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January 29, 2021

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #341: Deshaun Not Coming To Dinner

We'll be haunted by Ryan Pace's 2017 draft for the rest of our lives. Plus: Rueing Rodgers; Pat Fitzgerald Unavailable To Coach Bears Until 2031; Lovie Smith Parlays Embarrassing Illinois Failure Into NFL Job; So Cub Again; When Not Bad Is Good Enough You're The Blackhawks; No Bulls; Sky Jacked; Roundball Roundtable, and more!

Beachwood Radio NetworkThe Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #341: Deshaun Not Coming To Dinner

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SHOW NOTES

* 341.

1:14: It's Too Late For Ryan Pace To Take Deshaun Watson To Dinner.

* We'll be living with the consequences for the rest of our lives.

Plus: Bears coaching carousel.

14:00: Rueing Rodgers.

* Rich man, poor man.

Plus: Chiefs vs. Bucs.

And: Upon review, Matt LaFleur's FG decision still indefensible.

25:00: Pat Fitzgerald Unavailable To Coach Bears Until 2031.

* Sort of.

* Fat Pitzgerald.

* Rutter: No Fitzmas For Bears, Please.

30:27: Lovie Smith Parlays Embarrassing Illinois Run Into NFL Job.

* Not good enough for Champaign, but good enough for Houston.

* AFC South apparently worse than the Big 10.

33:49: Cubs Piss Us Off All Over Again On Several Levels.

* Cubs Games Most Expensive Fan Experience In MLB.

43:25: Cubs Now Going For It!

* What the hell?

Screen Shot 2021-01-29 at 1.34.38 PM.png

* Plus: La Stella!

* And: Thread.

58:45: When Not Bad Is Good Enough . . .

* . . . You're The Blackhawks.

1:02:22: No Bulls.

1:03:23: Sky Jacked.

1:06:05: Roundball Roundtable.

* Ryan, Tribune: Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird, Hersey Hawkins . . . And Cameron Krutwig.

Plus: DePaul women, Illinois men, Northwestern women.

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STOPPAGE: 12:50

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For archives and other Beachwood shows, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:27 PM | Permalink

January 27, 2021

When Not Bad Is Good Enough

Just because a coach says "No excuses" doesn't mean there actually aren't any excuses. I'll get back to that shortly.

When I settled in to watch the 'Hawks open a two-day, two-game series in Nashville on Tuesday night, I did so with a mindset that anything less than a terrible loss would be promising. And sure enough, the Hawks earned a point with a regulation tie before losing 3-2 in overtime. In so doing, they ran their early season record to 2-3-2, which is not great but not bad considering they opened the season with three lopsided losses.

Coach Jeremy Colliton had a different perspective, and he let it rip after the game.

The gist of the coach's message was that the Hawks hadn't fought nearly hard enough. They hadn't established a consistent forecheck and their puck possession numbers were very disappointing. All the stats seriously favored the Preds.

I am happy to stipulate all of that and then some. But the coach was wrong.

In the bigger picture - the picture in which we take into account the fact that the day before the Hawks announced two of their three remaining most skilled offensive weapons had been sidelined - it was borderline remarkable the Hawks posted that point. Winger Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Adam Boqvist (who has been the primary point man on the 'Hawks' so far highly successful power play) have gone on the COVID-19 list. And in the pregame press conference, Colliton said the two would be out for at least two weeks.

I say "remaining" because the Hawks are still trying to overcome the absence of two of their five most skilled offensive players who have been absent all season - Jonathan Toews (illness) and Kirby Dach (broken wrist). By the way, we still don't know anything about Toews' illness and I would urge the Hawks' captain to be more forthcoming about his health. Of course you have privacy rights and of course no one is going to force anything, but tens of thousands of 'Hawks fans care intensely about this and a little more info about your status would be much appreciated, even if the info is "We just don't know what it is."

Back to the game and back to the fact that of course we hope the 'Hawks will do better going forward than they did in their seventh game of the season. But when you lose critically important cogs for at least a half-dozen games, that is going to have a negative impact in the short term. And that negative impact should be taken into account as far as expectations go.

The bright side was that goalie Malcolm Subban, a surprise starter, made 36 saves, a few of which qualified as well above average. But this was not a goalie game. Subban was good but the Predators' offense was worse. In other words, for all of that puck possession, the Preds didn't generate many dangerous chances. Their shooters shot two off a post during the game. The 'Hawks' shot one.

Subban was solid, but so far this season 25-year-old rookie Kevin Lankinen has been the 'Hawks' best netminder, and he should be back between the pipes Wednesday night. The latest talented hockey import from Finland was a big part of the 'Hawks bouncing back with a couple victories over the Red Wings over the weekend. And while a bigger factor is the fact that the Red Wings are terrible, Lankinen is the guy who has inspired at least some optimism about the 'Hawks' goaltending in general in the season's initial phase.

I'll be going into tonight's game expecting a better performance from the team as it puts a little distance between itself and the highly disappointing news about DeBrincat and Boqvist. I'll expect hard work and at least a little excitement (great goals on Tuesday by Mattias Janmark and Dylan Strome off a great pass from Andrew Shaw provided that last night). But I won't expect greatness from this squad - not for a long time.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:31 AM | Permalink

January 25, 2021

The [Monday] Papers

Here's the latest news from Beachwood HQ:

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See also: Media Watchdog Suspends Beachwood Reporter.

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OTD in Beachwood History in 2016, I wrote this item:

8. Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter!

Once again showing us the difference between what the media says and the truth - all in the name of "objectivity."

*

If you do your reporting deeply enough, you can write/speak with authority - that's objectivity, because the facts are incontrovertible. Some people mistake that, though, for subjectivity.

When a local magazine editor told me once that "In magazine writing, you can have an opinion, that's what I teach my students," as if I'd never heard that before, I blanched. No, it's not about having an opinion! It's about reporting deeply enough to state the truth!

In newspaper writing, the problem is of a slightly different sort - without the time or resources to report deeply enough, reporters (and their editors) fall back on the formulas of objectivity that aren't objective at all, but instead just catalog the unvetted claims and outright lies of everyone quoted in a story. That's probably worse than simply writing an opinion because it's disguised as truth when it's the least truthy version of journalism of all.

The lack of time and resources is not an excuse, either; it can be done nonetheless. It just takes skill, hard work and a certain mindset. (It's even easier in the digital world than in print, with the ease of search, the availability of video and the tool of linking.)

*

That magazine editor, by the way, didn't so much as want me to have an opinion, but to have his opinion, which, typical for him, wasn't a very good one. I stopped working for him, and I don't mean my old boss at Chicago magazine.

*

I use to call my version of magazine writing a "reported conclusion," which my old boss liked very much. The only problem was getting an assignment with a pre-determined conclusion, which invalidates the whole premise of the job, and which is hugely common in the newspaper world as well. It's never served my career to come to an independent, reporting-based conclusion instead of the one an editor has dreamed up ahead of time. They tend not to like when you bring them real-world results different than what they pre-determined what you should bring them. In other words, it's hazardous to your job to actually do your job the way it's supposed to be done.

Now, having a notion, an angle, a thesis going into a story is fine. Sometimes that's how you start. Sometimes you have a basis for such a thing. But that doesn't mean that's how you have to end. (Which is why I shy away from pitching stories to ideologically driven publications. So I don't fit into mainstream journalistic culture and I don't fit into alternative journalism culture, which leaves me . . . here. Where is journalism practiced? It's like alt-country artists being too country for Nashville; some of us are too journalism for journalism.)

Note: I slightly edited/tweaked the last two paragraphs of this item on Jan. 25, 2021.

Back to suspended animation. We'll only return if we find a cure!

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P.S.:

Even in suspended animation the Beachwood kicks ass. Since we last spoke . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #340: Bringing The Hammer Down
Attention, white people. Plus: Rags!; Comedy QBs; Kris Bryant Beefs; Does Zach LaVine Wear A Cape Or No?; Blackhawks Blackout; Evanston vs. Champaign, and more!

*

Trump's Most Amusing Pardon
"The victims of Urlacher's gambling business appear to have been people already addicted to gambling. Just like Steve Bannon's pardon for duping Trump fans into donating to their own Build The Wall numbskullery. They were less victims than self-duped mopes with too much loose money," our very own David Rutter writes.

*

Being Sure About George Ryan
Testing the sincerity of the former governor's stance on the death penalty, our very own Ed Hammer writes.

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TrackNotes: The Phantom Zone
A diminished Pegasus opens the new horse racing season amidst a giant orange background, our very own Tom Chambers writes.

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Post-Paxson, Post-Boylen, Pre-Winning
"The Bulls aren't going to win the NBA title in the coming summer, but believe me when I tell you they are moving in the right direction just about as quickly as is humanly possible," our very own Jim Coffman writes.

*

The $10 Million Wang
Theo protege's penis pride cost him dearly, Rutter writes.

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It Takes A Volunteer Village To Be This Bad
"In something of a unique ascendance of insipidity, Tennessee thus hired 10 men to coach its football team to total incompetence - and cheated to do it. The 'team' that coached the team was even incompetent," Rutter also writes.

*

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #339: The Four Horsemen Of Halas Hall
Awesome culture not even able to pull off a press conference. Plus: Holy Shit, White Sox; The Bad, Bad, Bad Blackhawks; The Less Bad Bulls; Evanston vs. Champaign; and more!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:19 AM | Permalink

January 23, 2021

Trump's Most Amusing Pardon

Of the 140 flip-the-bird pardons and commutations flung against the presidential barn wall by Trump, none was more amusing and deliciously grotesque than freeing Casey Urlacher from his chains and shackles.

At least Mighty Casey did not strike out and get sent away for five years as a customer recruiter and bagman for a sports gambling ring that raked in millions of dollars from local bettors.

He embodied the only aspect of public life more humiliating to retired Bears megastar Brian Urlacher than those massive highway commercials showing hair growing on Brian's head. (Let's all cheer: Hold that hairline; hold that hairline.)

Casey? He is the "Mayor of Mettawa," which is just like being the "Mayor of Petticoat Junction," and should not have been subject to criminal law by the Trump DOJ.

