While the Rittenhouse jury deliberates...

The trial gave us plenty of sound, an abundance of fury and a near total lack of significance.

11-18-21 (Issue 11)

This week’s cornucopia includes:

  • Two predictions on the Kyle Rittenhouse trial unrelated to the verdict

  • Feds take aim at the “click to subscribe, call to cancel” practices common at newspapers

  • Mary Schmich on the importance of covering one’s butt

  • The most melancholy song I know

Mail to: Eric Zorn @ substack

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Last week’s winning tweet

Scroll down to read this week’s nominees or click here to vote in the new poll.

Sound, Fury and the ultimately insignificant Kyle Rittenhouse

A couple of non-verdict predictions regarding the Kyle Rittenhouse trial as the jurors embark on their third day of deliberations Thursday.

1. The nation will not erupt in destructive or violent protests no matter what the jurors say.  Though interest in this case is very strong and opinions seem fixed, I don’t sense great, take-to-the-street passions either way.  Also, the streets are pretty chilly places these days.

By now, most of us have come to the realization that the charges against Rittenhouse are based on a unique, cascading, interconnected sequence of bad decisions during chaotic street protests that resulted in a pair of deadly confrontations.    

Rittenhouse may or may not have acted reasonably by firing his gun when under attack — “The law allows even a foolish man to defend himself, even if his own foolishness put him in harm’s way” as David French put it — but he certainly didn’t act wantonly.

An acquittal will not amount to vindication for randomly shooting protesters or those with whom you have political disagreements.  And a conviction will not erode the right to self-defense. Deep down, people know that.

It was an interesting trial, with a lot of indignation, atmospherics and arguments based on irrelevancies and prejudices. My Facebook wall has basically been all Rittenhouse since the trial began (and if I see one more person claim it’s damning that Rittenhouse “crossed state lines” I will scream).

But….

2 . History will not record this as a particularly important trial.

An acquittal will not embolden rifle-totin’ militia wannabes to shoot at protesters any more than O.J. Simpson’s acquittal emboldened jealous men to murder their former spouses. They aren’t going to want to go through the personal and legal ordeal Rittenhouse has gone through no matter what the verdict is. 

 And a conviction isn’t going to result in extra destruction and mayhem from increasingly fearless rioters at future street protests, or in a significant tightening of gun restrictions, just as Gov. George Ryan’s conviction didn’t result in Illinois politicians refraining from corrupt activity or the General Assembly passing strict ethics legislation.

“This is a very important case,” protester Justin Blake told the Sun-Times outside the Kenosha County Courthouse during the first day of jury deliberations. He is the uncle of Jacob Blake, the Black man whose shooting by Kenosha police last summer touched off the street protests that led to the Rittenhouse trial. Blake said, “This will have national and international ramifications (for) the next 50 to 100 years.”

No.

Compelling does not equal important. Verdicts at individual criminal trials are of course very important to those personally affected by the crimes, but they rarely have ripple effects in society or the statute books.

U.S. Supreme Court rulings have ramifications that last for years. Consider New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, a recently argued case where it looks as though a conservative majority of justices will significantly expand the ability of citizens to carry concealed weapons.

The Rittenhouse trial was fascinating, compelling, sad and unique in many respects. It highlighted the social divides in our country. But I doubt it deepened them in any meaningful way.

Rittenhouse will be famous for a while — either free or in prison — but he’ll never be important.

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The Federal Trade Commision wants to make it as easy for you to cancel your subscription as it was to sign up for it. Will newspaper publishers heed the call?

A Federal Trade Commission news release late last month heralded “a new enforcement policy statement warning companies that provide subscription services to “provide cancellation mechanisms that are at least as easy to use as the method the consumer used to buy the product or service in the first place.”

In reporting on the potential end to the dreaded practice of “click to subscribe, call to cancel,” Neiman Reports notes that “a study of 526 news organizations in the United States found that only 41% make it easy for people to cancel subscriptions online.

It adds that “California was ahead of the curve on this one; the state has required news sites and other businesses allow people to cancel online since 2018.

The FTC further wants businesses to “disclose clearly and conspicuously all material terms of the product or service, including how much it costs, deadlines by which the consumer must act to stop further charges, the amount and frequency of such charges, how to cancel, and information about the product or service itself that is needed to stop consumers from being deceived about the characteristics of the product or service.”

