Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Remember when book stores were small and musty. Now they have entered the big box territory. We have been flooded with how to books. Become a millionaire, loose weight, become a chef and more. And all guarantee that you will accomplish this overnight, just buy the book. There is an overabundance of experts who are more then happy to part us with our money. Don't get me wrong. There are many useful books, such as books on how to repair something around the house or gardening. The secret is to purchase a book by some unknown author, and not a personality, where the price will always be double and contain less information.
A few cases in point. Cook books, are flying of the shelves, the ones by TV personality's. How many of those recipes do you have time to make, much less have all those ingredients around your cupboard, when a plain simple everyday recipe book will do.
Diet books, with there enticing titles that make the authors rich, and the only thing that slims down is your wallet.
Exercise books with there 1001 ideas. The fads that last a few months, until the knew one comes along.
And magazines with there blaring headlines, how not to age, and improve your marriage and much more.
And now that tax time is rolling around, all those books proclaiming to save you thousands on your taxes. THINK all you have to do, is read the IRS brochure you receive and they tell you what you can deduct, take all those deductions they give you and you just saved the price of that book.
Just look around you, all the free information that is around us. Friends and family, what an untapped source. Think how many times you bought a book or magazine because you taught that subject matter was of grave importance, and how duped you felt after reading it, telling yourself, I knew that, it's just a rehash of old material under a fancy title. Now your thinking
You want to become a millionaire, THINK before you purchase that book, is it necessary and useful. If not take the money, put it in the bank, compounding works wonders, and now you are on your way to your first million. And besides you are back to thinking.

Monday, January 29, 2007


I was reading about a mother complaining how horrendous her day was as she had to drive her kids from one event to another.
I have to admit guilt and say that I had them in a FEW organized activities. The one thing I learned was that the kids weren't having fun and didn't learn as much as we all believe.
My son and his friends would walk down by the railroad tracks and on a patch of ice, play hockey, for hours. They learned on their own, with no intrusion from adults, and enjoyed themselves immensely, an experience he will never forget.
When I was growing up, you would be at the park playing the sport in season. No instruction books or manuals, no videos, no organized teams. You wanted to play, you just went out and tried it and before you knew it you were playing the way it was meant to be played.
Riding a bike or swimming, no instructions or classes, you fell of the bike or went under water. But soon you had mastered it. And the most important thing, you mastered it on your own. Remember that feeling of mastering something and how proud you felt, and then brag to your parents about it.
Now everything has to be organized and supervised. Parents send kids to specialized camps and training seminars, or even personal instructors.
Let the kids be kids and have fun. You may want to argue this with me, but before you do, go watch an organized event, and look at the kids faces and the terror in them, afraid of making a mistake. Then compare it to a pickup game, where they are laughing and smiling and enjoying it.
So before signing them up, think, are you doing it for them or for yourself.


The bushas cooked, cleaned and took care of the children, as the parents both worked to achieve the American dream of buying a home and sending their kids to college.
The most important aspect of the bushas, was that they were the busy bodies of the neighborhood. They knew who belonged and who was a stranger. The kids were safe as they played in the streets. There were no worries that a stranger would grab and molest one of the kids. Criminals and gangs shy ed away, knowing these bushas and their sticks and canes would dispense there justice.
You wouldn't dare tell your parents that you were a recipient of a crack or two if you were caught misbehaving. The parents knew that you deserved it.
They believed in being strict, but tempered it with kindness as they baked those special cookies and breads and always seemed to have it at the right time to bring a bit of sun shine into your life when you were down.
They seemed to be everywhere as they walked to church and local stores.
Then as the suburbs sprung up, it was easier to ship grandma off to a nursing home or one of those senior homes.
Day care centers sprung up, it was a lot easier to have kids in a structured environment, then enjoying themselves playing outside with their friends.
So have we really gained anything, by letting these bushas disappear?

