Oh, Dave.

What to say about David Letterman? Cad? Sexual harasser? Sugar daddy? All of the above. My head hurts. I’m struck by this unsourced gossip, via Defamer, which implies a gig working for Dave was win-win all around, if you didn’t mind occasional sexual service in return for having your law-school bill paid. For the record, I disapprove. For all the good that will do.

A man I know once told an approving anecdote about an ambitious female journalist who got a coveted job by sleeping with the right people, that this is the way of the world, who are we to judge, etc. Well, I’m judging. Consenting adults aren’t always co-equals, and the more comely young assistants there are in the world willing to do kneepads work with the boss in return for graduating from law school debt-free, the tawdrier the world gets. I’m not after a perfect one, just one a little less tawdry.

Whatever happens to Letterman is obviously up to his bosses. My guess is, he’ll survive and thrive. He has a lot of fans, and he’s good at his job. He’s no hypocrite; while he mines his personal life for material, he’s never claimed to be perfect.

A topical Top 10 list.

Well, OK. Pals, this week has been brutal, and today dawned — if that’s the word for it — overcast, rainy and chilly. Which means it’s a perfect day to go to Costco and buy in bulk. Also, I’m looking forward to tonight, when I chaperone one of the middle-school dances our community is known for. I’ve been told by opposing parental camps that they are either a) fun affairs with lemonade; or b) dodgy dens of misbehavior approved of by short Polish-speaking film directors. I volunteered to help so I could see for myself, but I’m not expecting to see much beyond option A, above. If nothing else, it gives me yet another hammer to hang over a certain seventh-grader’s head: If you don’t do X, I will shake my booty on your dance floor. Talk about a motivator.

Now to do the crossword puzzle and try to beat Eric Zorn’s time. Have a great weekend, all.

Posted at 11:33 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol', Television |

86 responses to “Oh, Dave.”

  1. Deborah said on October 2, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Damn, we didn’t get the Olympics.

    added later after getting over the disappointing news about Chicago:
    I like Sharon Stone’s take on getting ahead, “You can sleep your way to the middle, but you can’t sleep your way to the top”.

    232 chars

  2. Michael said on October 2, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Dave used a tax efficient methond of rewarding his assistant. Gifts in excess of $12,000 to a single person in one year either trigger an immediate “gift tax” liability or reduce the amont one can pass to their heirs tax free upon death.

    There are two exceptions; money paid directly by the doner to an institution for either medical care or school tuition.

    364 chars

  3. ROgirl said on October 2, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Ripped from the headlines! I smell a Law and Order episode in the works.

    72 chars

  4. Sue said on October 2, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Can you imagine the job interviews? I assume that this was an open secret and pretty soon only “qualified” applicants made it to the final round. The number of euphemisms per sentence during those interviews must have been astounding.
    And the resumes were probably very creatively written, too.

    297 chars

  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 2, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Other duties as assigned.

    25 chars

  6. Jeff Borden said on October 2, 2009 at 1:03 pm


    We didn’t just lose the Olympic bid. We were humiliated. I always figured it would be Rio, but I’d bought into the hype that Chicago would be in the final hunt. Getting knocked out in the first round is really disappointing, but everything I’ve read about the IOC and the way it goes about things suggests our team may have been wildly overconfident. Madrid may get the 2016 games for no other reason than Juan Samaranch, who led the IOC for many years in the style of a French dauphin, has said he would like to see Madrid as a host city before he dies. Or it may well be Rio as the first South American city.

    One of the positives to take from this is the damage it will do to Mayor Daley. I love Chicago and think Daley deserves enormous credit for pushing, prodding and pulling the city into shape in many ways, but his long tenure of uncontrolled power has rendered him arrogant and foolish. The corruption, both petty and breathtaking; the “my way or the highway” rule of law; the raffling off of city assets in the most inept of ways such as our parking meter fiasco; and, most critically, his decision to destroy and displace anyone who might challenge his power. There’s no loyal opposition in Chicago or Cook County. There are only rubber stamps.

    Perhaps this Olympic fiasco will embolden citizens, businesspeople, aldermen, etc. to start speaking up. And perhaps it will embolden some fresh political leadership. Maybe, though this seems unlikely, Daley will return from Copenhagen humbled but determined to build on the Olympic spirit in other ways by improving our schools, protecting our children, improving our infrastructure, etc.

    I don’t like columnist John Kass much, but he was correct when he wrote the other day that if Chicago won the bid, Daley would be a king for the next eight years. No chance of that now. He’s damaged goods.

    1873 chars

  7. Sue said on October 2, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Jeff Borden, the closest thing Chicago’s ever had to loyal opposition is Mike Royko, and John Kass doesn’t even come close. The “opposition” has proved itself more than willing to travel the same road when given the chance.
    Daley as damaged goods is still incredibly powerful, and I’m guessing he’ll remain so until one day when he dies of a heart attack on his way to a restaurant for lunch. He’s not even the teflon mayor – stuff is obviously sticking to him and he still gets around it. Amazing.

    502 chars

  8. Joe Kobiela said on October 2, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    We need a full report on the dance.
    Is it the same as you remember?
    What about the music?
    Any one get in trouble?
    Did you embarrass Kate?
    We need to know.
    Pilot Joe

    187 chars

  9. LAMary said on October 2, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    If Gawker is correct, the assistant Dave Letterman was screwing has been living in the home of the guy who tried to blackmail him since 2005.

