The Mayor and Mr. Claypool: Chicago Citizens Suffer Under an Arrogant City Regime

THE MAYOR AND MR. CLAYPOOL: OUT OF TOUCH WITH CHICAGO’S CITIZEN MILLIONS

In the news what do we have? Here is just a brief list:

Citizens on a hunger strike for the support of the school they want in their neighborhood;
Among the worst (gun) violence in the nation;
Schools in disrepair;
Teachers upset and on strike and threatening strikes;
Pension funds a mess;
Roads and bridges in disrepair;
Homeless families and veterans;
Special needs people who are seeing cuts in funds for services……………………..

And what are our officials talking about? Here is just a sampling:

Property tax increases;
Garbage fees (we already pay for utility and garbage fees at many apartment complexes);
School property tax increases;
Congestion tax for people who drive in from the suburbs;
Taxes on sugary drinks such as sodas and fruit punches;
Cutting public school personnel and jeopardizing teachers and students;
Selling expensive parking lots and earning millions of $$ from those sales in downtown;
Closing schools and establishing charter schools that do not use union personnel;

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What are our officials NOT talking about? Cutting their own perks and salaries and timing themselves on a time clock like many citizens do, and being accountable to the people who elect them instead of to the mayor who hand-picks many of those ‘trusted’ officials. These narcissistic people are so worried, so paranoid and obsessive-compulsive about giving up or sharing their power that they will do just about anything… but that is going to ruin not only their reputations but our city as well.

Who is going to want to have a business or a home in the city limits? Who will want to drive in and be sacked with a ‘congestion tax’? And by the way, some Chicago apartment managers charge for garbage collection and sewer services and a resident told me that doing so is illegal because the city already pays those companies so we are being charged twice for garbage collection. They head everything under the name of “utility fees”.

We certainly need people in our city department offices who are not accountable to the mayor, who are not hand-picked by the mayor, who have to answer to their employees and not their boss the mayor, and who must answer to a citizen’s board made up of people from all the neighborhoods and who have a bone to pick with the mayor and his arrogant ivory-tower inner circle.

No doubt they have their hands in every department and every office. I suspect that if you turned upside down and shook the boards of METRA, the RTA, Chicago Parks, the CTA, and the Streets & Sanitation, you would find some mayoral crony in the official circle. The Chicago City Council and the Chicago Public Schools already have that deep trouble, and they will push taxes through in a hurry without any consideration of the millions who will suffer.

We are in the grips of a high-money mayor who has his head in the clouds of big money and corporate favoritism and Washington politics. Yet he was booed out of a public meeting recently and there are many people who hope that happens at every public meeting he has until the problems we have are resolved completely to citizens’ satisfaction.

Those few tyrannizing over the many? Uh, folks, we need to get on the officials and in a hurry. We need to ask them what is going on, we need to ask to whom they are answering. If they say, “I answer to the mayor” then those who work for them have choices – they can strike, they can reply, “Oh, then if you cannot help me then why am I working for you?” They can leave the city and go elsewhere, to jobs where they will be appreciated and leave the officials hanging and wondering and having to search their own consciences and finally cooperate with their constituents.

Just look around – there are already people leaving for other cities and suburbs. There are plenty of ‘for sale’ and ‘for lease’ signs in downtown, and there are plenty of homeless and beggars and families suffering on our streets. There are vacant lots full of trash and there are abandoned buildings that attract drugs and crime and vermin. What is the mayor and his inner circle going to do – drive out so many people that only the rich will be left and those who are left will be ‘taxed to the max’ and then want to leave? What will Chicago be left with – no residents, no small businesses, and no workforce.

Get the officials to answer to you or band together and find ways to fire them for not doing their jobs. After all, if the average citizen did not do their job they would be severely reprimanded or fired or demoted, so considering that we let those officials keep their jobs and their money and perks and cushy seats, we should stay on top of them like our employers sandwich us in and hold them accountable for every little thing – yes, every pothole, every power outage, every flooded home, every rat and mouse in the alleys, every tax increase, every investigation that shows government waste, every closed school, every murder using a gun, every homeless veteran, and everything else we know can be corrected. We just have to do this ourselves.

