Discover more from Eric Zorn: The Picayune Sentinel
Lori Lightfoot still doesn't get it
& how I saved $600 a year on my satellite TV bill
5-11-2023 (issue No. 87)
Eric Zorn is a former opinion columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Find a longer bio and contact information here. This issue exceeds in size the maximum length for a standard email. To read the entire issue in your browser, click on the headline link above.
The Picayune Sentinel regrets the Tribune’s errors in an editorial calling for a balanced budget amendment
News and Views on Donald Trump’s appalling locution, Tiger Woods’ breakup technique and bellyaching about “robo umps.”
An interview with author Mark Guarino about Chicago’s country music and folk history
Land of Linkin’ — Where I tell readers where to go
Re:Tweets — Featuring the winner of the visual tweets poll, this week’s finalists in the regular and dad-joke division, and the results of a poll on the funniest way to agree to sex in just five words.
Tune of the Week — “Waltzing on Top of the World”
Lightfoot’s defiant, unapologetic exit reminds us why she lost
Through most of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s farewell address Monday, I was thinking, y’know, we might end up missing her at the helm of the city. She rattled off numerous accomplishments and cited some of the unexpected difficulties she encountered — COVID-19, anyone? Destructive protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd? — in delivering a campaign-style message that, had she better gotten it out earlier this spring, might have propelled her to a second term.
But then there was that passage of her speech where her churlish side emerged:
Lots of time and energy and ink has been spilled by pundits and the media obsessing about what four-letter word the mean, can't-get-along-with-anyone mayor allegedly said.
She put a finer point on that in her exit interview with Politico’s Shia Kapos:
“There’s been this obsession that ‘She’s not nice’ and ‘She rubs people the wrong way.’ Well, we got a lot of shit done,” Lightfoot said during an interview in her office on the 5th Floor of City Hall, describing how her critics have portrayed her. “And I am proud. I’m very proud of it, unapologetically.” …
“I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on regret,” Lightfoot said. “When you are dealing with crisis after crisis — fiscal crises, public health crises, public safety crises — you have to make decisions in the moment and you try to make the best decisions you can.”
At one point during the interview, she did acknowledge that “no one could make perfect decisions under the circumstances in which we operate” and that she tries to learn. But she declined to offer an example of where she might have stumbled.
Unapologetic. No regrets.
This inability to apologize or admit one’s role in certain failures works for Donald Trump, I suppose, but we expected better from Lightfoot.
What she still seems unable to acknowledge as she does her defeat lap is that she could have gotten more “shit done” if she’d worked better with others, if she’d followed through on some key campaign promises (David Greising’s Tribune op-ed, “Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s inability to lead is why voters sent her looking for a new job,”made that case well; it’s part of the Trib’s opinion series, “Examining Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s legacy.”) and been more collaborative and transparent.
An astonishing majority of voters didn’t want four more years of stubborn, thin-skinned responses to disagreement, and that lack of humility and grace — still defiantly in evidence — prompted them to look elsewhere for leadership.
Will Brandon Johnson be an improvement? Learn from this? Not snap at every provocation, admit when he’s wrong, get along with his detractors including the dreaded pundits and scribes, and get even more shit done?
Or will he make us rue the day we ousted this fierce, flawed but admirably determined mayor?
Last week’s winning tweet
‘Chicago Tonight’ is now ‘Chicago Late Afternoon’
On Jan. 23, WTTW-Ch. 11 moved its live, flagship daily news program “Chicago Tonight” to 10 p.m. from 7 p.m., the time slot it had occupied for 37 years, and the station cut the length of the show from an hour to half an hour.
“Pitting it against the conventional, flashier, short-attention span 10 p.m. newscasts seems poorly advised,” I wrote at the time. But it became pretty much the only late newscast I watched, especially on days when big local news broke and “Chicago Tonight” could be relied on for smart panel discussions and other analysis.
