Executive Speech Writing: Corporate, Celebrity, Fundraisers

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Best of 2007 Nonsense, Fat Guy I Know, Death of Bhutto, Patriots Victory

A new year is coming, and somehow, within the ticking of a clock, 2007 becomes a sentimental land of whim and misty-eyed baloney. Give me a break. My papers, every one of them, are going to be filled with Best of 2007 nonsense. True, looking back has merit, but we'll do it as it is a history lesson.

You know the sort which gets into this. Imagine the scene: a party, everyone is having a great time, and some bonehead needs to pull out his or her cell phone and snap some pictures. That's fine, except for the part in which they show them to everyone immediately.


Are we having a better time because you can show me what happened :30 earlier? What's wrong with enjoying right now, rather than reminscing about a minute ago. Give me people, not pictures of people. I want real relationships, not virtual ones.

Speaking of real people, I must tell you about this former fat guy I know. He's keeping a blog about how he is losing (present tense) 60 pounds. Hopefully, he's losing 80, but he has lost 60 so far, and he'll be the first to tell you it isn't one of those things that gets checked off his list, and then onto some new thing. His Christmas post, for example: Christmas Time: I Didn't Gain Weight Like Everyone Else is straight to the point. No bones about how fat gets dropped. Not bad for one year. Congratulations, David Dane!

I'm as fit as untuned fiddle, so I'm not in a position to lose 80. If I did, I'd be up in Stroger Hospital of Cook County before I knew it. No one wants to go there. You gotta go there, and who knows what will happen. It is hardly known for great bedside manner or nurses who give a rip. Too many people I know have stepped in there thinking they cared, but found better service in a 7-11.

Thank you. Come again.

Good nurses? All over the place. BroMenn Healthcare in Bloomington-Normal is one place. Great folks there. Luckily, I've been blessed without much need for medical care, but my day will come. Can't hawk newspapers forever.

The News
It was the best of weeks. It was the worst of weeks.

Bhutto's son, husband to be co-leaders of party
Some ignoramus pig assassinated Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. She's the woman trying to stick a little freedom into Pakistan. The Muslim suck-ups to Al Qaida took her down like the little whiny schoolyard thugs they are. They know if the Pakistanis are allowed to choose, they'll want something better than Shariah law. They'll want to live more like I do: work hard, pray to the God of my choosing (and let me tell you, He isn't Allah), and not be forced to bow to their dog.

Old Osama bin Laden's crew can't handle freedom. He's a rich guy, lives anyone he pleases. Puts up a front for his lackeys, but, in reality, isn't a man of peace. He makes George Bush look like a pacifist.

Either way, seems her hubby and kid are stepping up. Hubby has a bad rep of corruption, but hopefully he can do some damage to the patsies trying to steal freedom from the Pakistani people.

Go ahead, choose Islam. It is a free country here. I'll respect your ability to worship whomever you please. But don't force me to. You can't. I will not bow.

Perfect Pats: New England Makes It 16-0
Good news here. Not of course to Chicago Bears fans, but they lost the season after the first coin toss. The Patriots did good, and I think every football fan should tip their hat to them. These guys are Pats, not patsies.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas at the Hawks, PADS and Pacific Garden Mission

Christmas in the Hawk household is no different than many other Chicagoans. No work, much cheer. Strange, though, as today is a big day to read a newspaper. However, as busy as my corner is most of December, today is the least travelled.

This is not to say the corner is empty. It never is. Monday to Friday, mostly, I am there, as are thousands of businessmen and women. Also, somehow not always as obviously, are other men and women. These are homeless, or semi-homed, if that can be said.

It is hardly just Chicago. Every big city has people who need a meal and place to lay their head.

And it is not just big cities, but the posh suburbs. Now, before you get on your high horse about how the rich burbanites don't care, get a load of PADS. They are based in the wealthy west suburbs, specifically in Wheaton, IL. They got a lot of churches (130 churches!) working together to help feed and provide a place to sleep.

The deal is simple: every night, a different church provides a floor and sleeping bags to sleep in a safe area. People get dinner and breakfast at no cost. Some churches provide the floor, while others provide volunteers.

How You Can Give - see these two places, if you live in Chicagoland, but they are hardly the only ones. Your church most likely can connect you to others, and there is always the United Way, the Salvation Army.

Pacific Garden Mission - we don't have much to give, but our family has given to them over the years, and think you should too.

Homeless in DuPage County Fact Sheet - This is what PADS has to say about the homeless. I have even volunteered there to see what it is all about, working an all night night shift.

The News
It is Christmas. What better news is there? As good news goes, this is as good as it gets. Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bookbinding and Bitter Cold

Today is only colder than yesterday, but the coffee seems warmer. The salary girls and smokers are less apt to wander outside. Better for me, as I get tired of the stink of cheap perfume and second-hand smoke. At least the salary girls are fun to look at, unlike the smokers.

Thinking of the days when newspapers did not include computers, I came across this fellow's site. That's his blog selling old bookbinding equipment. Intrigued, I see that he's got this whole old world style of bookbinding going on, with some very impressive samples, Weird seeing it on the internet. It is like seeing an Amish or hermitage website.

Gilded Leaf Bindery
Maryville, Tennessee

The News
As news blogs go, this one is hardly thorough, but very interesting: Hungarian News - http://hungariannews.blogspot.com. Where is a copy of the Budapest Sun when you need one?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Snow and Drew Peterson, Suspected Killer?

The days are getting increasingly colder. Today, a Saturday, left me at home. I'm mostly hawking Monday to Friday. The snow - oh, the snow! Like piles of nothing useful.

Drew PetersonThe News

The Mitchell Report is out, and the losers who doped up to play baseball are listed. This must be why the Cubs lose. Not enough drugs.

Reminds of those days when some of us (not me, too young), were forced to name Communists.

Self-made murder suspect, fired cop (or did he 'retire'?) Drew Peterson, from our neck of the woods near Chicago, is the clown of the local media.

Suspected, but as of yet not charged, nor arrested, as the killer opf his lovely and fourth wife (or was it the third?) is Drew Peterson. Guilty or innocent, he is the laughingstock of Chicago's diverse suburbia.

Not officially known is whether Peterson killed previous wife Kathleen Savio (notch number three in the Peterson scorecard.)

Now, one of his sons, Stephen Peterson, 28, a police officer in the very posh Oak Brook department, is being questioned in a grand jury. I would like to think this Peterson is less foolish than his father, and that this younger one has integrity.

Peterson son goes before grand jury
Chicago Tribune - Dec 13, 2007 - One of Drew Peterson's adult sons appeared Thursday before a Will County special grand jury investigating the ...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tips and Bus Drivers

Ralph Kramden What days these are. Cold, brisk. Getting colder, brisker. Newspapers are flying off my pile, and the bucks are coming in nicely. Tips? Not so good. No one stops to talk, and that's when I'll see the biggest tippers. Mostly, and I'm not complaining here, the tip will be the guy or gal paying me a buck for a fifty cent paper. If more people did that, I might be able to drive to work and actually afford parking. They don't, and and I can't. The L and CTA: that's my life.

The CTA is a mess. The drivers are fine, but the leaders are terrible when it comes to managing them. Find me a happy driver, and I will be surprised.

It isn't just the CTA. Bus drivers in general. These guys doing all the corporate and college driving? We're not dealing with the posh Winnetka crowd here. Long hours. Some are being asked to report fewer hours than they drive because of legal reasons. We call that lying and/or cheating.

Meanwhile, they take heat from riders. Sure, some are nice, I know. Some are great. But then there's the backseat driver types. The complainers. The drunks. The racists. The arrogants. It goes on.

Imagine the entire congregation of the church of mankind crammed into a bus. Take out the lower income people. Then, remember the quiet ones aren't the trouble. It is the ones who forget you've got a guy who had to buy his own GPS system because his bus company gives him bad directions. They forget the guy has had little sleep, and, unlike a cushy corporate job, he can't goof off with a coffee break when he needs a buzz.

