Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Short Burtst Series- American Idol's Insult

American Idol is bigger daily news than most anything these days, swine flu notwithstanding.

On the radio station I listen to every morning, there is a recap of the previous night's show (how many times a week is it on, anyways?) whenever there is a show from the previous night to recap. They treat this karaoke spectacle as news.

Like a bona fide story or something.

I, and other musicians like me have spent years and years and countless hours...


So it goes...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ebb and Flow and...Torture?

The calendar in May is looking bleak for yours truly.

As the economy ebbs and flows, like our lives, so do the gigs. I've lost a couple of good private gigs recently, for relatively big dough, and I've had to sub out of a couple nice ones, as well, to maintain the commitment to Lonnie Brooks gigs.

Flying high in April, shot down in May.

One of the biggest uncertainties that we face as musicians is constantly keeping the calendar full. If there's an opening, especially on the weekend, then you want to fill it. So it's the constant cycle of booking and looking. Dates on the calendar come and go, and keeping the balance is tough.

Back on top in June. I'll be back in Espana.

Sometimes being a pro musician can be torture.

Speaking of torture, what do you think about former officials in the Bush administration, including former POTUS Bush and former V.P. Dick Cheney being tried (eventually, anyways) for war crimes (see torture, water boarding, lying, being deceitful, lying, lying, etc.?)

Obama is very smart and calculating, I'm convinced. He puts the information out there and sits back to let everyone digest and process everything. He's not a knee-jerk kind of guy. He thinks that maybe we should just "move on" since there are more pressing matters right now.

He's right, of course. There are much bigger fish to fry at this moment in our history (like the Taliban taking over Afghanistan. Again. Jeez.) Maybe in a few years all of these things will get done, when things have leveled off a bit.

I don't agree with "moving on", personally. That will become an excuse to "move on" after any kind of scandal or shenanigans that have/will occur withing the high levels of government.

A political crutch.

We couldn't just "move on" with the Clinton blow job. Remember that one? And that didn't even affect the economy, which seems to be the ruler of all of our sensibilities these days. Our religion, don't you know?

What do you think? Leave a comment.

So it goes...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Life in Music- Subbing Out

I've had to sub out of a few gigs as of late.

I hate having to sub out.

For those of you who are not down with the music biz jargon (and that's all it is, believe me,) "subbing out" means that you can't make a gig you agreed to do, for some reason or another, and someone else gets the call and does the gig in your place.

They also cash the check in your place. Grrr.

Subbing out is part of the deal of being pro. If you are fortunate enough to have a steady gig with steady work, like the Lonnie Brooks Band affords me, then you don't have to deal with it too much.

Why, you ask? Because I'm not taking a lot of gigs from other people, so I rarely have to sub out of something in order to do a Brooks gig.

But I do have to sub out of certain gigs to some extent. Even though the gig with Brooks is a very good gig, it only goes so far. I've been in the group for 8 years, now, but I'm still just a sideman, not the boss. This means that the gig will come to an end at some point (all gigs come to an end.) Which means that I can't just rest on my laurels. I've got to have other work (all working players work with several people.)

So I take a few side jobs. I make calls to people seeing if there's anything out there. People will also (hopefully) call me.

I've even got my own group (so as not to have to rely on the phone ringing my ENTIRE career.)
Between that and the random side work, some of those dates will, undoubtedly, clash with the Brooks band schedule.

Which means that I sub out when I need to, and someone else ends up getting my dough.

Of course, when you sub out, there's always a risk you run: losing the gig to someone else (meaning you won't necessarily get another call for another day.) If you can't make the gig, someone else will (obviously). If they are better than you are, or more reliable, or more likable, or more punctual, or more whatever than you are, then you might fall down a few spots on the call list.

Another revenue stream dries up.

For now anyways. Sideman gigs always seem find their way back to you.


That's how it goes. Not having your phone ring can be a harsh reality. Let's face it, the main reason why you're having to sub out is because someone else is offering better dough for the same day, and since you're just a mercenary (like the rest of us...)

