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Author: pvbella

Fairytale Chicago

Image: PV Bella

Chicago fairy tales should begin with- “If elected, I promise…” Of course, there will be no happily ever after. No happy ending. Chicago politicians make big, bold promises, then break them. Take Mayor Lightfoot, for example.

Lightfoot released a 30-second fairy tale commercial, with a narrator touting her accomplishments to keep the public safe from violent crime. It is all gobbledygook. She failed and failed miserably in keeping the citizens of and visitors to this city safe. Her handpicked Police Superintendent, David Brown, is an abject failure. He does not know what he is doing, where he is at, or why he is here.. Every plan, strategy, scheme, and deployment failed. Since day one, he failed the citizens of this city

Lightfoot is hyping what she describes as a “Whole of government” approach- whatever that means- to criminality. Violent crime is rampant in everyone of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods and citywide on public transportation. We cannot believe the city’s numbers, as they can be massaged to make it look like crime is down. It has been done many times before.

Perception used to be more powerful than reality. In Chicago, perception is reality. People do not feel safe. The mayor does not make the public feel safe. People see the truth in their neighborhoods.

Some mayoral candidates promise to fire Brown on day one. Who ever they appoint will have an almost impossible job of correcting all of Brown’s failures while trying to get a handle on the day to day.

All the numbers and statistics Brown spits out to a press corp. that drools and slobbers over data and data analytics is pure garbage if there is no perception of safety by the public. If people live in fear, even if those numbers are spot on, they will not believe them. People are living in fear.

Even rideshare drivers avoid certain areas after dark, which is why there is surge pricing. They do not want to get carjacked, robbed, or injured. I talk to drivers all the time. Many times, they tell me I am their last ride for the day. More people I know are trying to get Concealed Carry Licenses. Some were the last people I thought would own a gun, let alone learn how to use one.

Postal workers are being robbed by armed offenders on their routes, something almost unheard of in the past. CTA personnel are being victimized. Some El lines are no longer safe to ride. Worse, just by being out and about, anyone can be the unintended victim of a violent crime by being hit by a stray bullet(s) from a pray and spray shooter.

Lori Lightfoot is in trouble. She alienated citizens across this city with her antics. She will try anything to hold on to the Fifth Floor of City Hall, even if it is dishonest or outright false, like the video. The one thing she will not do and should do is fire David Brown and send him packing back to Texas.

Time ran out for Lightfoot. The election is at the end of February. There is no way she can turn the public safety ship around in time. All she can do is hope. Hope enough people believe her lies. Hope some brutal weather comes in and stays around for a while. Hope the criminals give her a break and lie low until after the election. She hopes there is not a murder that will attract national attention and shed a national spotlight on her failures. Hope election turnout is low, favoring the incumbent.

One of her opponents should air their own fairy tale. “Once Upon a Time In Chicago.” Like Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in America and Once Upon a time in the West” movies,. They can show the gritty good, bad, and ugly of this once great city.

All we, the citizens, can hope for, is to get through each day without being the victim of a violent crime. Those odds fluctuate by the hour and day. Once upon a time Lightfoot was elected as a mayor and historic figure. If reelected, she promises…

Hitting 70


Today, I start my 70th 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 ornery than usual.




The above numbers are the hours, minutes, and seconds in one year. If my calculator is right, I lived 616,200 hours, 36,824,000 minutes, 2,209,032,000 seconds and counting. It is amazing. 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 fifteen 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 survived two flu seasons, 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 the spring, I will have an exhibition of my street photography. The date (s) and time (s) will be announced as the exhibition nears. It will be my first exhibition. I am humbled that I was invited to do this.

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 apparently 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 and lived my life.

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

The Walking Man will be laid to rest


In his poem, “Chicago,” Carl Sandburg titled Chicago “The City of Big Shoulders.” The reference was to the hard working tradesmen and laborers who built the city, making it the industrial center of the nation. Chicago is also the city of big hearts. Before crowdfunding, those big hearts were mostly anonymous acts of kindness.

Several years ago, a toddler died from injuries caused by child abuse. Her mother was in jail, charged with the crimes. There were no other relatives, so her body sat in the morgue. The detectives handling the case decided the child should have a proper funeral and burial.

