Executive Speech Writing: Corporate, Celebrity, Fundraisers

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

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Captain America Must Not Die - The World Needs a Hero

I ran into my old school friend, John. He is starting a church on the south side. I said to him, John, do we need another church in Chicago? No we don't. It isn't really a church in the way I was thinking. It is about people living the way God wants, not the way people want.

What do people want? People like church, sort of, doing this and that, and forget the rest of the world. No, they don't? Yes, John said. and the rest of the world has forgotten God. The world people and the God people need to get together.

John said more than that, and he is not doing it exactly the way it sounds.

He didn't buy a newspaper.

The News
Days have been rough on our heroes. Our boys in Iraq are fighting for truth, justice and the way of freedom, while spat on by those who sent them. Always fighting for right has been Captain America. (Pentagon deploys more troops to Baghdad - Bomber kills 30; 3 soldiers die in Iraq)

Capt. America dead? It is no wonder when Americans themselves think little of Americans.

Capt. America might be dead, now, as also seems America - but, he should rise up, filled with hope, with pride, with the strength of the desire to live free as in 1776.

Capt. America represents America in more ways than his ability to sell comic books. He fights with every man and woman in Iraq, against religious Islamic fascism. He fights with every New Yorker, looking to regain their lives in these last years since 9-11. He fights in the inner cities, in the farthest farm and in the most average suburb against those who would try to steal America's right to pray or not to pray, to say what they want to say - for the freedoms that make this country great.

In another land, where rich shieks denounce their women and oppress the poor, we are fighting. We need help, Steve Rogers. We need help.

Get up, Capt. America. We need you now as much we needed you in 1941, when you fought for our fathers and grandfathers. Hitler is dead, but bin Laden lives on. Struggle to your feet, man. The fight is still worth fighting.

buy Captain America: Winter Soldier, Vol. 1

Captain America Is Dead; National Hero Since 1941
New York Times - 26 minutes agoCaptain America, a Marvel Entertainment superhero, is fatally shot by a sniper in the 25th issue of his eponymous comic, which arrived in stores yesterday.
Comic book icon Captain America killed Actress Archives
Shocking event for Captain America CNN International
E! Online - Washington Post - Guardian Unlimited - Orlando Sentinel
all 367 news articles »

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Paper Selling, Jim Spivey, Ernest Gallo

I'm an innocent bystander. Always am. I'm a bystander, and I'm innocent.

I sit on my box, saying "Buy a paper," or, maybe, "Read what the Bears did." Things like that.

People hand me a buck or a five-spot, grab a paper, and I hand them change.

It is busiest in the morning, between 7:30-8:30. I make 50% of all I'm going to make right then. Too quick to be cold, but it is still cold. When it is warm, it is never so hot that early. The cold and the rain. Nothing else bothers me, but there's nothing else to bother me.

I read the paper throughout the day. People stop by. My corner is like a neighborhood bar, only most everyone's still sober and stays that way when they leave. Cops stop by. Bike delivery guys too. Homeless people, looking to relate to someone. Streetwise sellers. Elderly neighbors, hoping to find someone familiar. I know them.

My hands are blistered with temporary stains of newsprint. Paper cut scars mirror the lines in my hands. They don't tell the future; they show the past. My arms are stronger than some, but ache more than most. My back more so.

The News
Thomas Jones is being traded from the Bears to the Jets. They might get someone in return.

The Olympics came to talk to Daley. I love the Olympics. Chicago has been lucky to have had several Olympians. I followed running. Remember Jim Spivey? He ran the 1500m in the 1980s and 1990s, and faster than most. Holds a few records still. The list is longer than one man. Who else?

White Sox pitcher Javier Vazquez will make even more money.

Jennifer Hudson came to town. She'll be back and back again. You win an Oscar, and you shake hands. Fame. (See American Idol - The Best & Worst of American Idol ( Limited Edition ))

Ernest Gallo died. You know him. You drank with him. His Gallo Vineyards produced some good cheap wine. He was 97. Almost 98. Check the link below. Buy a bottle. Remember the good times. Have a few more good times.

Gallo of Sonoma 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon - Red Wine

While you are reading, think about the Google-Microsoft copyright debate.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Rod Serling & Zombies

Weekends are meant to rest, and I rested. Besides church, I stayed inside much of the time. The week before sank a lot of energy from me.

Today, it was quiet, even though Mondays are usually a-bustle. The crowds came, bought a few papers, and moved on. Like troops marching, they shoved past the weekend, past my corner, tossing quarters, grabbing Tribs and Sun-Times, and disappeared. Surreal, like zombies, waiting for Rod Serling. Rod never came around and told me it was not real.

The News
As news goes, it was slow. The Bulls won in overtime last night, but no one really cares.

Buy all 156 complete episodes of the Twilight Zone on DVD: Twilight Zone: The Complete Definitive Collection

Friday, March 2, 2007

Frogs, Locusts, Lovie & Olympics

First, the rain, then the wind. Next, I think are frogs and locusts. While Chicago's weather is as fickle as a private school prom queen, it really isn't so bad. A good scarf and a little grit solves the problem. Standing out of the wind helps. The wind will blow, but if I'm not in it, or I'm protected, what's my grouse?

Where it is toughest is for my Streetwise pals. They make a lot of nothing selling those, and the benevolent skip them more on hard days than me. Benevolence is that way. I know I am.

Too bad, too, that Streetwise is not a product most people are buying the same way they are buying my papers. I sell a Tribune or Sun-Times because there's something they want to read. Maybe they know what the news is, like when the Sox won the Series, or when Daley this week crushed his way into his sixth. They want to read the story. Or, they missed the news and need to know what the Dow-Jones did.

The News

Buy books about Chicago from Amazon: Chicago Books

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Daley on Video (Commercial) & The Rain

Mayor Richard Daley had a series of commercials. It might be the most we have heard from him. Here's his last one.

The rain killed my business today. There's rain, and there's rain, and this was a wet one. My plastic covers were drenched. My customers skipped. I don't blame them.

The News
Rain, rain go away. Come again another day. Big news, rain. Flooding everywhere. My yard, my neighbor's yard. What this means is real weather problems. When things dry, the streets will be worse off, meaning repairs will be needed.

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