Obama’s illegal immigrant executive orders usher in chilling new era of liberalism

20 Nov obama-sombrero

Tonight, Obama is going to continue to pull the wool over the public’s eyes by making his case for using executive orders to prevent six million (that’s about an additional 2% to the U.S. population!) illegal immigrants from being deported, thus bypassing approval from Congress.

Why this has not caused outrage among my fellow citizens is cause for great concern. To paraphrase a famous quote, all that is necessary for the triumph of tyranny is for good people to do nothing.

If you’ve watched the movie The Matrix, you know that in this blog, I like to give you the red pill. If you prefer to take the blue pill, then stop reading here.

There are three significant problems with Obama’s actions tonight, any one of which by themselves should cause a public furor:

1) Obama the hypocrite

Remember November 5th?

That’s when President Obama said “I hear you” to the voters who resoundingly thumped his fellow Democrats at the polls across the country, pledging to work with Congress and forge compromises to get things done.

But buried among the news reports of the pie-in-the-Democrat-face results of the November elections was a reminder that he was going to use executive actions to protect six million illegal immigrants from deportation.

In other words, not one soul noticed Obama’s blatant hypocrisy. Out of one side of his mouth, he pledges to work with Congress; out of the other side of his mouth, he flips the middle finger to not only Congress but the U.S. Constitution itself to create new immigration policy without congressional approval.

2) Obama the dictator

Obama’s use of executive orders to reshape a major national policy reveals his taste for totalitarianism. The brilliance of the U.S. Constitution is the concept of checks and balances, whereby no one branch of government can become overpowering.

King Obama, however, has repeatedly expressed a disdain for the Constitution. He has said it is “imperfect” and “deeply flawed” and that we need to “break free” from the Constitution. So Obama does not want to follow the standard; he wants to do whatever is right in his own eyes. And if there is no standard, all you-know-what breaks loose.

While executive orders can, in rare instances, involve large policy changes with wide-ranging effects, the goal is always to have the government come to an agreement on such matters—which is more reflective of our democracy—rather than a unilateral decision by one person, which is more reflective of a dictatorship.

3) Obama forcing his morality upon others

One of the most common arguments by atheists and liberals is that conservatives want to “force their morality on everyone else.” Has anyone else realized that liberals and atheists are just as lustful in their desire to “force their morality on everyone else”? When Obama wants to force an immigration policy upon the nation without discussion, compromise or vote, isn’t that forcing his morality on everyone else?

Let’s not fool ourselves: the “forcing morality” argument does NOT apply just to conservatives. When gays want the right to marry, aren’t they forcing their morality on everyone else?

With these executive orders, Obama is making it abundantly clear that he wants to force his liberal morality on others.

Bottom line

I’m not against immigrants. My parents were immigrants. But they were legal immigrants. Our country is on a fiscal cliff and Obama wants to add to our nation’s fiscal burden by fast-tracking illegals, which in turn will only encourage even more illegals to cross into our borders. It is a pandora’s box and a slippery slope packaged in a trojan horse.

When people like Obama want to “break free” from the standard that governs this great nation and would rather do what is right in his own socialist eyes, we are in trouble.

 

Another reason to avoid processed foods

13 Nov

I have a bad memory with names. Terrible memory. Last night, in fact, one of my daughter’s ballet friends said hi to me and I completely blanked out on her name. Only on the ride home did it dawn on me. “Ella!” I yelled out suddenly. “That’s your friend’s name! For the life of me, I couldn’t remember her name when she said hi to me!” My daughter giggled.

In a food-related book that I read (but I don’t, for the life of me, remember the book’s title—again, my problem with names), it mentioned how “real” food is on the perimeter of every supermarket: produce, meat, seafood. The center of the grocery stores have “lab food.” Not that there aren’t problems with produce, meat and seafood, but the processed food that makes up all of the center of supermarkets is certainly the worst culprits in our fight for better health.

I’ve avoided the “lab food” shelves as much as I could since reading that book (what on earth is the title???). But now I’ve read more evidence about why it’s so bad. In his book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell talks briefly about food tasters. Gladwell’s book (which I happen to remember the title only because the book is right in front of me) discusses food tasters for a different reason than health, but when I read it, it forged in my mind yet another reason to avoid “lab foods.”