News organizations are far from the only businesses that make it difficult to learn the terms of your agreement and then hard to get of it.

Here are just a couple of the letters I received recently from readers of the Picayune Sentinel:

Your article about subscribing to the Chicago Tribune really hit home with me. As a long-time subscriber I have had to deal with predatory and opaque billing practices such as the lack of clarity about when a billing period begins and ends, being charged for unwanted "premium issues," arbitrary price increases and shortening the number of days in the billing period. I have been on the verge of cancelling several times, but I continue to believe a local newspaper is the best way to receive unbiased and truthful news. — John W.

I called the Tribune to remove my “premium issues” charge. They said they would — but for six months only. I would have to call again in six months. I will. — Stan P

I worked at the paper for more than 40 years and am pretty skilled with the Internet. I can’t tell you what these “premium issues” are exactly. I reached out to management for an explanation and got no answer. The Tribune Publishing subscription services site tells me only this:

All Print subscriptions and Print Delivery + Unlimited Digital Access subscriptions include premium issues each calendar year. Your account will be charged an additional fee in the billing period when the premium issue publishes. This will result in shortening the length of your billing period. You can opt out of premium issues by contacting customer service as provided in Section 9 (Contact Us) below. For premium issue dates refer to the Order Page (no link).

The Tribune’s new executive editor Mitch Pugh posted a Twitter thread last week that read:

Been thinking some in recent days, especially as I sell my house, about pricing. I hear a lot that the news business should have one set price like Netflix or Spotify or (Fill in the Blank) ... but why? Is a subscription like a hammer (a set price) or is it something else? Home buyers look at my house and have different views based on the value they place on things like backyard privacy, new carpet, the school district, the HOA fees, etc. I can set a price to put it in the market but not everyone will want to pay that price. Subscribers to news products have very different relationships depending on their own, unique perspective. Some want to support journalism, full stop. Some want sports coverage. Some want puzzles and horoscopes. What they think that product is worth depends on multiple factors. So it would seem that variable pricing — to some degree — just makes sense. Especially now in a world where the product is so many things — not just a printed paper delivered to your doorstep. How you use it and the value you extract is pretty individual isn't it? IDK.

“Variable pricing” here looks more like “personal pricing” — we’ll charge you the amount we think you’ll pay while charging someone else less for the same product or service. Here’s Retail Dive on that idea:

All the way back in 2000, when Amazon was mostly an online book and media store, it experimented with charging different prices to individual customers for the same DVDs.  The customer response was so swift and negative that, nearly 20 years later, the e-tailer still avoids the practice. Customers caught Amazon treating them differently, and weren't having it…

The goal from a seller's point of view is (to) charge each customer at his or her willingness to pay instead of setting universal prices.

With personalized pricing, retailers "try to estimate basically your propensity to pay — if you can pay more, we should charge you more for the very same product," said Victor Rosenman, CEO and founder of Feedvisor… Single pricing for all leaves some customers unable or unwilling to buy and others with surpluses — i.e., the gap between what they would have been willing to pay and what they actually did.

We’re not talking about introductory offers here — come-ons like the $1 for 6 months of digital access promoted recently by the Tribune, or a month free at the gym, a free sample or trial period. We’re talking about a strategy of continually, quietly hiking rates and hiding prices knowing that many customers are inattentive to “important notice!” emails or not particularly price sensitive.

Problem is, when these customers finally do contact customer service and find out how easy it is to have the price dramatically lowered, they feel like they’ve been played all along — fooled, taken advantage of. And in the case of a newspaper, fooled by an institution that makes its bones on trustworthiness and on rooting out deceptive practices.

Charge one fair, easy-to-see price for a good product. Just an idea.

News & Views

Police Union boss John Catanzara quits the force with a “Let’s go Brandon” note and announces he’s running for mayor

He’s a toxic clown and every police officer who voted for him to lead their union should be ashamed.

A year and a half ago I reported

The Citizen’s Police Data Project of the Invisible Institute lists 50 misconduct allegations against Catanzara since 1996, more allegations than there are against 96% of other officers, adjusted for time of service. Ten were sustained.

He was suspended for 30 days on a charge that he harassed an ex-girlfriend in 2003 in part by leaving such voicemail messages for her as, “You better answer the phone next time I call or you’ll never want to leave the house again.”

That same year he was suspended six days for associating with a felon while off duty, and formally reprimanded for excessive use of force.

