Sunday, August 21, 2016

Shout out to moms

Someone in the lobby of 131 S. Dearbon wanted to take advantage of steamy windows to send a message to mom.  This week's offering is "Hi, Mom, with Nike of Samothrace in the background." Medium:  Finger on steamed glass 2016  Original 1/1

Yes, Mom. I think he means you.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Politically correct

I remember the days before political correctness.  I worked with a woman who was racist to her core.  She was not a bigot, she was simply a racist.  With every fiber of her being she hated anyone who was not White, Latino, Native American, or Asian.  You get the idea.  She was in the position of training newly-hired people to our job and she was especially unpleasant to those of the race she hated.  As I talked to everyone who worked there, veterans and neophytes, I heard what they said about her and what she said to them.

There was one fellow who was especially terrible at the job.  He simply couldn't do it and no amount of hints and training from anyone was able to save him from being fired.  A few weeks after he was let go, he bought a garment from me -- a green leather jacket that looked better on him than on me -- and when he came to pick it up, he said he was fired because she was a racist.  I said I didn't disagree with that at all but did he consider that he couldn't do the job and he didn't like it either?  She was (and probably still is) a skin-crawlingly creepy racist (who was otherwise a decent person and could be a good friend) but he was (and maybe still is) a guy who had trouble concentrating on a job that required concentration (and who was pleasant and quite fun).  He needed the job so she did him no favor by letting him go but no one of her nonpreferred demographic deserved to be around that sort of passive-aggressive vitriole.  A mutual friend in another department told me he found a job that suited him better.

And then came political correctness and she was forced to not say racist remarks.  Our company brought in movies about not harrassing people because they were different from you and about watching what you say.  She zipped it because even racists can get the hint.

There are those who are proudly not politically correct.  They are usually proud of it but not being politically correct means they've decided they can be racist, bigoted, jingoistic, anti-semites and it's okay.  It's not okay.  It's rude, thoughtless, unkind, and wrong.

Perhaps the term "politically incorrect" is out of date.  Maybe you know it by its new name:  Trump Supporter.  If that's you, then why are reading this blog?  You know I'm a Democrat.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Bears are back, they're gonna save my reputation

I'm so out of practice with football writing that I am almost overwhelmed.  My head is all into the election and how this is the most important election of our time.  My heart is breaking by the people who are so stupidly willing to throw their votes away not because they like Trump or Green candidate Jill Stein but because they hate Hillary Clinton.  Hard to write about Jay Cutler and, well, bla, Jay Cutler, when my head and heart and wrapped up in the election.  But I will try!

Jay Cutler, bla.  I discussed Jay with a friend and he believes Jay is actually shy and that's why it's hard for him to talk and not look all smirky faced.  This makes sense.  He's putting on a face but doesn't know what face to put on.  Hint for Jay:  Ask someone.

Charles Tillman, yeah!  Charles "Peanut" Tillman was a Bear for 12 years until he was traded to the Carolina Panthers.  He suffered a torn ACL during his year as a Panther which ended his season (but the Panthers went on to Super Bowl 50 but lost to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos). Charles Tillman and his wife, Jackie, run the Cornerstone Foundation.  Its mission is to help improve the lives of critically- and chronically-ill children throughout Chicago. Tillman created the foundation after his daughter, Tianna, was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and needed a heart transplant.  Charles Tillman was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year for his charitable work.

In July 2016, Charles Tillman signed a one-day contract with the Bears so he could retire as a Chicago Bear.  Good for the Bears! Good for Chicago that we have someone like Charles Tillman in our lives! Seriously.  Check it out:

Hint for Charles Tillman:  Keep being awesome.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Gold Star parents I want to kow

Hillary accepting the nomination, courtesy of PBS
 Being a big old left-leaning Democrat, I was thrilled with the speechifying and yikkety yakking and Michael-Bloomberging that went on in Philadelphia.  I was delighted with many things I heard (but I did think Bernie Sanders could've tossed it over to Hillary sooner in his speech instead of riling up his supporters one last time and, p.s. Bern, they didn't need to be wound up.  That group is like the watch my college boyfriend had, i.e. self-winding.)  Chelsea talked about her mom and grandmother; I liked Bill Clinton pretending that everything was always hunky dunky and he wasn't a big old horndog for a long, long time but I know other horndogs who also think they're happily married and that their wives don't know they're horndogs, but hey if you're willing to find someone's most private place in which to slip your member then you're a horndog but they're nevertheless proud of their spouses and the longevity of their union; Michelle Obama was classy and smart, and if I invited her to dinner with me and my best pals, I bet she'd say, "Sorry, no," instead of just sicking the Secret Service on me.  President Obama brought it.  I listened on the radio in the car. I watched on the television machine at home.  The one that took me by storm was Khizr and Ghazala Khan.

