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.

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.

Restaurant Hygiene and Cleanliness: Restaurants Can Improve Conditions to Maintain Happier Customers

RESTAURANTS NEED HYGIENE HELP

Safety is everyone's job. If you are in doubt, ask questions.

Safety is everyone’s job. If you are in doubt, ask questions.

If there is one thing I cannot stand to see in a restaurant it is the serving staff handling those filthy rags and cleaning the tables and seats. At many Chicago restaurants I see the bussers wipe the table top, the actual dining surface, with a rag they have taken out of an apron pocket, a dirty apron at that, with hands that most likely have touched a bin full of dirty dishes and then that same rag dozens of times, and then the cleaners will wipe the seats, and then sometimes wipe the tabletop AGAIN before twirling the rag casually like they are showing off or something, and then go off to do something else.

Just don’t let that same busser bring you any lemons or limes or anything else to garnish your drink. And watch out for the basket of bread and crackers- who is bringing it to you? When do you think was the last time they washed their hands?

Order first then wash your hands; you have probably received a menu that is sticky or has some little food pieces or is wet. I order first and then wash my hands. I am also careful to see how the server presents the drinks. It does not make sense that they would handle a glass by the rim, but should handle a stem glass by the stem and a tumbler in the middle. A few seconds’ more of extra care will make the dining experience better.

As for ice- what do they make it in? How often are the ice makers cleaned? And have you ever seen those large buckets in which ice is carried out of the kitchen or waiting staff credenza area on the way to be dumped in a larger bin sometimes near an area where dirty dishes are deposited for the bussers to take back to the kitchen? That ice if it does not have germs on its way into the large bin, or does not get the germs from the scoop, probably get germs from being around the area where the large ice bucket is dumped. If you can do without ice, do without it. Ask for a chilled drink perhaps, that requires no ice.

Cooks and servers should ALWAYS make sure to wash the lemons or limes before presenting them to be squeezed or put into a glass. It is not pleasant to think that a lemon that has come from a field and been handled by others has not been washed before being presented at your table. Wash any utensils that come in contact with fresh fruits, and dry them, making sure no residue remains and that the knife does not contact other surfaces where items such as meats or unwashed fruits or vegetables have been.

If possible do not handle ketchup or mustard containers at the table. Ask the server to put a small amount of the condiments into a bowl or on a plate and remove the sticky containers from the table. The more you handle such containers you contact germs.

And you see what goes on at salad bars… many adults still do not understand the rules of proper hand -washing, so those scoops and tongs that hang out on those little plates before the larger bowls are just brimming with germs and bacteria deposited by people who have not observed proper hygiene. Look closely sometime at those tongs- fingerprints, food residue… well, if you go to a salad bar and make a salad, take it to your table using a napkin to hold your plate (and use one hand to hold the plate and another to serve from the large bowls and hold the tongs) and then wash your hands very well using lots of soap and water and clean towels afterwards!

In the bathroom, WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY after you use the toilet. Use folded tissue to flush the toilet if it is not automatic, to reduce your touching of any bathroom items. Use another to open the latch on the stall door, and if the door does not push open, use another towel to open the door. NEVER leave a bathroom without washing your hands- you touch surfaces all the time, so a few seconds extra washing will reduce contact with germs.

Some restaurants have bussers that wear gloves and use disposable cloths when they wipe the tables, such as Big Bowl, at their Cedar location. Bussers just need to make sure they wash their hands after wearing gloves and after handling dirty dishes, and especially before boxing up leftovers, if they take over that task from the server/waiter.

Many times I ask for a container so I can box up my leftovers; I prefer to do this myself and feel more comfortable doing so.

Restaurant managers need to educate bussers and servers to better cleaning and hygiene practices. Managers need to see that bussers do not use the same rag on the tabletop and on the seats and then back to the tabletop. Twirling the rags is also not a good idea as this could just flip out food and liquids that the rags caught during the cleaning process. I don’t care for it when a busser walks near my table flipping a rag around, such as I have seen in some restaurants in Chicago’s famous Loop.

For happier customers, take the time to be careful and thorough when maintaining a restaurant. Do not use cloth rags on tables and seats; use disinfectant and bleach disposable towels and wear gloves and wash hands afterwards.

Ensure clean floors and clean doors!

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

 

Wabash Renewal Project? Clean Up Your Spaces First!

It seems that the more we hear about tax increases and paying for the management errors that have resulted in our pension crisis (or is it pension emergency?) here in Illinois, the less enthusiastic we become, the more we tune out any more talk of taxes and politics, and the less happy we become with our officials, from the mayor to the city council to everyone above and below and in between.

Now we have word of this special district around State Street, and the talk of raising taxes and of funding to work on Wabash Avenue and the areas between State Street and Michigan Avenue. Now hold on a moment, folks! Before you waste even one more minute talking about it or one more cent “working on” a plan or “looking into it” or “investigating it”, there are certainly aspects of that area we affectionately call “the Loop” that we can take care of right now.

