Saturday, May 27, 2006

Next we'll be blamin' it on the rain

Animal lovers are scratching their heads and behinds about a Chicago plan to use scare tactics to fight urban problems this year. Let's take a closer look:

The Problem: Polluted Lake Michigan waters.
Common Sense Says: Humans are dumping too much shit into the environment.
Chicago's Solution: Have dogs run around on the beaches, scaring off birds.

What's next???

The Problem: Congestion on city streets
Common Sense Says: Pissed off because of poor public transportation service, people drive too much.
Chicago's Solution: Kill off squirrel population. The pesky critters run into streets, causing drivers to slam on brakes, which causes accidents and/or traffic back-ups.

The Problem: Dog fights as sport
Common Sense Says: Cruel motherfuckers must be hunted down and jailed.
Chicago's Solution: Make certain dog breeds illegal.

The Problem: Corrupt public officials, hiring scandals, mob ties, etc.
Common Sense Says: Yeah, Daley knew about all this stuff, bring on the indictments!
Chicago's Solution: Kill all black cats for bringing so much bad luck.

The Problem: Global warming
Common Sense Says: Stop driving so damn much, regulate industry, discover/use alternative fuels, sign Kyoto Protocol.
Chicago's Solution: Make the city a cow-free zone (hell, we've already made everyone safe from annihilation by making Chicago a nuclear-free zone, so why not).

The Problem: Drug sales/shootings in public places
Common Sense Says: Legalize and/or decriminalize drugs.
Chicago's Solution: Ban carrier pigeons.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Friday Funnies: Ha-ha Hoosiers

Maybe it was the color combination
"If my dress was disruptive . . . than half of the other females up in there that was half-naked was disruptive, too."--Kevin Logan, 18, a gay Gary senior kicked out of his high school's prom last week for wearing a slinky fuchsia gown and strappy heels. The cross-dressing boy is now suing West Side High officials, who said he violated the prom's dress code.

Not scientifically proven to prevent panic
Vishal Garg, 24, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., was arrested in Indiana after claiming he was having a panic attack and directing a police officer to "medicine" in his back pack. The officer found medicine all right -- a smoking device with burnt residue inside a plastic bag and a plastic container with marijuana leaves and seeds.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Cubs gone wild, part 2

Last week it was Michael Barrett attacking A.J. Pierzynski. Yesterday it was Greg Maddux taking out his anger on a water jug. These Cubs are mad as hell, and they're not gonna take it anymore! Too bad they don't do as good a job attacking the ball. But whatever.

Now I know he's a future Hall of Famer and an all-around good guy and all that, but I just can't resist ...

Do YOU have a problem you just can't seem to deal with? Bring in Mad Maddux! (Here's the original. I especially love the guy sitting on the bench, totally ignoring Maddux gone wild, as if it's the most normal thing in the world.)

Next, the seagulls have invaded to eat stray peanuts during yet another blowout at Wrigley Field. How distracting! Somebody, please bring in Mad Maddux!

At U.S. Cellular Field, a stray squirrel (possibly with rabies!) is running loose on the field, heading for the tarp. Some foolish fan tries to grab the critter with his glove. Stand back everyone, bring in Mad Maddux!


Did I or didn't I swing?

The thing I love, and many youngsters nowadays hate, about the slow-moving game of baseball is that it gives you plenty of time to think. The game itself requires a lot of thought--where to position the defense for each hitter, which pitch to throw against which player, how to get that girl's phone number, should I punch the guy in the face or just push him away, lots and lots of questions and strategy. Yesterday's Sox-A's game got me thinking a bit. I forgot most of it, but here are three quick strikes.

Strike One
Sorry, it's kind of a crap photo (above), it's from the upper deck (from a couple of weeks ago) using a point-and-shoot digital camera with 6X optical zoom, but that's White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen.

What I've noticed at the last couple of games is that Ozzie doesn't seem to wear an actual baseball jersey. In the picture he's got on a Sox jacket and possibly a black mock turtle neck. At last night's game he was only wearing the black shirt.

So, a few questions:
  • Is a manager supposed to wear the full uniform?
  • If so, does Ozzie actually wear the uniform shirt? I don't care if he does or not; in fact, I wish he didn't because ...
  • Isn't the rule stupid? These guys aren't going to play. Why wear a uniform?
  • No other sports require coaches to wear uniforms. Imagine a basketball coach wearing shorts or a football coach wearing pads. Now tell me why baseball coaches have to, and don't tell me it's tradition.
Strike two
Walking up to the ballpark through one of the many endless parking lots last night, I saw the fireworks to signal the start the game. I think that's a cool, almost frightening way to start, and it never fails to get me to jump and start hustling to get to my seat for the first pitch.

