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Author: pvbella

Don’t Listen to Fools Get Vaccinated

Image: Rendering by CDC artist

What do the following have in common?

  • Joe Biden sending out “needle “Nazis.”
  • The federal government is going door to door to create a registry of unvaccinated people and force them to get vaccinated.
  • Biden wants to go door to door to check if you are vaccinated. What next, “knocking on your door to see if you own a gun?”
  • Biden may later use knocking on doors to confiscate guns and bibles.
  • Biden has you on a list and is going door to door.
  • Senior citizens should not get the vaccine.
  • COVID vaccines are dangerous and potentially deadly.
  • The same politicians who legalized spreading HIV are now pushing Americans to take COVID tests or show proof of vaccination to enter businesses.
  • Brownshirts from the government would try to pressure people to vaccinate themselves against COVID.
  • People should be able to sue for discrimination if required to present proof of vaccination to enter entities.
  • Can’t infected people be sent to an island? (Guantanamo)
  • Vaccinating school-age children should stop. Children are not affected or poorly affected by COVID.

All the above claims were made by extremist elected officials, except the last two. The recent former occupant of the White House, the dyed blonde man-tan, the unstable idiot, made those.

The sad thing is there are masses of ignorant people all over this country who believe those politicians. Misinformation and disinformation about COVID, vaccines and related issues are spreading faster than social media can keep up with fact-checking. Even people in Chicago and the suburbs are posting nonsense regarding COVID and vaccinations.

Politicians spreading false information is not only irresponsible and reprehensible but should be criminal. This is wanton recklessness and negligence of the highest order. Public health and safety are two of the highest responsibilities of elected officials. They are failures.

Too many politicians abdicated their responsibilities for cheap political gain. The vaccine rhetoric is killing people. Their constituents who believe them are just as mentally defective as they are.

Modern vaccines came about in the late 1700s with the smallpox vaccine. The rabies vaccine in the late 1800s brought about the dawn of bacteriology. “Antitoxins and vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, anthrax, cholera, plague, typhoid, tuberculosis, and more were developed through the 1930s.” (Vaccine Timeline)

Mid 20th century saw more advances, including growing viruses in laboratories. These led to the development of vaccines for polio, mumps, measles, and rubella. Science marched on, and vaccines for other diseases and some conditions are being created.

Vaccines are proven safe and effective for eliminating or significantly reducing diseases in humans. Many do have side effects, and a small percentage of people have issues with allergies or other serious side effects. The risks are extremely low.

Why do people believe all the misinformation and disinformation about vaccines? Why do politicians who spread lies want people to suffer and die?

Chicago is a densely populated city. Viruses spread faster due to this density. According to the Chicago and Illinois Departments of Public health, 97% of new cases of COVID, including the Delta variant, are of unvaccinated people. Though the numbers are low, it would not take much to back to full pandemic mode.

Get jabbed if you haven’t. Do not harass the ambassadors. Carry a mask in case entities still require them. Be understanding if you are refused admission to places or must wait in lines to get in.

In essence, be an intelligent humane person versus the primitive lessons (Lower than morons) who spout nonsense, especially politicians, supposed news personalities, or other influencers. Those people are bat shit crazy and should be institutionalized for our safety.

With all the advances in science, the one thing that cannot be cured, curtailed, or vaccinated against is stupidity.

A Modest Proposal

Image: PV Bella

Most people are basically good. If they had a voice or sayso, they would do whatever they could to help solve some of the serious issues we face in Chicago.

The problem arises when these good people become politicians and get elected to office.

Take the Chicago City Council, for example. Listening to most of the aldercreatures or seeing them work is like looking in the mirror, watching a fly die on your face.

The few good aldercreatures are overshadowed by a mob of greedy, power-hungry, two-year-olds stomping their feet, pounding their chubby tiny fists while shitting the floor.

There is supposed to be a Board of Ethics enforcing, well, ethics. When it comes to the alercreatures, everything they determine is kept from public view. It is a big secret. There is zero transparency and less than zero accountability.

Aldercreatures are immune from being investigated by the Inspector General or any other city agency. When it comes to ethics, like other nocturnal creatures, aldercreatures operate in the dark.

Last week, Aldercreature Carrie “Cash and Carry Austin,” was indicted on federal corruption charges. She joins aldercreature, Ed “Hamburglar,” Burke, who is awaiting trial.

