Category Archives: Matchbox-Chicago

Hot Air

The Political Asylum

Our Fox News friends and other purported inhabitants of this Earth who, in truth, live in other worlds, are mad at Barack O. because he wants companies to pay certain salaried employees for their overtime hours.

Philosopher and women of letters Elisabeth Hasselbeck (who, in her spare time, co-hosts the Fox & Friends morning gabfest) sez mandating overtime will undercut America’s work ethic. According to this titan of cerebral stuff and other defenders of the plutocracy, now peeps who hope to get ahead by “going the extra mile” will become lazy, unambitious and, well, probably Democratic, mainly because they’re going to get paid for the time they work.

Hasselbeck

Hasselbeck: Only Lazy Bums Want Paychecks

That, my babies, is today’s Republican Party in a nutshell. Robert Taft, Dwight Eisenhower, and even Tricky Dick Nixon are spinning in their graves as we speak. That’s how mad the mad, mad, mad, mad party has become.

And yet, our Dems still lose any number of elections to them.

Park It

B-town city council guy Steve Volan will be on WFIU’s Noon Edition today at, duh, noon. He’ll be perorating about the parking situ. here in our burgeoning burgh.

Marc Antony

Steve Volan

And I’m certain the genteel hosts of NE will treat him with the respect and deference a statesman of his high station truly deserves.

[Personal to Steve: As if you couldn’t have guessed by now, I’ll never stop being a smart-ass.]

Confidence Game

So the Feds have dropped the hammer on former Bloomington Public Works big shot Justin Wykoff and a couple of henchmen from Bedford for allegedly bilking the city out of 800-large.

Wykoff City ID

Busted

Acc’d’g to US Attorney Joe Hogsett, the Bedford boys submitted phony invoices for construction work and Wycoff approved them, a task he handled with great aplomb and for 33 percent of the take.

It wasn’t until a puzzled fellow Public Works employee dropped a dime on him that the first dark clouds marred Wycoff’s day. Wycoff was a project manager, which means he had a certain amount of say-so in how the city’s dough got spent. Still, you mean to tell me there was no one with the fiduciary responsibility to occasionally peek over Wycoff’s shoulder?

We’re a trusting lot here in B-town.

Twitter Twaddle

As you may or may not know, I don’t really use Twitter. Oh sure, I’ve got an account (don’t ask me how to get there) but I have it set up so it automatically puts out notifications that there’s a new post on The Pencil. Otherwise, I have no idea how many followers I have or even if some terrorist group has hijacked it and is even now devising plans to make another jet vanish.

See, Twitter serves no purpose for me at all. Not even to pimp for this blog, considering I’ve done absolutely nothing to grow my followers list. I just set my account up, well, because it seemed the right thing to do, rather like that time in the early ’90s when I grew a ponytail even though my hairline had already receded dramatically.

Anyway, I’m a strong proponent of using any tech advancement only if it serves a need I already had when said machine or service came onto the market. And I had zero need for Twitter before Twitter came out.

It never occurred to me that I needed to let a widening circle of semi-acquaintances know that the slice of sourdough bread I ate this morning gave me gas.

So, here’s a listing of ridiculous Tweets that illustrate precisely how useless the damned thing is. BTW: h/t to my old pal Jacqueline Gevercer for this. Jacqui was the chief bartender at the Matchbox (“Chicago’s most intimate bar”) back when I met the future Mrs. Loved One there. She was one of toughest dames you could imagine (Jacqui was; although T-Lo could give her a run for her dough).

From Just Something - Creative

Click Image To Read

Sample Tweet:

queue at @sainsburys salad bar for 15 mins to find they had no egg OR giant cous cous. To say this has ruined Monday would be an understatement [all sic]

Read away, with the understanding, I’d suspect, that a few of these Tweeters were aware of their own over-dramatizations. Some of them, though, seem truly distraught by their imagined ordeals.

Rainy Night In Georgia

Here’s the prettiest sad song you’ll hear today — or this year, for that matter.

Tony Joe White wrote it and it became a hit for Brook Benton in 1970. TJW has recording a couple of versions. This one is my fave. It makes feeling the blues a pleasure.

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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