Monday, May 23, 2016

Was I a Headline This Morning? My Adventure on Chicago's Dan Ryan Expressway ( 9-9:46 AM on May 23, 2016)

 "Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no." Ian Betteridge's Law of Journalism

" A Semi driver was shot and seriously wounded as he drove north on the Dan Ryan Expressway near 95th Street on Thursday night, the second shooting on a Chicago expressway in five days and among more than a dozen this year, state police said." - Chicago Tribune

Taking a friend to the airport is a task that most of us view as a simple obligation to family and friends.  Taking a friend to the airport in Chicago is another matter. For a resident of the Morgan Park neighborhood, the choice of route depends upon the airport - Midway Airport, or O'Hare. Midway is a breeze - head north on Cicero Ave to 63rd street and get in the right lane.  Going to O'Hare should be determined by the Tolls, or the Chicago traffic. One can easily go directly to O'Hare on Interstate 294 and pay a couple of tolls, if one is going directly to O'Hare. My task required a trip to River Forest; thus, the Dan Ryan and the Ike.

Recently the stretch of the Dan Ryan between 127th Street and 95th Street has been the site of a number of lethal thug killings and woundings.  These incidents that the media and political social justice charlatans call 'gun violence' have boosted Chicago's reputation as the nation's number one Thug Comfort Zone and will only increase the municipal exeunt omnes brought on by such law makers and loud mouths.

I left the barn for my good deed a few minutes before 9 AM.  As my friend's flight on United was scheduled for 1:45 PM and required a three hour pre-TSA Mugging arrival and the one hour and change it takes to get to Division and Harlem, I did not wish to shoot craps with Jane Byrne Interchange Cluster Hug.

Driving 111th Street east to Ryan is a breeze.  People from Beverly, Morgan Park, Roseland, Mount Greenwood, Washington Heights and Fernwood are generally traffic observant and friendly.  There is also the neighborhood's bastion of Service and Protection - the 22nd District of Chicago Police Department at Monteray - just before the Dan Ryan entrance ramp on Hamlet Street.

There was a red light before the ramp and I was enjoying WCDB 90.5 jazz,when my car jarred.

The driver of a red, late-model Nissan Altima had bumped me. As it was slight bump, I turned in my seat and waved off any concern for the driver's inattention, or technical problem.  Seconds passed and the light changed.  I took my foot off the brake and checked my rear view mirror - the driver, a thirty-something African American man, was screaming at me and laying on the horn - He was saying that I am a Caucasian Fornicator of Oedipal Inclinations.

I recalled the recent spat of Dan Ryan shootings.  Though they took place during wee small hours of the mornings, perhaps the huge thick portion day-break was not out of the question: 1. the man hit me. 2. I was sure that he was not infuriated because I had not given him the opportunity to make a clean breast of things concerning his violation Secretary of State Jesse White's Rules of the Illinois Roads. The driver was going apeshit and now was trying to run me off the road.

I am a very good driver and I did not want to allow my nemesis to pull up even with me.  After checking on-coming traffic in the rear views, I hit the brakes and swerved in behind the red Nissan and we engaged what can only be described as an expressway dogfight - doing vehicular Immalmans, and two dimensional barrelrolls from 111th Street all the was to 87th Street when I managed to secure my place behind this person who intended no good for me.

On several occasions my enemy in this duel of American ( I drive a Chevy) and Japanese cars managed to pull up next to and began lowering his window. With my peripheral vision I gauged traffic and looked for a firearm and hit the brakes whenever he was close to giving me a more robust burst from his arsenal of epithets concerning my race, or a sound hosing of 9mm pills.

Just past 87th Street, I made a call to 911 and asked for Illinois State Police - I gave the make, model and Illinois license plate numbers and hung up.  I was not going to pull over and test Dame Fortune with this gent. All the time I managed to stay behind this guy.

No State Troopers anywhere, Not at 63rd.  Not at 47th Canaryville.  Not at Sox Park.  Not at Chinatown and the guy was staying with me - though just ahead me.  He kept turning his head to shout at me.   I called again and was told that ' we are covering an accident.'

I followed him to the Ike at the Jane Byrne Interchange onto 290 and west side.  The guy pulled as far to the right as he could and I remained on his tail.  He faked an exit at Racine. Another at Western Ave. and gave no indication that he was going to allow me top avoid a confrontation with him.

