Devastation caused by tornadoes, but also by hedge funds
The exodus of Chicago Tribune columnists is reminiscent of the legendary Jack Mabley, who wrote for the Chicago Daily News, Chicago American, Chicago Today and Chicago Tribune before finding his last paper at home at the Daily Herald. Always anxious to focus more on content than writing, Jack would sometimes write what he called an “junk column,” where he quickly made his point and moved on to another topic like this:
• Sirens alerting us to the tornado that swept through suburbs Sunday night through Monday morning, ravaging parts of DuPage County and injuring people in Naperville and Woodridge, reminds me of my youth on our family farm in Indiana, where approaching tornadoes sometimes force us into the dark basement which featured a storm-proof cellar door like the one in “The Wizard of Oz”. Luckily the worst damage we suffered was when the winds knocked down a few trees, blew up a huge wooden barn door, and ripped shingles from our slate roof that my siblings and I could use as chalkboards.
But, in the days before cable TV and nature shows, we would often set up lawn chairs in the driveway and watch tornadoes move through the open landscape miles away, occasionally landing in the middle. corn fields. One Sunday after church while eating at Nu-Joy, we were surprised and delighted to see meteorologist Harry Volkman rushing into the restaurant to use the pay phone. He told us that the tornado in the sky nearby was the first he had seen in person.
• Traveling for the first time since the pandemic, my wife and I flew to Boston for a long weekend to see our son Ben, who moved to that city last summer to work as a teacher. Airports and planes required everyone to wear masks, and only a handful of passengers had to be called back. Most businesses and restaurants had signs stating that fully vaccinated people did not have to wear masks. After receiving our second injections in April, my wife and I initially kept our masks on, but slowly warmed up to the idea of going without a mask. We always find our comfort zone.
• Boston has a wonderful Bluebikes bike sharing program similar to Chicago’s Divvy program. Numerous cycle paths, many of which are separated from traffic by barriers, made the experience fun and stress-free. The only downside is that cycling doesn’t build up steps like walking does, and my new Fitbit (an early Father’s Day gift) gave me the common affliction of being consumed by ‘to reach the milestones of my steps.
• Driving through the narrow streets of Boston has become second nature to our son, but the traffic is always heavy and finding a parking space is as difficult as entering MIT. allow a single left-hand turner to go first once the light turns green.
• Kayaking on the Charles River was serene, beautiful and good exercise, thanks to our guide, Karen. She made me wish Karen could go back to being a common name instead of biting the meme.
• Our vegan son, Will, pushed us and his mom and me in this direction with his overwhelming evidence that meat production is not healthy for the planet, our bodies or our animals. While lobster and seafood remain popular choices in Boston, every restaurant has noted its vegan options. And a cell phone search for “Best Ice Cream Near Me” took us to a store that only served vegan ice cream.
• As Robert Feder noted in his Daily Herald column, the Chicago Tribune’s loss of talent, due to the buyouts of hedge fund Alden Global Capital, which acquired Tribune Publishing, has been devastating. I was always happy when a story allowed me to hang out in the rarefied air of Tribune columnists Eric Zorn and Mary Schmich, two thoughtful and truly gifted writers who also prove to be friendly, funny, humble, and kind. I also loved reading the columns of Heidi Stevens and Dahleen Glanton.
One of the reasons Mabley, who died in 2006 at the age of 90, came to the Daily Herald in 1988 was how impressed he was with the Paddock family, who own the newspaper. The Paddocks have had many chances to cash in by selling to a hedge fund, newspaper conglomerate, or maybe even the Tribune. Instead, the family cared more about their newspaper than the profits and converted the Daily Herald in 2018 into an employee stock ownership plan. I wish all of these talented Tribune journalists would have such an arrangement.