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« November 2010 | Main | January 2011 »

December 31, 2010

The [New Year's Week] Papers

We'll continue slouching toward the New Year with a sporadic Beachwood until returning in full on January 3rd.

Oh hell, we've got a full Beachwood today!

* Political New Year's Resolutions

* The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report

* The Week in Comic Books

* This Weekend on CAN TV

* The Week in WTF

And previously this week . . .

* "Malcolm Glazer's son belies Manchester United's austerity by buying luxury Chicago apartment," the Telegraph reports. "The deal is listed as the biggest in Chicago in 2010, surpassing the $8.18m paid by options trader Igor Chernomzav for a 52nd floor apartment in March."

* "Long before Marge Simpson or Amy Winehouse created a buzz sporting beehive hairdos, it had to be invented," the TribLocal Elmhurst reports.

"And that's how Margaret Vinci Heldt, a star in the world of hair design, made her name.

"The iconic style first fashioned in 1960 by Heldt, now a spry and vivacious 92-year-old who now lives at Lexington Square Retirement Community in Elmhurst, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010.

"From 1950 through the 70s, Heldt operated Margaret Vinci Coiffures on Michigan Avenue. Editors at Modern Beauty Salon magazine had noticed things were getting a bit dull and lank in the hair scene so they turned to Heldt, known as an innovator, to come up with a new style to turn heads.

"'Nothing much had happened since the French Twist, the Page Boy and the Flip,' Heldt said. 'They told me, We want you to come up with something really different.'"

* The Beachwood Inn says: "New Year's Eve Bash at the Beachwood. No cover, never had one never will. Chicken and Catfish brought in from Harold's with plenty of sides. FREE party favors and FREE Champagne toast at midnight. The jukebox will be rockin' all night, plus our usual Friday night drink specials. Bob, Tammy, Kim, Ben . . . and a slew of regulars will be on hand to help ring in the New Year. HAPPY NEW YEAR PEOPLE!"

Let me add: No politics in the bar, people. Just rock.

* Post-New Year's revelry/recovery will continue Monday night at the Beachwood Inn with yours truly behind the bar. Ask for the insider's special.

* Neil Steinberg does not like black people.

* 2010 in Review: Was Kanye West The Best?

* I Want My Google TV

* Fantasy Fix: Carlos Pena Will Hit More HRs Than Adam Dunn And Other Predictions For 2011

* The Schindler Elevators At Barnes & Noble

* The Casino Meat Is A-Cookin'

* In Action! Elvis Costello at the Chicago Theatre

* Chicagoetry: I Wanna Paint Really Cool Murals, Man

* SportsMonday: Lovie's Secret Sauce


The Beachwood Tip Line: Spill.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:01 AM | Permalink

Political New Year's Resolutions

An exclusive report.

Richard M. Daley resolves to leave office peacefully after a long week of shredding.

Bill, John and Michael Daley resolve to help Richard shred.

Rahm Emanuel resolves to stay on on his meds until after the election is over.

Pat Quinn resolves to get a Viagra prescription to stiffen himself up.

Barack Obama resolves the same.

Michael Madigan resolves to not waver in his resolve.

Joe Berrios resolves to hire only relatives because no one else can be trusted.

Todd Stroger resolves to go to the gym twice a day now that he's out of work.

Toni Preckwinkle resolves to sound smarter than Todd Stroger when asking for the exact same budget cuts.

James Meeks resolves to only hate on gays, women, Asians and Hispanics in the privacy of his own church.

Tony Peraica resolves to make a comeback in order to settle scores.

Jesse Jackson Jr. resolves to quit Congress and build that damn airport by himself.

Sandi Jackson resolves to visit her ward at least once a month.

Danny Davis resolves to get a cushy new job in exchange for dropping out of the mayor's race.

Mark Kirk resolves to fact-check his past resolutions.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:37 AM | Permalink

The Week in Comic Books: The Fantastic Four About To Become Three

One of them slated to die. But which one?


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:25 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: The Green & Yellow Will Prevail

Blue: What the Bears' offense showed us from last week: A strong-armed quarterback, fast receivers who have learned how to run routes and catch the ball, and a power running back who can catch the ball and move the chains with outside or inside runs. Mix in a revamped offensive line that is playing somewhere between okay and passable and combine this with a special teams group that consistently provides great field position along with a defense that can fluctuate between stellar and passable and you have the story of the 2010 Chicago Bears. Somehow this combination has been good enough to win the close defensive struggles as well as last week's 38-34 shootout over the New York Jets.

Problems from the Jets' game were many: Allowing a weak-armed over-hyped quarterback to carve up the secondary, a basic lack of pass rush, and an inability to lock down on run-defense at critical moments. Reading that, one would think this had to be a Bears loss - another case of the defense letting up too many points and the offense either not moving the ball to put points on the board or squandering opportunities with ridiculous turnovers. But that's last years' team, or the year before, and come to think about it, all years post the 2006 Super Bowl team.

Somehow, something has changed with the offensive equation. Is it the addition of more failed head coaches to take over in coordinator roles such as we've seen with Mike Martz running the offensive play-calling and Mike Tice the offensive line? Or is it the continued maturation of a previously suspect wide-receiving corps that is finding its rhythm with its quarterback? Possibly it's that we're seeing a well-balanced run to pass ratio made possible behind a just good-enough offensive line - now featuring a healthy Matt Forte who has shown that when he is 100% that he can be counted as a top 10 back.

Yes, the Bears allowed Mark Sanchez to look like the next coming of Joe Montana until basically the last play of the game. But, according to Phil Simms, that pass to Chris Harris was "tremendous" so even that play might not have been a positive for the Bears, though it did close out the game. A total lack of pressure on Sanchez was uncharacteristic of this defense and showed the weakness of the Cover-2. This has to be fixed, and if the Bears' ability to improve half-to-half and week-to-week are an indicator of things to come, it will be.

Devin Hester continues to be a weapon that has to be accounted for while the special teams coverage led by (surprisingly) Corey Graham keeps teams facing longer fields to play from on offense. These factors very well might have been the difference versus the Jets as much as the three-touchdown passes in the third quarter that Martz dialed up and Cutler executed to near perfection. Going against the best return team in the NFL and the most highly respected defensive back duo of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, the special teams and wideouts have shown that like the traditional Bears strengths of defense and running games, they can be game-changers.

The defeat of the Jets was a demonstration of a team that is still improving on the offensive side of the ball and is dangerous on special teams, with a defense that can be stymied by an offensive scheme predicated on a quick, accurate passing attack so long as the pass rush is shut down.If Rod Marinelli and the defense can figure out how to fix their problems so that they are no longer relying on last drive heroics, this just might be a team that makes an impact in the playoffs. Though it might be a bit early to order your Super Bowl tickets, the fact that the phrase Super Bowl is up for conversation shows this is a team to be taken seriously.

Bears at Packers
With a first-round bye and hom- field advantage until the NFC Championship wrapped up, these Bears have nothing beyond pride on the line. A win versus the Packers knocks a traditional rival out of the playoff picture, but will that in and of itself be enough to motivate Lovie Smith and crew to expose starters to injury just before the playoffs?

If history is any indicator, starters will play for the first half, and possibly into the third quarter, before giving way to the Garrett Wolfe and Rashied Davises of the squad. The Packers come in motivated by a win and in scenario for the playoffs, and they have been one of the hottest teams in the last few weeks and are playing at home. This kills me to say but I'm not envisioning a Bears surprise this week.

Packers 34, Bears 20.


Orange: The avid readership of The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report will no doubt recall the prerequisites we laid out for season-long success, after the less-than-convincing victory over the Detroit Lions in Week One.

The Chicago Bears can go 11-5.

However, the following must occur in each game:

* The Bears win the time of possession battle by ten minutes
* Jay Cutler throws for 350+ yards, including twice as many touchdowns as picks
* Matt Forte averages 200 yards of total offense per game
* The defense holds opponents without a first down for two quarters
* The offense outgains opponents three times over

Thanks to a win that left the barn burnt, the scoreboard lit and the record books heaved out the window (okay, the record books were placed on a ledge near the proverbial window; no single game records were broken), Coach of the Year candidate Lovie Smith (no, seriously), proven winner Jay Cutler (no, seriously) and the Mike Martz's balanced offensive attack (no, seriously) have combined their powers like some improbable Voltron-esque football machine (as opposed to the "probable" varieties of Voltron) to reach "V" number 11*.

They say you never forget your eleventh "V," so let's see if this win matched up with the formula outlined three-and-a-half months ago.

- Time of Possession: Check. The Bears had the ball about eight minutes more than the Jets.

- Cutler: No, but not a big deal in this case. Cut-head went 13/25 for 215 yards, three TDs and one INT. He hit the important marks and there wasn't much of an opportunity for him to get more yardage than he did (see below). Having said that, the interesting real fact of the day is that Jay Cutler hasn't had a 300+ yard game since Week One.

- Forte: A little shy of the glory, but you'll take that production every day, especially against a defense that hadn't allowed a 100+ yard rusher in 2010. The Bear Back finished with 169 yards of total offense, including 113 rushing yards.

- Defense: Yeeouch! The Chicago defense forced only two three-and-outs, though the well-defended fake punt was the fourth play on a four-play drive. Other than that, the Jets moved the ball utterly at will. Someone in the Orange household actually yelled "DAMN YOU SANCHEZ!!!" at one point. If the Jets staff has committed a blueprint for neutralizing Julius Peppers to film, the Bears have no chance in the playoffs.

- Total Offensive Yardage: No dice, but while the Bears were outgained by the Jets, the field position provided by turnovers and special teams need to be factored in. It's tough to rack up yards when most of your drives start near or past the 50. The Bears had only three drives that started behind their own 30.

- "Kevin" Knox Sporting What Appears to Be A 'Coonskin Playoff Beard: Maybe this wasn't a week one prerequisite, but all the same . . . check.

With one game to play, the Bears already have clinched the No. 2 seed in the NFC and a first-round bye. However with a little help, Lovie 'n' Friends are still statistically capable of capturing the No. 1 seed. The formula for determining NFL playoff seeding is complex, but here at The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report, we always go the extra mile to break down the nuances of America's favorite game. Here's how it can happen.

- Aaron Rodgers tears one of his lats doing a shoryuken early in the game, Greg Jennings badly cuts his hand on his own beard and Clay Matthews loses the Samson-esque powers bestowed upon him by his magical hair after he's forced to cut it off at halftime when it becomes tangled in the statue of Vince Lombardi that sits in the Packers' locker room. With few good players left on the Green Bay roster, the Bears' B-Squad are able to squeak out a win.

- Atlanta loses its final home game against the 2-13 Panthers, which is slightly less probable than the above scenario.

- Somehow tied in all meaningful categories laid out by the NFL, the Bears get the top seed over the Falcons by virtue of a coin toss, which is the final tie breaking procedure in the NFL playoff system (no, seriously).

Bears at Packers
Lovie's style is to rest players in this scenario. One couldn't fault him for running Todd Collins, Garrett Wolfe and Rashied Davis out there on offense to avoid injury to some of the skill positions.

Heck, it makes sense to run Joan Collins out there at QB, just to play it extra safe.

The Packers are playing for the life of their season; the Bears are playing to avoid a game in Atlanta in the NFC Championship game. Do the math.

Packers 30, Bears 17.

*Did you spot the optical illusion within this block of text? That's right! If you remove all of the parentheses from what appears to be a paragraph, it reveals a single complete sentence!


Andrew Golden brings you the Blue half of this report every week; Carl Mohrbacher brings you the Orange. They welcome your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:44 AM | Permalink

This Weekend On CAN TV

CAN TV brings you local, relevant issues from Chicago's neighborhoods and communities. See what's happening around the city in education, the arts, government, cultural events, social services and community activities.

Chicago Teachers Union Mayoral Candidate Forum on Education
730229-CTU-Mayoral Candidates.jpg
The Chicago Teachers Union hosts a Mayoral Forum focused on the future of Chicago's educational system.

Sunday, January 2 at 5:00 p.m. on CAN TV19

Or click here to watch video online

Tackling the Complex Health Issues of Marginalized Communities
Linda Wesp from Howard Brown Health Center and Dr. Gregory Scott from DePaul University identify health disparities in marginalized communities.

Saturday, January 1 at 8:00 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 28 min

A Quest for Equality: Breaking the Barriers for People with Disabilities (National Panel)
The Persons with Disabilities Fund releases the white paper A Quest for Equality, with a response from Oregon State Rep. Sara Gelser and other national leaders.

Sunday, January 2 at 9:00 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 51 min

Is Torture Part of U.S. Foreign Policy?
Chris Inserra, SOA Watch-Chicago (pictured); Jose Lopez, Puerto Rican Cultural Center; and Adriana Portillo-Bartow, Guatemalan war survivor; challenge the United State's role in torture around the world.

Sunday, January 2 at 12:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 50 min


CAN TV gives every Chicagoan a voice on cable television by providing video training, facilities, equipment, and channel time for Chicago residents and nonprofit groups. CAN TV's five local, noncommercial cable channels, CAN TV19, 21, 27, 36 and 42, reach more than one million viewers in the city of Chicago.


Disclaimer: Barbara Popovic, the executive director of CAN TV, is both a friend and landlord to Beachwood editor Steve Rhodes.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:29 AM | Permalink

The Week in WTF

1. Carol Moseley-Braun vs. Neil Steinberg, WTF?

What would Chicago politics be if they weren't ugly and racially divisive? Not only are racially presumptive politics ugly when white candidates are doing the presumitivizing, they're butt ugly when black candidates do it, too.

Here's my view. Citizens are responsible to their own collective political and civic conscience and nothing else. Nobody owns them or their allegiance. As to the question of pundit snarkiness, it does little good to outsnark them.

2. Pat Quinn, WTF?

Well, Bunky, what did you expect when you elected him? As all of us know, the best way to pay off massive credit card debt is to get more credit cards.

3. The Sun-Times's top stories of the day, WTF?

On Wednesday, the Sun-Times's lead position on its website included the newspaper's top seven news stories of the day. One was this this Gannett wire service story about old people in Arizona being bullies; another was this wire story about New York paying teachers not to teach (It's a old story done by 60 Minutes and most NY media months ago). There was also this story from a suburban sister paper about a Hammond crime case with no contextual relationship to Chicago and this AP story that the Sun-Times "localized" with a photo . . . from its library. WTF?

And this - another wire story brief with one paragraph added to make it "local."

Either the S-T left the children in charge of the website over the holiday week or Sun-Times editors tacitly admit they don't have the staff to cover one of the most vibrant cities in North America. There are no slow news days in Chicago; only slow newspapers.

4. Shoveling With Cash, WTF?

When I go out to shovel snow, I always carry $500 or so, which is only slightly more plausible than the idea of me voluntarily shoveling snow.

5. Evolution, WTF?

By one statistical progression, it will take America another 100 years before a majority of its citizens believes in the standard scientific definition of evolution.

I have a Cubs joke to insert here, but I think you're smart enough to write one on your own. If more than five send me printable examples, we'll revisit the Cubs in 2011.


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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:55 AM | Permalink

December 29, 2010

The Schindler Elevators At Barnes & Noble

Elevator geeks are ecstatic. This one is in Chicago.


This one is in Salem, New Hampshire.


This one is on Cape Cod.


This one is in Erie, Pennsylvania.


This one is in Burlington, Massachusetts.


And so on. All over the country. Kids seem to love 'em. And it's not just bookstores. In fact, the Schindler is the important part. But still.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:09 AM | Permalink

Moving To Chicago And Want Google TV?

Try this.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:05 AM | Permalink

2010 in Review: Was Kanye West The Best?

Adding value to a few lists you might be interested in. Feel free to send us your own.

1. Greg Kot's Best Local Releases of 2010.

Topping Kot's list is Cap D's PolyMath. Kot writes:

"For more than a decade, this erudite MC has been forging his own path with his label and group (both named All Natural), as well as his solo projects. He is criminally under-recognized nationally, but he takes a back seat to no MC with his sharp mind, incisive flow and increasingly robust tracks in the Chicago dusties-soul tradition. Though typecast as too high-minded for an art form that puts a premium on swagger, there's nothing soft about these rhymes. In 'Chicago Five-O' he's as ominous as a shiv in a back-alley rumble, exposing the brutal politics of race relations in the streets of his home city. A landmark release from one of the best MC's this city has produced."


2. Jim DeRogatis's Best Albums of 2010.

Topping DeRo's list: Janelle Monae's ArchAndroid. DeRo writes:

"ArchAndroid continues the futuristic space opera sketched out on [an] earlier EP, spinning it into a full-length concept album about a robot that comes back from the future to warn humanity about its errant ways while encouraging all of us to value our freedom and fly our freak flags high. But you don't have to buy into any of that to enjoy this wildly psychedelic but consistently funky suite of killer pop songs, which I love even despite my knee-jerk aversion to anything that sounds like the soundtrack of Fantasia. (There's a bit of that overwrought orchestral hoo-ha at the beginning and end of the disc, but grew on me as the year progressed.) Unforgettable."

* "Tightrope" official video (embedding disabled).

* "Tightrope" live in Berlin:


* More German tour video.

3. The Best Music of 2010 by Gossip Wolf feat. Jessica Hopper.

Topping Hopper's list: Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Hopper writes:

"From the flashy combo of newer Jay-Z beats and older Dipset rhyme schemes to the parade of A-list guest spots (like the totally monster hook Bon Jovi sings on 'Monster'), it's pure ear candy. But Kanye's newfound humility - perhaps an act of contrition for publicly embarrassing both himself and Taylor Dayne at her graduation - is what truly anchors My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. After that controversy, we turned our furry backs on Yeezy. But he has reupholstered the pussy of our shared musical landscape with his luxurious excellence. He is forgiven!"


4. Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums of 2010.

Topping Pitchfork's list: Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Pitchfork writes:

"[S]omehow, West managed to transcend the preposterous talk show appearances, the too-good-to-be-true Twitter account, the live breakdowns, the Horus chain, the free-MP3 stunt(ing), the press blitz, the breakups, the make-ups, the dick pics, the furniture pornography, the Rosewood movement, the NO NEGATIVE BLOG VIEWING, the living paintings, the short film, and the rest of the lot. Through all that noise, we obsessed first and most deeply over the eye of the storm: the album."


* Wikipedia entry for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:59 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Carlos Pena Will Hit More HRs Than Adam Dunn And Other Predictions For 2011

The time has come to rehash 2010's fantasy highs and lows, and look forward to 2011.

But rather than brag about picking up Matt Cassel from the waiver wire just in time for him to become a top fantasy QB, or lament that I traded Jose Bautista when he had only 17 of his eventual 54 home runs, I just want to move on and try to get head start on 2011.
With that in mind, here are 11 fantasy predictions for 2011:

1. Amar'e Stoudemire, PF/C, NY, will be my fantasy basketball MVP for the 2011 season.

Averaging more than 26 PPG so far, he has a great chance to lead the league in total points if he stays healthy. And while he has never been a threat to average a double-double, he's getting very close this season at 9.3 rebounds per game. Combine that with 52.3% field-goal shooting and about 2.2 blocks per game, and I think he edges LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul.

2. Chris Paul, PG, New Orleans, will lead the league in assists and steals, but his fantasy value will drop after this season, assuming he stays in New Orleans.

He's been listed as the No. 1 or No. 2 fantasy draft pick the last few years, but to my mind he just doesn't score enough to rank that high. Here's his scoring averages the last three seasons: 22.8, 18.7, 16.5. And here's his assists averages: 11.0, 10.7, 9.9. I don't like where this is heading and neither should you.

3. The top pick overall in many fantasy baseball leagues will be Cliff Lee, SP, Philadelphia.

I am not saying he should be the top pick, but that in many leagues he'll go first as team owners drool over his postseason performance and think about how well-armed his new (and former) team is for another postseason run. But, I don't think he's the top pick overall, and I don't even think he's the top pitching choice on his own team. Roy Halladay, SP, Philadelphia, gets my vote.

4. If I get the top pick overall in a fantasy baseball league, I will take Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Colorado.

I almost never take outfielders or pitchers No. 1, but he proved himself as the ultimate multi-category player in 2010: 34 HRs, 117 RBIs, 26 SBs, 111 runs and 197 hits. At 25-years-old, he realistically could edge higher in every one of those categories in 2011.

5. Jose Bautista, 3B, Toronto, will not hit 54 HRs again. He will not hit 50. Or 40. I will do his fantasy ranking a favor by predicting he will hit no more than 37.

Many team owners will be tempted to rank him second or third at his position, but there are still at least five 3Bs (Evan Longoria, David Wright, Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Zimmerman and Kevin Youkilis) and maybe even a sixth (Adrian Beltre) I would pick before Bautista, who could prove to be a drag in every other category except home runs.

6. Carlos Pena, 1B, Cubs, will hit more home runs than Adam Dunn, 1B/OF, White Sox.

In the battle of local free agent signings, Dunn will be drafted higher in most fantasy leagues, but Pena will be an interesting mid-to-late round sleeper pick in a lot of leagues.

7. Jon Lester, SP, Boston, will be the top fantasy pitcher in American League-only leagues.

With 19 wins and 225 strikeouts last year, he will benefit from an improved Boston attack to end up north of 20 wins and 250 strikeouts. Amazingly, he may still be only the fourth-best fantasy pitcher overall behind Halladay, Lee and Tim Lincecum, SP, San Francisco, the latter maybe softening a bit after a World Series win, but still the top strikeout pitcher overall.

8. The biggest fantasy baseball surprise of 2011 will be Brandon Webb, SP, Texas.

He has missed just about all of the last two seasons, but the former Cy Young winner who just signed with the Rangers is a ground ball pitcher in a home run park, he has an incentive-laden deal with a lot to prove, and he will be backed up by an extremely productive lineup. Webb will be a forgotten man by now to most fantasy owners, but would make a great late-round sleeper pick.

9. The top overall fantasy football pick in most leagues going into the 2011-12 season will be Arian Foster, RB, Houston.

This season, he'll end up with 16 TDs overall, more than 1,500 rushing yards and more than 600 receiving yards. We may see more first-round QB fantasy picks than ever next season, but Foster will be your consensus No. 1 overall.

10. The top fantasy QB taken in most drafts next year will not be Michael Vick.

I am not saying it shouldn't be Vick, but Tom Brady, QB, New England has been unbelievably good this season (34 passing TDs and just 4 INTs) and four other QBs (Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Drew Brees and Matt Schaub) have good chances to end this campaign with more than 4,500 passing yards.

Vick, whose season has been nothing short of a revelation, may get lost in the mix when it's time for the next draft.

11. The top overall fantasy basketball pick in most leagues for the 2011-12 season will be LeBron James, SF, Miami.

Sure, I predicted Stoudemire will be MVP this season, and Durant still has so much upside as a scorer, but James remains the biggest multi-category threat, and his best season is still ahead of him.

Happy New Year!


Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears in this space every Wednesday. He welcomes your comments. You can also read his about his split sports fan personality at his Beachwood blog SwingsBothWays.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:41 AM | Permalink

The [New Year's Week] Papers

When I read Neil Steinberg's column this week slamming Carol Moseley-Braun, I made a note to myself to comment on his "vitriol for black" people. I thought to myself that Steinberg's body of work goes beyond not being afraid to criticize minorities to a deep-seated anger toward - and perhaps even a fear of - black people.

I'm not the only one.

In fact, Moseley-Braun has called on the Sun-Times to fire Steinberg.

First, the column.


No, even better: "quite surprised."

See, that's why I revere Carol Moseley Braun, in an ironic but very real sense, and will miss her when she returns to the deep obscurity she popped out of to stage her quixotic quest for mayor. Because she can say things like "I was quite surprised" after state Sen. James Meeks dropped out of the mayoral race last week.

You can already see something in Steinberg's tone that goes beyond taking a pol to task. It's almost as if he's been personally hurt by Moseley-Braun. He's also engaging in hyperbole to construct a column out of quite thin tissue.

For example, Moseley-Braun has hardly been in "deep obscurity." (Is there an obscurity deeper than regular obscurity? If so, Steinberg wants to bury her there.)

And is her quest for mayor "quixotic?" Compared to whom - Danny Davis? Miguel del Valle? Gery Chico, who appears to be Steinberg's guy? Isn't he the guy who finished fifth in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate to replace Moseley-Braun, who managed to, um, win the seat in the first place?

Moseley Braun, the former senator, former ambassador, and current would-be mayor, was caught off guard when the pastor of the Salem Baptist Church took his ball and went home, while even third-rate pundits who live in the suburbs saw this coming a mile away.

From this column exactly 11, count 'em, 11 weeks ago:

"This is Meeks' way of dropping out of the race," I wrote, on Oct. 11, after Meeks, in the first of a series of jaw-dropping gaffes, vowed that he would keep his day job running a mega-church after he was elected mayor - a premise that might have pleased the flock "but, to non-parishioners, it seems a preacher-slick way of saying, 'I quit.'"

Such obviousness whizzed past the brand of savvy that Moseley Braun brings to the table, and is why part of me wishes she had a snowball's chance in hell of becoming Chicago's next mayor. Never underestimate a politician's entertainment value.

So Steinberg is building his attack column based on the idea that Moseley-Braun is brain-dead for professing surprise that James Meeks would drop out of the race? Please.

In so doing, note how Steinberg calls himself "a third-rate pundit living in the suburbs" to demonstrate that even an idiot like him wasn't surprised. What Steinberg is really trying to signal, in typical passive-aggressive false modesty, is that he's a smart pundit who can't suffer the fools he writes about.

But Meeks's comment about keeping his church hardly seemed like a way of dropping out, as Steinberg contends. By contrast, Eric Zorn predicted Meeks would be forced to drop out of the race after making controversial remarks about minority contracting.

Hell, I wrote in September when Meeks was merely considering jumping into the race that "He's got a huge congregation but he's a reverend with some pretty wacky views; scrutiny would do him in."

Of the three of us - and countless others, I'm sure - Steinberg's reasoning is easily the weakest. Not the smartest boy in the room, Neil.

But it goes beyond that. What drives his level of ire?

What will we get under a Rahm Emanuel administration? Ruthless efficiency punctuated by the occasional burst of colorful ire. How about Gery Chico? Complex policy initiatives seasoned with accusations of back scratching.

It'll be a tough task, just keeping up with all that.

Contrast those with a hypothetical Carol Moseley Braun administration. My job would be a breeze. Imagine the lush displays of ridicule that would blossom in the loamy soil of her rule. I'm half tempted to go into denial, after Emanuel is elected, and write columns tracking, not his advent, but the lurches and stumbles of an imaginary Mayor Moseley Braun.

Steinberg may have just accomplished what some black leaders have failed to do: create a consensus candidate. It's not dissimilar to what Steinberg did in 2006.

I initially considered writing this column as a mock endorsement of Moseley Braun, but held back out of sincere concern that her campaign would miss the joke and issue a press release ballyhooing the fact, the way it did last month after a black weekly published a poll that had her nudging ahead of Rahm.

"CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN BEATS ALL MAYORAL CANDIDATES IN LATEST N'DIGO POLL" her campaign trumpeted, which sounded good until you read the fine print.

"Moseley Braun received 27.4 of the vote, Rahm Emanuel had 22.7 percent," which wouldn't be bad if the opinions being gathered were collected from a representative slice of the city of Chicago. But they weren't. The sample being polled, N'Digo cheerfully explained, was overwhelmingly African-American women, most of them friends of the publisher. In other words, Moseley Braun issued a press release bragging that she bested Rahm Emanuel, barely, among politically active black ladies, nearly a quarter of whom were voting for Emanuel.

See why I'll miss her? That's like me bragging that I beat Rahm Emanuel 3-2 in a poll of those sitting around my dining room table, if you take the joyous yip of the puppy as a vote for me. Would you view that as a mark of certain Steinberg victory, or a sign that two members of my own family wouldn't even vote for me?

I wouldn't trust an N'digo poll as far as I could throw it; indeed, publisher Hermene Hartman isn't exactly an objective journalist - or a journalist at all. But Steinberg appears to have missed the hinkiness of polls in his own shop - and that of his main competitor.

Hartman's response also calls Steinberg's accuracy into question:

"N'DIGO has been conducting polls of the mayoral race. I wanted to determine the way of the Black vote. Black voters are often overlooked and underserved by the pollsters. The last N'DIGO poll, was the one Steinberg cited. It was an online survey conducted in November. African American women weighed in the most and their poll vote was for Carol Moseley Braun. It was fair and square. My personal preference was James Meeks. Steinberg incorrectly says the poll was not representative and that I polled my friends. Not true."

It's clearly not a scientific poll and hardly a journalistic endeavor, but also hardly worthy of Steinberg's level of ridicule.

Alas, after February we won't have Carol Moseley Braun to kick around anymore, and I for one will feel the loss. She represents the egomaniacal muddle that Chicago black leadership has slid into, where calls for imaginary and self-destructive racial solidarity trump minor concerns like reason or history.

I never thought the idea of a "consensus candidate" was advisable, but Steinberg's "analysis" - which isn't a new sentiment for him - reveals some sort of visceral disgust that is hard to place. I mean, shouldn't we be more concerned about Gery Chico's logrolling than the attempts - misguided or cynical as they may be, though undoubtedly well-intended by some - by minority leaders to make a bid for representation after 20 years of seeing most of their neighborhoods and businesses get the shaft?

Which is why Meeks, in the comment that sealed his fate, could dismiss women and Hispanics as not being worthy of the title "minority." Politics is the art of drawing people in, not shutting them out, and candidates such as Meeks fail because they don't grasp that what drives them to their feet, applauding in the pews on Sunday, lands with a thud when delivered to the city in general.

I hope some ambitious University of Chicago sociology graduate student does her masters thesis on the search for a so-called "consensus" candidate among the marginalized black power structure in Chicago; it would make for a fascinating study in magical thinking.

Huh. If the black power structure in Chicago is marginalized, I wonder who did the marginalizing . . .

"It is long past time that we build on the tremendous successes of the great Harold Washington," Meeks said, trying to bow out with a little style and instead reflecting his lack of a grasp on historical fact. Washington was a dynamic guy, lovable and funny, but "tremendous successes"? Point to one. Point to one mild success of the Harold Washington administration, beyond making part of the population feel better about themselves. Other than that, Washington was pretty much stymied by the rebellious City Council - he could barely seat his appointees - for his entire first term, and while that wasn't his fault, it's nothing to engrave on a coin either.

Holy cow! To Steinberg, all Harold Washington did was make "one part of the population feel better about themselves"! Guess which part?!

And if Council Wars wasn't his fault, why is Steinberg holding it against him?

As to Washington's successes as mayor, well, some of us think he was the best Chicago ever had - warts and all.

Steinberg was here at the time; I wasn't. But I read books about Chicago and I do my research; Steinberg ought to try it.

I could have recited Washington's accomplishments from memory, as I'm sure many in Chicago could, but just a tip to Steinberg: It takes less than a second for Google to return all kinds of information to the ignorant. Just for starters, from an NPR story:

"University of Illinois Chicago political scientist Dick Simpson, who also served as an alderman before Washington's election, says the mayor broke from the city's legendary Democratic political machine and brought a different agenda to City Hall, one of a reformer. He created an ethics ordinance, signed a decree to end patronage hiring, and got citizens more involved in devising a city budget and running schools."

And from the Tribune:

"During his time as mayor, Washington had chipped away at the Democratic machine's patronage system by appointing professionals, minorities and women to city positions. He had worked for economic development in neighborhoods rather than just downtown."

The campaign for the February nonpartisan election is like the Warner Brothers cartoon before the main feature. We get Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner flinging anvils at each other, and it's all good fun. Then, after Feb. 22, they vanish and we move on to the real show.

If the cartoonish black candidates would only go away we could get to the real election! Presumably a runoff between Emanuel and Chico.


Now, Moseley-Braun wasn't exactly gracious in her response to Steinberg's column:

"Referring to Steinberg's 2005 arrest for domestic abuse, after which he entered rehab for alcoholism, Braun said on Tuesday, 'He's a verified drunk and a wife beater who showed his disdain and disrespect for the African-American community in that article - in several articles. He's got a history of this, and I'm just actually surprised that the Sun-Times would continue to give him a platform.'"

Steinberg's past personal issues have nothing to do with this - or with any criticism of his work except maybe to point out that despite them he still has a missing empathy chip in his brain.

But as for the rest of it, well, she's right.

Sun-Times editor Don Hayner, not exactly the brightest bulb in the journalistic firmament, is standing by Steinberg, saying that "Neil Steinberg expresses his opinion, as do all of our columnists. We stand by their right to express those opinions as part of the larger discussion of the future of our city."

True. But do Sun-Times columnists have the right to get paid handsomely when they consistently write offensive columns or get their facts wrong or show a professed ignorance of the city and culture around them?

My continual criticism of Steinberg isn't personal, despite what he thinks. I have had no personal issue with him. He's just so wrong and so misguided so often that it's hard to understand how any newspaper can justify keeping him on - especially when he and many of his colleagues, including Hayner, so often criticize "the Internet" and "bloggers" for being unhinged and without loyalty to journalistic standards.

And where are his editors? Doesn't anybody read his work before it goes public? Because if they do, they are just as guilty of committing journalistic malpractice.


ADDITION 10:06 A.M.: From CBS2Chicago:

Steinberg defended Monday's column as honest, accurate, fair and funny.

"I think it's the worst sort of racism to think that certain groups can't be criticized because they're going to collapse into a sobbing heap," he said.