Even I get coffee breaks.

They work long hours for nothing. $20-25,000 a year, no insurance, no anything. If anyone deserves tips, it is the bus driver. I'm not talking Ralph Kramden here (he's the "to the moon" guy on the old TV show, "The Honeymooners," for you younger kids). Real bus drivers.

What can the bus driver do? Quit? No. He needs the money. Strike? How? Same thing, too -- money. He needs the cash. Like me, it is all hand to mouth. Savings are for rich people. My buddy Vlad - he's a bus driver. Sure, he has savings. Like $2500. How long will this last him?

Help the guy out. Slip him a fiver on the way out the door.

The News
  • Bears stink.
  • George Ryan's in the clink.
  • About Kanye West's mother, Donda West, I don't know what to think.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Salary Girls, Coffee, Homeless Guy Near AON Building

What days we have that are now cool and kind, just before the booming cold? Selling papers is nicest now, sitting with a cup of coffee. Picked up a large at Intelligensia. Haven't been there in a while.

The cool weather means the salary girls are bundling up. Just as well, too. I bet productivity goes up on days where modesty prevails, though, every salary girl knows how to trick up the day.

Saw a one-legged guy in a wheel chair. You've seen him, haven't you? His right leg is off just before or around the knee. Black guy. He uses a combination of his hands pushing the wheeling and his left leg in a soft or pull/drag. Hard to see. Wondered what could be done.

Was it -- his leg, that is -- lost in a war? Or was it less noble, like from malnutrition? He was too thin to fit my stereotype of a diabetic, but I could be wrong. All I know is a guy was slowly working up the sidewalk near the AON Building, underdressed, and, for what he was wearing, in need of new duds. Homeless? I guess so. I don't know. I've seen him before. Panhandler at least, but what else can he do? Was it on the Washington bridge near the Lyric Opera where I have seen him camped out most? Could be.

Got the kind of job in which you can hire him? I'm just a peon, but it would be great if someone could help him, they would.

The News
Bears are losing, Cubs are losers, the Chicago Marathon is taking heat for the heat (talk to God about the weather, not the race director).

What more do you need to know?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Al Qaeda Street Gang Wants To Slaughter Cartoonist (Is Garfield the Cat Next?)

I have a cold, making the beautiful September day a loss. It might as well be February.

The salary girls have turned in their flirty skirts for beige pants and tiny jackets.

The News
The big news in the papers is about the paper. As it seems, "Al Qaeda offers bounty on Swedish cartoonist." This makes Islam look afraid, unable to handle an insult. Making their good reputation worse, they want to pay someone to knock off the cartoonist, to slaughter him like a lamb.

George Bush never looked so right about Iraq.

It has been revealed that Omar al-Baghdadi is as real as Mohammad and Santa Claus, with an actor playing Baghdadi.

Hopefully, Lars Vilks will get in contact with Salman Rushdie and sort out how to handle the Al Qaeda street gang.

I haven't seen the current lot, and have no doubt they are offensive to those who believe in Islam. Don't get me wrong. Offensive is offensive, and I would not tell someone they have to like or agree. That's a big difference though. Free speech is hard enough to find in America, but in Islamic countries, almost impossible. Here's the famous Danish Muslim Cartoons.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Guilty in Family Secrets Mob Trial

Thinking about important things as the rain considers to fall. The important things aren't how many papers I sell tonight in the coming 5:00 rush, but our men and women in Iraq who don't have it nearly as easy as myself, or any of those plopping 50 cents my way to read the news.

Funny thing on a blog talking about Hillary Clinton claiming Osama bin Laden converted to Christianity.

The News
The news is good.

Guilty As Charged
James Marcello, Joey "the Clown" Lombardo, Frank Calabrese Sr. and Paul "the Indian" Schiro and Anthony "Twan" Doyle.

Each of these men are scum. Losers. In some cases, bad fathers. According now to their jury, criminals. Murderers, racketeering, extortion. These are men that smile, say it wasn't them. So bad were these men that a brother and son could not stomach the crap they were dealing. If my dad or brother was one of these men, I would be ashamed to share the last name.

One is a a slimy cop, corrupt in every way.

From the Tribune:

  • James Marcello, 65, identified by authorities as Chicago's top mob boss two years ago when the indictment was handed down.
  • Joey "the Clown" Lombardo, 78, a legendary reputed mob figure for decades who was convicted in the 1980s of bribing a U.S. senator.
  • Frank Calabrese Sr., 70, whose brother and son provided crucial testimony for the prosecution.
  • Paul "the Indian" Schiro, 69, the reputed Outfit member from Phoenix who is already serving a prison sentence for his role in a mob-connected jewelry theft ring.
  • Anthony "Twan" Doyle, 62, the former Chicago cop accused of passing on confidential information about the federal probe to a mob friend.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Puppet Bike & NBA Robberies

The Puppet Bike guy at Michigan and Adams (you might see him near Randolph too) continues on. I've never met him, though we know of each other. His show, a plotless Punch and Judy dance of kitties, takes place on the stage - the back of his bike.

What fascinates kids is the old fashioned fun. No iPod, XBox, Wii or any other technology. The set is simple, the same as any traditional park puppet theater. These are standard hand puppets, not complex marionettes.

Far as I can tell, the characters are only two cats, a monkey, a squirrel, and an alligator.

The reality is, there is no puppet guy. There's at least a few guys, as far as I can see. All are doing this for tips. At least I make a few cents on each newspaper I sell. So, give the guy (or gal) a tip). You tip the coffee maven, the taxi driver. Tip this Chicago Institution. It is like PBS live, downtown, and in the Loop.

The News
I won't let Barry Bonds be news. I don't respect him. Hank Aaron was a man, and Barry Bonds is no Hank Aaron.

Much of the news in Chicago these days has been a pile of box scores. Some people have been charged in the professional basketball players Eddie Curry and Antoine Walker robberies. Turns out these robberies are linked, which we all knew, but had no evidence. Now there's evidence and suspects. To Chicagi's Finest, when your boys aren't beating up bar keepers, you do good work.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Cops (the Good Guys), Mugging, Muggy Weather & Gossip

What a month! Little laptop trouble kept me from going online as much as I would like. It is just as well. I got some exercise. Seems everyone is going out for a walk or a run.

Sales have gone in and around. The humid weather is scaring away the weekday tourists, but the gossip of the day crowd is on top of it.

A friend was almost mugged until one of Chicago's Finest stepped out of a coffee shop unexpectedly. Nothing like a cop to scare off the baddies.

I caught a few movies. Saw Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille. Impressive.

I, myself, someone who sells newspapers, bought a newspaper while passing by the Olgivie Train Station. To think all the years I have been hawking, I have never met this guy. Could be a turf thing. I'm rarely where he is and probably vice versa. Anyway, I was off one day last week, thought I would see how the White Sox were doing. You've seen him, on the east side, just where you would enter the station's lower level? He never talks. Just grunts and nods. If you buy from him, when you plop down your two quarters, let him know he's been blogged.

The News
Conrad Black was found guilty.

Even though few think Barry Bonds is innocent, he's getting the Sammy Sosa treatment.

Lindsay Lohan is busted for coke possession.

Nicole Richie is busted for being stupid.

Britney Spears' bodyguards take on photographers.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Google, Michael Moore, Coffee

It feels like fall today. Coffee always tastes better in the brisk morning. Today's coffee is Columbian, with sugar and cream.

The News
The New York Times has blogged about Google's Lauren Turner choosing to post her own opinion.

It is nice to see that Google's not such an institution that it forces all employees to think uniformally.

How refreshing that free speech still exists, even in corporate America.

Michael Moore is making his money while making a point. Is it a surprise that Lauren Turner wants to spout her thoughts?