If the officials are too prim and lazy to get out there then grass-roots efforts are the answer. We need to show them how it is done and organize cleanup days and go through this city from south to north and from east to west till we like the way it looks. Then we can work on deciding where our taxes should be spent and how they should be spent and who should control that money. We need to send the officials home for a few weeks, rather like a time-out for a fussy child, until they can cooperate and politely ask to come out of the corner and then assure us, their bosses, those who elected them (and what is the mayor but an elected official so where does he come off being so arrogant and stuck-up), that they can and will behave properly and do their jobs correctly and for the benefit of those who put them in office.

Meanwhile we have the:

Citizens on a hunger strike for the support of the school they want in their neighborhood and who are now going to rally for an elected school board;
Among the worst (gun) violence in the nation;
Schools in disrepair;
Teachers upset and on strike and threatening strikes;
Pension funds a mess;
Roads and bridges in disrepair;
Homeless families and veterans;
Special needs people who are seeing cuts in funds for services
Kids dying on our streets due to drugs and guns and gangs……………………….

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2015.

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Women and Medical Devices:: Commercial Sparks Ire and Concern

IMPLANT FOR WOMEN SHOULD INSPIRE CONCERN AND ANGER

A commercial now on television seems to target young women. Worse, the advertiser/ product maker must think that ladies who are in the entertainment industry do not practice or have any mind towards safe relationships.

In the ad the young lady is playing the guitar (a hint to the old advertising school of an actor or celebrity promoting a product thus getting the gullible to think that the item is right for them or is good or is safe and thus “right for them”) and she plays a few chords and then talks about not getting pregnant.

The simple answer to such a situation is to think before you act, to realize you are special and should take care of yourself, and that what is right for your friends or for some celebrity or entertainer might not be right or correct or appropriate for YOU.

Now the medical device in question must go INSIDE your reproductive systems, actually be implanted in your body by a qualified surgeon. The commercial makes the procedure sound so quick and cute and sexy and easy and not difficult at all but the point is that surgery is surgery, an operation, and there is more involved than simply popping into your doctor’s office and lying on a table and letting the MD put this thing inside your body.

With any kind of device or implant or operation there can be complications, such as the severe infection mentioned only briefly and barely audible in the commercial, a pelvic disease called PID or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. A disorder is what it can certainly turn out to be, causing severe pain and illness and potential loss of the ability to have children. The commercial mentions side effects but you must understand that any of these effects can cause the victim to be hospitalized. You might even find the emergency responders paying you a visit because you are too sick to get yourself to the hospital. You certainly could not treat yourself if the device comes out!

Yes, the ad states that the device could even come out of your body! Now that is scary and gross; it could happen anywhere and could be severe trouble for the victim.

The best thing to do is understand your body and practice safe habits no matter where you are. Do not let anyone come in bodily contact with you, give you drugs or anything to drink that might be drugged, or smoke anything at all. Stay away from smoking materials of any kind as the are bad for your health anyway and contain hundreds of chemicals.

Be smarter than the advertisers think you are and stay away from any kind of implantable devices. Talk with your doctor. Learn about these devices and be careful.

Someone thinks you are gullible and not thinking and really not paying attention. Prove them wrong and vote with your wallet and with your brain. Be careful, be sensible, and play it safe.

Divi Logan. Chicago, 2015.

America on a New Route of Rude?:: Rude, Crude, and Inhumane!?

Hello Chicago and hello America!

What is going on with our attitudes? Sure it is admitted that no human being is perfect in any way – be it behaviorally, physically, morally or spiritually. But we sure need to at least try to improve our behaviors towards others and in the presence of others.

Now my view of behavior and the science of it is that our reactions towards others begin with how we view ourselves and our environment and how environmental factors of all kinds have affected us.

My goodness, what a spit of rude behavior I have seen and experienced lately! We tend to misjudge and sadly prejudge others before we know the facts or the circumstances of situations we see or hear about. The so – called “news” does not help our tendencies to be so fast and thus to act before we think – such as been a shortcoming of our “progressive” technological world. But it is still rude to do many things and to act before thinking. Acting means any kind outward manifestation of thought here – speaking, shouting, gesturing, traveling, etc.

