We are tremendously loyal to our big name stars who have spent any amount of time in Chicago. We are frequently claiming credit for the accolades that anyone brings to our grand city. The warmth of your accomplishments leaves us magnificently glistening beneath the snowy stars.
On Tuesday, March 24, 2015, three major internationally recognized stars hit the pavement hard. And we watched with gleeful anticipation.
Derrick Rose – MVP
First we lost D Rose. Former MVP of the NBA out with another knee injury, his third requiring surgery and major rehabilitation in 3 years. Yes, Derrick Rose, a truly homegrown product who has accomplished much in his short and talented life. Down for the count again. Will he return? Possibly. But will he ever be an MVP again? Hard to say.
Some say “No way!”
Will he ever lead the Bulls to an NBA Championship? Time will tell. I wouldn’t count him out.
We love our heroes when they win. We adore them when they repeat.
Next, (yes, all on the same day) we lost ‘Kaner’ aka Patrick Kane leading scorer in the NHL on this day. Yes he has the repeat bug 2-Time Stanley Cup winner and the reigning champion of the All Star Game Skills Competition. Gone for 6-10 weeks with what appears to be a broken collarbone.
Taken out on a cheap hit by some guy know one pays to go and see no matter where he is playing. Kane is from Buffalo NY but he is ours now baby! It is safe to say we don’t win either of those Cups without him. I mean, just look at this guy … Will he be back in time for the playoffs?
Third (and not so lastly) Rahm Emmanuel reigning champion of Chicago politics. Former Chief of Staff of our Commander In Chief and Chicago home owner Barack Obama. Currently our sitting Mayor of only one term. His predecessor, Richie M Daley holds the record for 6 terms, which he wrested from the the previous record of 5 terms held by his Dear Ole Dad Richard Sr.
Yet poor old Rahm may not make it to repeat with even a 2nd term. Why? Because he did not hold a majority in the election held on Tuesday and now faces a run off in 6 weeks against some guy named ‘Chuy’.
Yes Chuy ran as kind of an afterthought and has basically no clue what to do with our huge budgetary shortfalls and monstrous chasms of quality jobs if actually elected.
So instead Chuy just stands there on the podium and smiles like he just got elected Prom King along with the virgin cheerleader that never talks to him in the high school hallways.
These three stories are in no way to be dismissed lightly when Chicago history books get re-written. And yet these three separate but significant events will be talked about and examined by pundits, talking heads and prognosticators until the first tulip blooms this spring.
These next 6-8 weeks before the run-off election and before the playoffs will be a boon for comedy writers and bloggers spanning this City of Big Shoulders. From Lakeview to Austin. From Evanston to Hyde Park. Yes we will capitalize on the heart ache and misfortunes of others’. Even though they are our superheros.
But we will do it with love and good humor. After all it is February and it is Chicago and there is a new layer of snow falling to the ground as I write this.
So we’ve got to do something to pass the time. Because even though pitchers and catchers reported to spring training last week, from where we stand we are still light years away from a walk down by the lake to cool off from a humid summer day that we spent in the bleachers that have been completely rebuilt during the reconstruction of Wrigley Field that seemed to have never ended.
So here’s to our stars, home grown and otherwise. The winners and the not so winners. The runner ups and the contestants. We love you all for gracing us with your presence so that we may temporarily bask in your warm glow, if only for a moment, to say “C’mon! You can do it again!”
UPDATE FROM A COMEDY MUSIC MAN: I’m back home in Chicago after what seems like an endless amount of time on the road, out of the country and doing some truly amazing live music gigs. I played with some very talented musicians, shared the stage with some absolutely hilarious stand ups and some mind boggling good magicians.
I’ve played dueling pianos shows, piano bars, concerts in theaters and cabarets.
The audiences were smart. I got to try out some new material and they were very gracious when the bits didn’t always connect for a home run.
Now I am back home in my new studio in my Chicago apartment. I had only lived here for a few weeks before I left. I don’t even know if this place is my home. So there was one way to find out.
Take the sheets off the recording gear and start writing something. First night home I stayed up until 630 AM just fooling around and playing some new ideas. It feels great.
I don’t know if this is my home yet or not, but I’m going to make it my own …. because wherever you are, there you are!
I’ll be back out on the road again soon. So making the most of this time is essential. As much as I love the studio time, the stage time is my lifeblood.
I’ll be heading out to Barcelona in September of 2016. I want to travel around Europe after that. I notice that Europeans respond slightly different to live music than do Americans. We get a fair amount of travelers here in Chicago at the gigs I play.
Europeans listen to live music differently. The comedy music I write tho, is most definitely slanted for American ears. I’m thinking that when I travel, I will be relying on the music part more so than the comedy part.
Comedy music. It’s not just for smart people anymore.
The first Chicago Mayoral Runoff Election is over. It’s finally over.
And there really wasn’t any doubt. Rahm-bo has won re-election and he gets another 4 years as our CEO of Chicago.
His challenger was a reluctant candidate named Chuy. Yes. You heard me right. That’s pronounced ‘Chewey’ as in I got something in my mouth and I got to wait to finish ‘chewey’ it before I can answer your question.
And that’s exactly how the guy who was going to take City Hall by storm and unseat a very unpopular incumbent was acting. “Yeah, I’ll get around to it. I didn’t really feel like running, but let me finish my lunch first.”
