Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kucinich Sues Congressional Cafeteria Over Stray Olive Pit

I spent quite a few years eating lunch almost daily in the Longworth House of Representatives cafeteria and never suffered anything more serious than occasional dispepsia or perhaps a bit of weight gain from its fatty Southern cooking.

I must have really dodged a bullet since news now comes that the ultra-liberal Democrat Congressman and former fringe Presidential candidate from Ohio, Dennis Kucinich recently suffered a major tragedy in that very place.

Seems he bit down on a sandwich and encountered an olive pit. This caused him great consternation and serious damages for which he is suing the Congressional cafeteria in the amount of $150,000.

Read all about it in this little Capitol Hill newspaper.

Being a liberal and quite in bed with the personal injury bar he surely had no problem whatever finding a friendly and hungry ambulance chaser to take up his cause.

And it seems this tragedy has so disfigured the Honorable gentleman from Ohio that his appearance now matches his long-time appellation: "Dennis The Menace."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The 2010 "Kars 4 Kidz Awards": Chicago's Worst Radio Commercials

Marketing mavens have long been saying that radio is the most intimate of mediums and they're probably right. Radio approaches you thru only one of the senses. It usually approaches you when you are in a captive situation -- in a car or with little electronic devices attached to your head. It gets up with you in the morning and even follows you into the shower.

And since radio is so intimate, when it heaves up something really seriously awful, it becomes a really serious insult -- an unwanted invasion of personal space. I think that's why bad radio commercials are so infuriating.

I actually hit the station change button every time that hideous "Kars 4 Kidz" commercial pollutes the airwaves. There have been a lot of really bad commercials on the radio over the past year. But try as I might, I could find no comprehensive list of the worst ads, so as a public service, the Chicago Lampoon has compiled one.

I have named the list in honor of the "Kars 4 Kidz" jingle. Despite the fact that it still regularly spews forth, it is not included on the list itself since it is so far and above the run of the mill bad radio commercials, that it is in an entire class of its own.

In ascending order here are my picks for worst radio ads of 2010:

#4. Roma's Stomach Bug ads for Natren's Healthy Trinity

In these, WLS morning drive co-host, Roma, plucks out some health item from that day's news -- such as an outbreak of dysentary in Indonesia -- and tells you how you can avoid things like the perils of dysentary if you just take some of Natren's biotic stomach bugs every morning. Over the Christmas holiday, Roma delivered these messages in conjunction with a very odd sounding elf character.

I find Roma's voice annoying, the odd sounding elf's voice very annoying and the thought of ingesting these weird stomach bugs extremely annoying. These messages have now expanded beyond the morning Don Wade & Roma program and now annoy throughout the day on WLS.

#3. Smarmy Scott Lee Cohen's Job Fairs

For reasons no one quite understands, Chicago pawn broker Scott Lee Cohen insisted on squandering scads of his money running for IL governor as an independent. He did this after winning the Democrat primary for Lt. Gov. and then withdrawing in a teary, blubbering news conference after apparently being threatened by Democrat chieftain, Mike Madigan.

In his second run he ran the very same ad he ran in the first round, wherein his smarmy marshmallow tones instructed us that all the state's employment problems would be solved by his gimmicky "job fairs." The very same ad ran so frequently over a period of at least 5 months that by October, most listeners could mouth the meaningless drivel along with him word-for-word.

#2 McDonald's Coffee Slurping

Most children from civilized backgrounds are taught by their mothers at an early age that it is impolite to make slurping sounds when ingesting liquids. As such it is considered rude to do so. It offends most people. That is why the 3 Stooges used to noisily slurp their soup. It was so obnoxious and uncouth, it was funny.

The people at McDonald's ad agency must have been raised with wolves as surrogate parents in the wild, because they seem to think that slurping coffee sounds are just what their clientle wants to hear. As such they have run two radio ads with people noisily slurping their coffee. It drives me nuts.

But, come to think of it, coffee slurping is probably standard table etiquette for your basic McDonald's customer.

#1. Your Mother Just Got Run Over by a Car -- Dignity Memorial Providers

The winner of the 2010 "Kars 4 Kidz" award for worst Chicago radio ad goes, hands down, to Dignity Memorial Providers for their "Your Mother's Dead" offering.

