Skip to content

Month: March 2023

Baseball season opened

Image: PV Bella

Baseball season’s underway

Well you better get ready for a brand new day

Hey, Chicago, what do you say

The Cubs are gonna win today

They’re singing

Go, Cubs, go

Go, Cubs, go

Hey, Chicago, what do you say

The Cubs are gonna win today

Go, Cubs, go

Go, Cubs, go

Hey, Chicago, what do you say

The Cubs are gonna win today (Steve Goodman)

Yesterday was the Cubs opener Wrigley. They smoked the Brewers 4-0. The Sox beat the Astros 3-2 in Houston. There is something special about opening games. It gives fans hope the team will go all the way. They show their best stuff during these games. Fans are looking forward to the postseason and maybe a World Series. Hope is alive until it isn’t usually mid-season or later.

When I was a lad, a neighbor had season White Sox tickets. He would take his kids and their friends to games at Comiskey Park. this was the first of many games I went to.

I was an Andy Frain usher in the late 1960s. I worked at many Cubs and Sox games. Sometimes on the same day, the Cub’s day game and the Sox night game. Once the games started, we could watch them.

In college, we ditched classes on opening day and sat in the Wrigley bleachers. It was great. There were many unusual characters in those bleachers. So many that a play, “Bleacher Bums,” was written and a smash hit. There was betting on every aspect of the game. Cash floated throughout the bleachers along with cigar smoke.

Songwriter and singer Steve Goodman loved the Cubs. He wrote two songs about them, “Go Cubs Go” and “A dying Cubs Fan Last Request.”

The Cubs were known as the “Loveable Losers” because of their avid fan base. When they won the 2016 World Series, they finally vindicated the fans for their love of the losers.

Chicago baseball is known for its events, like the White Sox Disco Night during the late 1970s. That turned into a near riot. The past announcers, like Jack Brickhouse, Harry Caray, and Pat Hughes, are as beloved as when they were in the booths.

I love watching baseball, no matter who is playing. Since it is way too expensive to go to games these days, I usually watch games in a saloon. Even when I was younger, I did that. They all had black and white televisions, even when color televisions came in. Saloon owners were cheapskates and chiselers back then. The back bars had a collection of sports statistic books to settle arguments or bets.

There is a reason baseball is called America’s pastime. Each team plays 162 games throughout the season. That is 2430 games total, not counting the postseason. You could watch baseball every day and never get bored with it.


My daughter has been an avid Cubs fan since she was young. One year when she was nine years old, her mother and I gave her a Christmas gift of going to spring training. A friend lived in Arizona and set the whole thing up. It was the first time she would fly alone.

A few weeks before her departure, her mother asked me what to tell her to say if some freak talked to her on the plane and made her uncomfortable. I told her to tell my daughter to say her father is a hitman for the Chicago Outfit. If he did not leave her alone, her father would kill everything he loves. His mother, father, wife, children, dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, goats, everything.

Her mother did not think a daughter should think if her father like that. I agreed. I told her to forget the animals. A daughter should not think her father would kill innocent animals. About a week later, they came up with a solution. I was still a police officer. She would tell the freak, “My father is old, crazy, and carries guns. All his friends are old, crazy, and carry guns. Would you like to meet them?” Fortunately, the flights to and from were uneventful. My friends and I did not have to meet anyone.

Happy baseball season.

The video “didn’t lie,” the judge said.


“Few things in this building shock the conscience because we hear things in this building every day of violent nature. … But this shocks the conscience,” the judge said. “Throwing a person over a railing, beating them with implements, kicking him without provocation. Grabbing him by the hood. Dragging him. The list goes on and on. I’m not gonna repeat the state’s proffer. And all of this caught on video. Clearly, the evidence is there ….” (Block Club Chicago)

We hear about crime on the CTA regularly. But, when the criminal is a CTA employee, there is something very wrong going on. The employee’s actions were unconscionable. For one hour, he beat, kicked, dragged, and threw the victim downstairs. One hour, all caught on video. The victim died. The Medical Examiner is still determining the cause and manner of death.

The CTA employee was charged with aggravated battery in a public place and aggravated battery to a transit passenger. He is being held on $3 million dollars bond. The bond is unusually high in the lenient Cook County Court system. Charges may be upgraded when the cause and manner of death are determined. Or maybe Kim Foxx will claim this was mutual combat- whatever that is- and set the employee free.

From the description of the videos, this was a horrendous crime. I cannot remember if a CTA employee committed such a crime while working. There is something very wrong in this city when public employees who are supposed to provide service resort to violence and killing innocent people.

