Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Operation Overkill

I'm with the Little Village folks who are pissed off at the way the federales handled the fake id raid yesterday.

Immigration officers hit a mall, wearing the garb you see here, toting rifles and machine guns, and stopped 150 people, the Tribune says. It freaked a lot of people out. They're saying this big show was put on to intimidate Mexicans, and with an immigration rally scheduled for next week, well, the timing is mucho peculiar.

Now they did arrest 22 people, including the leader who is wanted for conspiring to commit murder. But acting like Little Village is Baghdad? Not a good idea. An already police-weary demographic doesn't need another reason to not attend a community police meeting, or call 911 when something is wrong in their hood.

I've watched enough cop shows to know that if you really anticipated some big "fire fight" that would have warranted all that heavy artillery* and military uniforms, this raid wouldn't have happened with all those innocent people milling about. And if you really wanted to hit pay dirt with the illegals, why don't you raid some condo developer's job site next time, or any of kitchens of the fancy downtown restaurants?

Yeah, that won't happen.

Unfortunately Pat Fitzgerald was at the center of this. Maybe he's losing his edge after coming up empty on the CIA leak case.

Pat, ok, fine. You got a bad guy. But at what price?

*I made that up. I have no idea what heavy artillery is.

Monday, April 16, 2007

What is that pointy white thing in the background?

About a year and a half ago I was sitting in my friend Jennifer's North side condo doing what we've done about a billion times before over the past ten years. Drinking beer, talking, and hanging out with her dogs. It was a couple of weeks before her wedding and Jennifer asked me if I wanted to move West with her and her soon-to-be-husband Scott.

"West? Uh sure. Like Irving Park?"

That actually wasn't what she had in mind. I was thinking she meant the West side of Chicago, and she was talking about Portland, Oregon.

As in half-way-across-the-country-Portland, Oregon.

As in you'll have to get on a plane and set your watch back and use different money to be able to hang out and drink beer and speak in code and annoy everyone around you Portland, Oregon.

They were serious. It was Portland or bust.

Anyway as they say, time flies when you are having fun and by golly if Jennifer and Scott didn't go and buy a house in Portland. The day of reckoning is here. They close tomorrow. Then they come back to Chicago, pack up their dogs and drive west to an adorable house built in 1910, complete with a yard, ghosts, and trees! (I'm a little jealous about the yard and the ghosts, btw)

On Friday, I enjoyed some Mexican food and dangerously strong beers at the Map Room with Jennifer, Scott, and his friends Steve, Chris, and Jeff. It wasn't a late night, so when the former Chicagoans decided it was time to go I declared that I must say goodbye to her in a bar and not on a cold Bucktown corner. So that's what we did. We hugged, I sobbed and said "I wish I knew how to quit you!" she slapped me and told me to snap out of it, and then we stood back, waved and watched Jennifer and Scott leave.

We were speechless for a bit. They really did it. I guess maybe there was a little part of me after all, that was ready to call their bluff. Like maybe they'd run back in laughing and say, "Portland? Are you kidding me?"

Chris spoke first. "Hmmm," he said, "if I knew they were really moving, I would have bought their dinner tonight." I thought that was pretty funny.

In an effort to stay strong, we did a shot of tequila in their honor, swore to continue fighting the good fight without them, and then I went out and hailed a cab on that Bucktown street alone.

Did I mention that I have my own room at the new house?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bar hopping with Phil Cline

God, I am on a freakin roll with this law enforcement celeb spotting. Last night I was at Hawkeye's completely captivating my friends with my dramatic Fitzgerald story, and wouldn't ya know it? The soon-to-be-jobless Chicago Police Superintendent Phil Cline walked by our table.
As a friend of the police, I had to greet him. He was quite personable and didn't try to beat us up once. Jennifer was pee-oh'd because she was in the john when I stopped him and she wanted to tell him she thought he got the shaft, what with his "early retirement" and all. I wanted to send him over a drink, but he snuck out.
Later when I was in the cab going home, I called Jennifer to tell her Rusty and I were at Dugan's with Phil Cline.
Today when I left my job the very nice hr lady told me to come to her with anything, anytime. She said I was "part of the family" now. I thought that was sweet. But the one family I have now is plenty. Back in the day when we used to fraternize (not canoodle, there was never any canoodling) with middle-aged homicide detectives, we were invited into their "family." That was a second family I did want, because there were perks like cigarettes and beer and armed escorts home into your questionable neighborhood and promises of getting off if you ever killed someone.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Of all the girls on all the streets of Chicago, he had to walk by me

I am the world's biggest spaz. And possibly now one of the FBI's 10 Most Wanted.

At approximately 12:48 p.m. CST, Patrick Fitzgerald passed me on Jackson somewhere between State and Wabash. I couldn't believe it. I did a double take, and stopped for second, and tried to get my shit together. I wasn't sure what I should do. Of course, I quickly began to think of the implications for my blog. .

Do I take a picture? Do I chase after him? Do I continue on to Walgreen's to buy toilet paper and shampoo like a normal person would?

Fuck that.