The City Council has a long, sordid history of corruption going back to its inception. The corruption is systemic and intractable. Since the 1970s, thirty aldercreatures were indicted, tried, and convicted of various crimes by the federal government.

When it comes to ethics, accountability, and transparency, there are none in the City Council. Too many aldercreatures are adherents to the Eleventh Commandment, Thou shalt not get caught.

It is past time for changes to be made. The Chicago City Council should be put under a federal consent decree and a federal monitor should be appointed. Deadlines must be set for reforms to take place until reforms are instituted, implemented, and codified by ordinance.

Systemic corruption must be wiped out.

This is a modest proposal for reform:

  • Aldercreature will be defined as a full-time job, and they must spend 40 hours per week working in City Hall
  • Aldercreatures will be prohibited from operating a business, practice, or profession during their terms of office
  • Aldercreatures will have the same benefits as city employees and pay the same costs, eliminating their freebies, and Rolls Royce benefits
  • All aldermanic privileges will be stripped away, though their imput will be considered
  • Aldercreatures must report all sources of outside income quarterly
  • The income reports will be made public
  • A new, independent and transparent, Board of Ethics should be appointed- preferably elected
  • There will be an appointed independent City Council Inspector General to investigate and hold aldercreatures accountable
  • Both the Board of Ethics and the Inspector General will issue quarterly unredacted reports
  • All City Council meetings, including committee meetings, must be live-streamed and posted to the internet within one hour of their adjourning
  • Aldercreatures must wear and activate body cameras at all times while interacting with the public, including, but not limited to business people, campaign donors, and favor seekers
  • Live streams and body camera footage will be handled by the Inspector General
  • Aldercreatures must report any offers of corruption to the Inspector General within 24 hrs. They will not be allowed to view body-cam footage before reporting the incident(s)
  • Aldercreatures will be forbidden from having an interest in businesses or practicing professions that create a conflict of interest. They include but are not limited to real estate tax law, zoning law, licensing, city vendors, and others.
  • Aldercreatures will be forbidden to accept campaign contributions from businesses or professions that create a conflict of interest, including public employee unions (Thechnically, they are management and the union contributions are a legal form of bribery)

I had one other proposal, but people told me it was too extreme and may violate the civil rights of aldercreatures. Aldercreatures, not being human, should be caged in their offices and only let out for city council and committee meetings. They must wear inoculation and license tags and be kept on leashes at all times.

There is another issue with that proposal. The city would have to hire zookeepers 24-7 for the care, feeding, cleaning, and training of aldercreatures. Who would want that job?

The Economic Impact of Art and Culture in Chicago

Image: PV Bella

Chicago is wide open, for the most part. Cultural institutions are back. Hopefully, more people will patronize them. Tourism is rising too, though we may not see the past numbers for a while.

Cultural institutions and public art have a direct economic impact on the city. The Chicago Loop Alliance is an organization formed to attract people and investment to the Loop. The Alliance supports public cultural and artistic events that benefit the business community.

The Chicago Loop Alliance projects and programs include beautification and enhanced services, planning and advocacy, placemaking and management, and economic development.

We live in an age where the importance and worth of arts and culture are debated in education and public life. Our supposed betters do not see the importance of art and culture from the perspectives of beauty, luring people to cities and economics, the cold hard cash they leave behind, and the businesses and jobs created or thriving because of art, culture, and their institutions.

In 2018, The Chicago Loop Alliance commissioned the “Arts in the Loop Economic Impact Study.” The study provides a “deeper understanding of the impact the large collection of arts and cultural assets in the area have on the Loop economy.”

The study includes 72 cultural and arts institutions, approximately 120 public art installations, over 50 architecturally significant buildings, adding up to about 250 cultural and artistic assets.

The study showed a direct economic impact on the Loop between art, cultural institutions, architecture, and public art.

Here are some of the numbers: (2018)

  • The arts are responsible for $2.25 billion in economic impact in the Loop and the City of Chicago. This includes $1.4 billion from the institutions, $600 million from visitors, and $250 million from visitors to public art who spend their money on meals and shopping in the Loop.
  • Art in the Loop is responsible for $113.5 million in restaurant revenue, $81.3 million in real estate revenue, $78 million in hotel revenue, $63 million in Loop retail sales, $43 million in parking and transportation, and $6 million in tax revenue to the City of Chicago.
  • Arts in the Loop are responsible for 15,500 full-time jobs.
  • Every dollar spent on arts and culture generates $12 in economic impact in the Loop.

