Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ode to a government bureaucrat

The portrait of a fried egg hangs on your wall
It's your daily object of desire
They call you the government oddball
Because you don't care if you manage an empire

Let others care about small town affairs
You dream of fried eggs and six pounds of steak
To the one who threatens your laziness, beware!
Your icy blue eyes will make him shake

Libertarian to the core
You give school kids grenades for a present
Sir, what's government for?
they ask of you, valiant
All you say is,: "Nothing, it's a bore!"

Yet there's that crazy side to you
The saxophone, the mad ex-wife
And through Pawnee, you blow
With virile sex appeal, unseen in life

While passions for parks leave you cold
When tempers flare and deputy directors shout
They rely on your intervention, cause you're so controlled
You frown at the head butting, and then bail them out

What's irresistible , Ron Swanson, is this:
That slight air of inconvenience with which you dismiss
All of Pawnee's employee storms and scandals
And to the barrel of your gun, you blow a kiss.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

This product says:

Thank You For the Memories

Thank you for the memories
Though I will never relive
The magic I felt so close to you
I'll reminisce as I lay in dark alleys

You unwrapped me with unequaled excitement
You unfolded me with careful precision
You caressed me and with one swift swoop
I fit snugly around your firm skin

Thank you for the memories
For what's to come is unforgettable
You guided me to unknown land
If I lived longer, I'd sing about it in a novel

Carefree, you let me enjoy the moment.
Gently rocking back and forth with me
I am your knight and shining armor
I brought her caresses of spearmint

She didn't even notice my presence
That's how slender my shape was
But when your passion carried you away
I held you back within my gates.

Thank you for the memories
I was the one to seal your union
And what more could I hope for
Than a life lived to its fullest
As your one-time, explosive companion...

Yours, the Durex Condom

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sloppy Joe Sushi- a radio commercial

Troy is recording an online video profile for a dating website on his computer

Hellooo, ladies! ....My name is Troy and I'm ..uhm..new to the city ...and to online dating, ha!
Ok...I love chardonnay, long walks by the lake, and... uhm...
I love Sushi.
Every day, every night, sushi, sushi, sushi.
Sorry, I'm getting excited but... I just love...
Tako, Ebi, Saba, Maguro and Hamachi!
(Gasps for air)
I work for a bank...and there's this sushi place...
Oh, God, excuse me, but I am so hungry for sushi right now...
Tobiko, Unagi, Toro and Smoked Sake. Spicy Tuna roll!
I'll take you!

Male voice (becoming louder in the background)
DUDE, where's the Manwich? I can't make Sloppy Joes without Manwich, you know that!
(Pause) Why are you reading a menu out loud ?

Are you KIDDING? No Manwich??? No Sloppy Joes??? WHAT???
Uhm.. Ladies, I swear I love sushi and.. uhm...in particular, Sloppy Joe sushi.

It's Ok to fess up, Troy. Ladies love Sloppy Joes, too. Manwich. Be yourself.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Holger The Disco Freak

Holger beger Hintzen was eager to take the stage even at the tender age of five. Instead of playing with action figures, he would sing Top 40-hits into broom handles. He loved Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones. People would call the Beger Hintzen's answering machine, just to hear Holger sing an outgoing jingle. Unfortunately, Holger suffered from a hyperactive gland problem, which caused him to sweat profusely after even the lightest physical activity.
Even though Holger was eager to show off his singing skills to his first crush, Christine, at age 7, he had to watch her recoil in horror as she saw sweat drops run down his cheeks during the nerve wracking performance of Blondie's "Call Me." He had brought his cassette recorder with him to her house to croon for her, and had donned a blonde Debbie Harry wig, but the wig slipped down his forehead into his eyes as he started feeling hot and its itchiness made him explode into spasmodic sneezing.Christine covered her mouth with her hands and shouted :"Ewwww!" Holger tore his wig off, threw it on the floor and stomped past Christine, out of the bedroom with his cassette recorder still playing "Call Me."
Luckily, Holger's mom doted on her only child and showered him with love and attention and an unparalleled belief in his show talents. She bought a video camera that was compatible with their Betamax video player, a little Sennheiser microphone and even installed a replica of Studio 54's Disco flashlights in the family basement hobby room.
She recorded Holger's first forays into re-enacting superstar performances, from Freddy Mercury to David Bowie and together they watched this performances on TV in rapt attention. Holger was chubby, wore glasses and had braces. But his mother saw a shining star in the making.
At age 11, when teased by his classmates about tumbling down a ski slope during a class skiing excursion, during which he broke his glasses and revealed his fleshy belly something happened to Holger. He vowed to become as photogenic as his idols. He had recently started reading the British avantgarde fashion magazine The Face and sported the New Romantic look of Duran Duran, purchased for him by his mom in a teenage boutique, but, who was he kidding, he looked more like the fat pirate guy from Adam Ant when he looked in the mirror.
So Holger went on a diet and started wearing contact lenses. A medical breakthrough in fighting excessive sweating with injections of botulinum toxic, now known as Botox, led to the miraculous disappearance of the product of his overactive glands.In fact, he smelled like peaches most of the time, now.
This change did not go unnoticed by the girls in his grade, who just recently discovered that kissing a boy may not be as disgusting as previously thought. The girls at school started talking behind Holger's back and giggling. An emboldened Holger meantime started inviting various girls indiscriminately to his house after school to perform karaoke for them, but none seemed too enthusiastic. Until one day in late August, when summer rain excluded all other fun activities for the girls. It was the first time Holger asked someone to slow dance with him. Eight years later, Holger changed his name to Ryan Seacrest.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


