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The [Friday] Papers

First, a correction. I will be opening the bar at 3 p.m. on Saturday, not 5 p.m. as I stated in a previous post. Two bonus hours! Please stop by, it will be just one of the small ways you can support our efforts here. Many of the bar regulars will be in Michigan at the annual Beachwood Picnic so if they've scared you off in the past, you can have full run of the place - under my supervision, of course. I'll post drink specials and so on through our Facebook page, I don't have them at the ready. But yes, there will be specials!

Also, I will be guest bartending tonight from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. (My Saturday shift ends at 9 p.m.)

Forget citizen journalists; that's a wank. I'm a bartender journalist, as it should be.

Now, on to the news.

Or at least the news I have the strength to cope with today. The steady pace of political and media malpractice can be draining. I have a backlog miles long. Nobody ever seems to learn; we just repeating the madness over and over again. People! Please. I'm tired.

Take A Stranger To Work Day
There's always something satisfying about stories like this bogus CTA driver; these tales give me a tingle. I want to yell "Go! Go!" Especially when I see nuggets like this: "The man, whose identity has not been released by police, even picked up passengers and stopped the vehicle a few times." It's like that Seinfeld when Kramer finds himself accidentally behind the wheel of a city bus during an emergency:

Jerry: You kept making all the stops?

Kramer: Well, people kept ringing the bell!

I know it's ultimately not funny. Lives are endangered when things like this happen. The posers aren't necessarily sane or safe. But somehow there's an element of subversion that is undeniably awesome.


In the same vein, readers of our Facebook page already saw this bit of awesomeness, though tinged with a bit more creepiness and a greater degree of alleged criminality, though you have to admire them for pulling it off: Who Is Pretending To Be The Togo Soccer Team?

Christian Clout
"The largest congregation among the Assemblies of God Fellowship is now an Hispanic church," CBN reports. "More than 11,000 Latinos attend the New Life Covenant Church located in Chicago."

The church is led by Wilfredo DeJesus, who, like the Rev. James Meeks, is homophobic and political-minded.

White conservatives don't hold a monopoly on scary religious nuts.

Me And Whitney
A personal plea.

Lance Stance
"Chicago Bears' linebacker Lance Briggs is standing by his comments that women should not be in the men's locker room," WBEZ reports.

(Here's how badly WBEZ has screwed up its branding: I never know whether to call it WBEZ or Chicago Public Radio or, I guess now, Chicago Public Media or some other bit of nonsense. And don't get me started on Vocalo; as usual my warnings and suggestions were ignored. Frankly, I don't understand why I don't rule the world at this point because I'm pretty sure I could do it, but everybody wants to hear and see and think what they want to hear and see and think.)

Briggs is half-right. Men shouldn't be allowed in locker rooms either.

Now, you all know that I'm pretty gung-ho about media access to public figures. But I've done my share of locker room interviews and reporting and, well, it's ridiculous. For one thing, the players are naked. That's just not right. And it usually stinks in there and you almost never get anything of value; getting a quote is not the same thing as getting a quote that has enough value to pass on to readers. It's a locker room. Let athletes have their space.

Old-school sportswriters will argue that the citizens of America need those vital firsthand immediate reactions to complete their understanding of the games they are following. Hogwash. How often does something meaningful come out of a post-game, locker room interview? Almost never. And who cares.

New-school sports bloggers eschew access; they don't see why they need to maintain friendly relationships with the subjects they cover in exchange for . . . crap. I'm not saying beat writers can't learn things from hanging out in a locker room, but I'd rather they spent their time knowing a damn thing or two about how to do their job - how to report on athletes rather than worship them, which they almost all do - and take a more imaginative and innovative approach to what they do.

Besides, the real reason locker rooms are open to the media is because league officials - and that means team owners - want them to be. The free publicity is an amazingly integral part to the immense financial success of sports franchises. See, they see the sports press as extensions of their PR staffs. And in many cases, they are.

I never felt comfortable in locker rooms. I'll never forget interviewing Jim Leyland in his locker room office once when he was the manager of the Florida Marlins - stop me if you've heard this one - and I was on the road for Newsweek following Sammy Sosa (yes, it was 1998). In the middle of the interview, Leyland got up and walked into the adjacent shower and bathroom area to, um, urinate. He kept talking, only now his voice was echoing off the walls. I wasn't sure whether I was supposed to follow him in there, or just yell from where I was sitting, or if he was doing it to aggravate or punk me. It was not the first time I wondered what the hell I was doing in there.

By the way, I most assuredly did not follow him in.

The Week In WTF
Starring Chicago cops, Bill Brady, Pat Quinn, Lower Wacker Drive and reprobate reporters.

The College Football Report
Will be posted later this morning. And it will be Is glorious.

The Mayoral Odds
Will be updated through the weekend as warranted - like when Manny Flores makes it official tomorrow.

The Weekend Desk Report
Will appear on Saturday as usual and will be fabulous.

Please Insure Really Prompt Service
See you tonight and/or tomorrow.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Room temperature only.


Posted on September 17, 2010

MUSIC - Millions Of New Guitar Players.
TV - "One America News" is AT&T.
POLITICS - When Wall Street Came To My Mobile Home Park.
SPORTS - Tonyball, Bears On The Run, Eyes On The Sky & More!

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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