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The [Wednesday] Papers

Geez, even "Love Is . . . " has lost itself.

Season Greetings
- On the 12th day of Christmas, the Cubbies gave to me
100 years of heartbreak and futility

- This one goes out to all our Jewish friends out there.

- This one goes out to all our African-American friends out there.

Give the gift of the Beachwood! You will be rewarded in Beachwood Heaven.

Holiday Hangover
Examples of the disconnect newspapers have with reality:

* The Tribune unironically uses the following quote from Phil Cline as among the year's best:

"He tarnished our image worse than anyone else in the history of the department."

Jon Burge? No. Anthony Abbate.

But then, the media too is more outraged over Abbate - an drunken off-duty cop who did a stupid thing but has not been shown to have engaged in systematic torture off black men deemed by a court to be de facto city policy - so it makes sense.

* The Sun-Times's best-dressed list of 2007 includes captions such as "In cobalt blue, [Halle] Berry could be a fertility goddess."

Which is nice because the photos are all in black-and-white.

* Every Sunday, Zay Smith devotes his Quick Takes column to items found on the Internet - a column whose Internet version contains no links.

* Neil Steinberg makes another startling confession: Until he was told by family members on Christmas Eve, he had no idea who Scott Skiles was.

That's Neil!
Neil Steinberg's visit to a dominatrix is wrong on so many levels I'll leave it to you to decide what the worst part of it is. But the fact that it's the most boring dominatrix story ever is certainly near the top of the list.

"The Sun-Times Has Mommy Issues."

"CTA President Ron Huberman told us that contrary to our experience, he finds most riders understand the agency is underfunded by Springfield," the Sun-Times editorial board writes today.

Huberman is delusional, but what's worse is the paper's failure to note that the agency is underfunded - and mismanaged - by the mayor, whose name does not appear in the piece.

Regardless of the funding puzzle, the CTA is the mayor's responsibility. And if the mayor isn't exactly knocking heads in Springfield to get things resolved.

Deja Vu
* "A Sun-Times reporter spends 24 hours at the Ritz-Carlton to find out why it's frequently named the nation's best hotel."

Like Steinberg's dominatrix story, it's been done - better. But they've got a helluva PR operation over there!

* A Sun-Times Kevin Fox exclusive.

But not as good as this one.

* "It's the only one of our construction jobs where no one complained about the old building being torn down," Donald Trump Jr. told Sneed.

I beg to differ.

Baby Paper
And please, no more picking a tragic baby story every year to exploit for your day-after-Christmas front-page instead of reporting the real news all by yourself.

Cy's Folly
A full page ad appeared in the Sun-Times on Sunday from Sun-Times publisher and Sun-Times Media Group CEO Cyrus Freidheim, Jr., congratulating Sam Zell on his acquisition of Tribune Company.

"P.S.," Freidheim writes, "We would have taken this ad in your paper, but your rates are too high."

Memo to Cy: The Tribune's rates are higher because their paper is better, and thus can command higher rates. Having lower ad rates is nothing to brag about.

From The [Christmas Day] Papers
* "In the second half of the 20th Century, no jazz pianist could touch Oscar Peterson when it came to sheer mastery of the instrument," Howard Reich writes on the front page of the Tribune today.

"The technical brilliance, unprecedented speed and hard-driving swing of Peterson's best work inspired generations of artists. But it also drove them to despair, for they knew Peterson's feats could not be matched, much less topped.

"Moreover, no place on earth forged a closer musical link to Peterson than Chicago."

* "It isn't just shopping mall Santas who lose their jobs on Christmas Eve," the Tribune reports. "Add Bulls coach Scott Skiles to a notable list of people who got fired the night before Christmas."

Shoppers Delight
"This is the season of frenetic shopping, but for a devious few people it's also the season of spirited shopdropping," the New York Times reported on its front page Monday.

"Otherwise known as reverse shoplifting, shopdropping involves surreptitiously putting things in stores, rather than illegally taking them out, and the motivations vary.

"Anti-consumerist artists slip replica products packaged with political messages onto shelves while religious proselytizers insert pamphlets between pages of gay-and-lesbian readings at book stores.

"Self-published authors sneak their works into the 'new releases' section, while personal trainers put their business cards into weight-loss books and aspiring professional photographers make home made cards - their Web site address included, of course - and covertly plant them into stationery-store racks."

My favorite is this photo accompanied by this caption: "A Wal-Mart cashier tried unsuccessfully to check the price on an Anarchist action figure, an item the company does not sell."


Of course, shopdropping isn't just for Christmas.


We're here for you through the holiday. Settle in with our guide to the college bowl season and wager appropriately. Play the Bears Drinking Game to make watching them finish out their sorry season, um, bearable. And don't forget stocking stuffers for your favorite players.


Beachwood season greetings:

- Dear Macy's: The Walnut Room sucks!
- Dear Oprah: Don't do it!
- Dear Patti Blagojevich: Congratulations!


From the holiday vault:

- Home for the Holidays: Start from the bottom!
- 20 Carols
- A Poem For The Children On The Subject Of Gluttony
- Barista! The Gift Card That Saved Christmas
- Day in the Life: Christmas Radio
- The Hester Man Can!

Beachwood Tip Line: Give and take.


Posted on December 26, 2007

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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