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.

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

METRA:: Does METRA Need a Measure of Mission Control?

METRA and MISSION CONTROL

Article inspired by the airing of an interview on News Radio 780 WBBM, conducted between Political Reporter Craig Dellimore and METRA Chairman Martin Oberman, presented this past Sunday.

METRA, an organization of regional rail resources spreading throughout the Chicago -land area and touching thousands of lives each day, has seen its share of controversies.

But it like any business that has sincere interests in its customers/patrons/riders, the conditions that seeded the ground for corruption can be removed and the ground re -seeded and restored to ensure proper performance.

First of all, we have plenty of resources to understand what METRA is and what its purposes and missions are. Thus we can look at the other part of this article’s title- “mission control”.

And it’s not just for NASA these days!

Let us remember our space history, what inspired NASA and the moon missions to take off, a simple set of words spoken by President Kennedy in a speech to Congress.

The words that set in motion the principles of the concept we know as mission control are these:

First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations–explorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon–if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.

The essence of mission control is this: that each person is so well -trained and efficient that their concerns for the safety of their colleagues and their customers is foremost in their minds and in everything they do, every single day. We must remember that NASA has had its share of political encounters and interference, and of successes and failures and sadness. As we as a nation lost astronauts, the people of NASA, who were the closest to those people next to their families, mourned an even deeper eulogy: in the times of Apollo 1, of the tragedy of the Challenger explosion and of the loss of Columbia, we all felt those events right to the core of our thoughts, prayers and values. We wondered if the space program was worthy of funding, yet on we went with it. We now have the challenges of dealing with how to supply and maintain the International Space Station, but we are not giving up. We are working on it.

Yes, we are working on it- actively, honestly, and every day. We are working on it.

METRA in its transformation must continue the role of providing safe and efficient transportation and facilities for the tens of thousands of people who use its rolling stock and stations every week. In the face of skepticism and resistance and the lagging specters of corruption METRA must stand and face what has happened square -on, let their ridership know that they are working to improve conditions, and continue to do so. We must of course see the efforts and see the progress so we will know that our money is being efficiently spent.

For the powers of METRA are ones of control, huge amounts of control. The members of the METRA board control huge amounts of power and resources and have the lives of all those patrons in their hands. It is control all right… goodness it is a serious duty to discharge with faith and honor.

In those hands they have the safety of children and parents, of those who need to have their guidance animals close at hand, and of the people who maintain the rolling stock and the tracks and staff the stations. Every day they must consider how to handle millions of dollars and to do so in ways that will satisfy their ridership and those who watch over their performance. And they must perform, no matter if they are elected or appointed: they must perform because it is the proper thing to do.

It is all back to square one: the safety of their riders and the backbone workers who keep the organization running on a daily basis. METRA’s directors are no doubt aware that every day there are men and women out there working on the cars, the rails, and in the repair houses trying their best to work to keep us safe. No doubt those are very difficult jobs. If you start to read about the statistics of the locomotives and the rail cars and understand their power and weight and size, you realize that much effort is required to maintain even one train’s worth of cars and a locomotive. That’s millions of tons moving at 55 or more miles per hour over rails that amaze with their strength and resilience, rails that had to be constructed to precise measurements by people who have the same concerns as should the members of the METRA board. They have the safety of the riders and workers in mind.

Now if those resources were properly used, I do not think we as regular riders would object to the monies that would be needed to buy new rail cars. OK, so $3 million is not a figure people throw around every day for spending on transit, and each rail car would cost that much. But consider the headaches and maintenance costs that go into dealing with the old cars and it is plain there is great need for new cars. This rider would be happy with new cars; no more doors getting stuck and the like.

More quiet cars of course would be welcome; people need quiet and calm and peace when they are getting off work in the noisy city, and we need to have more courtesy around others. Excessive use of mobile devices can be unwelcome, considering we are around them every day for hours on end and they are not always used in places of work and shopping. This patron certainly would welcome entire trains of quiet cars!

There are other issues that affect METRA’s workings, such as the daily doings of Union Pacific and BNSF railroad companies, and the ancient deals made with them that keep commuters hoping that there are no further or no serious delays in their comings and goings. The METRA board must do what it is able to keep commuters happy and safe while talks and deals with the railroads carry on.