This was using a howitzer to blow up a raccoon.

Of the hideous humans pardoned by Trump in his last official insane performance, the pardon of Urlacher was comic relief.

After he bestowed a Presidential Medal of Freedom on one-time South African apartheid spokesman and professional bigot Gary Player, how could Trump's mob lawyers accuse anyone of being douchey?

Player and Trump were mutual admirers, as racists tend to be.

Player even congratulated Le Grande L'Orange for restoring "disciplines" to American culture.

As for big brother Brian, he went to personally pitch his brother's case to Trump last March, and appears to have left one of his jerseys and $6,000 in campaign donations. It's so Chicago.

Now the trial will be unnecessary, but was it ever necessary?

This was prosecuting Uncle Joe "for A-Movin Kind of Slow . . . at the Junction."

Did we run out of real criminals here? Chicago, the city of broad shoulders and rampant carjacking sprees, probably has a few more citizens justly jailed that would like redemption. Is there no sympathy for Denny Hastert? How about all the people who have owned the Cubs and the Tribune? Or the cops who slept at Bobby Rush's office during last summer's street pillaging? Talk about crimes against humanity.

While we're at it, can someone please pardon Jim Oberweis for . . . well . . . being Jim Oberweis? He is the local congressional Candidate Who Just Won't Take No For An Answer.

As for Urlacher, he was charged with an offshore gambling scheme at virtually the same moment Illinois made all gambling not only legal but almost mandatory. Online sports gambling is sacramental. Genuflect. Everyone on local sports talk radio does, as if they are point-spread altar boys.

The victims of Urlacher's gambling business appear to have been people already addicted to gambling. Just like Steve Bannon's pardon for duping Trump fans into donating to their own Build The Wall numbskullery. They were less victims than self-duped mopes with too much loose money.

Did anyone who donated to Trump's plots not deserve to lose all their money?

As opposed to the roster of human bilge on the pardon list, his lawyer says Casey is a swell guy and community leader, all facts which he said Trump recognized after culling thousands of other petitions. A lawyer said this. Yes, Trump read hundreds of pleas and petitions, a supposition that seems about as likely as a QAnon conspiracy.

Trump had not read hundreds of anything except maybe Big Mac wrappers.

Casey was like your cousin's pot dealer who gets sent to federal prison a day before cannabis becomes the official state crop and official flower.

Just bad reflexes. He's the pedestrian who gets run over by a VW bus being pushed by two guys.

Trump could have pardoned 47.5 percent of prisoners in federal lockups (81,900) who were sent away for non-violent drug crimes. That certainly would have effed up Biden's first month. If anything, we all could have used more of those drugs during the Trump reign.

Speaking of drugs, how many joints will it take to get the mental image of Trump stage-dancing to "YMCA" out of your head.

If anything, we'll chalk up that federal prisoner release lapse to Trump's lack of imagination.

He could have freed Vincent "Uncle Mick" Del Giudice, the mastermind who ran Casey's crime ring. Any justice for Uncle Mick? Not a peep.

And no good news for Matthew "Sweaters" Knight of Mokena, another participant.

But, oh no, he had to free Urlacher, though we will not begrudge his freedom. Once you have bad reflexes, nothing gets easier.

Casey Urlacher is free, but he is forever the brother who insisted on buying a new Yugo.

David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. His most recent piece for us was The $10 Million Wang. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:43 PM | Permalink

January 22, 2021

TrackNotes: The Phantom Zone

Imagery during Wednesday's inaugural festivities set off a lot of triggers for me.

When the Marine pilots set those tires down on the three dots on the South Lawn, I thought Trump didn't deserve that kind of precision.

When Orange Crush and the Cabbage Queen stepped out on that little stubby red carpet . . . stubby . . . fingers . . . and the presidential third leg. Our nation's capital is just so symbolic! Tricky Dick's red carpet went all the way out to the 'copter. Just sayin'.

When the four massive Rolls Royce turbofans finally got DJ Tweetin' Fatass and his extended barnacles up in the air, I naturally thought about the Phantom Zone.

The presidential limo got a lot of screen time. I saw it as up close as you can get once when (hungover?) Bush visited Lou Mitchell's. He helped celebrate Richie's birthday the night before. They overbuilt it of course, but I was glad the massive steel-belted Tiger Paws were able to handle the big quarter-pounder magoo. I called the Secret Service, but they would not comment on whether the springs would dip even just a little bit when he got in.

They said Barron Boy was on the plane to Florida, although he was nowhere to be seen all morning. He looks, poor him, way too much like his old man but just imagine what kind of monster Sergeant Bonespurs and the Slovenian Sensation are creating.

To be fair, those fireworks were the most spectacular fireworks I've ever seen, but they did trigger images of Shock and Awe and Baghdad, to be honest.

Although it was at Arlington National, Clinton, Bush and Obama spoke from what looked like the ancient Amphitheater of Judgement and I thought we sure could use some of that with those guys.

But it's the next day and while Biden must start Presidentin', TrackNotes must start handicappin' the new 2021 racing season.

I'm just not getting the major-race goose, though, with Saturday's fifth Pegasus World Cup Invitational (Grade I, nine furlongs, 1-1/8 miles, four and up, $3,000,000) at Gulfstream Park, Hallandale, Florida.

I tried to find a smart aleck remark related to the origins of the Pegasus mythology, but, man, those wacky Greek cats must have had a lot of time on their hands to come up with that shit.

Like the Peoples' Choice Awards, this race with the ostentatious name just has not held up to its original aspirations and hype. Tuck into your hatband that the race is run on a mismeasured oval with a ridiculously short run to the first turn that severely marginalizes the outside posts.

It started in 2017 with a $12 million purse and a formula that owners could buy entries, trade them, or shares of them, like baseball cards. It was a very Wild West vibe, but owners who put up the hefty entries and didn't score in the race had problems. We had the great California Chrome in the 12-hole, and the race was won by Arrogate in the one-hole. 'Chrome was pulled up. The race had a timing controversy with Gulfstream, naturally, "analyzing" it to a new track record. I hate Gulfstream. Twice a year, this and the Florida Derby is just plenty for me. They'll never get a Breeders' Cup.

With a $16 million purse in 2018, the race didn't fill and track owner Frank Stronach bought the entries and "leased" them to three horses who would share any winnings. We still had West Coast, Gunnevara, Collected, War Story, Toast of New York and Seeking the Soul. Gun Runner won. Class was still hanging on.

In 2019, the purse shrunk to $9 million, partly because of the introduction of the Pegasus Turf. The entries seemed to be descending to second-tier. Bravazo, Accelerate and the up-and-down Seeking the Soul were there. At least recent Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner and overall achiever City of Light won the race.

Last year, Omaha Beach was there, but B-celebrity Mucho Gusto won.

Luckily, there are enough horses in America to fill this year's field, but who are they?

Preakness winner Swiss Skydiver is expected to run this year, but she's not here. Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic winner Authentic is retired. Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law is retired.

There are no great ones this year. Some of them have kept halfway decent company, but you can't say any of them are true Grade I quality. Remember, these are older horses, so we know what they are.

Knicks Go is your 5-2 morning line favorite, based solely on his win in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile in November. Since winning the 2018 Grade I Breeders' Futurity at 70-1, he's been on something of a rehabilitation tour. He missed several months last year with an ankle problem and was switched to trainer Brad Cox. He busted out in a couple allowance optional claiming races in the run-up to his track-record score in the Dirt Mile at Keeneland. Remember, he's in the four-post.

Code of Honor, whose claim to fame is a win in the 2019 Grade I Travers, is at 9-2. He last won back in June at the Grade III Westchester in the mud at Belmont. He almost always finishes in the money, but he can't break through in Grade Is, although this is hardly a studded Grade I field.

Jesus' Team has a big chance. He's graded stakes-challenged, but was second in that same Dirt Mile and has been kicking on the door. Post five.

The once-touted Tax is 5-1 on name recognition alone. He does come off a win in the Grade III Harlan's Holiday right here at Gulfstream, but with that 105 Beyer Speed Figure, I look for him to bounce.

Mr. Freeze, 15-1, sticks his nose in again. He won the Grade II Fayette three back and the Gulfstream Park Mile almost a year ago. Post 11.

If Sleepy Eyes Todd, 8-1, can get the lead from the one post and control a moderate pace . . . those are a couple of big ifs.

The Pegasus winner gets an automatic berth in the $12 million Saudi Cup, a month from now.

In the Pegasus Turf (Grade I, 1-3/16th miles turf, four and up, $1,000,000), Colonel Liam is the 7-2 favorite, coming off a win in the $75,000 Tropical Park Derby here at Gulfstream. Largent, 9-2, is your horse for the course, winning the Grade II Fort Lauderdale here last month. Anothertwistafate, 5-1, is on the rise.

I'll be interested in seeing the condition of the Gulfstream turf. If it's not the worst turf, it sure looks like that on TV.

NBC, 3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Remembering Goldlikova
TrackNotes' honey Goldikova died in early January at the age of 16.

She provided thrills galore when she jetted in and won the Breeders' Cup Mile, Grade I turf, three straight years; twice at Santa Anita and once at Churchill Downs. She won 14 Grade I/Group I races, including the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot. Her rider was Olivier Peslier, trainer the great Freddy Head.

Watch the little filly fearlessly thread the needle and romp to the win in 2008:

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Watch her, in typical European fashion, come from nearly last, look for room inside on the stretch, kick back out and win by a length in 2009.

*

Watch as she endures a less-than-ideal trip to win by more than two in 2020. She faced the great Gio Ponti, Get Stormy and Court Vision in that one.

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Scroll down to the "Grooming Gold" subhead to see her groom demonstrate for the entire world just how exciting Goldikova was.

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Goldikova was a magnetic staple in those early days of TrackNotes. The Irish-bred daughter of the American Anabaa (Danzig) and the dam Born Gold, another American out of damsire Blushing Groom, she was based in France. She won more than $7 million in her career. She took a shot at the Mile again in 2011 and finished third, just a length behind winner Court Vision.

