California Here I Come
Back from Chicago, where the snow has larger disappeared now, after a day in the lower 50s and then in the 40s. Though I wouldn't put it past the city to sneak in another snowstorm.
Before leaving, my 92-year-old dad said that when I was on the airplane, I should look out the window and make sure the plane wasn't make a sudden turn to the left -- and I should ask the flight attendants to make sure that the transponders were on.
They held a primary election in Illinois yesterday, and elections are like contact sport in Chicago, even primaries. What interesting is that unlike most cities I've been in, races for judgeships are hotly contested, and those are the one for which most of the "candidate signs" were sprouting up around polling places. Judges aside, Governor Pat Quinn will be running against Republican challenger Bruce Rauner. And in the race for U.S. Senate, an important one in the GOP's hope to take back that body, the Majority Whip Dick Durbin will be running against Jim Oberweis, who won his primary. On the positive side for Republicans, Oberweis is very wealthy and will be able to finance to big campaign. On the negative side, he's pretty conservative and has a record of making controversial statements. Illinois is generally a Blue state, but has elected many Republicans -- but they've generally been moderate to conservative (Senator Mark Kirk, currently. Or Senator Charles Percy for 18 years until 1985. Even moderately conservative governors like Jim Edgar, George Ryan and Jim Thompson.) So, that's an uphill battle for Oberweis.
By pure chance, my cab driver who picked me up at my dad's independent living residence was the same one who drove me to the airport last time, Ari, from 303 Taxi. This must be part of his route. I believe he's Russian, and I know he's a hoot. That's how I remembered him. (I"m pretty sure I wrote about him.) This time, he told me about his daily routine, that begins looking in the mirror with great enthusiasm about how great his day will be and why, whatever happens. "All days are good. If it rains, hey, trees need to grow." And then how he makes the most wonderful, healthy salad for lunch -- topping it off by kissing his fingertips on his appreciative lips and adding, "Mwah!," And much more.
Other than there being next to no pizza places in Los Angeles that have deep dish Chicago-style pizza, I wish that grocery stores here in L.A. followed the lead of stores in Chicago. Notably that they stocked Gino's East frozen pizza -- to be clear, that's the doing of Gino's that doesn't distribute outside a small area, centered in Chicago. Even better than selling their frozen pizza is that the popular Jewel Foods chain sells Gino's take-and-bake pizzas. (Freshly made, kept in the deli-serve section, and you bake it at home.) By the way, Gino's East has seemed to do the best job of marketing themselves, and they're very good, though there are others I like as much -- Pizzeria Uno, Edwardo's, Viccino's, Nancy's and a few others. As as result, there are plenty enough wonderful pizza places with fresh pie all over the city and surrounding area (though less in in the 'burbs, but they're there) that you don't need great deep-dish sold in grocery stores, but it certainly is a whole lot more convenient. O would that they had the same in Los Angeles.
Much as the city loves the Bulls and Blackhawks, who are currently playing, and the beloved Cubs and White Sox, who are currently in Spring Training and two weeks for the start of the season -- if every one needed proof that Chicago is a football town and looooves da Bears, all you have to do is turn on sportstalk radio now (half a year before the football season begins), and that's almost all you hear talked about. It's bizarre. In fairness, some of that is because the free agent season recently opened, so there is a lot of movement among players and teams. But it's one thing to mention who's coming and coming, and it's another to spend hours upon hours each day analyzing it all, six months early, to the omission of almost all else. I exaggerate, but really not much.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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