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The [Friday] Papers

1. Mayor Daley is on MySpace. "Anyone who is interested in being my online buddy is welcome!" he says. Mayoral friends so far include Jesus Christ, Esquire; Pirate Zombies From Outerspace; and John Candy. Someone on the mayor's staff might want to keep up with the comments, though. I doubt he'd be pleased to see the word "jewspaper" there.

2. The mayor's musical interests: "Chicago, REO Speedwagon, Cheap Trick, and, of course, the blues."

3. The President of the National Association of Letter Carriers delivers a message to Bobblin' Burt Natarus. (second item)

4. "The new local ordinance mandating big-box retailers pay higher wages and benefits to workers sent a chill through the Chicago retail industry, from high-end department stores to hardware outlets," the Tribune reports.

"Aside from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the primary target of the hotly contested ordinance, the law would cover at least 18 retailers operating more than 40 stores in the city.

"Nordstrom, Marshall Field's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Carson Pirie Scott & Co., Toys "R" Us, Home Depot, Lowe's, Menards and Kohl's are just a few of the stores affected, according to a list compiled by the City of Chicago's Department of Planning & Development."

The paper Tribune includes a terrific map of existing retailers who will be affected by the new big-box ordinance throughout the city, but, unfortunately, the online Tribune doesn't.

5. "Radio Station Format Goes From God To Porn." Listenership stays the same.

6. Phil Ponce Gets A Nose Ring, And Other Changes On Tap At Chicago Tonight Besides Bringing Mancow Aboard.

7. "Disabled List Offers Mark Prior Two-Year, $8 Million Extension."

8. Kendall County is among the five fastest growing counties in America.

9. An American city doesn't show up on this ranking of the world's best cities until number 27 - and that's Honolulu. Chicago is ranked 41st - the fifth-highest American city (also behind San Francisco, Boston, and, somehow, Washington, D.C.).

10.Is the American public stupid?

11. Fido fires back at Bobblin' Burt Natarus.

12. Who are Illinois's biggest lobbyists? Who knows.

13. "From a distance, especially from the air, downtown Vancouver looks like most downtowns: a pack of modern skyscrapers nesting in a dense and confined central area. Only when you hit the ground do you realize that it is different. The skyscrapers are virtually all condominium towers. This is an overwhelmingly residential high-rise downtown. Some 560,000 people live in Vancouver, Canada's third-largest city, and nearly 100,000 of them reside in tall, slender towers on the less than five square miles of the downtown peninsula.

"There is nothing quite like this in North America, not in San Francisco, Chicago or even New York. When it comes to downtown housing density, the closest comparisons are to places such as Rio or Hong Kong. And virtually the entire change has happened in the past 15 years. Since 1991, when Vancouver rewrote its zoning laws to attract downtown residents, launching a self-described "Living First" policy, the physical character of the central city has been so thoroughly transformed that a visitor returning after two decades would have trouble even recognizing the place."

14. "Ironically, it was as State's Attorney that Daley became the first Cook County official to sign the court-ordered Shakman decree, which eliminated the politically motivated hiring and firing that had been a hallmark of his father's administration."

- "Chicago's Richard Daley: 1997's Municipal Leader of the Year" American City & County magazine, 1997

15. "Whether privatization can really work in the city of Chicago, or whether it will just provide a cover for some new form of patronage system, is still a matter of some debate. What is clear, however, is that this Daley would rather not be thought of as a boss. In keeping with his new-style urban ideology, he prefers to be called a manager. 'Daley hates waste. He hates inefficiency,' says Paul Green, a political science professor and locally prominent Daleyologist. 'In many ways, he's a policy nerd.'

"Not everyone is so sure that patronage has died. A few privatization opponents on the city council suggest that Daley is merely designing a new machine, exchanging the old patronage system for a pinstriped one where businesses contribute to his campaign and are paid back in city contracts. Others have charged that Daley is creating his own secret patronage army, in an attempt to get around an anti-patronage federal consent decree that is supposed to limit the numbers of jobs under the mayor's personal control.

"The merits of both these charges are hard to prove - and may, in the end, simply lack credibility.

- "Taking Chicago Private," Governing magazine, 1994

16. "Master of the detail."

- Richard M. Daley: Master of the Detail," Governing magazine, 1997

17. "The Encyclopedia Britannica, which for more than two centuries has been considered the gold standard for reference works, has only a hundred and twenty thousand entries in its most comprehensive edition. Apparently, no traditional encyclopedia has ever suspected that someone might wonder about Sudoku or about prostitution in China. Or, for that matter, about Capgras delusion (the unnerving sensation that an impostor is sitting in for a close relative), the Boston molasses disaster, the Rhinoceros Party of Canada, Bill Gates's house, the forty-five-minute Anglo-Zanzibar War, or Islam in Iceland. Wikipedia includes fine entries on Kafka and the War of the Spanish Succession, and also a complete guide to the ships of the U.S. Navy, a definition of Philadelphia cheesesteak, a masterly page on Scrabble, a list of historical cats (celebrity cats, a cat millionaire, the first feline to circumnavigate Australia), a survey of invented expletives in fiction ('bippie,' 'cakesniffer,' 'furgle'), instructions for curing hiccups, and an article that describes, with schematic diagrams, how to build a stove from a discarded soda can. The how-to entries represent territory that the encyclopedia has not claimed since the eighteenth century. You could cure a toothache or make snowshoes using the original Britannica, of 1768-71. (You could also imbibe a lot of prejudice and superstition. The entry on Woman was just six words: 'The female of man. See HOMO.') If you look up 'coffee preparation' on Wikipedia, you will find your way, via the entry on Espresso, to a piece on types of espresso machines, which you will want to consult before buying. There is also a page on the site dedicated to 'Errors in the Encyclopedia Britannica that have been corrected in Wikipedia' (Stalin's birth date, the true inventor of the safety razor).

"Because there are no physical limits on its size, Wikipedia can aspire to be all-inclusive. It is also perfectly configured to be current: there are detailed entries for each of the twelve finalists on this season's American Idol, and the article on the '2006 Israel-Lebanon Conflict' has been edited more than four thousand times since it was created, on July 12th, six hours after Hezbollah militants ignited the hostilities by kidnapping two Israeli soldiers. Wikipedia, which was launched in 2001, is now the seventeenth-most-popular site on the Internet, generating more traffic daily than and the online versions of the Times and the Wall Street Journal combined."

- from "Know It All: Can Wikipedia Conquer Expertise?" The New Yorker.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Wiki-worthy.


Posted on July 28, 2006

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