Category Archives: January Jones

The Pencil Today:

TODAY’S QUOTE

“Christmas is over and Business is Business.” — Franklin P. Adams

THE NEWS GOES ON

Got an update yesterday from Ryan Dawes on the state of the WFHB news department.

Things are running fairly smoothly in the wake of former News Director January Jones’ resignation earlier this month. Assistant New Director Alycin Bektesh has been bumped up to acting ND and Dawes is now acting Assistant ND. He’s still keeping his day job at Rock Paper Scissors music promotion.

Dawes hopes grant prospector Joy Laughter can dig up some foundation dough to pay for an intern who can take over transcribing city and county meetings from CATS Week videos.

The hunt for a new ND goes on. I’ll say GM Chad Carrothers and the WFHB Board will be hard pressed to find a better candidate than Bektesh.

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE

I’m not revealing an Earth-shattering secret when I say credit card companies are run by evil geniuses.

It’s a sure bet they’re working at this very moment on a protocol that will monetize the air that we inhale during the 45 seconds or so it takes us to complete a charge transaction.

The only people in this crazy, mixed-up world who can approach them in creative deviousness are the shadowy figures who call themselves Anonymous.

Dr. No Would Have Made A Fine Credit Card Company Exec

Anonymous recently hacked into the Austin, Texas-based Stratfor company’s internet servers. Stratfor is part of the global security-intelligence-complex that threatens to turn our little planet into a cheap dystopian science fiction novel.

Stratfor’s Home Page At 7:45am EST

Rumors abound that Anonymous gained access to the credit card accounts of Stratfor’s customers and then made unauthorized contributions to do-good charities via those cards. The things Anonymous does may technically be crimes but I say, Keep on breakin’ the law, babies!

Anyway, NPR’s Linda Wertheimer reports this morning that those credit card companies damn well won’t take criminal charity-giving lying down. She interviews an expert who says the credit card companies not only will hit the charities up for the dough that was given them but — get this — they likely will levy stiff fines against said do-gooders!

And just in case you’ve forgotten, credit card companies are the loudest of critics of any proposed regulations on the banking industry.

Sigh.

WHO DO THE GUYS ON OTHER PLANETS PRAY TO?

Okay, give me props. I behaved myself during the just-concluded Christmas season. I endured the barrage of communiques urging me to celebrate the birth of the son of the mythical creator of the Universe (as well as to engage in a venal orgy of consumer greed — because, you know, that’s what “He” would want).

Honoring The Father And The Son

I didn’t scream or kick or withdraw into a cocoon.

But now it’s my turn.

NASA’s Kepler telescope, which is scanning our little corner of the Milky Way galaxy as we speak, has confirmed the existence of 33 planets orbiting neighboring stars and is studying more than 2300 other probable planets. Part of Kepler’s mission as it circles the Earth is to find those extra-solar planets that reside in what’s called the Goldilocks Zone, the area around a star in which a planet might conceivably support life.

Cool, huh?

Even cooler: Kepler has now identified a couple of planets in the Goldilocks Zone.

Remember, Kepler is really a primitive planet finder compared to what we Home Sapiens sapiens will have in a few decades. Expect a flood of Earthlike planets to be discovered in our lifetimes.

That means a lot more chances for intelligent life to have evolved all around the Milky Way.

Heck, one day we might even evolve into intelligent life.

TESLA IN THIS MORTAL COIL

Speaking of alien lifeforms, Nikola Tesla was as odd a bird as ever bobbed into a research lab.

He developed the alternating current electrical system and an early form of radio in addition to dozens of other innovations. He was a brain on two legs.

Nikola Tesla

Sadly, though, that brain was a tad faulty. He was obsessive-compulsive, would only stay in hotel rooms with numbers divisible by three, had a phobia of germs, avoided pearl earrings, and surrounded himself with pigeons (some have speculated he was even sexually aroused by them). Oh, and he was celibate.

He was, in short, nuts.

Tesla’s not as well known as Thomas Edison mainly because Edison was somewhat sane, if predatory. Edison is reputed to have screwed Tesla out of money and credit for his electrical advances.

My old pal, the green economy maven John Wasik, is working on a book about the man, entitled “Unlimited Power: The Secrets of Nikola Tesla.” He spoke about Tesla recently at a Midwest gathering of Serbian-Americans (Tesla was an ethnic Serb born in what is now Croatia.)

Here’s John:

 

The Pencil Today:

THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST?

Bingo from C. Wright Mills: “People with advantages are loath to believe they just happen to be people with advantages.”

C. Wright Mills Photographed By His Wife, Yaroslava

TREE STOLEN. WAIT — WHAT? TREE STOLEN?

The Herald Times reports this morning that vandals stole a tree from Bryan Park.

The tree,  a blue spruce, was donated by a neighbor some 22 years ago. The neighbor was able to look at the tree each morning through his apartment window. He’d nursed the tree through some tough times and considered it his “baby.”

A Typical Blue Spruce

And yesterday he discovered that some punks — apparently — had sawed the whole damned thing down and hauled it away!

If that isn’t bad enough, city tree boss Lee Huss says it’s not terribly unusual. Huss says some twelve trees a year are stolen.

Man. Have I not awakened from my beauty sleep yet and this is just one of those stupid dreams?

