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OCTOBER 5, 2009 - - -Under the Harvest Full Moon: It is hard to imagine how fast 2009 has gone. The spring hopes of the baseball season have fallen by the wayside as the punt and collisions of shoulder pads of football in the cool morning air. Work has created a blur where Time has rattled by too quickly. Even for Congress, who was used to an apathetic public so there was no oversight in spending or legislation, is now under the pressure of the angry constituents with a ballot to be printed a short near from now. Full moons bring in the dramatic changes in the tides.
JUNE 7, 2008 --- ART DAY: Today was national Art Day. The idea was to have everyone create their own piece of art, and then distribute it on the internet. It is like the photographers who used to do those Day In the Life global photo book assignments. As a side light to an IT troubleshooting assignment at my sister's house, I brought along enough art materials so my two young nieces, one in elementary school and one in preschool, could create some art on Art Day. The eldest drew a Picassco like round man with arms and legs all off kilter, and named it Humans in the Year 5815. Excellent. My youngest niece created several drawings and then wanted to create a paper puppet show. So drawing characters and cutting them out, cutting out the back of a shoe box, so she could have her play time. Then she decided that the puppets make funny paper airplanes so they had to be tossed around. Afterward, she decided to cut up her puppet into small pieces and then glue those pieces on another piece of paper (more abstract art). The theme of the day was to unleash creativity, dormant or otherwise, in the average person. First hand experience denotes good success.
APRIL 18, 2008---SHAKEN & STIRRED: In the first nanosecond, the thought was that the day-late thunderstorm had gusted its storm front through the north facing bedroom window at 4:38 a.m. A brass dresser drawer pull becgan to click like a panicked Morse code operator. Then the bed began to move and then the brain is awakened by a wave and circular motion. It was not a storm, but Mother Nature's other take-notice event: an earthquake. Here in the heartland of Illinois, large earthquakes are few. Southern Illinois has several fault lines that could cause a significant tremor. But the 5.2 quake in south eastern Illinois was felt 230 miles to the north. It lasted for about 20 seconds. Then the birds outside the window chirped in a frenzy for another ten minutes, and things settled down to dawn. Four aftershocks in the morning, the largest being a 4.5 jolt, kept the story cycling through the local newscasts. A review of the earthquake data sheets found some interesting information: in the past 6 months, there has been more than 188 earthquakes in the Central USA. And in the past seven days, there have been a daily dozen or more registered quakes in Arkansas. Who knew until this morning.
MARCH 3, 2008 --- DODGEVILLE: Roger Clemens was never known to be a Rocket Scientist. He was called the Rocket because of his arm, not his brain. Because apparently he has failed to see the warning of Marion Jones or Barry Bonds when dealing with the issue of telling the whole truth to federal investigators while under oath. Oaths are a sacred promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But apparently, the truth does not ring true with celebrities. They have a different notion of what the rules govern conduct, especially their own (mis)conduct. The FBI will begin a criminal prosecution investigation based upon the Congressional referral charge that Clemens allegedly committed perjury when he denied he ever used performance enhancing pharma, including steroids.
DECEMBER 31, 2007 --- BURNING SPRING FIELDS: The bankrupt State of Illinois continues to legislate personal morality to the detriment of its citizens and economy. The General Assembly passed a no smoking in public law which takes effect tomorrow. The law bans all smoking in public places such as taverns, restaurants, office buildings. The downfall of this prohibition of a legal produc, which is heavily taxed by the State, and consumed by adults is 5,500 businesses. That's right, 5,500 businesses are set to close because of the ban. These small business owners of restaurants, diners or taverns cannot afford to stay in business if their clientele, smokers, cannot come inside to smoke. The State leaders cannot grasp the fact that they are running businesses out of the State through high taxes, huge deficits, corruption, poor public service, and nonsensical laws. Five thousand business operations equates to 10-20-30,000 jobs?? In a soft economy, that is a huge number of unemployed citizens. Happy New Year, says the legislators.
DECEMBER 15, 2007--- THE 'HELL REPORT: It is hard to believe that an adult book report on the Game of Shadows written by a member of ownership at a cost of more than $20 million would throw ev eryone involved in the American past time undcer the Bus. The Bus is the Blame for the rampant drug use in the major leagues. But everyone, including Bud Man Selig, are at fault. Batters were juiced, pitchers were juiced, and the owners profits were juiced by the home run derby of the McGwire-Sosa battle after the last labor strike. It was interesting to note that the owners were told of the problem by team physicians as early as 1988. It is also clear that the wright lifting-steroid connection began to virally sift through the major leagues in 1991-1992. If you look at your favorite team's roster-stats for 1991, 1992, and 1993, you will find player(s) who suddenly turned into home run monsters, or marginal pitchers having career years. Then you can trace the players as they moved from team to team and more players have sudden strength. The Code of Silence by managers, trainers, players, general managers and owners of illegal drug use within their organizations is an appalling commentary that the drug culture can flourish in any segment of society without accountability.
NOVEMBER 18, 2007---RUSTY GOLDEN GATE: Most citizens of San Francisco would have thought that a barge hitting the Golden Gate Bridge was more likely than Barry Bonds being indicted in the BALCO investigation. Well, both things happened . . . in the same week! The delay in the Bonds indictment for perjury apparently comes down to one thing: politics. The change in the US Attorney General's office in Washington DC and in the SF office was the difference in why Bonds got indicted late last week. The prior local counsel may have been weary of getting a local icon indicted for perjury without more witnesses to actual alleged steroid use. The delay did get Bonds what he wanted: the home run record. It did get the Giants what the owners wanted: the revenue of attendance for a marginal team because of the home run record chase. But as the saying goes, justice delayed is justice denied.
OCTOBER 21, 2007 ---- TORA! TORA! TORRE!!: You would have thought the East coast sports media was watching for Vatican smoke in Tampa. Joe Torre, the popular Yankee manager, was on the hot seat. King George is losing grip on reality, but his sons and management team know that the Yankees have not won the World Series. The team is losing its east coast luster to the rival Boston Red Sox. Popularity be damned. Winning is the only motto in Steinbrennerville. So an insulting contract offer Torre reports, so he is gone as skipper. The NY sports pages are aghast at the quasi-firing. It's not life or death, it is retirement.
SEPTEMBER 22, 2007 --- PEE-KING, CHINA: When Mattel has to recall thousands of toxic lead painted toys, its business reputation is harmed in consumer circles. But when Mattel then goes to China to apologize to Chinese government for the Chinese factories creating a health hazard, its business reputation is destroyed by cowtowing to an imperial master. To claim the Chinese contractors have no accountability for using a known hazard, banned in the United States since 1978, is mindless. The outsourcing of American industrial production to third world countries has turned the balance of power from nuclear arsenals to economic power. If China has that much power to bitch slap an American corporation to its knees in an international brow beatdown, the American economy teeters on the edge of a canyon of doom.
SEPTEMBER 9, 2007---CLOG HILL, IL: The PGA Goof Championship is moving along with no great spectator crowd or media coverage. Just as we predicted months ago. The golf commissioner attempted to steal the end of year points race from NASCAR and apply it to golf in order to get the television networks to pony up millions more in purses and revenue. The end of the professional golf season was after the PGA Championship, the last major event of the circuit. The events after that championship were smaller events for scrambling pros who sought to keep themselves in the top 125 so they could get next year's tour card. By Labor Day, America has moved on to college football, pro football and baseball pennant races. Golf clubs have been cleaned and stowed in the garages across America. But Finchem, the Commish, thought he could bully his way onto the main sports stage during this Indian Summer of heated competition. It has been a failure. Top names of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els have each missed one of the four final supertourneys. They are treating it like an exhibition season. The format was touted as a playoff system, but the first tournament cut to 120 meant it was a full tour event anyway. Michelson and Woods have been vocal against this whole end of season FedEx Cup. Golf is the only professional sport where your week to week performance is the only way to earn a paycheck. You must make the weekend cut in order to get a paycheck. So when the $10 million finale was announced last year, people thought that's a gib prize purse. However, we now learn to the chagrin of the players, that the final prize is really an IOU - - - a retirement annuity. For players who are self contained business enterprises, the prospect of not receiving their earnings in cash at the end of the tournament is an affront to the whole golf establishment. Deferred compensation is not part of professional golf. In addition, golfers like Michelson told the commissioner of their unhappiness about the setting the tournament at the end of a grueling season; shoe horning it between the last major and the international team events. With no time off, players with families balk at the notion of being away from home for six straight weeks. A pro golfer has to balance his family life with his road warrior game. How can the tour organizers be upset if a golfer wants to go home to be with their young children on their first day of school? Well, the tour executives are upset because they promised sponsors marquis draws for these playoff tournaments. In addition, the tour executives bonus pay is tied to increasing tour revenue. So the executives self interest may cloud what the rank and file would want in their tour. Stewart Cink, a player on the board of directors, brushed aside the current member critics of the playoff schedule. He claimed that the players meetings were poorly attended, and the word was given to all about the format and requirements. It was too late to complain. But buried in the story was Cink's admission that, yes, Woods and Michelson were at those player meetings and made their objections known. However, the tour decided to not listen to their own top draws??! Another real player sore spot is this week's tournament stop in Chicago. In the past, the Chicago Western Open was a major event on the tour; it was the second oldest American golf tournament, it was a guardian of amateur golf and the Chick Evans golf scholarship program. The Western had its traditional Fourth of July weekend calendar which drew top golfers and huge crowds. It was such a respected venue and tournament, that the British Open considered it the final qualifier for its prestigious event. So what did the tour executives do to the Western Open? Instead of relying on tradition, it killed the Western Open and removed the annual Chicago stop from the regular tour. No longer would the Western Open be an open tournament where amateurs could compete (and in the past won) such an prestigious event. No, it would be only 70 players on midwest courses that would rotate each year. In other words, the PGA tour decided to nuke the third largest population center for television ratings for their frankenstein created playoff system. Tiger Woods was shocked to see how small the crowds were this week at Cog Hill, a usual sell out event. He thought he had seen better turn outs at pro-ams. And he is mad that Chicago has lost its place in the PGA tour. He is right: there are more public golf courses in the Chicago metro area than anywhere else in the States. The locals have supported the Western for 100 years, with and without title sponsors funding purses, but retaining the status of being the Tour's Fifth Major. There is absolutely no buzz about this tournament. All talk is centered around Big Ten football, the Bears opening their season, and the Cubs clinging to first place. The winner of the BMW Championship will hardly get a mention in the Monday sports section. Next year, the BMW will get no mention because it won't even be played in Chicago. So in an effort for the tour executives to squeeze a few more million in gross revenue, they have killed one of the golden geese of the traditional PGA tour. And the real problem is once people no longer reserve the July 4th weekend for pro golf, you will never get them back into the fold. Short term thinking has killed a long tradition in golf.
AUGUST 20, 2007--THE DOGHOUSE: It is reported that Michael Vick will plead guilty to federal dogfighting charges. After his friends and associates plead guilty, he was the lone man standing in a federal indictment version of felony chairs. He spiked his own career. The NFL, so image conscious in the bad boy professional athlete era, will reserve judgment until after Vick serves his possible two year federal sentence in jail. It is expected that he would be suspended for a year afterward; meaning that Vick would be out of the NFL for three seasons. No team would be that desperate to sign Vick for the 2010 with the negative baggage that will follow him. The Atlanta Falcons will be seeking to recoup the $22 million signing bonus if Vick cannot play. So Vick loses his guaranteed money and guaranteed status as an NFL superstar. In a circus culture where celebrities bad behavior rarely results in justice, Vick will be the new poster boy of accountability.
AUGUST 5, 2007 --- THE BOTTOM OF THE OUTHOUSE: The State of Illinois continues to draw horse flies at the bottom of the cesspool called the state budget stalemate. While 23 other states in the union have record surplus, Illinois leads the nation in massive debt, personal political attacks, and public corruption. The State constitutionally had to have a budget in place by midnight on June 30. The legislature is not even close. And all branches of state government are controlled by the Democrats, who have taken to feudal tribal concepts to bring the state machinery to a stand still. Illinois is turning into the former Soviet DisUnion. Citizens are not missing out on any state services. Shutdowns in government often lead to the realization that basic day to day activities can go forward without Big Government's help. In addition, people are finally starting to ask the question, Where is all the tax money going? Illinois has a sales tax on all gasoline sales; for years the state has been pulling in at least $2.50 per fill up from every consumer. The lottery and gambling casinos was supposed to pay for state education expenses, but all the schools are claiming they are bankrupt. The average homeowner in Cook County will get disemboweled in a month when huge property tax bill increases will hit their mailboxes. And the politicans wonder out loud why business and people are leaving the State.
JULY 25, 2007--- THE NO VIEW ZONE: Has anyone noticed that the Democratic Debates are turning into a bad reality game show, with producer gimmicks like YouTube audience participation? Like the bad reality shows, no one is watching.
JUNE 27, 2007---- ATLANTA: The smug CNN anchor Anderson Cooper stated yesterday that CNN did not think the pro wrestler death story was news Monday night when the story broke. Only after the gruesome details emerged, did CNN evening news thought it was appropriate to share with its viewers. It was a pompous attitude toward an epidemic of family murder-suicides that the national press has not figured out. Pro wrestling entertainment is the modern circus carnival, hopping from town to town night after night with the wrestlers as the circus elephants. The speculative hook in this matter is the possible steroid rage side effect of drugs that could have contributed to this tragic event. One does not need to speculate; just state the facts from the crime scene investigators.
JUNE 24, 2007 --- CRIME, USA: There appears to be a huge hunting season on the American family. There has been a rash of murder suicides in the news; Wisconsin, Illinois, California and Ohio. The term familicide has now appeared in the American lexicon. The reason for this rash of violent behavior is unclear. Some proclaim that financial troubles make people go mad and kill their family. Some proclaim that marital stress causes people to go mad. But in the loose society, financial troubles can be wiped out in bankruptcy and a bad marriage can be dissolved in no-fault divorce. So why are people using a weapon as an irrevocable choice of solving their personal family problems? Did they see it in a television crime show? Is this a fashion statement? Are people on drugs? Is it all of the above?? The real tragedy is the innocent children who have been murdered by their own parent. It is open season on children, too. In Chicago, 34 children have been killed so far this year. It is a staggering figure which should raise concern about basic public safety when kids sitting on their front porch get shot in the cross fire of drive by gang warfare. The value of life in America appears to be diluted to the point that these headlines appear common place.
MAY 20, 2007--- The most vocal critics to the latest Immigration Bill in Congress is not the Republicans, not the Democrats, and not the administration. It is the LEGAL immigrants who beg, borrowed and saved to obtain a visa to come to the United States. The legal immigrants are the ones who have come to America to work, settle down, and begin the path to citizenship. This is the traditional American model of opportunity. Follow the law, work hard, and the only limitation on your success is your own talent. But to reward illegal immigrants with special rights, in essence rewarding illegal activity, then the whole soverign reasons for immigration policy are repealed. Illegal aliens have no incentive to become legal even under this new proposal. They balk at paying the five thousand dollar processing fee. Proponents of the bill have no idea that they may be granting 50 million people rights which dilute legal aliens ability to prosper. Why would any sane government allow millions of non-citizens, who do not want to assimulate into your country to begin with, stay in their country without the threat of deportment? It is like putting out the red carpet for an invading army. Maybe that's the point; the overthrow of the American constitutional system through massive wave of anti-American immigration.
APRIL 27, 2007 --- YAWNER, S.C.: MSNBC, the Democratic Party's personal cable channel, could not scare up enough viewers for the first Candidate Debate to fill a telephone booth. It is probably like a PBS fundraiser, without the call bank. Each candidate is on television because they are addicted to the spotlight attention. And for some, this is the only way to pad their campaign funds to live the Lifestyle of a Jetset Elite. The debate was so boring that no one else really covered the event. The primary season is still officially 10 months away and these events appear to be what they really are: staged.
APRIL 20, 2007 --- HOMELESS: The office secretary was startled. She asked what was going on. A view outside the back window showed a young woman lying in the back yard lawn, in the fetal position, on a blanket. It was just after noon. Was she sick? Was she homeless? This is an odd sight, even in suburbia. Then what do you do? You don't confront people; you don't offer help because you don't know if someone is on drugs, delusional, homocidal. So you don't do anything. About an hour later, the woman gets up, takes her blanket and walks back toward the nearby apartment building. Strange.
