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The [Christmas] Papers

A wintry mix of news and holiday items.

1. The audio version of 'Twas The Night Before Fitzmas.

2. Where to go for jerk.

3. "Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band will put out a greatest-hits album next month, and the only place to get it will be Wal-Mart."

The only way this is acceptable is if the Boss then uses the proceeds for union organizing at Wal-Mart.

4. Ethan Michaeli writes:

Many of you have written to me in the past few days to express your sympathy for the family and friends of Beauty Turner, our former assistant editor who passed away Dec. 18. I am writing today to let you know about funeral arrangements for Beauty. The wake, funeral and repast all will be held this coming Friday, Dec. 26 at:

Greater Harvest Baptist Church
5141 S. State St.
Chicago, IL
Wake from 9 am - 10 am
Funeral from 10 am - 12 pm

The repast will be held at the Swift Mansion, 4500 S. Michigan Ave., beginning at 3 pm.

Beauty's family has asked me to thank all of her friends and admirers and to invite everyone who wants to celebrate Beauty's life. Many of you have asked about making donations, and Beauty's family has asked me to let you know that they will accept donations at the wake and funeral. You may also want to send a donation in her name to:

The Poor People Millennium Movement
148 W. 95th Street
Chicago, IL 60628

Lastly, the family has also asked for people to bring food to the repast.

5. Don't read Russo's blog.

6. Did the Illinois Gaming Board just cut off our nose to save face? It sure looks that way because, let's face it, Des Plaines was the third-best choice for a new casino - a lame compromise choice not unlike making Arne Duncan the Secretary of Education. After all, this was no time for a state agency to actually award a lucrative enterprise to the lowest bidder.

Now let me say at the outset that, as much as I enjoy a casino myself, I'm not a supporter of government involving itself in the dirty and frankly immoral business of corporate gambling - especially as a way to raise revenue because our tax structure is so screwed up and discredited that we have to deal cards and sell parking meters in order to pay police officers and home-care aides.

But within the context of the gaming board's decision, Des Plaines failed as the best choice on every ground except that of least evil.

First, as supporters of Waukegan's bid argued, the state's gaming law is predicated in part on placing casinos in economically distressed communities. If that is no longer operable, rewrite the law.

Second, as supporters of Rosemont argued, it came in with the high bid.

And most observers seemed to think that Rosemont was the perfect site given its proximity to O'Hare and the unique nature of the tiny village as a mini-entertainment complex.

Yes, I know as well as anyone that Rosemont has long been mobbed-up. I just think there was another way: award the casino to Rosemont but remove the village from any management role and don't give it any more revenue than any other suburb in the split that both it and Des Plaines proposed.

In fact, it would have been a nice idea to send a certain percentage of the profit to Waukegan.

Des Plaines is a cute little town. But placing a casino there is a total failure of imagination.

7. The Titan Peeler: Peel In Any Direction! Up, Down, Back and Forth. Cuts Prep Time in Half!

8. The man behind the Des Plaines casino is wealthy Chicago developer Neil Bluhm. I wrote about Bluhm and his (now-failed) efforts to make a go of it on Block 37 for Chicago magazine in 2000; I'm trying to find my copy of that article, which is naturally not online. In the meantime, Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky weigh in.

9. The Bears really beat the odds; they only had a 2 percent chance of still being viable for a playoff spot at this juncture, according to stat whiz John Dewan.

Dewan now calculates the Bears chance of winning the division at 24 percent, and the Bears chance of winning the wild card at 10 percent.

There is also a 10 percent chance the NFL decides not to award a North Division championship this year on principle.

10. The size of the Reader staff has gone from 38 people to 17 under Creative Loafing ownership. And you can hardly tell!

(h/t to whoever pointed this part of the item out to me, I can't remember where I read it first.)

11. The O'Hare noise commission was a sham, dontcha know.

12. When a lot of people weren't looking, the General Assembly not only reinstated the state's questionable tax credit for movies filmed here, but increased the subsidy and eliminated the sunset provision.

13. If Jennifer Aniston is going to continue posing nude for dopey Photoshopped magazine covers and assail us in non-stop trailers for mediocre romantic comedies, she deserves every bit of paparazzi madness that comes her way.

14. "Maxwell Street Misdeed Erased."

15. "Man Survives 40-Foot Fall From Dan Ryan Overpass."

"Man Survives 100-Foot Fall From After Dan Ryan Crash."

"Man Survives 240-Foot Fall From Dan Ryan Overpass."

"Man Survives 350-Foot Fall From Dan Ryan Overpass; Image of Virgin Mary On Asphalt Credited."

"Man Survives 500-Foot Fall From Dan Ryan Overpass; Obama Catches Him."

"CBS Announces New Show: Survivor: Dan Ryan."

"City Sued; Daley Says People Fall From Dan Ryan All The Time."

16. "Residents Demand: Plow My Block."

Or what, you won't support the Olympic bid?

17. Flashmob, anyone? All disgruntled residents should gather at City Hall at noon on Monday and throw a snowball at the Fifth Floor.

18. "No Pork In Stimulus Plan, Biden Says."

A) In other news, Ray LaHood decides to decline Transportation Secretary post

B) In Obama administration, wasteful spending on pet projects for political gain will be all-vegan

19. "Chia Pets: The Evergreen Holiday Tradition."

20. I'll have something on the Obama-Blago report shortly on the Politics page; the rest of the site will be updated throughout the holiday weekend including new column items every day, so check back early and often.

21. Come, let us adore him.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Our gift to you.


Posted on December 24, 2008

MUSIC - Pandemophenia.
TV - NBC's Bicentennial Special.
POLITICS - Defund Private Schools.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio & A Blackhawks Proposal.

BOOKS - The Slave Who Escaped George And Martha Washington.


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