COFFEE CHATTER

Did you catch the puff piece on Soma Coffee in the weekend IDS?

If not, here it is.

THE JANUARY SAGA CONTINUES

Chad Carrothers, the big boss at Firehouse Radio, says January Jones resigned as WFHB News Director to, in her words, “spend more time with my family.”

Sheesh. I can’t even make a smart-assed comment about that other than to say any good news hound — and January was a fine news hound — knows that’s what you say when what you really want to say will burn bridges.

Her resignation was, in Chad’s words, “unsolicited and unexpected.”

The news operation at our town’s community radio station undoubtedly will suffer without her even though Assistant News Director Alycin Bektesh is among the sharpest pencils in the drawer and would be a fab choice as January’s permanent replacement.

I’ll redouble my efforts to get January’s take on the split.

THE WATER CYCLE

Go see another comic by Randall Munroe, the brain behind the strip “XKCD.”

WE DO FACEBOOK SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO

◗ The radical attorney Jerry Boyle, who’s been running around downtown Chicago for a couple of months now trying to keep the town’s Occupy people out of hot water, posts a Venn diagram of the US Government-Goldman Sachs unholy union.

I’ll have to repro the diagram here. Dig it, and then tell me our elected officials will do their utmost to rein in those cash cowboys.

Man! It’d be like Jack and Bobby Kennedy putting Sam Giancana in charge of the Justice Department.

◗ Delia Chandler of Brighton, UK, reminds us Sunday was the anniversary of the assassination of charismatic Black Panther leader Fred Hampton — in his bedroom — by Chicago cops, the FBI, and members of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office in 1969.

Don’t be confused by the line in the Democracy Now! teaser calling it the 40th anniversary of the rub out. Amy Goodman‘s piece ran in 2009.

◗ Bloomington video auteur Chris Rall discovers some good clean spiritual fun for the kids.

Bleeding Heartland Roller Girl Shanda Rude takes her life in her hands by blaspheming Oprah. Or at least pointing out — approvingly — that Bill Maher has soiled the name of the most powerful woman on Earth.

Check the vid — if you dare. Maher skewers Oprah’s consumer goods orgy during her farewell week prior to being assumed into heaven.

Me? I didn’t worry about watching it — I’m slated for hell already.

◗ Finally, uber-Cub fan Al Yellon, proprietor of the Bleed Cubbie Blue fansite gushes over the long-awaited election of Ron Santo to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

If you’re wondering about my own feelings on Ronnie’s canonization, you need only read my Salon.com piece on his death, almost exactly a year ago.

The Pencil Today:

SAVINGS BE DAMNED — VOTE CENTERS ARE A NO-GO

The race went according to form yesterday. The lone Republican on the Monroe County election commission ixnayed vote centers.

Commissioner Judith Smith-Ille said hell no to the proposed plan which would have replaced the county’s 90 voter precincts with a smaller number of strategically located vote centers.

Smith-Ille: No Means No

The vote center plan would have made it easier for voters — including IU college students — to cast their ballots in next year’s presidential beauty contest. It also would have saved tons of dough and streamlined counting and reporting procedures.

Smith-Ille shook her head and said she was worried about how people in wheelchairs and such would get into the centers.

Me? I’m guessing it has a hell of a lot more to do with keeping those pesky college students away from the polls — especially since they tended to vote Democratic in 2008.

On the bright side, this GOP gambit is a refreshing change of pace. Republicans invariably embrace anything that saves cash. Perhaps my Republican friends are getting help for that particular addiction.

If so, keep up the good work, guys. We may yet bring you around to supporting costly things like social services, education, health care, and other human needs.

JANUARY JONES MOVES ON

Sad news from the world headquarters of WFHB radio. News hound extraordinaire January Jones is out as News Director.

The Real January Jones

January and I spent many an afternoon pounding out stories for the 5:30PM Daily Local News. She worked herself ragged transcribing countless (and seemingly endless) city and county meetings for CATS Week. Often she’d show up in the newsroom running on an hour or less of sleep.

She took over the News Department after Chad Carrothers was kicked upstairs to the General Manager’s chair. The transition was as seamless as could it be.

Assistant News Director Alycin Bektesh will watch over the operation for the time being until Chad and the board can name a permanent victim…, er, replacement.

Alycin Bektesh

CRUEL TO BE KIND

Dave Hoekstra, Chicago Sun-Times columnist and denizen of that legendary watering hole, The Matchbox, hit me with a nostalgia stick in the middle of the night.

Sun-Timesman Dave Hoekstra

I couldn’t sleep so I went online, natch. Flipped through Facebook and found a post from him linking to one of the great pure pop songs of all time. “Cruel to Be Kind” by Nick Lowe.

Lowe was a member of the Stiff Records stable of coolness. He and Dave Edmunds (“Girls Talk”) were part of the advance guard (including Elvis Costello) of what would become the British post-punk invasion.

The song was power pop at its finest. And the video perfectly captures the feel of the early art form. People are actually having fun in it, albeit sort of a clunky, nervous, what-am-I-supposed-to-do-next kind of fun.

When I DJ’d the overnight shift at WUIC, the University of Illinois-Chicago‘s station, I would play “Cruel to Be Kind” at least once every single airshift.

And to prove I’m not dead yet, I listened to and watched the vid five straight times at around 1:30 this morning. Thanks, Hoekstra!

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