There is a great divide out there and I’m not referring to some geological site in Colorado. I’m referring, instead, to the way we get our entertainment. Its got the ratings people such as A.C. Nielsen concerned. Time out- For the record, I don’t like the Nielsen people because I often have to wait when driving home from a client in nearby Wheeling while the cars exiting the Neilsen parking lot pile onto an already busy Willow Road in North Suburban Chicago. It seems as if they have a “most favored nation” status with the local police who provide cover for them. Traffic stops for up to five minutes until their lot empties out. I say take a screwdriver to them and let their employees wait until traffic dissipates like everyone else has to. Or make them pay for a freaking stop light that is timed to work at certain hours of the day. Okay, time in. Continue reading “YouTube Vision”
Noticing that the movie “The Cotton Club” was broadcast on television a week or so ago brought back memories of watching it when it first came out in 1984. Those were the days I still went to the movies a handful of times a year. I especially liked it because it combined two of my favorite film genres- gangster and musical. Like most Americans, I find the so-called world of mafia more than interesting. Of course, I’d prefer it from the outside looking in.
I vaguely remember in the very early 1960’s the murder of Mr. Crispino. He owned a very popular as well as profitable Norge Village on Madison Street in Austin on the far west side of Chicago. Those were the days before fancy washer and dryers were common appliances in the basement of homes and apartment buildings. Norge was the brand name of his equipment. My parents would go there armed with coins to put in the coin-operated machines. They’d take me along either figuring I would help out or keep me out of trouble in fighting with my sisters who were being watched by our grandparents.
So, it was definitely what you would call a very cash oriented business. Apparently Mr. Crispino didn’t properly pass around the cash as one day he was gunned down and stuffed in one of the big dryers. I can’t tell you if the murderer put a quarter in the slot for the spin cycle. But it was the first experience in being made aware of a mob action close to home. Continue reading “Mob Action”
Reunion is just another way of acknowledging that you’ve reached another milestone in your life where it is time to revisit what was. This past summer, some people from my high school class decided to put together a forty year reunion (how can than be if I’m only 39?) but in another country. There were only forty-eight of us back in 1970 when we graduated. And even with such a small number we had cliques. Having the so-called celebration overseas was another way to maintain the clique facade after so many years. So you can imagine that less than half our class showed up showed up.
A friend got a hold of the pictures from the weekend and passed them along to me. I was surprised to see a certain fellow who had a mound of hair when he was seventeen turn out to now look like Kojack. There was one female classmate I did not recognize at all while another looked old enough to be my grandmother. Continue reading “State of the Reunion”
Calling someone a shoplifter is a polite way of calling him or her a thief. A robber usually breaks into a place to steal goods or money. Or he or she may have a weapon that they threaten to use. But a shoplifter doesn’t enter a place illegally, doesn’t use a weapon or threaten anyone. So, he or she cannot be such a bad person after all, right? Maybe they are desperate for something and don’t have money or they have a compulsion to want to get caught. That’s often the case because they do it out in the open.
Of course, there are professional shoplifters who are not desperate or have a compulsion or want to get caught. They just want to take without paying for it. Sometimes they take from other shoppers such as when my niece put her purse down for two minutes in a dressing room at a store to go to the entrance of the area and look at the three-sided mirror. When she returned her purse was gone. By the time her mother called forty-five minutes later to report stolen credit cards, the thief had already gone to another store that was a twenty minute drive away and used it to make purchases. Continue reading “Shoplifting For Dummies”
Go type into a search engine box “who said ‘youth must be served’?” You won’t get the answer you’d expect. Instead of showing you several links to the story behind the origin of this saying, you get various news articles about giving in to the young generation. It seems no one wants to take credit for such a remark.
Funny how words in the English language take on a different purpose from generation to generation. Take, for instance, the word “overture”. It is used quite often as an expression to start the ball rolling in negotiations. Everyone seems to be chasing rainbows and looking to cut a deal. “Let’s make an overture” usually means “let’s indicate interest to the other party so that we can make an offer that they will not refuse.”