Ahem. So by "certain groups" does Steinberg mean black people? No one is suggesting that black political and civic leaders can't be criticized. Many of us do it every day - be it Todd Stroger or Roland Burris. I do it a lot. As far as I can tell, though, nobody senses any sort of undercurrent of racial rage in me. Perhaps that's because I don't constantly complain - as Steinberg does - about how "everything has to be racial," as though it's such an inconvenience to him to forced to face both historical and contemporary realities.

It's one thing to criticize pols who happen to be black. It's another thing to complain about "them."

And Steinberg's childish retort about collapsing into a sobbing heap shows once again his lack of empathy and understanding. Plus, his column wasn't funny.



"Watching the Chicago media pack take chunks out of Roland Burris this week, and after taking a few bites out of the lying weasel myself, I couldn't help but wonder: When it comes to covering corruption, is there a media double standard, one for weak black politicians and another for powerful white guys?" John Kass once wrote.

The answer is Yes.



Mary Mitchell vs. Steinberg, June 28, 2007:

When a white male colleague calls his black female co-worker a racist, what should she do?

Walk down the hall and punch him in the nose?

Of course not. I'd be fired for workplace violence.

But that was exactly what I felt like doing Wednesday when I read Neil Steinberg's item in which he attacked me (without mentioning my name) for my perspective on the media coverage of Bobby Cutts Jr., the black man who is charged with killing his white pregnant girlfriend in Canton, Ohio.

In my column, I noted that the media pounded the message home that Cutts, the father of three children by three women and carrying on an affair with the victim, Jessie Marie Davis, is a lowlife.

Yet, we tiptoed around the fact that Christopher Vaughn, the white man now charged with killing his wife and three children, was most likely the killer.

Indeed, the Vaughn case was shrouded in mystery, while the Cutts case was so wide open, we knew his personal business almost immediately.


The difference in how these similarly heinous crimes was framed in the media had to do with race, I argued.

And had Cutts murdered a pregnant black woman, we wouldn't know what she looked like.

In fact, the last time a kidnapped black woman made headlines or the cable news channels (she later turned up dead), her family had to browbeat and shame the cable stations into carrying the story.

As for the Vaughn family - the media kept harping on the fact that they were the "perfect" family. Now we hear that they weren't so perfect after all.

Call it what you will, the media are often biased when it comes to covering these issues. Don't believe it? Show up at a meeting at the National Association of Black Journalists, Chicago chapter. No matter what the topic, the discussion will end on this subject.

This debate over media bias was going on when I arrived in the newsroom 17 years ago, and it is still going on today.

But Neil Steinberg has become a self-appointed critic of my views on race.

"[T]o claim that Cutts was portrayed in a negative fashion 'because he is black' while Vaughn was displayed positively 'because he is white' is to a) cry wolf and b) succumb to an inverse kind of racism. . . ," Steinberg wrote.

First of all, the language in quotes is Steinberg's, not mine.

For the record, this is what I wrote:

"Although just about everyone I spoke with thought Vaughn must have killed his family, he was given the respect due any grieving father by the media. The Vaughns were portrayed as the perfect suburban family, with Christopher Vaughn, a forensic adviser, being described as 'low-key.'

"For something so sinister to happen, there had to be a lot more negativity going on with this guy than what was being reported. But Vaughn was given the benefit of the doubt in the media, which increases his chances of getting a fair trial.

"Cutts was not.

"The difference in these sensational crimes isn't character. It's race."


Steinberg has the right to disagree with me. In fact, he could have come down the hall, pulled up a chair, and we could have talked about our different perspectives.

Steinberg didn't do that. He used his platform to label me a racist. That shouldn't surprise me, since my critics at SCORE radio trashed me, as well, on Tuesday afternoon, prompting a black listener and reader to call me, enraged.

I'm comforted by the fact that a lot of black people knew where I was coming from. And since white people haven't walked a step in our shoes, they don't get to tell us what our views on race ought to be, anyway.

Few blacks and whites agree on this subject. And frankly, quiet as kept, most black people couldn't care less about what white people have to say when it comes to race.

Steinberg - who can wax poetic about one black woman he doesn't know in the same column that he takes a cheap shot at one he does - doesn't have the right to label me a racist even when he wraps the offensive label in clever wit.

There's a third explanation that Steinberg didn't mention about why Cutts was portrayed in a negative fashion and Vaughn wasn't.

Frankly, most often, the people who make the decision about how blacks are characterized in the media look more like Steinberg than they do me.

Programming Note:
We'll continue slouching toward the New Year with a sporadic Beachwood until returning in full on January 3rd. Here's what we've got so far.

* 2010 in Review: Was Kanye West The Best?

* I Want My Google TV

* Fantasy Fix: Carlos Pena Will Hit More HRs Than Adam Dunn And Other Predictions For 2011

* The Schindler Elevators At Barnes & Noble

* The Casino Meat Is A-Cookin'

* In Action! Elvis Costello at the Chicago Theatre

* Chicagoetry: I Wanna Paint Really Cool Murals, Man

* SportsMonday: Lovie's Secret Sauce


The Beachwood Tip Line: Spill.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:36 AM | Permalink

December 28, 2010

The Casino Meat Is A-Cookin'

There is much talk of casino expansion throughout Illinois, including a first-ever casino for Chicago. It's always hard to tell what could be a reality and what is huffing and puffing. But one thing is certain: while the legislature is in session we must treat all potential threats as potential reality.

Chicago has existed for 177 years without state-operated casinos. Oh, we've had more than our share of privately run gambling, much of it run by the Mob. The presence of illicit gambling in Chicago is hardly a secret. However, that has been attacked by government under the guise of protecting the public from an unhealthy endeavor - even as the government extracts its share from riverboats, the lottery and, now, video poker. Having gotten a taste, the government now wants to expand its piece of the pie.

The current gambling expansion proposal calls for Chicago to operate a casino. So, an often corrupt government that heretofore has been charged with protecting the public is now going to be granted a license to run a casino with very little scrutiny. Yes, the media and others will be prohibited under the pain of committing a felony from obtaining correspondence between City Council members and the three-person board that would be charged with operating a Chicago casino. Oh, give me a break!

Many media outlets, legislators and some interest groups continue to speak of a Chicago casino in terms of when it will happen, not if it will occur. They presume opposition will be worn down after 20 years of advocacy for a Chicago casino. There is a lot of money pushing for this presumed outcome: $738,030 in 2009 and 2010 to be exact have flowed to legislators, the parties and a few candidates for state constitutional offices from casino and horse racing companies. That's money hard to compete with.

Last month, the Tribune broke ranks and editorialized against a casino for Chicago. This editorial spoke the truth to money power when it said the only issue is more money. In this case, more money for legislators to fritter away before coming back with their hands out asking for more.

While the raising and spending of money is an important issue, there is a greater issue to consider for Chicago. The change in the character of the city that - once made - can never be retracted.

That change would set the tone and reputation of the city, although much of it would be psychological. Look at Las Vegas or Atlantic City. They are known as gambling cities. Chicago has been known as a brawny working class city of grit and steel and, more recently, as a world class business center of finance and commerce.

Now fast forward 20 to Chicago as a gambling capital of the Midwest. Our reputation has further changed from a gritty city to one of high level business to one of fast action money-changers - whose profits flow to out-of-state owners.

As part of that change, families become dependent on gambling for a livelihood or a lifestyle. Instead of engaging in family activities, many will now be concerned with beating the slot machine. A few will even try and beat the cards they are dealt. But, as a poker player with my friends, that is difficult too. In the end a few winners will emerge, but most will be saying, "If I could just play one more time, I'd beat the machine."

Instead of hard-working citizens, Chicago can look forward to trading in its "big shoulders" for a slouchy and bedraggled Chicagoan. Instead of being a city known for its hard work and grit, it will be known as a city addicted to gambling. For an image-obsessed city whose civic leaders still blanch at the supposed persistent status overseas of Al Capone as poster boy, this makes no sense.

Finally, building a Chicago casino hardly has overwhelming public support. While attractive to some as a panacea for a troubled economy, others recognize the cyclical nature of the economy. In down economic times, going to radical measures to raise capital is not wise. Slow and steady is still the best policy.


Doug Dobmeyer has been a lobbyist, journalist and policy expert on gambling, low-income housing and poverty issues for the past 39 years in Chicago and Illinois. The Task Force to Oppose Casino Gambling in Chicago has existed for 20 opposing every attempt to bring casino gambling to this city.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 PM | Permalink

December 27, 2010

SportsMonday: Lovie's Secret Sauce

Count me among the millions of Bear watchers still mystified by this team's success. Nothing this team does will convince some of us that they are actually, um, good. I'm sure I'll hear all week long - as I did last week on virtually every show ESPN has to offer, including two-handed bowling - that we've been living in a dream-world that will dissolve in a national embarrassment at Soldier Field in the first playoff game. In fact, that would be sort of satisfying.

But I think I've figured out the secret sauce. Maybe it hasn't been so secret to legions of Bears fans out there, but I've finally satisfied myself that I can explain how this team is 11-4.

First, they win ugly. And when you win ugly, by definition, you don't look good. The Bears rarely look good. That's part of their game.

Usually it's the offense that looks ugly. But on Sunday, for example, Jay Cutler sliced up the Jets for four touchdowns and Matt Forte added 113 yards on 19 carries to put up 38 points for the home team. And the vaunted Bears defense gave up 34.

That's not a pretty win.

Did the Bears - again - get lucky?

Well, some folks both here and in New York think the Jets' inexplicable fake punt - from their own 40 while leading 24-17 - changed the game.

But as much as the Jets screwed up, the Bears capitalized. When it comes to special teams, nobody seems more prepared than the Bears.

"I was able to pay attention to what we had done in practice," Rashied Davis, who broke up the fake punt pass attempt, told reporters. "[Special teams coach Dave] Toub had us ready for a fake. We knew they were going to try to do something. They did something earlier which was another key that they were going to try to pull something, so we were prepared."

It wasn't the first time the Jets screwed up a fake punt this season; against the Packers punter Steve Weatherford tried one without his coaches' knowledge. Perhaps the Jets special teams are just a bit undisciplined.

Rex Ryan's decision to try the fake also had something to do with trying to avoid Devin Hester, leading to a question I don't hear asked enough about either him or Julius Peppers: He isn't the best player in the league but is he the most valuable?

To me, though, the play that really symbolized the Bears' season was the Bears punt with a minute remaining that bounced off Jet Marquice Cole as he ran back to provide protection for a return. The Jets recovered, but not until the ball ricocheted to their own 28. The punt had first hit the ground at the 50, which would have put the Jets in decent position for a game-winning drive.


Perhaps. It was an awful punt by Brad Maynard, the usually super-reliable Bear who is having a terrible season.

The usually automatic Robbie Gould also missed a 35-yard field goal in the fourth quarter after making 64 straight inside the 40.

So you can see how the Bears didn't exactly dominate. They never seem to.

But in a battle of special teams, the Bears are going to ultimately win. And like defense in baseball, special teams in football are an underrated phase of the game. One-third, they say; just as important as offense or defense.

Lovie's Formula
In fact, the Bears have long been like an opportunistic baseball team that relies on pitching and defense to keep them in games long enough to squeeze out a winning run. Trading for Jay Cutler was supposed to change that, but despite Sunday's performance no one can say this is a great offense. Lovie doesn't seem to care. That's not how he wins games. In fact, he has long depended on not only his special teams but his defense to contribute to the scoring.

The Bears tend to look ugly playing a bend-but-don't-break defense, too. One gets the impression that the opposing team is having all kinds of success against the Bears, only to come away with field goals instead of touchdowns or not scoring at all due to their own failures in the red zone. But that's just the Bears defense at work. Lovie designs ugly teams with ugly game plans.

(The return of safety Chris Harris this year is also paying huge dividends on defense.)

Lovie's emphasis on turnovers is also a well-known staple of the Bears defense; unlike some coaches, Lovie reportedly tells his players to try to pick up fumbles and run with them, for example, instead of just falling on the ball to secure the recovery. It's a sign of aggressiveness and even risk for the cautious coach - though the Cover 2 defensive strategy is risky in its own way.

This kind of team is predicated - like Iceman in Top Gun - on waiting for the other team to make mistakes and then pouncing. Again, it's not pretty.

On the other hand, offense has never been Lovie's forte. In fact, it would seem as if Lovie would prefer a quarterback who merely "manages" the game than an immature riverboat gambler like Cutler (who happens to look pretty ugly even when he's making perfect passes). He would probably trade the passing yardage for fewer interceptions. But in the NFL you still ultimately need an elite quarterback - especially without a dominant, bruising running game - if you want to win consistently. Otherwise your team comes up short too many times. And that's what put Lovie's job in peril going into this season.

Lovie Jauron
Lovie's formula depends highly on a level of execution - and lucky breaks - that is vulnerable to injuries, a tough schedule, bad calls and other outside forces. In a way it is not only like the Twins but the Cubs, who under Jim Hendry seem to try to catch lightning in a bottle every few years instead of actually building a forward-moving organization. Lovie caught lightning in 2006 and he appears to have caught lightning this year; so did Dick Jauron with much the same philosophy when he saved his job in 2001.

And even the most stalwart Bears fan cannot deny the fact that going into the last third of the season the team factually had the easiest schedule in all the league according to opponents' winning percentage. Remember: the Bears beat the Lions on a weird call in the end zone; they beat a Cowboys team that turned out not to be very good; they lost in New York to the Giants and then lost at home to the mediocre Seahawks and mediocre Redskins; they were eviscerated by the Patriots. They played against third-string quarterbacks in three straight road games. They got the Eagles and Jets at home and squeaked by both.

They won at Carolina, Miami, Minnesota (not only with a third-string quarterback but without Adrian Peterson) and Toronto (against the Bills).

Is it any wonder there are still doubts about this team?

You'll probably hear a lot of experts - even some here in Chicago - predicting the Bears will be one-and-done in the playoffs. Is it any wonder? They still don't look like a great football team. Thing is, though, that's by design.


Jim Coffman will return to this space in two weeks. Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:23 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

Just like last week we'll be posting sporadically this week as we limp to the end of the year.

Here's what we have so far today - more to come in all our sections, just getting started.

* In Action! Elvis Costello at the Chicago Theatre

* Chicagoetry: I Wanna Paint Really Cool Murals, Man

And a reminder that I'm back behind the bar tonight at the venerable Beachwood Inn. Get your New Year's Week started right with a coupla Old Styles and some sweet jukebox action.

More to come as soon as Beachwood HQ is properly caffeinated.

10:48 A.M. UPDATE: SportsMonday: Lovie's Secret Sauce


The Beachwood Tip Line: Spill.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:18 AM | Permalink

In Action! Elvis Costello at the Chicago Theatre

Catching up with Elvis Costello's show at the Chicago Theatre on Monday, December 20.


"As host of the Sundance Channel's Spectacle, Elvis Costello gets fellow artists to open up about their creative process, and often perform stripped-down versions of beloved songs. The British singer/guitarist followed his television show's cue Monday during a wide-ranging solo concert at the Chicago Theatre, giving a sold-out crowd a rare glimpse into the intricate workings and bare essentials of his own material," Bob Gendron writes for the Tribune.

"Never short on ideas, Costello has adopted nearly every imaginable musical guise throughout his 33-year career. Many of these flirtations surfaced during a 140-minute, 29-song set dependent on little more than voice, guitar and periodic loops. Keeping banter to a minimum, Costello embraced myriad roles - clowning minstrel, sincere balladeer, backwater bluesman, street busker, blue-eyed crooner, boxcar-hopping folkie, Dixie-whistling vaudevillian. No matter the style, his timbre seemed immune to age. Occasionally Costello walked away from the microphone, his voice still ably projecting, and capable of emphasizing dramatic impact."


"With large snowflakes projected on the curtains behind him, Elvis Costello took the stage at the Chicago Theatre on Monday night for a sold-out solo acoustic show that was billed as a special 'career-spanning once-in-a-lifetime event,'" Anna Deem writes for Spinner.

"Indeed, Costello lived up to his 'consummate showman' title as he stood humbled before the massive audience, which gave standing ovations after nearly every song in his two-hour long set. Decked out in a smart dark gray suit and matching hat, Costello wasted little time chatting with the crowd and instead blazed through most of his set. Kicking his performance off with '(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes,' Costello mixed in classics such as his set list with classics like 'Alison,' 'New Amsterdam' and 'Green Shirt' with newer fare such as 'A Slow Drag With Josephine,' 'Jimmie Standing in the Rain' and 'The Spell That You Cast' from 2010's National Ransom."


"Christmas with Elvis Costello evidently does not include chestnuts roasting, sleigh bells ringing or children singing while dressed as Eskimos. Monday night at the Chicago Theatre, he paid homage to the season but in a way more expected from this acerbic rocker: a song about poisoning the family clan over the Christmas ham and another that imagines winter winds as tentacles coming to get you," Mark Guarino writes for the Sun-Times.

1. Hello, baby, I'm pleased to meet you.


2. But for the dead shot of an amber glass . . .


3. Is all hope lost? Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?


4. Spare a thought.


5. Vile vaudevillians applaud sobriety.


6. There's no fool like an old fool.


7. Hope in the eyes of the ugly girls.


8. You drink yourself insensitive and hate yourself in the morning.


9. His face closes in like an old pork chop.


10. History repeats the old conceits.


11. I'm just a soul whose intentions are good.

12. I'm a man with a mission in two or three editions.


13. My aim is true.


14. I get so angry when the teardrops start.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:51 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: I Wanna Paint Really Cool Murals, Man


I wanna be a muralist, man.
I wanna paint really cool murals.

Elephants and sausages and very pretty
ladies, and, well, I'm a little off

rainbows these days but
I'll keep an open mind about it.

A lot of murals already have rainbows.
Huge oranges, fat black cats.

But I'll only paint on brick,
I wanna specialize in brick.

Deadly oil paints.
So I'll paint with a mask.

I'll paint in the dark, too.
Wanna get an idea

of the street light
at night.

Probably some sort of protective eye gear.
White, wait, black bib overalls.

Sick ladders, I mean, just a couple of really
beautiful ladders with lots of acrobatic permutations.

Groovy little pick-up truck.
Fuckin' built-in beer cooler.


J.J. Tindall is the Beachwood's poet-in-residence. He welcomes your comments. Chicagoetry is an exclusive Beachwood collection-in-progress.


More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* Kindled Tindall: The Novel

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:01 AM | Permalink

December 24, 2010

"Daley The Mayor" And Other Beachwood Christmas Carols

1. Daley The Mayor (to Frosty The Snowman)

Daley the Mayor
Was a happy jolly soul
He had family ties, he'd gouge out your eyes
If you weren't under his control

Daley the Mayor
Was unbeatable they say
Everyone in town had to gather 'round
Until he didn't run one day

He said I'm out of magic 'cuz
The Olympics are history
So I'll just screw you with a sinking boat
And a bunch of misery

2. Silent Blight (to Silent Night)

Silent blight, good night cops, good night
All is calm, no gangs out tonight
Round up your cruisers, your truncheons, your guns
We need hundreds more of you, but Rich Daley is done
Patrol us in heavenly peace
Keep us in heavenly peace

3. I'm Turnin' Bum (to O Tannenbaum)

I'm turnin' bum, I'm turnin' bum
No more unemployment extensions
I'm turnin' bum, I'm turnin' bum
Stock market fucked my pension

O Congress give, and take away
So now my kids will starve today
I'm turnin' bum, I'm turnin' bum
Our nation's debt repaid

I'm turnin' bum, I'm turnin' bum
I'm eating dumpster mouses
I'm turnin' bum, I'm turnin' bum
And burglarizing houses

Foreclosure notice came to me
I wonder how this came to be
I'm turnin' bum, I'm turnin' bum
I'm really fucked this Christmas

4. We Thee Aldermen (to We Three Kings)

We thee group of aldermen are
Kissing ass whoever you are
If there's an election, we've got an erection
Why not belly up to the bar?

O star of patrons, star of might
Star with loyal beauty bright
You'll be bleeding while we're be scheming
We don't care, 'cuz we're in tight

5. O Come All Ye Faithful Aldermen

O come all ye faithful
To City Hall Chicago
O come ye, O come ye, Emanuel
Come and behold him,
You'll sure be fucked not holdin' him
No one is left to guide us,
No piper left to pipe for us,
No one left to decide us,
Emanuel, the Lord

6. Obama We Have Heard On High

Obama we have heard on high
He walks on water, Oprah's high
Vote for Hope, the time is nigh
Now we're fucked until we die

Gloria . . . in Obama!
Gloria . . . in Obama!

Congress who heard our cry
Slash and burn, who cares not why
Get this country back on track
Even if it's on your back

Gloria . . . in Obama!
Gloria . . . in Obama!

7. God Rest Ye Merry Aldermen (to God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)

God rest ye merry aldermen
Your city's turned to shit
250 million in the hole
You're gonna dig us out of it?
We'd rather trust Beelzebub
To turn water into wine
God rest ye merry aldermen,
Godforsaken selfish swine

8. Chicago Public School Crock (to Jingle Bell Rock)

Go to school, go to school, God what a crock
Our public schools suck, the kids run amok
Superintendent's political, no one cares a little
That's the public school crock

Go to school, go to school, Christ what a joke
The unions all bitch and the system's all broke
There's a gang defector in the metal detector
That's the public school crock

If you want change, then you're deranged
The mayor has his way
So now the bell time is a swell time
To go shootin', it won't affect your grades

Go to school, go to school, that's what they say
Change is gonna come
But even Abe Lincoln couldn't do any thinkin'
We just get more of the . . .
Just get more of the . . .
Just get more of the same


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:06 AM | Permalink

The Week in Comic Books: Obama, Palin, Archie and The Vork

Including a story only a five-year-old could have written. Written by a five-year-old.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:53 AM | Permalink

This Weekend On CAN TV

CAN TV brings you local, relevant issues from Chicago's neighborhoods and communities. See what's happening around the city in education, the arts, government, cultural events, social services and community activities.

Chicago Mayoral Forum on Education
Chicago mayoral candidates answer questions about their plans for education in the city of Chicago at this forum held by The Raise Your Hand Coalition, Northside Democracy for America and the Illinois Policy Institute.

Sunday, December 26 at 5:00 p.m. on CAN TV19

Or click here to watch video online.

South Shore Drill Team: Annual Holiday Show
The South Shore Drill Team performs its annual dynamic, precision-drill holiday show.

Saturday, December 25 at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
58 min

2010 Media Democracy Day Next Steps: Challenges and Opportunities
Suzanne McBride of Austin Talks joins other media activists and professionals discussing the challenges that lay ahead in the progressive media movement in panel hosted by the Chicago Progressive Media Network.

Sunday, December 26 at 11:00 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 21 min

Colombia: Building Peace in a Country at War
Human rights activist Father Jesus Alberto Franco speaks about Colombia's peace movement and the United States' role in the region.

Sunday, December 26 at 12:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min


CAN TV gives every Chicagoan a voice on cable television by providing video training, facilities, equipment, and channel time for Chicago residents and nonprofit groups. CAN TV's five local, noncommercial cable channels, CAN TV19, 21, 27, 36 and 42, reach more than one million viewers in the city of Chicago.


Disclaimer: Barbara Popovic, the executive director of CAN TV, is both a friend and landlord to Beachwood editor Steve Rhodes.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:28 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Brett Favre's Old Team Will Face Bears Without Him

Blue: BrettFavreBrettFavreBrettFavreBrettFavre. That about covers the Monday Night Football crew's take on all that was to be of value on the frozen field of TCF Bank Stadium in Minnesota last Monday night.

Corey Wooten thankfully put a stop to the Brett Favre AssMunch Fest by dropping the NFL's all-time leader in interceptions like an immobile 41-year-old quarterback protected by an utterly uninterested offensive line.

From there the Bears basically dominated the team that the experts thought would be facing the barely better Dallas Cowboys in the 2010 NFC Championship.

Then again, those same experts thought the Bears would take up the rear in the NFC North, leading to a housecleaning in management, coaching and possibly the cleaning crew.

As of this writing, Julius Peppers, Devin Hester and Brian Urlacher were each named starters for this year's Pro Bowl.

Peppers of the eight sacks, two interceptions, three forced fumbles, and a surprisingly strong presence in run defense.

Hester of the NFL record for most return TDs in a career, as well as what would be the league lead in punt return and kick return average if frightened opponents had given him the chance to return more than 11 kicks.

Urlacher of the 110-plus tackles, three-and-a-half sacks and a performance that is the main reason the Bears defense has returned to 2005-2006 form.

Each of these players coincidentally had an impact in the dismantling of the hapless Vikings.

Jets at Bears
The Jets' QB has been throwing left-handed in practice all week, LT is doing his usual end-of-the-year fade and the overrated Jets defense is no match for a rolling Bears team. Look to see a pared-down Mike Martz offense which exploits Jets blitzing with fast over-the-top passes to a streaking Earl Bennett and free-released Greg Olsen. I see about three touchdowns all game, two field goals and a lots of boring football.

Bears 17, Jets 10.


Orange: There's something to be said for achieving a reasonable goal, which is what the Bears did by defeating the undermanned and out-of-contention Minnesota Vikings 40-14 on Monday night. While the world's favorite purple-clad diva did his part to up what little intrigue there was, the game felt out of hand by halftime and was essentially finished by the middle of the third quarter.

The game's most interesting moment came on a long kickoff return by Devin Hester; not the all-time record-setting 64-yard punt return for a touchdown where Hester ran untouched for the better part of 40 yards, but the 79-yard return to the Vikings six in which he bobbed, weaved, juked and stumbled his way to a tantalizing near-miss to open the third quarter.

Most viewers who felt the outcome of the game was a foregone conclusion wisely turned their attention to alcohol. Thanks to the fairly predictable nature of ESPN's Monday Night Football broadcast team, there are literally thousands of varieties of drinking games available to the MNF viewing audience.

Going into the game, the Orange Report household opted to take a shot every time Jon Gruden said "This Guy," but after listening to the pregame commentary the strategy shifted to shotgunning a Pabst Blue Ribbon every time Brett Favre was compared to a biblical figure.

Here's the transcript for the early portion of the show.

Tirico: It's a cold night here at TCF Stadium; for one night the home of the Minnesota Vikings. After a week of brainstorming superlatives pertaining to virtually unknown rookie quarterback Joe Webb, a ratings miracle has been delivered unto this broadcast. Ron, tell us all about it.

Jaworski: Thanks Mike. Rising improbably from the inactives list, Brett Favre has removed the stone blocking his injury cave. After being declared out by the Vikings over three days ago, Favre has come to deliver the good word of gunslinging to us tonight, on Monday Night Football.

Gruden: Risen is he Ron, but woe to you oh Earth and sea, for a monster from the midway has been sent with wrath to put an end to this quarterback of quarterbacks. I call this guy Julius Peppers "Tiberius," because Soldier Field features Doric columns and while "Caesar" would have been an obvious choice, Tiberius ruled Rome exactly 2,000 years ago, which allows me to perpetuate this loose motif.

Jaworski: Let's not insult the audience, Jon. We all know that Brian Urlacher is the unquestioned leader of this defense and the only Bear worth comparing to a Roman emperor . . .

Gruden: I don't know about all that Ron. But I bet the championship ring I won with the Buccaneers might have some insight . . .

Tirico: (forces laughter) Hahaha! Gentleman, save some of that for the game!


The drinking game had to be called with 11:27 left in the second quarter due to Favre's injury (the report of "concussion" was later amended to "bruised ego," return doubtful). The Orange gang did get to pound two last rapid-fire brews when Jaworski compared Vikings offensive lineman Bryant McKinnie to Judas for allowing such a brutal hit, while Gruden cried out "WHY?! What evil hath he done?" as Favre lay motionless, prompting an awkward pause, likely filled with the silent contemplation of the sins of pride, infidelity and gluttony/drug addiction.

At the end of the uneventful day, the Bears are playoff-bound and, as division winners, guaranteed at least one home game in the process, thanks to a playoff seeding system that has less to do with record than it does to do with winning a division (see the NFC West).

Jets at Bears
This game ought to suck, oughten it?

On the one hand, you have a classic example of a Lovie Smith's "We just made the playoffs, let's take our foot off the gas" game. On the other, we've got your standard "The Jets offense is f-ing terrible right now and they love to turn the ball over" game looming.

Mark Sanchez (pronounced Sahn-Chayyyyys) is considered a franchise quarterback, but is bad at throwing and holding the football. The Jets defense is considered good, but has allowed 20+ points in seven of their 14 games. Also, the Jets have missed one out of every four field goal attempts (27 for 36) this season.

The Bears coaching staff will likely be scheming up the game plan for the season finale in Green Bay on the sidelines, so expect a lot of "Hey Taylor, get in there and . . . uh, dive . . . uh, left guard . . . I guess" plays. With Lance Briggs' new Microsoft Kinect set up in the trainer's room, phantom hamstring tweaks will run rampant by the second quarter.

Something's gotta give. It will likely be our collective patience.

Jets 13, Bears 9.


Andrew Golden brings you the Blue half of this report every week; Carl Mohrbacher brings you the Orange. They welcome your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:57 AM | Permalink

The Week in WTF

1. The Mayoral Race, WTF?

One is "out," which, for those of us who love small-caliber loose cannons firing in all directions, is sort of a shame. Can't run for office with one foot tucked inside your mouth.

One is provisionally "in." Let the grand coronation begin. The Don Quixote Brigade will keep flinging legal challenges at the windmill, which will keep them occupied until the Blago trial arrives in time to divert our attention.

If Chicago politics is going to adopt a more or less coherent, logical pathway, what fun is it going to be?

2. George Ryan, WTF?

Perhaps I am going flabby in my intellectual dotage but I can't summon much enthusiasm for keeping ex-Guv George Ryan (R-Crook) in the federal pokey.

True, on the merits of his unambiguous guilt, he should stay in prison in fair compensation for his career of governmental double-dealing.

On the other hand . . .

Ryan's legal team appears perpetually trapped in an underlying but failing defense. They defense is working pro bono. Sometimes you get what you pay for. They insist that the exceptions to "honest services" corruption law should spring Ryan. Wrong argument, says the judge several times. Ryan's a crook. Don't need no fancy tomfoolery to figure out that.

The legalistic argument has always been the wrong argument. The better argument is: Let the old guy out of prison in order to tend to his dying wife. That resonates.

But even that argument presumes a good will toward Ryan that does not seem to exist.

Every prisoner has some family suffering and even dying as the prisoner serves time.

Criminals don't only injure themselves and the specific victims of their crimes. And those convicts don't get out.

A guess: The Federal Bureau of Prisons has the power to provide furloughs in exceptional circumstances. That appears Ryan's only shot.

3. Chicago Police, WTF?

Every time another Chicago child is killed in gang violence, the usual protesters gather in lamentation to announce defiantly that "We won't put with this."

Now we have the official response from Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police: Yes, we will put up with this. We'll let them die without intervention because to do otherwise might intrude on our union privileges or, horrors, might inconvenience officers.

Thus, here's an unambiguous announcement to Chicago's poorest, blackest, most desperate neighborhoods: If your children are murdered at a higher rate than everywhere else, take your gripes somewhere else. Chicago's police officers have other concerns more important than yours.

4. Public Spokespeople, WTF?

We give the new county government chief credit for her first dash through the let's-cut-the-budget exercise, wherein the legal establishment naturally has the biggest yelps of dismay.

But at the risk of posing the begged question, read this: "'We've said from the very beginning that the (cuts) would be extreme and have a severe impact on public safety,' said spokeswoman Sally Daly, who noted that salaries for prosecutors, civil attorneys and support staff accounts for more than 94 percent of the office's budget. 'This would cripple the state's attorney's office.'"

Yes, Sally, but would justice be crippled if your job was axed?

Why do government agencies have spokesmen, spokeswomen, spokespersons, or spokesgeeks? POTUS has one. Does every department in Chicago need one, too?

In Chicago, it's usually the post-real-career Nirvana for ditched journalists. But what light do they provide that shouldn't be given directly by their employers who are charged with doing the public's work and explaining what they've done?

Presumably, spokesfolks have some insight that moves the journalistic cause forward, but the only person in a position to answer for the judgment and thoughtfulness of the government employee is the government employee.

Having spokespeople take heat in front of cameras is like having indicted co-conspirators send out lawyers to speak for them. "We're innocent. All of us! Really."

Why do we - as in the journalistic "we" - pay attention to them? They are paid to say what they are told to say. Isn't that the very definition of useless jabbering?

5. Airport Security, WTF?

WTF went to the airport this week and was felt up, touched inappropriately, groped and gripped. We didn't protest. We really liked it. We're going back again this week.

Others with body/self-esteem issues are still protesting, but the media is starting to treat those events like Groundhog Day mammal sightings. Good.


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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:38 AM | Permalink

The [Christmas Week] Papers

Tonight's the night!

As the story goes, Santa Bob travels the world delivering gifts to bartenders worldwide and is so phantasmagorically superlative that he makes it back to the Beachwood Inn to pull his regular Friday night shift.

Or maybe when Bob goes into the secret back room he's really leaving on another trip and - due to his special powers - makes it back before the next customer orders an Old Style.

All I know is that I'll be working as Bob's First Elf tonight fetching brewskis and making sure the jukebox is operating at peak efficiency. Stop in and join us.

Plus, you never know who you'll run into. Last night, for example, "Jerome Haller" of I Am A Security Guard made his first Beachwood appearance. He wasn't even in disguise.


Some photos of our holiday ambience below, but first we have a relatively full Beachwood today.

* The Week in WTF: Rahm is in, Meeks is out, Ryan is "in" and the FOP is out of its mind.

* The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Brett Favre's Former Team Will Face Bears Without Him.

* This Weekend on CAN TV: Democracy at home and abroad. Plus, the South Shore Drill Team.

