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Death of respected friend(s)…

DeeTee From DeeTee: Can I call someone I don’t know, and never even met, a ‘friend’?  Well, it’s my blog, so I can if I want to… 😉

When I went online Wednesday (8/26/09) and read that Senator Edward Kennedy had died, I was greatly saddened.  Yes, he was a flawed man; let the (wo)man among us who is NOT somehow flawed speak now or forever hold his/her peace.  But in his favor:  he fought for causes he believed in; he worked to pass legislation that benefitted Americans from all parties; he worked in bi-partisan fashion in order to do this; he was not a mud-slinging, name-calling modern politician intolerant of all ideas not his own (see “Dear Fellow Republican” post).

From everything I’ve read over the years, Sen. Kennedy battled his inner demons, sometimes winning and sometimes not.  But how fortunate for all of us that he endured despite his imperfections and continued to fight for just causes.  I hope that it’s for this he will be remembered the most.

Can I call a newspaper a respected friend?  Well, why not…

The Chicago Tribune is the paper I’ve considered my respected friend for many, many years.  As a child, it was the Chicago Sun Times; once Rupert Murdoch took over that paper and Mike Royko (my all-time hero) jumped ship to the Trib, I followed suit.

And while I’ve often disagreed with what I’ve perceived as the Trib’s Republican-slanted editorials over the years, I’ve never questioned their integrity as a paper… until last September (2008), but that part will be in a separate post so I don’t overwhelm the reader.

For now, let’s just say that when I returned from a week out-of-town last September, I felt like Rip Van Winkle when, at the airport, I picked up a free copy of the “NEW FORMAT!!” Trib:  screaming headlines, melodramatic photos, large ads — but very little NEWS — how had this happened in the one week I’d been away?

Again, more on this in an upcoming post.  Suffice to say that in one year’s time, the Tribune changed from a well-respected newspaper to an ad-filled, news-empty, sensationalist tabloid.  There are still many columnists and reporters at the Trib whose work I respect, but I have to slug through all the garbage to get to them… and what was once an activity I truly enjoyed — buying and reading the paper — has become something I do reluctantly, out of habit — out of respect for what once was; in my grieving process, I’m stuck in the Anger, Denial, and Bargaining stages — I just don’t want to admit the truth, to call it a day, to pay my respects at the gravesite.

Case in point:  When Michael Jackson died (6/25/09, I believe), I picked up the Trib  the next day and WOW!  It was like the “Michael Jackson Newspaper”!  — as if nothing else newsworthy had happened in the world!  Page after page of MJ coverage.  Page after page that said nothing new, just re-hashed the old so the MJ junkies could maintain their MJ-high.  Yes, it was on all the TV stations, Internet sites, etc. — but I guess I still expected my Trib to report NEWS as well.

Now, back to Senator Kennedy.  I bought the Trib on the day of his death, and there was a large picture on the front page — that’s what they do now, have one picture cover the entire front page, it must save on ink somehow — of Sen. Kennedy’s face, and when I peeled off the “Save big” coupon, underneath it read “‘Liberal lion’ of American politics dies”– with a reference to page 32.

So… I slogged through thirty-odd pages of adds, news “blurbs” — it’s a rare story that’s printed these days — and there it was, on page 32, in the thin “Nation & World” section:  a one-page story on Kennedy’s death.

WOW.  So as not to judge too quickly, I also bought the Thursday (8/27) paper to see if more articles on Kennedy would surface.  Yes:  p. 2, John Kass’s requisite “end of Camelot” take; p. 3, some Twitter quotes;  and in “Nation & World,” four whole pages  containing large pictures and small articles about Sen. Kennedy’s death, impact on policies today, etc. 

Since then, to be fair, there have been other articles and editorials.  Nothing like the MJ coverage, but then again… who’s the greater celebrity?  (Please note the subtle sarcasm:  “celebrity,” not “newsworthy person.”)

And so I mourn a number of deaths this week, and somehow hope the world not only survives, but gets back on track…

August 30, 2009 at 4:39 pm 1 comment

‘Dear fellow Republican’…

DeeTee From DeeTee:  Although I’m a life-long Democrat, the above heading was what began the letter I received from Congressman John Boehner (R-Ohio), along with a hate-mongering survey — “This official Census of America’s Republican Leadership was prepared specifically for you by the NRCC [National Republican Congressional Committee] in conjunction with the House Republican Conference in Washington, DC” — for me to fill out and return.

Initially I planned simply to shred it… but upon further contemplation, I decided to fill it out and return, since the Republicans obviously value my opinion.  Below you will see some of the questions, quoted word for word, that I was asked to complete, along with some of my ‘answers’:

General Question #1: “Do you believe the Obama Administration and Nancy Pelosi’s soft-on-defense, reckless spending, higher taxes, and expansive Big Government policies are the right leadership for America?”  [I believe that’s what them lawyer-types call a LEADING question.]

