Executive Speech Writing: Corporate, Celebrity, Fundraisers

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Criers, Annoyed and Offended, and Daley's Victory

There are too many whiners in this world. Criers, I call them. They won't use words like "I'm crying." They will use words like, "I'm annoyed," or "I'm offended."

Oh yeah?

What's really annoying?
  • Water dripping incessantly from my faucet.
  • My neighbor's dog barking when I'm sick.
  • A paper cut between my finger and finger nail.
That's all annoying. Ideas you don't like? Get over it. That's not annoying. That's crying because you disagree with them, or, you are judgmental. Pick your neurosis.

What's really offensive?
  • Garbage behind the butcher in the alley after a hot day.
  • Someone insulting you over your religious beliefs (yes, even those of you who aren't deity worshippers can be offensive, so get off your high horse).
  • Walking by a homeless guy while eating your third sandwich.

That's all offensive. What is not offensive is being upset your guy isn't the president, or that someone wants to pass a bill limiting something you like to do. That's crying because you did not get your way.

Go buy a newspaper.

The News
With Richie Daley's landslide victory, there has been no other real news. How real of news Daley's victory is can be considered arguable, but the landslide is impressive. Seventy-something percent. This is Chicago we are talking about, not Cicero.

Daley: 'I can work with anyone'
Chicago Tribune

Daley Easily Wins Re-election in Chicago
New York Times, NY - 21 hours ago
By SUSAN SAULNY. CHICAGO, Feb. 27 — Mayor Richard M. Daley won a landslide victory over two relatively obscure challengers here Tuesday, putting him on a ...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Daley Wins! Daley Wins! (It Wasn't Dewey)

Richard M. Daley wins sixth term as Mayor of the City of Chicago

The News
This ought to sell a few papers in the morning. Why don't you stop by and buy one? Save it for your kids and grandkids. This is headline stuff, record breaking news. It was expected, but is news just the same.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070228/ap_on_re_us/chicago_election

Breaking News Mayor Daley wins his sixth term

MAYOR DALEY, COMED ANNOUNCE NEW POWER UP FUND TO RESTORE ...

Daley re-elected to his sixth term

Richard M. Daley's next 4 years

Casting a vote (1 in a series) against Daley

Richard M. Daley deserves four more years

Spring & Ron Santo (Chicago Cubs) Denied the Hall Again

Chicago is a four season city. Whether it is a four star city can be argued, but as weather goes, we get weather. Lots of it.

Today is February 27. Spring starts in less than one month. It is a great time for papers. Spring sales, baseball season is starting, high school basketball (college too) is finishing, the NBA is gearing down, school is finishing in a few months -plans need to be made, elections, plus whatever crops up across the world.

The News
No one needs to tell Ronny he's not in. Ron Santo is once again not a member of the Hall of Fame. Who needs to tell him he's earned it? No one. He knows it. But there it is, the denial of truth.

While steroid cheap skates slime into the Hall on snake oiled charm and leisure-suited ethics, Ron, a man's man, played honestly.

I won't belabor you with numbers. See his bio on Wikipedia. And, Santo for Hall

While Ron's movie (This Old Cub - The Movie) was only so-so, it did show his heart. He's loaded with good-guy greatness. Not all Cubbies of late deserved that term. Ron always did, and still does.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Salty Days and Salty Mayors

Mondays begin much like Tuesday through Friday, only earlier. Not such a big deal for me. I've been getting up with the robins for years. The new kids coming to work seem to struggle with it.

Salt was everywhere today, and the snow kept coming. The plastic on my papers made the day slow. People see plastic and think buying a paper will take longer. It won't, but that's what people think.

I commented on a journalism blog: Strange Attractor. Naturally, I am concerned as the newspaper business evolves. See Rethinking video, rethinking journalism, rethinking priorites.

The News
Daley's in the news. While his dad's legacy will likely be stronger, just as his infamy will, it looks like the current mayor is on track to last longer: Daley May Eclipse Dad as Chicago's Biggest Boss With Sixth Term. Mayor Daley (pick 'em) has been good for the city of Chicago.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sundays Are Strange Days for Newspaper Hawks

Sundays are strange days in the newspaper business. The papers are the biggest of the week. When I was a kid, these were the beasts on my back. Now, I don't sell any. The paper costs more, but, with coupons, is worth more. No cuts coupons, but that is an anecdotal observation, not a professional one.

My corner is in the heart of the Loop. On Sunday mornings, it is a desolate, lonely place. People who lived in the towers around used to, in my younger days, go to church, and I could sell a few papers before heading out myself. Now, everyone sleeps in.

Hard to know what to make of it. Sleep is needed when we are sleepy. Is everyone so tired? What are they doing making them so tired? I hope when they are older, they'll say it was a nap worth spent.

I'm not sleepy. I'm just tired.

The News
The ice storm last night created a glaze on the streets. Accidents everywhere. Two cars skidded and hit each other right in front of my place. My power was out for a half hour last night.

For irony, Chicago Storm game postponed because of the storm.

Newspapers online have many varieties. One blog says Nobody reads PDF papers.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Taxis, iPods & Bergoff's - Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday, February 23, 2007
3:11 p.m.