Which means, of course, that we bring our misfortunes on ourselves, searching for that elusive gig that actually IS going to pay you what you think you're worth.

It's not like the guy/gal hiring you is concerned about your finances. They've got their own fish to fry. You're just an interchangeable cog in their (not your own) enterprise.

I'm in a pretty fortunate situation, though, because I'm generally only subbing out of a gig that is mine. Meaning I'm not a sideman in this group, I'm an owner.

I don't have to worry about losing that gig to someone else.

I still hate subbing out.

So it goes...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Short Burtst Series- Want Fries With That?

I've written previously about this great Cuban joint in my 'hood, 90 Miles Cafe.

I have officially decided that it is one of the top 5 places in the city to eat. Oh, yes, I know, that's a pretty bold statement there.

Stop the presses, for crying out loud..

Today, for the first time, I ordered the french fries to accompany my Cubano sandwich and cafe con leche (to celebrate the wheels being in motion to lift the embargo.) I'm a french fry freak.

Best fries on the North Side of Chicago, hands down. Hot, crispy, crunchy, hearty, and yummy.

Really, though, I need to get to Havana while it's still illegal.

So it goes...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Life in Music- Your Red Shirt

So I've got this gig at the United Center this week. My group, BMR4, will be performing pre-game grooves for the Bulls' fans and those of their ilk.

A good mixer for nacho consumption, no?

It's a regular gig that we get each year, good for about half a dozen jobs each year. Since the Bulls made the playoffs this year, we get extra work, starting this week.

Not too shabby.

I like the U.C. gigs. They're relatively painless, as there is only 1 set lasting about 85 minutes.

"Hit it and quit it," as the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, used to say.

I'm also done at 7pm, which means that I can still dance the night away (or do another gig, if only the damn phone would ring.)

Like I said, the gig is painless and easy, for the most part (the security shakedown is still a waste of time, though.) This time, however, a rather unusual request was presented to us: we needed to wear red shirts (Bulls colors, you know).

It's not the first time we've had to put on the proverbial monkey suit. Sometimes (actually, every time, now that I think about it) we have to wear a lapel pin with the name of the night's sponsor. Usually, it's a bank or some big-money institution. It's usually ugly, obviously annoying (it's not like we're getting extra dough for being a walking billboard), and ultimately silly.

But we do it. We need the gig. Everyone needs to hold on to their gigs these days.

So I'll wear the red shirt, artistic integrity still in tact. I'll even smile.

I should wear red shoes, too. Maybe a red wig and nose, too.

So it goes...

Short Burst Series- Miss California

So Carrie Prejean, Miss California did not become Miss USA.

She doesn't approve of gay marriage. This "came out" (get it?) during her questioning by judge Perez Hilton, a gay guy who's famous for being famous.

A beauty contest is no place for political discourse (and Perez is not the guy to be asking questions like this.) These "contestants" didn't exactly show up based on their brainpower. Nobody did.

Probably, anyways.

I'm guessing the Las Vegas audience was, rightly so, hoping to focus on these ladies' other assets.

So it goes...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Life in Music- The Funky Bass Players

I love bass players. They are my brothers/sisters in groove.

Without them, I am nothing (after all, I'm just a bass player trapped in a drummer's body).

That being said, bass players really piss me off lately.

I don't know why, and I probably never will, but bass players seem to be perpetually less than timely, especially lately. On 2 gigs that I did last week (2 in one week?) the bass player was late. When I say late, I mean late for the START of the gig. Not late for the load-in or the sound check, but the hit time (biz lingo).

Hello? Are we pro's here or what?

Isn't part of your job keeping good time?

The kicker of this part of the story is that it occurred with 2 different bands and 2 different bass players.

About a week or 2 previous to this, there was another gig that the bass player was late. About an hour late for the hit, to be precise. I can't blame her, though, because she was filling in for the person that was supposed to show up.

That's right, I said supposed to show up. The person who originally got the call never showed. Just didn't show up. Didn't even call. Luckily, someone was found, albeit an hour late.

