celebrating that Lee Elia bull[bleep]? How many times do I curse people out? I will make a lot of money with my [stuff]. I have to keep going because in the future Ozzie will need money, and I can say, 'Here, give me money, here's the 10-year anniversary of my time I called [Jay] Mariotti stuff and the time I went on the radio and cursed out Mike North.'

"Yeah, we have to celebrate all that [stuff] too. But I won't be around for 10 years, believe me."

Ozzie vs. His Coaches, May 3: "'That's not going to happen,'' Guillen said of a possible coaching change to try to remedy the slumping offense. ''To be honest with you, I don't think we need coaches."

Dusty vs. Lou, April 12: "Your job is to manage the game," Dusty said. "Your boys shouldn't need you to get kicked out to get motivated. That's my opinion."

Ozzie With A Straight Face, April 12: "We're not the type of club to complain about every pitch," Ozzie says. "Umpires are human and will make mistakes."

Ozzie vs. Umpires, April 11: "I got fined a lot of money," Ozzie said of the fines associated with his Opening Day ejection for arguing balls and strikes with umpire Phil Cuzzo. "I could have bought big land in Venezuela with that money."

Ozzie vs. Canseco, April 11: "Tell Jose [Canseco] to get a job and leave the game alone," Ozzie said. "I get tired of people who have left the game and come out with that stuff. It's unprofessional. He could have made a lot of money with a book on hitting or a book about his life and his family. But people like to make money on negative stuff."

Dusty vs. Reality, April 9: "We finished last. That's not me," Dusty said of his time in Chicago. As of this writing on May 5, his Reds are in last place.

Dusty vs. Chicago, April 9: Via Dusty acolyte Chris Speier: "It's very, very harsh in Chicago. I don't think there's a manager who has been there who hasn't said Chicago, especially with the North Side fans and the media, can be brutally harsh and sometimes unfairly harsh. I'll be the first to say it. I think the media was completely unfair with Dusty. I think it was the media's doing that basically caused the change."

Dusty vs. the Lord, March 12: "Maybe I was chosen for this situation. It seems like I've been in and out of something like this my whole life. Sometimes you ask the Lord, Why me? Then you get the answer: Why not me?"

It's All About you, Dusty, March 12: "I wasn't used to that, especially when in your own mind you believe you have the Midas touch. Then when that Midas touch isn't working, you realize how much is out of your control."

It's All About You, Dusty, March 3: "I was on the (Los Angeles) Dodgers' all-time team as an outfielder. I was on the all-time San Francisco Giants' team as the manager. I started out great in Chicago and then ended up on the all-nothing team. I'm not used to that."

Dusty Baker, Baseball Genius, Feb 24: "On-base percentage, that's fine and dandy. But a lot of times guys get so much into on-base percentage that they cease to swing. It's becoming a little bit out of control . . . The name of the game is scoring runs. Sometimes, you get so caught up in on-base percentage that you're clogging up the bases."

Posted by Lou at 12:41 AM | Permalink

October 13, 2008

The [Monday] Papers

1. A poll from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Be honest: Did you give up on the Falcons after the Bears' final TD?

Yes: 76.22% (2461)
No: 23.78% (768)

And I'm sure that's Falcons fans being generous to their home team.

Or, as our very own Jim Coffman puts it in SportsMonday from the Bears' perspective: "So much ineptitude in so little time."

2. "Today marks the 25th anniversary of the first commercial wireless call," the Sun-Times reports. "It happened Oct. 13, 1983, at Soldier Field, where Ameritech Mobile, now part of Verizon Wireless, made the call from a Motorola DynaTAC 8000X known as the 'brick' phone. The phone cost $3,995, was 13 inches long, and weighed 1.75 pounds."

*

The DynaTAC's Wikipedia page.


3. If the Tribune keeps doing things like this (from Saturday's paper), I might just fall in love with it for the first time in my life. But it would've been even better without any text - just the graphs.

Tribfrontpage.jpg

4. During the Minnesota-Illinois game on Saturday, I learned that a U of M professor teaches the physics of superheroes.

5. The most astounding eBay auctions.

6. Since Durbin-Sauerberg isn't a real race, you might vicariously enjoy this U.S. Senate debate between Al Franken, Norm Coleman, and Dean Barkley. I know I did. You can see Franken straining to keep his humorous retorts to himself.

7. I didn't know that Tribune theater critic was doing reports for Channel 2 until I accidentally came across one, and I'm not really a theater guy, but it was pretty good!

8. Given the tough economic times, a New York Times writer set out to experience his city as a frugal tourist. For him, that meant on $250 a day.

9. University of Chicago economist Allen Sanderson writes in Chicago Life that it looks like Chicago might win the 2016 Olympics "in a cakewalk" - but that the tail is wagging the dog on this one.

"Sensible long-term urban planning, whether it be for the grossly overused feel-good term 'infrastructure' or to begin to address some consequences of rising income inequality with the developments of affordable housing, should not be based on a two-week party seven years from now."

10. "There are those who say Hendry could be pried away by another organization," Phil Rogers writes in the Tribune.

I wonder who those people are.

Especially given that Rogers also reports that only Seattle is looking for a new general manager - and Hendry isn't on their radar.

11. "The White Sox have denied Seattle permission to talk to assistant general manager Rick Hahn about the Mariners' vacant GM position," Rogers also reports.

I hope they at least give Hahn a big raise then; isn't it kind of grotesque to deny someone a shot at a dream job?

12. "The city employs more than 50 [public relations] representatives across various departments in the Daley administration," the Tribune's Dan Mihalopoulos reported on Sunday. "In addition to that in-house army, the city has funneled millions more to private spin doctors.

"'The city absolutely has to communicate its message,' said Marilyn Katz, owner of MK Communications, whose Web site boasts of working for 11 city departments."

Yes. Richard M. Daley needs a megaphone. He can barely be heard.

Meanwhile, we learn that Daley's chief propagandist, former Tribune reporter Jacquelyn Heard, now makes more than $172,000 a year; she received a $12,000 raise this year. I think that's more than Emil Jones wanted!

"It's a 24-hour, no-vacation, no-rest-for-the-weary kind of job," Heard explained.

And I bet it comes without any perks at all! You know, besides the money.

Plus, the rest of us are just slacking.

"Other Daley-controlled units of government employ their own press operations, including the Chicago Public Schools, the Park District and Chicago Transit Authority."

Someone's gotta make us feel good about our failed institutions.

For example, Mihalopoulos reports that the firms of Jesulca/Terman received almost $2.5 million to handle the PR for the blue bag program. You know, the one that was a disaster.

I would've done it for $2.4 million, but I don't think that project was put out to bid.

Meanwhile, don't forget that there is a whole 'nother part of the Daley message machine; namely Dana Herring and David Axelrod, whom I assume are still making a mint off of the mayor [see the item "Message Machine"].

13. "Human evolution may be winding down as the forces that once drove it - older fathers, isolated populations and widespread child mortality - are disappearing, a geneticist at the University of College London argues," Laurie Goering reports in the Tribune.

You mean this is as good as it gets?

14. "There's only two options - more layoffs or more tax increases - unless you take a portion of the city's budget and devote it to buying lottery tickets."
- Ald. Joe Moore (49th)

A) Or selling lottery tickets
B) Or taxing lottery tickets
C) Or fabricating lottery tickets

15. When did Derrek Lee turn into such an idiot? Carol Slezak is right:

"Derrek Lee got it wrong when he said fans couldn't take the Cubs' disastrous post-season experience any harder than the team did.

'''We're the ones out there scratching and clawing,' Lee said. 'I don't think they can take it any harder than we can.'

"Why of course they can - and they have. Players come and go. Fans are forever. Players still get paid no matter how miserably they perform. Fans are the heart of every organization. Fans, not players, hurt most when a team loses. Fans can't become free agents and switch teams at the snap of a finger. Their fandom is in their blood. Just how upsetting did Cubs fans find these playoffs? While Lee and his teammates were out there scratching and clawing, fans felt like clawing their own eyes out. Those three losses to the Dodgers were that painful to watch."

It's the second time this season that Lee - in the midst of a $65 million contract - has dissed Cubs fans.

Combined with Alfonso "The $136 Million Man" Soriano's plea for Cubs fans to be "patient" after 100 years, you can only conclude these guys still don't get it.

16. Illini quarterback Juice Williams rolled up 505 yards of total offense on Saturday - in a losing effort. I estimate about half of that came just because he's named Juice.

17. Continuing our blurbing of Marilyn Ferdinand's coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival. Go to Ferdy on Films for full reviews and details.

"Everlasting Moments: "We are the last dinosaurs of Swedish film," complained Ingmar Bergman to Jan Troell in 1983. Everlasting Moments has an old-fashioned feel to it. The look and feel of the film are like an overstuffed, high-back chair - full, handsomely hued in rich, deep tones that grow soft at the edges. The subject matter - a troubled marriage, family, and emigration - is pure Troell. Perhaps his reaffirmation of his style confirms Bergman's assessment of him as one of Sweden's dinosaurs of film. Yet, Troell really knows how to dig into the heart of characters and families, expressing their longings without revealing all their secrets. He makes ordinary people in dreary circumstances intriguing and compelling. It is love that fills this film and reaffirms Jan Troell as a filmmaker who affirms life without sugar-coating it."

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Everlasting.

Posted by Lou at 08:12 AM | Permalink

RockNotes: AC/DC's Righteous Return

1. It's tempting to say that AC/DC is back, and they are, but as the New York Times points out in a long piece in its Sunday edition, they've never really gone away.

"Over the past five years, as CD sales have cratered, AC/DC albums have sold just as well or better than ever; the band sold more than 1.3 million CDs in the United States last year, even though it hasn't put out any new music since 2000," the paper reports.

What's the secret of their success? Rocking.

The band's record sales - including a live DVD and old records re-packaged more nicely than in their original form - are on one hand an example of the long tail, and on the other of how staying true to yourself can pay off.

"AC/DC's decision to focus on selling CDs [it does not allow singles to be sold on iTunes] has put it at the center of an industry debate about whether even superstar acts can continue to dictate the way their music is sold," the Times says.

It's a silly debate. One size no longer fits all. What works best for AC/DC will not work best for, say, Mariah Carey. Or even Madonna. And thank God for it.

"AC/DC also has a reputation of being business savvy and a tendency of skipping an easy paycheck to preserve its long-term interests."

To the media, skipping the easy paycheck is savvy when it works; naive when it doesn't. Maybe AC/DC just does things the way it wants to - and how they as fans would want one of their favorite bands to act.

"They have a purist approach," the chairman of Sony Records tells the Times. "Their instinct was always to do the right thing for fans, think long term and not be influenced by financial rewards."

After all, the fans are the customers - not the record companies or radio.

And it doesn't hurt that AC/DC made one of the all-time rock classics. Back in Black, the Times notes, is the fourth-best selling album in American history.

Non-business addendum: "The band makes no pretense to art, and its lyrics contain what might be called single entendres."

2. A new blues and bluegrass festival is in the making right here in Chicago - thanks to former Beachwood sports contributor Michael Raspatello. Raspatello has put together an impressive lineup and related events that could have some staying power through the years.

On the festival's website, Raspetello describes his new venture thusly:

"The Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival is a one-day festival celebrating our city's unprecedented appreciation of roots music and culture. Hosted by the legendary Congress Theatre and the newly-minted KingTello Presents, a bevy of homegrown talent will unite with some of contemporary music's most accomplished and influential artists for a day of collaboration and cause. 12 hours, 16 bands, for only $31."

Raspatello describes KingTello as "a recently formed alliance of independent Chicago producers and promoters aimed at revitalizing the city's long-standing tradition of independent event production. Working in collaboration with the Congress Theater, KingTello Presents will fight on behalf of independent promoters large and small as long as corporate conglomerates threaten to monopolize a live music landscape rich in tradition and variety. KingTello Presents will represent the voice of choice."

A portion of the proceeds from the CBGB Festival will go to the Saving Tiny Hearts Society, which raises money to support research into congenital heart defects, which it says is America's #1 birth defect.

3. Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis featured noted author Dr. Oliver Sacks on Sound Opinions on Friday to discuss his new book, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, described on the show's website as "a collection of anecdotes illustrating the powerful effects music can have on the brain. Sacks relays his clinical experiences working with a range of patients including individuals who struggle to connect with music's melody, Parkinsonian patients who depend on music's rhythm, and Alzheimer's patients who find comfort in music's emotion. These people use music as a lifeline and a way to connect to the world - something rock fans certainly understand."

Next week's show features Calexico.

4. Is The Drive really that much more popular than everyone thought? I don't see why not!

5. Here's AC/DC's YouTube channel. As of this writing, it has 21,064 subscribers - but only 31 friends!

This video has had nearly 5.4 million views. And I'm sure tons more in other venues, though embedding has been disabled.

So I'll show you this one.

-

Send Steve your comments. Please use a real, full name to be considered for publication.

-

From Avril Lavigne and Kid Rock to the Replacements and Radiohead, we've got the best RockNotes around. Contributors welcome.

Posted by Lou at 06:54 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday

At the end of this one, only the timeless lament uttered most memorably by former tennis great John McEnroe seemed appropriate.

"You cannot be serious!" he surely would have bellowed had he watched the Bears turn a shocking comeback into a ridiculous defeat against the Falcons on Sunday. For the longest time, Atlanta had it all under control. Even when the Bear offense finally finished a drive with a touchdown in the second half, the Falcons had the answer, marching right back down the field to stretch the lead right back out to nine. The Bears scored three more but then the Falcons immediately put themselves in position to do the same.

Then chaos commenced.

Atlanta kicker Jason Elam missed a gimme and on the ensuing drive, Bears receivers kept finding seams in the defense and powering forward for significant yards after catch. Kyle Orton made some great throws, capped off by the best toss of all for the touchdown to Rashied Davis with 11 seconds left and there they were. For all intents and purposes, the Bears had eked out an unlikely victory and were ready to begin accepting acclaim as one of the better teams in the NFC through six games. Except they then choked it away like a three-year-old gagging on unfamiliar, slightly spicy food (my younger daughter provided me with this metaphor at a favorite restaurant recently and believe me, it's apt).

So much ineptitude in so little time.

Question: How many times have desperate teams returned those stupid squib kick-offs to their 40-yard-line or further and found themselves one decent-sized completion away from a field goal attempt?

Answer: Enough times that surely there were fans first-guessing that strategy all over the place. Kick the ball as deep as possible, get down there like you do the vast majority of the time and make a play (I know the previous kickoff return was scary but you have to take a slightly larger view of the overall situation don't you?).

And while I'm asking, how could there not be two defenders draped all over any Falcon wide receiver attempting to make a catch anywhere from 20 to 30 yards down the field on either sideline on the second-to-last play? Any passes shorter than that would have made it an awfully tough field goal attempt - any longer and the clock would have run out.

And I have one more question at this point for you in particular, Mike Brown. How about covering someone at some point? We are so sick of watching you drop back into seemingly casual zone coverage and arrive too late to break up passes you should be gorging on for lunch. You did that on a touchdown pass to Roddy White in the first half but caught a huge break when the play was nullified by an ineligible receiver downfield.

To have such a great comeback so completely obliterated by all that crap . . . we needed McEnroe to do a little venting for us at a Bears post-game press conference or two. The Falcons are so much better than anyone thought they would be, and the Bears were far from their best on Sunday but had somehow found a way . . . until they didn't.

A few more details:

* There were many, many flashbacks to the worst parts of last season as rookie quarterback Matt Ryan continuously carved up what had been a resurgent Bears D the previous two weeks. The unit was at its worst when it should have been at its best, i.e., when the Falcons were faced with third-and-long and yet earned first downs time after time after time.

* I was out and about for the second half of the second quarter and the first half of the third (before returning again to the televised action and then reviewing everything later thanks to the magic of digital recording technology) and had a chance to take in that portion of the game on the radio. Analyst Tom Thayer is so far out in front of so many of the guys on TV. At one point he was breaking down cornerback Nate Vasher replacement Corey Graham's great work in run support by noting that he transitions especially quickly out of his back-pedal into position to make tackles.

Later he talked about how the Falcons were having more success in the passing game in part because they were executing better cut blocks and he admonished safety Kevin Payne for not getting his arms up into position to finish tackles when he was delivering what otherwise seemed like effective big hits. It is such a shame that radio broadcasts don't synch up with the TV any more.

* One of Orton's last incompletions just before the Bears' final touchdown sailed over a lone figure on the sideline who stood out in a dark-colored suit. I'm reasonably sure that was Arthur Blank, the owner of the Falcons who has taken to going down to the sidelines late in games in an apparent effort to better support his team (and perhaps to draw a little attention to himself - perhaps). In so doing he is following the lead of noted publicity hound Jerry Jones, the Cowboys owner who has long inserted himself into the sideline scene when others deemed that sort of move inappropriate. Say what you will about Bears President Ted Phillips but at least I can say with confidence he wouldn't be caught dead preening around on the sideline ever, let alone when the game is still going.

* And finally, to Fox TV I would just say that if you think The Hole in The Wall is a show with potential, surely there are even better variations. How about The Hole in the Floor . . . of the Elevator . . . in the Skyscraper. You know that would be a laugh riot, and you guys can have the idea for free.

-

Jim Coffman brings you the city's best weekend sports roundup every Monday because he loves you. You can write to him personally! Please include a real name if you would like your comments to be considered for publication.

Posted by Lou at 06:03 AM | Permalink

October 11, 2008

The Weekend Desk Report

Weekend Desk editor Natasha Julius remains on assignment in India.

The Five Dumbest Ideas of the Week

1. I, for one, was relieved to learn that Mattel's Little Mommy Real Loving Baby Cuddle-and-Coo doll is not gurgling "Islam is the light" whenever its tummy is squeezed, as an Owasso, Okla. man had complained. Unfortunately, the news comes too late for Wal-Mart, which has already pulled the doll off the shelves. The retailer has replaced the doll with an elfin gnome that repeats a much more pleasant single phrase.

2. For the android who has everything: Eric Klarenbeck's contact lens, which comes attached to a dangling crystal ornament. Sure to come in handy when you've left this at home.