Meanwhile, the miracles of mission control must be “up and at them” in everyone’s conscience. They must be repeated every day like a company creed or a mantra that inspires us to consider others and treat people better.

METRA’s board must get with it and be really “on the level” if they are to keep us happy with the “bi -level”.

RESOURCES

1. https://metrarail.com/metra/en/home/about_metra/leadership.html. 16 April 2014.

2. http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/xzw1gaeeTES6khED14P1Iw.aspx. From the Address Before a Joint Session of Congress on 25 May 1961. 16 April 2014.

3. http://www.nipponsharyousa.com/products/pages/zusametra-pc1994.htm. Weight and other statistics of METRA passenger cars. 16 April 2014.

PRO SPORTS PARTING WAYS WITH ORDINARY PEOPLE?

PRO SPORTS SETS BAD EXAMPLE FOR NON-ATHLETES AND THE VULNERABLE

The problems facing New York Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez (AKA A-Rod) are only the tip of the iceberg. And that tip is poisoned with human growth hormones and other “performance enhancing drugs” or PEDs. Pity the person who has to resort to such means in order to boost their playing abilities and thus their salary and their notoriety. Unfortunately the attention A-Rod has received has not been the best or positive.

Other professional athletes have resorted to the use of PEDs, but one must ask why such means are necessary. Is standard physical exertion and practice not good enough to meet the needs and requirements of the teams on which these folks want to go? Why would a better diet, or another sort of workout program, be more useful? Why the need for these hazardous drugs and the methods of introducing them into the body?

It might be safe to say that many athletes at all levels could do with a better diet, less stress and more practice and perhaps a change in how they exercise. No doubt the issues revolve around pride and arrogance, greed and the shows- ancient as they are- of might and right.

Might and right… the strong having to show off, puff up, be “celebrities”, and show others the best and yet the worst that people can do and think. The best that can come out of being athletic is, ideally, a healthy lifestyle, free of drugs, balanced with proper exercise and a diet fit for the activities we do. People talk about “healthy living” all the time- eating less junk or processed foods, getting regular and wholesome sleep, getting regular and suitable exercise, and being careful when we do exercise so that we do not encounter burnout or injury.

There is that ancient and marvelous vision of the male and female athletic figure, going way back to early figures of human sculpture, with muscles toned and strong, with that ability to run marathons, lift weights, wrestle, tangle with fierce animals, and engage in gladiatorial events to determine who wins and loses surrounded by weapons and shields and dirt kicking up every which way. There is that ideal of the human being, burnished and buffed and bulging like the weightlifters at the Olympic Games, the long jumpers and the high jumpers, the shot putters, the javelin hurlers and the curlers, in their uniforms and colors with numbers and names. This is the ideal carried on into the present day, and we can see the results of performance instantly now versus centuries ago when events were held locally or when it took weeks to travel and hold events in other towns and countries.

Now we have the, uh, privilege of seeing hundreds of hours of professional and other levels of sports every day, every year. We are bombarded with such options across our mass media screens and devices and can see anything we want- football (Canadian, American, and Australian Rules), baseball, hockey, gymnastics, swimming, curling, the Olympics, horse racing, soccer, sailing, tennis, automobile racing (NASCAR, IRL, Formula One), motorcycle racing, monster truck events, demolition derbies, rugby, and others. We see people with whom we identify, struggling on those fields with others competing against them for that coveted trophy, the cash award, the glory of basking in the light of the cameras and that chance to say, “I WON!” It is the athletic version of the turf war- someone wants to take over that ground, claim it with any means necessary, and dance around in the camera lights gleaning every iota of attention that they can.

The corporate people just live it up and love every moment of it… unless their superstar goes wrong in doing drugs or abusing a spouse or getting hurt midway through the big contract with that celeb. Then what happens to the millions upon millions of dollars invested in that major marketing explosion to tout a new pair of shoes, the “official athletic gear” for that team, and the naming rights to stadiums and arenas? If that superstar player steps even that much out of line, it hits the news and the whole venture suffers. The product is not bought, the stock might go down in value, the player of course suffers both the injuries to the body and to their reputation with fans and with the front office, and the fans… well they are the ones hurt most.