In 2005, he was suspended for 10 days for insubordination.

In 2007, Catanzara was suspended for 15 days for miscellaneous “personnel violations,” and 20 days for being AWOL, according to the Police Data Project, which downloads files from the department.

In 2008, then-Superintendent Jody Weis tried to fire Catanzara for allegedly disobeying an order to complete a psychological exam, but the Chicago Police Board cleared Catanzara by a 5-2 vote.

In 2012, Weis’ successor, Garry McCarthy, tried to fire Catanzara for working security for Topo Gigio Restaurant in the Old Town neighborhood while he was on medical leave for a duty-related back injury. Catanzara denied that he was actually working for the restaurant. The board voted 7-2 to suspend him for 20 days instead of firing him.

In 2013, Catanzara was again suspended for 10 days for miscellaneous departmental rule violations… In a lengthy article about Catanzara, ProPublica Illinois reported that he warned a critic on social media to “keep listening for that knock on the door,” which is not something anyone ever wants to hear, particularly from a rules-averse cop.

Catanzara’s district commander alleged that he “displayed ‘bigoted views’ … on social media and sent ‘inappropriate emails’ to the staff at Hubbard High School on the city’s Southwest Side, where he worked as the school’s officer,” reported ProPublica.

He’s a proud Trumper who thinks he’s going to win a race for mayor in a city that in the 2022 presidential election voted 82.5% for Joe Biden and just 10.2% for Donald Trump after, in effect, inking “Fuck Joe Biden” on his resignation form and tweeting out the image.

Defense attorneys object to the presence of famed African American pastors Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson Sr. in the gallery viewing the trial of three white men charged with killing Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black man

In 2001, I wrote a column decrying the courtroom presence of then Police Supt. Terry Hillard and scores of uniformed officers at the trial of Jonathan Tolliver, a gang member accused and later convicted of shooting and killing Officer Michael Ceriale. A juror had wept hysterically at the sight.

Do police officers have the right as citizens to attend any or all parts of a trial? Of course. And do they have a 1st Amendment right to express their opinions? Sure.

But, as the U.S. Supreme Court has written, "central to the right to a fair trial, guaranteed by the 6th and 14th Amendments, is the principle that one accused of a crime is entitled to have his guilt or innocence determined solely on the basis of the evidence introduced at trial, and not on grounds of official suspicion ... or other circumstances not adduced as proof at trial."

This is why, for instance, defendants cannot be compelled to stand trial while wearing jail uniforms. It's why, in 1990, a federal appeals court overturned a rape conviction in a Montana case in which courtroom spectators wore "Women Against Rape" buttons that, the court found, "conveyed an implied message" of guilt, but "were not subject to the constitutional safeguards of confrontation and cross examination."

Many spectators have rooting interests in trials. But whether they're police officers, gang bangers, ministers or relatives of the victim or the accused, their opinions have no proper role in the proceedings. Judges should take precautions to prevent mute testimony from the gallery in the form of uniforms, colors, buttons or signs.

So I’m being consistent when I agree that Sharpton and Jackson are inappropriately trying to send a message to the jury about how important they feel it is to convict Arbery’s killers. The major reason they’ve been in the courtroom is to try to influence the jury, and that’s inappropriate.

(I haven’t paid enough attention to the Arbery case to have a solid opinion on it).

Parents object to the presence of the book “Gender Queer” on the high school library shelf in Downers Grove

Articles on this controversy in the Sun-Times and the Tribune describe the controversial graphic novel in fairly vague terms. The Tribune mentions “images of oral sex and a sex toy” and the Sun-Times notes it includes “illustrations of sexual acts” in author Maia Kobabe’s autobiographical tale.

The Sun-Times quotes a parent complaining that the book teaches “children how to perform oral sex, anal sex, wear strap-on dildos,” while another parent said the book “teaches kids how to be gay.”

The conservative Iowa Standard has posted the images that some parents find the most offensive. And, yes, by pre-internet standards they’re a bit raw. But curious teens these days are not going to their school libraries for depictions of sex acts or tips on “how to be gay.” Their smartphones are portals to far more explicit, non-cartoon representations of sex than is found in “Gender Queer.”

If “Gender Queer” were required reading, then I’d be far more sympathetic to the concerned parents. Curriculum is a value-delivery system and I certainly think parents ought to have the right to set some reasonable guardrails on what their children have to read. The standard for appropriate library offerings, however, ought to be much different, with a far broader range of options.