APRIL 19, 2007--- YOUCANTFIGHTCITYHALL, IL: The worst thing for the City of Chicago was winning the Olympic bid for the United States. For the next two years, the Mayor and his cronies will be spending taxpayer dollars on flying, wining, dining, lobbying (by whatever means is acceptable in international cocktail circuits) and lavishing gifts upon the IOC. Just because the Mayor says the citizens want the Games, it is not so. Most Chicagoans are beseiged by increasing local taxes, a huge crushing real estate property tax bill to hit hard in August, the city in massive debt, the schools in disarray, and public project money pits. Most Chicagoans believe the city cannot afford the Games. London, an announced host, is about $25 billion OVER budget already. Londoners are complaining that on the average, the cost estimates are 1/5 the actual cost, and rising. Mayor Daley wants to build an entire Olympic complex, new stadiums and venues. He claims private money will pay for it all . . . there is no way his math makes sense. He says he will build a $1 billion Olympic housing project; but real estate experts say the value of the air rights/value for the property project is at best $135 million. The city is not into property development. The city has no concept of trying to unload 4,000 used housing units after the Games. The Mayor claimed his Millenium Park project would not have a dime of public money attached to it; but in the end, with massive cost over runs, the city had to pay up $500 million. So much for a free park. So much for a no-cost Olympics. But the backers final gambit is that the television rights will pay for everything. Problem. The IOC, the Games producer and licensee, gets the television rights money, not the city per se.
MARCH 18, 2007 --- THE MEDIA STALL: The Beltway media has become fixated on non-stories. Fueled by bad acting of anger, the Congressional Democrats are trying to gather up a lynch mob against President Bush's administration. The end-of-the-world shock of the Scooter Libby trial as being the worst crime in the history of Washington is like the boy crying wolf for the first time. The parading of Valerie Plame before Congress after the trial was merely stage lighting for her book and film deal; it did nothing to raise any attention except on herself as an alleged victim. The other great grief stricken story is the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys by the Bush Justice Department. The stories claim that it was all political. But the mainstream media continually fails to state that all U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the Chief Executive. And when Clinton got into office, his administration sought to purge all 93 U.S. attorneys. The Democrats have run out of mock issues and trial balloons to soil the Presidency in a seige mentality thinking that it will soften up the voting blocs to regain the White House in 2008.
MARCH 12, 2007 --- D.C. (Descending Chaos): Barack Obama has been deemed not black enough . . . by Black Democrats. Is this a new litmus test for any presidential candidate? Does one have to submit to DNA testing to trace family lineage back to Africa in order to be considered a viable candidate? For decades, minorities have screamed that they should not be judged by such criteria, but be judged by who the person is and not by stereotypes. But in this early election season, this is the most bizarre negative jab we can recall. At the same time, Hillary has been deemed too Clintonian by opponents. Clintonian as being a two faced power blood sucking vampire set only for self gratification and self legacy building spinmeister revisionist. Her campaign researchers have been combing the back files looking to derail strong candidates. The hit machine is not even out of first gear, so many in her own party worry that this race could spin out of control.
FEBRUARY 6, 2007-- SPIN ZONE: ExxonMobil reported a record profit of $39 billion. Immediately, Senators clamored to take away the oil company's profits and spend it on programs as they see fit. Well, in a capitalistic society, profits are the point of economics. From those profits, the oil company will pay more than $20 billion in federal taxes, for which Congress will dutifully spend. And from those profits, the widows, orphans and pensioners who own Exxon stock will be continued to be paid a nice dividend, which will also be taxed for which Congress will dutifully spend. The media forgot to mention those last two items when reporting the evil profit story. Demonizing successful corporations and wealthy people is not the way to nationalize the oil industry like the federal and state attempts to nationalize private medicine and health care.
JANUARY 21, 2007- - THE KINGDOM OF THE ILLINI: It is now official. Two politicians with connections to the Land of Lincoln are running for President of the United States. Barack Obama announced on his web site what most pundits thought was an easy decision. He has gotten the Teen Beat national media favorable drool for months. In reaction to this announcement, Hillary Clinton announced on her web site that she was running for President, too. This was the biggest yawn, since most observers have seen that Hillary has been running for President since about a week into Bill's first term. It will not be a good thing to run as being a son or daughter of the Illinois political soil. Scandals have piled up higher than the winter snow drifts. Chicago may be considered the nation's capitol of corruption. But neither Obama or Hillary will really need to campaign in the State, which has turned into a Democratic one-party socialist rule since the state Republican party imploded in its own scandals and internal squabbles.
JANUARY 2, 2007 - - MAIN STREET, MI: Throughout the past weekend, many commentators remembered Gerald Ford as a very nice man. They connected their opinions with the fact that Ford was rooted in Midwestern values. Historians have trouble listing many presidential accomplishments, probably because his tenure was short and overshadowed by the Nixon pardon. But what summed up the man clearly that he was a nice person. It probably strikes his generation as odd because the World War II generation was raised to be hard working, polite, respectful and trusting people. Why these traits stand out now? Because the nation's politics have turned to self-centered power brokers ruthlessly marketing themselves a power legacy, willing to backstab anyone to get to the top.The nation needs more nice people than the current crop of career politicians.
OCTOBER 22, 2006 -- You Can't Be World Serious: The Cardinals back into the World Series with 83 regular season wins; losing 10 of the last 14 games.Eighyt-three wins would have put the Cards in 9th place in the American League. But as the sports scribes say, on any given Sunday . . . Oh, that's football. Tell that one to the irate Dennis Green after the Bears suspicious win last Monday on Monday Night Meltdown. I have not since such a meltdown since a diner waitress dropped a Rueben platter on the floor.
OCTOBER 14, 2006-- D.C. (Democratic Crud): The Democrats are continuing to keep the Republican gay-page scandal in the headlines. The latest Democratic outrage is that a Republican gay representative allegedly took several former pages on a camping trip. The Democrats are outraged that a gay adult would go camping with young pages. But those Democrats are the same people who have wasted millions of dollars of resources and time all the way to the Supreme Court trying to force gays into the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts policy of excluding gays from membership has been upheld. After the decision, the Democrats continue to attempt to punish the scouts for their policy. But in the political season, the Democrats decry the implications of Republican gays misbehavior in a gross attempt to gain votes in November. The Democrats are unprincipled hypocrites for denouncing the scouts long standing policy.
OCTOBER 7, 2006 - - D.C. (Democratic Churn): The Foley scandal keeps the Democrats content at night. The press lynching of the Speaker of the House is in full swing. The Democrats are screaming that the corruption of the Republican Party is apparent because somehow Speaker Hastert covered up the inappropriate behavior of Rep. Foley. Again, the story was supposed to be about punishing an alleged predator. But it seems under local law, Foley may not have committed any crime, including the transmission of explicit text messages. But that has not stopped the Democratic spin machine from comparing this potentially non-criminal story into something on par with Nixon's Watergate cover-up. A creep was kicked out of office. He resigned under a moral cloud of misbehavior. But the Democrats have seized on this moral drama as King Arthur's Sword to kill the Elephant Party in November since all their past weapons, like the criticism of the war on Iraq, have failed to date. The American people are not as dumb to believe the Democrats when they say that all Republicans are corrupt, and the Foley matter proves it. From history, the American people know that both parties are filled with cheats, thugs and sexual deviants.
OCTOBER 5, 2006 - - NURSE, PASS ANOTHER BLADDER BAG: The Republicans are in the midst of having a Foley catheter inserted by an elephant gun. The national press has been waiting, longing, foaming at the mouth to get a juicy, anti-Republican news story into the opinion poll news cycle. But the media has flashed over the real story, whether that idiot Representative from Florida is a criminal cretin who should be prosecuted, to that of an alleged Republican cover-up. Cover-up of what? That Foley was gay? And the Democrats did not know? As Mayor Daley said off-the-cuff on the issue, if you were going to get rid of all the sexual misconduct in Washington, the city would be vacant. Not a ringing endorsement from a political insider. But the Democrats only want to win in November, seize power of Congress, in order to retake the presidency in 2008. Any story will be spun to met the political expectations of the moment. The Democrats have had there predator sexual scandals in the past, including one Illinois rep who's conviction was pardoned by President Clinton. Talk about sending the wrong message and covering up! But the past does not matter when one is attempting to brainwash future voters, who probably know by now that D.C. is just a coven of arrogant, egomaniac and self-serving hypocrites.
SEPTEMBER 9, 2006 - - WASHING NONE: The former members of the Clinton administration have blown a collective gasket over the ABC miniseries, The Path to 9/11. The problem, they claim (even though they have not seen the movie yet), is that the film is an inaccurate protrayal of the blunders that led up to the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001. They demanded ABC pull the series. The attack on the network was an attempt to apply pressure the film makers to change their vision in order to preserve the Clinton legacy. When government officials do this it is called censorship. ABC came out with a statement that this docudrama was a condensed version of the events leading up to 9/11. Well, that is a problem in itself. It is being sold as a documentary, using government reports as a basis for showing the viewer the alleged mistakes, lack of intellingence and official negligence on national security issues. You should not label fiction, or artistic license, as being a truthful protrayal of a real event. Critics assailed Oliver Stone's JFK as being a fictional conspiracy advertised as a documentary about the events surrounding the assassination of the president. But what was even worse, Thomas Kean, a commissioner who investigated the events after 9/11 and wrote the official report, is an executive producer for the ABC film?! Talk about profiting for alleged public service in being a 9/11 Commission member. And talk about back pedalling about the docudrama excuse being made by the network; Kean claims that it is outside his control what is in the final edit. (But that's what producers do!) Everyone is wrong in this matter: the Clinton officials are wrong to demand someone's free speech rights be suppressed before publication; ABC is wrong for making a major historical event a docudrama; and Kean is wrong in profiting from his role in investigating the event as a public servant.
AUGUST 30, 2006 -- NAR ORLEENS: The news anchors came to the sites of Hurricane Katrina to report on the alleged rebuilding of the Crescent City, New Orleans. If believed, the reports were staggering bad: no public schools reopened, one hospital working out of a department store, most of the city still without power; 75 percent of the debris still unremoved; most of the locals pre-hurricane will not return to their city; some of the levees have been repaired, but the engineers claim there is no guarantee they will hold if another tropical storm hits them. The one question left unasked and therefore, unanswered, was what happened to the billions upon billions of dollars of aid and government funds? The silence is as quiet as block after block of abandoned bungalows in the city districts closest to the broken levies.
AUGUST 23, 2006 -- SLACKERVILLE USA: It was reported on the news that it is estimated that the average worker wastes 1.8 hours per day goofing off at work, normally personally surfing the web, on the employer's dime. Two questions are raised: really? And you sure its only 1.8 hours per day. If you read other sections of the newspaper, many government officials, employees and consultants with inside track to lucative contracts do less for a lot more money, taxpayer money.
AUGUST 13, 2006 -- GENEVA CONVENTION: The Weakend has concluded at the annual college radio reunion, held this year in Geneva, IL. Excellent hospitality provided by the Prz family, several fine loco merchants, and perfect weather. An extreme amount of activity (physical and mental) was shoehorned into the 40 odd hour reunion agenda that the laughter and strange stories will echo through Labor Day.
JULY 28, 2006 -- FRUSTRATIONVILLE: It was 4:15 a.m. when a loud, piercing electronic beep woke me from deep REM sleep. Groggy and only 10 percent awake, I thought it was the smoke alarm outside the bedroom door. Smoke alarms beep when the battery is low. So I picked up a chair to disconnect the battery so I could go back to sleep. As I unscrewed the detector from its ceiling bracket, I realized that the home smoke alarms are hard wired; no batteries. I heard another chirp; thinking it was the downstairs detector, I go to the first level to see if anything is on fire. No smoke. So I wander back up the stairs to reattach the detector. After several tries, it would not latch because of the disgorged wires and gravity. Now, still half asleep, another loud beep. Frustrating a twist, I break one of the small tabs on the bracket, and go to find the source of this trouble. It turns out that my new cellphone decided to TURN ITSELF on. Why? I have no idea but it is just another, no, the top reason, why I HATE my new phone.
JULY 15, 2006 --- THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF NONSENSE: The Midwest has another pest to deal with this summer. A beetle is attacking elm trees. Not since Dutch Elm disease wiped out vast amounts of urban trees has a horticultural crisis ripped the local headlines. The affluent North Shore community of Highland Park has tree canopy elms which shade its streets. The elm beetle is seen as a real menace to their postcard streetscapes. So the news reported this morning that the federal government will be sending this community a million dollars to combat this onslaught. When did the federal government start dispursing millions of dollars on purely local pest issues? When did parkway trees become a matter of national importance? And why would an affluent Chicago suburb need a federal grant to replant trees with its own tax base and citizens' community action? The only answer is that it is an election year. And money means votes for incumbents. And it makes good public relations, a caring federal government solving every single problem you have.
JULY 7, 2006 --- COGGED BRAINSTEMS: The oldest local professional golf tournament, the Western Open, is being played in suburban Chicago. This weekend is the 103rd Open championship. It is the premiere midwest stop on the men's PGA golf tour. Cog Hill is a public course which is currently hosting the tournament. This well known event has been dubbed the Fifth Major over the years. It was also a British Open qualifying event. Golf is one of those sports with its historial purists. Golf is one of the rare sporting events where today's professional can play the same or similiar course of players a century ago. The Western Golf Association, along with local sponsors and volunteers, have kept the Western Open as a well attended, well received, scholarship charity driven event around the 4th of July. But this year is the last year of the Western Open. The gear heads running the PGA want to become as popular as the latest fad, NASCAR. So the brass has decided to take the NASCAR end of season point races and adapt it to the pro tour. In order to fit this new concept into the current event schedule, old events had to be shuffled or replaced. The storied Western Open got the axe; being replaced by a fall event called the BMW Championship, after the title sponsor. To add further insult, the new event will only be played in the Chicago area every other year. So the PGA is abandoning the third largest market, and the nation's leading public golf facility patrons, for an event that makes no sense. The tour championship has been decided by two things: the championship trophy from the majors, and who wins the most money during the year. The new points race in the final four revamped events will not change which player wins the most money in the season. In fact, the officials now admit that the qualifying events may have already decided the tour champion before the last event is even played! So what is the point in changing something that is already working? The PGA has promised new sponsors, who are pumping in millions of dollars, a television series. Defending Western Open champion Jim Furyk was quoted after his practice round that there are grumbling in the locker room about these changes. He cannot understand why the Western would be displaced, and why the tour would vacate Chicago. If the tour wants a tournament in St. Louis, Minnesota or Indianapolis, it is the local golf community that needs to support one. That is how the whole tour developed: local businessmen hosting events for tourism and community service. Or move the tour's rotating Tour Championships to one of these venues (but that could upset those old private country clubs). The whole plan was not well thought out. By killing off the Western Open, the PGA is abandoning golf's traditions in a quest for more money and dissing a major contributor to the current success of the overall tour.
JUNE 18, 2006 -- KINDERGARTEN: Why are so many world leaders trying to be like South Korean madman Kim? Iran is pushing to join the nuclear club harder than a World Cup Soccer goalie preparing for a corner kick. All the world's second and third tier countries are like little children wanting to sit at the grown-ups table. The threat of nuclear warheads makes people take notice of them. The limelight shines upon them and photosynthesizes the illusion of world power in the leader's limited mindset. Saddam Hussein had similar traits; the arrogant puffing of his military powers to generate regional influence among his political peers. These third world despots use the United States as the bully to cull favor with their poor underclasses. The best way to handle a whiny child? Ignore them. They will shout themselves horse in a few hours, then go off to do something else.
MAY 14, 2006 -- WASHING THY HANDS, D.C.: If one comes to recognize that Congressmen only react to the media story of the week, there are no leaders or problem solvers in the nation's capitol but merely incumbent gladhandlers. The media circus events of the immigrant marches triggered some bias poll driven response from Congress and the President. In the end, all politicians can do is pass more redundant or confusing bills to pat themselves on the back. One of the current pending bills is legislation which contains a provision that mandates the enforcement of EXISTING immigration laws. Why would anyone need to pass a second law to enforce an existing measure shows the ineptitude of elected officials. If a person illegally enters the United States, then that person is an illegal alien. The protesters want to decriminal illegal behavior for political gain. Hidden in the bill is not amnesty for the illegal aliens, but waiver of the criminal penalties against employers who have illegally hired them (at usually lower wages and zero benefits). Again, rewarding those who have run around the rules and laws makes no sense.
