Discover more from Eric Zorn: The Picayune Sentinel
Readers (and I) predict the news of 2023
& a look back at the top tweets of 2022
12-29-2022 (issue No. 68)
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.
Land of Linkin’ — Where I tell readers where to go
Go Buckeyes! — A Wolverine through and through defends rooting for the dreaded rivals on Saturday
Re:Tweets — featuring the winner of the visual tweets poll and this week’s finalists
Tune of the Week — a New Year’s offering from legendary folk music host Rich Warren
Last week’s winning tweet
Here are this week’s nominees and the winner of the Tuesday visual-tweets poll. Here is the list of the Top 40 Tweets of 2022 and the naming of the funniest person on Twitter in 2022. Here is the direct link to the new poll.
Where you and I differ on what we think will happen in 2023
There were 30 questions in my annual predict-the-news survey. Some 700 readers filled out the survey.
I agreed with the readers’ predictions on the following 15 questions
Who will win the race for Chicago mayor?
Chuy Garcia 49% Lori Lightfoot 36% Paul Vallas 12%
My take: Chicagoans seem ready for a change in leadership after nearly four years of Lightfoot’s prickly leadership. Garcia, a U.S. representative and former mayoral finalist with considerable name recognition and an upbeat style, seems best positioned to beat the incumbent.
Who will be the runner-up in the race for Chicago mayor?
Lori Lightfoot 44% Chuy Garcia 32% Paul Vallas 13% Willie Wilson 6%
My take: Lightfoot has enough money and enough accomplishments to make it into a final-two runoff (presumably with Garcia). Vallas has a strong law-and-order message and will be the only white candidate on the February ballot, but I see him as a strong third-place finisher. But, like Wilson, he’s too conservative for city voters.
Will Chicago police Superintendent David Brown keep his job through the end of 2023?
No 72% Yes 28%
My take: If Lightfoot loses, Brown is gone for sure. But even if she wins, I suspect Lightfoot will try new department leadership unless crime drops noticeably over the summer.
Will the Bally's casino project break ground on the site of the old Tribune printing plant?
Yes 73% No 27%
My take: All the pieces seem to be in place for construction to begin. The decades-long wait for a Chicago casino is about to be over.
Indicted Ald. Ed Burke, 14th, is scheduled to go on trial on federal corruption charges in early November. What will his legal status be a year from now?
Still pending 77% Convicted 22% Acquitted 1%
My take: To be clear, I believe Burke will be convicted, but given the complexity of the case, the likelihood of a few more delays and the interruptions of the holidays, my guess is that his trial won’t conclude until early 2024.
Will Donald Trump be leading presidential-candidate preference polls of Republican voters a year from now?
No 81% Yes 19%
My take: Trump is losing his grip on the Republican electorate and the polls in December 2023 will be even worse for him than those that prompted this headline in The USA Today: “Trump in trouble: Republican support for his 2024 bid falls amid political, legal setbacks. By double digits, GOP voters prefer DeSantis as the 2024 presidential nominee.”
Will there be a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court in 2023?
No 63% Yes 37%
My take: The oldest two justices are Clarence Thomas, 74, and Sam Alito, 72, and neither Republican appointee will retire while Democrats control the White House and the U.S. Senate.
Will the Supreme Court eviscerate affirmative action in college admissions in its ruling in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard College & UNC?
Yes 92% No 8%
My take: Picayune Sentinel readers clearly paid attention to the news stories about the arguments in this case.
The inflation rate is now roughly 7%. Will it be at or under 4% a year from now?
Yes 51% No 49%
My take: This is more of a hope than a prediction, I admit.
The price of bitcoin is hovering around $17,000. Where will it be a year from now?
Under $10,000 57% $10,000 to $35,000 42% Over $35,000 <1%
My take: I’m a crypto-skeptic bordering on a cryptophobe. I feel vindicated by this chart of Bitcoin’s price at coindesk.com:
Will Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy be elected House speaker now that his party has won control of the chamber?
