Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Is John Galt Fleeing High Tax Chicago?

I heard the voice of Dagny Taggart on WGN Radio this afternoon.

For the benefit of the literary unwashed, she was the heroine of Ayn Rand's epic tale of libertarian revolt, Atlas Shrugged, wherein the productive people of the world go on strike in response to a government which destroys all productive incentive through taxation and regulation.

The voice I heard was that of a Chicago woman who called in to Gary Meier's radio show. She was in her 40s, at the height of her productive powers and had made definitive plans to move away from Chicago this coming December. She said they were moving to Dallas, Texas because the cost of living was lower, the weather was better and there was no state income tax.

I had been wondering if significant numbers of people were voting with their feet to flee Chicago's culture of high taxation. To my knowledge, no statistics on something this esoteric exist. It is not after all, the kind of story one would expect to find featured in the Chicago newspapers with their built-in incentive toward provincial civic boosterism.

But I have a feeling that there is more of this kind of flight going on than one might suspect.

We have known since a 1994 study by Donald Huddle at Rice University that there is a significant outmigration of native born American citizens, both white and black, from states that have large concentrations of illegal alien settlement. With "sanctuary city" Chicago as the 5th largest destination for illegal alien settlement, some of that has to be going on.

We have seen a major outflux of small businesses from high-tax, high regulation California to relatively low tax, low regulation Colorado and Nevada. But how many businesses have fled high-tax Chicago?

At any rate this caller to Gary Meier had developed a conscious, systematic plan to relocate her family to Dallas, by choice -- not simply due to some occupational imperative. She had set a definitive deadline of December 1st.

As I sit before the keyboard, wearing a long-sleeved shirt and wool sweater on this cold, grey, overcast, Chicago June 30th and contemplate Governor Quinn's machinations to increase the Illinois income tax and wonder if my car will be ticketed at the cash gobbling Chicago parking meter out front and contemplate the latest Cubs' June swoon, I can't say I don't envy that modern day Dagny Taggart radio caller.

One of the happiest summer trips of my life was to visit an old girlfriend in the hill country of Texas near Kerrville on the Guadalupe river.

She had flaming green eyes and the waterfall-studded river was sapphire blue.

The Texas Lampoon? Hmmmm!! Has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michael Jackson, Oscar Wilde, Jerry Lee Lewis and the new Obamaite Weimar Republic

So Michael Jackson died yesterday at age 50.

This is mystifyingly being treated as a matter of great societal import by the ever eager news grubbers at the major network electronic media and the MSN print media.


Let's put this in perspective.

First, Michael Jackson was not that great a musical entity.

Let's face it. He never wrote a song or even strummed a simple chord on a guitar. He didn't even play the piano.

He did, however have a nice pre-pubescent adolescent boy voice -- rather like the Viennese castrati of Mozart's time -- and did have a penchant for grabbing his crotch on MTV concoctions.

He made nice pop music, but his greatest success came in the wake of the vapid 70's disco era. The music back then was so appallingly bad that had Michael Jackson not come around, accordian polka music might have moved in to fill the pop cultural void.

Michael Jackson was a pederast and child molester -- make no mistake about it.

He paid $12 million to the family of a young boy with whom he had slept and molested at his "Neverland Ranch." He shelled out that dough to induce them to drop criminal charges against him.

Say he was an "alleged" child molester, if you want, but in Chicago we call that hush money.

This 40+ year old adult male also said publically that "sleeping with a young boy is the kindest thing one can do for him," and that, "Cuddling with young boys is magical."

He also plied his underage sexual victims with wine -- "Jesus juice," he told them.

This guy was weird.

And clearly criminal!!

But he is being exulted by our corrupt, dying news media as an American hero. An international hero.

One African-American female was shown on ABC NEWS saying that this perverto "paved the way for Barack Obama."


Let's put this in perspective.

In the timeframe 1854-1900, Oscar Wilde was a literary leading light of the British Empire. Unlike the American negro boy wonder from Gary, Indiana, he was genuinely talented and a genuine genius. An Irish-Anglo poet, playwright and novelist, he gave us some of the greatest literature of the Western cultural experience -- most notably, The Portrait of Dorian Grey and The Importance of Being Ernest.