    141 chars

  10. nancy said on October 2, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    We need John C. to drop in and defend Chicago a little. Living in Detroit resets a lot of your meters, and it certainly has given me a new definition of corrupt city administration. But as John pointed out here in the past, at least Chicago works, which is more than you can say about Detroit. It attracts young people, it’s vibrant, still relatively affordable, and with the usual problem areas, still manages to get through the year doing the things a city is supposed to do.

    I noticed a lot of sniffing on the right-wing blogs about the Olympic bid, most of it from the whatever-Obama-wants-I’m-against wing of the party, but the city they described was one I’m not familiar with. I know my most recent trip was as a tourist, but good lord, compared to Detroit, the place is Shangri-La. What’s their definition of a well-run municipality? Salt Lake City?

    867 chars

  11. Jean S said on October 2, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    oh, do threaten to shake your booty….my sister-in-law and I once completely embarrassed both of her daughters on the streets of Santa Barbara by doing a specific cheer/chant. It was so gratifying.

    On Chicago politics…plus c’est la meme chose and all that…

    264 chars

  12. del said on October 2, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Letterman was single up until this year and though he slept with co-worker subordinates, a boneheaded thing to do, it was not necessarily unlawful. Some upthread have insinuated that the women only got their gigs in return for favors instead of competence. Maybe. But the key legal issues are whether Letterman’s behavior was “unwelcome” and if so whether the women reported it to the network, etc.

    401 chars

  13. Peter said on October 2, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Guys, I for one am relieved we didn’t get the bid. Let’s face it – for all their glory, the past few Olympics have been money pits, and London and Vancouver are no exception, and if it’s anything we do well here in Chicago it’s cost overruns.

    You know, I can’t wait to hear what the vast right wing conspiracy is going to say about this one. It’s kind of obvious that the Obama magic didn’t pull this one out, but what if he hadn’t gone? You think Chicago would have done better? I do know what would have happened – it would have been “Had he only gone, Chicago would have won”.

    586 chars

  14. moe99 said on October 2, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Dave’s extortionist seems to be in a bit of financial trouble.


    $6,000 a month for child support? That’s a huge amount.

    Ok, just had to add this video of Chris Rock on Leno commenting about Roman Polanski.


    362 chars

  15. nancy said on October 2, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Del, you’re a lawyer and know more about it than I do, but the reason relationships between boss and underling — particularly when it’s very-rich-boss and pretty-underling-decades-younger — are so squicky is the power imbalance. Say he has three pretty assistants, and two are willing to fuck him but one isn’t. Does she get her law-school tuition paid, too? It turns coffee-fetching into prostitution fairly quickly.

    The other thing that made this weird? He threatened to write a screenplay. WTF? I’m going to write a screenplay about you, Mr. Big Shot, and then you’ll be sorry!

    599 chars

  16. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 2, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Doesn’t that seem like cover — “hey, here’s the outline of a screenplay i was going to write, and you could, um, invest in the, um, production. What do you think, Mr. Letterman?” And then if it goes to the authorities (as it has) he can say “Your honor, this is a terrible misunderstanding” (as he surely will) and depending on what he said on the wiretap when the check was handed over, it might just work.

    Of course, Katie Couric won’t invite him to the office Christmas party, but he might just walk, with a fake check signed by Dave to sell for next month’s support payment.

    Remember, the assistant got a law degree out of Dave before moving in with the galoot . . .

    678 chars

  17. mark said on October 2, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Personally I’m glad the Olympics went elsewhere, but only because of the “money pit” issue. And in Chicago, money flows in strange ways. Reportedly $50 million was spent just in preparing the bid. Somebody needs to realize we are running out of money.

    I guess we can give left-handed compliments to Polanski for not being a hypocrite. Among the crowd who prefer buggering drugged up children, he’s a real stand up guy for embracing rather than hiding his perversions.

    473 chars

  18. LAMary said on October 2, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    I think the LA Olympics made money in 1984. It was a very savvy bunch running things.

    85 chars

  19. del said on October 2, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    You’re absolutely right Nancy. It can be a tough call though. In your hypothetical, for example, if the hold-out doesn’t put-out and doesn’t feel aggrieved by the “pass” and complain to management; and, most importantly, continues to progress at work based on “merit,” there’s no foul. But you see the big problem already – “merit” – so subjective. But assuming she and the others progess as they should (out of work “gifts” like the law school tuition not being compensation), then it’s like the gospel parable of the worker in the field who complains to the landowner about another one of the help who got a full day’s pay after only working a few hours.

    God, I feel dirty just saying that! There’s a strange congress between God and mammon, eh?

    757 chars

  20. del said on October 2, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    My wife’s late boss was an assistant dean at Wayne State Med School’s dept of Psychiatry. One of her favorite sayings was that “Power is an aphrodisiac.” And an English professor Catholic nun once defended Lord Byron’s debauchery by stating, earnestly, that he was so handsome and eloquent that women swooned over him and he was powerless to resist their charms. And young boys’ too, evidently.

    397 chars

  21. nancy said on October 2, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    See, I think the “aphrodisiac” part gets oversold, as it implies that the arousal is on both sides; I think it’s much more cold-eyed than that.

    143 chars

  22. coozledad said on October 2, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    The professors who shagged kids at my college were pretty decrepit. They were also utterly blind to the contempt the students had for them. A lot of them punked themselves out and haunted the clubs, presaging the current appearance of John Lyddon by nearly thirty years. Cold-eyed is on the money. The women were much clearer about their motives than the old men.Their faces said “If you needed this degree in philosophy as much as I do, and had as little ability to get it, you’d be schtupping this hog, too.”
    That said, it’s tough for an old man to bring any rationality to bear in that situation. It’s the absence of available blood for the frontal lobes.