So what's going on here, bass players? The economy is terrible and the gigs are getting scarce. I understand that we all gotta do what we gotta do (I'm talking to the mercenaries out there, myself included.) I know that if you're already booked to play for a hondo (a hundred dollars- more biz lingo) and someone else offers you 2 for the same day, you gotta take it.

But you also gotta be responsible and send a sub or at least CALL THE LEADER and let them know that they need to get someone else. When you don't show up, or if you show up late, not only do you screw up your colleagues' future employment, but your own name gets tarnished mightily (notice my manners in not calling y'all out). Besides, just like many, many drummers in this town, you're probably not nearly as good as you think you are, with your noodling fingers and thumping thumbs; being "funky".

Sorry to be harsh, but if you feel slighted by this statement, then you probably fit the description. If it does not affect your mood, then you are probably very solid and...


Probably funky, too.

And speaking of funky, how about the city of Chicago sending out the secret goon squad to ticket motorists who fail to stop for pedestrians who just walk willy-nilly into the middle of the street just 'cause they can. Why doesn't the city just send us all a bill every month?

So it goes...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Phil Spector Revisited

The music world, and the world at large, for that matter, lost another great musician.

No, he's not dead. Just gone. Away.

Into the prison industry you go, Phil. It's one of the few industries making big dollars these days, kinda like you continue to do (so far). Plus, there isn't a shortage of wackos and freaks in the joint. So you should fit right in.

Phil Spector is a genius, as well as a psychotic, mentally unstable, and essentially crazy dude. It was regarded as widely well known that it was not uncommon for him to have some kind of firearm with or near him a lot of the time. He was known to have it with him in the studio, keeping the doors locked and, essentially, holding everyone there hostage 'til he was done doing whatever he was doing. Whether it was his early producing days with the likes of the Ronettes or later on and past his "prime" with the Ramones, he had his piece.

Finally, probably inevitably, someone ended up dead. So he's a killer. He should rot in jail with the rest of the killers and pedophiles and banking executives. He'll probably die there.


Now that all of that is out of the way, he was also the ultimate music producer, making some of the greatest and most innovative music of our time, with some of the greatest and innovative bands of our time. The "wall of sound", which has become almost a common-place phrase, is the ultimate of revolutionary breakthroughs in the history of recorded music.

So I'm also very sad that he did this. It's a loss to all music fans.

Even though he's an ego maniacal killer, he still was the producer for some of MY favorite records. That includes, without a doubt, his Christmas album, which is the best Christmas album ever made (yes it is, so don't argue.)

Ok, ok. The Charlie Brown Christmas is very/close.

I've spent a good part of the day listening to my John Lennon and George Harrison records. It seemed like the thing to do. George's All Things Must Pass is fantastic. It's my personal favorite, which makes it the BEST of all of the post-Beatle albums.

Songs like Isn't it a Pity, Wah-Wah, Apple Scruffs (it's about groupies-yes sir!) are the cream of the crop on that album. They are also the epitome of the Spector sound. It's a sound my ear has grabbed on to and embedded into my puny and mortal brain. Because of Phil, these songs were given a life that continually charges the pleasure receptors in that same puny and mortal brain.

Almost as much as Muddy Waters, may HE rest well.

So it goes...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Phil Spector

With genius comes madness.

There wasn't a single musician that testified on his behalf (not that there should have been.)

Poor Phil Spector.

So it goes...

Bogus Bond

Chicago Police detective Joseph Frugoli was drunk behind the wheel of his Lexus SUV, just before 4am Saturday morning, when he struck a Dodge in the break down lanes near 18th street, on the Dan Ryan expressway.

He killed the two passengers in the Dodge, driver Andrew Cazares and passenger Fausto Manzera. They were both in their early twenties, so they were just kids.


It is reported that his blood-alcohol was 3 times the legal limit, which means that it was at least 0.24.

Pretty drunk.

He was charged, thank Allah, with two counts of reckless homicide, two counts of driving under the influence and one count of leaving the scene of an accident (that's right, he tried to split.)

Currently, and shamefully, he is free on $50,000 bond.