Friday, January 26, 2007


It could only start in California and New York, and I am afraid it may spread like a plague to the rest of the country.
A new rage in California, the yuppie mothers have started, wine play dates. As the pre schoolers play and drink whatever from their sippy cups, the moms are popping corks on their Merlot, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grio (excuse me for the spelling, since I consider the wine that comes in a box to be of the highest quality).
Not to be out done, the yuppie moms of New York, are bringing their ankle biters to happy hour, at drinking emporiums, and as the tykes play, the moms sip on martinis and margaritas.
Where are the BUSHAS with their canes and walking sticks, when you need them.


Why do people pay $100 or more for a pair of worn and ripped jeans, when they can get three or more pairs of new jeans? If it's the style, why not visit a Salvation Army resale shop and get them almost free.
I can understand paying extra for the XXL clothing I wear, extra material. But why do women pay outrages prices for clothing that has the least amount of material?

Thursday, January 25, 2007


What in the heck is a Busha you may ask? They all died off about forty years ago, in America, never to return, and what a tragedy it is. In simple terms, she was a grandmother. Now let's examine her more closely. To be a true Busha, you must be in your eighty's, short and slim, and hunched over. A cane or walking stick are mandatory, for they served a thousand purposes, and were not an aid for walking, for they could walk miles on end without tiring.
One look at them, and you were afraid a slight breeze would blow them over, yet they had the strength of ten men, as they moved the heaviest of furniture as if they were match sticks.
You had to wear ankle length dresses, of plain material and they all seemed to shop at the same store.
They were simple farm girls, with little or no formal education, but would astound scholars with their wisdom. They were all quite beautiful in their youth, and still are, tho the lines in their faces have a thousand stories to tell, they did not care for the creams that might restore some of their youth full look to their faces.
They could cure whatever ailed you, sometimes a simple hug or kiss, but for the more serious ailments, their special herbs and concoctions only heaven knows what of, always worked better then any medicine prescribed by doctors.
Chef's can only dream of cooking as well as a Busha. No recipes, a hand full of this, a pinch of that. They could cook for one or a hundred and it was always a feast..
You could always tell which house the Bushas lived in, for they always had flowers blooming and a garden, no matter how big or small was like the horn of plenty, always enough to give some to the neighbors.
If you had a problem, Busha always had a simple solution.. And let's not forget the hair in a bun, a true sign of a Busha.
(To be continued)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


It's unbelievable how gullible the public has become to the gimmicks that corporations have come up with. One of the favorites is how grocery chains use the slight of hand, as they advertise a sale of there deli products. The price looks fantastic, until you see the fine print 1/2lb. Double that price and the big sale is minuscule. Or the deceptive packaging, where the package looks the same but the weight has gone down and the price has gone up.
Why super size your meal at a burger palace. Do you really need those extra fries, or that bigger drink? Get the smallest drink possible, they have free refills, so why pay for something that is free. Besides getting up and walking is good for you.
Mail in rebates are great, but only if they are mailed in. Why do to they use this approach. The price looks great minus that rebate. But only about 30% of the public does so. You wouldn't throw away anywhere from $10 to $100 or more, but that is what your doing, when you don't mail it in.
Coupons in the Sunday paper. It's cheaper for a company to print up coupons, then to lower a price on a product, since most people won't take advantage of them. If you wouldn't stop and bend over to pick up a dollar or two, disregard this. If used wisely, the savings add up.
The ones I like the best is how the phone companies with there little add ons for ONLY a few dollars a month. Each and every gimmick costs only a minimal fee. But add those fees up over a year and see what you are really paying.
A lot of shows, such as the garden, golf, fishing, boat and such used to be free. You were able to see what was new and what would soon be on the market. Now they charge entrance fees, so they could sell you something as merchandisers have taken over. Besides they are held at locations where they charge exorbitant parking fees. Would you pay these fees to go to the mall to shop.
Even some credit card companies have fees for charging over the limit, canceling the card, and not using it for a period of time.
There are a lot more, so lets wake up, and fight these gimmicks. Think and avoid them or see if they can work for you. It's your money.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Monday's so called news-paper the Sun -Times, had over a twenty page special on the Bears. Local and world news as well as the editorial page covered twenty nine pages, of which fifteen were full pages ads. Another sixteen pages devoted to other sports. The war, global warming, high energy prices and companies cutting thousands of jobs, clearly takes a back seat to sports coverage.
Of the three possible democratic candidates, all that we have heard so far is that one is a woman who is a former presidents wife, another is black and an eloquent speaker, and the third is Hispanic. Nothing about their agendas or political stances on important issues. All we here from all the political pundits, how historical it would be if one of them was elected, and nothing about if any of them are qualified.
They are politicians, not rock or movie stars, so don't ask powder puff questions that have no relevance.
There are people who care, ask them about the economy, the loss of millions of jobs to cheap overseas markets, our failing infrastructure,and much more. And don't take, we are going to look into it, as an answer, find out what their solutions are to the problems plaguing this country. If they dance around, keep plugging away until there is a satisfactory answer.
This country wouldn't be in this mess, if we covered the news as we do sports.