Let freedom ring. As Michael Moore himself has said, America is the best country in the world, and his and Turner's freedom of speech is evidence of this.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Capt. America is Buried, Conrad Black Lives

Marvel Comics / APWhen I mentioned Capt. America was dead, an outpouring of interest came on this little blog. Now that he's being buried, does the nation care? They seemed to care then, but now?

I'm heading to the Taste of Chicago. If you see me, I'm there to eat. No paper selling today.

The News
Barry Bonds is trying to beat Hank Aaron's homerun record.

Scum Conrad Black's jury is thinking.

No other real news, not in Chicago. Not today.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Get a Pop Culture T-Shirt or Mug

We love a good laugh, but so do the good and crazy people at CafePress. You can make just about any kind product to wear. Even dog clothing. Whatever your inclination, they got the T-shirt, hat or mug for you. Politics, hobbies, smarmy statements about life - all here.

Taste of Chicago, Coffee, Starbucks Cards, Paris Hilton

The Taste of Chicago is coming June 29-July 8, 2007. Newspaper sales become a strange thing as tourists, and people from the suburbs who do not normally come into the Loop fall into overpriced chow lines.

Sometimes, I sell three times what I might expect. People who want to look trendy-city will pick up the Sun-Times as if they read it daily. I'll take their foolish money. Other people present that they are business-sophisticates, and buy a New York Times, Wall Street Journal or Financial Times. Mostly young people, and almost always with dates. I get more tips than when my regulars come by.

Speaking of tips. Made my day. Normally, I hate gift cards. I think they are the lazy man's Christmas or birthday gift. It is just cash in card form. However, a guy, one who stops occasionally gave me a gift card to Starbucks. It was worth $20.00.

Why? He received one as a gift, an office party thing, but hates coffee. When he passes each day, he always asks, "Hawk, how's the coffee today?" His way of making conversation, and so I tell him. When he buys a paper, we chat a little. I don't know him, but I don't not know him. There's that kind of relationship that happens when you see people daily, but never really get to talk.

There's a $20.00 card now, actually, closer to $15.00, after two cups of joe, extra cream, to get me going these last two days.

I regret to say I don't know his name. I'll ask.

The News
In the non-news category is that US Weekly has decided that they will not publish stories or pictures of Paris Hilton. Miss Hilton is not the ordinary salary girl. The salary girls want to be her: rich, stupid, beautiful and somehow important. We all want to matter in this life, even Miss Hilton, and every bimbo-headed salary floozy that walks by me with lattes each morning. US Weekly has decided that their readers are tired of Miss Hilton. It is a business decision, not an integrity-based one.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Humidity & The Tale of Two Asses

The humidity today was an invisible fog.

The News
The one is in the US World & News Report: The high school student who smugly held a banner at a school event that said "Bong hits 4 Jesus" was right to suspended, or at least, it was within the rights of his school to do so. I think the kid is an ass, and was not trying to make a statement. Nothing about his case compels me to think he is nothing but a boy without any real friends, looking to pretend he is a thinker.

Also, Tank Johnson lost his job playing for the Chicago Bears after being stupid, driving drunk or high. I don't know what they story is. Got frustrated, stopped reading. Too bad. He seems like a nice guy. Instead, like the high school kid, he's just an ass.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Movies, Mobs, Sosa

I'm a movie buff. Not really. I like movies, and have seen a lot of old movies recently. Black and whites, like The Thin Man with William Powell and Myrna Loy.

The Top Movies of All Time list has been released, so I have been thinking about the great ones I have seen.

Casablanca might top my list.

Rain's a-coming, and it is going to be hard. My plastic is ready, but if it is windy, there sinks my sales.

Ever buy a paper from a guy like me? If it is near 6:00, offer me half the price, and I might take it. Then, tip me a quarter. You'll get a nod and a thanks. I might even make sure you get a dry copy.

The News
Loser boys are on trial. (Post here and here). The Chicago flavored mob has been kissing themselves at trial all week, and, although most of them are old and useless now, they are said to be have been even more useless when they were younger. The closest thing to the "Sopranos" they might have is the the tune they'll be singing in the pen.

Wondering what they family secrets are that is being chatted about in the Chicago Tribune. Maybe one of these chumps will come out of the closet -- with his brother. No good, not one of them.

Sammy "No, I'm not on 'roids" Sosa hit homer #600 against the Cubbies. Maybe now he'll retire, turn off his music, and start his new career signing baseball cards for middle-aged men trying to remember when. At least Pete Rose hit every hit on his own power. It looks like he gambled (his own admission) but no one is thinking he was less of an athlete because of it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Salary Girls, Chicago Mobs (& Other Street Thugs), Clinton Soprano Video

The heat has continued to bring out the salary girls at lunch, swaying short skirts and men's integrity for weeks now. Thong shoes, short shorts, you know the sort.

At a few corners, the bands are out. The AON Building has one, and there's one on Washington and, is it Adams? Usually pop blues. Works for me as the sound wafts through the corners and streets. Better than the bongo boys who play only one tune badly, and that guy with a saxophone. Nice try, pal, but even Bill Clinton plays better.

Have you seen the Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Soprano spoof/parody?. Looks like the Clintons, desperate to reach into Bil's popularity, prefer to associate themselves with the mob.

The News
Stan Lee got his own action figure. Not a doll. Action figure. (Comic-book legend Stan Lee gets his own action figure)

Speaking of mobs, and playing with things, the jury looks like it was chosen for the mob trial I told you about yesterday. What the mob boys will play with once they get sent up the river isn't mine to say. Street punks, with the class of thugs like the Vice Lords, Latin Kings and other charm school flunkies.

No one has ever said, "My, what a great impact the mafia has had on society." Instead, words like blight, crime, casinos, tobacco and other garbage are the terms of endearment.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Chicago's Mob on Trial, Thunderstorms and Conrad Black (barely)

Rain, rain, go away. Ain't nothing worse to a newspaper hawk than thunderstorms. Rain is one thing, but throwing a little lightening into the mix and I become person non grata.

That was yesterday. I think I sold two papers in the afternoon. I can't blame them, and I won't blame God, but if He wanted, He could've sent the rain in the middle of the night when I was sleeping. He didn't.

Today is nice. Damp, humid, but, so far, cool, but getting hotter.

The sight of a storm over Lake Michigan still thrills me. It is the closest thing we have to an ocean, and there is a kind of drama that doesn't happen on the streets all canopied by buildings and L-tracks.

The News
Conrad "The Dirty Rotten Bum" Black's trial looks like it is coming to a close. That's my nickname for him. If the guys in the mob get a nickname, he certainly deserves one too.

Equal to him among human vermin is Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo. Why do they call him a clown? Big nose? Does he dress like Bozo or Ronald McDonald? I see him more like Krusty the Clown. Look at him smiling.

Maybe Joey is smiling because he is thinking of what fun he could have in prison? His lawyer says he was really a nothing kind of guy, just another bum in the mob.

Add to the mix Frank Calabrese, Sr. part of the mob scum the cops are trying to put down. Nicholas Calabrese too. Some guy named James Marcello. There are others, each as worthless as the previous.

Casino (Widescreen 10th Anniversary Edition)

More Mob/Mafia movies (Godfather, etc.)

There's something about the Mob that reminds me of Al-Qaeda. Reckless, yet strategically violent, always in the wrong, yet fascinating in the news. Both are infections that need to be eliminated.

* Two more plead out ahead of mob case
Former cop recalls Chicago mob heyday
A new Chicago mob story is about to begin

Friday, June 15, 2007

Billy Graham, Ruth Graham, Iced Coffee, Hot Days in the Loop

Blistering heat continues to make sitting on a milk crate in the Loop a chore. Mornings aren't so bad, but it gets worse with each hour. Coffee's not so much anymore, and that iced coffee thing is for the birds.

