My irregular musings on city life, politics, baseball, roller derby, and whatever happens to be getting my goat today.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Dogs and cats, living together

Apparently President Bush made a big speech in New Orleans last night during prime time. I wouldn’t know, I don’t watch much prime time TV, especially not when there’s a Cubs game on the radio. Pat and Ron do a pretty good job of explaining what’s going on, so you can get other stuff done while you listen, something you can’t do with the TV guys. Listening to Bush, but contrast, makes me want to throw and smash things. Which, now that I think of it, is exactly the way many Cubs fans are reacting to the game. The game was rained out during the last out of the Cubs’ 6-1 loss to the Cardinals, which rather than regarding as a mercy, fans are viewing as another example of the dreaded Curse. See, the Cubs had just scored one run, and had a couple guys on base, so obviously if it hadn’t rained, they were going to come back dramatically, beat the Cards and get back in the wild card race.

“The Cubs Fan Universe,” as my wife put it last night, is “disconnected from reality.” A prime example of this is the little jingle WGN plays during commercial break, the one that gets stuck in your head for the next couple days: “Everybody loves the Cubs. Every-Body loves the Cubs!” In addition to being an annoying little earworm, it’s obviously untrue. Just the sound of the jingle is enough to get your neighborhood White Sox fan worked up into a foaming lather. Which, now that I think of it, is probably intentional on WGN’s part.

Speaking of the White Sox, the team that spent most of the year as baseball’s best team just lost a series to the Kansas City Royals, universally regarded as baseball’s worst. They have squandered a 15-point lead in the AL Central to just four and a half games ahead of Cleveland, a team they will be playing for six of their remaining 17 games. The Tribune has (gleefully) stopped printing their “magic number,” at least for today.

In another astounding development, the East Village Landmark District is becoming a reality. In spite of the overwhelming presence of neon orange “Stop the Landmark District” signs in neighborhood windows, 53% of property owners voted to approve the district, which covers 195 properties in the heart of the East Ukrainian Village (the quarter mile square boxed in by Ashland, Chicago, Damen and Division). Proponents of the landmarking have been called “cultural elitists.” Early meetings on the subject were marked by complaints about “condo people and their SUVs.”

Well, what of it? Many of the people who live here do so because they like it the way it is, and think it’s better than other places. They don’t want it torn down and replaced by giant, bunker-like condos that look more like the barrier wall in the West Bank than Chicago three-flats. As for people who just moved there in the last couple year because it’s close to the highway, or to work, but would really rather have more room for their SubZero industrial kitchen appliances, they can get in their big, black SUVs with the W04 stickers on the back window and go back to Aurora. As for owners disappointed they won’t be able to cash in as much on the development craze, your desire to make a buck doesn’t give you the right to destroy everything in the neighborhood. But I digress. We won a fight, which makes the world turn upside down.

In more news of a world gone mad, there's the weather. It's cool, cloudy and raining, and the people are ecstatic about it. Our first week of 80 degree plus weather was in April, and over the next five months we have had fewer than 20 cool days, and virtually no rain to speak of. The grass in many neighborhoods hasn't so much turned brown as crumbled into dust and blown away. Add to that the fact that a large proportion of the younger set moved to a colder climate just so they could walk around all day looking cool and brooding in their black leather jackets, and you begin to understand how much five solid months of nice weather has been cramping our style.

Speaking of upside down, there’s the President. I guess in his speech he promised to rebuild New Orleans out of federal money, send cash to displaced workers, and proposed something called the Urban Homesteaders Act, which would give abandoned urban land to low-income people who agreed to build a house there. I’m not sure whether it applies only to New Orleans or to all of our abandoned urban areas, but still – a good idea out of the Bush Administration! And a big government, pro-city idea at that! I think my head’s going to explode.

What’s he going to do next, officiate at a gay wedding in the Rose Garden?

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