3. There's a casting call for a new reality show about amazing families who look "completely abnormal from the outside." I nominate the Goldbergs, starring Mom, Sis, big brother Bill and me.

4. A big boo-hoo for Charlotte Feeney, who sued L'Oreal for damages when she thought she was dyeing her hair blonde but wound up with brown hair instead. A judge rejected her claim that she had suffered anxiety, headaches and a lack of the attention that she'd ordinarily get as a blonde. I'm sure she already gets plenty of attention as one of these.

5. I don't know about you, but I can't wait for Obama's infomercial on Oct. 29. Will Gary Collins emcee? What goodies await the first hundred callers? I hear that the special guest will be a certain notorious Weatherman.

-

Ferdy's Film Frenzy
Continuing our blurbing of Marilyn Ferdinand's coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival. Go to Ferdy on Films for full reviews and details.

"Sita Sings the Blues: An animated retelling of the centuries old Indian epic the Ramayana by Nina Paley is mixed with the story of her own traumatic break-up. Sita Sings the Blues is a wonderfully entertaining film packed with more great moments than I can possibly describe, with great animation and, if you're a fan of torch and blues music of the 1920s and/or Annette Hanshaw, a great soundtrack. The Ramayana is supposed to teach about submitting to one's fate, and despite the modern spin on the story, Nina learns to do just that."

The trailer:

-

On Division Street
* Hannity & Friends
* That $3 Million Overhead Projector
* Mystery Presidential Debate Theater #2

Posted by Lou at 03:03 AM | Permalink

October 10, 2008

The [Friday] Papers

"ComEd has concluded that clout and favoritism played no role in the company's decision to deliver a generator to the home of Chicago's No. 2 man at O'Hare Airport to restore power during a violent August storm," the Sun-Times reports.

"First Deputy Aviation Commissioner David Ochal resigned his $155,604-a-year job in the wake of the scandal, allowing him to escape a mandatory interview by the city's inspector general."

I think the question here is obvious: Why did Ochal resign if nobody did anything wrong?

ComEd says it interviewed 17 witnesses and reviewed e-mails, voice mails, outage records and phone records, but that Ochal refused to be interviewed.

Again: Why?

Naturally, John Kass wants to know too. Kass notes that it took ComEd 63 days to complete its investigation. Seems to me it could have been wrapped up in a week.

But maybe these things are more complicated than I know.

Kass is struggling to understand too. He chalks it up to "a stupendous Chicago political miracle . . . a series of rather amazing coincidences."

Including the amazing coincidence that Ochal "found a new job with a company that has sold at least $20 million worth of airport equipment to the city."

House Odds
I'm all for investigations of the CHA and, in particular, its Plan for Transformation, but I'm scratching my head a bit at this one from the Tribune this morning:

"For all the talk of weaving public housing residents into the fabric of the city, the Chicago Housing Authority's ambitious Plan for Transformation includes this inconvenient fact:

"When the plan is complete,nearly 1 of every 10 of those families will live more than 100 blocks south of the Loop, tucked amid landfills, industrial parks and a sewage treatment plant."

So more than 90 percent won't? Isn't that tremendous progress?

Besides that, the plan was never to weave public housing residents into the fabric of the city - that would be scattered-site housing - but to weave the city's middle- and upper-class into the neighborhoods hosting public housing by building new market-rate homes to sit aside those that are subsidized.

Polluted Skies
That $3 million overhead projector.

Midway Malarkey
"Chief Financial Officer Paul Volpe said quick approval was needed to beat the change in administrations in Washington," the Sun-Times reports.

Because an Obama administration would never go for it? Please.

That's Stella!
Catching up with this stellar item from Tuesday:

"I have to say something about the new generation of concertgoers.

"Why is it that folks are so self-serving and feel they have the right to stand up throughout an entire concert without any regard for the folks sitting behind them? This columnist thinks this is the epitome of rudeness. I can see standing up intermittently during a concert . . . but to stand up for the whole performance is crazy and downright rude! What is the point of having chairs? And why can't you swing and sway in your seat?

"You are forced to stand for at least two hours or more in order to see anything or just look at the monitor closest to your seat. So bringing your parents or a handicapped person to a concert means they won't be able to enjoy it like the rude people blocking their view. So, sit your a-- down!

"Yeah, I said it!"

Can't you kids just dance in your seats?

Lancelot Inc.
A big story up in Minneapolis has a local connection:

"An Illinois-based investment fund and its management firm have filed a federal racketeering lawsuit in Minneapolis against Tom Petters, his companies and business associates, alleging that the fund lost 'in excess of $1 billion' in a fraud scheme headed by Petters," the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

"Lancelot Investors Fund and Lancelot Investment Management are seeking more than $1 billion in damages in the suit, which was made public Wednesday."

Lancelot Investors Fund is based in Northbrook.

"Meanwhile, investors and a Royal Bank of Scotland Group unit filed their own suits against Lancelot Investment Management and its hedge funds for lending the money to Petters' company."

The lawsuits are filed in Cook County.

"The FBI claims Mr. Petters ran a scheme that defrauded investors of millions," Crain's reported this week. "Among the scams was a business venture to supply consumer electronics to major retail chains, but a federal investigation uncovered no inventory. Mr. Petters also holds a minority stake in catalog retailer Fingerhut and owns Sun Country Airlines, a regional carrier that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week.

"RBS claims in its suit that Lancelot provided funding for Mr. Petters' fake electronics business, and that puts the Northbrook investment firm in default of its loans."

Cremation FAQs

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Now in XXL.

Posted by Lou at 08:56 AM | Permalink

Help Save Tales From The Front

Longtime readers of mine know I am a huge fan of Cheryl Lavin's "Tales from the Front." If you are as well - and you really should be - now is a good time to step up and declare your fandom because the column seems to have been dropped by the Tribune. Here is an e-mail Lavin sent out to readers this week, followed by mentions "Tales" has received in the Beachwood in the past.

*

Dear Reader,

Your interest in Tales from the Front means so much to me. Unfortunately, when the Tribune redesigned the paper, they left me out! I didn't find out until it was too late to even write a note explaining what happened.

I'm hoping the Powers That Be will reconsider. I'm also hoping that the column will be available on the Chicago Tribune web site. It's still syndicated in many papers across the country including the Detroit Free Press. I've been writing Tales from the Front for 24 years and I don't intend to stop now! I've always felt that I had a special bond with my readers. Please continue to send me your thoughts, problems and issues.

I appreciate your loyalty. Some of you have been reading the column since Reagan was president! I'd love to hear from you and if you want to let the editors of the paper know that you miss the column, please send them an email. They are tbannon@tribune.com, gfbrown@tribune.com, publiceditor@tribune.com, cbender@tribune.com, and gkern@tribune.com.

Again, thank you for your support. This fat lady ain't through singing!

Cheryl Lavin
Tales from the Front

In the Beachwood:

* April 14, 2006: "If the Tribune were smart (oh, how many times have we wished it were so . . . ) it would put Tales From the Front on the cover of Tempo and leave it there, and give Cheryl Lavin Ask Amy's promotional budget.

* April 21, 2006: "You still have to hunt for it every day, but Cheryl Lavin's Tales From The Front rarely disappoints."

* July 12, 2006: "How priceless does this column continue to be?"

* July 3, 2007: "But then, this is the paper that no longer has its own editorial cartoonist, no longer has a political gossip column, no longer has Steve Rosenbloom's "Hit & Run," no longer has a Tempo columnist, no longer has David Greising's business column, no longer has Bernie Lincicome, no longer has a real Books section, has a terrible Sunday magazine, forgoes covering aldermanic races, buries "Tales From the Front" while in recent years adding Ask Amy, Jonah Goldberg and Dennis Byrne to its illustrious roster of kick-ass columnists like Mary Skilling Schmich and Dawn Turner Trite, is still sending reporters to the Taste of Chicago to eat as much as they can, and has a Metro section that is a random collection of mostly irrelevant stories."

* September 13, 2007: "Danielle writes to Cheryl Lavin's Tales From the Front:

"There are 10 dealbreakers for me. And guess what? My ex had all of them. (Except No. 6.)

1. Married.
2. Criminal history.
3. Addiction (alcohol/drugs/sex/gambling.)
4. Lives with 'roommate' of the opposite sex.
5. Unemployed.
6. Lives at home with mom who doesn't need him for medical reasons.
7. Has been married more than twice.
8. Is behind in his financial obligations.
9. Has history of infidelity.
10. Has children for whom he has never assumed financial responsibility."

Well, nine of 10 ain't bad.

* March 3, 2008: "You say you're young but you're not completely stupid. I beg to differ."
- Cheryl Lavin in the always wise and entertaining "Tales From the Front"

* March 26, 2008: ""She snorted when she laughed. She always snorted when she laughed, but one day I knew I couldn't spend another minute listening to it."
- Bill, in a Tales From The Front column about last straws

Posted by Lou at 05:00 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report

Last Sunday, I trod on dangerous ground. I watched the Bears game with four Bears fans. As the only non-Bears fan in attendance, I walked a very fine line. On one side, you must insult them for their taste in teams. On the other hand, too many insults results in you tasting their fist. So here are the dos and don'ts to attending a Bears party:

* Do bring food that is Bears-themed. While they are giving high-fives because of another four-yard run, you'll get your investment back by drinking their beer.

* Do make sure your food gift is over the top. Consider blue-and-orange frosted cupcakes. Like moths to the flame, while you drink their beer.

* Don't cheer when the Bears make a good play. You will be forced to high-five. Or, actually, high-ten.

* Don't cheer when the Bears make a bad play. First, like sex, you always want to act like you've "been there" before. Second, unlike sex, you'll have plenty of opportunities; you don't want to tire yourself out early.

* Do question the host about the timing of the party. If invited to watch the Bears-Lions game, ask "Is this Homecoming Week or something? Or do you also expect this game to be the high point of the season?"

* Don't suggest that good play is a result of luck. Luck is only a factor to Bears fans on bad plays.

* Do suggest that good play is a result of nefarious intentions. When Kyle Orton has 200 yards passing in the first half, suggest that Lovie Smith must have big money on a Las Vegas prop bet involving Orton's passing yards.

-

Bears at Falcons
Storyline: Two surprising, overachieving, 3-2 teams meet. These teams liken themselves to Seabiscuit. Nobody expected great things from Seabiscuit. The winner moves ahead "around the first turn on the playoff track", while the second "falls significantly behind the pace." Soon, you'd rather watch The Black Stallion Returns than listen to one more horse racing analogy.

Reality: "Overachieving" really means "Usually doesn't find ways to lose like they used to." Granted, the Bears have found two ways to lose when they shouldn't have, but the Falcons are due. Watch for the white van that carries the tarp, as one NFL team becomes euthanized for the playoffs.

Prediction: Bears Minus 1 Point, Over 42 Points Scored

-

Percentage of sugar in the Pitcher of Blue and Orange Kool-Aid: 75%
Recommended sugar in the Pitcher of Blue and Orange Kool-Aid: 45%

-

Over/Under: How to make a happy sports radio call.

-

Fantasy Fix: J.T. O'Sullivan is the next Ben Roethlisberger.

-

Eric Emery grew up in small-town Illinois but has an irrational love of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Every week he writes The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report and Over/Under. You can send him love letters and hate mail and he will respond graciously.

Posted by Lou at 04:40 AM | Permalink

October 09, 2008

The [Thursday] Papers

I don't know much about Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, so it's tough to say how much his bold decision to stop enforcing foreclosure evictions is motivated by the great headlines he's sure to garner nationwide and how much is motivated by his desire for true justice of a sort a sheriff rarely gets to invoke, but in this case I'll judge him righteous until proven guilty even if it makes me look like a chump. After all, it sure sounds like the right thing to do.

The basic gist - as I understand it - is that Dart's deputies all too often have been trying to evict tenants who have made their rent payments because of unscrupulous landlords. Dart finally said enough is enough.

The back story is what fascinates me.

"I've come to this point after spending the last year trying to work with the banking industry, even asking the Legislature to pass a bill requiring them to - at a minimum - let us know if any children, disabled or senior citizens live at the home, so we can connect them with social services," Dart writes himself in the Sun-Times. "That effort was killed by banking industry lobbyists."

That sounds like territory ripe for further reporting.

True enough, only a third of foreclosure evictions involve renters, according to the Sun-Times's own story. The paper reports that that fact has Cook County Judge Dorothy Kirie Kinnaird, who is in charge of the Chancery Division that handles foreclosure evictions, wondering why Dart is ceasing all such evictions.

It's a good question, and Kinnaird also notes that "he has communicated more [to the media] than he has to the court."

But at least he now has everyone's attention.

*

Also, Mark Brown identifies the "real heroes" - from Albany Park - behind Dart's decision.

Garbage In, Garbage Out
"During a 10-ward, 10-week surveillance, Inspector General David Hoffman found that waste and falsification of time in the Bureau of Sanitation is 'systemic and pervasive and extends to all wards,' aided and abetted by poor supervision by layer upon layer of middle management," the Sun-Times reports.

If you think about that for a minute, you realize Hoffman is saying the bureau is thoroughly slothful and corrupt.

"Of the 145 laborers whose daily movements were tracked, investigators' did not see a single laborer doing a full day's work," the paper notes.

Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Michael Picardi blamed "a few bad apples."

Question to Picardi: Which of the 145 are the good apples?

Lou Phillips of the Laborers Union Local 1001 called the investigation a witch hunt.

Sorry, Lou. Witches put in a full day's work.

Phillips also accused Hoffman of working with Mayor Daley to use the investigation as groundwork for budget layoffs.

Not likely, given that Hoffman is persona non grata to Daley, though it's always possible the boys in City Hall called in the tip. But why not just man up and say you're sorry?

Still, the Tribune editorial page is wrong when it says that "Hoffman's report couldn't come at a worse time for Daley or his workforce."

Actually, Hoffman's report couldn't come at a better time for Daley - for just the reasons Phillips notes in terms of layoffs.

Finally, the Tribune says that "This debacle belongs to the mayor."

As opposed to all the others?

Drunk Test
Google Goggles rules.

Deer Meat
"Chance of hitting a deer in Illinois: 1 in 196," the Springfield State Journal-Register reports.

The Beachwood Inn's Bob Stepien comments:

"They should start a deer education program. This would teach the deer the proper way to cross a road. Perhaps funding for street lights and crosswalks at deer crossings. When the deer need to cross the road they push the button in order to change the light. This would cut down on deer fatalities and insurance cost on car repairs. Somebody should float this by the government, I'm sure there is somebody who would approve it."

We could probably get an earmark for the funding.

Changing the Channel
"It's now all Obama all the time on Dish Network's channel 73. Senator Obama's campaign has bought this channel 24x7 between now and election day," Rich Samuels reports. "Paid political programming dates from the earliest days of broadcasting, to be sure. But this has to be some sort of first."

The Cub Factor
Uh-oh.

Beer Fear
Who even knew a shortage like this was possible?

Pontiac RIP
It kinda sucked but I'm sure it was better than what will replace it.

Ferdy's Film Frenzy
We continue blurbing Marilyn Ferdinand's coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival. Follow the link for the full review and other event information.

Snow: Among the thriving film industries of Eastern Europe, Bosnia-Herzegovina's has consistently provided courageous and inventive stories that tell the rest of the world what has happened and is happening in this scarred region. Now we have another beautifully wrought film - the winner of the critics' week grand prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival - about the survivors of the tiny Muslim town of Slavno who saw all its males, including young boys, rousted from their beds and taken off to be slaughtered. Snow takes place in a time out of time. Real-life events occur, but the handful of residents who have lost fathers, husbands, and children live in a kind of limbo, wishfully thinking and dreaming that their men somehow escaped unharmed or clinging to bitterness over their ruined lives. What they don't know is that a strange confrontation will change the fate of all the villagers and enable them to get on with their lives.

Here's the trailer (with French subtitles):

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Gray like an autumn day.

Posted by Lou at 06:55 AM | Permalink

Lunch With Cindy McCain

I totally misread the invite - I thought it was gonna be just us. Who asked Jon Voight, Elizabeth Hasselbeck and Todd Palin to pull up a chair?

-

See the rest of the fabulous Citizen Kate collection!

Posted by Lou at 05:16 AM | Permalink

Music By Paste

The latest Paste magazine sampler.

1. You Stood Me Up/Benji Hughes

2. Say Hey (I Love You)/Michael Franti & Spearhead

3. It's Alright/Dar Williams

4. Lost Coastlines/Okkervil River

5. You Won't Be Able To Be Sad/The Break and Repair Method

6. Sad Eyes/Josh Rouse

7. The Places We Live/Backyard Tire Fire

8. Bluebirds/Kensington Prairie

9. This World As We Know It/Xavier Rudd

10. Grits/S.M.V.

11. The Crook Of My Good Arm/Pale Young Gentlemen

12. Write on/Sleeping In The Aviary

13. Gillian Was A Horse/Damien Jurado

14. Caroline/Old Crow Medicine Show

15. 'Til You're Gone/The Gabe Dixon Band

16. We Got The Power (Love Letter From America)/Born Again Floozies

17. Keep Coming Back/Marc Broussard

18. Death By Numbers/Noah And The Whale

19. Blue Road/Randall Bramblett

20. Heretics (Live at Austin City Limits Festival 2007)/Andrew Bird

21. Alphabutt/Kimya Dawson

-

From the Beachwood jukebox to Marfa Public Radio, we have the playlists you need to be a better citizen of the Rock and Roll Nation.

Posted by Lou at 04:55 AM | Permalink

Over/Under

In last week's Kool-Aid Report, I predicted that Bears fans would reach their highest emotional point of well-being after the Lions game. As predicted, the Bears crushed the Lions. Due to recent hard times for Chicago's sports teams, though, fans have been a bit rusty in the art of making the "happy sports radio call." We're here to help.

*

Step One: Go directly into something intelligible related to your favorite team.

Good: OHMYGOSHWEFNRULE!!!!!

Bad: IWASSOINSPIREDBYLASTWEEKSPRESIDENTIALDEBATE!!!!!!!

*

Step Two: Don't ask hosts how they are doing. They're on the phone with you (bad), but the only thing that makes their day tolerable is that their team won too. So they're grateful that their day will not totally suck, despite talking to you.

