Monthly Archives: October 2010

No Tricks, Just a Treat

It was a year ago today.  Or I guess, to be more accurate, it was a year ago tomorrow, but just past midnight.  Thanks in part to my favorite librarian sharing the link with almost everyone she knows, the story has been read more than any other I have posted, but the full story has never been told.  The big date is now less than a month away, November 26th.  The day after Thanksgiving.  Black Friday. 

This morning, Maureen and I visited this little Italian lady who is a jeweler and a friend of a friend.  We had not even thought about our rings until one night a couple of weeks ago when we were sitting on the couch and I casually said, “So what are we going to do about rings?”  Suddenly we found ourselves at the mall suffering from an acute case of sticker shock.  Have you seen all those ads where you can bring in your unused gold for big bucks?  Well that is just great for those who are trying to unload gold, but for those of us in the market for a couple of gold rings, the record high prices are not all that welcome.  So after talking to a few people and hearing on more than one occasion, “Don’t worry about it, I have a guy,” we finally found a pair of matching, very plain white gold bands for a very reasonable price.

As Maureen and I sat at the kitchen table eating lunch today, she was trying on her new ring for about the tenth time, and when I looked up she was in tears.  “Don’t worry, these are good tears,” she said to me through a running nose and sniffles.  It was in that moment that I decided the full story of that night one year ago needed to be told, along with a little confession.  I guess I should start with the confession.

The ring is a fake.

Oh, not the ones we picked up today.  Those are real.  And exactly what I would want.  I was a little surprised when Maureen picked them out.  She had told me so many times that she already felt like we were married, so I guess the fact that all she really wanted was something to look at to confirm what she already felt makes all the sense in the world.  Those rings wont leave a stain on our fingers.  Unlike the other ring.  It’s a fake, and it did stain.  And it fell apart.  Exactly like I was afraid it would, and that is why it sat in my desk at work for as long as it did.  You see, I was having money problems.  To some extent I still am, but the light at the end of the tunnel is so close we can almost touch it, and after more than two years of fighting with my bank, the mortgage is fixed, and the new loan takes effect in December. 

Quick side note.  Next time you hear one of those loud mouthed extreme conservative types shouting about the scam that was the stimulus package and that it didn’t help the everyday average guy, you can tell them it did.  Without that program, I would have lost my house.  I lost half the equity in the divorce, and then the value of the house dropped by more than $50,000.  If it were not for that program, I would have been just another statistic.

And that brings me back to the ring.  I couldn’t afford one.  So I bought one on the internet.  It’s not like I ordered it from Ray’s House of Rings.  It was a wholesale deal, and there was absolutely nothing of real value to the ring.  But it looked pretty on my computer screen.  And then I got it in the mail.  And I thought it looked cheap and fake.  So I stashed it away in my desk at work.  Where it sat for way too long.  I was embarrassed that I had even ordered it, and so I convinced myself I would hold off and we would get married when I could afford a better ring, and in my mind, a more stable life.

It was some time after that, Maureen and I had one of those late night “conversations” about us.  It was a nice night, and we didn’t have the kids, so we decided to sit on the deck and enjoy a couple of adult beverages.  When the weather is nice, and sometime even when it isn’t, we can sit out there for hours just talking.  Usually about nothing in particular, but that night we found ourselves going  down that path were at some point, neither of us were going to be happy, and I was probably not going to sleep.  And I didn’t.

The next day at work, I pulled the ring out of my desk.  It still looked cheap, but I also knew I couldn’t afford anything more.  After a few days of fumbling around with it, I finally decided I needed another opinion.  A woman’s opinion.  So I showed the ring to a female friend at work.  And she told me it was beautiful.  But it was a fake.  And she told me it didn’t matter.  So I showed it to another friend, and she said the same thing.  It wasn’t the price of the ring, it was the intention that was important.  So I did what any true blue American male would do in this situation.  I put it back in my desk drawer and decided to think about it some more.