Yes 72% No 28%
My take: I’m less confident than readers seem to be that McCarthy will muster the votes, but given that there seems to be no strong plausible alternative, it seems likely the hotheads in his caucus will strike a deal with him and install him as speaker.
Will any criminal indictments arise in 2023 related to the anticipated House probe of Hunter Biden?
No 88% Yes 12%
My take: On the scale of things, Hunter Biden’s shady, sketchy business dealings will prove a nothingburger after Republican House investigators pull a Benghazi Redux and obsess over it.
Will Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida be indicted on sex-crime related charges?
No 53% Yes 47%
My take: The latest headlines on this case say “Career prosecutors recommend no charges for Gaetz in sex-trafficking probe” due to “credibility questions with the two central witnesses.” I’ll go with that, even though there is so much smoke surrounding these allegations of the sex trafficking of underage girls that I suspect there is fire.
Approximately 270,000 people in the U.S. died of COVID-19 in 2022, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Will 2023 see more such deaths, or fewer?
Fewer 84% More 16%
My take: The pace of death will continue to slow. Again, more of a hope than a prediction.
Will the Chicago Sky make it to the WNBA Finals in 2023?
No 61% Yes 39%
My take: I hope I’m wrong as the Sky is about the only bright spot on the local sports horizon. Talented. Fun to watch. But close to half the team’s roster are free agents and it’ll be tough to hold that stellar nucleus together.
Readers and I disagreed on the following 15 questions:
There are going to be more or less 700 homicides in Chicago in 2022. The number for 2023 will be ...
More or less the same 42% Fewer 33% Greater 25%
My take: We’re poised for a drop from these historic highs.
Will either the Tribune or the Sun-Times stop offering print editions on certain days?
Yes 62% No 38%
My take: Not in 2023, but within three years? Yes. It seems inevitable. Those who are nostalgic for the crinkle and feel of a dead-tree newspaper are dying off. Digital alternatives are getting better.
Will the Bears finalize a move to Arlington Heights in 2023?
No, the team will still be dithering and negotiating 51% Yes 46% No, the team will decide to stay in Chicago 3%
My take: There is too much momentum here for 12 more months of ground pawing and posturing and fussing over subsidies and zoning. And there’s too much money to be made for the Bears to turn their backs on a stadium of the future in the northwest burbs and slink back to Soldier Field.
NASCAR officials expect 100,000 people to attend the July 1-2 auto race around Grant Park and the Museum Campus. How many people will actually attend?
More than 70,000 54% Under 70,000 46%
My take: I don’t watch NASCAR races, which is maybe why I don’t see this working in Chicago.
Will former President Donald Trump be criminally indicted in the coming year?
Yes 69% No 31%
My take: This was the most frequently suggested question when I put out the call several weeks ago. It seems to me that the evidence against Trump for violating the law has long been strong and that the U.S. Justice Department is extremely reluctant to indict a former president. I get that impulse. Indicting and imprisoning your vanquished political foes is a very authoritarian move and at the very least has echoes of the ridiculous ululations of “lock her up!” about Hillary Clinton.
Will President Joe Biden run for reelection?
Yes 68% No 32%
My take: Pressure from inside the party and perhaps even from his family is going to persuade Biden to declare victory and pass the torch to the next generation of Democrats. He was always meant to be a bridge — the anti-Trump who would lead us into a less toxic political era. He will realize that he needs to cede the field to younger, more dynamic Democrats. I suspect we’ll learn this by March 2023, giving Democratic hopefuls enough runway to put together campaigns to beat the Republican candidate in 2024.
Will JB Pritzker be campaigning for president in December 2023?
No 74% Yes 26%
Analysis: Since I think Biden will not, in the end, decide to run, I’m putting chips down on Pritzker to be testing the waters by entering the early primary contests in New Hampshire and South Carolina. If Biden does run, then I very much doubt Pritzker or any other major Democrats will run.
Will Elon Musk still own Twitter at the end of 2023?
Yes 63% No 37%
My take: Somehow, Musk is going to dump this appallingly poor investment that’s costing him not only big money but also whatever was left of his good name. There’s even a decent chance that Twitter will go the way of MySpace and other failed social media sites.
