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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile we have the:

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

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2015.

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Women and Medical Devices:: Commercial Sparks Ire and Concern

IMPLANT FOR WOMEN SHOULD INSPIRE CONCERN AND ANGER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Divi Logan. Chicago, 2015.

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.

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

HOLIDAYS HAVE SPECIAL MEANING FOR EVERYONE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

Rahm Lights Up Chicago? Be Sure to Clean Up Thoroughly First!

Inspired by a news story heard this morning on Chicago’s CBS affiliate radio station, News Radio 780 WBBM, I present:

CLEAN UP YOUR MESS!

1. To Beautify a Space, First Make a Plan

When someone designs anything –  a garden, a car, a cityscape, a grand hotel or an office building or a home, the process begins with a plan. People sit down and draw a plan that goes from the mind, the workings of the brain, onto paper and also on a computer. A lot goes into making progress: the way the group works together, weather, availability of funds and of the location suited to the project… so many variables.

The important factor is that the planners work together in a civilized atmosphere with all that is needed to make the plan come to life. Whatever is needed: coffee, tea, a new office, travel to other destinations, booking a hotel or a limo to get to where the plans will take shape, a quiet place to sit and draw it up… everyone must agree to what will make the plan a success.

2. To Beautify a City, Talk to Everyone Who Has a Say in How it will Look (or should look)

** And that means EVERYONE, EVERYBODY who is a member of that city and community! **

Start by doing at the very least what will make communities better: THINK UNITY! One reason we are so fragmented is that we are thinking along demographic lines, not person to person and civil lines. We are thinking in ways that box us in (race, income, ethnicity, religious creed) instead of thinking on common ground and thinking towards what will make progress. We will make progress only when we clean up ourselves in all those ways that make humans special: in mental, spiritual, and physical ways.

We need to clean up areas of gang violence. Why, even the very idea, the term “gang violence” is ridiculous. The gangs were not here first and people are sick and tired of hearing about them on the news every day. The more the press gives attention to the gangs and those actions related to them, the more they will do those things that get them press time and air time and talk in the reports. NO MORE GANGS! Folks, get brave and get those gangs out of the area, right now. Stop your need for drugs and guns; YOU DON’T NEED THAT STUFF and you don’t need anyone to help you solve problems, at least not that way.

You can solve your own problems without drugs, illegal guns, and membership of and the presence of gangs. How stupid can we get, tolerating gangs. REALLY. Gangs are nothing and nobodies and mean nothing to us except for the trouble they cause. Well, run those punks off your street corners, clean them out of your area and get involved.

When we get our streets and land cleaned up, we can turn to beautification.

But we must make sure the gangs are out of the picture, the abandoned buildings are either renovated or torn down, the lots are cleaned and free of pests, trash, rats, squatters, etc., and the streets are safe for people to work on, play on, and go to school and work on.

The job does not do itself; we have to use elbow grease, folks. We have to run the gangs out with shouts, voices, prayers, music so loud they can’t transact and will leave the area, stones if necessary, sticks and pelting those punks with bottles and rotten tomatoes until they get the message. GO AWAY AND DON’T COME BACK. These are OUR streets, understand!?

Assess, once the area is safe, what your area looks like. What are the main problems and who will help you solve them? Who will help you break through the red tape and get the funds and the materials necessary to get the community looking better? Are the problems viaducts that flood, then sit on the departments of water and streets and sanitation until they get off their behinds and act to solve the problems.

Is the problem a lot full of trash and debris? Well then, get in there with a group and clean it up. Get the tools of the cleanup trade: tarps, rakes, shovels, sturdy gauntlet gloves, bug spray, insect repellent, trash bags, trash cans, dumpsters to haul the stuff away, and people who will be available to have food and drink ready to serve to volunteers who, literally, work for food in such cases.