“Gender Queer” appears to have potential value. As the Tribune reported:

A 2020 American Library Association Alex Award winner, the book received a starred review from the School Library Journal, which described it as “a great resource for those who identify as nonbinary or asexual as well as for those who know someone who identifies that way and wish to better understand.”

The imagery is far better contextualized and far less vivid than the mere pornography to which some parents are comparing it. The book should stay.

Defense attorneys for Kyle Rittenhouse demand a mistrial because the copy of the drone video they received was not the enhanced version shown to jurors.

It’s logical to assume that the enhanced version of this late-arriving drone video in some important way undercuts Rittenhouse’s claim that he did not point his gun at anyone just prior to Joseph Rosenbaum taking off after him at a full run screaming “Fuck you!” Otherwise, the defense would be eager to have jurors re-watch and consider the video.

It’s also logical to assume that jurors are split — that by this time (early Thursday) they have gone over the evidence, testimony and jury instructions and are not in agreement. I won’t start thinking seriously that it might be a hung jury until and unless they go home on Friday evening without reaching a verdict.

It’s been often reported that the “compromise” verdict crimes — reckless endangerment — are Class F felonies that carry sentences of up to 12 1/2 years. But it says here that “in Wisconsin, judges are often not required to sentence defendants to a minimum term of incarceration.” Meaning, I suppose that if Rittenhouse is convicted but the judge doesn’t agree with the jury, he could impose a very light sentence.

But I get ahead of myself!

“If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion. One nation under God, and one religion under God.” — Gen. Michael Flynn, former U.S. National Security Advisor

The degree to which the batcrap-crazy right doesn’t hold actual American values never ceases to confound and amaze me. Their desire for ours to be a Christian nation where public school children begin their days with prayers to Jesus is only thinly disguised.

It’s so odd that a political faction that claims to distrust government nevertheless wants government to have a legally binding opinion about which supernatural myth we all ought to subscribe to. (I don’t mean your religious views, which are of course true in all regards unlike the profane superstitions to which misguided people adhere.)

Still seeking thoughtful dissents to my recent speech

Last week I put out the call for opposing viewpoints on my recent speech on the difficulty our society has in debating important issues (video link; prepared text link). I planned to publish and respond to them here.

But while I received scores of friendly comments, no one emailed anything substantive taking issue with my contention that there are real victims of so-called “cancel culture.”They aren’t generally the high-profile people at the bottom of social media dogpiles. They are the lower-profile people who see the vicious treatment given those who express contrarian views and simply decide to keep their mouths shut and their opinions to themselves.

Or, rather, they express their opinions at the ballot box and through political donations, resentfully combatting the censorious, self-righteous mobs that have otherwise cowed them into silence.

I am aware of one objection to the speech: A former colleague posted to the Tribune Alumni Facebook page: “Eric Zorn needs to sit down. White men need to read the room and realize that maybe, for once, their opinion is not needed right now.”

Well, as I read the room, what’s needed right now is a lot less “sit down and shutup!” and a lot more “let’s discuss why I think you’re wrong.” And also maybe a moratorium on using identity politics as an excuse to squelch conversation.

So let’s try this again, shall we?

Send dissenting email

Land of Linkin’

  • The Picayune Sentinel on the air: On Thursdays at 4:30 p.m., WCPT AM-820 host Joan Esposito and I will be chatting about issues raised in that day’s issue (though we’ll be taking Thanksgiving off). The listen-live link is here.

  • Reflections on a last-minute visit to dad before he died: ‘Love is this, what you do for others’ is very moving essay by Tribune City Hall reporter Greg Pratt on his complicated relationship with his recently deceased father.

  • There are still tickets remaining for the live, in-person Songs of Good Cheer programs at the Old Town School of Folk Music December 10-12.

  • In These Doctors Don’t Care If Patients Understand Them we learn that American Medical Association is discouraging health care professionals from saying, “Low-income people have the highest level of coronary artery disease.” Instead they are being urged to say “People underpaid and forced into poverty as a result of banking policies, real estate developers gentrifying neighborhoods, and corporations weakening the power of labor movements, among others, have the highest level of coronary artery disease.” Evidently this is not a parody.