Choices for reply were Yes, No, or Undecided.  I crossed out the leading words so that the question now read:  Do you believe the Obama Administration and Nancy Pelosi’s policies are the right leadership for America?” and answered Yes.

Another favorite, #3, asked me to check issues “Republicans should fight hardest for.”  Choices included border security; traditional marriage; balanced budget; right to life; etc.  Under “Other” I added:  “Giving Obama a fair chance”; “Cooperating w/Dems, using common sense for the good of our country”; “getting rid of right-wing extremists”; etc.  (I’m so glad they asked!)

Under “Domestic Issues,” #16 read:  “Is it important for the GOP to support marriage as a sacred union between one man and one woman?”  That one I checked Undecided and wrote:  “By this do you mean that high-profile Republican politicians should stop visiting prostitutes and seeking ‘soul mates’ outside of marriage?”

#17, which asked if we should “resist the Democrats’ plans for government rationed health care…” I queried:  “What are you talking about?  Have you not read the proposals?”

I answered a definite No to #19, “Do you believe it is important to remove Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House?” and asked, “How do  you plan to do this, throw a government coup???”

I think you get the gist.  The survey also asked me to contribute financially “to help expand this Census Project to an additional 10,000,000 Republican voters nationwide.”  Unfortunately I’m not able to help financially at this time. 😉

It saddens me to think that this misleading piece-of-caca survey is actually being sent to unsuspecting Americans, and that a real congressman — that’s Mr. John Boehner, folks — would attach his name to a letter that, in part, reads:  “Their [Obama admin & Ms. Pelosi] ideas range from bad to disgraceful, and collectively their leadership represents a left-wing lurch towards socialism and ‘Big Brother’ federal control over nearly every facet of American life.”

My next post will deal somewhat with the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy, and to what I see as the impending death of civility, fairness, and a willingness to work together for the common good.  I cry for those who would undermine our nation with mean-spirited lies, merely so they can ‘take control’ of the political arena once more.  I’d think people would be ashamed to associate their names with such viscious exaggerations and lies.

Time to mail in my survey in the included “no postage necessary” envelope…

August 30, 2009 at 3:10 pm Leave a comment

Sears Tower vs. Willis Tower, Formerly Chicago

DeeTee From DeeTee:   Dear Readers (if indeed there are any left), forgive me, for I have slipped from the writing slope… it’s been seven months since my last entry… 😉

In all honesty, it’s been a busy seven months, but to say more would mean revealing too much of my true identity, and I rather like staying within my DeeTee persona when I post.  But all the while, my brain has been filling up with bloggy things… and now my brain’s about to explode, so I hope to get at least one post out today, with more to come.

Chicago.  Yes sir, that that’s my city.  I love it like I love my family, which means that I cherish and respect it, and it irritates the heck out of me more times than I care to mention.  I love its lakefronts, its trees, its people; I’m alternately fascinated and horrified by its politics.  I both love, and am freaked out by, its many weirdnesses.

So much already has been written about the re-naming of the Sears Tower to the Willis Tower:  A quick Google shows pages of results in blogs and newspapers throughout the country.

True, Sears Roebuck & Co. moved out of the Sears Tower many years ago; also true, Willis Group Holdings, a London-based insurance brokerage, is renting offices in the building now and bought the naming rights; yes, of course, buildings are re-named all the time.

So what’s the big deal?  Well, maybe it’s not happening in your city yet… but it’s extremely unnerving to have landmark buildings, parks, etc. re-named by corporations:  it’s disorienting.  Comiskey Park?  Now replaced by U.S. Cellular Field.  The Tweeter Center in neighboring Tinley Park — and what was the name before that??? — is now called the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre … how’s that for a mouthful?  It makes you feel:  where the heck am I, anyways?

I’d like to recommend a new song by Sue Fink (whom I know in real life), called “Formerly Chicago” — Sue calls it her “protest-slash-science-fiction song, because some of the things I’m protesting haven’t happened… yet”  (a quote from her 7/20/09 MySpace blog entry).  The song mentions many Chicago landmarks that have been re-named in “the city formerly known as Chicago,” and also shows what could happen if we don’t limit the re-naming phenomenon, by taking it to the extreme:

…and in the city formerly known as Chicago
in either Nike or Reebok Field
I parted the Starbucks flowers
and in the tall GM grasses I kneeled…

By the end of the song, it could be any city, because everything has a corporate name.  I’d add the .mp3 here for you to listen, but I’m not intelligent enough to figure out how to do that…

However, currently Sue has it posted on her MySpace page:  simply click the link, and directly across from her picture are streaming audio songs; and if it doesn’t start playing automatically, click the title “Formerly Chicago” and you can hear the song in its entirety.  This song is from her new CD, Thoughts at an Intersection, available on iTunes, CD Baby, and all the usual online places.