The funny thing about last night was, as the shock waves from the fireworks reverberated throughout the parking lot, five, six, maybe ten car alarms started going off. In a way it sounded as if people were driving around celebrating a World Series victory. But that wasn't it. It was just a bunch of cars owned by idiots that activate their car alarms in a stadium parking lot, and it made me wonder ...
  • How many people still use car alarms? Are the alarms effective at anything other than aggravating others?
  • If you were inside the ballpark and actually heard your car alarm go off, could you go into the parking lot, turn off the damn thing, then return?
  • Did any of those cars' batteries die? Does that still happen? Did anyone come up to any of those cars and punch or shoot the damn thing for making all that noise?
Strike Three
This has nothing to do with last night's game, but it's one baseball rule I've never understood. A catcher can appeal a check swing to the first- or third-base umpire. Why can't the batter do the same thing? If the home plate ump says "strike," why can't the batter point down the base path and ask that ump, "Did I or didn't I swing?"

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hercules prepares to wage war on Wal-Mart

SAN FRANCISCO (ap) -- The most popular of Greek heroes, Hercules has been celebrated in stories, sculptures, paintings, and even in the geography of the ancient and new worlds. He successfully performed twelve Labors, feats so difficult that they seemed impossible, but his current challenge may prove too difficult even for him.

Hercules, now an affluent Bay Area suburb, has declared war on Wal-Mart, the big-box retailer known for its hardball tactics. Victor of many price wars across the land, Wal-Mart may prove to have too much muscle for Greece's greatest hero.

In the past, Hercules had the help of Hermes and Athena, sympathetic deities who showed up when he really needed help. But many wonder if all the gods combined have the power of eminent domain to seize the 17 acres where Wal-Mart intends to build a shopping complex.

Opponents say Wal-Mart, like the nine-headed Hydra that terrorized the countryside, will drive local retailers out of business, tie up traffic and wreck its small-town flavor. "Wal-Mart does not hesitate to employ scorched earth tactics," one defender said.

But Wal-Mart says it is a misunderstood behemoth, and that it really is wanted. If not, a spokesman said, Wal-Mart has been successful at imposing its will on communities in the past, and is prepared to wage a full-on publicity battle.

"We've attempted to meet with Hercules and haven't been given return phone calls or e-mails," the spokesman said. "In a case like this you'd certainly hope to have some sort of dialogue" before the first public relations attack is launched.

Hercules was to hold hearings with his trusted advisors last night for guidance, but word from Apollo's oracle has not been made public yet.

Victory against Wal-Mart would make Hercules the perfect embodiment of an idea the Greeks called pathos, the experience of virtuous struggle and suffering which would lead to fame and, in Hercules' case, immortality.

from the Department of Star Witnesses

CAIRO, Egypt (ap) -- Osama bin Laden purportedly said in an audio tape Tuesday that neither Zacarias Moussaoui -- the only person convicted in the U.S. for the Sept. 11 attacks -- nor any Illinois politician had anything to do with any al-Qaida operation.

"He had no connection at all with Sept. 11," the speaker claiming to be bin Laden said in the tape posted on the Internet. "Oh yeah, and George Ryan. He's innocent, too."

Bin Laden also called all Illinois public officials innocent, claiming they were jailed to justify the cost of the war on the political corruption.

A counterterror officials said the message is part of the terror mastermind's continuing effort to demonstrate he is a relevant extremist leader, who is knowledgeable of current events. The official said the message was made for propaganda purposes, and it does not contain any threats, except perhaps one.

"I can't wait to see The da Vinci Code," bin Laden said. "I hear it's the bomb!"

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

You gotta get up pretty early

Have you ever played "I Have Never"? It's a game where you say something that you have never done, and everyone who has done this thing must drink. So I guess it's a drinking game.

With recent Cubs and Sox games, though, I've started saying, "Wow, I had never seen that before." That's because, in the past couple of weeks, a few out-of-the-ordinary things have happened at the old ballpark.

Anyway, the reason I bring up "I Have Never" is because I recently saw something I had never seen before. In fact, I'm willing to bet no one I know has seen this. On Sunday I went for a very early morning bike ride, and eventually I found myself at Millennium Park, and there I was, all alone with the Bean. I have no real opinions about the billion-dollar park or any of the artwork there, but I have to say, it was pretty cool to be the ONLY human bean wandering around the world's largest reflective (and now completely smooth) kidney bean.

I don't say this to show off or anything. I just say this to remind others (and especially myself) that there are plenty of cool things to check out and experience here in the shitty of Chicago. Sometimes you just gotta get your ass up out of bed.

Anyway, here it is. Cool beans, huh?

Anticipation builds over Blagojevich education plan

News Item: CHICAGO -- Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his aides refused to discuss his upcoming education proposal Monday, helping to drive up interest in the secret but also giving others a chance to set high standards for the plan to meet.

Education advocates called for a major spending increase supported by a long-term funding source. They and others also said the plan, to be released Tuesday, should reduce reliance on local property taxes.

Republicans said the plan will have to be a "silver bullet" for solving education problems if it's going to be seen as anything but a political deal to keep state Sen. James Meeks from making a third-party run for governor.

Whatever the plan, it reportedly won't require a property tax hike to pay for it ...