APRIL 30, 2006-- DATELINE: WASHINGTON D.C. (White House Transcript):
AIDE: Mr. President, your new press secretary is here.
BUSH: I don't have time to have an interview with the press. I am studying for my staff meeting.
TONY SNOW: Good morning, Mr. President.
BUSH: I don't have time to do an interview today, even for my friends at Fox. I got a meeting to prepare for.
AIDE: But Mr. President, Tony is part of your staff now.
BUSH: I told you I wanted Tony to take care of the press. Tony Soprano!
APRIL 6, 2006-- DATELINE: DATELINE: If you listened closely, you could have heard the collective thud of old school news room editors hitting the floor for the last time. It is official: happy talk has replaced hard news journalism. CBS, once the bastion of Murrow, Cronkite and investigative journalism, has succumbed to the plight of the modern cable newsinfotainment model when it hired a woman named Katie to read the news to her loyal fan base in order to create ratings so CBS News would not be put out to pasture. Grumpy old newsman Andy Rooney said it best; no one is really happy to see her join the news department. And Rooney is five train stops past sanity himself. If he realizes the Move for what it is, will the rest of America?
MARCH 13, 2006--- DATELINE: NEW 007: The name is Bonds. Barry Bonds. The San Fran Giant slugger should have retired last fall to become the new James Bond character. His life is just as melodramatic. Secret sinister corporate laboratories, designer drugs, high tech science in the hands of evil businessmen; oh, what a storyline for the dull, old British spy series. But would Barry fit into the button-down Bond suit shadow of a Connery or Bronsan? No, Bonds had turned into a cartoon character in the last few years; Popeye the Steroid Man, if the accusations in the latest book are true. Bonds denies he knowingly used steroids. The anti-media Bonds has done a 180 this spring by clowning around in front of the cameras. He is trying to reposition himself as a lovable character for a made-for-television reality series. The only reality series most old time baseball purists would want to see is a federal trial of the issue. But that is mostly lost because the chemists at BALCO copped a plea and Bonds was not forced into the daylight of open court to explain, under oath, his connection with the BALCO principals. Major league baseball will do nothing on this topic, a topic it has avoided until the threat from Congress to regulate the sport. Like the James Bond character, MLB takes Bonds with all his bad habits and warts because he puts people in the seats.
MARCH 13, 2006-- PORTS OF THE STORM: The political elitists in Washington missed the whole point of the UAE-Dubai Ports deal. The alleged outrage was that an Arab state would be controlling six eastern United States cargo ports. Well, glossed over in the initial story was that those ports were currently operated by the British! So foreign ownership of terminal operations must not have been prohibited, right? When the Bush administration stated that the UAE nation was an ally in the war against terror, his own party turned on him. The easy way out is that national security is at risk with a middle east connection. Except if one looks at the west coast, many terminals are operated by communist China!!! In economic circles, the dependence of foreign imports and foreign investment of trade deficit profits in US T-Bills is more a national security threat than a nuclear bomb. So if it is okay for China to dominate west coast terminal operations, why should an Arab company not be allowed to run the east coast ports? There is no logic in the political disconnection of this issue. The real scandal is that the American ports are mostly owned by local government entities, who have outsourced its operations to foreign nations. The hypocrisy of local pols demonizing American industry for outsourcing jobs overseas pales in comparison of giving their own ports to foreign competitors carte blanche.
MARCH 12, 2006 --- THE PURGATORY CALLED SOFTWARE UPGRADE: At times, upgrading system software is like putting the car in reverse after slamming it into a telephone poll. After putting in the 40 hour workweek by the end of Wednesday, it is not a good idea to attempt a major personal software upgrade in a zombie state. Leave that to the west coast caffeinated professionals. But the one man IT department must stumble in the dark; even if it means orphaning the sites for a week.
FEBRUARY 12, 2005 --- CHECKPOINT REALITY: As a practitioner of the cartoon arts, the reaction to the Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed, religion or terrorism is an outrage. Are those Arab protesters the same ones who cheered when the images of the Twin Towers fell? Are those people the same ones who cheer when innocent Arabs, Iraqis, Sunnis or Shiites are blown up by car bombs? The underlying issue is that the cartoonists hit a nerve like most editorial cartoons try to do with images instead of words. In American history, politicians hated the editorial cartoonists' pen on local corruption in an era when the average worker could not read or write. When a local pol was depicted as a money grubbing pig, the image stuck in the minds of the voters. Are these cartoon protesters the same people who say their religion cannot be subject to drawings while at the same time they cry for the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel?
FEBRUARY 11, 2006 - - - LOONEYVILLE: When ABC stopped its Monday Night Football program, its assigned broadcast crew were in ESPN limbo. NBC Sports takes over the Sunday Night game from ESPN. In this trading of game slots, the old MNF crew was reunited when NBC traded highlight rights and an obscure 1920s cartoon to ABC-Disney for the services of Al Michaels. Michaels may be the first broadcaster traded for a defunct cartoon character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Oswald was Walt Disney's precursor to Mickey Mouse, but he lost the rights to the character to Universal Studios. But trading a live person's contract for an old, out-of-date cartoon figure that no one under the age of 55 could remember?
FEBRUARY 5, 2006 - - - SUPER BOWEL CITY: The National Football League sets up its carnival showcase once a year. This year it landed in the urban rust mill of Detroit. After working billions in new television contracts, the powers that be announced that the NFL will be adding Thursday and Saturday night games to be telecast on its own cable channel, NFL. Talk about conflicts of interest. Talk about conflict with the leagues free minor league system, college football, who had those days as its showcases. The purpose of scheduling games on its own channel, the NFL is trying to make its ratings go higher (at the expense of its broadcast partners other programming). Since the NFL Channel has not been successful, owners will force games to it to make it successful. Rumor has it that over time the owners will push the entire schedule to the NFL Channel, forcing Americans to purchase a premium cable channel or home team game package. The greed to squeeze out all the pennies from the public could back fire on the owners. People rarely move in droves to watch games that they have seen for free. Besides, today's Super Bowl hyper-cast is expected to continue the decline in overall ratings. The general public burns out by the non-stop noise of how great something is (or was) so they will find something else to do. Like find an alternative: for those in the frozen plains of Chicago, a team did win EFL Super Bowl 12 (the old electronic football game played with plastic players on plastic sleds and that little felt football). Go Bears.
JANUARY 21, 2006 - - - ARIZOOMA: The Barrett-Jackson Collector Car auction concluded on Speed TV this afternoon. The auction has turned into a sheet metal shark feeding frenzy. Just as the boomers took the simple joy of collecting baseball cards into a commodity type hyper-investment, the boomers (ages 50-65) have decided to spend their children's inheritance on youthful fantasies unfulfilled (or multi-filled) by purchasing muscle cars for unbelievable prices. 1969 Camaros are now bringing vintage Corvette money; hundreds of thousands of dollars for what are still "used cars. These children of unlimited leverage spending habits may not know what a term Duesey means, but they have no problem spending one million dollars chasing, no, inflating, a dream. Cars that had only junkyard scrap value, or little old librarian name plates are selling like pieces of rare sculpture. In the real world, cars depreciate faster than fire place logs on a cold winter night. But this excessive circus is not reality; it is a testosterone laced hallucination dream.
JANUARY 20, 2006 - - - SNOW MASS, IL: After a loco parentis moment of a nephew's indoor soccer game, a quiet Friday evening should have been the plan. After only an hour or so of paternalism, it was noted that there was now 5 inches of wet snow on my car. A blizzard was dumping a ton of trouble. So I had to leave early in order to make it through the unplowed muni streets (it was a Friday night and no overtime in most budgets). The temp was perfect snowmaking 32 degrees. The sleet had gone from a half inch of slush into a hard packed inch of ice under the snow. It was almost white out visibility on the short trip home. The roads were not plowed; previous car ruts were useless because some fools had decided to straddle the middle of the road. One police car lit up part of the roadway to signal the demise of a late model Chevy which had skidded down a steep ditch. A normal three minute trip home took about twenty. Then it was wait to be plowed out on Saturday morning. The association has a contract for said services. There was 11 inches of hard snow on the ground. The plow came to my street at about 8 a.m., and actually started on my drive, then stopped, then came back, talked to another driver, left again, then came back to finish the driveway. It was frustrating that the plow operator kept leaving one job to go who-knows-where. Open the garage door to hand shovel the drift away from the opening. Then the roads were in customarily bad condition; maybe one plow near midnight, with several hours of post-plow snow covering the streets. Patches of roadway needed zamboni machines to cross. Most people hunkered down at home on Saturday morning which was the smart thing to do. The first major snow of 2006 ramped up the curses of a predicted warm winter.
JANUARY 6, 2006 - - - FAT CITY, USA: We're Number One!!! Yes, the White Sox are champions. The Bears won their weak division. But a men's magazine has declared CHICAGO the fattest city in America!! Woo Wooo-- groan . . . and Baltimore the fittest city!? Many Baltimores gaged on their deep fried crab cakes when hearing the news. Now, if the magazine was talking about Fat Cats, those privileged corrupt elite, then Chicago would win hands down with the amount of political corruption indictments in 2005. But this unscientific survey did nothing more than stop people from saying Supersize It for a day.
JANUARY 6, 2006 - - - PASADENA -- The Texas Longhorns walked into the National Championship at the end of the Rose Bowl because the Southern California coaching staff forgot to remind their defensive to scout Vince Young. Young, the quarterback, had run over the defense for 59 and one-half minutes. Why was there not one linebacker assigned to shadow Young? The endzone was flooded with receivers, and defensive players with their backs turned to the play - - it was a poor defense strategy that led to the Tex QB walk in for the final score. The national media spotlight was on Young over RB-FL Reggie Bush. But from a pro scout prospective, the best player at the Rose Bowl for a great career in the NFL was LenDale White, USC's other running back. USC QB Matt Leinart will probably be a better pro than Young, because Young dance stepped his way out of low tackles. In the pros, the tacking is through the middle and hard. In addition, Young's throwing mechanics are poor; the sidearm delivery will easily be blocked by the huge pro rushers.
DECEMBER 27, 2005--- WASHINGTON D.C. (District of Chaos): It is now official. More than one-half of the federal budget will be spent on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Welcome to the Socialist Nation of the United States of America.
DECEMBER 19, 2005--WHITE HOUSE FOX HOLE-- President Bush admits that he authorized a national security agency to easedrop on U.S. citizens under the providence of the War on Terror. The spying on American citizens was done without a warrant. Congress was outraged. There is no law that gives the President the authority to wipe out the 4th Amendment guarantees. He claims his staff lawyers believe that as Commander in Chief, he has the right to fight the war on terror on his terms. His advisors say there is no time to obtain a search warrant for this terrorism eavesdrops. One only needs a suspicion and a judge's signature to obtain a warrant. It is not a difficult exercise. And it can be kept secret. So there is no justifiable reason why the President can't follow regular search warrant procedures when it comes to investigating U.S. citizens.
DECEMBER 9, 2005 --- IN THE IGLOO-- 2005 is rushing to the end. You can see the Wall just ahead of you, but you have to speed up to hit it quicker and harder. It took more than an hour to travel 2.0 miles last evening. The forecast of one to two inches of snow turned into a seven inch gridlock. The snow arrived at 2 p.m., but government officials claimed that they could not get a handle on clearing the snow before rush, I mean, snail hour(s). Most streets were first plowed 24 hours later. Except the one block of non-descript, non-artery, backroad street where someone important must reside.
NOVEMBER 10, 2005-- WILL IT PLAY IN PEORIA, IL?-- The NCAA has determined that it is not politically correct for the Bradley University to have its sports nickname, the Braves, in any post-season tournament. We assume that that the college presidents have something against bravery. But no, it is an offensive Indian nickname. However, more powerful schools, like Florida State, get to keep their nickname, the Seminoles. Well, if Bradley has to change its Indian nickname, then we suggest the students change their sports teams to THE SERIAL KILLERS. Is that less offensive? Or how about THE CANNIBALS. Your nickname is supposed to invoke Fear in your opponent, right? Or how about one of those new fangled nickname slogans, the Bradley INCURABLE DISEASES. That would get some attention in the sports pages. This is just another example of some organization trying to impose its opinion or philosophy on someone else. Bradley should not have to change anything. Go Braves. And we have no affiliation to the school.
NOVEMBER 3, 2005 -- THE 19th TEE-- Professional Golf is trying to drive itself into its winter recess like NASCAR?? Marketing mavens gone amok, again. The PGA wants to realign its tournament schedules to create a Chase for the Championship similar to what NASCAR is attempting in giving the last 10 races to the season's Top 10 drivers. Professional golf's foundation is the locally run and sponsored tournaments. The gold standard of the game is low score wins the gold. Prize money equates to prestige. Prize money equates to success. Prize money equates to keeping your tour playing privileges (the Top 125 earn the right to compete next season). So to put in an artificial component of points makes no sense to the golf's purists. NASCAR's race to the end of the season doesn't enhance its product or ratings; racing is racing. Golf should remain golf.
SEPTEMBER 27, 2005-- ON A GIVEN SUNDAY-- On September 25, 2005, a first in Chicago sports occurred with little fanfare. The Second City, with more than a century of sports in its history books, had the schedule makers in knots. For the first time in history, all four major professional teams were playing on the same day -- at home. The Bears, Cubs, White Sox and Blackhawks. In a town not cut by geographic boundries, a Bear town, the football team was the only one to lose that day -- horribly to the lowly Bengals.
SEPTEMBER 27, 2005-- CHARLESTON -- Next month turns the final big number homecoming anniversary. One goes to homecomings to a) re-live a good moment; b) exorcize a bad memory; and c) create a new memory. But with passing years of expanded work schedules, family commitments and the back-log of projects that need resolution, the hook of the Last Homecoming is always in doubt.
SEPTEMBER 15, 2005-- WASHINGTON, D.C. (District of Confusion)-- The Roberts Supreme Court confirmation hearings ended as Washingtonians expected, with little actual factual information on the nominee, generalizations, and political sound-bite grandstanding to the television cameras. No one knows how Judge Roberts will rule in the future. His record is sparse on how he had ruled in the past as an appellate judge. But that is the country-club parlor game that political power elite, Congress and the White House, plays in these types of situations. The Democrats bellow about a conservative overturning liberal court doctrine. The conservatives want a commitment of conservative values from the bench. Roberts' non-answer answers could not have helped quell the fears of either ideology. With a stealth nominee, Bush may have pushed through a moderate justice in the guise of sheepish conservativism. This would create a vicious cry of betrayal by the right wing against the lame duck president. With no answers, the Democrats have no political pull to create a fear campaign to get cross-over votes against Roberts. Is he qualified to be a justice? Yes, but so is the 5,000th driver passing through the Pennsylvania Turnpike on the Labor Day Weekend. Will he make an impact? Yes, he will be on the court for 20 years. His 1/9th vote on matters in the last resort is extremely powerful -- no matter what individuals, legislators or chief executives do --- in the end it must pass the approval of nine people in robes in Washington.
AUGUST 28, 2005--Chez Pablo -- The Annual Cricket Matches have been going on for the past four weeks. The current score is 7-6-2. This is not the British colonial sport. This is crickets invading the homestead. This year they arrived early and water buffalo size. Crickets 8, Homeowner 6 and Spiders 2. The latter is for the Spiders killing those crickets that get into the house that I don't take out. I know that there are some Asian cultures who find crickets as good luck or good fortune, but when these devils start chirping orchestral bellows at 2 a.m. I need my sleep, luck be damned.
AUGUST 21, 2005-- A white late model expensive car pulls into the office parking lot last week. This is not unusual. People drop into the office without appointments all the time. After a minute or two, the car backs out and leaves. This is not unusual, some drivers pull in the lot to turn around. But walking by the front door, I noticed a huge stain on the parking lot. The driver had pulled into our lot and spilled a large coffee onto our pavement? Then a secretary said it may be puke. It was before noon on a weekday!!! Someone drives by our lot to projectile vomit on the pavement, then speed off? Due to the high temperatures, it baked solid on the asphalt. A day later, a short storm cleared some of the mess; but in reality probably rehydrated the pile until it was rebaked the next day.