The national average price of a gallon of regular gas is now $3.10. A year from now it will be ...
Lower 51% Higher 49%
This feels like a flip-the-coin question. $3.10 — it’s actually up a tick to $3.13 since I posted the question — seems like a fairly reasonable price, not shockingly high or low. So I expect it to inch up a bit as prices do in the next 12 months.
Will Vladimir Putin be president of Russia at the end of 2023?
Yes 76% No 24%
My take: I just have an inkling that he’s done.
Will Russia and Ukraine sign a peace treaty that brings an end to Russia's war against/invasion of Ukraine?
No 65% Yes 35%
My take: Russia will find some sort of face-saving way out of this ghastly, gruesome blunder.
Which team will win the NCAA football championship?
Georgis 47% Michigan 34% Ohio State 14% TCU 5%
My take: I have to pick with my heart here. Michigan. Go Blue!
Will Netflix acquire or merge with another significant streaming service?
No 51% Yes 49%
My take: It’s eat or be eaten in the hotly competitive streaming world, and Netflix will somehow join forces with another major platform.
Which of Chicago's Major League Baseball teams will have the better record?
White Sox 71% Cubs 29%
My take: I’m a convert to the underperforming White Sox, and I root against the Cubs, but I’m guessing the North Siders will narrowly outperform the Sox this year.
Will injured golf superstar Tiger Woods make the cut in any of golf's four major tournaments?
Yes 42% All that's going on the world and you ask a question about GOLF??? 31% No 27%
My take: Tiger is an amazing talent, but I think he’s done as a contender. Much as I hope it’s not true, I’m guessing this is the year he retires from competitive golf.
News & Views
Violent crime on the CTA up by 21% in 2022
View: I consider my headline more accurate than the headline on the front page of the Tribune Tuesday:
The story focuses on the rates of violent crime on public transit:
Overall, the raw number of violent crimes on the CTA rail system rose in the first 11 months of 2022, compared with a similar period last year, from 489 to 591. But ridership was also up in 2022, and that ended up slightly lowering the odds of becoming the victim of a violent crime.
And while crime rates are a useful tool for comparison, we usually talk about numbers, not rates, when looking at the same geographic area. For instance, you’re going to read a lot about the total number of homicides in Chicago in 2022 and how those numbers compare to previous years. You’re not going to read about comparative year-to-year homicide rates in Chicago.
The real question is whether riders feel safer on the CTA this year than they did a year ago, and that answer is likely no.
News: Southwest Airlines cancellations create clusterevents at airports around the nation.
View: Twitter has this best analysis of this one:
But in all seriousness, regulators need to step in and make sure the airlines are better prepared for the inevitable weather events that snarl traffic.
News: The New York Times exposes the flagrant lies on the resume of newly elected U.S.Rep. George Santos, R-New York, a month and a half after the election.
View: Shame on Santos, yes, but as others have pointed out, today’s Republican Party does not punish liars, it punishes truthtellers, such as outgoing U.S. Reps Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. Shame also on the New York Democratic party for not doing the basic opposition research that would have exposed the flagrantly false claims Santos made about his background.
But shame most of all on the New York and Long Island media for not doing the sort of basic pre-election reporting that readers count on to warn them when a con man is running for office. I hope there is some serious soul-searching going on in the relevant newsrooms.
The top 40 tweets of 2022
As a public service, each week I collect and present online a list of the best quips that cross my Twitter feed. Readers then choose the winner in a click poll.
But despite the legendary discernment of my audience, the winner is seldom my personal favorite. So once again I am asserting curator's privilege and offering, in no particular order and lightly edited in some cases, the 40 best tweets that showed up in my feed in the past year.
Why 40? Because that’s how many used to fit in the column space I was allotted at the Tribune, and I’m keen to keep traditions alive.
The writer who appeared most often on the list of finalists and earned the coveted title of Funniest Person on Twitter 2022 was also last year’s winner, the first repeat winner in the history of this feature: @RickAaron.