The detectives and other police officers kicked in some money. They approached a funeral home. The funeral director listened to the story and donated his services. The detectives used their money to buy a cemetery plot. They held a wake for the child, a funeral procession, and a graveside service. None of this made the news. They did it in near anonymity. The detectives and funeral home did this because it was the right thing to do.

Joseph Kromelis, the Walking Man, died last month from injuries caused by being set on fire while he slept in the underground Wacker Drive. His body laid in the Cook County Medical Examiner’s morgue, awaiting cremation and the yearly public burial for indigent and unidentified people.

After a series of donations, he will be laid to rest at St. Boniface Cemetery. The Rev. Scott Donahue, president of Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, spearheaded the effort to reach family and coordinate a private burial.

Sullivan Funeral Home donated cremation services. Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Chicago donated a niche at St. Boniface Cemetery. Kromelis, the Walking Man, was famous in his own way. He was a piece of Chicago. It is only fitting he had a proper burial and to rest here.

Once again, people stepped in to do the right thing. They asked for nothing in return. Acts of kindness happen many times in this city. We see people starting crowdfunding pages for crime victims or people who experience tragic circumstances.

The people who coordinate and donate do not do this for publicity or fifteen minutes of fame. They do this because it is the right thing to do. Every day people in this city perform acts of kindness, big and small. They help those in need. When no one else will, they step in to help total strangers.

Joseph Kromelis was homeless, but he was not unknown. He was an icon just for being himself, the Walking Man. He had celebrity status in the Near North Side of the City. Every day, no matter the weather, he walked, making his rounds. His shoulder-length gray hair and mustache made him recognizable. He was photographed, talked about, and pointed out to tourists.

Joseph Kromelis suffered a horrific crime. He died as he lived alone. He did not die forgotten.

The New Year begins

Image: PV Bella

The holidays are over. Yesterday marked the last official day of the season, as most people had the day off. Now, we move forward in a new year, hoping things will be better than last year or we will be better people. Too many of us forget that part of life is trying to improve ourselves.

It is a gray, pouring rain, foggy, and depressing day. I wrote this in my office away from home, my favorite saloon. I am sat at a window and watched the on and off rain pour down. Someone played a lot of Blues songs on the jukebox. It matches the depressing weather. All the usual suspects showed up, as they do almost daily. They are an interesting cast of characters.

We are still recovering from the results of the COVID pandemic, especially economically. With flu season, new COVID cases, and RSV, a new epidemic can break out with possible new restrictions. I still keep masks handy, just in case.

With the holidays over, the municipal election cycle begins. Early voting begins at the end of this month. The ballots will be counted on election day, February 28th. There are nine contenders for mayor of Chicago. Mayor Lightfoot needs 50% plus one vote to get reelected. If she does not get that percentage, there will be a runoff election in April. The three top contenders running against her are U.S. Congressman Chuy Garcia, Paul Vallas, and businessman, and gadfly politician, Willie Wilson.

It will be interesting to see how much voter dissatisfaction there is over Lori Lightfoot’s reign on the Fifth Floor of City Hall. Lightfoot has some deep problems. Public safety is a joke. Her chosen Police Superintendent, the mercenary, David Brown, was a failure from day one. No other mayor in modern history would accept this continuing level of failure. Past mayors would have fired Brown before his first year was up.

Image: PV Bella

The aldermen and women are also up for election and reelection. Several decided not to run for reelection. Most were and still are silent on Lightfoot’s failures. A few speak up, but they are too few. There should have been an aldermanic rebellion over public safety failures in this city.

All I can say is, it is imperative that every eligible voter cast a ballot in the upcoming election. Our lives and way of life in Chicago are at stake. Chicago needs change, on the Fifth Floor of City Hall and in the City Council. I do not know who I am voting for, except it will be the candidate who will fire Superintendent David Brown and demote his equally incompetent First Deputy Superintendent, Eric Carter.

The Blackhawks and the Bulls and Bulls are having disappointing seasons this year. As for that football team, whatever they call themselves, they will put their fans out of their joyful misery this weekend when they lose to the Vikings again. Joyful misery? How else do you describe rabid backwoods rubes and bark chewing peckerheads who think the worst team in the NFL is so great? There is no joy in the Chicago sports world.