Iced tea, on the other hand, hits the spot. Can't drink it all day, though. Got a cooler I drag with with me, one of those things with a long handle and wheels. Where were those years ago? You'd think that would have been an easy invention. Nope. Took til when, 10 years ago? I'm glad to have it. Old bones drag new things slowly.

The News
Ruth Graham, wife of beloved evangelist Billy Graham, has died. Chicago, at first look, might be seen as a Catholic town, but millions of Protestants live here, and, the fact is, Graham has never been anti-Catholic. Rather, he spoke about Jesus Christ as someone's 'savior' which is, from what I get, basically the same thing a Catholic says. Anyway, she's dead. Somewhat the same as a first lady, but, unlike presidential first ladies, she was always in office.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cicadas Are Not Roaches, But Still Not Appetizing (for me)

Is there a correlation between cicadas chirping and the intensity of heat? Sitting in a diner off west Washington today, I could hear them buzzing faster than a dental drill.

Speaking of diners - saw a roach in one. Might've been a cicada. Either way, none for me, thanks.

Papers have been selling hot. Cubs playing better, NBA Finals, and better morning weather all are adding up. Slower sales in the heat if the afternoon, though.

The News
Sadly, Woman and Three Children Found Dead Near Chicago. It looks like her husband did it. I don't know. They are from Oswego, but they found the bodies in Channahon.

Cubbies won today.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Cicadas, Conrad Black, Thug Cops, Ravinia

Cicadas are in full bloom. Heard them on my way to Ravinia in Highland Park to hear Dr. John sing. He opened for some mediocre jazz singer. No cicadas in the Ravinia Festival Park, I'm glad to say, but their carcassed shells were everywhere. Kids were checking out exoskeletons right and left, like Christmas ornaments on a maple tree trunk.

Windows closed, AC on, radio on, talking with someone in the car, noisy expressway -- and yet, cicadas.

Some kid in Downer's Grove found a blue-eyed cicada.

Not so many in Loop, though one guy was sporting one of these tobacco-spit colored insects on his suit as he came up out of his apartment building. I didn't ask. The thing doesn't sting, so I let him be. The guy gave me a buck for a Chicago Sun-Times, left me with the change. Why ruin a good thing?

On south 294, there was a billboard showing a kid with a finger up his nose, advertising Grossinger Chevrolet.


As it seems, Grossinger sees itself as mucus that requires a child to pick it. Give the kid a Kleenex and shop at CarMax. Then fire the idiots who designed the billboard.

The News
  • They are filming the next Batman here. Christian Bale is complaining about the rubber muscle suit. Humid in Chicago, Mr. Bale?
  • More thug cops beating up on ordinary people. This week's low life did it on camera at a bar pool table. There's plenty of good guy cops, but the rash of morons who are cops stomping on the little clearly need a visit from Dr. Phil, or better yet, Dr. Kevorkian. Dr. Phil has a conscience; we need Dr. Kevorkian instead to do what he does best.
  • Conrad Black's trial looks to be closing up. I wonder if he will get the Paris Hilton treatment.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cindy Sheehan, Quail, and Remembering

As the warm days continue, and as Memorial Day passes, politics aside, we should not only remember the dead, but the living who are protecting us abroad.

At the Hawk home last night, I cooked up some quail, and ate on the porch with my guests.

The News
Cindy Sheehan was used by the left. How naive was she to enter this without expecting this? So she quits the antiwar effort because she discovered that Democrats breed as much ill will as the Republicans.

No one took Sheehan seriously. Not the Democrats. Not the Republicans. Maybe Chavez, but he doesn't count. Her fight was noise only, insignificant, irrelevant, good only to sell newspapers, but not to change perspectives.

Whether the USA in Iraq is good or bad could never be influenced by tirading crusader. There are solid arguments, and difficult questions, but when all Sheehan could be was a cartoon, no one listened.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Rain, Czimer's Wild Game, Blagojevich Sells Out (Again)

Rain pours down my apartment window, covering the glass to give an underseas look at a deary afternoon in Chicago. It was cold this morning - 45. Up to 72 briefly, then dropping to 63. Tomorrow, things will be the same. Monday is off.

Tuesday to Friday will be my selling week. Four day weeks are never great. People skip the paper.

Drove down to Czimer's Wild Game today, picked up some quail, camel jerky, rabbit and buffalo brats. Low fat, free range, and tasty.

The News
Four new casinos in Chicago a possibility.

Rod Blagojevich has sold out. No news there, but hypocritical so after he argued against Mayor Daley's efforts to bring in a casino in Chicago in 2004. Setting up for 2007, I guess. Smooth operator, that Blagojevich.

Talk is abound about dropping gas taxes. Why? Easy politics, not real solutions. And so what about price gouging. Let the market work.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Runners, Tiny Dogs & Kasparov

"There's a kind of a hush..." over Chicago. Cooler temps are cooling voices, but the runners and the rest have come out to play. Great workout weather. That's a fine thing, but it does make dodging the human traffic challenging.

Also out are the tiny dog walkers, promenading how modern they are with pint-sized puppies on cute leashes. The recent fad of Loop apartment renters, particularly among lonely singles, has created a sidewalk full of canine carnivores. Mixed feeling here, as I am one to disdain the owning of an animal to meet the fashion plate needs of youth. However, if the emotional health benefits of pet ownership are true, maybe then the world will be a happier place.

Or at least my corner under the L.

The News
Chicago Bulls are out. Detroit Pistons beat them soundly.

Kasparov checked as EU and Russia clash at summit
Mr. Kasparov has developed into a true leader, using his brilliant mind for more than a mere chess board. Oddly, it was not until Mr. Putin's lackeys started bothering him that I read about him here in the USA.

Mr. Putin is eroding, and not furthering, the great work done by Gorbachev, and reducing the image of Russia back to the 1960-70s version of the Soviet Union. Mr. Putin claims to be about freedom, but, as it seems, the good people in Iraq have more freedom than Russian citizens.

The Russian police have become (or have always been) patsies for the Kremlin. Apparently, honor is not an important factor when hiring an officer, but thuggery and the willingness to kowtow to Mr. Putin's charade of leadership.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Smoky Mountains, Jerry Falwell

I have taken a brief vacation to the hills of Tennessee. Smoky Mountains to be exact. Cade's Cove (saw turkeys), and other vistas. No newspaper hawks that I saw in Knoxville. In fact, no kiosks, and not many machines. By that evidence, either everyone subscribes or isn't reading the paper. Has an entire town decided to read the news online?

The News
By now, newspaper readers know Jerry Falwell died. Critics maintain he manipulated gullible voters, supporters maintain he led conservatives effectively in a direction they already believed.

I say he spoke his mind, found a great swelling of those who agreed with him. He was the conversative's John Lennon or Bob Dylan (who is not as liberal as I think people suspect). He was glue for them, but not only him. He helped many Christians see that voting for candidates they believe in is important and necessary, and better than not voting and then complaining about who was elected.

Some criticize him for putting religion into politics, but those people may have ignored what Martin Luther King Jr. was all about. Unlike Al Sharpton, King's faith came first and politics second.

I saw, Jerry Falwell, RIP. You lived as you believed. If we all did that, whatever we believe, we'd be a better world.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

BBQs, Divorce Lawyers, and West Nile

The warmer weather has meant BBQs at the Hawk residence. Often. I'm a grill man. I've grilled it all. Fish (which I do not like) corn, steaks, pork, burgers, to start, but also, Cornish hens, quail, veggies of all kinds, even chocolate cake.

Warm weather also means the onslaught of West Nile mosquitoes. So far, so good, but I must say, I am concerned.

The News
Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate - Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

Speaking of deadly blood-suckers -- The raunchy billboard was taken down. That's the one with the mid-sections of a hot woman and hot guy, with the slogan "Life's short. Get a divorce." As it seems, the divorce lawyers are scraping the bottom of their morals for this one, looking to appeal to the lowest core of society.

