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Month: February 2023


Image: PV Bella

This was written a long time ago by the now-retired Chicago Police Chaplain, who is also a friend. He sent it in an email to several friends. Some reproduced it on social media. I hope he doesn’t mind me reproducing this. I would hate to have him bring the wrath of the Great Comedian down on me.

“It was about 4:15 on a very cold, snowy morning in the early ‘70’s, and the two wagon men were waiting to leave the E.R. of Children’s Memorial Hospital. Both had some mileage on them, just as the big squadrol did (CPD runs its own livery service like TLC here in the county). They both had leather jackets, and they showed some wear and tear. Topping off the whole picture were the checkered hatbands that mean The Real Police to every Chicagoan.

One wagon man loitered at the nursing desk, waiting for some paperwork to be completed so they could begin their run to the near west side. The other wagon man stood staring out the door, holding a bundle of blankets and bedspreads in his arms. I said hello, and asked what was going on, just to make small talk. His reply moved the moment from small talk to no talk: “Two little ones, Father…dead…carbon monoxide. Take a look.”

He pulled back the fringed edge of the bedspread and two little faces were nestled together, a sight that took my breath away. There was some talk about a space heater in an apartment and other family members being treated at St. Mary’s and St. Elizabeth’s Hospitals, but I didn’t really hear or comprehend very much. I said a brief prayer; probably more for me than anyone else, and when I touched their tiny foreheads there was still a hint of human warmth there.

The wagon man gently pulled the bedspread up and covered the little faces. The partner came over; paperwork rolled up loosely in his hand and connected with us near the exit door. “All set,” he said. And I said, “I don’t know how you guys do it.” And the bundle-bearer replied softly, in words I will always remember, “You can’t let it get to you, Father.” We all walked out into the snow and cold to the squadrol, and I walked toward the wagon’s rear door. Again, the bundle-bearer spoke words that are still in my soul’s memory: “No, no… they ride up front with us.”

We said goodbye, the driver walked around and got in, and the bundle-bearer worked his way into the passenger seat without ever giving up his precious armload. The driver started the wagon, turned on the headlights, and slowly pulled out of the hospital driveway to begin the unrushed journey down Halsted Street.

Religious histories and myths are interwoven with stories of God’s anger at human evil and they are filled with just as many stories of God’s wrath being washed away by the simple goodness or quiet heroism of a single human being. As I walked back to the rectory through the beautiful falling snow, the thought kept running through my mind that whatever evil had occurred on earth since midnight five hours previous, the leather-jacketed bundle-bearer had caught God’s eye, and the earth was safe for another day.”

Vote Lightfoot out but change will come slow

Photo: PV Bella

I would like to congratulate Ukraine for holding the Russian Bear at bay for one solid year. They made the Russian army and Vladimir Putin the laughingstock of the world. Too bad world leaders have no sense of humor or the courage to make fun of him and his rag-tag army.

I listened to interviews with Ukrainians. Some were heartbreaking. Most were encouraging. The people showed courage and grit in the face of death and destruction. Russia generated pure hatred for itself. The Ukrainians are determined to drive Russia out of their country. They will fight one way or another to keep Russia from winning.

In Chicago, the war on the streets continues. Crime is still out of control, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot is oblivious to the victims. She does not care how many citizens in this city are terrorized, shot, killed, or afraid to walk the streets. This is the worst mayor in my lifetime. People I know are considering getting Concealed Carry Permits or already got one, some I would never think would own, let alone carry a firearm.

One would think when Lightfoot started her reelection campaign, there would be some kind of crackdown. One would think wrong. Things are getting worse. Public transportation is also failing. If it gets worse, it will impact the economy, especially downtown, Michigan Avenue, and Near North. Aside from crime, the trains and busses are filthy, as are the El Stations.

Nothing works in the city that used to work. Lightfoot did more damage in almost three years than any mayor since Big Bill Thompson. Spring and warmer weather will be here soon. The crime will spike and there are no plans in effect to change direction. Superintendent of Police David Brown is an abject failure and has been since day one. The rank and file have no confidence in him or the mayor. When you lose the confidence of the rank and file, you failed them and the city.