AUGUST 14, 2005-- Welcome back, children of the corn--- It has been a teeth grinding weak (mis-spelled on purpose) at the home computer lab as my machines have decided to go haywire and crash after updating the system software to run a more current and stable browser. Well, after a week of running the 440 backwards, I had to reinstall the computer's original software operating system from the disc in the box. This means I have to reinstall all the old software apps, or upon clicking on an icon; reverify the serial number for the program. For the web site software, I was in panic to find the five year box to find a serial number. So I am only semi-back to updating the pindermedia empire; contemplating the next techno-war battle.
JULY 17, 2005 -- CHEZ PABLO-- Remember when the cable operators descended on suburbia with the notion of hundreds of clear channels? Well, my local cable channels have turned into snowy, fuzzy old UHF signal from the 1960s. The Comcast repair van appears to be anchored next to a junction box a few blocks away. But in order to get a clear picture of the British Open, I have to watch it with the over-the-air tele.
JUNE 9, 2005--- TORONTOISMS-- There was a large bluejay in the front evergreen at the office this week. Bluejays are large, colorful birds. They have a nasty temperment; they are territorial and keep pigeons from roosting. His arrival was the exact day of the first Cubs-Blue Jays game at Wrigley Field. The Blue Jays won. The next day, the office bluejay returned his his evergreen. With an smirky expression. On that day, the Blue Jays again defeated the Cubs. Thinking that there are patterns to nature, we had the landscapers mow down almost every tree in the backyard. Three days of non-stop chain sawing, chipping and stump grinding. We were surprised that the Sierra Club did not immediately set up shop in the street with a protest. But the Cubs won the last game of the set. After the backyard forest canopy was removed, and sunlight emerged to the ground for the first time in decades, the bluejay returned; confused. The habitat had been clear cut. The squirrels were no where to be seen; the robins are bouncing along the ground trying to find where their brush nests had gone. The sparrows are huddled in the window sills wondering what the heck just happened. Radical change is possible.
MAY 29, 2005 -- 500 MILES FROM INDY-- I turned on the Great American Race by accident. No one really watches IRL/CART racing since the nasty team divorce divide. NASCAR has lapped the other forms of American racing. So I turn on the tube and I see Danica Patrick, the poster girl-hope for the sport comeback, spin and wreck a few cars. So I go over to the family BBQ for the rest of the day. As the event unwinds, the television is being surfed and lands on the final laps of the race, with Patrick suddenly leading on fumes. The viewers were equally divided between the girls can do anything camp and the she'll run out of gas camp. Her lead quickly evaporated since she failed to pit with the others in order to take the lead. It was a gamble. All racing is a risk-reward equation. So Patrick finished four her in first race at the Brickyard. Instead of interviewing the winner, the first Brit since Graham Hill won the race in the 1960s, the media mobbed Patrick for her comments. The modern marketing lesson is that you don't have to succeed in order to be successful; she was the story before the race and it was carried through after the race. What was the name of the racer who won?
MAY 5, 2005--HUBBLE TELESCOPE-- Today is one of those cosmic numeric days. 05-05-05. The rare numeric date line. In college an advisor spent the day explaining the significance of 5-6-78; how rare the sequence of numbers are in a calendar. We pass this meaningless information around since Rod Serling is unable to put it in the twilight zone.
APRIL 16, 2005-- WINGFOOT-- One can tell in suburbia that the city's beaches are not open. The gulls have moved to the suburban shopping centers like a casting call for a Hitchcock movie. Any place where errant garbage could collect, there is a flock of shrilling gulls wind surfing over parked cars. No one has been dive bombed . . . yet.
APRIL 8, 2005-- GASSED AT THE PUMP-- Americans have a short memory in most things. Most will have forgotten or never lived through the gasoline shortage of the 1970s. Long lines of cars, near riots at gas stations, rationing petro, price freezes, and no political solution. We put that bad memory in the rear view mirror of history. Today, I was running the car on fumes so I had to pull into the local gas station. In goes the nozzle; up comes the chest pains. At two dollars forty-three cents for nine-tenths of a gallon, the pump spun like wheel of fortune to a grand total of $40.05. This is not one of those motorized fuel tankers rapped up into a urban SUV sheet metal skirt; my car is a sedan!! Forty dollars for a fill-up is beyond record shattering, it is headache inducing vertigo spinning economic voodoo.
MARCH 8, 2005 -- AWOL -- Aspirating Warm Offensive Lungbutter. There are three different strains of sickness running through the suburbs. Headache fever flu. Stomach flu. Hacking cough flu. Nasty bugs that are whipping families into walking zombie cults. That is why there has been a lag time between updates. The involuntary injunction has been lifted.
FEBRUARY 26, 2005-- FROZEN PRESERVES-- It was a balmy 33 degrees in the northwest suburbs today. You can tell how bankrupt the county forest preserve is when the municipal golf course was open today. There were golfers wandering down the brown fairways and frozen greens. The county must be desperate to find even the few dollars from the golf diehards.
JANUARY 23, 2005-- The news has swamped the cable news channels today. Johnny Carson had died at the age of 79. Wall to wall coverage of the legacy of a man who retired from broadcasting in 1992 began within minutes of the AP wire story hitting the news producers computer screen. During his time, Carson's program was the most powerful television show. A booking on the Tonight Show could make or break a career. Ed Sullivan had the same control during television's early days. Late night television today is a watered down form of the original programs of Steve Allen or Jack Paar. Carson inherited the space and refined the late night format. It was really a variety-comedy-talk show where a wide variety of people interacted with the host. Today's late night hosts are more comic bits and celebrity promotional filler than the Carson Tonight Show. Carson learned from the masters of vaudeville timing like Jack Benny to create his own self deprecating style, hubris and comic double takes. He was must-see television before NBC formally adopted the term for its 1980s sit coms. It is another chapter closing the era of long time stage performers and early broadcast pioneers who changed the culture of the country. I recall some nights working late at the campus paper, we would get out late and rush to the nearest off-campus apartment for a beer and the Carson monologue. Today, Carson was compared to Mark Twain as his generation's satirist. This was probably true. Most Gen Xers never saw Carson perform. The Tonight Show starring Carson was never put into rerun syndication. They may have seen one of those infomericals selling vintage Tonight Show tapes. They probably confuse the spots with the Dean Martin or Carol Burnett video pitches. But if you want to see the pinnacle of late night television, then you should probably should view one of those Tonight Show videos. Current late show programs are merely a watered down version of the originals.
JANUARY 22, 2005-- It has probably been at least 25 years since my last snow day. Chicago got socked with its first nasty blizzard storm (large snowfall and whipping wins). The six to twelve inch snowfall by morning prediction led to calling clients Friday to reschedule today's appointments for later. It began snowing feverishly around 7 p.m. I was out at my brother's house, because my 8 year old nephew is into Texas Hold Em. He wanted to have his own family tournament. He recalls my story of my large cash games during high school study hall. So I had to teach him the lessons of winning and losing. By 9 p.m., there was at least three inches of drifting snow around my car. The road home was untouched by civil servant plows. There were no navigational ruts; just white out conditions. So with the first snow day in ages, I can stay at the homestead and catch up on old projects, start some new ones, finish some overdue ones, then start some new ones until the plows come by to dig the neighborhood out.
JANUARY 9, 2005-- The first week of the New Year was hectic. If real work was not enough, it was time to dive into several personal projects. One involved the new home computer workstation (details of which are at cyberbarf.com), and the other the new DV camcorder. The old 35 mm SLR camera has gone through the wars, had children poke fingers in the lens, and most recently, dropped to the floor. So it was time to get a digital camera. In a five points intersection of the mind, the relevation came to get a camcorder with digital snap capability. So I did. The first effort was the family Christmas party, in which 27 people are crushed into the living room with the sights and sounds of post-hurricane weather channel special report. So the test case for cameraman operation was that event. So after filling a tape, it became apparent that it must be viewed, edited then shown to the family members. So Friday night after work, the cables were connected and in true Mac fashion, just dove into the project to create a DVD of the holidays. In one long evening, it was completed. It is quite stunning that a novice can put together a functional movie to archive a family event without much real trouble.
The DVD project was the second project completed last week. The other dealt with breaking the immediate addiction to Apple's latest consumer fun software program, Garageband. You click on the guitar icon and then you are your own vertically integrated recording empire. So I pieced together a 60 minute audio music CD in less than 6 days. Now, since the programs are cross-compatiable, one can soundtrack one's own movies, too. We'll save that for the next project; I need to get some sleep.
DECEMBER 31, 2004 -- It turned into a balmy 55 degrees in suburban Chicago today. Most workers took the day off (or week) for the holiday season. The lines at the stores were packed with patrons seeking merchandise returns. But cruising down Ela Road, I had to do a double take at the Highland Woods forest preserve landscape. The public golf course was open! And doing banner business. The groups were backed up three deep on the 18th hole. To open a course for the cabin fever golf nut crowd takes a special reason. It has nothing to do with the weather; the county is in a budget crisis and every penny counts against the growing deficit.
DECEMBER 4, 2004--Also on the chemical beat, sports pages teed up Major League Baseball with the leaked grand jury testimony of Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds. Giambi allegedly admitted to taking illegal steroids and human growth hormone. Bonds allegedly said he did not know what was in the clear and the cream. Baseball players association joined ownership in reacting to the story (as depicted in these pages in 2002):
DECEMBER 2, 2004--PHARMACY CITY, USA-- It was reported today that 44 percent of Americans take prescription medication daily. One in six persons takes three or more prescriptions. Approximately 25 percent of persons under age 18 take a prescription daily. No wonder there has been a significant decrease in civility, common sense and collective manners. Almost half the nation is goofed up on gop!
OCTOBER 22, 2004-- LEDGE CITY-- Both the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs were five outs from the World Series in 2003. Both clubs collapsed in playoffs that season. In 2004, both teams were predicted to win it all; but both sank from first place during the season. The Cubs traded for Boston's most known All-Star, Nomar Garciaparra, in order to fire up the team for the wild card race. But the Cubs failed. The Red Sox were three outs away from going home against the Yankees, but the team won four games in a row on life support. So many baseball fans were on the edge (or ledge if in New York) last week that the revenge of the 1967 Series, St. Louis-Boston will be anti-climatic.
OCTOBER 11, 2004 -- Hollyweird, CA-- Two puppets bouncing off each other gets an NC-17 rating? Such was the fate of the new South Park creator's new movie, Team America, World Police. The producers had to cut the puppet romance scene in order to get an R rating. It was okay, because they still offend just about everyone and blow up a lot of stuff.
SEPTEMBER 27,2004--- IN THE MEDIAN ON ROUTE 31-- I don't think I own a t-shirt with the words ROADKILL ROAD SERVICE. However, in the midst of a busy week, I am called into duty of running tailgunner, battery jumper as my brother-in-law attempts to get his dying SUV to the dealer for repairs. His Ford byproduct is not holding or recharging the battery so when he drives his truck, it fades then dies. So I begin to follow him on his post-work run in the dark to the dealer. Everything appears to go well but about four miles from home, I come up behind his dead beast. I get into the marked median next to the turn lane and hook up the jumper cables. I recharge the battery for several minutes while my brother-in-law is on the phone to the dealer making sure that they will be open and that he has a loaner. After fifteen minutes of chitchat and traffic crawling around our mid-lane blockade, he fires up the truck, while I do the NASCAR pit action of pulling the cables and slamming his hood shut. He is off in a flash while I upcable and store the equipment. A police car then pulls up asking if I am having trouble. I explain that I just jumped a car and are heading for the dealership. I am several minutes behind him when I get through the Route 31 light heading for McHenry. Many miles pass and I don't see his truck by the side of the road. Maybe he will make it. I pass Route 176 and am into the hilly rural aspects of the journey. Motoring along at 55 mph, as I come across a curve I see the flash in a business driveway of my brother-in-law's white shirt. As I speed by his dead as a doorknob truck, I find another driveway and do a 180 to return to the gravel shoulder to recharge the battery. He had coasted a half mile when the battery faded to nothing and the engine stalled. Ten more minutes of charging, then the jump routine. He is off while I gather the cables again. It is only five more miles to the dealership. So I follow again. As I get into town, there is the truck abandoned in another medium strip. But this time it was parked; he must have known it was almost dead so he stopped. It fired one last time, and he pulled into the lot near the service doors. I suspect it was the alternator not charging the battery. Who knows? I am no mechanic--- just one of those Baja style roaming pit crews.
SEPTEMBER 20, 2004-- CNN's Coop Anderson was lamenting the fact that the candidates have not held press conferences. Instead, they have gone onto soft news or talk shows. He then said maybe the candidates could meet together on a cooking show, and then a graphic showed up on the screen in Iron Chef suits. Hey! THE REAL NEWS was already there buddy---- check out the New Real News Komix, IRON CANDIDATE!!!
AUGUST 20, 2004 -- X MARKS THE SPOT--- Who would have believed that there would be more interest in THE X-GAMES than the Olympics?
JULY 15, 2004-- ATHENS GREASE--- The Olympics in Athens this summer may be its End. The ancient sports ritual meeting of diverse athletes was to diffuse the war-like nature of Man. It was a unique venue for distant peoples to come together not to fight but to compete for honor. Peacefully. This summer's event is clouded not in those ideals, but the fear that terrorists (domestic and international) will attack the patrons because it will be on global television. Many athletes and sports writers have declined invitations to attend for security reasons. But if one looks at the commercialization of the event, and the fact that most nations compete yearly in most sports events, many at the professional level, the Olympics have lost its purpose. The event costs billions of dollars to host. Government debt that drains resources for a generation in some nations. The Olympics have been frought with scandals. The stories about the event overshadow the sports events. It has not been suggested that this year's Olympics be the last; but may be it should be considered.
JULY 14, 2004 -- Cook, Kane, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, Whiteside, Bureau, Henry and Knox. I drove through ten Northern Illinois counties on Friday on a road trip which should have had its own Time Zone. It was a backroads Road Trip in which we could see the corn stalks starting to be cut for the early harvest. It was the backroads where a man on his John Deere can put along Main Street and pull into the local gas-food mart for a coffee and cigs to go. It was the backroads where the towns tolls up their streets at 12 o'clock. In our urban parts, we call that noon.
JUNE 15, 2004 --MONT POTATO PEILER-- The anti-Walmart development craze has surpassed the environmental lobby in bizarre brain dead consequences. The State of Vermont wants to declare itself a national historic landmark to avoid the bland-box Walmarts of the world from building concrete blocks in their quaint little towns. The problem with this solution is that once a property is a landmark, you cannot change any aspect of it without express governmental permission. So the people are in essence giving away most of their property rights to the government in exchange for not allowing a national department store from selling them bargain merchandise? If you want to paint your landmark house, you will have to conform to the current historical look. If you want to build a garage on your property, you may be out of luck because historically your property had no out buildings. Besides, its the views that the State wants to maintain, so no second story on the ranch. Real estate ownership is one of the United States most valuable individual rights. Government should not be allowed to interfere with a person's property rights or add undue burdensome regulations. If the State wants to declare itself off-limits to development, then that would preclude all development, including government regulation of routine maintenance of existing structures. The founding fathers would have been appalled by such a notion.