“You do you” is the nicest way to call someone an idiot. — @rsf788
If they ever have to identify me from dental records my dentist will be all like, “Oh yeah, I remember that guy. Total disappointment. Lied about flossing. Those are definitely his teeth.” — @WoodyLuvsCoffee
Bittersweet announcement but after an amazing two years as an infectious disease expert I am moving on. I am now an expert in no-fly zones and Eastern European affairs. Excited to make the most of this new opportunity. — @RobbySlowik
My son once asked me to explain the essence of the song “Cats in the Cradle:” to him and I told him, "Not now." — @chalzamora
I am neither short nor stout. I am a teapot beyond your understanding. — @Benjones2Jones
Try the Keto diet and instantly notice how much lighter you feel without the will to live. — @ForgetTheMoose
Sometimes in the middle of tweeting and retweeting I ask myself, did a jogger just bounce off my windshield? — @topaz_kell
Diet Coke: Making people feel better about ordering two Big Macs and a large fry since 1982. — @TheBoydP
Executive: I’m just worried the name “Hippos” doesn’t convey how hungry they are. Game Designer: how about “Hungry Hippos”? Executive: Better. but not strong enough. Game Designer: “Hungry Hungry Hungry Hippos”? Executive:: Haha, don’t—let’s not get crazy. But we’re close… We’re very close. — @TheAndrewNadeau
As I breathe a ragged last breath, I manage to whisper, "Why?" My assassin kneels beside me and tapes a penny to my forehead. “It's been a while, but they didn't forget. Columbia House says hello.” — @kaichoyce
“It’s fine with me if Mom says OK.” The original two-step verification — @RobertManchild
I spent my time making a home cooked meal and placed it in front of the kids who immediately asked for something different and laughed. Then I laughed. Then we laughed. Then I spoke in a voice not of this world and everyone ate their damn dinner. — @maryfairybobrry
Interviewer: What’s your greatest strength? Me: You tell me. Interviewer: Delegating? Me: That’s right. — @DanMentos
It's funny how we say "a bug hit my windshield" when we are the ones going 70 miles per hour. I'll bet the bug's family describes it differently. — @MelvinofYork
Give a man a fish and he will think, “What a creepy gift.” Teach a man to fish and he will think, “My God, I have never known such boredom.” — @BoneChocolates
My Mexican waiter just put my food down in front of another white lady who looked nothing like me. I get it now. Oh, hang on, that's not my waiter. — @craydrienne
Confession: I frequently say “all things considered” when I’ve only considered a few of the things. — @RickAaron
If Batman were real he’d be the world’s least weird billionaire — @frankieboyle
My power move is saying "Oh, that's my dog's name" whenever I’m introduced to someone new. — @LizerReal
All my friends will tell you, I have a great sense of humor and I love edgy, sometimes offensive, comedy. But I will not tolerate offensive humor that is offensive to me. — @IamJackBoot
Fruit cocktail is the most disappointing of all the cocktails. — @UnFitz
My friend is addicted to helium. I won't criticize him, however, as he always speaks highly of me. — @AllanForsyth
If I could ask God for one thing, it would probably be power equal to or greater than his own. — @CalmTomb
The term “baby steps” is so offensive to babies. If you’re a baby, taking a step is the most impressive thing you’ve ever done. — @ginnyhogan_
I learned absolutely nothing about crypto and so far it's been a great investment. — @SvnSxty
Fox News did to our parents what they thought video games would do to us. — @ryan_scott
My grandma often said, living well is the best revenge. It was a great way to throw off suspicion from her actual favorite revenge, arson. — @boobsradley
The worst part about getting scared is cleaning up the bejesus afterwards. — @VerifiedDrunk
Everyone says they want a fairytale wedding, but when I show up and curse their firstborn suddenly I’m a jerk. — @Lazy_Inks
Is it “shit show” or “shitshow”? I wanna get this holiday family newsletter right. — @itsBABYSMITH
So, the robber shouted, “Everyone lay down!” Then, I said, “’lie’ down.” Oddly enough, I was the only one shot. — @Scottzilla667
Satan: Is there any way to make camping worse? Inventor of the music festival: I'm about to blow your mind. — @sofarrsogud