On more than one bright morning I have rolled out of bed, full of energy, ready to optimistically take on the day, only to be felled by this total downer of a commercial.

A somber spokesman for the ghouls over at Dignity Memorial -- a corporate consortium of funeral homes, crematoria and cemetaries -- depicts a scenario where your father calls you to tell you your mother was run over by a car while on vacation and is now, quite dead.

"You wonder if you've ever really seen your father cry," the ghoulish spokesman intones.

Then you are told to trust the caring folks at Dignity Memorial Inc. to take care of all your future mortuary, burial or cremation needs. This radio ad was so collosally, depressingly bad, that I frantically went down the AM dial desperately looking for something, anything a bit more uplifting to cheer me up.

All I could find was that lousy Kars 4 Kidz jingle.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

FDR's War on Homosexuals in The Military: Trolling For Queers as Navy Secretary

"The repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is an important step in America’s march toward justice. Our country has moved past the prejudices of the past."
Senator Dick Durbin (Democrat-IL)

“This is a landmark day in the history of the United States of America. Today, we finally ended this damaging, discriminatory policy.”
Cong. Jan Schakowsky (Democrat-IL)

Illinois Democrats were positively giddy with the news that the lame duck Congress on December 22, scrapped the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy which limited overt homosexuals' involvement with the U.S. military.

In the future, the U.S. military will embrace the same acceptance of homosexuality as the armed forces of such other, more enlightened superpowers as Holland and Belgium.

Democrats pointed with pride to their trailblazing on this matter and heaped scorn on benighted Republican bigots like John McCain who tried to block the march of historical progress.

Yet it is a little known fact that that icon of Democrat progressivism (to whom Obama himself is often compared) Franklin D. Roosevelt, actually tried to entrap homosexuals in the U.S. Navy in a scandalous affair that almost wrecked his political career.

Here, from page 48 of the excellent 2006 biography of FDR's early career, "The Defining Moment," by Newsweek's Jonathan Alter is an account of what came to be known as the "Newport Scandal":

"The problem was what came to be known as "the Newport Scandal." In 1919, while Navy Secretary Daniels was in Europe, (Assistant Navy Secretary) FDR apparently signed off on an undercover investigation in which enlisted men were engaged by a secret Navy unit to entrap homosexuals around the Newport, Rhode Island, naval base, where complaints had surfaced of widespread solicitation.

"Astonishingly, these enlisted men were actually ordered to perform oral sex on suspected homosexuals in the Navy and others in their circle including a prominent clergyman. After the Providence Journal broke the story of "vicious practices in the U.S. Navy," Roosevelt, claiming memory lapses about the whole thing, said in a May 1921 hearing that he couldn't remember approving the operation and, more plausibly, that he had not known the graphic details of what would actually be done to crack down on homosexuality in the ranks.

"A Congressional committee found that Roosevelt was either a knave or a fool, a moral reprobate or totally incompetent -- he had either known of and approved "the most deplorable, disgraceful and unnatural" activities or "he did not inquire and was not informed" in which case "he was most derelict in the performance of his duty." The report concluded that a man of Roosevelt's intelligence must have known of the activities of the unit performing the sexual entrapment.

"The July 20, 1921, New York Times carried a front page story about the former vice-presidential candidate in which the scandal was laid directly at his feet:


"The "unprintable" details quickly circulated in Washington, but because reporters were more interested in the new Harding administration than in the old Wilson crowd, the story faded."

So now, not only can the Democrat party point to its historical legacy of support for slavery, Jim Crow segregation and internment of Japanese-Americans in concentration camps, but it can point with pride to its legacy of hard-core queer bashing.

I wonder if Jan Schakowsky will bring this up next year when she goes sashaying down Halsted Avenue, hand-in-hand with some campy drag queen during the annual Chicago gay pride parade?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

IL Teachers Union Blitzes Chgo. Airwaves Before Tax Hike Vote

"When schoolchildren are allowed to vote, then I'll begin looking after the interests of schoolchildren. Until then, I'm representing the interests of my membership." Albert Shanker, President, American Federation of Teachers

You couldn't listen to Chicago radio last week without hearing Annice Brave. She is the small-town schoolmarmish sounding woman who was shilling for the powerful IEA teachers' union. She was everywhere up and down the dial, every fifteen minutes or so on some stations.