Just some of the examples I have seen of how rude Americans can be include:

Reprimanding someone when the reprimander did not know the rest of the situation (happened in a grocery store and the nasty reprimanding person was way out of line and did not know the rest of the circumstances);
Interrupting someone when they are serving another customer;
Cutting another driver off on Interstate 88;
Wearing caps at the dining table (I have seen at least three guys – I will not call them gentlemen – do this in the past week);

Now there are situations I have not experience but have heard of that indicate just how rude and crude Americans are becoming, such as:

Abuse of others for any reason;
Teasing and making ethnic or other manner of jokes (some people do not consider funny what others consider as funny or “just having fun”);
Smoking within the entrance of a store or apartment complex where non-smokers have to walk;
Mistreatment of animals;
Stepping on the feet of others and not saying excuse me or I am sorry;
Pushing others into a subway car and shoving other passengers out of their way (arrogance, prideful and shameful behavior that has no consideration for the others on board);
Littering (even when a garbage can is within a few feet);
Not cleaning up after pets;
Stealing money from one’s company;
Interrupting in a senate or parliamentary procedure situation, and so many more!

I admit no one is immune to some eruptions of unusual or bad behavior but I am attempting to improve, and pledge so to do. If we all do that, pledge to improve our behavior towards others by a small percentage or by giving a few more seconds’ thought to a situation before we impose any kind of action on another person or on the situation, we will be better people and have a nicer nation.

Divi Logan. Chicago. 2015.

Veterans Need the Best We Can Offer: Chicago HAVE For All Military Personnel

Chicago Needs to HAVE Veterans In Our Hearts All the Time

There are many men and women who have served our nation in uniforms of the military branches of our great United States. They have enlisted and signed the papers, put on the faces and marched through the mud. They have seen international tours of duty and they have seen service right here at home.

Speak Up, America! Watch US Work.

Remembering America’s veterans.

Home… a word that does not ring with many of those proud people, since they do not have a home to go to. Yes, there are homeless veterans… HOMELESS… the very people who have given so much, who have sacrificed and labored and been through obstacle after obstacle, to protect the homes we go to every day, do not have a home of their own to step into.

That is disgraceful.

Yes the Veteran’s Administration (VA) system is seeing its share of dishonorable behavior and wasteful disgraces, but to think that a veteran or any military member is homeless is a major stain on our nation and a pustule on our society. These are people with medical problems due to their tours of duty, and that to which they have been exposed, such as gunfire, diseases, shelling, shell shock, PTSD, and loss of limbs. They have been sick for us, been maimed for us, and been tossed aside by us.

Something has to change, and such changes cannot wait for politics or elections. Those in office, those who command and lead and order around those veterans must step up, just like those folks did in lines of rank or to police an area of their base. They wanted things to look better, they wanted freedom, they wanted health and well being, and they were willing to sign on and give their lives and legs and hands and arms for those privileges.

Do we arrogantly stand by and wait for a new mayor or new senators or a new president to be elected before we bother to look at the endurances these proud people have made for the rest of our nation and around the world? They cannot wait for the influential, the rich, the government that hired and ordered them about, to step up.

Every veteran and their families should have a home and work that is fitting to their talents and needs. Every man and woman should have a house they can call their own, a space that suits them. If the vet has lost a limb, build them a home that will accommodate their special needs. If they are sick, give them the best care a reformed VA system can provide.

HAVE is an idea I thought of while listening to excerpts of Mayor Emanuel’s inauguration speech recently, and the acronym means Home All Veterans Everywhere.

After all, we have homes; we have spaces all our own we can go to after work and play and worship and trips to the grocery and the mechanic, so why don’t these veterans have a home?

It is going to take a lot more than dropping a buck or two in the shaking cup of a homeless vet crouched at the side of a street under a light post, or holding a sign as he strains to sit up in his wheelchair; it is going to take elbow grease action, grassroots efforts, caring and tender and loving people who deeply understand that these are their fellow citizens and neighbors.

Treat them with respect. They deserve it.

America's flag flies proudly.America's flag flies proudly.

Bless our veterans, love our veterans, take care of our veterans, home our veterans.

Divi Logan. Chicago, on this Memorial Day 2015.

Chicago Neighborhoods: Constructive, Corrosive, Communicative?

I. INTRODUCTION

Election Day in Chicago, and the candidates are out there. What are some of the topics on which they speak and on which they attempt to cater to the voters? There are the usual issues of taxes, TIFF’s, having an elected school board, transportation, the roads and bridges, and business. There is another issue that crops up in their ads: the neighborhoods.