According to Daley Show sources, the Blagovernor is leaning towards a combination of these proposals:

Lottery: There has been speculation that Blagojevich is looking to privatize the state-run lottery, which currently has a $990 million advertising budget and generates about $90,000 for schools. In fact, he recently won a $300 million Powerball jackpot, and is considering donating the entire sum to the schools. Either that or spend the sum on anti-Topinka campaign commercials. Either way he figures he'll get re-elected.

Dice games in the hallways: Blagojevich is thinking about legalizing gambling in the schools. "I bet they're all betting on something anyway," the Blagovernor said, still irked that his keno plan was shot down in January. Under this proposal, schools would get a cut of all hallway dice, card, and raffle winnings. Students selling illegally downloaded music would also pay a tax on their earnings.

SchoolWise sales by laid off teachers: Using the successful StreetWise model for homeless people, 1,000+ former teachers would get their jobs back following two years of badgering pedestrians in front of every Walgreens and Osco. The newspaper would consist mostly of CPS CEO Arne Duncan's press releases on the openings of more charter schools.

Affy Tapple sales: School clubs have made a mint by having members sell all sorts of sugary goodness during passing periods. The ban on vending machine junk food has opened the door to millions of dollars in revenue. Schools would have the option of selling M&M/Mars products or Krispy Kremes instead of the apples, which some consider too bulky and/or too nutritious.

Corporate naming of schools: "Chicago showed us the light in selling off the naming rights to the Skyway and every single public space and place," Blagojevich said. "It's time to get rid of old-fashioned school names like Roosevelt and Von Steuben--names that students know and care little about--and replace them with names that bring warmth and comfort to our children, like Old Navy and Mountain Dew." Under this plan, school teams would wear jerseys resembling those of the European soccer leagues with any corporate logo that's deemed wholesome.

All city and state schools would potentially undergo a name change. Walter Payton would become Harry Caray's High School and Lane Tech would change to Lane Bryant--Fashionable plus-size apparel, sizes 14-28--College Prep.

Disney Magnet School, however, would keep its name.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Solve problems the Chicago Cubs way

Are things going badly for you? Are you a pathetic loser? Need to fire up your life?
Just add Michael Barrett to the picture ...

Are you sick and tired of the Church telling you who you can and can't sleep with, and then having its priests check out your son's ass*?

Have you had it up to here with the President telling you to fuck off, that he's got a mandate and can attack whoever the hell he wants?

Are you disgusted with the President's/FOX News spokesman later telling you that, no, the President did not just give you the finger?

Are you burned out by inane campaign commercials attacking the opponent six months before the general election?

Oh hell, are you the Governor, pissed that random minority "candidates" are threatening to run against you if you don't meet their demands?

Are you upset that this little goose is cuter than you and that more girls would rather sleep with it than you? You know what to do, Cub fan.

Or, I suppose, if Michael Barrett isn't a big enough psycho for you, you could always bring in Carlos Zambrano, the Big "Z" ... oh yeah!

* Joke about the priest checking out your son's ass stolen from the grandoverseerpickle.

Friday, May 19, 2006

When it comes to dirty minds, Chicago has Elmhurst beat

Humorous article in the Sun-Times today tells us that Elmhurst, which advertises itself as "a wonderful place to live and raise families," was No. 1 in the nation last month when it came to people searching for the word "sex" on google trends, a new service offered by the search site.

The mayor of the town of 42,762 said, "We don't have gentlemen's clubs or porn shops, so maybe that's why they go online."

Chicago, by the way, is No. 6 on that list.

The Sun-Times story was funny, but totally insincere. In order to find Elmhurst, you have to specifically search only in the "United States" during "April 2006." If you do an "all regions," "all years" search, here's the top 10 when it comes to googling "sex":
1. Cairo, Egypt
2. Chennai, India
3. Delhi, India
4. Mumbai, India
5. Ankara, Turkey
6. Istanbul, Turkey
7. Warsaw, Poland
8. Brussels, Belgium
9. Zurich, Switzerland
10. Amsterdam, Netherlands

That's more like it. And it explains why some countries are growing so much faster than we are.

But what about other sex-related terms? Will Elmhurst pop up if we try "hot sex"? Nope. Instead, we get ...
1. Cairo
2. Delhi
3. Chennai
4. Mumbai
5. Melbourne, Australia
6. Sydney, Australia
8. Seattle
9. Toronto
10. Philadelphia

Elmhurst isn't No. 1 even if you google "Elmhurst." Wheaton is No. 1 on that search.