Chicago needs new leadership and a big broom to sweep out all of Lightfoot’s failing department heads. The same holds true for the alderpersons, very few who have been vocal about Lightfoot’s failures. Hell, most of them do not deserve another term.

It will take a long time to clean up the disaster created by Lightfoot. The next mayor, no matter who it is, will have their hands full putting out the second Great Chicago Fire Lightfoot will leave behind. They will walk into it wearing a gasoline-soaked coat. Change will come slowly. There are no short-range solutions. Until things turn around, they too will wear the hat, taking the blame for Lightfoot’s disaster.

More mind drippings

Image: PV Bella

We have more Yo-Yo weather here in Chicago. We went from false spring to winter overnight. It appears the weather will Yo-Yo for the next week. Today it i cold, rainy, fugly weather.

Yesterday was Fat Tuesday, Paczki Day. Paczki Day is celebrated in the Midwest, especially Chicago, by eating fried Polish pastries. My local saloon provided some for the patrons. There is nothing like drinking beer while eating Paczki.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent for many Christians. Easter is nigh. Lent is a time to give things up as we await Holy Week, Holy Thursday (The Last Supper), Good Friday, and finally, Easter. Easter is a day of feasting, usually on ham or lamb, and sides. It is also a seasonal shift. I hope the Yo-Yo weather will not follow through.

Image: PV Bella

Before Easter is St. Patrick’s Day. This year it is on a Friday, which means a three-day weekend for amateur drinkers and pukers. The fake Irish bars and others will be filled with revelers showing why too many people should not drink. Much corned beef and cabbage will be consumed too. I will cook corned beef along with colcannon, as I do most years.

The Chicago mayor’s race is tightening up. So far it is a three-way race Between Paul Vallas, Lori Lightfoot, and Chuy Garcia. Willie Wilson is in a strong fourth place. Whoever beats Lightfoot will inherit a broken city. She resorted to calling one candidate a racist and attacked others with similar ugly smears. When you do not have a record of accomplishment to run on, you break out the dog whistles.

If Lightfoot ekes by, she will complete her destruction of our once great city. As a lifelong resident, I am devastated by how Lightfoot destroyed Chicago in her 3-plus years as mayor. It is heartbreaking. Lightfoot has no accomplishments to brag about. She is the worst mayor in my lifetime.

The leader of the United Soviet Republic of Florida, Ron DeSantis, came to the Chicago burbs to talk about law enforcement, a subject he, like most politicians, knows nothing about. He also injected his warped ideas on education, another topic he knows little about. If Lightfoot was smart (Doubtful), she would have intercepted his plane at the airport with Chicago and Illinois State Police and their SWAT teams. She would have escorted DeSantis and his entourage to a bus at gunpoint. The bus would take them to, I don’t know, maybe the middle of Detroit, and leave them there.

My political position on social and cultural issues is to leave me the f**k alone and I will leave you the f**k alone. Live and let live. That is what a free country is supposed to be. Both sides of the political spectrum are trying to either impose their wills on us or take away our rights, especially the extremist ends of the spectrum. Politicians have no right to dictate morals and values to us. Especially the Christer preachers, who do not practice what they preach. As the Great Comedian’s Son said, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

Those mackerel-snapping preacher politicians probably do more he-in and she-in, he-in- and he-in, she-in and she-in, and me-in and me-in than most normal people. What a bunch of lowlife hypocrites. It is like the People of Walmart took over our government.

Oops. There she goes

Mayor Lori Lightfoot urged Black residents to support her campaign for reelection or risk losing the seat and told people who don’t support her not to vote in a vivid display of the city’s racial politics Saturday at a Grand Crossing neighborhood church.. “Any vote coming from the South Side for somebody not named Lightfoot is a vote for Chuy Garcia or Paul Vallas,” Lightfoot said, naming the only Latino and white challengers in the race… “If you want them controlling your destiny, then stay home. Then don’t vote. But we’ve got to do better.” (Chicago Tribune/Emphasis mine)

Oops. There she goes. Mayor Lori Lightfoot put her foot in her mouth again. After the immediate critical responses from her challengers, she flip-flopped, again. Maybe she could be the next rep for one of the many companies that manufacture those sandals.

