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Month: January 2024

Death of a Snowman

“I don’t say he’s a great snowman. Willy Snowman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He’s not the finest character that ever lived. But he’s a snowman, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He’s not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a snowman.”

Cold cold city

The brutality of winter finally struck. Temps are going down and windchill will be sub-zero through the weekend and into next week. We lucked out with the blizzard, getting only a couple of inches of slush Friday and a dusting of snow Saturday. Today is brutal, with below zero temps and double-digit below zero windchills. I have my warm, clean, well-lighted place to work from.

However, when the name of Bulls general manager Jerry Krause — who built the Bulls 90s dynasty but some fans blame for breaking it up — he was booed in front of his widow, Thelma. She was in tears. (NBC Sports)

What was supposed to be a memorable night at the United Center turned into a disgrace. The Chicago Bulls hosted a Ring of Honor to be awarded to several players and others on Friday. When the late former general manager, Jerry Krause’s widow, Thelma, stood to receive his award, the crowd booed, causing her to break out in tears.

These people had to be middle-aged or older if they booed. Younger people do not even know who Jerry Krause was. This is one of the lowest-class acts witnessed in Chicago by the lowlifes who inhabit this city of scoundrels. These people are scumbags. It is too bad they could not be tossed out of the stadium and barred from the Bulls games forever and a day. That is the least that should happen, though I can think of some rather excruciating painful things to do to them.

Besides being a city of scoundrels, Chicago is a city of cowards- our elected officials. Chicago is experiencing a migrant crisis caused by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The migrants are being sheltered in substandard buildings and being served garbage food by the over-priced politically connected vendors the city hired. The Chicago Way is alive and well.

The White House, human rights groups, and others stated that Abbott’s stunts are illegal, human rights violations, and even crimes against humanity. Yet, for some yellow-bellied reason, Abbott is immune from investigation or being held accountable for his actions.

Mayor Brandon Johnson has consistently ignored this and refuses to go to federal court to stop or curtail Abbott’s actions. The Biden administration is just as bad. The Department of Justice should investigate, yet they do nothing.

Worse, charities like Catholic Charities/Texas are aiding and abetting Abbott in his filtration scheme. They are putting people on the buses out of Texas. It is time for donors, especially major donors, to reassess their giving donations to Catholic Charities. There are other more worthwhile charities that do not take part in inhumane racist actions.

Then there is this- Three migrants, a woman and two children, drowned Saturday in the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas – very recently the epicenter of the migrant crisis – just days after state authorities blocked the US Border Patrol from accessing miles of the US-Mexico border, authorities said.

Make no mistake, Greg Abbott is a hardcore racist and the closest thing to Hitler we have holding public office in America. Abbott advocated shooting migrants if could not be charged with murder by the Biden administration. It is past time for Mayor Brandon Johnson to grow a pair, muscle up some testicular fortitude, and go into federal court to stop or curtail the Texas fuhrer in his tracks. Maybe even forcing Texas to reimburse the city for the hundreds of million of dollars spent on the migrants.

I do not see that happening. Brandon Johnson joins a long line of cowardly Chicago politicians. Either that or he is too stupid to be the mayor of Chicago.

Another Year

Today, I start my 71st orbit around the Sun. Much to the chagrin of many, I am still alive and kicking. I plan to stay that way. The only thing that changed is I am older, crabbier, uglier, more tired, meaner, and more miserable and ornerier than usual.

While I am no longer 175lbs. of rompin, stompin, dynamite, I am older, wiser, smarter, and in a pinch still modestly dangerous- as long as a shock does not bring on the debilitating, heartbreaking, widow, and orphan-making, heart-a-stroke.

Life has been good, bad, and ugly. As a priest friend once said, life is messy. Looking back, the bad or ugly times were not as bad or ugly as I perceived them. They were just messy.

I survived an almost thirty-year career as a Chicago Police Officer without being killed, catastrophically injured, fired, indicted (Came close), or imprisoned. Being a Chicago Police Officer was the best job in the world. No two days were alike. Over sixteen years ago, I retired. I do not miss the circus. I just miss the clowns.

There are always new things to keep me occupied. I am a constant learner, bookworm, photographer, urban wanderer, foodie, cook, and whatever else my over-curious mind leads me to.

So far, I have survived the COVID pandemic and Chicago’s violent continuous crime pandemic. I take all the precautions to stay well and safe. I do not have to enjoy living like this. I must do it. Self-survival is the first and highest law of nature. I am a survivor.

I am fortunate to have friends and acquaintances from all walks of life, cultural and social strata. The number is not large and gets smaller every year. I am good with that. My friends and acquaintances are people I enjoy spending time with, no matter how often or seldom I see or talk to them.

I do not tolerate anyone. Toleration is a lie. People tolerate unruly pets and impish children. I accept people for who and/or what they are. I treat people the way I want to be treated. The older I get, the more open-minded I become.

I try to believe most people are good, and they do what they can to right the wrongs in my city. Unfortunately, I do not believe most of our politicians are good. If they were, Chicago would be a paradise instead of a shooting gallery. Good people must demand better from our elected officials.

I try to stay occupied and sometimes make a few bucks. Sometimes my curiosity gets the best of me, and I go down hours-long rabbit holes. In June, I had an exhibition of my street photography. It was my first exhibition. I am humbled that I was invited to do this. I am grateful to my pal, the artist Tony Fitzpatrick, for the opportunity to exhibit in his Dime Gallery. I am also grateful to Rick Kogan, Bob Chiarito, and WGN Morning News  for the publicity.

I am not the same person I used to be. Life is about change, constant learning, and understanding. Books and schools are not the sole repositories for knowledge. Knowledge is never static. Learning is a lifelong process. Understanding is just as important as knowledge. Learning and understanding are evolutionary processes. When you think you know it all, you are wrong. You are stuck on stupid.

Every morning, if I open my eyes, I thank the Great Comedian for another day above ground. I get another chance to watch the sunrise and set. Another 24 hours on this spinning orb.

No one makes it off this orb alive. I know one day my time will come. Since we die in alphabetical order, I will be near the top of the list. I will have no regrets since I already rued my life’s commissions and omissions. I will not go quietly. I will go kicking and screaming. Hell, I may as well go out the same way I came in.

Life is short, no matter how long you keep breathing. Live, love, laugh, and eat the damn sandwich.

As my late friend Shelley Howard used to say:

“Hug someone. Smile more. Tell the people you love how you feel. Paint your tapestry with bold colors and rich designs. Postpone nothing. Establish boundaries. Exhibit patience.”