    659 chars

  23. Dexter said on October 2, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    I awoke at 5:30 and heard Willie Geist reporting the Letterman story, even though this story was on blogs last evening hours before the show aired.
    Then came Mika Brzezinski, complete with stick-up-her-ass, pontificating on her ideals regarding man-woman relationships, boss-worker and boss-lackey relationships, and so forth. While Harold Ford and Pat Buchanan and Willie tried to simply discuss the story, Mika , clearly taking the attitude of a real-life church-lady, came off as a prudish bitch again, as she does every day.
    Thank God Imus returns to TV on Monday. I will not have to surf past “Morning Joe” at all anymore. (Imus, Fox Business News, 6:00 to 9:00 AM, does indeed commence Monday)

    707 chars

  24. Dexter said on October 2, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    After I retired, I did not see most of my co-workers anymore, ever.
    Still, people you worked with for over 30 years leave an indelible mark on your heart, and in a day’s time, two died , one while driving as he died and then crashed, and another to cancer; one was 66 and one just 60. When these things happen, long-filed memories come flooding back, and for me I just seem to remember the laughs we had.

    407 chars

  25. jeff borden said on October 2, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Well, leave it to the soulless soldiers of the rightwing to make me now wish Chicago had won the Olympics bid. The untrameled glee of the usual suspects is nauseating. You could practically hear Glenn Beck slapping his man root when he shared the news with his radio audience. I get that they loathe Obama, but that’s reason to root against your own country getting the Olympics?

    Sometimes I forget that I’m not a “real American” by virtue of living in the nation’s third-largest city. I guess I should thank Beck and the rest of the looney rightwinger lotion boys for reminding me of my place.

    598 chars

  26. Dorothy said on October 2, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    del as someone who has met Dave (in 1987) and seen him up close, I can guarantee you handsomeness cannot be part of this equation that we’re all referring to. He’s funny, and wildly rich and famous, but that’s about it. Ain’t nothing the least bit handsome about my former favorite personality, Dave Letterman.

    312 chars

  27. Jolene said on October 2, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    Agree re the reaction of Beck and the Repubs to not getting the Olympics. Yesterday, when John Boehner was criticizing Obama for going, he didn’t even look like he believed himself.

    Seems like the decent thing to have said would have been, “This is one topic on which the president and I agree. It would be great for Chicago and great for America. We’ll be rooting for him.” Naive, I suppose, but one can dream.

    Although I wouldn’t swear to it, I think the SLC and Atlanta Olympics made money too.

    That said, bravo for Brazil. Have seen a couple of interviews of President Lula, and he seems really dedicated to making Brazil a better place for all its people.

    676 chars

  28. jeff borden said on October 2, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    I met Letterman back in 1984, when I accompanied Jack Hanna of the Columbus Zoo to his first ever appearance on his program. After the program, Letterman posed for a few pics with some zoo staffers and looked like he was suffering from a bad case of hemorrhoids. He never came within a mile of a smile and seemed eager to get away. He seemed like a busy, cranky, distracted guy.

    Dorothy, if looks were the only reason why famous guys sleep with lots of girls, Keith Richards would still be a virgin. There are more people than we might think who would be more than happy to make the two-backed beast with someone even slightly famous. Letterman would be a coup.

    664 chars

  29. nancy said on October 2, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Then, when you read the memoirs of groupies like Dave’s assistants, you learn the truth: So-and-so was a lousy lay, etc. Why develop the skilz if the girls will be happy just to share your airspace?

    The only one of those accounts that pleasantly surprised me was about Iggy Pop, who was a real animal, each and every time. I heard him tell Terry Gross he credits his youthful energy to lots of sex.

    402 chars

  30. jeff borden said on October 2, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    One more thing to be said about Letterman. He didn’t wrap himself up in the Jesus cloth.

    The fascinating Page One story in today’s NYT on the ethical dimensions of Sen. John Ensign’s extra-marital dalliance is accompanied by a photo of Ensign with his aide, who was the husband of the woman Ensign was screwing. It’s an autographed photo that includes the phrase “my friend and brother in Christ.”

    I look forward to the senator from the great state of Nevada sharing with us the New Testament passages in which Jesus said it was okay to do your best friend’s wife.

    570 chars

  31. Jolene said on October 2, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Dexter: I heard Mika’s tirade on Morning Joe this morning too and thought that she was totally off-base. Her point seemed to be that CBS needed to investigate to ensure that these relationships were not coercive, which is reasonable, but she presented it as if there were evidence that CBS was stonewalling when, in fact, it had been only a few hours since Letterman’s revelation.

    Of course, it’s possible, perhaps even likely, that these affairs were an open secret all along, but that remains to be proven.

    Morning Joe is, in general, problematic. I like a lot of the interviews and find Willie Geist very charming, but Mika and Joe can be trying for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that, very often, they don’t know what they’re talking about.

    771 chars

  32. Danny said on October 2, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Cooze, any of those professors dress like this?

    142 chars

  33. Danny said on October 2, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    Gotta agree with everyone who points out how ridiculous the right-wingers look for criticizing this Olympic bid and most everything else the President is trying. They’re just throwing everything they can find against the wall to see what sticks.

    So far, the only things that concern me are the enormous amount of spending and the fact that the press is acting like a lapdog (this latter thing not being President Obama’s fault). It’s quite curious how incurious most of the media has become concerning deaths of soldiers and such.