My original career plan was to become a spy, a hit singer in a language I'd make up, or a vet. I have become neither, but I can spy on unsuspecting strangers' conversations in five languages, which I owe to the many places I have called home and the impossible-to-monetize talent to learn a language in three months.
Until I became an American citizen in 2008, I didn't even know I was a refugee, as my parents kept that detail carefully under locks when we "left" Poland when I was four years old.
I grew up mostly in Munich, Germany. The bedroom I sulked in as a teenager was last occupied by Moamar Ghaddafi's late son who was assassinated this spring.
Years earlier, when I was 18, I escaped it to "take' New York, where I attended acting school to become the next Marlene Dietrich. Instead, I got to portray dead hookers in student films. As I lay there pondering my stardom prospects, I knew I'd be much better off behind the lens, where surely every aspect of storytelling would be under my control.
My final film at NYU's film school, which sealed my Bachelor degree, was called Loveless. It dealt with the travails and heartbreak of a Japanese immigrant Kendo fighter in NY. I am especially proud to have had a chance to direct my movie on 16 mm celluloid film. Do film students today get to film their movies on film?
Finding myself cut off from funds and the good will of my parents, I returned to Europe and became a production assistant on a TV crime show, which meant I had to close roads at 6 am. When I garnered my first "job," which was described as producing a tourism program that would be sponsored by local businesses, I fled Germany again. This time to Madrid, Spain. Unfortunately, no one told me the producers wanted girls in bikinis instead of the Prado Museum. I ended up without a penny form the zero commission I garnered in bartering deals. I tried the girls in bikini route and hotel tours in Mallorca, but that wasn't for me.
Continuing to amble about Europe rather aimlessly, I decided London was my dream city and I would make it there, as a documentary, fiction or TV director. In the meantime, I got a Master's degree in European languages and literature, a now defunct program that was delightfully useless for any job prospects. But I was accepted off the bat into German television's crime-series producer-trainee program. Unfortunately, it meant trading London for Mainz, Germany. But I got to tell amateur-sleuth writers off for killing their fictitious victims in a cliched manner.
Who knows, I might still be sitting there today had not fate tossed one of the most incredible and ridiculous fellowships ever to exist into my lap. The goal was to become one of the founders of a pan-European co production studio. Our generous sponsors,Les Freres Carat, resembled French versions of Rupert Murdoch and were fond of checking on their golden goose fellows by helicopter.
One of 16 winners among 2000 applicants, I got to live in Paris with a monthly stipend of $8,000 to write a "pan European" TV series. Ah- there's the rub. Writing means you have to sit in your lonely room by your lonely self while your fellow fellows toured Japan and Australia "in search of production techniques that could get Europe to rival Hollywood."
So this is how I switched my career focus from writing fiction to producing. I'm still not sure that I created the European Dreamworks, but I got a few pre-production gigs in Paris and a freelance gig editing trailers and doing the voiceover for a new Tv station out of it. Until it merged with the German counterpart.
When my luck ran out in Paris, I had no desire to return to Germany, nor "measly" state-run TV. I married my American college sweetheart in Paris and set off to L.A. to be part of the only existing Hollywood to date, dreaming of producing feature films.
Five years in L.A. entailed a series of stints as a "director of development" for a company whose CEO later handled Michael Jackson's film investments and as a partner in a distribution company, who saw the promise to develop screenplays thwarted when glimpsing an insight into the company's finances. I also started writing entertainment news for a German radio syndicator.
On the groupie front, my best memory is of hopping a Limo to the MTV party with a pre- Titanic Leo Di Caprio in Cannes, after my professional party crasher friend Tarek convinced him they went to high school together. Tarek,who used me as a pawn to get into the coveted MTV party, chased after Leo's limo in his rental car, full of dirty laundry.