* This Week in Comic Books: Obama, Palin, Archie and The Vork.

* Beachwood Christmas Carols! For the political set.

From @BeachwoodReport:

* Breaking! #Rahm signs endorsement deal with Boxes 'R Us.

* Breaking! #Rahm allowed to stay on ballot as long as he spends the rest of the campaign in his crawl space.

* Breaking! #Rahm allowed to stay on ballot as long as he vows not to hold a post-election summit at Manny's or the Billy Goat.

* Breaking! #Rahm allowed to stay on ballot if he memorizes the entire Bears roster before Sunday.

* Breaking! #Rahm allowed to stay on ballot as long as he agrees not to bite the heads off birds or small children.


Previously this week . . .


* I Am A Security Guard: 10 Degress And Topless.

* The Czar of the Playbook Preview: Jets at Bears.

* Remembering Steve Landesberg, AKA Detective Arthur Dietrich. Our kind of cop.

* New fun facts about The Fixx, Iron Maiden and more in Trivial Pursuit.


* George Ryan Gets The Cold Justice He Deserves

* Fantasy Fix: Sexy Rexy?


As noted yesterday, we're in holiday mode here at Beachwood HQ. That means the Beachwood elves are feverishly putting the final touches on gifts for the naughty and nice while Beachwood Santa and the rest of us sporadically post alcohol-riven ramblings of our wayward staff and I pull some holiday shifts at the Inn to make some money for daddy.

* Bears Eke Out A Win. Get lucky again.

* The College Football Report: Beef 'O' Brady's Smokin Jack Slider Basket And The Rest Of This Week's Bowl Games Preview As Well As Part 1 Of Our Season Recap


* The [Monday] Papers: Michael Scott's Olympic Fix

Room at the Inn
Apologies for the poor quality; taken with my crappy-ass Motorola cell phone.


By the light of the jukebox and the blue stars in the night . . .



Pigs with holiday hats.



The Beachwood Christmas tree.



One of Santa's reindeer stops in for a drink.



Stockings hung with care.



The King of Beers.



From us to you - and that includes atheists, agnostics, Jews, Muslims, Pagans etc. etc. We just mean generically.



The Beachwood Tip Line: Naughty and nice-ish.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:30 AM | Permalink

December 23, 2010

I Am A Security Guard: 10 Degrees And Topless

Around 5:20 on a recent morning, a woman walked into the store and said she needed help. She wore a pair of blue corduroy slacks. She had nothing on her feet or above her waist. In short, she was topless.

The lack of clothing surprised me. The temperature had dropped to 10 degrees.

I reached for the phone. First, I paged the Cool Assistant Manager. Afterward, I called the police. While I described the situation, the woman lunged at me, beat my arms and chest and yelled. I pushed her back with my right forearm. She sat on the floor. The police arrived and escorted her out of the store. An ambulance took her to a hospital.

Coworkers cracked jokes about the incident for weeks.

The overwhelming majority of shoplifters and bad characters don't resort to violence. We escort shoplifters peacefully to the office for questioning. Visitors who create a disturbance usually leave the store when we tell them.

Unfortunately, some people attack. That's when the fun begins. All of the store's guards have had legendary scrapes.

The Head Guard and a partner once nabbed two women for stealing cosmetics. The women wrestled with both guards just inside the entrance. They had to be dragged into the office. Afterward, the perps' gangbanging friends parked in the store's lot and briefly waited for the guards.

The Head Guard has a wife and three children. He's no fool. He decided to take a vacation until the heat cooled off.

Another guard grabbed a man stealing candy. The thief resisted. They fell and rolled on the carpet. The thief cut himself on a cart. The Cool Cashier called the police, who came right away.

My encounter with the topless woman caused some chuckles at the store. I've had two other incidents, however, that did not generate laughs. They put me in very hazardous positions.

One night a beggar walked into the store. I told him to leave. He refused. I found an assistant manager, who repeated the request. The beggar pushed him.

I grabbed the man in a bear hug and dragged him out of the store. He called the police and claimed I beat him up. He also told the same tale to his family. The man's son-in-law came to the store and yelled at me.

I had a bit of luck. The store's security system and the assistant manager backed my side of the story.

The support, however, did not ease my fear. Unfortunately, I spent the next two months looking over my shoulder just in case the man had vengeful friends and relatives.

One woman who had been previously banned for stealing caught me off-guard. I stopped her at the entrance and told her she could not come into the store. She rushed me with both arms lifted upward. I grabbed her by the forearms and pushed her back outside.

As she walked away, she lowered her right hand, That hand held a screwdriver. Somehow, I had missed it. I spent the rest of the shift thinking about the weapon and my lack of health insurance.

In theory, a security guard merely serves as a visual deterrent. That suits me just fine. The instructor for my first security gig reminded my class about the importance of coming home from a shift in one piece.

Reality, however, is different. The guards are occasionally forced to defend themselves. That threat of violence hangs over the crew on every shift.

When I stand at my post, I think about the next confrontation. I size up everyone - men, women, even big teenagers. I ponder my chances if they act aggressively toward me or someone else. The customer's age, disposition, gender, or size does not matter to me.

I don't turn my back off anybody.


A very pseudononymous Jerome Haller earns rent money as a security guard for a large, publicly-held retail chain. He welcomes your comments.


See more tales of security guarding, pizzeria waitressing, barista-ing and office drudgering in our Life at Work collection.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:56 AM | Permalink

Czar of the Playbook Preview: Jets at Bears

The Jets run defense has shown some leakage, so the Bears shouldn't be afraid to run the football a lot.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:40 AM | Permalink

Remembering Steve Landesberg, AKA Detective Arthur Dietrich

"Steve Landesberg, an actor and comedian with a friendly and often deadpan manner who was best known for his role on the long-running sitcom Barney Miller, died in Los Angeles on Monday," the New York Times reports. "He was 74.

"The cause was colon cancer, his daughter, Elizabeth, said.

"On Barney Miller, which ran on ABC from 1975 to 1982, Mr. Landesberg played Sgt. Arthur P. Dietrich, an intellectual detective with a quiet manner who seemed to have an unrivaled knowledge of practically any topic that arose, much to the bewilderment of his fellow detectives.


"He was also given to odd, unexpected pronouncements. In one 1980 episode he tells his boss, Captain Miller, played by Hal Linden, that he is working on a case that dates to 1973. Miller says: 'That was seven years ago! Nixon was president!' Dietrich's low-key response: 'No, he's got an airtight alibi for this one.'"


"But younger audiences knew him too - for a slew of recent parts such as the doctor on the 2008 hit movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall," Hollywood2NY reports.

"Landesberg appeared in dozens of TV shows, his curly haired, bespectacled face easily recognizable. Recent credits included Everybody Hates Chris, Just Jordan, That 70s Show and American Dad.


"[But] his most successful role was that of Dietrich on Barney Miller, which was set in a New York City police station populated by oddballs and eccentrics. It aired from 1975 to 1982.

"Landesberg's Dietrich was noted for his endless knowledge and expertise on seemingly every obscure subject imaginable, which was coupled with a sometimes patronizing attitude. He once refused to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to a fellow officer, explaining he was an agnostic and wouldn't know who to thank."


"Comedian Steve Landesberg (1945-2010) trying to sell his People's Court parody, Comedy Court, at a television syndicators' convention. But Barry Mitchell is more interested in resurrecting Landesberg's uncanny impression of Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer. A 1997 outtake from ABC's World News Now."


More about Steve Landesberg's life in this tribute.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:56 AM | Permalink

December 22, 2010

George Ryan Gets The Cold Justice He Deserves

On Tuesday December 21, 2010, Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer, in a 59-page opinion announced her decision on former Governor George Ryan's motion to vacate certain charges of his 2006 conviction of public corruption. There were also motions to reduce his sentence and/or release him from federal prison on bond.

Appealing to Pallmeyer's sense of humanity, Ryan's lawyers also had argued that Lura Lynn, Ryan's wife is terminally ill, and he should be released so they could spend their last month's together.

In her written order Pallmeyer succinctly denied all requests thereby requiring the convicted felon Ryan to serve out the remaining 3 1/2 years of his sentence. He is scheduled to be released on July 4, 2013. Ryan is 76 years old.

The motions were filed by former Illinois Governor Jim Thompson and former Assistant United States Attorney Dan Webb. They specifically argued that based on the U. S. Supreme Court's decision on "honest services" law, which essentially declared that in certain cases the law was vague and therefore unconstitutional.

Applying the same reasoning to some of the charges in Ryan's case would logically then mean vacating those charges.

The Supreme Court's ruling was based on Skilling v. United States, were Jeffrey Skilling was convicted of defrauding Enron's stockholders, hence depriving them of their intangible right to "honest services."

No law unambiguously delineates what honest services Skilling was obligated to provide. In contrast, Ryan was an elected official. His conviction - which includes acts of steering contracts, leases and other government benefits for private gain - clearly falls into the solid core of honest services fraud.

The government's closing arguments at Ryan's trial stated, "The benefits included free vacations, loans, gifts, campaign contributions, as well as lobbying money that Ryan assigned or directed to his buddies. In short, Ryan sold his office. He might as well have put up a 'for sale' sign on the office."

In Pallmeyer's latest decision she states, "Ryan clearly understood 'what conduct was prohibited' and could not have been surprised that he was subject to prosecution. Ryan's efforts to conceal his conduct from public scrutiny themselves demonstrate he knew it was improper."

Ryan was also convicted of obstructing justice or concealing his crimes. Pallmeyer addresses this in her opinion, stating that "The Government argues that this evidence was relevant to establishing his intent to use money from the Citizens for Ryan campaign for his personal use, and his failure to pay taxes on that money."

In June of 1995, in a conspiracy with his inspector general, Dean Bauer, and his chief of staff, Scott Fawell, Ryan dissolved the Department of Inspector General, stating in a memo that they would rid the IG of the investigators who were "trouble."

Russ Sonneveld and I were those investigators. The "trouble" they were referring to was that we uncovered a pattern of bribe money from commercial driver's license applicants being funneled to the Citizens for Ryan campaign fund.

One of those applicants was Ricardo Guzman, the truck driver who caused the accident resulting in the death of Scott and Janet Willis's six children in November 1994.

Bauer ordered us to close that investigation.

In the foreword to my book, One Hundred Percent Guilty, Scott Willis writes, "Putting an unsafe and illegal driver at the wheel of a semi-truck in exchange for political contribution is criminal. To quash the incendiary evidence is unconscionable."

At the end of her order, Pallmeyer says, "His (Ryan) conduct has exacted a stiff penalty not only for himself but also for his family . . . Ryan's motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence is denied. Ryan's motion to set bail is also denied."

George Ryan's son, Homer, from their home in Kankakee, called Pallmeyer "heartless and cold."

In actuality, Pallmeyer is a federal judge highly respected by attorneys from both sides. She is respected for her sense of fairness and humanity. In these last few days of a decade of distrust for politicians and cynicism toward the system, I am undoubtedly certain that justice was served. Hopefully, lessons were learned.


See also:
* George Ryan's Park Bench

* George Ryan's Dogs and Ponies


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:06 PM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Sexy Rexy?

A handful of second-string and third-string QBs got that chance to start in Week 15, and three of them - Tim Tebow, Rex Grossman and Matt Flynn - made strong impressions.

Grossman, the former Bears QB, had the biggest day: 322 yard passing, 4 TDs against 2 INTs, and even a two-point conversion (The Redskins lost the game, but who cares about that in fantasy football?)

Grossman was handed the starting job in Washington with the benching of Donovan McNabb and will keep it for the rest of the season.

As fantasy football managers advancing in the playoffs look for a little edge, could Grossman deliver in Week 16? Picking him up from the waiver wire should be a cinch because he's owned only in 3% of Yahoo! leagues, and he's facing a very beatable Jacksonville pass defense.

If you're in a 2-QB league or a league where you can use a QB in a flex position, Grossman could be worth a look, but he's still really only an injury replacement at best, not someone you should bench a true starter for. And, don't bet on him having another game like Week 15.

Tebow, who had 138 yards passing, 78 yards rushing and 2 total TDs in Week 15, is probably a better bet than Grossman, going this week against a porous Houston defense.

He also may be less prone to fumbles or INTs than Grossman. Tebow is only 11% owned.

As for Flynn, he passed for a whopping 433 yards, 3 TDs and 2 INTs against a tough New England defense in Week 15, though he looked very indecisive at the end and basically cost Green Bay a long-shot chance to win the game. Aaron Rodgers probably will be back for Week 16, but if he's not, Flynn could do some damage against the NY Giants. Flynn is only 3% owned.

Expert Wire
* Yahoo! Pickups of the Week likes Tebow as a strong buy for Week 16, and Grossman as a solid buy, but only in very deep leagues.

* ESPN's Eric Karabell notes how far St. Louis QB Sam Bradford has fallen after early season performances made him a hot fantasy pick-up.

* SB Nation thinks upstart Indianapolis RB Donald Brown could come in handy this week, after what has mostly been a pretty disappointing year for a guy who had been a sleeper pick in some drafts.

* Finally, I don't really know what Asylum is, but the site has a poll on which is the better fantasy sport, football or baseball.


Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears in this space every Wednesday. He welcomes your comments. You can also read his about his split sports fan personality at his Beachwood blog SwingsBothWays.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:50 AM | Permalink

December 21, 2010

The [Tuesday] Papers

As noted yesterday, we're in holiday mode here at Beachwood HQ. That means the Beachwood elves are feverishly putting the final touches on gifts for the naughty and nice while Beachwood Santa and the rest of us sporadically post alcohol-riven ramblings of our wayward staff and I pull some holiday shifts at the Inn to make some money for daddy.

So here's what we've got so far today:

* Bears Eke Out A Win. Get lucky again.

* The College Football Report: Beef 'O' Brady's Smokin Jack Slider Basket And The Rest Of This Week's Bowl Games Preview As Well As Part 1 Of Our Season Recap

More to come later today . . .

Programming Note
Thanks to those who made it out last night to witness many Beachwood miracles including a Hanukkah miracle at the jukebox. We still have Collette's cookies and Belgian chocolates so let's keep the party going tonight - I'll be back on at 9 p.m. and seeing as how it's Tuesday, there's free pool. I believe the specials are all Bell's beers for $3.50 except the Two-Hearted Ale (which remains $5) and $1 off all domestic beers. The jukebox will be up and the cozy decorations are charming.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:17 AM | Permalink

The Bears Eke Out A Win

Get lucky again.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:09 AM | Permalink

The College Football Report: Beef 'O'Brady's Smokin Jack Slider Basket And The Rest Of This Week's Bowl Games Preview As Well As Part 1 Of Our Season Recap

That was a quite the regular season, true believers. In keeping with our two-part approach to the season preview, we present for your consideration Part One of the Beachwood College Football Report Postseason Recap.

Below, you can find us returning to some of the macro issues we pointed out in the preview: the Black Coaches Association and minority football coaches, conference realignment and last but hardly least, Kim Kardashian.

In Part Two, you can expect some further discussion of Layoff Season and the coaching caro . . . merry-go-round. And in the interest of full disclosure, we will go on to compare our (decidedly amateurish) predictions against the results from the 2010 season.

Minority Report
In Part One of the 2010 season preview, we commented on the (very) gradual increase in hiring minorities for head coaching positions at the college level - especially at BCS programs. The 2010 season saw black head coaches take the helm for the first time in school history at three different programs: Joker Phillips at Kentucky, Charlie Strong at Louisville, and Mike London at Virginia. The three new hires combined to go 16-20, with both Kentucky and Louisville squeaking into postseason play with 6-6 records. Randy Shannon, the fourth black coach in the BCS at the start of the season, did not survive to coach a fifth season at the University of Miami despite taking the 'Canes to seven wins and the Sun Bowl. (More on Shannon in Part Two.)

Among the coaching changes across the Big Ten, Big 12 and elsewhere among the six conferences to automatically qualify for the BCS, black coaches took three top spots:

* Jon Embree returns home to coach the Colorado Buffaloes after the departure of Dan "Why Don't You Re-Up My Contract During a Losing Season" Hawkins. Embree first started coaching as a volunteer in 1991 at Colorado after graduating from the school in 1987. He was a standout tight end for the Buffs, starting as a freshman and lettering all four years. In the coaching ranks, Embree parlayed his playing experience into position and assistant coaching roles, tutoring TE Tony Gonzalez (then of the Kansas City Chiefs) among others. The 2011 season looks to be an interesting one for the Buffs, who will welcome Embree along with fellow Buff legend Eric Bieniemy as offensive coordinator and (as if a new coaching staff isn't enough) join the expanded Pac-12. We like Embree's chances and wish him and his staff the best.

* Pittsburgh forced out Dave "This Is My Last Job" Wannstedt after the Panthers posted a disappointing 7-5 record. Wanny led Pitt to a 10-3 season last year (the school's most wins since 1981) but failed to deliver postseason Ws; in his six seasons, Pittsburgh never earned a spot in a BCS game and won only one bowl - last year's underwhelming 19-17 victory over UNC in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Michael Haywood, former top guy at Miami (Ohio), will take over before Pitt faces off against Kentucky in the BBVA Compass Bowl on January 8. Haywood turned Miami around in just two seasons; the Redhawks went from 1-11 in 2009 to 9-4 and MAC champ in 2010. Here's hoping Haywood works out better than Pitt AD Steve Pederson's last major hire. Pederson also held the AD job at Nebraska from 2002-07, where he was responsible for the Bill Callahan debacle.

* And lastly, Vanderbilt brought its search for a new head coach to a merciful end on Friday by hiring former Maryland assistant coach and offensive coordinator James Franklin. Despite interviewing Franklin (twice) and fellow O-coordinators Don Treadwell (Michigan State) and Greg Roman (Stanford), Vandy seemed to have its sights set on yet another offensive play caller, Auburn's Gus Malzahn. When Malzahn slipped away away (in favor of as much as $1.3 million to remain at Auburn next year), Vandy hurriedly hit the reset button. Ranked among the nation's top recruiters, Franklin might help the Commodores regain the magic of 2008 and 1982. For the record, those were Vandy's only winning seasons in the past thirty years. Well, good luck, Coach!

Smirk & Sarkisian Update
Lane "Coach Smirk" Kiffin led the USC Trojans to an 8-5 mark, but won't be eligible for postseason play until 2012 due to the penalties stemming from the Reggie Bush era. Sarkisian's Huskies finished the season a mediocre 6-6, including a 32-31 win over USC in early October, and earned the dubious honor of facing the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl - exactly 103 days after the last game between the two schools. (Nebraska beat UW 56-21 in Week Three.)

In related news, former Reggie Bush beau and unofficial College Football Report Correspondent Kim Kardashian has moved on and can now be found courtside at Nets games when not canoodling with New Jersey forward Kris "That White Guy from Minnesota" Humphries.

Posts to Kardashian's Facebook fan page asking for comment were not immediately returned.

The Conference Realignment Roulette Wheel Comes Up . . . Double Zero
Also in Part One, we mulled all of the conference shuffling that took place during the offseason. In particular, we argued that Boise State's move from the WAC to the Mountain West was a marginal improvement at best. With Utah departing for the Pac-12, only TCU remained as a major power in Boise's new conference. We wondered what would happen if TCU faded from the national scene - but we did not (although we should have known better) speculate on the Horned Frogs also fleeing for greener pastures.

But as the 2010 season evolved into a naked power grab, the Big East took notice of the machinations by rival conferences such as the Pac-12 and Big Ten to absorb big name schools - and big time markets.

Just days after completing the season 12-0 with a pummeling of New Mexico (66-17 in Week 13), Texas Christian University accepted an invitation by the Big East to join the conference effective for the 2012-13 season.

Some commentators mentioned the memory of the ACC snatching Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech as a contributing factor but Big East commissioner John Marinatto was not shy about identifying the two major issues at hand: the conference's "media footprint" and, by extension, leverage when the Big East renegotiates its television contracts after the 2013 season.

The Big East wanted to expand to 10 football programs. At the start of this season, 16 teams belonged to the conference, but many (Georgetown, Providence, Seton Hall, et al.) do not participate in football. The Big East also extended an invitation to Villanova, a current member in all other sports, to elevate its football program from I-AA (i.e. the Football Championship Series) to join the Big East and the FBS. But TCU - and the Dallas-Fort Worth television market - was the golden goose. By adding TCU, the Big East will hold six of the top 14 Nielsen markets and league games (currently aired by ESPN) will reach an estimated 25 million homes.

Beyond the media numbers, the league desperately needed to shore up its BCS credentials.

While we can't be sure when negotiations with TCU began, by the time the move was announced (November 29), the Horned Frogs were ranked #3 in the Bowl Championship Series formula and had guaranteed a spot in a BCS bowl. By contrast, Marinatto must have felt queasy watching the Big East title chase - for example, eventual champ UConn finished October at 4-4 and 1-2 in league play. For a time, it seemed the Big East champ might not even finish ranked in the AP Top 25. (UConn barely squeezed in at #25 in the Week 15 poll.) Not exactly compelling stuff for the masters of the BCS HAL 9000, who are - lest we forget - in the business of making money. And BCS games between two mismatched opponents (lacking the David vs. Goliath romance inherent in games featuring the likes of Boise State) don't draw much of a crowd.

In related news, UConn has sold only 4,000 of the 17,000 Fiesta Bowl tickets allotted to the Huskies. That's $2.5 million worth of tickets that will be charged back to the school if unsold. The school is said to be "similarly behind" on its commitment to book 550 hotel rooms near the Fiesta Bowl. Not even UConn fans seem interested in the outcome on January 1.


The Beachwood Bowl Series
We hope you spotted the forecast for the first three bowls of the season in the Weekend Desk Report last Saturday. Based on those early returns, the favorites seem poised to rake in the Ws in the minor bowl games. The next week will feature only one or two Vaguely Interesting Bowls interspersed among a full slate of Also-Ran Bowls. In fact, we have recently devised a system to generate your own fantasy Vaguely Interesting Bowl game:

1. Generate a random number between 1-26.

2. Take the corresponding letter of the alphabet and plug it into the "Get Quotes" search box on the Google Finance home page.

3. Pair the first resulting company name from the search with the name of the town from the first picture on this page.

4. Presto! Imagine the possibilities of The CitiGroup Inc. Hot Springs Bowl or The Johnson & Johnson Fort Oglethorpe Bowl, or . . .

Below, please find a review for the next week or so of games including a complimentary pick (for entertainment purposes only) from the Beachwood Sports Seal.


Game: Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl
Time: Tuesday, December 21, 7 p.m. ESPN (St. Petersburg, FL)
Teams: The Louisville Cardinals (-2.5) vs. The Southern Miss Golden Eagles
Comment: Beef 'O' Brady's Family Sports Restaurants & Pubs markets itself as rooted in the idea of a "neighborhood pub" dreamed up by founder Jim Mellody in 1985. The chain now contains more than 250 restaurants in 20 states. Here's hoping that neither the Golden Eagles nor the Cardinals stop in any of the 40+ locations in the greater St. Petersburg area for a "Smokin Jack Slider Basket" on game day. That delicacy will set you back 2062 calories, 140g of total fat (38g saturated) and 4882 mg of sodium.

We shouldn't pick on 'O' Brady's, as most chain restaurants feature at least one whopper on the menu. Fair enough. And who knows? Maybe college-aged linemen can afford to tuck away a Slider Basket or two every week. But for us less active types, let's stick to items along the lines of Buffalo wings. And in handicapping ornithological duels, let's always remember to back the larger, more aggressive species. Golden Eagles, in this case.

The Sports Seal Says: Southern Miss 30, Louisville 24


Game: The MAACO Las Vegas Bowl
Time: Wednesday, December 22, 7 p.m. ESPN (Las Vegas, NV)
Teams: The Utah Utes #19 vs. The Boise State Broncos #10 (-17)
Comment: Boise State came within a field goal of forcing an unprecedented controversy in the BCS era: four undefeated teams (including TCU, Oregon and Auburn) atop the rankings at the conclusion of the regular season. But the Broncos blew a 24-7 halftime lead against Nevada in their last game of the season - a collapse more to blame than the travails of kicker Kyle Brotzman at the end of regulation and in overtime.

The Utes will be without star QB Jordan Wynn, who reinjured his throwing shoulder in the season finale against BYU. While backup Terrance Cain is no slouch, he will be facing the Broncos' stingy defense (13.6 ppg allowed, good for fourth overall in the FBS) and a forecast that calls for rain beginning Monday through game time. We're calling for a push and the "under."

The Sports Seal Says: Boise State 34, Utah 17


Game: The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
Time: Thursday, December 23, 7 p.m. ESPN (San Diego, CA)
Teams: The Navy Midshipmen vs. The San Diego State Aztecs (-5)
Comment: Midshipmen vs. Aztecs? Say, that reminds us, are we the only ones with Civilization V on our Christmas list this year? With a copy of this game, we could recreate all the Aztec battles we wanted and skip watching this random bowl game. But then, we would have to own a computer capable of running it, and a good monitor, and a sound system . . . and just like that, a $50 video game turns into a $2,000 investment. I guess we'll have to tune in on Thursday and watch SDSU try to win its first postseason game since beating Boston in the (now defunct) Pasadena Bowl in 1969.

The Sports Seal Says: San Diego State 38, Navy 31


Game: The Sheraton Hawaii Bowl
Time: Friday, December 24, 7 p.m. ESPN (Honolulu, HI)
Teams: The Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (-10.5)
Comment: This is what we like to see! Bowl games with rational names and a title containing four words or fewer. What a revelation. As far as the actual game is concerned, we like the Warriors to win but we don't think Tulsa will be so happy to be in Hawaii as to roll over for a double-digit loss. We'll take the Golden Hurricane (note: singular) in a closer-than-expected game.

The Sports Seal Says: Hawaii 34, Tulsa 32


Game: The Little Caesars Bowl
Time: Sunday, December 26, 7:30 p.m. ESPN (Detroit, MI)
Teams: Florida International Golden Panthers vs. The Toledo Rockets (-1.5)
Comment: The trend continues - shorter bowl game titles and "golden" mascots! And the use of exclamation points in our comments! Fun fact: FIU switched from the Sunblazers to the Golden Panthers in 1987. While their former team name may have connoted a certain lack of . . . seriousness (given its resemblance to "Sunbathers"), we would love to see FIU somehow work in the old logo. Classy.

The Sports Seal Says: Florida International 27, Toledo 24


Next Week
We can all share a chestnut from our Christmas adventures, and the Sports Seal will have a fresh slate of games to predict. We will also grace you with Part Two of our Postseason Recap. Until then, stay warm and beware mascots dressed like cheery fat men swaddled in red velvet.


Mike Luce brings you the world's greatest college football report in this space every week. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:23 AM | Permalink

December 20, 2010

The [Monday] Papers

"More than a year after he took his own life, new details are emerging that show former Chicago School Board President Michael W. Scott had been under growing financial pressure," the Sun-Times reports.

Here's the important part as far as the public is concerned:

"About two weeks before Scott's suicide, a development company that had been paying him $10,000 a month 'for consultation in regards to future projects involving the possible Olympic Games in Chicago' canceled his contract, according to new details from the Chicago Police Department that officials previously had refused to release . . .

"The new information about Scott's consulting contract appears to contradict statements that had been made by Scott and Mayor Daley that Scott wasn't planning to cash in on his dual roles as an Olympic organizer and a real estate developer."

Appears to contradict?

From "Daley Insider Corners Prime Olympics Lots; Olympic Committee Member Michael Scott Has Won Aldermanic Backing To Develop A Swath Of City Land Near A Proposed 2016 Site. The Plan Includes Homes, Shops - Even A Nike Store," Tribune, Aug. 7, 2009:

"A member of Mayor Richard Daley's team working to bring the Olympics to Chicago has quietly arranged to develop city-owned land near a park that would be transformed for the 2016 Summer Games, potentially positioning himself to cash in if the Games come here, a Tribune investigation has found . . .

"Scott's designs on the public land are sure to reinforce concerns of residents that it's the mayor's friends who would benefit from Daley bringing the 2016 Olympics to the city. The story is a familiar one in Daley's administration, where City Hall insiders have personally profited from even the most civic-minded of projects, from recycling garbage to building Millennium Park.

"The development team includes six West Side ministers, some of whom are politically connected . . .

"Earlier this year, Scott's roles as school board president and as a member of the city's Olympic committee stirred controversy.

"In May, he asked all of the city's school principals to form plans to promote the Olympics. Teachers and union officials said Scott's tactics were heavy-handed and they feared retaliation if they did not support Daley's quest for the Games . . .

"Daley first floated his vision of bringing the Olympics to Chicago in 2005 after previously dismissing the idea as too costly. He assembled an exploratory committee in mid-2006 that included Scott.

"As Daley forged ahead with his plans, the exploratory team evolved into Chicago 2016, the committee spearheading the city's push for the Olympics.

"When the committee unveiled its original ideas in summer 2006 for hosting the Olympics, Douglas Park did not figure in the plans, nor was the park part of revised plans unveiled months later.

"By March 2007, however, Chicago 2016 announced it had again tweaked its plans. Among the changes, Douglas Park would play a role in the Olympics: The aquatics center would move from the University of Illinois at Chicago to the park . . .

"Scott Sr.'s role in potentially developing the city lots is especially sensitive given that he is a co-chair of a Chicago 2016 subcommittee that crafted an agreement ensuring jobs and contracts for minorities, as well as promising affordable housing to be a part of the Olympic Village agreement.

"The agreement, approved by City Council in April, grew out of concerns from neighborhood groups that economic benefits from the Olympics would go mostly to politically connected insiders.

"In addition to his Olympic committee role, Scott also is involved in the proposed Douglas Park sports venues through his position as president of the school board. Chicago 2016's velodrome plans call for tearing down the Collins High School campus' two gyms and indoor pool, a sensitive issue with many community residents who don't want the recently renovated facilities demolished."


From "2016 Panel Member Denies Deal Profits Him," Tribune, Aug.8, 2009:

"Daley declined to answer questions about Scott's development Friday."


From "School Bd. Chief Won't Profit From Olympics Deal, He Says," Sun-Times, Aug. 8, 2009:

"Developer and Chicago 2016 committee member Michael Scott insisted Friday that he will not profit if some West Side land near a proposed Douglas Park Olympic site is ever developed with his help.

"'I would not profit . . . not at all,' Scott told reporters at the Chicago Board of Education, where Scott also serves as School Board president.

"He was responding to a Chicago Tribune story contending he was 'potentially positioning himself to cash in'' if the Olympics come to Chicago because he was helping a group of ministers try to turn some city-owned lots across from what would be an Olympic site into affordable housing.

"Scott noted that the ministers, whom he said he has known for years, came to him with their development idea in the summer of 2006 - a year before he was appointed to a committee that has been trying to bring the Olympics to Chicago.

"Scott said he agreed to advise the ministers on how to put the deal together, navigate city departments and train people on how to sell affordable housing.

"Any profits were to be split among the ministers because 'I have no monetary interest,'' Scott said."


From "Daley: Scott Wouldn't Benefit From Project - 'Not involved' In Site Near Olympic Venue," Sun-Times, Aug. 9, 2009:

"Mayor Daley denied Saturday that Michael Scott , a member of the Chicago 2016 committee, would financially benefit from a proposed West Side development near the site of a potential Olympic venue.

"'He's not involved,' Daley said after the Bud Billiken Parade, where he spent the morning riding a float blasting out the music of Beyoncé. 'He's supporting the Olympics . Everybody is supporting the Olympics . . . The facts are wrong. The conclusions are wrong . . .He never had any interest - none whatsoever.'"


From "Michael Scott's Last Big Deal - Olympic Leader Worked On Massive Project Near Proposed Village For 2016 Games," Sun-Times, Dec. 14, 2009:

"Even as he served on the city's Olympic planning committee, Michael W. Scott , the late Chicago School Board president, was also involved in a multibillion-dollar lakefront development project near the proposed Olympic village, records and interviews show.

"Scott, who was a close friend and political ally of Mayor Daley, was a consultant on the proposed condo-and-hotel project across from Soldier Field when he committed suicide last month. Since January, he had been getting paid an undisclosed monthly fee from developer Gerald W. Fogelson, according to B. Timothy Desmond, president of Fogelson Properties Inc. . . .

"About two weeks later, Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) went to Fogelson's office to talk with him about the lakefront project, which is in Fioretti's ward. Scott showed up, and Fogelson invited him to the meeting, Fioretti recalled.

"'Sit with us while I explain it to the alderman,' Fioretti said Fogelson told Scott .

"Scott 'just stood there,' the alderman said. 'I didn't know what his role was.'

"Fioretti said he never heard anything more about the project until about six months ago, when Fogelson went to the alderman's City Hall office asking for $500 million in city 'tax-increment financing' for the project - more than the city has spent on any single project."

Don't forget the second half of the NBC5 saga. Who else are they protecting?

The Weekend in Chicago Rock
The antidote to our sucky politics.

This Week on WCIU
Junior paleontologists in Woodlawn.

How To Make A Christmas Wreath Balloon
With balloon candle!

Programming Note
We're in holiday mode here at Beachwood HQ, which means we'll continue posting through the holidays but things may be a bit sporadic at times. Also, my holiday bartending schedule:

* TONIGHT! Yes, we'll have the Bears-Vikings game on in HDTV. Plus, cold Old Styles and free pizza.

* TUESDAY! I may be back behind the bar for Tuesday night, which features free pool. Stay tuned for details.

* THURSDAY! I'm on the early shift, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

* FRIDAY! Working Christmas Eve with Bob - all night! Try to figure out the miracle of Santa Bob as he slips out to visit all the bars in the world in one night and returns with us barely noticing.