Turns out that this so-called officer of the law has had a few other, um, fender benders. Just last week, Frugoli had to pay $7100 to a guy named Joseph Cairo for a 2005 accident, also on the Dan Ryan.

Also a rear-end job.

Also early in the morning, around 3 am.

Also a nice car (BMW Sedan).

Interestingly (not really), alcohol was seemingly a non-factor. The officer, in one of his accounts of what happened that morning (that's right, he gave multiple accounts) said that he was on his way to a bar at that time.

On his way.


Only cost $7100 to get out of that one.

There was yet another accident that happened in January of last year, also in the Beamer, also in the wee hours of the morning. This time, though, the accident was not on the expressway. It seems that officer friendly ran a stop sign at 37th and Wallace. He hit a police car and injured two officers (a family affair). There was no "evidence" of intoxication, so Fugoli was only given a citation.

Interestingly, according to the April 11 Chicago Sun-Times, "The officers who responded to the crash were investigated for failing to tell their supervisors in a timely manner that an off-duty officer was involved in the crash, but they were cleared of wrongdoing, sources said."

Guess the booze wore off by the time a supervisor knew it was one of his/her bad kids involved in the wreck.

So, to review: 3 accidents in four years, 2 of them were from behind (it's how rogue cops seemingly like to dish it out), and 1 has alcohol officially involved.

He was also driving very nice, luxury vehicles, and has shelled out at least $57,100 (between his previous fine and his current bond) in the last week.

(Does this guy earn a typical cop salary?)

So what is there to say about this? Cops protect their own, which they've tried to do in the past for this guy. They were relatively successful up until now, but I would not be surprised that in the end, he'll get off relatively easily. That's how it works here in Chicago.

As of this writing, his first hearing had already been postponed until May, of course, so he's free as a bird right now.


Luckily, his police powers have been stripped.

So it goes...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

5 Reasons Chicago Should Not Have the Olympics

The IOC just finished their whirlwind tour of Chicago.

The red carpet was rolled out for them, they were wined and dined, and they were Oprah-fied. By most accounts, this last weekend could be defined as a top-notch sales job.

I mean, Oprah! She's not even really a Chicagoan, and yet...

Ok, the list of 5, as promised.

1. First and foremost, Chicago is broke. The potholes on the city streets are as rampant as ragweed during a typical Chicago spring. Construction projects have been halted (Spire, anyone? Love the hole.) Even the Chicago Police (lack of backbone notwithstanding) held a demonstration on Day 1 of the IOC visit to demand better wages.

If cops are demonstrating, it MUST be serious.

Or French. Paris, after all, lost the 2012 bid to the Brits mainly because of strikes, protests, and demonstrations during that IOC visit a few years back.

2. Traffic is a daily issue in this city. It's pretty bad, at best, and more often than not, it's horrible. The Kennedy and Eisenhower expressways are too small for a metro area of 9 million people (3 lanes in each direction on both these highways? Poor urban planning, and hardly accommodating). Lake Shore Drive has the eternal logjam from the Michigan Ave. exit on the north side, all the way down to Soldier Field, home to the NFL's Chicago Bears. Primarily, the games will be south of the football spacecraft (which by the way, is too small for the opening and closing ceremonies), as will the Olympic Village. So how will people get that far south? And if the bulk of attendees for the games are from places other than Chicago (they will be, you know?), how will they travel to the south side. CTA? Doubtful. Maybe our bike-happy dictator, I mean Mayor Daley, will buy thousands of 2-wheelers for our guests. He can pay for them with parking meter money, perhaps. Oh, wait...

I guess we'll be having red-light cameras at just about EVERY intersection now (last year's revenue from the cameras was a staggering $44 million, and currently there are only a few hundred of them in Chicago)

3. I'm pretty sure that public support is far lower than the mayor or the IOC would like to acknowledge. Personally, I have yet to talk to one single person who supports having the Olympic teat in Chicago. Not one (well, OK, there was 1, but he doesn't count and shall remain unidentified). Now, there are a few businesses that have the "We Back the Bid" signs in their windows, but they are all major corporations/political donors. Places like Walgreens and BP.