Cut to 1999, when I found myself divorced and alone in Chicago. I might as well have blindly tapped a spinning globe to decide where to move to, but Chicago seemed the only liberal and big city-haven left in the U.S. I wanted to explore.
And did I ever receive a great intro into all things Chicago and local politics by earning a Master's in Public Affairs journalism at Columbia College. Surly police chiefs, mobsters in federal court, corrupt cops, Betty Loren Maltese, Jack Ryan, Mayor Daley ....there's no way that living in Hollywood ca inspire anyone more to write good fiction than Chicago reality.
To cut a long story short, I learned about America in Chicago. I became an American in Chicago. I now love NBA basketball and even understand Football. Yes, I cheered for Plaxico Burress in 2009. I also cheered for "our" President Obama in Grant Park in 2008. Two years earlier, I had been one of the many local Chicago reporters vying for microphone space, as then Senator Obama came home for a press conference. Back In 2000, I even had the pleasure of shaking hands with then-state Senator Obama. I was introduced to our President by a politician named Rod Blagojevich outside the East Bank Club, where I enthusiastically thanked Mr. Blagojevich "for being our new governor." Mr. Obama flanked a beaming Mr. Blagojevich, who was the star of the moment...
My two years at Chicago Public Radio as a radio news intern and producer were very happy,but I am not sorry I didn't get stuck in public radio, after all. My desire for creativity won out over my passion for politics, opinion and bias when I realized that dealing with or having to debate with tea partiers would give me a heart attack.
Two years after more hilarity as Rotary International's International editor, here I am at Chicago Portfolio School, a copywriting student who's as old as some teachers and trying to make it in advertising. Why didn't anyone tell me about advertising earlier?
It's the perfect career for me, I'm sure!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Lakeshore Drive Unlimited