Goldikova's memories burn inside you forever.

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Tom Chambers is our man on the rail. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:56 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #340: Bringing The Hammer Down

Attention, white people. Plus: Rags!; Comedy QBs; Kris Bryant Beefs; Does Zach LaVine Wear A Cape Or No?; Blackhawks Blackout; Evanston vs. Champaign, and more!

Beachwood Radio NetworkThe Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #340: Bringing The Hammer Down

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SHOW NOTES

* 340.

* The Hebrew Hammer.

+

+

=

Iconic HR 715 Video.

I guess it was just those two guys who "mobbed" him on his way around the bases. But I can picture an actual mob in my mind!

Scully: "A Black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South."

*

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15:19: Rags!

*

*

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* Wiederer, Tribune: A Week After The Bears' Astonishing State-Of-The-Franchise Address, The City's Ire Has Amplified. Do Chairman George McCaskey And CEO Ted Phillips See Something Everyone Else Doesn't?

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25:20: Comedy QBs.

* Rodgers vs. Peyton.

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41:41: Kris Bryant Beefs.

* Rogers, ESPN Chicago: Kris Bryant Not Having As Much Fun Playing Baseball As Before.

+

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* Rhodes: 'The Cubs are shedding payroll like it's the coronavirus.'

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55:40: Does Zach LaVine Wear A Cape Or No?

*

*

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1:02:25: Blackhawks Blackout.

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1:08:50: Evanston vs. Champaign.

* Northwestern Stretches Losing Streak With Second-Half Runs Against No. 10 Wisconsin.

* Illini Dangerous When They Share The Ball.

Plus:

* Lindsey Pulliam's Second Half Dominance Leads Northwestern To 11th Straight Win Against Illinois.

* No. 18 DePaul Women Roll Past Butler.

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STOPPAGE: 20:55

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For archives and other Beachwood shows, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:08 PM | Permalink

January 19, 2021

The $10 Million Wang

Words of illumination and warning to the world's women, as if they needed it.

If you ladies wondered how sadly addicted to self-admiration men are about their junk, consider Jared Porter, who was Theo Epstein's managerial protege during the Cubs' 2016 World Series season. He ran the Cubbies' department of professional scouting, though it turns out future baseball players were not the only objects of his work.

Epstein and Porter were like THIS (stock image of intertwined fingers bunched closely together). Porter thereafter took another step up the managerial flagpole with the Diamondbacks.

Fast forward to one month ago when Porter is hired as general manager of the often scandal-ridden and competence-challenged New York Mets.

A month into his tenure Tuesday, Porter is fired, which means he got to bank $200,000 of his annual salary that likely would have blossomed to $10 million over a four-year contract.

Why? You can guess. Yes, the traditional wang picture gallery sent to a female acquaintance he was trying to wang. Between unsolicited texts and photos, he sent 60 wang messages to a name-withheld foreign female journalist he encountered in a Yankee Stadium elevator in 2016.

That's a lot of digital advertising.

What did this advertising campaign cost him? His captured-for-all-posterity wang images were worth $10 million. At least that's what the images cost him in lost income.

No one has asked Porter why he thought sending unsolicited pictures of his wang to a journalist would work for him. Maybe his wang self-promotion had worked before for him.

Maybe he was color blind to red flags.

Men tend to think this wang-sharing is a dealmaker in their sexual quests, though there is little hard evidence, so to speak. They say to themselves: Just wait till she gets a look at THIS baby!

Women seem less inclined to send photos of their vaginas to men.

But if it could get worse for Porter, it has.

The photos he sent were not his wang. They were imposter wang photos - stock images, he says - and that admission poses another penis peccadillo. If the wang imposter photos worked as intended, how would he explain fake wang photos to his new paramour once she encountered the Real Magilla?

You do know that false advertising on wangs is capitalistic malpractice and can get you in trouble with the Better Business Bureau, not to mention your wife unless she receives the images.

There is no legal precedent to determine if the owner of the real wang has some residual rights. Can you copyright a wang photo? Can you trademark your wang? All issues for another forum.

As for the immediate problem, Porter did not properly anticipate what would follow if the female journalist turned over the photos to ESPN. Which she did.

What were the chances she would hide them? Journalists seldom hide what they know. They always spill the beans. This indicates his understanding of journalists was somewhat flawed.

And this is a guy who was paid lots of money to anticipate the future outcome of human conduct.

As for the Mets new owner, Steve Cohen is rightly sensitive about scandal in general. Despite having several billions of dollars sitting around as disposable income, Cohen barely was approved for ownership because of his own peccadillos, though none involved wang photo distribution.

In 2013, his S.A.C. Capital Advisors hedge fund pleaded guilty to fraudulent insider trading and agreed to pay $1.8 billion in fines in one of the biggest criminal cases ever against a hedge fund.

So when he bought the Mets in November, it was clearly understood he'd make the operation as disinfected of badness as was humanly possible. The Mets of recent days were usually awful all on their own, without wang photos.

Cohen also owns $1 billion in artworks, none of which are wang photos as far as we know.

In the digital dimension of the 21st Century, it's natural that many regrettable quotes are captured permanently in the ethernet.

Like this one.

As Porter pronounced last month of Epstein's most profound advice to him: "If you believe in something, make sure you speak up. Give your opinion. There's a lot of tough decisions that lead to a good, quality baseball team, so make sure you're always giving your opinion and speaking up and speaking your mind."

Just don't send her wang pictures.

David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. His most recent piece for us was It Takes A Volunteer Village To Be This Bad. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:45 AM | Permalink

Post-Paxson, Post-Boylen, Pre-Winning

In the end, it seemed as though the only thing former Bulls general manager and vice president of whatever John Paxson cared about was saving money for the chairman (Jerry Reinsdorf) and his partners.

He made should-have-been-forever interim (or assistant) Jim Boylen the full-time head coach despite the fact that then-interim head coach Boylen (after Fred Hoiberg was fired in December of 2018) had showed immediately that he wasn't up to the job. In his first interim weekend, the coach held a ridiculously long practice featuring a clearly excessive amount of sprints and other basic conditioning and then executed an infamous five-for-five substitution in a game.

Do people remember when Tim Floyd did that early in his Bulls head-coaching career? Fortunately for Floyd, Charles Oakley was still in his second go-round with the Bulls at that point and he told the new head coach to never do that again in the NBA (which he did not). Oakley pointed out that deploying that sort of embarrassing tactic would potentially be injurious in the Association, which even way back then almost a quarter of a century ago (1998) was well on its way to becoming the ultimate players' league.

When Boylen was interim head coach, he worked for his assistant coach salary. When the Bulls made him the full-time coach in 2018, they gave him a small, three-year deal that put him in the bottom tier of coaches. During both tenures, Boylen offered up examples of why he never should have been an NBA head coach virtually every week. One of his favorite moves was to call timeouts in the final minutes of games in which the Bulls were being blown out to apparently go over strategy that might help the team suffer a slightly less embarrassing final result on the scoreboard. Not good. On a couple occasions opposing head coaches called Boylen out on that move, making it clear they had little to no respect for him.

It was clear in late 2018 that Paxson, who had a year prior sold a second-round draft pick to the Golden State Warriors and then offered up a truly bad-ridiculous rationale for doing so, had completely lost his way.

It is already crystal clear this season (the Bulls improved to 6-8 with a 125-120 win over the Rockets at home Monday night) that Billy Donovan (hired by Paxson's successor Arturas Karnisovas) is such a better a coach than Jim Boylen it is embarrassing (to previous management). All Bulls fans had warm feelings for Paxson at the end of his playing career and most of us were still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt well into his executive career. But the stupidity of some of his draft decisions and coaching hires wore us down and after he stuck with cheapest option Boylen because he knew it would make Reinsdorf happy, we started to hate him. Paxson, that is.

When Paxson sold the pick to the Warriors for a few million, he claimed the Bulls had a list of prospects who they were especially excited to draft early in that second round and that all of those picks were off the board when the Bulls' pick arrived. It didn't seem to occur to him that maybe the dynastic Warriors had a better list. Sure enough, later in the ensuing season the Warriors came to Chicago to embarrass the Bulls with the draft pick in question, Josh Bell, playing a prominent role.

Thankfully chairman-in-waiting Michael Reinsdorf (Jerry's son) apparently staged an intervention after last year's terrible regular season was ended by the pandemic and as a result the whole crew - Paxson, Gar Forman and Boylen - were fired. Michael was successful enough with his subsequent hires (conducting an ultra-professional job search involving candidates from all over the place for all three positions - imagine that!) that we should probably think of him as the new man in charge of the partnership that owns the Bulls. Then again, something tells us Jerry still has veto power over everything.

The Bulls hired the best executive they could find in Karnisovas as opposed to pulling a Jerry Reinsdorf and hiring the former Bulls player who Reinsdorf felt had been nicest to him during his playing career (that was how they chose Paxson over fellow former Bull BJ Armstrong at the beginning of all this).

The White Sox are clearly the only team in town at this point that is in championship contention. The Bulls aren't going to win the NBA title in the coming summer, but believe me when I tell you they are moving in the right direction just about as quickly as is humanly possible. Hallelujah.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:51 AM | Permalink

Being Sure About George Ryan

When I first saw that former Gov. George Ryan had written a book about his efforts to put a halt to the death penalty In Illinois, I became concerned. What bothered me was that Ryan might attempt to use the book to reverse the stigma he earned from a 35-year political career replete with corruption.

On April 17, 2006, a jury found Ryan guilty on 22 counts of corruption (later reduced by a judge to 20) linked to his time as Illinois Secretary of State. I became aware of his corruption as early as 1993 while being assigned as a special agent/investigator for the Secretary of State's Office. My partner Russell Sonneveld and I investigated several cases Involving multiple subjects obtaining commercial driver's licenses in exchange for bribes - and that bribe money ending up in the Citizens for Ryan campaign fund.