The study covers the economic impact of art and culture in the Loop, including 6000 artists from all fields who work in the Loop. There are also art and cultural teachers and support staff at universities located in the loop. All contribute to the economic impact.

The numbers do not lie. There is a direct positive economic impact of arts and culture on the Loop and the city.

Chicago has world-class institutions, like the Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago has old and modern world-class architecture. The popularity of various architecture tours proves this.

Public art, whether it is the Picasso, Calder, or permanent and temporary art displays in the parks, on sidewalks, or other public spaces, contribute to bringing money, jobs, and tax revenue to Chicago.

Image: PV Bella

Some of Chicago’s noted artists, including Tony Fitzpatrick, are shifting to creating public art. Murals are popular, and there are neighborhood mural tours. More artists are creating murals in neighborhoods across the city.

28.4 million people visit the Loop each year. 77,800 people visit or attend art-related or cultural activities each day. (2018) The numbers speak for themselves in attendance, participation, dollars, and tax revenue. The arts and culture are important to this city. Politicians and the public should give artistic, cultural institutions, and the public displays more weight in Chicago. 

Everyone can participate in keeping the arts and cultural institutions healthy. When you visit a museum, become a member. Membership saves you money in the long run through free admission. Plus, you may get discounts or free admission to other institutions.

Donate to our institutions. Even small-dollar donations help. Volunteer to be a docent. Find a way to support local and neighborhood artists either buying or promoting their work.

Spread the word. Become a shameless booster of art and culture for Chicago. Contact your alderperson. Tell them how important art and culture are for Chicago and your ward.

Art and culture enrich our lives, and, as the study shows, have a direct and indirect economic impact on our city. The momentum is moving forward in the Loop. We need more forward momentum throughout the whole city.

It is Time for Tex Brown to Go

Once again, Superintendent of Police David “Tex” Brown blamed the spate of violence, mass shootings, murders, and carjackings on the courts and State’s Attorney.

According to the fast-drawing finger-pointing cowpoke, low bail, no bail, and electronic monitoring are the drivers of this violence, plaguing almost all of Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Bail reform and the incompetence of the State’s Attorney are not the main drivers of this violence pandemic.

Brown’s fallback fast draw finger-pointing is at the two-decades-old mantra of guns, drugs, and gangs.

These issues are the only two songs the cowpoke knows. Brown can’t sing, and his guitar is out of tune.

Tex better get a clue. Finger-pointing is not a strategy for fighting crime in a real city. This is not Dallas.

It is time for Tex Brown to ride off into the sunset and let the people in the Chicago Police Department, who know the city and how to handle outbreaks like this, take over.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is doing a great disservice to the citizens by keeping the cowpoke cop on. Her fingerprints are all over this mess. She picked Brown, and like past Superintendents, the mayor controls him. His strategy is her strategy.

Most of the City Council are out to lunch. They are more concerned with insignificant things than life, death, and bloodshed in their wards. People are being slaughtered in their wards, and all they care about are petty nonsensical issues.

This year is one of the worst in recent memory. Criminals range in age from pre-teens to adults. The numbers of mass shootings are unprecedented, as well as carjacking and armed robberies. Criminals have access to more sophisticated weaponry and are using them. One victim, a rapper, was shot 64 times near the Cook County Jail after being bailed out.

Some of the issues driving crime in Chicago are systemic and appear intractable. Poverty, lack of economic development in some areas, and a sub-culture that glorifies violence and criminality.

The shooters, robbers, and carjackers are brazen and bolder. They do not fear arrest, jail, prison, injury, or death.

Before we can address the issues that lead to criminality, we need to curb and prevent more violence, driving the numbers down. Police officers have many legal and constitutional tools in their toolboxes. Unfortunately, the mayor, aldercritters, and Tex put padlocks on the toolboxes.

Sometimes more rigid tactics are called for. That time is now. Unlock the toolboxes, take the handcuffs off the police, and let them drive the numbers down. Once the numbers are down, serious discussions and actions should be taken to improve lives, preventing violence and other crimes. Crime is the alternate economy in too many neighborhoods in this city. That dynamic must change.