Less than four months later, on May 1, the show quietly moved to the 5:30 p.m. timeslot, with a rerun showing at 10 p.m. “We see it as additive,” said WTTW news director Jay Smith, who is the executive producer of “Chicago Tonight.” “And we’re excited to build the total audience. We see this schedule as the best of both worlds -- reach viewers who want early evening news and be there for the 10 pm news audience.”
He added that the decision was not driven by ratings and that the show may go live at 10 p.m. on days when big breaking news events warrant.
The Picayune Sentinel regrets the Tribune’s errors
Here is your spit-take paragraph from the Tribune’s Tuesday editorial calling for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
The nation has endured 10 standoffs over the debt ceiling in the last 13 years. For the most part, the same pattern persisted — Republicans pushed for spending cuts that would shave down the national debt, while Democrats bitterly fought to defend their addiction to gluttonous, inflation-friendly spending. Each time, the country edged toward default before both sides hammered out a deal.
A clue to what caused me to spew my coffee came in the editorial’s penultimate paragraph:
Not since the administration of Bill Clinton has the nation seen a federal budget surplus. In fact, Clinton’s final four budgets were balanced and carried surpluses.
That would be Democrat Bill Clinton.
The federal deficit went from about $78.9 billion at the beginning of (Republican Ronald) Reagan’s presidency to $152.6 billion at the end of it. … The number was around $255 billion at the end of (Republican George H.W. ) Bush’s term. … During his presidency, Clinton managed to zero out the deficit and end his term with a $128.2 billion surplus.
"(Republican George W.) Bush left office in 2009 with a federal deficit of roughly $1.41 trillion. … (Democratic president Barack) Obama left the presidency with a deficit of approximately $584.6 billion, which is more than halving $1.41 trillion. The deficit was even lower in 2015 at around $441.9 billion.
The Manhattan Institute reported that the deficit under Republican Donald Trump grew to $3 trillion.
And yes, there are all sorts of reasons why deficits wax and wane, some of which are not under the control of presidents or parties. But:
President Trump signed legislation and approved executive actions costing $7.8 trillion over the decade—compared to $5.0 trillion for President Obama and $6.9 trillion for President Bush, and he enacted these costs in just a single four-year presidential term, compared to his predecessors’ eight years in the Oval Office. …
Trump left the White House with the largest peacetime budget deficit in American history and a national debt exceeding 100% of the economy for the first time since World War II. … (Even though) while running for president, Trump pledged to balance the budget and then pay off the entire national debt.
(And yes, Trump was running up the debt even before the pandemic hit.)
The idea that Republicans are the fiscally responsible, thrifty party and the Democrats are simply addicted to “gluttonous, inflation-friendly spending” is tendentious nonsense unsupported by the historical record. Debts and deficits tend to grow faster under Republican presidents than Democratic presidents, and when Republicans come into power, their interest in slashing budgets diminishes even as their vague fulminations continue and their interest in cutting taxes for the rich grows.
You’ll note that Republicans, anticipating the wrath of voters, never actually approve balanced budgets.
See “Economists Agree: Democratic Presidents are Better at Making Us Rich. Eight Reasons Why.” at the Evonomics blog.
The impulse to spend more than the government takes in is bipartisan, as is the desire of citizens to get government services but not pay the price for them in taxes.
Here is Statista’s graph of the how the national debt has grown in the last three-plus decades:
Beyond the false accusation against Democrats, though, the idea of balanced budget amendment (BBA) is shallow and perilously irresponsible.
A BBA would amplify any negative economic shock to the economy and would thereby turn run-of-the-mill recessions into disasters.
When the economy enters a recession, government deficits increase as tax revenues decline and government spending on programs such as unemployment insurance increase. These “automatic stabilizers” are incredibly important as they cushion the blow to the economy from a recession. … To comply with a BBA as a recession approached, Congress would have to offset any mechanical increase in the deficit by raising taxes or cutting spending. The increased taxes or spending cuts would further drag on the economy, raising the deficit again and requiring still further tax increases or spending cuts. This vicious cycle would amplify the damage to the economy.