She was propounding the IEA's line that they're only about improving the quality of education for the children. The IEA, according to informed industry sources, dropped $81k in radio buys for this message last week in the Chicago market alone.

This, of course, was timed by the media sharpies in the IEA's propaganda bureau to precede the state legislature's vote to massively increase personal and corporate taxes.

Listen to a recording of the ad here.

The wide dispersal of that feel good message was undoubtedly prompted, in no small part, by a recent Rasmussen poll which showed that taxpayers are getting fed up with the bloated salaries and pensions of government employees, including teachers.

According to Jack Roeser, the founder of the Family Taxpayers Foundation, a full 80% of all educational funds are channeled directly into teachers' salaries and pensions. The kids get the crumbs that fall to the floor from the Big-Education smorgasboard.

But that doesn't stop the Big Teachers Unions from playing on the heartstrings of an unwary public with the lament that "it's all about the kiddies."

And these salaries and pensions, for which school-marm Annice Brave was huckstering are not insubstantial. An astounding number of Illinois public school teachers and administrators are pulling down $200k + and $100k + per year for their 9 month jobs.

Get an eyeful of the top paid IL unionized teachers by clicking on the tab "Top 200 teachers salaries" here.

Astoundingly, the top 2 moneymakers in the government education establishment are pulling down in excess of $600k a year!

And the IEA is calling on the taxpayers to pony up even more cash. At a time of near depression-levels of unemployment this strikes many as unconscionable.

Take, for instance, the school-marmish sounding shill, Ms. Brave.

Annice Brave, a high school English teacher, pulls down $70k a year for her 9 month job. That is some pretty heavy cash in a downstate backwash like Alton, where the median income of the families who pay Brave's salary is $36k a year and the median home sells for a paltry $81k.

In fact Ms. Brave's union salary puts her in the veritable economic elite in economically depressed Alton, which has seen 5.6% of its jobs disappear over the past 8 years and where a full 13% of those who remain are unemployed. (Stats are from Zoomprospector Business analytics.)

Yet, the Big Labor honchos of the IEA (and AFT) agitate to squeeze more and more cash from an already wildly overburdened Illinois public.

Reminds me a lot of the old Dennis Moore bit from Monty Python's Flying Circus.

In it, Dennis Moore was a reverse Robin Hood who ended up stealing from the poor to give to the rich.

The last strains of the stirring Dennis Moore anthem went:

Dennis Moore,
Dennis Moore,
Dumb, Dumb, Dumb.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dying WGN Radio Resorts To Leftist Cheap Shot Artistry: Look Out WCPT

I was only listening to WGN Radio on a Sunday afternoon because WFMT was playing some aphonic modern Slavic stuff and the better AM stations were clogged with sports coverage. After the Wisconsin Badgers football season is over, I have no interest in that.

So now I find that WGN, which now touts a laughably low 23rd place rating on the December mobile Arbitron scores, seems to have decided to bolster its market share by shooting for some of the crumbs of listenership held by the Pravda-like, radical leftist, Air America remnant, WCPT.

They most recently did this last Sunday afternoon with some odd audial abomination called the “Alex and Amy Show.”

This features two WGN neophytes named Alex Quigley and Amy Guth.

Combined they boast no experience in serious public policy analysis, but that hasn't seemed to stop them from playing journalistic blowhards on WGN's megawattage.

Quigley is a person who has no business whatever of being in this position. According to renowned Chicago media critic, Robert Feder, his only recent on-air experience consists of having been a promotional shill for what Feder called, “The Tribune's infomercial for its blog network.”

Prior to this, Quigley was a wannabe.

At the University of Illinois, he was a wannabe jock who spent his time on campus as the ball boy and tee carrier for the punters and place kickers.

He may have spent time with the real jocks in the showers, as well – male bonding – you know.

And then he spent time as a wannabe Grease Man or Howard Stern, playing a blissfully ignorant, fat and happy, record-spinning, cool-dude, shock jock on various FM stations.