But quite like the negro boy wonder from Gary, Wilde had a penchant for seducing and raping young boys. He would find them in the poorer quarters of London and ply them with liquor (but his intellection was such he would have never used so pedestrian a term as "Jesus juice) and then he'd bugger them and pay them off to keep quiet.

Sound familiar?

But the British Empire was still sound then-- rather at its apogee.

And Wilde was nabbed for an sexually predatory affair with the college aged son of the 9th Marquess of Queensberry and -- far from being celebrated like our Gary boy wonder, he was sent off to Reading Gaol for 2 years at hard labor.

He was subsequently shunned by British society and slunk off to a well deserved death in obscurity.

Or take the 1950's rock 'n roll pioneering genius, Jerry Lee Lewis.

He dumped his wife to marry his 13 year old 1st cousin -- once removed. (Q: What is the definition of a West Virginia virgin? A: A girl who can outrun her brothers.)

When this came to public light, this genuine rock music genius, who was ranked the #24 top rock artist of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, was blacklisted from American radio and the American recording industry.

His descent was swift and marked. He went from playing $10k a night concerts to playing $250 a night gigs in obscure Southern beer joints.

Such was the recrimination of United States society and a coherent American moral code of the USA at its apogee.

But today -- a rank -- and one might say -- rather creepy pederastic character like Michael Jackson is celebrated by the American media elite.

Shall we further put this in perspective?

During the German Weimar Republic of 1918 to 1933, people like Michael Jackson were wildly celebrated.

Against a backdrop of national malaise, wild inflation and economic depression, that peculiar epoch in German history embraced and celebrated rampant prostitution, open homosexuality, kinky sex and transvestitism.

"Life is a Cabaret, old chum." Isn't that what Liza Minelli and Joel Grey sang?

But the Michael Jacksonesque celebratory era ended rather abruptly with the German national elections of 1933 -- with astoundingly tragic consequences.

Something for Americans to contemplate.

I'm very sorry -- but there is nothing funny here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'm Getting Into The "Peace Pole" Racket

The 1960s retreads in East Rogers Park are at it again.

As reported in a blog there, "The Rogers Park Bench," Catiana McKay, the lefty divorcee pastor of the lefty United Church of Rogers Park (that crumbling eyesore on the corner of Ashland and Morse) has come out with a sure-fire plan to combat the tsunami of violent crime that infests and infects that hellhole of a neighborhood.

She wants to erect "Peace Poles" all over East Rogers Park.

Speaking during an appearance at her "church" by the racial spoils racketeer and polygamist, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, this odd woman, an ostensible Methodist who strangely lists among her affiliations a membership in the Turkish Muslim Chicago Network, made the peculiar utterance:

"We would like to see Peace Poles all over this community to claim that there is no space for violence here."

That noble sentiment was echoed by one of her board members, Michael Harrington, the inveterate black, gay East Rogers Park goofball, perennial, losing office seeker who's now following in the messiah's footsteps as a self-proclaimed, "community organizer."

Harrington hints that had Ms. McKay's magical Peace Poles been present, they might have warded off the murder of a 16 year old youth (no doubt a CPS honor student) at the Jarvis El stop last December.

The denizens of this rather eccentric Rogers Park church, truly are a mystical lot. More steeped in supernatural romanticism than the religious snake handlers, I think.

Back in the 80s and 90s they sported a huge banner, proclaiming their crumbling edifice and its surroundings a "Nuclear Free Zone."

It must have worked since Gorbachev did not nuke them, so they progressed to a new banner proclaiming that "This Congregation Rejects War."

Kim Jong II and Al Qaeda, take note.

So now they want Peace Poles to ward off the almost weekly gangland shootings in their midst.

I was curious about these Peace Poles and the magical powers that they must contain. I've only ever seen two. One is at the Southern field at Northeastern Illinois University, off of St. Louis Ave, near Foster. In its shadow, at that goofy, leftist, high school with ashtrays, neo-druids seem to conduct various earth-worshipping rituals.

The other was erected across from the Skokie Village Library. It was put up by the left-wing Democrat machine candidate slate there during their last contested election to show their lefty voters how radical chic they are. They won their patronage plums and the Peace Pole remains.

But my crack research staff informs me that this Peace Pole business is quite a racket.

The Peace Pole was invented in 1955 by an alleged Japanese poet, Masahisa Goi, who was bummed out by the destruction of his country as a consequence of the war they started. It is a simple 4-sided pole with the words "May Peace Prevail on Earth," inscribed on each side in a different language.

