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Overheard

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Near Madison and Dearborn, a guy talking to another guy: “My God, this year has been the worst ass-munch.”

Me and my shadows

Monday, May 10th, 2010

There’s a guy on Facebook who wants to network all the Chris Whiteheads. And why not? We’re an interesting bunch, as I discovered when I Googled us:

  • Chris Whitehead is a senior from Douglasville majoring in …
  • If DPM is your thing then Chris’s dive in to backing up and restoring SharePoint should certainly spin your wheels :-). Chris Whitehead, who is a Premier Field Engineer for SharePoint in the UK and a fan of DPM, recently posted a series …
  • Chris and Donna Whitehead devote hours each week volunteering for the Surrey Food Bank. They not only help sort, drive and assist in the office, they personally hold fundraising and food collection events every year and donate a portion …
  • Philatelic Publications: Railways of West Wales by Chris Whitehead. A well illustrated philatelic history covering the period of 1854 to 1958 and includes postmarks, photos and the railway letter stamps with particular reference to the Llandyssil railway post office. […]
  • Lookout for chris whitehead out at plainfield north. He has great hands and isisnt afraid to block. He runs precise routes and knows how to come back to the ball.
  • By Chris Whitehead Let’s make one thing clear: Assassin’s Creed 2 is nothing like its predecessor.
  • Chris Whitehead painted and converted this Chaos Vindicator to match his Iron Warriors army. He added the mound of bodies to the dozer blade using parts from the Corpse Cart and some Green Stuff.
  • Chris Whitehead, 30, and Danielle Whitehead, 27, who work indies in Tennessee as Thorn and Kandy were arrested on 3/29 in South Carolina after a meth lab was found in their home.
  • Artist – Chris Whitehead. Album – ??? (pronounced “koi monogatari”). Tracklist: 1. Something I Want to Say. 2. My Hands Are My Pillow. 3. One Maybe Two Nights. 4. Savetheworldman Rescues Beautygirl. 5. The Wind, the Sky, the Shade, …
  • This is Ivy’s famous steakhouse with a Peter Doyle designed menu and Chris Whitehead as the head chef. For steak lovers, it is heaven.
  • Another small guard that I think will be a good player is Chris Whitehead from New Albany High School. Same size as D. Davis and stronger but needs to work on his jumpshot.
  • A second goal came from the Beverley Town tiny forward Chris Whitehead who tapped home into an empty night after a scramble in the box.
  • There is a crying need for more competition and we are taking an active step in driving that competition,” chief executive Chris Whitehead said in a statement.”At the end of the day our profits go to our customers, not shareholders, …
  • chris whitehead told me to come down to the pool a few days ago and i had an extra hour so i stopped by before i went to work. i swam in the city pool with chris whitehead….i have to be gay. anyways, work was incredible, …
  • Chris Whitehead from Edna will be a redshirt Freshman at Texas A&M University – Kingsville. Whitehead was a four year starter at Edna HS where he hit .420 his senior year. “Chris is an outstanding young man and will be an asset to your …
  • happy hooker chris whitehead has come into his own over the past month with a string of imposing front row performances in a maturing coventry pack.
  • Beads. Plastic zip ties. Stamps. You might see these as ordinary items, but for Chris Whitehead these are…

What a variety! And although we share some characteristics — I suspect most of us have to work on our jump shots — I’m hoping the home meth lab is an anomaly. And the swim? Relax, people. Nobody becomes gay by swimming with Chris Whiteheads, it just doesn’t work that way.

Want a fork for your torts?

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Moments after President Obama signed the health care reform bill, attorneys general in 15 states filed suit, calling the law unconstitutional and saying the states can’t afford it.

Can’t afford it, eh? Lucky for them, lawsuits are different from health care. The states can afford lawsuits because they don’t pay for them with money that would otherwise go to health care, education, the police, or fixing the roads. No, it’s different money entirely.

I guess this is how the Republicans show their seriousness about tort reform, by spending public money on frivolous lawsuits. Oh, there was one Democrat among the crowd, a guy from Louisiana. Now there’s a state with money to burn.

Overheard . . .

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

In an elevator — Guy on a cellphone: “Yeah, I’ve got a wire transfer of $125,000 coming to me.”

 

Along the lakefront — One young woman to another: “Remember when I told you how I have to always wear underwear?”

 

On the bus –Young woman to young man: “I’m going to get you a new Bible. The King James Version.”

 

On the bike path — Woman to another woman: “He was really explicit.”

Happy New Year

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

The palms are looking a little wilty — high time I gave them some water and fertilizer, so here we go.