The trouble with computer tools such as this one is that they are extremely addictive. I just spent a good 30 minutes typing in random words to see where Chicago lands. Here are the results from this time well spent:

"Group sex" Chicago is No. 7 (Delhi is No. 1)

"Gay sex" Chicago is No. 3 (Birmingham, U.K., is No. 1)

"Lesbian sex" Chicago is No. 2 (Irvine is No. 1)

"Balls" Chicago is No. 4 (Tampa is No. 1)

"Dirty" Chicago is No. 6 (Birmingham, U.K., is No. 1)

"Vagina" Chicago is No. 10 (Jakarta, Indonesia, is No. 1)

"Crotch" Chicago is No. 5 (Rochester is No. 1)

"Bullshit" Chicago is No. 6. (St. Louis is No. 1)

"Fuck" Chicago is No. 5 (Delhi is No. 1)

"Hand job" Chicago is No. 2 (St. Louis is No. 1)

"Anal sex" Chicago is No. 3 (Ankara, Turkey, is No. 1)

"Child porn" Chicago is No. 10 (The top 3 are cities in Turkey)

"Egg salad" Chicago is No. 5 (Minneapolis is No. 1)

"Eat me" Chicago is No. 8 (Rochester is No. 1)

I searched just about every phrase I could think of to see if I could find Elmhurst anywhere in the top 10. Finally, it showed up when I least expected it. Here are the top 3 (well, the only three) results when searching for the phrase "Cubs suck":

1. Elmhurst
2. Chicago
3. St. Louis

I'm starting to like Elmhurst a lot more. But when it comes to anything to do with sex, Chicago is somewhere in the top 10 from around the world, appearing more times than Cairo or Delhi, and almost as many times as St. Louis. However, in case you're starting to think we're all horny studs getting it on all the time, here are a few searches where, finally, Chicago is No. 1:
  • McDonald's
  • hot dogs
  • love handles

Thursday, May 18, 2006

What Mayor Daley will bring back from China

Mayor Daley is in China trying to dodge questions about hiring scandals and what-not. Just kidding, I know he'd never purposefully try to distance himself from what's been going on in his administration. He's actually touring China hoping to get public support for an Olympics bid. He's thinking about the future. He wants you to know that, no matter what, he will be mayor until at least 2016.

As we all know, when Daley goes overseas, he brings back ideas. Cows on Parade. Wrought iron fences. Rooftop gardens. These are all souvenirs from Daley's taxpayer-paid fact-finding missions from around the world.

Yesterday, after receiving a hero's welcome at a local school from students thinking they were meeting actor Danny DeVito, Daley hinted that he has been learning a lot. "I come here to learn from a wonderful principal and a wonderful staff here and bring back the ideas of what is working here in China to Chicago," Daley said.

According to Daley administration sources, here are some of the Chinese ideas Daley is mulling over:

School uniforms

How to deal with public health concerns

Job opportunities

Bike lane regulations

How to deal with a special prosecutor

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Another embarrassing week

Sorry about not posting in about a week. I've been trying to get over a severe case of Conan O'Brien fever. As anyone who reads the newspapers or watches TV news knows, the late night talk show host brought his program to Chicago last week, and the majority of the city went absolutely ape-shit.

You know you live in a second-rate city with a major inferiority complex when just about everyone goes ga-ga over any old minor celebrity.

Morning news teams devoted entire segments to recapping jokes.
Anchor 1: Yuk, yuk, did you hear what Conan said about Mayor Daley last night?
Anchor 2: Yeah, he said that Daley is in the Middle East. He can't believe that the people there hate each other as much as Cubs and Sox fans do.
Anchor 1: Oh yeah, that was great, wasn't it?

Newspapers devoted front page space to scandalous revelations.
Obama taps O'Brien as running mate

And then those standing ovations. At the start of each taped show last week, fans at the Chicago Theater stood and clapped for three or more minutes. They were so in awe and in love with that pesky red-headed comic on stage. It's not exactly the most compelling TV, listening to audience members applaud, and then hearing them randomly shout stuff during the show. (Later that night, the audience members could watch the show and be like, "Dude, did ya hear me? I was on television!") Then again, people across the country could learn something about this city.

We just want to be loved. Anyone could come here and we'll laugh, we'll applaud, we'll do anything, just please please please tell us, "Hello, Chicago, it's great to be here."

Friday, May 12, 2006

Or you could just make it alphabetical ...

File this in the folder marked: "Glad There's a Science Behind These Here Elections." From a Tribune story on the placement of candidate names on the ballot:
Cook County Clerk David Orr used two empty pill bottles to hide which slip of paper contained which party name, then dropped the pill bottles into a vase and shook them around before Weissberg blindly pulled out the one with the slip reading "Democrat."

Similar scenarios played out at other county election offices, with table tennis balls marked "Republican" winning in DuPage and "Democrat" in Kane.

A paper method used in Lake County resulted in "Republican" winning for the first time in 12 years, officials said, while Republicans also won top billing in McHenry County.
Reminds me of one of my favorite short stories, by Shirley Jackson:
Because so much of the ritual had been forgotten or discarded, Mr. Summers had been successful in having slips of paper substituted for the chips of wood that had been used for generations. Chips of wood, Mr. Summers had argued, had been all very well when the village was tiny, but now that the population was more than three hundred and likely to keep on growing, it was necessary to use something that would fit more easily into he black box.
In the story, when someone suggests that this "lottery" be eliminated, Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, replies, "Pack of crazy fools. Listening to the young folks, nothing's good enough for them. Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live that way for a while. Used to be a saying about 'Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.' First thing you know, we'd all be eating stewed chickweed and acorns. There's always been a lottery."