We now can know about such mistakes as those made by A-Rod almost as soon as the legalese hits the mass media fan and the outlets get hold of “aha, another star has done something wrong and we can jump all over him/her”. Do YOU want YOUR kids having people like him as an example? I don’t want to have him even mentioned around me and I hope my niece and nephew do not go the way of him or others like him in order to gain some measly sense of attention and performance. I hope that if or when they have families that they keep their kids well clear of such bad examples.

Now we have the choice of whether or not to buy that season ticket, the hundred dollar seat, and the dozens of dollars in concessions. We must think about why we are watching professional sports when those players are getting contracts worth more than we will ever see in ten lifetimes unless we are fortunate enough to rake in ten million dollars a year. We must choose- do we support these people with their anger management issues, their salaries so big they can buy those big houses and cars and do those expensive drugs that get them in trouble?

I know where I am going with my attention to pro sports, that’s for sure. Far as this author is concerned, that’s enough for me. There are better things I can do with my money and time and resources, instead of giving another day or hour or second of attention to these people and teams and what surrounds them. I started feeling frustrated years ago with the continual talk from the sports business about salaries and poor performance issues, but now the fence has been crossed. There are other ways I can spend weekends. I plan in 2014 to frequent other venues of entertainment and culture, and put my money into charitable and benevolent causes where I know the results and can see what happens and not have (or reduce the chance of) a high-horse, puffed-chested celebrity getting in the way and taking money or attention that should be devoted to the point of the cause, such as giving to food banks, hospitals, medical research, and community service. I am going to put down the remote and pick up the cleanup gear and get out there and help someone else away from the spotlight.

What do you think? Is this the end of pro sports for you and your family too?

Divi Logan, Chicago. 2014.

Chicago Corruption Deepens Distrust

TROUBLE REIGNS IN THE HALLS OF CHICAGO’S OFFICIALS… WHAT NEXT?

On News Radio 780 WBBM this morning came the article reporting that the red -light camera company, Red Flex, which has had the contract for Chicago’s red -light cameras for years now, is now in a bribery scheme worth millions of dollars… to somebody.

Not to the Chicago taxpayer, obviously, who time after time is getting the stiff short end of the stick we are constantly hit with by our elected or appointed officials. Our City Council is probably as trustworthy as our U.S. Congress, which, is in a simple phrase, NOT AT ALL. Congress has a very low, almost negative approval rating, and our City Countil seems headed that way. Apparently former Mayor Daley was warned about the policies of Red Flex but went ahead with the contract. Alderman Burke wrote letters and all regarding that deal but that did no good. Corruption station, corruption country anybody?

We have had to put up with all these deals someone in the mayor’s radar thought was so great, and we are feeling the effects right now of the parking meter deal. Mayor Daley thought getting that billion dollars was fine but now we are paying for it every time something happens where LAZ and anyone affiliated with them does not get proper payment for unused spaces and their reasons are about as lame as the “dog ate my homework” excuse. They claim pay is needed when spaces are closed off for festivals, but doesn’t the city have a plan for such things in place? What else are we paying for regarding this parking meter deal?

And what else are those council people doing to perk themselves up and waste our money? They are getting those expensive automobiles to tool around in, they are getting drivers, they are arrogant and foolish when handling campaign funds and they are getting booted out of office for such poor judgment. How many of them are dealing the demographic card and thus impeding real progress in their communities?

What needs to be done? Do we get rid of the demographic dribbling chatter, do we stop giving power to the Census people and the cable news talking heads who are driving that demographic trash into our minds and trying to make people vulnerable and worried and upset and competitive? Time to dump the demographers, what say? And along with putting the race -color -creed -economics -gender -ethnicity junk to rest permanently, get rid of these idiotic “neighborhood” divisions.

Neighborhood is a real boor, can you dig that? Where does one start or stop? What determines what makes a neighborhood… what the buildings look like, who lives where, what someone thinks those people want or enjoy or do? SO WHAT? Someone lives someplace, and they have responsibilities to everyone else around them, no matter who those other people are. You have the duty to keep your home and yard neat, clean, free of odors and trash, and your pets properly cared for and secured. You have the duty to watch out for and respect others in your area, to keep up with what is going on so you can be alert to problems of any kind and report them to the right people.

Updated article coming soon. Divi Logan for ®EDUSHIRTS, Chicago, ©2013

Cameras Might Do Some Good But How Much “Training” Do We Need?