  • How could the story of the Astroworld Festival tragedy get any worse? Well, heedless rapper Travis Scott has announced a partnership with the online therapy company BetterHelp to provide a month’s worth of free counseling for those “impacted” by the crowd crush that killed 10 people as Scott continued to perform If you’re a podcast listener you have probably heard endless ads for this controversial service that remunerates therapists only about a third of what they would normally charge for their time and was among the apps whacked by Consumer Reports for “sending data to Facebook.” The latest episode of the podcast There Are No Girls on the Internet features a good conversation about this.

Responses to last week’s Picayune Sentinel:

I'm canceling my subscription to this right wing rag. My God, what happened to you? — Kevin T.

You leftist fuck. Days of rioting and looting and arson by vermin and you assholes turn a blind eye... One kid shoots a bunch of fucktards who desperately needed shooting, and you're all tears and caring. Fuck you. — Bret B.

Eric you are an absolute fucktard. But let me tell you why you are a fucktard. …You soulless assholes are willing to ruin actual lives just for your little faggy cause (opposition to the open carry of firearms) and you make me absolutely sick to my stomach. — John S.

I did invite Kevin to send in a more substantive critique as I am interested in what he has to say (as opposed to the others). He declined, writing, “I've learned that attempting to engage in dialog with Trumpians is a waste of valuable time. Consider yourself canceled.”

I replied, “What's ‘right wing’ or Trumpian about it? My call for new gun restrictions to restrict open carry? My reference to Trump as the madman of Mar a Lago and my aside that I'd never vote for Adam Kinzinger? Distancing myself from the word ‘woke’? What? You were moved to write me an insulting letter and you can't even be bothered to offer a specific complaint. You must have had a reason you wrote. So what was it?” I await his reply.

Bob Dylan is not a musical genius. He's a poetic genius.

No one is in awe of his singing or guitar playing or harmonica. He's barely competent as a harmonica player, he strums a guitar okay, and is painful as a vocalist. Some would argue that his compositions show occasional flashes of originality, but are often (and we're talking about the tunes, remember) imitations of popular or folk tunes.

But those lyrics! Wow.

And it is those lyrics that people resonate to, and for which Dylan won a Nobel prize. —Rick L.

Dylan, like Woody Guthrie, one of his idols, did crib some melodies from the folk pantheon --”Percy's Song” steals unapologetically from the traditional Scottish ballad "Wind & Rain," for example — but not all by any means.

And while he was not an instrumental genius, musicality is far more than virtuosity. In fact, I can think of a number of highly skilled players whom I don't consider particularly "musical." Being able to play a lot of notes really fast and in tune is an impressive feat, to be sure, and one that eludes me. But I'd no more necessarily want to listen to someone who plays really fast than I would necessarily want to read the work of an author who types really fast.

My feeling is that Dylan's ability to fit lyrics to melodies and the expressive, if technically ragged, way he sings them is brilliant and deserves the "musical genius" designation.

Minced Words

Topics covered on this week’s wide-ranging, all guys Mincing Rascals podcast include Kyle Rittenhouse, John Catanzara Presidential approval polls, the book “Gender Queer,” the idea of the city of Chicago buying the Bears and the media faceplant on the Steele dossier.

Jon Hansen’s impassioned defense of “Gender Queer” is the highlight of the show (unless you count my deployment of the metaphorical expression, “peeing down both legs”).

Subscribe to us wherever you get your podcasts. Or bookmark this page.

Re: Tweets

This week’s nominees for Tweet of the Week:

  • At any point during our Thanksgiving there are three or four family members legitimately concerned that it’s just an elaborately staged intervention … @BobTheSuit

  • I’m starting a gourmet restaurant that serves exclusively dishes you’d only have after midnight at home. Our signature dish is a handful of shredded cheese you eat leaning over a sink … @TheAndrewNadeau

  • At least one time somebody must’ve thrown a baby out with the bath water. Otherwise people wouldn’t be so worried about it … @warmyellowlight

  • [me reaching to adjust my Nest thermostat] Thermostat: Just what do you think you are you doing, Dave? … @a_simpl_man

  • Been doing Hegel exercises and my pelvic floor has achieved a valor that struggles, which is, of course, better than a weakness that endures …@FeralCrone

  • Re: People’s sexiest man alive -- The odds that the sexiest man alive would be a famous American actor are pretty low. Very likely it's just some guy out there … @SomersErin

  • Getting up early to run has changed my life. I now hate my life more …@TheAlexNevil

  • I'm quiet and not good at confrontation with neighbors, so I renamed our wifi: Oh My God, Deb And Brian, Everyone Hates Your Rooster … @LizHackett

  • What’s the traditional 8th year wedding anniversary gift? Please tell me it’s an open pack of gum … @RodLacroix

  • I laugh thinking about how many insurrectionists might have avoided prison had they been wearing masks … @TimHannan

Take the poll here.