Someone should mention that the steel of taxis and flesh of people do not mix. The commuter figured it out. The taxi driver drove on, but not until after having his hood pounded by a very angry woman.

They were both guilty. One was an iPoder, blind to the moment. The other was chasing time, barrelling too fast for Adams Street.

Speaking of Adams. I miss Bergoff's. 107 years of good food. I just heard they have reopened in some way. Trader Vic's is gone too.

The News
Chicago’s Bid For 2016 Olympics Heats Up in US Home Stretch
That's big news. Big, big news. If Daley and company pulls it off, I think we'll see him as mayor for life. We'll also see some city pride that does not involve a baseball team. I can imagine the Olympic Marathon running on Michigan, Wacker and Ohio. Would they take it around all the town, including the Projects? the NYC Marathon does that, through all boroughs.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Salary Girls. Miniskirts & Homeschooling - Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday, February 22, 2007
10:25 a.m.

The warm weather has created gray slush, but all this is good news. It is above 30 already, and the melting continues. I slept well last nice and my head cold seems gone. A good day.

It is a strange site to see miniskirts, or what they are, starting to come back. Women in gym shoes and huge boots wearing skirts that I am surprised is tolerated in offices are showing up. Mind you, not all the sights are awful to this old man, but how professional they are amuses me. Salary girls are what they are.

I haven't done the math, but it looks like L riders dress more this way than train riders. It could be an age thing. Younger women live closer to the Loop, and older women live in the suburbs. Is that true? It looks that way. The salary girls seem less likely to be suburbans.

The News
Daley's bragging about Chicago's money. He should be careful here.

A city with money with schools that need money should not brag. They schools probably don't really need money. They need smart teachers.

I'm rambling here, but I'm thinking of a friend of mine, one who is an AD at a high school. He says his kids won't go to a Chicago Public School. The guy is making his living through the CPS, but hasn't faith in them. Not a good sign. He lives close to the border of Chicago, and is letting the kids use another address as their 'home address' so they can attend one in a suburban school.

I'm no teacher, but I see what I see. The schools are a mess, a political pawn by teachers, school leadership, and whomever is running for whatever office.

Sure, improvements here and there. I don't care what they say about parent's involvement. The schools need to address that, but the school is a school, not a welfare agency. Teach the kids. Crappy public schools are the best argument homeschoolers have, and those homeschooled kids are starting to do more than win spelling bees. Colleges are recruiting them. Real colleges, like Wheaton College in the western suburbs (see their homeschool recruitment area). We aren't talking about some city college, but a nationally known school.

So Daley needs to be careful. Nice roads without potholes would be nice. Nice schools without potholes would be better.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Jim's Back at Metra & Charlie's Angels, Wonder Woman, 1970s TV - Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Wednesday, February 7, 2007
8:19 a.m.

I'm getting old, and the papers keeping coming new every morning. My head cold is still bothering me, and my back hurts for no good reason.

Jim told me last night while grabbing a brat at a joint on Washington that he's got his Metra job back. He's proud. He says its because he stuck it to the man, but I think it it because he was tired of being a deadbeat. He'll start next week.

We argued about Ron Rivera losing his defense coordinator job for the Bears. Rivera's with the San Diego Chargers now (the Bears promoted Bob Babich from linebackers coach/assistant head coach), but that's not the point. It is the same old Chicago story. Get them winning, get them out of town. Jim was trying to tell me that Rivera screwed up, and so we lost the Super Bowl. No defense, no offense is what he says.

Grossman screwed up. He was an average QB trying to play against a great team. OK, the Colts beat us fair and square, but Bad Rex showed up and couldn't play. We did not need Peyton Manning to win the game. We only needed a Jim McMahon kind of quarterback. Jim made it happen. He was a bit like Dennis Rodman in that he was a goof off the field, but on the field, was all about winning. Rodman won on the basketball court, and McMahon won on the football field. Gross was playing lawn darts. He might as well have offered tea to his opponent.

The News
The obvious: Bears named Babich defensive coordinator (Sun-Times).

We've got Carlos Zambrano another year. Maybe the Cubs are giving up the ghosts and choosing to live in 2007.

Other news, like it matters: Britney's in rehab. Must be stylish now to be a drunk, then to publicly check in. I hope she'll hi to her gal pals. Is Lindsay Lohan still in there?

Remember when Lindsay was the name of someone a little more classy, the Bionic Woman? Lindsay Wagner played the Bionic Woman in the 1970s. She was cleaned up version of Linda Carter's Wonder Woman. The Six-Million Dollar Man was a hit, and so they tried giving us another dose of a part robot super-hero. I liked them both, but Steve Austin was the best.

TV in the mid/late-1970s was great. Charlie's Angels, Happy Days. Johnny Carson was still hot.

Herbie - Fully Loaded (Lindsay Lohan stars)

Six-Million Dollar Man

Wonder Woman - The Complete Seasons 1-3

Charlie's Angels - The Complete First Season

Bionic Woman

Happy Days - The Complete First Season

The Ultimate Johnny Carson Collection - His Favorite Moments from The Tonight Show (Vols. 1-3) (1962-1992)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Head Colds & Ron Rivera - Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tuesday, February 20, 2007
6:46 a.m.