It seems that the word “diversity” is a new concept to people of modern America, but it was not news to me when growing up in Nashville. There was not even a need to mention the word, as some kind of cajoling to get me to think of others who were different, to think of others in terms of some kind of census related terminology, or to see others for what I could get out of them for statistics, tax dollars, business funding, etc.

II. NASHVILLE NO – BOUNDARIES

The area of town I grew up in was about as low – crime as a part of a major city can be. There was no need to even think of anything dangerous happening. Police patrols were regular and it was good to see them, but they were just doing their jobs, that I knew. I just watched and went on with activities. Everyone kept their homes maintained and their yards neat, their lawns mowed, their mailboxes painted, and their noise levels down. There were no shootings, none of the “if it bleeds it leads” junk on the news networks that plagues us these days, and no talk of drugs around the area that would cause us to be on the watch for dealers/ pushers, and certainly no mention of gangs such as make parts of Chicago notable in the national scene for violence.

Not at all; our part of town was quiet, comfortable, and about as “diverse” as can be. I went to school with children who, thank goodness, did not all look like me or speak as I did, or dress as I did. They were interesting and different and my classmates and my teachers, pure and simple. We were there to learn, to play together, to interact on projects and to come and to go every week. We had no need for uniforms; we were there to do what students do – no metal detectors or security guards or metal bars needed, thank you. They might have been around but I had no need to take such heavy notice of them. I felt safe and that is what mattered to me and my parents.

The same applied to the churches I attended: it was a church, and everyone was welcome. Everyone sang, participated in Sunday School, baptisms, christenings, parties, etc. We came and went, one and all worshippers of the same God. The message was the same and we understood it.

People were people in my eyes and for my folks, who worked around the doctors and nurses and staffs of at least three major local hospitals as their careers progressed. They saw every patient, everyone who needed help, no matter who they were. I was fortunate to interact with the brilliant people who were friends of my parents, who came to our home and to whose homes we went. Compared to how people think today, my folks were ahead of the time in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and thank goodness I was not subjected to the terrible talk of what separates whom from whom and what this means to “the government statisticians” and the Census Bureau.

I traveled after high school for international vacations and the world broadened. Because I had not been so mentally restricted early in life, I had an open mind to these exotic cultures and languages, foods and attire and jewelry and histories that greeted me like the pages of an open book coming to life. I was not worried about it at all, the influence of these diverse and amazing cultures on my mind and spirit. Gone were thoughts of being separated by some imaginary line that ended at a certain street or city limit or ethnic boundary. Travel and the benefits that came with doing that made my world a better place. It was grand – the world became my neighborhood

It was marvelous.

Then I moved to Chicago…

III. CHICAGO: SIDES, DISTRICTS, and… NEIGHBORHOODS

Those candidates we will consider in this election today have spoken to and berated each other on their work with and in and their experiences with and funding of Chicago neighborhoods. They talk about how safe or unsafe “their neighborhoods” are; they talk about the closings of schools, the disrepair of roads, the lack of or the concentration of development for residences and businesses. They talk about diversity… not about unity.

We need a mayor who will break down those barriers and remove the roadblocks to progress, a friendly and open – ¬†minded mayor and the aldermen who will work with him. As Shakespeare might put it, we need someone who will “dispel these inconveniences”, which is part of a speech from the play Henry V, when, towards the end, King Henry and Princess Katharine are listening to the Duke of Burgundy speak on restoring peace.

Our mayoral candidates might have a lot of money and influence and power when the cameras are around for campaign photo opps, but they seem to forget something, that Chicago is and always has been a diverse city, and always will be.

From its inception to right now, Chicago is made up of people who interact every day with others who do not look or talk or speak as they do, people who need help and who give help and who are glad to help in their lines of work, every day. These are the retailers, the first responders, the doctors and nurses and administrators, the airport ticket agents, the airline crews, the television studio camera operators, the bus drivers, and the furniture salespeople.

Diversity is nothing new, and we just need to leave off this census -oriented thinking and make progress. Interaction is easier when we just simply treat everyone with respect and courtesy. Represent yourself as a person, a special human being, an American citizen, plain and simple; represent yourself as someone who is one of those people out there to help and to work with everyone. Close down the prejudices, and bless yourself with the qualities of peace.