As my late grandmother would tell you nonsense talkers and big talkers, “DO SOMETHING!” She was not one to take the nonsense stuff politicians and planners throw out these days to woo the taxpayers and to lull the citizens into doing what they want. No way. She would have tackled what can be easily done at the moment the need is seen to take care of a very important facet of revitalizing any area or doing any kind of project of that nature.

Clean up the area first. That’s right, use elbow grease and planning and gather the resources and CLEAN UP THE SPACE FIRST.

Think of a true class act – think Palmer House Hotel. This is a beautiful, classic building inside and out, with a sense of welcome and of luxury and of grace that I think epitomizes what Wabash Avenue should be. Sturdy elegance and gracious service are what make businesses of any kind special and inviting. A bland interior need not be what is all that the business shows, as is seen by the interior of the Palmer House. A plain brick and glass and neutral stone face might conceal a richness of color and pattern and creativity in artwork and displays prepared to welcome customers and visitors, families and colleagues.

The Palmer House Hilton Hotel - Chicago, IL - Mezzanine The Palmer House Hotel

So here is what is needed: Get the pigeons away from the buildings and the “L”, get the trash off the streets, the trash cans cleaned and sanitized, and the sidewalks power blasted. Get the windows washed, the alleys washed, the buildings washed and given a good dusting inside and out. Break out the shovels, the rakes, the bags, and tackle the parks; break out the tool kits and tool belts and work on the doors and windows. Give the store displays a totally fresh look, an appealing look that will invite shoppers to come in… but first go back to step one and get the resources together.

It is very simple, though tackling the bird problem might be somewhat risky and complex, it needs to be done. The health department must get involved, especially in the area that is bordered by State Street, Adams, Jackson, and Wabash. In that area are some of the filthiest L tracks, sidewalks, signs, and stairs. There is a stink in the air in that section that is probably caused by the accumulation of bird waste and trash, and in an area where there are so many restaurants and thousands of people walking it every day, that is a recipe for health problems and the driving away of business. I mean, it is not very pleasant looking around there.

So, for that project there is step one: get the resources together. The needs are easy to figure out: gloves, masks, shovels, hoses, trash bags and trash cans, power washers, boots, sturdy clothing, head protection, bug spray, pest control. Everyone must organize, from first responders to be around in case someone gets into serious trouble, to small business owners giving solid input as to what they want to see and what is best for their customers and capital plans; from volunteers willing to give hours to making their city look better and smell better and be more inviting to people giving supplies to make the project successful.

 Picture taken from a search on GOOGLE images, showing businesses alongside the Loop “L”.

No one person will be able to take on the remodeling, renovation and reworking of the Wabash Avenue Loop area alone. It will take the veritable mission control team to make it happen: people to supervise, people to take over when others are on breaks, people to bring in supplies and people to haul trash away. It will take everyone looking out each for the others to ensure safety and security. The project is huge, but taken step by step, beginning with a good solid cleanup session as detailed above, a lot of problems will be seen and some will be solved. Issues regarding structures will then be noted and repairs or other steps can be taken, such as historical preservation or demolition or repurposing.

It is hoped businesses would open their doors to those working on the project, for restroom use, or for dining in the food courts or just for a place to sit and have a simple lunch if the weather turns wet or stormy. Were I a business owner, that might be on my menu too – wanting to help out the workers who are giving time and energy to make the Loop look better and be welcoming to visitors and to my customers. I might have a place set aside with a sign saying, “Welcome Loop Work Volunteers! Sit here, rest and have something to eat!” Pitch in and do your part, and don’t worry about the money. It will come when things look and feel better.

Get cleaning first, and then take the next steps.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

RESOURCES

1. http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/illinois/palmer-house-a-hilton-hotel-CHIPHHH/index.html?WT.srch=1

Boston Action: For the Good People of Boston, Chicago Keeps You in Mind

BOSTON SUFFERS ON A FESTIVE DAY

Boston Skyline

Boston Skyline (Photo credit: brentdanley)

At once, from a resident of the City of Chicago, where we also have a huge annual 26.2 mile marathon, our thoughts, prayers, condolences and hearts are with everybody in Boston. On this day when it was supposed to be a big day, festive, fun, full of baseball, runners, shopping, eating, being with family and friends and seeing people striving to be their best in a major runner’s event such as the grand Boston Marathon, chaos erupts near the finish line and then about a block away.

Immediately there is trouble, there is noise and smoke and flame; there is disorder and destruction, flying glass, metal atop of wood, barriers piled atop people or parts of people, and it becomes clear that there are gravely injured and, in short order, confirmation of two dead.

Now the Boston subway system is enduring shutdowns, Logan International Airport is on ground stop, the perimeter around the Copley and side streets is widened and close off, and there are more suspicious packages located and worked on. In this day when the world comes together, now someone has tried to split it apart with two bombs. But did they do that job?English: John Hancock Tower in Boston, Massach...

Those responsible might have split bodies and lives but watch in those tapes people running toward the scene to assist the injured, people preparing the medical tent in the very area of the first explosion, where more devices might have been and might have gone off in short order. There were people risking their lives in that scene minutes after and seconds after the explosions occurred, to rescue the trapped and injured under the wood and metal piles. Reporters have given horror stories of what they saw, the Governor and the President have been informed, and believe it, we in Chicago are on alert as well.