And here, here in our various Illinois county offices, there's always been a bass-ackwards way of selecting ballot placement. 'Course it does matter which party gets top billing, I reckon, cause people just vote for the top name, right?

If only the winners of our elections got the same treatment as the winner of "The Lottery":
Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. "It isn't fair," she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner was saying, "Come on, come on, everyone." Steve Adams was in the front of the crowd of villagers, with Mrs. Graves beside him.

"It isn't fair, it isn't right," Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Rumbling on about the CTA

Quick, what's the worst CTA "L" line in the city? By worst I mean the slowest and smelliest. If you said the Red Line, I'm with you.

Since converting over to the Sox a few years ago, I've had to endure the long ride from Rogers Park down to the Southside enough times to swear that, damn it, next time I'm driving to the game, who cares about the traffic and construction and parking costs. (Actually, here's a little secret about driving to Sox games, for all the Northsiders out there: If you don't mind parking some .83 miles from the ballpark, and you get there early enough, you could park for free at one of the area Sox bars. Of course that means drinking before the game with a bunch of dudes in moustaches and black satin jackets with the names of their various farms on the backs. Then again, beers go for less than three bucks, so it's not such a bad thing.)

But this isn't about driving. It's about taking the CTA, the agency that's planning to spend a billion dollars in the next few years on new "L" cars. Hopefully these new cars will be able to go faster and will smell better than the old ones.

How slow is the Red Line? I guess I could give you some numbers. Like: It takes about an hour to get from Granville to 35th, a distance of about 13 miles. That the train goes about ten miles an hours between stops but then accelerates as it enters the station just to give people on the platform a false sense of speed. Then again, I could say this: I've never been on a train anywhere in the world that is as infuriatingly slow as the Red Line. Most cities around the world have this thing called a timetable, and each train is spaced far enough from the others so that it could actually haul along.

In China about 10 years ago, I remember taking the lone subway line in Beijing. The subway trains looked ancient, sort of like cars in Cuba. (I've never been to Cuba, but I imagine the streets of Havana bumper to bumper with cars from the 50s.) Anyway, the Chinese subway was old, but damn, did it ever go fast. And it didn't stink.

I don't know if it's because of all the homeless that ride the 24-hour line or the hapless Cubs fans who urinate everywhere, but the Red Line smells like all sorts of body fluids.

And sometimes it's not the smell of number 1. I remember once seeing a big, fat lady hike up her skirt and actually take a shit on the Granville platform. Nasty. But the next day there was a clean-up crew with a high-pressure hose spraying down the entire station.

(Hey, speaking of numbers 1 and 2, what number should vomit get? Three? How about diarrhea? One and a half?)

Oh, just look at me, rumbling on about the CTA and all sorts of unrelated things. While I'm at it, I might as well present a list about the "L".

Here are some of the ...
Things I Miss About the "L"

Ravenswood Line: I know it's still around and under construction. But what I miss is how the lines used to be identified by a name, not a color. I realize that the colors are there especially for tourists, but my biggest problem is that they're not even color-coordinated. Blue Line stops are painted red and Pink Line stops come in a rainbow of colors. Something similar I hate is when people identify CTA buses by the route number instead of the street name. How should I know if this is bus number 127 or 77. All I know is that the Clark bus runs on Clark, the Addison bus on Addison. Stupid tourists.

Windows that open: Before AC, you'd have to open up a window to get a draft of dank air from the underground tunnel. But the smell of the actual subway was definitely better than the smell of the guy next to you. I remember the train cars being super loud and super bouncy. Again, this was much more preferable than listening to the person next to you talking on the phone.

Supertransfer: Growing up, I used to spend entire Sundays exploring the city with friends, taking random buses and trains, getting off at whatever stop, and then jumping back on and heading elsewhere. This was possible with a little paper transfer that was good all day. Nowadays, it's cheaper to just drive ... or stay at home.

Conductors walking through the cars collecting fares: One of the worst decisions by the CTA was eliminating that job and forcing the drivers to open the doors and replacing the PA with a recording that mispronounces street names. The conductors were often friendly, sometimes surly, but always there to give directions or be around in case a bunch of hoodlums got on board. And lots of them had their unique way of announcing stops, sometimes singing or saying weird, random stuff. But progress means automation. The high-tech new train cars the CTA is ordering will probably even do away with the drivers.

These changes kind of stink, if you ask me. Stink as bad as the Red Line after midnight following a Cubs game. But like any Chicagoan, I'll bitch about it until someone like Conan O'Brien calls us the shitty of Chicago. Then I'll defend this stupid city to the death.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Conservatives aim to keep divorce for themselves

SPRINGFIELD (ap) -- Kicking off a symbolic campaign against gay rights, conservative groups yesterday filed petitions with what they said were more than 345,000 signatures of Illinois residents who want to change the state constitution to define divorce as a separation of "one man and one woman."