There was a time when “overture” served an entirely different purpose. It was mostly used to describe the beginning portion of a musical performance. It was intended to provide a nurturing effect in getting everyone to their seats, relaxed and prepared to watch a movie or concert. In the 1950’s and 60’s, when movie musicals were still very popular, a film would contain several songs that would be familiar to the audience before they even went to the theater. If you went to see a blockbuster film such as “Oklahoma”, “Carousel”, “South Pacific”, “West Side Story”, “The Music Man” or even a drama with a moving score such as “Exodus”, you’d expect to be entertained with short segments from many of the popular musical numbers. Continue reading “Overtures”
The world is one big pyramid scheme. There has to have been one go-to guy who started this mess and delegated others to continue its supervision. That’s where we all get into fighting each other- trying to convince others that our go-to guy is THE guy. Or gal, excuse me. Religion is the set of rules by which we let others know that our god is better than some others.
Then again, it can be that we all actually believe in the same go-to guy, it’s just that we all look at him (or her) from different angles. Remember that game we played as a kid, “telephone”? The one where a bunch of us sat in a circle and one after another whispered into the next person’s ear a secret. By the time it got down to the last person, somehow the secret message was totally changed from its original. So, it is possible that the original message has become garbled through time and we are all chasing the same Biblical tale. Continue reading “Religious Atheists”
Years ago watching The Ten Commandments movie, I learned that an idol is something that people worship that gives off a false promise and/or sense of security. The believer is sure that the idol is something better than it really is but eventually he sees that it does not deliver on what it promises. He also gets discouraged when he discovers other false idols are just as powerless.
Ten years ago American Idol burst forth on the television scene as a talent show for singers looking for overnight fame and fortune. Each contestant had a dream that they would become admired by millions all over the world. Other than last year, the setup was for three show business personalities to judge the ever-shrinking talent pool each week. Continue reading “American Idol Worship”
Chinese leader President Hu Jintao made a historic trip to the United States this week to meet with President Obama and members of Congress. On Wednesday, Obama and Hu held a joint press conference that developed unintentionally into an Abbott and Costello routine. For whatever reason translators were not made available who could provide almost simultaneous translations of both presidents statements as well as answers to reporters questions. One would think that if the United Nations could do it, so could the White House. Instead, President Obama was surprised when after giving an opening statement for what seemed like ten minutes, a Chinese translator gave an equally long harangue to the straight-faced Hu. A couple of minutes into the translator’s talk, Obama cut in and apologized to the newsmen present that he had no idea that this was going to be the protocol.
When Hu spoke, Obama looked askance and tapped his ear, making a motion that he was clueless as to what was being said but to his credit showed patience to wait as did the rest of the audience to finally find out its meaning. And when a reported asked Hu why he seemed to be evading answering a specific question, Hu replied that he didn’t even know it was being asked of him.
I can imagine a reporter in the back of the room turning to another and asking, “Who’s speaking?” and the other fellow replying, “exactly”. Which reminds me of the time I first came face to face with a live Asian when I was a teenager in the mid 1960’s. Until then, the only ones I had noticed were Charley Chan and his number one son in the old movies shown on television as well as Fuji, the cook and erstwhile captive on McHale’s Navy. Continue reading “Chinese President Hu is On First”
Here’s an expression that is not in use since the late 1960’s- “The Five and Ten Cent Store”. That’s where you buy items theoretically for as low as a nickel or dime. It has been replaced in today’s world by such emporiums as KMart, Walmart and Target on a much grander scale as well as the dollar store on a smaller scale.
The five and ten cent stores were a kid’s dream. There were two in the Austin neighborhood on the west side of Chicago for much of the 1960’s. On Madison Street on its north side half way down from the corner at Central was Robert Krinn. I’d walk in there clutching a dollar and come out with something exciting even if it was for short term enjoyment. Continue reading “Five and Ten Cent Stores”