Quick Hits – I officially proclaim April 28 to be Stupid Day!

I told you it was easy!

Though I do my best to try and avoid the whole wrestling with the pig in the manure thing, I couldn’t help but argue with all the stupid people who fervently believed United Airlines was in the right for sticking to their overbooked policy guns by dragging a recalcitrant passenger off a flight.

“But it’s the rules!” all these self-righteous folks regularly shrieked! And I’m sure they  come to a full stop at all those red octagons too!

But it ain’t the rules anymore!

UnitedIn an effort to not only prove my patently perfect position, but to demonstrate how simple the antidote to this kind of horrifying publicity really is, United gate agents are now authorized to offer passengers up to ten grand to relinquish a seat.

I doubt if they’ll ever have to go beyond two large!

Of course, the fact that this kind of non-rocket science corporate contrition – including a full page apology in the Chicago Tribune – came weeks after the actual event, only proves that the United boycott was starting to work. Altruism had nothing to do with this 180 folks.

On the bright side, United proved that you actually can aggravate your customers to the point where they’re willing to pay more elsewhere. God bless you American consumer!

 

Just when you thought Illinois politicians couldn’t redefine the word “stupid”

They do!

The Illinois House just passed a bill sponsored by Chicago Democratic State Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch that would force elementary and high schools to teach cursive. To quote the great State Rep, “It’s important that tech-savvy children retain cursive writing to read historical documents, write personal notes, and sign documents.”

No it isn’t!

Chris Welch

State Rep Chris Welch

I’d say all this amounts to is another unfunded mandate from an old white politician who can’t let go of the past, but I can’t because Mr. Welch is black. Perhaps this is a welcome sign of some sort of new racial parity. And he somehow got 67 of his cohorts to go along with him too! (Shame on you Anna Moeller!)

Historical documents are “printed” all over the net, there’s this newfangled thing called “texting” and a Walgreen’s clerk laughed at my “signature” just yesterday.

At least I think it was my signature.

And the irony here is, it was an old white politician willing to let go of the past who made the most sense. Geneva State Rep Steve Anderson replied, “Cursive does not help develop young minds any better than printing and a legal document doesn’t need a signature but only a ‘mark.’”

And the fact that he hails from Geneva makes his accurate pronouncement even more impressive.

Can’t we just let cursive die a peaceful death like Latin, CDs, landlines, snail mail, big box retail, PDA’s, Kodachrome, Blockbuster Video, newspapers, payphones, fax machines, phonebooks and political common sense?

 

But Wisconsin is a special kind of stupid!

Though it utterly terrifies me to agree with my suddenly arch-conservative friend Chris Robling, I firmly believe that female impersonator, Ann Coulter, should’ve been allowed to speak at Berkeley. The best reason being, we should provide the alt-right with every possible opportunity to open their mouths and remove all doubt.

But now, in an irony so vast I can barely wrap my head around it, the Wisconsin GOP is floating a bill that would expel University of Wisconsin students who heckle speakers or disrupt a campus speech.

I’m going to pause while you take that in for a minute or two………..

Wisconsin

Look! I’ve already divorced myself from the majority of my socially liberal brethren and sisteren, because they’re so bleepin’ annoying. But attempting to defend free speech by destroying it takes a special kind of stupid.

And how does this adhere to the GOP mantra of “less government?”

Our entire country was founded on protest, and if a student truly disrupts an event, the campus police should be able to deal with it by applying statutes already on the books. Only Republicans my friends, only Republicans!

And Wisconsinians or whatever the hell you’re supposed to call them have the nerve to refer to us as FIPs! (Look it up!)

The 4/27/17 First Ward podcast

… is right here…

 

Today I talk about:

  • Genevans support my off-leash dog rant! Who knew?
  • Corey Dixon gets sworn in as your newest Elgin City Council member
  • This is Bruce Rauner’s budget plan!
  • A great local story of redemption and hope
  • Alternative suggestions to workout watches that issue compliments (R-rated)

Technology permitting I will be back next week with some guest co-hosts. Until then…

 

Jeff and Corey

Quick Hits – 4/26/17

Why are women so difficult to please?

There I was, doing the laundry buck naked this morning and my wife barely noticed! C’mon! What does it take to get a married woman to throw herself at you? (And it could be any married woman at this point!) Don’t give me that having to go to work excuse – some things in life are more important.