Head colds are not helpful when it comes to standing outside, even when the weather breaks favorably. It is not pleasant for me, nor for the customer hearing the wretched sneezing and nose blowing. Rather than Kleenex, I have brought by a roll of toilet paper for the job.

People are in early today. It seems that way. Warmer weather might be the cause.

Newspaper sales come in waves, just as commuters flood in and out of the Loop. When the trains come, people come a few minutes after. Similarly, a few minutes before the hour, the rush begins as hurried employees try to get to work by 9:00.

The News
The big news is that the Chicago Bears dumped defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. Maybe the Bears have Chicago Cubs disease. As soon as things look up, trade.

Non-news was that American Idol Jennifer Hudson sang at her old church. I'm guessing it was one of the swan-song deals when the person grows up in church, learns to sing in church, and then, never really returns to sing the songs of church.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Bald Britney Spears & Foie Gras - Monday, February 19, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007
12:09 p.m.

Icicles are everywhere. These beautiful spears are waiting to slice from atop skyscrapers to the sidewalk. Watch out!

A pleasant day for paper hawking. People are getting over the Bears Blues, and are looking toward March in two weeks.

Speaking of spears, Britney Spears shaved her head. The Sinead O'Connor look might clear the way for a good thought to come through. Cute kid, but has the street smarts of Paris Hilton. Even Hollywood streets need better smarts than what she's working with.

Being bald is not the issue that she's dealing with. If so, it makes Chicago's own Michael Jordan as messy. When Telly Savalas did it, his sexy-factor kicked up two notches. Women thought he invented steam.

The News

Foie gras is in the news. Seems we can't have it. I didn't know. It is food, or part of food, and it is on the list of taboo foods. It is part of a duck (or is it a goose?) -- its liver. I don't know why it is illegal, but Doug Sohn, owner of Hot Doug's, was busted for selling them stuffed in a hot dog.

Stop at Doug's joint and buy a dog or two. He sells fries cooked in duck fat, which sound delicious. He might pay a fine for breaking the law, as he should, but maybe people will find out how silly the law is.

Hot Doug's Inc
3324 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 279-9550
http://www.hotdougs.com

Friday, February 16, 2007

Chicago Cubs (Blasphemy?) & Two-fisted Coffee - Friday, February 16, 2007



Friday, February 16, 2007
10:04 a.m.


This a two-fisted coffee day. 0°F in the Loop right now. Two fists, wrapped around the biggest coffee I could buy. It is as much for holding as it is for drinking.

Big news, though, is something the Cubbies did. Pick a Chicago sports talk show, and there you go. Story goes that when Opening Day hits, our boys will be looking at under arm deodarant ads in right and left field.

No one can accuse the Cubs of selling out. They need to survive, and the owners feel it is easier to plaster a billboard on a wall that fork up cash to retain good players (We all know the Greg Maddux story), this is what they do. Fans are money makers, and, as long as they will fill the bleachers without a winner, there is no point in finding better players. It won't make any difference. Instead, they sold the wall.

Will Martha Stewart be doing a show on how to trim the ivy? Will Home Depot or Lowe's start commercials for building better bleachers?

Maybe the Cubs did sell out, but it is only selling out if the fans care. The only way we will know that is if they buy (or don't buy) Cubs tickets this summer.

You could e-mail the Cubs, and tell them what you think. If you don't, White Sox fans will. ;)

source: businesswire.com

CHICAGO CUBS:
Peter Chase
773-858-4821
pchase@cubs.com

This press release will explain it better than myself.

Chicago Cubs, Under Armour Reach Partnership Agreement
Deal Includes First-of-Its-Kind Signage at Wrigley Field

CHICAGO and BALTIMORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Chicago Cubs and Under Armour, Inc. (NYSE:UA) today announced a partnership agreement that includes first ever signage on two outfield doors in left and right field at historic Wrigley Field. The signage, 7-by-12 foot paintings of Under Armour's signature logo, will be in place in time for the Cubs' 2007 home opener on Monday, April 9 vs. Houston.

“We greatly appreciate the Chicago Cubs’ history and wanted to be part of their new direction and exciting future,” said Under Armour’s VP of Brand Steve Battista. “We’re thrilled to partner with such a storied ballclub as a symbol of their strong desire to improve on-field performance while blazing new trails with the franchise.”

The deal comes on the heels of Under Armour’s recent growth on the baseball diamond, highlighted by the recent release of their first-ever line of baseball cleats. Alfonso Soriano, the highly-touted free agent signed by the Cubs in the off-season, will wear Under Armour performance batting gloves and wristbands this coming season, and is featured prominently in the Cubs’ 2007 advertising.

“The Chicago Cubs’ mission is to develop a winning culture and our partnership with Under Armour reflects that vision,” said Jay Blunk, the Cubs’ Director, Marketing and Sales. "The Cubs are committed to finding alternative and creative revenue streams to build the championship team our fans richly deserve."

The partnership also gives Under Armour, known as the originator of moisture-wicking performance apparel worn by athletes on playing fields around the world, advertising rights to the signage behind home plate in Wrigley Field, the second-oldest ballpark in the country. The Under Armour logo is also featured in the country's oldest major league stadium, Boston’s Fenway Park, where Under Armour shares space with on the Green Monster with sporting goods retailer, The Sports Authority.

About Under Armour, Inc.