This is a festive day turned difficult in a matter of seconds, and now there are people, who came from all over the planet to watch this great race, who are in surgery, who have amputated limbs, who are gravely injured or critical or serious. There might be people who have lost family or friends.

Accidental as some have speculated- gas or other rupture? Wonder, but consider that the FBI is now officially treating this as a terrorism investigation case.

Those responsible need to come forward and see the chaos they have caused, see the blood they have shed, the damage done. The cowards, the cruel and destructive people who have shredded this beautiful Boston day and indeed the day for this country, should be forced to go and see the people they have injured and shocked and destroyed today. You dish it out, then you can take the aftermath, you nasty ugly cowards. That is all you are, not strong men for some religion or brave and buff and chest -forward roosters crowing their deeds of the day. You are nothing but cowards and you will most likely die by the way in which you inflicted death today. Because if our forces find you, and I hope they do find you, and if you are to be found they WILL find you… believe it they will shut you down in a Boston minute.

Northwest corner of Copley Square in Boston, M...

Northwest corner of Copley Square in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, showing the Boston Public Library at left, and Trinity Church at right. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Again, condolences and prayers for the people of the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.

Media and Advertising: Most Annoying Ads and Expressions of 2012

ANNOYING ADS AND WORDS OF 2012

Mass media

Mass media (Photo credit: ZaCky ॐ)

If you are as I am, you are no doubt tired of hearing certain things or seeing certain ads over the mass media (especially some radio stations where ads tend to be repeated over and over and constantly, ad nauseam, until you are sick of hearing the music, the hype selling tactics, and the politics. One category of ads that I have found most annoying are ads for automobile dealerships. Chicago area dealerships have background music that, especially around the “holidays”, can be very annoying and trite indeed. You can hear takes -off of Jingle Bells and “sleigh rides” and Nutcracker Suite, and jangling bells and blaring trumpets with a drum background only so many times before you want to turn off the media and go to read a good book. One company played “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” as their background music, and some stations played their ads two or three times in a row, until I thought that any time now, the movie “2001 A Space Odyssey” would begin shining forth from my radio speakers. And then the car ads, at the end of the ads where the disclaimers and the terms and conditions are put on, drown out the words and the fast speakers with music just loud enough that you cannot even hear all that is said. Plainly the companies do not want you to hear everything but just to believe that the deals are good and you will be drawn into the dealership to see if the data that you could hear is accurate. And ask any questions you might have regarding that “deal”.

One of the worst is the phone -in, message receiver -style ad Toyota is putting in for this so -called Toyotathon sales pitch. It just speaks to the lack of person -to -person customer service that is disappearing from the reatil and commercial areana as social media takes over with impersonal style and lack of actual contact. Wireless and answering machines don’t do it all, folks. And besides that, the voice over the message machine hints that there are three selections of car the customer can make but then after the button press there is only one that is mentioned, the Camry. Fine car and all, so the commercial goes, but what about the other models? Mention something in an ad, then talk about it, or don’t mention it at all. That is a mark of poor writing and advertising when a subject is spoken of but not talked about afterwards. Or if Toyota intends to talk about other car models, then have other commercials related to them, but not in that awful message machine format. Talk to the potential customers as though you are interacting with them and desire them to be in your dealership looking at the cars, finding them appealing, wanting a test drive, etc. Don’t over do the “social media” -style aspect that is taking over the commericial and financial worlds with their rob0-calls, the telemarketers with their dead air and automated gibberish. Be polite, be reasonable, be simple and to the point, not wordy and full of elaboration.

How annoying!

Another category of ads that are really a bug in the brain are anything related to hospitals and any ad with the word “cancer” in it. I mean, goodness gracious, “cancer this” and “cancer that”, and we have treatments for cancer, and the hospitals deal with advanced cancer treatments. Not to mention the talk about insurance companies, premiums, insurance providers, doctors not taking or then again taking some insurances, Medicare and Medicaid, this and that with Blue Cross and Health Spring… geez whiz already.  Seems that if someone is that interested in or needs to discuss the idea of cancer treatment they will have the appropriate talks with their health care providers; it is not an issue that needs to be blared out over the airwaves every day and every hour. And they yakety, yakety yakety yak over and over again for thirty seconds or more rehashing the same points, talking up the facilities, the nursing status, the pharmacies… This university’s “medicine”, that college’s “medicine”, this hospital, that medical center… OK folks, we get the point. We hear you, we see you, we hear about the millions of $$$$ the philanthropists and drug companies are investing in you.

It seems the ads for CDH Proton Center a Procure Center are among the most loquacious on the radio. How many times do companies such as these have to insert some phrase like “a Procure Center” for someone to get it? Are the producers of a mind that people listening are dunces or dummies or have to get words drilled into them to make a point? What point do the advertisers want to make – that we can get turned on to a concept or just as easily get turned off by meaningless repetition and trite, vague phrases?

We get it!

I suspect that if someone is really interested in it they will look it up or call the people concerned who deal with these issues.