Stop in, the Inn is rather cozy these days with Christmas lights (the blue ones are my favorite) and other decorations (including Beachwood mistletoe) worth taking in.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Tubular.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:49 AM | Permalink

How To Make A Christmas Wreath Balloon

With balloon candle!


See also:
* How To Make Animal Balloons


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:19 AM | Permalink

This Week on WCIU: Project Exploration

Executive Director Gabrielle Lyon will appear on WCIU's Now.Chicago program, airing December 25 and 26. Now.Chicago explores a different Chicago neighborhood - its history as well as its present-day personality - in each 30-minute episode. Project Exploration is featured in an episode focusing on the Woodlawn community.

The show is scheduled to air on December 25 at 7:30 a.m. and December 26 at 6:30 a.m. Both airings will be on WCIU's sister station, WMEU-TV, known as "Me Too." Me Too is seen on Comcast channels 247/358, RCN channel 22, WOW channel 171, and AT&T U-verse channel 48.




Project Exploration is a nonprofit science education organization that works to ensure communities traditionally overlooked by science - particularly minority youth and girls - have access to personalized experiences with science and scientists.

Founded in 1999 by paleontologist Paul Sereno and educator Gabrielle Lyon, Project Exploration seeks to expand access to science. Our youth programs impact the lives of hundreds of students each year by fostering a long-term involvement in science, and are supported by public programs that provide a window into science in action through exhibits, online initiatives, and contributions to the field of science in out-of-school time.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:54 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Dashboard Confessional at the Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.


2. Tabi Bonney at Subterranean on Sunday night.


3. Radar Eyes at Subterranean on Saturday night.


4. Eskmo at the Metro on Saturday night.


5. Celldweller at Reggie's on Friday night.


6. Carta Marina at Cal's on Saturday night.


7. Zombie Snot at the Mayne Stage on Saturday night.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:12 AM | Permalink

December 18, 2010

Op-Art: Obama and the Arkansas Sheik

The Arkansas Sheik


Never Seen The Like Since Gettin' Upstairs



Picture 2.pngEnlarge


Previously by Astralopry:
* Blago Goat Gate
* Daley's Gunbutt Diplomacy
* Obama "Spiritual Manager" A Quirky Venezuelan Tyrant
* You're In Chicawgo Now - Speak Svengalese!


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:08 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

Market Update
What's in a name? Turns out, roughly 90% of your market value. But fear not; for those of you concerned that the failure of one Big corporation will destabilize a lucrative market, the Weekend Desk Bailout Team is here to help. Instead of Legends and Leaders, how about the geographically accurate South(ish) and North(er)?

Plans Afootball
Determined to keep Monday night's Bears/Vikings game in Minnesota despite worries over the safety of the players, football's governing body has announced the game will be played in May.

Wait, how about Nasals and Plosives?

One Sepp Ahead
Having already raised eyebrows with his hiring practices and offended parts of his constituency, FIFA boss Sepp Blatter has announced a shock career move. He will leave his current position to run for mayor of Chicago. After all, he may have left a pocket square at Soldier Field in 1994 so he totally lives here, right?

Food Pyramid!
Oooh! How about Milk and Eggs?

Observers still reeling from Mayor Daley's shock retirement need to brace themselves for his next announcement. Sources close to Hizzoner say that, with its successful promises of temporary stadiums powered by pixie dust and rampant borrowing, he is seriously considering becoming Emir of Qatar.

The Truth!
Oh yeah, this one is perfect. How about Has-beens and Also-rans?


Programming Note
This Weekend on CAN TV: America's Empire and Chicago's Machine.


The Beachwood Bowl Series Starts Here
Three games tonight kick off the bowl season; look for the rest of our picks next week.

Game: The New Mexico Bowl
Time: 2 p.m., ESPN
Teams: The Brigham Young Cougars vs. The University of Texas-El Paso Miners
Comment: Huh. Cougars vs. Miners.
Pick: Miners 69, Cougars 48


Game: The uDrove Humanitarian Bowl
Time: 5:30 p.m., ESPN
Teams: The Northern Illinois Huskies vs. The Fresno State Bulldogs
Comment: Who is Michael Vick picking?
Pick: While Fresno is actually the 5th-largest city in California (and 35th in the nation), it is not a state. Therefore, we are forced to take the Directional Creampuff.


Game: The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Time: 9 p.m., ESPN
Teams: The Troy Trojans vs. The Ohio Bobcats
Comment: Tickets for the LuncheonGospel Brunch are on sale now!
Pick: Troy is a real city in Alabama but naming the program the Trojans is trying a bit too hard on several levels. At the same time, Ohio has one of the most annoying mascots of all time. Troy eeks it out on the game's final drive thanks to the wooden horse formation, a.k.a. the Woody.


The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Ribs and fibs.

Posted by Natasha Julius at 9:04 AM | Permalink

This Weekend On CAN TV

CAN TV brings you local, relevant issues from Chicago's neighborhoods and communities. See what's happening around the city in education, the arts, government, cultural events, social services and community activities.

New Chicago 2011 Coalition: Mayoral Forum
The New Chicago 2011 Coalition hosts a candidates forum to discuss housing, jobs, and education.

Sunday, December 19 at 5:00 p.m. on CAN TV19
Or click here to watch video online

Hyde Park Arts Center: Series A
The Series A experimental writing showcase presents poets Lina Ramona Vitkauskas (pictured), Marthe Reed, and Joseph Wood.

Saturday, December 18 at 10:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr

Jim Laski: Inside the Chicago Machine
Former City Clerk, Jim Laski, discusses his experiences in local politics.

Sunday, December 19 at 10:30 a.m. on CAN TV21
48 min

The Empire's New Clothes: A Leftist's Guide to Barack Obama in the Real World of Power
Political commentator and author, Paul Street, discusses the mid-term-elections, the rise of the "Tea Party" and his latest book, The Empire's New Clothes.

Sunday, December 19 at 11:30 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 40 min


CAN TV gives every Chicagoan a voice on cable television by providing video training, facilities, equipment, and channel time for Chicago residents and nonprofit groups. CAN TV's five local, noncommercial cable channels, CAN TV19, 21, 27, 36 and 42, reach more than one million viewers in the city of Chicago.


Disclaimer: Barbara Popovic, the executive director of CAN TV, is both a friend and landlord to Beachwood editor Steve Rhodes.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:05 AM | Permalink

December 17, 2010

The [Friday] Papers

BREAKING: New stocking stuffers in the Beachwood Novelties store!

* A limited edition Beachwood Reporter "Throw the First Punch" t-shirt. Be the first - and possibly only - person on your block to own one!

* The famous Flying Saucer "Andrew" t-shirt. Featuring Beachwood correspondent Andrew "The Angry Aussie of Humboldt Park" Kingsford.

* Ballots From the Dead: Selected Poems From The Beachwood Reporter. Bringing back the J.J. Tindall classic just for the holidays!

* And, of course, our classic tees still in stock, including "20 Years of Corruption And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt"; "Elect Adam West Chicago Mayor"; and "City of Chicago: No Longer Property of Richard M. Daley."

Major credit cards accepted, as well as Discover.

Job Fair
This vs. this. Discuss.


"Police showed off the mechanics of the basement operation, illustrating how the family hid a ventilation system in the walls and up four floors into a vent through the attic to get rid of the smell. There was another intake vent to let fresh air in, they said.

"Along with the pot plants, police said they found $7,000 in cash and computers and charts used to track the operation.

"John Gecan refuted the officials' estimation as to the amount of pot they had.

"'Are they retarded? There's not a million dollars worth of pot. I'd like to have that money. I'd be living in Mexico right now,' he said.

"Darlene Gecan said it was the faltering economy that drove her to the pot business.

"'The real estate taxes went up four grand. My sons are unemployed, they can't find jobs,' she explained."


Vs. this.


Also in international drug bust news:

"In one of the largest illegal drug busts in Chicago area history, nearly 11 tonnes of marijuana transported from Mexico in six rail cars was seized, with authorities charging 7 men Thursday," Visit Bulgaria reports.

Bears Blast
This is what it's all about, folks.



This is not.


Hey, make your game plans now: I'll be behind the bar at the Beachwood on Monday night serving up cold Old Styles with the Bears-Vikings game on our three TVs (one HD) and the jukebox fully loaded. Plus: free pizza.

The Week in Chicago Rock
They played at a venue near you.

The Week in Comic Books
Scandal at the Daily Planet!

The Week in WTF
The clown car rolls up and James Meeks and a bunch of lawyers roll out.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Lay it down.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:03 AM | Permalink

The Week in Comic Books: Breaking! Superman's Affair With Lois!

A scandal at the Daily Planet!

Plus, the future adventures of Batgirl/Oracle Barbara Gordon.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:30 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Snow Angels at The Hideout on Thursday night.


2. My Chemical Romance at the House of Blues on Wednesday night.


3. MisMatch at Elbo Room on Tuesday night.


4. Brighter Arrows at the Fireside on Wednesday night.


5. Dimmu Borgir at the House of Blues on Tuesday night.


6. Apteka at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.


7. Secret Colours at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.


See also: In Action! Sybris at the Empty Bottle


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:05 AM | Permalink

The Week in WTF

1. Rahm's Residency Hearing, WTF?

And you thought the mayoral residency challenge against him was by grownups in control of their minds and bodily functions? Wrong-o-reeno, Beavis.

In the group currently arrayed against the former White House chief of staff, there appear to be three total mouthbreathers, several more blithering idiots and at least six who have undergone some seriously intrusive psychosurgical procedures. And those are the LAWYERS!

If you've ever been to a condo board meeting where everybody is arguing about everything without a lick of sense in the room, you get a sense of this episode.

Emanuel must feel he's caught in some Rod Serling whirlpool. Last month he's helping craft a START arms deal and national tax policy, this week it's fighting off 20 people who buy Depends in bulk. WT-effing-F?

Every morning, the Barnum & Bailey clown car rolls up to election board headquarters and 30 or so odd people emerge. Doesn't it make you wonder why he'd want to be mayor of Chicago? These are his constituents. They've asked him every question but "boxers or briefs."

2. The Rev. James Meeks, WTF?

This seems to be the Rev. James Meeks' campaign gestalt for Chicago mayor: Sure I'm a homophobic bigot, but I have other great qualities, too.

If he is not a homophobic bigot, he's totally overturned the if-it-quacks-like-a duck theorem. His on-the-record statements speak for themselves, but you'd hope there's a thin but well-defined line separating fiery pulpit rhetoric from public policy on behalf of all citizens.

Guess not.

In an otherwise feeble and self-satisfied defense of running for mayor from the pulpit, he told the Tribune this: "If homosexuals can endorse a candidate, why can't a church?"

Though his recent vote against a same sex union law does not prove his bigotry - okay, it does, but that's not the point - we'd rather note the legal and historical confabulation of the rest of his statement.

First, the law. The prohibition against churches serving as campaign headquarters does not impinge on free speech. The law is about the special financial consideration granted churches - and not us, whether we are straight or gay - simply because they are churches. Meeks' church could say anything it wants anywhere it wants to say it as long church officials surrender the multimillion dollar honeypot. The state gives them a pass on property taxes. They get that break for theoretically doing the Lord's work. As an institution, the Salem Baptist Church benefits from that special consideration.

Second, the morality. Implicit in the morally flabby rhetoric is Meeks' view that homosexuals are given preference over holy people such as him. And they don't deserve it because, well, I guess because they are gay and probably damned to hell. You can't give tax breaks to the damned. Meeks loves gay people, like W.C. Fields liked children: "Fried."

3. The new Sun-Times website, WTF?

This may seem an unnecessarily wonkish critique, but we eat wonkish for breakfast. So here goes, Brewster. The people at this Chicago newspaper told us their new website would be a rich smorgasbord of intellectual stimulation and pizzazz, but all we got was the zz's.

Zzz . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

I guess you don't get as much pizzazz as you used to for your pizzazz dollar. If you want smart smorgasboard, go here or here. Or better yet, here or here.

But don't go here because it's a dose of Nighttime Nyquil too.

4. Distraught Ron Santo Fan, WTF?

A distraught Ron Santo fan wishing to leave a suitable memorial used a Sharpie on a CTA wall to leave this inscription: "Good! Buy! Ron Santo! Cubs Best Cub Thirt-Baseman Forever Love Always God.''

He was arrested. Police knew it wasn't God because God spells better. And he doesn't sign notes "God." He signs them "Me."

5. McDonald's, WTF?
We're never on McDonald's side, except this time.

An irate customer claims an irate cashier spit on her over a failed gimme-ham-on-that-damn-bagel argument. It's a lawsuit, of course, claiming she suffered "injury, embarrassment and humiliation." Isn't it always?

First, as a matter of company policy, store employees are told not to spit in any customer's face. We have the company manual right here in our grubby WTF hands. If they must spit, do it in the McNuggets bin, because you can't possibly make McNuggets less wholesome by spitting on them.

Second, the unnamed customer in this lawsuit took an entire year - it was last December - to reach the critical mass of pissed-offness.

Third, this isn't Hardee's. Two words of warning: dead squirrel. Will you have nuts with that?


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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:06 AM | Permalink

December 16, 2010

The [Thursday] Papers

Dick Durbin, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the Democratically-controlled United States Senate, tells WBEZ that the president's tax cut bill "doesn't help the economy. It adds to the deficit, and it basically says the people who are the most well-off in America don't have to share any kind of sacrifice in these tough times."

So naturally, he's voting for it.


On the re-election trail in 2015:

REPORTER: Senator Durbin, have you ever voted for a bill that you thought was just plain wrong?



DURBIN: Because it was the right thing to do.

REPORTER: But you thought the bill was wrong.


REPORTER: So you thought the right thing to do was to vote for a bill that was wrong.



DURBIN: Compromise?

REPORTER: But you could've voted against it or at least tried to improve it.

DURBIN: That would've been wrong.


DURBIN: Because sometimes voting for a bill that is wrong is right.

REPORTER: Like when?

DURBIN: Like when you forget that there's a deadline coming up and you haven't acted in two years despite impassioned campaign pledges and you want to get home for Christmas and you're scared and your friend is the president and you're a Democrat.

REPORTER: And then you vote for a bill that you think doesn't help the economy, adds to the deficit and tells our nation's richest people that they didn't have to sacrifice during tough times the way everybody else does.

DURBIN: Precisely.

REPORTER: Terrific. Now is it true you've changed your mind and you will seat Roland Burris as Mark Kirk's replacement in the Senate?

Forum Decorum
"It was the largest crowd for a mayoral forum of any yet seen - well over 2,000 people - but for some reason, you won't hear much about it in the city's mainstream media," Curtis Black reports for the Community Media Workshop.

"So far Mike Flannery at Fox News Chicago seems to be the only exception, though his report manages to focus on a candidate who wasn't there; Progress Illinois has some video clips."

Here's my favorite part:

"Gery Chico drew boos when was asked about food deserts and started talking about Walmart. He and Meeks left early."

And this:

"In his opening statement, Del Valle drew the clearest line between his campaign and Emanuel's, telling the audience, 'You understand the need for a neighborhood agenda, not a downtown agenda, not a big business agenda, but a neighborhood agenda.'"

Chicago Election Board Now Regulating The Media
Tells Fox News pundit to scram.

Corruption Tax
"A federal watchdog on Wednesday awarded nearly $556,000 to job applicants and workers harmed by illegal political favoritism in hiring at the Cook County Forest Preserve District," the Tribune reports.

New Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle decried the political culture left behind by Todd Stroger and promised a brand new day before scooting off to meet Joe Berrios for lunch.

Coming To Theaters Soon
"A pastry chef who runs a Chicago area business has bought a home in Evanston from a finance executive."

Meeks' Minority Report
"On Wednesday, Chicago mayoral candidate James Meeks said that only African-Americans should be able to participate in affirmative action programs - and that Hispanics, Asians, and women should be excluded. Later, he tried to clarify his remarks," Flannery reports.

"'I think that the word 'minority,' from our standpoint, should mean African-American,' Meeks said. 'I don't think women, Asians and Hispanics should be able to use that title. That's why our numbers cannot improve, because we use women, Asians and Hispanics, who are not people of color, who are not people who have been discriminated against. We fought for these laws based on discrimination. Now, groups that have not been discriminated against are the chief beneficiaries.'"

Well, he's got a point: Women are not minorities. That's why set-aside programs are called "Women and Minority Business Enterprise" programs.

But Flannery oddly focuses on the women part of Meeks' statement instead of the even more egregious and warped notion that Asians and Hispanics are not minorities and have not been discriminated against.

So add women, Asians and Hispanics to non-Christians, gays and liberals comprising those Meeks has offended.

The Spirit of Randy Michaels Lives
Speaking of offending women - and men - the boys at WGN-TV's wacky morning show crossed one off their bucket list this week when they saw grown women in bikinis.

Obama Buys CEOs Lunch
"Hoping to mend fences with business leaders and spur more hiring, President Obama spent more than four hours with chief executives of 20 major companies in a 'working meeting' that both sides said paved the way for better cooperation," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Mend fences? Cutting their taxes wasn't enough?

"They skipped a planned break and, at Obama's urging, decided to work through a buffet lunch of chicken, fish, pasta and salad."

Which I'm sure they persuaded Obama to put on his taxpayer-reimbursed expense report.

Working Stiffs
Paying their own way with more grace than Obama's pals.

To Be Worn By Next Mayor
Chicago scientists invent brain-controlled Iron Man suit.

Inmate Returns!
"A Linn County inmate has returned to jail two days after authorities expected him back from leave to attend his grandfather's funeral in Chicago," AP reports.

"Cedar Rapids television station KCRG says 29-year-old Jamal Baylis called the station Wednesday to explain that he thought he was supposed to be back by next Monday after being freed on Friday for the funeral."

Bears Actually Have Momentum
"We lost the first half badly, but adjusted well and took the second half in a squeaker."


The Czar of the Playbook's Bears-Vikings Preview.

We're All Gonna Die
Sybris spreads rock and roll holiday cheer.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Like your favorite crawl space.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:15 AM | Permalink

Chicago Election Board To Fox News: You Are The Enemy!

Allegedly tries to keep local (liberal) attorney and pundit Tamara Holder out of the Rahm Emanuel hearings, amidst other wackiness.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:47 AM | Permalink

I Am A Security Guard: Working Stiffs

On a recent Sunday morning, I stood near the front of the store along with the Lazy Cashier and Pitbull. Pitbull cracked jokes about yet another bad date.

"She got the most expensive steak on the menu," he cried. "I did not even get a kiss goodnight."

The Lazy Cashier did not say anything. I laughed.

Pitbull kept riffing. I kept laughing. Then I felt myself getting light in the head. My knees buckled. I passed out and fell backward. The back of my head hit the carpet. My glasses fell backward.

Pitbull helped me up and retrieved my glasses. I appreciated the simple act of kindness. He cared about my welfare.

I thank him, co-workers, and customers who have been nice to me at the store. Although I don't like my job, the kindness of others has helped me to survive.

Some have provided guidance. Others have offered fellowship. All have made my job more tolerable.

* * *

Pitbull earned his nickname the hard way. He's shorter than most men. His intense personality, however, helps him detain shoplifters.

He was the first person I met at the store two years ago. Given that almost all of my work experience had been in downtown offices, I feared working in an inner-city store.

Pitbull helped ease my worries by greeting me warmly when I introduced myself, giving me a tour, and calmly laying down expectations. He told me to watch the goods and help detain shoplifters.

He still gives me tips about known thieves and tells the occasional perverted joke.

* * *

Pitbull shares many qualities with the Head Guard. The Head Guard delivers performance and demands it from others. He's kind with a sense of humor that occasionally borders on the crude side. Unlike Pitbull, he's built like a linebacker and projects a laid-back persona.

The Cool Assistant Manager, who tackled the cigarette thief, has maintained his pleasant disposition despite a recent cut in his pay.

Unlike some other assistants, he will interrupt his work to retrieve a sale item in the basement for a customer.

Although he has talked to me about mistakes I've made, he's given me nothing but positive evaluations.

* * *

Although the Cool Cashier has survived some hard knocks, she remains a very kind and professional type who would give someone the shirt off her back. She has housed relatives, bought snacks for co-workers and driven for late-night meals.

She also watches for scam artists and manages to keep her cool when dealing with ignorant customers. Once she held her tongue when a man yelled over one dime's difference for aluminum foil.

She has a close friendship with the Nice Cashier. The latter is the younger of the two, stands a head shorter, and sports a squeaky voice. Yet, she's also a professional. She knows the prices and locations of goods better than the other night-shift cashiers. The Nice Cashier was tough enough to send me out in the rain to retrieve a $2 DVD from a small boy who had snatched it.

The Cool Assistant Manager, Cool Cashier, and Nice Cashier occasionally work together. Their teamwork makes the store run exceptionally well.

* * *

Although I've griped about customers who are obnoxious, I have to acknowledge others make the night more enjoyable. One is Bear, a tall, beefy nightclub bouncer. He has great stories about knuckleheads dumb enough to challenge him. Despite his rough job, he remains a pleasant, thoughtful man with keen observations about local politics.

Another thoughtful sort, Bulldog, has a strong upper body and walks like John Wayne. His physique looks intimidating, but he can persuade a homeless man to leave the store by gently talking to him and expressing sympathy for his plight.

Two cops, a mixed plainclothes team, occasionally stop for snacks. They often crack jokes about each other in an affectionate way. Because of their camaraderie, I call them Hunter and McCall, the main characters from the Hunter television series.

Other customers with bright smiles and pleasant conversation include Bobby, a waiter; Ron, a bartender; and Marie, a waitress.

As time passed, I realized that all of these people have one thing in common. They are all working stiffs who've managed to remain kind despite doing jobs that are not very glamorous. I've learned a lot from them and remain grateful that they have accepted me.

When I arrived at the store, I didn't know how long I'd last. My first meeting with Pitbull calmed my fears. Thanks to him and others, I have survived in a different world.


A very pseudononymous Jerome Haller earns rent money as a security guard for a large, publicly-held retail chain. He welcomes your comments.


See more tales of security guarding, pizzeria waitressing, barista-ing and office drudgering in our Life at Work collection.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:21 AM | Permalink

Czar of the Playbook Preview: Bears at Vikings

Protect your flanks.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:13 AM | Permalink

Highly Paid WGN-TV Professionals Dissemble Into 8th-Graders In Presence of Hooters Calendar Girls

Apparently they've never seen grown women in bikinis before.


Tell wives how beautiful they think they are before ogling women they'd rather have sex with.


She can say hello in four different languages!


When she's not serving our world-famous chicken wings, she's working towards her degree in accounting.


Leslie's pet peeve is she hates mean girls and cocky boys.


She's a biology major and would someday like to be an ultrasound technician. ("Oh isn't that nice!")


Nia plans to study communications as she would like to become a journalist and work in the news. ("We've got an opening!")


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:57 AM | Permalink

In Action! Sybris at the Empty Bottle

A free show on Monday night from one of our best local outfits.

1. I am my own personal shit-show.


2. Spread that holiday cheer, we're all gonna die.


3. Songs about breathing and dancing.


4. Oh Man!


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:28 AM | Permalink

December 15, 2010

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Bears Actually Have Momentum

Blue: Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail. But if you're going to get nailed, isn't it better that this happens at the hand of the best team in the NFL instead of one of the perennial cellar dwellers - as happened to the Green Bay Packers against the Lions?

Additionally, though the Bears were embarrassed on national TV, at least the stadium didn't collapse as happened up in Minneapolis. The Patriots 'shocked and awed' the Bears into total disarray by the end of the first half of Sunday's 36-7 shaming, but there is much to find in the way of positives going into the final three games of the season:

* We lost the first half 33-0 but won the second half 7-3.

If Lovie is going to cram down our throats that a season is divided into winning or losing in different quarters of the season, why not score each game by halves? We lost the first half badly, but adjusted well and took the second half in a squeaker. This kind of momentum has to translate into a fast start eight days later.

*Jay Cutler might be Iron Man.

Though he has been sacked the most of any quarterback in the NFL, he is the only starting quarterback of all NFC North teams to definitely be starting in next weeks' games. An additional positive being that if Cutler is Iron Man, there is the possibility that Scarlett Johansson will play the role of his assistant as she did in IM2 and can take up the roster spot currently held by Todd Collins. Not only does this ease the pain of no Bears cheerleaders since 1985, but her arm rivals Collins'.

* The names Jeff Garcia, Daunte Culpepper and Patrick Ramsey are not being mentioned as possible leaders for this team through the stretch run to the end of the season.

Matt Flynn was terrible backing up Aaron Rodgers for the Packers after the latter suffered his second concussion of the season. Not only was Tavaris Jackson equally horrendous while taking the spot vacated by Brett Favre, but he has turf toe and might need to yield the starting job to Joe Webb. Then again, with how effective Brett Favre has been this year, the Bears might have a better chance against him versus an unknown.

* If the Bears take down the Vikings and the Packers lose to the Patriots this Sunday, the Bears clinch the NFC North.

I'm personally fine with the Bears falling backwards into the playoffs primarily through beating bad teams combined with injuries to their mates in the North.

* As of this writing the Metrodome is still a Danish with a hole, meaning that the game will be played outdoors at the University of Minnesota's stadium.

After showing their collective asses in supposed "Bear Weather" versus the Pats, these Bears have to come fired up to clinch over a division rival. Though they reside in a northerly climate, the Vikings practice and play indoors and if they do bring old and horny Favre back for whatever reason, he hates playing in the cold. Advantage Bears.

* Forte, Bennett, Knox.

Each has three years' experience or less and should continue to improve as this season goes on. Motivated by a playoff push through the final three games of the season, each should be bringing their A games to bear. Then again, this team was looking for legitimacy both in Chicago as well as across the NFL last weekend against the Patriots and we saw how that went.

If it seems as though I've basically skipped past the debacle against the Patriots, you're just reading what my brain did soon after Deion Branch sauntered into the end zone on the final play of the first half, moving on to the future. The Bears were terrible in that half, basically showing the wide gulf between what it takes to eek out a divisional title over teams like the Vikings, Packers and Lions and what it takes to be considered the best team in the NFL. We're not that team, at least not yet. The pain of Sunday has receded and barring a total collapse, we should be headed towards an NFC title and the playoffs.

Bears at Vikings
The Bears have everything to play for, the Vikings nothing. The Bears are healthy for the most part, the Vikings are not. While the Bears are looking forward to making an impact in a playoff run, the Vikings are looking at who might be their quarterback in 2011 and Patrick Ramsey is a possibility for Monday.

Bears 24, Vikings 3.


Orange: Have you ever met a mediocre musician at a party?

They go on and on about their inspirations, usually citing bands you've never heard of, give you a detailed rundown of their musical equipment and foist some poorly engineered tape/CD onto you, however brief your interaction with them may be.

Feeling generous, or maybe piteous, you listen to their work and it sounds alright, for what it is. Not really technically proficient or catchy music, but it's been executed to the point of recognizability.

Huh, you say to yourself. I guess it's kind of cool that they can do that. Not everybody can.

But the next day you go see a Fleetwood Mac/Public Enemy/Stone Temple Pilots concert (depending on the year you were about 16) and the crappy demo is flung from your driver's side window in disgust. The difference between a professional and an amateur is stark.

Never was the chasm between the two levels of aptitude more apparent than Sunday afternoon on the lakefront. The game featured a true contender who can win against any team in the league and an okay NFC team.

The way Thomas the Touchdown Engine and His Merciless Football Friends are playing, the New England Patriots might just be alone in the top echelon of the NFL.

There are plenty of statistical angles on New England's victory that could provide some insight as to specifically how they dismantled the Monsters of the Middle, but none are needed. Lord knows CBS analysts Phil Simms and Jim Nance don't need help heaping another wheelbarrow of bouquets in Tom Brady's direction.

The eye test offered more than enough proof that the Bears were just plain out-footballed.

Would it have helped if Chris Harris came up with that interception in the end zone on the first Patriot drive?

Could the Bears have snatched momentum if two of Jay Cutler's long rushes hadn't been called back by holding penalties?

Maybe. But these things would probably have just delayed the inevitable.

There's something to be said for a beating this absolute.

Is there any debate over whether Fred Astaire or Taco performs a more definitive version of "Puttin' on the Ritz?" Of course not.

Bears at Vikings
It snows heavily in Minnesota? Who knew!

All these years of hating the Vikings and we never gave them any crap for playing their home games in a moonwalk.

The loss to the Patriots only counts as one game, but the hangover effect from this demoralizing defeat will weigh on the Bears' heads like, well, 100 tons of snow.

With Brett Favre taking some time to rest his aching prostate (he should never have endorsed those Wrangler Taint-Blasters marketed to the emo crowd), the Vikings are sporting a quarterback tandem of Tavaris Jackson and Joe Webb*, depending on who has most recently injured their knee by colliding with Adrian Peterson.

Expect backup running back Toby Gerhart to have a big day on the 15 plays Peterson rests.

The Bears will have opportunities to score, but untimely picks and failed fourth-down conversions will cause them to stall out in Vikings territory at least three times.

Vikings 17, Bears 14.

*Fun fact: Joe Webb has already updated his Wikipedia page with his stat line from December 13th's game against the Giants.


Andrew Golden brings you the Blue half of this report every week; Carl Mohrbacher brings you the Orange. They welcome your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:31 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Wal-Mart said earlier this week that they don't have plans to move into a space in the densely populated East Lakeview neighborhood, but now there is word they might be eyeing another site in a Bucktown area corridor that is already loaded with big-box stores," CBS2 reports.

I have a feeling that over the course of the next year nearly every neighborhood in Chicago will be terrorized by rumors and reports of a Walmart moving in. Some of them may even be true.

Maybe Some Change Will Trickle Down To Us
"President Obama notched two hard-fought legislative victories this year with the passage of the healthcare and financial-services reform bills," The Hill reports.

"But the wins for the White House didn't necessarily translate to defeats for the affected industries.

"Both of those laws - massive reconfigurations of America's healthcare and financial services sectors - had niches and loopholes carved out by lobbyists for various companies, sometimes protecting or even boosting their firms' bottom lines."

Pat-Down Shakedown
"Midway gets its first full-body scanner."


Does it work on contracts?

Compare and Contrast
Sun-Times: Rahm Emanuel On The Hot Seat.

Tribune: Emanuel Keeps Cool During 11 Hours Of Residency Questions.

Beachwood: Rahm Answers "Fuck You" To Every Question But Only In His Head As He Outwardly Remains Merely High-Strung.


The Ten Best Questions From The Rahm Emanuel Residency Hearing.

Wisconsin Miracle
Virgin Mary was a cheesehead.

Cult Band
"This will be my sixth Christmas spent without my daughter, Juanita 'Nita,'" Joanne Robinson writes in the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald.

"I have been denied access to her for well over five years because I don't belong to the Love Holy Trinity Blessed Mission, a cult headquartered in Chicago but with Dubuque ties."


Love Holy Trinity's Wikipedia entry.

This Year's Best Holiday Gift Guide
Is in the Beachwood.

Push Poll
Mayoral candidate who has been the focus of the vast majority of news coverage leads early name-recognition poll if you don't count the margin of error, which otherwise places Undecided in the lead.

Brain Dead
"Portfolio recently released a list (warning: PDF) of their 'brainiest' cities, and now anyone who has access to the Internet has access to proof of 43 cities apparently having 'more brainpower' than Chicago," the A.V. Club Chicago reports.

Just 43? Daley must've held out the River Wards until finding out how many votes he needed to at least get into the top 50.

West Chicago Park District #83 Cheerleaders Take First Place At State
Um, they're third-graders.

Did He At Least Leave A Note?
"A Linn County [Iowa] inmate who was freed over the weekend to attend his grandfather's funeral in Chicago has not returned," AP reports.


From the Cedar Rapids Gazette:

"Court records show Baylis has an extensive criminal history. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 28 on a first-degree robbery charge after he and another man allegedly used an air pistol to rob a man in Marion. After the incident, police chased the car Baylis was driving down Interstate 380 until he ran over stop sticks in Cedar Rapids, according to a police report."


Here's what's maddening: The stories I've looked at only say that Baylis "was supposed to be back on Monday." Was he not chaperoned? Did they rent him a car? I mean, c'mon!

Yankees Sign Mark Prior
Reunited with Larry Rothschild and his towels.

I Am Now!
"Are you flying on Southwest Airlines today? If yes, you get free Corona beers on your flight," Jaunted reports. "If no, you obviously don't get free Corona beer, but you can still take advantage of the reason for the pleasing.

"Today is the first official day of Southwest's complete partnership with Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris. From today, you can book Volaris flights on and Southwest flights on Volaris, if you so desire. But most importantly, the airlines are now codesharing; you'll be able to hop a Southwest plane to Chicago and from there, a Volaris jet to Guadalajara, for example, and have it all land on one itinerary.

"To celebrate this, Southwest is handing out free Corona on all their normal flights around the USA, but only today, December 15."


The Beachwood Tip Line: Our bar is your bar.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:29 AM | Permalink

Rahm Answers "Fuck You" To Every Question But Only In His Head As He Outwardly Remains Merely High-Strung

"Rahm Emanuel didn't drop the F-bomb, not once during more than 11 hours of questioning at his residency hearing on Tuesday, and he didn't strangle a single citizen inquisitor or send them a dead fish," John Kass writes. "For that alone, he deserves a round of applause."

Let's take a look.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:02 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: One-Trick Ponies Worth Riding

In any fantasy draft, multi-category stat production is what you're looking for above all else. Running backs who collect a lot of yards but don't score and home run hitters who can't do anything else are rarely top-round talent. You can say the same in the hoops world for centers who block shots but don't get many rebounds and point guards who collect bushels of assists but don't score.