The police officers in this city are demoralized, stressed, and wore out. Continuously working twelve-hour days with days off canceled is a recipe for disaster. This so-called strategy is dangerous for the police and the public. Police officers are retiring or quitting. It is estimated that close to 500 police officers this year will have left by the end of the month.

How many bodies will pile up before Lightfoot realizes Tex Brown is not the person to lead a real urban police department. It is time to end the nationwide searches for mercenary police leaders from someplace else. We need police leadership that knows Chicago, its neighborhoods, and the people who live here.

Chicago is a city of retail politics. On the top of the list is public safety. People no longer feel safe in this city. Mayor Lightfoot must change course. State’s Attorney Kim Foxx must stop being an activist and start prosecuting felonies. The courts should put a moratorium on bail reform until this wave of violent criminality abates.

It is time for Tex to ride off into the sunset to his home on the range. It is time for Mayor Lightfoot to face reality. She is losing the city and the voters. Action is needed. She cannot talk her way out of the mess she helped create.

Bridgeport Memories

Image: PV Bella

Sammy’s Dog

I lived in the Bridgeport neighborhood during the early 1980s, in the primarily Italian section on the east side. The neighborhood was inhabited by cops, firefighters, city workers, and members of a noted Italian American business organization. To the north were Croatians.

My landlord was another police officer. He and his wife lived in one apartment and his mother-in-law in another.

The landlord found a stray Irish Setter wandering around the neighborhood. The dog was malnourished, and its fur was matted. He took the dog in, had it checked by a vet, and brought it back to health.

There was one strange problem. The dog was a roamer. He would get out of the yard and follow people to the bus stop, store, or wherever they went. Then he would return. If the dog followed you to the bus stop, he sat and waited until you got on the bus. He walked alongside the mailman on his rounds. Everyone in the neighborhood knew Sammy’s dog.

One day a substitute mail carrier was working the route. The dog came out of the yard. The mailman was terrified. He grabbed a brick from the vacant lot next door and tried to hit the dog.

This part of the neighborhood had people who sat home, looking out their windows. Several people charged out of their homes, chasing the mailman.

The mailman ran to 31st Street, a major artery in the neighborhood. A police car was passing. He threw himself on the hood of the vehicle as the crowd approached. The cops got out of the car as the mob tried to pull the carrier off.

After the cops calmed everyone down, one of the neighbors told the cops, “The mailman tried to hit Sammy’s dog with a brick.”

One cop looked with disgust at the shaking carrier. “You tried to hit Sammy’s dog? I’m sorry we saved your ass.” The cops dispersed the crowd and drove the mail carrier back to his cart.

We never saw that substitute carrier in the neighborhood again.

The Horn Player

My apartment was a few blocks from the former Comiskey Park, where the Chicago White Sox played. Sometimes the night games would go late if there were more than one or two extra innings.

One night the game went later, ending around eleven. The weather was mild. I had gone to bed and left the windows open to let in the cool breezes.

Just as I was nodding off to sleep, I heard the noise of fans walking through the neighborhood and going home or retrieving their cars parked on the side streets. The Sox won, so there was a lot of loud excitement. After several minutes, it died down.

Then, someone started to play bugle or a trumpet. He was playing “Revile” loud. The sound came from the alley. One of the neighbors yelled out, demanding he, “Stop playing that “fucking horn.”

He kept on playing. Again, the gruff voice yelled at him to stop. The guy kept playing, “Revile.” One last time, a gruff voice shouted louder, including a string of obscenities.

The guy started playing “Taps.” The next thing I heard was gunshots. The bugle or trumpet went silent. I never found out what happened to the horn player. No cops showed that I know of. There were no reports of anyone wounded or killed.

I didn’t ask or care. I slept like a baby.

On Aging

Image: PV Bella

“In the morning

After taking cold shower

—-what a mistake—-

I look at the mirror.

There, a funny guy,

Grey hair, white beard, wrinkled skin,

what a pity” (Nanao Sakaki)

I look in the mirror after a shower. I do not see the 180 pounds of rompin stompin dynamite I used to be. I see a guy on his way to being an old man, the graying, thinning hair, wrinkled skin, and few flabby areas. I have aches and pains in places I did not know existed.

In my 40s, I had to keep reminding myself that I was not 25. In my 60s, I keep reminding myself I am not 40 0r 50. I lost the pep in my step. I only have two speeds. Slow and stop.