*

Step Three: Present a topic sentence. Make it as unrealistic as possible.

Good: With a few breaks, this team has a shot at a first-round playoff bye.

Better: This team shows signs of the talent within the 1985 Bears.

Best: This team dominates the 1985 Bears and then sends the 1985 Bears to bed without dinner, because the 1985 Bears stink in comparison.

*

Step Four: Show no stamina. Even fellow fans hate the long-winded braggart (See: Democrats and John Kerry and Al Gore). Plus, you want to bail before a friend recognizes your voice and asks you why you would ever speak badly about the 1985 Bears.

*

Step Five: Say, "I have to go because" . . . a) I'm at a friend's house and we're going to slaughter a baby calf to a pagan god to keep this streak going b) William Shatner is here to help me negotiate my Priceline ticket to Tampa Bay or c) I need to call my brother-in-law to say his team stinks.

*

Step Six: Never say "I'll hang up and listen to your answer" because you've provided the answer: Your team rules.

-

OverHyped Game of the Week: Patriots at Chargers
Storyline: This game has an abundance of gates: "Spy-Gate," "L.T. Sour Grapes-Gate." Antonio Gates. We have gates, people. Gates. You know, this isn't your father's gate anymore.

Reality: The only thing stopping the Chargers from winning is the Chargers. Anger motivates for the first quarter, and then Norv Turner will bring a new word to our vernacular: "Blank look in the face of a disappearing lead"-gate.

Prediction: New England Plus 6, Under 47 Points Scored

-

UnderHyped Game of the Week: Cowboys at Cardinals
Storyline: Arizona has a winning record. Seriously, they do. I know what you are thinking. They really don't stink. But enough about Arizona. Let's talk about Tony Romo and how dreamy he is.

Reality: Still not over it.

Prediction: Dallas Minus 6.5 Points, Over 48.5 Points Scored

-

Last week's picks: 5-1
For the season: 11-4-3

-

Eric Emery grew up in small-town Illinois but has an irrational love of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Every week he writes The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report and Over/Under. He also is a spark plug in floor hockey. You can reach him here.

Posted by Lou at 04:36 AM | Permalink

The Periodical Table

A weekly look at the magazines laying around Beachwood HQ that has really gotten away from me so let's just try to get updated from newest to oldest also considering that due to financial constraints I barely get any magazines at all anymore.

Beaten
"He was a star in the Republican Party," the New York Times Sunday Magazine says. "Now, like dozens of his GOP colleagues, he's quitting Congress, fed up with his party, his president and the process. Tom Davis gives up."

This is a fascinating profile that really gives you an idea of what it's like to be a United States congressman - and particularly a United States congressman with good intentions who wants to work across the aisle and get things done. It also illustrates how corrosive - and corrupting - zealous partisanship is.

"Davis asked for a list of all 20 bills on the floor that day - naming post offices, recognizing the anniversary of Bulgaria's independence, honoring an old American war sloop. Davis wanted me to have it. 'Tell them about the important work we're doing while Rome burns.'"

Perhaps what this article does best is explain how scoring political points in order to maintain power supercedes solving problems. And it applies to both parties.

"When you get the majority, the leadership team sits around the table, and the first question the winners ask, sitting in this ornate room, is How do we stay in the majority?' he said. 'And the minority, by the way, sits in a little less ornate room, a little smaller room in the Capitol, and they say, How do we get it back? And so for every issue it's Do we cooperate or do we try to embarrass them? Very few times they cooperate."

Being Brokaw
"I have a theory that life is junior high," Tom Brokaw said recently, according to the New Yorker. "Everybody's trying to get to the right tables, hang out with the right crowd, say the right things, and emerge saying they're part of the 'in' group."

Maybe, but some of us have grown up.

*

Besides, I'm sure that Brokaw's version of "the right crowd" is vastly different than, say, mine.

Plus, he's only the billionth person to have a "theory" like this.

*

Plus, it's part of his standard commencement speech.

Beer & Diapers
"It's the stuff of legend, the famous discovery by Wal-Mart that placing beer and diapers near one another in their store increased sales of both items," Bob Garfield writes in Advertising Age. "Why? Because men on their way home from work, instructed by their wives to pick up a bundle of Pampers or whatever, also grabbed a six-pack. It is the quintessentially unexpected correlation, almost universally invoked to exemplify the rewards of data mining. Isn't it, after all, a superficially counterintuitive connection that makes absolutely perfect sense?

"Of course it is. And here's something else it is: not true."

Playing Footsie
"The foot is at such a high risk for injury largely because it has so many small, frangible parts - 25 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 tendons, ligaments and muscles, any of which can fail," Play reports.

The Daley Show
"It seems almost laughable now," David Bernstein writes in a Chicago magazine, "but when Daley II rode into office in 1989, he vowed to end corruption in city hall."

Almost?

Limning Lapham
"Something of an aristocrat himself, Lapham would seem an unlikely liberal," Vice reports. "His great-grandfather founded Texaco, his grandfather was mayor of San Francisco, and his father was a shipping tycoon."

I did not know that. But I do know that when he was editor of Harper's and raging against the moneyed class he did not pay his interns. So, you know, only kids from the aristocracy could afford to do them.

*

Elsewhere in Vice, Howard Zinn speaks that which most doust not speak: that America's Revolutionary War may not have been just.

"You might say Vietnam is easy to criticize," Zinn says. "So are Iraq and the Mexican War. But the American Revolution, in terms of casualties, was the bloodiest of wars. A lot of people don't realize that. There were only 3 million people in the colonies at that time . . . the same question in all of these consecrated wars is: Could the same objective have been accomplished - independence from England, ending slavery, defeating fascism - at less than the bloody toll that was taken and without corrupting the moral values of the victors in the war - and with better outcomes?"

Liberal Elitism
"The argument of The Liberal Imagination is that literature teaches that life is not so simple - for unfairness, snobbery, resentment, prejudice, neurosis, and tragedy happen to be literature's particular subject," Louis Menand writes in the New Yorker.

Posted by Lou at 12:41 AM | Permalink

The Cub Factor

Okay. What is there to say about what happened again in the playoffs? And if you are any sort of fan of The Cub Factor, what is there to say that's kind of funny about what happened again this year in the playoffs? The only answer is: nothing. There is nothing funny about what happened. But is there hope? Hope sucks. Here is an e-mail exchange I had with a colleague from Boston who is a big Red Sox fan:

Hey, Are you enjoying another run to the World Series? Isn't it bad enough that you guys have to win it again yet you trade the guy that turns around the season of the team that knocks the Cubs out Geesh.
This was his response:
Yeah sorry about that . . . was really hoping for a Cubs v [Red] Sox series. It looked like the Cubs played scared the whole time. I know this because it is the same way the [Red] Sox used to play before 2004. Everything felt and looked the same, it was really weird. The last thing real [Red] Sox fans want is Manny helping anyone out . . . it is like salt in a wound to see him run out ground balls and playing hard again . . . prickhead that he is, still an offensive machine.
I guess it sums it up. The Cubs were scared, the fans were scared, and scared teams and people don't act and play the way that they should. So, how do we fix this? Well, you aren't going to make the fans less scared - we are scared shitless and will be forever, rr, I mean, until we win it all. So it comes down to the players and getting them to be less scared. But how? Should Lou tuck them in at night before playoff games? Should they get super drunk before each game? Maybe they should get a nite light. Or maybe they should grow a set. I think I'm going to go with them growing a set. I'm not sure there's anything else to say.

-

Week in Review: Fuck.

Week in Preview: Whatever.

The Second Basemen Report: Three games and a lot of Mark DeRosa hitting pretty well and fielding very badly. Maybe next year we will see a new guy here who will solidify the position. Paging Brian Roberts! Just like Hendry drew it up.

In former second basemen news, maybe Alfonso Soriano will become a former Cub second baseman. He'd be missed . . .

The Zam Bomb: Big Z kind of went boom but it wasn't his fault. Of course, he's still furious,though.
zam_furious.jpg

Endorsement No-Brainer: The 2008 Cubs for the Heimlich Maneuver. Learn how to use it or this will happen to you.

Lost in Translation: Kosuke Fukudome is Japanese for horrible mistake.

Sweet and Sour Lou: 49% sweet, 51% sour. Lou is down 26 points this week due to losing. And just like you real crazy drunk uncle, Lou doesn't know where his life went wrong.

Center Stage: We would like to thank scrap heap pickups J-Ed and Reed-dog for picking up the slack vacated by another "can't miss" prospect that is currently "can't hit." That's Japanese for Felix Pie.

The Cub Factor: Catch up with them all

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by the The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that this sucks.

Over/Under: The amount of seats empty all next year: zero.

Mount Lou: Mount Lou has moved to Green as anger magma has cooled and settled into petrified confusion.

mtlou_green.gif

-

Contact The Cub Factor!


Posted by Lou at 12:29 AM | Permalink

Feminism Frenzy

Three events of note.

1. WHERE WOMEN STAND IN CHICAGO NEWSROOMS
Date: October 15, 2008
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Columbia College's Ferguson Hall, 600 S. Michigan Ave.
Featuring: Linda Yu, Sally Eisele, Hanke Gratteau and Lynn Norment

2. CHICAGO AREA WOMEN'S HISTORY COUNCIL DOCUMENTS FEMINIST ACTIVISM IN THE CITY
Date: October 11, 2008
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location: Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton St.

Featuring: Stephanie Gilmore, Ph.D, editor of Feminist Coalitions, Historical Perspectives on Second-Wave Feminism in the United States (University of Illinois Press 2008) and Assistant Professor of Women's Studies at Dickinson College. Gilmore is also co-editor of the Second Wave and Beyond, an online community.

Special Presentation: Janet Olson, MA, Chair of the Chicago Area Archivists group and Assistant University Archivist at Northwestern University will present the premiere of Preserving the History of Second Wave Feminism in Chicago: Donating Your Papers to a Permanent Archives.

Meet the Archivists: A distinguished group of Chicago area archivists representing nine of the city's most notable institutions will be on hand to discuss their repositories and their collections.

Note: Reservations are required. Admission is free.

To register go to: www.cawhc.org or call: 773-227-0093

3. TALK.IN FEMINISM TODAY: NEW RADIO SHOW LAUNCHES ITS PILOT SEASON
Date: November 17, 2008
Time: 6:30 p.m. reception, 7:30 p.m. program
Location: The S.P.A.C.E., 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston
Featuring: Maya Friedler and Jamie O’Reilly, Women’s Media Group

The Post-Feminist Mystique: Bring Back the "F" Word With Host Ravi Batista, June Sochen, Hedy Ratner and Sara Paretsky.
Contributors: Nicole Hollander, Anne Hills and Musician Fred Simon

The new talk.in, revives and re-imagines TALK-IN, the popular 1970’s radio show initiated by Diann DeWeese Smith, and moderated by Friedler, (one of Chicago'’s Second Wave Feminists), from the Loop Center YWCA. The new program will feature a formidable line-up of talent engaging with a live audience that cross generations and has diverse viewpoints about today’s feminism.

Audiences will hear from guest authors, pundits, performers, businesswomen, attorneys, politicians, educators, humorists, artists, health-care providers, retirees, activists and politicians who weigh in about the role of feminism in current affairs. The pilot season of four programs will be recorded, uploaded as podcasts, and developed for radio broadcast on public and community radio stations. The programs will be filmed for a future film documentary.

Four pilot programs will comprise the inaugural season of "talk.in":
I. The Post-Feminist Mystique: Bring Back the "F" Word
II. Sex: Let’s Get Real
III. Women and Poverty: Is There A Way Out?
IV. Global Sisterhood: Violence Against Women It’s Rampant. Where Is the Outrage?

Program One, "The Post-Feminist Mystique" features Sara Paretsky, (Ph.D., Award-winning Author, Essayist), June Sochen, (Ph.D., Historian, Author), and Hedy Ratner, (Founder, Co-President, Women’s Business Development Center). Other contributors will be Cartoonist/Author Nicole Hollander, and Musicians Fred Simon and Anne Hills.

The talk.in launch is free and open to the public. Reservations are suggested. For Information, (312) 458.0822. Email: talk.in@wmgchicago.com

Posted by Lou at 12:24 AM | Permalink

October 08, 2008

The [Wednesday] Papers

The debate last night took a lot out of me. How lame was that? Tom Brokaw sifted through audience questions and those were the ones he chose? Could we please just keep asking the same questions over and over again? You might as well have had animatronic candidates there for all the time that was wasted.

Why no hard questions on the pork-stuffed bailout bill? Why no trying to settle Ayers and Keating once and for all? Why no questions of either candidate for their failures to campaign with the dignified tone each promised? Plenty to ask.

Between the dispiriting effects of last night and some Internet connectivity problems this morning, as well as other pressing business, I just don't have it in me to turn out a Papers column today.

But you can occupy yourself - and please do - with our Mystery Debate Theater coverage over at Division Street. It's a pretty good one. Feel free to comment over there.

And among our offerings today, I'd like to introduce Fantasy Fix, our new football and basketball fantasy sports column, which will be brought to you weekly by Dan O'Shea.

The Papers will return tomorrow.

The [Tuesday] Papers
Just to close the curtain on baseball season in Chicago:

* Dane Placko in the Best Interview Ever of a Cubs fan.

* Rick Kaempfer's second thoughts about raising his children to be Cubs fans.

* Our very own Ricky O'Donnell in the season's final White Sox Report: "It could be much worse. We could be the Cubs."

Deceiving Appearances
Predictably, the Tribune has taken some flak for its redesign. I expected to be one of those dishing it out. But I have to tell you something unexpected: I like it.

When I first saw a prototype, I thought it looked like Crain's. Then when the paper came out I thought it looked like Crain's meets RedEye.

But after spending a week now with the new paper, there is no doubt in my mind that this is a vast improvement. I expected a colorful and more dynamic appearance, but what I've been seeing every day is bolder than I thought it would be - including the fact that the paper is doing a nice job of pointing readers to the Internet in sensible ways, which is a rarity.

Could I find things to criticize? Sure. Some pages are way too busy. Sometimes, design-wise, the ads and editorial have seemed to blend together too seamlessly. The paper is obviously smaller. And in some ways some design elements remind me of the look some mid-size papers have long had; the look is not exactly elegant and mighty.

On the other hand, large photos and an engaging appearance convey the feeling that, you know, the paper actually cares about what it is telling you. The biggest missing ingredient in the DNA of the old Tribune was always passion, enthusiasm, even a point-of-view (which is not the same thing as bias). The new Trib seems to have at least a little bit of those things.

Bigger photos and headlines and more graphic presentations can be a dumbing down, but they don't have to be, and in fact I think that - if done smartly - it's the right way to go. A paper should be a mix of presentations, not a collection of the same stories written with the same hackneyed formulas.

I have the early instinctual sense that new ways of presentation will also stoke new ways of thinking among reporters in terms of what is news and how it can be conveyed.

Plus, the columns of Eric Zorn and Mary Schmich are buried in the back now.

*

The true test will be if the staff can maintain its creative energy after its initial burst and, even more so, how and where the real hard-core reporting work fits in - be it investigative projects or beat work or anything else that demands time and space.

I'm also uncertain about the ability to attract new readers to the paper; I'm of the view that it's too late for print editions of the paper to re-establish the habit among the young 'uns. But for the first time I will say that maybe inroads could be made with the right kind of marketing push and whatever methods may be used to get this kind of paper in their hands for a few test spins.

In any case, for those of us who still read the print version, it's a much more enjoyable experience.

*

I suspect Alan Mutter's pals are just, you know, bitter old fogeys.

*

Internet polls are so not to be taken seriously.

For all we know, Michael Cooke, editor-in-chief of the Sun-Times, called in a thousand times while on a bender.

*

Robb Montgomery, a former Sun-Times designer who was the man behind the late, lamented Red Streak, has a round-up of other reactions.

*

Plus, David Greising's column is apparently back and Q is dead, or at least has morphed into a new section called Smart.

Ferdy's Film Festival
Our coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival continues. See Ferdy on Films for full reviews and other festival details.

Today's Ferdy blurb:

Beautiful takes the dilemma faced by beautiful young women in a society that disrespects women at a very basic level and turns out a less graphic version of slasher porn. Kim Eun-yeong (Cha Su-yeon), the lovely victim in Beautiful, is no match for the gawkers and stalkers she tries unsuccessfully to evade. "Beauty is destiny," someone says to Eun-yeong. According to this movie, being a beautiful woman means being reduced to a raving crone who is destroyed without any reason or poignancy. The director and screenwriter would rather let Detective Kim call the shots and force her fate on her like a second, more deadly rape. Eun-yeong's allure seems more that of a sorceress than a fresh-faced young woman, and we all know what happens to witches.

Here's the trailer:

-

Debate Prep
Tom Rosenstiel of the Project for Excellence in Journalism gives a pretty strong interview to the National Journal. I think he's too soft on sexism in the campaign, but he's right - as we've all long known - about the way the media has ceded its brains and even its jobs to the very political strategists who ruin campaigns for everyone. Here's an edited excerpt (chosen not for its criticism of Obama but for its criticism of the media):

Q: What would you say the problems of press coverage are, then?

Rosenstiel: The fact the press has given over too much of its air time to campaign operatives who they label as analysts, media people. It's the naming of Paul Begala, and Karl Rove, and Dick Morris, and a countless litany of other people who are essentially not journalists but who play them on TV, and who really are doing talking points.

Another is an excess of focus on strategy, tactics and horse race, which we've seen for generations now in the coverage. Another is a kind of short attention span, almost kind of amnesic quality, in which the coverage and the narrative of the campaign sort of bounces from one episode to another, but there's no consistent coverage of what the country's problems are, or where the country is going.

I think the coverage of Obama has been insufficient. We don't know enough about him.

Q: If you could tell journalists how to better do their jobs, what would you say?

Rosenstiel: We may be at a point now where finally an issue, a problem facing the country, is going to frame this election, and that's the economy. And I think that we need to focus now pretty hard on the economic philosophy, background votes, etc. of the two candidates. Obama has an advantage - which is a challenge to the press - which is he doesn't have very much of a record. And that's dangerous, I think, because he can pull one over on us, he can claim to be whatever he wants to claim to be. So I think we need to use these debates, and we need to use the coverage that surrounds them, to try and press how these guys will deal with this economic crisis that they're going to inherit if they become president.