Monday, January 22, 2007


In days of old, when knights were bold and I was a youth, there were dozens of brands of soda and beer. There was a flavor to satisfy everyone. As many neighborhood bars as there were, almost one on each block, there were that many beer brands. All these companies were fairly small and family owned. And prices everyone could afford.
Along came Pepsi and Coke as well as Budweiser and Miller and either bought out these small companies or ran them out of business.
These big corporations flourished, since everyone flocked to them, abandoning these small companies.
Once again people are taken for a ride as micro-brewery's and soda pops with exotic names, but flavors of old are coming back. Fancy names with prices to match.
So before you reach for that Pepsi or Coke and Bud or Miller support that off brand that you really enjoy, because soon it will be gone and reincarnate itself at two or three times the price.


Age and gender is no barrier as the morons quickly sprung out into the open. Women induced labor so it wouldn't interfere with the game. As the game ended, remarks such as "I am going to sell my car, so I can be there". Or " I don't care what it costs, I will get the money someplace". People are cancelling weddings, and going into deep dept. And this is only the first day of two weeks, that we will have to endure this insanity.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


My big wish for the two games that will be played on Sunday, is that all four teams lose, and maybe then they will cancel the super bowl and all the hype associated with it.
For the past two weeks the airways as well as the papers are filled with drivel about how it's destiny and how much the Saints have meant and done for to the city of New Orleans. From what I see only the business district is flourishing and the rest is a toilet bowl.
If the Bears win, if I am to believe all the prognosticators, my life will change for ever. I was told this every time there was a championship to be won.
Whether they won or lost, the sun seemed to rise and set at the same time. The bills still arrived and I had to pay them. The city made millions but my taxes kept on rising. I don't want to turn on the news and watch reporters sticking their mikes into peoples faces as they rant and rave how there lives will never be the same if they win. Besides they are not the New Orleans Saints or the Chicago Bears. They are a bunch of guys who play for those teams, with no pride or loyalty toward those cities. Over ninety percent don't even live in the city they play for in the off season. If there was this much coverage about our politicians, we would have a better and a more honest government.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Some Bear fans are going to pay a thousand dollars and more for a ticket to the game on Sunday. Plus forty for the privilege to park, and untold money on concessions. For this amount of money, you will be sitting in a cramped seat, in below freezing temperatures, and missing action while standing in line to relieve yourself of all that beer you have consumed, and the cold slapped together food. All of this just to say, I was there.
On the other hand, that money spent on the ticket, could have been well spent on a HDTV, which you could watch over and over again, after the game. The money spent for parking could be spent on about four cases of beer. Invite several friends, and after pitching in a nominal sum, have a feast fit for a king, while watching the game in the comfort of a nice warm home and a private bathroom. Besides after the game you are not fighting crowds and traffic. Instead your are all ready home, still enjoying yourself with your friends.
Win or loose, you are a winner since you have that TV, and in two weeks you can watch, drink and feast again in comfort as you enjoy the super bowl on your great TV.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


"Of course the people don't want war, but after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it is a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger".


