Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Where Did All of Chicago's Hedge Bushes Go?

My childhood home at 1755 W. &75th Place today has all but been de-nuded of hedges - only a slight strip remains.

I walk to St. John Fisher in the morning between 6:00 and 6:30 A.M. - weather, laziness and time permitting.  It is a solid mile to the church and my vigorous gait usually gets me there in under fifteen minutes.  I mediate, plan the day, wallow in guilt and pray during this exercise.

Since childhood, I have had the attention span of parakeet ( 'bite the cuttle bone!' -'whack the bell!'-'head-butt the mirror!' - 'splash water!') and tend to flit the old noggin with varying perceptions - "this guy's lawn is worse than mine . . .Thank Christ. Charleston Chew wrappers!!!!  Where they get Charleston Chews? Love those.  These kids on Talman have more Fisher Price toys than Toys R Us . . . cool fort" for example.
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Occasionally, this quality time of mine pulls together larger questions.  These past few days, I have noticed the lack of property hedges - the Right angles of bushy shrubbery that at one time seemed to dominate neighborhood landscapes.  Nellie Stevens Holly, Schip Cherry Laurel and Barberry shrubs once outlined our streets and walkways.  Image result for kid pushed into hedges

Where is the Chicago neighborhood Bungalow Bocage?

I remark merely on its absence and wonder how kids can grow up with their heads screwed on straight without having had the experience of being knocked into the hedge on the way to school.

Hedges were magical!  They were castles, forts, Green Walls for Home Run Derby, jungles, zoos, hiding places, bushwhacking opportunities and the leaves could be made into musical instruments.
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I spent many early mornings pulling myself out hedges on Honore, having taken the inside lane closer to properties and being Maury Lanigan-ed into a Cherry Laurel fencing the sidewalk in front of Al Balauskas's bunglow.  Paper bag covered books torn, folders of sloppy homework em-barbed in the sharp branches and my ego shocked out of existence to delighted howls of my boon buddies - " Walk on the outside, Hickey!" - prepared me for this  Vale of Tears that is our lot.

Each of us would spend time in the bushes.

Each of us, male and female, would learn that life is paved with unexpected checks into the boards.

The hedges helped.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Lynn Sweet Sweet on Bloomberg? Big Beverage and Little Voters Bad.

Image result for Nanny  BloombergImage result for kean gas station chicago

The Cook County pop tax: Conceived Nov. 10, 2016, when Cook County Board members approved the one-cent-per-ounce Sweetened Beverage Tax. Born on Aug. 2, 2017, its effective date. Date of death was decreed by a 15-2 repeal vote on Wednesday. The tax dies at the end of the county fiscal year, midnight on Nov. 30.
Bloomberg is crusading for higher taxes on sugary drinks as a way to reduce the obesity epidemic in this nation, with allies including the American Heart Association, active in the Cook County fight. Lynn Sweet Chicago Sun Times Cheerleader

Lynn Sweet really has a sweet gig.  Hang with the mighty and do their bidding.  Many of us out here in the fly-over land of helots are not so fortunate.

Lynn Sweet lists every government that took Mike Bloomberg's coin to kill Pop USA, as if any of these bought agencies matter to any of us.

Referendums in Oakland and Albany in 2016 approved the beverage tax, aligning these California East Bay cities with Berkeley, with a tax in effect since 2015.
Boulder and Seattle also have sweetened beverage taxes.
In 2017, however, Bloomberg’s team is hitting a rough patch when it comes to beverage taxes. Will the Cook County repeal give the beverage industry anti-tax drive momentum?
It do seem to be the case!

• Michigan state lawmakers took notice of the uproar in Cook County and last week, in a pre-emptive move, sent a bill to the governor to ban local governments from imposing soda taxes.
• On Oct. 4, the St. Helen, Oregon, city council voted down a sugar-sweetened beverage tax.
• On May 2, voters in Santa Fe, New Mexico, defeated a proposed 2-cents-per-ounce tax on sodas.
• Last spring, West Virginia state lawmakers dropped a beverage tax proposal.
Yeah, that Oakland CA is one head's up burg, Lynn, and Berkeley sends me too.

Not a bit. Not a sugary bit.

Try running a family owned gas station in Morgan Park, like Kean, and then have something like the Glorious Sugar Tax imposed upon your filling station, that also depends upon a steady flow of customers who not only gas up, but purchase pop, sweetened tea, Slurpees and sports drinks, as well.

A small fortune in revenue was lost over the past months thanks to a social engineering scam dressed up as a health issue to shore up political budgetary screw-ups.