Any future Congress that wants to has the power necessary to balance the budget. It is deeply strange to think a constitutional amendment is required to do so.
Requiring a super-majority to raise the debt ceiling or to run a deficit “is a veritable summons to political extortion by an intransigent minority” and could trigger a constitutional crisis.
While states must balance their operating budgets, they can — and do — borrow for capital projects such as roads, schools, or water treatment plants. Families often borrow, as well, such as when they take out mortgages to buy homes, dealer-financed loans to buy cars, or government loans to send children to college. The proposed constitutional amendment would bar the federal government from making worthy investments in the same way. …
This is an unwise stricture that many mainstream economists have long counseled against because it would require the largest budget cuts or tax increases precisely when the economy is weakest. It holds substantial risk of tipping faltering economies into recessions, making recessions longer and deeper, and precipitating very large additional job losses. …
Sound fiscal policy is in substantial part about getting the timing of deficit increases and decreases right. That’s why a balanced budget requirement is dangerous — it prohibits getting the timing right because it requires balanced budgets in every year, regardless. …
When Congress considered a constitutional balanced budget amendment in 1997, more than 1,000 economists, including 11 Nobel laureates, issued a joint statement that said, “We condemn the proposed ‘balanced-budget’ amendment to the federal Constitution. It is unsound and unnecessary.
News & Views
News: Civil jurors found that Donald Trump sexually abused and defamed advice columnist E. Jean Carroll
View: One line — actually just one word — from Trump’s videotaped deposition that was played at trial may have been his legal undoing. It came as Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan was questioning him about the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape.
Kaplan: And you say — and again this has become very famous — in this video, ‘I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” That’s what you said. Correct?
Trump: Well, historically, that’s true with stars.
Kaplan: It’s true with stars that they can grab women by the pussy?
Trump: Well, that’s what, if you look over the last million years I guess that’s been largely true. Not always, but largely true. Unfortunately or fortunately.
Fortunately? In what twisted, grotesque mind was it ever fortunate that powerful, famous men could sexually abuse women? And how can we reasonably doubt that Trump therefore considered this his prerogative?
News: Tiger Woods reportedly used a lawyer to break up with a girlfriend
View: It’s so brazen that it’s almost funny to imagine: “It’s not you, it’s my client. My client hopes you and he can remain friends and he wishes you well.” But the golf superstar’s former girlfriend is not amused, according to The Associated Press story about documents filed Friday in her lawsuit against him.
(Erica Herman) accused Woods of having his lawyer break up with her at an airport last October after falsely telling her they were going on a weekend trip to the Bahamas. She says the lawyer then evicted her from Woods’ $54 million mansion north of Palm Beach and tried to get her to sign another non-disclosure agreement, which she refused.
News: 'Robo umps’ reach Triple-A, but MLB rollout is uncertain: ‘You’re losing some of the human emotion of the game’
View: The romancing of correctable error as “the human emotion” is relentless and nauseating. Technology exists to call balls and strikes as quickly as a human umpire but more accurately and consistently. Ball/strike arguments with umpires, however justified, are pointless and tedious.
Sport demands fairness, and fairness demands accuracy and consistency in application of the rules. End of debate.
Why Nashville eclipsed Chicago as the nation’s country music capital and other stories from Mark Guarino’s new book
During a recent guest-hosting stint on WCPT-AM 820, I interviewed Mark Guarino, a Chicago-based producer for ABC’s “Good Morning America” and other shows. He also writes for The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, Crain’s, the Tribune and other publications. But the focus of the interview was Guarino’s new book, “Country and Midwestern -- Chicago in the History of Country Music and the Folk Revival,” published last month by the University of Chicago Press. Mark and I are friends, and I'd been looking forward to this book ever since I learned years ago that he was working on it. (the entire interview is posted here) I started by asking him how he decided that such a book needed to be written.
