My brain just exploded. Here is one of our felonious Illinois politicians (mail fraud, ghost payrollers), former U.S. Representative Dan Rostenkowski, talking about why we should not consider all Illinois politicians to be scumbags because of Blagojevich. Ooooooo-kay.
I find myself wondering what the late Mike Royko would have said about the Illinois scandal du jour. When I was growing up in Hawaii, our local newspaper carried Mike Royko’s syndicated newspaper column. His topics often featured the quirks of Chicago politics. I thought he must surely be exaggerating about the things that went on in Chicago. It was not until I moved to the Chicago area as a journalism student that I saw for myself that there was little to no fiction in Royko’s columns.
Speaking of other Chicago columnists, or perhaps Chicago scumbags: as I poked around the ‘net today catching up on the news, I was shocked to see Bob Greene now writing for CNN.com. Apparently I totally missed anything he wrote during the election. He really dropped off the face of the earth after he was forced to resign from the Chicago Tribune in 2002. For those who didn’t follow that story, he was involved in a sexual relationship with a then-17-year-old girl some years before that. Totally ironic and screwed up since much of his public persona in his columns was that of a crusader for children and family.
It was a personal love-hate thing for me, and a huge disappointment. I was a big fan of his earlier writing (as in everything before “Good Morning, Merry Sunshine” which simply made me want to hurl). The long-ago days when I wanted to be a journalist were also the days of Woodward and Bernstein. Of course, everyone my age said they wanted to be the next great investigative journalist and bring down a president or at least a crooked businessman. When I was being honest with myself though, bringing down a powerful personage was not all that high on my personal list of goals. I’d rather do something more cool and fun, like Bob Greene or Cameron Crowe, and go on the road with a rock ‘n’ roll band and get paid to write about it, a la “Billion Dollar Baby” or “Almost Famous.” Hey, that was then, and all that.
Okay, bring it back home. I think I still have a copy of my favorite Bob Greene book, a collection of his early columns called “Johnny Deadline: Reporter.” In its introduction was a little description of what a “Chicago story” is. It’s a story that is so strange or gross or sick in some way, but can still make you choke out a little laugh and an “ohhhh Gawwwwwwwwd!” That is what this whole week has been here, every time I click to refresh Chicago Breaking News.
In other brain-exploding news, I also see the news that WordPress 2.7 is now out, and according to my blog Dashboard, it’s time to update. If this site disappears sometime after you see this, you’ll know my attempt at updating was not quite successful. But I will think positive, and say I’ll see you all back here in a day or so!