Here is Gladwell (my emphasis in bold):

Expert food tasters are taught a very specific vocabulary, which allows them to describe precisely their reactions to specific foods. Mayonnaise, for example, is supposed to be evaluated along six dimensions of appearance (color, color intensity, chroma, shine, lumpiness and bubbles), ten dimensions of texture (adhesiveness to lips, firmness, denseness, and so on), and 14 dimensions of flavor, split among three subgroups—aromatics (eggy, mustardy, and so forth); basic tastes (salty, sour and sweet); and chemical-feeling factors (burn, pungent, astringent). Each of those factors, in turn, is evaluated on a 15-point scale. So, for example, if we wanted to describe the oral texture of something, one of the attributes we would look at is slipperiness. And on the 15-point slipperiness scale, where 0 is not slippery at all and 15 is very slippery, Gerber’s Beef and Beef Gravy baby food is a 2, Whitney’s vanilla yogurt is a 7.5, and Miracle Whip is a 13. If you taste something that’s not quite as slippery as Miracle Whip but more slippery than Whitney’s vanilla yogurt, then, you might give it a 10. Or take crispiness. Quaker’s low-fat Chewy Chocolate Chunk Granola Bars are a 2, Keebler Club Partners Crackers are a 5, and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes are a 14. Every product in the supermarket can be analyzed along these lines, and after a taster has worked these scales for years, they become embedded in the taster’s unconscious. “We just did Oreos,” said Heylmun [a professional food taster], “and we broke them into 90 attributes of appearance, flavor and texture.” She paused, and I could tell that she was re-creating in her mind what an Oreo feels like. “It turns out there are 11 attributes that are probably critical.”

Ninety stinkin’ attributes for Oreos?! I, for one, can’t even come up with 20 different food attributes if you put a gun to my head, much less 90. But here’s the thing: “food scientists” are modifying each of those 90 attributes to get the perfect combination of “taste” before a processed food hits the store shelves! If that doesn’t spell out “lab food” to you, I don’t know what will.

My family started making our own mayonnaise from scratch. Call us simpletons but we evaluate the taste by only one attribute: does it taste good or not? We don’t worry about the six dimensions of appearance, the ten dimensions of texture or the (rolling my eyes) 14 dimensions of flavor. We don’t care about color intensity, chroma, shine, bubbles, adhesiveness to lips, burn, astringent or any other kooky attribute. We simply either like it or don’t like it. (And, yes, our mayonnaise tastes good.)

We know exactly what ingredients go in our homemade mayo (just four; Hellman’s has ten, including some chemical called “calcium disodium EDTA” and the vague word “spices”). Most lab foods are a littany of lab ingredients. Try this exercise: read aloud from the following ingredient list for Quaker’s “Strawberries & Cream” oatmeal:

Whole Grain Rolled Oats, Sugar, Flavored And Colored Fruit Pieces (Dehydrated Apples [Treated With Sodium Sulfite To Promote Color Retention], Artificial Strawberry Flavor, Citric Acid, Red 40), Creaming Agent (Maltodextrin, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil**, Whey, Sodium Caseinate), Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Guar Gum, Oat Flour, Artificial Flavor, Citric Acid, Niacinamide*, Reduced Iron, Vitamin A Palmitate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride*, Riboflavin*, Thiamin Mononitrate*, Folic Acid*; *One Of The B Vitamins; **Adds A Dietarily Insignificant Amount Of Trans Fat

I bet you had to slow down to read some of those chemical ingredients properly. Yuck. Now imagine swallowing that every morning.

Welcome to the world of lab foods. The ingredient list is a start in helping us decide what we should or should not buy, but there is so much more going on than what is listed in the ingredients because not everything is listed in the ingredients list. These food scientists are tweaking all sorts of things to alter the different “dimensions” of appearance, texture, flavor and the like. Buyer beware.

Now, what was the name of that food book?…

Illinois voters wisen up, kick out Gov. Pat Quinn

5 Nov

Quinn-Rauner-editorial-board-met-0910The sheeple of the state of Illinois became the people of Illinois when enough of them finally woke up to the reality of bungling Governor Pat Quinn and elected Republican Bruce Rauner instead.

With clear-minded voters, this shouldn’t have been a close race. Quinn has not found a property tax hike he didn’t like, has no clue how to solve the ticking time bomb that is the state’s pension crisis, has limply watched the state’s jobless rate flounder, called for Chicago school reform but refused to help, calls for useless ban on assault weapons, and opposes parental notice on children having abortions. And all this political infertility despite the fact that he had the support of a Democratic legislature during his five year watch as Democratic governor.