Now he has decided that he wants to become a serious commentator on matters of serious public polity.

WGN radio, in its ratings death throes seems to have said, “Why the hell not?”

So this jockish shower room towel snapper now has access to 32 states on the WGN radio airwaves each Sunday afternoon.

His general level of intellectual intake seems to extend no further than the 7.5 column inches of the daily AP copy in the Tribune's “RedEye.” giveaway newspaper for dummies. Or the e-mail talking points that he most assuredly gets from the Daily Kos and Move-On.Org hatemongers.

This would be a matter of no consequence, save for what this clown did last Sunday.

Less than 24 hours after the smoke from the gunpowder had cleared the air in Tuscon, AZ – after the murder of 6 fellow humans – this lamebrain, Alex Quigley was on the air blaming the tragic event on ….......... SARAH PALIN!!!!!


He was also blaming it on all conservative talk radio hosts and conservative elected officials and anyone else who may have ever expressed an opinion outside of the realm of that approved by leftist-liberal orthodoxy.

When I heard this I was shocked.

My response to the murders was, after all, what any natural and decent American felt. We were still grieving over these events.

Comrade Quigley was politicizing them.

And then in Orwellian style, he wantonly asserted that people who didn't agree with Obama had dangerously “politicized” the public discourse.

He began an on-air diatribe blaming the event on the “climate of hate” created by Sarah Palin and other conservatives – mostly radio personalities.

A dispassionate analysis of fact played no role here. Quigley blithely impugned the character of an entire class of Americans and implied their complicity in the acts of a crazed gunman. We learned, however, on Tuesday from friends of the gunman that he was either apolitical or leftist in orientation, never listened to conservative talk radio and certainly had no respect for the views of Ms. Palin.

But, Quigley, not one to worry his block head with trifles like facts, plowed right ahead with his talking point-induced, blood libel against Palin – who was probably out innocently shooting moose and peering at the coastline of Russia when the events in Arizona were going down

The previous Sunday, this quasi-educated clown, Quigley, displayed his cheap-shot radical-liberal inclinations by running an on-air multiple choice contest, for which he awarded Tribune Corporation subsidized prizes to the winners.

One of the questions mocked Governor Palin.

Another mocked conservative talk show hosts.

What is most disturbing is that this may represent a growing leftward trend in WGN radio policy.

With its ratings tanking to unprecedented lows, WGN veep Tom Langmyer has fired its lone libertarian-conservative voice, Jerry Agar, (a serious man who is an analyst for the Illinois Public Policy Institute), inserted the trite “Alex and Amy” in his old timeslot and appointed this knee-jerk lefty goofus, Quigley, as “assistant program director.”

One hopes that that this title is a function of a cheapskate radio organization handing out meaningless titles in lieu of cash.

It had better be.

And one other thing, Alex Quigley.

Mark Levin, a nationally syndicated talk show host on the # 1 Chicago AM station, WLS, and a former attorney in the Reagan Justice Department said that he will sue any radio talker who accuses him of being complicit in the Arizona murders ---just as you did last week with regard to Sarah Palin and conservatives in general.

Levin said that he will sue any such lefty talker and his parent organizations. He will depose them, not settle out of court and expose them for the frauds that they are.

So hey, smart guy, Quigley.

Just dare to cast the same foul aspersions on Levin as you did on Palin and other conservatives last week.

I'd love to see your big fat Illini ass squirming on the docket.

But you won't dare, will you, wannabe jock-boy?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

1/11/11: Today is an Evil, Ominous Day

Frankly, I had forgotten that today was 1/1/11. Normally I don't ascribe any importance to numbers or numerology. Certainly not like the superstitious John Lennon who had a thing for the number 9. Remember the recorded gibberish that he and his ridiculous wife, Yoko Ono, heaved up for the White album: Revolution #9? And later Lennon entitled a chimerical entry on the Walls and Bridges album #9 Dream.

I really don't know what that was all about.

I do know that 7/7/77 -- supposedly a lucky day, was one of the crappiest days of my life since I was unceremoniously canned from a political campaign job that day by a lying, cheating, dirty, no good, lowdown politician who later ended up in the U.S. Congress.