I take long walks for exercise. I would cycle, but Chicago cyclists are dangerous two-wheeled terrorists. They ride like they are in the Tour de France without considering traffic laws, other cyclists, vehicles, pedestrians, or themselves. Like the bark chewing pandemic deniers, their rights to be reckless trump the safety of others.

There is one ray of sunshine. I know others, slightly younger or older, just like me. They look at the world through the lens of cynicism and skepticism. When I was young, we trusted no one over 30. I trust no one under 40, as the past couple of generations of the human species will always disappoint.

Getting old is no fun. You discover your limitations. No matter how much you want to deny them, you have limitations. You slow down. You think before trying things that were once normal. How much ache and pain will you pay?

You go to bed when you used to go out and wake up to use the bathroom in the wee hours you used to come home. Your clothing changes. You exchange style for comfort, especially with shoes. You do not need to dress to impress.

There are some upsides. You enjoy life more, especially the little things. You have memories to look back on, sometimes with fondness, sometimes with WTF was I thinking? You pay more attention to the obits to see if people you knew died in alphabetical order, like the rest. You also double check to make sure you are not listed.

One good thing about aging is you let go of most preconceived notions you held. You stop caring about things that do not affect you. Things you are ardent about are the few things that have a direct impact on your life. You realize all the rest was pure, unadulterated, steaming horse manure.

People leave you alone. You accost them when they are pests or acting like idiots. For most, confrontation is considered inappropriate in this so-called modern era. When it comes to old, crabby, ugly, tired, mean, miserable, and ornery geezers, people just let it slide. Maybe they think you are harmless or half senile. That is what they get for thinking. They do not realize how damn annoying they are.

Thanks to modern medical advances and the wonders of chemistry, everyone thinks they will live to a healthy, ripe old age and beyond. They are greatly disappointed when the widowmaker or heart-a-stroke takes them out. Death is the great equalizer.

I am grateful for every day. I know one day the lights will go out. I will be worm food. My only wish is to come back as a ghost so I can scare the living shit out of all the annoying pests in this city.

Nosy Busybodies

Image: PV Bella

“The essence of Christianity is told to us in the Garden of Eden history… The subtext is… You could be in the Garden of Eden if you had just kept your fucking mouth shut and hadn’t asked any questions.” (Attributed to Frank Zappa)

Eve was a nosy busybody. She and Adam got their asses kicked out of the garden because she could not mind her own fucking business. That event eventually led to a human race of nosy busybodies.

The numbers of nosy busybodies are growing exponentially. They are all over the place. You find them in coffee shops, grocery stores, on the street, on public transportation, or just about every place where they can stick their nose in your business.

Homeland Security’s “See something. Say Something” campaign was a Godsend for the snoops. It gave meaning to their dull, empty, worthless, pitiably small, and meaningless lives. It gave the busybodies license to stick their well-picked noses into your life. They feel like heroes, doing nothing less than saving the free world for humanity. They make people’s daily life a chore. Most people are afraid to stand up to them. Confrontation is considered inappropriate behavior.

Me? I see something. I say nothing. I mind my own business. In Chicago, minding your own business is the secret to a long and healthy life.

One Christmas Day, I went around the corner to the gas station for milk. The people who work there are from India. I bought the milk and wished the clerk Merry Christmas. One of the young, woke nosy parkers accosted me outside. She flapped her soup coolers, saying wishing the clerk Merry Christmas is inappropriate. Indian people do not celebrate Christmas. 

I gave the busybody a look I reserve for the pathetically stupid. I told her she is assuming, stereotyping, and a racist. She looked like I slapped her in the face. I patiently explained to the simpleton that the people who own and work in the gas station are Christians. Christians celebrate Christmas. By the way, I asked if she was deaf as they were playing Christmas music.

Life is not fair. Why should I be?

I was in one of the chain coffee shops, as there were no others open in the area on a Sunday. It is the one with the green logo, Spewfucks, or something like that. I had some trouble getting money out of my wallet. The guy behind me, a snarky nosy, busybody,  loudly stated that it would be faster if I used my phone to pay, waving his idiot phone with a smug look on his face.

I thought to myself, faster for who? I have two speeds, slow and stop. I told him it would be healthier if he minded his own fucking business. The other people in line looked at me like I was a terrorist.

Now and then, I enjoy a cheroot, one of those malodorous Italian dried cigars. They are so bad they leave a yellow streak up one side of your face and a purplish line of drool down your chin. I was walking down a street merrily puffing away. Some young woman sneered that I should take that nasty thing someplace else. My response? “Hey, you want to breathe fresh air, go inside a building.”