We just need to do that.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2015.

Civility in the Big City: Everybody’s Duty and Responsibility. Respect is Part of Living Around Others in the City

LIVING IN PEACE AND DISTURBING THE PEACE: LEARN HOW TO LIVE IN THE BIG CITY

I. THE TRANSITION MISSION

Coming from Nashville and an area where there were large lots and homes well built to block out a lot of noise, and homes set back from the street and off the main thoroughfares, I became accustomed to not only keeping the noise level down for the benefit of neighbors and family, but to not having a lot of noise from the outside to deal with. People in my family were pretty civil when it came to not making a lot of noise in the evenings and at night. Mostly the noises came from storms and the occasional flurry of travel activity in some early mornings, along with jet noise from the airport a few miles away. Being polite and respecting others was just a part of daily living as regarded making unnecessary noises.

II. LIFE IN THE BIG CITY STILL REQUIRES RESPECT FOR OTHERS

In the big city however, in a place like Chicago, activity is constant and people have different schedules. Still, that does not mean that you can make as much noise as you want and not think whether or not it is disturbing others. Most likely it is to some degree, even though no one complains directly. No one should have to come to you or go to the complex managers or law enforcement to quell disturbances of the peace or check upon the belief that there is suspicious activity going on. In doing things very late or on a pattern take care in this instance, for patterns of activity might be taken by some to indicate drug activity, as in getting drugs ready for drops at certain times and places. By making unnecessary or late noises or noises in the early part of the morning you might attract attention from the law or from apartment managers or angry tenants who might not take kindly to the noises you are making once it is found out that you or your guests are the source of the disturbances. It is just better to keep the noises down and not attract attention in the first place.

No one should have to tell you to lower the noises; you should take care not to make excessive noises especially when you live in an apartment or condominium complex. That means simply that others do live around you and that you should have a care not to be loud after regular working hours. Many older buildings do not have soundproofing as some newer complexes do, so sounds such as slamming doors, toilet seats falling hard, heels on tiled surfaces, kids running around on uncarpeted flooring, and dropping tools carry through walls and ceilings, even though the actual action is not directly above or below where the sounds end up being heard.

It is simply keeping with what it means to be a “good citizen”. Now good citizens have certain qualities, among these being trustworthiness, accountability, honesty, and community service, keeping up with current events, voting and the like. But the golden thread that binds the other facets together is RESPECT FOR OTHERS. This is so vital, so essential to living together in harmony and maintaining discipline and good society. Respect is so simple, more so than being bad or rowdy or upsetting or arrogant. Being civil and polite are so basic, and really are easy to do, as to smile is better than to frown. It makes you look better, look good, have a better outlook on life and on daily activities.

In major cities with tall buildings, sounds can also carry oddly from the outside. Storms sounded very strange when I first moved here; echoing thunder and wind seemed to come from every direction as the storms came in and would whip around structures. Sirens seem to come from one direction when in fact they come from another, and yelling comes from corners, with horns, stereos from cars, and the humming, roaring motors of trucks or vehicles that need mufflers. Some noises are to be expected where, as in Chicago, there is a mix of old and new structures, high rises, apartment buildings in various states of repair and material construction, and people who do not pay attention while driving. With so much activity you can expect first responders to be active on occasion, and you might hear some shouting or screaming or the occasional brawl. First responder activity is part of big city life…

In-complex noises are not part of big city life.

You can take steps to prevent excessive noise or noises late in the evenings after eight or ten PM when people are settling down after hard days at work. Think of what it would feel like for you if someone made noise that prevented you from settling in or eating a meal in quiet or going to bed and getting up timely so you could do a good job at the office. I doubt it if you would appreciate someone making noises or being inconsiderate and impolite. You might take steps to see who it was making the noises and ask them to stop.

But then the noises should not be happening in the first place, should they? Remember, folks, you aren’t in a detached house with a yard or separate driveways. You live around others so changes are in order so everyone can live in peace and happiness and more contentment. You can take basic steps, such as closing doors quietly (no slamming), taking out your trash in a timely manner, taking off heeled shoes when you must walk on tile or other hard surfaces, setting down tools and parcels carefully (after all, tools can break too and they are expensive many times to replace, and if they belong to others all the more reason to be careful with the possessions), not allowing things to drop (yes accidents do happen but you can exercise care and caution and go slowly and not lift a lot at one time in order to lessen the chance of dropping something), holding parties in party rooms or outside of the complex, and making sure your guests are quiet and do not talk loudly in hallways.