Yet, as a long season lingers on, you realize that even the one-trick ponies can come in handy to help your fantasy basketball team beef up performance in certain weak categories. Here are a few ideas for stat-boosting specialists in every category:

Points: Michael Beasley, SF/PF, Minnesota.

He's averaging 21.3 PPG on a team where he plays second fiddle to Kevin Love, but he's benefitting from Love's huge season as the opposition keys in on the big man. Beasley will not get you much else, but he will score. Available in 12% of Yahoo! leagues.

Rebounds: Anderson Varejao, PF/C, Cleveland.

9.4 RPG to go with 8.6 PPG doesn't seem like much, but in a much quieter Cavs scheme this year, Varejao is starting to emerge as a top rebounder, averaging two rebounds more per game this year than during his past two seasons. Available in 26% of Yahoo! leagues.

Assists: Jason Kidd, PG, Dallas.

The old man scores less and less, but he's fifth in APG this season at 8.9. The double-doubles and triple-doubles he produced so consistently over the years are a reach now, but he just keeps dishing. Available in just 2% of Yahoo! leagues, but he's always hot trade bait.

Blocks: Serge Ibaka, PF/C, Oklahoma City.

He's averaging 2.4 blocks per game and his minutes continue to increase. His 10.6 PPG is a nice bonus, and his 80% free throw shooting won't hurt. Available in 20% of Yahoo! leagues.

Steals: Cory Brewer, SG/SF, Minnesota.

An interesting player who is often at the end of my fantasy bench. While he can be unreliable in other categories, he is amazingly consistent with steals, averaging 1.9 takeaways per game. Available in more than 80% of Yahoo! leagues.

Threes: Mike Bibby, PG, Atlanta.

Another guard whose best days are behind him, but his 10 points or so per game often include at least a pair of three-pointers. His average of 2.1 3PPG can help you win an often overlooked category. Available in 48% of Yahoo! leagues.

Replacing Rogers
If you made it to the fantasy football playoffs on the arm of Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers, you might be in trouble this week, as Rodgers may sit with a concussion. Where can help be found? Look no further than the guy who was the No. 1 pick the same year Rodgers sat in the green room waiting to be taken at No. 24.

Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco, has done little in the five years since, and appeared to lose his job for good after an injury earlier this year, but last week threw for 255 yards and three TDs without an INT. Smith's only problem is he'll face San Diego's No. 1 defense this week, but with star RB Frank Gore gone for the year, he'll definitely be throwing.


Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears in this space every Wednesday. He welcomes your comments. You can also read his about his split sports fan personality at his Beachwood blog SwingsBothWays.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:58 AM | Permalink

The Beachwood's 2010 Holiday Gift Guide

Sometime between my 20th and 30th birthdays, my mother got it into her head that Christmas wouldn't be complete without giving me one gift that I have absolutely no use for. Lately, she's taken to gifting me with a huge bucket of three-flavored popcorn. This might be fine for others, but my yearly consumption of popcorn wouldn't keep a refugee alive past breakfast.

My sisters do not get such tokens of affection, so I'm not sure whether this is my mother's statement on the sibling pecking order or that she genuinely can't figure out what to do with the remaining ten bucks she budgets for my gift-buying. So every year my big-ass tin of popcorn sits forlornly in the corner of my apartment, the modern-day equivalent of the Texas Fruitcake my great-aunt would give my parents every Christmas throughout the 60s and 70s.

The way I see it, if you're going to give someone something goofy, at least make it something that's goofy and inherently useful. That's one of the foremost reasons why, when it comes to my own kids, I make it a point to break this cycle of madness by giving them something full of dumb fun and love that they'll actually appreciate - which is the spirit behind the Beachwood's 2010 Holiday Gift Guide.


Item: Screaming Slingshot Monkey
Price: $7.95.
Why: It's a slingshot. You can shoot it around indoors. It screams as it flies through the air. And it's a monkey. How much more fun can you pack into eight measly dollars?


Item: Holiday Toilet Paper
Price: $4.95 per roll.
Why: People like Martha Stewart make a bazillion dollars a year showing everyone how to create the perfect Christmas centerpieces, assemble hoity-toity appetizer spreads, and mull all the spices needed to put everyone in the mood to go a-Wassailing. Yet, they always seem to totally neglect perhaps the most important household necessity: the roll of bathroom butt wipe.

Fear not, Walmart warrior. Not only can you choose from a "Seasons Greetings" or traditional Santa motif, but you'll have 200 squares of 2-ply to let your holiday guests know you care.


Item: Black Legion Battle Axe
Price: $169.99.
Why: Everyone in the world knows nobody fucks with the Barumen Axemen of Lokonia, so nothing says you mean complete balls-out business like dragging along this huge-ass piece of rompin' stompin' messenger-of-death on a stick.


Item: Super Caffeinated Chocolate Rocks
Price: $3.99 - $8.99.
Why: Who cares if the FDA has banned Four Loko? Just toss in a bottle of Jagermeister along with the 600mg of caffeine packed into every box and you'll be back on the party train in no time. And the candies are shaped like rocks, which might loosen up any geologists in your Christmas crowd. Added bonus: Available in coffee flavor too, making this the perfect morning-after parting gift for hangovers and walks of shame.


Item: Fun Slides Carpet Skates
Price: $15.99.
Why: Because every college kid still needs a hero, and the ten-spot you've been stuffing in your niece/nephew/grandkid's Christmas card the past 15 or so years doesn't go as far as it used to. In fact, spring for a few pairs of these bad boys and you'll be a superhero to everyone in their entire dorm complex for, like, fuckingever.


Item: Fisher Chrome Bullet Space Pen
Price: $21.95.
Why: Back in the day, nothing said you've arrived at an important station in life like The Grownup Pen - traditionally a highly ornate, expensive fountain pen befitting college or high school graduates, and traditionally gifted by proud grandparents or absentee uncles on Merchant Marine shore leave in Fiji. Problem is, ornate fountain pens tend to bleed an ornate mess of ink all over the damn place.

Luckily, in 1967 the same NASA engineers who came up with Tang came up with the Fisher Space Pen, which was able to write upside down, underwater, on top of grease, at the North Pole, and on the surface of the sun.


Item: An authentic Barcalounger
Price: Priceless.
Why: Only the Chevrolet Corvette is a truer American Classic than the authentic, TV-watchin' Barcalounger, a brand name that has been embedded in every man's Dad DNA since we were inventing fire and dragging our knuckles on the ground.

Not to be confused with the pedestrian, cloth-upholstered things favored by Archie Bunker and the dad on Frasier, this - somewhat sadly - is not your granddad's Barcalounger. Improved fire-safety standards protecting guys who fall asleep with burning cigarettes and over-poaching of the graceful American Naugahyde shortly after internationally-famous actor Ricardo Montalban introduced the Chrysler Cordoba in 1975 took care of that. So now you no longer stick to the chair when you get up on a sweaty summer day when you're not wearing a shirt or a pair of pants.

With due respect to the folks at La-Z-Boy, nothing silently oozes "I love you, man" to the old man like Barca. Frank Barone would approve.


Item: Porcelain Dashboard Hula Girl
Price: $5.99.
Why: Sure, there are somewhat-retro versions of this original dashboard Hula Girl, but they're made of plastic resin for cryin' out loud, and they don't have the all-important hand-painted "Aloha" embossed on the base. In fact, the Hawaii Tourism Bureau has been lobbying Congress for decades to ban these plastic dashboard imposters. Little things mean a lot, so if you're gonna expend the effort to go authentic-retro for someone you care about, it's important to stick to the real deal.


Item: Office Voodoo Kit
Price: $12.99.
Why: Because everyone's boss is a dick.


Item: A quart of Crown Royal. In the purple velvet bag.
Price: Whatever they're charging at the liquor store on the way.
Why: There was a time not long ago when Christmas love to your old man, grandfather, or favorite uncle was expressed with a carton of smokes and a quart - a quart, not that metric nonsense Europeans have trying to confuse us with for the past 50 years - of true Canadian-pride Crown Royal whiskey. A quart of Crown Royal has always been the perfect size and sentiment; giving the half-gallon bottle just meant you were showing off.

Spring for the Christmas gift box if you must, but it should always include the trademark royal-purple cloth bag, which makes all the difference because everyone knows it has a multitude of purposes such as marble bags for the kids, stash bags for 20-somethings, or, in a pinch, a chamois for drying off the car in the driveway. Without it, you might as well be regifting gramps with some everyday Seagram's swill your next-door neighbor brought to your Fourth of July cookout.


Item: One-year subscription to Modern Drunkard magazine
Price: $24.
Why: Because every single one of us knows someone with a twisted sense of humor who enjoys the lush life. If someone as dark and disturbed as Charles Bukowski can somehow be anointed the Shakespeare of drunk literature, then Modern Drunkard is the National Lampoon equivalent. Social disease has never been wittier.

As editor Frank Kelly Rich reflects in his "Let's Get Stimulated" essay on the recession: "We drunks, on the other hand, are the very personification of optimism and hope. When Katrina smashed New Orleans and everything went to hell, which businesses remained open, which group kept their wits about them and organized havens of civility and order? The bars and the drunks, that's who. Historically, drunks have always held high the torch of hope where others fell into despair and whimpered for mercy."


Item: Neato XV-11 Robotic All-Floor Vacuum Cleaner
Price: $399.
Why: Not only will the XV-11 have the floor of your entire shithole apartment cleaned up hours before you get home with your casual 2 a.m. bar hookup, it'll find its way to its charger when it gets low on juice, and then pick up where it left off and park itself when it's done.


Item: Hisonic Signature Series 4518 Snare Drum
Price: $59.99.
Why: Because it is the God-given duty of every uncle to give your nephew or niece one gift during your lifetime that serves no purpose other than to annoy the living shit out of your brother or sister. In the world of annoying things that every kid will love, nothing says you care more than a snare drum. Sure, you can go whole-hog with a whole drum set, but young children have the attention span of a sand flea and the coordination of a rag doll.

You can throw in a set of drumsticks for a few bucks more, but sooner or later, the kid's just going to end up using the kitchen silverware anyway.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:52 AM | Permalink

December 14, 2010

The [Tuesday] Papers

Thanks to to everyone who made it out to the Beachwood Inn last night - particularly our senior sports correspondent Jim "Coach" Coffman, whose impressive jukebox run put an even bigger smile on my face than this:


Unfortunately, this bus driver is no longer working for the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District.

Adam West For Mayor!
Of Chicago. Really.

Big Mac Hack Attack
"McDonald's databases hacked, customer data stolen."

What customer data - our body mass indexes?


Yeah, I feel like there's a better line out there. And if I was feeling sharper this morning I'd fashion something really clever out of the fact that Walgreens and Gawker were also hacked. Like, if they hack into the Beachwood Inn's database next they'll completely have me covered.


The Beachwood Inn is cash only. But we do track your jukebox selections.


Maybe the hackers were looking for the recipe for McRib.

Too soon?

Walmart's Way
"There are dueling articles in the Journal and Times about Walmart's renwed interest in New York," the New York Observer reports. "Not to brag, but both sound a lot like an item we wrote back in September, about how the world's largest retailer and nation's largest employer would use the same tactics that recently succeeded in Chicago to build its first box store in New York. Namely, split labor support between the construction and service unions, exploit the recession and high unemployment, and integrate itself into larger projects or as-of-right development."

Ex-Hawk Factor
"During the Thrashers 4-3 overtime win over Ottawa, Thrashers defenseman-turned-forward-turned-defenseman Dustin Byfuglien scored his 11th goal of the season late in the second period. For Byfuglien, that goal set a new Thrashers team record for goals scored by a defenseman."

Rahm's Hearing Tour
He may be a resident but is he an Earthling?

Walmart Denies Expanding Reign of Terror To Lake View
"Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) brought a meeting of concerned Lake View residents a statement from Walmart Dec. 13 that said the giant retail chain has not signed any agreements to lease space for a new-concept, small urban store in Lake View," Gay Chicago reports.

"'Contrary to media reports, Walmart has not executed a lease or letter of intent with the developer to locate a store on the property known as Broadway at Surf, at 2840 N. Broadway,' the Walmart statement said."

Rich people thank Obama for not oppressing them by forcing them to pay more to their accountants in order to evade higher taxes.


Meanwhile . . .

Cover Lovers
In Action: The Flat Five at the Hideout.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Lovin' it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:03 AM | Permalink

Adam West For Mayor!

A perfect gift for the political junkie who loves Family Guy. Available now!

Plus: Join the Adam West for Chicago Mayor Facebook group!



A preview of the campaign.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:23 AM | Permalink

Hard Cover

"Hard Cover shows documentary films taking place in Chicago. About choices teenagers have to make when they are stuck in a crossroad in life. Be sure to check out Hard Cover on the Youth Channel. You can catch Hard Cover on the Youth Channel on Tuesdays from 4-5 p.m."


Hard Cover also airs every Monday at 5:30 p.m. on CAN TV19.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:14 AM | Permalink

In Action: The Flat Five at the Hideout

"Members of Chicago's music scene enjoy creative advantages lost on most other locales," Bob Gendron writes for the Tribune. "Largely uninterested in competition, many local artists engage in collaborative relationships more typically associated with college towns than urban environments. Few groups embody the city's community-style camaraderie and chemistry like the Flat Five. Comprised of roots-minded vocalists/instrumentalists, the quintet gathers once a year to learn an array of era-spanning pop covers and play for fun.

"Performing the first of two shows Friday at a sold-out Hideout, the Flat Five continued tradition with a 70-minute concert that felt akin to being present at a warm, impromptu campfire session. Featuring endearing interpretations of songs by tunesmiths ranging from Hoagy Carmichael to Harry Nilsson, the band's unpredictable, deep-cut set testified to the allure of simple melodies and sublime voices. Radio stations should be so lucky to employ program directors whose playlists reflect such diversity and taste."

Let's take a look - and listen.

1. Harry Nilsson's "Are You Sleeping?"


2. The Beach Boys' "Let Him Run Wild."


3. Joe South's "Birds of a Feather."


4. David Mead's "Rainy Weather Friend."


5. KC McDonough's "Fighting Back."


6. Bob Dorough and Fred Landsman's "Without Rhyme or Reason."


7. Leslie Gore's "Treat Me Like A Lady."


8. Joe Cocker's "Those Precious Words."


See also:
* The Best Cover Band That Plays One Gig A Year


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:42 AM | Permalink

December 13, 2010

The [Monday] Papers

1. The Trib's photo gallery from Soldier Field yesterday.


4screens' photostream on Flickr.


Contemplating a mitten fire.

2. Sassy Snowmen.

3. The Weekend in Chicago Rock.

4. If it's Monday, that means it's almost time for Beachwood Monday Night! Once again I'll be behind the bar at the venerable Beachwood Inn slinging ice cold Old Styles and shaving a buck off your bottom shelf selections. The jukebox is already warming up.

5. "Two professors of finance are giving a sharp rap on the knuckles to Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and other major cities," ABC News reports. "Their warning: Better fix your pension problems fast."

6. The Chicago French Market: Neither Chicago, French or Marketable. Discuss.

7. New comments posted on Reinventing Chicago's City Colleges; Mayoral Odds updated.

8. "When Carol Moseley Braun needed money for her new business, the onetime U.S. senator and ambassador - now one of the big names in the race for Chicago mayor - turned to a former campaign contributor for help," the Sun-Times reports.

"Joseph Stroud, a millionaire TV station owner from Oak Brook, came through in August 2006 with a $250,000 loan for her company, Ambassador Organics, a line of coffees, teas and spices.

"That was about nine months after Stroud - the owner of WJYS-Channel 62, a station that fills its airtime with paid religious programming, health shows and infomercials - was found liable of harassing a former employee in a racially charged court case that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld last month."


"The case stemmed from Stroud's firing of a woman named Jerri Blount in October 2000. Blount - who, like Stroud, is black - had taken the side of a white woman, fired by Stroud's company, who then filed a federal discrimination lawsuit.

"After being fired herself, Blount sued Stroud. She testified that he got mad at her for backing her co-worker, called her an 'ignorant n-----' and told her she shouldn't 'side with' the other woman because 'white people' have 'done nothing for her.'

"Blount also testified that, another time, Stroud 'started screaming at her and told her that she needed to know who she was 'up against,' asserting that he was 'one of the richest n-----s in the world," and that she did not know who she was 'f---ing with,'' according to an appeals court ruling. 'Stroud also stated that he could cause her to cease to exist."


Now where have I heard Joseph Stroud's name before?

Aha, here it is, from Roland Burris's appearance before state legislators to explain his appointment to the U.S. Senate:

DURKIN: Do you know a man named Joseph Stroud?


REP. JIM DURKIN: Mr. Stroud made a $1.2 million contribution to the Burris campaign [in 2002] under Telephone USA Investments. It is the single largest campaign contribution in state history. The only other person to receive a campaign contribution from Telephone USA ever was Rod Blagojevich in 2006 for $100,000.

BURRIS' ATTORNEY: Are you suggesting the senator is part of a telephone company?

DURKIN: I want to understand who Joseph Stroud is.

BURRIS: Mr. Stroud made a loan to the Burris for Governor campaign. That loan is still outstanding. That's all I know about that situation.

DURKIN: Has Mr. Stroud forgiven the loan?

BURRIS: The campaign committee no longer exists. I have no way of repaying the money, and I have not heard from Mr. Stroud.


REP. JILL TRACY: What kind of business is Mr. Stroud in?

BURRIS: He owns TV stations.

ME: Hence the name of his company, Telephone USA Investments.

TRACY: Does he have any contracts with the state of Illinois?

BURRIS: I have no idea.

TRACY: Are you in contact with him?

BURRIS: I see him socially.

TRACY: Have you talked about the loan?

BURRIS: It has never come up.

ME: What's $1.2 million between friends?


Also, about Moseley-Braun's organic coffee company, from the Sun-Times:

"In March, she put her house up for sale, later explaining she didn't need such a big home after her grown son had decided not to go ahead with plans to move in with her. Asking price: $1.9 million - $200,000 more than she bought it for in December 2006.

"Now, Braun acknowledges that the recession has hurt her company, which she launched in 2005. She says, 'I began my small organic coffee and tea company at the beginning of the recession and have fought, like many other small-business owners, to hold on.'"


That would be Good Food Organics, which includes the brand Ambassador Organics.


Apparently the self-described "recovering politician" has relapsed.


From her first and only blog entry, February 2009: "I am going to try to update my blog on a weekly basis."


I will say I think Moseley-Braun actually has a decent chance in this campaign and is being underestimated by folks like one of our resident geniuses who recently wrote "[T]o my surprise, I saw media outlets conveying Moseley Braun's opinions, as if they were significant news," and "I feel terrible subjecting Moseley Braun to this - it'll be far easier when the field is narrowed down to electable candidates."

CMB is likely to be the sole woman on the ballot (apparently Patricia Van Pelt Watkins hasn't been bounced yet) and possibly the only liberal African American, given that Rev. James Meeks is a conservative and Danny Davis may be out soon. She's smart and a great speaker. I'm not endorsing her; in fact, I think she'd be a disaster. But that doesn't mean she doesn't have a better chance than she's being given.


She's also got some Daley henchmen by her side - as several candidates seem to have - and campaign manager Mike Noonan is a real piece of work.

Then again, maybe she's just a decoy.

Mystic Vibes TV
From Chicago to the reggae world.

Obama Becomes A Joke
The third term of George W. Bush or the second term of his father?

Dead Poets Society
In Lincoln Square.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Sling fling.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:21 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Bears Blown Over

It wasn't even halftime and I was ready to set a pair of innocent mittens on fire.

The sound of my wife's ultra-warm, practically mountaineering mittens thudding, thudding, thudding together punctuated the Bears' embarrassing 36-7 loss to the Patriots. Julie, a Newton, Mass. native, is a fan of the star-spangled squad and while she was not alone on the lakefront Sunday, there weren't very many of her brethren in our section.

When she stood to cheer - and she had reason to do so continually in the first two quarters - the sound of those mittens slamming together was enough to make a Bear fan batty.

I had actually bailed out shortly before the final indignity, that ludicrous breakdown in the Bear secondary that allowed Deion Branch to cavort into the end zone on the penultimate play before intermission. Visions of a mitten fire began dancing in my head after Shayne Graham's second field goal made the score 27-0 and shortly thereafter I excused myself from our seats in section 235. So I only saw Branch's catch and run - and the ridiculous punt return touchdown called back by a holding penalty that preceded it - on video monitors back on the nearest concourse.

This was my nearly annual trek to Bizarro Stadium, otherwise known as Soldier Field, where I learned for the first time that there is a very strange lack of men's room space on the west side at the second level. I think I've made it to four Bear games in person the last five years. It has been observed many times and many ways that football is the perfect televised sport but it is important to get to a game in person at least occasionally.

On this day, the killer was I had left my seat with plenty of time to spare, I thought, before the big halftime rush. But the line was long at the first facility I scouted out and even longer when I doubled back and found a second one. Atrocious. One final delightful note: a beer vendor had stationed himself just inside the exit door. But he wasn't doing much business. The whole "pissing away another eight bucks" thing (the low, low price of a standard stadium beer) was too obvious even for most of the drunkest of drunks.

But enough about the splendid stadium scene; let's talk about the weather. At the last instant before we turned off of Lake Shore Drive and onto 18th street on our way into a south parking lot, the western half of the stadium loomed into view through the swirling snow. We could just barely see the giant half toilet bowl towering over colonnades scene that never fails to provoke wonder. It must be said yet again with a certain perverse pride - surely there is no more strangely constructed stadium anywhere in the world.

After pausing for the critical last-minute wardrobe adjustments - one last layer of fleece inserted, hand-warmers stuffed into the toes of boots - we embarked on the hike to the field. The wind was out of the north of course and it was as harsh as it could be. Fortunately our seats were covered and sheltered from some of the gusts. Little flurries occasionally almost sparkled in front of us. Out on the field, every 10 minutes or so, swirling winds stirred up vicious cyclones of snow.

Amazingly enough, even after a terrible first half of football, the vast majority of fans - even in the exposed eastern stands - returned to their seats. All game long, the guys in the grounds crew kept going back out onto the field, clearing the line markers with brooms, big squeegees, blowers and, for the sidelines, large snow sweepers.

We bailed out with five minutes left, after Jay Cutler threw his second interception. The primary thing to remember after this game is that the Bears are still 9-4. Clearly they were exposed as not measuring up to the Patriots but who does in the NFL these days? Let's hope the squad at least started to figure out what not to do in the cold and snow, given that the most logical place for them to play next week's game with the Vikings, post Metrodome collapse, is the new outdoor football field at the University of Minnesota.

With that in mind, the Bears could be in for an extremely cold final quarter of the season, what with their final two games at home against the Jets and then up at Lambeau Field. I recommend purchasing a massive supply of hand-warming packets. They work especially well down by your toes.

The walk back to the car was less harsh, what with the wind now at our backs. We were able to exit the parking lot and get back onto the Drive without much hassle at all and it was smooth sailing down to the start of the Stevenson, over to the Dan Ryan and then back up north. The game may have been a disappointment, but given the conditions, getting into and out of the parking lot had been amazingly aggravation free.

And by the time we were clear of downtown the echoes in my brain of the thud, thud, thudding had just about dissipated.

Outside Views
NFL Video: Patriots The NFL's Top Team? It Was A Breeze.

Inside Views
By MisterSym:


By gpastorino:


By peterfnet:


Jim Coffman brings you SportsMonday in this space every week. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:31 AM | Permalink

Obama Becomes A Joke

Is this the third term of George W. Bush or the second term of his father?

1. Obama's Hostage Tale.


2. Pussy Obama.


3. Spin Systems Inc.


4. Now Democrats want to see his birth certificate!


5. Man of many myths.


6. Bill Maher: "I thought, when we elected the first black president, as a comedian, I thought two years in, I'd be making jokes about what a gangsta he was, you know? Instead we've got President Wayne Brady."


7. Jon Stewart: Obama tax deal like losing weight with bacon.


8. In Latest Compromise with GOP, Obama Agrees He is a Muslim.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:13 AM | Permalink

He Is Like October When He Is Dead

Steve Roggenbuck at the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square on Saturday.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:43 AM | Permalink

The Chicago French Market: Neither Chicago, French or Marketable

1. From Kurman Communications:

Chicago French Market Celebrates 1st Anniversary Dec. 17-18. Guests enjoy market-wide tastings, gift certificates, music and more at Chicago's first indoor, year-round market.

CHICAGO - Join Chicago French Market for its 'Bon Anniversaire,' a two-day celebration honoring Chicago's first and only year-round, indoor market beginning at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 17 and Saturday, Dec. 18.

Guests attending the celebration will enjoy free tastings throughout the market, as well as live music, entertainment and the chance to win gift certificates and prizes. Beginning at 10 a.m. each day, 1,000 guests receive a complimentary reusable tote bag, perfect for purchases made at one of the market's nearly 30 artisan vendors. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. Friday, and 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

In addition to the complimentary market-wide tastings, Chicago French Market vendors will distribute 'scratch off cards' to customers for the chance to win gift certificates to the market valued at $1 to $20 to use at the market. There is no purchase necessary to receive a scratch off card. Quantities are limited to one per person.

Anniversary Festivities: Friday, Dec. 17
From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, enjoy a live concert from Chicago folk artist, Andrew Calhoun. There will be a drawing at 6 p.m. for a $300 gift certificate to L2O, a Michelin three-star restaurant. There is no purchase necessary to enter the drawing, and the winner does not need to be present to win.

Anniversary Festivities: Saturday, Dec. 18
Visit Santa Claus at the market from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and enjoy a special cake cutting and refreshments at 1:30 p.m. While there will be live entertainment 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., a special performance from the LaSalle Academy Carolers will be from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. A drawing will be held at 5 p.m. for two separate $300 gift certificate to L2O, a Michelin three-star restaurant. There is no purchase necessary to enter the drawing, and the winner does not need to be present.

About Chicago French Market
Chicago French Market is a European-inspired market offering an array of local produce, meats, seafood, breads, pastries, cheese, wine, chocolates, pastas, artisan-made goods, specialty drinks, flowers, prepared meals and a seating area for customers. Chicago French Market's diverse group of local vendors stay open year-round, six days per week, and is located within the new MetraMarket development at 131 N. Clinton St. (between Washington and Randolph Streets). For more information, visit


2. From Crain's, Oct. 11, 2010:

"Last December, Mayor Richard M. Daley proudly unveiled the Chicago French Market inside the Ogilvie Transportation Center. It had taken some $25 million, including $8 million in tax subsidies, to see the overall MetraMarket project to fruition. For Mr. Daley, long charmed by the urbanity of Paris, the fresh-food court was worth the money from tax-increment financing.

"'The city has to put some skin in the game, and that's what we did,' he told the crowd.

"Today, many others with skin in the game are scraped and bruised. Except for the French Market and a nearby coffee shop and CVS drugstore, MetraMarket is as empty as it was when the West Loop project began eight years ago. Almost 35,000 square feet of retail space - enough to accommodate 13 restaurants or stores - remains unoccupied. A second space, across West Randolph Street, contains another 33,000 square feet.

"The French Market has vacancies, too. Three of its original vendors closed over the summer, and others say they are struggling. They say the 15,000-square-foot food market, tucked beneath the center's Metra train platforms, suffers from a trifecta of maladies: too few passers-by with time to shop, an easy-to-miss location and the lingering economic malaise."


3. How to fix it, from Paul McAleer at phonezilla:

"Just last year, Chicago got its own permanent market. Located in the Ogilvie Transportation Center, the Chicago French Market opened to much fanfare. Fast forward to today, and it seems that the market is languishing. What's the deal?

"I'm a big fan of these types of markets. I admit that I've only been to two, in Toronto and Milwaukee, but both of them are fabulous. Toronto's St. Lawrence market is a big, old warehouse-y space with myriad vendors, wonderful smells and sights, and lots of unique items. Milwaukee's is smaller and newer than TO's but feels very comfortable and integrated with its surrounding neighborhood.

"In contrast, the Chicago French Market is small and soulless. But it can be fixed."


"Let's talk about location first. The CFM is located in something called MetraMarket, a number of retail spaces built in the main station concourse one level below the trains themselves. MetraMarket, named for Metra commuter rail, has three tenants: CFM, CVS, and Lavazza. The remaining storefronts are empty. The CFM, then, gets equal billing and visibility as any other store there.

"Worse, the CFM is not truly integrated into the train station. One must enter the market between two tracks like any other store. This doesn't work with the traffic flow. The trains are indeed one level above MetraMarket, and the vast majority of commuters in this concourse are simply passing through to get to buses and their offices. In addition, many more commuters exit from the train level of the station which empties directly into CitiCorp Center . . . and there's more, separate retail there . . .

"Having temporary spaces for some vendors in the concourse, as the CFM has started to do, is good. Go further and make those spaces permanent. Bring more of the market out onto the concourse, where there are thousands of people every day.

"And don't discount bringing more of the market up to the train level of Ogilvie, either. Just one or two vendors would be a start.

"It's just plain hard to get to the market. At least one elevator shaft needs to be built, for the current accessibility is laughably poor. The current signage, imploring people leaving into CitiCorp to, 'Turn around and go downstairs!' is also a miss. These signs are in locations where people are leaving, not lingering. So change the wording and placement. Maybe buy ads on Metra?"


"Anytime I've mentioned the CFM to people who haven't been there, they automatically think all of the food is French-only. It's understandable as the name is meant to evoke not the cuisine but the style of market . . .

"I also heartily endorse changing the name. How about The Chicago Market at Ogilvie? Drop the 'French' term; it's too easily misunderstood by the audience. Speaking of which, the customer base needs to be really clearly defined. This market doesn't serve the community, as it's closed on Sundays and has poor Saturday hours; it doesn't serve commuters by having fresh fruits and veggies in bulk."


"The Chicago French Market is located in one of the city's major commuter rail stations, so it has an enormous opportunity to be a community hub, a purveyor of exotic foods as well as the basics, and a showcase of all of the great locally -made and -sourced foods we have in this city. Instead, it's a mall food court with a couple of fresh food stalls. If that isn't sad, I don't know what is."


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:14 AM | Permalink

Mystic Vibes TV

Fifteen years and running of reggae on Chicago's airwaves.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:05 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Alter Bridge at House of Blues on Saturday night.


2. Zappa Plays Zappa at the Congress Theatre on Saturday night.


3. The Sword at the Metro on Sunday night.


4. Sick Puppies at House of Blues on Saturday night.


5. Nelly in Rosemont on Saturday night.


6. Cloud Cult at the Metro on Friday night.


7. Mac Miller at Reggie's on Friday night.


8. Badly Drawn Boy at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.


9. Rick Springfield at Joe's Bar on Friday night.


10. Rob Halford at the House of Blues on Thursday night.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:25 AM | Permalink

December 11, 2010

The College Football Report: ESPN Edition

To fill the last week of the regular season, and to buy ourselves some time for a full-blown Season Recap, we took some inspiration from ESPN's latest offering - espnW - to create some new properties for the Worldwide Leader in Sports. Here is our Christmas wishlist:

Pros: Clear, to the point. Resembles a word (espnuscañdal? espnusçandal?) in a foreign language.
Cons: Would look weird on a sweatshirt. Google results littered with last year's sex scandal involving ESPN baseball commentator Steve "I Have a Thing for Chicks - Oh, and Cheating on My Wife" Phillips.

Pros: Could be pronounced "e-s-p-nude." D could stand in for Deliberations, Damages, Defamation . . . Lead anchor spot an excellent career opportunity for former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach - especially after ESPN settles with Leach for his "smear campaign" lawsuit.
Cons: Would cannibalize the value of ESPN's 2018 project "ESPN - Unversity of Dubuque."

Pros: Would allow ESPN to isolate all the squirmy stories, like this one. Ick.
Cons: Nobody would watch it. Nobody.

Pros: Those fluent in Middle English would get the joke.
Cons: Sounds like a prescription drug; could be confused with The Worldwide Leader's upcoming allergy medication (still in testing; early reports show promise yet a range of unpleasant side effects, especially Stuart Scott Face).


Now, to comment on espnW, let's bring in Mr. Nelson Overnights, Executive Vice President of Segmentation Holistic Consumer Synergies.

CFR: Mr. Overnights, ESPN describes espnW as a blog. Yet it appears to be just a dumbed down list of the day's headlines in . . .

NO: Let me jump in right there. First, we prefer "massaged." As we say in our mission statement, we hope readers find our stories "surprising, informative and inspiring, because we created it just for you."

CFR: Just for . . .

NO: Well, no. Not you. Certainly not you personally. Not you at all, really.

CFR: But maybe Miss College Football Report?

NO: No, probably not her either. We have a specific target in mind, a unifying vision of . . .

CFR: So, women who would like headlines such as "Who stores irreplaceable trophies in a storage facility?" (Spoiler Alert: Pete Sampras.)

CFR: And "Has Favre turned into your old, depressing grandpa?"

NO: Exactly, yes.


We don't take issue with ESPN's attempt to maximize revenue, readership and (should espnW succeed in becoming a television channel) viewership. Heck, it's a free market. Do your thing. ESPN produces a great deal of quality content, and some of the espnW contributors (Melissa Jacobs, notably) deserve a louder voice in the Worldwide Leader's wilderness.

But the heavy-handed nature of espnW's initial offering makes us wonder if this latest effort to curry favor from the fairer sex will end in the Recycle Bin of history. We will say this: Compared to the miniscule font and thicket of links on the ESPN home page, the espnW landing page seems refreshing by comparison. In other news, we're totally going shoe shopping this weekend.