Why was I washing clothes in the nude, you ask? Because my jammies needed to go in that load and I hadn’t quite showered yet.

(This photo is a pretty reasonable approximation of me doing the laundry this morning.)

Man doing laudry

What was my naked laundry thought process, you ask? It was some sage advice from crack Kane County attorney, Diana Law. Diana told me that women watching men do housework has the very same effect as men watching women take their clothes off.

And who am I to ignore a respected attorney’s advice? Unless it’s Jeff Meyer, of course. (I know that’s an inside joke. Deal with it!)

So, extrapolating that logic forward, I convinced myself that the irresistible combination of doing laundry and a little nudity would automatically solicit the desired result.  But I was wrong! Since I know the advice was good, I might have to try something else.

Perhaps I’ll cook dinner in the buff. Maybe something deep fried. What could possibly go wrong with that?

We husbands try so hard!

 

I don’t really need an obsequious watch!

Don’t get me wrong! I love my new Gear S3 watch. Who wouldn’t want to be able to answer calls in the can!

It also tracks my water intake, tells me the weather, displays texts and emails, tracks my heart rate, tells me where my sons are, keeps my contacts handy, provides calendar alerts, and automatically captures all manner of exercise.

Gear S3Though, along the lines of comedienne Kathleen Madigan’s drinking two miles of wine, it was rather amusing when the watch mistook the riding mower for a bike ride.

But despite that plethora of possibilities, the S3 is really starting to annoy the crap out of me. And the source of that ire is its insistence upon encouraging me during runs and dog walks. It will suddenly buzz and display things like “Great run!,” “Keep it up!” and “Good job!”

It’s just another tragic example of how the self-esteem movement has turned us all into Prozac swilling fragile flowers who can’t take any criticism whatsoever.

I don’t need encouragement on my workouts! What I need is someone to pushing me to do a little better. So I’d pay good money for a watch or Fitbit that took a page from the drill instructor’s handbook by issuing statements like:

  • Are you really that fucking slow? My dead grandma could kick your ass!
  • Considering your walking heart rate, you might want to get out the will.
  • Please don’t take me out in public, I don’t want to be associated with you
  • This isn’t a run, it’s a crime against humanity; and
  • Holy shit! I’m glad I’m not the scale.

Not only would those bold proclamations provide some real “encouragement,” but they might help end the obesity epidemic too.

I hope you’re listening Samsung.

 

What is wrong with Fox Newscasters?

Not to be outdone by Bill O’Reilly, as he was excoriating European liberals for booing Ivanka Trump yesterday, Fox News host Jesse Waters added, “So I don’t really get what’s going on here, but I really liked how she was speaking into the microphone.”

Waters

To make matters so much better, that statement was accompanied by a knowing smirk and quick hand job gesture. And this amazing display of respect for women everywhere didn’t come weeks, months or years after O’Reilly was fired for sexual harassment, but in mere days!

Sorry ladies, Jesse’s already married! I wonder if his twin six year-old daughters were watching the show?

The 4/24/2017 First Ward Podcast

… is right here!

 

Today I talk about:

  • The real reason local retail is failing – bad service!
  • Now the Courier-News takes on U-46 school board candidates Holt and Essendrop? Be still my beating heart!
  • Blago’s gonna be in jail til 2024
  • Governor Rauner’s PMS flairs up again
  • We need a march for science?
  • And I’m taking on Demitrius Smith in the Elgin Fox Trot 5K

This will be the first of many podcasts that will feature Larry Jones, Kurt Kojzarek, Jeff Meyer and other fascinating guests.

If you want to make a First Ward appearance, or there’s something you simply want to see us cover, leave a comment here or send an email to jeffward3000@gmail.com. Let’s continue the conversation!

 

Jeff Broadcast 2

Quick Hits – April 24, 2017

Can you say “indulgent?” I knew you could!

Apparently I’m not the brightest bulb in the pack, because I made the mistake of walking the dogs through my south Fisher Farms neighborhood yet again. And sure enough, just when I thought that my fellow Genevans can do nothing to surprise me, they did just that.