Drugs and fuel.

Hmmmm. I suppose I can stop right there.

4. Chicago is broke. Oh, wait...

5. How can we actually trust the people in charge? You, know, the mayor and all of his cronies and hacks. Corruption is rampant. Not only within city government, but at the state and county level as well (like you didn't know that). Make no mistake. The State of Illinois, as well as C(r)ook County, has a vested interest in securing the games. Those involved in these upper levels of government want the money, I mean games, just as much as Richie and the boys.

These so called leaders lack the foresight for what is really needed. Soldier Field, as I said, is too small for the Olympics. So that means that we'll have to build a stadium (did I mention Chicago's broke?) As most Chicagoans will no doubt remember, it took FOREVER to reach an agreement to, ultimately, have Soldier Field refurbished. There was squabbling within the City Council as to whether or not the stadium would be re-done or if a new one would be built. But where would it be built? More importantly, who gets the contracts? Back and forth, back and forth.

It took YEARS.

Really, Chicago should have built a domed stadium on the lakefront. But that opportunity was blown. Did the mayor not have Olympic dreams those short few years ago? A state-of-the-art dome would have been large enough to accommodate the Olympics. Plus it would give Chicago things that Soldier Field, still, cannot EVER accommodate. Things like the NCAA Final Four (which was held, this year, in Ford Field in Detroit, home of the NFL's Lions), or, gasp, the Super Bowl.

Now THAT, would generate some serious revenue. More than just once, too.

The lack of foresight on this one is just plain stupid and selfish. They were smug and full of hubris and self-interest.

Do we really want "those guys" running THIS particular show?

Of course, we elected them, so us regular folk must share some of the blame.

So it goes...

Monday, April 6, 2009

My Beatle Story

In today's online New York Times, in the Arts Beat section, is an article about last Saturday night's show at Radio City Music Hall (photo credit Stephen Chernin/AP). It was a benefit concert for the David Lynch Foundation, (Yes, the Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet David Lynch. Read the manifesto here.) The show featured Paul McCartney as the headline act, with none other than Ringo (RINGO!) rounding out the bill.

It sounded, from the reviewer's perspective, like it was a great show, featuring a cavalcade of stars including Sheryl Crow, Donovan, the Beach Boys.

Whatever. I'm not interested in the foundation.

Paul and Ringo certainly were the only ones that mattered.

I've had the luck (what other way can you see a Beatle, after all) of seeing both of these guys live and in the flesh.

I got to see McCartney about 8 years ago at the United Center in Chicago. It was the first time he had been to town in a while, he had just released a fairly good record, Driving Rain. A friend of mine had offered me a ticket at the last minute.

Not free, mind you.

But it was a buck and a half very well spent. I went into this show thinking that it was going to be some gray haired, geriatric, viagra using group of party animals. What I got, though, was quite the opposite:

One of the most rockin' shows ever.

I was stunned, to say the least. He had a four piece band behind him, all of the guys in the band just kids in their '20s, all of them hungry. They played Mac's music like it was their own. They rocked with fury and authority, and convinced you that songs like Help and I Saw Her Standing There were still ass-kicking rockers; old tunes with new energy. His drummer even sang (you should almost never give the drummer a mic.)

Paul played bass, piano, and guitar that night. At one point, he was alone on stage with just an acoustic guitar, the cavernous arena silent, as he played and sang Blackbird. It served as a sound reminder as to why the Beatles were the best.


As for my Ringo experience, it was not nearly as eventful, but it was equally exciting (Ringo is SO underrated, by the way. He's a killer drummer.)

I was working a day job (huh?) downtown and the word on the street was that Ringo was going to be making an appearance at the Hard Rock Hotel that day, his birthday, to give a live press conference urging the world to all give the "peace sign", simultaneously, at noon, in solidarity of having...

You guessed it. World peace.