Democrats love to promote themselves as caretakers of the poor, yet my parents—who are on Medicare and other government programs—were outraged at how their benefits were cut across the board by—you guessed it—those supposed advocates of the poor, the Democrats. Of course, you won’t hear about these cut in benefits to the poor in the media. But my parents made their voices heard anyway when they voted Republican in this election.

The Democrats hoped to help Quinn by boosting voter rolls when they preposterously loosened voting rules, such as no longer requiring photo IDs for early voting. It already is so easy to vote in Illinois, with no photo ID required during regular voting either. And absentee voting is even easier: the ballots are mailed to the registered voter’s house with no confirmation that the person filling out those mail-in ballots is really the same person (I know this b/c my parents voted via absentee ballot and they showed me the entire process).

And after the AP and other outlets claimed that Rauner was projected to win the election, Quinn and his cronies cried out that “every vote needs to be counted,” pompously assuming that all remaining votes had his name on them. But on Wednesday afternoon, Rauner’s lead actually increased by 5,030 votes. Yes, Pat, you were technically right in that votes were still uncounted!

During the campaign, I thought Rauner spent too much focus on linking Quinn to convicted former Governor Rod Blagojevich rather than focusing on Quinn’s fiscal ineptness. But then again, maybe it hit a nerve with the voting public. I know it hit a nerve with ABC7 political analyst Laura Washington, who was actually offended by Rauner’s claims of Democratic “corruption” and “100 years of failure” during the news station’s live broadcast of the election results.

In any event, Rauner won the endorsement of every single major newspaper in the state, something that didn’t happen the last time Quinn was up for election. In fact, Michelle Obama’s recent campaigning for Quinn probably came back to bite him rather than help him, given that President Obama’s current approval rating in Illinois—even though he is viewed as a beloved son in Chicago—is only 50%. (In fact, those Illinoisans who “strongly disapprove” of Obama is greater than those who “strongly approve”, 33%-23%.)

Rauner is a social moderate, so I’m not fond of that aspect of him. And I’ll address the subject of voting the “lesser of two evils” in a future post. But clearly, Quinn was the very bottom of the barrel and it was long past time for him to go.

Thank God now Quinn is gone. Even if he refuses to leave.

Comparing Cubs’ Joe Maddon to other top MLB managers

3 Nov

cubs-introduce-joe-maddon 2For me, today was one of the most exciting days in recent Cubs history since, well, when Theo Epstein was introduced as the Cubs president of baseball operations. Today, Joe Maddon would have his introductory press conference as Cubs manager.

As I listened to him talk, he revealed some very encouraging nuggets about his managerial philosophy. For example:

  • he doesn’t like to put pressure on his players
  • the key to player success is not as much their physical talent as much as what’s between their ears
  • he’s a big fan of the Malcolm Gladwell book Blink, which I’m currently in the middle of reading myself
  • he combines old-school scouting eyes with new-school number-crunching.
  • he doesn’t like to wear out his players, particularly as the season grinds on (“being first at the park and last to leave doesn’t impress me”), a criticism of Dusty Baker during his tenure with the Cubs.
  • how important it is to him to have a relationship with his players where they trust each other

Those are all philosophies that I myself uphold as a head coach at the youth baseball level.

But as I listened to all these nuggets, my mind wandered a bit: where does Joe Maddon rank in the list of best MLB managers?

After all, San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy just won his third World Series title in the last five years. Bochy is not big on sabermetrics (though he’s not anti-sabermetrics). But he holds unorthodox philosophies that I myself uphold, such as using your closer in a high-leverage situation—even if it’s in the seventh inning—rather than reserving the closer strictly for the ninth inning, and demoting someone who isn’t performing well even if he’s a highly-paid star (e.g., Tim Lincecum). Maddon apparently won’t do the former.

Then there’s (hack! hack!) St. Louis’ Mike Matheny. He is what Fangraphs called “saber-friendly” (though he’s not completely pro-sabermetrics). On making decisions, Matheny said, “For me, first and foremost is gut instinct. Second is understanding the players. There are things that statistical analysis can’t help with, and the state of the individual players is going to rate really high with me. But is statistical data going to play into every decision? I would say yes. I want to make an educated decision with everything I do.” That sounds eerily like Maddon: the Blink-style gut instincts, resonating with players, understanding the state of the players, and sabermetric data all coming into play in his decision-making.