CHICAGO (6/7/04)--It was a balmy and breezy night on the North Side. The taverns were crowded with pre-game eating and drinking. Complimentary SCORES passes were being distributed door to door. It was a quiet but festive mood. But that changed into a dulling, dentist drilling office visit. The wind was blowing directly to left field. Glendon Rusch made two bad pitches, each landing over the left field wall for home runs. The whole mood of the ballpark was that of a South American hangover. People were reposed for much of the game, there was plenty of eye candy wandering up and down the aisle, and the pitchers were not wasting any time between pitches. Corey Patterson went from hero to goat in about an hour. First, he skied a pop up to short left center that was blown into the basket. I remarked that the Cubs could turn off the hurricane fans in the parking lot now. Shortly thereafter, there was a pop to short center. Walker went back pedaling and fighting the wind. Instead of Patterson backing up the play, he continues to jog in toward the dugout--- nearly reaching second base before Walker barely lunges and catches the ball for the final inning out. The most remarkable thing about the game was the overall laissez faire demeanor of the players. The Cardinals took there positions on the field in a slow turtle approach, at many times, players were just reaching their positions when Chris Carpenter, the pitcher, had completed his last warm up toss. And the fundamentals were clearly lacking. No batter wanted to wait for a pitch. No batter wanted to work a count. There were more stabbing at the ball a foot off the plate than solid contact. In the end, Patterson came up and turned his strike zone from head to toe. The first pitch was behind his neck, but he swung away anyway, looking like a 95 year old seizure victim being attacked by fire ants. None of the pitches thrown to him was close to the strike zone, but he windmilled the last two. Then got booed. The bonehead play of the game had to go to Jose Macias. The play before, he had to hold up at third on a single to center because Jim Edmonds fired the ball to the cut off man on the line. Then the next batter loops a lazy Texas leaguer in short center, and Edmonds, with full momentum behind him, fires a laser to home plate getting Macias out by a third of the basebath. I don't think Wendall Kim told him to run because Macias had his head down before the catch. There was a post-game remark about that play, with someone indicating that the game was going to be tied. At the time, the Cubs were down by one run and after the 8-2 double play, still down one run. No one on the Cub bench is preaching any fundamentals-- whether it be fielding, baserunning or hitting. All three basic tenets of the game were violated last evening. The only bright spot was Kyle Farnsworth's performance against Scott Rolen, who previously homered off Rusch. First pitch, 97 mph fastball strike. Second pitch, 98 mph fastball, strike. Third pitch, 99 mph fastball strike. That's closer material; going up the ladder to a hitter and challenging him.
MAY 30, 2004 -- THE PITTS IN BURGH --- It is sometimes not what happens but how it happens. The Chicago Cubs, the media and fan preseason world serious champion, lost a doubleheader to the Pirates in the most gut carving fashion. First, on a bottom of the ninth grand slam. Second, another home run in the bottom of the ninth to tie and a walk-off homer in the tenth for the win. The injury plagued Cub ship is not listing at sea, it is scraping the bottom as the team fell to the bottom of the Central division standings (below that AAA team called the Brewers).
MAY 15, 2004-- A WASH IN D.C.-- The turning point in the hypocrisy of American politics occurred when the Federal Elections Commission decided not to enforce the campaign reform laws for this presidential election. Congress had passed campaign reform legislation to ban soft money influence in federal elections. Most believed that it was a public relations vote only because the terms of the laws infringed on free speech. But the Supreme Court surprised them when it upheld the law as constititutional. This was the last thing the two major parties wanted to hear -- the Supreme Court restricting the use of outside organizations spending an unlimited amount of money on opponent attack ads under the guise of issue speech. So the FEC, controlled by Republicans and Democrats, decided that it would not enforce the new law against soft money. The commission claimed that it could not draft its rules in time. Except, the law was black and white: no soft money. So the politicial spin is that the incumbents can claim victory over campaign spending limits, but at the same time, let the old campaign finance, special interest loophole to continue on as business as usual.
APRIL 29, 2004--THE SUBURBAN JUNGLE-- Last week, a female mallard duck was in the office backyard. It is a large unused portion of the property. She was very still like a decoy. She would not move. Then once in a while, she would tilt her head so her large eyeball would look upward toward the roof. We thought this was odd behavior. After several times observing this glance, I decided to go outside to see what she could be looking at on the roof. I went out the front door and looked up at the Cape Cod roofline. On the middle of the roof ridge, with its flat feet balancing like a surfer, was a large male Mallard. The male was on sentry duty. I had never heard or seen duck behavior like this before at the office. A day later, at home, as I was leaving my complex, I saw two large honking Canadian geese standing on the neighbors roofline. Then I put it all together. In the past three months, the suburbs have been filled with coyote, fox and wolf sightings. In Lake County to the north, the sighting of two cougars has been in the news. I have seen a fox (twice) and one wolf scramble between the houses near sunset since January. It is apparent that the game birds are trying to set up sentry positions to warn their flocks of possible danger. Then last night, I think my theory was put into practice. At midnight, there was a fierce honking from near the pond behind the neighbors house. Normally, the geese are silent at dusk, but that night I believe one geese had his goose cooked by a carnivore. In this new ecology, it appears that all levels of the food chain are adapting to the new rules of prey.
April 15, 2004 -- FISH FRY--It has to be the greatest week for a baseball player. Historic. Florida pitcher Dontrelle Willis is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA. Perfect. He also is perfect at the plate, batting 1.000. He also has a slugging percentage of 1.667. Ruthian. Of course, he is an ex-Cub.
APRIL 2, 2004-- NEW YORK-- On most scorecards, an 11-1 decision would be a huge victory or a huge defeat depending on which side of the bench you are on. But in the criminal justice system, an 11-1 vote for conviction that leads to a mistrial is a huge victory for the defense. The former Tyco executives trial ended in a mistrial today after a week of one juror refusing to deliberate, allegedly giving an okay sign to the defense table, and the judge inferring that an outside influence (a threating letter) has tainted the jury lead to a mistrial. Six months of trial time has been nullified by the decision. Court watchers are aghast at the proceeding; the inference of something odd about the jury deliberations. Jurors now are thinking they can get on a high profile case and get their 15 minutes of fame, or even a book deal, if they play their cards right. The nation will never know what happened to this jury. We know that it equates to a massive waste of time and resources. Eight to 12 civil cases could have been tried during that time period. Instead, they back up the court's trial docket. The prosecution has to retry the case. The defense now has a second bite at the litigation apple; it has seen and heard all of the prosecution's evidence and now can further define their cross-examinations and legal theories of the case.
MARCH 31, 2004-- SUNSET ON THE BRITISH EMPIRE-- When one thinks of the British way of doing things, or British style, it is the calm composure of a gentlemen who can handle any adversity with skill, charm and wit. Two British icons passed this week. First, Peter Ustinov, the actor who portrayed the British low key comedy to a master artform. Second, Alistar Cooke, the journalist who taught America, in his brilliant, quaint, storytelling style, more about itself than America ever knew. In today's Jerry Springer-mad dog political pundit screaming matches on television, more and more people are losing any frame of reference on how civilized people should act.
MARCH 17, 2004-- THE GREEN RIVER-- The Illinois primary was a mere afterthought in the national media. Not worthy of a footnote on the prime time cable newscasts. Kerry and Bush are the chosen candidates. Let the negative ads begin. But Bush will abandon Illinois to the feuding Democratic tribes in the Land of Lincoln. Kerry, short on cash like most Eastern liberals, will also avoid spending money in Illinois because he will not have to campaign here. The Green River of Cash will flow around the third largest media market to the battleground states.
MARCH 5, 2004-- NEW YORK-- Clinton lied under oath and to a grand jury. He made the public statement he did not have relations on national television. He was never tried or punished for his lies. Martha Stewart proclaimed she did nothing wrong with her stock sale, and that denial was a criminal charge against her. Stewart was tried. Clinton was not. Why? Clinton was "likable" and Martha "not well liked?" The only consequence of Clinton's actions was that he lost his Arkansas law license. Like he was going to toil in his briefs after the presidency; that is legal briefs. Martha is going to jail, and her company may tank; all in the alleged attempt to save a few bucks she will lose millions.
FEBRUARY 26, 2004--THE MEDIA SPOTLIGHT IN CHICAGO--
FEBRUARY 19, 2004--FRISCO--It may be the biggest scam since the sale of the Brooklyn Bridge to new immigrants on Ellis Island. What is most confusing is the media and politicians miscommunication on the subject. The San Francisco mayor declared his city would be granting gay marriage licenses. Last weekend, city hall was rushed with couples wanting to legally marry. Or so the world is lead to believe. The problem is that city hall does not issue marriage licenses, the county clerk is the authority. Further, state law does not allow same-sex unions; marriage is defined as a bond between a man and a woman of consenting age. But the mayor has bolstered the idea of having marriage in all the news releases because the national media hypes the story. Trying to find what is really happening is obscure. On the San Francisco city website, the link on marriage licenses gets one to the county clerk's office which clearly describes marriage as being the traditional man-woman ceremony. There is no such thing as a gay marriage license. Gays keep demanding that they should have the same rights of other couples. However, if two people want to partner, so to speak, there are numerous ways to legally contract to do so. You could write a partnership agreement or hold property in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship. You could leave your property to your partner in your last will and testament. You can name your partner as a beneficiary on your life insurance. So there are existing legal means to the end of transferring or conveying property to another without the sham of a piece of paper from city hall. What California does have is domestic partnership registration form which is a simple document which states that two people are domestic partners. For $35, you register this document, in essence, memorializing an general partnership agreement. The clerk's office clearly states this is not a marriage license. However, the authorities can give you a commitment ceremony after registration, for an additional fee. So the mayor's office may be touting the domestic partnership registration and a meaningless ceremony as marriage when it certainly does not qualify as one. But the media continues to tell the story that people are lining up and getting marriage licenses from city hall. If that is the case, then the mayor's office is photocopying meaningless paper certificates in bulk to anyone who wants there name typed in the blanks. Thousands of people have done so already; several hundred thousand dollars have been collected by the government. This is the biggest, open and notorious scam so far in this century. The mayor is luring other people to come to San Fran and spend money on a worthless piece of paper. People are leaving city hall proclaiming that they are married. But they are not! For more than two decades we have told the world that the real reason that homosexuals have gone public and demanded special legislation is not about recognition of their lifestyle or equity principles; it is about health insurance. Their high risk lifestyle made then targets of an incurable HIV/AIDS epidemic. Instead of changing their lifestyles, they wanted some else to pay the insurance and medical care. Employment health care plans cover spouses of employees, not domestic partners. This week one couple finally admitted to this reason--- that they wanted full employment benefits (i.e. health insurance coverage). They equate the alleged marriage license to mean that they are spouses entitled to insurance coverages and employee benefits. But even the California domestic partners legislation clearly states that the registration does not grant any such privileges. Only if an employer wants to voluntarily cover other persons than husbands or wives could a gay couple qualify for such benefits. But the vast majority of insurance companies would drop employment plans rather than cover such expensive risks. A vast majority of employers would cancel group health insurance plans than to pay outrageous premium increases for such coverage. No one has a right to health insurance. But if the mayor and the media continue to pound away calling this scam a marriage, then they believe the general public will be dumb enough to agree. However, the backlash from the Massachusetts Supreme Court's advisory opinion has been very strong; many states are adopting constitutional amendments that define marriage in its traditional meaning. According to the Old World Dictionary, marriage means the relation between a man and a woman who have become husband and wife.
FEBRUARY 3, 2004--GOOSE KILL, NY-- Prior to the Super Bowl, the NFL was upset with ABC/ESPN in regard to the Playmakers television series. Now, the NFL is upset with CBS for the half-time show. Those networks paid hundreds of millions of dollars to get the broadcast rights. NBC is on the sidelines ready to jump back in to fray. Will a broadcaster's arrogance kill the golden goose of sports programming?
JANUARY 18, 2004--DYERSVILLE, IOWA-- The Field of Dreams is buried in the snows of winter. A cold winter. A bitter winter. The Democrats have landed in the cornfield tundra. Each has to view the landscape like the prospects on Mars. With the first two primaries this week, it is the media game of expectations verus the actual winner. The actual winner rarely wins these first contests; he is usually the second place finisher who suddenly gains media respect as an alternative, viable candidate to the previous tired front runner. Dormant in the winter fields are the seeds of the disjointed Democratic party. Each fraction of the national party has splintered to their own candidate. The special interests are not united; it is an internal power play for the national party organization for the next decade. Dean represents the outsiders. Gephardt represents the unions. Kerry represents the old Eastern liberals. Lieberman represents the Jewish bloc. Edwards represents the new South democrat. Clark represents the DNC old guard/Clinton administration. The top four candidates have about 20% of the poll data so far; it is a dead heat in Iowa. The final candidate to run against Bush is not concerned with winning in November; he is determined to solidify power of the party and control the pursestrings for 2008. That is why the creepy cornermen in this boxing assault, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, are so involved in the fray as non-candidates. If their candidate does not prevail, they are to be pushed aside by the new guard.
DECEMBER 31, 2003-- MOBILE-- Yesterday, I traversed five different Northern Illinois counties (Cook, Lake, Kane, Dupage and Kendall) for business. It used to be an internet map was all one needed to get around; but this time the exact destination direction (without limitation) was more than a few miles off. Save goes to the mobile phone for the final approach for that appointment. Then this evening on the way home from the office, I pass under two separate street lights (miles apart, in different villages). Each time as I pass underneath, the streetlight explodes and dims to darkness. Then after returning to Chez Pablo, five minutes after exiting the garage, the townhouse shakes with the sound vibration of the garage door opening on its own. This year ends on odd electrical impulses of weirdness.
DECEMBER 28, 2003-- PERSONAL SPIDER HOLE-- December usually is the worst month as the expedited workload has a short deadline. Complicating matters was a weird upload funk that this site had with the Internet Explorer browser. I think we have that issue resolved at this time. The overset drawer is bulging with cartoons; there are THREE different Real News editions in progress (which makes no sense). The next issue will have the most expensive cover in the history of the zine. That should hold your attention for a couple weeks.
DECEMBER 11, 2003-- NEW WORK, NJ--- New Jersey is holding its first Bear hunt in 33 years. Too bad Cook County will not allow scammed season ticket holders their own Bear hunt after their football team's continued incompetence and losing record.
NOVEMBER 28, 2003-- ON LINE-- Millions of Americans wasted millions of hours in line today as the official start of the holiday shopping season began on Friday. This mass chaos, pushing and shoving is the American equivalent of looting with a conscious.
NOVEMBER 28, 2003 --STOCKHOLM-- Swedish GDP Soars! It was reported today the gross domestic product of Sweden has soared on the news of Elin Nordegren's engagement to golfer Tiger Woods. Prenup or International Trade Treaty?
NOVEMBER 28, 2003-- There is a Grand Marquis lurking around town like a dangerous shark. He pulls out into traffic slowly, can never seem to stop without going into an intersection, and motors around at half the posted speed limit. It is apparent that the driver has no depth perception, no sense of stopping distance or timing.
NOVEMBER 8, 2003-- It was attempting to SNOW this afternoon as I left work. Snow?!! And guess who is being roped into playing golf tomorrow morning in the sub-freezing tundra setting? The Pneumonia Open. This will answer the age old question: how many layers of clothing really does restrict the backswing?
OCTOBER 24, 2003-- POST SO CAL-- Upon returning to Chicago, the news reports are filled with wildfire infernos throughout California, including the political tempest in San Francisco, and King Arnold's first meeting with the current court jester, Gray Davis. Oh, how twenty-four hours can turn the world upside down.
OCTOBER 23, 2003--SO CAL-- Upon the return from the Kingdom of Arnold, it is interesting to report that in the four days in Southern California there was not one news story on the next Gov, Arnold the First. The circus of the recall election is over, so the masses think the movie is over and it is time to go to the beach. Have the sun bake the brain cells to a french fry crispness.
OCTOBER 18, 2003-- THE CHICAGO & BOSTON RAILROAD BOX CAR-- People do not believe that there is a collective pysche, a world force, that can change events by intense thoughts. Scientists revealed that they connected a monkey to a computer and the monkey's mental thoughts made objects move. Fact? Fiction? Hoax? Who knows what puts people or events on that strange twist of fate? The Cubs were five outs away with a three run lead from going to the World Series. The Red Sox were five outs away with a three run lead from going to the World Series. Both teams went down to bitter defeats. Both fan bases cursed their curses; the Cubs, the Curse of the Goat, and the Red Sox, the Curse of the Bambino. But what were the odds of both cursed teams losing in THE EXACT SAME FASHION within 24 hours of each other? Astrologists, numerologists and Satan himself could not have aligned the planets in such a way to create that result. Could the collective fandom from each team thought too much of the DOOM of losing to actually create the losses? At what intersection in history do the Cubs and Sox cross? 1918. The teams met in the 1918 World Series. Boston won, leaving the Cubs last championship in 1908. The Red Sox have not won a championship since 1918, the second longest losing streak in baseball lore. It was that series that Red Sox pitcher Babe Ruth shut out the Cubs. He was then traded to the rival Yankees for cash. What possible other explanation is there for the sad state of returns since the Cub-Sox 1908 contest? In 1919, the Chicago White Sox were caught fixing the World Series. The Black Sox scandal rocked the baseball community. Punishment came down on the players. But did a higher, devine punishment fall down upon the teams that violate the sacred trust of the baseball gods? There is a new book that adds to the legacy of punishment. In 1918, the players and club owners were at the same odds that lead to the 1919 scandal--- money, and the player's share of the World Series receipts. Baseball finances were at a sorry state, and the owners made the post-season clubs share their bonus winnings with the lesser teams. Players were unhappy. If the players were unhappy about getting less money than they earned, would they not have been approached by the same type gamblers of the subsequent year? That is the rumor--- that the 1918 World Series was also fixed by the players. If the breach of the integrity of the Game was lost then, it would explain the harsh penalties in 1919 (notwithstanding a civil jury's acquittal of the players). If it was devined that neither 1918 team win again, then the sins of the forefathers could be contributing the to sorrows of today. That would not be any ordinary curse; it would be an extreme biblical revelation.