Mark Guarino: It really started when I was the pop music critic at the Daily Herald from 1997 to 2008 and also writing for many music magazines such as Blender, Harp, No Depression and Paste, all of which are now defunct. So I covered the scene in Chicago pretty intently, day to day. And it really excited me. Musicians here were doing things that I thought were very new, combining punk rock with country for example, and a lot of great songwriters were emerging from that.
And at the same time I knew there were important things in the history that are now gone, like The Sundowners, a trio of players that held the ground in the South Loop for almost three decades. Uptown used to be filled with a lot of country music bars. I started learning all this stuff and I couldn't believe it was so underdocumented, all of this music for many, many years, no one really had written about it in a comprehensive way. And that's when I realized that there was probably a book there.
Eric Zorn: When you proposed the book, did you see it being more than 400 pages long? Because it's an enormous topic on one hand, but also a sort of fairly narrow topic.
MG: A couple of years into it, I realized that every chapter could be its own book. And I did go back to the publisher and suggested that. And the answer was "Why don't you finish this book first?" And so I went ahead and did that.
The book’s a lot longer than I had first proposed for sure. And there's a lot of stuff in there — probably 70% of it — that I didn't even anticipate. So it became this big project that just kind of fed on itself. One thing would lead to another. I couldn't believe that there was so much there that wasn't reported on in the beginning. And that feeling was even more pronounced once I got into it.
EZ: Is it accurate to say that country music came to Chicago before folk music?
MG: It depends on what you would call folk. These terms are all kind of interchangeable at certain periods of time. There were folk festivals in Chicago in the 1920s. But really, that word was used to describe anything that wasn't “urban” or jazz. So anything that wasn't out of the Black community, or wasn't fast and meant for dancing was considered folk. But if you're talking about the folk revival of the late 1950s and early 1960s, then for sure country music was here decades before that.
But at the time, it wasn't called country music. It was called hillbilly music. And Chicago was the place where it was first marketed to a mass audience through the power of early radio and publishing.
Though Nashville has now for decades been associated with country music, back then Nashville was a very, very small town. It would be decades before the song publishing companies and studios would open there and create an industry.
People from Appalachia were moving to Chicago for work, and they brought all the music with them. The "National Barn Dance" started on WLS radio in April 1924 and featured a lot of these musicians. And their music was marketed with needle point precision. There were magazines and tours, and the performers adopted the role of characters.
EZ: But it was the prospect of normal jobs that brought them to Chicago?
MG: That's exactly it. Jobs were abundant here. And not just in the steel mills, but in many factories.
The book begins in April of 1924, the first month that WLS was on the air. At the end of the month, it was just as an experiment, they brought in some fiddlers to play on a Saturday night. And it was so popular that they formed a show around it. Radio was only about two years old, and WLS was one month old. All these stations were experimenting with what to put on the air. Content up to then were live broadcasts of orchestras, or people reading Shakespearean plays or bedtime stories to children. But the music really took off and that Saturday night show, “National Barn Dance,” was a big, big hit in ways they couldn't have imagined.
EZ: WLS stood for World's Largest Store – Sears?
MG: Yes, but they sold the station to Prairie Farmer Magazine just four years later, in 1928, and that publication used it as a vehicle to promote agribusiness throughout the Midwest.
EZ: So did “National Barn Dance” draw musicians to Chicago ?
MG: Actually, a lot of the early performers were people who had come to Chicago with no dreams of getting into show business. They were musical hobbyists who'd come here for school or for jobs.
One of the great stories is about Charlie and Bill Monroe who were here working in the oil refineries in Whiting, Indiana. On Saturday nights, they would dance in a club in Hammond, and an announcer saw them dance and hired them to dance on the air. So they would put down some sort of material where you could hear them square dance. Think theater of the mind.
But as the “National Barn Dance” gained in popularity, performers began coming to Chicago. The show would would find entertainers and then create personas for them — give them different names and give them backstories and give them a look to market in a monthly magazine, then put them on the road. It was an incredibly orchestrated thing. They were all characters on a radio show that the audience got to know over the years.