What do you expect from a divorce lawyer? We aren't talking Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family fans here. We're talking about people who make their bread by cutting up marriages, then taking a portion of the spoils. Does anyone ever enter a divorce lawyer's office with hope?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Bad Decisions By Creatures Great and Small

What do you do when you see friends make bad decisions? Two kinds of bad decisions: those who hurt someone (including themselves), and ones that are just strategically poor. What I am thinking about is a guy who hates his situation only so much as wallowing it in seems to be better than doing something to change it.

Some bad decisions are very complicated, like the abused wife staying with her loser husband. Not this one. Just a guy who hesitates when he should move. Lonely in love, dissatisfied with work, unhappy with friends.

Only way to change everything is to start by changing something.
Just wanted to plug these two sites. This is not the Special Olympics Public Website. I'll let them each explain their distinctions more effectively than I can. I'm impressed.

The News
Recent news is ugly. Blogs are posting about the faux pas Barack Obama initiated regarding a supporter's MySpace page. I won't even link to that page because it counteracts the concept of free speech.
Obama Inc Powers Over Volunteers

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Smoking Ban Good

Cool today. Respite from yesterday's heat. I found a dollar on my way to my corner. All folded, like it fell out of a purse. What could I do? No owner in sight. So, I bought coffee. I was intending to anyway.

The News
...is good. Lawmakers approve state smoking ban. That's the Daily Herald talking. I suffer through smokers walking by, dropping butts, blowing smoke. That will not change. This is about indoor smoking.

For Rep. JoAnn Osmond of Antioch, she sold out to the almighty dollar. All those smokers in Antioch (a majority of voters, it seems), want to puff in public. While she will not deny the public health side of the story, she says, "I'm trying to keep business in Illinois. This is a deterrent."

Yup. Osmond is a sell-out. Not so different as to why whores are legal in Nevada. Public health gets checked at the wallet's door.

I already skip restaurants that still allow smoking. For now, they are free to do what they please, but not with my dinero.

Who gets my two bucks? Not, for example, smoky Baker's Square. Good pies, but it stinks. Went into one on Rt 83 in Willowbrook, told them I wanted nonsmoking, and they sat two smokers down next to me. I had already ordered, but got up with my guest, and told the manager, calmly, they were unable to deliver, and left. I have not eaten there since. That is 2-3 years, at least (I'm not sure when), of myself and others, since I tell friends we need to choose a different place.

Five things to know about the proposed state smoking ban

1. It would take effect Jan. 1, 2008.
2. The anticipated reduction in smoking is likely to cost the state $60 million in lost cigarette tax dollars.
3. The state plan trumps any local smoking bans.
4. Smokers going outside to light up would have to move 15 feet away from entrances.
5. State prison inmates could smoke only when outside in the prison yard.

Source: SB500, American Lung Association of Illinois via the Daily Herald

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Papers, Rain, CareFest, Sugar Daddies & Al-Qaida Shows Its Failure, Fidel Is Closer to Death

Papers have seen a brisk increase. Why? Not there's anything I can do about it. They sell. They don't sell. A good or bad economy - makes no difference to me. People out of work buy papers to find jobs. People with money buy them to see what they can spend it all on. Either way, fifty cents.

The rain days are bad. Might be the warmer weather. People walk slower, look at headlines. That must be it. There's no looking at headlines when the papers are covered in plastic, and the people are covered in umbrellas. Any paper purchased with be drenched by the time they get to work anyway.

The salary girls flashed legs and skirts this week, and today was no different. Sad reality. Daddy's little girl, always looking for a sugar daddy. Tramps with degrees. Nothing to say about this.
I looked into this CareFest thing. It was not just adults, and it sounds like it brought out the kids and the soccer moms: CareFest and Moving * yay half day! * April arrives. Some churches too: Service & Worship Maybe next year I'll do it.

The News
The news is good, in a bad way.

Al-Qaida in Iraq Leader Dead, Iraqi Officials Say. Al-Qaida runs an operation built on lies. They manipulate Muslims into believing they know what Allah thinks. While it would have been better that this loser be caught than killed, his death demonstrates that Al-Qaida is run by selfish power hungry thieves of morality. Islam, and the world, is better off.

Chavez: Cuban leader Fidel Castro is 'in charge' Chavez wipes his rear with his integrity, so this is not to believed. Especially when stories like this appear No Castro appearance at May Day parade. The bad news is that a man is ill and dying. The good news is that when Castro goes, Cuba has a chance to redesign their country, the one Fidel the Fool tried to ruin.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Gambling Against the Bulls (Bad move)

One more reason not to gamble. Notice the headline, still up on Google News. Why would anyone trust a story by "Point-Spreads.com" anyway?

Chicago 23, 21, 24, 24 -- 92 (Final)
28, 20, 16, 15 -- 76

Miami Heat favored to win Game-Four vs. Chicago Bulls on Sunday
Point-Spreads.com - 3 hours ago
Ben Gordon scored 27 points ; Luol Deng added 24 points and 11 rebounds and Chicago used a 15-2 fourth-quarter run to seize control of a 104-96 victory over the Heat in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference first-round series Friday night.

Salary Girls & CareFest's Band of a Thousand

Gotta say I'm toasting nicely in this warm weather. Walking around Millennium Park, looking at the birds and sun bathers, I can't help but enjoy the day, and think about what's beyond the sunlight.

I expect the warm weather will bring the salary girls out in fine form on Monday morning, all posing and frolicking for the policemen and project managers, looking for a raise.

The News
Is this news? It should be. CareFest 2007. Something like over 1,000 people (1,200?) got together and worked out the kinks. They painted and pushed junk and furniture, and fixed broken things. I looked it up in the news and it seems they loaded a lot of time into this, and even had all the equipment and stuff donated.

No Bible-thumping. Just doing the right thing. Not that believing what they believe is bad thing. Ain't this America? When a guy gets beaten down for telling someone what he believes is the day every bar, every church and every nursing home gets shut down. Drunk retired pastors might have all their troubles converge. I say, whatever you believe, believe it without shame, without silence.

Former US Senator Carol Mosley Braun was hurt by a mugger. As a senator, she was good for wasting our money, but no one deserves a mugging.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rosie O'Donnell: Loud mouth buffoon crybaby ranter leaves the View

Coffee and a few drinks with Bill today, soon. Not a moment too soon. Too much of not much at all has caused a need to get out.

The News
The news today is good. Very good. Loud mouth buffoon, Rosie O'Donnell, is leaving the View. While I never bother with the show, her crybaby rants will get less press time. I read papers, all day, all day. A Rosie-free day is a good day. Then, I can read about the Cubs' squandering games, something more upbeat.

Her argument was that she was not pushed off, but could not agree on a contract. Good riddance. She was unwilling to commit to three years, she says, and could not see a future there beyond a year. I suspect

O'Donnell is not a journalist, or a comedian. She's only an entertainer in the way we are entertained by a sour stomach. Not me.

Her jealousy that Donald Trump has better money, better hair and better broads than her became famous, but that's probably ending. Her vitriolic racist and intolerant mouth-offs looked at first to be welcome, but not for long.

Barbara Walters has long defended O'Donnell, but not for any reason I can ascertain. Ratings? O'Donnell brought the Jerry Springer audience into View, and ratings sell ads, and ads make Walter money. At least Springer knows he's a media whore. No pretense on his show.

As she leaves the View, she leaves public sight. Too much light on a roach causes them to scurry. Let the light shine, and keep this one away.

Rosie O'Donnell exits 'The View'

Monday, April 23, 2007

Boris Yeltsin dies, 1931-2007

Spring is good. There's no getting around how nice it is, and I don't want to. This is why baseball is worth playing, frisbees are worth tossing.

I'll be seeing Bill this week. His daughter at Virginia Tech is fine, but the events of the week, even after the murders, must have shaken her up. I have no idea what Billy Graham or Dr. Phil would say, but both would see that there's a better way.