There was the mindless nosy, busybody who saw me give a sandwich and soft drink to a homeless man on North Michigan Avenue. She started to scold me. She said I was not helping him.  I was contributing to the homeless problem and a bunch of other nonsensical bullshit. She ranted that I should give homeless people small bags with travel-sized toiletries if I really wanted to help. When she stopped barking, I explained that toiletries do not taste good, are not nutritious, and probably poisonous. She stomped off in angry, self-righteous indignation.

Sometimes people approach me and ask all kinds of questions. I ask them if they are with the FBI and why they are probing me. I do not look approachable and cannot figure out why people are so interested in me. Jeez, if you are that fucking lonely, get a dog.

You cannot avoid these nose mining priers. They are in the grocery store, on public transportation, restaurants, libraries, public spaces, everywhere. They are all genders, races, and ethnicities. They consist of the whole effluent waste of the human species.

Life would be more pleasant if people just minded their own business. What I do is none of your business. What you do is none of mine. See something, say nothing. If not, you will be offended and humiliated by me. It will be your fault. You, and you alone, are to blame for being humiliated for sticking your nose into my business.

Living the Dream

Image: PV Bella

I do not have a lifestyle. I do not even know what a lifestyle is. I have a way of life. Is there a reason my way of life must have a style or be stylish?

There are gurus on television and the internet promoting lifestyles, wellness, self-care, and hawking assortments of books, videos, and snake oil to the gullible masses.

What are these concepts? Wellness? Self-care? Lifestyle? Why do people need to fork over hard-earned money to be physically and emotionally well or learn to take care of themselves?

There are suckers born every minute. Gurus find them.

My favorite “profession” is a life coach. They coach people on how to live a life. How fucking asinine is that? People are so dumb they have to hire a coach to train them how to live. Are these people seals?

People constantly talk about these things. How do I know? They talk loudly on their phones or to each other on public transportation, in coffee shops, bars, gyms, and restaurants. They want the whole world to know they live in style, practice wellness, and self-care. The world must know they live the dream, following the gurus’ advice and buying their crap.

Many of the acolytes of these gurus are “educated” young and middle-aged people. They spend what discretionary income they have learning how to live. They seek peace, calm, and nirvana in their dull, worthless, and meaningless lives.

Living is simple. You wake up, open your eyes. Breathing is an extra. Feet hit the floor, and you go through whatever your morning routine is before heading out to do whatever it is you do. You go home. You eventually go to sleep, hoping to wake up the following day. You spend your off time doing chores or recreating. How difficult is this?

If you do not like how you live, do you need to pay someone to teach you or buy their books and products to enhance you? If you get to a certain age and haven’t figured out how to live, take care of yourself, stay well, or change course, you are in serious need of parental control.

I admit I am envious. I wish I could be one of those gurus, sucking in big bucks through various sales funnels. I have something they do not. A long life experienced in living well. I would be the most brutal life coach in the city. Think a drill sergeant, only more vicious and vulgar. I would teach tough-shit love.

My way of life is based on comfort and convenience. Comfortable shoes, clothes, and furniture. I socialize with a small group of friends. I know how to shop for food, cook, and where to find places to eat. All my wants and needs are met. Do I need to buy a book or more crap to learn this or enhance it?

Well-being? I am comfortable with myself. Happiness is conditional, not a constant state of mind. I amuse myself by complaining. I have a life balance. I balance my anger and joy. Sometimes, anger makes me happy. I am grateful for what I have. I wait to afford the things I want. I have bartenders to meet my needs.

Self-care? I eat well, drink good coffee, beer, wine, and booze. I take long walks. I care for my psyche by laughing at the daily foibles committed by the human species. I vetch about the constant annoyances humans cause. I criticize them publicly for their stupidity. This alleviates stress, so I can remain calm when the pests and pestilence are not around.

How hard is it to live that you need to pay money to some guru to tell you how to have a life or buy their books and products to make you happy, healthy, and cared for? Life is as easy or hard as you make it.

As the saying goes, “Life is tough. It is tougher if you are stupid.” Don’t be stupid.

The Chicago Wake Ritual

Image: PV Bella

Going to wakes is a ritual in Chicago. Aside from family members and close friends, we attended wakes of people we knew, sometimes even if we did not like them. The saying in Chicago is, “You go to the wake.”