The "Protect Divorce Illinois" referendum, as it is called, aims to prevent gays from breaking up and engaging in prolonged custody battles in Illinois, making it a Constitutional amendment.

"The conversation needs to start in Illinois," said Cathy Santos, spokeswoman for the Family Taxpayer Network, which helped lead the drive. "We need to protect this sacred right to tear apart families. The very beginning of the end of happy relationships is what I think obviously straight Illinois residents want to have for themselves."

Critics of the effort said with divorce rates already at 50 percent, there is no need to amend the Constitution. They also said that, when gay unions fall apart, individuals should be able to turn to the courts for legal separation and orders of protection, just as so many heterosexuals do.

Dozens of opponents of gay divorce gathered at the State Board of Elections to unload not only the petitions, but also years of frustrations and anger towards their spouses.

"My husband is always in the damn garage, fiddling with his car," Santos told the Daley Show. "He doesn't even realize that my engine needs a tune-up."*

Some in the conservative group held up signs that said, "No child support for gays," while others chanted slogans such as, "Hey hey, ho ho, no homos in divorce court."

* with apologies to Diane Wakoski

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Blaming the immigrant at the old ball game

The White Sox lost an ugly game last night.

Up 2-1 going into the ninth, three Sox relievers couldn't hold back the mighty Royals from scoring four runs. Thorton walked the leadoff man and was yanked. Jenks walked a guy, gave up two singles, then walked another guy, was yanked. Logan walked a guy, then gave up a single. Finally, Politte came in and got out of the inning.

In the Sox half of the inning, the offense came back. Podsednik doubled. After an Iguchi strike out, Thome homered, and it was 5-4 Royals. The Sox weren't done. Konerko then singled, Pierzynski made an out, Crede singled, and we had runners on the corners with two out. Mackowiak flew out to end the game.

I named names to see if you could determine who was to blame.

Shoddy pitching? A few guys that didn't come through in the clutch? An entire first place team that couldn't hold off the Royals, who were minus a couple of their hitters?

Maybe. Whatever. But here's the analysis after the game from a certain old man who runs a certain old-time Sox bar on Halsted (I won't name names, mostly because I'm not sure I have the exact quote):

"If only the Jap had gotten on."

Yeah, it was Iguchi's fault for losing the game. If he had gotten on base before the Thome homer, the game would have been tied. Nevermind that later in the inning, when we had other runners on base, two white players--with Polish last names mind you--failed to get a hit.

The old man could have blamed anyone. He certainly could have said, "If only one of the Pollacks had gotten a hit." But no, in a country where brown immigrants have to march to get respect, it was the Jap's fault. Welcome to the U.S.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Report City Hall shenanigans here

Dear city employee and/or citizen,

Are you honest? Are you concerned about corruption, fraud, misconduct and/or low low prices? Do you care about the City of Chicago's worldwide reputation? Then I call on you to report what you know to my office.

You may use this new Web site to report any and all wrongdoing. Please understand that I am independent of City Hall and am prohibited by law from sharing my investigation with anyone there. I have no loyalties outside this office, except to the Cubs. I am not a creature of clout.

Please take a moment to answer any and all of the questions below. You may print out the form and send it in or answer directly in the comments section. Thank you, and remember that only you can take a bite out of Mayor Daley.

David Hoffman, Inspector General


Your name: _____________________ Alias: ______________

Type of corruption (check all that apply)
___ Bribery
___ Influence-peddling
___ Political hiring
___ Racism, sexism, sadomasochism, or any other -ism
___ Voting Republican in city limits
___ Charging strip club tab to city credit card

Who has ignored your previous attempts to report this wrongdoing?
___ The Department of Human Rights
___ EEOC
___ The People's Court
___ Bartender (provide name of bar: ________________________)

Please identify the individual you think most responsible for the injustice (if none, check any you think should be investigated).
___ Mayor Daley
___ Mayor's chief of staff
___ Someone else reporting directly to the Mayor
___ Alderman: ________________________
___ City contractor

How did you discreetly record this incident?
___ Microphone taped to chest
___ Phone bug
___ Squad car dashboard camera
___ Copy of ransom note
___ DNA on underpants

How much would it take to keep this quiet? (Name your price.) ______

How much to get you to testify? (Remember, this is a city agency.) ______

Have you ever received immunity for your testimony? ___ Yes ___ No

Would you like to? ___ Yes ___ No

Where have we seen you before?
___ 10 o'clock news
___ press conference
___ sleeping in city truck
___ Ryan jury
___ That wasn't me

Please type your report in the space below. Remember to provide as much detail as possible, especially the specific facts that play well on television, such as EXACT DOLLAR AMOUNTS, EXPLICIT SEX ACTS, and NAMES and PHONE NUMBERS OF WIVES and GIRLFRIENDS, wherever possible. The more information you provide us, the more thoroughly embarrassing this investigation can be during an election year.