8/8/88? Don't remember it.

9/9/99? Don't remember it.

10/10/10? Don't remember it.

So now it is 1/11/11 and I hear from very reliable conspiracy theorists that this is an evil ominous day in numerological terms that has strong connections to the events of September 11, 2001, al Quieda and the Masons.

Just get a load of these evil, ominous facts:

World Trade Center Connections to the Number 11:

* The date of the attack: 9/11 - 9 + 1 + 1 = 11.

* Each building had 110 stories.

* After September 11th there are 111 days left to the end of the year.

* September 11th is the 254th day of the year: 2 + 5 + 4 = 11.

* 119 is the area code for Iraq/Iran. 1 + 1 + 9 = 11, 911 - 119 are opposites - enemies?
11 11 polarity.

* Twin Towers - standing side by side, looks like the number 11.

* The first plane to hit the towers was Flight 11.

* State of New York - The 11th State added to the Union.

* "New York City" has 11 letters.

* "Afghanistan" - 11 letters.

* "The Pentagon" - 11 letters.

* "Ramzi Yousef" - 11 letters (convicted of orchestrating the attack on the WTC in 1993).

* Flight 11 - 92 on board - 9 + 2 = 11.

* Flight 11 had 11 crew members onboard.

* Flight 77 - 65 on board - 6 + 5 = 11.

So there you have it.

This is all way too much for me to cognitively digest. So I'm just going to have to crawl off back to bed and cradle a bottle of Cutty Sark under the covers and cower until a more auspicious date.

Wake me up when it's 11/12/11.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

1933 Chicago World's Fair: Dwarfs, Strippers and Beer for Breakfast

One of the local Chicago AM stations recently conducted a radio facsimile of "Antiques Road Show." They had a local expert antiquarian fielding phone calls from people who described their suspected treasures and she would either encourage them or burst their bubbles with her sight-unseen appraisals.

One caller inquired as the the value of various mementos from the 1933 Chicago "Century of Progress" World's Fair that she had inherited.

The appraiser told her that she often got that question. It seems, she said, that half the population of Chicago and the Greater Midwest has such artifacts squirreled away in basement boxes or attic trunks.

As there is just so damned much of it, she said, they are essentially worthless.

My little sister salvaged just such stuff from the de-consolidation of our grandparents' old house. She thought the aging depression-era lapel pins, yellowing postcards and viewmaster slides might eventually have some value. At the very least, she thought it was cool old stuff.

It conjured up to me, visions of our grandparents donning their Sunday best finery and cranking up their old Ford to travel down to the South side (the site of the current McCormick Place and Burnham Park) to take in a grand event in Chicago's wonderful past.

It was, after all, an event designed to celebrate Chicago's centennial. A century of industrial innovation and cultural growth. It showcased the futuristic Zephyr locomotive, the 1933 Pierce Silver Arrow luxury car whose advertising shouted, "Suddenly Its 1940!" and an exhibition of the newfangled pediatric incubators complete with real babies.

But according to the 1994 biography of Pulitzer winning author, Ross Lockridge Jr. (Shade of the Raintree, Viking Press) the experience may have been a little different than I envisioned.

According to the account, Lockridge, then a valedictory level student at Indiana University, lit out in June 1933, with a friend from his home in rural Indiana for the bright lights of the grand Chicago "Century of Progress" World's fair.

Here is the account:

"Through a friend, they arranged for a ride on a flatbed chicken truck. Since there was no room in the cab, they rode on top of seven layers of crates full of chickens. They held on to the ropes for dear life and endured the stench for ten sleepless hours overnight all the way to Chicago. The drivers took them in the early morning to a cafe across from the warehouse, where the waiter asked them if they wanted beer for breakfast.

"Not wishing to be thought a country jake, Ross cooly said yes. The two were served and ex-YPB (Young Peoples' Branch of the Womans' Christian Temperance Union) Secretary Ross Lockridge swilled his down with nonchalance, while ex YPB President Malcolm Correll found the going tough, almost gagging. From there they sacked out drunkenly at the World Book Company Headquarters, prearranged by Ross' dad.

