Friday, January 30, 2009

Coming and Going

Good things come to those who wait.

Or at least that’s how the old saying goes.

The latest in Carlton Knight legal news is a doozy.

When I last wrote about him, Inland Bank and Trust’s lawsuit to get their million dollars was evolving into a page turner.

Well I’m proud to report its officially crack-a-lackin’---simply delightful reading material.

Let me break it down for y’all:

Inland Bank filed two separate cases against Mr. Knight regarding the Dixie Highway property in Harvey. The first was for a complaint to foreclose (CH07-10840) and the second was for a complaint for a confession of judgment.

A confession of judgment is when a defendant confesses to the accuracy of the plaintiff’s complaint or signs a “cognovit actionem, a written confession made out earlier by the defendant.”

The cognovit note says in writing that the debtor owes a particular sum and has voluntarily submitted himself or herself to the authority of the court. If the debtor later fell into arrears, the creditor could obtain a judgment against the debtor without even bothering to notify the debtor of the proceedings.”
Explanation courtesy of

Carlton’s lawyers in turn filed a motion (07-L-051164) to consolidate both of the cases while hoping to vacate the confession of judgment and/or “stay any further enforcement and allow the court hearing the mortgage foreclosure case to determine the alleged issue regarding the legality of the note.”

In short, if the cases get consolidated and there are grounds for dismissal on either point, the whole thing goes away.

That is the pimpiest of pimp legal moves I have ever seen.

At one point I questioned the prowess of one of Carlton’s legal team but I do have to say that these new kids (or at least new to me) from Cook, Revak & Associates are good.

Sharp cookies, indeed.

Inland fired back by stating:

Mortgagee has several remedies (personal judgment, foreclosure, or recover possession of the property) that may be pursued to enforce payment. These remedies are concurrent or successive, as the mortgagee deems appropriate. When a mortgagee chooses to pursue remedies concurrently, they must be maintained separately.”

“The plaintiff may choose its remedy-or remedies-as it deems necessary and may pursue multiple remedies concurrently. It is clear that the proceedings must be tried separately. Therefore the plaintiff was proper in bringing both a mortgage foreclosure proceeding and the confession of judgment proceeding and the court should not consolidate the cases

Boo-ya, baby!

Apparently Inland isn’t taking the possible loss of over a million dollars lightly.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

King Charles and the Concealed Carry

Pride is a dangerous thing.

In a way, pride is just the ultimate setup for disappointment.

That’s the way it goes in life and that’s the way it’s going in the ‘hood.

Why? You ask?

Walking from the bus stop on Sunday night, I saw two things---one a more common place occurrence and the other is something I’ve never seen in Woodlawn: A young white woman walking a Cavalier King Charles.

That's a breed of dog you don't see too much around these parts.

As more people discover our gem in the rough known as Woodlawn, white neighbors are not that rare of an occurrence anymore.

A Cavalier King Charles on the other hand, is a reason to celebrate.

You see my friends, when you live in an emerging neighborhood; it’s the little things that make a difference.

I hate to say it, but image is everything.

Whether its shoes on a wire, the Jenkins Boys on the corner, trash on the parkway or a woman (regardless of race) walking her Cavalier King Charles.

In the dead of night, might I add.

These are the non-verbal clues that help people shape their perceptions of your neighborhood.

And for some people, perception is reality.

So there I was feeling the upward trajectory of the ‘hood when I got a text Monday night.

“I just heard about the muggings at your Metra Station on WGN. Please be careful.”

Apparently King Charles Cavilers don’t mean shit to a knife wielding lunatic.

Naturally, this was the talk of the train stop on Tuesday morning.

All of the ladies were putting together the bits and pieces of what we heard vs. fact vs. what was on the news.

More importantly, we all talked about how to stay safe.

I recounted the story of my aunt who lived in (and still lives in ) Gary, Indiana in the 1970’s.

As a nurse, she would have a rotating shift that sometimes put her waiting on public transportation after dark.

She had already anticipated that some jagoff was going to screw with her so she took my grandfather’s .38 along as a traveling companion.