Sound familiar, like 9/11 and weapons of mass destruction. Or to those of us who are a wee bit older, they are going to drop the A-bomb, or the communist plague is spreading around the globe.
I for one am tired of hearing 9/11. Granted it was a tragic event, but give it a rest, we don't need to hear it or read it twenty four-seven.
How many more of our young have to die fighting these terrorists (I am sorry, they don't count, they are not as important as those who died in the towers, they volunteered for this). I don't think they volunteered to die.
Next time someone speaks of 9/11, look up, and see if the sky is really falling.

Monday, January 15, 2007


It amazes me how things have changed as we entered the 21st century. No longer do we look up to people of high moral character, and try to emulate them. Instead the inane are trust upon the alter and worshiped as gods.
At one time they were the fodder that fed the supermarket check-out tabloids and were the domain of a few. Then main stream media picked up the gauntlet and legitimized them and suddenly the masses flocked to these moronic so called celebrities.
The more stupid or outrages the act, that much more in coverage. Medical discoveries or world changing events are worthy of only a blip on the screen, where-as a Paris or Brittany are worthy of breaking news status as they stumble from one calamity to another.
Do we need a blow by blow description of Donald and Rosie feud, for weeks on end. So Brittany listened when her mother told her about having clean underwear, and the consequences in case you ended up in an emergency room. She eliminated the problem and it still garners coverage.
Normally I wouldn't deem this worthy of a comment, but since our youth are starting to become clones of these idiots as they watch shows where the parents are mindless wonders and the kids are supreme rulers with attitudes, and this they take pride in.
No longer is talent a gauge by which athletes, movie stars, singers and such judged by. Rather it is by the arrest records and outrages acts.
You want five minutes of fame. DO SOMETHING STUPID.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Is there any correlation to the fact, that since people began wearing sound amplification devices around and in their ears as if they were implants, the lemming effect has intensified, and seems to be triggered by stimulus of the printed or video media.


One of the joys of coming on the police department, was that not only did the stations have individuality, the officers as well ran the gamut from A to Z. You could always tell who the watch commander was, even tho he very rarely wore a uniform. Without being told, you knew who was the lock-up keeper, the wagon men, and the inside guys who worked the desk. And always that infamous desk Sargent. Even tho they all varied as night and day, there was just something about them that you couldn't put your finger on, that made them unique. Maybe it was the buildings, which were to hot in the summer and to cold in the winter, the sharing of lockers, and the one shower that worked only when it wanted to, that brought on this collection of characters.
Those of you who have seen the TV series Barney Miller, would understand. Each and every person was an individual and a character. You both hated and loved them, for they were the people that made you want to come to work, and to enjoy it.
Then all to fast the 80's appeared and we were over run by the Pepsi guzzling generation. The characters began to retire and the old buildings began to be replaced by antiseptic sameness. The old timers referred to them as cookie cutter policemen since none had a personality and were carbon copies of one another (Xerox copies for the younger generation who do not know of carbon paper).
Then the 90's Robo cop, with their leather fingerless gloves, military haircuts, and the Swiss Army pistol belts, containing every conceivable gadget known to mankind . And we can't forget the rolled up sleeves to show off the muscles. The macho look replaced the characters. They to downed Pepsi like there was no tomorrow.
To the few old timers who still just wore one gun and one pair of handcuffs sufficed, wondered if these drab drones were taking stupid pills by the hand full, and were hatched in mass, rather then conceived.
Being in forensics at the latter part of my career, I discovered the sudden demise of characters. Not only does cola remove rust from nails, but over consumption, in this Big Gulp era, has been know to kill brain cells, and alas the big mystery has been solved.