Rahm Emanuel and Chuy Garcia
I say Rahm was unpopular because, well, he is. He has had to make some of the tough choices. Our city is upside down financially (like the rest of the state of Illinois is). Rahm came in and cut union jobs, trimmed fat and ruffled feathers as he tried to shore up pensions. But honestly, in this writer’s opinion, he is going to have to do more. Which will make the next election in 4 years even more contentious.
This election at least had a few laughs. No one thought Chuy was a real threat. But we welcomed the levity of it all.
Would you like a few suggestions for the next time you run as an opposition candidate? Glad you asked:
Lose the mustache. We don’t want the Frito Bandito to be our mayor.
Drop the next door neighbor act. We are a world class city playing on an international stage. No one from Switerland who is bringing in millions of dollars in revenues from his trade show cares. We care. But they don’t. And you know what they say, “The customer is always right!”
Your neighbors will get work from the trade show. The tax base will get solvent from all the hotel and restaurant revenues. Plus, as mayor of Chicago you might actually get a free trip to somewhere other than the corner store for a pack of smokes.
Have a plan. Fer cryin’ out loud! You got up on stage in a debate without a plan?!? Next time when they ask you how you’re going to fix this fiscal calamity staring us in the face and you say, “I’ll form a committee?” we’re going to punch your ticket to the minors. At least act like a politician. Lie to us. A committee? Are you F$%&^#@^ kidding me?
Having a committee meeting with politicians is like telling a 9 to 5-er he can have a 3 hour coffee break. He’ll take 5 and come back sauced with a case of chlamydia. And no chlamydia is not the latest micro brew from Wrigleyville.
Get a better nickname. Chuy, if you think George Lucas is going to take your meeting to bring his Star Wars Museum here, you better at least change your last name to Bakka.
So here we go tumbling down the abyss with another 4 years of a tried and true, cut throat, kick ass politician who loves a good brawl. If you got to break a few eggs Rahm, make a damn good omlette. Just do it in fine Chicago politico style. Break a few legs too. Just try not to break too many rules.
And if we find out later you broke a few laws to get it all done. Don’t worry. We’re getting kind of used to dressing our former leaders in orange jump suits. Or as we like to say in the neighborhood, if you’re going to be douche bag politician, at least you’re our douche bag.
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The entire community had an opinion on the subject yet, in spite of this, everyone agreed on one thing: It was going to change the neighborhood forever.
Wrigley Field Rehab is in Phase 1 of a 5 year, $1B project that will completely rehab the structure of the oldest ball park in MLB.
The cranes and the cement mixers started showing up on the day, the hour, the minute that the 2014 season was over. Demolition began when fences went up all around and wrecking balls took down the bleachers. The signature brick wall with the iconic ivy was retained. But everything behind it was going away.
Sox fans screamed, “Keep going!” as the walls began to crumble around Wrigley Field.
There are big plans for the park and the surrounding area. Hotels, restaurants, workout and training facilities for the players and their physicians.
It has been in the works for 3 years now, planning and researching the best way to bring this beautiful historic park up to par with the rest of the ball parks around the rest of the league.
Wrigley is part of our city in a way that no other park is anywhere else. We began with what was once a city park across the street from a firehouse. The history is well documented in several books and videos and online. Let me tell what this park is and does for Chicago.
It is part of the neighborhood. It fits like a good pair of leather gloves. But lately it has become more like the pair of gloves OJ Simpson used. Tight. Cracked and stained.
I remember the old Milwaukee County Stadium before it was torn down. The concrete reeked. It was so old that the memories had memories of memories.
Now they have Miller Park. It is a long walk from the parking lot to the sterile and sanitized park. There are no restaurants or bars except for the one IN the park itself. No character. No personality.
I was in Phoenix last year and I saw the baseball park there from the outside. It was a monstrosity. Gargantuan. It was a mall inside of a mall inside of a retail village. Across the street there were more entertainment facilities like restaurants and more shops and more malls. It was ridiculous.
I get it. Owners need to pay for these multi-million dollar contracts somehow. We can’t support them with higher ticket prices. So the corporate money and the big box stores move in and capitalize on the loyal followings of the sports teams. I get it. No sweat.
But Wrigley is a neighborhood. Most of these bars have been here forever. Maybe longer. I’m sure most of these bars that are coming in now have strong corporate backers. The big money always follows the big money. Even when the Cubs suck (and they always do), the fans keep coming out year after year. Why?
Because Wrigley and the neighborhood is a unique experience. Live music venues, cabaret theaters and art galleries mix well with sports bars and unique restaurant experiences. The Cubs have successfully marketed and sold sunshine and beer for decades. Until they stop making beer, they can stick with that formula for a long time to come. Hell, they don’t even have to put a winning team on the field and we’ll still show up.
But right now the left field bleachers won’t be done until May 1st. The right field won’t be open until June – or later. It’s been a cold February this year. Colder than usual. One of the coldest on record. Colder than Anchorage AK. Steel doesn’t go into frozen ground effectively. I don’t know about these things but I’m willing to bet that the guys who are putting those beams in want to make sure they don’t collapse. Good idea, doncha’ think?
So the Cubs management gave the press a tour of the facilities as they are yesterday so they could give a report on how things are progressing. And the word is this thing, this Wrigley Rehab is not going to be done in time for Opening Day. The bathrooms will be unfinished. The ground is still a bunch of dirt with steel plates layed down. You’ll have to wear a batting helmet just to find your seat.
Will the Cubs Fans care? I doubt it highly. We’re still going to show up and rot for a team because, on Opening Day, every team is in first place.