A few days ago I rode to work in a light snow. At the foot of the sledding hill, near Soldier Field, a Park District truck with an enormous fan was making snow and blowing it at the hill. Also over the recently plowed path. Reminds me of seeing Park District people watering plants during a rainstorm. That’s my town.

And speaking of my town, I can’t give you a top 10 list for last year, but a couple of things stick out. Chicago, of course, lost the 2016 Olympics to Rio. I think it’s too bad. I’m sure the critics are right, that we would have been on the hook for millions of dollars, the Games wouldn’t have brought anything like what the backers were predicting, the city would be a construction zone for six years and a zoo for about three weeks. And I won’t even mention the waste and fraud endemic to any big development. But it would still have been fun, and it would have been fun to see the city on such a big stage.

But the city got good news last year, too, and that was the Sun-Times getting a new owner. It’ll take a while to see how that plays out, but to have some certainty — and to have a local guy who appears to care about the paper — is a great step. I spent nearly 35 years at the place and I wish it the best.

Moving beyond Chicago: In 2008, we were lucky enough to have two trumpeters (Bob Civiletti and Bryan Shaw) release CDs exploring the highest regions of the baroque and post-baroque solo repertoire on baroque trumpet. In 2009, two groups of trumpeters released CDs of ensemble pieces on instruments without tone holes. I’ll review them together when I get to it (working a full-time job just gets in the way of blogging, you know), but both recordings display great skill — and great promise for future performances. (When I get to the review, I’ll explain tone holes and why it’s progress to go without them, though this is an arcane and probably uphill struggle…)

And close to home, we took in a feral cat (No. 5 for us, but she goes by Paulette), found homes for three more and managed to capture, spay and release another one (no, we are not amateur vets; we took the cat to professionals). And as of today, we’re hosting two more feral kittens till we can have them checked by a vet and adopted. So a slight dent in the neighborhood wild cat population.

Let’s see what the rest of the year brings!

On the Mark

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

You’ve got to love Google ads. If you were reading the New York Times’ online story about South Carolina’s Mark Sanford and suddenly thought “I’ve always wanted to go to Argentina and have a fling,” why there at the bottom of the story was a helpful Ads by Google box with Argentina tourism info.

I don’t know how Google’s software figures out how to place ads, but it apparently didn’t buy the governor’s story about hiking the Appalachian trail: No hiking or Appalachian links appeared.

 

But in another box, there’s a link to www.elblogdeMiguel.com, where “Miguel” says he’s an Argentinian who wants to demonstrate how he now works from home, bringing in 5K a month thanks to Google, and the “Easy Google Profit Kit.”

I’ve been to Argentina, but I’ve never tried Easy Profit, so maybe the big dough is just a click away. Something for Sanford to think about as he contemplates his next career move. I’ll bet a lot of people would read elblogdeMarkSanford.

Tan lines

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

Now that we’re sick and tired of snow and shoveling, let’s talk about beaches.

They’ve taken down the construction fencing at the new 40th Street beach, and you can walk or ride to it off the lakefront trail; or park in the rebuilt 39th Street parking lot and stroll over. The beach is Chicago’s first new beach in donkey’s years (and when the Park District calls me back, I’ll be able to say how many that is).

It has two fishing piers, with stands for fishing poles. A sand beach stretches between the piers, and a path connects them to the lakefront trail and the 39th Street parking lot. There’s a large area near the parking lot that’s waiting for seed to sprout (at least that’s my guess), but otherwise all that’s lacking is drinking fountains, lights and a beach house. The Park District is looking for someone to operate a food trailer at 39th Street, so maybe we’ll see those next year.

In the meantime, it’s fun to explore. Sure, there’s not that much to it, but it sits just across Lake Shore Drive and the Metra tracks from the Lake Park Crescent development, still being completed, and a few steps from the 43rd Street pedestrian bridge, which is scheduled to be rebuilt. For that matter, Lake Park Crescent is supposed to get its own pedestrian bridge, between its park and the lakefront.

So not only is the beach serving a growing population, its presence should be a draw for people looking for places to live. As someone who lives nearby — and who has invested in property nearby, too — I certainly hope so.

When President Obama and First Lady Michelle came back to town, where did their helicopter land? On the meadow just north of the new beach. And when they left? Same place. I know this not only from the pictures in the paper, but from the heavy police presence that turned me away from the path. Twice! On my way home from work that Friday night, and again on my way to work the following Monday morning.

So if the new beach – or at least the meadow next door – is good enough for the president, it ought to be OK for you and me, too.

Here are some pictures to whet your appetite for when it’s warm enough to enjoy.