SEPTEMBER 7, 2003-- Knocking on Heaven's Door was an old Dylan ballad which was nothing special when I first heard it way back when. But like all things material, it takes CONTEXT to draw out true meaning. Warren Zevon recorded his version of the Dylan song on his new album. It was the most depressing song I have heard, since I knew the context from which the singer was singing with his lasts breaths.
AUGUST 31, 2003--IN LABOR IN SITU --- Only had one and one-third rounds of golf this spring. It has been a hot, humid, and busy as all hell summer. The last weakend of the summer is upon us; worked on Saturday, Saturday night, and will work Monday. Family peer pressure (valve release?) dictated an afternoon of the links on a pleasant day. It was not supposed to rain until evening; and the storms would be 60 miles to the south. Liars! The light drizzle fell upon us on the putting green, and it turned into a cold, damp, full bore Midwest soaker by the end of nine. It was cold my skin turned to red leather; I was in the fetal position in the golf cart by hole eleven. When I got home I had to put on a sweatshirt just to try to get my body temp back to 80 degrees. And that was after a sauna shower. I have a tender left elbow and bowed left wrist. I made a few co-patriots belly laugh at some poor and unlucky shots. But who cared; it was a mad dash of soaky fairways and soft greens and a rush to get out of the stupid unrelenting gray rain. The rain washed away the scores written on the scorecard which is just as well.
AUGUST 21, 2003--HOLLYWEIRD--Alec Baldwin was on the cable news this week. He was saying Arnold was not qualified to become Governor of California. He reasoned that because the Terminator is a celebrity, a good businessman, witty and well liked, does not make him qualified to hold public office. While he was opining, Baldwin was described in a graphic as a political activist. He said that if one person is good in one field, that does not mean he would be a good politician. His argument makes no sense. His philosophy is that only career politicians can hold public office. This viewpoint is fostered by his own lifestyle where high paid actors have their accountants, lawyers and managers handle all the details of their lives, pay their bills, meet the actor's needs and make sure he is pampered to sleep at night. This Left Coast philosophy of having someone do everything for you is the cornerstone of the Democrats platform. Career Dem lawmakers continuing state the solution to anyone's problem is a new government program. In California, those special interest and personal solutions (like universal day care and health insurance) has created a $38 billion hole. And the popular view to pay for these programs is to target taxing the rich, who don't believe in this course of modern socialism. So Baldwin the political activist is right, even though his main criticism applies to himself. Or maybe it is jealousy-- Arnold is bigger box office these days.
AUGUST 21, 2003-- THE CRICKET SEASON -- No, not the Aussie-Anglo sport. Cricket season at Chez Pablo. I was lounging on the sofa late tonight, when from the darkness of the kitchen came a boombox volume noise. I thought the refrigerator was having a noisy seizure or was about to explode. Turning on the light, the racket went silent. But there was a huge black spot hiding under a power cord. So I grab the nearest boot and spray cleaner, and I ammonia the spot to get it moving towards some clear ground. Then smash! End of noisy trespasser. It was the hottest day of the year today, so maybe this beast was looking to chill at the pad; but normally, these buggers get into the homestead on the eve of a dramatically quick fall. The prediction is now a quick fall and a cold winter in Northern Illinois.
AUGUST 12, 2003--SUBURBIA--At the county treasurer's office, I picked up a copy of a client's tax bill. The duplicate bill was for an unpaid amount from March. The bill was for five cents. A nickel. Just as the duplicate bill printed, I go to the pay window and find that the county's computer network is down.I go across the hall, and the recorder of deeds office is also down. Systems were going down like dominos this afternoon. Possibly from the new Worm affecting Windows machines. As a Mac office, I had no disruptions. That nickel tax bill was possibly the last thing printed today by the county. (Shrug shoulders and yawn.)
AUGUST 7, 2003-- THE WEATHER CENTER-- We do not have rain anymore in Northern Ill. We have twenty-minute tornanic bursts of wind, hail and monsoon rain. It is like being thrown into a a massive galactic washing machine. England is having record temperatures, and the Atlantic Ocean is at mid-January frig temps. The world is going wacky; it is totally out of balance. The last exhibit is the fact that both the Cubs and the White Sox are in the chase for a divisional crown this late in the season. Yes, all this adds up to the Earth being off its axis.
AUGUST 7, 2003-- LA LA LAND-- Yes, I was STUNNED by the news that a new candidate was born in the recall election.
AUGUST 3, 2003 -- THE PUBLISHER'S NEST-- Instead of rotating features in and out of this site, the publisher has decided to reformat the site to have the last feature available on the home page. All features are still available in the Used Brain Matter (archives) including special feature pages like Water Under the Bridge Gate and Letterman specials. If you don't evolve, you turn into floating pond scum. After floating on the pond complaints of long refresh times has lead to more evolution.
JULY 16, 2003-- THE RETRO-- The All-Star Game was hyped so much by Fox that it was supposed to Count for something. it was merely a cross-marketing event plug. The telecast began with a new quasi-light reversion of Nirvana, called retrofitting enough, the Ataris, singing a remake of the Don Henley classic, Boys of Summer. Probably no one under 30 made that forced corporate puke nostaglia connection. And people were not watching either; the ratings were flatlined from last year's contest.
JULY 13, 2003-- Two weekends in a row. Being off. In more ways than one. First, to Montana to rustle with the Western Bureau. In a rush, now available is the Montana Real News on that trip. Just back from Kewannee, Illinois, for the college radio reunion. More on that later.
JULY 10, 2003-- MILWEIRDKEE, WISCONSIN--- A Pittsburgh Pirate player takes a bat to a ballpark sausage racer at Miller Park, causing an immediate arrest of the player, who then later pinch hits to a chorus of boos later in the game. Is something odd at Miller Park? Did the player think Bud Selig was in that costume? Was it a violent reaction to last year's Selig staged All Star Game disaster?
JULY 7, 2003-- POST-FOURTH WEAKEND HANGOVER-- Back to the thunderstorming muggy plains of Illinois. Nothing has changed except that spike in gasoline prices.
JUNE 17, 2003-- OMAHA SAC COMMAND, WESTERN BUREAU-- The last time the publisher meandered into the Wilds of Montana, seven plus Rebel Real News editions and a novella, Cu in Montana, the Tarnished Copper Kings, were published to document the last bachelor summit. Well, statute of limitations expired, and a long helliday weakend upcoming, Ski has launched the Rocket and booked a sojourn to the Real News Western Bureau. The My Life Sucks Summit is on. Like the decompression tanks for deep sea divers, there may be an intellectual coma, or after a short time, a tsunami of weird prose. Be forewarned.
JUNE 12, 2003--CHEZ PABLO-- The Wildlife Watch continues. Returning home in the quiet residential neighborhood at 5:25 p.m., a young red fox (not the comedian) runs to the parkway between houses, stops, stares. His small pointy ears,thin body and bushy tail jet into gear as he darts across my stopped vehicle path down the middle of a side street.
JUNE 10, 2003 -- I am in the midst of an electronic voodoo spell. Two days ago, my watch dies at 5:15 a.m. This morning, the electric razor dies before shaving has commenced. This evening, the answering machine is on the fritz. So I am uploading plenty of material tonight just in case.
June 4, 2003--RIGLEY FIELD--(RNWS) The Tribune has a problem with one of its employees. An employee has made misrepresentations during the course of his employment and official duties. Such misrepresentations are in direct violation of the Tribune's ethics and integrity policies. The Tribune callously protects its reputation. Its creditability is as important as any other balance sheet asset. So, the Tribune management has a serious problem and may have to do a drastic decision in order to protect its ethics and integrity. But enough about Bob Greene. I got home late, and being the good uncle, gorging on Happy Meals in order to get my niece her missing Finding Nemo toys, I get to FoxSportsNetChicago on the dial, and see the umpire waving G'zuds out of the Cub dugout. Sosa is splashing water on his face on the dugout steps like he just hit a home run. What happened? Did G'Zuds miss a base on the way home on a Sosa dinger?? Then I see the splintered bat in the umps hand. Steve Stone is saying it looks like pine tar; and relates that the home plate ump was the same one who tossed George Brett at Yankee Stadium for the pine tar bat. Full circle for this umpire? But there were no yelling, screaming by Baker or the umps; it was very erie-- extremely calm. The announcers did not know what was really happening until five minutes later when the p.r. mavens spoke to the official scorer who was trying to get the ump on the phone--- on how to score it: it was Sammy was out for using an altered bat; runners don't advance. It was a few minutes later when it was disclosed that the altered bat was in fact "corked" leading Stone to lament that it will probably be a ten game suspension. Later, midgame, the pr people's first release stated that indeed the bat was corked, but Sammy explained to them that it was his "exhibition" bat used for batting practice and home run hitting contests. (If true, then Sammy's All-Star appearances are also tainted; however, he backtracked at the press conference to say he used it only for b.p.) The cynics pounced on the explanation like jackals to raw meat. Sammy got hit in the head; struck out 8 straight times in the last series; he is struggling; he is caught with a corked bat. Coincidence? Hardly. And his explanation that the corked b.p. bat got mixed up with this game bats. Phony, because beat reporters explain that the Sammy is overly protective of his bats, and that the players bring their wood to the dugout, b.p., etc. He wanted to give "the fans" a show? Huh? The fans don't get to see b.p. They come to see HRs in the game; something the Cubs have been woeful this season. Also, would not he have marked the bat in some way? He refused to ask the question of whether he could tell the difference (in weight) of a corked vs. regular bat. Dusty Baker was testy afterward. "I have never seen a corked bat before in my entire life." That statement rang hollow, since he has been around sluggers all his career, and as a student of the game, he should know the difference unless he has blinders on and earplugs in during b.p. Competitive ball players are always seeking an edge. The Tribune has developed a simple business plan for the Cubs. Have one star player; surround him with filler; pray for good weather; and make money off Wrigley Field. Winning is not the first priority. When Kerry Wood was told that he would pitch Saturday against Clemens for #300, he was not thrilled with the prospect. He was timid and frustrated by the pressure of such a game. But that is what Cub players are for the most part--- good players, have an element to draw fans in (Wood-- strikeouts) but not the drive to become world champion. The Tribune built this club around the star, Sosa. Now that star has exploded into cork. Sosa is at an option year where he could test the free agent market. The Trib will not pay to keep him; they have another star to build the PR machine around, Mark Prior. Which gets us back to the Tribune's nasty little ethical problem and potential hypocrisy: does the Tower treat its athletes differently than its columnists?
The commissioners office lapdogs have found that the 76 bats taken from the Sosa locker were negative for cork. So what? It was more than three innings before security got into the locker to get the bats. Sosa and McPhail took great pains to say that if no more cork was found, it proves Sosa made an honest mistake. It proves nothing, considering the circumstantial evidence that the barrel of the bat is still missing; the time to get rid of other bats; the fact that no major leaguer uses a corked bat in batting practice; Sosa's statement that he uses corked bats for the fans at batting practice is false since at Wrigley, his b.p. ends before the gates open at noon. The fans on sportsradio are livid about the incident. Sammy is upset that they are calling his manhood in question. He is positioning himself as a victim of an innocent mistake. However, he brought it upon himself. Sammy is only for Sammy, always has been, according to certain sportswriters who cite the steroids story, the charity scam story. Sammy is a cartoon character-- a marketing tool. Now that the money is in jeopardy, he finds religion in his mistake.
MAY 23, 3003 -- CHEZ PABLO--- It appears that Day 7 of the Raccoon Watch is over at the homestead. When one comes home last week to find that the neighbor next door has a animal cage trap on its roof, near the edge of the gutter, panic in the attic of one's brain. I don't have time to sit around for a carpenter to come fix the ripped apart siding, roof shingles, or worse, holes in ceiling drywall, if one of those pests gets inside the house. They are like an unwanted in-law who stops by on a Friday night, and never leaves your living room sofa for a month. A check of the chimney caps finds that they are still in tact. A check of the roof shows no holes. No overhead branches handing on the roof eave. Some relief, until the normal sounds in the dead of night, suddenly become huge thuds. I did not hear the pitter-patter of little claw feet on the roof past midnight. There is one large redtail hawk that has staked out this part of the township. I see it at times sitting atop the utility poles. Maybe he took care of my potential problem pro bono. That's how nature works. If not, maybe I will take up falconry. Those pesky Canadian geese are squalking again.
MAY 13, 2003-- THE ALAMO-- I suspect that Texas history books in the next generation will show the Alamo as a cheesy hotel in Ardmore, Oklahoma, where 50 disgruntled Texas state legislators fled to avoid a quorum vote on a Republican redistricting vote. It is another example of minority rule. If you can't win the day, put off the day and blame someone else. When colleagues in Austin issued arrest warrants to bring back the renegades, it is like a bad western movie where a territorial land barron gets a posse of Texas Rangers to run across into Mexico to find the cutthroats who stole his cattle. Those issuing the arrest warrants are legislators, who make the laws of the state. But clearly, those arrest warrants are not enforceable in Oklahoma, and any state trooper can't cross into Oklahoma to drag a Democrat back to the Capitol. That is called kidnapping, a federal crime. What's a law between legislators?
MAY 13, 2003-- IN THE NORTH SHORE HAZE-- One can rarely take back something that is gone. Youthful innocence, for example. The fallout of the Glenbrook North High School hazing incident keeps growing. Parents are finally realizing that their daughters actions lead to other reactions: missing graduation, missing prom, missing college test exams, revocation of college enrollments. From the videotape shown on newscasts, the incident is somewhere categorized between assault by taunting to attempted murder by involuntary ingestion of petrochemical and human waste. Parents complain that their daughters one bad act could scar them for life. Well, if this was in the city, and their child was merely the getaway driver in a convenience store hold-up, and in a panic a cohort freaks and shoots not intending to kill the cashier, but does, that one bad act scarred someone for life. It is the PR defense to point the finger back at the school, the park district, and even other parents than have the criminal actors take responsibility and account for their actions. It is the tangent of America's recent decline into self-victimization and blame others for one's own misbehavior. However, the videotape appears to be so brutally disgusting that this defense may fail.
MARCH 31, 2003 -- CHEZ PABLO-- I come home from work, and the first image of the new baseball season I see is Derek Jeter crashing into a Boo Jay catcher at third base. Jeter lays on the ground for fifteen minutes, one or both shoulders injured. The bottom scrawl shows the Cubs destroyed the Mets earlier in the day. Corey Patterson, if the season would end today, would win the triple crown with 2 HRs and 7 RBI. The Cubs scored the most opening day runs since 1899. As a true fan, only two words come to mind: Tuffy Rhodes. Pundits are predicting anywhere from 70 to 100 wins for the Cubs this season. Two words: Bump Wills. They can ride that young starting pitchers to the post season if they get any hitting. Two words: Boots Day.
MARCH 30, 2003 -- THE PRESS ROOM-- With the rush of media on the Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, there had to be a quick mental discharge or reaction to this mega-event. So uploaded today is a new edition of the Real News, The Real News At War. It is a summation of random electrons bouncing off the brain stem to the note pad.
MARCH 26, 2003-- UG-GUSTA, GA-- Martha Burk is now taking the tack that CBS should not broadcast the Masters golf tournament because of the War. No, the real issue is that the War coverage will diminish viewship of the event and her little protest. Maybe she and Dan Rather should get a room, since both will face less airtime than colleagues as CBS continues to show its scheduled programming over massive war specials.