Car dealership

Car dealership (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some local Chicago TV stations seem to play nothing but health ads; MeTV and Antenna TV for instance must think that their viewing audience during the hours encompassing late morning to late evening is made up of stay -at -home invalids, the sick or the old or the infirm. They run ads for cancer treatment centers, for insurance companies, for class action and law firms related to health products, for step -in tubs.If caregivers can find these useful then that is fine, but please, there are other people in other demographic markets who watch those classic television shows too, during those hours. We do not always find hearing ads for cancer, for surgical mesh, for insurance companies or for hospitals appropriate during meal hours. I find that the only word to describe some ad marketers is “inconsiderate”.And then there are the ads from GEICO, among the most annoying and in some cases useless features heard on News Radio 780 WBBM. The “Today In Time” feature is nothing but a bunch of yakety -yak that takes up a minute and says nothing worth hearing -only an ad for GEICO, really. If you want history badly enough you can research something. As for that “Maxwell the Pig” bit, nothing doing there, and the “bouncer” ad with the gecko, making insurance sound so exclusive and special, when it is among the most discussed and talked -about and hyperactive issues in the nation these days.

Quill.com also has some rather blase’ ads too, with that outdated phone-in style of commercia. The problem is that the speaker does not go right to something that deals with office supplies or business -related events. They go off on totally unrelated introductions that have the answering party on the spot to promote a product or service that will get the caller onto the correct subject. This takes extra time and is wasteful time, too. Then after the brief talk about what Quill could do for the caller the caller hangs up and you get this abrupt hangup tone, rather crude and not polite at all. Quill would do better following a more direct route to promoting its products and services in a timely fashion in order not to waste money or energy. Stick to the subject.

Yawner.

Foreclosure ads also take part of the Annyoing Ad Awards this year, and one that WBBM has been running is so “made up” and not very well done, for a company that assists the more successful people who are experiencing debt and owing more than their home is worth. They want it apparently to sounds as though the folks are of a higher class, with the accents and the monetary figures to go with the idea, but then the people who are going through these situations have plenty of private advisors and bankers to help them with the problems. Poorly constructed ads most likely will turn off business than inspire someone to shop at a company. A lot of these ads and also ads for banks and lending institutions have been popping up of late, and thus the warranting of getting out the caution flag!

Ads for BMO Harris Bank are getting into the “annoying” category too, with their latest string of grammar – based spots. Some little beep then a selling tongue using verb or adjective followed by a Thesaurus of words meant to generate interest in the services offered by the bank. Just remmeber, BMO, that the word “phew” can mean more than just a breath of relief; it can also be something said when a person senses something unsavory to the nasal passages, a stink in other words, that causes more of a negative reaction than a positive one. “Phew” might be some citizens’ reaction to the banks these days anyway, what with their suspicious dealings regarding the foreclosure crisis, the robo-signing, the hidden life they lead with the “Fed” and the officials who can’t seem to boost the economy but instead are so negative when they come on the mass airwaves to speak that many might begin to lost trust in them, the same loss of trust now experienced for Congress and many elected officials at the state and local levels.

How negative do we want to get? How low do we want to go in the realm of mass media and advertising and the heights of “trite-ness”?

On to the annoying expressions of 2012 and the past few years! How tired are you of hearing “social media”, “just sayin'”, “OMG”, “omigod”, know what I’m sayin’, whatever, and “like”? Like, ya know, I’m dashed awful tired of hearing these trite little phrases spiked into sentences every few words or so. Too many times of saying “You know”- how many times do the sports folks say that during interviews? Must be dozens. And it is worse when someone combines the little silly phrases, as in, “Like, you know, whatever… just saying.” Add another: baby bump. Who needs to hear constantly about “celebrities” already? Millions of women the world over go through that process of gestation and birth every year, so “bump” that useless phrase right into File 13.  And please, learn how to write properly (yes, manuscript and cursive) and learn to write an actual letter, before you learn to text, and please, learn to type, on a regular typewriter. I did, and I’m doing just fine, thanks. Didn’t have to learn to read and write and type on some tiny little glowing screen.

And “its’s on the web”, or “it’s on TV” – so what? Think it’s so excellent and grand, and great and wonderful just because it’s displayed on a venue of electronic media? Be careful of what you get on “the web”. Be careful of thinking it’s so good and right just because you “saw it on TV’. TV and the Web are only means of displaying and sharing information and images; radio can share information; books share information and images. But not everything someone says or does makes it “right” or valid or good or worthy.

And possibly the most overworked phrase of the past few months, fiscal cliff. Well if the nation goes over it, Congress does too, Republicans and Democrats and Independents alike, and they will take working families, school kids in need of their lunches, education programs, unemployment insurance, and tax hikes right over the cliff with them. Is it any wonder the approval rating of Congress is what, 11%? If we could rate them in the negative, I would put a rating of -.0000000000111111 on every member of that stubborn Congress of ours. They are out of touch, they do not listen to the people, they do not understand what these extreme tax hikes and spending cuts are going to do. There they sit, bickering, posturing, stubborn and hard -headed, cynical, hard -hearted, indecent, arrogant, full of pride and vice and malice. There they sit, politicians to the core, and they practice their deceptive arts very well indeed.