The damage is done. Reading her remarks harkens back to the days of voter suppression of people of color. How dare she tell the people who shed blood, lost lives, marched, and rallied for the right to vote? How dare she tell anyone in this city not to vote?

Not so curious, neither one of our supposed newspapers ran an editorial castigating the mayor for her irresponsible rhetoric. It proves the point that journalism is on life support in Chicago.

Chicago is not Black, White, or Hispanic. It is a rich stew of multi-ethnicity and race. The mayor’s office does not belong to one particular race or ethnicity. It belongs to all of us and anyone who has the will to take on the job, regardless of race or ethnicity. Lightfoot failed this city. There has been little improvement during her time in office. The city is worse off now than it was when she was elected. It is time for her to go.

No one should vote for a candidate because of race, ethnicity, or to make history. People should vote for the candidate they believe will do the best for all of us. The candidate who will listen to all our voices. Lightfoot is not that candidate. Her comments were divisive, damaging, and hurtful.

Lightfoot finally proved to all that she does not deserve another term. Her flip flopping on her comments was disingenuous and insulting to all Chicagoans. So, to all people, get out and vote. Vote the disastrous Lightfoot out.

One thing I learned in my 52 years of voting . All candidates say one thing during their campaigns. They usually do the opposite on most while in office. Lightfoot was no different. Neither are all the other candidates running against her. We hold their jobs in our hands. When they get elected, reality sets in. Their pipe dreams go out the window when they have to grapple with actual problems daily.

Below are comments from some of her challengers. Source: Chicago Tribune.

“This is disqualifying rhetoric for anyone hoping to lead a Chicago that is a multiracial and multiethnic city,” Garcia said. “We need unity not division.”

Cook County commissioner Brandon Johnson’s campaign also responded.

“Another mayoral challenger, businessman Willie Wilson, also criticized Lightfoot for what he said were “race baiting” comments.”

“Mayor Lightfoot’s comments are delusional, divisive, dangerous, and disappointing!” Wilson said in a statement. “Our city deserves a mayor that does not use race to divide us.”

Someone should tell Lightfoot the Bears are leaving

“Nonetheless, all of us die-hard Bears fans, the mayor included, know and believe that the Chicago Bears should remain in Chicago,” the statement read. “So, now that the land deal has closed, we have an even better opportunity to continue making the business case as to why the Bears should remain in Chicago and why adaptations to Soldier Field can meet and exceed all of the Bears’ future needs.”

“There is simply no doubt that the economic benefits for the team of staying in a reimagined Soldier Field significantly outweigh those gained in a move to the suburbs,” it continued. “Due to the Bears’ legal restrictions in the pre-purchase phase, the city was unable to engage in direct negotiations with the Bears while the land was under contract. Now that the deal has been completed, we look forward to negotiating and convincing the Bears that the team’s best future remains in our beloved city of Chicago.” (Lori Lightfoot/NBC Chicago)

The Chicago Bears announced they closed on the former Arlington Heights Racetrack property. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued the above statement shortly after the announcement. She should change her last name to Lighthead. One could wonder if she takes magic mushrooms and lives in an alternate reality.

The Bears fakeball team will leave Chicago. They have been planning this for decades. The Bears queen and her gamboling grandchildren hate Chicago. They are moving out. Good and put a pox on the House of McCaskey.

Worse, the cheapskate chiseling McCaskeys want a 40 year tax assessment freeze. Hopefully there will be push back on that. “When state lawmakers recently created a fund to attract companies to locate in Illinois, they went out of their way to prohibit its use for pro sports teams that relocate within the state… Gov. J.B. Pritzker has also voiced his objection to state subsidies, saying, “It’s not our obligation as the state to step in and provide major funding, and I certainly don’t want to burden taxpayers with, you know, major support for a private business.” (Chicago Tribune)

The Bears already burdened Chicago tax payers. The renovations of Soldier Field cost $690 million. Taxpayers are on the hook for $432 million plus interest of that. We got ripped off.