3. Beautification Begins With a Thorough Cleanup Campaign

* For a city Chicago’s size, is a month enough? *

For the mayor’s plan to work, Chicago needs a thorough cleanup. There is enough bird poop in the Loop to build a wall, so no matter what we feel towards wildlife, the pigeons must go. After all, pigeons are introduced pests from Europe. The proper name for these birds is the European Rock Dove. They were brought to America and have prospered due to a lack of natural enemies, so they must go. Accumulated droppings can lead to disease, and it looks really gross and smells even worse (like waste will do after a while), and animal waste attracts some of the worst pests of all, the disease -bearing rats we are trying to rid out of our city.

The L stations, the entire L structure, and buildings along that area of the Loop must be power -washed and cleaned down, right to the sidewalks, and then anti -pest programs must be instituted. Putting up anything that will get rid of the pigeons is necessary… either that or bring in a natural solution, the amazing Peregrine Falcon and the super Cooper’s Hawk.

These birds are bird -eaters, and will go after anything when they are hungry, and there is a plentiful supply of pigeons. We could then return these birds to a natural setting or watch them breed and enjoy the balance they will bring to controlling the pest population.

We must also assess the pollution in our city in order to find the right ways to clean up such problems as petroleum coke, or petcoke, which is documented as causing caustic pollution to an area of Chicago near a plant that harbors piles of this black sooty stuff that gets on people’s homes and into their yards and into their lungs. Chemicals pollute our water, trash litters our beaches and litter clogs our streets and alleys. Corporations need to be held seriously accountable for their practices, for no matter whether they say that their studies show they are acting within the law, doing so does not mean that what they produce and how they manufacture is good or right or best or decent. Those who produce and harbor the petcoke say they are acting within the law and are doing nothing wrong, but in using such language they are completely ignoring the residents of that area who suffer from the black dust that floats into their neighborhood.

Also, excess light is a form of pollution. It is now shown that light pollution harms the circadian rhythm and causes stress to the human body and mind. We need our dark spaces and our real night spaces so we can rest, have quiet and transition from work to rest. In those areas where the mayor wants these light displays, people do live, and the mayor wants to attract more tourists to those areas. People need their space… residents need their space away from tourists’ eyes, and people do live downtown.

Do you wonder why our city has that odd dirty -bronze rusty -golden color at night? Light pollution, plain and simple. We are thrown into thinking we have to act and work all day and all year no matter what, because of this overblown presence of artificial light. We need to turn it off, not turn it on, and we need more efficient lighting, using mirrors, reflectors, solar power, whatever it takes to conserve energy and make our use of it more efficient. Besides, as the news story related, Paris, the famous “City of Lights” is trying to cut down on its golden reputation and reduce use of light. This is more energy efficient. Why Chicago wants to use excess light, even more light on buildings and bridges and historic structures, is not logical. We need less light , not more light.

There are times and places for tourists and times and places for residents. Residents’ needs and wishes come first, plain and simple.

Trash along a Chicago street.

So, Your Honor, before you get some high-minded plan to light up the city, be sure that what you want to highlight is what you want the world to see. Be absolutely sure that you want the world to see trash on the riverfront, homeless veterans roaming the lakefront and the riverfront and the Loop digging in trash cans and sleeping on corners. Be sure you want the world to see places where gangs shoot up innocent people and teenagers roam in flash mobs terrorizing law -abiding tourists and citizens shopping and dining along Michigan Avenue and towards the Loop. Be completely sure you want the world to see the petcoke, the trash on the bridges, the dirty buildings, the oil on the lake, the glass fragments and other debris on the beaches, the bird poop in the Loop and the trash along the highways. Do you want the world to see and hear about the gangs, the drugs, the labor disputes and the airport noise?

We could spend months getting the trash picked up from the roadsides and still only begin to make a dent in the pollution that plagues Chicago.

Let’s get up and get to it, folks. The roads and bridges are not going to clean up on their own.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

RESOURCES

1. Wikimedia Commons, searched through GOOGLE images.

2. http://waronfilth.com/tag/broken-glass.

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.

Congress is NO GOOOOOD!:: Treat Officials as Bad Athletes and Let ‘Em Have It!