 

Thank you for voting

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

As a neighbor of mine used to say, I saved the country this morning. My polling place is in a hall at Kenwood United Church of Christ, at 46th and Greenwood. Though it was busy when I went — most of the voting booths were in use — there were only three people in line ahead of me, so the saving went quickly.

Obama’s house is just five blocks south of the church, so in this very un-November weather, I walked there after voting. Along several blocks of Greenwood, little American flags planted every few feet along the parkway flapped in the breeze; one house hung an enormous flag on its front wall. Many lawns sported Obama-Biden placards.

Before the Democratic convention you could walk or ride right past Obama’s house. Not any more. Concrete barriers at either end of the block are manned by police and Secret Service, traffic on the block is one-way and restricted to residents. Your best view of the house is from the south side of Hyde Park Boulevard, looking north. You also get a good view of the synagogue across the street from Obama, whose members probably have mixed feelings about the security when they attend services.

The synagogue, KAM Isaiah Israel Temple, is a city landmark, so it’s possible not all the people walking by with cameras are trying for a shot of Obama’s house.

Interestingly, you can look at Google satellite photos of Obama’s house, but most of Kenwood is unavailable on Google Street View, so you can’t “walk” up the street and see the place. Or anything else for blocks around. I can look at my front door, but not his. In any case, both papers have published photos of the place, so if you really want to see it, you can.

Dropped in another neighborhood, his house could look like a mansion. Here, it’s just another big old house, but others are bigger and older. You can be a neighbor if you want: Koenig and Strey lists the Georgian-style house at 4819 S. Greenwood for $2,575,000, which is pricy, but it boasts seven bedrooms, five bathrooms, a four-car garage and tennis courts on a giant lot.

Meanwhile, a check of the local paper, the weekly Hyde Park Herald, shows 67 foreclosure sale listings. Some are condos, most are actually outside the Hyde Park and Kenwood neighborhoods. I’ve seen a couple of houses on my street go into foreclosure, including one single-family house that listed for just $97,000. “That’s like a winning Lotto ticket,” one neighbor said during a recent block party. The place sold fast and is being rehabbed.

The dividing line between Obama’s neighborhood and mine is 47th Street, and you can feel the difference as you cross from one to the other. Kenwood could be mistaken for parts of Evanston, Wilmette, Hinsdale; North Kenwood bears the scars of the city. But that dividing line is blurring. On the walk from the polling place to Obama’s house, I walked by the Black Pearl art center on 47th Street, the future site of the Muntu Dance Troupe (if construction ever resumes) and I picked up lunch at a new gourmet food store, Zaleski and Horvath, that opened recently on 47th Street.

Can the neighborhoods support them? We’ll see, but I’m hopeful. And I can’t wait to see the smiles around here tomorrow. I’m certainly wearing one.

Trick or treat

Friday, October 31st, 2008

The day Washington Mutual was taken over by the feds and sold to JPMorgan Chase, this arrived in my mailbox: “You’ve earned this offer for a Visa Platinum credit card with no annual fee. Just complete and return the form below to request your Visa Platinum card. Credit line up to $30,000 and No Annual Fee.”

Sounds good to me. Who wants to give me the 30 grand? WaMu.

That’s a lot of money to dangle in front of a guy who hasn’t had a steady job since January.

Particularly in this economy. When I left the Sun-Times, I rolled over my 401(k) into an existing IRA. Well, thanks to the market’s determined nosedive, I might as well have rolled it up and set it on fire. It’s gone. The stocks are still there, sure, but their value has shriveled to the point that — on paper, at least — the 401(k) is gone. For those who used to wonder what the (k) stands for, now we know. Kablooey.

But gone forever? Not likely. Even though every day’s floor seems to be the next day’s ceiling, and today’s buying opportunity is tomorrow’s bye-bye opportunity, most of the stocks are in solid companies that aren’t going away. The longer I can leave the IRA alone, the more likely I am to see it recover. If I have to dip into it next year — which I was thinking of doing — I may take a bath.

And I’m one of the lucky ones: I have an IRA, I have a house, I have no credit card debt and thanks to my wife, I have health insurance. I could walk down Michigan Avenue and find plenty of people in worse shape.

Banks are in hot water these days for sitting on the bailout money — I mean rescue money — instead of lending it. Well, here’s a bank that wants to lend me money. Wouldn’t I just be doing my bit for the economy by taking the $30,000? It’s tempting. I’d be doing good and rolling in dough. And then rolling in debt.

But I’m just not that altruistic, and besides, sooner or later I’d probably have to pay it back. So I’m afraid WaMu — or JPMorgan Chase — will have to shop the 30 grand somewhere else. Sorry, guys.