It was a Friday night, and Maureen was working, so I got in the car and headed home.  As I was driving down the Stevenson heading back towards home, I was flipping through the radio stations and stopped on a song I knew, not really paying much attention and still thinking.  A new song started up, and at first I wasn’t really listening.  I had never heard the song before, but somehow, and I know how crazy this is going to sound, I felt like there was a reason why I stopped on this station.  It was not one of my preset stations, and the format was not what I would normally listen to.  But here I was listening to this song I had never heard before and realizing it was speaking directly to me.

The song was about brand new relationships, and that first kiss.  What the singer referred to as the last first kiss, because you have realized that this person could be that one.  He sang about how she looked in the moonlight and the butterflies in the stomach as they first kissed, and most importantly, how it was a chance worth taking.  And as I listened it suddenly just hit me.  It didn’t matter that the ring was a fake.  I had to give it to her because she was a chance worth taking.  And I had to do it that night.

So I turned the car around, and headed back to the office to pick up the ring.  And I sent Maureen a message about meeting up after she finished work.  I knew where I wanted to go, back to the place where we had our first kiss, and I wanted to ask the big question right on that spot.  I tried get her to come up with the location on her own, dropping not too subtle hints until I finally just blurted it out.  I could tell she was somewhat suspicious, so I tried to play it cool.  We met up, and we ate, and we had a few of those adult beverages.  When I thought the night was over, I headed to the bathroom and took out the ring.  I didn’t want to be fumbling with it at the big moment, so I slipped it over my pinky and folded it into my hand.  I had already paid the bill, so I though I would just grab Maureen and head out the door to the big moment, and much to my surprise, she had ordered us a couple more beers.

She said she was such a nice night, and that she didn’t want it to end too soon, so what was I to do?  We had a few more beers, the whole time with me hiding my right hand under the table.  I think she sensed that I wanted to get going, so we finally abandoned our half full bottles and headed out into the night.  Whenever we go to this restaurant, we always park in the same place, so I knew we would be stopping at our spot for a quick kiss on the way back to the car.  After the kiss I just lifted my hand in front of her face, and it had the effect I wanted.  It was like it appeared out of thin air, and I asked her if she would marry me.  And she said no. 

So maybe that song was a bunch of baloney.  Maybe she didn’t think this was a chance worth taking.  As I stood there for a second trying to figure out how to put the crappy ring back in my pocket with some shred of dignity still in tact, she was suddenly taking the ring from me and giving me a big kiss.  And the rest of the story as they say is history.  The wedding is all set for next month, a dress has been ordered and fitted.  My son and I got new suits for the occasion, and both Molly and Stephanie got spiffy new dresses.  It was a chance worth taking.  The song was indeed right.

Oh, and about that song.  I had no idea what it was called or who sang it, and I couldn’t even figure out how to look it up.  But then fate stepped in once again, and I found the song completely by accident.  But I still can’t tell you about it just yet.  See, much of my life with Maureen has revolved around music, and I always knew I would be singing something to her on our wedding day, but I didn’t know what until I found the song again.  There are so many songs that I could have chosen, but they all already have specific meaning and memories.  I want this one to be a new memory, and since I am about 99% sure Maureen has never heard this song before, I am hoping it will have the same magic as that fake little ring did on that night one year ago today.

God I hope I don’t screw this one up!

More Truth and Emmy

I just want to start out by saying that I am not a journalist.  I took one journalism class way back in high school and wrote one editorial for the Tiger Times back at Wheaton Central sometime around 1982 or ’83.  I started this blog without any idea what I was really doing, and I really had no intention of becoming a political voice.  With that in mind, I have found myself once more looking into the wacky world of William J. Kelly and The Kelly Truth Squad.  My favorite librarian has accused me of being a little obsessed and a touch OCD on this subject, so I am now making a promise that this will be my last post about the esteemed Mr. Kelly.

Let me just say this.  I found the Emmy.

Local Emmy Awards are a bit different from the Big Emmy Awards we are all used to.  They have strange categories like Outstanding Achievement for Individual Excellence On Camera: News – Traffic.  And the nomination process is a lot different.  You can actually nominate yourself.  Or your station or production company can nominate you.  There is a very long list of rules that define what and who is eligible for a local Emmy, but the main emphasis is that it has to be local.  National broadcast are not eligible.  Oh, and there is a fee to nominate yourself.  It can range from $40 all the way up to $210 depending on the category.

