Monday, December 28, 2009

Perennial Candidate Andy Martin Airs Spots Calling Kirk Homosexual

After almost three decades of involvement in the political realm -- mostly in Chicago -- I thought I had seen and heard just about everything. But this morning, a 30 second political spot which aired on WLS AM during the 8 o'clock hour jolted me out of bed and disabused me of that notion.

In it, perennial candidate, Anthony Martin-Trigona, (aka Andy Martin) accused North suburban GOP Congressman, Mark Kirk, of being a closet homosexual and of being part of a Republican homosexual cabal which covers up for him.

In another first, a WLS announcer read a statement at the conclusion of the paid spot, distancing Citadel Broadcasting from the content of the spot, but pointing out that it was required by law to air it, since Martin is a candidate for U.S. Senator.

I had never heard a station put its own disclaimer after a paid political spot before, but given the veracity of most such paid campaign ads, they might as well keep the tape handy.

In the ad, Martin doesn't come right out and say that Kirk is gay, but rather quotes two well known political operatives as having said so.

"I helped expose many of Barack Obama's lies in 2008," the ad goes. "Today, I am fighting for the facts about Mark Kirk. Illinois Republican leader Jack Roeser says there is a 'solid rumor that Kirk is a homosexual.' Roeser suggests that Kirk is part of a Republican Party homosexual club. Lake County Illinois Republican leader Ray True says Kirk has surrounded himself with homosexuals."

"Mark Kirk should tell Republican voters the truth."

Anyone who has been around political circles long, is painfully aware that political types are bigger gossips and scolds than even members of a small town's ladies sewing circle.

And true to form, fueled by his whirlwind marrige to and divorce from a former political aide, rumors had been flying around in Illinois GOP circles as to Kirk's possible alternative preferences.

This kind of thing has been going on for ages. I once had a little twerp on Capitol Hill tell me that not only was a certain well known U.S. Senator gay, but he also had no testicles. This kind of thing is par for the course among politicos. But I have never before heard of one taking to the airwaves with such raw sewerage.

Andy Martin has been hanging around Chicago since the 70s, when as Anthony Martin-Trigona, he ran several campaigns for Mayor of Chicago and other city offices as an anti-machine, reform Democrat.

He moved down to Florida in the 90s, changed his name to Andy Martin and ran for the Florida State Senate as a Republican in '96. His campaign was marked by a shoving contest that he had with several TV crew members, which resulted in his conviction for criminal mischief. While out on appeal, he was jailed for contempt of court, inadvertantly released early, whereon he hotfooted it back to Chicago. As of last year a criminal warrant remained active for him in that state.

Since then Martin has twice engaged in laughably long-shot runs for the Illinois Republican U.S. Senate nomination. This time he is facing, among others, Kirk, who is the state GOP establishment's favorite. Yet Kirk has engendered strong opposition from conservatives and while a recent Chicago Tribune poll showed him ahead, a very large percentage of the GOP primary electorate remains undecided.

So inveterate political troublemaker and bad boy Martin's bizarre foray onto the airwaves could have an as yet to be determined effect. If Kirk spends time denying the charges, he lends them unwanted exposure. If he keeps mum, they could fester.

Whatever happens, one thing is clear. In what is likely going to be a golden opportunity for a banner year for Republicans, nationwide, the Illinois GOP is clearly intent on showing that it is still not ready for prime time, or as they call it in Daley's 11th Ward -- the stupid party.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas From The Chicago Lampoon

The critic on the left says it all.

Merry Christmas, Everybody!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Girls Gone Wild -- Naperville's Women Cops Run Amok

A lawsuit was filed in federal court this past week alleging that Naperville female police essentially have been using area citizens as props for their self-aggrandizing appearances on the "Female Forces" reality cop show.

The show which airs in the Bio cable channel, showcases Naperville female cops by following them around in the course of their police work.

According to the court filings, a Woodridge woman, Eran Best, was driving down the street a few doors from her house when she was stopped by the, interestingly-named, male Naperville officer, Timothy Boogerd. (Would you trust a firearm and badge to someone who had to go thru grammer school with a name like that? You know how cruel kids can be, he could be psychically scarred for life.)

Boogerd noticed that Ms. Best had an expired decal on her license plate -- a chicken shit offense at best which was later thrown out of court -- and forced Ms. Best to wait in the cold for 30 minutes as he awaited backup from one officer, Stacy Malec. It seems that Malec was being followed around by the "Female Forces" camera crew that night.

So, Best's lawsuit alleges, Boogerd and Malec played it up for the cameras. They made her stand outside in the February cold while they searched her car. They made her perform a field sobriety test (despite the fact that she had not been stopped for a moving violation.) They then handcuffed her, hauled her off to the station
where, still under the glare of TV cameras, they removed parts of her clothing to search for identifying tatoos.

At the station, Ms Best was approached by an unidentified man who asked her to sign a waiver consenting to use her image for broadcast. Resembling the kind of guy that David Letterman refers to as "Hollywood weasels," he urged her to sign saying it would get out her side of the story. She wisely refused.

So you can imagine her shock some months later when she received calls from family and friends telling her that she was featured in an episode of "Female Forces."

To add insult to egregious Naperville police misconduct, the Naperville female cop, the ever catty, Stacy Malec is shown on camera mocking Ms. Best's blonde hair, Jaguar car and Coach handbag.

"I don't feel sorry for her at all," said devoted Naperville public servant Malec, "Pretty little blonde girl, driving a Jaguar at 25 -- Yea, that's Naperville for you," Malec said.


One wonders if devoted public servant, Ms. Malec is the kind of woman whose taste in off-duty clothing runs to flannel shirts and work boots.

And why are Naperville taxpayers funding people, who essentially, hate them?

So a lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court on the 14th, naming as defendents, Malec, Boogerd, the city of Naperville, the A&E network and the show's production company.

It asserts Civil Rights violations, Publicity Act Violations, intentionial infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, violation of Drivers Privacy Protection act (her drivers license info was shown on camera) and consumer fraud.

The city of Naperville, of course is keeping mum on the whole embarrasing episode.
Except city spokesman, Nadja Lalvani said that the city's involvement was limited to TV crews following their female officers around and it had no involvement in the production.

That may not be true.

Naperville's involvement in this whole unseemly mess was prompted by Naperville Police Sgt., Betsy Bratner Smith. Now hauling down a hefty taxpayer supported pension at the ripe old age of 50, the ever self-promoting Bratner wrote in 2007 that she had contacted friends in Hollywood about involving her Naperville Police department's women in the project.

Bratner Smith, a Western Illinois University dropout, starred in several of the shows herself and said the TV exercise would "show our compassion and dedication."

She wrote in 2007 that Naperville Police Chief David Dial's support of the TV project was "immediate."

The Naperville City Council voted to allow the "Female Forces" production firm to use the Naperville city logo and the NPD insignia.

Naperville mayor George Pradel, himself a former cop, said of the show, "I think it's going to be wonderful. I think it should exemplify what they do in law enforcement."

If what they do in Naperville law enforcement is arrest the people who pay their salaries and bloated pensions, for chicken shit offenses, so that they can then bully and humiliate those very citizens and use them as pawns for their own amusement and self-aggrandizement, you hit the nail right on the head, Mayor Pradel.

But your little outer-Chicago enclave is now becoming a national laughing-stock.

Well -- you wanted publicity -- you're getting it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mather HS Little Lobbyists Will Fight Homelessness To The Last Drop of ---- YOUR BLOOD!

In one of the famous 3 Stooges shorts, when the Stooges are confronted by a gang of scary outlaws, Moe gives a pep talk to Curly telling him, "We're going to fight to the last drop of --your blood."

As reported last week by the online Lake Effect News, a group of Mather High School students in something called the honors law program, were whipped up into a frenzy of concern over the plight of Chicago's homeless when they entertained a sob-story speaker from the Alinsky-styled leftist Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

Concern for the less fortunate is a noble enough endeavor in this Christmas season, and I thought the Mather kids would announce that they would volunteer their time to, perhaps, clean up at a homeless shelter or maybe make sandwiches at a soup kitchen. How quaint of me to think so.

These sophisticates had much loftier notions.

They decided to show their deep personal compassion for the homeless by (I am not making this up) lobbying their State Representative for a 2% increase in the Illinois state income tax to help the homeless.

And so they did just that. They marched into the office of North side, Democrat State Rep. John D'Amico, told them of their deep love and empathy for the poor homeless wretches and demanded that he vote to wring out another 2% from the paychecks of working people in Illinois.

D'Amico gave the budding young Alinskys T-shirts, tote bags, a pat on the back and sent them on their way. He said he would not vote to increase taxes, a novel approach for a Democrat, to say the least.