Finally, he gave up at Homan Ave. and I continued on to pick up my friend and take her to O'Hare.  we arrived in plenty of time.

After fulfilling my simple task on that particular Holy Trinity Sunday, I headed back to 111th Street and went into 22nd. District Headquarters and made a hit and run complaint, as that was my only means of getting on the record - he hit me on Hamlet Street and that was not on the Dan Ryan.  I did not pull over and 'wait' for the Illinois State Police show up.

Mostly, I did not wish to be headline - 63 year old shot in yet another expressway incident - no suspects.

As it is, I was blessed by God.

I have no idea what the other guy is all about.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

6:30 AM at St. John Fisher Parish: An Existential Moment in Stained Glass

"Why I so much prefer autumn to spring is that in the autumn one looks at heaven--in the spring at the earth."--Søren Kierkegaard

These May mornings are fall like.  For the last two weeks you would believe that it was time to rake leaves.

God wakes me up and the least I can do say some small thanks.  After prayers, the morning ablutions and whisker landscaping it is time to pound the pavement to 6:30 AM services at my neighboring parish St. John Fisher.  Located in what is called West Beverly ( the area north of my Morgan Park neighborhood) the walk is a splendid mile and change that takes me up Talman Avenue and some of the most beautiful homes in the 19th Ward on south side of Chicago.  Unlike the tony mansion and massive bungalow phalanxes crowding the Ward east of Western Avenue and the blue collar raised ranches and Cape Cods and frames of Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood, West Beverly aka St. John Fisher Parish, or just Fisher, features streets where every home sports a unique architectural jacket.  The photo above is an example.

St. John Fisher Grammar School is the most desired placement in the neighborhood for the children of cops, firemen, CPS teachers, nurses and Cook County and City Hall Government mandarins of every rank.  The school run by Sister Jean McGrath is one of most successfully enrolled schools in the Chicago Archdiocese.
 A forty foot high cross marks St. John Fisher parish campus of Church, school, rectory and convent.
 The church represents the post-World War II architecture found in parishes on the far southwest side - departures from the huge granite, marble Gothic, Lombardy, and Romansque churches found in the older south side parishes.  It is a large open and comfortable place of worship.

 The parish is named in honor of a martyr to Henry the Eighth's glandular theology of the Anglican and Episopal denominations. St. John Fisher was a bishop who went to King Henry's chopping block before St. Thomas More who seemed to have had a better public relations appeal in history.
 Our Lady was crowned by the kids of the parish a few weeks ago.
 Early morning services are attended by a baker's dozen of regulars.
 My daily perch is in the last pew on the south side of the church which features this stained glass representation of Abraham's interrupted sacrifice of his lad Issac in the most existential episode of the Bible. The knife is up!  Will Abe really bring it down on his kid?  God's Hand Shows Up!
 Since the beginning of Lent and right up to this morning, I have studied this window.
I realized that the young man depicted as ISSAC in the stained glass went to Mount Carmel.  He is wearing the 19th Ward requisite tonsorial headwear - a brown MC baseball cap with brim turned around to keep the sun off the kid with see-through Irish skin on his neck.(click on the photo for a better look)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Preserve The Family Restaurant and Steak House - The Golden Steer

A brilliant banker, writer and culinary journeyman, Steve Jordan, lamented the manic idiocy that passes for Food Shows on cable television.  He noted that what had once been a comfortably informative sharing of recipes and food prep techniques is now a mere rat-race of reality TV tryting to beat the clock.

Cable has done more to kill history than Howard Zinn - witness the History Channel Lineup: Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Ice Road Truckers, Counting Cars.  Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall is  the greatest holistic consideration of an epoch of history and the History Channel is a cartoon station with very rare exceptions. So too. have become  Cookin Channel Food Network treatments like Chopped, Rev Runs Sunday Dinners, Cupcake Wars, and Cutthroat Kitchen.

People who relish these television servings of shallow and empty I.Q. calories, also tend to flock to LongHorn Steakhouse, Chipotle, Applebees, Chilies, Olive Garden and other trick-name ( PTSD McNugget's Shamrock Pub Grubs) big-box swill troughs.  Family owned restaurants offer better food and often better parking, service and mosty certainly atmosphere.

Yesterday, I treated my lady friend to dinner at Forest Park's. Golden Steer*.