I just wish there was a way to prevent everything under the sun from being re-named by corporations, or soon there will be no difference between the city formerly known as Chicago, the city formerly known as New York City, San Francisco, etc.  Stop it, corporate America!!

July 23, 2009 at 1:26 pm 1 comment

Reflections on a snowy day

DeeTee From DeeTee:  New Year’s Resolution #s 8, 25, 33, 48, etc. for the past few years:  Start a blog!

Well, finally we did… now we just have to remember to actually write in it.

I love the blog:  both the idea of it, and the actuality.  It’s nice to have a forum in which to share thoughts, and to try to write them in a cohesive and concise way — well, concise in a relative manner:  brevity is not my forte.

(I think that’s what I’d like my (eventual) gravestone to read:

“Life is short and so was she… although brevity was not her forte.”)

Yesterday was Christmas.  I always try to watch It’s a Wonderful Life  at least once each holiday season, and I’m still moved to tears every time.  Remembering that each of us has an impact upon others, and on the planet, that we may not always realize — that’s a good idea.

My religion has a different holiday instead, one of much smaller stature in religious significance.   I think I’m a bit unusual in my next statement:  I just don’t feel neglected on Christmas.  I don’t feel lonely or excluded:  it simply isn’t my holiday!  Sometimes I watch the holiday Mass and on TV,  just to appreciate the beautiful singing and ceremony.  I like imagining my Christian friends celebrating with their families, and the warmth of the fireplace, the turkey or whatever, the gifts and the merriment.  

But as for myself:  I just love the solitude!   Maybe I’ll go see a holiday movie; maybe I’ll simply curl up and read a good book.  There’s nothing like lighting a few scented candles,  putting on some good music, wrapping one’s self in an afghan, drinking hot cider, sipping hot soup, and reading:  yay!!  There’s nothing like watching the snow fall outside and being glad you’re inside.  Nothing like enjoying the peace-on-earth feeling, and feeling peace within one’s self.  It’s a gift, this holiday, this slowing-down time.

Christmas eve, a neighbor and I went to see Slumdog Millionaire.  Upon first glance, this may not seem to be a good holiday choice:  there is violence and much sadness and grief.  BUT:  it’s a movie about the triumph of the human spirit over amazing hardships — hardships that we, in this country, know little about first-hand.  It’s a story where even the tormentors wish the hero well, because he has courage and determination and goodness and decency.  Actually:  it’s a MUST-see movie!

And it reminds me a little of our own nation.  Even with cynicism running rampant, I still believe that most of us cheer for the hero; that we still believe goodness and mercy shall triumph over evil and greed.  Why else would we have elected Obama as our next President?

This is a real time of hope.  It’s time for new resolutions, for self-assessment.  Maybe progress forward is never so; maybe it’s more one step forward, another back, a few sideways… but then a half-step forward.  Maybe one foot in front of the other, slow and steady and shaking, is the only way.  And even if, at year’s end, we’re not as far along as we’d hoped… well, as long as we’re still walking that path and trying and hoping, maybe that’s an accomplishment all the same.

I still have many subjects I’d like to rant about — hey, politics in Illinois, what can I say? — but at least for today, I just want to offer my thoughts of peace and hope to this world, and to all of you (any of you?) who may be reading.


December 26, 2008 at 3:12 pm 4 comments

Hope prevails over fear

DeeTee  From DeeTee:  A very brief entry, but it must be made.  When all is said and done — and a LOT sure has been said and done — hope prevails over fear.  Goodness and mercy shall prevail, and they did.  We may be fearful, but we value hope more.

As I watched Obama give his acceptance speech, I was once more struck at his amazing character:  hopeful yet realistic, serious yet elated, and above all else:  forgiving.  You could see it in his face, and in those who listened.

I am hopeful for our country!!!

November 5, 2008 at 7:07 am Leave a comment

Competitive Giving

DeeTee From DeeTee:  … Can you say “oxymoron”??

Basically, I like Oprah.  I don’t agree with all she says or does; however, if one were to ask, “Does she do more good than harm?” I think the answer would be overwhelmingly YES.   Sometimes I’ve seen a particular show of hers just when I needed to see it, and that is very helpful, personally.  Sometimes I’ve seen shows that leave me aghast.  Well, that’s TV for ya…

However, I feel I must comment on Oprah’s “Big Give” show — which, admittedly I never watched, more than five minutes — but she’s talked about it multiple times on her show and I’ve read about it elsewhere (see “Living Oprah” link below)…

As I understand it, contestants were given a set of rules, a lot of money, and then… they had to be the best “giver” — or at least, not the worst — to remain on the show for another week. 