No doubt, exhausted from this grueling foray into the world of compassionate advocacy, the members of the Mather HS Law Society then departed for their Winter Break, no doubt quite smug in the satisying thought that they had shown their deep care and concern.

But I hear that next semester this loving, kind-hearted troupe is going to tackle the problem of hunger -- by calling for a 3% increase in your income tax.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Oh, Dan Proft Is So Screwed

Dan Proft is a 40-something Northwestern University Graduate. He is currently running for Governor of Illinois and is at 8% in the polls in a 6-way field.

He is the former Editor of the Wm. F. Buckleyite, rightist alternative, Northwestern Review, former campaign manager for the socialist-Republican Northfield, FemiNazi, Elizabeth Coulter, former campaign manager for the ultra, anti-abortionist Catholic conservative Gubenatorial candidate, Pat O'Malley, and former $400k+ a year flack for the Mafiosi-based government of Cicero, Illinois. (This was the home base and political base of Alphonse "Scarface" Capone.) Their Italian Female former Mayor is currently doing time in the Federal Pen for the business-as usual Cicero political hijinx that our friend, Proft, oversaw.

This guy, Proft, has been all over and around the block.

He has been in the pay of socialists, liberals, mainstream legitimate conservatives and Mafia thugs.

What's next for Dan Proft?

A fat PR contract with Al Queieda?

Or perhaps a PR contract pimping for the government of Iran?

He told the people of Cicero that he was all for illegal Mexican immigration.

They have a big illegal Mexican population there and he was pulling down almost a half mil a year from their mafiso government so he had to be an illegal alien pimp there.

But now he is telling Republican Primary voters that he is against illegal immigration.

Oh, Dan Proft is so screwed!!!

I do genuinely like the conservative blather that he puts forth -- but who can actually believe this chameleon guy?

He is a true Chicago blowhard and a genuine Chicago original -- this Dan Proft.

Never a dull moment in the Daley-Capone pseudo-Republic.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Barry Manilow For Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Why Not?

The Rosemont Theatre will begin its Chicago Winter Schmaltz Extravaganza tomorrow night with a performance by 70s schmaltz-crooner, Barry Manilow, to be followed next month by a one week engagement of the Broadway cast of "Mamma Mia" - a vehicle for the performance of the 70s hits made famous by Euro-schmaltzers, ABBA.

What makes this worthy of note is the fact that the BBC excitedly reported at the break of dawn today that ABBA had just been voted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

The Swedish pop group will be inducted at the Hall's gala dinner in March.

Having been of the unhappy generation that was subjected to both the Vietnam war and the seemingly endless AM radio bombardment by ABBA and Manilow's ear candy, this is devastating news, indeed. It is perhaps the last straw in collapsing whatever faith our star crossed generation might have had in the concept of ontological justice.

First Westmoreland and Johnson's Vietnam "credibility gap" and now Jann Wenner's Rock n Roll Hall of Fame stretching our credulity to its outer limits.

To put this into context, the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was founded in 1983 to honor major contributors to the genre, which it characterized as "chaotic, rebellious and disobedient music."

The first class inducted in 1986: Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley, was certainly true to that description.

And look at the inductees as late as 1994: John Lennon, The Grateful Dead, the Animals, Rod Stewart, Elton John, The Band -- all fair enough.

But for the class of 2010: ABBA??

Mamma Mia!

Somehow the nice, predictable bubble gum strains of "Honey,Honey," "Waterloo," "Dancing Queen," and "Super Trouper," seem more than a tad out of place when mentioned in the same breath as Rock n Roll.

And "Bubble Gum," is a well earned pejorative for ABBA's efforts. In the 90's their offerings were revived by a teeny-bopper group called, "The ABBA Teens," who performed to enthusiastic pre-pubescent throngs at such noted hard-core rock venues as EuroDisney.

The ABBA induction seems even more absurd when cast in the light of the fact that many real contributors to the development of the genre have been overlooked: Neil Sedaka and Carole King who were writers and performers of Brill Building fame, the Moody Blues, Chicago, ELO, Yes, Jethro Tull and Emerson, Lake and Palmer and many more far more serious artists.

Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone fame, runs the Foundation and his motivations seem to have a lot to do with cash. VH1 ratings are at stake and old videos of hot young Swedish babes shaking their derrieres will no doubt, draw more viewers than the Moody Blues.

Moreover, a table at the gala induction event can go for as much as $100k. That is a mercenary fact which caused the Sex Pistols to angrily turn down their induction in
'06 and one of the reasons why few past inductees attend the event.

So as long as the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame has degenerated into a money grubbing sham (did I mention that Madonna was inducted in '07?) I would like to nominate Barry Manilow for induction next year.

He is every bit as hard rock as ABBA. And even if his wrinkly old arse is not nearly as hot as Agnetha Faltskog's in her prime, he should easily be able to fill those $100k tables at the gala with throngs of his well-heeled, adoring, 60-something female fans from Long Island and Miami Beach.

So I am asking the spiritually beleaguered members of my generation to start the grass roots groundswell in Chicago at his Rosemont concert tomorrow night:

Barry Manilow for the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame!!!

Why Not???

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ending the Iraq War With Cool Jewelry

I have to admit it. I occasionally listen to WCPT radio. Principally so that you don't have to, but also because the "Chicago's Progressive Talk," offspring of lefty Air America has one genuinely amusing and marginally reasonable program. That is, of course, the offbeat, Saturday morning, "Awake with Jake," which features the acerbic and witty, Jake Hartford, a recent castoff from WLS-AM.

So while listening to that show this morning, I was jolted by a paid advertisement for custom jewelry. It seems that Anne Maxfield, the annoying liberal feminist former radio talker, is now hawking her line of semi-antique necklace creations.

Her paid ad, which airs only on WCPT, pleads with you to buy her jewelry because she is a morally superior fellow leftist.

"When Anne was on with right wingers on an all-sports show, she was thinking about how to end the war in Iraq and about making cool jewelry," says the ad's female announcer.

This is what you might call: making a virtue out of necessity.

Maxfield had a solid gig at behometh WGN radio for more than a decade, last working with fellow liberal, John Williams.

But she succumbed to the siren song of a far bigger paycheck and left WGN to join conservative Mike North at WSCR sports radio. She is a big girl and went into that situation with eyes wide open (and no doubt primarily focused on her bank account.)

She was not a fan favorite of the predominately male SCORE listeners and didn't help her cause by making inane Maoist utterances to the effect that all golf courses should be turned into public parks.

So when the tensions between Maxfield, North and North's audience became untenable, she got the sack. Anyone who has been in broadcasting knows that that is hardly an unusual occurence. Radio talkers, as a rule, have less job security and longevity than Tiger Woods' mistresses.

But now, the liberal sheep listeners of WCPT are being urged to show their "progressive" colors by shelling out upwards of $100 for Maxfield's necklace creations. Some of the necklaces, the ad tells us, are also suitable for men, a fact that will be certain to get her items stocked at the more esoteric boutiques around Clark and Diversey.

I went to her website, and must admit that some of the creations were, indeed interesting. They are essentially historically colorful old watch fobs from the Civil War era onward, that she has transformed into necklaces.

I particularly liked the one with the hunter theme, which shows a sportsman blasting away with his rifle.

I wonder how Anne explains that one away to the sensitive "friends of Bambi" who listen to WCPT.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Milty We Hardly Knew Ye

Milton J. Sumption announced this past week that he was withdrawing his candidacy for Congress in the North Suburban Illinois 10th Congressional district.

If you are scratching your head and saying, "Who?," you are not alone.

Milt Sumption is a 40-something resident of Lake Bluff, who briefly had a low level job in Senator Tom Daschle's office in the 90's, then made a small fortune as an investment banker on Wall Street, got out just before the crash and decided to buy a pricey home on the North Shore and run for public office.

As often the case with overacheiving business types, he declined to start with something modest like school board or even the county Board, but reckoned that only his rapier intellect could save the rubes of Mark Kirk's district from themselves. So he jumped right in to run for the U.S. Congress.

A fellow has to start somewhere, why not the top?

But after spending a few grand to get on the ballot and accosting voters door-to-door in his posh neighborhood, Milt came to the sad realization that he had no name recognition, no base and not a snowball's chance in hell against the relatively veteran Dems, State Rep. Julie Hamos and perennial candidate, Dan Seals.

At least Milty had the good sense to pull the plug on his 3 month campaign whimsy before a bevy of political consultants could milk his hubris for all it was worth.

But that hasn't always been the case in Illinois.

10 years ago, the 30-something scion of the R.R.Donnelly telephone book fortune, Shawn Donnelly, decided that her massive experience as political affairs director of the family business made her the obvious choice to succeed outgoing 10th district Congressman, John Porter.