Under Armour® (NYSE: UA) is a leading developer, marketer, and distributor of branded performance apparel, footwear, and accessories. The brand’s moisture-wicking synthetic fabrications are engineered in many different designs and styles for wear in nearly every climate to provide a performance alternative to traditional natural fiber products. The company’s products are sold worldwide and worn by professional football, baseball, and soccer players, as well as athletes in major collegiate and Olympic sports. The Under Armour global headquarters is in Baltimore, Maryland, and there are UA offices in Denver, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, and Toronto. For further information, please visit the Company's website at www.underarmour.com.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Radio & WGN - Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007
9:03 p.m.

Radio in Chicago has its ups and downs. The downs I'll get to, but the ups are what I'm listening to. On my feet, or on my crate all day, and keeping it low-key at night, I listen a lot to WGN.

Milt Rosenberg (Extension 720) might be my favorite. He's smart, and where is he isn't as knowledgeable, he's done his homework. I can tell when Charlie Rose hasn't read the book he is interviewing the author about, but not with Milt. His guests aren't just some wannabe, but real authors. He's upfront about his biases, but I get the impression he tries to remain objective and ask questions that his all sides fairly. Charlie's less open about his biases.

Spike O'Dell gets a few listens a week, though he's on when I'm busiest. John Williams and Steve Cochran are more my style, though. Funny guys.

Of all those on WGN, I'm bound to listen to Kathy and Judy the least. They are fun, but witless. I feel like with them, I have already heard what they are going to say five years ago, and from someone in a bar.

Rick Kogan has one of those great radio voices, though he has that cigarette smoker's roughness. Along with Milt, I think he ranks as a defining voice for WGN. I can see both them winning awards and plaques.

Dean Richards is in the same camp of intellect, but seems less unique. Sounds occasionally too reviewerish. Rick comes off less scripted.

Nick Digilio came off, in the beginning, as terribly annoying, but grew on me. I can't explain it. I couldn't stand listening to him. I thought he sounded like the know-it-all at the coffeeshop. He knows a lot about movies (what he does best), but, and this is part I like, doesn't get stuck in the art school mindset. It took a while, but I am on board, and actually enjoy listening.

If I could stay up late enough, I'd listen more to Steve and Johnnie. I'm a guitar fan, and learned about Tommie Emmanual from an interview Steve did. Friendly. Johnnie, his wife, is not playing any games of "look at me, I read a book." That's how I feel with Kathy and Judy. With Johnnie, she's every day warmth. You know she's met some incredible people, as Steve, but I never feel as if they present their friendships any differently than I would mine.

Hawks, Bears, Bulls, Sox, Cubs & Daley - Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007
10:03 a.m.

Each day seems colder than the previous. If weren't for the promise of the summer, I might be miserable. Instead, all I am is cold.

Bundling up is a start. Drinking heavy amounts of coffee helps, but requires trips back into the coffee shop.

I do not need to tell you it is only 1°F. You know it is cold. Tomorrow looks to pick up a few degrees.

In sports, the Hawks lost, the Bulls won, and the Bears, Sox and Cubs did not play.

With Richard Daley running for mayor again, changes in the city are becoming more visible. In the last six months, Loop sidewalks are being fixed. Now, with the tremendous snow, we've got plows running nonstop. No one will call Richie "Michael Bilandic" as long as he can help it. See here what the Trib has to say about it.

It's the Big Dig, Chicago style
Chicago Tribune, IL - 4 hours ago
City Hall went the extra mile this week, issuing a rare "Phase 3" snow removal plan, which dispatched armies of city workers across Chicago to shovel sidewalks, crosswalks and even a few stoops. City officials said Election Day--which is less than two weeks...

Warm weather? I want it badly, but, unless God decides to renege on his schedule of keeping it away from Illinois in February, I need to deal with it. That famous Sports Illustrated issue is coming out with Beyoncé Knowles on the cover, so if remembering the beach will help keep you cozy, pick up a subscription.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Baseball, Soccer & Harry Caray - Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Wednesday, February 14, 2007
12:14 p.m.

The snow fell, blew, and moved on. The ground is covered with it, and my street was not first on the list. It is still impassable. Luckily, I can walk to the L.

I looked around this morning and think I saw fewer commuters. Although the weather, the traffic, and all were much better than yesterday, more stayed home. Not me. I'm doubled in my socks, wearing the most unstylish hat, and warm so long as I stay put.

Tomorrow is said to be colder, and Friday even colder. It is amazing to think that the middle of February is so close to the beginning of spring.

The most important thing is baseball season approaches. Put me in coach, I'm ready to play. Let's play two.

Soccer is starting to become a sports I understand. I hope to catch a game or two this season. As a lifelong fan of baseball, football, and basketball, and even enjoy watching the Olympic Marathon, and not understanding hockey, I'm starting to get soccer. The Spanish TV stations show a lot of games that I now actually look for.

What of soccer had as its announcer Harry Caray? Jack Brickhouse? Now there would be game I could understand!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Telemarketers & Unions - Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007
9:07 p.m.

How wrong I was. People bought papers. As I stood with a stack wrapped in plastic, people came to buy. They trickled in steadily into work late, leaving early.

