Thursday, April 17, 2014

Real Free Haircuts in Chicago (and Free Haircut Scams)

We've written more than once on these pages that Illinois and its epicenter, Chicago, have the worst civic culture of any polities in the country. Louisiana comes in a very close second, but it currently only has one former governor now doing time in the hoosegow to our two.

The haircuts at Supercut's training
center are supervised ... and free

People here are cynical. They've heard more phony promises than a pickup bar floozy at last call and they just don't believe in much of anything anymore.

It's gotten so bad, that you can't even give away a $15 haircut in Chicago anymore.

Lydia Polo, who runs the Supercuts Educational Center on the Northwest side, is finding that out.

Seems that there have been a spate of tonsorial con-artists going up on Craigslist and offering "Free Haircuts." But when the poor Craigslist bargain-seeking chump shows up, they find out that it was some kind of come-on that only applies if you shell out real cash for some unnecessary, and pricey, additional service.
The free haircuts are on Harlem near Belmont

As a result the CL "Free Stuff" section has practically banned all "Free Haircuts" postings.

That has caused a real problem for Lydia. She's been supervising the licensed cosmetologists who get their "advanced technique training" at the Supercuts Corporation's school for 22 years now.

She needs people with hair for her students to work on. And for the first time in her memory, she's been having trouble getting warm fannies in her barber chairs.

She attributes it to the phony-baloney operators on Craigslist.

"I've been putting up ads for free Supercuts on Craigslist for years and they're really free and no one has ever complained about us. But now because of these phony bait-and-switch ads, every time I put up an offer, I get flagged, so I've just stopped trying," she said.

But you won't be able to
get a Ga-Ga hairotard

But that has led to a drought of subjects for her students.

Lydia is too politic to say it, but we aren't. We think she's probably getting flagged by other hair stylists who are so desperate for clients in this crappy economy that they don't want anyone getting a free haircut. Or maybe by the con-artists, themselves, who need more suckers for their come-ons.

Anyway, there really are free haircuts in Chicago. They're done by licensed hair stylists (why the State of Illinois has any business licensing hair cutters, is another issue for another day) who are overseen by Lydia herself. She's a consummate pro and does the final run thru herself, making little changes if needed.

And it's all at no cost. Completely. Totally. No strings attached.

So when you go to get your hair done, if you don't need a soothing glass of chardonnay, a shampoo with some tropical fruit concoction and a restorative neck massage -- if you could be satisfied with a regular $15.95 Supercut -- for free -- totally, really free -- you might just check out Lydia's Supercuts school.

They hold classes usually 2 times a month and they're at 3241 N. Harlem. If you sign up with them, Lydia will send you emails (from announcing the various class times when you can just walk in. You can also check her out on Facebook at Freehaircutschicago.

But if you simply can't live without a deep conditioning hair masque, Brazilian blowout, whale sperm conditioner, or a Lady Ga-Ga hairotard -- This is not the place for you.

But we're sure there are plenty of chi-chi places on the Gold Coast and in Lincoln Park that will be more than happy to accommodate you.

But they certainly won't be free.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Skokie Park District's Playground for the North Shore Elite: Loyola Academy's Dammrich Rowing Center

When President Barack Obama said, "We've got to spread the wealth around," the people who run the Skokie Park District apparently took it to heart.
So do Skokie taxpayers get to use the
Wilmette and Winnetka beaches for free?

Although, maybe not in quite the way Obama meant.

Today, some 400 North Shore residents, from posh places like Kenilworth, Winnetka, Wilmette and Lake Forest took over the taxpayer subsidized, Skokie Park District's Channelside Park.

They got the run of the entire place. They got free parking.

And they didn't pay a penny.

And they were subsidized by the chumps who live in Skokie and pay property taxes to the Skokie Park District taxing authority.

The well-heeled North Shore denizens were slumming it in Skokie today, to celebrate an elite sport: competitive crew rowing.

They held a regatta which brought in contestants from Woodlands Academy (Lake Forest), New Trier High School (Kenilworth), the exclusive Lincoln Park School (Chicago), private and exclusive St. Ignatius (Chicago) as well as several other elite prep schools from New York and elsewhere.