Lightfoot is delusional if she thinks the McCaskeys will accept any of her pipe dream plans to stay here. Worse, she is like other Bears fans. You know, the typical drooling knuckle dragging, bark chewing backwoods peckerheads. This year, the fakeball team was the worst in the National Fakeball League. The McCaskey’s will reap the same equal share of kachingos from the NFL as the other teams- billions of dollars. Why should they win games or go to the postseason? Why should they draft quality players? Why should they do anything for the fans? They only care about one thing and one thing only, money and the money keeps rolling in.

The McCaskeys are not dumb. The fans are. The McCaskeys will take advantage of them to squeeze as much money from them as possible. Then they may sell the team. The rumor is that is their long-range plan. Rumors, like myths, lore, and conspiracies, have a grain of truth to them.

By the way, the McCaskeys do not live in Chicago. The burbs are where they were born and bred. They live in the burbs and exurbs. They are not our people. They can take their miserable team and its moronic fans and leave. The door should kick them hard in the ass hard on the way out.

Lightfoot should concentrate on the deterioration of Chicago under her watch instead of a bunch of gamboling dotards and their dowager queen grandmother. Public safety is in the toilet. Public transportation is in the toilet. Everything Lightfoot touches gets flushed. She accomplished nothing. Yet, she thinks she can appeal to voters by foolishly appealing to keep the Bears team here. That is not going to happen.

Sunday mind drippings

Photo:PV Bella

It is a beautiful winter day in Chicago. There is no ugly, dirty or yellow snow on the ground. It is 49 degrees and sunny. My Uber driver was wearing cargo shorts.

Today is Super Bowl, Sunday, fakeball’s annual con game to bring in big bucks from advertisers and backwoods bark-chewing peckerhead fans. I will not be watching that parlor game.

Basketball and hockey season does not bode well for the Bulls and Hawks. It seems this past year was not good for Chicago teams. Both the Sox and Cubs had lackluster seasons, too. As a Cubs fan, I adhere to the motto, “Wait til next year.” That goes for the Bulls and Hawks too. At least Tony La Russa will not be returning to the White Sox. It was a mistake to hire that miserable washed-up has been.

I keep listening to the mayoral candidates. Not one of them has a short-term plan to make Chicago safer. Most of their solutions are long-term, maybe decades away. In the sort term, they provide very little, except firing David “Tex” Brown. Then what? Aside from criminality, the criminal justice system is broken in Chicago. Kim Foxx refuses to prosecute violent criminals, and judges release violent criminals on low or no bonds and/or the failed electronic monitoring system.

Even if one of the candidates had a solution to crime, it would do no good. If the prosecutors and judges are siding with the criminals, all the policing in the world will not curb violent crime.

I have been following the Chinese balloons imbroglio- Balloongate. The U.S., with the cooperation of the Canadian government, shot down a third balloon over the Yukon. The crazies on the right have their macho panties in a twist because, well, because, um, that’s how they roll. The crazies on the left do not care, as it does not fit in with their political nonsensical narrative.

What should have been the proper response? Laughing at and making fools out of the Chinese government. The Eleventh Commandment is, “Thou shalt not get caught.” China got caught red-handed. (Pun intended) We should make great fun of their feeble attempts. The White House should have brought in some comedy writers and graphic artists to create the government’s response to the failure of the Chinese to keep their operation secret or their failure to build stealth balloons. I mean, Balloongate should be renamed Deflategate, and the administration should turn it into a big joke(s) on China. In these dire ridiculous political times, we all need a good laugh.

I am writing this in my office away from home, my neighborhood saloon. The bar pest is here. He put a lot of dough in the jukebox. All suicide songs- about love and love lost. F**king guy does not have the sense of a gnat. People do not want to hear that crap where alcohol is involved. If he plays Andy Williams, I may have to do something drastic. I hope he does not start talking to me. F**king guy starts in and never stops talking.