Because of the self nominating process, some categories can have in excess of 25 or 30 entrants.  Other categories will have none.  Oh, and the local Emmy Awards are not a competition.  They use a system called non-competitive judging.  That is to say that the entries do not compete against each other, but are judged by a standard of excellence, and there can be multiple winners in each category.

The Emmy Award that Mr. Kelly is referring to was actually won by a gentleman named John S. Wassel and it was in the category of Outstanding Achievement for Individual Excellence Off Camera: Directing: Edited as part of the 2005-2006 Chicago/Midwest Chapter Awards.  It was for a show called Upscale TV: Chicago and was broadcast on WPWR.  That would be channel 50 here in Chicago.  There were a total of three entrants in the category, and Mr. Wassel was the only winner that year.

It is at this point that I do have a problem.  In 2005, the listed production company for Upscale TV: Chicago was Haute House Entertainment, not Rev Production, the company that Mr. Kelly says in behind the Emmy Award winning show.  I do not know what connection exist between the two companies, but I do know that on the Upscale TV website, Haute House is still shown to be the producers of the show.  It also looks to me like Upscale TV has been off the air for at least a couple of years based on the clips included on this site.   And let’s get one thing straight here.  Upscale TV did not win an Emmy.  John S. Wassel won and he is in possession of the little statue.  Not William J. Kelly. 

So that all just leads me back to the “Truth.”  In my opinion, Mr. Kelly is just padding his resume with the whole Emmy Award thing.  I guess sort of the same way Mark Kirk sort of padded his resume with that whole Navy Award he never received.  Again, I am not calling Mr. Kelly a liar, but from where I stand, there might be a little smoke coming from his pants.

The Truth or Something Like It

I was actually going to wait and do this update sometime in the near future, but I heard something this morning that made me want to address it right away.  As I had outlined in my last post, there has been a bit of an uproar around town concerning a confrontation between Jay Levine of CBS 2 and William J. Kelly of The Kelly Truth Squad.  As you may recall, Mr. Kelly pays for an hour of time each week on Saturday nights at 6:00 to broadcast his “show” on the local conservative minded station WIND.  Well, Mr. Kelly was back on WIND this morning, but this time as a guest on the morning show with John Howell and Amy Jacobson.  During his appearance part of the conversation revolved around whether or not Mr. Kelly misrepresented himself as an employee of WIND radio.  In response, Mr. Kelly said, “I never once said that I worked for WIND.”  Which is true, but what he does say several times during the confrontation is that he is “with” WIND.  At one point, Charles Thomas of ABC 7 can be heard saying to Kelly, “You’re not even a real reporter.”  Kelly’s response is, “I am too.  I’m with WIND radio.  I do a show with WIND.”

It sounds to me like Mr. Kelly is suffering from something I like to call Greg Brady Syndrome.  Remember the episode of The Brady Bunch when Greg is told he can’t drive the family car, but he is later seen driving a friend’s car.  He falls back on the defence that he complied with the punishment’s “exact words” and did not drive the “family car” even though he probably understood he shouldn’t be driving “any” car.  This is in effect what Mr. Kelly has done.  When asked directly who he was with, why didn’t Mr. Kelly say he was with The Kelly Truth Squad?  Was the truth not important in this instance?  Why even bring WIND into this at all? 

But enough of that, let’s get back to that whole “Truth” thing.  In my first post, I admitted to not knowing much about Mr. William J. Kelly, but since that time I have done a little research and have discovered quite a bit about him.  He has a number of blogs floating around on the world-wide web.  Four of them that I have found right here at WordPress.  There is William J. Kelly’s blog, Friends of William J. Kelly’s blog, Kelly’s Truth Squad’s Blog, and Kelly Truth Squad II.  He also has a blog at ChicagoNow and an independent website also called Kelly Truth Squad.  On that website in a post that is dated today, October 20th, Kelly says that he plans to challenge Rahm Emanuel’s petition to run for mayor of the city of Chicago on the basis of his residency.  He then asks for help with this battle and directs people to and to “donating to our efforts as generously as you can.”  The only problem is that THIS website is set up to accept donations for Mr. Kelly’s campaign for 42nd Ward Alderman in 2011.  THIS website was formally where he also took donations when he ran in the Republican primary for comptroller, when he lost his bid to Judy Baar Topinka.  No where on THAT website does it mention anything about Rahm Emanuel or the challenge to his petition for mayor.  Am I the only one who is having a problem with this type of “Truth”?