They were all there at the behest of the exclusive, ultra-expensive Loyola Academy of Wilmette, which sponsored the event. They called it The Judge Dunne Invitational - no doubt named for some clout heavy Democrat hack with ties to the North Shore Jesuit school sponsors.
Apparently it's legal to sleep overnight in Skokie
 Parks if you're from an elite North Shore school

Skokie taxpayers paid for this.

Loyola Academy paid nothing.

That is according to a missive we received from one John Ohrlund, spokesman for the Skokie Park District. Last year we inquired as to how much the posh Wilmette school was paying to have its rowing center on Skokie Park District property.

In a missive sent to us on October 24th of last year, Skokie's Mr. Ohrlund replied: "Loyola Academy Rowing Association paid no fees per the agreement with the  (Skokie Park) District."

And Wilmette's posh private academy has an entire compound there on Skokie Park District property. It's complete with a large edifice containing indoor training facilities and outdoor sheds for storage. They store vehicles and equipment on that Skokie property year-round.

Now during the Saturday event, Skokie taxpayers who wanted to use that public parkland to reach the Skokie Pooch Park, were denied entry to the customary parking lot whose entrance is off Oakton St., just East of the MWRD canal. Loyola Academy posted guards at the gates denying entrance to non-participants in their elite event.
The Skokie Park District bike path became an
adjunct to the North Shore elitists' event

And Skokie taxpayers, who cared to bike on the bike path there -- could -- if they would just get off their bikes and walk thru the throngs of well heeled North Shore parents and rich kids who essentially appropriated the path as an adjunct to their party.

This arrangement for the free use of Skokie Park District property by an ultra-elite North Shore School was the brainchild of one Thomas J. Dammrich.

He was the President of the Skokie Park District back in 2001 when the sweetheart giveaway of public resources was made.

And guess what?

Thomas J. Dammrich's sons went to elite Loyola Academy in Wilmette.

And guess what?

Thomas J. Dammrich's sons were on the Loyola Academy rowing team.

And guess for whom the Loyola Academy Rowing Center, owned and maintained by Skokie taxpayers is named?

You guessed it.

It's the "Loyola Academy Thomas J. Dammrich Rowing Center."

But no big deal. Skokie residents aren't due to pay property taxes again for another few months.

But there were several other issues here.

1) For an estimated 200 to 400 people, Loyola Academy Rowing Association organizers arranged for 2 [count 'em 2] porta-potties which were located off Main St., nearly 4 blocks from the main event. (We'll be asking Skokie Village Health Department officials about this.)
2 portable outhouses for an event with 200-400 people

2) Loyola Rowing Association organizers had traffic control guys in orange and yellow outfits stopping traffic for event onlookers who wanted to cross Main St. (Wonder what the Skokie and Evanston Police Departments have to say about this?)

Loyola Academy had its own traffic crossing
 guards on Skokie and Evanston's Main street
Oh, and one last thing. Skokie's High schools, Niles West and Niles North were not participants in the chi-chi rowing competition. And according to members of the Loyola Academy Rowing Association, not a single Skokie resident was a member of their team at the Skokie taxpayer-subsidized event.

The elite North Shore crowd probably wouldn't feel comfortable rubbing shoulders with the Great Unwashed.

But, just out of curiosity -- do Skokie taxpayers get to use the beaches in Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka and Lake Forest for free?

Just wonderin'.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

"Wild Tales": Graham Nash as Slave To Joni Mitchell and Left-Wing Orthodoxy

 Like most left-wing ideologues, consistency is obviously not Graham Nash's strong suit.

Nash wrote a ridiculous Yippie
Anthem that went to #35 in 1971

In 1996, Graham Nash flew to Bill Clinton's 50th birthday party in billionaire music industry mogul, David Geffen's luxurious Gulfstream G3 jet. (p.326).

And in 2012, he and co-CSN pal, David Crosby gave a command performance for Silicon Valley multimillionaires at a $38,000 a plate fundraising dinner for Barack Obama (p.329).