Take your “unsocial media”, your fiscal cliff, and your like whatevers and throw them out of your vocabulary. Learn how to be social, polite, and work together as a team for the completion of a successful plan and for a stronger nation. After all, we didn’t make it this far by sitting so close together but not talking to each other. We came this far as a nation by being team players, by working together, by standing side to side and face to face and using our combined strengths and intellects and wills and backbones. Let us keep it that way.

Original logo of Antenna TV, used until August...

Original logo of Antenna TV, used until August 29, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And as for the happenings in the Chicago Bears organization, look for a coach and a coaching staff that will provide your team, your front office, and everyone concerned, right to the fans and those who sit at home watching your team on television and listening to you on the radio every season, with a teamwork -oriented person who comes in every day, who shows up ready to take on each game as though it is the Super Bowl. Bring in someone with diplomacy, tact, and that right amount of firmness and the ability to draw a room together and get everyone working for that goal of a winning season.Other than that, AAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKK! YIPE! What is happening to our grammar, our abilities to write and communicate and socialize face to face? What is the deal?

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.

Fiscal Cliff Talk is Bad Posture

PLAYERS IN THE FISCAL CLIFF SITUATION SHOW BAD POSTURE

Tax

Tax (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012)

Too much talk and no action, and according to the article there has been an awful (and I do mean awful) lot of “posturing”.

The problem is, it is bad posturing. What is the meaning of bad posture, and not just in the light of politics?

When someone shows poor or bad posture, they tend to slouch, to be rather the presentation of a “couch potato”, loafing about, eating a lot of the wrong or junky foods, not getting the proper amount of activity and the like. Bad posture is a sign of inactivity of the worst kind, a show that the person is not using their faculties properly, for wisdom and strength and such.

It seems our lawmakers (wrong word considering they do a lot of law breaking and corruptive behavior too) in Washington cannot even agree on what anyone in any of the two major parties has said or what their intentions are or what the results will be. They are no more than aged children gathered together on the same playground and they cannot agree on how to use even the basic equipment available. They cannot cooperate on the jungle gym, the see -saw, the swings or the slide; they quarrel and quibble and filibuster and bicker their way through our tax dollars used to run the Capitol every day while they waste time over their Senate Bean Soup wondering whom to blame and what to say for the news hour sound bytes.

And none of it is good for this country; none of it sounds good, comes off as good, or has any spot of decency that we can say is good or not. One thing is sure, it is trouble if we are pushed over that fiscal cliff, and no good will come of it. No one wants to be taxed, and we all are excessively all ready. No one wants to see their money going for more bombs or war expenditure or planes or rockets or rebuilding another country.

We need to rebuild our own rusting, crumbling, falling infrastructure right now, and have no more time to waste on this pointless bickering over where to get revenue. We need to get with it and cut wasteful spending and high time political perks before we, that is they in Washington, can talk of raising taxes even one red cent or cutting spending where it is most needed, for our elderly especially who have earned their pay and their time and deserve the right to benefit from what they have given their country, being decades of dedicated and good service for business and government in war and in peace. We need to hold our elders in higher regard than we do… we, that is again those in Washington who would see those estemed elders degraded and impoverished by rising taxes and higher medication costs.

In this week of remembering Pearl Harbor, those who fought and died and sacrificed and those hardy survivors who turned out to see the solemnities, we need to focus on what we can do for this country and not for any other right now. We need to repair not only our literal infrastructure but our moral and spiritual and morale inner structures as well. It is plain from many reports that employee morale is down, that corruption at state and local government levels is up, that the people we elected in trust to higher office are misusing public finds (witnes the Illinois official who bilked her charges out of millions of serious bucks), and that business is suffering. Families are hard up for putting food on the table, for heating their homes, for disaster relief and insurance payments, for car payments, for getting their kids the right education, for the basics of life… and what do those people in Washington do?

Those people with the cushy seats in the Senate and House and White House, those people with the pages and the nice offices, heat and hot water, a kitchen, limousine service, access to the most private and exclusive clubs in the world, all the finest and all the best amenities of life… what are they doing? They are wasting the tax dollars those families put into “the system” every day when they buy anything, from groceries to medications to cars and gas to books and paper. Those families wonder where their next meals are coming from; the politicians can have food and drink whenever and wherever they want. They don’t have to worry about a few million dollars here or there; they would not miss that extra money in taxes or investments or in business deals. They make a great deal of money every day on the backs of those families who are down on their luck, trodden over by the same people they elected into office with their precious votes and time needed to make those choices.

They are using resources to excess and living in the luxury those families cannot even imagine having, while they waste away the hours in the marble halls and behind the heavy, gilded doors of their chambers. Those senators and representatives do not care any more; they are so jaded and their minds so clouded with luxurious excess and their eyes glazed over with golden glitter from their expensive jewelry and engine – turned silver belt buckles and the shine from their tailored shoes that they cannot see the right path to take. They are so over the path of obsession with materialism and power that it might take a billion confessions to turn them back to the level of even thinking of the right and proper path for their debates to take in order to put this nation back in good form.