I fear that what's going to happen is what typically happens, which is we do a sort of theater review coverage of the debates, trying to figure out who had the best theatrical moment, who got the better of the other in some exchange or other . . . most of our coverage of debates has been primarily focused on the performance aspects of it rather than the substantive aspects of what the candidates propose and are saying.


The Beachwood Tip Line: A graphic presentation.

Posted by Lou at 09:48 AM | Permalink

Alterna-Debate

You can find our new installment of Mystery Debate Theater here. Go read it now and then come back for a little nibble on some news from our nation's alterna-candidates.

1. ThirdPartyTicket.com Launched: Ron Paul's Money Bomb Architect and Partners Working on Third Party Debate with Twist

On the heels of Congressman Ron Paul's press conference rejecting the corrupt two parties, and his endorsement of four third-party candidate who agree on bringing the U.S. troops home, protecting our civil liberties, investigating the Federal Reserve, and balancing the federal budget, ThirdPartyTicket.com is working to host a debate among third party candidates punctuated by a money bomb, that Trevor Lyman and others are setting up.

The debate will take place on Thursday, October 16th, 2008, from 7 to 9 pm EST, at New York Society for Ethical Culture.

ThirdPartyTicket is inviting all of the major candidates to participate. The Ralph Nader, Chuck Baldwin and Cynthia McKinney campaigns are committed and have sent to their email databases asking them to pledge for the coinciding money bomb. The event will be broadcast via www.BreakTheMatrix.com and many other sites.

About ThirdPartyTicket: The initial Sponsors include www.FreeAndEqual.org, www.OpenDebates.org and www.BreakTheMatrix.com, which is headed up by Trevor Lyman, architect of the Ron Paul money bombs that raised over $14 million dollars.

2. Nader Kicks Off Get-Out-The-Vote Effort in Illinois: Launches Chicago Office and 21 Others Nation-Wide

With four weeks to go until the ballots are counted, Presidential candidate Ralph Nader will open a campaign office in Chicago, Illinois, at 230 E. Ohio Street, this week. As part of its get-out-the-vote effort, the Nader/Gonzales Campaign is adding 22 offices and nearly 50 field-staff staff to its base of thousands of volunteers this week, aiming at securing votes in 49 states. A map of all office locations is available at www.votenader.org.

Recent polls indicate that a growing number of independent voters are moving away from the two parties in the wake of last week's Wall Street bailout. The Wall Street Journal and CNN put Nader's support at 5 and 6 per cent in this third presidential campaign, despite having been excluded from the presidential debates so far. Offices are opening in swing states such as Florida, Colorado, and Pennsylvania, as well as states like Illinois, where Obama is polling at 56 per cent and McCain at 36.

Posted by Lou at 08:48 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix

We join this NFL season already in progress.

So, you figured you'd be too busy watching the Cubs and Sox play their way to a crosstown World Series to pay attention to your fantasy football league draft. You just hoped all the buzz about J.T. O'Sullivan, Ray Rice and Darren McFadden was warranted, and then phoned it in.

Well, we're coming up on Week 6, and here's what you've missed, position by position:

QB
J.T. O'Sullivan is not quite the next Tom Brady, or even the next Jon Kitna, but Aaron Rodgers, while not the next Brett Favre, could be at least the next Ben Roethlisberger, Version 2007. Confused? Take a look at the numbers:

* O'Sullivan 2008: 1,093 Pass YDs, 7 Pass TDs, 6 INTs
* Rodgers 2008: 1,274 Pass YDs, 9 Pass TDs, 4 INTs
* Roethlisberger 2007 (first five games): 1,013 Pass Yds, 9 Pass TDs, 3 INTs

Rodgers hasn't been mistake-free, but fantasy drafters who took a chance must like the results. He also has 2 rushing TDs. True, Rodgers has thrown all of his INTs in the last two weeks, and his only truly big game was Week 2 against a Detroit pass defense that just made Kyle Orton look like Dan Fouts, but Rodgers should have a big game coming Week 6 against the equally bad Seattle pass defense.

Meanwhile, O'Sullivan hasn't completely left unsatisfied those who bought the hype surrounding his reunion with Mike Martz in San Francisco, but he should really only be an option in 2 QB leagues for now. He has a tough Week 6 match-up against the Philadelphia defense, which itself is looking to make up for a couple bad weeks.

So, who's the next Brett Favre? That would be Brett Favre, though his numbers were helped big time by a record-setting 6 TD performance in Week 4.

* Old Man Favre: (Week 5 bye) 935 Pass YDs, 12 TDs, 4 INTs

What else? Oh, yeah, Brady is out for the season, meaning whoever jumped on him in the first round of this year's draft started the season 0-2 (after realizing Matt Cassel wasn't the answer) and likely is hoping a late pick-up (Chad Pennington?) manages to hold his own.

RB
Matt Forte is everything Ray Rice and Darren McFadden were supposed to be, but aren't. Michael Turner is more like the new L.J. than the new L.T., but that's OK. Frank Gore and Ronnie Brown surprised everyone by just being themselves.

* Forte: 383 Rush YDs, 2 TDs; 172 Rec. YDs, 2 TDs
* Rice: 85 Rush YDs, 0 TDs; 19 Rec. YDs, 0 TDs
* McFadden: (Week 5 bye) 272 Rush YDs, 1 TD; 43 Rec. YDs, 0 TDs
* Turner: 543 Rush YDs, 6 TDs; 11 Rec. YDs, 0 TDs
* Gore: 423 Rush YDs, 3 TDs; 180 Rec. YDs, 1 TD
* Brown: (Week 4 bye) 286 Rush YDs, 6 TDs; 64 Rec. YDs, 0 TD

There's some question whether Forte can keep up the numbers, with Orton really starting to grow into his neck beard as a passer. Turner and Gore look like the real deal. Rice is the forgotten man after a strong pre-season. Could McFadden benefit from a new coach coming in?

Brown could qualify as one of this year's big surprises if he keeps building after a slow start (his numbers are also low because of a Week 4 bye). He was devalued in a lot of drafts with the return of Ricky Williams, but in his last two games has reminded everyone he's equally adept at rushing and receiving (as well as passing, with a TD throw in Week 3). Williams has looked good at times, but he hasn't helped his long-term value by admitting he fought the urge to get baked during the bye week.

The under-achiever of the year might be Brian Westbrook. I know, 6 TDs total, but under 200 YDs rushing and scaring his owners yet again with injury problems. It seems like there's a "Q" next to his name every single week.

WR
T.O. is tied for the league lead in TDs, but complaining about not getting the ball. However, maybe he should be complaining if Greg Jennings, Larry Fitzgerald a bunch of others - even impressive-but-dopey rookie DeSean Jackson - all have more receiving yards?

* T.O.: 331 Rec. YDs., 5 TDs
* Jennings: 569 Rec. YDs., 3 TDs
* Fitzgerald: 467 Rec. YDs., 4 TDs
* Jackson: 335 Rec. YDs., 1 TD

Honorable mentions: One goes to Anquan Boldin, who snagged 5 TDs in the first four weeks before absorbing what was literally a face-fracturing end zone hit against the Jets. He may not be back until Week 7 unless Arizona feels needy. Another to Chris Chambers, suddenly useful in a high-flying but inconsistent San Diego offense. He also had 5 TDs in the first four weeks.

TE
A lot of the names you'd expect - Jason Witten, Antonio Gates, Tony Scheffler, Chris Cooley - are doing big things. Yet, what a boring position this has become, as it seems like the days of super-stellar TE numbers are over. Tony Gonzalez is suffering - loudly - on a very poor Kansas City team. One big surprise: Dustin Keller might be next Bubba Franks, at least in Favre's eyes, though he has only had one big game. Ready to break out: Kellen Winslow, who has been mediocre in what was supposed to be his big year, though you mostly can blame the woeful Cleveland offense.

* Witten: 442 Rec. YDs, 2 TDs
* Gates: 217 YDs, 3 TDs
* Scheffler: 259 YDs, 2 TDs
* Gonzalez: 193 YDs, 2 TDs
* Cooley: 288 Rec. YDs, 1 TD
* Winslow: 170 Rec. YDs, 1 TD

K
I know, who cares about kickers. But Matt Prater (DEN) already has 4 FGs from 50+ and 15 PATs complimenting the Mike Shanahan Offensive Experience. He leads the league in both those categories, and thus probably leads most fantasy leagues in total kicker points - even though he probably wasn't drafted in many leagues because he barely played last year.

* Prater: 12 FGs, 15 PATs

D
I'm in two leagues that play three defenders on individual stats rather than full defenses. If you're in that kind of league, you have to like Patrick Willis, John Abraham, James Harrison and Cortland Finnegan. Predictably, Tennessee, the NY Giants, Baltimore and Carolina have brought the stoutest team defenses.

* Willis: 38 tackles (league lead)
* Abraham: 7 sacks (league lead)
* Harrison: 6.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles (league lead)
* Finnegan: 4 INTs (tied for league lead)
* Tennessee: 11. 2 PPG
* NY Giants: 12.3 PPG
* Baltimore: 14 PPG
* Carolina: 14 PPG

Best Rookies
Forte and DeSean Jackson we already mentioned, but Tim Hightower and Eddie Royal also have made good on the hype surrounding them.

* Hightower (RB): 110 Rush YDs, 5 TDs; 92 Rec. YDs
* Royal (WR): 321 Rec. YDs, 2 TDs; 125 Ret. YDs

What to watch for in Week 6
At QB, Tony Romo and Drew Brees should have their biggest weeks yet against vulnerable Ds, Arizona and Oakland, respectively.

At RB, Adrian Peterson should finally have a really big week against Detroit, which has the worst Rush D in the league; former NIU star Burner Turner should have fun back in the Chicago area running over the Bears; and Clinton Portis should get busy against troubled St. Louis.

At WR, it will be all T.O. all the time, both because Romo will be passing more and because Cowboys, Inc., probably will tell Romo this week to make sure T.O. gets the ball. Fitzgerald also should get many chance with Boldin still likely out or at least a little dizzy.

"Lastly, the Cubs and Sox may be done, but Week 6 in the NFL means the season isn't half over yet. It isn't too late to fix your fantasy year if these guys are available as pick-ups:

* Greg Olsen (TE), whose returns will grow along with Orton's
* Domenik Hixon (WR), who has earned himself more grabs from Eli Manning, even with Plaxico Burress coming back
* Maurice Morris (RB), who is definitely not the next Shaun Alexander, but of course, neither is Shaun Alexander

-

Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix will appear weekly, analyzing fantasy football and basketball trends with the goal of helping you win the envy of your league, the ire of your spouse and one of those little virtual trophies.

Posted by Lou at 07:26 AM | Permalink

Walk for Farm Animals

Chicago Joins More Than 50 Cities Across North America for the 2008 Walk for Farm Animals

Chicago Walk will benefit Farm Sanctuary's rescue, education and advocacy efforts for farm animals

On Saturday, October 11, Chicago will join more than 50 cities across North America in hosting a Walk for Farm Animals to benefit Farm Sanctuary, the nation's leading farm animal protection organization.

Chicago-area residents will meet at the Flat Top Grill at 319 W. North Ave. for the start of their Walk at 11 a.m. Immediately following the Walk, participants are invited to a buffet lunch at the Flat Top Grill, which is $13 per person upon early registration with the Walk coordinator. Walks occur throughout the U.S and Canada every fall - on or around October 2 - in honor of World Farm Animals Day.

Walkers take to their streets and parks to help raise funds for and awareness about Farm Sanctuary's vital rescue, education and advocacy efforts for farm animals.

"The Walk for Farm Animals is a critical tool that provides an opportunity for animal advocates to demonstrate their support for animal protection, educate the public about why this issue is important, and help raise the funds necessary to continue Farm Sanctuary's distinctive work to rescue animals from abuse and advocate for farm animal protection across the country," said Farm Sanctuary President and Co-founder Gene Baur.

Operating the largest rescue and refuge network for farm animals in North America, Farm Sanctuary recently underwent one of the largest and most expensive rescue efforts in its 22 year history when the state of Iowa invited a coalition of animal protection organizations to rescue nearly 70 pigs from the Midwest floods. Abandoned by factory farmers in southeastern Iowa, all of these pigs were either breeding sows who had lived their lives in gestation crates - 2-foot-wide enclosures unable to turn around or lie down comfortably - or young pigs, between one and five months of age, well below slaughter weight. Some of the rescued sows were pregnant and have since given birth and many of the pigs are undergoing major medical procedures to bring them back to health.

The Walk for Farm Animals helps to fund major rescues like Farm Sanctuary's efforts in Iowa, as well as nationwide campaigns, such as Farm Sanctuary's Anti-Confinement Campaign to end the use of gestation crates for pigs, veal crates for calves and battery cages for egg-laying hens. Widely used on factory farms, these confinement systems keep animals caged by the thousands inside massive warehouses, where they are treated like unfeeling commodities and are denied their most basic natural behaviors. These systems are being phased out in the European Union and Farm Sanctuary is campaigning nationwide to educate the public about intensive confinement and the suffering it causes, as well as to enact policy to end it.

Walk sponsors include MooShoes, The Groovy Baker, Foley Enterprises, A Scent of Scandal and Boston Baked Bonz.

Participants can register at www.walkforfarmanimals.org, or call Brooke Mays and Shalesh Kumbhat, local Walk coordinators, at 847-733-9085. All participants receive a Walk t-shirt, specially designed by animal activist and artist Adam Durand, and walkers who raise $100, $250, or $500 or more will receive prizes.

-

Farm Sanctuary is the nation's leading farm animal protection organization. Since incorporating in 1986, Farm Sanctuary has worked to expose and stop cruel practices of the "food animal" industry through research and investigations, legal and institutional reforms, public awareness projects, youth education, and direct rescue and refuge efforts. Farm Sanctuary shelters in Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Orland, Calif., provide lifelong care for hundreds of rescued animals, who have become ambassadors for farm animals everywhere by educating visitors about the realities of factory farming. Additional information can be found at www.farmsanctuary.org or by calling 607-583-2225.

Posted by Lou at 12:30 AM | Permalink

October 07, 2008

The [Tuesday] Papers

Just to close the curtain on baseball season in Chicago:

* Dane Placko in the Best Interview Ever of a Cubs fan.

* Rick Kaempfer's second thoughts about raising his children to be Cubs fans.

* Our very own Ricky O'Donnell in the season's final White Sox Report: "It could be much worse. We could be the Cubs."

Deceiving Appearances
Predictably, the Tribune has taken some flak for its redesign. I expected to be one of those dishing it out. But I have to tell you something unexpected: I like it.

When I first saw a prototype, I thought it looked like Crain's. Then when the paper came out I thought it looked like Crain's meets RedEye.

But after spending a week now with the new paper, there is no doubt in my mind that this is a vast improvement. I expected a colorful and more dynamic appearance, but what I've been seeing every day is bolder than I thought it would be - including the fact that the paper is doing a nice job of pointing readers to the Internet in sensible ways, which is a rarity.

Could I find things to criticize? Sure. Some pages are way too busy. Sometimes, design-wise, the ads and editorial have seemed to blend together too seamlessly. The paper is obviously smaller. And in some ways some design elements remind me of the look some mid-size papers have long had; the look is not exactly elegant and mighty.

On the other hand, large photos and an engaging appearance convey the feeling that, you know, the paper actually cares about what it is telling you. The biggest missing ingredient in the DNA of the old Tribune was always passion, enthusiasm, even a point-of-view (which is not the same thing as bias). The new Trib seems to have at least a little bit of those things.

Bigger photos and headlines and more graphic presentations can be a dumbing down, but they don't have to be, and in fact I think that - if done smartly - it's the right way to go. A paper should be a mix of presentations, not a collection of the same stories written with the same hackneyed formulas.

I have the early instinctual sense that new ways of presentation will also stoke new ways of thinking among reporters in terms of what is news and how it can be conveyed.

Plus, the columns of Eric Zorn and Mary Schmich are buried in the back now.

*

The true test will be if the staff can maintain its creative energy after its initial burst and, even more so, how and where the real hard-core reporting work fits in - be it investigative projects or beat work or anything else that demands time and space.

I'm also uncertain about the ability to attract new readers to the paper; I'm of the view that it's too late for print editions of the paper to re-establish the habit among the young 'uns. But for the first time I will say that maybe inroads could be made with the right kind of marketing push and whatever methods may be used to get this kind of paper in their hands for a few test spins.

In any case, for those of us who still read the print version, it's a much more enjoyable experience.

*

I suspect Alan Mutter's pals are just, you know, bitter old fogeys.

*

Internet polls are so not to be taken seriously.

For all we know, Michael Cooke, editor-in-chief of the Sun-Times, called in a thousand times while on a bender.

*

Robb Montgomery, a former Sun-Times designer who was the man behind the late, lamented Red Streak, has a round-up of other reactions.

*

Plus, David Greising's column is apparently back and Q is dead, or at least has morphed into a new section called Smart.

Ferdy's Film Festival
Our coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival continues. See Ferdy on Films for full reviews and other festival details.

Today's Ferdy blurb:

Beautiful takes the dilemma faced by beautiful young women in a society that disrespects women at a very basic level and turns out a less graphic version of slasher porn. Kim Eun-yeong (Cha Su-yeon), the lovely victim in Beautiful, is no match for the gawkers and stalkers she tries unsuccessfully to evade. "Beauty is destiny," someone says to Eun-yeong. According to this movie, being a beautiful woman means being reduced to a raving crone who is destroyed without any reason or poignancy. The director and screenwriter would rather let Detective Kim call the shots and force her fate on her like a second, more deadly rape. Eun-yeong's allure seems more that of a sorceress than a fresh-faced young woman, and we all know what happens to witches.