EZ: Who were these characters?
MG: Patsy Montana. The Coon Creek Girls. The Prairie Ramblers. Lulu Belle and Scotty. These were all people of little means whose lives were completely changed by the show. And it's really an incredible story, not just that it was a new form of entertainment but also that it was so well done and so well marketed. The National Barn Dance became incredibly popular. Hollywood made movies about the Barn Dance stars, who started touring the country to big crowds.
EZ: So it started in Chicago. Then how did the “Grand Ole Opry" in Nashville eclipse the “National Barn Dance?”
(read the entire interview here)
Land of Linkin’
From “Should You Use Dryer Sheets?” in Slate: “The Environmental Working Group published a piece in August 2022 that encouraged users to skip dryer sheets, noting that ‘heat-activated dryer sheets can pack a powerful combination of chemicals that can harm your health, damage the environment and pollute the air, inside and outside your home.’ An Apartment Therapy article from October 2022 discusses how a chemical commonly found in dryer sheets, quaternary ammonium compounds, ‘has been shown to cause or worsen asthma and irritate sensitive skin.’ Other blogs and forums on CNET, PureLivingSpace.com, and Draxe.com promote a similarly negative message. … A HuffPost article from February points out that dryer sheets might not actually be doing what you think they’re doing. Dryer sheets don’t magically make clothes inherently softer; they make them feel softer by coating them with a softening agent, like stearic acid. ‘It’s the equivalent of putting a thick layer of lotion on your hand,’ Patric Richardson of The Laundry Evangelist told Kelsey Borresen at HuffPost. That softening agent can build up on fabrics, and even make towels less absorbent.”
I came across this 2008 column of mine while looking for something else: “In all my years, 50 things that I've discovered.” I was so much older then.
Chapman report: Two recent pieces by Steve Chapman, “The fentanyl crisis confirms the folly of the never-ending war on drugs” and “The Arch Conservative Jurist Who Helped Save American Democracy From Trump.”
“The Corruption of Lindsey Graham: A case study in the rise of authoritarianism (pdf)” is a book-length examination by William Saletan of the political career of perhaps the U.S. Senate’s most oleaginous member. The Bulwark’s website breaks up the work into manageable online chunks.
Clickbait from Slate: “Ted Lasso’s Fans Need to Just Accept That the Show Is Bad Now — A series that began as a source of pandemic relief is sending its fans into a civil war. “ I’m still enjoying the show, but writer Sam Adams says, “No matter how much fans might wish it, it’s become hard to believe that there’s enough ‘Ted Lasso.’ left to fill three more episodes, let alone another show.”
Veteran Cook County prosecutor Jason Poje distributed a blistering resignation letter to colleagues last week: “Bond reform designed to make sure no one stays in jail while their cases are pending with no safety net to handle more criminals on the streets, shorter parole periods, lower sentences for repeat offenders, the malicious and unnecessary prosecution of law enforcement officers, overuse of diversion programs, intentionally not pursuing prosecutions for crimes lawfully on the books after being passed by our legislature and signed by a governor, all of these so-called reforms have had a direct negative impact, with consequences that will last for a generation,” he wrote, announcing he is leaving not just his job but Illinois. “I’ve been through stupid State’s Attorney policies before. But this Office’s complete failure to even think for a moment before rushing into one popular political agenda after another has put my family directly in harm’s way.”
John McWhorter at The New York Times offers a smart take on the incident in the New York City subway system in which a reportedly threatening homeless man died after a bystander subdued him with a chokehold: “How we grapple with what to do in response to people like (victim Jordan) Neely also requires hard conversations and frank language. I’ve heard this past week that we should tolerate the reality that these men make us ‘uncomfortable’ on the subway. But this word vastly understates how one feels in such circumstances. A more accurate word is ‘terrified.’ Your guts clench, especially if you’re on a long stretch between stations or you’re with kids. New Yorkers these days have read stories of people being pushed onto the tracks or stabbed by troubled individuals in subway stations. To suggest in this context that subway riders should exert a kind of aggressive enlightenment and get used to being made ‘uncomfortable’ because men like these are the product of an unjust system beyond their control is to expect far too much. I am going to venture an idea that may be unpopular: Jordan Neely, in all of his innocence, did deserve restraint. Only that. He deserved neither injury nor any more discomfort than necessary, and certainly not death.”