She spent several million of her inheritance on that Quixotic whim. In garnering a 4th place GOP primary finish, her chief contribution to the political heritage of the district seems to have been the invention of enormous, billboard-sized lawn signs, that have since been outlawed by many municipalities.

And then there was John Cox. A Glenview lawyer, he made a bundle in acquisitions and mergers during the go-go 80s and decided that he should then devote his formidable energies and newfound cash toward saving the people of the 10th CD. With no political or civic resume to speak of, he dropped a bundle on the race, but alas, he too was an also ran in that 2000 GOP Congressional primary.

Undaunted, Cox, however, reasoned that his problem was that he was wasting his time on too small a challenge. So he decided to drop another few mil in a 2002 bid for the U.S. Senate.

A paltry 3rd place showing there only served to convince him that his sights were still too low. So he began pouring his money into a laughable 2008 campaign for President (of the United States.)

In accord with his pattern of losing and then running for the next higher office, word is that he is now testing the waters for a bid for UN Secretary-General.

And then, of course there was Blair Hull.

He got his seed money as a high stakes Las Vegas blackjack player. He parlayed that stake into a fortune made gambling on the Chicago Board of Options Exchange.

He then sold the business to Salomon Bros. and set his sights on the 2004 U.S. Senate race.

He had a successful quasi-scientific system in Vegas and boasted that he had come up with a "surefire algorithim for winning campaigns."

Apparently his $40 million campaign warchest and his scientific formula didn't predict the Chicago Tribune's yellow journalistic efforts which unearthed the nasty private details of his divorce and it was all for naught.

But there will no doubt be many future megabucks candidates who will arm themselves with the delusion that their business success (or huge inheritances)will be quite enough to secure for them high public office.

To steal a line from Paul McCartney's Lady Madonna:

"See how they run!!"

Friday, December 4, 2009

Chicago's Affirmative Action Queen in DC Dustup

If ever there was a poster child for the Affirmative Action racial spoils system, it is Chicago's own Desiree Rogers.

She's well known around here. But she is now getting national attention for being the Obama social secretary who decided to play Belle of the Ball rather than do the dreary work of checking off names of invited guests at the door at the recent White House State dinner. You know -- the things that a White House social secretary is supposed to do.

The fetching, designer dress-bedecked, Desiree decided to sit down to dine and schmooze with the luminaries at the event at which she was supposed to be working.

And as the Creole Queen's bad luck would have it, that would be the night when two inveterate goofballs from suburban Virginia would make international headlines by successfully crashing the party.

Ms. Rogers became a multimillionaire in her forties by parlaying an affirmative action admission to the Harvard business school into a series of high profile, astronomically overpaid, affirmative action PR jobs in the Chicago public and semi-public sectors.

Ever the RINO Republican, Governor Jim Edgar tapped the future Obamaite fashionplate to head up his Illinois State Lottery. She was a delegate to the 1992 Republican National Convention, back then. But she readily shed the GOP affiliation upon marrying a basketball buddy of Michelle Obama's brother.

She then snared plush PR gigs with Peoples Gas and Allstate Insurance. And the light skinned, former 1988 "Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club" (yes that is a real group in New Orleans) Parade Queen, was invited to paying posts on the Boards of Blue Cross-Blue Shield, Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo, the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry and the Chicago Museum of Modern Art (on which she led a protest calling for more Affirmative Action minority board members.)

Her friend Obama, then invited her to Washington to head up the social secretary's office.

But apparently, no one told Desiree that it was an actual job with real responsibilities and not an invitation to just party till you drop on the DC social whirl.

So now, the Chicago Affirmative Action Queen is dodging Congressional demands that she explain the recent White House state dinner security lapse. She's being shielded by the White House Press Secretary from nasty inquiries from reporters. And her fun-loving negligence has caused the suspension of 3 Secret Service Agents.

Looks like Washington, D.C. is not turning out to be the never ending wild party scene that party girl Desiree Rogers envisioned.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Todd Stroger's Marvelously Blissful Ignorance

In the wake of the vote by the Cook County Board to partially roll back his sales tax hike, Board President, Todd Stroger, made the rounds of the airwaves this morning. And while casually chatting with Don Wade and Roma on WLS-AM, he made the amazing revelations that:

1. He did not watch or listen to Obama's major speech on Afghanistan last night, because "he doesn't ever have time to watch TV."

2. He never reads Chicago newspapers because, "they are all biased against me, and besides, they have gone up in price by 50 cents."

3. He never uses the internet as a source of news and information because,"I have people to do that for me."

4. He gets all of his news from a "clipping service."


He also said that he didn't know what Obama's speech was about, and when told that it was about the future conduct of the war in Afghanistan, he said that he was too busy with managing Cook County to worry about Afghanistan.

Now this is the chief executive of the second largest county government in the country -- an entity with a $3 billion annual budget, larger than all but 6 states --and he doesn't even read a newspaper or monitor electronic sources of news!

He did admit that he would occasionally watch television, but it was usually only to catch reruns of "The Nanny" around midnight.

Anyone else think that maybe the Toddling could himself benefit from the care and guidance of a stern nanny?

And just who were the people who actually voted for this clown over Tony Peraica in the election of 2006?

Oh well, ignorance is bliss.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Will Gay Sadomasochist Candidate Become Speaker Madigan's Majority Whip?

Very weird news from Chicago's 40th State Legislative District today.

It seems the incumbent State Representative Debra Mell, the avowed lesbian sister-in-law of embattled ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, filed improper nominating petitions for re-election and could be tossed from the ballot.

If that happens, the sole Democrat on the ballot will be a leader of Chicago's gay, sadomasochistic, leather practicioners, one Joe Laiacona.

This fellow, of rather esoteric sexual tastes, is a part-time professor of computer science at Chicago's Columbia College and author of the regular "Leather Views" column in Gay Chicago magazine.

He is also the author of the interestingly titled, Becoming a Slave: The Theory and Practice of Voluntary Servitude (2005), a tome which is sure to soon be flying off the shelves of the Boystown Book shops.

The inept Chicago Republicans neglected, of course, to even bother to field a candidate for this Northwest Side legislative seat.

So the B&D Leathermaster could be running unopposed.

So my only question is, should he be elected would he be a shoe-in to become House Speaker Michael Madigan's Majority Whip?

This could lend an entirely new dimension to the concept of party discipline.

Stay tuned.

Chicago Convention Biz Being Trashed By Local 12 VTSU (Villians, Thieves and Scoundrels Union)

I once booked a recent Soviet emigre on the Larry King Show and when a caller blurted out, "Larry, you're an idiot." The ex-Soviet subject was astonished. With a sense of wonderment, he later said to me, "You can say anything in this country!"

Years of socialist totalitarian oppression had deadened him to the concept that freedom of speech could actually exist.

So it is with Chicagoans who after lifelong tolerance of corruption, high taxation and civic heavy-handedness have forgotten that not everyone will put up with this.

That is probably why the Chicago news media was so surprised when over the past two weeks, two major national trade associations announced that they were no longer going to hold their conventions at Chicago's McCormick Place. And the enormous National Restaurant Association announced that it too was thinking of pulling out of Chicago.

The Plastics Industry Trade Show, after 40 years of exhibiting in Chicago announced that it would be moving its conclave to the convention center in Orlando, Florida. And the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society announced that it was moving to the Las Vegas Convention Center.

They cited the outrageous charges that they had incurred due to the absurd labor rules which apply at the venue.

At McCormick Place, which is run by the clout heavy McPier Authority, exhibitors have to employ union personnel for just about everything.

The owner of the Jimmy John's fast food chain said that he was not allowed to carry his own tomatoes into the exhibit but rather was forced to hire a union lout for the task. (What Union was this? The International Brotherhood of Tomato Toters?)

And one of the Plastics exhibiters said that he was forced to pay electrical workers union idlers to plug in the cord of his PC and to screw in a lightbulb. At union scale of upwards of $40 an hour this can add up.

The Healthcare Info group decided to pull out after their Electrician's Union tab rose from $40k to $240k. That's an awful lot of dough for lightbulb screwing and PC plugging. And they estimate that the Chicago Union tyrrany is costing them up to 10 times the cost of the same work as in the Las Vegas venue. Nevada is a right to work state -- i.e. no union dominance.

And then there is the case of the $100 cases of Pepsi. That is what the McPier contractors are charging exhibitors -- $100 for 24 cans of Pepsi at McCormick Place for a product that is $7.14 at Jewel.

But the fleeing trade associations also cite "other factors" for their decisions to stop doing business in Chicago.

I think I know what they are.

They relate to the generally oppressive high taxes and inane regulations of personal behavior that the Chicago sheep have come to accept. But real Americans elsewhere won't put up with such nonsense.