Remember, all of our pending investigative files are strictly confidential and can only be accessed by people in City government for an exorbitant fee. Your identity will be protected to the maximum extent of the law, until your face appears in the papers.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

The truly bold step is eating school lunches

NEWS ITEM: "This is a bold step forward in the struggle to help 35 million young people lead healthier lives. This one policy can add years and years and years to the lives of a very large number of young people." --Former President Clinton, announcing that the nation's largest beverage distributors have agreed to halt nearly all sales of sodas to public schools -- a step that will remove the sugary, caloric drinks from vending machines and cafeterias around the country.
The only thing left in the bold struggle to improve young people's health is to improve their cafeteria food. Pictured here is a "healthy" lunch at the Chicago Public Schools. The typical lunch has a slice of pizza instead of the chicken. Note the "vegetable" offering.

BTW, guess what the biggest complaint students have about these lunches. Yep, not enough fries. Bring on the carbs!

CTA unveils plans for "white" line

CHICAGO (ap) -- Now that most high rise housing projects near downtown have been torn down and replaced by pricey townhomes, now that most poor people have moved out and been replaced by white yuppies, the CTA has unveiled plans for an inner-circle route connecting Chicago's entire public transportation network.

Whichever of the three proposals is chosen, CTA officials assure potential riders that only white, middle-class customers will benefit.

"We don't anticipate there being any reason for a person of color to ever need to use this service," the agency's press release stated. "The residents within this inner circle are predominantly white, and with housing prices going nowhere but up, poor people will no longer live in the area by the time this thing is built."

Boys: Why are they so stupid?

As prom season approaches, boys from around the state are heading to Chicago's elite college prep high schools, where the girls outnumber the boys and everyone is looking for a date. Why are so few boys at these schools dating? Because they're dumb and smell bad, and they still play childish video games, according to Chicago area eighth grade girls.

2006 Chicago college prep gender breakdown:
So many girls, so few chances to date
SchoolPct. boysPct.
Boys' XBox avg.
Girls' XBox avg.
Jones 3862807110

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Passing a budget in an election year, part 1

You can't always get what you want,
But if you threaten to run against the governor,
You'll get what you need ...

From the Tuesday Chicago Tribune:
State Sen. James Meeks on Tuesday still wouldn't say if he plans to launch a third-party bid for governor. ... The talk of a run has prompted speculation that Meeks is using it as a way to leverage concessions from Blagojevich, who could lose black voters to Meeks. ... Meeks said he has asked Gov. Rod Blagojevich for two things: a four-year comprehensive plan for school funding and a plan for how underserved communities are going to be served. "I have not received either of those plans, and that is why I'm moving forward to do what I said I would do," Meeks said. ... "If I get the four-year comprehensive plan and it is adequately going to fund education and kids are going to adequately be taken care of then I'm sure I'll be satisfied," Meeks said.
From the Wednesday Chicago Tribune:
Democrats in the Illinois House approved a $56 billion state budget Wednesday that emphasizes education and public safety ... The budget includes money to expand preschool programs, offer more grants to college students and increase general education spending, though not as much as experts and many lawmakers want. ... It also would allow for about 250 additional prison guards, specialized treatment for inmates addicted to methamphetamine, new state police cars and improvements in testing DNA evidence. ... Education spending would increase by about $430 million, with more than $100 million going to Chicago's financially struggling schools.
Wonder if Meeks is satisfied ...

Now then, how about another threat to run for governor, this time from another constituency?
But Hispanic senators refused to support the budget, leaving Democrats without enough votes to pass it in the upper chamber. After hours of delay Wednesday night, the Senate adjourned until Thursday. ... Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Chicago, said the budget should include money to build new schools. He said Gov. Rod Blagojevich has not worked with Hispanic lawmakers to make sure their concerns are met. ... "There have been no discussions with the governor. The governor has not reached out to us," Sandoval said, adding that an agreement can be reached before the budget deadline of May 31.

Study: Americans sicker than filthy Brits

CHICAGO (ap) -- White, middle-aged Americans -- even those who are rich -- are far sicker than their peers in England, according to stunning new research that erases misconceptions and has experts scratching their "heads."

Americans had higher rates of perversion, masturbation, S&M practice, incest and cross dressing than the British --
findings that held true no matter what income or education level.

Those dismal results are despite the fact that the U.S. church-going rate is triple that of England's citizens.

"Everybody should be discussing it: Why isn't the richest country in the world the purest country in the world?" asks study co-author Dr. Michael Marmot, an epidemiologist at University College London in England.

The study, based on government statistics in both countries, adds context to the already-known fact that the United States spends more in adult video stores than any other industrialized nation, yet trails in rankings of successful marriages.

The United States spends about $5,200 per person on pornography while England spends about half that in adjusted dollars.

South suburban New Lenox Mayor Mike Smith admitted to charging $1,400 at a Chicago strip club on the village card on March 10.

Young Americans off the charts

CHICAGO (ap) -- While a new national poll paints a dismal picture of young Americans' knowledge of world news and geography, a survey at one Chicago high school shows that teens are a lot savvier than they appear.