I know that a lot of people benefited from this show.  It may have even influenced some people to attempt charitable endeavors that they wouldn’t have otherwise.  But… competitive giving?  To be judged, weekly, on whether you were “giving” enough — and it’s not even your money to begin with?  I mean Oprah (or Harpo) provided the $$.  And the winner — and all the contestants, even those who were eliminated — were each given hefty $$gifts from Oprah for their time and service — and the contestants were COMPLETELY SURPRISED.

OH    COME    ON.  I don’t believe it for a minute.  And I don’t believe that we — we the American people, the society — need to watch a GAME show to know what we need to do in our lives.  I appreciate that Oprah sets such a good example, publicly, when it comes to giving charity; however, the rest of us are morally obligated to be as charitable as we can, and to do unto others, whether or not Oprah sets the example.

Rather than ramble on further at this point — I’m sure to mention Oprah in future posts — let me recommend two highly entertaining Oprah links:

The first is a blog called Living Oprah.  The blogger, “LO” (Living Oprah — get it?) is performing an experiment:  she has committed herself to following ALL of Oprah’s advice, daily (whether or not the advice is conflicting, or expensive), and then she posts about it.  LO’s blog is extremely intelligent, and the commentary she receives on her posts is also well-worth reading — it’s thoughtful, funny, and challenging.  Once you check out this blog, you won’t be able to stop reading it!

The second link is something I found while reading “Living Oprah”:  It’s a satirical article, “Oprah Launches Own Reality,” in the satirical newspaper The Onion.  A relatively short article, it’s extremely clever:  “Developed over the past three years by the theoretical physics wing of her company, Harpo Productions, >OpraH was reportedly created by tearing a small hole in the fabric of known reality.”  If you like witty satire, this is a MUST-read!  — And if my name was Oprah and I said “you must read this,” chances are you’d read it! 😉

Time to get some sleep…

April 29, 2008 at 1:20 am 1 comment

A Nickel for Your Thoughts…

DeeTee From DeeTee:  If I had a nickel for every nickel that a purported charity organization sent me, along with a letter that says something like, “This nickel could save hundreds of lives by providing food for a week…”

Well, I do have a nickel for each nickel, because I keep them!  Each of those nickels goes towards some other, more worthy organization that won’t waste my donation by sending it, nickel by nickel, to other potential donors, instead of spending it on those who need it!!

Using the most rudimentary logic:  If a nickel can provide so many good things for so many needy people, why are these organizations wasting hundreds of thousands of nickels in this fashion? — and how does this encourage me to believe that these organizations will even think of using my donation wisely?

Sometimes I write back on the enclosed form:  “I do not contribute to charities who use donations in such a wasteful manner.”  But obviously these comments aren’t read, because the next month I’ll get free mailing labels, more $$, pens, etc.  One organization (can’t remember which one) actually sent me a crappy little animal blanket wrapped in plastic — they don’t even know whether I have a pet — that just went straight to recycling.  What a colossal waste of materials and postage.  Why should I send this organization more money, if they have so much they can afford to waste it in this fashion?

Please consider this my open letter to all “charitable” organizations:

Dear ________,

Please use my donation wisely, towards the people/animals/causes that supposedly need my help.  That is why I’m donating.  I’m NOT in need of dream-catchers, key-chains, religious greeting cards — that’s pretty presumptive, isn’t it? — cutesy notepads (what a waste of paper!), mailing labels — I have enough to last the next ten years, please stop!!

If I need a pen/key-chain/stationery, etc., I’ll walk over to the drug store and buy it.  Please don’t send me nickels, dimes, quarters — some of you have even sent dollar bills, or checks for $5 or more, in an effort to entice me!  It actually does quite the opposite.

If I believe in your cause, and if I have the $$, I’ll donate.  If I don’t believe in your cause, I won’t — and I’ll throw away your labels and other sundries as well.  Sending me dunning notices (overdue notices for charity?  tacky…) and monthly pleas will not encourage me to send more if I don’t have it; key-chains and other “gifties” won’t make me donate, EVER, if I don’t believe.  Why not look in your humongous databases and see if I’ve ever donated before?  If, after 5 years, I haven’t contributed a cent, maybe save yourself the postage and stop mailing to me.

When I DO donate, I’m most appreciative of receiving a “thank you” note, along with an explanation of how my donation might be used.  PERIOD!!!  And if you don’t over-request, I’m much more willing to donate again.

Do I ask too much?   😕

April 23, 2008 at 3:35 pm 2 comments

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