Too bad Masahisa didn't come up with this little talisman 15 years earlier. We could have erected one at Pearl Harbor to ward off Admiral Hamamoto's bombs. The Chinese, Koreans, Philipinos and the 17 million other Asian victims of the Japanese Holocaust could have used them to ward off Tojo's tanks and Gen. Yamashita's death squads.

But hindsight is 20/20.

So now, under the auspices of an outfit in Wassaic, New York called, The World Peace Prayer Society, 200,000 of these peace poles have supposedly been erected in 180 countries.

As further proof of the essential vacuity of that body, the United Nations has recognized this peace pole prayer outfit at an official Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) under its auspices.

The Prayer Society has also trademarked the phrase, "May Peace Prevail on Earth," and in addition to selling a mind-boggling array of peace poles (all, they say, must be made of ecologically friendly materials, yet they offer a plastic one) they hawk a vast array of peace pole paraphanalia.

At the World Peace Prayer Society's website, one is admonished to "Shop Peace to Spread Peace."

Their site takes Visa, MC and American Express.

There one can simply go hog wild on a peace pole shopping binge. (Many of the items make great stocking stuffers.)

A sample of the Peace Society offerings:

Peace Poles, your choice of 6 different materials, 6' or 8' -- $185
Desktop Peace Pole w/brass plate, 20" -- $40
5 mini Peace Poles 6"-- $15
Peace Pole Heart key rings -- $12
Peace Pole Luggage Tags -- $12
Peace Pole key rings -- $4
Peace Pole patch to sew on your jeans -- $3
Peace Pole Trendy Hoodies -- $45 (Ms. McKay -- these might be ideal for the gang that sells crack at the Morse EL stop)
Peace Pole unisex T shirts --$18
Peace Pole kids T shirts -- $15
Peace Pole Sri Lankan shawls -- $35
Peace Pole tapestry pillow (designed by Anjuli?) --$20
Peace Pole tapestry throw rug -- $50
Peace Pole license plate frame -- $5
Peace Pole refrigerator magnet-- $5
Peace Pole candle --$18
Offered by another firm: Peace Pole Makers USA of Maple City Michigan
Peace Pole apron --$15
Peace Pole Braille plate --$12
Peace Pole baseball cap -- $24.95
Peace Pole rubber stamp-- $15
Peace Pole maintenance kit (varnish and a paintbrush)--$25
Peace Pole sculpture-- $1,800

You have to admit. This Peace Pole business is a swell racket.

I will admit, that I was somewhat sceptical about the efficacy of Ms. McKay's and Mr. Harrington's Peace Pole project. But now I see its possibilities. It can be a great crime fighting tool for East Rogers Park -- we just have to contour the message to the audience,

Consequently, these hard economic times being what they are (I am still waiting for the shovel ready job that Obama promised me) I am announcing my own Chicago Lampoon Line of Peace Pole products.

It is designed to appeal to the very constituency who we most need to embrace the Peace Pole concept and make our claim that there is no space for violence here. These are things the chillun would actually want and use. I mean, really, the boys in the hood aren't going to be caught dead (no pun intended) in a Peace Pole Sri Lankan shawl.

My product line:

Peace Pole Steel Reserve Malt Liquor, 17% alcohol, 40 oz. w Peace Pole logo--$3.89
Peace Pole black trendy hoodies XL, 1XL, 2XL -- $59.95
Peace Pole Cobra Malt Liquor -- 9% alchohol, 40oz w/ Peace Pole Logo --$2.69
Peace Pole Newport Cigarettes, 1 pack -- $12
Peace Pole crack pipe, brass with Peace logo inscribed on all 4 sides-- $18.95
Peace Pole Ammo belt, holds six 45mm clips-- $39.95
Snoop Dog Peace Pole T shirt -- Black with Snoop holding his "Peace Pole"-- $18.95

This is only my preliminary product offering. More products that are bound to be highly popular with the youts of the East Rogers Park area will surely occur to me in the coming days and I will be sure to keep you posted as they become available.

They are sure to go a long way toward moving the wayward youts of our area to embrace in their hearts the time honored maxim, "May Peace Prevail on Earth." (A trademark of the World Peace Prayer Society -- not to be used without express written permission of the owners, WPPS Inc., Wassaic, New York.)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Was it Really Torture?