Friday, January 12, 2007


The other day as I was pondering, how could "BUBBLES THE CLOWN" otherwise know as the junior Stroger, be elected as president of Cook County Board. Then to my dismay, the answer appeared in the newspaper as woman after woman wrote in at how Obama was getting their vote after seeing a cheese cake photo of him in the newspaper.
The man made a speech at the democratic convention and was a blip on the radar screen for a day or two. Then Oprah after being burnt by several writers on her book of the month club, decided to start her president of the year club.
Suddenly he was everywhere in the media. After a few weeks , someone with a bit of intelligence, asked the question. Who and what is Obama?
The only answer anyone could come up with, he is a celebrity, sound and fury signifying nothing. A check of his political career showed nothing. Illinois senate, nothing of substance. His campaign for United States Senate consisted of don't say or do anything, and you are running against an idiot, you are going to win. Win he did without taking a stand on anything.
Now that he is the senator from Illinois, we have not heard his platform or his stance on anything. Tho he has really stepped out on the limb, and stated he is against the war in Iraq.
People whose opinion I value, can only come up with he is so refreshing and so eloquent. I call it blowing smoke up my ass.
And the most important, no signs of experience in anything, except speech 101. Oh that's OK, we forgive him for that. Remember what we have had for the past six years, and you want to endure four more.
When he decides to dive into the deep end of the pool, instead of wading in the knee deep spin controled one, I will then consider him as a serious contender.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Ah, back to pre-historic times. When I was in my youth my best friend was a pool hustler, and I his shill. One day as I grabbed a cue stick from the rack, I rolled it on the table to see if it was straight.. He just took one from the rack and was ready to go. The words he spoke, have stuck with me to this day. "It's not the cue stick, it's the man behind the cue ", as he made shot after shot.
I have to laugh as I watch people in sporting good stores, part with their hard earned money, as they purchase air Jordan's or golf clubs and clothing endorsed by Tiger.
I hate to burst peoples bubbles, if you did't dunk the ball before you bought those shoes your not going to afterwards. Or if your golf score equals your bowling score, like mine does, all that clothing and equipment won't make a difference.
January is a great month to belong to a gym, as all the novices who have made their New Year's resolution to look like a Greek statue. You can always spot them as they wear the latest lines of clothing. You have to use the equipment and sweat, for that $50 t-shirt to work and wick away that sweat.
Check it out some time, why pay all that money for a name. He has his millions, but is willing to take more of yours. check out the off brands and you will be surprised at how much you save and how much better some of them are.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007


Why aren't we at the harbor, casting crates of tea into the bay, at how we are being nickled & dimed to death. It seems to have started with the creation of ATM's and how the charges increased. Now take a peak at your utility bills, a million and one various charges and taxes. Try and figure out what everything refers too on a cell phone bill. Restaurants, which included soup, salad, and dessert with your main course order have jumped on the band wagon. I could live with the elimination of the soup and salad from the price of the meal. But when you are charged seperatly for the potatoes and vegetable, that's going a bit to far. Boys and girls it is time to get the fife and drums out of the closet and light those torches. Let us start marching to the bay.

Monday, January 8, 2007


In days of old La Sirena would have been correct. At one time in history a grill was a very small restaurant, manned by a gruffly cook whose first name was never longer then four letters. The establishment consisted of a stove and a small counter with stools. Nick, Tony, Bob or Ted was the cook, waiter and cashier. Then there was a cafe. Same cook, but now it had a few tables so a waitress was needed. Watch a few good black and white movies and a cafe and characters is sure to appear. Grills and cafes kept us fed for breakfast and lunch. Then there is the restaurant. These were a lot larger and your feet didn't stick to the floor, from a build up of many years of grease. This is where family's went on special occasions and you took a date. The food was fantastic, and the prices were fair.
And of course these places began to fall by the wayside. It was easier to go to a drive up, and get a Styrofoam package, with god knows the content.
Once again Grille & Cafes and Restaurants began to sprout. No longer places of great food and great prices. Just fancy names beginning with La, Les, Chez and Bistro. Naturally the prices went trough the roof. Chefs can only make the food look good, while cooks make it taste great Remember we always referred to mom as a cook not a chef.
If you ever pass an old cafe or grill be sure to stop in. I will guarantee you, the experience will be well worth it. The food, prices and characters will make you wonder how we let such a great part of Americana disappear so easily.