Those cases were being prematurely closed without prosecutorial review by SOS inspector general Dean Bauer, our supervisor and Ryan's close friend. Then, on Election Day in 1994, six children were killed in a fiery crash on I-94 south of Milwaukee by a truck driver who obtained one of those licenses for bribes. When Bauer also closed our investigation on that tragic case, we knew the obstruction had to be stopped. We arranged to meet with an investigator with United States Department of Justice. Nine years later, on December 17, 2003, after completing two terms as Secretary of State and one term as governor, Ryan was indicted. The charges included obstruction of justice.

I voted for Ryan when he ran for Secretary of State the first time, in 1990, only to be disappointed with his administration's new political appointees and their disregard for policy and the rule of law. It seemed to me they were more interested in catering to Ryan's personal interests.

Like Ryan, I am opposed to the death penalty. I agree with Ryan's moral objections regarding the death penalty as stated in his book Until I Could Be Sure. What I question is Ryan's motivation and sincerity.

Early in his book, Ryan quotes Bob Mann, a liberal Democrat from Hyde Park, as saying, "It's a moral dilemma. Remember, you can't justify killing by the State unless you really feel that killing by one justifies killing by another." I wholeheartedly agree. However, is Ryan's book an attempt to whitewash his tarnished years in politics and government?

There is one investigation Sonneveld and I conducted in the spring of 1994 that specifically leads me to believe the whole Ryan death penalty moratorium plan was simply an attempt to distract both the media and the public from the criminality of the Ryan organization. Sonneveld and I were assigned to investigate a $2,500 cash shortage at the Naperville driver's license facility. After gathering information on the shortage and interviewing the facility manager, we were certain the manager stole the $2,500 to pay for Ryan fundraiser tickets. The next day the manager failed a polygraph exam and agreed to repay the $2,500 but would not admit to stealing it.

That same night Bauer ordered Sonneveld to call Ryan at home. He called and after advising Ryan of the pending investigation, Ryan replied, "It looks like somebody is in trouble." The next day Bauer ordered the Naperville investigation closed.

That November, the tragic traffic fatality that resulted in the deaths of the six Willis children occurred, initiating a scandal reported almost daily by the media over the course of next few years. The focus of the scandal revolved around truck drivers obtaining licenses in exchange for bribes at Secretary of State testing sites.

Six years later, in January 2000, the Sun-Times reported on the Naperville driver's license facility investigation. It was the first time illegal fundraising was publicly linked to Secretary of State employees.

Conveniently for Ryan, the next day a Chicago Tribune editorial suggested it was time for a moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois. Up to that point it was well-known that Ryan was under federal investigation. Could the Sun-Times article have been the tipping point for Ryan to take this action? Or did Ryan really believe the State taking the life of another human being was a moral dilemma?

After ordering the moratorium and before leaving the governor's office, Ryan commuted the sentences of 164 Death Row inmates to life in prison. He also pardoned four Death Row inmates. Nine years later, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation abolishing the death penalty in Illinois.

The George Ryan They Knew

Before supposedly having a change of heart, Ryan writes, "[T]he only real attention I paid to the death penalty was to vote in favor of expanding it . . . I voted for [aggravating circumstances] whenever I was given the opportunity because I believed that there was a place in the system for the death penalty."

Then, he says, he began to have doubts.

"I think my shifting attitude on the death penalty surprised a great many people," he writes. "It didn't sound like the George Ryan they knew or thought they knew."

It was certainly a surprise to me. I have always felt Ryan's public persona was short and harsh, a stereotypical grump. He certainly comes across as a person who does not want to be bothered with other people's problems.

In the summer of 2010, I met and befriended former Cook County Sheriff's Deputy Tom McGill. In 1992, two years before the tragic Willis children accident, McGill's mother and 12-year-old brother were killed in a horrendous traffic accident in Chicago involving a semi-truck whose driver had recently received his commercial license.

McGill was suspicious that the young truck driver illegally obtained his CDL. Regulations required CDL applicants to understand English. This driver did not. McGill reported his concern to the Chicago Police Department, the Illinois State Police and the FBI. Nobody seemed to listen. He eventually ended up in the Hillside office of Dean Bauer. Bauer advised McGill to not discuss his complaint with other law enforcement agencies. After a few short meetings and follow-up telephone calls, Bauer did not want to be bothered anymore. During their last telephone conversation, McGill said he heard Ryan yelling in the background, "Tell him to stop calling."

The Weight On His Shoulders

"I had never in my life felt such a weight on my shoulders," Ryan writes of signing the death warrant of convicted rapist and murderer Andrew Kokoraleis. "I focused on the crime more than the person or the process."

What about McGill's mother and brother or the six Willis children? Did you not have any feelings of weight on your shoulders for them and their families? Did you not realize you had the ability to prevent tragedies like those from being repeated?

Ryan's statement regarding the Kokoraleis execution contradicts the point he makes with his book. Ryan covers the list of all the reasons why the State should not execute convicted murderers. Morality, religion, psychology, bad policing and zealot prosecutors are all mentioned. He also consults with experts, clergy and celebrities to support him and praise his decision, including Sister Helen Prejean, Mike Farrell, Desmond Tutu and Jesse Jackson, to name a few.

I'll give Ryan some credit. He finally alludes to his indictment, trial and conviction in his book's Epilogue. "I let [voters] down," he writes. "For that I apologize . . . I should have been more watchful." The problem with that "apology" is that it sounds like his only failure was that there were others committing crimes and he should have reported them. His credibility ends there. In fact, those felonious state employees were sycophants committing crimes on his behalf.

Additionally, in an attempt to detract from his federal crimes Ryan states a law professor said, "I was certainly punished for conduct that is not a crime."

What is true is that Ryan benefited politically from Bauer's obstruction of the investigations of licenses for bribes. What is true is that six children and several other motorists were in fatal accidents as a result of the unqualified truck drivers bribing workers to obtain commercial driver's licenses and that bribe money went to Ryan's campaign fund. What also is true is that a long list of Ryan cronies were also convicted of crimes geared to their profit and political gain.

When reading Until I Could Be Sure, you'll have to ask yourself if all of Ryan's proclamations of morality are sincere or are they simply meant to win your sympathy for a convicted politician. Unless you're looking to highlight and write in your personal copy like I did, this book is not worth the $30 price tag. I suggest you make use of your tax dollars and check out a copy from your local library if you really have a need to read it.

Ed Hammer is the author of One Hundred Percent Guilty.

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Previously by Ed Hammer:
* George Ryan's Park Bench
* George Ryan's Dogs and Ponies
* George Ryan's Other Jailhouse Interview
* Bugging The Chicago School Board
* Cop vs. Teacher
* Signs of Change
* Pols vs. Teachers
* The Terre Haute Redemption
* Rahm's War On Teachers
* About Those Indicted Nurses
* Body Language Bingo: A Guide To Watching The Presidential Debates
* George Ryan's Day Of Independence
* The Ironic George Ryan.
* George Ryan Is Unrepentant.
* Must Like Puppies.
* ILGov2014: The George Ryan Connection.
* Exclusive: Trump Puts Lion Killer On VP Short List.
* The Statues Of Kankakee.
* Now Even Statues Of Dirty Illinois Governors Want Your Money.
* Ex-Con George Ryan To Personally Appeal For Statue.
* Kankakee Statues Saga Takes Mayberryesque Turn.
* Ten Years Ago Today: 100% Guilty.

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See also: Honoring A True Illinois Hero.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:57 AM | Permalink

January 18, 2021

It Takes A Volunteer Village To Be This Bad

Welcome to the Malfunction Junction of college football.

Knoxville and its 100,000-seat Neyland Stadium (plus 500,000 television customers) only look like the environs of Alabama and Columbus. It's a thin similarity.

Ever since naming Phillip Fulmer the athletic director 13 years ago, football life Eastern Tennessee has been consistently miserable. Fulmer was worse at that job than almost everyone who'd ever held it. He had been a great coach who proved the Peter Principle.

And ever since a rabble-rousing local radio personality and Twitter hordes twisted the Vols into picking the wrong coach four years ago, the program has been plummeting.

That misery hit a loud note Monday when Jeremy Pruitt was fired for "cause," which means he did something worse than lose football games.

He cheated on recruiting. A lot. And often. And badly.

We know this because the school's chancellor said so while ushering Pruitt out the door. This was a train that football fans had seen a-comin' down the track for years.

Fulmer decided it was time for him to go, too. He retired the way parachutists retire when they are catapulted from the plane without a chute.

But here's where we get to new information. If you want to know how much has gone wrong in college football through the prism of Tennessee football, consider this:

Not only was Pruitt and his two top assistants ditched, the school also fired four members of the "on-campus football recruiting staff," the director and assistant director of football player personnel, and a football analyst/quality control coach.

It does not seem plausible or rational that 10 men are required to manage one bad football team. "Director of player personnel?" Is he officially in charge of the cheating, or does he just watch?

In Tennessee it takes a village.

In something of a unique ascendance of insipidity, Tennessee thus hired 10 men to coach its football team to total incompetence - and cheated to do it. The "team" that coached the team was even incompetent.

How bad would the Vols have been without cheating? Our mind is boggled. Yes, boggled.

At least the Houston Astros won a World Series when they cheated. Tennessee was so bad that it produced records of 3-7, 8-5 and 5-7 while cheating.

And if you cheat on recruiting, which is what Tennessee did, shouldn't your players be better than if you simply put out an open cattle call for anyone in the area to try out?

So Tennessee likely will be rolled into a ditch for a few years by NCAA penalties, though it's not as if they'd be going to a good bowl game somewhere.

The COVID pandemic cost UT $40 million in lost revenue this year from its athletic budget, most of it because of no paying customers allowed in the football stadium. A football stadium with 100,000 seats and no fans is really empty.

Thus, Tennessee paid millions to cheat on a sport that no one saw, and still lost.

In 2019, Tennessee spent $52.7 million on operating its football program.

A year later, the staff of cheaters still could not produce a winner.

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David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. His most recent piece for us was A WTF Timeout. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:36 PM | Permalink

January 15, 2021

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #339: The Four Horsemen Of Halas Hall

Awesome culture not even able to pull off a press conference. Plus: Holy Shit, White Sox; The Bad, Bad, Bad Blackhawks; The Less Bad Bulls; Evanston vs. Champaign; and more!