Let’s look a little deeper into this whole “Truth” thing.  On many of Mr. Kelly’s web pages, in his biography he mentions three different things.  First, that he is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory, that he is ”the host and executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning Upscale TV”, and that he writes a column for The Washington Times.  He also talked about his writing for them while defending his history as a journalist in his interview with WIND.  Let’s start with this last claim first.  If you go to The Washington Times website, and you look under the heading of Communities, then under the sub-heading of The Loop, you will find about ten articles written by Mr. Kelly under the title Bill Kelly’s Truth Squad.  Now, I am not the brightest bulb in the box, but if you ask me, this looks just like another blog.  In fact, if you look closely at the site, way down at the very bottom, you will find a disclaimer that reads, “All site content Copyright The Washington Times, LLC.  Contributors are responsible for this content, which is not edited by The Washington Times.”  So, Mr. Kelly, I have one simple question for you:  Do you get paid for your work as a journalist writing for The Washington Times, or are you just “with” them?

The other two items in his biography are a little confusing to me, and although I would not go so far as to call them lies, they too probably suffer from a little bit from the Greg Brady Syndrome.  Although Mr. Kelly claims to be a graduate of the Second City Conservatory program, if you look at the Second City website they clearly state that they are “not an accredited institution of higher learning, just an awesome professional training center.”  I could find nothing listed in their course listing to indicate how someone would “graduate” from their conservatory.  If you look at the history tab of the website, they do happen to have a very extensive list of Alumni dating back to 1959.  Surprisingly Mr. Kelly does not appear on that list.  There is also a reference guide on the Second City website that includes rules on how to list Second City performances on a resume.  No where in that guide do they include the term “graduate.”

And as far as that whole Emmy thing goes.  I have spent a couple of days looking through the data base of both the national and local Emmy Award winners and nominations, and I have yet to find any mention of an Emmy Award being given at either level for William Kelly, William J. Kelly, Bill Kelly, or the program Upscale TV.  Knowing that I might have missed something, I also enlisted the help of my favorite librarian to also do a search.  She also come up empty-handed.  Once again, I am sure there is some sort of “exact word” error in how we are looking for this information, but I can’t figure it out.  You see, on one of his pages here, he does show a nice picture of himself holding what looks to be an Emmy Award.  But then again, if you look at his other hand, he seems to be holding a microphone.  A microphone that looks somewhat like the microphone he was using while he was filming his confrontation with Jay Levine or any of his interviews for Upscale TV.  Oh, maybe that’s it?  Upscale TV was just “with” the Emmy Award.

In a final touch of irony, I would like to present the following.  On THAT website where donations are being taken either to oust Emanuel or elect Kelly, there is a tab that says Taxpayer Resources.  On that page, Mr. Kelly has compiled a list of links and blogs that he feels might be beneficial to people who visit his site.  To be very honest, I didn’t even look at the list.  I was too busy scratching my head because of the quote Mr. Kelly included at the top of this page.  It is a very old quote that dates back to 1758, before our great country was even born.  It was written by Benjamin Franklin and was included in the pages of his Poor Richard’s Almanac.  I thought it was also very apropos for the closing of this blog.

Half a truth is often a great lie.


Let Me Finish (or Jay Levine is gonna deck you)

You have got to love Chicago Politics.  For those who may not have heard, President Obama’s former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel has tossed his hat into the Chicago Mayoral race.  It was no secret that Emanuel had his sight set on the office.  He had spoken both privately and publicly about his intention to some day run for mayor of Chicago, even before Richard Daley the younger decided to step away from the office he has held since 1989.  Emanuel resigned his post with the White House and hit the ground running in this fair city of ours with what he has entitled his “Tell It Like It Is Tour.”  And he is quickly becoming the center of attention and many would say front-runner for the February, 2011 election, despite questions surrounding his residency and eligibility to run.