Guests must be respectful as residents are respectful; they need to adhere to the rules of the complex and not use areas where it is required that they be accompanied by a resident. They should hold to the rules many bars and restaurants post, asking patrons to keep the noise down and leave quietly so as not to disturb neighbors. Everyone should take more steps to be mindful of the rights of others to peace and quiet and relaxation. Big cities have enough stresses and stimuli without people making more noise than is needed.

Civility does count, and that applies to EVERYBODY. It applies to me and to you, to all who deem they are good citizens. Civility has a place in every society.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2015.

Census Regulations Can End Good Relationships… or Prevent Them From Being Good

I. INTRODUCTION

When you are around someone for many years, you think that after a certain amount of time you know about all there is to know. You have been friends, and like friends do you have probably argued, parted ways and made up, eaten out and visited together for movies and gone on vacations and such.

But then something deep -seated reared its ugly head- prejudice. And just like that, old ways intruded, the old ways promoted by our government, using our tax dollars, and funding the Census Bureau.

Representation is good, but not if someone is hurt or injured or further singled out because of the present laws and codes of the Census. It really is only for the purpose of counting the population, and no more. Anything else is an impediment to progress and achievement of a truly united United States.

If you have lost a friend thanks to prejudice and bias, thank the government. If you have lost business or been falsely accused because of those “protected status” labels, thank the government. If you have had it “up to here” with someone else labeling you and singling you out, thank the government.

I cannot begin to imagine how many potentially good relationships or even long – standing friendships and other unions have been damaged or completely broken and dissolved because of the biases and prejudices this nation has come to deem as acceptable.

II. WHERE YOU WORK SHOULD BE FREE OF BIAS AND PREJUDICE

Americans sometimes take for granted the privilege of having a job, and will put up with goodness knows what in order to keep it and grow in it.

Still, our government wants to make it complicated for people to begin and own a business. One look at the regulations dealing with the Census and the Small Business Association and those dealing with surveys of business owners shows that even though the owner might not think about his or her employees in terms of anything but a dedicated team, the surveys have something else in mind. The enumeration questions are hard deal with at times, especially when you as an owner pay no attention to race, color, gender, ethnicity, nativity, or other factors, when thinking about your staff. But the government wants to ruin that progressive thinking by sending you surveys that make you consider your staff in just those terms. Now you have to remark on who is what and what they do and such like items that in a way divide your staff in your mind.

But you can choose not to fill out the questions – you can say that such biases compromise other principles, or your ethics or morals or religion. You can take a stand against legalized prejudice.

The regulations of the Census Bureau have led to racial profiling and so much “legalese” that whenever we are out in busses, businesses, trains and when we fill out applications, we see the tangled web of the Census Bureau. Everywhere we turn we are buffeted by those signs posted and those disclaimers written, that the business or transit system will do its best to provide good service and not base the quality of service provided on “race, color, gender, national origin, religion or disability…”

But isn’t that what is happening in a subtle way? There is the wish not to discriminate, but the labeling words are right there in plain sight. We don’t want to treat you poorly because you look and act and dress differently from those who made those census act schedules that direct that the questions be answered and submitted with those categories in mind. You have to think of yourself in those terms because someone wants power over you or to regulate or categorize you for their own selfish and arrogant ends.

And then what happens? When you walk down a street, what does the approaching person do – pull their purse closer? What does the paranoid shopper do when you approach to look at something? Do they appear to guard their purchases or their bags? Thank the government and the Census Bureau. You could be just minding your own business or trying to see something on a shelf, as I was doing at a local liquor store yesterday. There was a man and a woman with a cart that had bags in it, and I came to look at something on a shelf. The guy could have moved the cart out of the way or asked if he could move it, but he moved very quickly as though to block me and guard the bags, like I was going to take them. I said nothing but went back around another series of shelves as I realized I had passed the item I sought.