It is time you people in government tightned your belts in the same way you are asking the rest of us to tighten ours. You are not playing fair when you do not do the work we sent you into office to do, when you bicker and rant, rave and play the blame game and the party lines of corrupt and worthless political bantering. You are the ones we will blame when we are futher taxed, when we are unable to support the local businesses or promote our own businesses, when more families go hungry and more people lose jobs.

You believe that with your nice suits and expensive cars and such that you are figures of dignity and diplomacy. You are nothing of the sort. You are undignified, unworthy and blame -worthy people who have used your power for your own selfish ends and means, who have used information to gain to excess millions of dollars, book deals, news spin and photo opportunities. Your halls are filled with scandal and dishonor, and I cannot even begin to think what your consciences would look like if we average citizens could take them out and examine them under an electron microscope. I think we would see such dirt and filth, such grime, grit and muck that we would wonder if any amount of cleansing would make your souls and consciences clear again.

How pitiful it is that we are thinking about going over this fiscal cliff and seeing this nation plunge into a deep recession or even a depression. How sad it will be if small businesses, that do so much hiring and product promotion and advertising will fail or will come so close to failing that their employees will leave, give up, or wear themselves out trying to keep the store afloat. What families will suffer the most? What small towns will be hit hardest, what communities will feel it in the most challenging way, and what children will suffer when their school funding is reduced? Hazards lie ahead for us all if we cannot get our nation in order and our minds properly focused.

Oh, Senator Boehner, by the way, don’t let your friends’ grandchildren play on that bridge – it might crumble under them. What a vicious circle that will begin…

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, ©2012.

Mayor To Be? What Would You Want Me to do for You?

For years I thought about running for Mayor of Chicago. I have learned more about the election process, watched the process, watched candidates come and go, seen the parties and the media coverage, the talks and the conferences, the photo-ops and the celebrities surrounding such elections.

English: Source: http://www.chicagob2b.net/lin...

English: Source: http://www.chicagob2b.net/links/pages/CitySeal1.gif This image is a copy of the official seal of the City of Chicago, Illinois, as designed and adopted by the City in 1905. As such, it is a work authored before 1922, and is therefore in the public domain. A 1895 edition of the seal can be seen here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But there is another side to the hoopla and the parties, the photographs, the lights and the glory of the position. And that side is WHY someone really would run for such a position, being Mayor of America‘s third largest city and of the city that contains what many people call the most beautiful lakefront in America.

That side – the important side of why someone ideally runs for office – is helping the people who really need necessary, urgent, and life -saving help. It is lowering tax rates, keeping communities safe, lowering the crime rate, improving the job market and “the economy” for more than just the big businesses/ corporations who plaster their names all over the parks, hospitals, donations rolls, educational institutions and street signs. It is doing all in one’s power to extend a hand to the single parent, the child who wonders why their school is not as safe as another school, who wonders how the environment can be made better so everyone can learn, the laid-off folks who wonder why their jobs are being taken to other states or countries.

I have asked people what they would want to see from a mayor. Some have said getting rid of the gangs is priority, and the gangs and their turf wars certainly are a big problem. The murder rate rises, evidence of drug use is all over those areas where gangs have their presence, and the use of guns is blatant. Innocent people suffer where gangs thrive, children are gunned down in parks- and all they are doing is playing or just hanging out with friends. Some idiot comes out with an assault rifle and, through a case of mistaken identity, guns someone down and sprays the area with bullets, not caring who is in the way, not caring whether young families are out trying to enjoy bonding time, not caring about the kids.  They do their thing no matter what, and that has to stop.

And then there is the issue of what to do about the teachers, the “neighborhood” schools, the education budget, the school board, the longer school day, demolition or refurbishing of other buildings, charter schools, library hours…. EDUCATION! What are the real budgetary needs, who deserves the big pay, what should be done about the school board? What would YOU as a non-board citizen like to see from the next mayor?

Then there is the issue of businesses, small family-0wned and -run businesses, local specialty businesses tired of government red tape, talk of health insurance, talk of this and that regulation, talk of corporations outsourcing jobs to China and Mexico and India. As a small business owner, what have you asked mayors and aldermen to do that they seem not to hear or want to hear? What would YOU want a listening, duty-bound and honorable person to as your next mayor?

What would you like to see done about dilapidated buildings, run-down houses, trashy and vacant lots, run-down playgrounds, schools without air conditioning? What do you want done about potholes on your neighborhood streets, lighting on your streets, flood zones in your community, building code enforcement, adding more fire departments or police protection? What would you want done about dogfighting or cockfighting, stray or hazardous animals? Do you want chemical contamination cleaned up? Have you tried and failed with the present old-school, old-boy network, are you tired of the rubber-stamp city council?

What about transportation, the bunched busses, the CTA stations? What do you want- lower fares, better services; are there regularity issues in your neighborhood? Maybe you need more service? Maybe you need a safer area for the busses to have stops and so the organizations will build nice stations and so that the appearance of your area will improve and then jobs, businesses and other services will come in.