Here's the trailer:

-

Debate Prep
Tom Rosenstiel of the Project for Excellence in Journalism gives a pretty strong interview to the National Journal. I think he's too soft on sexism in the campaign, but he's right - as we've all long known - about the way the media has ceded its brains and even its jobs to the very political strategists who ruin campaigns for everyone. Here's an edited excerpt (chosen not for its criticism of Obama but for its criticism of the media):

Q: What would you say the problems of press coverage are, then?

Rosenstiel: The fact the press has given over too much of its air time to campaign operatives who they label as analysts, media people. It's the naming of Paul Begala, and Karl Rove, and Dick Morris, and a countless litany of other people who are essentially not journalists but who play them on TV, and who really are doing talking points.

Another is an excess of focus on strategy, tactics and horse race, which we've seen for generations now in the coverage. Another is a kind of short attention span, almost kind of amnesic quality, in which the coverage and the narrative of the campaign sort of bounces from one episode to another, but there's no consistent coverage of what the country's problems are, or where the country is going.

I think the coverage of Obama has been insufficient. We don't know enough about him.

Q: If you could tell journalists how to better do their jobs, what would you say?

Rosenstiel: We may be at a point now where finally an issue, a problem facing the country, is going to frame this election, and that's the economy. And I think that we need to focus now pretty hard on the economic philosophy, background votes, etc. of the two candidates. Obama has an advantage - which is a challenge to the press - which is he doesn't have very much of a record. And that's dangerous, I think, because he can pull one over on us, he can claim to be whatever he wants to claim to be. So I think we need to use these debates, and we need to use the coverage that surrounds them, to try and press how these guys will deal with this economic crisis that they're going to inherit if they become president.

I fear that what's going to happen is what typically happens, which is we do a sort of theater review coverage of the debates, trying to figure out who had the best theatrical moment, who got the better of the other in some exchange or other . . . most of our coverage of debates has been primarily focused on the performance aspects of it rather than the substantive aspects of what the candidates propose and are saying.


The Beachwood Tip Line: A graphic presentation.

Posted by Lou at 07:31 AM | Permalink

Bob Barr: Pro-Pot

Editor's Note: While we prepare for the inevitable horror that will be tonight's debate between Barack Obama and John McCain - long periods of boredom punctured by short bursts of smear - let's divert our attention ever so briefly to one of our wonderful third-party candidates the corporate parties would not allow on the stage. In this case, we mean Bob Barr, whose commitment to habeas corpus makes him a true patriot. If only Barr and Nader - plus Mike Gravel, just because - could be on that stage tonight too, we'd hear a little more truth. Here's Citizen Kate with Barr at the Libertarian convention.

-

See the rest of the fabulous Citizen Kate collection!

Posted by Lou at 06:02 AM | Permalink

The White Sox Report

Even days later, a lot Cubs fans are still devastated after watching their team get swept in the playoffs against the Dodgers. Really, they should be. This may have been the best Cubs team ever, and to see it all come crashing down in the course of three games is a lot to handle. Even though the team had a great year, it feels unfulfilled. I said last week that all a fan should really hope for out of their favorite baseball team is a division title. Baseball teams are, after all, built to win over the course of 162 games, not five. But it was a little different for the Cubs this year. From the onset it felt like their year. Any fan that is irrationally upset probably deserves to be.

When my White Sox got eliminated last night, I was bummed but not devastated. It's always disappointing anytime your team's season ends without a championship, but the Sox were never supposed to be in this situation anyway. While the Cubs' hopes were sky high from the beginning, the Sox just sort of rolled along. No Sox fan should take this elimination too hard. They still had a really good season.

I picked the Indians to win the World Series at the beginning of the year. Tons more thought the Tigers would go all the way with an offense that could score 1,000 runs. To see the Sox win 15 games more than Detroit and eight more than Cleveland is pretty satisfying. Even more satisfying: winning one more game than the Twins. The play-in game victory over Minnesota was the highlight of the season. Because of it, 2008 was a success for the Sox.

Though they're not the Portland Trail Blazers, the Sox still have a bright future. Even as Jim Thome, Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye start to decline, there is still enough young talent to keep the Sox competitive for a long time.

John Danks is really good. He is also 23-years-old. Gavin Floyd and Carlos Quentin were both born after the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Mark Buehrle and Bobby Jenks are still squarely in their prime, and Alexei Ramirez is about to enter his.

So that's why I'm not taking this loss too hard. The team was cool, and the season was interesting the entire way. You can't ask for much more than that.

It could be much worse. We could be the Cubs.

*

Week in Review: It would have been great to see a Game 5, but Gavin Floyd just wasn't up to the task on Monday. Kudos to the Rays; they were the better team all along. Now go on and beat the Red Sox. Having no fans is cooler than having arrogant ones.

Fields on the Farm: Josh Fields will have surgery in the off-season and then will likely prepare to battle Juan Uribe to be the starting third baseman. I say likely because Uribe could always a) explode or b) find himself incarcerated. Either way, I like Fields' chances.

The Missile Tracker: As Orlando Cabrera departs through free agency (go ahead and try it Minnesota!), Alexei is ticketed to become the Sox starting shortstop. Hopefully that won't mean fewer grand slams, because when Alexei Ramirez hits a grand slam, the world is a better place.

Over/Under: 3: the number of balls-out crazy things general manager Kenny Williams will try this off-season.

Beachwood Sabermetics: A complex algorithm performed by The White Sox Report staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that Derrick Rose plays his first pre-season game on Thursday. Take solace in that, baseball fans.

The White Sox Report: Read 'em all.

-

Comments welcome. Please include a real name if want to be considered for publication.

-

Ricky O'Donnell is the proprietor of Tremendous Upside Potential , a contributor to the Sun-Times's Full Court Press and a lot of other things.


Posted by Lou at 05:48 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Silent Supernova Symphony

SILENT SUPERNOVA SYMPHONY

Autumn? Advantage: Chicago.
A tree transmogrifies into
A silent supernova,

An explosion of
Amber,
Auburn and
Amethyst.

Adjacent to the
Aquarium
at first, then sweeping inland, betwixt

A changeling sky and
A yearning mind.

Ardent,
Altruistic prayer,

Alleviating antipathy,
Accentuating amour,
Auguring atonement.

A corpus of incendiary
Affluence,

A copse of earth-bound
Auroras.

A treasure,
A tribute,
A triumph,

Aspiring to living, breathing
Art.

-

J. J. Tindall is the Beachwood's poet-in-residence. He can reached at jjtindall@yahoo.com. Chicagoetry is an exclusive Beachwood collection-in-progress.

Posted by Lou at 05:43 AM | Permalink

October 06, 2008

The [Monday] Papers

1. A song:

Go, Rays, Go!
Go, Rays, Go!
Tampa Bay, whaddya say
The Rays are gonna win today!

2. "Cub Fans Erect Shrine To Futility."

3. "After a chilly afternoon in which neither the bounces, the breaks nor the outcome went their way in a 5-3 loss, the Rays talked a lot about how difficult the conditions were and how dangerous the Sox are," the St. Petersburg Times reports.

"And though they are still ahead two games to one in the best-of-five Division Series, it's not nearly as clear who has the advantage going into today's Game 4."

4. "Zero. That is the number of times the Dodgers had used their division-series-winning lineup before the division series," Bill Plaschke writes in the Los Angeles Times. "The eight position players who took the field for the opening game against the Chicago Cubs had never before started a game together. Never."

5. "It has been a long time since I enjoyed 60 minutes of Bear football more than Sunday's dismantling of the Lions," our very own Jim Coffman writes in SportsMonday. "Most importantly, thanks ever so much to Lovie and the guys for quickly changing the subject after the Cubs debacle. The only bright side after the North Siders succumbed so incredibly meekly was that at least they got off the stage before kickoff Sunday."

6. What are the chances that 137 people were wrong and Streets and San was right?

7. Do you really want a state's attorney who doesn't know who Stephanie Izard is?

8. With this article in hand, Sun-Times staffers are rushing into editor-in-chief Michael Cooke's office and coming out with raises. Ahem.

9. Gleaned from Lynn Sweet's column about Tuesday's presidential debate:

* John McCain is apparently working with the debate coach from Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

* Apparently no follow-up questions. So unchallenged lying will be at a premium.

Remember, as Sweet's column somewhat shows, these debates are highly coordinated affairs between the parties designed to protect the candidates, not serve the public. Might be better if an organization like the League of Women Voters organized the debates and set the rules - and the candidates could show up and play by them or stay home.

10. U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. says he reversed his vote in favor of the bailout because Barack Obama promised to be an aggressive regulator should he win the White House. And if not, well, too bad.

11. It's reminiscent of one of Obama's excuses for folding on FISA - that we should take comfort that he'd be the one snooping should he win the presidency. And if not, well, too bad.

12. This is irrelevant now, but still worthy of comment:

"Speaking of the two-inning moratorium [on Wrigleyville alcohol sales], county commissioner Mike Quigley said, 'Who wants to be obliterated when you have a chance to see history?'"

Welcome to Earth, Mike. Let me explain a few things to you.

13. "According to an eye-opening report released Tuesday, 60 million people whom you would never talk to, would never be in a position to talk to, and wouldn't even be able to talk to if you tried will be voting for the other candidate in this year's presidential election, and there is nothing you can do about it," the Onion reports.

14. "The third reported big walleye in the last year was caught in downtown Chicago," Dale Bowman reports. "Within a few years, the IDNR might not have a choice but to acknowledge a growing number of walleyes off Chicago."

Beware the walleye transfer tax.

15. Once again, we are blessed to have our very own indomitable Marilyn Ferdinand covering the 2008 Chicago International Film Festival, running October 16-29. I'll provide blurbs and links here to Ferdy on Films, etc., where you can follow all the films and events. Let's get started.

*

Let The Right One In is an unconventional vampire film and an even more unconventional love story from Sweden and opens Ferdy's pre-festival coverage.

Ferdy writes:

"Oskar lives with his divorced mother, pines for his father who lives a good distance away, and goes to a school where his intelligence, shyness, and status as a child of divorce makes him an object of torment for bullies. Eli, a vampire who looks like a '12 year old, more or less' girl never really had a chance to live as a human. A real love grows between them as the town where they live is gripped in terror by a series of horrifying murders. This is no trite or gimmicky love story, however. A more emotionally rich, honest, and harrowing film - properly wrapped in the conventions and graphic horrors of vampire tales - you're not likely to see for some time."

Here is the trailer:

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Like a ray of sunshine.

Posted by Lou at 08:11 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday

It has been a long time since I enjoyed 60 minutes of Bear football more than Sunday's dismantling of the Lions. And sure Detroit is detritus, but that doesn't mean they won't win some games later this season, especially at home (actually, maybe not - their schedule is tough enough that they could eventually open this season with double-digit losses in a row). The Lions were coming off a bye, playing in their dome and they have a quarterback (Jon Kitna) who has proven capable of at least respectable offensive output.

Beachwood Baseball:
  • The Cub Factor will appear when Marty is done mourning.
  • The White Sox Report will appear once the team advances or is eliminated.
  • But the Bear defense was dominant right from the start and all the way through. It took the offense a while to get going but once it did there was no stopping it. The play-calling was conservative early on and the run game never gained real traction but the Bears were committed enough to pounding away early to open things up for Kyle Orton. And soon enough the fast-rising quarterback just blew the doors off with great throw after great throw. There was one significant screw-up - Devin Hester's fumbled punt return - the whole game (and when the other team punts eight times, basic probability demands a bobble doesn't it?) And that didn't happen until after the Bears led 31-0.

    Most importantly, thanks ever so much to Lovie and the guys for quickly changing the subject after the Cubs debacle. The only bright side after the North Siders succumbed so incredibly meekly was that at least they got off the stage before kickoff Sunday.

    Get your highlights here!

    * Matt Forte doesn't shimmy. And he doesn't shake. But he breaks tackles (Orton hung him out to dry on an early swing pass yet he bounced off a defender who had a wide-open shot and almost gained a first down) and gets tough yards. Against the Lions, the Bears gave him a few more tosses than they had in the first four games. Forte was able to cut those runs up the field (the man runs north-south, especially important against so many speedy NFL defenses) and grab at least a few yards every time. The offensive line is still a work in progress (especially on the left side) and Forte is usually making the most of what is available. Backup halfback Kevin Jones, who was facing the team that released him at the end of last season, made the mistake of trying to bounce a run outside early and turned a second-and-six into a third-and-long and a fourth-and-punt. But he improved as the game went on.

    The best thing is, Forte is showing signs of greatness as a pass catcher out of the backfield. Way to dive and keep that knee off the ground just long enough to go get that first touchdown big guy! Overall the Bears had very few drops, which is a credit both to the receivers and to Orton, who is putting the ball in good spots.

    * More very good stuff from Hester in the passing game. He held onto a slightly high pass on a third-down route into the middle of the field with defenders bearing down when the game was still very much in doubt in the first half among several other strong catches. And he showed his instinctive feel for how to get the ball in the end zone when he had the chance shortly before halftime. Of course it helped that Lion cornerback Leigh Bodden was playing far enough back to evoke memories of former Bear cornerback Walt Harris, who specialized in strangely soft coverages in the red zone (as analyst Brian Billick put it - "all he (the receiver) can do is run through the back of the end zone - you might as well try to play him tight").

    * Mostly good work from the announcing crew of play-by-play man Matt Vasgersian, Brian Baldinger and Billick. Vasgersian botched one early on when he went on about how Kitna and the offense would be backed up against their own goal line while not one but two refs were signaling a touchback. But an early highlight from Baldinger was a story I hadn't heard before about how the Bears realized Jones was recovering quicker from off-season knee surgery quick than they thought he could. "He was wrestling Olin Kreutz in the locker room in training camp." When defensive end Alex Brown tomahawked the ball away from Kitna (one of several strong plays in a typically powerhouse game) Baldinger noted the quarterback's "internal clock's gotta be ticking. He's gotta know to move up in the pocket before that." And at the end of the first half Billick was all over Lion wide receiver Shaun McDonald for "lollygagging around" and drawing an illegal procedure penalty because he wasn't set for a play in the hurry-up offense.

    * Did we mention there were just so many great plays in the passing game? The best of all was the play-action, 50-yard bomb to Greg Olsen with the Bears leading only 3-0. It didn't lead directly to anything other than a big shift in field position but it got everything rolling. And then there was Marty Booker's catch on the deep ball down the far sideline in the second half. When Lovie challenged the ruling that Booker hadn't caught the ball but had been interfered with and therefore the Bears got the ball where it would have been if it had been ruled a catch, the initial reaction was "Why bother?" But this was an "alert NFL Films" worthy reception that is to be included on the league's next "50 greatest catches" commemorative DVD. And Booker's one-handed masterpiece deserved Lovie's advocacy and the eventual reversal even if the field position didn't change. One pass catcher who didn't impress was Des Clark. For the second week in a row, the veteran tight end was easily knocked off a route just short of the goal line, this time right before Forte ran in his second touchdown of the day in the third quarter. A similar Clark gaffe resulted in an interception against the Eagles, but this time around the Lions defensive back dropped the potential pick.

    * In the second half, it felt a bit like '85 when Peanut Tillman ran his interception back for the score and the 30-point lead relatively early in the third quarter. What a richly deserved touchdown. Tillman bounced back from a painful shoulder injury last week to dominate his side of the field on Sunday. He set the tone in the first series of the game, blowing up Kitna's attempted pass to Roy Williams. He also assisted on an early sack and broke up several more passes as the game went on. In part because Tillman was so good, the Bears were able to make sure the subs on the other side (Trumaine McBride and Corey Graham seemed to alternate in place of the injured Nathan Vasher) always had help, like when Hunter Hillenmayer dropped into coverage late in the third and made a beautiful play to break up a pass.

    * And just like in '85, the Bears went through a couple Lions quarterbacks. Kitna took some shots and eventually was sidelined by back spasms (and his ineffectiveness). Back-up Dan Orlovsky wrapped up his day on a training table after Adewale Ogunleye hit him high and Anthony Adams almost broke him in half for the Bears' final sack.

    * Hey Lions coach Rod Marinelli - when your veteran receiver is pitching fits after just about every offensive series, perhaps you ought to sit him on the bench for a bit. It wasn't like the Lions were all of a sudden going to stage a four-touchdown comeback. But instead of disciplining veteran Roy Williams for his pathetic little tantrums (again, Billick and Baldinger were all over them), the Lions seemed like they were kow-towing to him. They called Williams' number continually and seemed to forget about ultra-athletic second-year man Calvin Johnson on the other side. Despite numerous drops (and a few poor throws), Williams finished with seven catches for 96 yards.

    Then again, I suppose Williams is about all the Lions have at this point. A visit to the team website reveals a cover page dominated by a picture of the malcontent himself. Maybe they should change that to a shot of finally former team president Matt Millen with a red slash through his face. It looks like last week's outrageously overdue firing of the incredibly inept executive will be the team's only true highlight in 2008.

    And finally, a brief Cubs post-script:

    Throw us a bone Jim Hendry. Tell us you really will go out and find a legit lead-off hitter this time around in the off-season. And then you'll grab a left-handed run producer. I'd have no problem going into next season with exactly the same Cubs pitching staff as this year but you'll have to consider trading a few guys to shake up the offense. The biggest problems in the playoffs were Soriano's (Alfonso that is) brutal performance at the top of the order and the lack of a lefthanded bat with pop in the middle. That was the larger impact of the demise of Kosuke Fukudome. The fact was that although he didn't have much home run power, the right fielder still drove in runs by finding gaps with reasonable consistency in the first half. Once the league figured out how to pitch to him and he reacted so poorly (rarely have we seen a major league non-pitcher consistently take the kind of terrible swings he offered up in the last month and a half), the Cubs were in a bind.

    The manager thought about benching him for good but he realized if the Cubs were to have any hope of decent lefty-right balance, he needed Fukudome to bounce back. Why he didn't go ahead and give Mike Fontenot a true opportunity to seize that spot in the order we'll never know, but the worst-case scenario was realized when Dodger right-handed pitching shut down righty swinger after righty swinger after righty swinger last week. I wonder how the rest of the post-season will torture Cubs fans this time around. Maybe we can watch the White Sox win again or the Red Sox. Or maybe it will be another undeserving fan base (like Marlins fans in 2003 and 1997), the one that did such a terrible job supporting the miracle Tampa Bay Rays this summer, who will be rewarded with a championship. That's my guess.

