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The Week in WTF

1. Chris Zorich, WTF?

The news about what happened - and is likely to happen - to onetime Chicago football and cultural hero Chris Zorich is horrendous. We're very sorry about this. But on the other hand, WT-are-you-kidding-me F?

His answer to why there is no accounting for $800,00 of contributions to his now moribund Chris Zorich Charitable Foundation is impenetrable. Just sort of lost track of it for eight years, he says, and thought somebody was taking care of it. Had other things on my mind, he says. Was really busy. Tax filings? My bad.

Now, the state attorney general will have to find it.

The excuse that all pro athletes form charities and few ever pay attention to what happens to them seems a particularly cynical defense because the Zorich mantra was his adherence to bedrock human values. He made a career out of being a good guy. Also, he hasn't really been a pro athlete for 13 years, which gives him a lot of time not to forget the 800 G's.

His charity website was still running Thursday and soliciting money.

The best his fans can hope for now is that Zorich is incredibly, stupendously dense - even though the guy has a law degree from Notre Dame and is employed in ND's sports fortress as "manager of student welfare and development."

Oh, irony thy sting is sublime.

2. Blago, WTF?

I can't tell yet whether the Blagojevich trial is really that interesting, but darn, isn't he really creepy?

Criminal? Maybe.

But creepy? Definitely.

We seem to have so many moral exemptions for it's-the-way-we-do-it politics that convicting Blago might be a crapshoot.

Of course, there was some of the same aimless pawing at the ground trying to guess about George Ryan. The jury, though, didn't seem to have a problem with deciphering the truth.

Ryan was a least an affable crook, But as for sheer creepiness, Blago sets some high bar.

3. McChrystal, WTF?

General, let me introduce you to the anti-war magazine invented inside a haze of hash smoke.

Rolling Stone, let me introduce you to the general in charge of conquering the Taliban.

Well, somebody in this room is smart.

Here's a WTF counter-theory: Maybe McChrystal is not as brilliant as everyone thinks or he's just stumbled into a Yossarian moment. Seems like winning the hearts and minds of Afghanistan militants might be unattainable if our best brain can't handle an RS scribbler.

Or maybe, like many a cheating pol, McChrystal wanted to get caught.

4. Chicago broadcast media, WTF?

As Robert Feder reports, Garry Meier is trying to hitch a ride on our local TV merry-go-round, and Eddie and Jobo (both desperately trying not to look 50) have a gig on WLS as "commentators." Now, there's some swell insight I can't wait to hear.

And by the way, there is a federal law against calling yourself Eddie and Jobo after you turn 40. It's the Can't Be The Beav Forever statute.

These moves prove that Chicago electronic media is so seductive - money, glitter and something to do while you wait for Medicare to kick in - that no one ever quite leaves it of their own free will. All the "formers" lurk around the edges for the next ticket to Valhalla.

Remember the Carousel in Logan's Run? Personally, I think Bob Sirott is 232 years old and sleeps in a coffin.

So the "hell-no-we-won't-go" crowd won't take my WTF advice. But here it is anyway: Sometimes your career train has left the station without y'all aboard, and running hard to catch that last ride only makes you look haggard and sweaty. And really old.

5. Soccer, WTF?

Don't hate me just because I'm a dull sport. Look at it this way. Every four years at the various sorts of Olympics, we are required to pay attention to sports that are about as compelling as dart games at Billy Bob's Tavern. And television makes it seem as though lack of attention might - horrors - signals that we aren't sophisticated. But what's the last issue related to Slovenia you really cared about?

Right now, we sort of care about soccer. Next week, after the USA loses, we won't.

So we quadrennially survive luge, synchronized swimming and two-person skull. It could be worse. What if every four years, the entire world - except for us - was obsessed for a month with biathlon? Ski-shoot-ski then fall on ground and shoot at targets of Polish partisans hiding behind trees. It's no accident the Russians and Germans are good at this sport.

This is only a question of ADHD stamina. As a nation, we can pay attention to anything for a week or so, especially if Bob Costas tells us we have to be interested. But worrying for a month about whether Ghana can handle Uruguay's pressure defense is beyond our powers of concentration.

6. Elvis, WTF?

Here's why you shouldn't go all squishy when a thousand or so Tea Partiers show up for a protest hootenanny. In 2002, according to several sources that I'm stealing this idea from, the IRS listed 84,000 Americans as listing "Elvis Impersonator" on the tax form line under the heading of primary employment.

Despite pundidiots who claim America is a level-headed, middle-of-the-road country with supreme common sense, the truth is somewhere right of the highway divider.

There's just as much evidence that America is very much like your Suspicious Uncle Larry, the one we don't let around the kids at family picnics.

When Americans lapse into their irregular WTF Lunatic Episodes, you can get a thousand yahoos to believe in almost anything, until the drugs wear off or they buy snuggies that don't bind so tightly.

There even are people who think George Will does his own research, and several thousand female fans who still insist that Clay Aiken is straight. WTF.


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


Previously in The Week in WTF:
* TWIWTF: Walter Jacobson, Mark Kirk, the Sun-Times
* TWIWTF: Conrad Murray, Jim Laski, Notre Dame Nation


Also by David Rutter:
* The Lords of Ireland.

* Speaking of Notre Dame . . .

* Scheduling Notre Dame.

* Spade Robs Farley's Grave.

* Gov. Fester.

* Black Talks, Zell Walks.

* Roeper's Games.


Posted on June 25, 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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