What’s more, Matheny’s infamous youth baseball manifesto showed that he cared a lot about what was between their ears, that he doesn’t like to put pressure on his players, and that he institutes a respected culture of authority—more attributes that sound like Maddon. Matheny’s managing style is likely a big reason that the Cardinals still had success (two NLCS appearances and one World Series appearance) despite losing their Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa and famed pitching coach Dave Duncan.

Other than Bochy and Matheny, it’s hard to say with certainty who the top managers are. Certainly Kansas City’s Ned Yost could be in the conversation but I’d personally like to see more than one year of success before anointing him as one of the best. The Yankees’ Joe Girardi could be a candidate but you have to wonder if your next-door neighbor could be a good Yankees manager given the roster of highly-paid superstars that the Yankees almost always collect.

I was mildly excited when Dusty Baker and Lou Pinella came to the Cubs. But I’m really pumped about Maddon. Given Maddon’s success with the low-budget Rays in the ultracompetitive American League East division, it’s hard not to get excited about what Maddon can do with the Cubs. And if Maddon can indeed help lead the Cubs to a World Series championship, he would automatically shoot to the top of the list of best MLB managers because if you can do what no other manager in the last 106 years has done, you deserve it.

 

 

Superhero movie mania! Marvel, DC announce multi-movie plans

29 Oct

black-panther-concept-artWhen the Guardians of the Galaxy movie was announced, I too made an announcement: I would refuse to watch in the theaters. It just seemed like a dumb movie. The trailer didn’t impress me. Nor was I familiar with the characters, and apparently many other people weren’t familiar with them either.

Familiarity didn’t matter. The movie finished as the highest grossing film of 2014, and the only film of the year to finish with over $300 million in domestic gross. It also was the third-highest grossing Marvel Studios film, behind The Avengers and Iron Man 3.

At this point, Marvel Studios could make a movie about Howard the Duck and make millions. Heck, they could make a movie about you and people would flock to the theaters. They have the Midas touch and they know it.

Two days ago, Marvel Studios stole the Apple script by renting out the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood to make public product announcements. They announced that, as part of its “Phase 3″ schedule, they have eight films in the pipeline with firm release dates. For those unfamiliar (like I was prior to their announcement), here are the Phase 1 and Phase 2 list of films:

Phase 1 (six films):

  • Iron Man
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Iron Man 2
  • Thor
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • The Avengers

Phase 2 (also six films):

  • Iron Man 3
  • Thor: The Dark World
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Guardians Of The Galaxy
  • The Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1, 2015)
  • Ant-Man (Jul 17, 2015)

Phase 3 is eight films (Marvel counts the two parts of Avengers 3 as one film):

  • Captain America: Civil War (May 6, 2016)
  • Doctor Strange (Nov 4, 2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (May 5, 2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (Jul 28, 2017)
  • Black Panther (Nov 3 2017)
  • Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1 (May 4, 2018)
  • Captain Marvel (the female version) (Jul 6, 2018)
  • Inhumans (Nov 2, 2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2 (May 3, 2019)

age of ultronMarvel has a clear road map of how all the characters will interconnect in their movies. For example, people at the Marvel Studios event saw a clip from Avengers: Age of Ultron that showed serious tension between Cap and Tony Stark, which—along with the nation in ruins after the super-fighting of Avengers 1 & 2—feeds easily into the Civil War storyline in Captain America 3. Though the title of the film is Captain America: Civil War, there will be a lot of Iron Man in the film too, as Robert Downey Jr. confirmed his casting. [Incidentally, for The Winter Soldier, CinemaSins listed the multiple references to Iron Man during the movie but lack of any actual Iron Man appearances—despite the destruction of a big swath of Washington D.C.—as sinful.]

Also, Black Panther will make an appearance the Civil War movie before his solo movie and is rumored to play the “which side will I choose” role that Spider-Man played in the comics version of the storyline (since Marvel Studios doesn’t own the rights to Spider-Man). Also rumored is that the Avengers will team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to fight Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War.

Meanwhile, Sony announced one confirmed Marvel movie of its own: Sinister Six, set to release Nov 11, 2016 (featuring Dr. Octopus, Vulture, Green Goblin, Rhino, Kraven the Hunter, and Mysterio). Apparently, these villains will team up with a re-cast Spider-Man to fight an unknown larger threat. Meanwhile, The Amazing Spider-Man 3, which was originally scheduled for Jun 10, 2016, has been pushed back to an unspecified date in 2018 after the lackluster box office for The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Incidentally, I had been a vocal critic of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 while actors were still being cast, saying it would likely fail due to having too much going on. After watching the film, critics criticized it, saying (surprise, surprise) it had too much going on.