    -

    Jim Coffman brings you the city's best weekend sports roundup every Monday. It's always a pleasure, isn't it? You can write to him personally! Please include a real name if you would like your comments to be considered for publication.


    Posted by Lou at 06:23 AM | Permalink

    Shopping the CTA

    The CTA opened a new online gift shop last week. Here are some of the items we're guessing are on sale.

    1. Maps: Never used.

    2. Authentic fake time sheets.

    3. Surplus Conductor to English translators.

    4. "I spent two hours going through this slow zone and all I got was this crummy T-shirt."

    5. Evacuation safety manuals: Like new!

    6. Surplus Frank Kruesi bobblehead dolls.

    7. Those extras 30 minutes per day CTA has been stealing from you while you wait for their buses and trains to arrive.

    8. Screws leftover from the last set of repairs that we couldn't figure where to put back in.

    9. "My other train is a bus" bumper stickers.

    10. Snoglobes simulating a paralyzed public transit system in winter.

    11. Econo-sized Xanax.

    12. Frequent rider cards entitling you to free rides once you turn 65.

    13. The CTA Budget Game: Compete to see who can screw riders more, management or labor.

    14. The straight-to-video Speed sequel where any CTA bus traveling more than 10 m.p.h. blows up.

    15. Authentic misspelled route signs and placards.


    - Eric Emery, Steve Rhodes

    Posted by Lou at 04:15 AM | Permalink

    Ironside: Tagged for Murder

    Our look back on the debut season of Ironside continues.

    *

    Episode: Tagged for Murder

    Airdate: 26 October 1967

    Plot: Detective Ed Brown catches what seems to be an open-and-shut case of accidental death. But Ed's no dummy and he smells a murder. After all, he's been training under San Francisco's finest sleuth, Chief Robert T. Ironside. Connecting the dots from a wristwatch to Army dog tags to a Swiss bank account, Ironside and his team take on a murder investigation that spans from the Italian campaign of WWII all the way to a "present day" San Francisco cable car barn.

    Guest stars: Jack Kelly, Antoinette Bower, and Gene Nelson.

    Super surprise guest star: Bruce Lee playing - wait for it, wait for it - a karate instructor in Chinatown.

    Murder 101 A+ for creativity: The murderer emerges from the bushes clutching a live wire, which is wrapped around the metal swimming pool ladder. George Bellingham emerges from the house, springs from the diving board into the pool, and swims directly over to the side, where he's promptly electrocuted upon contact with the ladder. The killer instantly reappears, removes the murder weapon by unplugging the wire and swapping it for a nearby portable TV, which is left knocked over and turned on, staging the murder to look like an accidental electrocution. All this in the span of about 90 seconds.

    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: For the second time in just eight episodes, producers have re-used a set. This time it's the same ranch house and swimming pool that was featured in the opening of Episode 4, "Dead Man's Tale."

    CSI: San Francisco this ain't: Ed picks up a crucial piece of poolside evidence with his bare hands.

    Kids will be kids: Eve, wearing a dress with a wide Peter Pan collar and large gauzy blue bow on the chest, delivers a cup of coffee to the Chief, who is lounging in bed while Ed gives him the details of the case. When Eve realizes she's forgotten the sugar for Ironside's coffee, the next thing we know, she's whizzing back and forth from the kitchen in the Chief's electric wheelchair. Spinning circles prompts daddy Ironside to snap, "You are wearing my battery down."

    On the head of a pin: No way could you scratch six Army serial numbers on the inside back of a wristwatch.

    America's next top model: On the short list of suspects is commercial photographer Andy Sheldon (Gene Nelson). While waiting to interview Sheldon, Mark and Ironside watch him work a shoot with three bikini-clad models (whom he calls "sweetie birds") manhandling a guy in a "buttoned down, tapered, wash-and-wear" dress shirt. "Okay kiddies, siccum. Go get'em," the photographer cheers as he leaps around the fake jungle foliage, climbing a stepladder and lying on the Astroturf to get some crazy angles. He's obviously worked up quite a sweat; his first stop before answering the Chief's questions is to the wet bar for a shot of liquid inspiration.

    Ironside episode checklist - Have murder suspect offer the Chief a cocktail: Check. Before pouring himself a stiff one, Sheldon offers Ironside a shot.

    New drinking game: In every episode, at least one character uses Ironside's full name ("Chief Robert T. Ironside.") When they do, pour yourself a fifth of scotch. Bottoms up.

    Peculiar way to describe a drunken bum: "Man, he's outta sight."

    His future's so bright he has to wear shades: Record producer and Suspect No. 2 John Corman (Jack Kelly) wears a large pair of extremely dark sunglasses throughout his conversation with Ed. I begin to wonder if his character is supposed to be blind.

    No hit wonders: I discover later that the recording session Ed walks in on features an actual flower power quartet called The Pleasure Fair. They flamed out shortly after appearing on Ironside and singer/keyboardist Robb Royer went on to join the band Bread.

    Carrying a paper bag = wino: Skid Row looks straight off the Universal backlot. As Ironside's vehicle drives up, a few knocked over trash cans, ten pieces of garbage placed on the street, a man peeking into a trash can, and a fairly clean cut "bum" in khaki pants and a bomber jacket wandering across the street set the scene.

    That Mark is one funny cat: When Mark cracks smart with the cranky desk clerk at a Skid Row flophouse, the joke is punctuated by a strange out-of-character vaudeville style musical flourish on the soundtrack. Insert rim shot here.

    I just thought you might enjoy a short movie: Ironside and Eve are treated to a "home movie" of WWII battle footage. As soon as the lights come up, the Army General they're meeting with acknowledges that the men Ironside's investigating aren't in the film, rendering the entire exercise pointless.

    What part of "don't open the door to anybody" did you not understand? Andra Bellingham calls Ironside after receiving a threatening phone call from Corman who insists she has something he wants. Corman is on his way over and she's "really quite frightened." That would be why she's making the phone call just steps away from her front door - which is wide open.

    Next best thing to a glass of mace: Seconds after she hangs up with Ironside, the widow Bellingham's would-be murderer stands in the open doorway, aiming a gun at her. The tumbler of scotch she throws in his face has him reeling as if he'd been sucker-punched, giving Andra enough time to sprint out to the driveway and flee in her car.

    Riding in the mystery van: With Mark driving and Ed riding shotgun, Ironside and Eve are left to peek out of the interconnecting window between the front seat and the back of the van; it's the only way they can see outside the car and have all four appear on camera together. This incredibly awkward shot gives the appearance that Ironside is putting on a puppet show with Eve as his ventriloquist's dummy.

    No need to call for backup; the Slowskys have got it covered: Knowing that Andra's life is in danger, Ironside doesn't call for backup, even after catching Corman and Sheldon in a squealing car chase pursuit. Ironside and Co. prefer to follow in their clunky police van, a top-heavy vehicle that corners on a half dollar. (Ironside even goes so far as to tell Mark not to get too close.) When they all pull in to the cable car barn, Andra is merely five steps in front of her attackers. Meanwhile, Ironside's van is pulllllllling around to the side entrance, parrrrrrrrking, and sloooooooowly unloading Ironside. The foursome strooooll into the cable car shed with no real sense of urgency.

    Looks like Eve learned a little something from Bruce Lee: Dressed in lemon yellow, policewoman Eve disarms the murderer with a swift karate chop to the wrist.

    -

    Previously:
    * A Cop and His Chair
    * Message From Beyond
    * The Leaf in the Forest
    * Dead Man's Tale
    * Eat, Drink and Be Buried
    * The Taker
    * An Inside Job

    Posted by Lou at 04:09 AM | Permalink

    That '70s Rock Screed And The Man Who Saved Wings

    If anyone out there has been foolish enough to "follow" the self-indulgent music ramblings that Steve Rhodes has been kind enough to let me post on this fine site, they'll know that, unlike a certain prominent Chicago daily newspaper rock critic, I'm one of those mentally straitjacketed music fans who truly believe that the '70s were indeed the be-all and end-all of rock 'n' roll, both in its best moments and its worst excesses. While there's been plenty of great popular music since then, there's never been the same level of great rock 'n' roll.

    The combination of the huge baby boomer pool of young talent to draw from, the pervasive egalitarian political and cultural climate, the obsession with the blues and the freely available sex and drugs made for a musical Petri dish that we'll never again have in this country. I don't blame Generation X or Y for being somehow lacking because their rock 'n' roll doesn't have the same power and meaning - it can't, any more than, say, cable television pundits can have the same social impact as Walter Cronkite-era CBS News did. It's about the times and circumstances just as much than the actual creative achievements. And while I wouldn't go so far as to completely agree with the thesis and title of music writer Dave Thompson's latest book, I Hate New Music: The Classic Rock Manifesto - I know where he's coming from.

    So, with that in mind, here's a '70s rock band that I think personified the era more than any - Wings. I mean, Paul McCartney's post-Beatles outfit . . . their ups and downs say so much about the decade. I'm not going to waste your time getting all windy about their place in my Midwestern U.S. boomer experience. Suffice it to say the way they reflected the passions and pitfalls of the '70s is profound on many levels. And here - we're finally getting around to it - is the bit of news that set me off on this whole Wings/classic rock screed: I was kinda surprised to see that one of the early members of Wings, a guitar luminary who also happens to be the only Irishman to play at Woodstock, is still around and kicking, with a new album out, albeit apparently only available in Ireland, at least in stores.

    The guitarist in question is Northern Ireland's Henry McCullough. His Woodstock appearance was as a member of Joe Cocker's Grease Band, where his ultra-bluesy Gibson guitar licks lurked in and out of the horn section, peeking out between Cocker's dozens of wailing back-up singers and Leon Russell's boogie-woogie piano. But McCullough's guitar solo on "With a Little Help From My Friends," in my opinion, was probably one of the three or four top highlights on the festival (Jimmy Page played it on the studio version). It was a transcendent, and dare I say, sublime and important moment in the history of rock? Yea, verily.

    Woodstock, though, was a bit before my time. I'm one of those pesky late boomers who didn't really come of rock age until the early '70s, and so, it is with Wings that I remember McCullough. After a short stint in the British proto-prog rock band Spooky Tooth, he was recruited by Paul McCartney in the difficult period shortly after the Beatles break-up when it seemed Macca would be relegated to the twee-pop novelty world of "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey." The first official Wings album, 1971's Wild Life, had laid a big egg. It was the lightest, fluffiest, cutesy-est kind of crap McCartney had ever done. I know he and Linda were deeply in love and all, but geez. This album almost killed the career of one of the most important musicians of the 20th century. There's been bits and sprinkles of these kinds of "silly love songs" from Macca ever since, but to have such a concentration of them at a time when folks were still deep in post-Beatles mourning was a blow.

    I'm not going to say that Henry McCullough single-handedly rescued McCartney or anything. But I don't think it's a coincidence that when he joined the McCartneys, Denny Laine and drummer Denny Seiwell in late 1971, he injected a hard-rock bluesiness that the nascent Wings desperately needed to balance out Paul and Linda's then-overwhelming sappiness. The first thing the five did with McCullough was to go on a European tour playing small venues, getting back to the rock 'n' roll roots. McCullough described this period to The Irish Independent this week, saying, "We toured Europe in an open-top bus that had been painted in the Sergeant Pepper vein. If you're floating around in the south of France in a psychedelic open-top bus, you don't have too many cares!"

    I bet.

    Then, with the Irishman in the band, Bloody Sunday happened in Belfast and suddenly Wings got a bit more controversial. They released "Give Ireland Back to the Irish" that got banned from the BBC because of politics, and another, "Hi, Hi, Hi" that was banned because of lewdness. Awww-right.

    But perhaps McCullough's greatest moment in Wings came when the group scored its first U.S. No. 1 with "My Love" from Red Rose Speedway in 1973. Yes, another love song. But it wasn't silly. And it wasn't silly mainly because of McCullough's aching guitar solo. It was the song that really brought Wings back from the dead and showed the high school me that Macca still had a glimmer of rock left in him.

    Wings/My Love

    -

    McCullough's other big achievement with Wings before he left was performing on the George Martin-produced "Live and Let Die." This is a weird, alternate take of the song, in which which Paul literally gets blown up.

    Wings/Live And Let Die

    -

    Nowadays, McCullough has a new album out called Poor Man's Moon. He still plays a mean acoustic blues guitar, and here he's cut a collection of amiable numbers that include some outright country songs and gospel ballads. The Irish Independent says the disc is a collaboration with his old friend Eamon Carr, the former Horslips drummer and . . . oh my God . . . current rock critic with the Dublin tabloid The Evening Herald. So, really, how good can it be? I've listened to samples from all the songs, and while I like McCullough's guitar work (who wouldn't?), his croaking vocals are, shall we say, weather-beaten? They'd probably sound better after a few a draughts of Guinness.

    Henry McCullough. While I indeed don't hate new music like Dave Thompson, I think Henry's an example of why the '70s will always rule when it comes to rock 'n' roll. Even the bit players made a difference then because the market, which was just being corporatized, was so huge and the stakes so high for so many suckers like us who took rock 'n' roll so damn seriously.

    *

    From the Beachwood Country All-Stars to Dylan's Grammy Museum, the finest bones of rock 'n' roll are rattlin' 'round Don's Root Cellar.

    Posted by Don at 12:57 AM | Permalink

    Big in Japan: J-Girl Style

    When Americans think of fashion, they usually associate it with cities like New York or Milan. Many don't realize that Tokyo is not only a top fashion city, but a city with a completely unique, multi-layered style and fashion scene.

    And the styles of this city are strange, beautiful and stupefying all at once. Petite women shuffling about in silk kimonos cinched with elaborate obi (belts). Men wearing pointed shoes and boots three or four sizes too big for their feet, simply to show of that they are up on the latest trends. Schoolchildren in sailor uniforms. Teenage boys baked with golden tans and bouffant rooster-like dyed hair. Ripped jeans, man purses, jingling buttons, spikes, safety pins, fanny packs and all manner of gaudy over-the-top foolishness.

    Perhaps most interesting of all, are the many and varied styles of Tokyo's females. While a fair amount of the fashion seen around Tokyo is similar to Western styles (i.e. coach bags, tiffany jewelry, Manolo shoes and other designer articles), it often veers down skewed and incomparable paths.

    One of the most common styles in Tokyo for Japanese girls (J-girl) is the infamous over-sized white T-shirt. The shirt always has a nonsensical English phrase on the front of it, which says something like, "We (heart) juicy bits." It is almost always accompanied by a large belt, grey or black tights and boots.

    There are many other J-Girl styles, almost too many to mention, so here is a quick breakdown of a few:

    * Gothic Lolita: GothLoli outfits are usually modeled after Victorian-style women's clothing and aim to make the wearer look like a dainty porcelain doll. This look is sometimes skewed to the darker side and made to look as if the doll is dead or simply given a goth look. These girls sometimes dress this way as an escape from their daily lives or as a way to get away from mockery or bullying at school.

    -

    * Fetish: The fetish style is exactly what it sounds like; one of the most common ones is the maid or goth maid fetish. It is so popular, in fact, that maid cafes, where one pays to be served by a young girl in a maid costume, have popped up all over Tokyo. The bandage fetish is also gaining popularity.

    -

    * Cosplay: Short for costume play, and ranges from the mundane to the insane. Usually, these girls dress up like characters from anime (Japanese animation), popular video games, or in themed costumes (Strawberry Shortcake anyone?). Again, the costumes are elaborate, colorful and sometimes highly suggestive.

    -

    * Kogal: A particular type of fashion that describes young women with extra income and extra time who live in the heavily populated cities of Japan (Tokyo mostly). They love to show off their money with expensive clothing, hairdos, cellphones, fake fingernails and fake breasts. They even have their own "Kogalese" dialect of Japanese, drawing conspicuous comparisons to the Valley Girls of California.

    * Ganguro: A style that became popular in the 1990s, it literally means"black-face" and is a trend among many Japanese girls (and some guys). This style is characterized by insanely dark tans accompanied by outrageous clothing - sometimes modeled after animals - dyed blond or multi-colored hair and white makeup. This style has faded in recent years. Ganguro girls are harder to spot these days.

    -

    The girls sporting these fashions can usually be spotted in either the Harajuku or Shibuya areas of southwestern Tokyo. Often the cosplay and goth style aficionados travel out from the suburbs simply to strut their stuff up and down the Harajuku bridge.

    Note that often times these styles blend with each other. While some J-Girls are adamant about adhering to one particular group, many mix and match styles and simply create their own look.

    These are not the only styles to be seen in Tokyo, of course; lately, big belts, all manner of boots, fake nails stacked with fake jewels have been en vogue in the city.

    Like style and fashion anywhere, the J-girl style is not static. Rather, it shifts and changes depending on trends in and outside of Japan. In a totally unique and wholly Japanese way, the girls of Tokyo take style and self-expression through clothing to sensationalist and fascinating heights.

    -

    Previously in Big in Japan:
    * Not Fukudome
    * The Yokohama Cubs
    * The Chicago Way
    * Not The Olympics
    * Charisma Man
    * Not American Football

    Posted by Lou at 12:18 AM | Permalink

    October 04, 2008

    The Weekend Desk Report

    While Weekend Desk Editor Natasha Julius is on assignment in India for the next six weeks, Beachwood correspondent Stephanie B. Goldberg will fill the chair with her "The Five Dumbest Ideas of the Week" column, previously appearing on Fridays. Please give her a warm welcome!

    1. Enough already about Joe Six Pack. Do we really want this election decided by someone who, if he isn't writing transgender pornography, is obsessing about microbreweries in Philadelphia and selling alcohol to minors? If we need a Joe to look up to, why not this guy?

    2. The collapse of the credit market has distracted us from the grave danger posed by giant pumpkins. Everywhere you look, these wanton killers are attacking cars and buses, and terrorizing the waterways. Oddly enough, they make excellent babysitters.

    3. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, when the race is on to put pink ribbonson utilitarian objects like this and this and even this. Of course, if you want to go whole hog, you can try wearing this.

    4. And now it's time for the Darwin Award.

    5. People may be losing their shirts on Wall Street but there's plenty of good eating. Here's a real crowd pleaser. Don't forget dessert.