CAMERAS IN SUBWAYS ARE GREAT BUT WHAT IS THE REAL NEED?

Today on News Radio 780 WBBM in Chicago came a story about the CTA putting new cameras in their subway cars.

Well and good that they might be of better resolution and there will be more of them and they will have a 360 view… fine. But a camera, no matter costly and how much great and high technology equipment comes with it, cannot take the place of the solutions to the behaviors they are out to capture.

A camera is an inanimate object, a piece of equipment meant to take pictures, store and reproduce images in various creative formats. You can use film, digital, memory cards, all types of lenses. You can use them to spy on people or take photos of scenery and animals. You can use them for all kinds of projects. You can use them for security surveillance.

Of course when you talk of installing cameras somewhere it is usually put in a negative perspective. We do not mean them to record happy events or good news; putting a camera on or in a building or in a subway car or on a city bus is meant for the purpose of recording bad behavior and serious incidents such as molestation, shootings, gang incidents, and minor infractions such as soliciting.

Only people can take personal responsibility for solving those behaviors. A camera can only record and preserve the evidence; only we can get to the business of solving the issues that cause or contribute to the bad behavior. Precautions can be taken to reduce the likelihood of theft or of being knocked over, such as hiding or not even using these little electronic pads and pods and tablets. Doing so reduces your attention on what is going on around you, and that can be very dangerous. Criminals are always looking for vulnerable people, and when you are in your little world of the music tablet or device you are not paying attention, but someone is paying attention to you, just waiting for the moment to snatch the phone, the pad and the pod and knock you down without another thought or a care to how you are going to feel, and take off into the crowd with the stolen article.

Just remember that the stolen article contains personal information, account numbers, phone numbers for home and work and family, passwords and the like. The thieves know that and they are looking for the right moment to get that data and use it for identity theft. That can be very costly indeed and can land you in a lot of hassle and trouble.

In the book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson is brought up the subject of insects, sprays to control them, the natural world and the effect of pesticides on people, plants, animals and the food we eat and the buildings in which we live. Dr. Carson also makes mention of the importance of realizing that because of these products we have so many more cancers and other diseases that we are now trying to find cures for.

Find “CURES” for, eh? Well, she goes on to say that the logical way to get above that issue is to eliminate the carcinogens from the natural stream. But then we have to go against the makers of the chemicals and the big corporations, where the CEO insists that the chemicals are safe to use. The scientsts we should pay attention to do not work for the chemical corporations. We need to pay close attention to issues such as these and “bug to death” the people who control the chemical makers, who support them, and who work for them without understanding or having a care to the effects of these toxins.

In the same way the hot national issue of gun control meets the same obstacle course: we face opposition from the “powerful” (my foot) NRA, stubborn Congress personnel who own guns and who might be NRA members, and from gun manufacturers. Despite the problems we face with “gun violence” we let minor issues cloud the big picture.

So what if you spend millions on new cameras to survey the trains and subway system. Maybe at the same time you can put money into trying to solve the problems you are intending to record with those cameras. Put money into youth organizations, put money into sports clubs to keep people out of trouble, or organize more community service days where people come out to clean up vacant lots, to rake, to bag trash, to get rid of graffiti, to paint houses, to replace fences, to repair walls, to sweep and dust and do so many things that would make our city and state look so much better.

It is the same with any issue: you can talk till the cows come home and hades freezes over, but big talk, lots of talk and corporate vague babbling will do no good at all, not in the least or slightest or iota until action is put with that talk. Until the pundits and politicians get off their big behinds and get to work on making the solutions real, all they will be is talk in a big fancy room or words on a page, or some official saying to the mass media that they are going to “look into” it and “report on it”.

Big deal. Stop talking and start working.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.

Chicago Takes on the Negative Media Chatter

UNDERLYING NEGATIVES: SUBTLE OR OVERT, THESE WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS CLOUD OUR “SOCIAL MEDIA”

Well, if you are as I am, you have had quite enough of certain words, hints, expressions and concepts clouding our airwaves lately. What have you heard enough of, and how has hearing such things affected you or someone you know or love or care deeply about or work with?

In 2012 hearing the expression “fiscal cliff” was enough, but added to that in Illinois people had to deal with “pension crisis”, “gang turf”, “gang rape”, and “foreclosure”. Sure these are all terms that can interrelate as concerns politics, economic situations, neighborhoods and communities, but please folks, must we hear about them EVERY DAY?