Donald Trump totally slammed them, two Gold Star parents.

Who does that?  Donald Trump.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Brexit, American Style

The right wing of American politics has their cranks -- always-cross men and women who give us their bitter, angry opinions on how terrible things are in these United States. What's terrible is that these cranks are dashing to the bank with big paychecks right after barking out their bile-laden fear-mongering and we are left upset or paranoid.

The left really doesn't have as many political enthusiasts spouting statements that make even fellow liberals go, "Say what?"  The left, of which I am a part, does have Michael Moore.

Michael Moore is a famous author and documentary filmmaker, films that include "Roger and Me" and "Bowling For Columbine."  His movie about pre-Obamacare America, "Sicko," was one of the best movies I saw in 2007.  (I remember walking out of the movie theatre in Birmingham, Michigan, and saying, "Wow, that was a good movie.")  He is enthusiastic and extreme in his views but he often makes valid points.

In an episode of "Real Time with Bill Maher" that was taped at the RNC in Cleveland, Michael Moore states why he thinks Donald Trump will win.  It's the same reason we discussed weeks ago in this column -- the Brexit Syndrome where people either don't vote because everyone else will vote and get it taken care of or they vote one way thinking the other side will win anyway.

Here's the article from Us Weekly's online edition (don't judge me for Us Weekly, please and thanks):

My final salvo:  If you want Hillary, vote for Hillary.  If you don't want Donald, vote for Hillary.  If you want Donald, then why do you read my blog? You know I'm a Democrat!

-- EXTRAS BELOW -- Two excellent clips from S. Colbert's Late Show --

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts verbally spanks Trump:

Jon Stewart returned to TV and said this:

Sunday, July 17, 2016

No, not quite a loser

This week the Republicans converge on Cleveland, Ohio, a great, old American city, to stroke each other's yokes and probably place Donald Trump officially on the ballot for president.  He's bringing along Mike Pence, the socially conservative governor of Indiana who yesterday said of himself that he's "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order,” and he described Mr. Trump as a “patriotic American.”  Why would he feel the need to say that?

Unless you've committed treason, you're a patriotic American.  You've not joined ISIS or Al Qaeda?  Patriotic American.  You've not renounced your citizenship and moved to Canada, New Zealand, or or anywhere else?  Patriotic American.  Not hiding under Vladimir Putin's skirts?  Patriotic American (although Mr. Snowden probably thought what he was doing was for a supremely great idea, even for those CIA operatives in deep cover).  You don't have to wear a flag pin to be a patriotic American.  By being an American and standing up for yourself and your Constitutional rights, you're a patriotic American.  Exercising your right of Free Speech?  Practicing the religion of your choice?  Do you bear an arm?  Patriotic American.  Vote and serve on a jury?  You get the idea.

Donald Trump keeps talking about making America great again.  When did America stop being great?  It's the greatest country in the world.  Mistakes have been made -- case in point, public education -- but people knock themselves out to be here, live here, vote here. More than any country in the world, Americans can be born with nothing and go on to build a multimillion-dollar corporation.  What other country affords that opportunity?  You're born in a hovel in Appalachia but can join the military and build a life for yourself that gets you educated, fed, clothed, and sent around the world, and retire as a general.  There are opportunities for Americans that can be had if you're willing to take advantage of the pportunities.  So what about that makes America less than great?

Mr. Trump enjoys name-calling, not seeing that such behavior diminishes him.  All that hot air and he cannot rise above anything.  Nothing rolls off Mr. Trump. He takes everything personally and fires back with ill-advised, badly worded, hateful remarks.

It's a Senate election year in Illinois.  Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth is the Democratic candidate opposing Senator Mark Kirk, the junior senator from Illinois.  Congresswoman Duckworth proudly served in the Iraq War and was the first female double-amputee in that conflict, losing both legs and her right arm damaged.  After receiving a medical waiver, she continued in the military as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Illinois Army Reserves, from which she retired.  Senator Kirk served in the Naval Reserves and also did active duty.  Mark Kirk made some questionable remarks about his own military service, inflating his own record for whatever reason that politicians do boneheaded things.  Congresswoman Duckworth, a new mom, has never said or done anything like that because, well, Tammy's record speaks for itself.  Senator Kirk released a tweet that Tammy Duckworth didn't stand up for vets.  This was over a lawsuit that was dismissed in court three times.  (And, still, Senator Kirk did serve for many years and, still, is the Illinois finest embroiderer.)