Yet, before a 2011 Manhattan menagerie of Occupy Wall Street anti-capitalists, Nash, a North England high school dropout, saw no logical incongruity in calling millionaire conservative contributor, David Koch, "greedy" and "one of the world's truly bad guys" . (p.334)

In fact, he slandered Southern Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young concert goers who walked out of their 2006 tour appearances in protest of the group's mean-spirited on-stage anti-Bush invective: "I realized there were still plenty of people in the South trying to figure out why the North won the civil war," Nash wrote. (p.336)

And Nash doesn't bat an eyelid at lambasting conservative rocker, Ted Nugent, for calling Hillary Clinton a "bitch" - "he's gone too far - he has a very disturbed point of view" (p.334)

This even as he, himself, called President G.W. Bush a "dunderhead" and VP Dick Cheney, "one of the most evil men alive...not of this earth."  (p.329)

It seems that, in Nash's world,  it's not going too far when the bogeyman you're dehumanizing is a conservative.

And after blathering about Americans' "absurd obsession with guns",  calling the NRA "criminals" and arguing that the 2nd Amendment does not guarantee private firearm ownership (p. 212), he waxes poetically over an incident where his CSN pal, David Crosby warded off a home invader by firing off a Colt .45. "...If David had not rolled over, grabbed his gun and fired it, he and Debbie would most likely be dead," anti-gun activist, Graham Nash said.  (p.230)


Graham Nash's convoluted political worldview seems right out of  his partner, Stephen Stills', Buffalo Springfield song, "Mostly say, Hooray for our side."

Oh well, the legendary rock 'n roll crooner was a high school dropout so his infantile ignorance in such things as these and his idiotic 1971 Yippie anthem, Chicago (We can change the world) can be understood, if not condoned.

And it can be said to the credit of Graham Nash's recent autobiography, Wild Tales: A Rock and Roll Life (2013 Crown Publishing, New York) that he had a competent ghost writer.

The 345 page account of Nash's rise from a wartime, North England, blue-collar childhood to musical prominence with the British-invasion Hollies and later, the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Woodstock-era super group, is coherent, lucid and quite well written.

That's a welcome contrast to the nearly unreadable, desultory gibberish penned by his sometimes-band partner, Neil Young, whose 2012 bio, "Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream", was, quite justifiably panned by us and most reviewers.

And unlike Young's peculiar document, in Wild Tales, Nash actually conveys some interesting tidbits about his life with two of the the signal pop musical acts of the 60s and early 70s.

He did, of course, have a brief, but storied love affair with Canadian folk chanteuse, Joni Mitchell. His domestic arrangement with her in Laurel Canyon was the inspiration for one of his nicer and most famous ballads, Our House.

And in this book, his verbal idolatry of his former flame is almost embarrassingly, gushingly sycophantic.
Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash
during their time together

Here's Graham Nash on Joni Mitchell:

"Joni Mitchell was the whole package: a lovely, sylphlike woman with a natural blush, like windburn and an elusive quality that seemed lit from within. Her beauty was almost as big a gift as her talent and I'd been pulled into her orbit from the get-go." p.3

"From the moment I first heard her play, I thought she was a genius...she was on another planet in terms of her songwriting ability. Her acoustic guitar was the entire orchestra...our relationship was a dream. She opened me up to so many experiences --musical, intellectual, romantic and artistic. She was like an Escher drawing with all its sharp angles, unexpected turns and mysterious depths...she had a relaxed playful side that was so easy to fall in love with...It was that exuberance, that joie de vivre, that lit her like a bouquet of sunflowers... she was an accomplished painter with a ravishing style..." p.148

There's quite a bit more of this toadying and it leaves you wondering why, if Joni Mitchell was so blasted wonderful, he just didn't marry her in the pre-Woodstock days when she was angling for that? (p.169)

In his book, the now septuagenarian, Nash, does let us in on a number of interesting anecdotal events in his interesting rock 'n roll life.

For instance:

-- Nash tells us of endless lines of groupies during the Hollies' '64 rise to pop music prominence in England and relates tales of a peculiar habit the girls had of whipping out their breasts for band members to autograph.

-- But during their '65 US tour, Nash found American girls to be "freer and more experimental," than their British groupie counterparts.