I’m fortunate to have so many people in my life who care about my problems. Heck, I’ve even had complete strangers yell “What’s your problem, lady?” — @ddsmidt
Every Trump official statement sounds like something he’d yell while being dragged out of a restaurant. — @bazecraze
The best thing about being a man is the ability to pee anywhere. That and the patriarchy. — @Bob_Janke
Being a Marine is brutal. First day of boot camp they cut your hair without so much as a, “What are we thinking today?” — @kipconlon
Your baby has no idea that you threw him a first-birthday party. All you did was inconvenience your friends. — @SethMacFarlane
Is there anything more capitalist than a peanut with a top hat, cane, and monocle selling you other peanuts to eat? — various
It’s weird that we use the phrase “like taking candy from a baby” to mean something easy instead of something disturbingly psychopathic. — @TheAndrewNadeau
Someday, God willing, I will attend my children’s weddings, refuse to eat what they serve and demand butter noodles and nuggets. — @mollymcnearney
Previous winner of the funniest person on Twitter:
2015 @Home_Halfway (no longer on Twitter)
Land of Linkin’
“Hell no we’re not calling them ‘Cheez-it crackers’” is a delightful take on this week’s internet outrage.
Speaking of outrages, you can read the back and forth between me and a dissenter on my view about the Purdue University Northwest controversy here in the Picayune Plus. Become a paid subscriber and get direct delivery of the Plus.
In “Gadget graveyard: We found the hidden death dates on popular devices” The Washington Post reports that Apple AirPods are “designed to die” in as little as two years, that Apple will replace the batteries for $98 for the pair and that The Swap Club “will send you a refurbished set of buds for $60 (if you send them your old ones).” Mine are about to reach the two-year mark because, remarkably, somehow, I haven’t lost or broken them yet (and they’re still working fine).
The Internet Archive Blog: In 2023, “works published in 1927 will join the myriad creative building blocks of our shared culture heritage. The public domain will grow richer with books from authors like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Marcel Proust, and Virginia Woolf, silent film classics like the controversial The Jazz Singer with Al Jolson and Fritz Lang’s dystopian Metropolis, and snappy musical compositions like You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream.”
Catching up with former Sun-Times staff columnist Mark Brown: “How a brush with death reminded me to stop and enjoy it all.”
Apropos of the controversy at Francis W. Parker School over the passing around of butt plugs during an optional sex-education session aimed at LGBTQ+ students, it turns out that The New York Times Wirecutter product evaluation team has ranked “The Best Anal Toys.” Of one product, the reviewers said, “Its stainless steel material is indestructible, guaranteeing that your investment will last a lifetime.” Your investment! Imagine having to tell a relative, “Sorry, I can’t lend you money because my assets are tied up in butt plugs.”
“Variety’s 100 greatest movies of all time” has these as the top 10:
10. Saving Private Ryan 9. All About Eve 8. It's a Wonderful Life 7. 2001: A Space Odyssey 6. Seven Samurai 5. Pulp Fiction 4. Citizen Kane 3. The Godfather 2. The Wizard of Oz 1. Psycho
Take a click survey to get a count of the number of the top 100 movies you’ve seen.
At the top of the Rotten Tomatoes list of best streaming TV shows of 2022 is “The Bear,” set in Chicago. “Like an expertly confected sandwich, ‘The Bear’ assembles a perfect melange of ingredients and stacks them for optimal satisfaction -- and thankfully keeps the crust-iness for extra flavor.”
In “The (Student) Paper of Record,” Deborah Fallows of Washington Monthly tells how the student newspaper at Ball State University in Muncie has filled the journalism gap left when a cost-cutting chain bought The Star Press, the area’s conventional daily paper.
Those who came to Songs of Good Cheer already know this, but “Carol of the Bells” was originally a Ukrainian folk song that had nothing to do with Christmas. This is a lovely rendition of it on YouTube.