CONGRESS IS NO GOOD DOING WHAT THEY ARE DOING HOW THEY DO IT. WHAT CAN WE DO?

Our Congress… our United States of America Congress, our highest elected officials short of the President and then of the Supreme Court (and what power is there!) is made up of something. What is that ‘august’ body of officials made up of?

American citizens, I think.

But what are they doing? Have they forgotten how they started out, as ordinary American citizens running for office, perhaps a relative unknown in their town or state until they burst forth from the ordinary run of the mill of life and work and decided to try out for so high an office as United States Senator? American citizens they are indeed, first and foremost, born and bred, tried and… uh…

True? Not so.

Let’s compare our Congress members to overpaid, over -hyped athletes or celebrities. First of all, we are not getting the value we want, the money’s worth it is taking to run our Capitol which is more wasteful than anything the average person does in a day. Congress does nothing but take up time, energy, money, water, heat, food and… and for what? They do nothing but sit there and filibuster and bicker and fill our airwaves with disagreement and party line junk. Pro athletes who misbehave get penalized, get fined, get maybe fired, get ejected and get technical fouls. They get cited for unsportsmanlike conduct, they get in trouble when there are too many people on the field and when they are doing nothing worthwhile or when they should not even be there. They get cited when they cannot manage their anger and also when they celebrate excessively.

As for celebrities, they are about the same, but they and the athletes get so much time on our mass media wavelengths that we come to see their behavior as worthy of talking about, of admiring, of imitating, of accpting, the latter of which is the worst of all. We pay them, we go see their movies, we listen to them when they brag about their acts of giving money to a cause, and all for some lousy photo op. The same for our Congress, all that showing off and materialism and ego tripping. They ego trip until those egos grow so big the possessor thereof trips over himself or herself coming and going, whatever they say and do.

Your behavior certainly is not “black tie”. You gentlemen and ladies are absolutely not the type of people I would want at my nice event. I mean what, get you in there where the times are to be good and wonderful and charitable and fine, and you probably would be bickering in seconds, unable to manage your anger and your party views for the favor of the rest of the guests and the atmosphere. No way would I want any members of Congress near my good event or dinner.

Oscar Pistorius (Preposterous), is an athlete who has made so much news here, and why on earth should we give a care about that guy? He murdered someone and just because he is an athlete he makes the news and all that hearing and trial stuff makes the news everywhere. I don’t care about that man but I feel sorry for the family of the woman murdered. They are the ones who will suffer the most. That Oscar character certainly deserves no Oscar for his actions.

So poor us for having a Congress that cannot cooperate, that has so much poor conduct that it is no wonder they have a nearly negative approval rating from us citizens. Poor us for having to listen to them and the “feds” every day with their lack of cooperation and helping out the country, which is what we put them in office to do. Our Congress is such an embarrassment, so pitiful, so terrible for our national reputation. Disgusting to the hilt, their gold -plated hilt as it would be.

They can stew in their bean soup until they wake up and smell the coffee that the ordinary citizens are putting down time and again in order to stay alert to try and go to work every day and make money and then get it taxed so much that we wonder if we will have anything more for food and for our households.

Congress, please do us this favor: turn off the lights in the Capitol, stop wasting water and heat and light and energy, don’t bug the cleaning staff, close the doors and go home until you find it in yourselves to come together as the President wants you to do, as he has you on the hot seat to do, as he told you to do in the State of the Union address, as he has called you to do, pleaded with you to do, and listen to the people you represent. Until you do that, just stay away from the Capitol and from Washing ton. You will do more good staying in your home states and spending money and working with your constituents than you ever will in the Capitol.

For the way you are acting now you do not deserve to be there.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.

Chicagoland:: Chicago Land: Gangs, Guns, Drugs and Schools; What Are We Missing?

GANG TURF OR CHICAGO LAND? WHAT DO WE LIVE IN AND ON?

According to the news media in Chicago, it is gang turf that sees these violent incidents. But IS IT REALLY? A closer look at how the mass media and media blitz and spin campaigns affect us and our moods, our society, and our lives is in order. And there is more to it as well.

