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The Week in WTF

1. Theo Epstein, WTF?

The Theo Epstein Kool-Aid now being served is not our particular Cup o' Kool, but we are completely down with the glee Cubs fans must feel.

As with the fiscal management of the city, it will be easier to see just how poorly things had been run as the old administration recedes into the rear-view mirror.

As for the Cubs, they have been a lousy second-rate organization for decades. They were an apt doppelganger for their Tribune owners. Befuddled. Adrift. Arbitrary. Unaccountable. Just like Richie Daley.

Epstein is a classically trained modern manager of resources. He is to the Cubs what Rahm is to the city. It's an SAT question.

As for disabled quacker (lame duck?) manager Mike Quade, he was a perfect intellectual fit for the old Cubs. He picked a course that could not work and stuck with it as the propellers of the Titanic slipped beneath the waves. Iceberg? What iceberg?

Even when the club announced that young players would be called to the Bigs and field-tested for the future, he often sent them to the deepest, darkest hole at the end of the bench. He beat his pitching staff to a pulp.

The Cubs were a very bad team made marginally worse by a very bad manager. Even if Epstein were a sentimental good old boy - which clearly he is not - the chances that Quade survives for very long seem unlikely. Maybe a year. Maybe not.

2. Metra, WTF?

Why does Metra need another new $100,000-a-year chief communications and marketing officer? Have no idea. Hey, we thought you knew.

"This person will supervise approximately 168 contract and non-contract personnel in media, marketing, ticketing and GPS,'' Metra spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said.

What does that mean? Again, you are asking us? We never knew that chief flaks also sold tickets.

And, yes, Metra has a spokeswoman to announce news about spokespeople. It's a living.

3. CTA, WTF?

How's this for great party planning: On the same say Metra is hiring a flak, the CTA is cutting a few.

The general manager of public affairs, manager of media relations and a spokeswoman waived adios. The bus folks didn't say, but this feel to be about 300Gs worth of flakdom a year.

Things are really tough at the CTA. The Veep of Com and Marketing has to actually make her own announcement that she lost half her staff. Who's left to put toner in the paper copier, for crying out loud? Oh, the humanity.

4. Jerry Reinsdorf, WTF?

"Bacardi in the Park" is a commercial restaurant freebie for White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf that taxpayers bought because, well, we're not sure why. No one else is either, least of all totally dense former Gov. Jim Thompson who OK'd the scheme but now seems totally discombobulated about what he was thinking at the time.

Listen to this key exchange that explains why you gave Reinsdorf about $7 million for his bistro:

"We said to Jerry, 'Jerry can we have part of the profits?' and he said no," former Gov. Jim Thompson, who was the agency's board chairman when the deal was made, said in an interview. "We said, OK.'

"I've known Jerry for 52 years. He's tough. He's tough."

Chicago is the city of broad shoulders and weak minds. Thompson is just a smidge less dense than osmium.

5. Stella Foster, WTF?

There are some concepts you'll never understand - why wings actually make airplanes fly; why pretty women sometimes marry ugly men; and also why the Chicago journalistic universe would honor Stella Foster as a "consummate journalist."

We never understood the fascination with her mentor, Irv Kupcinet, either.

But we rise for a point of order. What precisely is the "lifetime achievement" that Foster has achieved other than keeping her job while many with actual talent lost theirs?

If you're charmed by two-foot deep potholes as if they're a quaint Chicago localism, then you believe Stella Foster is a consummate anything.


Comments welcome.


Posted on October 28, 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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