    535 chars

  34. Sue said on October 2, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Personally, I blame Oprah.

    26 chars

  35. alex said on October 2, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    So far, the only things that con­cern me are the enor­mous amount of spend­ing and the fact that the press is act­ing like a lap­dog

    Really? And these things didn’t concern you when we invaded Iraq?

    By the way, Jeff B, I think “brother in Christ” makes a wonderful replacement for those antiquated words “cuckold” and “chump” that nobody uses anymore anyway.

    376 chars

  36. jeff borden said on October 2, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Amen, Alex, amen.

    On both points.

    36 chars

  37. Danny said on October 2, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Really? And these things didn’t con­cern you when we invaded Iraq?

    No, because I could see results…dead terrorists. Now, all I am seeing is Wall Street and big companies getting bailed out and who knows where else the money is going.

    249 chars

  38. jeff borden said on October 2, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    A quick note on the Olympics vote. One of the IOC delegates from Pakistan is quoted somewhere as saying that the incredibly arduous visa process put in place after 9/11 may have been a significant factor. This Pakistani is a businessman, apparently, and must go through an enormous number of hoops whenever he seeks to visit the U.S. This should not be surprising. Large numbers of would-be graduate and doctoral students are studying in Europe or Australia these days because they cannot get permission to visit the U.S.

    A lot of actions were taken in fear, anger and haste after 9/11. I mean, does anyone here feel safer now that it requires a passport to visit Toronto or Montreal? Perhaps we should reassess some of these policies.

    Finally, let’s admit that we are still deeply hated in much of the world. A few months of Obama is not going to wash away eight years of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et.al. I said it before many times. It will be a generation before all the damage done by the last administration is finally cleaned up.

    1039 chars

  39. Danny said on October 2, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Hell Jeff, 8 years of Clinton didn’t help the hating either… apparently. Let’s not forget that 9/11 wasn’t a rational, defensible action by any standard and it certainly wasn’t something that happened because a bunch of people just suddenly started hating America a few months into the Bush presidency.

    307 chars

  40. ROgirl said on October 2, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    RE the righties who disagree with everything the President does, I always think of this:


    135 chars

  41. Deborah said on October 2, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    I was hoping for the Olympics in Chicago purely selfishly, it would have helped design professionals here tremendously. It generates a lot of architecture and graphic design work. Not to mention jobs in general. Holy cow I’ll be 65 in 2016!

    240 chars

  42. jeff borden said on October 2, 2009 at 6:13 pm


    Your point is taken. When you are the richest and most powerful nation in the world, resentments large and small are laid at your feet. Some people dislike the U.S.for the same reason many people hate the New York Yankees: too rich, too powerful, too successful, too everything.

    I do sincerely believe the Bush Administration did grievous damage to our country at home and abroad, certainly far more damage than Bubba’s administration managed in its eight years. But as you accurately note, there is always anger aimed our way, regardless of who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    I’ll let the tiny sacs of petrified pus who are celebrating our defeat have their moment. There’s not much else for the Glenn Becks and the Jonah Goldbergs to celebrate these days. I reserve the right, however, to shove their words and actions today up their ample asses the next time they wrap themselves up in an American flag. They openly rooted against the American bid for the games and celebrated like drunken junior high school punks when the vote went down.

    Rant over. And now I can look forward to seeing many hours of gorgeous people from Brazil on my TV rather than your average chunky Midwesterner.

    1210 chars

  43. LAMary said on October 2, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    “No, because I could see results…dead ter­ror­ists.”

    When we invaded Iraq? Mostly there were live terrorists we were creating in Iraq. I think Bush was the most productive terrorist recruiter of all time.

    211 chars

  44. alex said on October 2, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    No, because I could see results…dead terrorists.

    Well, my brother in Christ, I hope you’re still finding the Iraq-9/11 Kool-Aid as delicious now as you did back then, and worth every penny of the national debt it incurred.

    234 chars

  45. moe99 said on October 2, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Well I’m of the camp that thinks that money needs to be spent by the government in this major recession but I think the money spent so far should have gone more into infrastructure rather than propping up Wall Street. Would’ve preferred seeing the govt taking over the mortgages and letting folks stay in their houses on renegotiated payment plans, but hell I divorced an economist, so what do I know?

    Oh, and when I was an enforcement attorney at the SEC when they had a Seattle Regional Office there were several very well publicized sexual harassment lawsuits brought against the agency. What was claimed was that the sexual congress that went on in the office created a hostile work environment for the young women who were not bending over, so to speak. The SEC settled those lawsuits and closed the offices thereafter. The Seattle closure resulted in the Reinventing Government team headed up by VP Al Gore, in 1994. so had no connection to the other regional office closures. But I didn’t hold it against him.

    1026 chars

  46. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 2, 2009 at 7:00 pm


    Click into the graphic and scroll down for the comments, which includes the author/maker re-posting his Google Spreadsheet of sources. I do think the unfunded liabilities of SocSec/Medicare would make a framing backdrop of the whole deal, but the internal comparisons are more than instructive. (Bono should use it the next time he’s trying to explain African debt to skeptics on forgiveness.)

    476 chars

  47. del said on October 2, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Right about the “hostile work” environment Moe — here’s a clip from The Office on the subject:


    141 chars

  48. del said on October 2, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    This might also arise to the level of a “hostile work environment” — courtesy of The Office.