I decided follow him. Now, don't get excited, I didn't have to run or anything. He hadn't gotten that far, I just had to walk fast. Pretty fast actually.

The Federal Building is just a couple of blocks away from my office (something I seriously didn't think about when I accepted my job, I swear) and apparently he was hungry and popped into the Cosi at State and Wabash.

I snuck in the line behind him and tapped him on the shoulder. He had just taken out his PDA and thought I was trying to get ahead in line. He gestured for me to move ahead.

Now for the second time in my life, I proceeded to act like the biggest dork in front of Patrick Fitzgerald. I said something to a long the lines of "I'm a big fan" and "I really appreciate the work you do." And he said something like, "I'm not the only one, there are a lot of people working with me." I shook his hand, told him to enjoy his lunch, and bolted.

I had to get out of there. It was too much. I had originally planned to act cool and buy a soda or even a second lunch but I couldn't.

That poor guy, he probably gets out for lunch like once every year and he had to run into me.

And anyway, the timing with a new job couldn't be worse. I couldn't come back and email my friends or update my blog with this breaking news. Instead, I was forced to tell a group of new coworkers sitting in the kitchen when I got back to the office. It's way too early to "just be myself."

"Hey, how is it outside?" One asked.

"IT'S GREAT! I JUST SAW PATRICK FITZGERALD!" I exclaimed, not too loudly though because our employee handbook warns against being "boisterous" in the office.

Silence. Blank stares. More silence. I went to my desk.

Later one of the gals came up to me and said they all kind of talked about me after I left the kitchen.

"Most didn't know who he was. Or they thought you said Peter Fitzgerald."

"What? Patrick Fitzgerald! PATRICK FITZGERALD!"

She smiled. I think she likes me. And who wouldn't like the crazy new girl who stalks public officials and causes them to look a little scared when they're in line to buy food?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Easter Themed Image Gallery

This one of a 80s era Jesus closing a deal is my favorite.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Good night and good luck

I just sent my mom’s resume to CBS in case Katie Couric needs an understudy for her nightly news cast. Now Rhonda has no formal jounalism training, but she does have vast experience delivering the news of our family in a very unique fashion. Our family news is what my teachers at Columbia would call hard news. Crime, drugs, mayhem, with maybe a little tale of redemption thrown in here and there.

My old lady, she's so transparent. There's the I-got-something-good-but-I-promised-not-to-say-anything tone she'll have right off the bat. Like I'll call, we'll talk for two minutes and she'll blurt out, "Did you talk to Chad?" Uh, no I didn't, why? "Oh nothing." WHY? "Noth. . alright I wasn't supposed to say anything, but---"

You get the idea. Tonight's phone call was her shrewdly trying to interweave disturbing news with the mundane. I don't know if she's either trying to test whether or not I'm listening to her, or she's secretly hoping I'll miss these nuggets and she's only telling me because she feels obligated. Here's how it went:

Mom: You coming home for Easter?

Me: Yep, and I don't want any ham, you hear me!

Mom: I don't care. you're cooking. I had to turn my heat on today. Are you warm enough? Sammy's getting married next week*. How's your job?

Me: Whoa.

Mom: Natalie wants everyone to call Clarence on his birthday*. Kenny's in the hospital, his colon looks like cottage cheese*.

Me: I'm eating!

Mom: What are you eating?

Me: Eggs.

Mom: Eggs? Why? How's everyone doing? Are you being careful? I know, your my city mouse, and I'm just a country mouse. I think Kenny has AIDS.

Me: How can someone's colon look like cottage cheese*?

Anyway, with that I swayed the conversation back to what we were going to eat for Easter and then I pretended I had to go number two.

*My cousin Sammy is 23, lives at home, is a total jagoff and shouldn't be allowed to marry anyone.
*Kenny is my Aunt Laurie's brother-in-law. Kenny has been in a long term relationship with a gentleman named Leon for the last 30 years, at least.
*I haven't talked to my cousin Clarence in over 10 years.
*Seriously, how can this happen?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I just spent the last 30 minutes trying to memorize this:

"In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad, known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories."

I'm alway thinking up fun things to do to keep myself occupied. When people ask me my hobbies, I say: writing, watching TV, painting pictures, burning President Bush in effigy, drinking beer, gossiping, shrinking from my responsibilities as an American, and oh yeah, wasting big blocks of time.

Monday, April 02, 2007

I hate this fucking blog

Alright, not really. But I am completely blogged out. I thought not having a job was going to seriously make my blog like the champagne of blogs, but I've come to realize that being relaxed and happy is terrible for my art. I've lost my muse. I need to be miserable again.

To that end, I went back to work today. I achieved my simple dream of a job in the Loop, an hour lunch, and casual Fridays. I was back on the ol '60 this morning and I think everyone was glad to have me back. Except the hot guy who gets the bus in Little Italy. Tomorrow I'm going to push my way to him, throw his Wall Street Journal to the ground, and scream "WHY WON'T YOU LOVE ME?"

What, too much? Hey, at least I'll get a blog out of it.