This is a family owned and operated steak house run by the same family since 1969,  "Owners/Chefs Kiriakos (Charlie) and Gus Tzouras bring more 35 years experience in creating meals that will warm up your stomachs and your souls."

Tell me about it.

We arrived at 4:30 P.M. and were greeted by two lovely women who have worked at this restaurant for more than two decades. The hostess informed me that she also works as a soda jerk in an old fashiones icecream parlor during the day.  Our waitress was a decades long veteran who said," We love coming to work here and if we get fired, we are hired back the same day - go figure."

Loyalty begets great service.

I ordered a T-Bone medium rare with baked potatoe, roasted asparagas and Roqueford salad and the exquiite Miss Sullivan ordered the broiled scrod, baked potatoe and house salad and shared the broiled asparagas.  After we placed our order the Owner/Chef Charlie asked if we would mind moving to another table, as a large family had come in with more guests than the reservations taken - it was big Mexican American family celebrating a young lady's graduation from Dominican University in River Forest.  We were only too happy to jump tables.

By 5 P.M. the restaurant was filled to capacity and the bar was thick with people waiting for a table.

The food was wonderful and our waitress was attentive and sweetly salty with me, " Want me get a wheel chair to roll out after tucking away the grub, Honey?" Truth be told, I took home 3/4the of the T-Bone and Miss Sullivan carried away half of her scrod.

Before I could call for the bill,  the owner and our lovely waitress put a thick slice of Tiramisu between us and order us to do it justice.  I did most of the heavy-lifting.  This was Chef Charlie's thank you to us for moving to another table.  Family means much to a family business.

Will family owned and operated restaurants be around for future generations?

I rather doubt it.  Look at what passes for television and look at the forest of Applebees, Longhorns, Chili's and DT McPtomaine's.

*Get to Golden Steet - there are no on-line reservations - you must call in 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

What to do on Friday: March 11th 2016 - Let's See? Free Trump Passes or Pay a Sawbuck and Watch Leo Win State Title?

Donald Trump?  You can have him.  Not as President, I hope, nor pretty much anything else, but he's all your's.

He is going to be at UIC (Cement City) on Friday and is giving away free passes to hear him talk about himself. Caveat!  If you go to see Trump, you also must endure Chicago's GangBanger Emeritus clown Congressman Luis Gutierrz. Lord Have mercy! Two humps on the same cement?  Nah. Pass.

You see, both humps are here to help Hillary Clinton nail down the Oval Office.

The only thing that could get me anywhere near that hump Trump might be an all you can eat gift certificate for Tufano's Vernon Park Tap, which is within walking-away distance of the UIC Pavilion.

So you have that going on.

Leo High School is in the IHSA Class 1-A Final Four.

So, I intend to drive 2 hours and fifty-seven minutes away from the clown show at Cement City and drive to Whiskey City - Peoria, IL and watch the mighty, mighty Leo Lions defeat Woodlawn ( no small task that) and then return on Saturday to watch the same-said Lions cut off the nets in the Carver Arena.

You see, Donald Trump is exactly same kind of clown as the ones who get all of the urban media face-time and ink-slop over race-hustling, thug murder and street activism.  There is absolutely no difference, whatsoever, between Trump and any of the insta-loudmouth-Reverend- prophet -activists the media worship.  In fact, the very same words of affection used to 'justify' the local blatherskites, apply to Donald H. Trump: "fiery, speaks his mind, helps so many, concerned, at times divisive, obnoxious, contoversial, but always news worthy."


The fact is that street hustling stiff-collars and Donald Trump have done and will do nothing for kids, old people, or starving blind match girls.

I would much rather enjoy the joy and sparkle of the faces of fifteen young men and their coaches engaged in the formative combat that is athletic competition, where no one is a victim and outcomes matter.  Score more baskets; cut nets off of the rims attached to expensive backboards at the Carver Arena.

Leo High School ( the maintenance staff, the ladies who run the offices and Leo the parents, the teachers,  the administrators, the Alumni, The Big Shoulders Fund, and the many generous non-Leo donors who are Catholic and Jewish ) knows that Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, Lives in the Womb Matter and All Lives Out of Womb Matter a whole bunch and our kids will tear off nets because of that knowledge.