First there is Chicago's onerous prohibition of tobacco use -- Chicago's all-consuming smoking ban.

A quarter of all adults use this legal product and, face it, conventioneers come to relax and play. They come to do business, yes, but also to get away from it all, which often means getting drunk and making complete asses of themselves.

In Orlando and Las Vegas, they can go into a bar and light up a smoke. In Chicago, they have to put on their overcoats and shiver in the street outside the bar to have a smoke.

In Orlando and Las Vegas they can casually light up a cigarette at their exhibition booths (hospitality workplaces are exempted from their smoking regulations) but not so in Daley's smoke-free utopia.

And the steady drip, drip of Chicago's ever-increasing tax rates are surely weighing on the minds of the convention planners.

If the conventioneer wants to buy a trinket to take home, the sales tax on it is 10.25% on Chicago -- 6.5% in Orlando -- 8% in Vegas.

Hotel taxes are 16.5% in Chicago -- 10% in Orlando --12% in Vegas.

Buy a convention dinner in Chicago and the tax is 10.5% -- 6.5% in Orlando -- 7.25 in Vegas.

And a conventioneer who rents a car in Chicago will have to invest a fair portion of their monthly salary if they go to park it on a street in the Loop -- and that's certainly not the case in spacious Orlando and Las Vegas.

The Teamsters and the Union electricians and the International Brotherhood of Tomato Toters may be significantly to blame for the costly convention exodus (the Plastics, Healthcare Info and Restaurant conventioneers alone pump $236 million into the Chicago economy.)

And Chicago's filthy weather can't ever compete with sunny Orlando and Las Vegas.

But no small part of the blame rests with the big taxers and clean-air pecksniffs of Chicago's most dangerous union.

Local 12, VTSU (Villians, Thieves and Scoundrel's Union,) Richard M. Daley President, Todd Stroger, Shop Steward.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Obama's Tokyo Display of Sycophance

Having worked for a major Japanese corporate entity and having studied the Japanese language and culture, I found Obama's display of obeisance to the hereditary Japanese monarch to be particularly embarassing.

Anyone with even a rudimentary knowlege of the culture knows that a bow, while customary amongst Japanese, is not expected of foreigners -- and certainly not by the leader of the Western World.

Moreover, the Japanese are particularly sensitive to the various gradations of the bow. The deep bow that Obama-san enacted would be more suited to the Japanese Emperor's gardener or chauffeur than to a fellow head of state.

After seeing this groveling Obama pose, I fully expected him to get out his bootblack kit and buff up the Emperor's shoes. Or perhaps segue into a Steppin' Fetchit soft shoe dance for the amusement of the Empress.

It was a disgrace.

Contrast this to the treatment that General Douglas MacArthur accorded the current Emperor's father, Hirohito, in 1946.

General MacArthur grew up in the Orient as his father was Governor-General of the US Phillipine Protectorate. He understood the Oriental mind probably better than any American of his time.

So when MacArthur moved into the Dai Ichi palace to assume his role as Supreme Commander of the Occupying Forces, he pointedly refused to pay a courtesy call on the Emperor of the defeated Japanese.

Understanding the Japanese concept of "face," he was making it quite clear that he was now the effective ruler of the country.

So the diminutive monarch, who had only by MacArthur's good graces narrowly escaped having been hung as a war criminal, donned his morning coat and top hat and sheepishly went over to Dai Ichi to meet with the new "American Caesar."

MacArthur, casually dressed and towering over the little despot, ordered a photo taken. And he ordered the Japanese newpapers to publish it.

This was a very significant political act and MacArthur knew it. Until then, the Japanese Emperor was still considered a god by his people. They were not allowed to lay eyes on him and had never seen a photograph of their diminutive deity.

When the photos appeared the Japanese were aghast that they had been considering this little fellow to be their god. The contrast with the statuesque American General was striking.

It was the act that sealed the modernization of Japan and cemented its ties to the victorious American superpower.

If Obama and his State Department buffoons had had but a fraction of General Douglas MacArthur's understanding of that culture and of his political genius, this embarassing farce could have been avoided.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Skokie's New Aeronautic and Space Administration (SASA)

I was recently riding down the MSWRD canal bikepath in Skokie and began chatting with one of the innumerable Skokie Village employees who was cleaning up the trash there. I asked him about the damage that the beavers had been doing to the trees there and he told me to call the new head of the Skokie Division of Forestry.

I am not making this up.
Landlocked Skokie -- which abuts no forest land whatever -- which is perhaps renowned as being the most overdeveloped aesthetic disaster of a suburb -- actually pays someone more than $50k a year to be its "Forestry Director."

Skokie is perhaps best known for its absurdly laughable 2 flats which even today still are built with ghastly turquoise tile and stone. Someone's idea of class back in 1962 -- but those ugly monstrosities are still being erected on Church St. to this day.

What a silly excuse for a suburb!
Skokie, under the leadership of its pasty-faced, Village Administrator for life, Alphonse Rigoni, has been effectively the fastest growing municipal bureaucracy on the face of the earth.

It now, not only has a Bureau of Forestry, but also shelled out taxpayer money to buy a radio station to which absolutely no one ever listens.

But pasty-faced Al gets to add radio bureaucrats to his Mussolini-like panoply of government funded lackeys.

Any day now I expect Skokie to start bilking its taxpayers for the new Skokie Department of Mining and Land Reclamation.

And the new Skokie Aeronautic and Space Administration.

Why not?

Alphonse and his pals in the Chicago Democrat machine-controlled Skokie Caucus Party need an ever bigger and ever more useless bureaucracy.

And you Skokie suckers can just keep voting for it and paying for it.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Old Soldiers Never Die...Remembering MacArthur (AKA Mackie) 1992-2006

Some years back, I was sitting in a bar in River North and as the after work crowd began to filter in, a 20-something guy in a business suit sat on the stool next to me. He was obviously distraught -- actually fighting back tears -- and he explained to me that his dog had just died.

I tried to be as sympathetic as possible, but I thought it rather peculiar at the time -- almost unmanly.

Today I certainly wouldn't entertain such thoughts.

Three years ago today, my faithful canine companion of almost 15 years passed away.

I first met MacArthur at a farm in Winchester, VA.

A farmer by the name of Robert Jewell had posted an ad in the Valley Trader, a local farm newspaper that a co-worker had brought in for me, notifying that he had lab-setter puppies, free to good home. So I called him, got a general description of the 6 week old pups and told him that I would be out to pick up one of the long-haired buff colored males.

I made the 1 hour or so drive from Washington D.C. out to get him.

At Jewell's farm, I saw a group of about 8 or 10 little pups, playfully climbing onto each others' backs and onto the back of a tolerant farm cat.

Jewell said, "Yours is over here," and he went over to a barrel and pulled out little MacArthur. "I knew you were coming and I didn't want him to get away."

Apparantly Mackie was the hellion of the litter -- the obvious alpha-male. The farmer's children had named him "Sebastian," after Sebastian Cabot, the rotund Mr. French in the Family Affair reruns that they watched -- because he ate more than any of the other pups and they figured he would end up being fat.

He obviously had a vigorous spirit and a powerful life-force, something that I would come to fully appreciate over the next decade and a half.

So after letting him say goodbye to his mother and his litter mates, he made the drive with us back to the Nation's Capitol.

I had just read, How to be Your Dog's Best Friend, by the Monks of New Skete, a best selling dog training book at the time and a classic today. The authors suggested that the first few days away from the litter are traumatic for the new pup and suggested that for the for the first few weeks, you should try to recreate the warmth and intimacy of the litter environment by sleeping on the floor with him.

So like a damned fool, I spent the next few weeks in a sleeping bag on the floor with him at night. I was periodically awoken by the sensation of his little snout, nuzzling thru my hair searching for a source of milk.

But it really worked. In our regular walks it became apparent that he had recognized me as the new central force in our new 2 man "litter."

The Clintonistas had just assumed power in Washington, so I was out of a job and had lots of time to devote to him in those early days. That was fortuitous. On the floor of the apartment, we would play with a little ball that I would toss and he was easily coaxed into bringing back to me.

He was an unusually smart dog.

Before long, to my great amazement, he was catching the ball in his little mouth and prancing back pridefully in recognition of my applause.

He was a glutton for attention.

I recall sitting on the floor, reading The Washington Post, only to have a little head push thru the bottom of the paper as if to say, "aren't we supposed to be doing something more important, like playing ball?"

After a month or two, he was so totally bonded with me that when we took our walks in the famous Meridian Park with its massive marble stairway, I could let him off the leash and he would bound down the stairs, turn the corner by a fountain, and when I would whistle and call his name, he would come exuberantly scurrying back up the stairs.