The CTA employee did not think they would catch his violent actions on video. It appears he acted with impunity, just like the other violent criminals who terrorize Chicago. It is not bad enough we must fear common criminals, but now we must fear CTA employees. Yes, this was a one off, but perception counts. Will we be looking over our shoulders or giving the eye to transit workers because of this?

Where were the security guards or Chicago Police officers who were supposed to be patrolling the El stations? If it wasn’t for the security cameras, the employee may have gotten away with this appalling crime.

“I am appalled by this person’s behavior, which not only is completely contrary to CTA policies but also showed a stunning lack of humanity,” Carter said in a statement. “His actions are an insult to the thousands of hardworking and dedicated men and women who serve CTA customers every day.” (CTA President Dorval Carter Jr./Block Club Chicago)

We will probably find out later what led to the CTA employee’s violent outburst resulting in the death of an innocent person. It will not lessen the fact that for approximately one hour, the employee literally tortured a person to death.

Lightfoot left no legacy just a mess


On April 4th, we will learn who the new mayor of Chicago will be. Lori Lightfoot will be a bad memory. I do not envy whoever wins the election, Vallas or Johnson.

Lori Lightfoot left no legacy except the major mess she leaves behind. They are inheriting a mess that will take a long time to clean up. Public safety is on the ballot. But there are other issues that are just as important. City finances, pensions, public education, property taxes, crumbling infrastructure, and a host of other issues are plaguing the city. Lightfoot neglected many.

The mayor neglected the downtown, Michigan Avenue, and Near North business communities. Too many storefronts are shuttered. That is not only a loss of revenue for the businesses but also a loss of tax revenue for the city. She was more concerned with bread and circuses like Lollapalooza, other concerts, and NASCAR. We are stuck with Lollapalooza for years because of the long-term contract she signed.

The new mayor must deal with the city council. Lightfoot, from day one, had a rocky relationship with the council. She angered many of the alderpersons throughout her tenure. Her promise of reform was broken. The Chicago Way is still alive and kicking, not quite on life support, as many believe.

Lightfoot forgot how important the alderpersons are in their wards. They are the de facto mayors of each ward. People look to the aldermen to solve day-to-day issues. I do not agree with my alderman on many of his positions. But he takes care of the ward’s day-to-day problems. He walks to and from many places throughout the ward. When he sees a problem, he gets on the phone to solve it. The same holds true for the alderman in the adjoining ward.

Lightfoot hunkered down on the fifth floor of City Hall and forgot there are 50 wards with 50 alderpersons. She never learned how to make friends and influence people. Everyone I know who supported her and voted for her the last time is disappointed. Many are furious.

Lightfoot brooked no criticism. She lashed out at critics instead of looking for solutions to problems. Public safety is a perfect example. She refused to fire the totally inept and incompetent former Superintendent of Police David Brown. She dug her heels in while crime was rampant in every neighborhood in Chicago. When riots, arson, and mass looting broke out during the George Floyd protests, she almost let parts of the city almost to be destroyed.  

She backed down from criticizing State’s Attorney Kim Foxx for her horrid and legally questionable prosecutorial actions. She endorsed Foxx’s reelection because of the intercession of Chicago Machine Boss, Toni Preckwinkle. It was the act of a coward.

Perception is the new reality. If people perceive the city as not safe, the city is not safe. Lightfoot never understood that. Armed robberies, carjackings, and other violent crimes are a daily occurrence in every neighborhood in Chicago. Crime prevention and control are almost non-existent. The Chicago Police Department is short-staffed. They cannot hire enough new police officers. Priority calls response times are too slow.

Whether Vallas or Johnson steps into the fifth floor of City Hall, they will face too many major issues. None can be solved quickly. One could even say they are set up to fail. There will be no easy or quick solutions. They will need to work with the City Council and the governor. I will wish them well, but I am prepared to be disappointed.

Spring is here and so is an election

Photo: Angry L/ake/PV Bella

Spring still hasn’t sprung in Chicago. It is windy and chilly. The wind cuts through you. There is a reason the wind is called the hawk in Chicago. It is predatory.

My photo exhibition was rescheduled and will be held in June. I am finalizing the limited edition prints to be exhibited and will send them to a printer specializing in black and white Giclée printing. Then they will go to the framer. I will set up a website soon to sell more prints.

I am glad baseball is back. Opening day for the Cubs is March 30 and the White Sox opener is April 3. I might splurge and attend a game or two this year. I prefer watching the games in a saloon with friends yelling at the televisions.

I have been tracking the supposed mayoral debates between Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson. These are not debates. They are fingerprinting contests between the two candidates. The supposed moderator asks questions. Neither candidate answers them. The moderator stands by stupidly allowing the candidates to avoid answering questions. Some moderators were members of the Chicago news media, which tells you all you need to know about the state of media in this city.