Pros: Designed as a 24/7 news outlet on coaching changes, resignations, resignations-under-pressure (looking at you, Dave Wannstedt), hirings, firings, demotions, and promotions, ESPNR(oulette) would feature real-time updates of interviews, contract extensions and negotiations. Hell, ESPN could launch a local version just to cover the coaching searches going on in the state of Florida. To better appeal to Gen Y viewers, all potential candidates would appear via webcam in scrolling windows for immediate comment and reaction.
Cons: All the interviews start exactly the same way: hey / hey / whatsup / n2m bored hbu / yea me 2

Pros: Given the annual glut of alcohol-related stories in college football, why not?
Cons: As a native of Lexington, KY and an unreformed UK football fan, the lead story on ESPNPI this week would not be my favorite. Lexington police arrested Wildcats QB Mike Hartline for public intoxication (and other charges) in the wee hours Friday morning. Hartline made the mistake of walking (!) home intoxicated on the sidewalk (!) after, apparently, extricating himself from a drunken confrontation.

Pros: Let's just call it what it is - are we alone in wanting this story roped off from the rest of college football coverage? Or does this story tell us more about college football than any other?
Cons: Isolating Cam Newton stories would enable us all to turn a blind eye to the forces at work corrupting the game we love - exactly what the Powers That Be want.


Despite the latest NCAA judgment on Newton's eligibility, the Cam Newton Saga has not ended. The NCAA determined that Cecil Newton did attempt to raffle off his son's services to Mississippi State, but did not find any concrete evidence to prove that the same occurred with Auburn. In the week leading up to the SEC conference championship game, the NCAA ruled that "a violation of amateurism rules occurred." Auburn declared Newton ineligible and the school then immediately appealed to the NCAA for reinstatement. Within a day the NCAA had reinstated Newton, and he was declared eligible to play for the remainder of the season.

Two issues to note: one, the NCAA reinstatement staff "is affiliated with but not identical to the enforcement arm" and, two, the reinstatement staff makes a decision on restoring eligibility by reviewing a report generated and submitted by the school. (More here.) And while the staff considers other issues as well - the nature and severity of the offense, etc. - this strikes us a bit like a mortgage lender approving a loan by calling the buyer to ask if they're good for it.


Seal of Approval
In this weekend's action, the Sports Seal strongly suggests you take the points in the annual Army (+7.5) - Navy game (1:30PM Saturday) from Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles. Sadly, the Seal could not find any odds on Saturday night's Heisman Trophy presentation as it will be Cameron Newton in an outright layup. The TV here at the CFR staff office, however, will be tuned into Derrick "No Fouls in the Park" Rose and the Chicago Bulls (-9.5, 7:00PM Saturday) against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Remember, bowl season starts December 18th. Stay tuned to Beachwood Sports for our annual Bowl Preview, the CFR Season Recap and our postseason gambling guide - as always, for entertainment purposes only.


Mike Luce brings you the College Football Report in this space every week - usually after a half-dozen Bell's Amber Ales from the Beachwood Inn. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:09 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

It doesn't matter how brutal the weather gets, you won't catch us heading south.

Market Update
We don't need extensive research to tell us Illinois is a tough place to retire. We can just ask our governors.

Game of the Century
Granted, the century isn't very old. Still, Sunday's tilt at Soldier Field certainly looms large. Today the Weekend Desk examines some of the key match-ups.

The Field
As ridiculous as the Park District's defense of its turf may be, the Patriots' defense of their turf is even lamer. Advantage: Bears.

The Fans
It may at first seem like a mismatch, pitting a single city against the northern half of the Eastern Seaboard. But in Chicago you can never be quite sure what your constituency is. Advantage: Push.

Brady vs. Quinn
Tom Brady doesn't have to ask you to resign. He pretty much forces a sense of resignation on everyone he faces. Advantage: New England.

Can We Win?
Well that depends on what your definition of Yes we can is. But with a little help why not?


The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Use to your advantage.


The College Football Report is in.

Posted by Natasha Julius at 8:59 AM | Permalink

December 10, 2010

The [Friday] Papers

This is why I hate pols like Toni Preckwinkle more than pols like Joe Berrios - whom I despise. Berrios actually believes that there is nothing wrong with the way he operates - or he simply doesn't care. But he doesn't hide who he is.

Preckwinkle, on the other hand, knows better. She believes differently. She fights - however meekly - against everything that Berrios stands for. But when she needs a heavy, she turns a blind eye.

I'm not sure there are any real reformers in Illinois politics, but there sure are a lot of fake ones.

Pat Quinn springs to mind. He, too, is a Berrios man.

Barack Obama, of course, is cut from the same cloth.

I used to tell a former girlfriend that I had more respect for a guy like Danny Rostenkowski than Barack Obama because at least Rosty wasn't such a consciously outrageous hypocrite.

She seemed perplexed by that, but as Old Man Daley believed, there's nothing worse than a faker.


The lesson, also, is that the very people who can put an end to our stinky political culture are the ones who most blatantly exploit it for their own political purposes. People like Joe Berrios aren't going to reform themselves. But when voters invest themselves in candidates like Obama and Preckwinkle - largely unaware of their true natures, often due to shallow and incompetent reporting - and then get let down, they become more cynical than if those candidates never spoke up to begin with.


So I ask: Who is more morally reprehensible - Joe Berrios or Toni Preckwinkle? Mitch McConnell or Barack Obama?

That's Pat!
"Quinn Promises Frugal, Not 'Chintzy' Inauguration."

Why have an inauguration at all? Just swear in the constitutional officers in their offices and be done with it. It's really not a good time for a celebration - and a lame celebration at that - and the money could go to paying off at least a fraction of some social service agency's bills. Or sent to me. The rest is just ego-gratification.

Empire State of Mind
"Walmart officials have yet to decide whether they'll wade into enemy waters to testify at a City Council hearing on the retail giant's potential impact on the city," Crain's New York reports. "The council invited supporters and opponents of Walmart, but only the latter have signed up to testify.

"A preliminary list of speakers for the 'When Walmart Comes to Town] hearing includes labor leaders, small business representatives and academics who have argued that Walmart has a negative impact on communities.

"Retail union chief Stu Appelbaum and Gristedes consultants plan to appear before the three council committees hosting the hearing, which yesterday was rescheduled for Jan 12.

"David Merriman, a professor of economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who authored a study arguing a Chicago Walmart had not increased local employment or retail activity, will also be on hand."

Blue & Orange Julius
Peppers considered Patriots.

"During more than two decades at the Chicago Tribune, Colin McMahon reported from bureaus in Mexico City, Moscow, Baghdad and Buenos Aires," American Journalism Review reports.

"He served as foreign editor, directing a cadre of correspondents as they covered the invasion of Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, the Palestinian uprising. He was dispatched to Jerusalem for six months. It was a heady life of globe-trotting that not only allowed him to be a witness to history, but to bring stories from the far corners of the globe home to readers in America's third-largest city, readers who live in Chicago's distinctively ethnic neighborhoods, who often have intensely close ties to far-flung places and who might not get such a rich diet of newsbreaking or enterprise were it not for Colin McMahon.

"Now McMahon goes by the title of 'national content editor.' Once again he oversees the Tribune's foreign news operation. This time, however, McMahon does not direct a staff of foreign correspondents.

"The paper has none."

Chico and the Man
Huh. I wonder if Chico implored Richard M. Daley to debate when he was his chief of staff.

Let's review.


From the Tribune, Dec. 28, 1994:

"Democratic mayoral candidate Joseph Gardner demanded Tuesday that Mayor Richard Daley participate in a series of five prime-time television debates leading up to the Feb. 28 primary.

"The Daley camp immediately said no. End of debate.

"Although Gardner, a board member for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, is certain to continue to make a political issue of Daley's refusal, Daley campaign spokesmen made it clear they will brush off Gardner's request in the future.

"'Debates are ostensibly to allow candidates to debate on the issues. But Mayor Daley has appeared before virtually every civic organization in Chicago in virtually every neighborhood in Chicago,' said Carolyn Grisko, Daley's campaign manager. 'We believe that Mayor Daley's positions on the issues are well known.'

"Gardner made his demand in a letter he hand-delivered to Daley's fifth-floor City Hall office on Tuesday, after unsuccessfully trying to hand it to Daley directly twice last week.

"The mayor usually stops for an informal chat in the City Hall press room before regularly scheduled City Council meetings, so last week, Gardner planned to confront Daley there and give him the letter. But Daley was in and out of the press room before Gardner arrived.

"The candidate then followed Daley to the anteroom behind the City Council chambers, but his way was deftly blocked by a mayoral bodyguard while Daley entered the chambers to begin the meeting, thwarting the hand delivery attempt again.

"Daley was not in his office Tuesday to receive the letter.

"Also Tuesday, Gardner criticized two television shows that the city runs daily on two Chicago municipal cable television channels that are used to broadcast news and information from city government.

"One of the shows, Chicago Works, is produced and hosted by Jim Williams, Daley's press secretary. The half-hour show, which is broadcast at least five times a day, is filled with stories about Daley's neighborhood appearances and news conferences.

"Gardner Tuesday demanded that the Chicago Works show, along with its companion, Crimewatch, which gives news of Chicago Police Department activities, be halted during the campaign season. Or, Gardner said, he should be given equal time and access to the city's production facilities so he, too, can give his views about the operations of city government.

"'Every week when the president of the United States gives his Saturday morning radio address to the nation, the Republicans are given an equal opportunity to respond one hour later,' Gardner said.

"'The city must either cancel these shows or give my campaign equal access to these cable services and resources to produce a show,' he said. 'Daley's infomercials present a distorted one-sided view. This makes the need for a debate even stronger.'

"The mayor's office response to Gardner's request about the cable television shows was as succinct and final as the Daley campaign office's response to the debate request.

"'No,' said Gery Chico, Daley's chief of staff, when asked if the city will either take the shows off the air or give Gardner equal time.

"'We don't see these as political programs,' Chico said. 'For that reason, the question of equal time isn't even relevant. Just because we're in a political season doesn't mean that government takes a vacation.'

"Chico said the Chicago Works program costs about $175,000 a year to produce, and the Crimewatch program is produced by Peter Karl Productions at a cost of about $250,000 a year.

"'We use these programs as a way to get out information about services provided by the city of Chicago. They are not shows about Mayor Daley. They are shows about the city of Chicago government, and they are providing a public service,' Chico said."


From the Sun-Times, Dec. 28, 1994:

"Arguing that debates are 'about theater, not government,' Mayor Daley 's campaign manager Tuesday said Daley will not debate Joseph Gardner or give the mayoral challenger equal access to the city's cable television channel.

"Gardner, a Metropolitan Water Reclamation District commissioner, sought to engage Daley in a series of five debates before the Feb. 28 primary.

"Outside the mayor's City Hall office, Gardner said it's time Daley 'came out from behind the curtain.'

"'Here's an opportunity to say how well he's managed the Chicago public schools, his relationship with Springfield in terms of the third airport and casino gambling,' Gardner said.

"As a mayoral challenger in 1983 and 1989, Daley benefitted from campaign debates. As an incumbent, he has not afforded his opponents the same opportunity.

"Daley campaign manager Carolyn Grisko said the mayor has no intention of debating Gardner.

"'Debates are about theater, not government. It's not a matter of the mayor being afraid. There's just no particular benefit to it,' she said.

"Citing an equal access clause in the city's cable television ordinance, Gardner demanded Tuesday that Daley either pull the city's cable programs until after the election or give mayoral challengers equal time.

"He was taking aim at Chicago Works and Crime Watch, the city-financed cable programs that tout city programs and educate Chicagoans about community policing.

"The law states that cable systems choosing to allow candidates for public office to use their facilities 'shall afford equal opportunities to all other candidates for that office' without censoring program contents.

"Gery Chico, Daley 's chief of staff, said Gardner's equal-time demand 'isn't even relevant' because mayoral aides 'don't see either one of these programs as political programs.' Chico said the shows won't be yanked.

"Chicago Works is a 30-minute video produced by the mayor's press office. It appears five times a day and costs $175,000 a year to produce. Crime Watch is produced at a cost of $250,000 annually. Copies are distributed to district commanders.

"Gardner said the two programs are nothing more than 'filtered, staged, choreographed political advertisements' for Daley."


The Week in Chicago Rock
They played at a venue near you.

This Weekend on CAN TV
Challenges of aging, running for mayor and the media.

La'Mont Williams For Mayor!
And maybe for president.

The Week in Comic Books
Corporate intrigue abounds.

The Week in WTF
Ronnie, Cubs, Sox, the Spire and DePaul.


The Beachwood Tip Line: For the record.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:22 AM | Permalink

La'Mont Williams For Mayor!

"This is the final 'attack ad' from La'Mont Williams as part of his final assignment for his Political Parties and interest groups class with Professor J. Grummel at Upper Iowa University. This commercial is meant to spoof and simulate the attack ads that are now prevalent in American political discourse, especially during mid-term elections."


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:17 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Jeffree Star at the Bottom Lounge on Monday night.


2. Peter Hook & The Light at Double Door on Monday night.


3. Liars Club Toy Drive on Thursday night.


4. Sexfist at Kinetic Playground on Tuesday night.


5. Call Me on the Allophone and Names Divine at the Empty Bottle on Tuesday night.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:46 AM | Permalink

The Week In Comic Books: Red Robin in Russia

Plus, Flash, Superboy, Knight and Squire.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:36 AM | Permalink

This Weekend On CAN TV

CAN TV brings you local, relevant issues from Chicago's neighborhoods and communities. See what's happening around the city in education, the arts, government, cultural events, social services and community activities.

Mayoral Candidate Forum at UIC
The University of Illinois at Chicago hosts a public forum featuring Chicago's mayoral candidates.

Sunday, December 12 at 5:00 p.m. on CAN TV19
Click here to watch video online.

Chicago Newsroom
Every week, host Ken Davis speaks with journalists and bloggers for a look at current events as reported in print, online, and on radio and TV.

Watch on CAN TV21 Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.
For videos online click here.

Challenges of the Aging Mind: A Seminar
30197 Challenges of the Aging Mind.jpg
Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly host the Challenges of the Aging Mind Seminar to increase understanding of declining mental abilities.

Sunday, December 12 at 9:00 a.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr

Meet the New Media . . . Same as the Old Media?
Jim DeRogatis, rock critic and co-host of radio talk show Sound Opinions, addresses the importance of clear and colorful writing in the age of new media.

Sunday, December 12 at 11:00 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 10 min

Perspectivas Latinas (SPN): El Concilio Comunitario de los Vecinos de Pilsen
Pilsen Neighbors Community Council

Alma Campos and Omar Barragan from Pilsen Neighbors Community Council discuss how the organization helps organize local residents to have a say in policy decisions affecting their lives.

Sunday, December 12 at 12:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
28 min

Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America: 2010 Annual Luncheon
Honduran Jesuit Father Ismael Moreno joins Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky to speak on the crisis of democracy in Honduras at the Chicago Religious Leadership Network's 2010 annual luncheon.

Sunday, December 12 at 1:00 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 10 min


CAN TV gives every Chicagoan a voice on cable television by providing video training, facilities, equipment, and channel time for Chicago residents and nonprofit groups. CAN TV's five local, noncommercial cable channels, CAN TV19, 21, 27, 36 and 42, reach more than one million viewers in the city of Chicago.


Disclaimer: Barbara Popovic, the executive director of CAN TV, is both a friend and landlord to Beachwood editor Steve Rhodes.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:17 AM | Permalink

The Week in WTF

1. Ronnie, WTF?

WTF's mercenary staff - several Hessians and two Carthaginians - admits to never possessing the emotional bond to Ron Santo that friends and neighbors did. Guess you had to grow up here to catch Santo Fever. But, Holy Crap, Batman! This summer will not be the same and that will be because he is gone.

Santo's honest pain as a fan gave the current Cubs meaning, however slight and ill-conceived. Without Santo bleating out his angst watching a terrible team be terrible, what real reason can there be to pay any attention?

Via con dios, Ron.

2. Cubs, WTF?

The Cubs and their zillionaire owners were looking for the cheapest living person they could hire to play first base. Ronnie Woo Woo was a candidate. But they decided instead to give free agent Carlos Pena a $10 million one-year deal after a year when he hit .196 (WTF) but did hit 28 homers. (Might have taken Adam LaRoche who batted .261 last year with the Diamondbacks and is a slick fielder with good power.) The $10 million essentially is a one-year lease.

Here's why the Cubs have such a lousy rep in these deals: Pena is aiming for a rebirth year to get him big bucks/multiyears in 2012. If he has a bad year for the Cubs, it's $10 million wasted. If he has a great year, they'll never be able to afford him the next year. In either case, how does it help resurrect the Cubs?

3. The White Sox, WTF?

Here are simultaneous facts that make fans go WTF nuts:

For about 24 hours, it appeared the White Sox didn't want first baseman Paul Konerko and his $12 million salary anymore.

But before GM Kenny Williams all but said adios to Paulie and his 39 homers,111 RBI and .312 average last year, Jerry Reinsdorf was reported to have stepped in to stop the insanity.

What logic - logic? - was at work. The Sox decided to spend $15 million on whiff-or-homer slugger Adam Dunn but were willing let their captain take a hike? They paid Konerko about what he had sought, so the bluff was unnecessary. The Sox insist Reinsdorf stayed away, but there is no explanation for how the deal happened.


Here's a random thought. Curious why was there no discussion about the Cubs wanting Konerko? Isn't stealing from a rival still a good thing? Even if the Cubs knew it wouldn't have worked, it would be a smartly delivered nose tweak during the coldest months when no one is thinking about the Cubs. It also would have been a fabulous bargaining chip that would have made the Sox pay almost anything to keep their man.

Maybe it's just an oldtimey gentleman's agreement against poaching in your neighbor's garden.

Plus, the Cubs are so good they don't any real improvement. WTF. Anybody awake in there?

4. The Spire, WTF?

The always-planned, never-delivered 2,000-foot-tall Spire in downtown Chicago has now become an official hole in the ground into which money has been dumped. It's a hole. This is the metaphor that was invented to illustrate the point. And to this moment, Anglo Irish Bank Corp. is in that hole for $77.3 million. That's some expensive hole. The Corp is trying to get its money back before going out of existence as a free-standing entity.

There is nothing in the latest financial minuets to hint the building is any closer to being real than it ever was. Now the process has devolved into scavengers haggling over tax liens, silverware and bed linens, like Scrooge's pending funeral. There's a reason Ireland had to nationalize Corp, its biggest bank, and though the Spire project isn't the cause of Ireland's current financial meltdown, it is emblematic of its weak real estate projects.

On the up side, the spherical void is quite a large, resplendent hole near the Lakefront. You can never have too many big holes.

5. DePaul, WTF?

There are three ways to look at the furor at DePaul over denied tenure a pattern of female professors of color being denied tenure. Take your poison, Blue Demons. None of the options makes the school look good.

A) The school is essentially discriminatory. For any school, that's a crummy rap, but even more so for a Catholic university whose motto is Viam sapientiae monstrabo tibi. That's a Latin phrase from Proverbs: "I will show you the way of wisdom." (Subtitle: It's not a good way, but it's our way.)

B) If the recent tenure denials are not discriminatory - thwarting the usually reliable if-it-quacks rule - then the university is hiring good professors, but hanging them out to dry in the highly political tenure-track process. Universities can groom tenure candidates or leave them to twist slowly in the wind. When a high proportion of those failures are minorities, the wind-twisting is either deliberate or merely a sign of managerial incompetence.

C) DePaul simply hires inferior candidates who don't deserve tenure but make the school look good on minority hiring reports and brochures aimed at minority students.


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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:20 AM | Permalink

December 9, 2010

The [Thursday] Papers

This is shaping up to be a very tough month for me in terms of time, energy and money for a variety of reasons so there's a lot I haven't gotten to and probably won't get to until January, including the mayoral campaign. And, of course, I have a lot to say about our president. All in due time. For now, though, isn't this kind of perfect?

And so far all health care reform and credit card reform have done is hurt us working folk. This guy is killing me.


I do take issue with CBS's claim that "economists largely agree [the tax deal] would help stimulate the economy."

Tax cuts are the least effective economic stimulant; spending is the most effective - particularly if that spending is on jobs and not, say, earmarks to the connected. But as Bob Somerby wrote the other day, we're all George W. Bush now. How different is the Obama administration from a third Bush term?

And as usual, Democrats have no one but themselves to blame.

This is who they are. They don't change.

After all, Joe Berrios is a Democrat. In fact, he's the head of the Cook County Democratic Party.

Michael Madigan is a Democrat. In fact, he's the head of the Illinois Democratic Party.

And Barack Obama is a Democrat. In fact, he's the president of the United States.

How they doin'?

Chiclets and Stripper Poles
At the Thompson Center.

Hey Moron!
Get your crap off our street.

The full post is here.

Rahm Emanuel's Rose Garden Strategy
Well, after all, he's a Democrat.


Do I like Republicans? No. But I'm not sure anyone has any illusions about them.

Alternate Reality
Another way to approach this piece would be to call it "Chicago's Top 10 Places To Avoid At All Costs."

But that's just us.

Todd Stroger

Pat Quinn

Richard M. Daley

Human Cost
"Illinois' children, seniors, people with disabilities, and those who are homeless are suffering as Illinois' human service organizations cut essential programs, reduce hours and curtail levels of service in the face of Illinois' budget crisis," Illinois Partners for Human Service says.

Meanwhile, it's bonus time on Wall Street.


The Cubs not only just gave a .196 hitter $10 million, but Obama cut his taxes too!

Toilet Justice
"A 49-year-old Chicago man suspected of stealing a large roll of toilet paper from the restroom of a federal agency in Orland Park remains in the Cook County Jail morning in lieu of $50,000 bail," TribLocal Orland Park reports.


"Timothy Geithner says he regrets tax mistakes." Confirmed as Treasury Secretary. In a Democratic administration.

A Crown Affair
"Members of the Crown family of Chicago have purchased the 42-acre Moore parcel for $13 million," the Aspen Daily News reports.

"The property, located off Maroon Creek Road between the Aspen Recreation Center and the Moore Open Space, is one of the last remaining large parcels in the Aspen area with development potential."


Chicago's Anti-Eviction Campaign.

Cabrini's Green
Last Cabrini-Green residents moving out.


Not too far away.

God 1, NU 0
Northwestern prof fails to duplicate God's creation.

Remembering Jimy Rogers
Garage rock soul man.

Lovie's Game
Coach of the Year or fired?

Bears Upset
The Czar calls it.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Pitchforks plus.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:14 AM | Permalink

Chicago's Anti-Eviction Campaign

We've been betrayed by too many politicians.


For more in the series, see 1826TJ's YouTube channel.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:53 AM | Permalink

God 1, NU 0

Biomedical engineering professor Phillip Messersmith fails to duplicate God's creation.


References cited in "Gecko Glue, Evolutionists Infringe On God's Inventions Again:"

"Move Over Elmer's: New 'Geckel' Glue Redefines Sticky: Phillip Messersmith knew mussels had glue that worked extraordinarily well underwater, keeping them anchored onto rocks even while pounded by huge waves. Although geckel performs better than a gecko foot would underwater, it 'is many times lower in adhesion than, say,what a mussel achieves in its native environment.'"

(From Wikipedia:)

"Inspiration for the Adhesive: The team drew the inspiration for the adhesive from Geckos, which can support hundreds of times their own body weight. Geckos are able to do this because of billions of hair-like structures, known as setae. Researchers combined this ability with the sticking power of mussels. The material is reusable, as tests have shown that 'the material could be stuck and unstuck more than 1,000 times, even when used under water,' retaining 85 percent of their adhesive strength.

"Medical Applications: Professor Phillip Messersmith from Northwestern University in Chicago, the lead researcher on the team that developed the product, believes that the adhesive could have many medical applications. For example, tapes that could replace sutures to close a wound and a water resistant adhesive for bandages and drug-delivery patches."


See also:
* The Messersmith Research Group


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:37 AM | Permalink

Czar of the Playbook Preview: Patriots at Bears

Bears in an upset.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:23 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Lovie's Game

Blue: It's Week 13 and the Bears are in first place in the division at 9-3, but still the pundits write about whether Lovie Smith is coming back after this season.

Really, is the coach going to be around?

Last Sunday's 24-20 win versus the still-not-very-good Lions might not have been pretty, but it was a win.

Being that this is a team with supposedly no talent on the offensive line, no legitimate number one wide receiver and a historically underachieving defense, there has to be some coaching involved.

Lord knows after the Bears defense came out flat in the first half of the Lions game with the offense not far behind, something (dare we say coaching?) helped to turn the game around. The Chicago media doubts Lovie's ability to keep the job while the national media mentions him as a possible coach of the year candidate. Sounds about right.

Yes, the Bears made me want to pull my face off in the first half. Yes, the defense allowing Drew Stanton to rack up 178 yards in the first half made me kick the dog into the dishwasher. Yes, the offensive line was who we thought they were, and no that line never gets old! And here comes the but: Magically, the Bears came out to play in the second half and the game ended with a win. Against a team mentioned as "the best 2-10 team ever" who have been notorious for putting together 45 to 50 minutes of good football, the Bears defense played 30 minutes of good football and the offense put up 24 points for a win.

Yeah, it would be great to be able to change the laundry in the fourth quarter not fearing that when you get back the opposition will have taken the lead via a Jay Cutler gang-rape which leads to a fumble or pick 6, but that's not this team.

This team gets by through playing a vanilla defensive scheme that somehow shuts down opposing offenses only when absolutely necessary and with an offense that can look dismal or brilliant on any given drive. Throw in a few dumb penalties by the opponent, a few sloppy penalties, and some special teams highlights and with this crew you sit at 9-3 with the toughest stretch of schedule ahead of you.

Basically, the game was forgettable, and we were happy to get out of Detroit with a win and still possessing the healthiest lineup in the NFL. Pisa didn't play, but since no one can pronounce his name, he won't be missed next week either. Since the Bears were obviously looking ahead to the Patriots, I'll do the same now.

Patriots at Bears
I hate the Patriots because whole world is always focused on the East Coast, meaning we are lucky enough to have a national broadcast of a Patriot game on TV every weekend. In watching these games we can say that the Patriots might be the opposite of the Lions: They are the worst 10-2 team of all time.

The defense gives up far too much yardage and the offense is led by running backs that almost didn't make the team, a slapped together WR corps and an offensive line just coming together.

Oh yeah, they have Tom Brady.

But, the Eagles had Michael Vick.

Brady is being written up as a clear favorite for MVP this year, just as Vick was prior to facing the Bears.

The weather is supposed to suck, the field will suck, and the Bears will come to play.

Like nearly all Bear games this season, this won't be pretty, but the running game is more in sync every week and the passing game looks crisp so long as Cutler is not being crushed.

The defense has had all week to read how Brady will take them apart and they will shock the world by shutting him down. Don't ask me how, but the Blue Kool-Aid IV drip is in full dump mode and I'm seeing a victory.

Bears 21, Patriots 13.


Orange: The Orange Report is coming to you live from Detroit this week . . . or at least translating the scrawl of notes hastily tapped into my phone while standing in section 333 of Ford Field during the Bears victory over the Detroit Lions last Sunday.

The bullet points below were written during the game, with some light editing to correct a minor case of "Drunk Thumb," followed by some in-depth analysis of me.

I am an awesome narcissist.

Game Notes:

* Inexplicably, the Orange Report is copping a buzz.

Post game note:

Actually, it was pretty explicable. It's cold and scary in Detroit.

You know how cities look in the movies about a month after the zombies have overrun them?

That's Detroit. PBR helps.

Also, don't crush your cans when you're drinking outside in the Motor City (and you will be). No matter where you're standing, some guy on a bike is going to ride past you and ask for your cans. They get really mad when you hand them crushed cans. I think they get less money when they recycle or something. Or they are less effective as make-shift pipes.

* 1st Bears drive: Did 3 linemen blown an assignment at once?

Post game note:

To be fair, I think the assignment Mike Tice gave the O-line was to allow Cliff Avril to achieve some sack-based incentive in his contract by halftime. Mission accomplished.

* 1st quarter: Stanton rushing TD. The Lions fight song blows. Just saying.

Post game note:

You know what else blows? Letting Drew Stanton do the "Dougie" on national television. From the 300 section, it looked like he was making out with himself.

* Mo Morris 49 yard run. (Calvin) Johnson TD. Well . . . I'm embarrassed.

Post game note:

Johnson did a good job of punching D.J. Moore in the face on that one. It was made even more deflating by the fact that about 40% of the people in attendance were Bears fans. The stadium got pretty quiet, considering.

As a facility, Ford Field is worth the trip. It's easy to find, parking is cheap ($25 two blocks away) and once inside you only get shivved in the back with plastic bottles, which is a lot less painful than the knives fashioned out of crushed cans you face in the parking lot.

However, it seemed like the PA crew got a little sloppy as the Lions lost momentum in the third quarter and spectators had to rely on their knowledge of Bears jersey numbers in order to tell who was making a play. I guess you can count on the whole Lions franchise to play hard for 30 minutes.

* Bears losing at halftime. And in shitty fashion. Good news is my wife is drunk and interested in an HJ. There's hope for this game yet.

Post game note:

The only thing that would be in hand on Sunday was a Bears victory when TE Brandon Manumaleuna caught a 16 yard pass just after the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter, which left no time for finding a quiet janitor's closet or abandoned concessions stand. Hey Bears, my schvartz thanks you for playing it super-onservative and keeping the game interesting until the final possession.

According to reports, Lovie Smith showed some fire and brimstone during halftime. I have to assume it was because Garrett Wolfe was on the horn with the Elias Sports Bureau (see below) and wasn't available to fetch him his usual Gatorade Tranq-Bar.

* Small solace at 7 minutes left in the 3rd on a good Maynard (punt). Throw the ball Cutler, guys are open!

Post game note:

By "guys," I must have meant "Earl Bennett." At this point, it was pretty obvious the Bears weren't going to do anything to beat themselves, though with the prospects of the HJ dwindling more and more by the moment, I hadn't personally ruled out this strategy.

* Did two Bears run into each other right in front of Hester on the return?

Post game note:

I'm pretty sure this happened, though I think it's safe to say my mind was wandering at this point. Even so, this return led to a Robbie Gould field goal.

Instead of pushing for receiving incentives on his next contract negotiation, agent Eugene Parker should figure out the corollary between Hester's punt/kickoff returns and subsequent scoring chances.

Hey Garrett, wanna make a couple of bucks? No, no, this doesn't involve blackmailing Darryl Drake. Run these numbers over to Eugene Parker's office.

• Gould FG to make it 20-17 in the 3rd. My brother in law is screaming for an onside kick.

Post game note:

He would be disappointed with the ensuing standard-side kick.I didn't feel it was that crazy at the time. It's the sort of strangely timed gamble that Lovie takes once a season.

* Who scored that touchdown? He looks big. Kellen Davis? Seriously I can't tell.

Post game note:

I didn't find out it was Brandon Manumaleuna until getting back to Chicago. My phone was out of juice and my sister-in-law just had to watch Superbad for the thousandth time on the ride home; so no radio.

Patriots at Bears
Nobody does the underneath pass quite like the Patriots, so Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead (I've already written enough explicate implications for one article, insert your own here) should scare Bears fans. It's a terrible match-up for Cover 2 defensive schemes. Look for an ungodly YAC (pronounced YACK!) by the Patriots on the lakefront this Sunday.

While the Pats destroyed the Jets on Monday night, it's safe to say that the Bears have a better attack than the Jets' run-to-set-up-the-pass-interference offense, and the game should stay close and high-scoring.

The New England defense isn't that good, but at the end of the day, the Patriots have too many weapons and will pick the Bears apart eight yards at a time.

Patriots 31, Bears 24.


Andrew Golden brings you the Blue half of this report every week; Carl Mohrbacher brings you the Orange. They welcome your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:50 AM | Permalink

December 8, 2010

Remembering Jimy Rogers, Soul Man

"James 'Jimy' Rogers, 63, a raspy-voiced singer who belted out soulful music as lead vocalist of the Mauds, died of cancer Saturday, Dec. 4, at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, according to friends," the Tribune reports.

"In 1967, Mr. Rogers and the Mauds gained fame when Mercury Records nationally released their first single, 'Hold On,' a cover of a classic originally recorded by legendary soul duo Sam & Dave.

"The next year, they scored another hit with 'Soul Drippin',' backed by the horn section of a new band called the Chicago Transit Authority - soon to be renamed Chicago.

"In 1971, the Mauds broke up. But, in 2000, Mr. Rogers revived the band with new musicians and started playing at venues in the northwest suburbs. In recent years, he also performed with the band Blue Road at nightclubs and the Chicago Blues Festival."


"A memorial concert celebration and benefit will be held Friday, Dec. 10, 2010 with Blue Road and special guests from 8:30 - midnight at at Gabe's Backstage Lounge, 214 Green Bay Rd. Highwood IL 60040," reports.


Facebook page for The Mauds.


"Mauds: Nice Bunch of Guys."


Chicago Gold Revue in Lisle, 2009.


Sixties Blue-Eyed Garage Soul


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:17 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

1. We're all George W. Bush now.

2. "Alinea, one of only two Chicago restaurants to get a three-star Michelin rating, is getting another award, this time for the most decadence," Fox Chicago News reports.


From the Beachwood, May 2008:

"I find this kind of cheffery and consumption decadent and even immoral - there are no limits to the luxuries we can gloriously bathe ourselves as we refine our tastes evermore while huge swaths of the world go hungry - but read for yourself and see if you are offended somehow by dehydrated bacon wrapped in apple leather swinging from a metal contraption."