    157 chars

  49. Dexter said on October 2, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    My older brother left home the day of high school graduation and I only saw a couple glimpses of him during the next nine years from 1965 to 1974, as he worked his ass off at many jobs to get through BSU in Muncie, while working as a brakeman on the railroad in East Chicago in the summers, and then teaching school in Ohio and the Gary area.
    When David Letterman got his own show , a morning show in 1980, I called my brother ,and in passing mentioned this funny guy on NBC, David Letterman. My brother then said he knew a David Letterman at Ball State back in the 60s. They were in rival fraternities, no big deal….

    625 chars

  50. crazycatlady said on October 3, 2009 at 1:06 am

    Dave. He slept with adult women. Perhaps underlings. He’ll be fine, since he mentioned it before the tabloids did. We shall see what the future holds, but I’d bet the farm he will still beat The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien each night in the ratings.

    253 chars

  51. Dexter said on October 3, 2009 at 2:24 am

    crazycatlady: Doesn’t Conan just suck? Why didn’t the creepy extortionist just get some pics and stories documented and sell them to the tabloids and make some legal money? It wouldn’t have been any 2 mil, but hey! He wouldn’t be going to prison either.
    Jay Leno looks bored and Conan keeps getting killed every night. Leno has lost about 90% of his opening night viewers; his new show is plain lame.
    NBC just messed up…people are watching Craig Ferguson and Dave Letterman.

    484 chars

  52. Joe Kobiela said on October 3, 2009 at 8:38 am

    If you have a few minutes to kill go to ken levine. blogspot.com and check out the jump rope video. AMAZING.
    Pilot Joe

    119 chars

  53. moe99 said on October 3, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Oh, Joe that is indeed amazing The girls come from a middle school in Kings District in OH. I didn’t think they looked old enough to be in the Naval Academy and one of the posters gave their home site:


    Where IS Kings District? I’ve never heard of it.

    297 chars

  54. Jeff Borden said on October 3, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Post-Olympics announcement, the sun came up today over my beautiful city and all is right with the world.

    I rode my bike to a farmer’s market a few miles away and loaded up on some of the last of the good tomatoes, zuchini and squash along with a delicious foccacia and some cinnamon raisin bread. A couple of buskers were playing guitars and singing for tips. There was hot, strong coffee and lots of kids and dogs.

    Both papers had columns today suggesting that we use the failed Olympic effort as a driver to address our considerable problems, particularly our school and youth violence issues. Mark Brown in the Sun-Times suggests we try to make Chicago the safest city in America by 2016. The problems of gangs, drugs and dysfunctional families in some of our neighborhoods seem overwhelming, but this would be a noble effort. I’ve no idea what form it can take, particularly when there is still a heavy code of silence in some quarters that keeps some people from cooperating with the police, but if progress toward this ongoing tragedy could be made, it would be way better than hosting the Olympics.

    1112 chars

  55. mark said on October 3, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    That’s a pretty tremendous attitude, jeff. While it seems the deck was a little stacked against Chicago regardless of crime and before final two-hour presentations, the goals you mention are laudable.

    No easy answers. From the conservative side, my suggestions for Chicago would be the same as elsewhere”

    1. Quit passing new laws and regulations that mainly burden the already law-abiding (trans-fats, smoking bans, traffic cameras) and focus on enforcing the ones you have against the people who aren’t law-abiding.

    2. Stop using government grants and subsidies to build new things (neighborhoods, hotels, government buildings)until you fix the ones you already have.

    3. Stop teaching every new fad, fashion and trend until your students can read and write.

    Chicago is agreat city. Best in America, in my opinion. But Rio will throw a better party.

    873 chars

  56. jeff borden said on October 3, 2009 at 3:29 pm


    No argument there, man. I am happy for Rio. And I was impressed that so much of its bid encompassed efforts to help all the residents and citizens. I hope they have a great games. I doubt I’ll go, however. I refuse to endure a Brazilian bikini wax.

    We have made a lot of progress in the past 20 years I’ve lived here, but the issues of crime, drugs, gangs and families that either cannot or will not actively work to raise their kids properly is a boatload to overcome. I’m a liberal, true, but I’m not stupid. I’m thinking we need to do more to separate out the real thugs and losers, who are so disruptive to those kids who do want to learn. Put these tough guys in schools where discipline is firm and the presence of security is omnipresent.

    Too often we point to Catholic or Christian or private prep schools as models, but we don’t acknowledge those institutions are free to expel troublemakers. Perhaps it is time for a return to reform schools? Or, maybe like the Germans did in “The Great Escape,” put all the bad apples and rotten eggs into the same basket?

    If we could figure out a solution, it would be a far better result than hosting the Olympics.

    1179 chars

  57. Deborah said on October 3, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Jeff B, I too went to the green market this morning in Chicago, the one on Division between State and Clark. The vegetable colors are amazing. This coming week is the week for soups. Can’t wait.

    I keep wondering what David Letterman’s mother thinks about the scandal. I have a David Letterman’s mother story: I worked with a woman who was friends with David Letterman’s niece, an editor of a design magazine. My friend didn’t know this fact for a long time, until she was at DL’s niece’s home and asked her why she had a picture of DL’s mother on her fridge. Fast forward a few years later I’m with my friend and co-worker on a trip and we visit DL’s niece at her home. While there she serves us cheese sticks that her grandmother baked and sent to her. The whole time I kept thinking that I was eating cheese sticks made by David Letterman’s mother! His niece has been on his show a few times. There was a Thanksgiving segment where his mother was spending the holiday with her niece. They sent a crew out, outfitted her kitchen with a totally separate fridge with hardly anything in it, just some moldy leftovers. Dave pretended that he was concerned. It was funny.