It amazed a friendly National Park Policeman there, that a pup so young would not simply run off. It amazed me too.

So, one thing led to another and we packed up the Mercury Cougar and headed back to Chicago.

A few months later, in our first summer together, some guys saw us along the Lakefront and commented that since he would go about 10 yards, leap in the air and catch a tennis ball in his mouth, I should try throwing him a frisbee.

They handed us theirs and on the second throw, he caught it and brought it back to me.

It was the beginning of a career that would span 21 of the Alpo/Friskies Canine Frisbee Disc Tournaments. The next summer, when he was 1 1/2, we went into the community dog frisbee tournament in Park Ridge and he scored 18 points in his very first competition.

That is like a ballplayer hitting .275 in his rookie season. In a few years, at his athletic prime, he would win that tournament.

We would play frisbee with almost each walk in the park and his dexterity and flair brought amazement and joy to innumerable people who witnessed it -- not the least of which was me.

He lived for it. It was his work -- his job. When I would pick up the leash for a walk, he would run back in and emerge with his frisbee in his mouth -- only then were we ready to take on the outer world.

But it wasn't all work. Mackie had a canine sense of humor as well.

When a good looking chick would come over to chat and ask me about his athletic prowess, he would run over and begin humping my leg with this silly grin on his face as if to say, "buzz off baby, this guy is spoken for and we have important work to do out here."

So much for his being a chick magnet.

And it wasn't all just bird dog retrieving. He was protective too.

On one warm August night, I was sitting on a park bench in Chicago under a lampost, reading a book and he assumed the spot on the cool packed earth underneath the bench. Three punks approached me and said, "hey man, you gotta quarter?" I told them no. Seeing me smoking, they said, "you gotta cigarette?" I said, "not for you." The leader said, "what the hell you mean you don't gotta cigarette for us?" And all of a sudden this white canine head emerged from under the bench -- growling. The growls transformed into loud barks as he moved forward and the three punks began running off with MacArthur in hot pursuit.

He wouldn't have hurt them, but they didn't know that. His protective and herding instincts had kicked in and he was simply herding them out of the vicinity.

Mackie got an extra can of Alpo on his kibbles that night.

As time went on, MacArthur and I engaged in a wide array of activities together. When I would manage a political campaign, he would become the official campaign headquarters dog and would sit under my desk as I pecked away at the keyboard or he would entertain the kids of the volunteers when we adults were having a meeting.

He marched with various political groups in no fewer than a half dozen 4th of July parades, always carrying his trademark frisbee in his mouth and invariably being the main attraction.

And we had our quiet personal moments as well.

When I would be depressed at the events of a given day, the sympathetic Lab in him came out and he would gently put his snout on my knee as if to say, "It's alright buddy."

And in his waning days, he would come up to me and bury his head in my chest as if to say "Can't you make this all better for me, pal?"

I couldn't.

In his fourteenth year, cancer had begun to eat away at his once invincible constitution and in the early morning hours of November 7, 2006 the distress became untenable.

I insisted that the nurses at the 911 veterinary clinic in Skokie give him as much morphine as possible, because I didn't want him to go out writhing in pain. They did. And he had a peaceful look on his face as I caressed his face and uttered soothing words as he crossed the River Styx.

He is buried in a peaceful corner of the yard along with his favorite blanket and a ball and a frisbee and his tags and a little note for archeologists to find.

The Catholics and the mainstream Protestants suggest that a dog is merely a souless chattel, put here for our benefit, but incapable of living on. The Buddhists, however, believe that they are part of the eternal life force and do have a soul.

I would like to believe the Buddhist view.

I would like to believe that at some future time, I might see him again under a warm, blue summer sky on the Elysian Fields and that he would be restored to his full youthful vigor and I in my 30-something vigor would be flinging frisbees 40 yards and he would leap in the air and snare them and afterwards we'd chill out in the clear, cool spring.

So until then, Good Night, Sweet Prince.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Little Luis"Gutierrez Goes After Democrat Hatemongers

In a City whose Congressional Delegation is crawling with mindless poseurs, morons and outright nincompoops, Congressman Luis Gutierrez is once again vying for the uncontested leadership of that august Chicago group in this regard.

According to The Hill, a Washington D.C. weekly that covers its namesake:

"The Congressional Hispanic Caucus was also weighing its options on what to do about a push by some vulnerable centrist members to block illegal immigrants from being able to buy insurance on the (Pelosi-Obama health care) bill's "exchanges," even with no subsidy.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said he "would have a hard time voting for" a bill or procedural measure that did that.
"I'm tired of feeding hatred and bigotry," Gutierrez said."

Let me see if I've got this right.

Democrats in the House are the only real players in the formation of the health bill. They control the House of Representatives and all it's committees.

And a bloc of centrist Democrats are asserting that it is sensible to not allow the current 12 million plus illegal aliens (and any others who may swarm across the border tomorrow) to have coverage under the taxpayer funded socialized medicine scheme.

And Gutierrez is calling those fellow Democrats hatemongers and bigots.

Chicago has sent some amazing characters to Congress over the years. The felonious Dan Rostenkowski, the salacious, pedophiliac, Mel Reynolds and an outright weirdo, Gus Savage.

But "Little Luis" from the 4th District on the West side is setting a whole new standard for Chicago Congressional imbecility.

I believe he just may have moved into a league of his own.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hey Queen -- How Do Ya Like Chicago So Far?

While riding on the MWRD bike path near Evanston on this past beautiful Sunday afternoon, I ran into a very nice girl from the North of England. While riding astride for a mile or more, we chatted about the odd British propensity for class consciousness, the Falkland's Island war, the impending demise of the British Labour Party, George Orwell, Patrick Pearse and sundry other matters that quite appealed to my Anglophilic disposition.

I found it telling that she, English born, was riding an American-made Trek, while I, Chicago born, owned a Nottingham, England-made Raleigh.

But it got me thinking about the English in Chicago.

There is a rich tradition of English and English-American involvement in Chicago, but it has been largely overshadowed by the much more populous subsequent waves of immigration.

The first Mayor of Chicago was a total WASP named William Butler Ogden.

He traveled here from New York in 1835, because his nincompoop brother-in-law had sunk $100 k as a real estate investment into swampy, onion field land alongside Lake Michigan in a place called Chicago.

Ogden came here to sell off the deeds for anything he could possibly get for them -- pennies on the dollar, if need be.

He was amazed when after selling merely 1/3 of the holdings he had already recouped all of the investment. The WASPs were sharpies back then, and Ogden bought as much Chicago real estate as he could possibly get his hands on, sold it, became a de-facto billionaire by today's standards, decided to hang around and was elected Chicago's first mayor.

The Brits entered the picture again in 1871. After the Great Chicago fire devastated the city, Queen Victoria ("we are not amused") was anguished at word that the great Chicago library was destroyed and at her own initiative, scoured Britain for books to send to Chicago to rebuild its library collection.

That was nice of the old girl.

Fast forward to 1920.

That was when Chicago had its last Republican mayor, Big Bill Thompson.

Today Republicans like to claim moral superiority over the corrupt Democrat machine (as well they can -- but it's easy to be as pure as the driven snow when you have no boodle to pass around) but back then the GOP machine were total crooks.

Big Bill's chief financial backer was a well known Chicago philanthropist by the name of Al Capone.

Enough said.

But by 1920, waves of Irish and Germans had descended upon Chicago (my ancestors on both sides included) and had become the dominant electoral cohort in the city.

The Micks and the Krauts were not at all favorably disposed toward the British Limeys.

Big Bill knew which side his electoral bread was buttered on, so in 1920, when King George V of the House of Windsor was touring the US, Mayor Thompson told him to stay the hell out of his city.

When a reporter asked Big Bill what he would do if George V decided to come to Chicago anyway, Mayor Thompson said, "If King George sets one foot in Chicago, I'll punch him in the snoot."

The King stayed away. Big Bill was re-elected.

Fast forward to 1959.

Then the child-Queen, Elizabeth II, only 33 at the time, came to Chicago to celebrate the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, which linked Chicago and ports in the British Dominion of Canada with the Atlantic Ocean.

When the Queen was alighting her ship in the port of Chicago, a throng of gruff, boozy, Chicago newsmen gathered around her and began shouting questions.

When she had been ashore no more than a minute or two, one of the paunchy, red-nosed scribes yelled out, "Hey Queen!! Howdya like Chicaguh so far???"

Not, "Your Royal Highness, what are your thoughts upon coming to Chicago?"

But "Hey Queen!! Howdya like Chicaguh so far???

The answer is lost to history.

But the question and questioner will be long remembered.

Is this an amusing place, or what?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Chicago Pols React to Obama Nobel Prize

Obama: Can you believe they gave me the friggin' Nobel Peace Prize?