Enjoy this weather while it lasts. February can be a cruel month, and we still have a couple of weeks left.

Just say no to Lightfoot

Free at last, free at last, thank the Great Comedian, I am free at last. The Facebook Police locked me up for 24 hours for a crime against humor. Zuckerberg’s Gestapo is inhumane, putting you into solitary confinement for the duration of your term. Now, that I am free, laissez le bon temps rouler.

Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan is retiring from the Chicago Police Department. Reports are he is taking a job with Google. Deenihan’s departure is the Chicago Police Department’s significant loss. I wish him the best in his future endeavors.

Photo: PV Bella

There are rumors David Tex Brown may be on his way out. Supposedly, the department is creating a legacy document- what ever the f**k that is, for him. If true, it is the best news the citizens of this city had in three years. Brown is an abject failure. He is one of the many mercenary former police executives to get hired, soak their employers for big bucks, then move on. Brown learned nothing about our city. He is a Know Nothing. He will probably land in some other city with naïve politicians and ruin their police department.

David Brown disgraced the uniform of the Chicago Police Department. He is a disgrace to this city. Legacy book? His legacy is one of failure from day one. I hope the people putting that book together list his monumental failures. It would be apt. They do not have to have kiss his a** niceties. Just tell it like it is. Unlike Deenihan, a true professional, I wish Brown, a true unprofessional, the worst.

I listened to or watched a few of the debates. Mayor Lori Lightfoot is unhinged. She does not have the temperament to be mayor of this great city. She proved it during her term. Her biggest sin was hiring a dumb cowpoke from Texas to run the Chicago Police Department to the ground. Her administration and stewardship of Chicago have been one failure after another. The problem is some of her opponents are worse than her. They have no constructive ideas for turning the ship around, especially in public safety.

To paraphrase the Chicago Tribune, when it was a real newspaper :

‘For Chicago Lightfoot has meant filth, obscenity, idiocy and bankruptcy…. She has given the city an international reputation for moronic buffoonery, barbaric crime, triumphant hoodlumism, and a dejected citizenship. She nearly ruined the property and extinguished the pride of the city. She made Chicago a byword for the collapse of American civilization. In her attempt to continue this she excelled herself as a liar and defamer of character.

Chicago is not safe. Public transportation is not safe. There is not one safe neighborhood left in Chicago. Lightfoot ruined the public safety sector. She has nothing good to run on. Her worst mistake was cowardly caving to Cook County Democrat President, Toni Preckwinkle, to stop criticizing State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. She then endorsed the city’s major driver of crime and her former enemy for reelection. Chicago mayors should not be cowards.

We can define Lightfoot’s reign as mayor as ineptitude. During the debates, she attacks her opponents, especially Paul Vallas and Chuey Garcia, both who are leading her in the polls. She offers no solutions because she has none. All Lightfoot has are excuses for her failures. Maybe the dog really did eat her homework.

Spring is near

Image: PV Bella

No one gets off this orb alive. Over the past few months, I get emails or social media posts about the deaths of people I know or worked with more often lately. I get nostalgic, especially over the people I worked with. I think about what we did together or the nights after work when we had a few beers, played pool, or just let off steam. Many moved to the far suburbs or out of state. We rarely saw each other over the years. Yet, it seems like yesterday we did.

The times I run into old friends are at the few wakes I attend. It seems like wakes and weddings are social occasions to meet old friends. The stiff in the casket is forgotten.

A few groups of former workers have monthly breakfasts or lunches. I never go. Most times, they are too far from where I live. Also, they turn into remember-when sessions. I do not need to relive the past, as great, horrible, or terrible as it may have been. There is another issue. Like anything, there are or were people I disliked. Some I still do, though they are not aware of it. I do not want to be in their company. I am fussy about who I associate with, especially at my age.

The Great Comedian will eventually send his last joke, the Grim Reaper, for my soul. I left instructions that under no circumstances do I want a wake and funeral. Just have my remains tossed in the furnace. If any money is left over, throw a party, and invite whoever is still alive. I wrote my obituary. Hell, I hate those boring treacly obits.