Street hustlers say that they know it, but they could care less and do absolutely nothing to ever make a difference here, or anywhere, unless Jay Levine, or Carol Marin can broadcast their words and totally ignore anything else.

Cardinal George knew Leo High School stood for everything in my above parentheses  and Acted upon it.  Cardinal George, to use the media word 'advocated' for Leo High School and also acted to raise money sending checks from his personal account and not the Archdiocese bank accounts, or some creep State legislator, or City Hall stooge to scratch up a taxpayer funded boondoggle.  Mostly, Cardinal George ministered to students, counselled individual kids from Grand Crossing, Englewood, Gresham and Canaryville without a call to the Tribune or the Sun Times.  No bishop of Chicago, ever did more for kids at Leo than the late Cardinal George.

Chicago wants Francis Cardinal George in its memory hole - forgotten.

Donald Trump wants everything in a memory hole.

Now, I am no fan of Trump, as I am no fan of race baiting, street hustling prophets, but that does not mean you should not delight in their words and the media words about them.  Oh, Hell No!

That's just me.

However, I am a huge fan of pure high school achievement - athletic and academic.  I am a huge fan of Facta Non Verba: Deeds and Not Words.

Two hours and fifty minutes, two tanks of gas at praeter-Cook County prices, parking in Peoria and a $10 ticket to the Carver is well worth being anywhere near bumptious ass who wants to help Hillary Clinton become President.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Terror Town Gets a Pass and a Police Officer Does the Time

"The constitution applies to felons, it applies to drug addicts, You don't get a pass every few years because you work in Terror Town*." Judge Kendall

The Constitution obviously takes an entitrely different application althogether to the judicial mindset of United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Virginia Kendall, when it comes to serving Chicago Police Officers in this Post BLM Era.  The Black Lives of Women and Men Serving in CPD Blue can expect getting two and and one half year Federal sentence reduced to two years, by judicial fiat, however.

Chicago Police Officer Aldo Brown received a two year sentnce from Judge Kendall for his October conviction of "excessive force for hitting and kicking a convenience store clerk in September 2012. Brown testified at his trial that he began throwing punches at Jecque Howard at the Omar Salma shop on East 76th Street only after he realized Howard had a handgun in his back pocket."

Terror Town

Officer Aldo Brown worked in Terror Town, not far from where I work every day.   Terror Town, like O Street, is another hip media-driven set of real estate that colorfully adds luster to 'compelling narratives' for hand-wringers and nod-with-conviction arm-chair activists in Evanston, Hyde Park, Highland Park and the hispter havens of elites in Wicker Park, Lakeview, or the political ruling class bed-room community Lincoln Square.

Those of us who live and work in ,and near,  the Terror Towns, The Englewoods, the Greshams, the Grand Crossings and actually interact with residents and CPD professionals daily, know that this conviction of Officer Aldo Brown is more political theatre than jurisprudence and wide walk around Justice.

God Help Us. God Save Us from the constant shower of bullshit! Ora Pro Nobis.

 *Terror Town is a nickname for a violent area in Chicago, Illinois. Individuals in the area claim that Terror Town refers to 75th and 79th streets between Yates and Colfax. This particular area in Chicago is on the East Side and is filled with various gangs such as the Black P. Stones and Gangster Disciples. Apart from its violent history, this particular area gained notoriety due to the rising fame of 2 of its residents, Lil Herb and Lil Bibby. Both Herb and Bibby are members of the Black P. Stone gang and often make reference to both Terror Town and their gang in songs.
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Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Early Voting Bonus - How About a Forrest Claypool Dunk-Tank?

I usually vote on the stated Election Day, primary elections are a huge pain in the ass with all of the same names sneaking into GOP and DNC conventions.  I usually need to bone up on candidates and issues.

This primary is easy.  I am drawing Democratic ballot and will vote for two people.  The rest I will have some fun with - this primary is an insult to every voter in America; I shall return the compliment.

I usually vote on election day, but I could be induced to try early voting, if the City Election Commissioner would offer free back-to- school CPS left-overs, Wilco's Jeff Tweddy and Gang playing on a flat bed truck in the parking lot, or. better yet. a dunk tank featuring CPS/CTA/Cook County/ Chicago Parks/City Hall multi-pension jackpot career grifter, lightweight, dim-bulb and chinless wonder Forrest Claypool squeezed into a Chicago Logo speedo over big-ass barrel of chilled Lake Michigan Straight.