This was going to be a post on the impending demise of the wonderful free book exchange at the North Park Village Recycling Center. It seems that wonderful all-volunteer institution of long standing is going to be extinguished by Daley's Department of Streets and Sanitation at the end of the month.

Liberal Democrats like Daley and the area's Alderman Margaret Laurino, always make grand pronouncements on the need for voluntary civic involvement, but when given the choice between citizens doing something for themselves and expanding their own bureaucratic powers and payrolls, the latter will inevitably win out -- as is the case here.

But that story can wait a few days.

This is about a book that I just picked up there: "Scars & Stripes" by Eugene B. McDaniel, Capt. USN.

It is a chronicle of his 6 years as a prisoner of war as a guest of the North Vietnamese Communists in the hellish "Hanoi Hilton," POW camp.

It is pertainent today in light of the news story that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, one of the alleged masterminds of the September 11, 2001 Islamo-Fascist mass murders in New York, is saying that he underwent "punishing bouts of interrogation," administered by the CIA.

The ever-blaming-America-Firsters at the ACLU are pursuing legal action on his behalf. They want to open up Bush era documents regarding the interrogation program.

But the murderous Shaikh says that he managed to lie to the CIA despite his "punishing" regimen.

This leads me to believe that it likely was not all that punishing -- not brutal -- not torturous.

It was probably a game of paddy cake compared to the interrogation that Captain "Red"McDaniel and hundreds of other American servicemen in his predicament underwent.

How about this, Shaikh Mohammed?

Were your pants pulled down, while your arms were in irons and were you beaten on the buttocks 70 times with a knotted fan belt until your posterior resembled ground beef?

Were you forced to kneel on a pitted stone floor for as much as 9 hours on end, with your iron manacled hands held up above your head? Were you beaten unmercifully if you lowered your arms from exhaustion?

Shaikh, did these evil American interrogators bind your arms behind your back and attach the ropes to a winch and raise you up off the ground until your shoulders separated and one of your arms broke?

Were you then dropped to the stone floor and kicked repeatedly in the head, groin, stomach and limbs?

Were you sleep deprived for 7 straight days, while all this was going on?

Were you electroshocked repeatedly to the point of unconsciousness, woken up and then shocked repeatedly some more?

Did you endure the aforementioned regimen non-stop for 14 straight days with negligible nourishment virtually no sleep and no medical care?

That, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, is what one might call a "punishing bout of interrogation." And it is precisely what the barbarian Vietnamese promulgated on Red McDaniel and their other American POW victims.

I don't think you endured anything nearly like that, Shaikh.

And Americans would do well to keep the truly barbaric torture that our brave servicemen endured at the hands of the Vietnamese and earlier the Red Chinese and Japanese, when the ACLU pea-brained propagandists start bandying about words like torture.

Shaikh Mohammed -- I think that it will emerge that compared to Red McDaniel, you had a day at the beach.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

TV -- Good Riddance

Yesterday was the deadline for upgrading my old analog Sony TV to digital.

I didn't do it. I don't intend to.

At least not for now.

A few weeks ago I dropped my supposedly waterproof Sony Sports Walkman in a lake and it stopped working.

So instead of being bombarded with radio talk noise and incessant commercial pronunciementos, I actually was able to take my morning bike ride in relative silence. Heard birds chirping. Heard carp splashing in the river.

Even had a few stray thoughts that were not prompted by some fellow barking into my radio ear buds.

It reminded me that during my junior and senior years of undergrad, I never watched TV and seldom listened to the radio --and they were my most productive and thoughtful (and peaceful)years in school.

Customarily, of late I would listen to the Walkman at night -- Cubs games or Milt Rosenberg or the Savage Nation.

But while the Walkman was drying out and thoroughly afunctional, I actually read a book a night.

I read "The Guns of Navarone," written in 1957 by Alister Maclean.

I saw the movie as a very young boy, in a theatre with my father and sister. It was the top-selling movie of 1961, so we probably saw in in 1962 when it was making the rounds at the 50 cent 2nd tier theatres.

The reason I got this book from a used book exchange, was that I have discovered that the book that begot a film is usually vastly superior to the usually tawdry and overblown interpretation that Hollywood wrings from it.

That was true with this.