The Picayune Sentinel preview: Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. I talk with WGN-AM 720 host John Williams about what’s making news and likely to be grist for the PS mill. The WGN listen-live link is here.
Is ‘semi-permanent tattoo’ an oxymoron?
Block Club Chicago reported recently on the opening of Ephemeral Tattoo, a West Loop studio that uses biodegradable ink to create body art that fades in one to three years.
Customers who book online will choose between a subtle tattoo for $195 and a statement tattoo for $350. … Tattoos are only done in black for now. The company is working on developing colored ink that can withstand the same amount of time as its black ink. … The Chicago studio is among eight Ephemeral studios nationwide.
The first studio in the chain opened in Brooklyn in 2021, and you’d think it would be a booming business just to judge from the number of locations that pop up on the map when you search for laser tattoo removal in the Chicago area:
I wonder how popular removal would be if it was quick and cheap — one session instead of many; $40 instead of an average price of $423 for just a tiny tat. And given that in about 1 in 9 cases, those who get a tattoo later regret it, you’d think that a try-before-you-buy option would catch on: Get that song lyric, ancient symbol or other meaningful design inked on your body, and if you still want it there in a couple of years when it’s faded out, then have it done over with permanent pigments.
But isn’t permanence the whole idea behind a tattoo? I know now that I will want a constant memory of my current sentiments with me forever. I will always want to look at this; it will always remind me and others of something very significant to me.
“It was a malicious God who sent him to be our savior,” says Neil Steinberg about President Joe Biden on this week’s episode of “The Mincing Rascals.” Steinberg, host John Williams, Austin Berg and I discuss other news of the day and offer our recommendations:
Berg: Bob Dylan’s performance of “What Can I Do For You?”
Steinberg: Jonathan Eig’s new book, “King: A Life.”
Williams: “100 Foot Wave” on HBO Max
Zorn: “Think Twice: Michael Jackson,” a 10-part Audible documentary podcast series hosted by Leon Neyfakh and Jay Smooth.
Subscribe to us wherever you get your podcasts. Or bookmark this page. If you’re not a podcast listener, you can now hear an edited version of the show at 8 p.m. most Saturday evenings on WGN-AM 720.
In Tuesday’s paid-subscriber editions, I present my favorite tweets that rely on visual humor and so can’t be included in the classic Tweet of the Week contest in which the template for the poll does not allow the use of images. Subscribers vote for their favorite, and I post the winner here every Thursday:
Tuesday’s issue also featured a bonus poll to choose the best answers that @MelvinofYork got when he asked his Twitter followers, “In five words, give me the least erotic way someone can agree to having sex.” Here are the top three vote getters:
Sign here, here and here. — @AdonMadeon
Fine. Let me pause this. — @Achen_The_Bachs
Let's get this over with. — @MelvinofYork
The new nominees for Tweet of the Week:
Turned on the TV for the coronation and there's all the King’s horses and all the King’s men, so I assumed they were on their way to some egg-related emergency. — @Anniewritess
When I see someone at the grocery store buying a super common item like mayo I like to walk by and, in passing, say “Oh that stuff is really good. I highly recommend it.” — @50FirstTates
With one taste of my signature black velvet cake you discover that it's a regular red velvet cake that I left in the oven too long. — @prufrockluvsong
My cat, who has no job and pays no rent, is apparently unhappy with his fancy new cat food and I, for some reason, am currently on my way back to the store to rectify the matter. — @ThisOneOverHere
Whenever I'm asked if I have any food allergies or intolerances I answer that I should be fine as long as the secret ingredient isn't love. Nobody has ever once been amused by this. I will never stop. — @SJKSalisbury
Best thing about wearing glasses is taking them off when you're about to say something so people know shit’s about to get real. — @Social_Mime
Lovely surprise bumping into my old French teacher today. She asked what I was up to these days and I said that I like to go swimming with my friend and there's a cat on the chair. — @BigBearF1
I will support any righteous boycott all the way up to the point of minor inconvenience. — @MelvinofYork
Do you think he called himself T.S. Eliot so nobody would notice that T. Eliot is toilet backwards? — various sources
I left the origami club but later returned and they welcomed me back into the fold. — @SkinnerSteven
Vote here and check the current results in the poll.