MARCH 26, 2003-- It was so annoying to have that picture of Saddam behind Lester Holt's msnbc.com head for the first four days of the war, at least others must have complained. The picture was replaced with a picture of Bush, but only for a day. At last glance, Bush was replaced with a crumped Iraqi flag. Enough with the overproducing and set design--- just give me the facts without the gimmicks, graphics and speculation.
MARCH 19, 2003 --- NO! NO! NO!--- As a disgrunted Apple shareholder, this puts me over the Edge. A report that Apple Computer has announced that it has named Al Gore to its board of directors. Al Gore??!! The man who wrongfully claimed he invented the Internet??? That Al Hanging Chad Gore???
MARCH 17, 2003 -- SUDDENLY SUMMER --- It hit 74 degrees this afternoon. That's hot for mid March, madness and all excluded. However, the big NCAA tourney rush will probably be muted this year for two reasons: 1) the war in Iraq and 2) with so many people laid off, office bracket pools will be dramatically reduced. Do you want your boss to see you at the precious copy machine making ten blank tourney sheets when the company is on the verge of Chapter 11?
MARCH 1, 2003-- The temperature rose more than freezing this Saturday afternoon. The nuts with cabin fever were all out. Though only 42 degrees, a guy was driving around town in his Miata convertible, with the top down. Jogged by the Tower Record Store to the frenzy of people waiting in line for a lottery for the new Metallica release. Later, at the Barnes & Noble, there was a crush of smaller people as the store was giving a children's puppet show, called SuperMoms. The day gets capped off by a midnight call which awakes me. It is young female voice claiming to be an American Idol contestant who wants to sing a survey.
FEBRUARY 25, 2003--Halfway through a new Real News issue, another satire piece springs to life and leap frogs the production process. So, we have a new, first and only, Real News SWIM SHOOT Issue.
FEBRUARY 22, 2003-- A YUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND-- The fourth race of the America's Cup final has been delayed because of weather conditions was almost a week now. The Swiss boat continues to move around smoothly through the allegedly tepid winds, as the home yacht club race committee boat stalls like its home team ship, which is down 3-0 in the best of nine series. The real reason for the delays and non-races is clear as the light blue skies: the nation wants to keep the tourists for the full three weeks of nine race dates, when in fact the Cup could be over in two more. Tourism money is blowing stronger than the headwinds.
FEBRUARY 18, 2003 -- CHICAGO-- Crain's reports that the Checkerboard Lounge may close. This mecca of the blues on the South Side of Chicago was the venue for all the great blues performers over the years, from Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy to the Rolling Stones. Many a dangerous late night early morning sojourn was had at the Lounge during the misdirected youth Real News staff meetings.
FEBRUARY 5, 2003 -- THE SEOUL KITCHEN-- North Korea is now threatening a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States. The logic is odd: they will strike first so the U.S. does not start an action against them. The North Korean landscape is devoid of industry, commerce, agriculture. The people are starving. The conditions are horrific. Why would a third world country wish for war against the United States unless it believes it as the only means it has to get massive redevelopment capital from the morally guilted United States like the Marshall Plan after World War II?
JANUARY 21, 2003 -- DISTRICT OF CONFUSION (D.C.)-- How many mid-life crisis' can have a liberal, 1960s, me-generation person have in a lifetime? There is a now a career path for peaceniks, the professional protester. They don't care really what the cause is, or what the facts of the issue are, it is waving banners, getting on TV and raising the ire of the local police that counts.
The Rolling Stones were on HBO over the weakend. I thought I had stumbled upon an Embalmers Convention. Mick is morphing into Steven Tyler or vice versa; Keith is not playing the guitar but picking at the frets like he is trying to flick-off imaginary spiders. Ron looked like petrified wood. The only constant musician was Charlie on the drums. That is the key to longevity in rock n roll, a good drummer.
JANUARY 16, 2003-- CHICAGO--Bartolo the Latin Cologne. Will it have the sweet smell of Victory or the Stench of Defeat? The White Sox will be pushing this product more than the supersized Elephant ears at Comiskey this summer.
JANUARY 4, 2003--It has been a fairly regular routine to publish a new Real News edition on each New Year's Day. There are two causes for this effect. First, New Year's Eve has always been a Night for Amateurs. Second, it is usually the only night of the year where I can sit down at the keyboard and pull and all-nighter and not pay the professional price the next day at work. Well, the End Trails Edition was uploaded on time January 1. So what is next on the agenda? There are so many notes, scraps of papers, doodles and drawings scattered about they would fill up a townhouse; in fact, they do. But I am now distracted by the full volume of Off Broadway blaring from the iMac's speakers as I smash my head to the beat on the desktop flatbed scanner.
NOVEMBER 3, 2002-- President Bush barnstormed the Midwest this weekend in an attempt to hold his presidency from the midterm election blues. His party is expected to lose at least six governorships on Tuesday, including Illinois. In Illinois, the ballot is top heavy with candidates that creepy, unqualified, suspect or career politicians. The electorate is turned off, so a matter of turnout of party regulars is the key. Democrats have been piling money in at a rate of more than two to one; negative ads will flood the airwaves for the next 24 hours in an effort to turn off the independents who are sitting on the fence. A record low turnout is predicted, with pockets of heavy voting from DuPage County and the wards of Chicago. The only pol that made any sense this last week was Libertarian Lt. Gov candidate Jim Tobin, who said he would save the taxpayers more than two million dollars a year by eliminating his office of Lt. Governor.
OCTOBER 31, 2002--PINKEYE, CHICAGO -- The Tribune's RedEye and the Sun-Times Red Streak turned mostly into red ink today as the competitors flooded the streets with free copies to Yuppie looking people. RedEye told its readers, in a creepy Bob Greene sort of way, that it was going to be hip, cool and different. The arrogance of marketing of the Trib showed through the gaudy graphics and USA Today type micro news stories. Devoid of politics and hard news, heavy on feature bites and entertainment news, the paper is geared toward the 18-34 demographic, the youth that does not read newspapers. The Sun-Times said it was protecting its tabloid turf, and has created a mirror image thin red journal, but is popping the culture limit with the soon-to-be debuted twentysomething sex advice column. It will be a wonder if any advertisers fall for the blatant attempts of pandering to a demographic by editors who are so far removed from it. The Reader and New City have little to fear.
OCTOBER 27, 2002-- THE HUMP DOME-- On the post game radio shows, you can tell that Bears fans, who spent more than a year's salary for Private Seat Licenses (PSLs) and tickets for 2004 based on the 13-3 last season, feel like a con artist's mark after realizing that they had been taken to the cleaners. The mantra of the Bears miracle 2001 season was that the game was 60 minutes long; they never gave up. It was a mirage. Luck. Because today, with 4:40 to play in the fourth quarter, the Bears coaching staff quit on the Game and the Season by inserting an inexperienced third string quarterback thus eliminating any chance of pulling out a victory against the hated and faltering Vikings. It turned into back to back horrid losses to two bad teams, the Lions and Vikings. The fifth loss in a row, and the fans know clearly that the Bears organization has no plan to adjust to the free fall of losing. We may never win another game, the distant echo of Mike Ditka, could be heard clearly after the contest. But the Bears organization does not need to care since it has already banked the PSLs and advance ticket money.
OCTOBER 25, 2002--D.C.--Sniping at the Media could fill the cable news networks programming needs 24/7 for a year. The basic level of reporting is almost non-existence. During the sniper manhunt, the news organizations did not allow the absence of fact to stop them from reporting rogue speculation. Did they get anything right? The profile of the sniper? NO. The motivation of the sniper? No. The race of the sniper? No. The white van? No. This was not a breaking news story, but the cable news outlets now treat everything as an unfiltered, unedited gateway to the viewers. Sources appear to be their paid consultants, experts or guests, who have no information but opinion. On the radio today, a news anchor was interviewing a political writer on the death of Minnesota Senator Wellstone. He asked what the state law was in replacing a deceased candidate so close to an election. The guest did not know. So the anchor began to speculate on what could occur instead of looking up the actual law and reporting what the statute states in the situation! It is actually frustrating to hear such a report, be truly ticked off by the newscast to then have to go to the web and fact-check the story so you can get on with your real work.
OCTOBER 20, 2002-- DE ROIT, MICHIGAN-- When Lion football fans want to change the team name to the Edsels since they could not win a semi-pro contest with tailgaters in the parking lot, what will we call the Bears after their fourth loss in a row? To the Edsel Lions? Sports radio post-game in the Windy City was a vicious condemnation of the coaches, players and general manager. It was a shark of disgust feeding frenzy. The defense had more gaping holes than Enron's balance sheet. The offense was so offensive that small rural Illinois high schools have better play selection and fundamental execution than the Bears this Sunday. Below is an image of Bear offensive coordinator, John Shoop, which sums up the game plan.
OCTOBER 15, 2002-- There are three obligations of citizenship: military service if called, payment of taxes, and jury duty. I completed the last two today; the jury duty compensation was $17.20. The parking tab $20.00.
OCTOBER 7, 2002-- CHAMP PAIN, ILL-- It was like watching an electric football game from childhood. Remember the plastic football players, felt football on a painted metal field? You would line up your players, then turn on the switch and nothing would happen? That's what the Chicago Bears looked like against the Packers. The Packers receivers were catching passes while moving swiftly through the secondary; the Bears receivers were stuck in the turf standing still two yards downfield. The players had no intensity; the coaches had no adjustments; the fans began to boo with each miscue in play selection, execution or turnover. This was the Game where the entire season is tossed over the cliff; the mirage of the 2001 13-3 Bears has been exposed to the elements. Interesting, the PSL and season ticket money was already collected by the Bears before the team showed its real colors: dark blue on blue. Horrid.
OCTOBER 3, 2002-- JERSEY SHORELINE -- The New Jersey Supreme Court liberally construed the term 51 days to mean 33 days. The reason was to have a competitive election or choice for the voters. The federal constitution mandates the state legislatures set the terms of federal elections. New Jersey legislature set the ballot requirements as be frozen 51 days before the election. It does not provide for an equitable remedy to change the ballot after that point in time. The federal constitution also does not mandate that a competitive Republican and Democratic nominee must appear on the ballot. But since Dem Robert Torricelli was falling like a thug in cement shoes into the Hudson River in the polls, the Dems decided he could not win the election, so let's change horses as the race nears the finishing line. Election laws are supposed to be black and white, clear and strictly construed so the integrity of the election is upheld. The Dems don't address disenfranchising the absentee voters who ballots have already been sent overseas. This is another example of how politicians who right the laws have no idea what they mean or that the laws do not apply to themselves. If the U.S. Supreme Court reverses, the Democrats will grasp the defeat as a rallying cry against the Bush Court like after the Gore decision.
OCTOBER 1, 2002 -- What?!! The Bruce Kimm Dynasty is over?! Over?? In pure Global Crossing testimony, I did not get the Memo! Why was not I informed?? Six managers in ten years, the Tribune will again tempt the faithful through the snowy off-season with the promise of getting a major league manager in exchange for advanced payment on season tickets.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2002 -- If you are reading this, then the FTP-server problems have been resolved. For more than one week, the uploading of new material has been thwarted to the remote server. This is very frustrating since it screws up my limited time routine.
SEPTEMBER 9, 2002-- CHAMPAIGN, ILL-- Mr. Hash called with twenty seconds to go to halftime. He was calling from the 50 yard line at Memorial Stadium. Dr. Black had surgically acquired some choice tickets. Hash had to call in about the "boondoggle" that was slow motion, heat vomiting, weak kneed, professional sport disaster of the Bears season opener. He was leaving early to get to Willard and for work; he would probably recant afterward that he should have stayed since the Bears had another cardiac comeback to beat the Vikings with only 23 seconds to play.
AUGUST 15, 2002-- Five current Real News editions are now on site. The Summer Real News bonanza contains Newsweak-Clinton; RN Summer 2002; and Minnesota Real News (Vol. 1). Today, two new editions are available for reading: The Stone Age Edition and the Minnesota Real News (Vol. 2). Access via home page.
AUGUST 10, 2002-- CHEZ PABLO MEDIA ROOM-- Rocky was in to discuss business, web site development and other miscellaneous matters, when surfing through the cable channels we land upon the apparent millionth rebroadcast of the Anna Nicole Smith show. Rocky said I had to see it... it was so bad, like watching a car crash in slow motion. It was the greatest waste of a half-hour of life ever. In the words of past Supreme Court justices, it had no socially redeeming qualities. It shows the lack of depth, talent or creativity that one stoops to the level of filming a peroxide hazbeen wannabe like you are stalking a prized rhino on African safari.
AUGUST 7, 2002-- The zine monsoon continues. After running through two two-day binges, the creative hamster is spinning in his wheel. Two new fall issues are nearing completion for publication: The Stone Age Edition and the Minnesota Real News No. 2.
The pindermedia eStore is up and running with limited edition items, changing sales and other specials.
JULY 30, 2002-- BATTLE AT BIGBUCKS-- For $600,000, would you drag your sweaty, limpy, underwhelming body across the desert on national television for a made for TV golf event while be paired with the Best Player on Earth? Jack Nicklaus thought so last night. He was hitting drives in the thin desert air shorter than me, a weakend hacker. Tiger Woods made nine or so birdies to take down Sergio Garcia and talkative Lee Trevino.
JULY 10, 2002 -- MILORGANITE, WI -- Baseball spread the manure real thick during the All-Star Game. The threat of a players strike, the threat of a lock-out, contraction of teams, the apparent Bud Selig leveraged buy-out of franchises with his cronies going unchecked, increasing prices for fans, whiny ballplayers, incessant bad marketing down your throat promotions is a daily twenty one gun live ammo salute aimed at the fan's bellybutton. First, Selig calling a tie in the 11th inning was wrong. You play the game to WIN. Oh, its an exhibition. Then DON'T play it. The All-star game has been watered down to Selig's irrelevancy by interleague play, massive cable television broadcasts, and the moneychanger attitude that the fans had paid, its an official game, no rain checks, time to go home owner mentality. Second, the managers claimed everyone had to get into the game. Wrong. You play the game to win. The All-Star game is supposed to showcase the best players in their league, not all the players selected to the roster, by default, injury or contractual bonus. Only in the era of big money contracts do the players guard against injury. In the 1970s, the starters played 7, 8 or 9 innings without complaint! They did so because they were supposed to perform the game at the same level as the regular season.
The managers mismanaged the game, ran out of players, then ran out of the dugout to get Bud to bail them out. And he did. He claimed to agonize over the decision for a half-inning in his seat, probably like his morning constitutional. Third, the fans at the game wanted it to continue. But the players, manager, and commissioner ignored their loud requests. It is typical of the Game to ignore the one element all sides are supposed to be playing for: the paying public. It could be considered a mortal PR move to diss the fans on the Fan's Night. Certain segments of the baseball arena never recouped their status after the last baseball strike. By walking off the field without a decision was telling the viewer that the past four hours was meaningless because there was no result. Old time ballplayers would have played it through. So what if a shortstop pitched the seventeenth inning? The fans would have gone nuts witnessing history. But the dream situation would never materialize because the commissioner made another bonehead decision.
The fan reaction was harsh. But remember, these are Bud's fans... his Brewer home field advantage.... the taxpayers paying for that ugly recycled beer can of a new Stadium. These people supported Selig and the Brewers, but the only support they got that night was a swift kick in the pants on the way out the turnstyles.
If baseball was on its deathbed before the All-Star Game, then the participants pulled the plug on the life support. To add further insult to the game, the most valuable player awarded was named after the late Ted Williams. In honor of the past greats, it is to connect the present with the past. But no award was given at this year's Game. It was just another ghastly miscue that shows those in charge have no common sense.
MAY 27, 2002--Bozeman, MT: Montana Real News Desk: PhotoEditor: For Immediate Release:
MAY 20, 2002-- HAVANA, IL -- It has been decades since I have driven through a dying river town in a feudal escape of social misbehavior. At least my socialization skill set did not involve ex-President Jimmy Carter landing in the other Havana. The Forbidden City. The Land that Time Stood Still Circa 1955. Does Carter have no friends to hang around with in the States that he has to reverse boat-people migrate to Cuba to get some media attention?
APRIL 25, 2002 -- It is interesting to note that two ex-presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, are falling over themselves to get back into the Middle East Peace Summit limelight on the way to validate their ill-fated presidential legacies with a Nobel Prize. As Mr. Nobel would probably say, they are shooting themselves in the foot. Carter is courting the Cuban-Havana vote. Clinton is dancing backstage with Michael Jackson, who settled nasty boy litigation a few years back, at a DNC fundraiser when the national media attention was searing on the Vatican and pedophiles.