On a sunny, 61 degree last week morning, parents were driving their middle-school children to the bus stop. Not to school, mind you – to the bus stop! Then, this morning I noticed they were dropping their ill-mannered progeny off at the south Heartland Elementary school paved path entrance.

And when I say “parents,” I mean at least ten to fifteen of ‘em.

That daunting 2.5 block walk must be too much for their delicate flowers, so why not abandon all pretense and buy them one of those electric scooters so they don’t get winded walking around the house.

Is it any wonder we’re facing a childhood obesity epidemic?

 

But don’t say the word “oppressed!”

In my earlier column on white people acting gangster, I may have mentioned that, with the exception of the Geneva Police, I wasn’t all that oppressed. And that’s just one of the many reasons it’s not appropriate for me to appropriate black culture.

Ah! But the fascinating result of that eminently satirical statement was to have the GPD drive slowly through my cul-de-sac a number of times the next day. The irony there is, I couldn’t get them to do that the week after my pickup truck was torched.

GPD

Why, one of the officers even took the time to glare at me as I was getting the riding mower ready for the season.

Shortly after writing my first 2006 column for the Tri-Cities Suns, former Kane County public defender and former Geneva resident, Sandi Byrd, warned me that the Geneva Police would not take kindly to any criticism of themselves or their city. And I thought she was just being paranoid. Silly me!

On the bright side, it’s good to know someone’s reading my stuff!

 

Keep them on a leash!

Since we’re already on the Geneva subject! And I mean dogs, by the way, though it might not be a bad idea to apply the same principle to your children.

When I got back from my four mile Sunday run, I abruptly realized that I hadn’t run into a single unrestrained hound. Who says there’s no such thing as miracles? Perhaps I should look into a Powerball purchase because I typically run into two to four of ’em.

On a good day, I’ll simply stop and wait while the owner re-assumes control of their errant canine. It’s not the end of the world, but if I’ve gotten into a good rhythm, it’s annoying to have to start over.

On a bad day, the incoming beast will send my terrified dog into a 180 degree five-foot flight and, constrained by her leash, I’m thrown completely off-balance only to be taken out by a perfect doggie chop block.

That’s happened twice in the last two years. Who needs two good knees anyway?

The bizarre thing is, if you politely inform these west siders that those pesky leash laws tend to prevent this kind of thing, they don’t take it too well.

In one case, a veterinarian – yes! A veterinarian – got rather terse with me for getting between his 90 lb. and my 40 lb. dog. When I didn’t find his attitude particularly amusing and started dialing 911, he started screaming at me to throw down the phone and fight.

Normally, I’d be happy to accommodate someone’s insistence on an ass-kicking, but not in Geneva for all the reasons we covered in our second story.

But my favorite off-leash dog story is the 60 pounder who ran right through me to get at my dog. Trust me! The Bears could use this creature. Thankfully, it happened on a grassy, gravel path so I survived, but my favorite Steve Prefontaine t-shirt has never recovered.

And the woman didn’t even bother to have a leash with her, so her dog kept coming at mine even after I got back up.

When I threatened to call 911 if I ever saw her dog running free again, she went back to her car, followed me, and did three Bricher Road drive bys complete with yelling, swearing, and bird flipping.

It’s not that some of what she said wasn’t true, but we’d only just met so how would she know? I finally had to call the police to put an end to it, though I did decline to press charges.

Wouldn’t life be a lot easier if y’all just kept your dogs tethered? Sadly, I’m going to have to insist on it going forward.

How to lose an election and take your friends with you in 10 easy steps – Part 2

If you haven’t already availed yourself of it, please read Part 1.

 

6. Send out the worst mailers I’ve ever seen.

And by “worst,” I mean sending out blank postcards would’ve been exponentially better than the drivel they produced.

The raison d’etre of a campaign mailer is to get the voter to read the candidate’s last name, the office and perhaps one bullet point in the 10 seconds it takes to get from the mailbox to recycling. And you do that by keeping it very simple.

When I posted that postulate on Facebook, a commenter joked, “Why not send a mailer that simply says “Jones for Mayor.” Why not, indeed! It would actually be a very effective piece.

