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    • How Our Everyday Life Creates Our Character and Our Destiny
      We are what we do. What we experience during our daily lives creates our habits, both of action and thought and those habitual actions and thoughts are our character. The character of men and women, and the shared character of a society is destiny. It determines how we respond to what happens, it is as […]
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A new Poet Laureate Nominated

A few months ago, I was honored when Riverdaughter named me poet laureate at the Confluence. To that honor I did not cling jealously, perhaps because I never expected to relinquish it– well, until tonight.

It seems we have a new Poet at the Confluence– our very own Swanspirit. I don’t know if she will be the new poet laureate, but if it were based on pure poetic intuition, she should be. Having seen her work, this writer is beginning to feel a bit analogous to Elton John in Pinball Wizard:

“I thought I was the bally table king
But I just handed my pinball crown to him… to him… to hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiim.”

(Pinball sound effects).

Swan wanted me to add that we collaborated on the structure for this– but it is her work.

We speak the truth, but not “directly”
We spill our guts, but circumspectly.
Our tales to velvet underground
We tell, and hope the muffled sound
They hear. What is the danger, what are the fears
causing “outback in the shanty tears”?

Some things can’t be spoken aloud
Might alert the unawakened crowd?
Something happening here,
Cant say just yet, have but a moment’s care
In places intimate we softly share
Wearing hobos’ faces.

I hate it when illusions turn to dust
And buckets weep to see the shining armour rust.
I wanted it so badly to be what I had hoped
Sometimes these rapids in the flow
Are sharp ends on which our dreams are torn
Our ancient mothers know.

Of all the death throes
Most cherished are the dreams we chose
More dearly held, hardest to let go
Like a lover or friend
whom we no longer know.

I do not drink and do not smoke
But hand me a glass and give me a toke
Too hard’s this loneliness to bear
Without my friends my tears to share
The sun’s gone out on another day
I need my friends to help me find my way.

I would to scream ’till voice be hollow
Dance and stomp and weep and wallow
So tho I neither drink nor smoke
Hand me a glass and give me a toke
And truth do tell, tell in safe places
Tell it wearing hobos’ faces.

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I’ve had this song on my mind all day.

Don’t ask me why. From Music Man, for Angie and Myiq2xu and any other young lovers reading this.

Here’s another version.

Montrose

For Angie

You’re The One That I Want

For Angie

The Chipmunks Christmas

I think this was the first album I ever owned.

The Chicago Way – 1915 to 1955

William "Big Bill" Thompson

William "Big Bill" Thompson

As I noted earlier, Obamanation is attempting to rewrite history in an astonishing attempt to convince people that Illinois isn’t really corrupt.  So I thought I’s give a little history lesson on Chicago politics, starting with the Prohibition era.

William Hale Thompson (May 14, 1869 – March 19, 1944) was mayor of Chicago from 1915 to 1923 and again from 1927 to 1931.

Known as “Big Bill”, Thompson was the last Republican to serve as Mayor of Chicago. Early in his mayoral career, Thompson began to amass a war chest to support an eventual run for the Presidency by charging city drivers and inspectors $3 per month. In 1927, Al Capone’s support allowed Thompson to return to the mayor’s office.

Pledging to clean up Chicago and remove the crooks, Thompson instead turned his attention to the reformers, whom he considered the real criminals. During this final term in office, the “Pineapple Primary” occurred (April 10, 1928), so-called because of the bombs used to intimidate politicians. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre also took place while Thompson was mayor.

Amid growing discontent with Thompson’s leadership – particularly in the area of cleaning up Chicago’s reputation as the capital of organized crime – he was defeated in 1931 by Democrat Anton Cermak.

Thompson had had a longstanding rivalry with the McCormick family, including Robert Rutherford McCormick who published the Chicago Tribune.  After Thompson’s defeat, the Chicago Tribune wrote that:

For Chicago Thompson has meant filth, corruption, obscenity, idiocy and bankruptcy…. He has given the city an international reputation for moronic buffoonery, barbaric crime, triumphant hoodlumism, unchecked graft, and a dejected citizenship. He nearly ruined the property and completely destroyed the pride of the city. He made Chicago a byword for the collapse of American civilization. In his attempt to continue this he excelled himself as a liar and defamer of character.

Upon Thompson’s death, two safe deposit boxes in his name were discovered to contain nearly $1.5 million in cash.

William Emmett Dever (March 13, 1862–September 3, 1929) served as the Democratic mayor of Chicago from 1923 to 1927.