The other day was Ground Hog Day. Whoever came up with that should suffer from an eternal terminal case of crotch itch. I dream of the day when hordes of groundhogs invade a home in the wee hours, drag a naked person out of bed, haul his/her or whatever pronoun they use naked ass out of bed, and toss them out into below-zero weather to find out if they see their shadow.

Major League Baseball spring training starts on February 24th, three weeks from now. Baseball season is around the corner, and I can’t wait. I love baseball, though I am getting to despise some owners. They are getting just as bad as the fake football owners. What I also dislike is the cost of going to a ball game. In the past, baseball games were for all people. Just about anyone could afford to attend some games throughout the season. Now, even the bleachers and general admission tickets are pricey. You need big bucks to eat or have a beer. I will splurge once or twice to go to a game because there is nothing like watching a baseball game at the park. My other best place to watch games is in a saloon. At least I can afford the beer.

There are probably only a few weeks left for winter. March is around the corner with milder weather. The older I get, the more I hate winter. It makes me more cantankerous than usual, which causes inconsistency in me. Consistency is one hallmark of excellence. I hate to be inconsistent.

Some mind drippings

Chicago politics is like fairy tales. Politicians start their campaign with, “If elected, I promise…” When elected, they break their promises. It is all once upon a time with few happy endings.

The mayoral race is heating, and there are still nine candidates in the race. No one has dropped out yet. During the debates, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is acting like a schoolyard bully, defending her indefensible term and pouncing on her perceived flaws of the others.

I live in a liberal to progressive neighborhood. Very few of the people I talk to are voting for Lightfoot. They no longer feel safe and are angry about it. My daughter is angry too. She hates to have to rely on rides, call her mother for a ride, or take an Uber when she is out at night versus walking to and from her destinations.

I do not know who I am voting for. I know I am not voting for Lightfoot again. Failure is her only option, and I will not vote for that. The other candidates are a mess of good, and bad ideas. Some have political baggage. But I will vote. Once again, I will hold my nose and vote for the least odious candidate. Lightfoot is counting on the traditional low turnout, usually in the 30s% range. We cannot allow this. Every voter should cast a ballot. We need to oust her from office.

On to another subject. I hate customer service surveys. I never take them. My position is if they want my time and effort, they should pay me or, in the case of utility companies, give me a hefty discount on my next bill. I am a professional, and professionals get paid. Once in a while, just for kicks, I will take a political survey. I always lie . n those. Politicians are liars, so I feel I should play the same game. You know, do unto others…

Once again, this week, I was victimized by the bar pest. This one came over while I was working. He started a conversation and would not stop talking. He went on and on and on about every subject that came to his pea brain. No matter how much I tried to ignore this horse’s ass, he made it impossible. Worse, he loads the jukebox up with suicide music, those treacly love songs, or sad songs about lost love. It makes me want to rip my guts open with a broken bottle.

I am working on a photo project and found some photos I thought I had lost. I went to interview a printer who specializes in fine art prints to use for the project. He was condescending and treated me like I was wasting his time. I love doing business locally but found a fine art printer in another state. They are who I will use. I dislike doing business with people who mistreat me. It is their company’s loss, as this is a very expensive proposition. One way or another, word will get back to his employer.

Here is a sampling of the project:

The weather is like a yoyo. Arctic one day and balmy in the 30s the next. Chicago weather is like its politics. You never know what it will be or how long it will last. The older I get, the more I hate winter. I can tell I live in a privileged neighborhood. I used to have young people stop by and offer to shovel my snow. No more. Mommy and daddy give them large enough allowances to stay home on playing on their devices. These privileged kids will never know the hard work it takes to make a buck in this society. They will expect their bucks to be handed to them on a silver platter with ice cream and a cherry on top. Their parents are failing them by not imbuing in them a hard work ethic. As Mr. T used to say, “I pity the fool(s).

Stay warm, for we are in for sub-zero temps tomorrow.