Beachwood Radio NetworkThe Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #339: The Four Horseman Of Halas Hall

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SHOW NOTES

* 339.

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* The Drew Pearson Push-Off.

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* Bears Front Office So Inept They Can't Even Hold A Decent Press Conference.

McCaskey / Phillips.

+

Pace / Nagy.

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* Biggs, Tribune: 10 Things.

* Pro Football Focus: Dak Prescott And The Rest Of The NFL's Top QB Free Agents.

* Washington Post: Does This Haircut Make Me Look Like A Nazi?

* Ryan Pace's Haircut.

* Fishbain, The Athletic: Allen Robinson's Future Becomes High Priority As Bears Move To Offseason.

"Three years ago, Robinson had options as one of the top receivers to hit the market. Some questioned his decision to pick Chicago with a new coach and a second-year quarterback in Mitch Trubisky.

"Now that he's entering his eighth season in the NFL, he could evaluate his options differently.

"'When I came to Chicago, I know there was a ton of people who thought I wasn't making the best decision for my career then,' he said. 'At the same time, I knew with Coach Nagy, with the team that we had and everything like that, that I was doing what was best for my career."

* Bears Board of Directors.

* CLARIFICATION: George McCaskey called C.J. Gardner-Johnson a punk, not Anthony Miller.

4908: Holy Shit, White Sox.

55:35: The Bad, Bad, Bad Blackhawks.

* Kaplan, ESPN: It's gonna be a long season.

1:05:03: The Less Bad Bulls.

1:07:15: Evanston vs. Champaign.

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STOPPAGE: 9:26

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For archives and other Beachwood shows, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:40 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Hola, amigos.

I'm going back on hiatus; I'm not gonna half-ass this thing just for the sake of keeping it up, or appearing to. I've got plenty of other things to do.

So the site is officially suspended in animation until further notice.

That doesn't mean I won't be posting any new material. The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour will continue, shifting back to our regular Friday schedule now that the Bears season is over. And I'll continue to post work from writers such as Roger Wallenstein, Tom Chambers and David Rutter.

But for now I'm going to spend my time paying bills, cleaning up my taxes, ginning up some outside projects, tweeting, and trying to avoid getting COVID.

I still haven't even finished unpacking from my move last March. Though I still haven't finished unpacking from any move I've made since college. But still.

So, see you on the other side of whatever this is.

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The Truth

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Check Out REACH

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Straight To Hell / Lily Allen

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Radio King

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Comments, tips, assignments, hate mail.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:12 AM | Permalink

January 14, 2021

The [Thursday] Papers

Hola, amigos! Been a long time since I rapped at ya.

Well, since Monday.

What have I been up to?

Oh, just making moves and starting grooves.

Break it down for me, fellas.

*

But don't make me break this shit all the way down.

*

Now, check out the hook while my DJ revolves it . . .

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Overton Window
"Chicago rapper Vic Mensa's nonprofit is raising money after roughly $40,000 worth of shoes, medical supplies and other items were stolen from the organization's storage space at Overton Elementary School in Bronzeville," Block Club Chicago reports.

Trapp Door
"Chicagoans are stepping up to help the Luceros, the city's 'von Trapp' musical family, from being evicted," Block Club Chicago reports.

"The Luceros - father Juan, mother Susy and seven children - make up Cielito Lindo, a mariachi folk band that has performed everywhere from Alcala's Western Wear in West Town to Nickelodeon's stage in Los Angeles."

As featured in the Beachwood in March 2018.

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Temperature Check

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ChicagoReddit

100 Years Ago Today [January 13, 1921] Northwestern University lifts its ban on modern dancing, a prohibition that was put in place to prevent the students from slipping into degeneracy. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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Programming Note
I had to remove some content because something in the coding is messed up. The YouTube and Facebook embeds I tried showed up perfectly in preview, but once posted showed as a totally different video and swapped the Facebook embed with the Soundcloud badge on the right rail.

I really don't want to do this anymore. The site is broken and I'm sick of it.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Collaborative.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:08 AM | Permalink

January 11, 2021

MLB's Sticky Situation

With everything that's happening in our tumultuous world, you can be excused for missing a rather amusing tale coming from the world of major league baseball last week.

As scandals go, this one appears rather tame compared to the PED uproar of the 1990s and early 2000s or the Astros' sign-stealing scheme.

Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times first reported the story after a court proceeding in Los Angeles involving former Angels visiting clubhouse attendant Brian "Bubba" Harkins.

While Harkins, who worked for the Angels for more than 30 years before being fired last March, is an unfamiliar name, people like Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, Adam Wainwright, Max Scherzer, Cory Kluber and Felix Hernandez are easily identifiable. All were mentioned in last week's reporting.

Seems that Harkins allegedly concocted a potion of pine tar and rosin which could benefit pitchers by helping them grip a baseball for increased control and spin rates. Apparently former Angels' closer Troy Percival introduced Harkins to the mixture during his 10 years (1995 - 2004) in Anaheim in which he recorded 316 saves. Percival once attended the University of California-Riverside, although no one has investigated whether his major was chemistry. Nor has it been ascertained whether a lab is required for creating this illegal substance.

Because Harkins lost his job with the Angels and was immediately unemployable by other ballclubs, he filed a defamation suit last August against the Angels and Major League Baseball. Back on Nov. 2, MLB countered with a motion to dismiss the suit, and last week Harkins' attorney responded by opposing the dismissal. This time Harkins named names along with a text he had saved from Gerrit Cole, the Yankees' $324 million pitcher. Hence DiGiovanna wrote his account.

"Hey Bubba, it's Gerrit Cole, I was wondering if you could help me out with this sticky situation," Cole texted in January 2019. "We don't see you until May, but we have some road games in April that are in cold weather places. The stuff I had last year seizes up when it gets cold."

What's comical about all this hubbub is that both pine tar and rosin are found in every clubhouse at all levels of the game. As long as I have watched ballgames, there always has been a rosin bag resting behind the pitcher's mound, helping pitchers, whose hand might be wet and slippery on a hot summer day, get a decent grip on the ball, thus lessening the chances of an errant missile that could severely injure the batter. I assumed that rosin was some kind of chalk but, according to Baseball Reference, it's "a sticky substance extracted from the sap of fir trees."

Rosin bags have a much longer history than pine tar, a somewhat different animal which, according to the rules, can be applied to the lower (basically the handle) 18 inches of the bat in order to, again, get a better grip.

Of course, no one gave pine tar much attention until 1983 when Yankees manager Billy Martin asked the umpire to examine Kansas City's George Brett's bat after Brett's two-run, ninth-inning homer in a late July game gave the Royals a 5-4 lead at Yankee Stadium. The ump ruled that Brett had misapplied pine tar and called Brett out. The iconic video of an enraged Brett sprinting from the dugout to wreak havoc (or worse) on the umpiring crew is among the most intense images in the history of the game. Furthermore, Brett's lumber has occupied a permanent home in the Hall of Fame since 1987.

Aside from the legality, or lack thereof, of applying this substance to the ball, wouldn't you think that a pitcher, many of whom are esteemed because of their baseball intelligence and acumen, could figure out on his own how to manufacture the mixture? You don't need a fir and pine tree because both components are readily available, and, taken individually, infringe on the rules in no manner whatsoever. Getting caught with rosin or pine par isn't a crime anywhere as far as I can tell.

On a visit to Anaheim, couldn't someone like Cole approach Harkins and simply ask, "Now Bubba, how many parts pine tar to rosin should I use?" My uninformed answer would be "equal parts," therefore, making the sticky stuff about as easy to employ as taking Play-Doh out of those plastic eggs that hold the blobs.

Forget about selecting the specific kind of steroid or PED or learning how to inject oneself or finding someone else to do the job. Pre-schoolers would be good candidates for combining pine tar and rosin. They'd probably enjoy the task.

As long as we're talking about an endeavor one level above manufacturing mud pies, consider the can of worms MLB has opened here. Will voters think twice before checking their Hall of Fame ballots for the likes of Verlander and Scherzer? After all, if what Harkins says is true, they technically have been cheating.

I also wonder how many other clubhouse personnel knew about Harkins' concoction. He couldn't be the only one. Furthermore, would any of this have become public knowledge if MLB and the Angels had paid off Harkins to just go away once he filed suit? The situation might have been resolved with a check for far less than what they pay a utility infielder. Part of the settlement could have been a non-disclosure agreement which is used de rigueur in this litigious age. Write him a check, hold your breath, and issue a statement to every team that suspensions will result if any pitcher applies anything more than rosin to the baseball.

Of course, Harkins is the victim here. He possibly made more in tips each season than his salary for handing out jock straps and towels to the visiting team. Now he's a pariah while elite millionaire pitchers may suffer a tinge of embarrassment, and, possibly more importantly to them, a few less rotations on their spin rate.

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Former Bill Veeck bar buddy Roger Wallenstein is our White Sox correspondent. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:22 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #338: Halas Hell

No-man's land. Plus: Bye Bye Bam-Bam; As The Crow Retires; Zach LaVine Stuffs Stat Sheet; and Evanston vs. Champaign. Go Padres and Red Stars!

Beachwood Radio NetworkThe Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #338: Halas Hell

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SHOW NOTES

* 338.

* Rozner, Daily Herald: Another Superb Bears Season Ends In Defeat.

Assuming they all keep their jobs, you will hear all of the same authentic frontier gibberish you have heard for six years of GM Ryan Pace, three years of head coach Matt Nagy and four years of Mitch Trubisky, and you will hear all the same next year if they are all back in Lake Forest.

As is always the case, they had a great week of practice leading up to the Saints game.

Trubisky had the best week of practice he's ever had in his life.

The quarterback has learned so much this year and the benching made him a better player.

By giving up the play-call sheet for a short time, Nagy has acquired more knowledge about his job and will be even better next season.

Nagy knows the Bears need to commit to the run, stay with the run and be better at running the football. They have to fix that and they will fix that. Guaranteed.

The Bears made tremendous strides in 2020. The team is on the verge of something great.