Recent rumors that Sony may sell the rights to Spidey back to Marvel Studios. Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios head, did not debunk the rumors, saying rather vaguely that it “is either not true at all or still rumor until it’s worked out.” The fact that Feige did not stop at the former but also added the latter has the internet somewhat abuzz about the possibility of the iconic character joining the studio with the Midas touch. Feige did say in 2012 that “clearly we would prefer everything (in this case, Spider-Man) be at home, so to speak,” and admitted there is “no doubt that Spider-Man is the most well-known (Marvel character),” so the comment about things being “worked out” could be a sign that Marvel Studios and Sony are in some sort of negotiations. Back in 2013, Ain’t It Cool News reported that Sony co-chair Amy Pascal said she would “never ever ever” let go of the Spider-Man franchise. And even though Amazing Spider-Man 2 underwhelmed at the domestic box office, it still earned a very healthy $709 million worldwide, So before Spidey fans get excited at the possibility of Marvel Studios getting its hands on the web-slinger, Marvel Studios would have to fork over a lot of money before Sony is willing to let go of such a lucrative film franchise.

Finally in Marvel news, Warner Bros is reporting five Marvel-related movies to come:

  • Fantastic Four – Jun 19, 2015
  • X-Men: Apocalypse – May 18, 2016
  • Wolverine 3 – Mar 3, 2017
  • Fantastic Four 2 – Jul 14, 2017
  • unknown – Jul 13, 2018

I’m staying far, far away from the Fantastic Four reboot—like ebola. I won’t even watch the movie when it comes out on DVD. Casting the white Johnny Storm character with a black actor is sacrilege. Or worse, stupid sacrilege. It’s a MUCH bigger deal than changing Nick Fury to a black character because Nick Fury is a minor character in the Marvel universe. The Human Torch, however, is one of the most familiar comics characters of all time. You don’t change the identity of such a major character. I’m not alone on this minor insight either. Commenter mongoose wrote: “I can only hope that the FF reboot falls on its face so hard, FF2 will be scrapped in lieu of something else (ANYTHING else).” It’s like Marvel letting a woman become Thor—stupid.

Oh, by the way, Fox announced a Deadpool movie expected Feb 12, 2016.

As for DC, two weeks ago, DC announced a slate of 11 movies through 2020 (not including future stand-alone Batman & Superman movies):

  • Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
  • Suicide Squad (2016)
  • Wonder Woman (2017)
  • Justice League, Part 1 (2017)
  • The Flash (2018)
  • Aquaman (2018)
  • Shazam (2019)
  • Justice League, Part 2 (2018)
  • Cyborg (2019)
  • Green Lantern (2020)

However, unlike Marvel, DC reportedly does not have a concrete plan for building a cohesive universe through all its various planned movies.

Last but not least, Lego Batman gets his own star turn in “The Lego Batman Movie” in 2017, followed by presumably another cameo in “The Lego Movie 2″ in 2018.

Superhero movie infographic

Superhero movie infographic

Whew! That’s a lot of superhero movies in the next 5 years…about 29 if you count the animated Big Hero 6 from Disney! There’s already speculation about superhero fatigue, superhero overload, comic book bubble, etc. but as long as the movies tell good stories, I don’t think superhero movies will become a bust anytime soon.

I do hope, however, that these movies won’t fuzz the line between good and evil. What makes superheroes so attractive among any generation of children (and yes, adults) is the draw that bad things get their just reward and good will prevail. It brings out hope. There’s enough despair in the real world that we don’t need to see despair in our entertainment. Superhero movies are escapist forms of entertainment. Talk of superheroes dying in future movies is cause for concern. The superhero bubble will burst if the good guys don’t win in the end. If they do win in the end, then bring on all 29 superhero movies!

Sign of the times: Trump Tower sign reveals more Rahm Emanuel hypocrisy

18 Oct

Trump Tower signBack in June 2014, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel ripped the sign on Trump Tower which spelled out Trump’s name as being “tasteless” and—despite the city already having approved the signage—declared he would seek any possibilities of forcing its removal.