-- Nash relates how at the storied Paramount Theater during the Hollies' first trip to NYC in '65, they witnessed Little Richard upbraiding his guitarist for upstaging him by playing with his teeth. That guitarist was one Jimmy James who would later be known as Jimi Hendrix. (p.70)

-- Quite interestingly, he tells how the Hollies acquired their smash hits, Bus Stop and Look Through Any Window, from a 15 year old English kid songwriter in '65 -- They were their first 2 songs to chart in the US.

--  While still with the Hollies, Nash was initially introduced to David Crosby by Mama Cass Elliott, who he likened to an artistic matchmaker in the manner of Gertrude Stein. In his book, he posits that she died of a drug overdose, not from choking on a sandwich.

-- The famous album cover photo of the 3 CSN members on a beat-up couch, in front of a beat-up old Santa Monica Blvd. cottage was set to be re-shot the next day because the members were arranged in the wrong order - Nash, Stills & Crosby. But when they went to the locale, they found that overnight, the house had been demolished.

-- Joni Mitchell turned down her invitation to perform at Woodstock, because her handlers doubted they could extricate her from the congested throng in time to make an appearance on The Dick Cavett Show, scheduled for the next day. It was probably one of the costlier scheduling miscues in pop music history.

-- Joni Mitchell wrote the lyrics to the anthemic Woodstock, which both she and CSN recorded, while ensconced in a posh Manhattan, Plaza Hotel suite, many miles from the funky hippy conclave that she glorified in song.

-- Their music industry guru, Ahmet Ertegun, was at first, sceptical about the Crosby, Stills and Nash band's concept, thinking them too similar to the  soft-pop vocalist sound of The Association at a time when more heavy metal sounds were coming into fashion.

-- The pedal steel guitar country sound to Teach Your Children, which pretty much instrumentally defined the song, was added by the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia, who had been recording in the same studio, down the hall from CSN&Y.

David Crosby and Graham Nash in
NYC at Occupy Wall Street in 2011

Unlike David Crosby's 1988 autobiography, Long Time Gone, which focuses on the singer's myriad personal problems and Neil Young's aforementioned garbled grand opus, Waging Heavy Peace, which focuses on very little -- Nash's Wild Tales is the most comprehensively informative account of the super group to date. (Stephen Stills is reportedly working on his bio, which may be released later this year.)

Nash imparts the reader with a good sense of the interpersonal interactions of the band members in all their complexity - from angelic harmonizing to acerbic infighting to drug-induced lunacy.

All of their inane politics aside, most any baby boomer can lucidly recall the powerful and upbeat excitement they felt when they first put down the needle to Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.

Crosby, Stills and Nash were a truly exciting super group which nicely captured and reflected the zeitgeist of the weird and wild late 60s/early 70s time period. And Graham Nash was, of course, a key component of that.

But there is the political idiocy and Graham Nash was wrong on most every vital issue of his turbulent time, from the population bomb (remember that pseudo-scientific canard?) to advocating unilateral Anglo-American disarmament in the Cold War.

In fact, after Britisher, Nash had been trashing the USA in front of an audience of anti-American Danes in Copenhagen, his then paramour, Canadian Joni Mitchell was provoked to tell him that she thought it unfair of him to speak ill of the US in front of foreigners.

"You keep slagging America after it gave you all this opportunity," Mitchell said. "Why are you biting the hand that feeds you?"

Joni Mitchell then poured a bowl of corn flakes and milk over Graham Nash's head. (p.180)

Good girl, Joni!!!

Here, from an '80s Crosby, Stills and Nash reunion concert, is a performance of Our House, Nash's paean to his former live-in lover, Joni Mitchell:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Chicago's Filthy Weather (Part 3)

April 1, 2014 in Chicago, IL, USA. 

Filthy weather, as usual. 

Enjoying those howling 30 mph winds from the west which make the realtemp 37 degrees F at 5 pm. 

It is, however, expected to be a tad above freezing, on some nights this week.

And this just in -- US National Weather Service declares this the coldest Chicago winter ever -- here are stats all you global warming nutcases:

937 AM CDT TUE APR 1 2014 /1037 AM EDT TUE APR 1 2014/





1. 22.0 2013-14
2. 22.3 1903-04
3. 22.5 1977-78
22.5 1892-93
5. 22.7 1978-79

Saturday, March 22, 2014

One Stop Shopping in Norridge: From Sexy Shoes to Mattresses to Dave's Bridal

You've got to hand it to the commercial realtors in suburban Norridge. They really know how to group businesses together to make it easy on the shopper.
You can start your amatory Norridge shopping
spree with the sexy shoes at Lover's Lane

Take the strip of Harlem Avenue just north of Montrose.