"At the fair, their first stop was the Streets of Paris exhibit, advertised with a good deal of showgirl semi-nudity. They then went to Ripley's Believe It or Not, hardly in keeping with the "Century of Progress" motif, where they saw pygmies, giants, two-headed calves, a man who held up weights by slits in his nipples,and another who stuck hundreds of pins in his flesh.

"They then left the fair for the Rialto burlesque house where they watched bare-breasted women on hollow pedestals singing Neapolitan love songs.

"Four days later they rode home under a blistering sun on the same accursed chicken truck. Deadpan, he told his parents, We've seen some buildings that are higher than our barn."

"They had spent nine dollars each."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Gerry Rafferty Dies. Comments on Chicago Mayoral Race

The 70s Scottish pop singer Gerry Rafferty died yesterday at age 63. He went the same way as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jim Morrison, reportedly succumbing to a necrotic liver -- as good a way as any to go, I suppose. He was best known for his melancholy hit, "Baker Street," -- that of the famous saxaphone riffs -- and "Stuck in the Middle With You."

I doubt he intended it, but being a political junkie of long standing, I always ascribed political subcontexts to the latter song's lyrics: "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am: Stuck in the middle with you."

It perfectly sums up my view of the miserable field of candidates offered to Chicago voters in the upcoming election.

See the accompanying candidate photo spread: clown Mosely-Braun to the left, joker Rahm Emanuel to the right and stuck in the middle with a vaguely acceptable Gary Chico (below.)

Pitiful, isn't it?

Monday, January 3, 2011

"Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party": Coming Soon

"Can analysis be worthwhile?
Is the theater really dead?"

-----Simon and Garfunkle

I usually agree with most of the gripes about Chicago that are aired on the Why I Think Chicago Sucks blog.

But one that repeatedly mystifies me is the complaint that Chicago's art scene is a veritable backwash compared to that of sophisticated New York City.

True, Chicago generally gets first run Broadway plays a few years after they have proven their mettle in the Big Apple. They belatedly crop up at downtown Chicago venues, touted as having "The Original Broadway Cast."

In fact, the cast usually consists of so many second stringers and former understudies as to have about the same resemblance to the genuine item as the Class A Daytona Cubs have to the crew that takes the field at Clark and Addison.

But beyond that, I don't see how Chicago is missing out on much of anything.

Here from the theatrical listings section of a recent New York magazine are a few of the offerings to which we Midwestern rubes are being denied:

--- Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party
The Acorn Theater, 410 42nd St., A culture-wars satire set in a small Illinois town that addresses some important issues. $51.25

--- Puppetry of the Penis 45 Bleeker: The Green Room, 45 Bleeker St., The outrageous show that puts the male genitalia front and center thanks to the ancient Australian aboriginal art of genital oragami. $49.50

--- 30 Half-Nekkid Plays in 60 Half-Nekkid Minutes, Kraine Theater, 85 E. 4th St., The Neo-Futurists perform a special, semi-nude version of their trademark show, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, in which they attempt to perform 30 plays in an hour or less. (Attn, exhibitionists: Immediately following Friday's performance, you can join the troupe as they "half-streak" across 14th St. on a midnight run from the East River to the Hudson.)

--- New York International Fringe Festival, Various locations. Now in its 14th year, the festival features 5,000 performers in 200 shows at 20 venues. Some of this year's more memorable titles include, Picking Palin, Pope! and Love in the Time of Swine Flu
. $15-$18

What I'm sure most angers the New York cognoscenti is the fact that these artistically meritorious offerings must charge hefty admission fees since the Philistines in the Republican controlled Congress haven't the decency to shower them with taxpayer-funded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Sort of a taxpayer-subsidized golden shower, you might say.

Perhaps the Wicker Park artistic sophisticates can lure these theatric gems to Chicago by persuading Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn to give them Illinois Arts Council monies.

Sure, the State may be broke, but certainly he can always float another bond-offering for such worthy and uplifting expressions of the human spirit.

After all, hasn't Australian aboriginal genital oragami been too long absent from the Chicago artistic scene?

And Lincoln was an Illinois figure. Shouldn't be we the ones hosting his big gay dance party?