Alister Maclean was a no-nonsense Scotsman and he kept sex entirely out of his war novels as a matter of principle. He thought it needlessly distracted from the plot and character development. So there were no women at all in the written version of "The Guns of Navarone."

Hollywood, of course, replaced the male Greek partisan helpers with 2 hot Mediterranean babes, Irene Pappas and the very hot Gia Scala (who regrettably succumbed to drink and killed herself at age 38.)

It has been so long since I saw the film that I can't say definitively that the book was vastly better (all my pre-pubescent recollection offers is Gia Scala's beautifully sculpted and deliciously tanned body) but the book was a genuine page turner.

Another example of a book's superiority to the subsequent film is another 60s era war epic, "Von Ryan's Express." It was written by a WWII vet, David Westheimer in 1964 and became a hit movie the next year.

I had seen the film many times, but found a copy of the book at a used book store and eagerly devoured it. It was superb and far superior to the Hollywood adaptation.

For one thing, the POW camp leader, Col. Joseph Ryan, was a full-bored Irish American but was called Von Ryan by his troops, because of his strict disciplinary standards. Hollywood cast that quintessential Irishman, Frank Sinatra, in the role.

Moreover, in the book, the ending is happy as the POW escapees' train makes it safely to Switzerland.

In the film, Frank is gunned down while running and straining to catch hold of the caboose.

I don't recall if Hollywood injected sex into the film, but I have a feeling that they must have at some point.

One last example of book superiority to film is "The Firm," one of John Grisham's better earlier works. The book was hardly a masterpiece, but was gripping pulp fiction. Had I not read the book, I don't think I would have had a clue as to what Tom Cruise, Jean Tripplehorn and Gene Hackman were up to in the film version -- in and of itself, the film was veritably incomprehensible.

So, I'm going to forgo TV (what a novel idea -- how did our grandparents ever manage to survive?!) read more for a while. I'm not going to really miss "Two and a half men," and "Seinfeld" re-runs all that much.

And I may actually get a little more time for some quiet thought not prompted by mass media noise.

And if I really must find out what the erratic North Side Baseball team is up to, my Walkman has finally dried out and is functional again.

Libertarian Mancow Wants Nanny State to Police His Diet

I sometimes wonder if trendy radio jocks who find employment on conservative talk stations don't just adopt the self-description of being "libertarian" just to safeguard their employment, while not jeopardizing their invitations to A-list, wine and brie soirees on the Gold Coast, in Evanston, and in other trendy leftist circles.

First there was Jay Marvin, the self described, bi-polar, manic depressive talker on WLS-AM a few years back. As the station got progressively more conservative in tone, he began calling himself a "libertarian," while persisting in purveying his unabashed old-line liberal claptrap.

Then there was Jerry Agar, on WLS and now WGN. He genuinely is a libertarian. In fact during his stint in North Carolina, he rubbed shoulders with some acquaintances of mine who run a genuinely libertarian think tank there.

But now there is Erich Mancow Muller, the super jock that WLS recently lured in to fill its 9 to 11 am slot.

I genuinely like Mancow. He's a breath of fresh air after the turgid old schtick of Don Wade and Roma who seem to think that a weekly 30 minute bit on wine tasting makes for good radio. (I'm sure, however, it does generate a goodly number of gratis vintage bottles for the Wade household wine cellar.)

Former disco disc spinner, Wade has a sense of humor that high school sophomores would find embarassingly unsophisticated. Any day now I expect to hear him start laughing uproariously at his own booger and fart jokes. And if I hear Roma's grating voice touting the wonders of "Healthy Trinity" stomach bugs one more time, I think I'll stick a fork through my ear.

So Mancow is exciting by comparison -- even despite having to endure the burden of a woefully miscast, overpaid, news reader sidekick -- Pat Cassidy. Cassidy is at best dead weight to the show, but all too frequently, he begins to fancy himself a serious journalist, id est, liberal journalist and has the effect of stepping on Mancow's lines, creating unneeded tension and basically, upsetting the timing and throwing a wet blanket over the entire production.

But anyway, Mancow calls himself a libertarian.

And in truth, he usually seems pretty true to libertarian ideals. He spoke at the Chicago Tea Party tax protest and afterwards lashed into his on-air guest, Leftist Congressthing, Jan Schakowsky in a way that she has probably never experienced in her life. He actually had you cheering him on.

