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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.

* 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 on October 20, 2008

MUSIC - Holiday Hullabaloo.
POLITICS - Bank Profits Soaring.
SPORTS - Chicago vs. Michigan, 1903.

BOOKS - Dia De Los Muertos Stories.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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