The newspapers sanitize the debates. Evidently, they are afraid of offending tender sensitivities or something. I never believe what candidates say while running. I witness what they do when elected. They never fail to disappoint. Vallas and Johnson will be no different if elected. They will realize the immensity of the job and all the moving parts that go with it.

I hope the Chicago City Council will no longer be a rubber stamp to the mayor and they get to make their own rules and appoint their own committee heads. It would be nice to have an independent council after decades of alderpersons showing fealty to the mayor. They must work with the mayor too and the mayor must work with them.

Public safety is the number one priority on the ballot. Neither candidate is offering much in cleaning up Lori Lightfoot’s mess. There will be no instant change. Chicago will not become safer overnight. Civic messes take time to clean up, and the public safety mess is knee deep. It is going to take more than a new Superintendent of Police to clean things up. With the warmer weather arriving, crime will go up. People will still complain about their personal safety. It may be another long, hot, violent summer until things finally turn around.

Without help from the supposed prosecutor’s office and Boss Toni Preckwinkle’s policies, things may still be bad. Criminals know there will be little accountability for their actions. At worst, they will get a slap on the wrist. How the next mayor will handle this is questionable.

All I can say is get out there and vote. The 30+ percentage of the preliminary election was horrendous. If you do not vote, you have no right to complain. You caused the problems. Not the ones who get elected.

S.t Patrick’s Day- everybody ain’t Irish

Picture: PV Bella

On Saturday, I was in my office away from home, at my neighborhood saloon. There was a large private party celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Um, I guess no one told these slap d**ks that St. Patrick’s Day is Friday, not one week before.

All week drunken pukes will drink all day, pretending to be Irish, and acting like fools. Geez, Americans are the dumbest, most culturally insensitive people on the planet. A regular bunch of drooling backwoods rubes, bark chewers, pork swords, and peckerheads. This whole concept of everyone being Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, smacks of cultural appropriation at its worst.

No one claims to be Chinese on Chinese New Year, Italian or Polish on St. Joseph’s Day, African American for Bud Bilikin Day, Mexican on Cinco de Mayo… You get the drift. Yet, dumb, mostly stupid non-Irish White a**wipes think it is perfectly appropriate to claim Irish heritage even though they know little to nothing about Ireland, its people, history, or Irish Americans. Talk about elite privilege.

The only reason non-Irish people celebrate the day for an entire week now is that the liquor and beer companies, along with the saloons, promote it. It gives amateur drinkers an excuse to drink, puke, wash, rinse, and repeat all week long.

My friend, the artist, Tony Fitzpatrick, has his take on the day and the Irish, along with some mythology about the “Luck” of the Irish: Almost every year in Chicago, it’s the same story on St. Patrick’s Day–a bunch of drunken, green-wearing slap-dicks spilling out of bars all over the city and projectile-vomiting foamy green puke on everything in sight.

Some years back, a Greek acquaintance stated the obvious in a saloon full of St. Patrick and St. Joseph revelers wearing their “Kiss me I’m Irish or Kiss me I’m Italian pins. “Man, you guys have it made. St. Patrick and St. Joseph. Kiss me I’ ‘m Irish. Kiss me I’m Italian. What do we Greeks have? St. Nicholas? F**k me I’m Greek?”

We should not make this day a week-long trial of alcohol-fueled debauchery and puking from fake Irish pub crawls. On Friday, hungover fake Irish people will line up in front of fake Irish pubs early and throughout the day, no matter the weather to drink themselves silly, only to wait in line to get in the next one and repeat. I took the picture of the young person above at 2:30 PM on St. Patrick’s Day a few years ago. While she was commiserating, her drunken friends were deciding where to go next to get even drunker.

The Irish should rebel against this cultural appropriation like other races and ethnicities have done. This is their day to celebrate in the fashion they choose. The Alcohol Industrial Complex should not hijack it to include non-Irish people. The Irish should protest loudly against non-Irish amateur drinking people, claiming their heritage for one day or week just to get plastered and leave trails of puke all over the city. I realize I am pi**ing off the Alcohol Industrial Complex, but too f**king bad. This concept of appropriating other cultures just to sell hootch is socially and morally wrong.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Just more mind drippings

Photo: PV Bella

I took some time off to handle some important tasks. Life interferes with everything. It looks like spring may come early to Chicago. Except for a few brutal days, winter was mild this year. I hate to see the dry-cleaning bill for all my sweaters. The weather is still like a Yo-Yo, but it appears the worst is behind us.

I thought the Chicago mayoral runoff election would heat up. Instead, the two candidates, Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson, have gone relatively silent. Both are accumulating endorsements from Chicago pols and organizations. I have not followed the money flowing into their campaign funds since Lori Lightfoot’s loss. I only know Vallas has a roughly 2-1 lead over Johnson in fundraising so far.