After chopping teachers and staff at CPS, this smarmy soulless Klepto-bureaucrat and WTTW regular could use a Polar Plunge*.

The temperature of his pasty pelt could then match that of the blood coursing through Temple Claypool.

Someone, maybe Commisioner Bill Kresse, or a Bill Kresse Imitator, wearing a huge Flava Flav style clock on a gold chain could collect each I Voted chit and shout enthusiastically as the alarm clock clangs, 'WHATBOYIE???? What????  WHAT TIME IS IT? Dunk Time!"

Each citizen emerging from a designated early voting polling place rewarded with an I VOTED sticker, or palm card could march up to the dunk tank and collect three yellow plastic coated 12" softball for a shot at the metal target/release trigger and plunk Claypool into the icy brine.

Kids and Veterans t'row free all day!

CPS teachers showing proper identification get two additional balls - a metaphor for the apparatii missing from most elected officials and every insider-career grifter.

March can be chilly.

But nothing is so cold as the endless placement and pension looting by Progressive Shakman Sanctioned creeps in government.

* Chicago's real hero James Sheahan raises millions fro special needs youngsters.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Trump: Strong bands, if bands ungrateful men could tie.

Hey, he says what we all feel!

I get Trump, the Yin to Hillary Clinton's Yang, and I can do nicely with out him.: " A name to all succeeding ages curst./For close designs, and crooked counsels fit."

Voter anger is real.  Anger untempered by thought, based upon shared truth is rage and rage only works in Jerry Bruckheimer movie epics, or Mad Max reconfigurations.

Trump reminds me historical persons like Earl of Shaftesbury in King Charles II's court, the odious Thomas Boleyn who pimped out his children for merry old King Henry VIII and an Italian school teacher turned journalist after the First World War.

Mostly, I am reminded of John Dryden's portrayal of Shaftsbury from his 17th Century mock epic Absalom and Achitophel. The poem is splendid example of quality hack work and was no doubt commissioned by King Charles, when his enemies introduced the Exclusion Bill, " which would keep the Catholic James from the throne, using Charles’s illegitimate son, the duke of Monmouth, a puppet of Shaftesbury, as a possible claimant to the throne. Although the bill passed in the Commons, it was rejected by the Lords because of the king’s strong opposition."

Shaftsbury, like Trump, was a skilled political hater.

Some had in courts been great, and thrown from thence,
Like fiends, were harden'd in impenitence.
Some by their monarch's fatal mercy grown,
From pardon'd rebels, kinsmen to the throne;
Were rais'd in pow'r and public office high;
Strong bands, if bands ungrateful men could tie. 
    Of these the false Achitophel was first:
A name to all succeeding ages curst.
For close designs, and crooked counsels fit;
Sagacious, bold and turbulent of wit:
Restless, unfixt in principles and place;
In pow'r unpleas'd, impatient of disgrace.
A fiery soul, which working out its way,
Fretted the pigmy-body to decay:
And o'er inform'd the tenement of clay.
A daring pilot in extremity;
Pleas'd with the danger, when the waves went high
He sought the storms; but for a calm unfit,
Would steer too nigh the sands, to boast his wit.
Great wits are sure to madness near alli'd;
And thin partitions do their bounds divide:
Else, why should he, with wealth and honour blest,
Refuse his age the needful hours of rest?
Punish a body which he could not please;
Bankrupt of life, yet prodigal of ease?
And all to leave, what with his toil he won
To that unfeather'd, two-legg'd thing, a son:
Got, while his soul did huddled notions try;
And born a shapeless lump, like anarchy.
In friendship false, implacable in hate:
Resolv'd to ruin or to rule the state.   John Dryden

I was saddened to read about Trump Mask anti-Mexican nonsense between Gary Andrean Catholic High School and Bishop Noll Institute.    Giving the media any ammo to pick at scabs, or trump-up divisive rage is bad enough, but giving a black eye to two very fine Catholic schools is galling - all over the misplaced notion that Trump will do anything for anyone.

Really good people tell me that America needs Trump.

These same people shouted at me that America needed Obama.

America needs to read something besides Talking Points Memo, the New York Times and listening NPR who are as much responsible for Trump, as they are for Hillary Clinton.

. . . . In friendship false, implacable in hate:
Resolv'd to ruin or to rule the state.