Daley: I wish I could get in on a deal like that!!

Blagojevich: That thing's fuckin' golden!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Daley's Disposable Tropical Palm Trees

(This was first posted in October. But as we wade thru snowdrifts this morning and contemplate below zero wind chill temps tonight, it may comfort us to know that a few short months ago, our City government was giving us a taste of the tropics -- by planting expensive tropical plants in our parks -- which they then, proceeded to throw away as the climate became inhospitable.)

Chicagoans awoke this morning to the news that their city government has been hard at work conjuring up new ways to regulate their behavior and pick their pockets at the same time.

Three new possible fines to contemplate.

First, if some neighborhood Mrs. Kravitz doesn't like the sound of your dog's barking, you can now be fined up to $250 a day.
And now if you get caught idling your diesel truck or car for more than 3 minutes, you'll get slapped with a $250 fine.
And now, if you should wander within 50 feet of the entrance of an abortion mill and someone complains, you're out 500 bucks.

The city needs revenue, you see.

It isn't bad enough that the cost of parking on a city street now costs the equivalent of many monthly car payments. Daley needs cash and fast.

That's why the libraries are going to shorten their hours and why the parks now charge the equivalent of a 6 month health club membership fee for city kids to join their organized play activities.

So why then is the Mayor planting expensive, exotic tropical foliage on the public ways?

He actually had contractors plant palm trees right here in the Chicago arctic zone. Palm trees that are now, with the onset of winter, being ripped up and tossed away.
I am not making this up.

Palm trees!!!!
In Chicago parks!!!!

At the very corner of Lincoln Avenue and Peterson, at the entrance to Legion Park, with its grand gateway fountain, there is today a hugh gaping mound of dirt where yesterday stood a tropical palm tree and ancillary tropical foliage.
I met a nice old woman who was walking her somewhat overweight dachshund there and her cat (don't ask) and she reported to me that the crew that removed the tropical tree asked her if she wanted it for her home.
Since it stood at least 20 feet high and since she does not have a living room to rival Marie Antoinette's chambers at Versailles, she politely declined.
So it looks as if the disposable tropical foliage was just tossed into a wood chipper.
I asked my horticulturalist friend, Kathy, what a palm tree like that and the assorted other exotic foliage might cost, and she reckoned that it would be at least several thousand dollars wholesale. So with the city's purchasing acumen involved, you can bet that it was at least ten grand or more.
And just what are we doing planting equatorial foliage a full 42 degrees North of the equator?
Didn't anyone mention to the geniuses at the Chicago Park District that it has a wee tendency to get cold in Chicago?
And where else in Chicago did palm trees go up this summer?
I have seen them outside the concession stand at the Oak Street beach. Where else?

Maybe Daley & Co. got so carried away with Olympic fever that they thought they would rival Rio by planting Brazilian tropical plants.
At any rate, the city enforcement mavens and fine collectors had better get busy finding those noisy dogs and idling diesels so we can afford to make our parks look like Pago Pago and Tahiti again next year.

Or maybe like Rio.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mama Mia! ABBA and Donna Summer for the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame?

I seldom have expended many of my ever-declining number of brain cells pondering the machinations of the Rock ' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

I thought of it once back in '86 upon hearing reports that it was founded -- principally as an effort by the Cleveland city fathers to repair their fair city's image as "The mistake by the lake."

Cleveland was then largely known as the city whose waterways actually caught fire due to the massive quantities of flammable liquids that they had been dumping in them -- and as the city whose NFL football team snuck out in the middle of the night to move to greener pastures in greater metropolitan Baltimore.

I thought of it again around '93, when a 20-something, rock fan couple who were taking care of my dog told me that they were making a weekend pilgrimage there.

Since then the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame happily subsided to the margins of my consciousness.

That is until this week, when my spies reported to me that ABBA and Donna Summer were the favorites for induction to the hall for 2010.

ABBA were rockers!!??

Donna Summer, the disco queen, a rocker!!??

To put this in perspective, when I was an undergrad, ABBA began saturating the AM airwaves with their ear candy. As sophisticate collegiate rock connaisseurs we considered them laughably juvenile.

After all, this was a time when the Beatles were still churning out formidable solo albums. Mick Jagger was just beginning to really hit his groove. Dylan was still seriously composing. The Moody Blues were in search of the lost chord. And for the kinkier types on campus, Lou Reed was taking a walk on the wild side.

Into this rich, genuinely rock ' roll context strolled 2 very hot Swedish babes and their 2 geeky-looking male consorts, with "Honey, Honey." That single was very big among the pre-pubescent crowd. They liked it because its bubblegum quality seriously rivalled that of Boyce and Hart and the 1910 Fruitgum Company and perhaps the early Monkees.

But no serious (and admittedly pretentious) college rock fan took ABBA even vaguely seriously.

Then, throughout our undergrad years, ABBA was everywhere --- on the AM radio in the car, on the AM radio station that was piped in the the cafeteria, in elevators, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

"Waterloo", "SOS", "Mamma Mia", "Fernando."

And then when they abandoned ear candy pop for disco, they became very big in the gay community. With efforts like "Dancing Queen" and "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme a Man After Midnight", it isn't hard to imagine why.

Their music had a certain pleasant, predictable, non-threatening quality.

But I would paraphrase the French military observer to the suicidal Charge of the Light Brigade, who commented: "C'est magnifique! Mais c'est ne pas le guerre." (It's magnificent! But it's not warfare.)

I would say of ABBA's vast discography, "It's very nice. But it's not rock 'n roll."

In fairness, I should add that a perusal of ABBA's YouTube videos does show that Agnetha Faltskog, in her prime, was truly one of the hottest babes ever to grace a stage in that era-- an amazing combination of cover-girl looks and Penthouse animal magnetism.

And I wouldn't have kicked her German-Swedish cohort Anna Frid Lyngstad out of bed for eating crackers.

But does that a Rock 'n Roll Hall of Famer make?

And don't even get me started on the 2010 nomination of disco queen Donna Summer.

She may have worked hard for the money, but disco was the very antithesis of rock.

To admit Donna Summer to the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, would be rather like Pope Benedict ordering a special new stain glass window in the Sistine Chapel for Martin Luther.

So I will not be spending my hard-earned cash to make a pilgrimage to the Cleveland rock shrine.

But should they ever get serious and induct Jan & Dean, The Moody Blues and Lou Christie, I could well reconsider.

And to Anna Frid, if you're out there reading this -- I'm still eminently available.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cook Co. GOP: Please, Please Join Us - (But Bring Cash)

Two recent entries in my email inbox: 1) an invitation to the New Trier Twp. GOP picnic ($20 a person, $40 per family) and 2) an invitation to the Cook County GOP "Convention," ($45 +$10 for "VIP breakfast.")

What's wrong with this picture?

With the economy tanking and the Republican Party brand in Illinois rivalling that of the Ford Edsel and the Watergate-era Chevy Vega, you'd think they would make it as enticing as humanly possible to attend a Republican rally.

But not the Mensa-types who pass for decision makers in Republican circles around here.

From time immemorial, political parties have tried to attract the mass of potential voters with free food and free entertainment. Back in the 1880s, both parties in Chicago would try to excite the new waves of German and Irish immigrant voters with events featuring oceans of free beer and oompah bands and ceili dancing.

When I was a kid, the Democratic precinct captains in Skokie would stage an annual event in the newly booming Jewish part of town, featuring free kosher hot dogs, soda and wine.

When I was a teen, I would travel up to Hoffman Estates for picnics of the Phil Crane Youth Caucus -- eats and drinks on Phil.

But now, with the GOP at the lowest ebb that I can remember, they're saying "Please, Please, Pretty Please come -- and we accept Visa, MC and American Express."

The Cook County Republican "Convention," scheduled for next week, is not a convention in the usual sense, but actually a party pep rally, featuring orations by such awe-inspiring luminaries as those well known Demosthenes: Angel Garcia, Republican candidate for County Clerk, Eloise Gerson, the Chairlady of the ever-anemic Chicago Republican Party and the Boy-Wonder, himself, Lee Roupas, Chairman of the necrotic Cook County Republicans.

And for an extra ten bucks, they'll let me into a VIP breakfast.

Angel Garcia is sure to be one of the VIPs there.

Be still my beating heart.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Cubs-Free Summer: CUBS--Completely Useless by September

It just occured to me.

I have had a Cubs-free summer.

This is no small matter for me. I first became a Cubs fan (and do understand that the term fan derives from fanatic) when I was a little first grader in 1963.

In that year, my father, who was a descendent of a Chicago Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher, gave me a 1963 major league baseball almanac.

I was first exposed to the Cubs that year. It became a life-long infatuation. And a life-long sickness.

That year I also bought my first Topps pack of baseball cards.