You went to the wake for the family, not the stiff in the casket. What the fuck do they know? They are dead.

Now, we celebrate the life of the deceased. We changed the language of the ritual. People no longer die. They transition or pass. Kidney stones pass, not humans. Transition sounds more comfortable than kicked the bucket. What do people transition to?

Wakes are celebrations of life with photo arrays and televisions displaying photos and videos of the deceased with family, friends, or pursuing things they enjoyed before croaking. Some are so elaborate they resemble documentaries.

Maybe, in this age of technology, someone will create video games to celebrate the stiff. People can play games going through the life of the deceased, winning prizes along the way. Free embalming for their wake or free mass cards. Maybe a free hole in the ground.

Once you get past the family and the sorry for your loss comments, the wake becomes a social occasion. You meet, greet, and socialize with people, some of who you may not have seen for years. You chat. If food is available, you snack. You spend one minute with the deceased’s family and maybe an hour or more talking to people about everything except the stiff in the casket.

Years ago, there were notable funeral homes in Chicago. Some offered postcards, as that industry was prominent in the city, and postcards were popular. So what does one do with a postcard from a funeral home? Send it to a friend or family member- “Having a wonderful time, wish you were here?”

Since wakes are more joyous occasions, funeral homes will probably have WalMart like greeters at the door. “Welcome to Donovan’s. Happy grieving.”

I go to very few wakes these days. The deceased has to be a family member, a close friend, or a family member of a close friend. I attend memorial services. I can think of way better places to socialize than a funeral home.

I made it very clear to my family that I do not want a wake. Just toss me in a box and cremate me. Stuff my pockets with high-powered fireworks to scare the shit out of the crematorium employees.

Have gourmet food and a drunken party to celebrate my life. Better to have fun than to mourn.

Hello City Hall

Image: PV Bella

After being locked down for 15 months, Chicago looked with anticipation to celebrating the Fourth of July weekend.

For too many, the celebration turned into grief and mourning. More than 100 people were shot, including two Chicago police officers. Depending on other sources, up to 18 or more people were killed by gunfire.

Hordes of young people descended on the downtown area in what was termed as a wilding. They created havoc, blocking streets, dancing on cars, setting fires, and shooting fireworks at the police.

The Fourth of July weekend proved that the politicians and police leadership lost control of Chicago. The city is like the fictional wild west. It is violent and out of control.

We are on the road to a long hot murderous summer, with no end in sight. Children, even infants, are being wounded and killed.

Mass shootings are on the rise across the city. Rifles are more prevalent, increasing the number of innocent victims.

The Chicago Police Department is demoralized, working twelve-hour shifts with days off canceled. Officers are confused about what they are allowed to do to prevent violent crimes due to no direction from the police leadership and City Hall.

The superintendent of police is out of his league. Chicago is not Dallas. He is leading from behind. This is what happens when cities bring in mercenary outsider police leaders instead of promoting them from the ranks.

The toolbox police officers use to control, prevent, and curb crime is padlocked.

The criminals are brazened and brave. They fear nothing, not jail or prison, not injury or death. They terrorize this city with impunity. Our elected officials are cowering in fear of activist and social media backlash if the unlock the police toolbox and let the officers do their jobs.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Superintendent Brown must step up and step in. They must give direction and allow the police to do their job.

The police toolbox must be unlocked, and all the legal and constitutional tactics within should be employed. The feds should be investigating the gangs, drug, and illegal gun dealers with the same zeal they went after the Chicago Outfit. They should revive the publicity mill they used in the past to identify the major players. Citizens need to know who these people are.

This is going to be a long hot summer of bloodshed and death if the mayor, alderpersons, and police superintendent do not get a handle on the violence in our streets. Right now, no neighborhood is safe from violent outbursts. 

Last week members of some communities gathered and begged the city to do something besides holding press conferences. Alderman Ray Lopez, the City Council voice against violence, is the only alderman consistently addressing the issue. He is being ignored and shut out.

Where are the other forty-nine?

If superintendent Brown cannot handle the violence pandemic, he should saddle up his horse and head back to Texas.

The time for talking, finger-pointing, and blaming is over. The time for worrying about social media and news media backlash is over. Someone in charge must act, or the havoc, mayhem, bloodshed, and murder will continue.