But yesterday, Mancow interviewed one of those pecksniffity women from the Ralph Nader nutritional group, that every six months or so, crawls out of the Beltway muck to propose some new limitation on our liberty.

This month they're advocating requirements that restaurant chains print complete nutritional information for every dish served.

Aside from the fact that this would cost restaurants a bundle -- likely necessitate an increase in costs to the consumer and probably necessitate the layoffs of some of their illegal alien busboys and cooks -- it is clearly a step down the Naderite road of prohibiting certain food choices.

But "libertarian" Mancow thought this was just great.

Apparently suffering from something of a burgeoning lard butt (perhaps osmotically contracted from daily proximity to Cassidy) and a passion for fast food, he said the government should regulate what he eats, to protect him from himself.

This prompted a regional Libertarian Party spokeswoman to call in and tell Mancow that real libertarians don't plead for government protection and care.

Maybe next, Mancow will want OSHA to come in to the WLS studios and put safety bars around his desk.

He would certainly want to be safeguarded by his government nanny protectors, should he somnalescently fall off his stool while listening to Roma's interminably turgid "Healthy Trinity," commercials.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Free Booze in Wrigleyville and Roscoe Village!

Yes -- I am not making this up!

There is free booze in Wrigleyville and in Roscoe Village.

How do I know this?

Well, I was riding my premium $700 mtn. bike thru the back alleys of those areas on 5/31 ---
the day before leases come due and all the yuppie types move either up or out.

So they throw everything out.

Realistically, if you had a flatbed pick-up truck, you could furnish an entire apartment with the things they discard.

I'm talking about leather couches, futons, lamps, plants, tables -- you name it!

But I was just looking for booze.

And I found it.

One yuppie woman threw out her husband's golf clubs (which an illegal alien Mexican metal scavenger quickly scarfed up) and her entire refrigerator -- which included a whole bottle of cheap California champagne and half a bottle of Jagermeister.

I was happy to let the illegal alien Mexican scavenger run off with the golf clubs -- having given up the horrifying game some years past -- but was more than happy to make off with the Champagne and the German liquoer.

It was delightful.

Then I found some yuppies moving out who were dispensing with two pairs -- of virtually new--
GAP khakis -- in my size!!!! And another goofus yuppie girl who was dispensing two pairs of virtually new Levi Strauss jeans --- in my size!!!!! She also threw out some of her poetry which I read and made me love her and made me fear for her future.

And then in Roscoe Village I found a brand new Dupont sleeping bag. And with it was a 5 liter unopened box of Almedan wine. And down the block was a 12 pack of dusty Leinenkugel Honey-Weiss beer.

I transported them back and had a rather happy day.

Chicago is a silly town -- but it can be rather amusing, at times.

It is -- after all -- a big city.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Chicago's Filthy Weather -- June 1st -- Give Me A Break!

Chicago, Illinois, June 1st 2009, 43 degrees F. at 3pm -- wind howling from the North making the de facto temperature around 34 degrees F.

I put on an Old Navy cotton sweater -- and then a Tommy Hilfiger cotton sweater atop that -- and then a jacket.


IOC -- are you listening?

Not only does Chicago's political climate stink -- but its meteorological climate stinks to high heavens.

The winds are howling here today. June 1st. IOC--How might you expect that to effect your kayak and rowing and sailing competitions?

IOC -- you may need to commandeer US and Canadian ice-breakers to make Chicago waters pliable for the competitions.

Chicago is a bad city.

I say this as one whose ancestors had the bad fortune to have settled here in 1848 -- as a consequence of the Bismarckian German unification and the Irish potatoe famine.

They -- of diverse ethnicity -- but common Roman Catholic Faith -- managed to meet here and spawn.

But the smart ones managed to make a fair amount of money and get the hell out of Chicago.

I hope to do that soon.

When I was in college, a roguish fellow wrote a peculiar book called "Death Trip in Illinois."

In it, he chronicled, from local newspaper items of the era, how a significant number of German and Irish immigrant miners in the Galena area were so depressed by the perpetually overcast skies and the endless cold winters, that they began stealing dynamite from the mine operations and blowing their heads off.

I feel like doing that now.

Chicago is a climactically laughable place.

No wonder so many Russian Siberian immigrants feel right at home here.

But as for me -- give me my swimming trunks, my sun tan lotion and a plane ticket to Tampa, St. Petersburg --

---or a stick of TNT.