In 1923, Democratic party boss George Brennan selected Dever as having the best chance of defeating incumbent mayor William “Big Bill” Thompson. Dever ran on a reform platform and Thompson withdrew from the race in favor of Arthur C. Leuder, who was easily defeated by Dever.

Dever fought against the corrupting influence of bootleggers and gangsters. Despite considering himself a “wet”, he enforced prohibition since it was the law of the land. The media labeled his war on bootleggers as the “Great Beer War” and it resulted in a decline of crime.

By 1925, Chicago was in the middle of a gang war and many public officials were murdered. Dever tried to stem the violence and noted that although prohibition was a “tremendous mistake,” he had no choice but to enforce it.   Dever ran for re-election in 1927 against “Big Bill” Thompson, who defeated him by 83,000 votes.

Anton (Tony) Joseph Cermak, (May 9, 1873 – March 6, 1933) was the mayor of Chicago from 1931 until his assassination in 1933.

While shaking hands with President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt at Bayfront Park in Miami, Florida, on February 15, 1933, Cermak was shot and mortally wounded when Giuseppe Zangara, who attempted to assassinate Roosevelt, hit Cermak instead.

Later, rumors circulated that Cermak, not Roosevelt, had been the intended target, as his promise to clean up Chicago’s rampant lawlessness posed a threat to Al Capone and the Chicago organized crime syndicate.  According to Roosevelt biographer Jean Edward Smith, there is no proof for this theory.

Edward Joseph Kelly (May 1, 1876 – October 20, 1950) mayor of Chicago from 1933 to 1947.

Following the assassination of Mayor Anton Cermak Kelly was hand picked by his friend, Patrick Nash, Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party, for the mayoralty election of 1933. Together, Kelly and Nash built one of the most powerful, and most corrupt, big city political organizations, called the “Kelly-Nash Machine.”

Martin H. Kennelly (August 11, 1887 – November 29, 1961) served as the Democratic mayor of Chicago from 1947 to 1955.

When the city administration of Edward J. Kelly was threatened with defeat by corruption, scandal and Kelly’s liberal integrationist policies the Cook County Democratic Party Machine responded by dumping Kelly and slating the “reformist” Kennelly in his place.  Kennelly was elected Mayor of Chicago in 1947 and re-elected in 1951.

Kennelly proved to be too independent and reform oriented for his regular Democratic Party sponsors and was dumped by the party bosses at the 1955 endorsement slating in favor of Richard J. Daley. Daley soundly defeated Kennelly in the 1955 Democratic Primary and went on to election in 1955.

Tomorrow:  Richard J. Daley

(all references from Wikipedia)

Nightmare

I hear you’re to be our Commander In Chief,
Some heard it with joy but I heard it with grief,
Are the legislators you hold in tow
A congress or Reichstag? I no longer know.

Not for myself do I sound an alarm,
I won’t resist you; I’ll do you no harm,
My forgiveness I withheld not from you,
For what you’ve done and for what’s to ensue.

Conscience demands that for you I should pray,
A command I complied with on this very day,
Advanced was the night ‘ere I finally lay down,
Sleep were an unattainable noun.

I saw a woman in effigy hang,
Your minions stood by, celebrated and sang,
I thought they’d drink a toast to your health,
In glasses they’d bought with redistributed wealth.

I saw a woman’s head in a noose,
And knew iniquity was let loose,
The woman whose head was in effigy rent,
She should have been our Vice President.

I saw your gendarmes patrolling the street,
And saw my country her conqueror greet,
Saw the young men now marched off to war,
And saw women weep for the children they bore.

I saw my country when she was seized,
By soldiers who with themselves appeared pleased,
Like a damsel, she was dragged to a hill,
By men about to do their own will.

I saw the damsel on wooden blocks nailed,
Crosswise arranged, and I saw her impaled,
I saw your gendarmes guarding the hill,
And crowds the vicinity starting to fill.

I saw the damsel struggle for breath,
Unable to move, now resigned to her death,
I heard her writhing, and heard a last gasp,
I knew that life had slipped from her grasp.

I heard babies cry and I heard women scream,
As if now concluding a horrible dream,
The shedding of blood having seen, and the tears
I wondered if I had lived too many years.

Then the Poet, from his little place on the hill,
As if overcoming weakness of will,
Stayed till the morning, then home he returned,
A damsel’s grim fate at last having learned.

His room having entered, he fell to the ground,
For all he had seen his exhaustion was sound,
With heaven he wrestled, entreated and pled,
A damsel to see lifted up from the dead.