But instead of following that most basic rule, Joe Stanton followed in Melville’s footsteps by sending a series of pre-planned mailers that all started with, “Call me Ishmael.” Put more simply, they were:

  • Way too wordy
  • Written by Yoda – “Vote for me, you will!”
  • So small they got lost in the junk mail
  • Mean spirited
  • Factually inaccurate

And they said nothing positive about candidate Tom Simonian. My favorite was the mailer that read:

Current and former alderman supporting Tom for Mayor – 9

Current and former alderman supporting the current mayor – 0

Someone needs to buy Joe a dictionary because he clearly doesn’t understand the difference between the words “support” and “endorse.” So not only did this mailer set off the kind of firestorm that kills a candidate, but four aldermen immediately endorsed Mayor Burns as a result.

In a bleepin’ hilarious hoist by your own petard irony, those “sudden” endorsements forced Stanton to pull his final mailer. It takes real effort to be that incompetent.

Stanton

Joe Stanton

 

7. Use EDDM so your terrifying mailers scare non-voters into voting against you

For the uninitiated, EDDM, or Every Door Direct Mail, is a sometimes lower-cost Post Office mailing methodology that hits every residence on a postal route or Zipcode. It’s a great way for that new pizza place to reach out to their neighbors, but it’s not the best political tool because:

  • It’s rarely less expensive than using targeted mailing lists
  • It’s addressed to “Current Resident” instead of the “The Smith Family.”
  • Most of it goes to people who don’t vote in local elections
  • If you don’t understand mail routes, it can go to out-of-district families.

To put that in a Geneva perspective, if you send junk mail to Mill Creekers who don’t vote in local elections, it’s probably not going to help your cause.

But just when you think Stanton could possibly screw up more, EDDM turned out to be the nail in Simonian’ mayoral coffin! Did any of you notice the 2017 Geneva turnout? That’s right! It was a record 38 percent! That’s twice the typical number of voters.

Stanton’s mailers were so terrifying that he managed to accomplish something that no one else has. He actually got people who don’t vote in local elections to go to the polls.  The problem was, they all voted against Simonian and anything he touched.

This is, bar none, the best shoot yourself in the foot campaign I’ve ever seen. Even Hilary Clinton is jealous!

Sadly, that also meant great candidates like Alderman Ron Singer and city council hopeful Mike Oleson were swept away by the anti-Simonian tide. The only alderman who survived the bloodbath was Rich Marks who was smart enough to ignore Stanton and listen to the right people.

I also may have mentioned that library Marketing Director Paula Krapf should send Simonian a thank you card. He’s the only reason that referendum passed.

 

8. Send out a Moby Dick closing statement

Forced to pull their final pre-planned mailer by those eminently predictable aldermanic Burns endorsements, Stanton sent out an 8.5 by 11 mailer instead. Joe actually told someone, “People read paragraphs, not bullet points.”

That’s about as a bad as it gets folks.

Voters will never read a full page diatribe and it didn’t even make it to my west side neighborhood.

 

9. Offer absolutely nothing positive

Negativity does not play well at the local level so I refuse to run negative campaigns. When confronted with an opponent who goes low, my consistent advice to my candidates is to shut up and let them talk.

That Kane County Democrat’s mailer supporting Burns should’ve been his swan song.

Had Stanton and Simonian simply kept their mouths shut and let the Mayor hang himself – something at which he’s quite adept – they would’ve run away with it. But like I said, Joe Stanton never gets tired of being wrong.

 

10. Continue to listen to Joe Stanton when it he’s only interested in using your money to exact revenge

Simonian’s campaign had nothing to do with getting him elected and everything to do with Stanton getting back at Burns. I’m not sure exactly what broke up our dynamic duo, but it must’ve been a doozy!

In the end, Simonian spent $40,000 to lose by two points more than Bob McQuillian did in 2013. And McQuillian only spent $3,000!

Like I said, this kind of rare incompetence takes a real effort and it would’ve been far funnier to watch had Stanton not taken some really good people down with Simonian.

 

To summarize, the Simonian “campaign” was the worst I’ve ever seen. Kevin Burns didn’t win this one, Joe Stanton lost it. And that comes from someone who’s covered and run campaigns for 11 long years.

But all is not lost my astute friends! Perhaps this debacle will be the stake in the heart of Joe Stanton. His consistent single-handed effort to destroy Geneva for his own personal gain has finally been exposed.