The recent FACT survey, conducted by an unnamed source at Regnef High, balances out young people's poor performance in the Roper poll conducted for National Geographic.

Among the findings:

ROPER: One-third of respondents COULDN'T pinpoint Louisiana on a map and 48 percent were UNABLE to locate Mississippi.
FACT: Four-fifths of respondents COULD point out in which bathroom a small drug purchase could be made and, while half could not come up with the annual school fee, 89 percent were ABLE to find cash for the bathroom purchases.

ROPER: FEWER THAN three in 10 think it important to know the locations of countries in the news and just 14 percent believe speaking another language is a necessary skill.
FACT: MORE THAN eight in 10 think it important to know the locations of security guards each period and 84 percent believe "being cool" with those guards is a necessary skill.

ROPER: Two-thirds DIDN'T know that the earthquake that killed 70,000 people in October 2005 occurred in Pakistan.
FACT: Two-thirds DID know which cell phone company offers 1,000 anytime minutes for $49.99.

ROPER: Six in 10 COULD NOT find Iraq on a map of the Middle East.
FACT: Nine in 10 COULD find a way out of in-school suspension.

ROPER: While Israeli-Palestinian strife has been in the news for the entire lives of the respondents, 75 percent were UNABLE to locate Israel on a map of the Middle East.
FACT: While some sort of school dress code has been in effect for their entire high school career, 75 percent of seniors were ABLE to make it through eighth period without anyone telling them to put on an ID.

ROPER: Nearly three-quarters INCORRECTLY named English as the most widely spoken native language.
FACT: Nearly 95 percent CORRECTLY named English as the most boring subject in high school.

ROPER: Six in 10 DID NOT know the border between North and South Korea is the most heavily fortified in the world. Thirty percent thought the most heavily fortified border was between the United States and Mexico.
FACT: Eight in 10 DID know how to sneak into a different lunch period. Seventy percent thought the most closely watched period is fifth, so they snuck into sixth or seventh.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Immigration march photos: A view from the gutter

5,000,000 marchers + 1 gig of memory = plenty of stupid jokes ...

Someone (or something) tickled future mayor Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.).

Sox fans turned out for a belated World Series celebration.

The fashion-conscious came out donning the trendiest new outfit.

A documentary crew filmed Spinal Tap 2.

The only Dunkin Donuts employee to show up for work was a white guy.

CBOT employees were held back from bidding on the futures of marchers.

Illegal dogs were out protesting for the right to breed.

Cleanup crews were on high alert to pick up tamale and pierogi scraps.


Monday, May 01, 2006

Area man attending rally in hopes of finding wife

Chicago resident and U.S. citizen Andy Planet is joining hundreds of thousands of marchers in the streets today, protesting for immigration rights and hoping to find a wife.

"I can't believe the laws this country is trying to pass. We need immigrant labor," Planet said. "Plus, I can't believe how many women I can potentially meet who would love to marry a citizen so that they can stay in this country legally."

The 35-year-old advertising copy writer is planning to call in sick in order to attend the day's festivities. He also plans to have his passport available for inspection to potential wives.

"I don't really care where she's from," he said. "Some kind of Asian would be great. But Latinas are pretty damn hot, too."

Unlike other U.S. citizens, who charge immigrants hefty fees to marry, Planet said there are no strings attached "as long as she's kinky."

Scalping rumors and other myths

Daley Show Special Report: Day Without Michigan, part 12

Thousands of illegal Michigan migrants are expected to march through the streets of Chicago today, looking for more bars to call "The Big House." Hoping to dampen participation, Illinois alumni are spreading rumors about the event.

MYTH: Chief Illiniwek is using the rally as an opportunity to round up and scalp Michiganders.

FACT: A University of Illinois spokesman said, "We wish!" Rumors that the Chicago Police Department will round up undocumented Big Ten fans at today's march are also false, according to Ald. Danny Solis (25th). "Not only is it false, it is also illegal in the city of Chicago for city employees to forcibly remove someone's scalp, usually with the hair, as a trophy of war," Solis said.

MYTH: Illegal Michigan immigrants are eligible for unannounced daily specials at Lincoln Park bars.

FACT: Michigan immigrants can party at any Lincoln Park drinking establishment and take advantage of the daily special. But "they are not eligible for any special that is not listed on the chalkboard in front of that establishment," said Professor Hoe Kee Pokey of DePaul University College of Hard Knocks, "unless, of course, they know the bartender."

MYTH: The Michigan invasion of Wrigley Field bleachers is more of a hot-button issue now than it has ever been in Chicago history.

FACT: Strong reaction to changes in the bleacher seating and pricing is nothing new to Cubs fans, who have nothing better to do since they haven't had a reason to cheer in almost 100 years. "We are not only opposed to Michigan immigrants," the Illiniman Project website declare. "We are opposed to all former frat boys and the girls who love them. Go back to whichever Greek Row you came from!"