You could take care of all your shopping needs of an amatory nature, from seduction to marriage to wedding night -- all at shops within a stone's throw of each other.

You could start out at Lover's Lane at 4453 N. Harlem. Their neon window sign apprises the consumer that they carry a fine assortment of "Sexy Shoes," as well as a wide selection of other enticing feminine apparel and the ever-popular "foreplay essentials."

A necessary corollary to this is a comfortable mattress. Since you are now in possession of "foreplay essentials,"we recommend you get one that is sturdy and spacious as well.

 For that you simply have to cross the street to the American Mattress storefront at 4410 N. Harlem. They'll fix you right up.
Then continue by crossing the street to
American Mattress and David's Bridal

Then, if all goes according to the seductress' plan, you just have to duck in next door to David's Bridal at 4412 N. Harlem where they boast a breathtaking array of "spectacular wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, & accessories."

Of course, the moralists among us will object to our recommending the purchase of the mattress before buying the "spectacular wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses and accessories", but these are wicked times in which we live.

And, after all, you really wouldn't buy a car without a test drive, would you?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bruce Rauner's Cash Bar and the End of Citizen Campaign Participation

Nothing confirmed the wisdom of our decision to forgo voting in yesterday's Illinois primary election better than Bruce Rauner's election night cash bar.

Come Celebrate with Bruce Rauner
-- only Ten Bucks a pop!

The Winnetka billionaire speculator held his election watching party at the downtown Chicago Hilton and Towers.

There, Rauner's friends and campaign hangers-on were shaken down to the tune of $10 for a drink or $8 for a cheap domestic beer.

This really signals the end of citizen participation in the election process -- at least on the GOP side -- here in Chicago.

Time was when campaigns would actually need real live voters and activists -- political junkies, if you will, -- to do the grunt work needed to win an election.

They needed people to man volunteer phone banks, to go door-to-door, to get up at 5am on election day and put campaign signs in front of the polling places.

Not so much, anymore.

Today, a billionaire with no discernible Republican pedigree, like Rauner, can simply waltz in, shell out a few mil for incessant media buys and walk away with the Gubernatorial nomination of the decrepit Illinois Republican party.

Beach Buddies Rauner and Rahm

No need to get the great unwashed involved in the process. If there should be some need for a physical entity to perform some actual campaign task, there is plenty of temporary casual labor that can be put on the payroll.

And since they're paid lackeys, there's no need for the candidate to show appreciation.

"They're getting paid. They can buy their own damned drinks."

Oh, and by the way. Should Rauner -- or any other candidate -- want a yard sign up on my lawn this fall -- the lawn rental fee is $10 per day for front and center placement -- or $8 per diem for sign placement on my side lot. It's a good deal!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Chicago's Filthy Weather Pt.2 - Our March 12th Snow Day

March 12, 2014 and Chicago's weather is as filthy as it's ever been.

Wonderful snowstorm this morning. 

As of 5 pm, the temperature was 22F with winds howling from the north at 18 mph so it actually feels like a Siberian 8F.

This is 5 days before St. Patrick's day, mind you.

But hey, Chicago's rotten weather notwithstanding, you've got to get out and about. So today, we crawled out of the cabin to enjoy Chicago's vaunted parks. 

We  took some photos for you.

Hey, Chicago plowed the snow off of its bike paths, so you can always go out and take a nice little ride:

Tennis anyone?

Or maybe a little dip in the pool:

And hey, isn't the Chicago Park District's catchy new slogan for kids, "Come on out and play"?

But fear not, WGN's highly annoying weatherman, Tom Skilling, assures us that Chicago's temps may actually inch above freezing tomorrow, March 13th, and the gale-force northerly winds will probably stay below 20 mph.

On the bright side, we are happy that we get to wear our real nice, expensive, hand crafted, Irish cable-knit sweater again.

Hell, we may be wearing it in May!