    -

    Steve Rhodes appears at the end of this AP story about Cubs fans.

    -

    Rick Kaempfer writes in to the Weekend Desk:

    Before Game 1: "This is our year" (DENIAL). During Game 1: Seven walks, a grand slam. Radio talk show hosts blame Cubs fans for the loss (ANGER). Before Game 2: "Cmon God. Is it really necessary to continue to punish us? Please let the un-crazy Zambrano show up for this game" (BARGAINING). During Game 2: 4 errors, Cubs most embarrassing playoff team in history (DEPRESSION). During Game 3: James Loney hits a double, Dodgers take 2-0 lead. Rick turns on Saturday Night Live (ACCEPTANCE.)

    -

    Steve Rhodes' quote at the end of that AP story was just repeated on SportsCenter (Sunday morning edition).

    Posted by Lou at 09:18 AM | Permalink

    October 03, 2008

    The [Friday] Papers

    "Do you believe in curses?" Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times writes this morning.

    "How else do you explain what happened Thursday night at Wrigley Field, where the National League's best defensive team suddenly turned into the worst?"

    *

    "For as much as the scene and the setting at sold-out and energized Tropicana Field were different, the 6-4 win over the White Sox was very much a typical show," Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times writes this morning.

    Palin Pride
    The unabashedly pro-Obama Sun-Times sure liked Sarah Palin's debate performance last night.

    It's big front page headline is "She's Got Game."

    Subhead: "Palin holds her own against Biden."

    Commentary blurbs also on the front page -

    Steve Huntley: Palin shows why nation cheered her.

    Mary Mitchell: She's stronger on offense than defense.

    Lynn Sweet: He was better, but she was good enough.

    *

    Find out what our Mystery Debate Theater crew thought.

    *

    Also, take our new Division Street poll about your viewing habits last night. It's free!

    *

    Shopping the CTA.

    Theatrics
    "'I may not answer the questions the way you or the moderator want to hear,' said Sarah Palin early in Thursday's vice-presidential debate, neatly impugning the impartiality of moderator Gwen Ifill and shrewdly re-casting a one-on-one contest into a two-against-one attack," writes Tribune theater critic Chris Jones.

    "'But I am going to speak directly to the American people.'

    "She was as good as her word. Palin's eyes rarely strayed from the camera. And being considerably smarter and more articulate than many caricatures suggest, Palin spoke her declarative sentences, declarative sentences delivered without necessary regard to any question, with passion, striking speed, and an upbeat folksy charm."

    I don't know about all that - and let's not get into all the nonsense about who looked whom in the eye and so forth - but I think Palin did remind folks of the appeal she showed during her Republican convention speech. One of the things I thought was most remarkable about that speech was how self-assured she was in her first time on such a big stage, and how well her oratory was in terms of timing, cadence, and tone.

    She certainly didn't seem to possess those talents in her disastrous interview with Katie Couric.

    Last night, I thought she was very strong in the first half of the debate, but noticeably nervous. In the second half, she sometimes seemed out of her depth. If nothing else, though, she showed she could salvage her tattered public persona and put herself into contention again for a strong political future instead of a jokey footnote.

    I thought Biden was a bit flustered early on when Palin came out of the gate so strongly, and then exasperated later as if he couldn't believe he had to share the stage with this woman. But overall Biden was fine. Now, the assertion on CNN by the usually sober David Gergen that this was the best debate of Biden's lifetime is just silly; we don't have to look back further than the primaries to debunk that.

    Feder Frenzy
    I'm grateful to Robert Feder for reprinting today (last item) one of my lines from last week's Week in Review because I was pretty proud of it, but when I said it on the air I was greeted with crickets chirping in the studio. I mean, I got no play whatsoever.

    The subject was whether Channel 2's glitzy new studio downtown will result in a lift in the beleagured news station's ratings.

    Let's cut to Feder:

    "On last Friday's Chicago Tonight: The Week in Reviewon WTTW-Channel 11, there was Steve Rhodes, blogger and self-appointed media critic, trashing the CBS-owned station's brand new Loop studios and theorizing about 'some sort of curse' on its ratings.

    "'I think they could change their name to Channel 7 and they wouldn't get people to start watching them,' he sniffed."

    I mean, that's pretty good, right?

    "That's the same Rhodes who's paid by NBC to write a political blog for Channel 5," Feder continues. "He also makes guest appearances on Channel 5 from time to time."

    Here's what I sent Feder in an e-mail this morning:

    "I'm sure my minders at NBC were thrilled that I showed my partiality to Channel 7!

    "I mean, really. I was appearing on WTTW, and later that day I taped Fox Chicago Sunday. Do you really think I'm doing Channel 5's bidding? Please.

    "All I know is that when you retire, I won't know who to turn to to keep track of Richard Roeper's Tonight Show appearances."

    As of this writing, I have not received a response.

    Oh, by the way, Feder also wrote:

    "Ethics,' he once noted on his blog in the third person, 'has been a lifelong interest of Steve Rhodes.'

    "Tell that to Channel 2."

    First, if Channel 2 has a problem with anything I've said or done, I'd be happy to take their call. Not only that, but I don't have a non-compete, so I'd love to do their shows too!

    Second, Feder is clipping that third-person comment from our Beachwood Ethics Statement. That's why it's in the third-person. I invite everyone to take a look if they haven't done so yet; we keep a link to it on the left rail of our front page every day.

    Programming Reminder
    J.J. Tindall
    Reads Aloud Live
    Chicagoetry: Selections from The Beachwood Reporter

    Saturday, Oct. 4
    Steve's Sports Bar
    3524 W. North Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60647
    (773) 348-2778

    $5 cover
    9 p.m.

    To celebrate a year as Poet-in-Residence at The Beachwood Reporter, as well as to inaugurate a newly poetry-friendly venue in Humboldt Park.

    -

    The Beachwood Tip Line: Mercy and curses.


    Posted by Lou at 09:35 AM | Permalink

    The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report

    Here's the funniest thing I've heard about the 2008 Bears:

    "The Bears should be 4-0."

    Here's the news flash: "If my aunt had nuts, she'd be my uncle."

    The fact is, after this week's game against Detroit, Bears fans will feel the best they ever will this year. It's just too bad that the Bears will be unable to quit while they're ahead. Only if others could quit while they're ahead too.

    For example:

    * The Cubs should have quit after the regular season.

    * Obama should have quit after his speech in Denver.

    * The Bears should have quit after the 1985 season.

    * Sarah Palin should have quit after the convention.

    * ABC should have cancelled Desperate Housewives after one season.

    * America should have quit after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

    * George W. Bush should have quit after 9/11.

    * Michael Moore should have quit after Roger & Me.

    -

    Bears at Lions
    Storyline: NFC North rivals meet. Expect a close game, because we're not in the business of mentioning the Lions' lack of talent.

    Reality: In my pre-season Over/Under, I'd be criticized for picking the Lions to have a bad year. Like the eternal discussion of free will vs. determinism, the Lions serve as the best example of determinism. They will always stink no matter what they do.

    Prediction: Bears Minus 2.5 Points, Under 44.5 Points Scored

    -

    Percentage of sugar in the Pitcher of Blue and Orange Kool-Aid: 70%
    Recommended sugar in the Pitcher of Blue and Orange Kool-Aid: 40%

    -

    Over/Under: If politicians ran the NFL.

    -

    Eric Emery grew up in small-town Illinois but has an irrational love of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Every week he writes The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report and Over/Under. You can send him love letters and hate mail and he will respond graciously.


    Posted by Lou at 01:49 AM | Permalink

    October 02, 2008

    Message to the Cubs

    I was listening to WGN on the way home from the game yesterday and David Kaplan was not-so-subtly laying the blame on the Cubs fans because we got quiet after that grand slam and didn't inspire the team to come back.

    But here's a message for Cubs players. It's not that we've stopped supporting you. There are logical explanations for what you think you're seeing and hearing.

    1. We're not booing. We're "Loooooooooooou-ing."

    2. We're not silent because our hopes and dreams have been squashed like a bug . . . again. We're silent so that you can better concentrate on the job at hand.

    3. We're not crying. Hayfever season is worse than usual this year.

    4. We're not drowning our sorrows. We're watering our hope.

    5. We're not yelling profanities at you when you hit into double plays or give up long home runs. We're yelling profanities with you.

    Hope this helps, fellas. Now go get 'em tonight.

    Posted by Lou at 01:07 PM | Permalink

    The [Thursday] Papers

    "An Iowa appeals court on Wednesday reversed the conviction of an off-duty Chicago police officer who says he hit a man in self-defense three years ago while visiting his brother in Dubuque," the Tribune reports.

    The officer is Michael Mette, the beneficiary of a campaign started by John Kass.

    "Prosecutors in Dubuque and Judge Monica Ackley sent Mike to prison for throwing one punch at an aggressive and abusive drunk who repeatedly attacked him verbally and physically," Kass writes today.

    Once again, Kass is not telling you the whole story.

    I first wrote about this in July 2007, and I'm sure if you look at the item "Kass's Cop" at the bottom of this column, you'll find it quite revealing. Do it now and come back.

    So, in short, Mette and his buddies crashed a party at 3 a.m. that had dissipated, they refused to pay for their beer, an argument ensued, someone in Mette's crew took the cell phone of the host - a college student named Jake Gothard - after he threatened to call the police, and then they left. Gothard and his buddies went after them. Recollections vary, but there is no dispute that Mette punched Gothard in the face - or that Gothard had a blood-alcohol level of .270. Then, according to the court, Mette took his shirt off and advanced toward another person.

    When police arrived and questioned Mette, Mette said that Gothard had fallen. In other words, he lied to the cops. Then he said that Gothard had pushed his brother. Self-defense was his third story - and he didn't come up with that one until after he was in jail.

    The appeals court on Wednesday overturned Mette's conviction on these curious grounds: "After being pushed and knocked backwards two or three times, there was nothing in the record to indicate Michael could have avoided Gothard's next blow without his defensive punch."

    Of course, there is nothing in the record that says Gothard ever delivered a first "blow." He drunkenly pushed Mette at best.

    "While it may be possible to speculate on Michael's ability to retreat," the appeals court said, "the record is utterly void of any testimony to support that assumption."

    So the prosecution's mistake was not putting on any witnesses or experts to testify that Mette had an alternative to delivering a single crushing punch to Gothard's face that not only broke his jaw and cheek, but fractured four vertebrae in his neck.

    Mette is a trained police officer. He knows how to subdue a drunk man without punching him in the face. He also could have simply tackled Gothard and held him down, waiting for the police to come. Or he could have simply blocked an incoming punch or - mercy - ran the hell away.

    How a judge could find that Mette had no choice but to slam an incredibly intoxicated man so hard in his face that doctors first suspected a life-threatening brain hemorrhage is beyond me - and not supported in the court's ruling.

    More likely, the court felt that justice would be done by releasing Mette instead of making him serve five years in prison - a sentence the initial judge had no choice but to impose because of the heinous mandatory-minimum laws that Kass's conservative pals love so much.

    In fact, that's probably why Dubuque County Attorney Ralph Potter told the Sun-Times he wasn't upset with the court's decision.

    But in today's print edition, Potter also says that "he was obligated to try the case, adding that Mette refused to negotiate a deal" and that "our police feel differently about this case - and about how [Mette] treated them that night."

    Kass's theory of a cornfield conspiracy never made much sense. As you can see in the item here called "Corn Meal," Potter says Kass should direct his ire at mandatory-minimums, not the Iowa cops and prosecutors who did their jobs.

    Meanwhile, Kass carps again today about how there weren't any protests - by liberal university professors for example - about the injustice done Mette. Maybe they're too busy trying to get railroaded poor black kids off Death Row. They don't have mayors and governors and state's attorneys working on their behalf these days - in fact, we have a mayor and state's attorney who very well may have put some of them there.

    Kass has always complained that this case was political, but he's the one who made it so. The notion that Iowans wanted to teach a big-city cop a lesson is ridiculous. The big-city columnist and the pols he dragged along with them have done the teaching.

    The View From Iowa
    This story got more play here in Chicago than it ever did in Dubuque. Here's the story from the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald's.

    Standard Procedure
    Jody Weis tells Kass that Mette will be welcomed back to the force with open arms. I guess lying to other cops is just part of the job. Maybe he'll even get a promotion.

    *

    You might notice, too, that the version of the story Mette just told to the Windy Citizen omits a number of key details in the court's finding of fact. Mette's version went by the Citizen, but bear in mind the reporter had previously called the situation a "fiasco" and linked to Mette's defense fund.

    Pimping Palin
    "Videos of kids crooning support for Obama and Sarah Palin in swimsuit competition. Suntimes.com.elections."

    *

    "Palin's Small-Town Snobbery Is Faulty," Steve Chapman writes today.

    Chapman is just the latest commentator to have missed the fact that Palin's comments at the Republican National Convention were a response to the elitism directed her way not only for having been the mayor of a small town, but for being the governor of a state apparently not large enough to count.

    Maggie's Farm
    "After School Matters - founded and run by Maggie Daley - raised more money in a single year than 97 percent of the 12,757 charities in Illinois filing reports with the IRS," Tim Novak reports today.

    "After School Matters' growth can, first and foremost, be attributed to the huge need for teen programming in underserved urban communities, with Chicago being no exception," the charity said in a written statement in response to questions.

    Questions they were apparently afraid to answer in person. Perhaps this is why:

    "Five years ago, After School Matters had programs available for 11,600 teens. A spokesman for the charity said they don't know how many kids participated, though, because the organization started keeping track only two years ago. Last year, the charity served 21,649 teens in 900 programs at 57 high schools and 111 community groups, down from 297 groups the previous year.

    "City Hall has declined to identify those community groups and how much money they got from After School Matters."

    I'm not sure what City Hall has to do with it - I thought this was a private charity. Oh, oops:

    "After School Matters got nearly half its money in 2006 - about $8.9 million - from the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois and other governments. The private charity operates out of city-owned offices, using city telephones and other equipment. And its records are kept by the Mayor's Department of Cultural Affairs, headed by Lois Weisberg, who helped Maggie Daley start the charity 17 years ago."

    Thus the headline "City Hall's No. 1 Charity."

    And here's where the cross-promotion comes in.

    "Last month, After School Matters held its annual gala - expected to raise nearly $3 million - on a yet-to-be-opened runway at O'Hare Airport.

    "City Hall would not identify the 3,000 guests, but they included numerous city contractors who paid as much as $25,000 for a table of 10 to mingle with the mayor's family and top city officials. Several O'Hare contractors also were among those who attended."

    Just a coincidence - in the most coincidental city in America.

    The Beachwood Tip Line: No baggage fees.

    Posted by Lou at 07:06 AM | Permalink

    The 1908 Song

    Cub fans, every year you feel hope
    But then Cub fans, all your team does is choke
    Because Cub fans, you've been cursed by a goat
    And a fellow fan named Bartman

    Cub fans, had a bad century
    All the Cub fans, perpetual misery
    99 years, is a very long time
    Many tears shed in the Friendly Confines

    Cubs beat Detroit in five in 1908
    No one's alive who saw 1908
    Tinkers, Evers to Chance, part of a dynasty
    Who would have thought, the last World Series we'd see

    1908, Ford built the Model-T in 1908
    We had seven more tries, before '45
    But the Tigers, Phils and Yanks kept a-wavin' bye-bye

    Kingman, hit 'em out of the park
    After Hartnett hit 'em into the dark
    After Babe Ruth, they say that he called his shot
    No cork or 'roids like Sosa

    Durham, the ball went under his glove
    Frickin' Garvey, didn't show his wife love
    And then Dusty, in the eighth fell asleep
    And last year the Diamondbacks sweep

    A quarter's what my seat cost in 1908
    Twelve series chances lost since 1908
    Brickhouse and Harry, Hey-Hey Holy Cow
    Elia's calling Wrigley a sucker's playground

    1908, been drinking PBR since 1908
    We've got the Bleacher Bums, North Side are so hot
    While down on the South Side they all look like Marge Schott

    Cub fans, our salvation is Lou
    And Zambrano, took out a cooler or two
    Soriano, he got hurt when he hopped
    But Jim Edmonds could not be stopped

    Dempster, he's pitching out of his ass
    Carlos Marmol, he's throwing nasty and fast.
    And Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome
    Mark DeRosa Soto D-Lee

    These Cubs are good in 2008
    They have a Kerry Wood in 2008
    Even though we're in first, winning causes me fear
    I'm sitting and waiting a new curse to appear

    2008, one hundred years have passed since 1908
    You now any old team, can have a bad century
    Will we ever live to witness Cubs victory?

    -

    Also from the Beachwood Sports Parody Desk:
    * Eddie Elia
    * Please Stop Believin'
    * 99 Years of Cub Losses
    * Blame It On Bartman
    * We Can't Wait 100 Years
    * Dusty Must Get Fired
    * Let's Call The Crosstown Off!
    * Louuuuu!
    * Ode to Ozzie
    * The 12 Days of Cubness
    * The Hester Man Can!

    Posted by Lou at 04:59 AM | Permalink

    Over/Under

    Americans are united about one thing these days: Our government stinks. Since few agree on how to make our economy better, perhaps our representation needs an easier and a less important arena to manage - the NFL. Here some of the important questions facing the NFL and answers we might receive in return from our politicians.

    * Raiders owner Al Davis reportedly interviewed replacements for head coach Lane Kiffin before he actually fired him on Tuesday. Should the league interview replacements for Davis before stepping in and bailing out the franchise and selling it as a distressed asset?

    * How should Republican team owners react to her future proposals after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says this: "The other 31 owners need to work together to find a solution to this problem. Together, strong cooperation results in a stronger league. It's much like the strong cooperation within the House of Representatives, except for the eight years of Republican rule that have allowed greed to compromise the strength of America. In fact, Republicans have done more to ruin America and the NFL than Al Davis will in 242 lifetimes."

    * In the wake of the brutal helmet-to-helmet hit put on Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin last week, questions are once again being asked about player safety. Which subcommittee should the NFL send this issue to in order to most properly bury it?