Mayor Emanuel believes this is an architecturally tasteful building scarred by an architecturally tasteless sign,” spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said. “The sign – which was already reduced in size and scope – does comply with the provisions of the planned development ordinance and the City Council sign order, but he has asked his staff to determine if there are any options available for further changes.”

Then in September 2014, King Emanuel announced a new city ordinance that would prevent future Trump-like signs along the Chicago River.

The fact that people bothered to critique the sign is, well, a sign of the times (pun fully intended). For liberals, you are NOT entitled to your opinion if it contradicts my opinion because my opinion is always right. So the liberal Emanuel, emboldened by a critique of the sign by Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin, decided to take the conservative Trump to task for his sign.

James_R_Thompson_Center_behind_Chicago_City_Hall

The spaceship-styled Thompson center nestled among traditional buildings in downtown Chicago

Remember, Emanuel decried the sign as “architecturally tasteless.” Aside from signs that may be phallic in imagery, the phrase “architecturally tasteless” is completely subjective. Building architecture, by definition, is often viewed as “works of art,” and art is wholly subjective. Some people love Vincent Van Gogh’s style of art and loathe Pablo Picasso’s style, and vice-versa…while still others may love both. There is no standard when it comes to art. So what Emanuel perceives as “architecturally tasteless” may be perceived as “architecturally tasteful” to others (like me).

Predictably, Emanuel did what liberals love to do: create more legislation and rules. What these liberals don’t realize is that while such legislation is consistent with their worldview, it is inconsistent with the real world. For example, Kamin’s issue with the metal signage on the Trump building is that it clashes with the “cluster of 1920s skyscrapers” and might spoil the view for the city’s Riverwalk. But look at the picture above of the James R. Thompson Center in downtown. The all-glass exterior evokes a definite modern feel reminiscent of a spaceship, yet it is next-door neighbors to many traditional stone buildings built in the 1900s and 1910s. If Emanuel were to be consistent, he would blast the Thompson Center for being “architecturally tasteless” too and push legislation that would ban modern buildings sitting next to traditional buildings.

Of course, anyone with Minor Insights would see how ridiculous an argument that is. Yet it is the same ridiculous logic that Emanuel uses to conveniently blast the Trump sign.

The Loews building has a name

The Loews building has a name

But wait…there’s more.

There are plenty of signs on riverfront buildings. Look on the left photo. It’s a shot of a building that says “Loews” on it, right along the river. Logically speaking, it too clashes with the “cluster of 1920s skyscrapers” and could spoil the view for the city’s Riverwalk. Did Emanuel blast Loews? Yeah, I missed that press conference too.

The Westin Hotel prominently displays its name

The Westin Hotel prominently displays its name

How about this photo on the right? It’s a shot of the Westin Hotel, right along the river. Logically speaking, it also has a name attached to it, just as Trump’s does. Did Emanuel take Westin to task? Hm, I don’t recall him ever blasting Westin either.

There are other buildings along the river with names on them but I don’t have room to display all the photos in this post. But I took these two shots right next to the Trump tower…which somehow draws all the attention despite neighbors that do the same thing Trump did.

Some liberals howl that it’s the size of the sign that is so offensive. They argue that the sign takes up nearly 2,900 square feet and half-jokingly say that the sign is big in order to match Trump’s ego.

What these liberals don’t realize is that the Trump building contains 2.6 million square feet of floor space. A 2,900 square foot sign on the second tallest building in the western hemisphere is merely one-tenth of one percent (0.001) of the size of the building. If you view the infamous letters in person, it actually looks very proportionate to the size of the mammoth building from which the letters hang. This is cause for a new city ordinance?

The bottom line

Emanuel’s clash with Trump has nothing to do with architecture but everything to do with ideology and political worldviews. As a liberal, Emanuel jumped at any opportunity to try to dump on the conservative Trump. Whether you are a liberal, conservative or moderate, the facts are the facts. And just as ABC7 revealed that the hypocrisy that Emanuel’s motorcade “regularly” runs red lights and speeds (AND has all those tickets thrown out) despite his public comments about the importance of not running red lights and speeding for safety purposes, the facts here show that hypocrisy again reigned in Emanuel’s lame attempt to diss Trump.

Tangential note: after Emanuel was caught by ABC7 for running red lights, Emanuel put a nice public spin on it, saying that he told his drivers: “I said, ‘Follow the law, nobody’s above the law, slow down, period.” But several months later, ABC7 caught Emanuel’s motorcade violating the law eight more times! What a bold, two-faced hypocrite. Emanuel, who—in another display of hypocrisy—didn’t even meet the city residence requirements before running for mayor, is easily the worst mayor Chicago has ever seen, which is saying something.