    1170 chars

  58. brian stouder said on October 3, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Here’s a quick Chicago/Illinois story for ya:

    As a Hoosier transiting across that state last week, I was absolutely paranoid about the speed limits. I’ve read often enough (so that I believe) that they send speeding tickets in the mail, thanks to remote cameras and so on.

    And, if you’re on one of the bypasses near Chicago, and if you’re driving the posted 55 mph speed limit, you will be a in the newspaper because of the horrible wreck you’ll be in the middle of.

    472 chars

  59. Dexter said on October 3, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    brianstouder: It’s amazing to me when I ride with my Chicagoan brother in his car. He used to use an exit with a 10 cent toll…there was a flashing light, no gate, a basket into which you were to toss a dime…and brother just drove straight through it without slowing down…”nobody stops there and if you stop you’ll have a car in your trunk .” That exit now is legally free.
    On roads under construction, posted 45 mph max, he and his fellows drive 75. “Nobody pays any attention to those signs!”
    Well, I do! I am the guy who reasons “I can go nine-over the speed limit” and then the cop radar reads me eleven over and I get the ticket.
    Due to extreme care I have not had a ticket in 9 years. Now I have just jinxed myself.
    Pulling for a good showing by the Indiana Hoosiers, my alma mater, as they entertain the big bad OSU Buckeyes on the gridiron in an hour and 7 minutes.
    I root for the Michigan Wolverines in sports, have for 38 years, and it was a bad day in East Lansing as MSU beat M in overtime. Boo hoo.

    1032 chars

  60. Jolene said on October 3, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Jeff: Colbert S. King has an a column in today’s WaPo re the issue of security in schools that might interest you. Like you, he’s concerned about protecting the students who want to learn from those who are disruptive; in this, article, he particularly addresses the dangers that young kids face from older kids, some of whom have already dropped out of school, but hang around the school to terrorize students as they come and go.

    King writes regularly and in very specific terms about problems in D.C.’s juvenile justice system, corrections, and related topics. He tries hard to hold the feet of officials to the fire–both those who are supposed to help and protect the vulnerable and those who are supposed to control those who are causing trouble.

    760 chars

  61. Jolene said on October 3, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Deborah: I’ve thought about Dave’s mom too. The blackmailer first approached him on September 9th, so presumably he had some time to prepare her for what was coming. Still sad for her, though.

    The latest piece in the NYT says that the affairs in question took place before he got married, that none of the women were underage, and that, so far, there’s no evidence of coercion. That’s not to say it was appropriate, and one has to wonder (well, maybe one doesn’t have to, but one does) how all this fit into the twenty-some years he was with his wife before they got married, but I guess that’s for them to deal with.

    624 chars

  62. Dorothy said on October 3, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    I’m with Deborah and Jolene in the “let’s think about Dave’s mom” club. She’s such a neat lady and I would think something like this would just make her feel so sad. And did you guys know her name is (ahem) Dorothy? Another reason to like her, I’d say…

    257 chars

  63. Joe Kobiela said on October 3, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Need to kill a few hours, Wife and I saw Whip it today. While it won’t win a academy award, it is still a good movie. The Roller Derby girls sort of remind me of Brother Dave and I’s Rugby club. Play hard, Party hard.
    Pilot Joe

    228 chars

  64. brian stouder said on October 3, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    And did you guys know her name is (ahem) Dorothy? Another rea­son to like her, I’d say…


    Wife and I saw Whip It today

    Pam and the young folks and I went to the $3 theater, today, and saw “UP” – about which I knew nothing at all, going in. After that it was off to Sara’s Diner for supper. I’d never been there before, although Pam had. Secretary of State Clinton made a campaign stop there during the primary, and going in there I was surprised just how “intimate” (or – small!) that place is. But it is a local concern, and it sports a distinctly presidential/national political motif….and the food (and the value) was excellent

    Being a sucker*, the movie struck me as marvelous, as it alternately made me laugh and put a hitch in my throat

    *not in the sense that Illinoisans are “Suckers” (and Indianans are “Hoosiers), mind you

    874 chars

  65. moe99 said on October 3, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    My first cat was named Dorothy after Dorothy Parker. Love the name. Third cat was Thurber.

    92 chars

  66. Dexter said on October 4, 2009 at 12:38 am

    Our feral cat is taming down. He arrived months ago and wouldn’t go away. He’s such a nice kitty, we have taken a real shine to him. I named him “Friendo” a month ago but my wife refuses to let it stand, and she calls him “Kat”. But anyway, he’s in the house now. He’s in a cage and catching on fabulously to his litter box . He’ll be out at sunrise.

    356 chars

  67. Deborah said on October 4, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Brian, I haven’t seen Up, but I want to after seeing this guys website:


    He’s an illustrator who worked on the look and feel of the animation. You have to scroll down to see the posts about Up. The end result of the animation from what I’ve seen in trailers is like other Pixar projects but this guy set the overall tone.

    357 chars

  68. Connie said on October 4, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Yes Brian, Illinoisans are suckers, and Ohio blows. Which is why Indiana is stuck in its current position.

    Spent last night in a South Bend bar with friends, cheering for Washington in the midst of Notre Dame fans, none of them rabid about it thank goodness. Truly a great game. My alma mater, Michigan State, beat my other alma mater, U of Michigan, so I was happy whichever way it went.

    On the other hand we always root for whichever team is playing Ohio State, and whichever team is playing IU, we were really stuck with that game yesterday. Though it is looking likely that my Butler senior will be spending the next couple of years at IU, so perhaps that will change.