The Picayune Sentinel on the air: Today, Thursday, Dec. 29, I will be on WCPT-AM 820 from 2-5 p.m. filling in for host Joan Esposito. My guests will include Monica Eng and Justin Kaufmann of Axios Chicago, Brandon Pope of WCIU-TV, WBEZ-FM 91.5 and, of course, “The Mincing Rascals” podcast; Cate Plys of the Roseland, Chicago: 1972 project; Neil Steinberg, author and Chicago Sun-Times columnist; and Charlie Meyerson of Chicago Public Square. The listen-live link is here.
The Picayune Sentinel preview: Tuesdays 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.
Once again I find myself rooting for the dreaded, despised Ohio State University football team. They play Georgia on New Year’s Eve in the college football semifinal game. Earlier in the day, my beloved Michigan Wolverines will be playing TCU in the other semifinal. And the idea of Michigan, my boyhood team and alma mater, playing Ohio State in the most important game in the history of what some call the most storied rivalry in sports is tantalizing.
Yes, Michigan already beat OSU earlier this season — convincingly! — and it’s always hard to beat the same team twice, but that’s a risk all Michigan fans should be willing to take for the chance to claim bragging rights for the ages.
And even if Michigan loses to TCU in Saturday’s late afternoon game, I’m rooting for OSU over Georgia out of loyalty to the Big 10.
Meanwhile, enjoy these classic ESPN commercials:
Oh, for the living love of humbug, no, Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ is not a Christmas song!
Yes, the chorus of “Hallelujah,” with just the title repeated four times, is a gorgeous, moving piece of music — ecstatic but somehow mournful with its spiritual overtones and sprinkling of minor chords. But that doesn’t make it a Christmas song or a good song for a wedding or a funeral. Read the verses, people!
She tied you to a kitchen chair She broke your throne and she cut your hair And from your lips she drew the hallelujah
Whatever the song is about exactly — with its biblical and sexual references, its expressions of disappointment, its determination, its hints of joy — it ain’t about Christmas.
I remember when I moved in you And the holy dove she was moving too
Some of the blame for this widespread misapprehension belongs to Pentatonix, the popular a capella group that included their cover of “Hallelujah” on their 2016 album “A Pentatonix Christmas.”
Chris Deville at Stereogum has put the argument well:
Holiday fare is more versatile than many give it credit for, covering a wide range of styles and subject matter, but in order to be Christmas music, it has to be about Christmas in some way, or at least adjacent to Christmas. That can mean hymns about the birth of Jesus, ballads about being apart from loved ones at the holidays, novelty songs about Santa Claus, goofs about grandma getting run over by a reindeer, and so on. It can mean songs like “Auld Lang Syne” that are typically associated with New Year’s Eve a week later. …
Yet every time I listen to the Essential Christmas playlist on Apple Music ….I’m cruising along enjoying the likes of “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Santa Baby” and “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” and “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town,” and along comes this endlessly covered Leonard Cohen ballad about sexual ecstasy, crushing heartbreak, and existential doubt to make me spit out my hot chocolate.
All I've ever learned from love Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya
Deville points out that Pentatonix is so spiritually obtuse that they once performed John Lennon’s “Imagine” on a TV Christmas special. That song begins, “Imagine there’s no heaven/ It’s easy if you try” and goes on to urge the listener to imagine the joys of “no religion.”
It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah.
Australian pundit Mark Selby is not at all merry about the flip deployment of “Hallelujah”at yuletide and on other occasions:
Of all the times that Hallelujah is played or sung; how can it be that only the light-hearted chorus is heard but the dark imagery is ignored? That the sacred is heard but not the profane; that hears the reverent but not the ribald; the buoyant but not the despondent. … We should be offended that the hard as bullets lyrics of Cohen have been made all soft and gooey by including them in an animated movie for a heartsick green ogre in Shrek; or as background music in a shopping mall or coffee shop; or as a Christmas song.
This version, with rewritten lyrics that might have appalled the song’s Buddhist/Jewish composer, at least passes seasonal muster.