Maybe a lower tax rate is in your radar, and so it should be. Too much money in the coffers seems to give the present officials the mind to think they have it to waste. WASTE? It is not their money to waste. It is the money THEY have taxed out of YOU and with the claims that they need that money for services and other projects. But what happens? They give themselves hefty pay raises, fine office perks, travel, rented luxury vehicles. They tell YOU to tighten YOUR belt while they do the opposite!

As mayor I will NOT do that. If anyone need to tighten their belt, it is the city council, the boards of the city, and the leadership. If I ask for something such as reduction of a budget I will adhere to those cuts and would not ask anyone to do what I would not do. Reduce pay for the boards, sure! AND hold them accountable for every action. Hold the power board accountable for every outage, every transformer blowout, every street light, every time a crew comes out to repair after a storm. Hold those people accountable to give reports of what is going on and see the evidence. I want to know the people who work for me REALLY ARE WORKING, and not sloughing off in their desk chairs or having some expensive lunch on the clock.

Citizens, I WANT YOU to talk to me. I want to know what is going on, to see what is happening, to see if the officials who say they will do something really follow up on it for your community, school, church, streets, etc. I want you to write, to respond, to call, to come by my office (I think I will call it the “Duty Hut”), and sit and chat. No big fat parties for THIS Mayor, no way, not until my constituents, the “regular”, “everyday”, all-around working taxpaying citizen is satisfied with the services, the officials under my command, the appearance of their streets, and the safety of their schools. No celebrities in my office during working hours, no corporate lunches, no luxury vehicles in my city fleet, no way- not until everyone else is satisfied, as happy as people can be, as well-fed, as well-educated, and as well-housed as Americans should be.

My slogan: NO SIDES CHICAGO! My vision: A United Chicago for a Stronger Nation! My “STEM”- satisfied and loyal constituents, and my roots, a fertile area for people to prosper, for families to safely live, work, play and have fun together; a safer place for businesses to prosper and grow, a safer place to learn for our students at all levels, and fairness for everyone. I will be a listening mayor. One cannot learn anything unless one listens to others. I will be an acting mayor and hopefully those who work with me will be of the same set of mind.

Everyone is on my team- that is my “sub-slogan”. You can be… YOU CAN BE on my team too. The Mission Control Mayor… think of that.

The essential question is this: What do you want your mayor to do for you?

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

It is a lot to think about, isn’t it? Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, ©2012. Writer, designer, and web developer for ®EDUSHIRTS.

Mayor Minimalizes Marijuana? What Will This Cause?

Minimalize the small to focus on the large… think again. The consequences could be worse than the possession of the minimal amount of marijuana, such as 15 grams.

English: Four ounces of low-grade marijuana, u...

English: Four ounces of low-grade marijuana, usually referred to as a quarter-pound or QP. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is said that one does not build the roof before building the rest of the house first. You do not start with the windows; you begin with laying out the land and constructing the foundation. Starting with the small and the basic is the essence of learning anything. In the case of troubles plaguing communities in and near Chicago, where do we begin to solve issues such as poverty, the presence of powerful and invasive narcotics, guns and gangs and litter and graffiti, run-down structures that are very dangerous, and streets that need potholes repaired? Where to begin? With more police presence? With grass roots efforts, with marches, with family talks and stable households?

In the Bible, remember, Joseph did not get his start in Egypt right in the royal court of the Pharaoh. He began by doing small household tasks, by concentrating on the basics of the daily doings of the home of an official. He did not get his first offering being second-in-command in the country; he began work as a servant. Only after extreme difficulty, only after much testing and trial, did he get the calling to come to the royal court and end up preparing Egypt to endure years of famine. He did not start out wearing the fine linen and the golden chains of power and authority; he had to work, endure, and patiently wait for his calling, his chance.

What message, the news media and concerned citizens have every right to ask, will this minimalizing of possessing certain amounts of marijuana, will this statute send to those who have it? Sure you can fine them and use the money for community programs and drug or gang reduction, and leave the police to pursue those who are committing larger or more violent crimes, but the message you send is the same. You can do something small and essentially get away with it.

What happens then when you have to do something big, or get into a situation greater than those you have met with in the past? What happens when you neglect the small and the basic in favor of looking just at the larger situation or the big picture? You will find the obvious- that there are pieces missing from your tapestry, that characters are missing from your painting, that something is not in the photograph… that an important feature is not in your story or your view. You will find that you have been concentrating on the completion of the big project without looking at the smaller threads… the building blocks, the basics of what makes the project work and what will make it a success.

Simply put, you have put the wall before the bricks that make up the wall. That’s not the proper approach to making a plan work.

Having marijuana is a crime, no matter the amount, and that is how it should be. Possession is possession- of one gram or a thousand grams, of a few dollars’ worth or a few million $$$ worth. A crime is a crime- murder is still murder no matter what ‘degree’ the legal system places on it. A life is taken; a life is destroyed by violence or drug addiction or the use of drugs.

