Sunday, December 18, 2011

They came for you

A while ago and for several years, I worked with a woman whose husband was a federal prosecutor.  He worked very hard, putting in long hours during the week and on weekends.  He and his coworkers never complained about the very long hours they put in because while they adored their wives and children, their passion was for the law and justice.  What I gleaned then and from other federal cases in the news is this:  If there is a knock at your door and you are being arrested by the feds for something like fraud, racketeering, or drug smuggling, the case against you is already very, very strong, you will lose at trial, and you will be going away for a very long time. 

Ah, Sam Hurd.  Proclaiming his innocence for buying a mere kilo (2.2 pounds, y'all) of cocaine and twirling off to stash it in the trunk of his car.  He wanted 10 kilograms of cocaine and 100 pounds of marijuana because he wanted to go into a nice sideline business for himself.  Being a Chicago Bear wide receiver and earning millions of dollars a year is just not a long-term proposition, after all, and you have to plan for the future.  Please might he also get some untraceable Mexican cellphones?

Those were federal agents working undercover and they'd been watching Sam Hurd since his time with the Dallas Cowboys.  When Sam moved to Chicago, the investigation moved north with him, and at the Morton's Steakhouse in Rosemont, Illinois, Sam got not just stupid but super stupid and off he went to the Metropolitan lockup on the corner of Van Buren and Clark in downtown Chicago.

A judge released Sam Hurd on $100,000 bail and said he could remain free on bail as long as he held a full-time job.  Later that day, the Bears cut him.  It hardly matters because next week he will be arraigned in Texas, where the case will be tried and you can't be two places at once.

Meanwhile, I hope he gets his affairs in order.  They came for him and that is that.

At Solider Field the Bears lost Johnnie Knox to a back injury in a fiasco of a game.  The Seattle Seahawks strolled off with a 38-14 win and with any hope of a Bears playoff berth.  There are just a few games left but there will be no January ball to write about, for major fans to sweat over and enjoy, to capture the imaginations of the loyal.  Remove the fork, wash it off, and expect some heads to roll on the Bears roster and with Bears management and coaching.  I hope Johnnie's surgery (yeah, back surgery) goes well tomorrow.

For several years, ComEd, the local electric utility, has sponsored Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo.  My birthday is tomorrow (and it's a big one) and I asked the birders if we might please go to see Zoo Lights.  They agreed and we all went.

First we went looking for birds at Montrose Harbor (a few mergansers bobbed on the lake) but then took our binoculars to the South Pond.  There was an American Coot that instantly was alarmed and skitted across the water to get the freak away from me.  Because the water had some ice on it, we may soon not be able to see much of anything in that pond but Hans and Prima, the Mallards, were there as were their neighbors, the Other Mallards, and four females of that species who were hanging together for safety, company, something to do.

A Wood Duck cooperates today at Lincoln Park Zoo
The duck pond in the zoo was alive with activity.  There were those Hooded Mergansers and the crazy Wood Ducks and the adorable Ruddy Duck (its bill is sky blue) but also a Pin-Tailed Duck.  All the ducks seemed very happy in that duck pond, with it's two floating islands (seriously, they are floating;  I saw one island move and thought vertigo had returned).

Okay, bla bla bla animals, now I am going to skip ahead to the lights.  Zoo Lights is the bomb.  Lots of people came out and there are cute wire animals lit up with bulbs but the greatest part were the avenues of trees that were covered with lights.   There were lights that seemed to be cascading down like rain.  There was a stand of pines covered with lights that were programmed to light up with music.  There were trees with all the same lights -- yellow, green, red -- and others that were different colors, a wholly red tree next to a gold one, etcetera.  There were not just a few trees and lights, there were lots of trees and lots of lights and it was as exciting for me to see as it was to see the Santa Train running on the Blue Line last year.

This picture is cool but seeing it in person is so much cooler.  GO!
If you live in the Chicago area, go!  It's free and the weather is unseasonably warm which makes loping around a large area most pleasurable.  It's just the kind of thing that would have made my head explode when I was a child.  Hell, tomorrow I will be a senior citizen according to Rail Europe and it still almost made my head explode.  At the Lincoln Park Zoo, open every night through December 23, 5pm to 9pm.

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