The players and coaches all love each other because they fight and they care so much.

They were so close to something very special this season. It was only a matter of a play here or a play there that made the difference.

Those are plays they need to make and they know that, and in 2021 they will make those plays.

They won't talk about who's responsible for those plays, but they know who they are and they know how to get it done next time.

They're going to work extra hard this offseason to ensure they're all better at their jobs next time around.

They're fired up to get down to business and excited about what the future holds.

They're not worried about a lack of cap space because they have a great plan in place for putting a championship team on the field in 2021.

Next year will be the year.

If you've lost track of how many times you've heard each one of these before, no one would blame you. Most people stop listening after the seventh or eighth time.

What's certain is that the Bears have now gone another year without a Super Bowl after the Saints sent them home. And anyone being honest would tell you they are very far from being a Super Bowl team.

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* Bears MVP: Cairo Santos.

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34:13: It's Gonna Be Packers Vs. Chiefs.

* Quarterback roulette.

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43:28: Babe "Bam-Bam" Ruth Has Left The City.

e4c9c0949a2c54931202ffcde8032da4.jpg

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54:22: As The Crow Flies Into Retirement.

coreycrawfordretire.jpg

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58:30: Zach LaVine Stuffs Stat Sheet.

* A star?

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59:36: Evanston vs. Champaign.

* Illinois Overcomes Big First Quarter Deficit To Swamp Northwestern.

And then . . .

* Maryland Upsets No. 12 Illinois.

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STOPPAGE: 4:56

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For archives and other Beachwood shows, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:13 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

*

*

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #338: Halas Hell
No-man's land. Plus: Bye Bye Bam-Bam; As The Crow Retires; Zach LaVine Stuffs Stat Sheet; and Evanston vs. Champaign. Go Padres and Red Stars!

*

MLB's Sticky Situation
An amusing little scandal.

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ChicagoReddit

Can I get your guy's opinion on what living in a coach house is like? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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The Beachwood Tuna Piano Line: But you can't tuna fish.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:24 AM | Permalink

January 9, 2021

Kirin Beer's Myanmar Military Partner

Japan-based Kirin Holdings should publish its investigation report on the military-owned Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. and swiftly cut ties with the company.

Kirin announced the conclusion of an investigation by Deloitte Tohmatsu Financial Advisory on Thursday, but declined to publish the report for confidentiality reasons.

"Kirin should regain some trust of consumers, investors and rights groups by releasing the details of its investigation into the operations of its Myanmar military business partner," said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "Kirin's business association with MEHL raises serious human rights concerns that need urgent action, not further obfuscation behind an investigation whose results are kept secret."

In its Thursday statement, Kirin said the investigation by Deloitte was "inconclusive as a result of Deloitte being unable to access sufficient information required to make a definitive determination."

Kirin said the investigation aimed to determine the "destination of proceeds received by" MEHL from Myanmar Brewery Ltd. (MBL) and Mandalay Brewery Ltd. (MDL), and that it would provide a "further update" on its business activities in Myanmar by the end of April.

Kirin owns a majority stake in Myanmar Brewery Ltd. and Mandalay Brewery Ltd. in partnership with the military owned-and-operated MEHL. In 2015, Kirin bought 55 percent of Myanmar Brewery Ltd., 4 percent of which it later transferred to the military-owned firm. In 2017, Kirin acquired 51 percent of Mandalay Brewery Ltd. in a separate joint venture with the firm.

Myanmar's armed forces, the Tatmadaw, have been responsible over many years for numerous grave violations of human rights and war crimes against the country's ethnic minority populations. These abuses culminated in the August 2017 campaign of ethnic cleansing against the ethnic Rohingya population in Rakhine State, including killings, sexual violence, and forced removal. Human Rights Watch found that Myanmar's security forces committed crimes against humanity and genocidal acts in those 2017 operations against the Rohingya.

In Rakhine State, the military and police keep an estimated 600,000 Rohingya confined to camps and villages without freedom of movement, cut off from access to adequate food, health care, education, and livelihoods. Approximately 130,000 of them have been held since 2012 in open-air detention camps. Human Rights Watch found that the squalid and oppressive conditions imposed on the Rohingya amount to the crimes against humanity of persecution, apartheid, and severe deprivation of liberty.

A United Nations-backed Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar reported in 2018 that atrocities committed by Myanmar's armed forces "rise to the level of both war crimes and crimes against humanity." In a September 2019 report, the panel concluded that "any foreign business activity" involving Myanmar's military and its conglomerates Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. and Myanmar Economic Corporation pose "a high risk of contributing to or being linked to, violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law."

At a minimum, these foreign companies are contributing to supporting the Tatmadaw's financial capacity." The Fact-Finding Mission advocated the "financial isolation" of the military to deter violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.

On November 11, 2020, Kirin announced a suspension of "all dividend payments" from the Myanmar Brewery Ltd. and Mandalay Brewery Ltd. joint ventures with MEHL "in view of a significant lack of visibility regarding the future business environment" and pending "the ongoing assessment into the destination of proceeds from MBL and MDL and the spread of Covid-19 in Myanmar."

On May 22, Human Rights Watch and three other nongovernmental organizations wrote to Kirin to urge the company to terminate its partnership with the military conglomerate. After initiating an investigation on June 6 by Deloitte into the operations of MEHL, Kirin responded in a June 12 letter that "It is wholly unacceptable to Kirin that any proceeds from the joint-venture with the MEHL could be used for military purposes." Amnesty International, in September, published a report detailing links between MEHL and the Myanmar military.

Kirin Group's Human Rights Policy states that the company will respect international human rights law instruments, including the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This means that Kirin should "avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts through their own activities, and address such impacts when they occur," and "seek to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their operations, products or services by their business relationships, even if they have not contributed to those impacts."

"It's been more than a year since the UN Fact-Finding Mission strongly advised foreign companies to cut their ties with the Myanmar military, yet Kirin is still dragging its feet with what should be a clear decision," Robertson said. "Kirin should realize that the longer their involvement with the Myanmar armed forces, the greater their risk of complicity in military abuses, further tarnishing the company's human rights record."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:57 PM | Permalink

January 8, 2021

The [Friday] Papers

For completists, there was no Thursday column.

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Two songs I'm currently obsessed with.

1. You Get What You Give / New Radicals.

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2. V / Golden Smog.

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Oh, and this:

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ChicagoReddit

How do you pronounce "Reese's Pieces"? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Brookfield Zoo uses discarded Christmas trees as animal treats.

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BeachBook

After Decades Of Effort, Scientists Are Finally Seeing Black Holes. Or Are They?

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Subscribe now.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:31 PM | Permalink

January 6, 2021

The [Wednesday] Papers

I made a (deeply personal) phone call from a Dalton, Georgia telephone booth off the interstate once. I've been triggered all week.

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Huh, in my memory Dalton was just over the state line from Florida, but nope, it's just before the state line of Tennessee.

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Dalton, by the way, is the Carpet Capital of the World.

It is not, however, named after Dalton, though I'm sure he worked some toilet there once.

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So that's what they were doing at the school down the block. I pass by there almost every day on my way to Walgreens - which I go to almost every day.

Speaking of which . . .

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And as long as we're on Facebook . . .

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OTD in Music History via Songfacts:

Screen Shot 2021-01-06 at 11.17.02 AM.png

He wasn't wrong.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Hollywood Still Can't Get Abortion Right
Exaggerates medical risks, downplays barriers to access.

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Why Chimps Don't Hold Elections
Most of your life takes place in a made-up world.

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ChicagoReddit

Has anyone ever gotten an email response from the city hall workers that handle city stickers/daily parking stickers? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

People On Chicago Street At Rush Hour | Stock Video - Motion Array

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Tip slip.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:55 AM | Permalink

Hollywood Still Can't Get Abortion Right

According to decades of research, abortion is an incredibly common and safe medical procedure.

But if you learned about abortion only from movies and TV, that's not the story you'd see. For the last eight years, we've been studying onscreen depictions of abortion. We've found that Hollywood tends to dramatically exaggerate the medical risks associated with abortion while downplaying real barriers to access.

Screen Shot 2021-01-06 at 9.30.14 AM.pngLittle Fires Everywhere/Hulu

Aside from a few exceptions, 2020's onscreen content continued to reflect patterns we'd identified in previous years.

Missing From The Narratives

Overall, we tracked 31 television storylines and 13 movie plot lines about abortion in 2020. They include titles like the American release of the French film Portrait of a Lady on Fire; HBO's Unpregnant and Never Rarely Sometimes Always; Hulu's Little Fires Everywhere and Mrs. America; and the independent film Saint Frances.

Thirty-one of them featured a character having or disclosing an abortion. This is more than we've seen in previous years. In the past, more characters changed their minds, had miscarriages or didn't even consider having an abortion when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.

Other patterns, however, remained remarkably consistent. As in previous years, 74% of this year's abortion plot lines featured white characters. No characters were parenting at the time of their abortion, and the majority of them faced few, if any, legislative, financial or logistical barriers to accessing an abortion.

This is inconsistent with what we know about real-life people who get abortions. For example, in the U.S., abortion patients are most often people of color. After seeing an increase in characters of color obtaining abortion onscreen in 2019, we had hoped that this trend might continue. In fact, the number and proportion decreased.

Similarly, the majority of U.S. abortion patients are parenting at the time of their abortions and cite their need to care for their children as a reason for an abortion. Yet, only one character who got an abortion on television in 2020 was raising a child.

Finally, despite the nearly insurmountable barriers many face to getting an abortion, only five plot lines portrayed characters struggling to access abortion care.

We did not, for example, see characters have to repeatedly reschedule appointments because they could not take days off of work or school or could not find child care. Nor did we see characters grapple with the devastating effects of the Hyde Amendment, a provision that denies the use of federal funds for paying for abortions. It essentially denies coverage of abortion for people who receive health insurance through the government - many of whom are already struggling to make ends meet.

These are just a few of the many onerous obstacles that the majority of U.S. abortion patients face in the United States. Yet they remain virtually absent onscreen.

The Outliers

Still, there was some content that made strides.

