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The [Friday] Papers

1. "Heath Ledger . . . completely disappears into this fairytale fanboy who can't believe he has stumbled onto a real-life enchantment after years of fervently collecting stories that he silently believes," our very own Marilyn Ferdinand wrote in her review of 2005's The Brothers Grimm. "He is taken with Angelika (Lena Headey), the town's 'cursed one,' not because she's beautiful and available, but because she's versed in folk arts and a believer in enchantment. At one point, he must awaken her, like Sleeping Beauty, with a kiss of pure love. The love he uses successfully to revive her is not for her, however, but for the fairytale she stepped out of."

See also Rod Heath's review of Brokeback Mountain.

2. No, no, no more using the same lyric from "Rehab" in Amy Winehouse stories, okay?

3. It's easy to make fun of Jeff Conaway in Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew - Kenickie! - but his story is really tragic and sad. He is easily the most compelling figure and the one least likely to live long enough to get sober. In fact, this show is disturbing on several levels. Think The Surreal Life meets Intervention. But it's still recommended viewing.

4. "Now, everybody can look back and say, oh, well, we didn't find the weapons," Mike Huckabee said during last night's Republican candidates' debate. "It doesn't mean they weren't there. Just because you didn't find every Easter egg didn't mean that it wasn't planted."

And don't even get him started about evolution and the fossil record.

Read more in our latest episode of Mystery Debate Theater 2008.

5. Ben Joravsky dissects the complicated backroom maneuverings of Ald. Dick Mell's effort to install his other daughter - the one who isn't Patti Blagojevich - into a state legislative seat.

"And what does her father think about this? I asked," Joravsky writes

"'Ask him,' she says. 'It's not a problem [between us].' (Richard Mell didn't return my calls for comment.)

"Deborah says she hasn't really been following any of the backroom maneuvering being done on her behalf. 'I'm really trying to stay out of everything,' she says."

This passage gave me a serious case of deja vu. When I was at Chicago magazine, I was assigned to write a story about the Democratic primary race for Illinois attorney general between John Schmidt and Lisa Madigan.

Why would Chicago magazine write a story about a primary race for state attorney general? Because somebody put a bug in the editor's ear and I guess he had something to prove.

Nonetheless, I embarked on a story I was happy to do because I set out to actually look at the candidates' records and platforms, as opposed to the shenanigans that were drawing most of the media's attention.

I was impressed with Lisa Madigan, and found her for the most part to have a proactive agenda and clear vision as opposed to the far more experienced Schmidt, who promised to be an in-box official with no overweaning desire to accomplish any particular goals.

But Madigan still had a problem with her father, and eventually it pissed me off and became part of the story. Michael Madigan was indeed unforgivably heavy-handed in supporting his daughter's campaign. And Lisa Madigan refused to tell him to cut it out and run a clean campaign.

At one point she feigned ignorance and innocence just as Deborah Mell did with Ben Joravsky. And, like Deborah Mell, she deflected questions about her father to her father. In my case, Lisa Madigan promised to have her father speak to me. Even with that promise, all I got was a lot of noise from Madigan's ubiquitous spokesperson, Steve Brown.

Lisa Madigan has turned out to be a fine attorney general, and she might make a fine governor some day.

But if she runs, she should tell her father to stay out of it. And Deborah Mell should step up to the plate too.

6. The Trib gets burned by the perils so-called citizen journalism.

7. "It's when the wife of an alderman is involved in selling a project that gets city funds in the alderman's ward, that he was clearly instrumental in bringing together, that [raises] a red flag," Jay Stewart of the Better Government Association says about Ald. Howard Brookins in today's Sun-Times.

Brookins is running for Cook County state's attorney.

8. I haven't yet composed all of my thoughts about layoffs at the Sun-Times, but I will say for now - and for the millionth time - that you can't cut your way to growth. Nor can you overcome shoddy and corrupt management. And yet, Michael Cooke still has his job as editor of the paper.

9. "Mr. Obama has built an exciting campaign around the notion of change, but holds no monopoly on ideas that would repair the governing of America," the New York Times says this morning in its endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

"The sense of possibility, of a generational shift, rouses Mr. Obama's audiences and not just through rhetorical flourishes. He shows voters that he understands how much they hunger for a break with the Bush years, for leadership and vision and true bipartisanship. We hunger for that, too. But we need more specifics to go with his amorphous promise of a new governing majority, a clearer sense of how he would govern."

10. "Has No One At The Trib Seen Free To Be You And Me?"


Next week in Tempo: Men who leave the toilet seat up and women who can't get enough of shopping. Plus, what's the deal with airline food?

The Beachwood Tip Line: It is what it is.


Posted on January 25, 2008

MUSIC - Lyric Opera Strike Settled.
POLITICS - USA Today's Op-Ed Disaster.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Come On, Vic!

BOOKS - Chicago Book Haul: The Dial.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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