Another bonus poll
The last entry above probably belonged in the “dad jokes” category, the one I reserve for fairly excruciating wordplay. Every so often, I present a poll consisting entirely of these groaners. So here is the latest one:
How does a hippie polygamist count his wives? One Mrs. Hippie. Two Mrs. Hippie, Three Mrs. Hippie. — unknown
What do you call a really small strawberry? Strawbarely. — @hansabumsadaisy
What lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches? A nervous wreck.— @Talk_To_The_Hat
Grocery store puns? Aisle allow it. — @DurtMcHurtt
You never notice pilots because they’re usually in d’skies. — @SkinnerSteven
Y'all think a holy cow makes swiss cheese? — @stefosaurus_rex
"What do you know about atoms?" "Very little." "Besides that." — @BobGolen
I’ve had it up to here with turtlenecks. — @PleaseBeGneiss
They say Easter candy is not exactly biblical, but the Last Supper is clearly a depiction of Jesus with his peeps. — @Contwixt
According to surveys, the greatest fear among mice is public squeaking. — @IamJackBoot
COMPUTER: Your password has expired. ME: So it's a passéword. — @SamSkoronski
Tried to write a good hypothyroidism joke but came up short. — @GianDoh
Setting up a funeral business from scratch is quite the undertaking. — @ItsAndyRyan
I'm devoting my life to dried grapes. Why? I have my raisins. — @dave_cactus
Me: I need to buy a train ticket. Employee: Window or aisle? Me: *suddenly nervous* Or you'll what? — @Browtweaten
I make no representation that any of these are original. Experience tells me they’re mostly not. Vote in the dad tweets poll here.
For instructions and guidelines regarding the poll, click here.
I am pleased and irritated to tell you how I cut $50 a month off my satellite TV bill
We’ve been customers of Dish Network for many years — I’m quite fond of the functionality of the DVR — but lately, as our monthly bill climbed to nearly $130, I considered switching to YouTube TV.
So I called Dish last week and told them I was thinking of cancelling because I could get more or less the same service for a little under $80 a month.
I was expecting a wrangle, a negotiation, a tough decision. Nope. The operator agreed almost instantly to cut our bill by $50 a month for the next year. He even did me the favor of telling me that to keep that rate, I’d have to call in about 11 months and insist on it.
So I’m pleased that this one phone call will save us $600 over the next 12 months, but irritated that I didn’t make this call years ago. I pass along this story to remind you that many subscription and membership prices are negotiable and it often takes a simple, polite phone call to save a lot of money.
(Bonus reminder: If you get home delivery of the Sunday Chicago Tribune, the paper will try to charge you $9 extra every month for so-called “Premium Issues” — “Health,” “The Year in Photos,” “Life Skills” and “Summer Entertaining” and so on — but if you call every six months, you can have that charge removed.)
Tune of the Week
This is a wonderful love song first recorded in 1956 by “Gentleman Jim” Reeves, a country crooner who died in a single-engine plane crash in 1964 when he was just 40. There’s no heartache or regret or pain here, just pure infatuation:
Waltzing with my darling In a paradise with my girl The moment I found you My heart left the ground To go waltzing on top of the world
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