Lakeshore Drive Unlimited

The tourists can have Wrigley Field, I’ll take Lakeshore Drive. Paris may have its Boulevards Peripheriques and London its Inner Ring Roads, but the names already tell you they’re nowhere nearly as romantic or seemingly contemptuous of commercial rationale as Chicago’s own, urban “freeway,” Lakeshore Drive.
Lakeshore Drive’s eccentricity seems even more sympathetic upon learning that the eight-lane thoroughfare owes its existence to a local tycoon with a botanically themed name, Potter Palmer, who had it erected as a boulevard in front of his lakeside mansion in 1882, so other Chicagoans could parade past it full of jealousy in their horse carriages.
And then Lakeshore Drive adds to its whimsy with an acronym like LSD. Twenty years ago, the U.S. postal service allegedly refused to deliver mail that was addressed to persons living on “LSD.” Of course the recipients weren’t living on the freeway, but in high rises and mansions alongside the inner ring of the Drive, also entitled Lakeshore Drive and facing the outer Drive and Lake Michigan.
According to Wikipedia, the U.S. postal service now recognizes LSD as an official street address if you absolutely must use the acronym.
LSD’s 20th century history is a complicated story of re-routings, re-curvatures, re-connections and one extension, but since 1947, LSD has basically been Chicago’s own, soft-core racetrack that steals the show whenever it pops up in a Hollywood movie and acts joyfully complicit in the over-the-top shenanigans of the Blues Brothers, Tom Cruise in Risky Business and Ferris Bueller on his day off.
LSD’s languid, lanky curves and the paradisiacal vistas with which it regales us make it the token eccentric among Chicago’s dully straight, major streets, which mostly slice up the city from north to south and east to west in monotonous 90-degree angles.
Blues singer Mavis Staples and other natives call Chicago the most beautiful city in the world. In fact, it’s almost de rigueur for anyone speaking on Chicago Public Radio’s Chicago-centric current affairs show, ‘848,’ to say Chicago is the most beautiful city in the world.
I must say I (only really) agree when I’m facing south or north on Lakeshore Drive on a day lit by an azure blue sky, even though I’m sitting isolated in my car capsule.
I wish I could catapult myself from it into what I see around me then, onto the beaches, the warm, damp sand, or into the lake that pretends it’s the Pacific, or a lush, Lincoln Park meadow, surrounded by dogs mock-chasing squirrels.
There’s a price to be paid to hitch a ride north or south on Lake Shore Drive, no matter from where you seek access to its universe. “Jumping” onto the LSD from Michigan Avenue’s “Magnificent Mile, you, the driver must slam on the breaks for pedestrians determined to jay-waddle across the street regardless of your green light, swerve to avoid mean cabs who cut you off from left field, or monster buses who mercilessly squeeze you into the median or into oncoming traffic if you let them, just to beat you into the magic tunnel that releases you onto Lakeshore Drive.
Buses have priority when it comes to first dibs at Lakeshore Drive. They’re an express bus that can’t wait to finally go, go, go, non-stop, for eight miles, instead of petering out at every other city block and red light.
Once you get to enter the somewhat shabby, underground LSD on-ramp that unceremoniously succeeds the north tip of Michigan Avenue, you’re almost again born to be wild. Known perils lurk in that tunnel, deep puddles and even deeper and sharper potholes, but you can’t see them til it’s too late, since no city Streets & San agency or highway authority thought of installing lights inside the 50 foot-long cave.
But if you emerge from the tunnel unscathed, you can instantly turn into Dario Franchitti and push your Formula One machine or Nascar through enemy lines into the two left lanes to join the race that has no winner or loser. It’s anyone’s guess why the Illinois Highway Authority or whoever controls Lakeshore Drive’s traffic bothered to install the 40 mph speed limit signs - if not to provoke humiliation and derision for all who follow the speed limit by going 45 mph. One year ago, the powers that be did stop bothering to tape a “5” over the “0” on the 40 mph speed limit signs before April 1st, under the pretense that the potholes on the road were too hazardous to allow drivers to barrel ahead at a five mph faster speed from April to November, as had always been their prerogative.
Anyway, on Lakeshore Drive, drivers choose their own, preferred speed limits, ranging from 55 mph to 70 mph or higher, depending on their “I’ll be off the hook if I only go this and this much over the speed limit” guesstimate, their car model, their misbegotten belief in the classification of LSD as a freeway and the music they’re listening to while inhaling LSD’s fleeting visuals too fast to remember any of them, until much later.
Unlike those who meander open-mouthed along Pacific Coast Highway, the drivers who populate LSD are mostly commuters, who are as familiar with LSD’s seductions as Rome is with Michelangelos in its churches. You don't crane your neck to review the perfectly symmetrical beach volleyball nets gently swaying against the glow of an orange sky and a turquoise lake to catch the result of a serve you witnessed in the making. Or it’s not as if you can continue driving north, but can snap your head 180 degrees to take in the panorama of the silver shining skyscraper-legoland behind you. You know you can see it all again from a different, possibly better angle when you go back on LSD the other way, or on another day, tomorrow, or next summer.
Traveling on LSD offers you seemingly unlimited, voyeuristic luxuriating in scenes like mini-soccer games sprinkling Lincoln Park, children playing in the shallow waters of Lake Michigan, tan, ponytailed brunettes in speedos and baseball hats rollerblading along the bike path in the opposite direction of you, the unfolding of the northern Lake Michigan coastline on the horizon, the dancing masts of sail boats moored in Belmont Harbor. You probably get lost in reverie of sailing away to a distant land yonder, never to return.
This sentimental wallowing is only interrupted if, out of nowhere, a cop car looms unrecognized and still, like a praying mantis, on LSD’s shoulder, set on destroying the perfect spectacle and rudely cutting off your daydreams.
If you’re lucky, the nasty intruder will have taken its prey around North Avenue, so that by the time you are gently lifted over the raised curve by Fullerton Avenue, you can return to dissolving in the evocations of the lush beauty outside your capsule. But sometimes, another mantis sits lurking just a few miles north, just to shame your newfound swagger.