My Sun-Times change bib is usually orange. Today, it was a stark white, plastered with snow. The wind blew fast, making the tiny snow flakes hit like bullets. It made my beard look more salt and peppered than I am really am.

I went home around 5 p.m., earlier than usual, but got home a half hour later. Everything was slower, and slowest of all was me. Each step caused sweat. Two pair of socks today.

Telemarketing is in the news. Harrassment. I personally think very little of telemarketers. They are like bill collectors, but with less integrity.

This essay is out there on the web. Pretty funny.
Read Great Literature to a Telemarketer
Humorous essay to show how to answer a telemarketing call by reading the classics.

Rich Daley's election campaign is up against the unions. He is a good Democrat, but is tired of being bullied. Is there a telemarketers union?

Snow & Toboggans - Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007
12:56 p.m.

It snowed. This is not New York snow. It is Chicago snow. You know about New York snow. There, they measure it in feet. We measure it in inches.

Just the same, it was too much for all but my most committed regulars. No amount of calling out the news of the day will draw in a frozen, wet commuter to pick up a copy of what can probably, in all reality, wait until later. He can buy the thing in the train station, or at a kiosk deli in his building.

What days we live in when mere snow shackles our doings. It is snuffing out my fun, that's for sure, but I think everyone is not enjoying it. Not downtown, at least. Not in the Loop.

Chicagoland has places that snow is an asset. I have slid a time or two down Swallow Cliffs, after trudging over 100 awkwardly shaped steps, dragging an old rented toboggan. Hot chocolate never tasted as good as it did after a few hours of that terrible, awful, fun hill.

The view from the top of Swallow Cliff was a sight missed by city dwellers. Looking northward, well above any tree, and near the clouds, I would see what perhaps Adam first saw had he lived in Illinois. Eye-to-eye with flying birds, they surely looked at us strangely, wondering why we moved so slowly up the hill, and so quickly back down. We, to a bird for which flight is natural, might have thought of us as Sisyphus, with his tired, futile, endless one-man brigade to push a rock to the top of a hill.

There's news in the paper, but my fingers aren't willing to type as much thanks to wet gloves and a tough morning. Getting to my corner was hard - the snow kept blowing, and Daley's boys had more than they could deal with. Sometimes, God is stronger than the City That Works.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Snow in New York & Bees - Monday, February 12, 2007

Monday, February 12, 2007
9:49 a.m.

The snow is strong here, stronger than it seemed early this morning, but dare I complain? There's 12 feet in New York state.

With headlines like Snow just won't stop in upstate N.Y., I wound up feeling a little less chilly and wet this morning getting to my corner.

They are a tough bunch, those NYers, and I do not mean the city dwellers. City dwellers are never tough when compared to those who need to carve out life a little closer to the bone of nature. Small towns get cut off, and need to be self-relient. Resilient, they are.

Hot News on Yahoo
Regarding the Texas DA story, I have no opinion on his guilt in the major charges. The less serious (but still serious) charge of blocking police should warrant a firm punishment. As he knows the official laws, and deals with them, he should be held to a higher standard. That alone makes him a bum. Throw the bum out. If he is guilty of the financial questions, then, again, hit him hard.

Are there more severe punishments when a person whose duty it is to serve and protect serve and protect themselves? Lawyers too. The old adage, "They should know better" applies.
  • ABA may adopt conduct rules for judges AP - Sun Feb 11, 4:21 PM ET
    MIAMI - A model code of conduct for state and local judges spells out, for the first time, that they are to avoid "sexual advances, requests for sexual favors" and other such unwelcome behavior.
That's the American Bar Association. They too should know better. At least the ABA is taking them corporately to task.

As one among those who fears bees on a level that probably seems childish at my age, I saw this with pleasant thoughts:
  • Mystery ailment strikes honeybees AP - Sun Feb 11, 6:10 PM ET
    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - A mysterious illness is killing tens of thousands of honeybee colonies across the country, threatening honey production, the livelihood of beekeepers and possibly crops that need bees for pollination.

Whether or not those scary killer bees will be impacted is not a question, not in PA. Those bees are still down south. Living in Chicago, I know I have a few years before the story reads, "Death by Bees, Newspaper Hawk Killed By Swarm."

Paperboys & Bulls, Hawks - Monday, February 12, 2007

Monday, February 12, 2007
6:04 a.m.

Trying to stretch my legs on this Monday morning is easier than last week. The weather is warm, if but by degrees, and I'll take it. It is 26°. I'll take it, I'll take it.

26° isn't 72°, but compared to what we've been having, it is balmy. Some snow, but the boys at the DOT have it under control. Daley is no Bilandic.

Sipping this morning's coffee is somehow sweeter, somehow less necessary as a drug for waking me, and more for enjoying.

It reminds me of the brisk mornings when I delivered papers from my bike. It was much like now, but I covered more distance. Over each shoulder I had slung a bag. I delivered three paper routes: two Chicago Tribune routes, one Chicago Sun-Times' route. I think I had 103 papers in all. Maybe there was 126.

I was in great shape.

On Sundays, I dragged a wagon, a red Radio Flyer, a metal one, piled high with papers. and would would the route. I rigged the wagon to hold three times as many as it normally would.

more about this below



I took it seriously, actually placing the paper as close to the door as possible.