The News
Boris Yeltsin, 1931-2007

That's it. Boris was 76. When he stepped down Putin stepped up. Too bad for Russia.

But Boris. He was a drunk reformer who knew the media better than Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton combined.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Jerry Miller is an Innocent Man

News has a popular tone to it.

Queen, the rock group once fronted by Freddy Mercury, did an album named after a British paper, "News of the World."

The Beatles sang the lyrics, "I heard the news today, oh boy."

Don McLean bleakly sang, "But February made me shiver With every paper I’d deliver. Bad news on the doorstep; I couldn't take one more step."

The News
DNA evidence to free Chicago man
Springfield State Journal Register, IL - 10 hours ago
CHICAGO - Jerry Miller spent 25 years behind bars for a rape he has long maintained he didn't commit. His fight to prove his innocence finally will pay off...

This, to me, is big news. We all know there are two kinds of cops. The other kind is honest. With the jerks thugging around their weight to beat up barkeeps and the various racial charges going on, I can only wonder where the integrity is. I still don't.

What I do know is one man, this time, this day, is, as they say, getting his day in court. An innocent man freed.

Don't get me wrong. A day on the street, seeing what I see, I could go into business as a latter day Huggy Bear and tell the cops all the news for a few five spots and a cuppa joe. No one's asks me, but I'd snitch. Got no problem sending down the guilty: the pushers and addicts, the hookers and the johns. That's what I see.

Get tough on crime? Sure, but, while they are at it, clear out the garbage infesting the police facilities. Let the good cops shine. That's most of them. They aren't the pigheaded racists. They are the good, proud men and women risking their keisters for the betterment of society.

Anyway, this fellow is owed by society, If corruption was the key, fire the bum, and charge the guy for Jerry Miller's loss of time. If it was just incompetence, the dumb cop had better personally apologize and do his best to help him back on his feet. That cop should admit with no "if I did anything to hurt you" weakness and be a man. A man will lend Miller his car, buy him some groceries and a suit, get him into college. In short, Jerry Miller should have someone, somewhere, somehow pay for his life.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sanjaya and Virginia Tech

Thinking about Bill's dilemma with his daughter at VA Tech caused me some distress. What would I do if she were my child? Go there? Get someone to pick her up? Buy her a ticket home? Doesn't matter, she's staying.

The News
"American Idol" Elimination: See Ya, Sanjaya!
BuzzSugar.com - 1 hour ago - Sanjaya - he of the ponyhawk, the creepy smile and the possible deal with the devil - ended his "American Idol"...

When this is news, and sites called "BuzzSugar" are we get our news, what has happened?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech Connection, Sammy Sosa

The daily news can cause for distresss. Either we read it passively, like a novel and forget it is news, or, we read it intensely, and forget the goodness around us.

My friend Bill who runs a deli told me his daughter is at Virginia Tech. She is fine. He told me how he was frantic when he called and no one answered. Understandable. Now he knows better, and that she is hoping to remain with her friends and heal.

What is healing in this case? I don't know. I think it has something to do with trust and love, and doing both.

See the goodness around you. Love the one you're with, and be with the one you love.

The News
Sammy Sosa is playing against the White Sox tonight. He hit a homerun. All the homeruns in the world will cause me to respect him. The Sox lost, but the Rangers never won. Not with Sammy playing.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

R Hawk on the Virginia Tech Massacre

What do I say? This is one of those days I wish I didn't sell a lot of papers. I did. The news yesterday of some poor misguided kid, just 23, shooting up the Virginia Tech campus and killing, as of today, 33 people.

I can't say anything. Read the news. Hug your kids. Pray for those impacted.

This wasn't political. It was not a terrorist. It was a kid, barely old enough to be called an adult who lost control of whatever it is that stops us from doing these things.

Motive? Cause? Does it matter?

Almost three dozen are dead, and the school, no matter how things are resolve, spun, explained -- all that, is forever marked. Grades, careers, and other practical matters will be a mess. Tuition, jobs paying for tuition, and all that -- a mess too.

And 33 dead.

And families, friends are mourning.

I'm sorry.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Cubas, Jordan, Chicago in. LA out.

We need Dusty Baker back, not the loser coaching the Cubs now.

Tonight's sunset as I drove down Rt 38, leaving a wedding reception at Epicurean Hungarian Restaurant in Hillside looked beautiful.

Michael Jordan divorced. Too bad he couldn't keep his marriage together. No one looked at him as a man of integrity, with his gambling. The way he quit the Bulls to be with his family, only to join the Washington team looked insincere as well. Either way, MJ's wife cleaned out his wallet.

The News
The news is out. Chicago is in. LA is out. This just means Chicago will be up against big international cities, like Rome, for the Olympic chase. And where did I read this? On a Canadian site.

Chicago picked over Los Angeles to submit US bid for 2016 Olympics

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Blind Man Walking and Falling, Olympics in Chicago

On my beat, the corner where a major retail store lives and across from a massive office building, a lot of Chicago passes by. Some buy a paper, and others are merely en route to somewhere important.

The one who might have it hardest on days of slush and snow is a well-dressed blind guy in his 50s. People handle blindness differently. For the person whose seeing is limited, he must navigate from here to there, with everything from buildings and curbs in his way, to loud mouth walkers who deserve the double socking of a two-fisted education, to well-meaning commuters who confuse him by not following expected walking patterns.

The snow yesterday was no help. Everything changes. Sounds, water, traffic.

I saw the blind man slip. He was not hurt, but his overcoat was messy. I don't know what he does for a living, but there's money it. He was dapper, with a smart briefcase. A lawyer? It doesn't matter. He fell.

This is April, not February. God knows this, right?

The News
Chicago, LA race for 2016 Olympics
MSNBC - 33 minutes ago
Pat Ryan, chairman of insurance group Aon, took a long hard look at the T-shirt handed to him amid a crush of reporters in a cramped corner of the Macy's department store in downtown Chicago. Wisely, Mr Ryan did not attempt to pull the limited edition...

Will the Olympics be good for Chicago? If you believe the Chicago leadership, yes. I hope so. I think so. I know just before and during I will sell record amounts of papers. I will not complain.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Timbers, Salary Girls, Fire in the Loop

"Shiver me timbers" is something I would never say. It's cold.

The salary girls were caught off guard today. The playful flirt of summer dresses worn to work is no longer interesting to them. They are cold, unready for a return of late winter. The breeze they catch isn't the fancy of men, but the freezing of legs.

Beauty products on Amazon

The screech of the L has never stopped bothering me. I'm a city guy, but noise is noise. It is noise when every conversation I have is punctuated by metal scraping metal, interupting things that matter.

The News
Fire. 45 story building. This is big.
Smoke Pours From Chicago High-Rise Roof

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

PETA, BBQs, Kerry Wood, Tribune, Spire Building

Things are chillier than they were this morning. I told God I wanted warmer weather. He said I'll get it, but not just yet. I asked when. He said he's on it, don't worry so much.

It will get warmer, and when it does, Jim and I have a BBQ planned. Maybe next weekend. Ribs. I take these seriously. I'm even thinking of entering a contest. I'm no pro, but careful preparation can make the difference between average and smokehouse quality.

I'm a meat eater. I'm not a PETA boy. I also don't agree with those who are vegan, at least not as far as those who say humans were born to be a vegetable eater. I won't argue about health. I eat too much red meat. Now, I'm eating more chicken. And, yes, more vegetables. Nothing wrong with good veggies.

Speaking of veggies. Two fun movies dealing with problematic vegetables:

Wallace & Gromit - The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Widescreen Edition)

and VeggieTales - The Complete Silly Song Collection

Wallace and Gromit run into the were rabbit, a beastly large rabbit eating all the carrots in town. With the VeggieTales, a singing cucumber and tomato tell stories about being good.