At times, LSD brings out your dark side, too, such as when selfish glee snakes its way into your consciousness as you head north on the Drive at 9 am on a Monday, Tuesday Wednesday, Thursday or Friday morning, while the “other side” is stuck in a bumper to bumper, rush-hour hell from which no crisp, blue morning sky or bouncing wavelets frivolously competing for entry into your field can pluck you. I refer to both human sides of this situation as “you,” since I’ve been on both sides. The “mean you” guffaws with Schadenfreude for finding itself on the right side of Lakeshore Drive. If you happen to be the person alone in your car heading south on LSD on those weekday mornings during the non-bureaucrats’ rush hour, LSD’s beautiful distractions represent everything you long to be permanent in that moment and wish you could enjoy in slow motion, live, away from your car if you were someone else.
Instead, you are forced to roll forward against your will, inch by inch to be engulfed by the city’s lips and its Michigan Avenue throat with nine hours of confinement in Chicago’s retail palaces to look forward to.
When you are the northbound person speeding past the parking lot that is the south facing lanes in the opposite direction, without even one Escalade in sight to block your view, you may feel glee at first for not being “the other side,” but then you pity them. Those southbound on Lakeshore Drive on weekday mornings between 8:30 am and 10 am are not the 20-something millionaire Chicago Mercantile Exchange traders who hopped on the “L” to the Loop at 6 am, nor the middle aged, private wealth managers and their assistants who arrive without wrinkles on their pants at Union Station between 8 am and 8:45 am on Metra trains from boring western suburbs like Park Ridge. You know they’re not the IT workers, either, who head west to their suburban office bunkers on the I 94 at 5 am.
No, the southbound Lakeshore drivers sitting in traffic west of the median are most likely the chic caterers to Chicagoland’s rich and more chic than them. They depend on hard earned commissions from purchases of the select females from places such as Winnetka, Lake Forrest or Highland Park, wives and their teenage daughters who are now probably still in Pilates class or asleep or in their houses, not condos, way north of LSD’s northern boundary in weird and wacky Rogers Park. Those females will be breezing south on Lakeshore Drive in the same lanes as the ones who’ll wait on them a few hours from now, their nails and hair polished and dressed up in the same designer gear they will purchase anew today. They will be free from any pressure to earn a living to enjoy the now empty, relaxed lanes expediting them south into the city. In fact, the further south the ladies travel on Lakeshore Drive, the more they convince themselves that they have cast off their “North Shore” suburb identity and that they are just as hip as the city divorcees with whom they’ll spend the post- shopping hours. Their personal fortunes facilitate such near-seamless city infiltration until the ladies feel their confidence toppled by intense expectations of haphazard romance that afternoon or evening in the city. Is that what they’re thinking of as they glide south on Lakeshore Drive, ready to have a valet park their car for $40 for the afternoon?
On summer weekends, when it’s finally hot in Chicago, northbound Lakeshore Drive between the North Avenue and Fullerton Avenue exits becomes the tailgating parking lot for the summer leisure Olympics of white, 20-something, collegiate hard bodies rollerblading, biking, running and posing each other into the ground. The chattering of their voices mixes with the scraping noises of their gear on the concrete bike paths as your car capsule willingly lets the alien sounds penetrate through its rolled down windows or tilted sun roof, since only buffoons own convertibles in Chicago. You’re half repelled by the fact that this crowd is responsible for your crawl past North and Fullerton Avenues on LSD and you’re half wishing you could hand your stirring wheel over to the chauffeur, hop from the passenger’s seat over the low, aluminum separation onto the bikepath and go for a blade with Kirsten and enjoy a pizza, burger, light beer and a Cubs game with her and her friends.
But Lakeshore Drive’s relentless forward motion washes over the memory of her appearance a few miles north, by the time you reach the Foster Avenue exit. If you let your capsule blink bye-bye to LSD to turn right onto the exit ramp and come to a stop at the intersection at its end, you’ll see Latino and African -American boys race their bikes past the nose of your car without even the hint of intending to slow down for oncoming traffic such as yourself.. If you then park your car in one of the hundreds of soon-no longer- free spaces in the beachside parking lot and walk just a few steps east into the park toward the beach, you can buy yourself the most amazing mango fruit salad sprinkled with cayenne pepper from one of the Latino food carts for a third of the price you’d pay for inferior fruit salad at Whole Foods. A totally different type of denizen is to be found here on Foster Beach from that on North Avenue Beach -- gay, lesbian, transgender Chicagoans like it here and many of the city’s Latino and some African American residents. A rare, surprising and welcome discovery of cultural diversity near the north end of Lakeshore Drive.
This is probably not the moment that you will remember how once, four years ago, on a steely grey, late Tuesday morning in February at 11 am, you were speeding home southbound on Lakeshore Drive from a ballet class with your NPR newscast blasting and with all four southbound lanes exclusively yours to play with, except for one speckle of a white sedan somewhere in the distance ahead of you. All alone on Lakeshore Drive, staring at the aqua colored huge waves and thinking of Breaking The Waves and then a caramel frappuchino and then the two homeless men who popped up to the right, sitting, surrounded by their black plastic bags, under barren trees in Lincoln Park- – or are they women-and then staring at the white sedan’s tail-- he’s not moving, he is standing, parked at 0 mph in the middle of Lakeshore Drive, ten feet ahead of me, in my lane, and I’m swerving left at 55 mph, and then shouting in my the capsule: ‘Oh My God,’ and then driving on, not stopping, on Lakeshore Drive. Later, by the Michigan Avenue exit, thinking, what if my life had ended there, crashing into a parked, white sedan on Lakeshore Drive.
It’s not what I think about when I drive on Lakeshore Drive today- it’s like a rarely regarded snapshot of a weird, contrarian emotion that Lakeshore Drive once decided to impress on me.
Do you remember when during that surprise blizzard in December, two years ago at 2 am, when Lakeshore Drive, instead of dutifully delivering its mildly buzzed passengers south toward their city-condo homes, spun us around in our capsule and made us skate to a halt horizontally across two and a half lanes ? Try sitting in your capsule on Lakeshore Drive like that and look dignified enough to escape the eyes of the praying mantisses.