Now, where I live, a guy drives by in a minvan, and steps out every few homes and runs up and down. To his credit, his drop is spot-on, right at the door. I don't, as you might gues, subscribe, but my neighbor in her 70s does, and appreciates fully the care he takes to get the job done right.

The News (see yesterday's post to catch the Obama and Anna Nicole Smith news)
The Bulls won, and with the warm, weather, the noise about Barack Obama here in Chicago, and the sad death of starlet Anna Nicole Smith, I expect today to be a banner day.

I don't follow hockey, but that the Hawks won always picks up a sale or two.

There's more news than this, with more dead in Iraq, Iran, Hamas, Israel all picking up a few stories. Take the good news this morning, though. If Obama is your man, rejoice. If you are a Bulls or Hawks fan, rejoice.

And, buy a paper. I can tell you, there are a lot of hardworking guys and gals out there, hoping you will.

NBA: Chicago 116, Phoenix 103
Playfuls.com - 6 hours ago
Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng scored 29 points apiece Sunday night as the Chicago Bulls beat the Phoenix Suns, 116-103. Chicago had not beaten Phoenix since the days of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen Nov. 20, 1996. The teams split rough second-half ...

Chicago Bulls (28-23) At Phoenix Suns (39-11), 8 Pm NBC5.com

Bulls snap 8-game slide in Phoenix Houston Chronicle

Houston Chronicle - NBCSports.com

all 374 news articles »


NHL: Chicago 5, Columbus 4
ImediNews - 1 hour ago
COLUMBUS, Ohio (UPI) - Martin Havlat had a goal and two assists Sunday afternoon, as the Chicago Blackhawks beat Columbus, 5-4.

Chicago Blackhawks (21-27-7) At Columbus Blue Jackets (22-28-5), 3 ...
WPXI.com

all 234 news articles »

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Obama for President & Anna Nicole Smith Dies - Saturday, February 10, 2007

Saturday, February 10, 2007
10:45 p.m.


Obama for President & Anna Nicole Smith Dies

Why is that so big? It has been a big news weekend. If that were in print, it might be just less than 72 pt. The sitting US president did not die, so it should be less. Either way, it will be big, noisy news all week. Water coolers and taxi drivers have a lot to discuss this Monday.

Barack Obama announced what we all knew was going to happen, and Illinois loses a senator. Maybe Alan Keyes is still living in Illinois, and wants the job?

Anna Nicole Smith was a celebrity beyond celebrities. She could not do more than they, but she managed to get more press than better and more beautiful actresses. She knew the game better than the rest, and made the most of what she wanted. She wasn't my darling, but to many men, she was all they wanted.

I do not know who I will vote for. Each day, I change my mind.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Bikinis in Winter & Homelessness in the Cold - Friday, February 9, 2007

Friday, February 9, 2007
5:19 a.m.

Let no one tell you that living is easy. I'm tired, it's cold, and I'm waiting in midnight darkness for my papers. They're late. I'm fighting a cold, I couldn't sleep, and somedays I wish I could afford to skip a day.

I have thought about salary girls, $2.00 lattes, and young politicos making money off of someone running for president who probably won't win. They all are sitting inside today, while I'm on my milk crate covered with cardboard.

Don't think I'm looking for the easy life. Just an honest one. Enough papers sell, I pay my rent. Just like that. News makes the world go round. What else would the blogs talk about, or the politicos if they didn't read the news.

Maybe that's the lure of the Super Bowl. It is bipartisan.

I asked about Kathy. She has been staying in. Sitting in her wheelchair in the open breeze all day is just foolish, and she knows it. Someone from a church gave her some money and food to cover the time. Good for them. I know it isn't polite to say, "Thank God," but Kathy needs every bit of help she can. Selling StreetWise shouldn't be a career choice but a stepping stone.

I've enjoyed a meal or two at some of Chicago's finest. If you can, help them out. They are helping more people than it seems anyone knows. I can vouch for the class and respect they give everyone who walks in the door, whether you're a suit or homeless or somewhere in between.
Pacific Garden Mission
Olive Branch Mission Home Page
Jesus People USA

The News (according to Yahoo)
Smith autopsy to be performed on Friday
Pentagon says pre-war intel not illegal
Palestinians cheer Hamas-Fatah agreement
Libby lawyers grill NBC's Russert
Venezuela to nationalize nation's largest power company
Norway reveals design of 'Doomsday Vault'
Disney to bring hand-drawn animation back to big screen

In The News (according to Google)


Anna Nicole Smith
Marlon Samuels
Hard Rock
Nancy Pelosi
Pebble Beach
Britney Spears
Carl Kruger
Barack Obama
Davis Cup
American Idol


I keep seeing that weight loss commercial with the "It was an itsy bitsy, teenie weenie, yellow polka dot bikini". Look it up (choose Apparel, type in bikini). You might be as surprised as I was. Fun song.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

WTTW, PBS & John Edwards, Shakespeare's Sister, Pandagon - Thursday, February 8, 2007

Thursday, February 8, 2007
2:38 p.m.

edit (3:42 p.m.) big news: Anna Nicole Smith dies Also see USA Today.