Mark Kirk, however, good little Republican that I've always thought him to be, came out almost immediately and said he didn't support Mr. Trump.  I am convinced that he believes this as he's never backed off the statement.  He faces a tough race against Congresswoman Duckworth, so maybe it's chin music, trying to say things that will sway those who might otherwise jump to his opponent.  But, honestly, I think he just doesn't like Mr. Trump and what he stands for.

And so Mr. Trump had a meeting with Congressional Republicans and Mark Kirk wasn't invited.  At the party, Mr. Trump called Mark Kirk a loser.  You know what? That really sizzled my cheese because I think Mark Kirk really isn't a loser.  He suffered a massive stroke in 2012.  Surgeons went into his brain and removed dead brain tissue.  He walks like a guy who had a stroke.  After a year of rehab, Mark Kirk came to the US Capitol Building and walked up the steps.  Everyone could see him limping and struggling but up the stairs he went, kind of like the Witch of the Waste in "Howl's Moving Castle" only he didn't get his comeuppance when he got to the top; he simply went to back to work as the junior senator from Illinois (who is desperately trying to hang onto his Senate seat).  I don't like Mark Kirk, I've never voted for Mark Kirk and never will, I don't much care for the conservatives with whom he associates in Washington, I don't think he's been totally straight with his constituents about his military record, and I look forward to saying the phrase, "Senator Tammy Duckworth," but I don't think a loser would go through a year of rehabilitation and go back to work.  Mark Kirk?  Not a loser, no, at least not for any reason other than his desperate attempts to remain a senator so he doesn't have to do real work.  I hope some businessman will also see that in November when he loses the election and needs to find gainful employment.

What did Mark Kirk say about Mr. Trump?  He said he is an "Eastern, privileged, wealthy bully."  Yes, that's about right.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

It could happen to you

Every person I know with a brain who is paying even a little bit of attention has come to the same conclusion:  If voters are not careful, we could have our own Brexit except it would be Donald Trump as president.  So I won't give my own sweet mini-lecture.  I instead I give you the very funny Samantha Bee making her own point in a funnier, smarter way that I could do it.

I also can't address the lack of budget in Springfield because all the gassy guys got together this week and had a mini-compromise.  Hoo-freaking-ray!  Why'd it have to take a year, guys?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Still toasty

I really thought I was going to write about the Illinois budget crisis which is now over one year old.  However, before I write opinions of Governor Bruce Rauner and how he could end said crisis, I want to more carefully formulate what I want to say.  So next week!  NEXT WEEK!!  I will have my on long-awaited (by me) blog on Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) which he surely won't read and which I suspect only a few people will, in fact, read.  As with everything in my blog, I do it for myself and if others read and enjoy it, I will get some small satisfaction. 

Meanwhile, dang, it's still toasty here, but good news -- an a/c is in.  Things get cool!  I am sleeping better and will accept that as being good enough for now.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

It's toasty

It's summer and it is very warm.  I thought about discussing Illinois's Year Without a Budget but I will work on that for next week.  In the meantime, my a/c isn't installed yet.  I really gotta do that...

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Train magic

So suppose you're on one of the Hiawatha trains that travel between Chicago in Milwaukee, making stops at Glenview, Illinois, Sturtevant, Wisconsin, and General Mitchell Milwaukee Airport before Intermodal Station in Milwaukee.  It's the return trip from Milwaukee to Chicago and it's been a very nice day.  You've done what you wanted to do in Milwaukee, you got a nice salad to eat on the train, and though the train was delayed by a passing freight car for 30 minutes, the conductor has kept everyone well informed. It's a hot day and the train is neither too warm nor stupid chilly.  The sun is shining and the storms they swore would roll through did not materialize.  Really, a very nice day for 93ºF.

There were some pictures taken at the Milwaukee thing but they're for one's hobby of making jewelry.  No pictures were take on the ride up and on the return it was all about texting with three different people, all at once.  The texting ended and next was time devoted to looking out the window trying to figure out where we are or else trying to get a picture of the skyline.  The latter was mostly unsuccessful and when you get home you realize they really are pretty junky and there is a deletion fest.