For poll instructions and guidelines if you need them, click here.

Mary Schmich on the importance of keeping your butt warm

Here, reprinted with permission, is my former colleague Mary Schmich’s Tuesday post, her weekly commentary on Facebook:

It snowed yesterday. It didn’t stick but that was snow, real snow, wafting around in the gray sky while the wind snarled at the trees. My phone said it was 32 degrees and my bones felt like ice cubes.

And still I refused to do the thing that more than any other act is a concession that winter is here: I refused to put on my winter coat (the one seen in this photo).

Nope. Not yet. Not before Thanksgiving.

This stubborn vow reminded me of a column I wrote a couple of years ago about how long it takes a Chicago transplant to learn what a winter coat is. Here’s an excerpt, with the full column in the comments. Feel free to share your own coat mistakes:

I’d never owned a coat before I moved to Chicago, and my first winter coat wasn’t one.

“That’s a fall coat,” serious Chicagoans tsked when I arrived at work one October day proclaiming that I’d just bought a winter coat. It was long, black, billowing, buttonless, stylish. The serious Chicagoans sneered that it would be worthless by November.

They were right. On the subject of Chicago winter, always trust the natives.

When the cold bored in that December, I bought the cheapest heavy wool coat I could find. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really wool. It was a wool “blend” with a cheap lining that had shredded by March. I was very cold.

People who grow up in Chicago winters have an instinct for what constitutes a proper coat, but transplants almost always get it wrong.

“My first coat in Chicago was a burnt orange wool faux pea coat a little past the waist,” recalls a friend who grew up in Southern California. “Needless to say I was never warm enough and learned my lesson by the following winter.”

It took me more than one winter to learn my lesson. Why? Because like so many winter fools, I had trouble understanding that being both stylish and warm in a Chicago winter is like being both short and tall. You can’t be both.

No. You can’t. Your long, poofy coat may be stylish compared with the truly hideous long, poofy coats, but that is not the same as being truly stylish.

Peering into my closet the other day, I pulled out an ankle-length blue cashmere coat, bought on deep discount in my second Chicago winter. Talk about stylish. It had a little fox collar that I happily wore until I learned that wearing fur could get you pelted in the street.

Having grown up in Sun Belt places where I’d never seen a fur coat except in photos of movie stars, I’d never considered the ethics of fur. When I discovered the problem, I removed the fur collar stitch by stitch. I wore the coat for the rest of that winter, shivering all the way, because without the fur, the neckline was as gaping as the Grand Canyon.

Other coats and other winters followed.

For a couple of seasons I wore a parka designed for skiing. The sales clerk at the outdoor store promised that this miracle parka would keep me warm when it was 10 below on the slopes.

Too bad I don’t ski. And it took me at least one more winter before I understood an essential Chicago winter principle: You can’t be warm if your butt is cold.

In coats, as in the rest of life, we learn what works by making mistakes, and I made a couple more, most notably the second-rate shearling bought on deep discount that turned out to be like wearing a coat of bricks.

Finally, a decade or so ago, I bought one of those ugly poofy coats, with snaps and a zipper from neck to knees and a hood that obscures everything but your eyelashes. I am ugly but no longer cold.

I look back fondly on all the coats of my life. I remember their weight, their color and texture, and how all of them, even the wrong ones, brought me some protection and pleasure.

With winter coming on, now’s the time to take your own walk down the memory lane of coats. It will warm your heart.

And if you’re new to Chicago, wondering which coat to buy, let me repeat: Cover your butt. — Mary Schmich.

Today’s Tune

Maybe the most beautiful song about eternal love and inevitability of death is “Far Side Banks of Jordan,” a song first recorded in the mid-1970s by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. It’s at once heartbreaking and comforting, and it gets me every single time.

A similarly lugubrious and equally lovely song on the same basic theme is Doc and Rosa Lee Watson’s “Your Lone Journey,” which is often called “Your Long Journey” and ought to bring a tear to your eye as well.

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