What do cafe, grill, bistro, grille & pub, etc. all have in common???????????

Sunday, January 7, 2007


To Ms. La Sardine's consternation, Mr. GQ and Ms. Meander will whole heartily agree with me that one of the most useless products foisted upon an unsuspecting public is Beano. Even the pharmacutical companies are trying to kill the simple joys of life.

Saturday, January 6, 2007


Today's lesson boys and girls is political speak.
Whenever there is a political hiring, especially when it involves friends or family, there are key words to watch for.
QUALIFIED: I am giving unemployed friend, relative or fill in the blank, a low or mid-level job.
VERY QUALIFIED: Same as above, as to whom is getting the job. But now the job is high paying, and the person is the least qualified for the job, but is getting it because I have the power to do so.
EMINENTLY QUALIFIED: Taken from Sun Times story titled (Stroger hires best friend's wife). She will be hired to a $126,000 job. Loosely translated, you knew I was going to do things like this, and you moron's still elected me.

Friday, January 5, 2007


In days of yore, when I was in my youth, people would shop in mom & pop grocery stores, clothing stores, and hardware stores. They would eat in establishments ran by locals. A drug store only sold drugs and had a counter where one could purchase shakes and malts and other ice cream concoctions.
Suddenly, McDonald's appeared on the scene and slowly followed by other franchise chains. People flocked to this new phenomena. This was followed by the giant box stores, with the lure of saving a few pennies, and no service.
One by one these old small independents began to fall like dominoes, and nobody cared. The stores where the owner knew you by name. Where they would bend over backwards to make you happy. Other words they appreciated your business.
If you walked into the hardware store, when you told the owner the problem, he had an answer , and knew exactly where the part was, and you only had to buy the one thing, not a box containing a dozen. Now it's Home Depot where everything is prepackaged, you can't see if that is really the part you need, and you always purchase more then you need and in the long run you end up paying a lot more.
Now we come to the HOW STUPID IS YOU. Along comes an entrepreneur with a grand idea on how to fleece the sheep. Let's bring back the small business. A bakery, butcher shop, a small clothing store and the like. But wait those went out of business. Well then let's give them fancy names. Add natural or healthy. BUT MOST IMPORTANT CHARGE OUTRAGES PRICES, so they think they are really getting something. And they are it's called the shaft.

Thursday, January 4, 2007


Todays rant will be about sports. Even tho I am an old jock, who still likes to play, the amount of sports and sport shows on TV and radio has long ago passed the saturation point. Do we really need 3hrs of pre game hype, 3hrs of game, followed by 3hrs of post game commentary for each Bear game? It used to be the local team that was televised on game day. Then it went to monday nights. Now we have three games on sundays. That wasn't enough, lets have them during the week. Bowl games ended on New Years day, and only a hand full of those games. Now even a mathematician would have trouble counting the total number of bowl games and only god knows when the last one will be played.
On Thansgiving day it was the Detroit team that played starting in the morning, ending way before the turkey went on the table and everyone sat around eating and talking. Now we start early and end late. I watched as grown men sat around and waited for half time, before getting up to get some food, and heaven forbid, you say something while there is a play on.
If there was a uproar of citizens regarding how our politicians are running our city, state and federal goverment, as there was about the time change of the Bears game on New Years Eve, maybe they would sit up and notice, instead of buisness as usuall.
And finally to those moron's who pay outrages ticket and refreshment prices. I think you could better spend your money, then on fools who belong on wanted posters rather then an athletic ones. How stupid of me, they allready are.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007


Greetings and salutations from an old crabby guy who will rant and rave about every day stupidity that I observe and will hopefully try and teach you in how to avoid these pitfalls. Please do not send corrections on my spelling since Barbie will most likely circle in red and Fed X me on a daily basis. Besides I allready have worn the dunce hat and have stood in the corner. Luckily she is not in a religous order, where as I would have sore nuckles from being struck across the nuckles. Don't expect big words since La Sardine has a monopoly on that, and I am not allowed to use them.