The News

  • Kerry Wood is injured again? When was he healthy? He should hang it up.
  • Talk of a 150-story skyscraper that will look like a spire has started.
  • The Tribune is close to being sold. I'll still be hear. No matter who owns the news, I'll be selling it.

Tribune Close to Accepting Zell's $8 Billion Offer (Update2)
Bloomberg - 2 hours ago
March 27 (Bloomberg) -- Tribune Co., owner of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Cubs, will probably accept real estate billionaire Sam Zell's $8 billion takeover offer by the end of the week, according to people familiar with the matter...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Warm Weather, Salary Girls, Hot Dogs & Anna Nicole Smith Autopsy

The warm weather has made today a good one. Cold days are cold. No bull about it.

The salary girl's skirts blow in the wind, causing, young and old man to walk backwards. I've stepped backwards a time or two myself.

Walking through Millennium Park this morning made me look forward to hot dogs lathered with mustard and relish. There's a stand I go to near the Cloud Gate (the Bean), just southwest of it. A Polish guy and girl worked it last summer. Dogs are pricey, but on a hungry day, it is still cheaper than any restaurant.

The News
Anna Nicole Smith autopsy released - Drug OD

Today's news will be in tomorrow's papers, but this is the kind of thing that will be on every radio, TV and internet source. The Anna Nicole Smith drug overdose will still be an issue, with the question being foul play or not.

Subscribe to Backpacker Magazine ($19.97)

Buy the book: Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark (Historical Studies of Urban America)

-- ** --

Friday, March 23, 2007

Cop Wails on Woman & Other Bad News

These days are sketchy, but the sales are coming along. With Conrad Black's escapades, Sammy Sosa joining the Rangers (Sosa, Cubs reunite), and the video (YouTube: Cop Beating Women Bartender caught on video) of a cop wailing on a helpless woman at a bar (he's twice her size), the news has been keeping people interested in buying papers.

Unfortunately, not a letter of that news is good.

The News
Camera catches Chicago cop beating bartender Bloomington Pantagraph

Kill a cop, and you get extra punishment. I say, if you are a cop and break the law flagrantly, bust him hard.

The video looks bad. There is little room to believe anything but the worst. It sounds like some mouth breathing bum of a cop tried to threaten the woman to keep her mouth shut.

Neither man, if guilty, deserves to guard an empty warehouse. A man who do such things is no man at all.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Spring, Cubs, Sox, Harry Caray, Conrad Black

When Spring comes, send me a card. Once again, the fickle fancy of God teases me. 70 degrees, then 30. Chicago.

Jim's been telling me about the drudgery of his Metra job. He's keeping things low key, but this is partly to do with his new girlfriend, Lisa, who won't tolerate his usual routine. That means he remains sober of body and mind, and stops hitting on attractive commuters. All the same, he's bored.

He's a Sox fan, so we go at it. My world is about the Cubs. Can't take away their World Series and our lack of one. Makes it hard to win a baseball argument when my team loses. The jazz about having a better stadium is pointless, especially as I can't afford to see a game live anyway. I catch them on TV. WGN.

Jim's a die-hard fan. He'll never attack a base coach like those morons did a few years back, but he will give them them a few pointers.

I gotta say, I miss Harry Caray. I miss Steve Stone too, but Harry, in his prime, could really call a game. As far as enthusiasm goes, Ron Santo has picked up where Harry left off, only without the booze.

The News
More tiring blather about Conrad Black. The prosecutor, as you can see, considers him a common street criminal.

Media tycoon's trial delayed after juror fails to appear in Chicago
Black akin to street criminal: prosecutor Irish Examiner
Black Stole $60 Million From Hollinger, US Claims (Update4) Bloomberg

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Green Rivers, St. Pat, Black Souls, & Ditka's Wine

The Chicago River was green yesterday. Not with envy or muck. Not even with city tax dollars. Volunteers made it green. They paid for it. The poured in the color.

The green river is often green. Just not this green.

While the real St. Patrick was actually a British evangelist more like Billy Graham than a snake scaring shamrock talker, known for his piety and commitment to God, the Chicago brand is closer to being an icon of Mardis Gras or Carnival. Drunkenness and other things that might have embarrassed Patrick now define his day. I don't how the Catholic Church deals with this, but they have the right to be ticked off at how one of their boys was made into a lush.

As for green rivers, I drank a few as a child. A lime soda, like a melted Mr. Freeze pop. I used to get them with my gram at Woolworth's. There was one in the Loop where we would sit and talk of the important things of life. Good days.

The News
Conrad Black: He's no lord. That job has been taken by someone much more influential. It looks like the plaintiff wanted to drag Ditka into the case. Not our Mike Ditka, but to use his restaurant and name as part of a way to explain the case to jurors. They wanted to create a fictional scenario with Ditka as a character.

Black objected. He's a good for nothing, but he's right in this one. Keep da Coach out of it.

I had some of Ditka's wine. Not bad. Not great. Cheap, but better than other cheaps. (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ditka's wine does just fine against big boys)

Why Lord Black is loquacious no more
Globe and Mail - 5 hours ago
In his last public statement before he showed up in Chicago, a gracefully written and even moving essay published in Maclean's, Lord Black claimed he was looking forward to his trial by jury in Chicago. Conrad Black, left, departs the federal court ...

Judge says prosecutors can't make an example of Da Coach
Chicago Tribune

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Contrast: One Hero Died, One Leader Falls - Captain America and Conrad Black

The cooler weather today caused me to break out my Sun-Times jacket. In all my years, this switching of the weather still gets to me.

My bones ache on cooler mornings. Summer weather will be here, and I'll sling papers from a warmer place.

The News
I have nothing good to say about Conrad Black. Nothing.

Chicago court meets a low-key Lord
Globe and Mail - 15 hours ago
CHICAGO - It was one of those defining moments. Anyone who believed Conrad Black's trial was going to be predictable had that opinion corrected the moment the extravaganza opened in downtown Chicago Wednesday, thanks to Lord Black himself, ...

Will Cap come back? (Sun-Times)
Captain America is dead, but he may not stay that way. Although he possesses no preternatural powers -- not even the ability to leap very short buildings in a single bound -- the muscled crime fighter has long been categorized as a superhero. And now, after more than six decades of doling out bad-guy beatings in his form-fitting flag suit, he joins several other revered comic book powerhouses who've bitten the proverbial dust.

Look at the two situations. Unfortunately, Conrad Black is not fictional, and sadly, Captain America is.

Newspaper Hawk on Captain America

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Chess in the Park & Conrad Black

Playing chess as a social activity seems to be a dying pastime. Were there ever days like those? Not in Chicago. Not in my life. Not in the range of my walk and work. But I play.

Whatever happened to the old men playing in the park, grinning at good moves, grimacing when they they’ve been gaffed?

If you see me, sitting on a milk crate with a chess board set on a stack of papers, buy a paper - buy a game. If you lose, I'll show you why. If you win, the paper's on me.


The News
Conrad Black's problem's begin officially. To this I say bring it on. Corruption is at its worst when the low are impacted by the evil of those above.

Black loses bid to delay hearing
Chicago Tribune, IL - 8 hours ago
"Conrad Black, whose fraud trial is scheduled to start Wednesday in federal court in Chicago, lost a bid to delay a hearing on US prosecutors..."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Chief Illiniwek is Dying - Killed by His Own People

I had a coffee dilemma. Ran out at home. I had forgotten how different the cost of four cups made at home is versus one large bought at Intelligentsia. I'll buy a pick me through the day, but two days in a row I had to buy some on my way to the corner.

Luckily, it was warm. I bought it for flavor and taste, not heat.

I've heard the sad news of Mary Smith and the fires. I don't know her, or if she's guilty, but I see enough homeless people in the streets that cause me concern for their well-being. I'm thankful for the homeless shelters. I've never stayed in one, but I have been close to needing one if not for friends who took me in during dire times.