Which in part prompted this response from the Reader's Martha Bayne and my ensuing response to her.

3. "Bank of America will pay $137 million to settle allegations that it participated in a bid-rigging conspiracy to defraud government entities that sought to invest proceeds raised through municipal bonds," the Wall Street Journal reports.


Forget the Wikileaks guy - let's charge BofA with treason.

4. "How Yahoo! Sports has competed online by making investigative journalism its brand."


Contrary to what you've heard, it's a golden age for investigative reporting. Not so much beat reporting, which has been eviscerated.

5. Greg Kot's favorite local indie releases of the year.

6. The Barack Obama Doll.

7. A Very Special Maury.

8. Reinventing Chicago's City Colleges.

9. Chicagoetry: Surfing to Byzantium.

10. "In a lead-up to her Ultimate Australian Adventure, Oprah Winfrey last week aired Oprah's Aussie Countdown, which featured a segment with a report by Australian TV personality Carrie Bickmore," Ad Age reports. "Ms. Bickmore's report, meant to educate the audience on Australian culture, sparked an upset when she said Australians like to spend time at 'hip hangouts' called McDonald's."

11. "Mount Prospect village board members told the public Tuesday the village plans to outsource all building inspections by May," the Daily Herald reports.

12. "Thousands of Chicago Public School students have been unfairly flunked and forced to repeat a grade due to broken promises by CPS officials in implementing a controversial promotion policy, a parent group is expected to charge today," the Sun-Times reports.

13. "Mayoral candidates face question: Are Chicago public schools good enough for your kids?" the Tribune reports.


Well, they were never good enough for our president.

14. Chair-Free Chicago.

15. I happen to be a big fan of cold 312 from the tap.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Suck it up.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:14 AM | Permalink

Reinventing Chicago's City Colleges

Are you against change?


Comments welcome.



1. From City Colleges of Chicago Director of External Communications Katheryn Hayes:

I don't understand the video you posted on your site about City Colleges' Reinvention. Reinvention is a collaborative effort to review and revise our practices to increase student success in this challenging global economy - so that more students are prepared to transfer to four year institutions and secure good paying careers. I encourage you to learn more at

REPLY: Apparently somebody believes it's a bunch of bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo that will ultimately benefit administrators more than anyone else.

2. From [name withheld]:

Liked this a lot (My wife is faculty.)

3. From Theresa B. Luster:

I just watched this video and I'm a bit confused by it. Can you please explain the meaning behind it?

REPLY: Apparently some people think City Colleges Reinvention is bureaucratic bullshit that will only end up benefitting administrators.

4. From Patricia Navadomskis:

Back in the 70's when I attended the City Colleges - Southwest/Daley - our Profs taught at other large institutions like The Art Institute, Roosevelt, University of Chicago . . .

We read the same books as the more expensive schools, worked our way through, and brought value to the city. Over the years, big companies tossed out the good with the bad and a lot of older people with tons of talent, brains and ability were treated poorly. Younger people who went to better schools talked down to us and we got stuck - and stay stuck - in chronic underemployment.

A whole generation of people who grew up in the city outsourced like seven times and blamed for crap we did not do. If you are not a top student from a top school should you work at McDonalds?

My high school and even my grammar school education was far superior to most public schools at the time the city was experiencing white flight and disinvestment. Too many social problems and too many students far behind Catholic and suburban schools.

For a reasonable price, you were introduced to many subjects to make you THINK for yourselves. Education should be about developing critical thinking skills*.

We where in portable temporary units to fill the increase of post-Vietnam vets who needed education.

Like most public anything for the last 30 years, it has been dumbed down - the same college was outdated before you got there.

I took some of the best classes I ever had at city schools, like a geology class in which we went to Starved Rock and the natural history museum. Make use of what a large city can offer.

Even in high school, teachers used what was around you to show you REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE - taking us to Cook County Jail for an actual trial to introduce you to Criminal Justice.

Growing up in the city, my grammar school music teacher was a professor at DePaul, Mr. Fabish, and he taught the group Chicago.

You sit around an office long enough and something sinks in: So WHERE are the jobs?

Fix the hiring systems - you want life-long learners, you need far better city colleges. Training available on the latest software reading, STOP the hostile workplace. Diversity Training. A Raise. Jobs Jobs Jobs - Help the students find their niche.

THINK FOR YOURSELVES. Stop wasting so much money. Fix and reuse City Colleges, city schools, the CTA, the infrastructure.

We have enough books - learn to read.

* Use of the museums and all that Chicago has to offer and sharing among other schools means you should be able to obtain a world-class education. The focus is too much on computers and top students from top schools so students and teachers become frustrated. NO RESPECT for addable local talent.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:32 AM | Permalink

A Very Special Maury

Starring our friend Doper . . .


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:22 AM | Permalink

December 7, 2010

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Metra's longtime chief was supporting two other households in addition to his own, leaving his wife with staggering debts after he took his life, according to a lawyer for Phil Pagano's widow," the Tribune reports.

"James Mullally, who represents Barbara Pagano, made the disclosure in federal bankruptcy court last week, claiming that she was left with more than $1 million in debts.

"Saying he didn't want to get involved in 'innuendo and hearsay,' Mullally said that 'in addition to the household in Crystal Lake . . . Pagano had not one, but two additional households, one in Palatine and one in downtown Chicago,' according to a court transcript.

"It wasn't known who belonged to those households. Mullally on Monday declined to provide any names or details. Nor would he say if Barbara Pagano had determined who might belong to the 'other households.'"


Too soon?

Freudian Slip
"U.S. customs officials have seized 30,000 Cuban cigars shipped from Europe to O'Hare International Airport in the last two weeks and are inspecting another 70,000 they suspect are from Cuba," the Tribune reports.

"The flood of the popular contraband is the biggest seen at the Customs and Border Protection's Chicago field office, which typically seizes 10 to 12 cigars a week at the O'Hare international mail facility, officials said Monday."


"'Wow!' said Neil Mehra, who has owned Hubbard & State Cigar Shop in Chicago for more than a decade."


"'We Googled 'buy Cuban cigars' and found several (European) sites, the majority of which say they don't have any trouble sending them to the U.S.,' [customs spokesman Brian] Bell said. Some had a disclaimer saying vendors couldn't guarantee cigars wouldn't get seized by customs officials, he said."

Naughty List Grows
"A 3-foot-tall Christmas decoration of a penguin with a Santa hat was stolen between 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 29 in the 1100 block of Wydown Court," TribLocal Naperville reports.

That 70s Plane
"[E]mployees of United Airlines selected this 1972 livery for an upcoming retrojet to celebrate its proud past."

Green Parties
"In 2008, Chicago billionaire Kenneth C. Griffin described the 'hometown pride' that led him to invite the fledgling presidential candidate Barack Obama to speak to employees at his hedge fund, and beyond that, to raise more than $200,000 to help see Obama elected," ABC News reports.

"But recently published campaign finance records suggest that his hometown pride has faded. After Obama pushed through major financial reform, some leaders of the investment community like Ken Griffin have voiced their displeasure by serving as big-money backers of Republicans in 2010. A fresh batch of campaign finance and tax records show Griffin and his wife - herself a hedge-fund manager - combined to give $500,000 to American Crossroads, the so-called Super PAC organized by Karl Rove to defeat Democratic candidates in the mid-term elections."

No word on whether Obama just won Griffin back.


Barack Obama is who I said he was.


Am I rewarded? No, I'm nearly bankrupt.


If I've learned anything in my 20-plus years as a journalist, it's that being right, being ahead of the curve and being ethical is a deadly recipe for failure.

Bizarro Chicagos
"Fencing is up and the bricks are coming down at the site of the last River Street Hotel in Moose Jaw," Discover Moose Jaw reports.

"The Little Chicago Development Company started demolition of Nevada Nickels Monday with crews tearing into the west side of the building. The area is fenced off with an a pile of rubble laying in what used to be the parking lot.

"A 103 room hotel with 11 corporate suites, shops and tourist type attractions are expected to replace the historic buildings according to the developers . We've been told the hotel, modeled after the Lexington Hotel in Chicago, should be up by 2012."


"Lawrence's Old Chicago restaurant, 2329 Iowa St., is about to become an old memory," the Lawrence, Kansas Journal World & News reports. "A manager and multiple employees at the restaurant confirmed the Lawrence location will close on Friday.

Chicago Police Will Taser Just About Anyone
Gawker reports.

Book Hook
"An American independent bookseller has set up a blog warning consumers about the 'beast' that is Amazon, despite being a judge for a prize sponsored by the retail giant," The Bookseller reports.

"Jeff Waxman, of 57th Street Books and the Seminary Co-op Bookstores in Chicago, bills Against Amazon as 'an online archive to educate consumers about the problems and politics of doing business with the beast.'"

Book Nook
"The Chicago City Council has spared the Chicago Public Library from the budget knife," Library Journal reports. "And if that were not unusual enough in these hard times, the CPL will also be hiring in preparation for the opening of four new branches this spring."

The Programming Note
The rest of the Beachwood will return on Wednesday.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Book it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:07 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Surfing to Byzantium

Surfing to Byzantium

Shining city on a hill.
I'm not kidding.
As in Rome, once.
Boneyard of gods.

Cemeteries were parks, once.
You could picnic
on the presumption
of Potter Palmer,

thrill to the elegance
of Burnham or Sullivan
while munching
on a pickle,

wonder what
it would be like
to be a Getty
in Byzantium!

But that's
all gone now.
Except for the
Virtual Orgy:

at bus stops,
on buses,
on trains, in cabs,
offices, cafes.

Public Delectation!
Even the ladies!
Grown children
in front of our parents . . .

pounding our
digital poles.
Sailing to Bliss!
I hear it's out there somewhere!

Getty in Byzantium,
wailing on her Smart Phone.
I dig her
Smart . . . Phone.

Sailing to God,
I suppose.
The city shines with it
(there is no hill).


J.J. Tindall is the Beachwood's poet-in-residence. He welcomes your comments. Chicagoetry is an exclusive Beachwood collection-in-progress.


More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* Kindled Tindall: The Novel

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:27 AM | Permalink

December 6, 2010

The [Monday] Papers

The Flying Saucer was the hit of the Renegade Craft Fair this weekend, and it was a blast working the booth with the fine Flying Saucer family, whom I'm proud to call my friends. Also, a shout-out to Naomi from TipsyCake, who served scrumptious sweets, and the folks at Mana for their version of the White Castle slider.

I didn't get a chance to check out the actual crafts, but I can at least report that rock poster guru Jay Ryan was there along with these artisans.

Now let's see if I catch up with the news.

The Daley Show
"Daley: Feds Should Investigate Mayoral Petitions."


And while they're here, they might want to look at this.

Pet Smarts
"Thieves have struck again at a pet store in Aurora. For the fourth time in less than a year, exotic birds have been stolen from Petland on Route 59." Fox Chicago News reports.

"The store is considering new security measures for birds to prevent future thefts."


But first it will evaluate current procedures to see if there's a problem.

Blame Game
"A woman was arrested after she caused a Chicago police officer to accidentally Taser himself," WGN-TV reports.


The police department did not say whether it would review current procedures to see if there's a problem.

Isn't It Unironic?
The Beachwood jukebox is broad and deep, but it's filled with plenty of material like this and I, for one, mean it. Great songwriting is often unrecognized.

Beachwood Monday Night!
Speaking of the Beachwood jukebox, come check it out tonight - I'll be back behind the bar slinging Old Styles and all manner of Bell's beers, as well as our amazingly cheap bottom shelf special. Also, free pizza. But it's the jukebox that keeps everyone coming back.

Anger Management
"A Chicago plaintiffs lawyer who compared a federal appeals panel to Simon Cowell of American Idol fame 'may wish to moderate his fury,' according to an opinion denying the lawyer's petition for a rehearing," the ABA Journal reports.

"The lawyer, Clinton Krislov of Krislov & Associates in Chicago, objects to a ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that ordered a broad injunction barring his class-action litigation against Sears Roebuck, the National Law Journal reports. In a petition for rehearing, Krislov expressed his objections 'in tones of outrage that were 'over the top,' according to a Dec. 2 opinion (PDF posted by the National Law Journal) by the Chicago-based appeals court.

"Krislov contends Sears engaged in deceptive advertising by touting its stainless steel clothes dryers without revealing that some parts could rust and stain clothes."

Man Bites Man
"Dunkin' Donuts commissioned a survey to determine which gingerbread man cookie part people eat first. The survey results showed that a majority of people bite the head off the gingerbread cookie first. Legs and arms came in second and third, respectively, with legs getting 20% of the vote, and arms getting 16%," Gather reports.

"Dunkin' Donuts consulted with Dr. Alan Hirsch of the Smell and Taste Treatment of Research Foundation in Chicago to determine a bit of the psychology behind people's cookie-eating preferences. Hirsch speculated that 'head first [eating] . . . indicates an achievement-oriented individual . . . who won't take no for an answer.'"

Buyer's Remorse
"Should Progressives Have Chosen Clinton Over Obama in 2008?"

Duty Calls
"A police officer has sued the City of Chicago (on behalf of himself and others) seeking pay for time spent dealing with work-related phone calls, voice-mails, e-mails, text messages, and work orders via BlackBerry devices and similar 'personal digital assistants,'" Labor Letter reports. "The officer contends that these activities entitle the group to an award of overtime compensation under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

"The potential for these claims has been lurking for awhile now, and the relevant FLSA principles are not new. What has changed is this: the explosion of 24/7 electronic communication has increased the frequency and expanded the circumstances, in which non-exempt employees perform after-hours and off-premises work. Join this with the strict requirements of a 70-year-old law that was designed for a bygone era, and you have the recipe for a lawsuit extravaganza."

Do elites know what it's really like?

Shopping With Kid Rock And Maroon 5
In 20 Tweets: The Mix 101.9.

Too Much Democracy?
The League of Women Voters thinks so.

The Man Card Crew
And their poker garage.

You Shoulda Been There
The Weekend in Chicago Rock.

Lions On The Verge
But the Bears already there.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Break through.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:37 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Bears Break Through Before Lions

At some point soon, the Lions will break through, especially if they can ever keep a competent quarterback healthy for a half-dozen starts in a row or so. And surely that will happen soon, what with three quarterbacks (original starter Matt Stafford, back-up Sean Hill and Sunday's signal-caller, Drew Stanton) now all having played at least one decent game for Detroit so far this season despite the team's 2-10 record.

The Lions have put together a scary group of playmakers on offense (Calvin Johnson at receiver, Stefan Logan on returns and reverses and Jahvid Best in the backfield), and they have that absolute powerhouse named (Ndamukong) Suh to continue to build their defense around. But the breakthrough won't happen against the Bears in 2010 (phew!) after Sunday's 24-20 result. The Lions have now lost an unbelievable 19 in a row versus NFC North foes since 2007.

The team from Detroit would have you believe they didn't break through this time because they still can't catch a break. The squad got screwed in the season opener in Chicago, no doubt about it. A poorly written rule led to Johnson's last-minute, potential game-winning touchdown catch being ruled incomplete.

That was a travesty. Sunday's most controversial call was not. For one thing, even if the personal foul flag in question hadn't flown, the Bears would have been in great shape facing second-and-two at the Lion 14 trailing 20-17. Even if they hadn't managed a first down in that series, they were way inside Robbie Gould's range for a tying field goal.

And I hate to break this to Tim Ryan and the Lions who were whining after the game but at regular speed, Suh's hit on Jay Cutler late in the Bears' final touchdown drive was a personal foul, plain and simple. After viewing a replay in super slow motion, Ryan (the analyst who called Sunday's game for Fox along with play-by-play man Sam Rosen) tried to construct a case for Suh's action being a very violent shove and not a forearm shiver and therefore not a penalty.

But the result of Suh's action was Cutler's head snapping forward, even in super slo-mo. It was a penalty, especially at regular speed. Any referee in the league would have called it unnecessary roughness. The Lions lost this game because the Bears defense and offense were just good enough to overcome their foes and a rare sub-par outing for a portion of their special teams (giving up multiple big returns to Logan).

When the Bears had the ball, Matt Forte continued to impress. That's a couple weeks in a row now the Bears have identified a play that would work for him and then gone back to it multiple times. This time it was a quick sweep that enabled him to get out into space and into the open in a hurry. The same thing happened on a couple slick little receptions.

As for his touchdown, it was the same perfect counter pitch to the weak side that resulted in a double-digit-yard touchdown run against Carolina earlier in the season.

As for Cutler, the run that led to the penalty on Suh was especially revealing. It would have been so easy for him to just throw the ball away after he rolled out and could not find an open receiver. Instead, he put a move on the defender who had been shadowing him and slipped through for an eight-yard gain.

It reminded a fan of the end of the first half, when the Bears suffered through a sequence that could have been fatal. After a promising Bear drive that almost put the visitors in position to add to a 14-10 lead was snuffed out near midfield, the Lions took over inside their own 10-yard line with less than two minutes remaining. The Lions weren't going to do anything stupid but at least they didn't give up, i.e., take a knee. They ran a running play and caught a massive break.

Facing a defense that had responded to an injury to back-up linebacker Nick Roach by not putting in another linebacker but instead employing nickel defensive back D.J. Moore on virtually every play, the Lions' Best bounced an inside run outside. There was no linebacker there to contain him and a couple Bear defensive backs took poor angles and allowed Best to get around them and eventually gain more than 50 yards.

When Stanton then tossed a touchdown pass to Johnson for a 17-14 lead, it felt a little like the Eagles must have felt the previous Sunday when the Bears grabbed an interception to prevent their foes from taking the lead and then drove down for a touchdown of their own for an eight-point lead. The moral of the story? Never give up on a play or a half.

The Johnson touchdown could have been a killer for the Bears, especially after Lovie chose to do the opposite of what the Lions had done to great effect moments earlier. He had his team take a knee from just inside its 30 with 29 seconds on the clock rather than try to have his team string together a few completions and at least get into field goal range.

Then again, the Bears did bounce back in the second half, so maybe we have a small exception to the earlier rule, i.e., "don't give up on a play or a half unless your team is shell-shocked; is particularly more likely than usual to make a big mistake; and after all will receive the second-half kickoff." It isn't just a small exception, it is tiny.

Moving right along, let's hear it for Earl Bennett on the offensive side. The Vanderbilt connection is stronger that it has ever been, with Cutler hitting his former collegiate teammate to convert third down after third down all game long.

And how about that Gould guy? His 54-yard field goal squeaked inside the post by at least two inches, maybe even three. And he launched several huge kickoffs to force touchbacks - touchbacks that were especially big against Logan, who leads the NFL in returns.

And while we're talking about kickers, Brad Maynard looked as good as he has all season. He put a couple kicks comfortably inside the 10 and his first punt in particular was a boomer. The Bears coverage sucked and Logan almost returned the kick for a touchdown, but Maynard, who has had a mediocre season at best, had a good day.

In other important developments, has anyone ever seen a worse end zone dance than the one Drew Stanton busted out after his touchdown run Sunday? The extended caressing of his helmet, first with one hand, then the other, then the other, then the . . . make it stop! Stanton ought to be forced to watch endless reruns of Dancing With The Stars until he swears on his life never to gyrate like that again.

You would have thought the Bear defense would have taken one look at that monstrosity and vowed to pummel the guy for the rest of the game. But that unit seemed stuck in "facing Michael Vick" mode, playing carefully and trying to limit options rather than attacking aggressively.

Still, it was good enough to win a road game and guarantee a winning season that no one saw coming. It is Jay Cutler's first such season as a starter; someone other than the Lions had the breakthrough again.


Click here for highlights from the NFL Game Center.


Jim "Coach" Coffman brings you SportsMonday in this space every week. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:02 AM | Permalink

Working On The Stage

But can working people afford the $67.50 to $77.50 ticket prices? Or is this just voyeurism for the elite?


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:38 AM | Permalink

20 Tweets: The Mix 101.9

Shopping with Maroon 5 and Kid Rock.

1. #Bears at Lions today - who's getting the victory? about 20 hours ago via web

2. Block 37 Shops State & Randolph = the place 2 B NOW 2 c American Idol breakthrough artist @crystalbowersox play FREE! 4:54 PM Dec 3rd via web

3. ChicagoTheatre Onstage tonight: @1019MIXChicago's Miracle on State Street 12 with @Maroon5, @IngridMusic & @RyanStar! Bring on the holidays! 4:23 PM Dec 3rd via web Retweeted by 1019MIXChicago

4. Come by for a free performance at 5:15P by American Idol breakthrough artist Crystal Bowersox - and lots of prizes... 4:52 PM Dec 3rd via Facebook

5. @kelmay c u at Miracle on State Street tonight! have FUN! 4:19 PM Dec 3rd via web in reply to kelmay

6. @davenathan Ryan Star onstage 7:30P, then Ingrid Michaelson, then Maroon 5 on around 8:45/9P. Expect the show to go until about 10:30P. 4:19 PM Dec 3rd via web in reply to davenathan

7. @Block37Shops State & Randolph = the place 2 B by 5P 2 c American Idol breakthrough artist @crystalbowersox play FREE! 4:12 PM Dec 3rd via web

8. Head over to Block 37 now! State & Randolph is the place to be (CTA Red Line (State & Lake) or Blue Line... 4:05 PM Dec 3rd via Facebook

9. Say "au revoir" to 2010 w/a magical night of music, dancing & fun @ Pheasant Run Resort's NYE Party Gras Bash 11:53 AM Dec 3rd via web

10. Don't miss tonight's After Work Live Party with Crystal Bowersox from 4-6p at Block 37 Shops, located at State and... 10:51 AM Dec 3rd via Facebook

11. Go to & receive 20% off anything on the site by using code Eric&Kathy, available only for a limited time! 9:37 AM Dec 3rd via web

12. @DebLibraGirl Crystal Bowersox will be playing INSIDE Block 37 at 5:15P today! Get there starting at 4P to get a good spot & win prizes 7:26 AM Dec 3rd via web in reply to DebLibraGirl

13. Cara talks behind-the-scenes with Maroon 5 & Ingrid Michaelson in a preview of tonight's Miracle on State Street,... 6:29 AM Dec 3rd via Facebook

14. Who saw the Grammy Nominations last night? Who do you think will win Album of the Year...Eminem, Katy Perry,... 3:13 PM Dec 2nd via Facebook

15. Does Maroon 5's @adamlevine like egg nog? Find out in the new Cara's Slice of Chicago video - 1:05 PM Dec 2nd via web

16. has a UR holiday gift guide 4 every1 on UR list! Get 20% off gifts by using code EricandKathy, available 4 a limited time! 12:28 PM Dec 2nd via web

17. Cara has a pair of Kid Rock Tickets to giveaway in the 11a hour...tune in to win! 11:00 AM Dec 2nd via Facebook

18. Go to keyword Wedding for a special offer from mySpa at The Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park. 50%... 10:01 AM Dec 2nd via Facebook

19. MIX Insiders Kid Rock Pre-Sale 4 his 2/26 show @ United Center 2DAY @10a -10p 12/3. Get UR tix B4 any1 else! 9:34 AM Dec 2nd via web

20. Patrick Sharp - a "Sharp Attack" coming up NEXT with @EricandKathy - tune in or stream at
8:41 AM Dec 2nd via Facebook


Previously in 20 Tweets:
* 20 Tweets: Richard Roeper
* 20 Tweets: Pete Wentz
* 20 Tweets: Billy Corgan
* 20 Tweets: Billy Dec
* 20 Tweets: Jeremy Piven
* 20 Tweets: Billy Dec Olympic Edition
* 20 Tweets: Bill Rancic
* 20 Tweets: Patti Blagojevich
* 20 Tweets: Stedman Graham
* 20 Tweets: Oprah
* 20 Tweets: John Cusack


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:23 AM | Permalink

League Of Women Voters Afraid Of Too Much Democracy

Getting on the ballot isn't enough to get into their debates.


See also:
* The Greens vs. WTTW


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:55 AM | Permalink

The Man Card Crew

A new Chicago-based home improvement show set to debut this winter.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:39 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Columbines at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.


2. Iration at the Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.


3. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at the Congress Theatre on Saturday night.


4. Go Long Mule backstage rehearsal at Lincoln Hall on Sunday night.


5. Nero at Subterranean on Saturday night.


6. Superchunk at Metro on Thursday night.


7. Dean and Britta at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:08 AM | Permalink

December 4, 2010

The Weekend Desk Report

Will appear later this weekend return next week. The Papers will return on Monday.

The [Friday] Papers
"Some candidates for Chicago mayor are touting ethics plans to clean up a City Hall infamous for its shenanigans," AP reported on Thursday, citing Rahm Emanuel and Gery Chico.

"Chicago mayoral candidates Rahm Emanuel and Gery Chico . . . declined to swear off campaign contributions from those who do business with the city," the Tribune reports on Friday.

To be fair, Emanuel and Chico say "they'll be happy to forgo" such contributions once they become mayor.

They didn't say they'd be happy to forget such contributions once they become mayor.


"Chico said he can't afford to cut off potential campaign donors while trying to keep pace with Emanuel's fundraising apparatus."

I have to be just as dirty as my dirtiest opponent! Then I'll change! Until re-election!


"Emanuel said he will refuse donations from registered city lobbyists. When asked if he would go a step further and also turn down contributions from city contractors while campaigning, his initial response was 'that's not a problem.'"

Um, can we add a 32nd objection to Rahm's campaign petitions based on residency? Because he clearly doesn't live here.

"After a few minutes of thought, Emanuel backpedaled. 'Taking it further than what I'm saying is not what I want to do,' he said."

I don't know if that's a backpedal or a pirouette.


I know, ballet jokes are cheap when it comes to Rahm. It's been a long, screwed-up week.

Former Mayor Tom Dart Sparks Nostalgia For His Brief Reign
"Decades of packing the rolls of employees at Cook County Jail and the sheriff's police with clout-wielding hacks and cronies is effectively over, a federal judge said Thursday as he found the office of Sheriff Tom Dart in 'substantial compliance' with the requirements of a landmark consent decree barring most political hiring," the Tribune reports.

"The finding by U.S. Presiding Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier clears the way for the end by Jan. 31 of the sheriff's office's involvement in the decades-old Shakman litigation and the monitoring of its hiring and promotions by the court. Cook County government and Mayor Richard Daley's City Hall remain under the decree."

Wiki Olympics 2016 Leak
"Here is how the U.S. Embassy in Brasillia, Brazil analyzed the 2016 Rio de Janeiro bid committee's win in Copenhagen, where the International Olympic Committee rejected bids by Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago."

Renegade Journalism
I'll be helping out in the Flying Saucer booth this Saturday and Sunday at the Renegade Craft Fair. Stop by for awesome scrumptiousness.


From the fair:

"Join us for the 5th Annual Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Sale in Chicago on December 4 + 5, 2010, from 11am - 7pm at the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse (1419 W. Blackhawk)! With over 150 of today's finest indie-craft talents setting up shop, holiday shoppers are sure to find something for everyone at this FREE TO ATTEND craft, art, design + DIY spectacular!"

Does Maggie Know?
"Chicago Mayor Richard Daley Looking Forward To Gay Marriage."

Mighty Santo At The Bat
From the Chicagoetry vault.

The Week in Chicago Rock
They played at a venue near you.

Next On CAN TV
Struggles at home and abroad.

Premature Ejaculation
"Their jobs now are to make money in the breeding shed, more than they made on the track if all goes well," our man on the rail writes.

The Week in Comic Books
Jordan From Jersey and The Legion of Dudes.

The Week in WTF
Cynical plots, arrogance and incompetence once again meet.

The College Football Report
Will return next week.


The Beachwood Tip Line: DIY and crafty.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:18 AM | Permalink

December 3, 2010

The [Friday] Papers

"Some candidates for Chicago mayor are touting ethics plans to clean up a City Hall infamous for its shenanigans," AP reported on Thursday, citing Rahm Emanuel and Gery Chico.

"Chicago mayoral candidates Rahm Emanuel and Gery Chico . . . declined to swear off campaign contributions from those who do business with the city," the Tribune reports on Friday.


To be fair, Emanuel and Chico say "they'll be happy to forgo" such contributions once they become mayor.

They didn't say they'd be happy to forget such contributions once they become mayor.


"Chico said he can't afford to cut off potential campaign donors while trying to keep pace with Emanuel's fundraising apparatus."

I have to be just as dirty as my dirtiest opponent! Then I'll change! Until re-election!


"Emanuel said he will refuse donations from registered city lobbyists. When asked if he would go a step further and also turn down contributions from city contractors while campaigning, his initial response was 'that's not a problem.'"

Um, can we add a 32nd objection to Rahm's campaign petitions based on residency? Because he clearly doesn't live here.

"After a few minutes of thought, Emanuel backpedaled. 'Taking it further than what I'm saying is not what I want to do,' he said."

I don't know if that's a backpedal or a pirouette.


I know, ballet jokes are cheap when it comes to Rahm. It's been a long, screwed-up week.

Former Mayor Tom Dart Sparks Nostalgia For His Brief Reign
"Decades of packing the rolls of employees at Cook County Jail and the sheriff's police with clout-wielding hacks and cronies is effectively over, a federal judge said Thursday as he found the office of Sheriff Tom Dart in 'substantial compliance' with the requirements of a landmark consent decree barring most political hiring," the Tribune reports.

"The finding by U.S. Presiding Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier clears the way for the end by Jan. 31 of the sheriff's office's involvement in the decades-old Shakman litigation and the monitoring of its hiring and promotions by the court. Cook County government and Mayor Richard Daley's City Hall remain under the decree."

Wiki Olympics 2016 Leak
"Here is how the U.S. Embassy in Brasillia, Brazil analyzed the 2016 Rio de Janeiro bid committee's win in Copenhagen, where the International Olympic Committee rejected bids by Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago."

Renegade Journalism
I'll be helping out in the Flying Saucer booth this Saturday and Sunday at the Renegade Craft Fair. Stop by for awesome scrumptiousness.


From the fair:

"Join us for the 5th Annual Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Sale in Chicago on December 4 + 5, 2010, from 11am - 7pm at the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse (1419 W. Blackhawk)! With over 150 of today's finest indie-craft talents setting up shop, holiday shoppers are sure to find something for everyone at this FREE TO ATTEND craft, art, design + DIY spectacular!"

Does Maggie Know?
"Chicago Mayor Richard Daley Looking Forward To Gay Marriage."

Mighty Santo At The Bat
From the Chicagoetry vault.

The Week in Chicago Rock
They played at a venue near you.

Next On CAN TV
Struggles at home and abroad.

Premature Ejaculation
"Their jobs now are to make money in the breeding shed, more than they made on the track if all goes well," our man on the rail writes.

The Week in Comic Books
Jordan From Jersey and The Legion of Dudes.

The Week in WTF
Cynical plots, arrogance and incompetence once again meet.

The College Football Report
Will return next week.


The Beachwood Tip Line: DIY and crafty.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:19 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Diamond Rings at Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.


2. Chad Stokes at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday night.


3. Midnight Juggernauts at Empty Bottle on Tuesday night.


4. Wanton Looks at Liar's Club on Tuesday night.


5. Blind Guardian at Bottom Lounge on Monday night.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:28 AM | Permalink

The Week in Comic Books: Jordan From Jersey and The Legion Of Dudes

This week we introduce Jordan From Jersey - of the Legion of Dudes - to our pages in addition to weekly YouTube correspondent Captain Logan. Here we go . . .


"Jordan returns to comic reviewing with a TON of books this week, including: The Amazing Spider-Man #649, Deadpool #29, Secret Avengers #7, Secret Warriors #22, Mark Millar's Superior #2, Kevin Smith's Green Hornet #10 (of 10), Locke & Key: Keys to the Kingdom #3 (of 6), The Walking Dead Vol. 13: Too Far Gone, Taskmaster #4 (of 4), Iron Man Thor #2 (of 4), Heroes For Hire #1, and Ant-Man & Wasp #2 (of 3). There's something for everyone!"


And Captain Logan brings us a Superhero Rewind Review of Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:14 AM | Permalink

The Week in WTF

1. Rahm, WTF?

So, we're still not bubbly about Rahm Emanuel as mayor, but it's not a job for well-meaning amateurs. Some of the amateurs aren't even so well-meaning.

But the challenge against his residency to keep him from running is shoddy and dishonest, and should almost make anyone but a strident Rahm-hater take his side. At the least, they are making him look like a victim of - criminee - crooked Chicago politicians.

It's the kind of trick that someone totally cynical might have designed to make the most unsympathetic face in Illinois seem like a victim. Just a thought.

Is he a Chicago resident who went off to serve the nation in a temp assignment? Of course. Don't be a daffy dilettante. To say otherwise is cheap, tawdry and oh-so Chicago. On the other hand, has anyone seen his birth certificate? He might be Obama's Kenyan second cousin.

We're still hoping Roland Burris surges in the polls.

2. Todd Stroger, WTF?

When your house is submerged by an overflowing river - as occasionally happens in Chicago - guess what you most crave from your government: Financial help cleaning up the mess? Loans? A slice of the federal stimulus cash pie? Nah.

Apparently County Board Prez Todd Stroger thought a federally paid $79,000 fete at the Brookfield Zoo was just the thing to make waterlogged people happy that their bedrooms were still soggy.

But we are concerned. As great an idea as this is, something was missing. Sure they had face painters, caricature artists, jugglers and stiltwalkers. And, of course, Stroger, the biggest clown of all.

But no word about mimes. No love for Marcel Marceau wannabes? The lack probably violates some law against dissing odd French mutes trapped inside phantom closets.