For the first time in memory, we canceled this week’s gathering of “The Mincing Rascals” podcast due to illnesses and scheduling conflicts. But give yourself a free New Year’s present and 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:
The new nominees for Tweet of the Week:
There is no "i" in stupid. — @J_J_Allin
Happy “let’s circle back on that after the holidays” season to those who celebrate. — @rn_murse
Defund the "it's a slow cooker not a crockpot" police. — @pourmecoffee
If you’re so smart explain why there are refried beans but no fried beans. — @eleniZarro
Charlie Brown is an adult now. Snoopy is merely the answer to his security question. — @1followernodad
[Pitching Sylvester and Tweety cartoons] Creator: A cat and a bird try to outsmart each other. Executive: Yawn. Boring. Creator: They both have speech impediments. Executive: I love it. — @Keurfuffle
The only people who don't click "Skip" on ads before YouTube videos are people who died during that ad. — @DamienFahey
A bad craftsman blames his tools A lonely craftsman gives his tools names and dresses them up in hats. — @MartinPilgrim1
I'm no conspiracy theorist, but isn't a little too perfect that Oswald shot JFK from a window in a museum devoted to the assassination? — @publicroad
A man and his son are in a car accident. The man is killed instantly. His son is rushed to the hospital. The surgeon says “I can’t operate on this patient, he is my son.” The car then crashes through the wall of the operating room, killing everyone. How is this possible? Tesla. — @RiderToast
Tune of the Week
I’ve asked Rich Warren to nominate the final Tune of the Week for 2022 in honor of the many contributions he made over the years to my musical library and my tastes when he hosted “The Midnight Special” Saturday nights on WFMT-FM 98.7.
Warren stepped down from that program in 2020 after serving as its only host for 24 years and a co-host for the 13 years before that (see my May 29, 2020 column “The microphone is passed: Chicago’s longest running radio program, ‘The Midnight Special,’ is getting a new host.”) More than a dozen of the numbers I’ve chosen for Tune of the Week are ones I first heard on the Special.
Warren continued to host the station’s “Folkstage” concert program but is now stepping down from that role as well and going into full retirement. In his honor, the station is hosting a sold-out concert at the Old Town School of Folk Music on New Year’s Eve featuring Tom Paxton, Claudia Schmidt, Reggie Harris, Anne Hills and other folk luminaries. Starting at 8 p.m., the show will be broadcast on WFMT-FM and video streamed at WFMT.com.
I asked Warren for a few thoughts about his retirement:
Here is a quote from "There Is a Tree," a song by Carrie Newcomer from her album "The Geography of Light" that I consider highly appropriate and would request as my epitaph if I had one:
There is a tree beyond the world. In its ancient roots a song is curled. I'm the fool whose life's been spent. Between what's said and what is meant.
I continue to admire what WFMT stands for in the rapidly devolving world of radio. The politics there have not always been easy, and of course, when you work among geniuses you accept their share of inspired craziness.
Certainly the WFMT of today is not the same environment or air sound of WFMT in 1974 when I started, but what else has remained the same? WFMT has kept its basic premise and structure intact better than either of Chicago's newspapers. I can't think of any other Chicago radio station that has maintained the same format since 1951.
"The Midnight Special" speaks for itself as one of the more unusual radio programs in the country, folk music in an era when it is obscure, yet much more than folk music, thanks to the vision of Mike (Nichols, founder of the show), Norm (Pellegrini) and Ray (Nordstrand) and a model that I prided myself on carrying forward.I invited Marilyn Rea Beyer to succeed me since she values this tradition, knowing she will continue the spirit of the program.
For his tune , Warren chose “The Turning Year” by Jennifer Cutting. She is singing with her group, Ocean Trio, and members of Windborne:
In his nomination Warren wrote, “This solstice/New Year's composition, always performed as a harmony piece (although sometimes with instrumental accompaniment) is a tonic for what has been another dark year. It promises light joy and peace. It's very brief, but it lingers long after the last note fades. I'm a sucker for harmony singing, and this performance is one of the best in the folk world.”
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