Wrapped up in the Chicago local scene issues revolving around public schools (the so -called neighborhood schools) is this wording in the news reports that students would have to cross “gang territory” to go to other schools if some schools close. GANG territory? Come on now, folks.

All the news people are doing is sensationalizing and making light of the real problem of lack of community service and involvement on all levels of society and within every ethnic and racial group and organization within a certain area that sees the worst violence.

We can learn a great lesson from reading the excellent book Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson. The book details the effects on our environment caused by highly toxic chemicals such as DDT, dieldrin, and other chemicals and sprays used to control insects and diseases. Instead of having the effect of eradication in many cases, the insects became resistant to many of the chemicals and people started to develop diseases such as the cancers that now plague our nation. The natural world has its own checks and balances in which humans have interfered to our blight and detriment and ruin. Carson’s book details all aspects of that issue and concern, from the big talk of the chemical producers to the straight talk of researchers and doctors about the nature and results of the use of these chemicals.

As we can learn from reading Silent Spring, there are ways to solve problems but we need to do more than rush headling into whatever the media says and reason that just because it is “on TV” or “on the radio” or “on the Web” that it must be right, proper, perfect, good and best. WRONG. All it is… mass produced and played and re -played until we are tired of hearing what the corporate news networks have to say. We act or we do not. We listen or we do not; we press mute or we do not. It is the will to or the will not to that is the foundation of any behavior, and the media people could easily make changes to their styles of writing and reporting if they so desired.

Well, if the “media corporate people” do not want to make the changes, the rest of us must make the changes so the journalists will TAKE NOTICE and REPORT on the changes we are making and not on what they want us to see, do, hear, or act on. We know what our problems or issues or concerns or challenges are. We see them in our communities every day without some hotshot anchor reporter coming on at a set time every day and spinning the tired threads of “news” and “breaking stories” from their viewpoints.

So some news station talks about the “gang turf” thing in regards to the schools; well, what else is there to do but be rid of the gangs and the reasons why there is “gang turf” in the first place! Same applied in Silent Spring; get rid of the cancer -causing chemicals instead of trying to keep on finding cures for the cancers. Unless we are rid of what or who causes the problems we will keep having the problems! How to be rid of the gangs or the drugs or whatever is causing the attraction to a certain area and catching people in these incidents that claim lives in Chicago every weekend now, is what we need to focus on. The police cannot do it alone, so we need more help. If order needs to be restored then SWAT and the National Guard ought to be called in to patrol these areas and watch out so that the good citizens can go about their business and not be worried off the sidewalks and playgrounds by some nasty gang banger or idiot out for revenge who gets a case of mistaken identity.

Gangs are like a cancer on the face of society; and all that is related to the gangs is the same. We do not need them or want them and must do all in our power to act now, same as for the “gun control” issue. ACT NOW, as Giffords said to Congress. America is counting on you to act now and not waste time. Lives are being lost every day to people who are angry, who are out for revenge, who are greedy and arrogant and bent on having their way with certain areas to get their drug and gun businesses going and keep people terrorized.

That is how some people think they get and keep power. These people are nothing but cowards… dangerous cowards though because somehow they get the guns and the drugs and the open ranges to sell them, use them, and get them from the cartels that pump these guns and drugs into American towns and cities and homes and schools.

What is the problem or what are the problems, then?

It was someone else’s land before it became “gang turf”. It was and is CHICAGO LAND, it is the land of good citizens and law -abiding citizens, that’s whose land it is. It is the land of children, workers, bus drivers for the CTA and PACE, the land of first responders who put their lives on the line every shift. It is the land of the free and home of the brave, of families with young kids in school, families trying to make it in tough times, people working hard to keep a home and a yard and live decently and in peace. It is not gang land, and never will be. The media makes it “gang turf” but the citizens of Chicago can reverse that trend.

We must then be what the slogan says: free and brave, so we can keep this the land of the free and the home of the brave, and have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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.

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.