And then you see this one picture.

You never saw the thing when you were going past it.  You never realized it was there; it was just part of trying to get a skyline shot.  When you see it at home you wonder what it could be, where it came from, where it was going, and who would be riding on it.  Of course, after true consideration you realize what it very well could be and that's that, it is that thing and hooray for us, there is true magic in our lives.

Look!  It's the Hogwarts Express and wizards and witches walk among the Midwest Muggles.

Dear Mr. Potter, Please don't turn me into a newt, even if I will get better.  Love, Lena

Next stop: Hogwarts

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Words you can use (or not, up to you)

When I was a young woman living in New York, I had a job working for a small fabric manufacturer.  The principals in the company made a very good living -- the wives of the owners had full-time cooks -- but the rest of us were not treated as they treated themselves.  They were very generous with overtime but we all got minimum wage or just above and so every person worked five hours overtime a week.  It was generous but required.  If you sashayed out "on time" they let it be know that you'd made a mistake.  Once we understood it was something that had to be done, we all did it.  Misery loves company.

Our big boss was a smart man and I thought kind of unscrupulous.  In fact, he probably did have scruples but they were the scruples of a man in business who had scratched his way up from nothing to build something for himself and his children and their families.  Nothing was going to take that from him and if an employee -- even one of the loyal, longtime workers -- happened to be having a bad time in life, maybe calling in a lot, frequently coming in late, or just behaving from how he expected them to behave -- instead of sitting them down and talking to them and asking what was going on, he would fire the person.  Coldly, without consideration of their situation, without any thought really, he would call them in on a Friday afternoon right before quitting time and tell them to never return.  (At one point he'd fired so many people in such a short period of time -- eight people in eight weeks -- that the State of New York sent him a letter telling him that if he kept it up, they were going to start levying fines.)  It really was shifty, shady, and, yes, unscrupulous.

In this office, with the used furniture and ancient typewriters and questionable bathroom tidiness, was an old dictionary which I managed to get onto my desk.  In the occasional slow period, I would open the old dictionary at a random place and let my eyes fall on a word.  One day I found the word that, for me, described him perfectly.  The word is snollygoster.

Here is what says about it:

noun, Slang.
1. a clever, unscrupulous person.
1855-60; origin uncertain

I subscribe to the blog called Apartment Therapy.  I live in an apartment, if I ever buy my own place it will be a condo, so the whole concept appeals to me.  They have different writers and today Taryn Williford, offered an article about words that we might be able to use.  I offer them to you as they are much more useful than snollygoster.

Decathect (v.)
To withdraw one's feelings of attachment from (a person, idea, or object), as in anticipation of a future loss.

Clinomania (n.)
An excessive desire to stay in bed.

Ultracrepidarian (n.)
Someone who gives opinions beyond one's area of expertise.

Tidsoptimist (n.)
A person who's habitually late because they think they have more time than they do.

Potvaliancy (n.)
Brave only as a result of being drunk.

Sangfroid (n.)
The ability to stay calm in difficult or dangerous situations.

Apricity (n.)
The warmth of the sun in winter.

Swivet (n.)
A state of nervous excitement, haste, or anxiety; flutter.

Tacenda (n.)
Things not to be mentioned or made public—things better left unsaid.

Trouvaille (n.)
A lucky find.

Bibelot (n.)
A small object of curiosity, beauty, or rarity.

Ailurophile (n.)
A cat fancier; a lover of cats.

Abditory (n.)
A place for hiding or preserving articles of value.

Sprezzatura (n.)
Perfect conduct or performance of something (as an artistic endeavor) without apparent effort.

Lachrymose (adj.)
Given to tears or weeping.

Akrasia (n.)
The state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgment through weakness of will.

Cryptomnesia (n.)
When you forget that you've forgotten something, and perceive it as a new, original thought.

Foofaraw (n.)
A great fuss or disturbance about something very insignificant, or an excessive amount of decoration or ornamentation, as on a piece of clothing, a building, etc.

Pogonotrophy (n.)
The cultivation of beards, beard-growing.

Mumpsimus (n.)
Adherence to or persistence in an erroneous use of language,memorization, practice, belief, etc., out of habit or obstinacy.