APRIL 15, 2002-- Like most other things, today is tax day. I have completed all the tax returns required for others, and only have time to send in an extension request for myself. Things have been ratty for a long time now. My hair is now shoulder length; I look like some narly, fossilized neanderthal surfer. I tell people you can tell how busy I am by the length of my hair. By I still have a few micro-moments to go off in tangents. Such is the case with the Wrigleyville Wars page. It was supposed to be a simple, one page RN special. It is suddenly turned into a Chronicle of the Stupid Events surrounding the Tribune's stumbling plans to renovate Wrigley Field. It already has four dated installments, with two new pieces in the process of completion. This saga apparently will have a long season shelf life.
MARCH 23, 2002-- Chez Pablo Snow Bunker II-- Chez Pablo is the only home still with snow on the roof. It is depressing, it is Spring. Eurotrash Editor Phil Savoie has bombarded us with emails on his mid-summer return to the Colonies. He intense schedule of baseball games and blues clubs harks back to the golden age of men without jobs riding out college diploma train. He suggests that I just quit my job so as to not interfere with the Plan. My reply, which one?
MARCH 2, 2002 -- Chez Pablo Snow Bunker -- The Weatherman were vamping about ten inches of snow by morning. Only four inches hit by dawn, then it sprayed drizzle through midday. Then the temps fell and snow started again. It is alleged nine in total by the end. So, in the quiet confines of the RN Internet Empire, this site has now has its second official look. Instead of rotating the four boxes with new materials; the new design accommodates eight topic boxes, including the catch-all Used Brain Matter archive. Click, search and seek troops.
MARCH 1, 2002-- New York City -- Top Nine Reasons Letterman would leave CBS for ABC:
9. Always had a thing for Minnie Mouse on the Casting Couch.
8. Can change New York to LA in all his jokes to extend his career by five years.
7. Has an option to sublease the Playboy Mansion when Hef gets older.
6. His only chance to get on celebrity Millionaire with Regis.
5. See B.S., Be B.S.
4. Use Disney's marketing department to launch the David Letterman Action Figure.
3. Revive the Disneyland California theme park with the Ride Dave Ride.
2. Lose Paul Schaeffer and his luggage in route to Denver.
Number One reason to leave CBS: ABC has better dental plan.
FEBRUARY 26, 2002 -- From the Halls of Congress -- Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling continues to state that he was not aware of the accounting problems during his tenure, eventhough he sold $66 million of corporate stock while the officers were pumping up the employees to invest more and more retirement funds in the Titanic as one Senator said today. Skilling says he was not on the Titanic; he left ship before it sailed from Ireland. If we deal in analogy, did the Titantic shipbuilder not have any responsibility before its vessel sailed to America?
FEBRUARY 26, 2002--From the Attic --- For the past two weeks, I think I have averaged only one lunch per week. No wonder I have chewed off a finger at the end of the day. The month of February is almost over. It was supposed to be learn multimedia month, but I have been too busy in the real world to educate myself on the pitfalls of that new pipe. Sure the stagnant venom spews of editorial cartooning, and a rash RN can hold over the weakend tide; but this is the Internet. It is supposed to be more. More or less.
FEBRUARY 9, 2002 -- Mo UTAH-- It is Friday night, and in the background is the opening ceremony on NBC. There is a familiar voice. It is ABC's Jim McKay. He is on loan to NBC to help salvage its image as the Olympic pallbearer of the Games. NBC's coverage of the Olympics have been overproduced, over-Americanized, pre-Game story hyped athletes that continued to jinx, spoil and rot the spirit of the competition. In fact, NBC in its taped delayed wisdom, and ad feeding cross marketing frenzy, rarely actually covered the entire sports events. Then Bob Costas takes over the intro like a relay baton. Then the pre-taped patriotic opening concludes with a violent headshot of Katie Couric, appearing to bandaged from an Afghan head injury MASH unit with her red headband. It was disturbing. Then the coverage got worse. There seemed to be no preparation. It sounded like the three announcers merely showed up in the booth and began stumbling through someone else's note cards. McKay brought nothing to the show. Why he was there suddenly became a mystery, like why caribbean countries send bobsled teams or Kenya cross country skiers. The three announcers in the booth were walking over each other's lines. Costas was reading producer cheat cards or the running MC's script, then the world hears the same sentences from the MC. The inferior telecasters did not douse the inferiority complex of the State of Utah. The organizers went full metal on the skating storyboard with thousands of players running on for hours. When the countries were parading into the stadium, there were close up shots of athletes, that no one in the booth could identify without a nametag superimposed on their monitor.
FEBRUARY 2, 2002 -- Palindrome Central -- I was waiting for my laundry to crisp in the dryer. Channel surfing to find something to spark some fading recognition of gray matter interest. I found it on the FoodTV channel. It was so bizarre it was entertaining. I thought that only the Japanese would eat anything. I apologize to that nation. The host of A Cook's Tour, Anthony Bourdain, is traveling through Cambodia. He goes to the market in the early morning for a breakfast of fried insects and a fruit that smells like a ripe diaper. He ends the morning at military base firing automatic weapons. He goes back to the market with his French boss in search of organ meats. The temperature is 103 degrees and there is no refrigeration. You can almost see the television screen in my living room warp from the decaying smells. He then boats up a river( open sewer) to sample what the locals are making on their floating crate housebarges. The show host's commentary and swagger was part Hunter Thompson quips between bouts of John Rambo intestinal flu. It hooked me for the half-hour.
JANUARY 26, 2002 -- comPRESS RELEASE -- The Lastest Real News is now available on the Home Page. The Real News Paper Cut Edition a/k/a Chicago Sports Edition 2002 is available for your reading pleasure. If you are missing a recent edition, archived RN issues are at pindermedia.com. In addition, the February, 2002 edition of cyberbarf has been uploaded for consumption. And speaking of consumption, the Hot Rumor de Jour is that internet mogul Ski is looking into an eStore opportunity.
JANUARY 21, 2002 --BUZZ-- The next edition at cyberbarf.com is in the can, and will be uploaded on time this time, on or about February 1, 2002. In addition, the juggernaut of spilled intellectual property has created 5 pages of the next RN Chicago Sports Edition, a/k/a the Real News Paper Cut Edition, which should also be completed by month's end.
JANUARY 19, 2002--SNOWBORO, MA -- Football in January was made to be played in the elements. The Patriot-Raider evening contest was enjoyable to even the casual, non-gambling viewer because of the constant wind, large snowflake and white-out playing conditions. Nature is a great equalizer, even on the post-season gridiron. Slides across the hard pack snow. Facefulls of snow. Fans standing for more than four hours in a blizzard. Kickers trying to pound a cider block through the uprights. Football helmets looking like snowcones. Dramatic background for a close contest of wills. The overtime Pat victory on a short field goal after midnight local time was as warm as a New England winter could get from the sport.
JANUARY 16, 2002 -- BAD CELL IN BOZEMAN -- Real News Western Bureau Chief Crag Antler has lobbied for another Bachelor Summit. He suggests late May, 2002 in Skagway, Alaska. Notwithstanding the fact that Alaska is probably the number one importer of mail-order brides due to the current M/F ratio, he also suggests transportation via an enclosed cargo barge/casino ship filled with Macintosh techno-geeks. It really does sound like the perfect bizzaro world for numerous editions of the RN: baby seal hunts, cheap Exxon floating petro fuel stops, Eskimo gaming and eco-tourism.
JANUARY 10, 2002 -- SOMEWHERE IN DAKOTA-- WorldTechGuy Rocky reports that he is stumbling through the Badlands in his OPEC Ryder MacroGreenHouse Effect Machine on his journey to Montana. He has stumbled across cheap gas and a crime scene. This reminds us that a Staff RN is long overdue, especially since our Euro Editor has offered to contribute his piece on hot tubbing in the Alps. Uber Alles, baby.
JANUARY 10, 2002 -- comPRESS RELEASE -- Past Editions of the Real News are now located at www.pindermedia.com. Check out the Archives newsbox on the Main Street graphic. The move is part of the constant reshuffle of the mental deck of cards. skirealnews.com will continue to have its lively and quick updates of materials such as RNWS, Endorphin Rush, the other rotating features like RN Pop Quiz on Life, and of course the Last Issue of the RN. pindermedia.com is the complex, multimedia site which is developing like a content case of bends in a foggy fictional character landscape. cyberbarf.com continues to be a neo-journalism site dedicated to the examination of the internet way of life.
JANUARY 8, 2002 --PAULO ALTO-- Well, if you read my predictions (cyberbarf.com), then you now know my crystal ball is a little foggy. Apple did not make its great, hyped, super announcement to end all announcements. The big deal was a new iMac that looks like a swivel lamp (apple.com). Can a lava lamp iPod be that far off?
JANUARY 3, 2002--BUENOS AIRES--I hereby withdraw my name for Presidency of the Argentine Republic. I know that I probably would not qualify for the office, but with the current "burn rate" of candidates (faster than the dot.coms cash burn rate at the height of the internet tech bubble), my name should appear on the list within the next two weeks. Hey, isn't Al Gore looking for a job?
JANUARY 3, 2002 -- comPRESS RELEASE -- Well, its only three days into the new year and I am getting the hang of this web publishing thang. The cyberbarf.com site has been updated with a new issue; and now the latest edition of the RN (January, 2002) is available. This shows only two possible results: (a) I am getting better at this composing brain warp or (b) my life is worse off than before.
DECEMBER 25, 2001 -- CHEZ PABLO -- A real day off from normal Work. It is perplexing to have unregulated time. Because of out of town family, we have already completed the mega-family Christmas rituals on Sunday. After the Bear game, of course. So there is a pause in the normal routine. A brief moment to reflect on what has occurred this year. First, the year has rocketed by too fast. It has been a blur. Even September 11th seems like it happened only last week. Second, if I made any New Year's resolutions last year I cannot remember them. But what I would assume I forged an unenforceable promise to branch out creativity from the work rut. So instead of doing the sane thing a publish a single web page, I created three web sites, all of which are up and running. This is the flip side of Work; intellectual Recreation. Now that the Rec Center foundation has cured, next year will be the full construction of the walls and roof. Maybe it will be a house of cards, but maybe it will be the gateway to some fun.
DECEMBER 22, 2001-- NYC-- "This is the story of my life, but it's not about me." So wrote Dick Schaap in his recent autobiography. Schaap died this weekend from complications from hip surgery. It appeared that he was the glue to the literary center of politics, journalism and celebrity through the gateway of sports. We could only image what it was like during the Algonquin Roundtable days or the American writers like Fitzgerald drinking in Paris in the 1920s. He lived the modern version of the literari. At times today, sports dwarfs the news; leads the news; engulfs the news; is the news. Schaap was one of the leading sports journalists of our era. But he was foremost a professional journalist, skilled in covering the arts, politics and events.
DECEMBER 14, 2001--THE BENDS, Indiana-- The only question that remains on the Notre Dame campus this evening is whether George O'Leary will put "Head Coach, Notre Dame University" on his updated resume. Probably not. What is worse than the human resources nightmare of not checking simple facts on the resume/bio, is that three Georgia Tech assistants bolted their contracts at GT to follow George to the promised land.... in this recession, the unemployment line. How have the mightly have fallen. The ND football program, with its exclusive national TV deal, was the Top Dog in college football. But the slow boa constrictor of scandals is catching up. ND is only a footnote in the BCS system now. It will never have a chance to be national champion again because the elite conferences have set themselves up to rotate the title among themselves. The top five conferences are on national cable television more than ND now, so the prestige factor is fading on the golden domes. Most top tier coaches, especially NFL titans, pass on this job now. When a diver rushes to the surface to fast, tiny air bubbles in his brain burst in an ugly mess. It seems the new ND A.D. rushed in a panic to find a warm, Division I coach, when the top candidates quickly said no. He will now get the full rath of the Bends.
DECEMBER 11, 2001 -- ATLANTA's Burning-- With the stunning LSU upset of No. 2 Tennessee, the NCAA Division I football championship is up in the air. It is the way the NCAA wants it. The BCS formula is so complicated that NASA could not launch it on their computers. It is based on the a single fact: greed. The BCS was created to keep the top five "conferences" in the lion's share of the $160 million Bowl money. The BYU's, Fresno State's and Utah's of the world are not part of the Big Conference Club. The critics demanding a play-off don't realize that there is already a play-off; a one-game play-off decided by the insider rubbing-of-elbows at this year's Rose Bowl. Conspiracy theorists do not need to convene a convention on this issue. It is blatant. The bowls rotate the championship game each year. The top conferences agree on who will play where before the season ends. The polls are now secondary to the computerized b.s. that puts glamour teams in the top television slots on New Year's weekend.
DECEMBER 1, 2001 -- PRESS ROOM -- The latest and probably final year 2001 edition of the Real News is now available in digital PDF form. The Real News Holiday 2001 Edition contains the stories, "Panic in Aisle 6," "Selig in Labor" and the random thoughts on the Lost Summer of '01.
NOVEMBER 25, 2001 -- comPRESS RELEASE -- The trifecta, trilogy, or better the mental triage, is complete. RN publisher has launched his third site today, pindermedia. com. This site will contain more advanced (hopefully) content such as artwork exhibitions, animation, cartoon strips, music and other intellectual property. This site is another attempt to download the entire gray matter of a man onto the information highway to see if anyone will run it over.
NOVEMBER 22, 2001--SUBURBIA -- The retailers are trying to hook panic buyers into one-day only sales. The local Kmart opened at 7 a.m. to a mob scene. It was a disaster. The sale prices did not register; and over-riding the computer was like NASA landing on Mars. But more frustrating is a disturbing new shopping trend. A person loads up a basket of merchandise, and tells the clerk they don't know the price or whether they will buy it. So the clerk scans in the price, tells them, and then it takes awhile either to decide to buy it or delete the transaction item. It triples the amount of time in line. It was not only one item that was not marked; we had one person with a damn near shopping cart full of inquiries. This was compounded when a running subtotal of the current balance as each item was scanned. No wonder catalogs are still popular.
NOVEMBER 16, 2001 -- CHICAGO -- It hit 70 degrees in the Windy City yesterday. It was a pleasant surprise for the four season midwesterns who call this place home. It was truly unpleasant in the public buildings where the heating systems kept the granite columns steaming, and visitors in a slow pig roast sweat. It was unbearable. More so than the Bears-Packers disaster earlier in the week.
NOVEMBER 14 ,2001--LITTLE ROCK --- Scrawling across the bottom of the cable news channel, there was a double take on a story from Little Rock or as it is now known, Little Minds. The home of President Clinton's Library is now on schedule since the Arkansas Supreme Court allowed the city to condemn a business warehouse so the library could have larger grounds and a better view of the river. Now, it is stated that the President will have as one of his first displays.... his Elvis memorabilia. If true, this is another head scratching twist. It also explains a lot about his presidency. If he believes a presidential library is merely a public display of his attic possessions, then we can only shutter to think what will be in the private collection. If historians who praised him really knew that he is only two-buck trinkle salesman outside of Graceland, rewrites are in order. And we can rename the Oval Office the Jungle Room.
NOVEMBER 10, 2001--CHEZ PABLO--- The Publisher of the Real News announces that he is almost ready to crash the Internet party by launching his formerly paper-only creations into cyberspace. The Real News a zine, has been published at least annually since 1980. The original purpose of the RN was to keep friends and colleagues informed as to the ramblings of the Publisher. A form letter has turned into a large scale effort which readers and CO-patriots have demanded to grow. Some issues got so big that it was impossible to either conventionally print them. But now, things can be digitized and distributed electronically. Those past RNs, almost novella size monsters, will soon be universally available. In all things Real News style, one publication is not enough. In the past year, the publisher has sought to segment his thought patterns into more controllable forms, but that was impossible. So he has settled on three sites. skirealnews.com will be the electronic version of the current Real News and past archives. cyberbarf.com will be focused on essays, commentary and observations on the Net Way of Life, in a quasi-journalistic, quasi-satirical view. pindermedia.com will be an umbrella site for other forms of creative projects, cartoons, animation or other mind-numbing pursuits.