Luckily, the snow has not continued, and it was so cold that it has not stuck. The streets are clear, and getting to my corner has not been difficult. The rushing from here to there is odd as always, watching people try to race walk. Cold is cold, and when it is cold, people hurry. Why don't they run? I do. Walking just keeps me cold longer.

Might be their skin doesn't freeze when mine does.

The News
Blogs are in the news. I was pleased to learn of several important Chicago area blogs (see links on right), including which looks at what people say on the CTA. A story on WTTW (PBS Chicago) highlighted them in a quick roundtable. I did not know about them until the show.

Chicagoist
CTA Tattler: Seen and heard on the Chicago Transit Authority
Gapers Block: Information on news and events around Chicago

Politician John Edwards made news when bloggers (Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon and Melissa McEwan of Shakespeare's Sister) who work for him said things some people consider naugthy about Catholics. In my business, people expect an attitude. I looked at the blogs in question, and those girls have attitude and are surrounded by agreement. It looks like a blog where only people who already like them read. It looks like they think Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon and Melissa McEwan of Shakespeare's Sister are making a stand.

That's the kind of people who work for politics rather than becoming the leaders themselves. Edwards is smoother, and looks like he'll settle the noise. If they jeopardize his campaign, he'll drop them faster than you can say, 'Mayor Daley'. If everything is kosher, he'll keep them and look better for it.

Which reminds me, in Chicago, yakking backmouth about Catholics is a dangerous thing. When half of everybody is Catholic, no matter what they believe, taking pot shots at them is like flipping off a cop. That's not politics; that's personal. It isn't right. There's aren't enough bloggers, I say, who can disagree and be nice about it.

Pandagon & Shakespeare's Sister Against Catholics? John Edwards Staffers' Offense (or Not?)

I don't care, really. Edwards and those girls aren't selling papers for me. That's why I'm not a Democrat. I'm not a Republican either. Newspaper hawkers are the ones out in the cold trying to make ends meet while Washington D.C. staffers discuss the poor in warm offices and drinking $2.00 lattes.

I vote for people who do things. Jimmy Carter still does things. Maybe he gives money, but he puts his muscle to work too. Don't just donate. If you believe it, do it. Jimmy's a hero to me. (For the record, I believe he is not antiSemitic, but that his book [Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid] needed a better editing job. He is a pacifist).

Jimmy Carter and Habitat for Humanity

Was it Jane Byrne who went and lived in Cabrini-Green projects? I think so. She was mayor here for a while. Now that's doing something. The projects are a tough mess, and if you don't live there, you don't feel the fear, mediocrity and lack of hope. It is a bigger deal than having food stamps, running water and air conditioning. That's why almost everyone who is born there dies there.


Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Bob Collins & Harry Potter - Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Wednesday, February 7, 2007
5:04 p.m


The sun is lifting inches each day when twilight comes. That's not right. It is lowering slower. Either way, the brighter the night, the better my evening papers sell. Snow mitigates this and last night's snowfall has chopped into today's sales. Half of usual.

It doesn't matter. There is no real news. The Bears' haven't won since the Super Bowl and however many articles are written, the score never changes. The editorials are routine, the same old bitterness about keeping abortion legal (this time the support of surgical and chemical abortions), blatherings about school funding (as if another buck will induce the kids into learning) and someone complaining about severence pay that a CEO got.

Radio voice Bob Collins is back in the news with some non-news.

Physician: Radio star not impaired before fatal crash
The personal physician of Bob Collins testifies that the WGN-AM 720 radio star was examined the day before he died in a plane crash.

That's the market, free and free-speaking. And not news.

I didn't see Kathy selling StreetWise today. The snow might have been too much for her.

Harry Potter is the rage now, again. They are on the seventh book, and I have never read one. I see an influx of Harry Potter books, though. It seems like everyone is reading the previous ones. The book readers are buying papers, so that helps me predict customers walking by.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Obama Smokes & Parades - Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Tuesday, February 6, 2007
9:38 a.m.

This morning's commuters are still licking their wounds like a a dog that lost a wrassle for a bone. For all the blood and howling, the bone never has much meat.

Papers are starting to return to normal. The stories today are still football, but less than last week.

The News
The Bears turned down a parade. Good for them. They played hard, but they lost. Winners get parades. Losers get to watch parades. It is how it should be. Give a loser a parade, and the thrill of the parade is reduced to a participation ribbon.

Why not give an aluminum medal to the guy who takes fourth in the Olympics? Because he lost.

Barack Obama, the probable president after Hillary Clinton ends her likely reign, has admitted he is a tobacco addict, and is trying to quit. Is that news?

George Bush is George Bush, for better and for worse, but one thing he has done that is beyond argument was set the level for health in the White House. The story is Bush was living a wild life, and converted to Christianity, dumped booze and got healthy. I have to respect that.

That means Obama, having come out of the closet as a smoker trying to quit, can't smoke. He seems like a healthy guy, but tobacco addiction can happen to anyone. The campaign pictures with a smoke hanging off his lip would ruin him.

People are in super cold mode. The police directing traffic on the corners are wrapped up like Jesus at the Nativity. The chatters walking together at work aren't chatting. The smokers are huddled less often outside their buildings. The salary girls aren't walking their little dogs in the early morning sidewalk promenades. Everything is faster.