    681 chars

  69. brian stouder said on October 4, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Deborah – cool link, indeed!

    “Up” starts out so entertainingly and airily that I honestly thought we were being treated to another Pixar ‘short’ (after the end of ‘Cloud’ –


    a marvelous short, indeed!) for the first several minutes of the feature!

    After that, you’re hopelessly hooked in. As I say – I’m a sucker for this sort of thing anyway. Nonetheless, it is a very skillful bit of movie-magic. There are no wasted references; everything builds toward a truly grand conclusion – somehow enthralling adults and young folks all at once, as Pixar usually does.

    edit: Connie – Hah! Honestly, college sports pulls me in every so often, but I have no fixed rooting interests. On the other hand, when multinational corporations battle it out in Formula One – I’m there, baby!

    832 chars

  70. alex said on October 4, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Regarding Chicago drivers, it’s my observation—now that I’m living in a much smaller place—that they’re indeed fast but also very efficient, attentive drivers. As soon as the light turns green they’re flooring it, while here in Hoosierland the drivers ahead of you always need to wake up from their naps.

    308 chars

  71. Holly said on October 4, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    I can not stand the drivers who blast the horn as soon as the light turns green. I take my time when I hear a horn behind me.

    125 chars

  72. Jeff Borden said on October 4, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    After living here for 20 years, I will agree with Alex. People drive fast in Chicago and we all love shortcuts. I found a way to avoid the Skyway some 10 or so years ago by following Rt. 41 from the end of Lake Shore Drive to Indianapolis Blvd., where I can enter the Indiana Toll Road without the hassle and expense of the toll for the bridge.

    One thing I will say about Chicago that is truly different from my time living below the Mason-Dixon line. Everyone uses their %$#@# turn signals. Even rusty beaters held together with bondo and duct tape use their signals. My blood pressure rose 50 points while living in Charlotte, where people had an aversion to signaling for a turn or a lane change. This spanned all races, genders, ages and vehicles and was maddening. When running late, you would invariably find yourself behind a dunderdead at the light. When it turned green, he would roll a few feet forward and stop. Yep, he’s turning left. No signal whatsoever. I found this behavior pretty typical in North Carolina.

    I’d hit the horn to demonstrate my impotent rage. Rarely did I receive an extended middle finger. More often, it was a look of surprise, like, sheesh, why are you honking at me?

    Sons and Daughters of the Old South: Is this common everywhere?

    1276 chars

  73. MichaelG said on October 4, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Holly, you’ve just defined a “New York minute” – the interval between the light turning green and the guy behind you hitting his horn.

    134 chars

  74. coozledad said on October 4, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Jeff Borden: I think it’s because it takes a while to hit that signal flasher when one has to remove one of one’s thumbs from one’s ass to do it. At least, that’s my theory.And judging from the number of malt liquor cans and fortified wine bottles we have to clear from the road frontage out here in the sticks, the roads are full of drunks at virtually any hour of the day.
    Some of my ancestors hail from the Gastonia area. Driving is going to be a lot like three-dimensional chess for a lot of the folks there, liquored up or not.

    533 chars

  75. Julie Robinson said on October 4, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    During my childhood in Illinois, it was Illini. This may have changed; it was a few(!) years ago.

    Up was marvelous and took me to tears. A real feel good movie. If it’s in the cheapie theaters it should be out on DVD soon and I think it’s worth a second viewing.

    We watched 17 Again Friday night and it pleasantly exceeded expectations. Once you suspend your disbelief it’s got a lot of funny moments. Then again, my expectations are always lower when I haven’t paid movie theater prices.

    Has anyone bought new tires lately? If not, you’re in for sticker shock. I just hope the workers are getting the benefit of the high prices. What’s really depressing is that our other vehicle also needs them this fall.

    We have a sort of feral cat. We’re pretty sure it belongs to a neighbor since it appears very healthy and well-fed, but she really lives in our front yard, even at night. She keeps close vigilance on all the chipmunk holes. We’ve never seen her catch anything but she will spend hours in stalking mode, peering intently and waiting for some movement. For our family with its allergies, this is the best way to have a pet. And of course we’re constantly amused by the dogs behind us being taunted by the squirrels. It’s better entertainment than 98% of what’s on TV.

    1301 chars

  76. Deborah said on October 4, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    My daughter and I are baking bread and making cream of potato and leek soup this afternoon (soup ingredients purchased yesterday at the green market).

    I bought 5 pre-viewed movies yesterday at Blockbuster for $20. So for us it’s a relaxing evening after a tasty meal.

    270 chars

  77. Jeff Borden said on October 4, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    We watched “Coraline” last night and were charmed. I’m a sucker for clever animation –“Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Corpse Bride” are among my favorites– and this met or exceeded all expectations. “Adventureland” is slated for later today unless I get enough of my school homework done in time for us to catch “Zombieland.”

    329 chars

  78. brian stouder said on October 4, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Has any­one bought new tires lately?

    We bought a set of tires for the minivan this past winter, and we selected a set from a Firestone-Bridgestone outlet….but here’s the key: we went to a business in southeast Fort Wayne (where Southtown Mall used to be), and the tires plus installation cost not much more than $100.

    Years ago, we bought a top-drawer set of Michelins*, and I noticed that they were quite short-lived, so ever since then I always buy the cheapest I can find, from brand-name tire dealers, on the theory that they’re the same tires as the pricier ones. If anything, my major-brand no-name tires live LONGER than the brand name ones!