They were 5 cents at the time and you got 5 baseball cards and along with the cards you got one stick of rather sickly (usually stale) bubble gum.

My first Cubs card was of the Cubs catcher in 1963 -- the immortal Sammy Taylor (I am being satiric here) -- who had a lifetime .223 batting average.

For the benefit of you girls out there -- that really stinks!

But Sammy Taylor was a really good looking Southern guy and he had this really cool, tough looking, way of tilting his catcher's mitt while posing, with an Elvis-styled leer for the baseball card photograph.

So of course, when I went into the McNally Park Little League in Skokie that year (it was the only genuinely religiously integrated entity in a Village that was 60% Christian and 40% Jewish), I became a cather and tilted my cather's mitt in a rather cool, Sammy Taylor-styled way for the team photo.

I hit around .500 that year which was far better than Sammy was ever able to accomplish.

But, of course he had to contend with the 100 mph. heat from Don Drysdale and Bob Gibson and the biting sliders from Sandy Koufax.

I just had to put up with the 30 mph lobs from the likes of Ronnie Kleinschmidt, Craig Kloss and Richie Rubin.

So going Cubs-free for an entire summer is no small matter for me.

I did not attend a single game at Wrigley or on the road, did not listen to or watch a single broadcast after June 1st and did not so much as glance at a box score. This is the first time that I have done that since my college years when sex, drugs, rock 'n roll, a certain geographic distance and a heavy academic load precluded the pursuit of my long-time Cubs obsession.

And what did I really miss?

Carlos Zambrano snapping bats over his knee like an overpaid baby? Ron Santo crapping up the airwaves with his incessant moaning and groaning? Any number of crybaby failed relief pitchers lashing into the fans for rightfully booing them? $40 bleacher seats? $6 cups of warm Old Style?Another one of the highest paid teams in Chicago athletic history, which here in September has no hope whatsoever of even attaining a wild card berth?

I think I can live with the absence of that.

And the slight grey fringe that was appearing at my temples has been arrested, if not entirely reversed, due to the absence of all of the customary Cubs-induced angst.

The Chicago CUBS: Completely Useless By September.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Let's face it, Americans have always been suckers for food fads.

First we had the lo-cal, diet craze of the 50s and 60s. Jackie Gleason thought this so inane that he satirized it in an episode of the Honeymooners by coming up with a get-rich-quick scheme for marketing lo-cal pizza. That was considered laughable in the 50s, but sure enough today you can go to the freezer section of any Jewel Foods and find lo-cal pizza.

One of our obese neighbors in the 60s, an MD's wife, was so thrilled with the development of the revolutionary, new, 1 calorie Diet-Rite sodas, that a veritable mound of the returnable empties would litter her side doorstep every day.

She never seemed to lose any weight at all.

Since then we've had the lo-fat craze, lo-carb mania (I once even saw a candy bar touted as lo-carb) and of course the lite phenomenon.

The movement toward lite everything began in the late 70s with Miller's development of Lite Beer and it crested in the 80's. That was around the very time of the AIDS epidemic, when everyone was talking about condoms and safe-sex.

The simultaneous occurrence of lite everything and condom mania, prompted comic David Steinberg to quip to Johnny Carson, "You know, Johnny, we could make a fortune if we could just come up with a product called "Condoms-Lite."

But now, of course, it is the organic foods craze.

This started with a bunch of aging hippies from places like San Francisco and Evanston who thought that it would be morally superior to eat overpriced, scrawny, deformed produce trucked in to little farmers markets in their village squares every Saturday.

It was harmless enough, but now, I must say, it is clearly getting out of hand.

They are now marketing (I am not making this up) ORGANIC VODKA!!!

I was made aware of this inane development by the marquee on the Foremost Liquor store at Lincoln and Peterson, which touted the development amidst its usual ads for specials on Heinekens and Johnny Walker Red.

I went in to the Foremost to investigate, and sure enough there it was, Snow Queen Organic Vodka imported from Kazakhstan.


When one pictures former Soviet Kazakhstan, organic purity is not what first springs to mind.

Chernobyl-styled nuclear waste dumps, perhaps, but not pristine waters and pure pesticide-free fields of rye.

Perhaps the Kazakh idea of organic is to use only camel dung from free range dromedaries to fertilize their vodka grain crops.

And besides, who really cares if their vodka is organic?

My experience has always been that the stuff is so vile tasting and alcoholicly lethal that after a few quaffs, I no more care if my vodka is organic than if my rocket fuel is organic.

At any rate, it is now available at about $30 a bottle for those gaunt, sandal-wearing organic purists in Evanston and Oak Park.

But the Snow Queen bottle and website graphics prominently feature women with rather pronounced decolletage. The website also boasts that it had busty J-Lo as guest of honor at one of its opening celebrity bashes.

I don't think that will go over so well with the ascetic organic granola crowd.

Someone has to fill the Kazakhs in on the puritanical catechism of American politically correct pecksniffs, circa 2009.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Kronos' Bonehead Free Gyro SNAFU

Chicago is no stranger to lame brained public relations disasters.

Who can forget the 1970s disco demolition at Comiskey Park?

In that event, a local rock station teamed with the White Sox to offer free admission to a Sox game to everyone who brought a disco record. The decidedly anti-disco DJs were then to amass the records midfield and blow them up -- thereby making a profound statement as to the superiority of pure rock 'n roll.

Problems ensued, however, when the drunken Sox fans began flinging the records at each other and at the opposing team's players on the field like so many semi-lethal frisbees. After numerous cuts and gashes and subsequent fisticuffs were reported, MLB officials called the game in light of the general life-threatening brouhaha. The Sox were awarded a forfeit loss.

And then there was the Great Snow of 1979.

Who can forget the reports of Democrat Machine (soon to be ex-)Mayor Michael Bilandic lolling on the beach in Florida with his fetching wife, Heather, while his inept city machine remained impotent as Chicagoans were stranded in snowdrifts left by a paralysing blizzard?

Those were textbook PR disasters of the first order.

But they may have been surpassed by yesterday's Kronos Free Gyro Giveaway.

The geniuses at Chicago-based Gyros manufacturing giant, Kronos Foods decided to combat slumping sales of gyros sandwiches, by offerring an on-line coupon for a free gyro at any one of about 3 dozen participating Chicago fast food outlets on September 1st.

For the culinarily uninformed, a gyro is a kind of big sloppy agglomeration of pressed lamb sliced off a spit and put on pita bread, slathered in a yogurt-based sauce and covered with tomato slices and mounds of onions.

It was reportedly invented in Chicago in 1973.

During my college years, we found downing a gyro to be a perfect end to an evening of non-stop bar hopping and beer swilling. The conventional wisdom was that its gargantuan fat content would sop up the gallons of alcohol running thru our systems.

Of course the perfect end to an evening would have been to accompany a hot co-ed back to her place, in which case you definitely would not want a gyro, unless your date happened to be an Albanian shepherdess who thought that onion breath was a total turn-on.

Anyway, come September 1st and the participating Free Gyro Day fast food joints are deluged with mobs of people brandishing coupons for the free $5 Greek concoction.

Well in advance of the dinner hour, many were entirely out of supplies and were turning away customers in droves -- many of them quite angry.

Mangio's in Wrigleyville, fearful of antogonizing its regular customers, began offering cheaper Polish Sausages in lieu of the promised gyro. People were still leaving angry.

At Dengeo's on the Skokie-Evanston border, the traffic jam caused by free gyro seekers was wildly unprecedented.

When I saw the cars and throngs of people, I thought that maybe Elvis had been sighted there.

Dengeo's was turning away disappointed gyro seekers at the height of the dinner hour.

Several of their regular customers were fuming at being caught up in the mob scene. A manager stood at the door and announced to the irritated throng, "we couldn't give you a gyro even if you wanted to buy one."

I wonder what ensued at the gyro joints in the rougher sections of the South and West sides.

In any event, this couldn't have been the PR result the promotional mavens at Kronos envisioned.

I hear that next year they're going to try and top this by introducing their new all-pork gyro at Jewish and Muslim street fairs.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Seditious and Ungrateful Asian Immigrants Gather in Chicago

This past weekend a gaggle of Asian open-borders advocates gathered at the Salvation Army compound on Pulaski near Foster to whine and moan and essentially bash white Americans.

Antonio Olivo, the unabashed immigrant activist who covers this issue for the Libune, heaved up his usual immigrant sob story article:,0,7042509.story

Olivo is the latest of a line of wildly biased Latino writers who the Libune has exclusively assigned to cover the immigration debate.

That is about as intellectually honest as assigning the cheerleading Ron Santo to give you an objective, clear headed critique of the Chicago Cubs.