Will talking about “gun violence” do anything until we actually sit down with a plan and ACT UPON what is needed?

And what about “behavioral problems”? Well now, everyone has some degree of a “behavioral problem”, and certainly this ties into “gun control” and the Second Amendment chatter going on.

Foreclosure and the banks and AIG and the insurance crisis… oh poor us under the gun of corporate thuggery and our own tendency to greed, pride, showing off, materialism, envy and coveting. Pity us who are in such a vulnerable state of behavioral crisis, and the corporations know that and see it and use their tactics to act on our vices, enhance them and make them seem acceptable, wonderful, marvelous and great. So we want a home larger than we can afford because we think it will make us “look good” or “get ahead” with someone? We think the same about our clothes and cars and jobs and the schools we put our kids in.

Status symbolism is materialism and the Seven Deadly Sins rolled up into one concept. So what if you have a box seat at the symphony or can get your name on the list of the highest donors to some hospital or park or music center? Is your home free of leaks, holes, broken windows and an overgrown lawn? Then what do you need so many bedrooms, bathrooms, and thousands more square feet for? To show that you can have an indoor basketball court or pool?

And what is a car meant to do? It is meant to get you from point A to point B, plain and simple. What do you need in a car- a DVD player, an IPOD hook up, a cell phone link or a miniature movie theater? What do you need to keep your kids entertained on a road trip, some little electronic device that makes noise and is easily broken? Didn’t have those things when I was a kid on road trips. I made do with visual and intellectual games, reading or eating or just resting and enjoying the scenery. I played games like finding out of state license plates or considering the types of architecture I saw on those road trips. I would think about the changing landscape or skies or weather conditions. If I became uninterested in the outside I turned to actual BOOKS and stimulated my brain that way. I did not need movies, my own phone or miniature television to stay entertained. I would read the newspaper and discuss currrent events with my travel companions.

What about upholding the Second Amendment? Hear ye, NRA, just because someone talks about eliminating assault -style weapons from our shelves and stores does not mean a total push to get rid of our Second Amendment rights and privileges – now that latter words is the most important here, PRIVILEGE. It is a privilege to own a weapon; we have the right to do that, to protect our homes and businesses with them, but we also must learn how to use them properly and take care of them so they function properly. No one needs a military -style weapon, unless they are in the military and are fighting in some situation where the potential of having to use dozens of rounds at a time might be necessary. You do not need one of those AR weapons or M weapons to go hunting or protect your home or property. Any gun will do the job, after all it only takes one right shot to do the work.

For the rest of the negatives, how about “the flu”, or “food stamps” (especially hearing that millions of American kids rely on them), or “the government”, and does everything have to be some sort of “crisis”?

Do we need to talk about the national debt one more day? Such expressions so cloud our airwaves that we begin to think that there is way too much talk and no action, and we are pounded constantly by talk of so many of the negative social issues, such as school closings, charter schools, payroll taxes, and the problems with the 787. We get the phrases, we get the issues, we get the concerns, and we understand there are problems, and one of the worst but most widely accepted is the hype about “social media”.

Now, all media outlets are in a sense social. The “mass media” are meant to draw people together to interact on certain events and concepts, to get us to think about something in a herd instinct mentality or to talk about issues of national or global importance, or at least what some news producer think is important, valid, or worth our time to see or hear. The private electronics world of the I -devices is social and yet it is antisocial. Through the pods and pads and tablets and readers people can chat, text, go to the Web, research, share data, look at electronic books and articles, and do business networking. That is the social/ society/ group aspect of those forms of sharing and media. These forms of expression and media become antisocial by… well, just look around next time you are on a city bus, waiting at a train or bus station or airport. How many people are silent, some with blank or glazed expressions, sitting or standing near you and others, holding on to those little devices as though they were platinum bars or something so precious that it would be a disaster to lose them? There they are with those cords hanging from their ears, wound around arms and hands, and sticking out of pockets, perfect targets for criminals who will think nothing of shoving that inattentive music listener to the floor and making off with that phone, pad, pod, tablet or reader and leaving them in whatever state they happen to be.