In Unpregnant and Never Rarely Sometimes Always, barriers to access were central to the plots. Each starred white, teenage girls who road-trip with a friend to abortion clinics in states that don't have laws mandating parental consent. The films go to great lengths to portray the logistical and financial hurdles to accessing care, and the emotional fortitude and social support needed to make it possible.

And although characters of color had their abortion stories told less frequently than in 2019, the few that did were notable: The film The Surrogate tells the story of a young Black woman acting as a gestational carrier for a gay couple. An episode of Vida portrays Emma, a queer Latina, having a medication abortion and learning that her sister has had one, too. In I May Destroy You, Arabella, a young Black writer, divulges a past abortion to her therapist, who's trying to help her heal from a sexual assault.

While not revolutionary in and of themselves, taken together, these particular plot lines suggest how abortion and other reproductive experiences can be subtly or overtly affected by race and class, narratives that are rarely explored onscreen.

Entertainment media have the power to shape what people know and how they feel about social and medical issues. While the taboo of telling abortion stories on film and TV has long been broken - the first film featuring an abortion premiered in 1916, and the first television plot line aired in 1962 - we're still waiting for an onscreen world that reflects the realities of abortion in American life.

Stephanie Herold is a data analyst at the University of California-San Francisco. Gretchen Sisson is a research sociologist there. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:37 AM | Permalink

January 5, 2021

Why Chimpanzees Don't Hold Elections

This excerpt is adapted from 7 1/2 Lessons About The Brain.

Most of your life takes place in a made-up world. You live in a country whose name and whose borders were made up by people. You allow particular humans to be leaders of that country, such as a president or a member of Congress, by following procedures invented by people long dead, such as elections, and you give them powers that were also made up by people. You acquire food and other goods with something called "money," which is represented by pieces of paper and metal and even by electromagnetic waves flowing through the air, and which is also completely made up. You actively and willingly participate in this made-up world every day. It is real to you. It's as real as your own name, which, by the way, was also made up by people.

We all live in a world of social reality that exists only inside our collective human brains. Nothing in physics or chemistry determines that you're leaving the United States and entering Canada, or that an expanse of water has certain fishing rights, or that a specific arc of the Earth's orbit around the sun is called January. These things are real to us anyway. Socially real.

joshua-earle-X_roZ7toBJY-unsplash-crop.jpgJoshua Earle/Unsplash

The Earth itself, with its rocks and trees and deserts and oceans, is physical reality. Social reality means that we impose new functions on physical things, collectively. We agree, for example, that a particular chunk of Earth is the United States and its carved up into 50 made-up areas called states. And sometimes we disagree. In the Middle East, for example, people kill each other over whether a parcel of land is Israel or Palestine. Even if we don't explicitly discuss social reality, our actions make it real.

Humans are the only animals on this planet who can simply make things up, agree on them as a group, and they become real. Scientists don't know for sure how our brains developed the capacity for social reality, but we suspect it has something to do with a suite of abilities that I'll call the Five Cs: creativity, communication, copying, cooperation, and compression.

First, we need a brain that's creative. The same creativity that permits us to make art and music also lets us draw a line in the dirt and call it the border of a country. This act requires us to invent some social reality (namely, countries) and impose new functions on an area of land, like citizenship and immigration, that don't exist in the physical world. Think about that the next time you pass through Customs, or even when you leave one town and enter another.

Next, we need a brain that can communicate efficiently with other brains in order to share ideas, such as the idea of a country and its borders. Efficient communication for us usually includes language. For example, when I tell you that I'm running for office, I don't have to explain that I'm talking about politics, not exercise, and that I plan to send flyers to voters, make speeches, demolish my opponents in debate, and so forth. My brain conjures these features and so does yours, allowing us to communicate efficiently.

We also need brains that learn by reliably copying one another in order to establish laws and norms to live in harmony. We teach these norms to our children and to newcomers, not only to smooth day-to-day interactions but also to help the newcomers survive.

Anthropologist Joseph Henrich, in his book The Secret of Our Success, describes explorers in the 1800s who ventured into inhospitable, uncharted parts of the world, where many of them died. The expeditions that survived were the ones whose members became acquainted with the Indigenous people in those regions; they taught the explorers what to eat, how to prepare the food, what to wear, and other secrets of survival in the unfamiliar climate. If all individual humans had to figure out everything themselves without copying, our species would be extinct.

We need brains that cooperate on a vast geographical scale. Even the most mundane act, like casting a vote, is possible only because of other humans. Every mail-in ballot was designed and printed by other humans, on paper that was manufactured by other humans, from trees that were cut down by other humans; and when you drop it in the mailbox (constructed from steel by other humans), it's delivered by other humans and counted by still other humans. Thanks to a shared social reality, all these thousands of people were in the right place at the right time doing the right things for you to participate in the democratic process.

Creativity, communication, copying, and cooperation - four of the five Cs - arose with genetic changes that gave our species a big, complex brain. (These terms are inspired by the evolutionary biologist Kevin Laland's book, Darwin's Unfinished Symphony.) But to make and maintain social reality, you also need the fifth C, compression, an intricate ability that humans have to a degree not found in any other animal brain. I'll explain compression first by analogy.

Imagine that you are a police detective investigating a crime by interviewing witnesses. You hear one witness's story, then another's, and so on, until you've interviewed 20 witnesses. Some of the stories have similarities - the same people involved or the same crime location. Some stories also have differences - who was at fault or the color of the getaway car. From this collection of stories, you can trim down the repetitive parts to create a summary of how the events might have occurred. Later, when the police chief asks you what happened, you can relay that summary efficiently.

A similar process transpires among neurons in your brain. You might have a single, large neuron (the detective) receiving signals from umpteen little neurons at once (the witnesses) which are firing at various rates. The large neuron doesn't represent all of the signals from the smaller neurons. It summarizes them, or compresses them, by reducing redundancy. After compression, the large neuron can efficiently pass that summary to other neurons.

This neural process of compression runs at a massive scale throughout your brain and produces an incredible result. It enables to you think abstractly - to see things in terms of their function instead of their physical form. You have the ability to look at a painting by Picasso and perceive that the colorful shapes represent a face. You can view squiggles of ink on paper and grasp that they represent numbers, and moreover, that the numbers represent your spending for the month. Abstraction lets you view objects that look nothing alike - such as a bottle of wine, a bouquet of flowers, and a gold wristwatch - and understand them all as "gifts that celebrate an achievement." Your brain compresses away the physical differences of these objects and in the process, you understand that they have a similar function. Abstraction also allows us to impose multiple functions on the same physical object. A cup of wine means one thing when your friends shout, "Congratulations!" and another when a priest intones, "Blood of Christ."

Abstraction, together with the rest of the Cs, empowers your large, complex brain to create and share social reality. All animals pay attention to physical things that allow them to survive and thrive. We humans add to the world by collectively imposing new functions on physical things, and we live by them.

Each of the Five Cs is found in other animals to varying extents. Crows, for example, are creative problem-solvers who use twigs as tools. Elephants communicate in low rumbles that can travel for miles. Whales copy one another's songs. Ants cooperate to find food and defend their nest. Bees use abstraction as they wiggle their bums to tell their hive-mates where to find nectar.

In humans, however, the Five Cs intertwine and reinforce one another, which lets us take things to a whole other level. Songbirds learn their songs from adult tutors. Humans learn not only how to sing but also the social reality of singing, such as which songs are appropriate on holidays. Meerkats teach their offspring to kill by bringing them half-dead prey to practice on. We learn not only about killing but also the difference between accidental killing and murder, and we invent different legal penalties for each. Rats teach one another what's safe to eat by marking palatable foods with an odor. We learn not only what to eat but also which foods are main courses versus desserts in our culture and which utensils to use.

Chimps, our closest living cousins, have human-like brains that can accomplish each of the Five Cs. However, they don't have social reality. When chimps select a leader, they don't vote by making marks on smushed bits of dead trees like we do. They follow the alpha male who will threaten or kill any others who challenge him. Killing is physical reality; most human leaders today stay in power without murdering their rivals.

Chimps certainly can observe and copy one another's practices, like poking a stick into termite holes to pull out tasty snacks, but this learning is based in physical reality - namely, that sticks fit into termite holes. If a troop of chimps agreed that whosoever pulls a particular stick out of the ground becomes king of the jungle, that would be social reality, because it imposes a sovereign function on the stick that goes beyond the physical.

Social reality is an incredible gift. You can simply make stuff up, like a meme or a tradition or a law, and if other people treat it as real, it becomes real.

Sometimes the changes are relatively small, like using the pronoun they to refer to a single person instead of a group. Sometimes the changes are large, like in 1776, when a collection of 13 British colonies vanished and was replaced by the United States of America. And in 1787, a new social reality was shared with the fledgling country in the writing of the United States Constitution. Democracy itself is social reality.

Social reality is also incredibly fragile. It can be altered dramatically, in moments, if people simply change their minds. We experienced this in the Great Recession of 2007, when some people in fancy suits decided that a bunch of mortgages had dropped in value, and so they did drop, plunging the world into catastrophe. And every constitutional crisis is a battle of one social reality against another. Democracy may be social reality, but as such, it is vulnerable to being manipulated.

Social reality has limits, of course, when it is constrained by physical reality. We could all agree that flapping our arms will let us soar into the air, but that won't allow us to fly. We could all say that a deadly virus is harmless, but a virus doesn't care what we think.

Nonetheless, social reality does influence the physical world. A society can collectively agree that a person's skin tone or private parts make it okay to pay them less or systematically deprive them of opportunities, which over time erodes their physical health.

Imagine if one day, we all just decided that enough is enough and eradicated racism and sexism, in the same manner that we eradicated the 13 Colonies in 1776: by changing our collective minds.

Social reality is a superpower that emerges from an ensemble of human brains. We exercise that power every time we treat sparkling diamonds like they have value, every time we idolize a celebrity, every time we vote in an election, and every time we don't vote in an election. We have more control over reality than we might think. We also have more responsibility for reality than we might realize.