It is a pity that we have allowed the terminology of separation to ruin our lives and our potential so awfully. So much has been wasted on the categorizing, the attempts at clearing out the collective conscience, the departmentalizing of the human being and the ruin of the human spirit. So much waste.

III. ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR PREJUDICES… AND CONQUER THEM

Most of us have grown up in a world riddled with prejudices, some of the effects of which we can see and some that are subtle in presentation and appearance. We see on the news, on the media spin that gives us more information than we need and that we sometimes want, the conflagrations arising around race and gender and certain preferences that cause some among us to be judged as having “alternative lifestyles”. Well, everyone to some degree has alternative lifestyles to someone else; we do make choices, every day, alternates… every day.

But when we use those biases and census schedule factors as excuses to not help someone or to perform a degrading or derogatory action and call it right or acceptable “because it’s on the census form and the government dictates that you are… this or that”, then there is a problem. Indifference and avoidance and denial take the place of compassion and love and grace, and someone might just die because those who stand around and who could help “do not look like that person”. “That person isn’t from my community so I don’t want to help them.” That is bigotry, and there is nothing good about it.

What does need look like, then? What does pain look like, then?

Many people take the stand for a post – racial America, and it is high time. The only race we need to think about is that which circles the athletic track.

When you can look at someone with civility and with compassion and with the caring thought of “sure, this is another person, and I am a person… cool deal.”, that is progress. When you can welcome everyone into your school or business or church or club with civility and understanding, that is progress. It is more than just being tolerant because “the government says so”; it is real and genuine peace of mind, no problem, no analyzing, no details needed. You are a human being, the person in your store or on that bus or in that airport or in your restaurant is a human being.

Civility – pass it on; don’t pass on it.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2015.

Chicago’s Best Music: How to Get Some Serious Beethoven

February 7, 2015.

CHICAGO’S BEST IS AT SYMPHONY CENTER: HOW TO GET BEETHOVEN AT HIS BEST

I. THE STARTING LINEUP

I did not think Beethoven’s 5th Symphony could sound any better, but it did tonight as the highest quality and most excellent symphony in the world took it on and flew with it. The opening movement is the most familiar but the CSO makes it sound that much better, even if you have heard it a hundred times. Right from the opening bars this team lit all the engines to full commence¬†and had them running right out of the launch pad. Under superior direction this seamless group of musicians proved tireless, focused, and worked every golden thread in with a tapestry of execution.

Rather the whole about one hundred members and that dancing-about conductor took on the famous work with all the energy of the starting line of the Indy 500. The basses and indeed all sections of the orchestra took the motor and oiled it and rode with it round every movement and the eight basses with all strings up and running resonated in their own right as the starting row of a NASCAR race, a rumbling classical rolling thunder that spurred the other strings on to completion. The winds were fantastic, the brass outstanding, the percussion excellent.

Every note, every familiar section, every part of the orchestra went right for it and held everyone in the audience speechless and spellbound till the conductor signaled the end. WOW, what a stellar show!

Lower balcony seats are the best by far, with the best view and sound. We haven’t tried box seats yet but I hope someday to have that privilege. In any seats you are fortunate to have at Symphony Center, you are sure to enjoy a spectacular show, from the best team of experienced musicians in the world.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra… make them a part of your life.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2015.

Chicago Begins a New Year: Is it Time for Meditation rather than Mediation… or Both?

Good and Happy New Year greetings to everyone in America’s third largest city!

Hello to all who are right now at home watching football, eating dinner, getting ready for work, or sitting at their computers doing work.

Everyone, it is 2015, and it is time to begin thinking and acting differently – those resolutions we make should mean more than that on which they are written hastily. A resolution is a plan, something you make up your mind to do and for a reason.

You are obese so you resolve to exercise and lose weight. You did not finish high school so you resolve to get your education equivalent and then maybe get a job. Perhaps you just turned sixteen and want to learn to drive, so you make up your mind to enroll in drivers’ education.

Maybe we can all add something important to our list of plans, the art of meditation. Now it is known that meditation is useful for calming our minds and bodies, reducing stress and sickness and bringing inner peace. It is an extension of the space we need to think, but we do not need to go into our rooms and light a candle or incense to practice meditation.

We can meditate – think on our actions – quickly and effectively, but we need to have calm minds in order to do that. We must stop thinking and acting harshly and rashly towards others – that must be an immediate resolution, for everyone deserves respect. We can think before we act, an essential element of getting along in society.

