Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Valentine's Day

It was on a beautiful Valentines Day much like this one that Al Capone ambushed Bugs Moran and eliminated his north side gang. The slaughter was horrific. At the end of the massacre, Capone dressed some of his men in Chicago police uniforms and had them lead two others out of the building at gunpoint, to create the illusion in the eager bystanders that the police had the situation under control. You can read all the sorry details about who provided the brains and did the actual massacreing, but basically it gave Capone total control of Chicago's bootlegging operation. Unfortunately, it also brought him to the attention of the feds; 2 years later he was caught on income tax evasion. His life went steadily downhill, until he died of syphilis -- not a pretty sight!

For most of the last century, Chicago has been famous as the home of Al Capone. In a remote Japanese fishing village, when someone asked where I was from, they aped a man with a machine gun. Only during the brief reign of Michael Jordan was Capone eclipsed as The World's Most Famous Chicagoan. For some reason, Oprah is not Chicago identified--she seems to represent America in general, not her second home in particular.

So I say, let's all celebrate our sordid history. We have a mayoral primary coming up. Does anybody know? Does anybody care? Little Richie looks like a shoo-in, despite the hiring scandals that dog his administration. And I will give a kopek to anyone who can name either of his two opponents. He won't debate or talk to them, or even mention them. He gave us Soldier Field by fiat, took up Meigs Field in the middle of the night, and now is proposing to plunk down an Olympic Stadium in my neighborhood, also without discussion. I don't think a stadium, five years of construction, and several million visitors will help the south side--ask the people near Montreal's Olympic STadium--but I could be wrong. Still, when you have the opportunity for massive scandal, when many of your friends are under federal indictment and a lot of your employees are following them, doesn't it make sense to give the city bread and circuses?


Kevin Guilfoile said...

Sara, do you know a single Chicagoan (who doesn't work in hospitality or at City Hall) who actually wants the Olympics to come here? What a huge pain in the butt that would be. I enjoy watching the Olympics but I also enjoy watching the sunrise and I don't feel like either one needs to be any closer to me than it already is.

You know how on the morning of the anouncement each nominated city gathers thousands of its citizens and when some French guy says the city's name via satellite all those people scream and hug and get balloons dropped on them? I like to imagine that we would all be packed into Millennium Park and when the French guy says, "The next Olympic city is...Rotterdam!!" the entire city of Chicago just bursts into mad celebration.

Scott Hess said...

a) I vote NO on the Olympics. The less people who know how great our city is, the better. I mean, with global warming being what it is, this place is destined to be an absolute paradise in another 10 or 20 years.

b) I got a recorded call last night from my alderman, a Daley-allied guy who's a classic old time Chicago Machine pol. Anyway, throughout the call he kept saying, "Press 1 if you're planning to support Mayor Daley and me at the polls." Must have said it 10 times. I actually started to think maybe I better just press 1, rather than rocking the boat. Alas, I waited the virtual him out, with no buttons pressed.

Anonymous said...

I'm against the Olympics, too--let some other place enjoy the congestion and the multi-billion-dollar shortfall. I'm always amused by the argument that claims getting the Olympics would make Chicago a "world-class city." Huh? Isn't Chicago already a world-class city? And if it isn't, wouldn't the examples of Atlanta and Salt Lake City (which remain as humdrum today as ever) prove that getting the Olympics doesn't necessarily confer that exalted status?

Anonymous said...

I was going to blog about this myself, but it dovetails so nicely into your post, Sara, that I feel compelled to mention it here. It's an article from MSNBC that says:

"Chicago election features allegations, ex-cons
A mayor whose administration is under federal investigation. An alderman who just got hit with a federal bribery charge. Four politicians who served time for corruption and want their old jobs back."


Make sure you have the entire URl, folks. And since Blogger.com is giving me headaches, I've posted anonymously. But I'm really Libby.

Anonymous said...

Okay, now I'm baffled by how to post comments under my blogger name--Google keeps telling me to sign in when I'm already signed in and not allowing the post, so I'm doing like Libby, signing in as anonymous. Pete, Blind Camel and Kevin, thanks for understanding my revulsion to the crowds, the madness, the expense. I will be in Millennium Park with balloons, cheering for Rotterdam.


Anonymous said...

Go Rotterdam! And yeah, to hell with stupid Google/Blogger. The login thing is a mess.

- Blind Camel

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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