    * Does this statement by Sarah Palin qualify her to be NFL commissioner: "While Governor of Alaska, we led America in player safety. We had helmets for every football player in the state. In fact, I've actually held a helmet, and they have soft material in them. But to really make players safe, we need rules. These rules need to be looked at for the players' benefit. And we need to look at the number of players on the field at one time. And officials. Don't forget the fans. It's all about Main Street."

    * Because the Pittsburgh Steelers ownership has ties to legal gambling enterprises, the NFL is pushing for a change in ownership. Which lobbyists should the Steelers hire to either reverse the league's position or find the tax loopholes that promise the most profit under such a deal?

    * Is John McCain a maverick or just a tempestuous prick when he says this: "Since 9/11, the world of the NFL changed. And we'll let the gamblers win if we tell them exactly when the Steelers will change ownership. Therefore, the NFL needs to invade the Steelers' offices and change ownership immediately."

    * Is Barack Obama being a good sport when he says this, or should he be fined by the other owners: "It's all George W. Bush's fault. Because, you know, blaming everything on the other party is change."

    -

    OverHyped Game of the Week: Steelers at Jaguars
    Storyline: Just because two teams play in different divisions doesn't mean they don't hate each other. Hate makes for good football.

    Reality: Did you watch Monday Night Football? If so, you realized the Steelers were two plays away from sinking Heinz Field into the Monongahela River. Oh no! The earth is moving! Good thing the Steelers are on the road, so no fans will be hurt.

    Prediction;-Jacksonville Minus 3 Points, Over 37 Points Scored

    -

    UnderHyped Game of the Week: Redskins at Eagles
    Storyline: Who do the Redskins think they are - the Cowboys? Don't they know that they're an average team at best? NFL parity stinks. Philadelphia is much too angry to lose two in a row.

    Reality: Washington is not great, but they are really fucking boring to watch. Run, run, run, short pass, punt, good defense, run, run, short pass . . . all of a sudden it's the fourth quarter and they're still in this thing.

    Prediction: Washington Plus 6 Points, Under 42.5 Points Scored

    -

    Last week's picks: 4-2
    For the season: 6-3-3

    -

    Eric Emery grew up in small-town Illinois but has an irrational love of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Every week he writes The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report and Over/Under. You can send him love letters and hate mail and he will respond graciously.

    Posted by Lou at 04:15 AM | Permalink

    The Great American Open Books Drive

    As Open Books, Chicago s first non-profit literacy bookstore, works on our new location, we remain busy collecting used books, raising awareness about illiteracy and improving reading skills throughout the city. To help us do that, and in partnership with Better World Books, we are holding The Great American Book Drive later this month.

    You can donate books without even getting out of your car. Our volunteers will unload your books and process your donation while you wait. All of the proceeds will go towards funding literacy programs for children and adults in the Chicago area. We ll be saving your old books from ending up in landfills and sending them to people who will enjoy reading them as much as you have.

    The vitals:

    Date: Sunday, October 26
    Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Location: 213 West Institute Place

    Don t have a way to get to us? Open Books is also offering book pickups at your home.

    Background
    Open Books was founded in May of 2006. Our mission is simple: to be the premier non-profit bookstore, literacy community center, and volunteer corps dedicated to raising awareness about illiteracy, improving reading skills, and spreading the love of books in Chicago and beyond.

    In the past, we have held events such as book drives and book swaps. We also have many volunteer opportunities. In our reading buddies program, volunteers meet weekly at nine different locations around the city for an hour to help their buddy with reading, comprehension and vocabulary. Open Books also hosts creative writing field trips at our office twice a week for different classes from grades 4-12.

    Any book donations made are tax deductible.

    Better World Books is our partner for the Great American Book Drive. They began in the Spring of 2001 with three graduating college student who realized just how many used books end up in landfills each year. Their organization is now a leader in turning donated books into funding for world literacy programs. All of the books donated during the Great American Book Drive will be sent to Better World Books. A percentage of the proceeds will then come back to Open Books so we can continue funding literacy programs throughout Chicago.

    Posted by Lou at 12:38 AM | Permalink

    October 01, 2008

    The [Wednesday] Papers

    I guess I'll be the one wearing all black today. My poor Twins. Such a cute little team. And very nice people.

    But a tip of the cap to the White Sox. Our very own Ricky O'Donnell has more in The White Sox Report.

    Midway Monster
    "Midway Airport would become the nation's first privately-run major commercial airport and stay that way for 99 years, under a blockbuster $2.5 billion deal announced Tuesday that will create a windfall to shore up city pensions and rebuild Chicago's aging infrastructure," the Sun-Times reports.

    "If you're not creative in an economic crisis for your city," Mayor Daley said, "where are you gonna get the infrastructure money to compete?"

    So . . . we get our infrastructure money by selling our infrastructure?

    "Roughly $1.3 billion of the proceeds will be used to pay off Midway Airport debt. State law requires 90 percent of the $1 billion profit to be used to bankroll city infrastructure projects and shore up under-funded city employee pension funds.

    "That leaves $100 million to be spent at the mayor's discretion."

    Oversight is for Wall Street!

    "But, he's not about to use it on payroll."

    So don't get any ideas, fellas.

    "John Schmidt, the former Daley chief of staff now serving as counsel to the city on the Midway deal, has already been paid $1.7 million in legal fees and stands to get $1.5 million more when the airport deal closes."

    If I've done my math right, that's a $3.4 million payday. Nice work if you can get Daley to let you get it.

    And how does a private operator make money on an airport?

    "Parking rates likely to skyrocket and food, retail costs will increase, too."

    So a Coke at Midway will probably go for about $9, beers for $14. Small lite beers, that is. In plastic cups.

    The insults to our intelligence are free, however.

    "You don't make money by charging higher prices," Schmidt said.

    Then how did you make yours? Volume?

    "You make money by offering people more opportunity. People may drink more. But I don't think they'll pay more for their drinks."

    So the real profit opportunity to be exploited here is more airport drunkenness?

    Hey John, call me - I have a wager for you. If prices don't go up at Midway, I'll pay you another $3.4 million. If they do, you can pay me just $34,000. Let's shake on it.

    Rope-a-Dope
    In case you were wondering - because I was - what snarky comment Richard Roeper was referring to you yesterday (third item) when he said that Tina Fey had recently called him out in a Playboy interview, I looked up the Fey piece in the January 2008 edition and found this:

    PLAYBOY: Some older male comics like Jerry Lewis have argued that women aren't funny. Does it piss you off, or is it easy to ignore?

    FEY: The only people I've heard say that are Jerry Lewis and Richard Roeper. That's not a strong showing. Yeah, Richard Roeper is hi-larious. Remember his radio show? Me neither."

    Here's more on the dust-up in real time from Chicagoist.

    -

    UPDATE: 1:15 P.M.: Oops, forgot that I wanted to include this monstrosity from Christopher Hitchens making the same argument about women lacking in the gifts of humor.

    -

    Millennium Park Blues
    They destroyed his garden and all he got was a lousy buck.

    Our Congressmen At Work
    Jerry Weller goes out with class.

    *

    Greta Van Susteren asks why.

    *

    Can we dock his pay?

    Gov. Baloneyvich
    No wonder state government is so dysfunctional. Rod Blagojevich claimed at the Cubs rally yesterday that "Some of the times I have to make decisions as governor, I ask myself, What would Lou do? Then I make decisions."

    First, I seriously doubt the governor has ever paused to consider what Lou Piniella would do when it's come time to, say, decide on a budget or whether to veto a bill. Name just one time, governor.

    Second, what would Lou do?

    A) He would shuffle his cabinet on a daily basis
    B) He would back whichever legislator had a hot hand
    C) He wouldn't be afraid to use legislators in their first term instead of ineffectual veterans

    Wait a second, maybe the governor is on to something after all.

    Face of America
    Meet Mildred Howell.

    Pundit Co-Dependency
    When Andrew Greeley watched the debates and thought for himself, he thought, "My guy is getting creamed!"

    But after he "read the data from the instant surveys" - and now doubt checked in on some of the developing punditry - he discovered he was wrong when he was thinking on his own.

    Perhaps he consulted Roger Ebert.

    *

    Similarly, Josh Kalven of Progress Illinois - a blog sponsored by the Service Employees International Union to further its political agenda - wrote on Monday of the "emerging narrative" of the debate that occurred on Friday when, you know, the narrative had not yet emerged.

    -

    CORRECTION 1:15 P.M.: Josh's post went up Saturday at 5:59 P.M.; it was featured in the Progress Illinois daily e-mail alert on Monday. My mistake.

    -

    Angel Cake
    Chicagoan Damon Ranger tells former Sun-Times TV columnist Doug Elfman - now at the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the new Criss Angel show out there is a train wreck. Even fans taking a break at the urinals were chanting bullshit from their, um, standing position. "Dude, it's a train wreck," Ranger said. (via the Sun-Times)

    Palin Piler
    Bill Zwecker notes today (mid-column) that Sandra Bernhard will be in town for two Halloween shows later this month as part of Steppenwolf's Traffic series.

    I wonder if she'll do this bit:

    "Now you got Uncle Women, like Sarah Palin, who jumps on the shit and points her fingers at other women. Turncoat bitchh! Don't you fuckin' reference Old Testament, bitch! You stay with your new Goyish crappy shiksa funky bullshit! Don't you touch my Old Testament, you bitchh! Because we have left it open for interpre-ta-tion! It is no longer taken literally! You whore in your fuckin' cheap New Vision cheap-ass plastic glasses and your hair up. A Tina Fey-Megan Mullally brokedown bullshit moment."

    Or better yet, the one where she says that if Sarah Palin ever comes to Manhattan, she will be "gang-raped by my big black brothers."

    Oh, you're encouraged to attend Bernhard's Steppenwolf shows in costume, so, you know . . . Enjoy!

    The Beachwood Tip Line: Goyish shiksa funk welcome.

    Posted by Lou at 08:24 AM | Permalink

    Meeting Up Now

    The newest Chicagoland Meetups.

    * I like REDWINE

    * Chicagoland Social Events

    * Naperville Knitting Meetup Group

    * Longer Drives Fitness Training

    * Fox Valley Rent to Own and 1st Time Homebuyers Exchange

    *Chicago Sun Magazine Readers Meetup Group

    * Keep Me In The Loop

    * North Shore TightBodies Fitness Bootcamp

    * Literary Journalism

    * Oak Park /River Forest Moms

    * The Travel Group

    * Chicago New Media & Video 2.0 Nation

    * Chicago Paralegal Meetup Group

    * Naperville Travel Network and Business Friends

    * Chicago Applied Social Science Field Trips Club

    * Rocket Riders

    * NW Indiana Freedom Campaign JBS.org Meetup Group

    * Oak Park French Language Meetup Group

    * Downers Grove Travel Network and Business Friends

    * HOME CFO Naperville Debt Proof Living Meetup Group

    * FansEdge

    Posted by Lou at 06:22 AM | Permalink

    The White Sox Report

    As great as John Danks, Jim Thome, and Brian Anderson were last night, the White Sox aren't AL Central champs without assistant general manager Rick Hahn's five-year-old son. When the Sox and Twins flipped a coin months ago to see which team would play at home if a play-in game was needed, Hahn's son told his dad to call heads.

    I can say with near certainty that if the kid got it wrong, the Sox wouldn't be headed to Tampa Bay. If last night's game were held in the Metrodome, you could bet A.J. would have dropped the ball during his collision with Michael Cuddyer at home plate, Danks would have gone down in the third inning with shoulder trouble, and Carlos Gomez would have hit for the cycle. Is there a worse building on the planet than the home baseball stadium of the Minnesota Twins? I think not.

    Still, after the complete dismantling we saw less than a week ago in Minnesota, I'm glad the Sox had to go through the Twins to clinch. Had Kansas City swept the Twins earlier this week, and the Sox backed into the playoffs by losing two of three to Cleveland and defeating a feistier than expected Tigers team, a division title would have felt a little tainted.

    There is a school of thought in sports that division titles and conference championships are meaningless; as a Bulls campaign famously said during the 72-10 season of 1996, "It don't mean a thing if you ain't got the ring."

    Maybe it was true of those Bulls teams who set an impossibly high standard, but I find that approach bogus under any other circumstance. Sports should be fun. They may be the only thing in our lives to take our mind off the fact that our life savings had to be pulled out of a bank and placed in several shoe boxes under a bed. Two other side effects of a division title? Partying and t-shirts. Who could argue with that?

    Now the Sox take on the Rays in the ALDS, a team that is better than them. Javier Vazquez will start Game One in Tampa, and it's safe to that he has a better chance of pulling a McNabb and hurling all over the field than to match the effort Danks gave the team last night. But anyone who thinks the Sox don't have a chance is kidding themselves. After all, this is baseball, a sport where teams are built to win over the course of 162 games, not three of five. There is simply too much luck involved in the sport to say any team couldn't beat any other three times in five games. After seeing what's happened the last few days, maybe the Sox are getting hot at the right time.

    And for the record, I predicted a White Sox-Cubs World Series on June 13. I want that to happen more than I've ever wanted anything in sports. So yeah: even though I hate the Cubs with every fiber of my existence, I'll be rooting for them in these playoffs. At least for now, the dream is still alive.

    *

    Week in Review: Well, that much anticipated series in the Metrodome wasn't much fun. At least some good came out of it, though. Mark Buehrle gave us the perfect nickname for the Twins.

    Week in Preview: Sox and Rays, first to three.

    Fields on the Farm: I feel as if this category has never been more irrelevant.

    The Missile Tracker: The quote Steve pulled from yesterday's Greg Couch column is almost as great as that Rocky III-esque embrace at home plate between Alexei and Konerko.

    Over/Under: 1-0. The score of yesterday's game carries some significance to Sox fans. It was the score of the first game in 2005, the first game after the All-Star break that year, and Game 4 of the World Series. There is no better way for a baseball game to end.

    Beachwood Sabermetics: A complex algorithm performed by The White Sox Report staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that cigar is almost certainly illegal.

    The White Sox Report: Read 'em all.

    -

    Comments welcome. Please include a real name if want to be considered for publication.

    -

    Ricky O'Donnell is the proprietor of Tremendous Upside Potential , a contributor to the Sun-Times's Full Court Press and a lot of other things.


    Posted by Lou at 05:39 AM | Permalink

    The Haystack Bailout

    Monday marked a day that will go down in history, when Congressional Democrats and Republicans alike took on full responsibility to protect the interests of taxpaying Americans, and defeated the deceptive bailout bill, defying the dictates of the Administration, the House Majority Leadership, the House Minority Leadership and the special interests on Wall Street.

    Obviously Congress must consider quickly another course. There are immediate issues which demand attention and responsible action by the Congress so that the taxpayers, their assets, and their futures are protected.

    We MUST do something to protect millions of Americans whose homes, bank deposits, investments, and pensions are at risk in a financial system that has become seriously corrupted. We are told that we must stabilize markets in order for the people to be protected. I think we need to protect peoples' homes, bank deposits, investments, and pensions, to order to stabilize the market.

    We cannot delay taking action. But the action must benefit all Americans, not just a privileged few. Otherwise, more plans will fail, and the financial security of everyone will be at risk.

    The $700 billion bailout would have added to our existing unbearable load of national debt, trade deficits, and the cost of paying for the war. It would have been a disaster for the American public and the government for decades and maybe even centuries to come.

    To be sure, there are many different reasons why people voted against the bailout. The legislation did not regard in any meaningful way the plight of millions of Americans who are about to lose their homes. It did nothing to strengthen existing regulatory structures or impose new ones at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve in order to protect investors. There were no direct protections for bank depositors. There was nothing to stop further speculation, which is what brought us into this mess in the first place.

    This was a bailout for some firms (and investors) on Wall Street, with the idea that in doing so there would be certain, unspecified, general benefits to the economy.

    This is a perfect time to open a broader discussion about our financial system, especially our monetary system. Such a discussion is like searching for a needle in a haystack, and then, upon finding it, discussing its qualities at great length. Let me briefly describe the haystack instead.

    Here is a very quick explanation of the $700 billion bailout within the context of the mechanics of our monetary and banking system:

    The taxpayers loan money to the banks. But the taxpayers do not have the money. So we have to borrow it from the banks to give it back to the banks. But the banks do not have the money to loan to the government. So they create it into existence (through a mechanism called fractional reserve) and then loan it to us, at interest, so we can then give it back to them.

    Confused?

    This is the system. This is the standard mechanism used to expand the money supply on a daily basis not a special one designed only for the "$700 billion" transaction. People will explain this to you in many different ways, but this is what it comes down to.

    The banks needed Congress' approval. Of course in this topsy turvy world, it is the banks which set the terms of the money they are borrowing from the taxpayers. And what do we get for this transaction? Long-term debt enslavement of our country. We get to pay back to the banks trillions of dollars ($700 billion with compounded interest) and the banks give us their bad debt which they cull from everywhere in the world.

    Who could turn down a deal like this? I did.

    The globalization of the debt puts the United States in the position that in order to repay the money that we borrow from the banks (for the banks) we could be forced to accept International Monetary Fund dictates which involve cutting health, social security benefits and all other social spending in addition to reducing wages and exploiting our natural resources. This inevitably leads to a loss of economic, social and political freedom.

    Under the failed $700 billion bailout plan, Wall Street's profits are Wall Street's profits and Wall Street's losses are the taxpayers' losses. Profits are capitalized. Losses are socialized.

    We are at a teachable moment on matters of money and finance. In the coming days and weeks, I will share with you thoughts about what can be done to take us not just in a new direction, but in a new direction which is just.

    *

    PS Watch the 47-minute "Money as Debt" animated documentary. This is a useful, though by no means definitive, introduction to the topic of debt and the monetary system.

    Posted by Lou at 12:27 AM | Permalink

    MUSIC - Smells like tech spirit.
    TV - It's A So-Called Wonderful Life.
    POLITICS - Inside Obama's internal report.
    SPORTS - Down the Bears memory hole.

    BOOKS - Beachwood's best books of the year.

    PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Australia 2008 in Review.

    Search
    The Beachwood Reporter





    Subscribe to the Newsletter
    Email:


    Flying Saucer Restaurant

    http://whatisph.com/