A while ago, I submitted a DNA sample to learn my genetic background and create a family tree. I received an email from the lab. It had to do with misophonia. Misophonia is a hatred of everyday noises, like the sound of people chewing. These noises can cause hatred, rage, and/or panic. According to my genetic markers, I have lower than average odds of hating the sound of people chewing. All you loud chewers are safe from me.


Image: PV Bella

Today is New Year’s Eve. As much as it pains me to be a humanitarian and good citizen of the world, I am including a PSA- Public Service Announcement- this New Year’s Eve.

 I should not have to say this. Unfortunately, we live in an age where the average adult is a low-information, over-educated intellectual idiot. They think they are smarter and more skilled than anyone else. The problem is they think.

Do not drink and drive tonight. Most of you cannot drive sober on a good day. I am amazed there is not a daily slaughter of the innocents with the way many people drive sober.

I do not care if you have been driving drunk since your high school days. One of the nice things about being religious is knowing facts. Fact, God created cabs and public trans for drunks.

Do not risk your life, the life of passengers, or the lives of other drivers and pedestrians. Take cabs to and from wherever you are going. If you are a miserly cheapskate and chiseler, take the L or a bus. Let the cab driver take you home. Do not literally take the cab. The same holds true for the bus. Buses are a bear to park or will not fit in your garage.

At the very least, if you get caught drunken driving, you will go to jail, where you belong. It will cost you thousands in legal fees, even if, by slim chance, you beat the charge. If they convict you, your total cost will be around twelve to fifteen thousand dollars, including the giant leap in insurance rates. At the very worst, you will catastrophically injure or kill others and/or yourself.

God used to take care of drunks and fools. Having been one, the other, or both on several occasions, I know this to be true. Unfortunately, God has been on vacation for a while figuring out where he went wrong by creating dumb beings called humans. He will not look after you.

Do not drink and drive.

If you make it home in one drunken piece, you will have a hangover. You may wake up hugging a cold stranger, the porcelain throne. There are more cures for hangovers than there are for chicken recipes. Hydration is important. Sports drinks, like Gatorade, help with some symptoms. So does rest. If you do not need to hug the porcelain, hydrate and go back to bed. Eventually, you will feel better. Then, once recovered, on New Year’s Day you can stuff your maw with whatever crap food you normally celebrate with. For some reason, junk food settles the tummy. It is the only health benefit junk food has.

Happy New Year.

Chicago is no longer the city that works


The Chicago Sun-Times published Homicides in Chicago: a list of every victim. It contains the names of the 685 homicide-and counting-victims in Chicago. (It is not known if the homicides on the expressway are included, as the Illinois State Police have jurisdiction over city expressways.) They list some as Unknown. I update the list daily. Readers can scroll through the list or check the data by Year, Month, Cause (Shooting or stabbing), and Race/Ethnicity. There is also a Priority Communities Dashboard.

Homicides are down over last year, 685 deaths are still way too many. While Police Superintendent David Brown hypes how many firearm arrests officers make, it does nothing to stop the slaughter. Aside from murders, armed robberies are a daily occurrence. Teams, spanning neighborhoods, commit multiple robberies each day and night. Carjackings are a daily occurrence throughout the city. Crime is still out of control.

Another issue is the number of defensive shootings by victimized Concealed Carry licensees. With more people licensed to carry concealed firearms, it could get like the Wild West if they become potential victims.

Brown keeps hyping his failing strategies, plans, schemes, and deployments. Nothing seems to work. Chicago police officers are overworked, understaffed, and their morale is in the toilet. Some districts are manned with half the regular shifts and too many one-man cars. Over 1000 police officers retired or quit this year. Police suicides are up this year too. It is not known why suicides are up, but officers get angrier with each one. They believe the department is failing them, and they communicate their feelings on social media.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot seems oblivious to Brown’s failures since day one. Past mayors would have fired Brown before his first year was up. Why Lightfoot puts faith in Brown’s “leadership” is the proverbial mystery wrapped in an enigma.