Oh -- that's right-- the Tribune does that too on WGN radio.

Does anybody anywhere really believe the Chicago Tribune about anything anymore?

At any rate, what caught my notice in Olivo's rah-rah account of the event, was the report that Korean-American kids from the Korean-American Cultural Center in West Rogers Park, made up signs criticizing the United States for putting a small number of coastal Japanese and Japanese-Americans in detainment camps after the World War II Japanese sneak attack on the US.

They apparently chose this theme to corroborate the sponsoring, Asian American Institute's, larger theme that White America is racist and that is why we haven't just opened up our borders and let the entire Third World just waltz in here, unhindered.

For the grandchild of a Korean to bring up this complaint, makes about as much sense as for the grandchild of a Jewish holocaust victim to complain about US mistreatment of alleged Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg trials.

Let's put this into perspective.

Korea was forcibly occupied by the Imperial Japanese from 1910 until it was liberated (at the cost of much American blood) in 1945.

During that time, the hellish Japanese brutally enslaved the Korean people.

They conscripted tens of thousands of Koreans into life threatening forced labor. Like their Nazi allies, they murdered the inhabitants of entire towns which harbored partisan freedom fighters. They conscripted more than 20,000 Korean women into forced sexual slavery as "comfort women" for Japanese troops. Taking a page from the murderous Lenin and Stalin, they systematically starved to death recalcitrant villages. They looted Korean national treasures, including some 75,000 works of art and cultural artifacts, which they have yet to return.

And to this very day, Koreans who live and work in Japan are not allowed Japanese citizenship -- even if they are 3rd or 4th generation residents of Japan.

And the greatest historical complaint that these ill-educated, ingrate Korean kids can conjure up is that FDR badly treated Japanese in America during wartime!!??

And of course, there is nary a hint of appreciation to the millions of, mostly white, American servicemen, who sacrificed (some 300,000 with their lives) for the liberation of their grandparents in two major wars.

This is both testimony to the radical anti-American tenor of the organized pro-immigration pimp groups and the abject failure of our rotten public schools to assimilate and Americanize this massive wave of post 1980 immigration.

And the wanton America bashing at last weekend's Asian immigration rally looks really bad to thoughtful Americans who know they are paying the freight for this immigration onslaught.

One wonders who the Asian American Institute enlisted to do their PR.

Probably the same guy who told the Big-Three auto CEOs to take their private jets to the Congressional bailout hearings.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Castro to Cubans -- Get Ready to Drip Dry!!

Last week, Reuters reported that Raul Castro, Cuba's Brother-in-Chief, announced that due to "planning oversights", Cuba was running out of toilet paper and likely would not have any more until the beginning of 2010.

I am not making this up.


Obviously being a function of the hellish U.S. trade embargo, this, of course, provoked an uproar amongst enlightened American humanitarians and led for calls for Obama to take immediate action to ensure the aridity of Cuban arses.

The stripling Commander in Chief showed no hesitation and immediately appointed a reknowned expert on anal hygiene, Mr. Lazlo Butz, (B.S., Harvard, 1969) to become America's first hemispheric anal hygiene Czar.

In a Washington news conference, the President introduced Butz as a man "who will get to the bottom of this pressing problem."

Butz, an SDS organizer in the 60's, called for solidarity with "our socialist Cuban allies," and hinted that the Kimberly-Clark corporation may have to be nationalized to provide the island state with sufficient quantites of the hygienic paper product.

"A clean, soft wipe is a human right," Butz said.

Also at the news conference was the acknowleged Congressional expert on matters anal, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA.)

"We've got to put clean pores before profits," he said, predicting the Kimberly-Clark nationalization would be on a fast track in the next session of Congress.

Also at the event was Rev. Jesse Jackson of the Chicago-based, modestly named, People United to Save Humanity (Operation PUSH.)

Injecting the requisite anti-white bashing to the event, he said the Cuban toilet paper shortage was a natural result of centuries of white oppression of Caribbean peoples of color.

Asked by a Washington Times reporter how this could be, given that the errant state planners, Fidel and Raoul Castro, were lily white Castilian Spanish purebloods, Jackson responded:

"If you cannot wipe
The smell will be ripe.

If you must drip-dry
You will attact the fly."

With that, White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, immediately cut off questions and told reporters he would have details of Obama's $3.2 billion hemispheric toilet paper stimulus plan available to the press and Congress several hours before the scheduled vote next week.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Abortion Remorse in "Last Chance Harvey"

Wonder of wonders, a current hit movie makes a subtle anti-abortion statement.

How did this slip by the liberal Hollywood thought controllers?

The film is "Last Chance Harvey," a thoroughly delightful and uplifting story of an August-December romance between Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson.

The anti-abortion sentiment is expressed quite briefly, and don't expect Roger Ebert or Richard Roeper to even make note of it, but it is in there, plain as day.

In a scene where the protagonists are talking, heart to heart, getting to know each other better, Emma Thompson's mood changes abruptly.

"You just became sad," Hoffman says. "Why?"

"I was thinking about my days as a college student. I became pregnant. I did away with it. But sometimes I find myself wondering if he or she would have have been funny -- or clever -- or neurotic.

"Stupid of me to get this way, really."

Abortion remorse in a major Hollywood movie -- interesting.

Some speculate that the shift in public opinion polls showing a majority of Americans now opposed to our liberal abortion laws, may be significantly due to the remorse felt by many baby boomer women over abortions that they had during an earlier, less thoughtful, time in their lives.

I doubt the Hollywood moguls would have kept this off the cutting room floor unless they perceived that a profound sentiment, like abortion remorse, was, indeed, in the air.


One lighter thought-- this is the second Dustin Hoffman film I can recall where he suffers from job instability. The other was Kramer vs. Kramer.

He might have avoided the vagaries of the employment market if he had just taken the profound advice profferred to him in The Graduate.

" Your father tells me you're going to be out job hunting soon. I have just one word for you, young man:


Sunday, July 26, 2009

That Vacuous 60s Counterculture

I recently stumbled into a remarkable little shop on Oakton St. in Skokie. It had the effect of compelling me to recollect on my days as a boy growing up in that vast cultural wasteland known as the 1960s.

The newly opened shop, Selective Memories Resale and Collectables, deals in assorted bric-a-brac, junque, collectibles and objects d'art and is heavy on 60s memorobilia.

It is run by an effusively genial 50 something guy, Dave Zorig, who exudes a genuine love of pop antiquity.

His recently deceased dad, one of the very few American existentialists I have ever heard of (he was reading a volume of Sartre's scribblings when he passed on,) actually invented a primitive version of the rock video in the 60s. The geniuses at the mobbed-up Chicago juke box companies passed on the invention. They said that kids would never want to watch rock musicians perform to their music. This was 15 years before MTV and VH1.

Maybe that kind of foresight explains why Sam "MOMO" Giancana's social club and benevolent society has been in a precipitous decline since about that very time.

So Dave reported to me that he was personal friends with several members of the flash-in-the-pan pop group the Turtles, and gets a lot of their memorobilia to vend.

We began discussing several of their hits from the 1966-67 timeframe and for the rest of the day those Turtle songs kept running thru my head.

There is a name for this phenomena, but I forget what it is. If you doubt it exists, just go to one of the McDonald's that plays tapes of oldies music and tell me that for the next 24 hours your brain is not running a non-stop reel of, "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to."

So this got me thinking about the caliber of lyricism that formed the sound track of the antics of that "smartest generation," of the 60s.

Take this gem from the Turtles"

"Eleanor, Gee I think you're swell
And you really do me well
You're my pride and joy etcetera."


Aside from the fact that the only person I ever heard of in the 60s who still used the term "swell," was Judy Garland's little peach, Liza, "Etcetera" as the end of a lyric?

What that says to me is major intellectual and artistic laziness. It also says that the kids who ate this stuff up and plunked down hard cash for the vinyl discs were about as discerning as West Virginia hayseeds.

Can you imagine Cole Porter writing:

"I love Paris in the morning when it drizzles
I love Paris in the evening when it sizzles
I love Paris every moment
Every moment etcetera."

A poll of 60s college students taken at the time found that they rated Bob Dylan as the greatest poet of all time. Move aside Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. Who needs Shakespeare's sonnets when you can ponder:

"I don't want to meet your kin
make you spin or do you in."

Paul Simon once expressed irritation that his peers were attributing great profundity to his lyrics and said that could only be because the vast majority of rock lyricists were quasi-literate nincumpoops.

They were and we bought it.

And now the unreconstructed countercultural gnomes of the 60s are tenured professors who dominate our universities and senior executives at our major news organs.

What is more frightening, is that in the incarnation of David Axlerod and Bill Ayres, they have the ear of the young, inexperienced, coffee-complected nincumpoop-in-chief.