Lethologica (n.)
The inability to remember a word or put your finger on the right word.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

A vacation would be very nice

Due to my decision to get all things medical and dental done in the first six months of the year, I've entered into a contract with my savings account and my body that I won't have a great vacation this year.  I am using days for gum grafts, colonoscopies, and hand surgery.  My gums may be revisited in the fall so it's best to save days for that. 

I like to get out of town on an airplane.  I treated myself to global entry three years ago so when I go to O'Hare, it's less trauma for me.  Even if they change the configuration of the aircraft and change my seat, I can still get in the TSA pre-check line; I just have to strip down, take off my shoes, and show my bottles, all of which are fine with me.  Where it go is another issue.

There are several places where I can get really inexpensive airfare but when I get there, there aren't any affordable hotels to be had.  I can get good hotels at a great price but then the airfare makes my eyes bug out.  I also don't want to rent a car but that usually goes with the cheap-hotel-high-airfare scenario. 

I think the best option is New York City.  I know how to get around on public transportation, even from the airport into the city.  Visiting museums can be a bargain and Broadway and Off-Broadway show tickets can be snagged.  It's New York and they rotate clothing merchandise so it's easy to find things on sale.  I like the energy, I like the variety.

I've been reading the New York Times online for several years. I subscribe.  I like it so much that when I realized that I'd missed the window to re-up with a bargain rate and was paying the full subscription rate, I was okay with it.  Some of my favorite things to read are the reviews of inexpensive restaurants or new ethnic places. I make notes with every intention of enjoying one when next I visit.  (The last time, I visited none of them which is what "every intention" means.)

These are on my list for next time:

The King of Falafel and Shawarma

Taiwan Bear House

Indian Accent

If you see me, say hello, but please not during, 'k?

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Lions! On the prowl! In the Chicago suburbs!

I was in Michaels, the craft store, yesterday looking for picture frames that were on sale.  A great sale!  One day only!  Fifty-percent off all ready-made frames!  While I was walking to the frame department (always in the back at every Michaels), I passed by the kids merchandise.  Someone -- and whoever you are, I admire your particular brand of insanity and we will always be friends -- decided the lions would be eating fresh meat.  I agree.  They would be.
Dinner is served  but watch out piggie!  You are NEXT!

We all know that the lioness is usually the one who hunts and kills the prey and the lazybones male enjoys her work but for the purpose of Michaels on a Saturday, it is perfect.

There was also a pterodactyl ingesting a mother pig and all her piglets but it just didn't photograph well, which I find is always the problem with flying dinosaurs.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pain and let's talk about it

In early April I had gum surgery.  They harvest skin from the roof of the mouth and fashion that into gums.  There was some pain but they give you nice painkillers which do the job for the couple of days that you need them.  After that's it's just annoyance while waiting for the gum graft to take and the stitches to dissolve.  There is some ultra-antibacterial mouth rinse with a hyperactive mint flavor which I liked but after the surgery you can't rinse the usual way as you could dislodge things.  You have to shake your head back and forth and I am not kidding!  Thirty seconds of nuclear mint!  Again, I liked it.

I have uncooperative brows and as I get older I've sprung the odd hair or two in wrong places.  It is what it is.  I'd been going to a Brow Bar at one of the Ulta stores or one of the Macy's stores but that isn't cheap.  It's pretty quick for the lip but the brows required weird measurements but, sigh, I did it for years.  Then one day it occurred to me that I was over the waxing.  The people I liked best for waxes kept leaving the location where I'd found them; or the person who did a good job was just too talkative and gave an uncomfortable amount of information (this from someone who likes a lot of information); or the person wasn't interested in doing a good job.  I decided I'd let them get too thin and I could tame the savage wrong odds on my own.

The Sunday after gum grafting I woke up and thought "I am going to the threading place at Harlem-Irving Plaza" which is a semi-suburban mall.  HIP, as the signs out front say, is semi-suburban in that it's right across the street from Chicago, literally.  I'd heard about the threading place from a Clinique saleslady of my age about six years ago; she liked threading because she found it to be fast and clean. She went to different suburban threading places but said this was her favorite.

There is no recession at HIP.  There are no parking spots to be had at HIP because people like to come there to spend their money.  I finally found a spot on the roof and considered myself lucky even when I had to cross a large expanse of open roof in a steady rain.

HIP is a place that is multi-cultural.  All races and ethnicities are commingling, shopping, eating, getting massages in the massage kiosk (they put a towel over your head so no one can prove it was you), getting their nails done in a nails-only place.  I asked someone in a store if she knew where the threading place was.  "I don't have any other information," I said, but the person I asked told me precisely where to go.