The possession of narcotics must not be made a trivial matter. When something is trivial, you can look at it literally in three ways (tri + via= three ways). Any way you look at the problem of strong drugs and illegal narcotics and the abuse of these drugs, it is drugs+ gangs+ guns and taxes+ death+ troubles. Serious troubles all around for everybody, whether directly involved by seeing the situations, knowing someone on drugs or dealing them and not saying anything to the proper authority, or indirectly involved by having to pay taxes for first responder overtime, downgrades in revenue for productive purposes, and lagging community development.  Trivializing so hot and potent and troublesome an issue is sure to lead to more difficulties for everyone. Besides, if you need to get the police involved, go the distance- arrest, read the rights, take to prison and give the offenders a taste of that side of the life of crime. Otherwise you get a few hundred dollars out of someone and they can continue to use and abuse.

Minimalize the crime and punishment, you minimalize the sense of harm, danger, trouble-rousing, and community service and personal responsibility.

The 15 grams or less of marijuana the police find on someone could still be used later in an act that results in someone being shot, killed, injured in a wreck, or otherwise violently harmed in body or spirit. A fine of $100 to $500 is not likely to be missed by a dealer or a heavy user- if they want the drugs or money badly enough they will find ways to get it and replace what was confiscated. The point must then again be emphasized:

Minimalize the crime and punishment, you minimalize the sense of harm, danger, trouble-rousing, and community service and personal responsibility.

Marijuana Seed on Fingertip

Marijuana Seed on Fingertip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Divi Logan for ®EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, ©2012.

Chicago: Train Station Heaters are for People not Pigeons

Inspired by a story aired on NEWS RADIO 780 WBBM, CHICAGO This Week

** PIGEONS ARE PESTS **

In the radio article, basic information was  given about customer reaction to the pigeon presence under the heat lamps- some not bothered and others disgusted. Story comments add both sides to the story. Resource for the news article is listed at the end of this post.

The article contained some rather stomach-upsetting references to groups of pigeons gathering at space heaters used around Chicago train stops. Now, PETA might have given a nod to the CTA for their treatment of pigeons but the fact remains that these birds, multiplying in the millions, are not only pests but no matter now pretty they are, how shiny and colorful, they are not harmless; they are introduced pests.

The Pigeon, or in its true name the European Rock Dove, is an introduced species, as its name implies. They breed year-throughout and the droppings are places for three disease-bearing fungi to reproduce. These are histoplamosis, cryptococcosis, and psittacosis. Please see the excellent article referenced below for more on these diseases.

The problem is that these birds gather and accumulate anywhere, building nests and sheltering in and around awnings, eaves and ledges, and anywhere they gain a hold and have a place out of the wind. They sit on street lights and traffic lights and posts. Their presence is particularly unappealing around grocery stores, drugstores, and restaurants, specially when people are feeding them near those areas. Feathers, nests, and other pigeon evidence is not a healthy thing to have around food and medications. And another problem is that the pigeons seem to have few natural predators… except one which I saw in action a few weeks ago.

Before moving to Chicago I became fascinated with the movements and appearances of the Cooper’s Hawk. During times of plenty when the doves, a relative of the pigeon, gathered in our area, the hawk showed up around 4 to 5 PM many afternoons to forage. Two dozen doves quickly became twelve, and then fewer than that, and the hawk looked healthy as ever.

It was fun watching the bird tree-hop, moving from branch to branch, in a pattern, as I observed it, seeming to go to the same branches or in the same area of the taller trees each time. It would go around the yard for an hour or so then take off in the same direction across the next street over and vanish into the sunset and the dense tree cover.

Cooper’s Hawks are bird-eaters, and across the way in Chicago I noticed one feasting on a pigeon. I observed it through binoculars, as it was in a tree near someone’s deck. The bird went about a casual pace, having a nice nosh. I watched periodically and did not notice when the hawk left the tree.

Take care when cleaning around where pigeons have congregated! Again, see the article cited in the first Resource entry for information on taking caution when working in such areas.

RESOURCES CITED FOR THIS ARTICLE

1. For information regarding pigeons: “Facts about Pigeon-Related Diseases.” Environmental and Occupational Disease Epidemiology. New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 29 January 2012. http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/epi/epi-pigeon.shtml>

2. For image of Pigeon: “Rock Pigeon.” 15 January 2012. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 29 January 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_Pigeon>

3. Find stunning copyrighted images of the magnificent Cooper’s Hawk and related species at the website for the Seattle Audubon Society, at http://birdweb.org/birdweb/bird/coopers_hawk

4. For radio resource: “Pigeons Crowd Under Heat Lamps at “L” Stops.” Reporter Steve Miller. CBS. WBBM Newwsradio 780 and 105.9 AM, Chicago. 26 January 2012. <http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/01/26/pigeons-crowd-under-heat-lamps-at-l-stops/>

5. For how to cite media sources:  “How to Cite Media: Television and Radio.” Handman, Gary. Media Resources Center, Moffitt Library. Library, Last update 11/04/08. University of California, Berkeley.
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/. 31 January 2012. <http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/mla.html#tv>

Divi Logan and ®EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, 2004 – 2012. E-mail author for use permission at d308gtb289@aol.com. Courtesy counts. Thanks for cooperating.