3. New Trier High School, WTF?

New Trier High, which apparently has a raging case of collective amnesia, has indicted, er, wait a second, we meant inducted former SecDef Don Rumsfeld into its alumni Hall of Fame. WTF?

At least they barred new U.S. Senator Mark Kirk from the Hall, which means they do have an anti-weasel proviso in the bylaws. But then they also rejected Ann-Margret. And her legs, too. Both of them. That's just wrong on so many levels. Also, the likely next mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, didn't make the grade. This must be like one of those secret Harvard clubs. Walter Jacobson isn't good enough, either.

Charlton Heston apparently wasn't even nominated. WTF? You would have had to pry the alumni statuette from his cold, dead hand.

Of those who made the list and those who didn't, only Rumsfeld is responsible for the mass deaths of innocents, or at least thousands of unlucky bystanders who didn't know they were part of Rummy's grand geo-political machinations in Iraq. He helped fib the country into war with a military ill-prepared. His lack of leadership with a tactical necessity as obvious as well-armored vehicles cost hundreds of young Americans their lives. "You go to war with the army you have, not the army you want." Remember?

Rummy also was a big fan of detainee torture.

There are known known knowns and known unknowns but this is a known with no mystery. He may be an Alumni Hall of Famer now, but he was a stone cold war criminal first.

4. Republicans, WTF?

Poor children can be such a pain in the ass.

First of all, they're children. So they're hardly any good at all for factory work. If there were any factory work.

And because their parents are poor, these poor children often are hungry, which is a bother. It's not so much they're a bother because you must care; it's a bother because they complain about being hungry. Whine, whine, whine.

It is indeed lucky for us that we have the Republican Party to prevent us feeding these poor children and wasting the nation's booty.

Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?

5. Lake County prosecutors, WTF?

The Jon Burge Traveling Torture Trophy goes to Lake County in the Jerry Hobbs "he's-innocent-but-let's-fry-him-on general-principles" case. He's suing.

You know how bad it is for misbehaving prosecutors and cops when the chief counsel for the City of Waukegan essentially throws up a white towel and bellows no mas. Just give us the bill now for his tricked-up false confession and five needless years in jail and try not to add too many zeroes on the end of the number, he says.

There's a big check eventually due in the mail.


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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:53 AM | Permalink

TrackNotes: The Real Money Is In The Shed

You try to come up with a fitting analogy from the world of team sports. But it doesn't really work this time.

The closest I can think of is Jim Brown or Barry Sanders, two greats who left at the top of their games. However, the horses don't talk and just about all of their decisions are made for them by people.

Brown and Sanders left of their own volition, famously, filled with ideas of better things to do. But who's to say with a Thoroughbred race horse? While bred to do what they magnificently do, they still must fulfill the agendas of their human handlers.

In the cases of Quality Road, Blame and Lookin At Lucky, Edward P. Evans, Adele B. Dilschneider/Claiborne Farm, and Mike Pegram/Watson & Weitman Performance (sealing the deal by selling Lucky to Coolmore stud), respectively, made the decisions for these three colts who have given us so much enjoyment over the last two years.

Their jobs now are to make money in the breeding shed, more than they made on the track if all goes well. They will each demand $35,000 per "cover," at least in the first year, so that future Thoroughbred owners may race a few of their progeny perhaps a dozen times, again, if all goes well, and begin the cycle anew.

There's more money in the breeding than there is in the racing. When Citation became the first million-dollar horse, he had to race to do it - 45 times. Secretariat earned more than $1.2 million on the track in 21 races, but his $6 million syndication deal dwarfed even his spectacular exploits and, unfortunately, foresaw today's racing climate.

In the case of today's horses having nice 12- or 14-month careers as two- and three-year-olds, their owners seek a "salary drive" that need only include a single Grade I victory. Or a nice second in a Grade I and a few Grade II wins. Owners would much rather close the barn door after one big splash in a name race.

Get that one Grade I win, retire him and he becomes one of the all-time greats. At least that's how it looks in the stud commercials on TVG.

As always, it is the fans who are hurt first. But the game itself also suffers when all interested parties lament the lack of stars in the game yet yank the top performers from the track in search of breeding riches. Now seven years old, Zenyatta was a rare exception at the top level of racing. Especially when you consider mares often lose interest years earlier in the desire to foal.

But you have to pick your spots when being selfish about your favorite Thoroughbred. They are complex creatures, wound up to the highest levels of performance, where there is little or no margin for error. And yet, why not let them do what they do best?

You could still get kind of angry even about the great Secretariat. Who knows what he could have done? Barbaro was taken from us by a tragic injury - he was perfect in the six races he finished. Big Brown was a monster with bad feet. I always took a liking to Merv Griffin's Stevie Wonderboy.

The delicate Ghostzapper was a monster, recording one of the fastest Beyer Speed Figures of all time with a 128 in the 2004 Iselin at Monmouth. After winning the Metropolitan in his five-year-old year, it was announced he would be retired to stud with a hairline leg fracture. People were so disappointed and angry that we all thought owner Frank Stronach was lying. 'Zapper raced only 11 times. He is still revered.

You couldn't question the honesty of two of the little people of horse ownership, Pat and Roy Chapman, when they retired Smarty Jones in August 2004, citing serious ankle bruising. But it was deflating for fans just the same. In the horse racing timeline, it came immediately after Smarty was denied the Triple Crown by Birdstone in a thrilling Belmont Stakes, the only race he lost. He ran only nine times.

We felt lucky to see Curlin run 16 times, distinguished by wins in the Arkansas Derby, Preakness and the Breeders' Cup Classic in 2007, and a beautiful win in the Dubai World Cup in Spring, 2008.

More recently, Daily Racing Form's Jay Hovdey brought up an old hurt by mentioning the retirements of Street Sense, Hard Spun and Any Given Saturday, all just three-years-old, in 2007. Among other races, Street Sense won the Kentucky Derby and the Travers Stakes that year; Hard Spun the King's Bishop; and Any Given Saturday the Haskell Invitational. They ran a combined 36 races.

We have to be careful about Quality Road and Blame.

As DRF Editor Steve Crist reported, Quality Road was a curious sort. Hoof problems dogged him his whole career, even knocking him off the Triple Crown trail in 2009. He almost certainly would have been the favorite in the Kentucky Derby. For some reason, he went ballistic at the gate in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic and had to be scratched from a huge race he most certainly had the talent to win.

"(Quality Road) was a frustration to his handlers and his fans for failing to deliver in his most important tests, but on his best days he showed as much raw brilliance as any horse in training."

Quality Road ran 12 times, finishing 12th and last in last month's Classic.

Blame's career was selectively fashioned, building up steam in his four-year-old season, with the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic his goal all along. He nailed it in a courageous showdown with Zenyatta on Nov. 6 and now deserves to be named Horse of the Year for 2010. Throw the Clark Handicap and the Whitney Stakes on Blame's resume, and you have a nice accounting for having run only 13 races.

It's the departure of Lookin At Lucky that hurts me the most. How could you not love this son of Smart Strike?

Lucky won his first race, always a highlight, and cruised into the 2009 Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Santa Anita's synthetic with three graded stakes wins. He really cemented his reputation in that race when, after nearly falling down in the backstretch, he got up for second in the biggest race for two-year-olds. He was clearly a horse to watch for the Run for the Roses.

Wisely, trainer Bob Baffert got Lucky off the California synthetics and went east where, after all, he would have to do his major running.

After a tuneup win in the Rebel Stakes, he suffered another horrendous trip in the Santa Anita Derby but still got up for third. There was no quit in this inspiring horse. Lucky had no chance in the Kentucky Derby after drawing the ridiculous one post three days earlier. After being mugged at least twice in the Derby chaos, he still persevered for a sixth-place finish. Lucky bounced right back with a hard-fought win in the Preakness Stakes!

Lookin At Lucky then won the Haskell and sloshed through a quagmire in the Indiana Derby to prep for the Classic. Always in the hunt, Lucky couldn't stay with Blame, was passed by Zenyatta and faded to finish fourth.

Amid all of the Zenyatta hoopla and Blame's win, I couldn't help but think, man, that Lucky is really something. I was looking forward to seeing him run next year, but you never get your heart set on such things. Horseplayers know better than that.

I don't care if a horse's name is Flicka or Fury or Dr. Fager. If he's even money or worse, you try to beat him on a win ticket. That's the cold, cruel world of playing this game.

But a horse like Lookin At Lucky? Lay low on your wiseguy play and you wouldn't mind Lucky beatin' you.

Homegrown Horse
And in the latest horse racing news, Illinois' own Giant Oak won the 136th running of the Clark Handicap (Grade I) at Churchill Downs on Friday.

Sort of.

In a rowdy running of one of the oldest horse races in America, Giant Oak was declared the winner after stewards had to sort out the 11-horse field and declared two infractions and disqualified two horses.

The winner of the race, Successful Dan, Julien Leparoux aboard, was placed third after interfering with Redding Colliery in the stretch. Demarcation, with Kent Desormeaux up, cut off Dubious Miss and caused a serious bunch-up in the stretch. He was DQ'd to last. Leparoux and Desormeaux were each suspended for three days for the incident.

These things happen in racing, but this one is unusual as Giant Oak was not officially interfered with himself, although it sure looked to me like Successful Dan drifted out on him in the final sixteenth.

It was a sweet turn of events - and $328,700 in purse money - for trainer Chris Block, rider Shaun Bridgmohan and the owners at the Virginia H. Tarra Trust. It was Oak's first graded stakes win and his first win after 14 straight losses spanning nearly 18 months.

Oak was in decent form after tough beats in the Grade III Washington Park Handicap at Arlington and the Grade II Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap. He was victimized by J.J. Castellano's antics in the Breeders' Cup Marathon, having to go wide to avoid the trouble in front of him in the incident that sparked the Calvin Borel-Castellano one-round fistfight in the Churchill winner's circle on Breeders' Cup Friday. He finished fifth.

The big four-year-old Giant's Causeway colt has had a curious career (21-3-5-3), as witnessed by his running on all three track surfaces at distances ranging from 1 to 1-3/4 miles and everything in between for two different trainers. He's kept some special company over the years, suffering not-so-bad losses to the likes of Blame, Musket Man, Friesan Fire and Dubious Miss.

He was progressing quite nicely on the road to the Kentucky Derby in 2009 when Block called a timeout, saying Oak had a few mental issues to address, presumably including career counseling.

Oak must have listened, at least a little. He's about $40,000 away from the million-dollar mark in earnings.

If he races next year, try to get out and see our local boy. The big galoot can run.


Thomas Chambers is our man on the rail. He brings you TrackNotes in this space every Friday. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:32 AM | Permalink

Next Week On CAN TV

CAN TV brings you local, relevant issues from Chicago's neighborhoods and communities. See what's happening around the city in education, the arts, government, cultural events, social services and community activities.

Black Mexico: Afro-Mexican Studies Symposium
30195 Black Mexico-1.jpg
The DuSable Museum hosts contemporaries in the field of Afro-Mexican studies to discuss the intricacies of race relations between African American and Latino communities.

Click here to watch video online.

Chicago Newsroom
Every week, host Ken Davis speaks with journalists and bloggers for a look at current events as reported in print, online, and on radio and TV.

Watch on CAN TV21 Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.

For videos online click here.

Perspectivas Latinas (ENG): Latinos with Disabilities Advocacy Project
40077 Latinos with disabilities ENG.jpg
Zena Naiditch, president of Equip for Equality, discusses with attorney Daniel Contreras the Latinos with Disabilities Advocacy Project aimed at raising awareness of disability issues within the Hispanic/Latino community.

Saturday, December 4 at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
28 min

Talkin' Tuesdays: No Exit Cafe's Great Monologues Showcase
30201 Great Monologues Lydersen.jpg
Writer Kari Lydersen (pictured) and organizer James Thindwa share stories of popular struggles at home and abroad.

Sunday, December 5 at 1:00 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min

A Mercy: Cross Racial Alliance and the Turning Point of Slavery
30202 Cross Racial Alliance.jpg
Scholars of U.S. Culture and History explore the unexpected fluidity of interpersonal relationships across race and class found in Toni Morrison's novel, A Mercy.

Sunday, December 5 at 2:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr


CAN TV gives every Chicagoan a voice on cable television by providing video training, facilities, equipment, and channel time for Chicago residents and nonprofit groups. CAN TV's five local, noncommercial cable channels, CAN TV19, 21, 27, 36 and 42, reach more than one million viewers in the city of Chicago.


Disclaimer: Barbara Popovic, the executive director of CAN TV, is both a friend and landlord to Beachwood editor Steve Rhodes.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:16 AM | Permalink

December 2, 2010

The [Thursday] Papers

The elite prize power, influence, wealth and celebrity above all, so it's not surprising that New Trier High School's inaugural Hall of Fame inductees include Donald Rumsfeld, Christie Hefner and The Office's Rainn Wilson.

"'These extraordinary alumni truly are a testament to the quality and character of New Trier's graduates,' the district's superintendent said in a letter to alumni obtained by Politico. 'It was difficult to narrow the field of nominees, but ultimately, these first inductees were chosen for lives and careers spent upholding the New Trier values of inquiry, compassion and service.'"

Yes, Don Rumsfeld is a shining example. Too bad New Trier officials won't be asked to appear as character witnesses at a Rumsfeld war crimes trial.

And New Trier's female graduates may not feel as inspired by Christie Hefner's spirit of inquiry. But hey, there's that guy from The Office!

Also inducted:

* Arthur C. Nielsen Jr. ('37), the son of the Nielsen ratings guy. Boo-yah!

(Well, he did "earn" an honorary doctorate from the University of Wisconsin.)

* Former U.S. Ambassador Richard Salisbury Williamson ('67), a former hand for the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations who ... and is now a partner at clout-heavy George Ryan-defenders Winston & Strawn. Oh, and he ran against Carol Moseley-Braun for U.S. Senate in 1992 and, well, "critics have labeled [his] ads as race baiting."

* And, yes, a physicist, a cancer researcher, a cataract surgeon, a post-modern dance pioneer and a Holocaust memorial foundation president.

All of which make the inclusions of Rumsfeld, Williamson and Wilson all the more disturbing. But then, who really cares? It's New Trier, a monument to itself.

The Anti-Rahm
"To listen to the political experts, no one stands a chance against Rahm Emanuel," John Kass writes. "But [Miguel] del Valle is offering a unique vision for Chicago: It's a future without a mayoral dictator."

Objecting To Rahm
Thirty-one challenges have been filed against Rahm Emanuel's petitions. We have an exclusive look at the basis of those objections.

That's Todd!
"Todd Stroger Presides Over Last Cook County Board Meeting."

Then seen boxing up staplers, paper clips, reams of paper, petty cash, yogurt left in fridge, blank checks, snoglobes, East Bank Club towels, sheriff's badges, computer disks and a shredder.

The Rink at Wrigley
"It's too bad they didn't put it on the inside."

Bears Kool-Aid
Tastes like victory.

Bears-Lions Preview
The key is BSB.

Programming Note
That's all I have time for today, must attend to both business and a reporting project. Back tomorrow.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Drink the Kool-Aid.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:16 AM | Permalink

The Rink at Wrigley

"It's too bad they didn't put the rink on the inside."


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:44 AM | Permalink

Czar of the Playbook Preview: Bears at Lions

Bears key is BSB: Ball security and balance.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:32 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Tastes Like Victory

Blue: In each of the last couple weeks the Blue Report has mentioned a certain level of dislike for those that would speak ill of the 2010 version of the Chicago Bears. Many of these so-called fans talked of the need for wholesale changes starting with the firings of Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith, which then somehow leads to a magical upgrading of talent across the board for years to come. But to make this happen, the 8-3 division-leading Bears would need to be losing games so that we can hope for this trip to happy land to begin sooner rather than later.

Though a season of losing football after a strong start would make for a great way to spend Sundays in the fall, this Blue Kool-Aid drinker thinks that watching the Bears play like they did versus the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 12 is a bit more positive in the area of entertainment.

Beating what had be considered the hottest quarterback in the NFL might not have been as fun and exciting as watching a team unravel over the second half of a season, but I personally prefer victory over defeat. But I'm one of those crazy White Sox fans that likes having a team that won a World Series in my lifetime, so what do I know?

After a rough patch the offense appears to have figured out a simple formula for victory: run, pass, kick when necessary and don't turn the ball over.

Though many might believe that a strong-armed agile quarterback paired with a former Offensive Rookie of the Year as his running back is a bad thing, it appears that positive things can occur if you give that offense two of the fastest wideouts to ever run the 40 at the draft combine.

Mix in a 6'5" tight end who can catch-and-run, throw in a legitimate possession receiver and find ways to create a passable offensive line that can create a few big holes for the run and keep the quarterback breathing, and there you have the Bears offense.

It's still a work in progress for sure, but with Jay Cutler keeping the idiot throws to a minimum and Matt Forte showing flashes of his former brilliance more and more often, it is exciting to see the development of Earl Bennett, Johnny Knox and even Devin Hester at receiver.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears held every puppy's nightmare to a very good, but not PlayStation-like game. Not only did a combination of a relentless inside and outside pass rush keep Vick from bombing away with deep passes to the dual threat of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, but the linebacking corps was able to contain Scooby's nemesis to a pedestrian 44 yards on 9 carries.

Additionally, with the Eagles driving deep into Bears territory while the game was still tight, a ball tipped by Brian Urlacher led to Chris Harris getting the first Vick interception of the season. Bend but don't break might just work for this team.

A merging of speed in pursuit, a push on the defensive line coming from both inside and outside, with a no-name DB group, has made this a top-five defense, though many would have preferred for opponents be crushing this team. But again, Sox fan, I'd rather they keep winning.

Bears at Lions
Though the Blue Kool-Aid in me screams that this game should be a walk in the park after having to deal with the Eagle, there is a sip of the Orange that screams trap game. A hot team traveling to play a team that is basically already eliminated and might be starting their third-string quarterback sounds like a time for an emotional let-down. However, this team is riding high, walking with a swagger and will want to show that the first meeting of these teams wasn't won via luck alone. Okay, luck definitely helped, but so did Calvin "Megatron" Johnson's not following a rule that at least a few people now understand.

Bears 27, Lions 10.


Orange: The Bears, Eagles, Packers, Giants, Saints, Buccaneers and Falcons are vying for five playoff spots. The worst record among those seven teams is 7-4 and they all have five games remaining.

It's like the setup for a terrible joke.

Two birds, a giant bear, a priest and a pirate walk into a bar and the bartender says, "Get the hell outta here!"

On Sunday, the Bears put themselves on the right side of a tie-breaker against one of those teams: The Philadelphia Eagles.

The 31-26 victory wasn't as close as the final score indicated. It took an improbable late touchdown pass between PETA executive Michael Vick and forgotten tight end Brent "Magnum T.E." Celek, to pull the Eagles within a single score.

We learned a few things about the Bears in this victory, most notably:

* The Devin Hester screen pass works only in months that contain blue moons.

* Matt Forte is really fast for 10 yards and then he becomes . . . very . . . slow . . . for the next 40.

* Jay Cutler is a fiery leader now. Screw the four touchdowns he threw after being sacked four times again. Did you see how much he yelled?

* Fox analyst Daryl "Moose" Johnston is The Riddler.

All positives, especially unmasking a mythical Batman villain, but mixed in with the good things were a number of breaks that went the Bears way . . . this time.

* Jay Cutler threw some dangerous passes that didn't get picked off, most notably Greg Olsen's third-quarter touchdown.

* Soldier Field's field consists mostly of un-hoed corn crops and divot sod from local golf courses. No opponent is prepared for this, apparently because other NFL teams do not supply longer cleats. Good news for home games, but this doesn't bode well for a road playoff game.

* As we've seen in the past, 14 carries does not always equal 117 yards for Matt Forte. This time it did.

The Bears might be winning ugly lately, but there's not such thing as "winning wrong" or "losing right."

Can they keep it up?

Losses to the Redskins and Seahawks indicate that the long term answer is "No," and a loss this Sunday to the Lions would seem to validate that claim. Time will tell.

Are we to believe that this squad is good enough to make a deep playoff push?

The scary thing is, this year they might be but they must beat Detroit, both because the Lions play about 25 minutes of good football and the fact that a team's divisional record factors heavily into the NFL's playoff tie-breaking formula.

If the Bears win three of their final five games, they could legitimately get a first-round bye as the NFC's number two seed behind the Atlanta Falcons (currently 9-2 with a cupcake schedule remaining).

Let's hope it goes down this way, because if they finish 10-6 and capture a fifth seed, they're playing on the road in the first round against either the Seahawks or Rams; two trap road games to be sure.

A bear and a goat walk into a dome and for no good reason, the bear dies.

Bears at Lions
This is the last gimme on the schedule . . . which is why they will lose.

The match-ups in the secondary favor Cutler, Chicago's renewed commitment to the run will help mitigate a respectable Detroit front seven and the Bears special teams unit rivals almost any in history.

For some reason, none of this will matter because Mike Martz will call for 15 plays in which Devin Hester is the first read.

Call it hubris, call it vengeance, call it Lovie; these are the kinds of games that this regime historically finds a way to lose.

Calvin Johnson gets 14 grabs for 150-plus yards and two scores; Vanilla Vick (Jay Cutler) gets cocky and loses at least one fumble while buying time with his feet.

Detroit 24, Bears 20.


Andrew Golden brings you the Blue half of this report every week; Carl Mohrbacher brings you the Orange. They welcome your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:13 AM | Permalink

Rahm's Objections

"The challenges have been filed for the upcoming city election, and this year there's a record number of them," WLS reports.

"The Chicago Elections Board received 426 objections to nominating petitions.

"Among the mayoral candidates, the biggest target appears to be former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. He had 31 challenges filed against him by Tuesday's deadline."

The Beachwood has learned the nature of those 31 challenges:

1. Signatures: Several names were duplicates with "F-ing" simply added as a middle name (i.e. Bill Smith, Bill F-ing Smith, etc.)

2. Signatures: Blago's signature shouldn't be allowed - not because of the conviction, but because he made a smiley face in the O in Rod.

3. Residency: The signed picture of Jordan in his office shows him in a Wizards jersey.

4. Signatures: In true Superfan fashion, he tried to argue that Ditka's signature should be worth 100 names.

5. Campaign Impropriety: Attempted to pay the guy who delivered his signatures to City Hall out of a TIF fund.

6. Signatures: Stroger signed in crayon - disallowed.

7. Campaign Impropriety: Hired Tony Peraica to tear down Meeks posters.

8. Residency: His offer to hold a "burger summit" with Carol Moseley Braun at Ed Debevic's proves he's not from around here.

9. Eligibility: Still owes $6.50 in overdue library book fines to the Harold Washington Library on a copy of How To Win Friends and Influence People.

10. Eligibility: Half a finger short of what the ordinance requires.

11. Residency: Never renewed his City of Chicago vehicle sticker.

12. Campaign Impropriety: Makes his kids wear Tomczak jerseys to school - Donald Tomczak jerseys.

13. Eligibility: Fared poorly in Chicago magazine's 2010 "40 Hottest Psychopaths In Power" roundup.

14. Campaign Impropriety: May have stuffed mailboxes with flyers reading "Vote for Rahm or I'll cut your face."

15. Campaign Impropriety: Always just kind of hanging out on CTA platforms, asking people for stuff.

16. Signatures: Hundreds of "Barack Obamas" appear to have been generated by the White House automatic signature signer.

17. Signatures: Campaign workers appear to have been paid out of secret line item in health care reform bill labeled "Local Health Incentives."

18. Residency: According to records from Domino's, Emanuel hasn't ordered a pizza to a Chicago address since he pranked Ed Burke in 1988 and sent him anchovies.

19. Signatures: 20 pages were simply filled with pictures of patio furniture with the word "Dibs" written on them.

20. Eligibility: City charter provides that vindictive short men cannot be Mayor of Chicago unless they are named Daley.

21. Residency: Evidence suggests he's living in Mike Madigan's pocket.

22. Residency: Outfit guys say they don't even know him anymore.

23. Technical Violation: Ballot petitions bound in barbed wire.

24. Residency: Appears to be living on the fifth floor of City Hall.

25. Residency: Keeps asking why the Congress Line doesn't stop at Kostner anymore.

26. Eligibility: City ordinance silent on zombies but definitely prohibits vampires from elected office.

27. Residency: Keeps showing up at the Billy Goat and asking when Royko will be there.

28. Campaign Impropriety: Already trading stamps for cash in promise to be "just like Rosty."

29. Residency: Keeps calling Bill Wirtz to solicit campaign contributions.

30. Technical Violation: Dozens of petition pages not filled with signatures but instead filled with names on Rahm's enemies list.

31. Technical Violation: Dozens of petition pages not filled with signatures but instead filled with names on Rahm's clout list.

- Andrew Reilly, Beachwood Mark, Drew Adamek, Scott Buckner, Matt Farmer, Tim Willette, Carl Mosbacher, Steve Rhodes


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:21 AM | Permalink

December 1, 2010

The [Wednesday] Papers

"After tracking these most extreme of extreme beers to Texas and Colorado, I can now report that two of the strongest beers ever made will be sold in Chicago soon," Mark McDermott writes for the Examiner.

"Binny's Beverage Depot's Assistant Beer Buyer, Kyle Fornek, posted on the retailer's web site that they will be getting a small shipment of Tactical Nuclear Penguin and Sink the Bismarck! from BrewDog, based near Aberdeen, northern Scotland.

"Proudly waving the banner of 'Beer for Punks,' BrewDog has been pushing the boundaries of both style and propriety. When UK government regulators complained about their naming an 18.2% oak-aged imperial stout 'Tokyo,' they responded by creating a 1.1% beer (later 0.5%) called 'Nanny State.'"

Bring Your Own Knives
"Talented home cooks can show off their skills at an open call for FOX's MasterChef with Gordon Ramsay," Fox Detroit News reports.

"The nationwide talent search will take place on Saturday, Dec. 4 at Chicago's Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts."

Chocolate Factory
"Chocolatier Robyn Rice-Foster refuses to compromise when it comes to fashion and flavor, so she creates jewelry and shoes made entirely of chocolate," ABC7 reports. "Robyn's delicious accessories will benefit the AIDS Foundation of Chicago,, as she returns to its signature event, World of Chocolate on Thursday, December 2."

Deal of the Day
"Google's $6 billion bid for Groupon, an online coupon start-up, is an aggressive move by the company to dominate local online advertising and help with its long-sought move into social networking," the New York Times reports.

"Google has offered Groupon $5.3 billion, with the promise of $700 million in performance bonuses for management, according to a person knowledgeable about the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Several people close to the deal said Groupon, which is based in Chicago, was expected to approve the acquisition and an agreement could be signed as early as this week."


If the deal goes through, will Groupon give us our money back?

That's Todd!
"Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's administration treated families whose homes were damaged by floods to a nearly $79,000 party at Brookfield Zoo, paying for the day of fun with federal grant money meant to restore those homes, newly released county documents show," the Tribune reports.

"The Sept. 12 zoo event included parking, admission, special attractions and 'hungry as a bear' picnic baskets for up to 2,250 people, according to an invoice. The zoo tab also covered more than $8,000 in entertainment, including a prize raffle, a disc jockey, a face painter, seven caricature artists, a juggler and a stilt walker.

"At the event, called a 'family resource day,' flood victims also received tips on how to remove mold, job training and health screenings. There was a music therapy workshop."


From ABC7's Chuck Goudie two weeks ago:

"The ABC7 I-Team obtained county spreadsheets revealing that of the many flood families who were promised help none ever received a dime. ABC7 also discovered thousands and thousands of dollars from the disaster grant are sitting in an appliance store in south suburban Lynwood."


"In Park Ridge, Charlie Melidosian wonders the same thing. Home video from 2008 shows when water poured into his house.

"'The government comes in, destroys the basement, and then disappears to not be able to finish it, and we're not making much progress getting them to finish it up,' said Melidosian.

"Basement boxes are still in his garage and his collection of pinball machines are in the living room. Cook County spent $30,000 to demolish his basement, but the county doesn't have the money to put it back together.

"'I'd like to see, somebody within the county, the Cook County system realize what they've done to people's lives,' said Melidosian. 'We're living our life as a zoo right now.'

"The zoo is where Cook County spent thousands in disaster grant money on a catered picnic in September, even as flood victims were trying to get county officials to finish paying what they had promised.

"ABC7 has asked for spending records for the event, but the county hasn't provided any documents showing how they've spent any disaster grant money, despite numerous requests under Freedom of Information laws."


Perhaps Stroger will meet with Melidosian at the Billy Goat or Manny's to talk it over.

Chicago Overcoat's Big Score
Columbia College film students make it big.

Go Ask Mavis
Or the Lord. Or Jeff Tweedy.

Somebody Likes Johnny Knox This Week
Fantasy value increases.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Cut off the head.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:43 AM | Permalink

Chicago Overcoat's Big Score

"Beverly Ridge Pictures' debut feature, the mob drama Chicago Overcoat, has its broadcast premiere Monday, Dec. 6 on the Showtime Network, with eight dates on Showtime channels throughout the month," Reel Chicago reports.

"The partners began developing the film shortly after graduating from Columbia College. Shot locally in 2007, Overcoat premiered last year at the Chicago International Film Festival and won several top awards at other festivals."


From Beverly Ridge Pictures: "The fates of an aging hitman and a washed-up detective become entwined when one last job leads to one last chance to settle an old score."


1. The Trailer.


2. "Not a fucking word about this!"


3. "Fuck that. I'm going to Vegas!"


4. "An interesting group of young people."


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:59 AM | Permalink

In Action: Mavis Staples

"Wherever Mavis Staples goes, her sister Yvonne is not far away," Greg Kot writes for the Tribune. "While Mavis Staples radiates joy and determination, her older sibling looks on with the vigilant concern of a family matriarch.

"It was no different at a packed and boisterous Park West on Saturday, where Mavis Staples headlined her first hometown show since the release of her latest album, the spine-tingling 'You Are Not Alone.' The album finds the 71-year-old Staples still exploring new ground.

"On Saturday, she performed a Randy Newman ballad, 'Losing You,' with shades of nuance and fragility that might've been beyond her a few decades ago. But she was invested in the song to the point where her eyes welled even as she bent notes and made them shiver, the inflections more reminiscent of a jazz ballad rather than a gospel plea. Rick Holmstrom's guitar held her voice close, embroidering every line with silky reverb.

"When it was over, Mavis bowed her head, and Yvonne clapped in affirmation. 'Oh, yes!'"

Here are some highlights of that show, including bonus video of Kelly Hogan and Scott Ligon and Staples and Jeff Tweedy at Lollapalooza last summer.

1. Bringing it all back home.


2. Either Mavis or the Lord. Or Jeff Tweedy.


3. With a great big giant nod to Kelly Hogan and Nora O'Connor.


4. Kelly Hogan opening.


5. Summer reprise.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:25 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: The Return of Brian Westbrook

From 2004 to 2008, there were few running backs better than Brian Westbrook. He never lead the league in rushing yards, but he was often just as good a receiver as he was running the ball. Multi-dimensional consistency made him a hot fantasy pick every year during that stretch, but occasional injury problems became more frequent and by last season he had fallen far down the draft charts.

Until last week, he was only held in 1 percent of Yahoo! fantasy football leagues - and with good reason: Now playing behind Frank Gore in San Francisco, he was barely getting the chance to touch the ball once per game. Gore has been among the rushing yardage leaders this season, and his own Westbrook-like skills catching passes have kept him on the field practically every play.

Not anymore. Gore broke his hip in the Monday nighter this week and is out for the season. Westbrook came in early as his replacement and collected 135 yards and a TD against Arizona, and by Tuesday morning Westbrook had been picked up in an additional 30 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

He's still available in close to 70 percent of leagues and finding a spot for him just as fantasy teams enter the playoffs seems like a no-brainer.

However, it will be tough for him to have another game like he had this week. Arizona has the second-worst rushing defense in the NFL. San Francisco's upcoming opponents won't be as easy to dominate. Green Bay this week isn't great at stopping the run, but certainly is better than Arizona, and the three games that follow against San Diego, Seattle and St. Louis all feature teams with better than average run defenses.

Anyone picking up Westbrook also should watch this week for how often the 49ers throw to him. He didn't catch a single pass against Arizona and that aspect of his game might need to be revived for his value to play a big role for you in the playoffs. I have a feeling this will be a brief return to viability for Westbrook, and that he will probably return to the margins next year and for however long he continues to play. But for now, he potentially could be a difference-maker for your fantasy team.

Expert Wire
* Yahoo! Pickups of the Week calls Westbrook a strong buy, as well as Toby Gerhart, the back-up to Adrian Peterson, another star RB who may be out, though not for more than a week.

* has Chicago's very own Johnny Knox as a hot Week 13 pick as fantasy leaguers scramble for playoff positions.

* Bleacher Report lists the biggest fantasy duds of the season, with Brett Favre leading the way.

Fantasy Basketball
My fantasy basketball pick of the week is Blake Griffin, PF/C, L.A. Clippers, who recently has seemed intent on making up for the time he lost to injury during his rookie year. He's averaging a double-double this season (20.2 points per game, 11.6 rebounds per game), but has been really on fire during the last week, averaging close to 29 PPG during that span.

The downside of Griffin's game right now is a scarcity of assists, steals and blocks. You don't expect many assists from the big men, and sometimes not a huge number of steals, but you at least need blocks from a PF/C. Right now, Griffin's still a benchwarmer in many fantasy leagues because of that discrepancy, but don't think about trading him just yet.


Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears in this space every Wednesday. He welcomes your comments. You can also read his about his split sports fan personality at his Beachwood blog SwingsBothWays.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:53 AM | Permalink

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