It's a place where you go in and sign your name to a list.  I didn't know this.  They didn't tell me.  They just told me to have a seat and I was next.  There were other people and I wouldn't have minded waiting but after five minutes, a young person came and got me.  I told the young lady what I wanted and she went at it without discussion.  I've had my brows tweezed or waxed for decades so I'm used to that pain.  The other area, between the nose and the upper lip, the area of savage wrong odds, has experienced hot wax being ripped off so I thought I was ready.

I don't like being a wimpy girl.  I had a lady's medical procedure that was known to cause women to scream out during the procedure, I didn't let out a peep.  At the end my doctor said, "Good for you.  You didn't cry out and you didn't kick me in the head."  I had an ear procedure that made me sob. And, of course, I'd just had gum surgery.  Nothing compares to this. I can't even describe it.  Rolling horror as the sustained threading moves across the area like Sherman leading the Union Army from Atlanta to the sea.  And one leg twitches involuntarily.  I had a hard time not shrieking and telling her to just stop.  Apparently there were many savage wrong odds and they didn't want to go quietly.  One last final leg twitch.  She came at my brows with scissors and then it was over!!

It was half the price of waxing and took half the time.  It hurt thrice as much but it was over faster.  I paid and tipped lavishly.  She was very pleased.

I was not going to be anywhere by HIP today and decided to try a place in Skokie.  This person was very sweet and very thorough and the pain was worse and my leg really twitched.  I tried to hold it together but I could not.  The price was less than at HIP and I tipped more lavishly.  I am again tidy.

I am having gum surgery in the middle of June, hand surgery this Wednesday, and a colonoscopy on Monday.  After today's adventure in hair removal, I know my leg won't be twitching during those.  Of course with those they use very good drugs to make nerves sleep while the surgery/procedure takes place.  I wish I had some of that for four weeks from now when I revisit one of the threading places and one of two seemingly pleasant young women makes my right leg kick out involuntarily.  I'm just glad no one I know is there to see it.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Week off!!!

As I contemplate life, I find myself doing only that in my spare time.

The blog's back next week!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Nature says hey

The weekend before last  I was in the northern suburbs doing northern suburban things, all of which were shopping.  At one of the strip malls I visited, a goose was sitting on eggs right in the parking lot.  Geese can be terrifying and ferocious and do great harm to a human when they're cheesed off.  (Swans are worse.  Years ago my parents took me to an area in an office park that had nesting swans and I decided I had to have a picture. They got so close to me that my parents ran and got in the car, happy to sacrifice me to my own insanity.)  I have gotten more cautious and respectful of the power of nature so I just drove up next to the goose and snagged a picture of Mom On Nest.  She checked me out but then realized I was harmless, just an idiot papparazzo, and she left me to it.

Giving me a wary look, in the middle of the strip mall parking lot.

"Shoot my profile then, beyotch."  See all the down under her?  The example of "feathering the nest."

Sunday, April 24, 2016

NFL Draft Town's back; hide the silver

Last year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel managed to persuade the NFL to bring the extravaganza that is the NFL Draft to Chicago.  With the NFL Draft comes Draft Town, an annual fanfest.  He gave the NFL all kinds of stuff they wanted like security and ease of access and in return, the NFL couldn't charge for admission to Draft Town.  They've only ever done this in NYC and they charged $25 for the privilege of attending.  The cost to those attending last year and this in Chicago is exactly zero.

As reported last year, I went.  It was about 42º, windy, and very, very sunny the day I went with a coworker.  Because of the way they set it up, the setting sun was blinding people 50% of the time.  There was very little swag -- I think we scored free yogurt and a pen -- and there wasn't that much to do if your very soul hadn't been tattooed with the spirit of the NFL which I figured out quickly was the case for me.

The City of Chicago has been busily closing streets and building Draft Town.  It takes less time to put together either the Taste of Chicago or Lollapalooza.  It reroutes bus lines and city traffic and even though it's open for just three days, it hangs around for three weeks.  It is a supreme clusterfuck.

