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The Week in WTF

1. Tom Dart, WTF?

He's not running for mayor of Chicago; he's not running for U.S. Senate. Leave me alone! I WANT TO BE SHERIFF of COOK COUNTY! There are tears and sobs and pleas for understanding.

Okay, okay, calm down; we get it.

But as much as we like Tom Dart based on what we empirically know about him (which I'd suggest is Almost Nothing), is WTF the only one feeling slightly irritated by the Dart penchant for tease?

At some point in every pending big league race in Illinois, Dart's name gets tossed around like he's a beanbag at a senior center activity center. Someone In Authority always seems to think Dart is hot to trot. We suggest that misperception could be cured by Dart telling insiders to cut it out in advance of the political minuet.

After awhile, the bowing, curtsying and winking starts to seem like a delicate damsel who raises her petticoats just enough for a peek at a shapely ankle and then hurriedly drops the curtain in mock amazement that anyone might see.

And for what it's worth, if Dart won't seek a higher office because it diminishes his role as a father of small children, we're cool with that if it's the real reason. But doesn't he know these are hard jobs? He appeared shocked (twice) by the news.

But he's now used the father of-the-year reasoning twice. If there's a third occasion, no one has to believe it. If it happens again, then the children were just a handy prop.

Meanwhile, hail to Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

2. NIU campus cops, WTF?

We're sure there's a solidly thought-out customer service concept that explains why the Northern Illinois University campus police force wears so many medals on their uniform shirts. Really, guys, WTF?

This kabuki show pony puffery does not impress people who actually have shown gallantry in the face of real bullets and not just out-of-control frat parties.

We've only recently got a serious dose of medal inflation during the recent tragedy of Antinette "Toni" Keller's death.

Campus police chief Donald Grady presented himself on TV news several times wearing more medals than Sergeant York and Audie Murphy combined. We're sure Grady is a swell fellow, but should he dress up like Admiral Halsey? He's actually been a municipal police chief before (In Santa Fe, N.M.,) and refused to wear a uniform in those days. He did, however, wear clothes.

According to the department's office, the NIU medals are "awards for things like good attendance and good driving." Good driving?

Can I get a group yell of "WTF!!" on that one?

3. DeKalb cops, WTF?

While the NIU campus deals with the heartbreak and terror of another student killed, the question of why local cops kept pertinent details secret for a week defies logic. They defied logic 50 years ago when keeping such secrets began in earnest and the instinct is even more incomprehensible now.

Think of it this way: With a fearful family and entire student gripped in horror and terror, the police withhold the fact the girl is dead and her remains likely have been found because to reveal such information would "impede the investigation." Haven't you heard that phrase a thousand times as a defense for secret-keeping?

What does that phrase mean logically? Not much.

First, the one person in the world who knows exactly what happened is the person who killed her. None of the details being kept secret from the community is a secret to the killer. The killer knows everything and should have had no doubt that police would find the remains momentarily. He knew where he left the body. He knew he left her personal items close by.

He's either hanging around in the area or he's gone. In either case, the police missed a chance to enlist the entire campus as detective allies by hinting for a week she was merely missing. Police often mask a cruel entitlement in this secrecy.

According to the Tribune, "DeKalb police Chief Bill Feithen said he believed the slaying was an 'isolated incident' . . . " This is a statement devoid of any meaning. The truth is, Feithen has no idea what it was.

4. Valentino, WTF?

We love happy endings to dog stories. They're cute. We love cute. Many people think we're cute. Okay, so maybe that last sentence was stretching things. We love stories about Brian-Urlacher-shirt-wearing dogs being saved by his gastroenterologist owner with emergency CPR. This dog is named Valentino. It's Studs Terkel meets Damon Runyan.

The Valentino-saving doctor clears the gagging Chihuahua's mouth, gives him the breath of life and, shazam, health is restored.

We hope the suburban doctor keeps more updated on his medical reading of human matters.

A week before this event, the American Heart Association changed its rules about CPR and revealed that new research shows the mouth-to-mouth thing is mostly a waste of time - at least for humans. They say you should skip the liplock and head straight for the chest pounding.

We're not sure there are any rules about CPR for dogs. So maybe the doctor spent a few minutes French kissing his dog just because he liked it.

5. Iowa City, WTF?

It is entirely possible that the WTF crew is missing some deeper element of infrastructure insight, but we have been to Iowa City. Once you go to Iowa City specifically and Iowa in general, most of your desire to go back is satiated unless you're running for president; you pretend you want a retirement home in Keokuk. But who really wants to visit a place where you might run into Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney on the street?

So we wonder if the $230 million in federal cash being sent to Illinois and Iowa for a spiffy new passenger train route to Iowa City really is the best use of the nation's money. No oil company needs a bailout this month?

On the other hand, we certainly understand the migratory imperative of Iowans to escape periodically. We suspect most Chicagoans can tough out the sudden urge to see more corn fields. But asking the entire country to subsidize that urge with a $230 million get-out-of-Iowa-free card seems fiscally ostentatious for such tough times.


David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, a Sun-Times Media property. He welcomes your comments.


Posted on October 29, 2010

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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