It is time to take the fine art of personal responsibility seriously, no doubt about it. We must learn to stand back, to consider everything carefully and closely and then act. It is simply the will to or the will not to do something or say something.

We in Chicago have grand and brilliant ideas, we have plans and resolutions, hopes and dreams and at every level in every social strata and on every scale.

Let us work well together, let us show love and compassion, and let us be the best we can be every day.

How will you make a difference in 2015?

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2015.

Holidays Bring Time for Reflection and Balance: Rooting the Self in What is Essential

HOLIDAYS HAVE SPECIAL MEANING FOR EVERYONE

These are the holidays… again… and as usual it seems, these holidays started two months ago… almost three, for from the end of October and the bare cessation of Halloween, holiday decorations and talk of Thanksgiving and Christmas pounced upon us like a dog out of chemical balance that hadn’t had its fill of Porterhouse steaks yet.

Stores began to fill up with decorations and signs advertising sales and deals. Mercantilism took a firm hold on the visual, the audible, the spiritual and the emotional. Spangled signals of those overblown holiday wants and wishes were stuck in our faces and until these same holidays are over we will not be rid of them. Spangled signals… tinsel, shiny cash registers, bows, glitter, wrapping paper in gold and red foil, electric lights by the strand and by the net, festivals and parades full of floats, fake snow, cartoon characters and corporate sponsorship lighting up the avenues and boulevards as though spending money was going out fashion.

Somehow something seems lost in the mix and muddle and hurry of the holiday season, something that has been broken from our senses in some sort of way. Some folks get the meaning and some manifest that in ways that others cannot understand.

For everyone, “the holidays” have all kinds of meanings. To one, it means that breakout and roll – out of corporate bling and gleam; for another it is the spiritual where one must be in a church or before a Nativity scene; and to another it means standing with family and friends watching the parades and attending galas and really cool parties stocked with good food and gifts. For adults it means one set of things; for children it means other sets of things – attitudes that some understand culturally while others only watch and think what certain rituals mean.

Holidays are times of symbolism for everyone, for those who believe in deities and those who do not. But they are special times for degrees of reflection and all manner of such and of beliefs and rites must be respected, for in America it is a right of everyone to celebrate as they desire, and to express themselves as they wish. Naturally freedoms and rights come with a price, and that price is personal responsibility.

Our Constitution guarantees every American citizen certain inalienable rights and privileges, such as the freedoms to worship as we desire (or not to), of speech and to assemble peaceably. We can pursue life, liberty, and happiness – really comes to a head during “the holidays”, doesn’t it?

The mercantile aspect, well, that is something it appears we will deal with each in our own way. Holidays are really meant to be sacred occasions, and have been for centuries celebrated without the need for millions of dollars spent on advertising and gaudy decorations to attract attention and bring people in to purchase stuff that will get broken, returned, or discarded or otherwise rid of by recipients. There goes to waste the wrapping paper and gift bags and the time and attention paid to getting those gifts looking “just right” and all pretty for putting under the tree and in the stockings. A lot of energy is wasted here in so many ways in some eyes, but in some aspects it is not really a waste.

For in this season of winter, there is need for something to remove the heaviness of the grayness this time of year brings. When there is less natural light and more clouds to fog up our views and visions, we act differently, we sense and feel differently and we do not act as our “normal selves”, being at times moody and taken in by disorders related to holidays and winters. Seasonal Affected Disorder is real and it hurts many during this time in so many ways. For many the solution to conquer the holiday blues is to get into the “spirit of the season”. Even this phrase has many meanings.

Some folks bring out the lights and decorate from foundation to roof their homes and shops. Others go to the store and stock up on food to cook for large parties (cooking can be very grounding and therapeutic and settling and is a social activity to be shared). Others just “go for it” and raid the stores after just the special gifts for those on their lists. They will spend hours and wear themselves out in that search… and then after that they need the food waiting for them at home, victuals that someone spent hours preparing.

In the end what matters? Is it the sales, the deals, the specials and the material things? Is it the lights, the paper, the bows and the bags, the stockings and trees and ornaments of fragile glass? Is it the decorating and the big dinners?

Be grateful and joyful in all these things, and I think you will understand what matters in the end.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.