So what does the City get out of it?  No, seriously, I want to know.  People come to Chicago to go to Draft Town so parking garages, hotels, restaurants, shops all benefit.  What does the City of Chicago get out of it?  We're famously broke.  Chicago gets no money from the State of Illinois due to the -- I am not lying -- lack of budget from July of 2015.  Governor Bruce Rauner, an ex-CEO who is used to getting his way, and the lawmakers, politicians who are used to compromise -- cannot agree on a budget so money is not to be had until they can agree.  We give all kinds of crap to the NFL; besides Draft Town, what benefit is there to the City of Chicago?

Hide the silver.  The NFL probably wants that, too.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

It's your responsibility

This week I heard a news item about Donald Trump.  He said two of his children, Ivanka and Eric,  had called and apologized.  They'd failed to register to vote so they wouldn't be able to cast their votes for him in the New York Presidential Primary.  He said he understood; they're busy people.  He didn't want to guilt them out.

I do not understand.  These are grown adults.  Why weren't they registered to vote before this?  Did they think voting was something only common people do?

My parents were from Poland.  They met in Nazi Germany when they were both guests of the German government, working as slave laborers near Ulm.  They certainly weren't given the opportunity to vote there; in their native Poland, there weren't many opportunities either.  They came to these United States of America in 1946 and became citizens five years later, which was the amount of time they had to wait in those days.  As soon as they became citizens, they registered to vote.  They didn't miss an election after that.

When we were little, our parents took us into the polling booth with them so we could see what voting was like and experience democracy in action.  Detroit, where I grew up, had curtained booths and small levers that were moved down for your candidate.  When you wanted to cast your ballot, you grabbed a large-handled lever and moved it from one side to the other.  That reset the levers and cast your ballot and opened the curtains for the next voter.  My sister and I loved the voting booth; we found it thrilling.  I felt like I was witnessing something important, which I was.

When you look at the website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,  seven rights as an American citizen are listed; one of those is the right to vote in elections for public officials.  One of the listed nine responsibilites is to participate in the democratic process.   This means voting.

Voting is a right that was won for all citizens through various fights over almost two centuries of American history.  There are over a billion people in the world who aren't given the option to vote.  Think of China.  Then think of North Korea.  Dear Leader didn't get there because he was elected by the people.  His daddy was a dictator and so was his granddaddy.  Running a dictatorship is the family business, just like business is the Trump family business.

So what went on in the Trump household when Ivanka and Eric were kids?  My parents were from very humble beginnings and talked to us about current events and civic duties, responsibilities, and rights.  We were a very middle class family and my parents worked very hard to get ahead.  My sister and I vote.  Ivanka and Eric, ages 34 and 32, respectively,  had every opportunity children of privilege might enjoy yet simply hadn't bothered to make the effort to register to vote, something that costs nothing but means so much.

I would suggest they be ashamed of themselves but I'm not sure they're introspective enough to understand the concept.

For all y'all in America, it's your right.  Be responsible and take advantage of your right.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Monroe Blue Line Tenors

Jackson is a major changing point on the Blue Line in Chicago.  People can change to the Red Line via underground walkway and it's right by U.S. government offices.  There are plenty of businesses in that part of the Loop.  There are better perfomers at Jackson because of the sheer volume of foot traffic.

Where I work, I can get off at either Jackson or Monroe; each works for a quick pre-work visit to the post office.  There are a couple of entertainers I've never seen at Monroe.  Each gentleman is not unique in his looks.  One is quite thin, the other is quite average.  Each one is in the age range of 50-68.  Each one has a lovely, clear tenor.

I saw the thin man about four months ago.  My day had been utter crap and when I got to the platform, there he was, singing from a songbook that might be called "Popular Songs for Tenors from the Last 50 Years of American Music."  He was singing "Cheerleader," a particularly cloying song by the Jamaican singer called OMI.  I hate that song, yet the thin man, accompanied by a single maraca, was making it sound happy and not annoying.  I've heard his version of "Stand By Me" and I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out what the third and fourth songs were.  He was singing like he was on stage in some small club and I was happy to hear him.

The average man is a more recent arrival.  He showed up on a Thursday night about three weeks ago, offering a selection from the Ink Spots, "If I Didn't Care."  He did care and believe me, if he didn't care, it felt like he cared and you'd have a hard time convincing me otherwise.  That was the only time I've seen him but I hope I see him again.  He and the thin man hit all the right notes and share all the right feelings.  We're not on the CTA platform any longer.  With the Monroe Blue Line Tenors and the Gorilla and the Spud from last week, we're in some comfortable setting and the appreciative audience and I are all immersed in their performances, and for just a moment, I smile.