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The [Wednesday] Papers

By the way, half of those new lawyers I mentioned yesterday graduated in the bottom 50 percent of their class.


From John Kuczaj:

"Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that half the lawyers mentioned yesterday scored in the bottom 50% of those who passed the bar exam?"

Damn it!


Joe Ricketts Is Still Acceptable Company Somehow



Penalty Box
Our very own David Rutter writes in today, under the subject line "Smelly:"

The Blackhawks seem a perfect example of how winning for an extended period can mask deep personality disorders in a team. Or at least, make those disorders seem like a false verisimilitude. But unless sports franchises have unlimited resources - like Steinbrenner's Yankees, for example - they eventually reveal their basic personality unhealthiness. And then they crash.

Management can be operated by jerks or incompetents. But not both at the same time, though my experience is that both qualities tend to feed each other.

Shared enterprises run by jerks will always break in the most unappealing ways. Because they can't reveal their honest selves, they have to pretend they share common noble values, or at least values than can be sold to the customers. It's a visual illusion that can't be maintained permanently.

Plus, aren't the Blackhawks the quintessential male industrial model - a badly managed army that can't shoot straight?

As a mid-level newsroom manager, I was "managed" for decades by successive waves of incompetent, self-aggrandizing bosses and a very few who were exceptionally good. So I have an intuitive sense of the difference.

I live in far-removed northern suburbs now, but even 70 miles away from the United Center, I can smell the stench of lousy management.

Well said!


News Never Dies
I've previously reported on three items in the news recently, so I thought I'd just do a little reminder or whatever here.

1. Joey "the Clown" Lombardo.

"Joseph Lombardo, the former Chicago Outfit boss who earned his nickname "the Clown" for his reputation as a jokester in addition to being a remorseless killer, has died, federal authorities announced Sunday," the Tribune (and many others, duh) reported late last month.

Longtime readers have seen me post this before, but here's my Chicago magazine profile of Lombardo, written in 2005 when he was on the lam.

When Lombardo, by then obviously caught, and several compatriots went on trial in 2007, I posted that profile on this site broken into three parts, and added some links.

2. American Eagle Flight 4184.

"On Oct. 31, 1994, the 64 passengers and four crew members aboard American Eagle Flight 4184 died after the plane crashed in the Roselawn soybean field. Officials have said the icy weather conditions caused the crash," the Gary Post-Tribune reported on the crash's 25th anniversary last week.

"The ATR-72 turboprop was flying from Indianapolis to Chicago, and had been in a holding pattern before final descent. In that time, ice built up on the wings and caused the plane to enter a high-speed dive and crash into the soybean field at 3:57 p.m."

I was a reporting "resident" at the Tribune at the time, also known as a "one-year," and I was sent to the crash site that night. It was a cold, rainy, miserable night, as evinced by the fatal ice build-up on the plane's wings.

I remember being fairly lost as to what I was expected to do there - not that I didn't know how to report a plane crash, but there wasn't much communication (if any) from the editors about how the coverage was being coordinated, which was par for the course. Should I just hang around at crash central and attend any press conferences that might occur? Find witnesses to talk to? Offer a general (or detailed!) description of the scene? I did all of those things, though we didn't have cell phones then and I seem to recall thinking I had been sent out there and forgotten. I also seem to recall returning to the newsroom thinking I had failed for some reason. I think the folks back in the newsroom were getting everything they wanted from the TV and their own phone calls while I was hunkered down in a driving rainstorm out in a cornfield somewhere. Not that I'm complaining; people died in that crash. I'm just describing.

Anyway, here's the Trib's story and I see my name among the many contributors, so I assume I contributed something - or they were just being kind.


I also recall being told the next day that there was some debate among the editors about sending me out there - not about me, but about how committed they were to a story that happened in Indiana, despite the Chicago connection.


Finally, I may be confusing this with another story, but I think this was the one where some sort of nationally syndicated TV "news" show put me on air to report live from the scene. Someone in my family in Minnesota happened to catch me while scrolling through the cable channels. Those were the days, people! But not really.

3. Sun Country Airlines.

"Sun Country Airlines is adding a dozen seasonal routes in what it's calling one of its biggest expansions yet, including its first flights to Baltimore, Cleveland, Portland, Maine, and Bozeman, Montana," USA Today reported Tuesday.

I reported a story for Newsweek in 1999 about the rise of the low-cost - often humorously marketed - airlines.

We used Sun Country as the lead example, though we reported on a whole fleet of new brands (I'm think JetBlue was in there, too).

The weird part of the reporting, though, was an editor saying something about how careful and confident we had to be with the reporting because we were picking a winner. I wasn't picking a winner - and he shouldn't have been either. If Sun Country had gone bankrupt the following year, it wouldn't have invalidated the story. I thought that was such a weird way to look at it. It just goes to show yet another way editors sometimes look at the work. Or maybe that's a business journalism thing, though I did a fair amount of business reporting for Newsweek back then and never otherwise heard such a thing. But it always stuck with me.


New on the Beachwood today . . .

Open Sesame Street
"Starting this year, episodes of Sesame Street will debut on HBO and on the HBO MAX service, with new episodes being made available to PBS 'at some point.' The move is particularly galling because the show is partially paid for with public funding."


What Really Causes Home Field Advantage - And Why It's On The Decline
Crowd noise? Travel? Referee bias?


The Chicago Railroad Fair Of 1948
"This was the high water mark for the passenger railroads."



Poker groups from r/chicago





"Break Your Promise" / Chicago Gangsters


A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.







The Beachwood Tip Line: Pop up and drive thru.


Posted on November 6, 2019

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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