The two Chicago newspaper editorial boards remain eerily silent over the steep decline in public safety. This is a sea change from how they treated past mayors over leadership failures. They should have demanded that Lightfoot fire Brown after his disastrous handling of the riots, damage, arsons, and looting that accompanied the peaceful mass protests two years ago. The economic damage from May through August 2020 exceeded $125 million dollars. Many businesses, especially on the Magnificent Mile, never recovered.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot wears the hat. Her primary responsibility is public safety. She, like David Brown, failed miserably. His failures are her failures. Yet, she stubbornly clings to him.

As I wrote before, hiring retired mercenary police chiefs is irresponsible. They do not know the city, neighborhoods, cultures, or dynamics in a strange city. They have too long a learning curve. Brown learned nothing. He thinks he is still in Dallas.

The next mayor and city council must change the city ordinance to hire a police superintendent. They must eliminate the nationwide search for a police superintendent. Police Superintendents must come from the rank-and-file leadership. These leaders know the city, neighborhoods, community groups, and how things work. They have all the requisites to take charge on day one. There is no need for a learning curve. They also know they could be fired on day two, so they will do their best or face the consequences.

Lori Lightfoot does not deserve a second term as mayor. Unfortunately, most of those running against her are not much better, and a few would be worse. Too few alderpersons are vocal about the lack of public safety. The few who are vocal pull their punches. The city council should demand Lightfoot fire Brown. Yet, not one alderperson comes forward to speak the unspeakable. They too, failed us.

Chicago is no longer the city that works. The most important city service is public safety. If the public is not safe, the city cannot work.

The New Year is upon us


One down. One to go. Christmas is in the rearview mirror. New Year’s is around the corner. We suffered through a polar vortex with double-digit below-zero temperatures. The only good thing, weather-wise, was the predicted snowmageddon did not materialize.

Monday was downright balmy, with temperatures in the low 20s. By New Year’s, we will be back in the comfortable 40s or near 50s. Some will break the cargo shorts out. Winter is here with all the temperature and snow ups and downs.

I stopped going out on New Year’s Eve decades ago. It is the first amateur night of the year. All the amateur drinkers are out, getting beyond drunk, aggravating other patrons, puking their guts out, and driving drunk. No thank you, I will stay home or go to a house party close to my lair.

I worked many New Year’s Eves over the decades, and they were not pretty. Around 11:30, we would find a safe hiding place. The Chicago Police Department frowned on us bringing the cars in full of bullet holes. At midnight, there were so many gunshots, it sounded like the 4th of July in a war zone. We made dead pools. We would bet on what police district would have the first murder of the year. If we were lucky, we made an arrest before midnight. Then we spent a few hours of the New Year processing the arrestee. Worse were the drunken bar fights near closing times or the early morning drunken domestic disturbances, which had the propensity to turn violent.  

Making New Year’s resolutions began in ancient times when people promised the gods they would live better lives. In the present eras, they range from sincere to ludicrous. People vow to lose weight, join gyms, live a healthier lifestyle, quit what they consider bad habits, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Some are ludicrous because people aim to promise the impossible.

I do not make resolutions. I only strive for two things. Strive being the operative word. One, I try to be a better person and citizen of the world. Two, I will keep learning new things. These are relatively easy, as they are the things I do regularly. Being a better person is the most difficult, as I am old, crabby, ugly, tired, mean, miserable, and ornery. You know, perfectly normal.

I am a lifelong learner. I try to learn something new every day. The more one knows, the better person one becomes. I try to associate with people who have more knowledge than me or are more skilled than I am. I look, listen, and ask questions. One thing I never ever do is seek perfection. Never ever is a long f**king time. There is no perfection in nature. Humans created perfection to enslave them in a maze they can never escape.

I added one other thing for the upcoming year. Since I am no longer a fan of that fake contact sport, football, I will learn as much about soccer- real futbol- as possible. Soccer is a contact sport, but the players do not wear helmets or padding all over their bodies. There is not one NFL player who would last fifteen minutes on a soccer pitch. Soccer players, on average, run approximately 12 miles per game.

Football players are Ken Doll sides of beef pretending to convince the gullible backwood peckerhead fans they are rough, tough, macho men. Professional wrestling is more legitimate than football. At least wrestlers pretend to be trying to kill each other.

I am fortunate. I know people from all walks of life with various talents and skills. Through conversation, asking questions, or observation, I learn from them. I try to improve on what they provide through practice or more research.