Jim came by yesterday during the afternoon rush. He's going to beg his job back on Metra. It'll be hard sell, but he thinks he has a shot. A couple of guys quit, and the trains are lean on the crew-side. Something along the lines of them telling their boss to take the job and shove it. Those guys quit, and so now Jim will see if he can't squirm in before they come back.

Supply and demand he says. He knows they need him, and he thinks that makes him someone. They need a warm body to snag tickets, but Jim makes it sound like he brings in something important. Sure, if two hands and a ticket puncher is important.

Still, Jim needs a job and this one will do.

Chicago Tribune * Chicago Sun-Times

Monday, February 5, 2007

Bears & Sales - Monday, February 5, 2007

Monday, February 5, 2007
2:06 p.m
.

Ain't no sunshine when they lose. It is cold as cold gets here in the streets. It is -5 with a wind chill three degrees below death.

It is never colder than when the Bears lose. Another game -- any other game -- and the sting the city feels might have washed away with the morning coffee. This game was the Super Bowl. Not since 1985 have the Bears' dared make it that far. We all knew this was a different team, but still we hoped. The sting won't leave until 2008's Super Bowl if we're there.

The commercials were no thrill. Two were disgusting. I turned the channel during the candy bar one and the car wash one. I didn't need to see that trash. I caught some of Charles Bronson instead on one of the Spanish stations.

Hester -- His salary just landed in a better negotiating category. You'd think the Colts would've reviewed the tapes from the Bears' regular season and were ready for the Hester train. However, whatever the Colts missed regarding Hester, they sure knew about Grossman and Urlacher. To Chicago's credit, they were/are better than any team we've had since maybe 1987 or so.

The 1985 Bears' legend remains, and the Super Bowl Shuffle will still be sung in churches, bars, and daycares across northern Illinois. That's the hymn of the masses.

The upside is everyone is buying papers. Not just one, but two each. I'm selling great amounts of Tribs and Sun-Times. People who never buy are buying today.

Things will be lighter tonight than this morning. I'm hoping that I'll see a continued spike. If anything could warm me, it will be running out of papers.

Time to refill my coffee.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Happy Groundhog Day - Friday, February 2, 2007

Friday, February 2, 2007
12:15 p.m.

It is sunny today. It'd be brighter if I weren't next to skyscrapers and L-trains. Sunny days don't matter when you live life in the shade.

It is just as well. I need some new shades. My last pair were decked from me when a bike messenger ran into me, and crushed by his bike.

Can't hardly blame the guy for hurrying. He works twice as hard and makes twice as less as I do, and takes twice the heat when he's late. First, he gets it from some corporate wannabee who is, at best, an account exec, who thinks five minutes is going to make or break his deal. Then, he takes the heat from his supervisor at dispatch.

It is an awful job. I tried it a few months when I was younger, when my legs had some muster. These guys are tough, ruthless and going nowhere. I needed stability. I don't make a lot from my papers, but I can do the math. Certain kinds of days are worth certain amounts of money. Rainy days, sunny days, hot, warm cold, freezing, Thursdays - everyday has a value, and I have a good idea how the day will do. It isn't much, but it is steady.

The older I get, my papers still sell. The older a bike delivery guy gets, he makes less. He rides slower, delivers less, makes fewer tips, and so on. I don't want his life. Mine is just fine.

Happy Groundhog Day, by the way. I have never seen a groundhog at anytime of the year, so I'm not sure what to make of it.

I'm looking online for some sunglasses. I thought about the Blues Brothers kind. Do they still make those?

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Salary Girls & Coffee - Thursday, February 1, 2007

Thursday, February 1, 2007
10:27 a.m.

I got here late this morning. Some mornings, it gets so early I can hardly remember that I went to bed. New gloves today, the kind that have fingers which come off. Easier to grab the papers.

I'm still getting a few stragglers. Mostly now, it is the clique-ish girls new to the workforce, still spending more on clothes and taxis than working hard, grabbing smokes and coffee on company time. They don't buy my papers though. They buy business magazines with artsy covers they never read, trying to look like they have. Guess that's the life of a salary girl.

Call me a cynic, but I think nice legs still get good jobs. Seems the experts think so too. Either way, the salary girls are turning heads while turning a paycheck. Looks like yesterday and today aren't so different. I guess this is what all the protests in the 1970s came up with - nothing.

What do you think of this 1955 Pinup?



Me? I get paid by the paper. Every paper adds a little bit of life to my life. My legs help me stand all day, yelling out to passersby to buy a paper. I'd sit, but I sell fewer papers when I do. More papers, more money.

I'm selling them online now too, though no one is buying. They read them online. I don't blame them. I read both papers each morning, and all day. I can't help it. For such a busy street, you'd think there would be more to do. Maybe if I had an inside job, I'd read them online too. I sometimes see a few articles here and there.

Never smoked. Sometimes, I think I'm the one in Chicago who doesn't. My corner is dotted with butts by this time every morning.

Coffee I'll drink though. Starbucks is fine. Any port in a storm, and Starbucks has ports all over the city. People think I'm hardwired, that a guy like me drinks it black. Not on your life. I need the sugar and milk, and lots of both.



Funny how serious people get about which coffee they drink. I'll bet they couldn't tell of they had a sample of each. As for funny, I saw this bumper sticker in a mom-n-pop shop.

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