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The Week in WTF

1. For A Better Chicago, WTF?

If a political muscleman is what Chicago wanted, then Hizzoner-Elect is a rippling mass of striated sinew.

Secret donors embodied a PAC called For A Better Chicago are packing enough wallet wallop to easily make the new Rahm the same as the Old Daley. Control the aldermen, control the city. Money is control.

Emanuel now (cleverly) says he wants the donors identified while knowing there is no reason they'd want to do that.

It's just money and power and taking. There is an innate ugliness because the politics of Chicago are intrinsically greedy. A profound insight, n'est-ce pas?

Here's the preposterous cover story. Says Ald. Freddrenna Lyle who got some of the secret influence-peddling cash: "I really didn't know what their agenda was . . . I have since heard it was pro-business." But she took the money.

Said the Trib: "Lyle . . . said it is a good thing that most of the donations are anonymous because it removes even the appearance that candidates who receive the group's money will feel indebted to individual contributors."

That would be true if nobody knew who wrote the checks or givers didn't want anything in return. WTF.

2. Northwestern, WTF?

Something tells me that mom and dad didn't expect this when they sent their teens to study in Evanston. But all is not what it seems. WTF believes this was a complicated electrical engineering research experiment.

First, do alkaline batteries last longer in vibrators than whatever the other kind there are? Is stamina why they call him the Energizer Bunny? Does Duracell buzz off at prematurely? And does AC Delco get better mileage?

Sure, we don't like this anymore than you do, but it's mankind's quest for scientific knowledge. We have a duty.

3. Rahm's Transition, WTF?

Carol Marin poses the cliched presumption that Emanuel, being a great orchestrator and arm-twister, will apply the same successful panache to his transition team-building that he did for President Obama. Seeking the "best and brightest" and other Kennedyesque echoes.

The problem is that Obama's record on filling senior watchdog positions in the federal government has been tepid at best.

Filling federal judicial posts has been equally lax. Few institutions give a president more far-reaching or permanent influence.

And an inability to plug open spots on the Federal Reserve has gummed up monetary policy.

Perhaps forming the government wasn't Emanuel's specific assignment, but he was required to make the administration function. We'll concede Emanuel had a few other tasks to consider during his time as Obama's chief of staff (two wars and Supreme Court nominees) but efficiency in building a government didn't seem high on his priority list. Maybe Emanuel will hire someone who knows how.

4. Pope Benny, WTF?

If His Holiness hadn't told us, we'd never have known the truth about that crucifixion thing. In case you hadn't heard, he says it wasn't the Jews' fault. What a relief. In his next theological treatise, he will prove that black people actually can swim and not all Italians talk like Joe Pesci in Goodfellas.

5. Existential Cal Ripken, WTF?

The WTF night crew had a Fellini moment this week. Pumping nearly $4 a gallon and facing a miserable cold wind, we look up to see a small TV screen over the pump. On it, Cal Ripken (yes, Mr. 2,131 Consecutive Games Ripken, the Ultimate American Working Man Ripken) is being interviewed by a young interview person who did not appear to have been born when Ripken started his career in 1981. She asked him to explain his advice for "making it" in this world, and Cal replies, "You can't take shortcuts to success" or some similar profundity.

Cal Ripken, ultimate American Man, is now reduced to being a spokesman for Hallmark platitudes while the pump clicks off $3.75 a gallon gas.

If that isn't a WTF moment, we don't know what is.


Comments welcome.


1. From Brandon Clark:

I feel that Northwestern's recent "sex scandal" illustrates perfectly the decreasing quality of serious journalism. It's no secret that there are abundant signs of this trend, but this is the first time I've felt the Beachwood Reporter came down on the wrong side of the trendline; hence my e-mail. Perhaps, I missed your intent - clearly the WTF articles are satirical, but I would have expected you to point your barb at this issue from another angle.

While I have come to expect sharp and precise criticism of the decline of journalist standards from the Beachwood Reporter, in this case your flippant remarks questioning the judgment of the professor, rather than the mindless, salacious reporting of the event fell short of your typically high standards.

After wading through all the typical Puritanical displeasure regarding the subject matter, it seems to me that the demonstration was germane to the class. Perhaps, the adults that enrolled in the class, and chose to attend the optional lecture were interested in the subject matter. The vocal group questioning the judgment of the professor, seem to me to be as much against the study of human sexuality as they are against any specific display thereof.

Ask yourself this, if the professor of a class on film history screened Triumph of the Will for their class, would anyone care? Is this not also a blatant display of something a little uncomfortable about the human experience, which we'd rather not talk about and, at the same time, is rather offense to some?

This rare exception (IMO) aside, please keep up your excellent work. I greatly value and appreciate your work.


Editor's Note: For another interesting take on this issue, see Whet Moser's "Northwestern Sex Toy Story, or, Why I Read Feminist Blogs"


Posted on March 4, 2011

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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