My motto for several years is, if you think you know everything, you are wrong.

Happy New Year.

Oh the weather outside is??????

This week’s forecast/Weather App

According to weather reports, Chicago will have a White Christmas along with a polar vortex and snowpocalypse.. A combination of a blizzard and single-digit and sub-zero temperatures are supposed to strike between Thursday and Saturday. The 30-degree temps will supposedly come back by Tuesday.

Of course, the city will demand we shovel their sidewalks or face fines. If they want the sidewalks shoveled, they should have city employees do it. Their sidewalk, their problem. Maybe Mayor Lightfoot could get out there and shovel sidewalks to set an example for other city employees. She could press thousands of city employees into service, shoveling sidewalks or using snowblowers. They live in every neighborhood, so why should we risk heart-a-strokes to shovel CITY sidewalks? If the city wants them cleaned, they should do it. Hell, that is why we pay taxes for city services.

The plows will be out, pushing snow against already snowbound parked cars, making digging out twice as miserable.

Once the weather warms up by Monday or Tuesday, kids can make snow people out of whatever clean snow is left. We witness that pure white beauty turns into gray and black ugliness within a day or two. Then, thanks to the dog owners, there is the famous yellow snow. Do not forget that public safety is non-existent in Chicago. Some of the snow will be stained with the blood of the many shooting and murder victims.

Those who have lived here know winters can be brutal, and complaining about them is useless. We just put up with them as best we can. People get out the heavy artillery clothing and footwear. We suffer the high winds while waiting on overhead El platforms or the streets for buses that may or may not come.

Winter in Chicago can be weird. Back in the early 1980s, I went running on Christmas Day in shorts and a tee shirt. But, by January, we had one of the coldest winters on record, with high double digits below zero wind chill temperatures.

I remember the blizzard of 1978-79 and the arctic temperatures with more snow that followed. There were still several foot-high snow piles in April at vacant lots and parking lots, where trucks dumped the snow. I also remember shoveling snow several times a day during the 1967 blizzard.

Winter is always a big question mark in Chicago. Some are relatively mild, with a few arctic days and maybe one or two major snowstorms. Others are yo-yos, with fierce weather followed by mild, followed by fierce. You can wear a sport coat and sweater one day and dress like Nanook of the North the next.

Chicagoans are a hearty breed. We may complain, but we learned to live with the strange weather phenomena. Our wardrobes run the gamut from skimpy to arctic explorer, all at hand, just in case. The only downsides are the people who live here and forget how to drive when the roads are snowy or iced over. Things can turn into a bumper car demolition derby on those days.

When the weather gets severe, the heroes are out. The various emergency responders. The police, firefighters, EMTs, emergency utility workers, and others who brave the cold and snow to keep us safe, warm, and well-lit.

Stay warm, stay safe, and remember, the polar vortex only lasts a few days. Then, the balmy 30-degree temps will return.

When Christ Came to Chicago

This is my take on a poem Chicago musician Win Stracke recorded, whose title escapes me.

Santa was gearing up for his midnight run through Chicago on Christmas Eve. As the elves loaded the last packages and retired to raid the liquor cabinet, Santa kissed Mrs. Claus, gave her a hearty swat on the ass, and prepared to depart.

Out of the swirling snow, a long-haired, bearded, robed figure appeared. There was a golden aura surrounding him. It was Jesus Christ.

Jesus asked Santa if he could accompany him on his trip to Chicago. The big man in red knew that when the Son of God asks for something, the request should be considered a Commandment, willfully and cheerfully obeyed.

Italian style, St. Nick, put his hands. palms up, shrugged his shoulders, and said, “Yeah. Sure.”

The sleigh’s flight path took them into Chicago over the lake from the Northwest.

The first stop was Uptown.

It was not a home but a homeless shelter. Jesus noted the men, women, and children, especially the children. There would be no sugarplums dancing in their heads this eve. By morning, they would wander and panhandle on the cold streets again. Santa left packages with toys, gloves, scarves, toiletries, and other items.

The next stop was the Gold Coast.