Getting autographs at Wrigley Field

19 Sep Jorge Soler signs my son's glove
Etha, Erik, Henry & Lu with the Ernie Banks statue before the game

Etha, Erik, Henry & Lu with the Ernie Banks statue before the game

I took my four boys to Wrigley Field last night when the Cubs played the Dodgers. With a limited budget, I only take the boys to one game each year. We haven’t gone the last two years because the team was so bad then, but with top prospects like Jorge Soler, Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara, I thought it would be fun to see these exciting rookies…especially for the boys (ages 4, 6, 8 and 14). My boys are HUGE Cubs fans. They know the players just by their faces…even my little boys! It’s a “skill” I used to have as a young boy myself but I never mentioned that to them. I guess where you’re big fans, you’ll naturally be able to do that, but who knew these little kids were so perceptive about the players?!

Anyway, my wife & I decided to take them early to the park to see the Cubs take batting practice. From some web sites, I found that the Cubs would take BP from 5:05pm (when the park opened) until 5:35pm, followed by the Dodgers from 5:35-6:20pm. So I left work early (after getting in early) and met the kids at Wrigley (my wife dropped them off) just before the park opened.

We headed in and discovered there is a “Cubs Corral” where kids 13 and under can watch BP on the field instead of in the stands. You have to get a sticker at the Fan Services booth but they were out; the stickers act as admittance tickets. However, the helpful Fan Services attendant advised me to ask the Cubs Corral ushers if there might be extra stickers. We did, and there were.

The kids entered the Cubs Corral but the Cubs finished BP shortly thereafter. I didn’t notice the time but it seemed really short…like around 5:20pm instead of 5:35. The Dodgers took the field.

Cubs Corral kids watch batting practice at Wrigley Field

Cubs Corral kids watch batting practice at Wrigley Field

If you haven’t attended batting practice before at Wrigley, it’s quite a scene. I’ve taken the kids to Cubs games before but never early enough to watch BP, so they’ve never seen how major league players do batting practice.

When I was a kid (in the 80s), I went to a few Cubs games early enough to watch batting practice and it was nothing like it is today. Back then, there was simply a BP pitcher, the cage, the batter, some other players hanging around the cage waiting their turn, and some other players in the outfield shagging balls. That was it.

Today, there are multiple stations going on, with two infielding groups getting their infield work done while the batter is hitting, a coach hitting fly balls to an outfield group in right field, and another screen in center field to protect shaggers collecting balls into a bucket. A lot of activity, but even here, the shaggers aren’t doing much and are often talking to each other instead.

Well, the Cubs high-tailed it after their BP was done and didn’t sign any autographs for the kids at the Cubs Corral. Not surprising but a little disappointing. My boys hung out there and watched the Dodgers hit. The most impressive Dodgers display was by Matt Kemp, who hit four into the bleachers in one of his short stints in the cage. Some of the other kids in the Corral were calling for Kemp to sign. Initially, he didn’t want to, saying something to the effect of “Why should I sign autographs for you?” About 15 minutes later, he came over to sign, though my oldest son told me he looked rather reluctant. The kids also got autographs from some other Dodger stars, including Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez.

Cubs catcher John Baker walks by

Cubs catcher John Baker walks by

My boys got bored watching the Dodgers and left the Corral. I asked an usher if we could go to the left field wall to get some Cubs autographs and he said, yes, if we went to Aisle 110 or beyond, we could try there. By the time we got to Aisle 110, the Dodgers were finally finishing up batting practice (it was indeed around 6:20pm). After waiting about 5 minutes, a few Cubs trickled into the dugout. The first out of the dugout was John Baker, who would be catching that night. He didn’t look in our direction, nor walked close by, so my kids didn’t even bother calling out to him.

Tip: stand behind your kids, not with them so that players see the kids and not an adult. I’ve read that players are turned off by adults trampling over kids trying to get an autograph so I want to make it look clear that it’s my boys who want autographs and not me, which is true.

Next out was Tsuyoshi Wada, the Cubs’ starting pitcher that night. My kids started to call out to him at the same time a Japanese girl ran up to the wall and yelled something in Japanese to him. She took off her scarf and Wada looked back at her, not breaking his stride. He nodded at her, ignored us, and kept walking. The girl put her scarf back on and left, so I presume she wanted him to sign her scarf but obviously no success.