Fat kids were not responsible for Cook County spending sprees:

. . . Preckwinkle sweetened the deal by giving each commissioner control over $500,000 in gas tax revenue to spend on transportation projects in their districts. She also rallied public health advocates to point out that downing fewer Mountain Dews could lead to a drop in obesity and diabetes.
Commissioners deadlocked, and Preckwinkle cast a rare, tie-breaking vote to impose the tax. If it hadn't gone as smoothly as Preckwinkle hoped, at least the new tax had passed, the budget was balanced and the heat was mostly on her.
Then it all started to unravel.
While the vote was taken in November 2016, providing plenty of distance from the March 2018 primary election, the tax wasn't scheduled to take effect until July 1.
The vagaries of federal law, the Illinois Constitution and state statutes meant it took months to come up with the rules of how the tax would be put in place, and changes were still being made late in the game.
For example, county officials at one point planned to tax low-income folks receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, but the state later told them that could not be done.
Not mention a sugary carrot to union County employees"

 However, it's worth noting that Teamsters Local 700 endorsed passage of the penny-an-ounce tax on sweetened beverages, saying at the time that it would "guarantee job security for hundreds of people that work for Cook County." The levy passed with Preckwinkle casting a tie-breaking vote.
It's also pertinent that Local 700 has been one of Preckwinkle's main campaign donors in recent years, with the Local and an affiliated Teamsters group using the same Park Ridge address giving her campaign fund at least $68,000 since 2014.
In the memo, Robinson is trying to build support for ratification and perhaps exaggerates a bit if only to look good.
The proposed pact includes some things taxpayers may like, with wages frozen the first year and then rising 2 percent across-the-the-board in each in the second and third years. "Step," or experience-based raises, also would be frozen for two years, but then be fully implemented.
Like the Proco Joe Chick Fil A Purge, Chicago and Cook County Values are not spun from Marilyn Katz's MK Communications, but born in the neighborhood values forge by faith and family.

Lynn Sweet of the Sun Times,  a very dependable Cook County, City of Chicago and Democratic Party cheerleader makes the argument that the Beverage Tax was merely a victory of Big Soda over Big Nanny Bloomberg. Not so.

People have had enough of this nonsense coming from political and media hacks.

People beefed loudly, because the steady streams of kids from St. Cajetan's, Clissold, Morgan Park and Chicago Ag School, as well as Mount Carmel, St. Rita, Mother McAuley, Brother Rice, Morgan Park Academy, Leo, Marist and legions of tradesmen, teachers, cops, firemen, retirees ad even an Alderman could not buy a bottle of pop, a Slurpee, or an Arizona Iced Tea without hitting a Pay Day Loan Center.

It is nice that some Cook County Commissioners were not totally tone deaf.

What would be nicer is a repeal of Cook County Ofiice Holders universal.


Sunday, October 01, 2017

Things I Never Say Mostly

Image result for 1940s Blowhard

Thanks in advanceAt the end of day, we all irritate others and often without meaning to take offense.  With all due respect, hackneyed and hollow phrasing might be holding us back from better human relations, at this in moment time.

In terms of bugging people with mindlessly empty tag lines and borrowed bon mots we can do better.

It is not always what it is.   Plain English works and say what is in your heart and head.  Political gasbags and celebrities have butchered human contact.

Agreed upon pap is not a a rhetorical feast.

 A simple way to avoid causing eyes to roll, at best,or a cousin to reach for that 32" Louisville slugger that he has soaked in Quaker State 40 Weight, at worst, would be to read some of President Obama's speeches and avoid sounding anything like him  - I mean that foppish corps of milkweeds who penned his utterances.

In Joseph Heller's  masterpiece Catch 22, the Orwellian speech-shadows dimming our light of conversation was halted by the primordial utterances of Major ___de Coverly. This septuagintal Major frightens the hell out of one and all by shear dint of the majesty and bearing of his being.  Major __de Coverly puts an end to the asinine Glorious Loyalty Oath of Captain Black in Chapter 13.

Captain Black, like many high school principals, members of Congress and the 44th President of United States,  believes that he is intelligent, due to his position in a table of organization.  He wants to 'get back at' Major Major Major ( formerly Captain Major Major) for being passed over for promotion and institutes a policy where by no member of the squadron can be fed without having signed the Glorious Loyalty Oath - via executive order/zero tolerance.

Maj. ___ de Coverly ends the Glorious Loyalty by holding his mess try under the nose of a mess hall commissar  and growling " Gimme eat!  . . ."Give Everyone Eat!"

Everyone got eat.

Please, plain speaking, cousins!

I do what I can.  Note that I have never consciously used any of the following:

  • ( any verb transitive) preceding "this Puppy" Start this puppy, ride this puppy, screw this puppy
  • " teaching moment"
  • " opportunity for conversation" People who want an opportunity for conversation never shut up.
  • " let's  dialog"
  • " My policy" - unless referring to life, medical, car and homeowner insurance; other than those, policy is for pussies
  • "that's just sad" - clause used rhetorically by confused, challenged and snotty people, when they have run out of intellectual ammo
  • " Veggies"  - You mean carrots, celery stalks, cucumber slices and midget tomatoes for dip?
  • "Bro, Brah, Dude"
  • Reference to any Body parts in mixed company.  Don't be a dick.
  • " How 'bout them " Bears, SOX, Bulls or even Hawks?
  • " Kicking the can down the road" Which can exactly?  And - why exert yourself?
  • " Right side of history"  Say that and you will be on the wrong side of study of the past.
  • " Do you know who I am?"  - God, I hope not. 
  • "Text me!"
  • "Enough"  is not a feast!
I shall wag my tongue, until the Good Lord yanks it out of my head, and with dutiful and humble attention to my words offend no one. . . .but,  those who need offending.