And that brings us to the other day, and a confrontation between self-proclaimed conservative satirist and commentator, William J. Kelly and veteran political journalists, Jay Levine of CBS2 and Charles Thomas of ABC7.  After welcoming Emanuel back to Chicago, Kelly is intercepted by a woman in red who asks “Who are you with?” to which Kelly replies that he is with WIND radio.

Ok, lets stop here for just a second and correct something.  Although Kelly does host a one hour radio program on WIND here in Chicago entitled The Kelly Truth Squad, he is not an employee or representative of the station.  He pays for his air time each Saturday at 6.  In effect, that makes him an advertiser not a reporter for the station.  He is as much an employee of WIND as the Sham Wow Guy is of the Turner Broadcasting Networks.  Mr. Kelly’s “show” is just a cleverly disguised infomercial.  This is not just my opinion, WIND general manager Jeff Reisman himself said, “It was wrong for Kelly to call himself a reporter at WIND when he does not work for the station.”

After misidentifying himself, Kelly then asks Emanuel if the stimulus package was in fact a payback to his Wall Street friends, a question Rahm chooses to ignore and turns his attention to the other reporters present.  Kelly, not satisfied with being ignored, pushes his way between Levine and Thomas and continually interrupts Emanuel with questions about his residency.  Microphones and cameras catch the interruptions because the media is trying to get a soundbite or quote for the evening news or morning additions.  After being asked several times to stop and let Emanuel speak, Jay Levine finally loses patience and gets the quote of the day.

Let him finish or I’m gonna deck you!

Was Emanuel avoiding the question?  Absolutely.  He was changing the subject faster than a man who had just been asked by his wife if these pants made her butt look fat.  It was one of those no win questions that politicians are taught to avoid answering, you know the old “So have you stopped beating your dog yet?”  Emanuel was trying to avoid giving Kelly ammunition for his “Truth” but unfortunately, Levine walked right into the trap.  Emanuel should actually thank Jay for taking the heat on this one.  Kelly’s story is no longer about a left-wing politician skirting the rules, but about how the liberal media is protecting that politician by helping him avoid the really tough questions.  Helping him to avoid “The Truth.”

WIND is a conservative radio station, and Mr. Kelly does share the airwaves at 560AM with the likes of  Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Michael Savage, but the difference is that WIND pays those hosts, not the other way around.  In addition to his one hour a week on radio, Mr. Kelly also has a website and writes a column for The Washington Times also called The Kelly Truth Squad.  His guerilla warfare tactics seem reminiscent of older David Letterman or Howard Stern, and not the impartial media I learned about in high school journalism class.  I have never listened to Mr. Kelly on the radio or read any of his columns, so I really can not speak to his talent or abilities as a host or writer.  But what I do have a problem with is when someone openly proclaims their version of things “The Truth” without any consideration for people whose opinions may be different than their own. 

In the coming days and weeks, I imagine we will hear conservatives proclaiming Mr. Kelly is an oppressed voice, while liberals call him a nutcase.  It will make good news and propaganda for a while, and then it will all just fade away.  Before this event, I had never heard of The Kelly Truth Squad, and William Kelly was just some guy who lost to Judy Baar Topinka in the republican comptroller primary.  Hell, I am not even real sure what a comptroller does, but Mr. Kelly wanted to be one.  But now he is a conservative satirist.  And Jay Levine wants to deck him.

The truth is, I could really care less what happens to Mr. Kelly from this point on.  And if I were Mr. Kelly, I wouldn’t care a bit about what some guy blogging on a website has to say about him.  It’s all just entertainment, right?  We write and we talk in the hopes that someone will listen and agree or disagree.  It’s about the 15 minutes that we all get and how long we can each hold onto it.  Mine only lasted a few seconds, and most of it ended up on the cutting room floor.  Mr. Kelly has done much better than me.  He is now and forever, the guy that Jay Levine wanted to deck.  He has officially now  had his wow moment.

Sham WOW!