About five minutes later, Chris Coghlan walks by with a bat. I don’t recognize him but my kids do. In fact, Coghlan is Henry and Ethan’s favorite Cubs player (at the moment), so they start calling out to him. He walks away, ignoring us as he heads towards the gate door under the bleachers in right field, which is where the indoor batting cage is.

Well, this has been pretty disappointing so far. My oldest son asks if we should go to our seats. I’m always the optimistic type, so I say, “No, there’s nothing to do in our seats now anyway, so we might as well keep waiting here.” Besides, we’re the only ones here at the wall and it’s an amazing view—so close to the players!—, so why hurry to leave?

Just a minute or two after that, Chris Valaika comes right up to us and asks if he can sign something for us. Our kids are excited and he signs my four kids’ items (three baseballs and a fielder’s glove). We thank him and he walks away. What a nice guy! Very cool dude. Much respect for making my kids’ night as our first signer when everyone else to that point blew us off.

Jorge Soler signs my son’s glove

About another five minutes after that, Jorge Soler walks out onto the field. We’re all pretty excited but he’s not that close to us—standing around the foul line—and with his back to us. Soon, he faces us and my kids eagerly call out to him. He smiles and walks up to the boys—and signs their stuff! Wow…super cool! At this point, some other, older kids rush up for autographs but Soler leaves. Not sure if it was because the number of seekers was getting too big or what.

Ryan Kalish signs for my boys

Ryan Kalish signs for my boys

Shortly after that, Ryan Kalish, who was called up in September ostensibly to take over injured Ryan Sweeney’s spot and would be starting in center field tonight, comes over and my boys ask him to sign their stuff. Again, other kids have come up and are asking for autographs as well. By now, the ticketholders of the seats by the wall arrive but they graciously let us stay there while they wait in nearby seats.

Chris Coghlan walks by again to stretch on the field, and again my boys are calling out to him. “Mr. Coghlan! Mr. Coghlan!” No response, so I yell out to him, “Chris, you’re my kids’ favorite Cubs player!”, which I mentioned before was true. Still nothing.

Soon, Mike Olt comes by and my kids happily ask for his autograph. He signs for us too. He would be tonight’s starting first baseman. My kids talk about Olt a lot at home.

Javier Baez comes out on the field and my kids are eagerly calling him. It’s honestly really cute to hear their little voices calling him. “Mr. Baez! Mr. Baez!” But he doesn’t respond.

My four boys watch Jorge Soler and Javier Baez during the National Anthem

My four boys watch Jorge Soler and Javier Baez during the National Anthem

Now it’s the national anthem. My youngest son, who’s only four, doesn’t know any better so he continues to call Baez so I have to teach him that during the national anthem, we need to be quiet and listen. After the anthem, my kids keep calling for Baez—and he comes over to sign! And he signs for my boys first. How cool is that?

Javier Baez signs autographs for my boys

Javier Baez signs autographs for my boys

We thanked the seat ticketholders for letting us hang around in their seats to get autographs and headed to our own seats.

When we all got to our seats, I asked my oldest son if his view of Coghlan was lower since he wouldn’t sign an autograph. To his credit, my son said no. I too don’t have a lower view of Coghlan (or Wada or Baker for that matter), though I must admit I have a much higher view of Valaika, Soler, Kalish, Olt and Baez. The Cubs ended up losing the game (some questionable managerial decisions by Rick Renteria, but that’s for another post) but the boys went home on a really high note b/c they got those autographs—so happy you would think the team won.

In the end, we got five Cubs’ autographs, including Soler and Baez! Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro are out, as well as Alcantara, but I’d call tonight a smashing success for autographs. We even got Kemp, Puig and Gonzalez as a bonus.

I really think we got those autographs b/c those squeaky kids’ voices calling for the players is so cute and irresistible :)  And also, I think we got those autographs b/c of persistence. Being patient and waiting, even when it seemed hopeless. Isn’t that a metaphor for life?

In general, I think Cubs players, especially the stars, are great to the fans and don’t act stuck up. A few years ago, my oldest son and I waited in the parking lot after the game and Matt Garza (then the ace of the pitching staff) came over to sign autographs. Not sure if Theo Epstein encourages the players to do it as part of “The Cubs Way”, but that fan-friendly quality helps endear the players (and the team) to the fans. And it made my boys’ night.

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