The homeless situation is complicated, with different reasons for each person, but I can tell you that those without homes are as gentle as those with homes. See what you can do to help those who are helping the homeless.

The News
Illinois retires American Indian mascot

I have been following this story for years. You know Chief Illinwek. He is the mascot of the University of Illinois. Dances his one man show at all games. No longer. A few Indians felt offended.


Next comes the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago, and Lake Michigan -- all named after Indians.

One more step like this, and we'll take away their casinos.

What will happen is that, in five years, the heat will subside, and those looking to promote the Illiniwek will lose their key mascot. While not officially theirs, but U of I's, his presence provides them a forum to pivot from. Follow the news on the matter on the Chief Illiniwek blog.

This is not to diminish the concerns American Indians have regarding losing their culture. The Irish have this. The Hungarians have this. The Jews have this. All small people groups do. Everyone, sometime, was conquered. Such were the American Indians. I wasn't here. Don't blame me. I read the stories. It wasn't pretty. Early agreements were broken. Lies. Racism. Murder. I know.

I won't call them Native Americans, because I was born here too, and, after all, they came from some other place before settling in the United States. Besides, that's generalizing enough as it is, as they were all part of small tribes and nations. Call them Cherokee. Call them Sioux. Call them Pawnee. Fine. Not Native Americans. What would Amerigo Vespucci think?

We named America after an Italian guy. We named St. Louis after a Frenchie. We named Oak Park after a tree. No trees have argued that we have offended them. The French don't like us, but St. Louis isn't why. The jury is still out with the Italians. One of their own, a guy named Rudy, wants to become president.

Wheaton College cowered and dumped their team name, going from Crusaders to Thunder. Even though the name had nothing to do with the crusaders who were part of the Crusades, and more to do with the concept of living a godly life, with a nod toward peaceful evangelistic crusades (like a tent revival) like Billy Graham's or Billy Sunday's.

Impressively, DePaul is keeping the name, Blue Demons, using some lame justification that demons aren't always demons. I think their excuse was that an old logo looked like a devil. In a church filled with scandal, you would think the leaders would want to project something more spiritual. This could be why to most people, DePaul is a secular school, where the Catholic connection is irrelevant. Too bad. The scandals are because of what the church stands for, but for what they don't.

Try some coffee.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Conrad Black Heads to Trial

I walked in the fresh air of spring. The time changed, but, like every year, the sun still rose and set.

I have an iPod now that I'm learning about. Wore it while walking. It was strange to see the birds without hearing them sing.

The News
Conrad Black is on trial. No love lost there. He is guy accused of looting the Chicago Sun-Times for $84 million. I think that's it. It is all more complicated than that, but the gist is someone stole money that should have fed those below him.

All the lord's men Chicago Sun-Times

When a guy spends his days toughing out the worst of weather, having money thrown at him like a beggar, having papers stolen from him -- that guy has little pity on the thieves at the top. Little pity.

My world is about pennies. My customers rarely buy a buck's worth of anything. My commission is weak. I deal in volume, and not always much of that. Black deals in millions. If he stole money, then what should happen to him is not legal in the United States. Too many good men and women worked for him, many steps below in the business food chain. Too many people living on little while someone stole a lot.

The Sun-Times says, "Black could face as much as 20 years in prison and $7 million in fines"

Is he guilty? We'll see. Is he a good man. I don't think so.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Hancock Views from 9-5, War Protests, The Trib Is Not for Sale

This weekend, I have big plans. Big, big plans. I will walk in the park. Warm weather. I'll wear a jacket, but I will walk. Man, it will be good.

It occurred to me the other day that I have a 9-5 job in the Loop. It is true. Look at it: I get up early, get dressed, head to work, catch an L, same as every other person looking down from the Hancock. I'm looking up from the bottom of the building, but such as it is. A 9-5 job.

I never work 9-5. No one does. No one down here. I get here a few hours before that, leave a little after that. When there are people buying newspapers, I'm here to help them do so.

I'm the water that first hits the sand and last leaves the beach, but I'm always there, attached to the wave.

I don't think of myself as a 9-5er. The only difference between me and the Joe up in the corner office is not the corner, but the office.

The News
Bulls win. That's old news.

Protesters used patsy Emanuel's office to market their anti-war goals. Emanuel's a patsy because they knew he was already with him. That's like protesting at the Catholic Church for more incense. More than that, it sounds like it was his idea. Do you suppose he did it to raise his own profile? Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is coming off oddly pro-war as she supports our troops with new vigor.

Protesters occupy Rahm Emanuel's Chicago office
WQAD - 13 hours agoCHICAGO
A small group of anti-war protesters occupied the lobby of Democratic Congressman Rahm Emanuel's Chicago office today. Eight demonstrators from a group called Codepink and another called Voices for Creative Nonviolence demanded that he vote ...

The newspaper business down on my level was wondering what to make of the buzz about the Tribune selling out. The big company which owns them dropped a few small papers, but none which matters here in the streets. It might not make any difference anyway. It won't change the news, just who owns the news. I'll still sell the news.

Execs: Chicago Tribune, LA Times Not For Sale
WBBM780, Chicago - 18 hours ago
The Tribune Co., which announced this week it is shedding two small Connecticut newspapers, says it has no plans to sell the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun or any of its other papers. "While the special committee of our board of ...

More on Captain America's demise at these blogs:

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Captain America's Death & Blagovich to Raise Taxes Big

Yesterday's story about Captain America's death took me by surprise. A lot of people who don't even live in Chicago stopped to see my post. Captain America Must Not Die - The World Needs a Hero . Thanks for your e-mails. (newspaperhawk * yahoo.com) and thoughts. Feel free to use the comment form.

One question someone asked is whether Captain America is a Republican or a Democrat? He's a symbol. He's got the goodness of both, the honor of each. He's all of that. He is every voter, and for the ones who can't vote, he stands for their rights too.

My business is newspapers. I sell them. You buy them. The news of the Capt. did not reach most of today's newspapers, but it was online all over. I sit at a corner all day, more or less, and hear a bit here and there of everyone's thoughts.

Ordinary people, the ones you don't expect to read comic books, were talking about it. Suits and skirts, salary girls and salad clerks. All of them. Accountants, project managers, secretaries. You name. The pimple-faced kids I'd expect, but they don't have day jobs yet.

The conversations began, "Did you hear they killed Captain America?" The response was, "Who did? The terrorists?"

As a comic book goes, it is what it is. Capt. America might be passe. Marvel Comics is a business. How long he stays dead is a business decision. A marketing decision. They sell us heroes.

The business side of Captain America is there, but so is what he has come to stand for. He is the pure American, the uncorrupted hero. He is not a politician, he is not a criminal. He lives what he preaches, and wears his red, white and blues proudly. His integrity is without question.

Captain America, in an era of antiheroes, is what America needs.

Why am I passionate about this? Because everyday I watch bleak people who make more than me, live in homes bigger than a hotel, walk through my corner hopeless. I see low income people, the ones who think I'm rich, complain about the meaninglessness of life. They forgot who they are.

Someone needs to tell them.

The News
The biggest news to Illinois citizens is Governor Blagovich's proposal to raise taxes to an amazing new height. Only businesses will feel the affect directly. The rest of us will feel it as the business raise their rates. I have no word on how this will impact your daily newspaper costs. I think it will not be long before $0.75 becomes the going rate.
Gov. defends new tax plan Chicago Tribune
Also see:
Chicago Sun-Times - Chicago Daily Southtown - Peoria Journal Star

The Bulls were blown out by Miami, but those who care already know.

Here's a use for newspapers I did not expect, at least not online for sale.
Newspaper for Puppie Training

For the true fan, Amazon is selling Captain Americabooks, toys, T-shirts and even cologne

Shop Political T-shirts and More at CafePress.com