Anyways, I happened to be working right next door to the hotel, so I figured I'd try to get a glimpse. So I go down to the street, walk to the hotel, and see TONS of people. Thousands, if not hundreds. I make my way and stake out my spot. It just so happens that I was standing right next to a door that He was going to come out of to give his conference/peace flash. Apparently, this door was not the original point of exit, so I had a clear shot of seeing him.

And at high noon, the door opens, and out comes Ringo, all 5'2" of him (or however tall he is. He's a pretty short dude.) I was only a few feet from him. The moment lasted 5 seconds, tops.

But, boy, it was cool. I was/this/close to an actual Beatle.

New York should feel lucky that they got to see the last surviving Beatles share the stage again.

We should be so lucky in Chicago.

So it goes...

Opening Day


The first week of April. Just like always, there's snow on the ground here in Chicago. Perfect for opening day.

Luckily, the Cubs begin their 101st season of (hopefully not) futility in the warm bosom of Houston's Minute Maid Park, formerly Enron "take the money and run" Field. That stadium is domed, climate regulated, and almost makes you feel like you're not actually in Texas.

Oh to dream.

Speaking of dreams, I didn't have any last night, since I couldn't sleep, with opening day just hours away. All I could do was anxiously think, and ask myself unanswerable questions. Mostly, it was, "Why am I falling for it again this year?"

Just like last year, and the year before, and the year before, and the...

Is the team really ready? I mean, I know that they're picked to win the division. Again. But there is not much depth with the starting pitching. Even a baseball novice knows that pitching is everything. Is success in the post season going to be a reality this year?

Yes, the staff is anchored by the Big Z, Carlos Zambrano, who can be lights out at times, so long as his feelings or ego aren't bruised. Is he still the wild man that Cubs fans have gotten familiar with over the years? Or will he be the next coming of Cy Young (winningest pitcher of all time), with a calmer and more focused demeanor?

He gets the start tonight, giving him his 5th call (the most opening day starts in franchise history) to begin the season.

He has yet to win an opening day start.

So "Cub-like".

Then there's Ryan Dempster, starter turned closer turned starter. He's a solid pitcher for sure, despite his Canadian background (yeah, he can skate, too). Last year may have been a career year for him; he was excellent for the most part.

The other 3 starters (Ted Lilly, Rich Harden, and Sean Marshall) are solid. All three of them could be a no.1 or no. 2 starter on most any other team. Lilly and Marshall are both lefty's, which is huge for the team. Manager LouPiniella likes the odds that are produced when there is a balance of right and left handed pitching (Lou is a big, big, BIG stat guy).

Harden? Well, hopefully he can just stay healthy and actually make it through a season (for once) without injury. If that can happen, then look out.

But as I said, beyond the 5 starting pitchers on the active roster, that's about it. Jeff Smardzija, who was sent to AAA Iowa so that he could be an every 5th day starter, will be a strong call-up, whenever that may be. It will certainly be before September, when the roster expands to 40 players, and likely before All-Star break, barring a miracle of the current starters having stellar, and I mean STELLAR, first halves of the season.

Highly unlikely.

Oh, to dream.

So it goes...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Commenting on the Cardinal's Comments

They say that you should never talk about religion or politics when you're in a bar.

Luckily, I'm sitting in my kitchen.

Today, like most days, I'm flipping through my trusted (and currently in chapter 11 bankruptcy) Sun-Times, online (oops), when the headline screams at me: "Cardinal George: ND Obama invite an 'embarrassment'."

The article quotes the good Cardinal as saying it's an "extreme embarrassment," for the Golden Domers to have invited him to speak at this year's commencement.

Huh? We're talking about the current President of the United States, right?

Let's be perfectly clear on this. George W. Bush, was an extreme embarrassment.


He's a liar and a war criminal and a fear mongering you-know-what. Hopefully, he'll be prosecuted for these and other shortcomings at some point in the future.

Obama, regardless of where your support lies, hasn't been in charge long enough to have earned that distinguishing moniker.

Moving on.