Lights twinkled along Michigan Avenue. The streets were festooned with decorations and lights. Santa and Jesus went from home to home, high rises, townhomes, and single-family mansions to drop off gifts. Christ noted the finery of the houses, the best money could buy. He noted an excess of every kind, the gluttony of riches.

They traveled into the city, circling the Loop.

The streets and stores were decorated to celebrate “The Holiday.” Jesus noted that too. Nowhere was Christmas to be found. Not even a sign proclaiming “Peace on Earth. Goodwill towards Men”. Nothing except something called “Holiday.”

Then Santa did something unusual.

He went underground. Not literally under the earth, but through the underground Wacker and Michigan Avenues. He knew every nook and cranny where homeless denizens of the underground slept. He left packages for them. These were people who gave up all hope except the will to live, at least another day.

Jesus took in the sight of people sleeping in cardboard boxes, wrapped in layers of clothing, with all their possessions stacked on the ground or loaded into shopping carts. He noticed the pungent odor of the unwashed. Santa saw a look of profound sadness on Christ’s face.

The sleigh then veered into the Loop. It alit atop City Hall.

Jesus noticed a peculiar smell, the perfume of graft and corruption. Santa delivered fat envelopes stuffed with cash to each alderman’s desk. He knew about pay-to-play, the Chicago Way. Santa wanted no trouble from city officials next year.

The next stop was Stroger Hospital, the county medical campus.

Where the poor seek treatment for their ills, and the seriously injured or wounded are brought for trauma care. Would be patients packed the waiting area for the emergency room to overflowing. In various states of illness and injury, men, women, and especially children were waiting patiently and not so patiently to be treated.

Sirens blared as ambulances delivered more charges. Triage personnel tried to sort out the most serious—the decision of who would get treated immediately and who would wait all night and into the next day.

In the Trauma Unit, heroic doctors and nurses battled to stabilize, patch up, or valiantly save the lives of people who were shot, stabbed, beaten, or victims of other violence and mayhem. Their movements were energetic, but their eyes relayed weariness. Santa left the staff presents in their break room.

The night was wearing on. There was still much work to do.

They flew through the Westside, the Lawndale neighborhood, where hope goes to die and dreams are stolen.

They entered the homes of the poor. Santa left parcels at each one, taking special care to arrange the children’s just right. Jesus noted the lack these people suffered. He saw children sleeping, sometimes two, three, or more, in a single bed. Stoves and ovens provided extra heat.

There was a racket coming through the walls of various buildings and homes, yelling and screaming. The noise of domestic disturbances and arguments by people whose desperation makes them so angry they lash out at the ones they love.

While flying to another block, Jesus noticed blue lights swirling through the snow.

Santa flew the sled lower. Jesus saw a police car parked in an alley, its doors open and blue Mars Lights twirling. Two burly cops were standing over the latest victim of murder and mayhem in Chicago. A teenager whose crimson blood was staining the pure white snow. His dead eyes were staring at the sky. The screams of an ambulance pierced the night air.

Off they flew until Jesus saw red blinking lights and a flurry of activity.

There was a huge orange glow lighting up the night sky. The smell of thick smoke was pungent. There were cold, huddled masses on the street watching firefighters try to put out a blaze and rescue the inhabitants of a large apartment building. Icicles hung from several firefighters’ helmets.

They entered the parts of the city where the working classes reside.

As they went house to house, Jesus noted piles of stuff filling every nook and cranny of the homes. Every child and adult toy or gadget imaginable. Santa lamented that easy credit and rampant consumerism were making his job harder and harder.

Then it was off to the south side.

As the sled approached the Englewood neighborhood, Santa started taking evasive action, zig-zagging. Jesus asked why. Santa replied that for the Son of God, he sure knew little. Santa patiently explained he was dodging bullets. Jesus just shook his head.

Santa delivered gifts, and, like in Lawndale, made sure the Children’s were placed just right.

When they hit the Southside neighborhood known as the “Hundreds,” Santa put the sleigh down.

He guided it through the streets, as it was worse than Englewood to fly through. Then, out of nowhere, an armed group surrounded the sleigh. They interrogated the fat man, ensuring he was not from an outside gang or drug operation poaching on their turf. Once assured he was harmless, they grabbed several packages and let him go on his merry way.

The sleigh detoured to the Southwest and Northwest sides, the outer neighborhoods.