From all the polls, public safety is the number one issue on the ballot. Crime, especially violent crime, is still out of control in Chicago. It affects all the neighborhoods. People are tired of being victimized or their friends and family members being victimized. People are tired of living in terror when they leave their homes, especially in the evenings.

It is all irrelevant if people do not come out to vote in droves. If you do not vote, pack up and leave. You do not deserve to live in our city. We need to break the curse of only one third of voters coming out in a municipal election.

Baseball is back with spring preseason games. The Cubs and the Sox look pretty good and I hope they can stay the course during the season. I may break the bank and go to one or two games this year. It is a pity tickets, food, and drink are so expensive. Baseball is no longer a sport for all. Like most professional sports, it is for those who can afford to splurge.

The other day I was watching rugby, the Chicago Hounds vs. the Utah Warriors. The Hounds lost. A friend reminded me that Irish Football was more brutal than the British style. I will have to see if Irish football is on any channels in the saloon. Rugby, like soccer, is real football, unlike the NFL’s fakeball.

I have been keeping tabs on the circus, the Greatest Show on Earth, both houses of Congress. I cannot believe people elected so many clowns in public office from both parties. It seems the electorate are as ignorant as the people they elect to Congress. We truly are a nation of backwoods, bark chewing, pecker heads. Both of houses of Congress rendered themselves useless. They are not doing the people’s work. They are playing political, cultural, and morality war games. We are in for a long term of no accomplishments and a lot of hot air from these useless farceurs.

I also have been tracking the war in Ukraine. Russia proved one thing. Their armed forces are not the most feared in the world, as many western leaders, including our own, believed. Their armed forces are incompetent, undertrained, and were never ready to fight a war. The Ukrainians proved they could hold off what was once thought of as one of the best armed forces in the world. Pity the Russians duped the West through all these decades. 

Now is the time for western nations to stop pussyfooting around and dragging their feet. They should act with speed to give Ukraine all the weaponry they need and want to defeat Russia and take back all their land, including Crimea. They should even send long range munitions they keep refusing. Those calling for negotiated appeasement should be ignored. If Russia keeps even one acre of Ukraine, who knows where they will strike next in Eastern Europe.

Lori Lightfoot lost

Lori Lightfoot lost her bid for a second term as mayor of Chicago. She is the first mayor to lose a second term since 1983, when Jane Byrne, the city’s first female mayor, lost her second bid for the Fifth Floor. There are parallels between the two. Both were pugnacious and did not make friends and influence people. As Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza stated about Lightfoot, “I have never met anybody who has managed to piss off every single person they come in contact with — police, fire, teachers, aldermen, businesses, manufacturing, and that’s it.”

Lightfoot failed to build a political coalition during her tenure as mayor. Going into her second election, she had very little support. She fought with everyone and had a tenuous relation with Illinois governor, J.B. Pritzker. She failed to build coalitions with the business community, either. She went to war with business leaders, such as the CEO of McDonalds.

Lightfoot reveled and doubled down on her failures. Two prime examples are the Superintendent of Police and the head of the CTA, both who should have been fired long ago.

The worst thing about this election was the pitiful turnout, roughly 32%. It is shameful that so few people exercised their right and duty to vote. Apathy is destroying this city. People complain loudly about critical issues, yet they refuse to vote. There is no excuse for this. The non-voters are the reason this city is failing. Yet, it is a good bet these non-voters complain the loudest.

The runoff will be between Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson. One of them will walk into the Fifth Floor of City Hall. From day one, they will wear the hat of Lightfoot’s failures. We will expect them to wave a magic wand to correct the problems. From day one, we will criticize them for failures they did not cause and solutions too slow to come.

It will take time to fix the Lightfoot disaster. Time is not something they have with all the impatient voters and the pitiful non-voters. It is not the problems we know about that will bite them on the keesters. It is the problems we do not know about and will come to light quickly. They will take the blame for those too.

I do not envy the next mayor. There is too much to clean up and too little time to do it. Public safety or the lack of it is a major campaign issue. That will take time to turn around, a long time. There is no short-term solution to the out-of-control crime in Chicago.

Chicago is a city of factions with tribal mentalities. Race, ethnicity, class, neighborhoods, businesses of all sizes, and others create sometimes hostile relationships with each other and city hall. Sometimes these factions can be unreasonable. The next mayor will have to deal with these factions. It is hoped they have the temperament to take their grievances seriously. The last thing we need is another mayor who picks fights with everyone. People need the confidence that their issues they will listen and take them seriously, whether or not there are straightforward solutions.

I do not envy the next mayor. Whether it is Vallas or Johnson, I will wish them well. I will be ready to be surprised or disappointed. That’s just the Chicago way.