Lisa Feldman Barrett is a psychology professor at Northeastern University and the author of How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain. This post was originally published on Undark.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:42 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

Hola, amigos! Been a long time since I rapped at ya.

So, as most of you probably know, I took the last couple of weeks off from this column - and largely though not totally the site - in order to both attend to other year-end matters and also to try to think through my 2021 plans.

I didn't get far.

I'm torn between too many interests, ambitions and desires. I have a couple of books in me, which I occasionally try to focus on until I'm diverted elsewhere. I still would love to execute the business plan for this site and my company, but I've truthfully pretty much given up on that. I desperately want to upgrade this site but the help I've been seeking to do so for years has not been forthcoming. I have podcast ideas! And I have great stories/projects to pitch as a freelance writer/reporter but no real good place to pitch them - local stuff that doesn't seem to fit with any outlet we have around here combined with a near-total distrust of the editing/project management capabilities of said outlets, based on shitty experience after shitty experience, and national stuff that I don't know where to go with.

But the real thing I want to do is edit. I'm really good at it, both from a journalism POV and as a manager of people. I finished just about every day managing a team that hovered around 25 as a census field supervisor this summer and fall wishing they were my reporting staff.

That's what I've wanted to do since I was a kid, believe it or not. I never really wanted to be a reporter; I wanted to be the person deciding what stories went on the front page.

I also didn't want to become an editor through the copy desk, which is bullshit, nor before I had the kind of reporting experience that I thought crucial to being a great editor.

I always studied the industry, too. I began reading Editor & Publisher at a young age and knew the mastheads of most papers in America almost as well as I knew the baseball rosters of every MLB team. I followed the industry's Wall Street analysts and digested the business fundamentals that veteran reporters in legacy newsrooms, among others, never understood. I designed - at great expense - a master's degree program at Northwestern to study newsroom management that combined courses from Kellogg, Medill and the speech communications department, which hosted me and offered classwork in media economics, as well as a certificate which I earned in telecommunications science, management and policy. That was what we called the online world back then - it was 1993.

While at Northwestern, I worked at the Newspaper Management Center (later renamed the Media Management Center), which put me into executive management programs and on projects such as The Local News Ideabook for Knight-Ridder. I know my stuff. (My resume needs refreshing, but whatever.)

Of course, to dumbfounded media folk in these parts, I was a "self-styled" media critic when I started a weekly online media column at Chicago magazine. Later, when I started this site, I was attacked by small-minded, thin-skinned journos who couldn't imagine that someone might know a few things that they did not; or at least thought they were immune to criticism if they took you out to lunch once, because that's not only the Chicago Way but the Media Way.

And don't get me started on the foundations and funders. My god.

I do not like big back-slappy families of insularness such as the media gang - in large part because they know not how lame they are. Also, I'm not a cultural fit for the mainstream (though I dislike the ideological cliquishness and hypocrisy of the alternate world; I live in the margins, the in-betweens, which isn't easy my friends!)

Everyone telling everyone else how great they are, ugh. How many times can I show you how objectively awful Fran Spielman is? Journos don't like facts, either. They adopt ideologies of their own - narratives, we often call them. Groupthink is a real thing - and one we should be piercing daily, even among ourselves, not adopting.

I've wanted out - of Chicago, of this site - for many years now, as many of you know. For example, this was five years ago - and probably five years after I first thought, "This isn't gonna work. Not here at least."

Every day I see work in the media that carries literal falsehoods, besides false frames, shitty narratives, products of groupthink, stenography, undue deference to officials, all the media sins that have been chronicled for decades and yet remain present and, in some cases, worse than ever (see polling and soap opera political reporting).

It doesn't have to be that way. We can be better. How? By caring enough while losing the arrogance and insecurity (the worst combination around) to acknowledge that much of what the media does is lazy; that the job isn't about desiring proximity to power; by taking criticism seriously and simply - quite simply - changing the way the work is done to be better.

I just don't think the media, by and large, cares.

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I've always had a twin journalistic ambition: to be a columnist. To be a funny, insightful writer. In some ways, I have achieved those goals: I write a column and edit a website! But not in the way I want. In some ways, I'm not a management type. On the other hand, management types are the banes of our existence. That's always been one of my main points.

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Anyway, I don't yet know what 2021 will hold for me and this site. I'm still trying to work through it. (The site has already gone through several iterations, really. We used to be wholly stocked with original material. For a bunch of reasons, in recent years we've become more like an Utne Reader or Harper's - an aggregation of curated and found material that suits our sensibility.)

I have so many stories to tell - stories about this site, about funders (potential and real), stories about all kinds of bizarre media interactions as a freelancer - that I don't know what to do first. The only motivation I've lost is to chronicle the daily ins-and-outs of the city council and county board and the politicos who pass for celebrities here, the noxious strategists and the PR industrial complex. I still save all the articles that beg for clarifying and correcting, but I find it hard to essentially keep writing the same items over and over again. Don't y'all get it by now?

So I don't quite know yet where this site is going - if anywhere - in the new year. Maybe I'll know by the end of the month. In the meantime, all I can say is watch this space and find me on Twitter.

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I probably write this column every year but again, whatever.

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On the Beachwood since the last time I yapped at ya . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #337: Bears Back Into Nonsense
The prism of snagging a COVIDY playoff spot doesn't change the reality of the Bears' performance. Plus: Breaking Up With Jed Hoyer; Bulls No Longer Totally Sucking; Jonathan Toews' Mystery Illness; Evanston vs. Champaign; Citrus Pat; and Red Stars Blockbuster.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #336: All That's Left For The Bears Is The Rare Measuring Stick Lid-Closer
Only the Packers can tell us what's real now. Including: Is Matt Nagy All Growns Up?; Trubinsky; Jets Sweep. Plus: Bullskill, Blackhawks Camping, and Evanston vs. Champaign.

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Counting The Negro Leagues
Not as easy - or valiant - as you may think.

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China's Repression And The Winter Olympics
Human Rights Watch has extensively documented serious human rights abuses in China, and that the human rights environment has deteriorated significantly since the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

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Recall! Sriracha Chicken Ravioli
"The product labeled as 'FRESH THYME FARMERS MARKET CHICKEN RAVIOLI Ovals' was formulated with a different sriracha chili sauce than normally utilized in the product formulation because the firm was unable to obtain the usual brand from their supplier. The sriracha chili sauce used on Dec. 8, 2020 contains soy, while the sauce normally used in the formulation does not."

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Meet The First U.S. Collegiate Athlete To Capitalize On Name, Image And Likeness Rights
NAIA beats NCAA to the punch.

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A WTF Timeout
Let's ring in the New Year with New Sewage while we calculate how many Chicago cops it takes to break into the wrong naked woman's apartment.

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ChicagoReddit

Homeowners of Chicago - What is a normal water bill?? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

HE NEVER GOT UP - The Sad Story of a Locally Famous Chicago Boxer

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BeachBook
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find at our Facebook page.

Must-Read | Statement Of Congressman Jamie Raskin And Sarah Bloom Raskin On The Remarkable Life Of Tommy Raskin.

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Without God Or Reason.

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

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The Beachwood Twit Line: Twit it good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:09 AM | Permalink

January 4, 2021

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #337: Bears Back Into Nonsense

The prism of snagging a COVIDY playoff spot doesn't change the reality of the Bears' performance. Plus: Breaking Up With Jed Hoyer; Bulls No Longer Totally Sucking; Jonathan Toews' Mystery Illness; Evanston vs. Champaign; Citrus Pat; and Red Stars Blockbuster.

Beachwood Radio NetworkThe Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #337: Bears Back Into Nonsense

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SHOW NOTES

* 337.

* Bill "Mad Dog" Madlock.

* Rhodes: "It doesn't mean anything! They're exactly what you see in front of you."

* Lieser, Sun-Times: Bears Backing Into Playoffs Likely Means Pace, Nagy, Trubisky Stay Despite Disarray.

If the Bears were looking for a reason to keep the core of their team intact by bringing back coach Matt Nagy, general manager Ryan Pace and quarterback Mitch Trubisky, they can probably talk themselves into this semi-competitive loss to the Packers being the justification.

They shouldn't.

The Bears are on an endless road to nowhere, and hanging with the Packers into the fourth quarter before losing 35-16 is hardly a counterpoint to that assessment. They're in the playoffs, though, because the Cardinals lost to the Rams. That barely qualifies as something to celebrate.

It all but assures Pace and Nagy of keeping their jobs despite how disheveled this team looked on paper (Pace) and on the field (Nagy) throughout the season. And if those two are back, bet on Trubisky joining them.

The Bears finished 8-8 for the second season in a row, and whether they made the playoffs is arbitrary. Stumbling into the postseason because of a lucky break in a game 2,000 miles away - and even then, only because the NFL added a seventh playoff spot in each conference this season - doesn't somehow make this 8-8 more impressive than meandering to 8-8 last season.

It'll be confusing inside Halas Hall to see someone ripping an 8-8 season, because that generally passes for acceptable. It's the second-best record they've had in Pace's seven seasons running the team. They're now 42-54 under his watch and have scored the fourth-fewest points in the league during that span.

* Absolute Assassin.

* via Brad Biggs' 10 Thoughts:

"They were just giving us looks that were more advantageous to go to Mooney than to A-Rob," Mitch Trubisky said.

* ibid.:

"That was a situation where they had a better call on than we did and they executed better than we did," Trubisky said.

* Rhodes: Eddie Jackson misses Adrian Amos.

* Bad teams overvalue high draft picks:

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53:17: Breaking Up With Jed Hoyer.

* "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." - Hunter S. Thompson.

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1:07:54: Bulls No Longer Totally Sucking.

* Zach LaVine, Coby White Combine For 62 Points As Bulls Drop Dallas.

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1:11:01: Jonathan Toews' Mystery Illness.

* 'Drained and lethargic.'

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1:15:28: Evanston vs. Champaign.

* No. 19 Northwestern about to become No. Nothing.

* Illinois Now No. 4.

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1:18:30: Citrus Pat.

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1:21:20: Red Stars Blockbuster.

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STOPPAGE: 27:59

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For archives and other Beachwood shows, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

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