Where city workers, cops, firefighters, EMTs, utility workers, and those with good jobs live.

As Santa made his deliveries, Jesus noticed some family members missing, the police, firefighters, and other emergency responders working on this night.

There was something else He noticed it in some of the other homes. It did not escape His attention during all the other stops. Photos. Pictures of men and women in various uniforms, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen, from across the social, racial, and economic demographic spectrum deployed far from home serving their country.

After they landed back at the North Pole, Jesus noticed a single package left in the sleigh’s corner. He pointed it out to the fat man. Santa sighed, grabbed the package, and gave it to Him.

“This one is for you.”

Jesus opened the package. Inside was a can of WD-40, a roll of duct tape, a baseball bat, and a card with various vulgar, obscene words and phrases. He shot Santa a questioning look.

Santa kindly said, “This is my gift to you. Those are the four items Chicagoans use to fix everything. If one does not work, another will. You have a lot of fixing to do.”

Jesus walked off, shaking His head, disappearing into the swirl of Arctic snow.

Futbol vs. fakeball

If you watched the World Cup finals, Argentina vs. France, you saw real athletes playing at the very pinnacle of their game. The game was an exciting nail biter through over 120 minutes of regular play, added minutes, plus two 15 minute overtimes and a penalty shootout because of a tie. Argentina broke the tie during the penalty shootout, winning the cup. France has nothing to be ashamed of. They came from a 2-point deficit to tie and hold on until the very end.

I you watched the Bears yesterday you wasted your time on fake athletes. The McCaskey Ken Dolls lost again. Oh, everyone hyped Justin Fields and his useless stats. Rah, rah, rah, he ran this much, he threw that much. A word to the idiots in sports media, Field’s stats and records are irrelevant and meaningless if the TEAM does not win. Winning is not only everything, It is the only thing. The only thing that counts.

Winning is something the owners, sports media, and the slobbering drooling fans do not care about. They have their one-man god, Justin Fields. He, who does not walk on water because doesn’t want to get his shoes wet.

The Philadelphia Eagles played as a TEAM. It appears they have a SYSTEM. They worked their SYSTEM. They won. The McCaskey Ken Dolls lost. At 3-11, they have the worst record in the NFL this year. But you won’t hear the sports media or the front office say that. To them, losing is success. You know, those useless numbers for the supposed record books.

Today and tomorrow, the Chicago fanboy sports media will gush over how well Fields played. How great he is. They will sing hymns of praise about him. They will write odes to different stats he racked up and his prowess while downplaying the TEAM’s loss.

Coach Matt Eberflus will act like he won too. He will talk about how well his team played and executed plays while glossing over the loss as immaterial. It is how well they played, not winning, that counts to him, the McCaskeys, and the news media fanboys and fangirls.

The McCaskey Bears organization are practitioners of the Chicago Way. “Problem? We don’t got no stinking problem. There are no problems. Everything is going as planned. Wait till next year. We are building. The project is going as planned. Wait, you will see.” They say that every year. Year after year after year. Quarterback after quarterback after quarterback.

Eberflus and his bosses, the McCaskeys, owe the fans a giant a$$ kissing apology for fielding such a horrible team this year. That will never happen. It appears this is all part of their plan. As long as the fan’s a$$es are in the seats, watching television, and buying tons of merchandise, they do not care about winning. The McCaskeys are laughing all the way to the bank. The kachingo$ are all they care about, and they are raking them in big time. They proved you do not have to be a winning team to be a successful. enterprise You just have to own a team and watch those dollars roll in.

When are the sports media and dullard fans going to stop smoking the hopium, wake up, and realize the Bears organization has been shoveling bear scat at them all these years?

When are they going to realize they have been getting ripped off by charlatans and frauds? The NFL is as fake as pro wrestling. The only thing that is real is the money, and it is the only thing the owners care about. Football is a money sport, not an athletic one.

There is no hope for the sports media in Chicago. They are nothing more than cheerleaders. Maybe they are part of the Chicago Way too, the corrupt upside-down system, where wrong is right, right is wrong. Lies are truth, and truths are lies.

When are the fans going to decide enough is enough, abandon the Bears, and become, oh, I don’t know, soccer fans?