Who does the Cardinal think he is, anyways? For a man in such a distinguished position of leadership, he's really set a poor example for all of the kiddies (what happened to love thy neighbor, he who is without sin, and all that jazz). I'm sorry if I offend anybody, as it is not my intention to do so (I might as well get the apology out before the fact, a true patriotic act, eh), but he's got some nerve. Especially as a man of the cloth.

First of all, if the POTUS (President of the United States) wants to speak at your behest, even if it were George II, it's an (gulp) honor. Kids start learning of the respect Americans hold for the Office of the President at a very young age. Even Catholic children. After all, being President puts you in more of an elite club than being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. So if he, or someday she, is willing to come and speak at your school, or church, or mosque, then props to you.

Take that ball and run with it.

Don't, as an organizational leader, whine and cry and publicly denounce this event. Find the good and positive things to promote for all Americans, not just the Catholic ones. After all, our country is in a royal mess. I mean bad. I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. We, as a society, need to find common ground. Unity. What's best for the many, not for the few. We just don't need any more trivial and petty fighting among various American tribes.

This is the real embarrassment.

So what if Obama's views differ from Catholic beliefs? Some of mine are different, to be sure. So are many other peoples'. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the previous Presidents who spoke there (Carter, Reagan, Bush I and II) had some different opinions on things good and evil as well.

He's. The. President.

Let's face it. In addition to being an extremely large religious group, the Catholic Church is a major corporation, and run accordingly (college football EXCLUSIVELY on NBC, anyone?). The Church even has had it's share of scandal and corruption embedded into it's makeup and reputation, just like other monster corporations (see Enron, AIG). These few statements, alone, weakens the proverbial moral compass that the Church possess. Plus, and most importantly, I'm quite sure that Notre Dame is very happy to allow students of any faith to attend their prestigious school.

So long as the tuition gets paid, that is.

Plus, Notre Dame has a proud (yes, proud) tradition of inviting a sitting (yes, sitting) president to come and speak. This is not an unusual event.

Cardinal George knows this, as does Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, and the other archbishops who've jumped on the anti-Obama soapbox.

So really, what is the embarrassment really all about? Is it really about stem cells? C'mon. If Catholics really feel this way, as Cardinal George would suggest, then maybe he should figure a way to get Catholics out of America entirely. After all, if this issue of stem cell research goes so horribly against the tenets of the group that you are supposedly bound to, then you can't possibly feel good about being part of American society. So you might as well just go and live among people that don't see the value of such unbelievably unbelievable science.

Now there's a solution.

Since he's a prominent and major Catholic leader, perhaps that should be a responsibility he'd be willing to take on. He knows best, right? Maybe it will get him that Papal gig he seemed to have missed out on a coupla years ago.

So it goes...

The Stonecipher Report

I've recently become a guest blogger for The Stonecipher Report. Politics and sports. You can check out what I think about the Cubs all season long.

Quite a combination, no?

So it goes...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Short Burst Series- Olympics 2016

The IOC (International Olympic Committee) is hitting town this weekend for a little "performance review" of our fair city.

Ok, our not-necessarily-fair city.

The 13-member panel, according to today's Sun-Times, will "examine everything from proposed sporting venues to the city's public transit system to the financing for the city's $4.8 billion bid."

In my neighborhood, which is Roscoe Village on the North Side, it looks like a war-zone with all of the potholes that the city hasn't fixed yet. There are literally thousands of them. There are also numerous empty storefronts/condos/houses available (sale or lease) that nobody can seem to afford. Lot's and lot's and lot's of apartments are currently for rent with the prices dropping by the hour (you still think you'll get 5 grand for your place during the games?)

The IOC panelists, none of whom are from the States (lucky), will stay at the swanky Fairmont hotel, downtown. They'll be sampling the uber-fine cuisine from 3 of the city's top chefs. And then, to finish it off, there will be some sort of "cultural event" at the now-$18-a-pop Art Institute.

They'll be here for 6 glorious days, seeing the city's best and brightest facade (kinda like homeland security- all show, no substance), doing things most Chicagoans don't or can't do.

And you know, you KNOW, that we, the taxpayers, will certainly and inevitably foot the $4.8 billion bill at the end of the day.

So it goes...