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The [Thursday] Papers

I have a George Steinbrenner story to tell.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to speak to former Tribune sports columnist Bob Verdi on the phone. Verdi was one of the greats; he and fellow columnist Bernie Lincicome were world-class at a time when the paper was trying to be but never quite got there.

Anyway, Verdi taught me a lesson that I've passed on many times over to friends, colleagues and students. It went something like this:

"You can be the millionth person to write 'Steinbrenner sucks' or you can write, 'George Steinbrenner, ex-con, . . . '"

Verdi was right, of course; I'm always at my best when I follow that recipe.


"Back in 1981," Fortune once wrote, "the Tribune Co. bought the hapless Chicago Cubs for a bargain price of $21 million, prompting the Chicago Tribune's own sports columnist, Bob Verdi, to quip, 'I don't know why we bought the Cubs. We already had a perfectly good company softball team.'"


A few more good lines from Verdi.


Verdi is also credited with giving Bill Wirtz the nickname "Dollar Bill."


Verdi now works for the Blackhawks.


And about Steinbrenner:

"The 'convicted' part of Billy Martin's famous 1978 'liar and convicted' comment referred to Steinbrenner's connection to Richard Nixon: in 1974 Steinbrenner pleaded guilty to making illegal contributions to Nixon's re-election campaign, and to a felony charge of obstruction of justice. He was personally fined $15,000 and his company was assessed an additional $20,000. On November 27, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn suspended him for two years, but later reduced it to fifteen months. Ronald Reagan pardoned Steinbrenner in January 1989, one of the final acts of his presidency."

Opposing Comcast
Ignored locally, covered elsewhere.

Big Ad Buy
"Although Omnicom, the world's largest ad holding company, already spends many millions of dollars worth of display ads through Google (NSDQ: GOOG), a new agreement between the two guarantees that the amount will grow significantly higher. It also suggests that Google may realize its goal of making display a $1 billion business more quickly than expected," paidContent reports.

Stroger Goes Down Flailing
"A week ago, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's administration was poised to hire three politically connected job candidates, including the finance chair of Stroger's election campaign and the wife of a Chicago alderman," the Sun-Times reports.

"But when county hiring watchdog Mary Robinson started asking questions about the job candidates, the Stroger administration nixed hiring all three, including Ebonie Taylor-Brookins, wife of Ald. Howard Brookins (21st). The alderman backed Stroger in his losing bid for re-election this year, even as many other African-American politicians stood with the eventual winner of the Democratic primary, Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th)."

That's okay, I'm sure Walmart has a spot for Ebonie. It might not pay as well, but . . .


Here's the best part:

"Robinson asked for the applications of the hires and discovered that the picks included Taylor-Brookins; Roger Mosley, the onetime finance director for Stroger's re-election bid, and Colin Longworth, a former employee at CGC Communications, the public relations firm owned by Carla Oglesby, Stroger's embattled deputy chief of staff . . .

"In a phone interview Wednesday, Longworth told the Sun-Times he received a call several weeks ago from the county's Homeland Security and Emergency Management office encouraging him to apply.

"'I don't remember who it was, somebody named Barry,' Longworth said.

"Asked what job he applied for and his pay, Longworth said: 'To be honest, I'm not sure.'"


One day I hope I can write "Todd Stroger, ex-con, . . . "


Someone named Barry? Nawwww . . .

Speaking of do-nothing jobs . . .


Writing a column for the Sun-Times sure beats government work.

Electric Co.
"Commonwealth Edison ranks No. 14 of 16 Midwestern utility companies in customer satisfaction," the Sun-Times reports.

No wonder they're asking for a $396 million rate hike; to, um, better serve customers.


Maybe there's a homeland security grant they can get. And an alderman's wife to administer it. And a former Cook County president who will soon need a job. It's all coming together.

Tavern Man
"William C. Folak found happiness in simple things," the Tribune reports.

"Walking behind his Labrador retrievers as they worked a field in search of pheasant. Fixing up a pot of chili for his buddies after a long day in a cold duck blind. Spending a leisurely afternoon with old friends at the Bucktown tavern his father bought 60 years ago.

"Mr. Folak, 71, was sitting at the bar of the Lincoln Tavern on West Wabansia Avenue, nursing an ice tea and talking with his hunting partner of 45 years, Hal Neimer, on Monday, July 12, when he collapsed from a massive heart attack and died, said his daughter, Veronica.

"The Lincoln Tavern has stood at the corner of Wabansia and Wolcott (Wolcott Avenue was formerly Lincoln Street) since 1934. The bar was purchased by Mr. Folak's mother, Sophie, and his Polish immigrant father, Al, in 1950."


The Beachwood Tip Line: Pour one out.


Posted on July 15, 2010

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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