What else is negative, well anything dealing with our United States Congress, that is for sure. Anything about the Speaker of the House, the Senate, the House, any of them, I can do without. Anything about Syria, Israel, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Egypt I can care less about at this time. We need to focus on getting our own country, the UNITED STATES, not only back together but actually UNITED, thank you. No more money for foreign nations, not one cent. No more military support for them either, not one person or cent or plane or bomb until these folks can learn to take care of themselves instead of having us babysit and protect and train them. These countries were around long before America was even a thought, so let them deal with what they will. Let us turn to taking care of our own; it is long past due that we do.

Divi Logan, Nashville and 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.

NASCAR: No More NASCAR for Me!

A news article aired on News Radio 780 WBBM in Chicago showed just how far the folks who run and sponsor NASCAR have come in their alienation of their fan base. While some articles point to there being an increase in the fan base, the recent story aired gives one a reason to look with skepticism on other reports.

2011 Brickyard 400

2011 Brickyard 400 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the past few years NASCAR events have been innundated by the showing of people with the special press and pit passes, the fans with their big, expensive watches flashing with enough light power to drown out the pixels in some cameras, the talk of sponsor after sponsor pouring millions of dollars into the teams, the appearance of the big team stores and other NASCAR -related shopping venues, and the corporate basing of the races.Instead of what I remember, when the car number seemed to come before the sponsor, now it seems to be, “And here is the HHH car, number 18, driven by Speedster Gimlet.” The big -name sponsor comes up first, then the driver’s car and the name, indicating the push to mention the sponsor first and give credit there instead to the achievements of the driver and his or her team, that made the win possible.

NASCAR has become so elitist lately that I, as a one – time big -time fan, having grown up in Tennessee and watched, listened to, and constantly heard the results and the analyses of the races all the time, have stopped watching the televised events. At one time I was pleased to hear about the Brickyard 400, but no more. I know now what I will see whenever the events come on – the big watches, the expensive clothes, the celebrities who have nothing to do with the race itself taking up camera time just because someone wants to name – drop, the talk of the big bucks, the garish logos taking up every inch of space on the cars, and, somewhere in all that mess, the drivers and their pit crews who make the race happen.

Some of the new drivers are arrogant enough without having to talk up a heavy -money corporate sponsor, and many of these drivers have not the class behavior and the appeal that drivers of decades ago had. I liked watching the Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt and Mark Martin types but ever since the reign of the sponsorship and the appearance of the young and glorified and gilded driver who of a sudden is worth millions and has a great -looking wife with the sunny -celebrity face, and who can hardly contain himself when bubbling over and turning flips in the victory area, I find it difficult to sit through even a few laps. The young guys could stand to learn ways to manage their behavior – but then I see that problem with a lot of younger people these days. It is not just athletes that have anger issues or arrogance and pride clouding the times when they do something really stuning or worthy of the highlight reels.

Bobby Allison pit crew works on his racecar in...

Bobby Allison pit crew works on his racecar in the pits at old half mile Richmond International Raceway in 1985 before it was reconfigured into a 3/4 mile track. Photo By Ted Van Pelt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then again, NASCAR has gone the way of most professional sports organizations these days; big money, big – time television, T-shirts and other team gear, scandals, suspicious goings -on, billions spent on promoting certain people or corporations, and of course the chance for food and drink companies to intrude on the process by filling up the airwaves with more corporate lingo. Well, enough of the “Sprint Cup” the “Race for the Chase“, the NASCAR equivalent of the Final Four in the last few races of the season, and the ridicuous race names that take up two lines just to describe.Also the cars have become so look -alike that they cannot be called “stock cars” any more. They have to be trimmed and built to such specifications for every race, have restrictor plates, and cost so much to deal with that it takes the figures out ot the realm of the average fan who cannot even begin to think of spending a quarter – million dollars or more on a fresh car every time they need one. Come on, who can buy a Lamborghini or Ferrari each time the whim strikes?

NASCAR… Nasty Car; well, thanks but no more. NASCAR…. Dis- qualified!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank goodness we have other choices of what to spend our time watching.

Divi Logan for EDUSHIRTS, Nashvilleand Chicago, 2012.

Sprint Cup Series

Sprint Cup Series (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A representation of the racing flag u...

English: A representation of the racing flag used to indicate disqualification in NASCAR and some other racing leagues. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.