This story is dedicated to Tim Moore.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

FAZ n'park in Chicago

Chicago’ Park n’FAZ

Remember driving out of a Chicago parking lot and adding the left-over change quarters to the coin compartment of your car, only to find it already boasts a pirate’s ransom of quarters large enough to bribe a Cayman Islands governor for the hand of his daughter?
These days, that bounty may have shrunk to its last Euro cent and you may find yourself in a four-lane Chicago thoroughfare, like Petersen Avenue, desperately groping for another quarter amidst the compartment felt to be allowed to rest your vehicle at that old reliable iron meter for just 8 minutes under the auspices of FAZ, the new overlord of meters shiny and tetanus transmitting.
The ole’ iron parking meter looks the same- it just devours four times as much money as it did a week ago and no one warned you. An innocuous notice glued over the face of its iron mask says: “Pay 25 cents for every 8 minutes. FAZ.”
When did the FAZ come and when did they invade our planet of Chicago?

On second thought, FAZ is not an entirely abstract acronym to me- I recognize ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’- the sober-serious-dull German newspaper written for longfaced, bearded German stockbrokers long before Michael Douglas made their profession sexy. That abbreviation only jumps to mind while searching for the alternative. Then there's the ticker symbol FAZ, which stands for Direxion Financials, a triple financial bear ETF- “financial instrument”- which may not be roaring as fiercely as he should today, and which I sold at $5.43, because it seemed scary.

Who is the FAZ that orchestrated the Chicago parking meter coup which has transformed every inch of un-metered Gold Coast pavement, as well as antiquated vintage boxes too stiff to swallow their quarter without an encouraging and well meaning elbow kick into multiple dollar devouring zombies who show no mercy on Thanksgiving nor Sundays.

A google search yields a FAZ Mediterraenan restaurant in San Francisco and one in Pleasanton, hardly the synonym for the owners of the billion dollar, 75-year Chicago parking meter contract.

Wait- here’s a paragraph quoted from an April 24 Chicago Tribune stoty by stalward Mr. David Greising, the Chicago Tribune’s chief business correspondent. …I am happy I don't have to put this into the past tense.

Mr. Greising reveals that FAZ stands for a subsidiary of bailouted bank Morgan Stanley, to whom Mayor Richard M. Daley sold our meters depsite all of our folkloric “Chicago is the greatest city in the world” wallowing.

No one told us, no one warned us Chicago residents.
Honestly, I feel stunned at finally discovering local Big Brother, the same way Ifelt on November 4, 2008, as one of the city’s coveted-ticket holders who had to stand in line alongside a dark and silent Michigan Avenue for three and a half hours – no drink no food allowed- without a Jumbotron to let us know he won Ohio or Indiana, without any of the celebratory support the residents of Harlem, NYC received on their streets, to be released into Grant Park once the results were in at 10:15 pm.

I feel more betrayed by our city selling us out to FAZ than by my Whole Foods’ warm buffet tab at the check out counter. I feel betrayed at how powerless and choiceless we Chicagoans “who so love this our city” were made in the process. Even stretches of streets that had never seen the shadow of an iron meter man are now adorned with boxes telling us to “pay at the box.” It’s a living testimony that all perceived pride and joy in a participatory democracy that shapes our city’s civic life is but an illusion. Now that I’ve lost my naivete let me say: Go FAZ yourself, then, totalitarian city of Chicago,