    Aside from that, as the weather cools and the colors of the trees and bushes become more pronounced, I’ve become all the more enthralled with Burlingame’s massive Lincoln biography – and mid-19th century Illinois colloquialisms are “on the brain”. In Lincoln’s jokes, there’s always Hoosiers and Suckers (and preachers and farmers and old women and farm animals and so on and so forth!).

    By the way – Burlingame is much, much more harshly anti-Mary than I was braced for; he is really on a jihad to make the absolute worst portrait of her possible. I take solace from the thought that I’ll get a crack at asking Burlingame to account for this, at the Twenty Fourth Annual Lincoln Colloquium in Springfield in two weeks. (as far as that goes, I’m extremely open to any good short pithy question y’all might propose, asking him what the f__ his problem with strong-minded women is)

    *at Science Central, they have a NASA display including an actual tire from a Space Transportation System shuttle mission. The thing is bolted onto a display next to a wall – and if you look on the sidewall of the tire that faces the wall, you see that our shuttles are shod with Michelins! This surprised me, but then again, BF Goodrich, which has a large plant not far from here, was bought out by Michelin, which presumeably explains that

    1998 chars

  79. MarkH said on October 4, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Guys, you can blame higher oil prices on the increase in tire prices, as petroleum is a significant part of the process. My local tire guy warned me of this in the summer of ’08, when it hit $145+. Even if and when oil pices came back down, he said tire prices would remain high.

    Jeff, I hear ya on the urn signal thing; infuriating. But when I went to work in Mississippi and Alabama 25+ years ago, I noticed that on two lane roads, most drivers would signal the intentions of the car in front of them to the one behind. I was told it was a southern thing. Also almost without fail, southern drivers would wave at each other as they passed.

    “…when multinational corporations battle it out in Formula One…” — Brian, especially in light of our previous conversation about Piquet’s team-ordered deliberate crash last year, doesn’t it seem that more and more, F1 resembles “Rollerball”?

    896 chars

  80. brian stouder said on October 4, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Piquets’s team-ordered crash is only remarkable in that young Nelson was stupid enough to BOTH execute the order AND spill the beans! He could have refused the order and gone public, or else carried the order out and then stayed quiet; but instead he made the worst two choices he could.

    Crashing with a purpose in F1 is nothing new, really. Did you aee that Piquet is scheduled to turn test laps for (wait for it) a NASCAR truck team in North Carolina next week?

    466 chars

  81. basset said on October 4, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Never saw drivers pull over and stop for funerals until we moved to the South – Mississippi, then Tennessee. Something else we didn’t see up north was the Christmastime habit of tying wreaths to car grilles.

    208 chars

  82. Holly said on October 4, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    Why would anyone put a wreath on the front of their car. That sounds so strange to me. Just like those people who have Mary in a bath tub as a yard decoration.

    159 chars

  83. Connie said on October 4, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    My baby brother is a honcho at TireRack.com . I can get the family special deal there, plus we trade cars for a day or two and he has them mounted for me while he is at work. Right now I have Generals on the van, but there was a time when I was quite sure that I was driving the only Pontiac 6000 with Pirelli tires in the entire world.

    337 chars

  84. MarkH said on October 4, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Your point is well taken, Brian, but that wasn’t my point. My point is, like the movie I mentioned, the corporations have taken the sport over and are dictating far too much. Not that they told Piquet what to do, Flavio did that on his own and weak-kneed Nelson went along. If he does do that, he and NASCAR truck racing both get what the deserve.

    Some folks in the west will put wreaths on their trucks at Christmastime, too, basset. I did last year(!).

    Connie, was that Pontiac 6000 the AWD STE model? That was an unsung sweet car in the late ’80s.

    EDIT – Brian, crashing with a purporse on F1 is not EXACTLY new. In the past is was the province of hot-headed drivers like Senna vs. Prost, or Schumacher or Irvine vs. everyone else, not team orders. In the glory days of the ’50s, ’60s and most of the ’70s, such actions were unheard of.

    BTW, watching the Japanese Grand Prix replay right now on SPEED!

    916 chars

  85. Joe Kobiela said on October 4, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Pulling over for a funeral in the south reminds me of one of my favorite scenes in Smoky and the Bandit.They block Jakie Gleason and his son in with a funeral. Jackie stands up, looks around and removes his hat with his head down. His son says ” boy he sure had a lot of friends”. Jackie replies,” If they would have cremated the Sum-Bitch, I would be kicken Bandits ass around the moon by now” Cracks me up every time.
    Trooper: It is not Gemane to the situation.
    Buford T Justice: The God Damn Germans got nothing to due with it!!!
    Pilot Joe

    545 chars

  86. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 5, 2009 at 7:48 am

    I’ll decline to tell “pulling over for a funeral” stories at length; as an all too frequent rider in the hearse and/or lead car, you see much sweet poignancy, and regular radical stupidity. The trick is to not let the latter overwhelm your recollections of the former.

    What i did not expect in moving to Ohio — i was raised, learning to drive in the Chicago area, to flash the brights for trucks that pass you so they know that their tail is clear of your nose. Helps them helps you, win/win. They usually flash their running lights back atcha.

    That was true all the way down to Indy, but once i moved east of Richmond, Indiana, it turns out to be an unknown arcane custom. Anyone else see this or do it for passing 18 wheelers? Back up on the Tri-State, i see it’s still an appreciated ritual around Chicagoland, but there’s no sign i’m making it popular in these parts.

    883 chars