Imagine that the nurse who’s caring for you during your convalesce is packing heat in her locker at the hospital.


One night while waiting for her bus, someone tried to mug her.

She shot him---lit him up like a Christmas tree.

Then on another night in a separate incident, another idiot tried to mug her.

She shot him too.

After that, she didn’t have any more problems.

To this day, we don’t just pop over to her house. We phone first. We always let her know that we’re coming.

Knocking on her door or entering her house unannounced is not a wise thing.

But this little story serves as a good lesson.

I have a saying, “The sharks go where the fish are.”

Apparently the fish have moved to Woodlawn.

That station is super creepy and is the perfect place to snatch up a sister if you have sinister intentions.

You see my friends; this dumbass just hasn’t met the right woman yet.

Trust me, I’m not her.

I’m not walking around with my chest poked out with an “S” on my sweater.

But you all must understand that sisters are doin’ it for themselves.

You can’t wait on the police to come and rescue you; especially when some bumblefuck decides that because he’s a little short on cash that any random woman walking down the street is going to be his personal ATM.

Because when he runs into the woman who doesn’t give a fig about the illegality of handguns in the City of Chicago and he makes his play, let’s suffice it to say that he’ll see the lightning flashing.

And I, for one, will cheer.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ghetto Libretto

I love the opera.

It the same drama you see on “Springer” or “Maury” with better costumes and vocals.

Fortunately for me and other thousands of opera buffs in Chicago, we happen to be blessed with the Lyric and its beautiful opera house on Wacker Drive.

I also happened to get blessed with a ticket from time to time.

While I love the opera on its own merits---the lush productions, the timelessness of the stories and the beauty of the music; the thing that really chaps my hide is the overt misogyny in most of the classic works.

Usually the lead female role is the naive ingénue, scheming whore or general all around victim.

Life happens to her. She rarely gets to determine her fate---which when you think about it was indicative of the times the operas were written---meekly bowing to the wills and needs of others.

...Or plotting to have them killed exiled or otherwise pushed out of the picture.

Frankly, I call bullshit on these one dimensional broads.

‘Cause it just churns my butter to see women so grossly misrepresented in the name of high art.

Think about it---Someone shelled out alot of money for that ticket. If you want to see women stereotyped, dominated or run down there are many vehicles within our popular culture where you can see that for free.

$135.00 a ticket is a bit much, no?


So it was with this mindset that I walked into a recent production of Madame Butterfly.

I knew the general plot and had heard some of the music from the beloved Puccini work but had never seen it in person.

And no I hadn’t seen Miss Saigon.

I still tried to keep an open mind---raising my objections to yet another opera where the woman gets the short end of the stick to my opera buddy.

My opera buddy is a kind and patient man who puts up with commentary like:

Gilbert & Sullivan---“Gay! I love every gay minute with those sailors. I wonder who’s the top in this relationship?”

Wagner’s Ring Cycle---“So I spent how much money to see drama caused by a horny dwarf ? Everyone in this story is 100% bat shit crazy.You’ve got to be kidding me right? Hitler loved this stuff? No wonder the Nazi's lost the war.

Note: This is when I had a full time job and money.

Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci (better know as Cav/Pag)---“Laugh clown! Laugh!”

Aida---“I can already see the look on her parent’s face.”

Lulu---"I've got porn cleaner than this.

Usually, I sit quasi grumbling through the Acts, as the drama unfolds below. All I can say is thank God for the English subtitles.

But its opera and it’s beautiful so I go.

And I sit.

And I absorb.

And I learn.

Do not even get me started on how long it took me NOT to talk back to the stage.

And all was well until I saw the following discourse from the opera Madame Butterfly between B.F. Pinkerton the American Sailor and bridegroom and Sharpless, a counsel at the American embassy in Nagasaki:

With echoes of the Star Spangled Banner, Pinkerton tells Sharpless that, throughout the world, the Yankee wanderer is not satisfied until he captures the flowers of every shore and the love of every beautiful woman. “So I am marrying in the Japanese style: for 999 years, but with the right to cancel the marriage each month”. Sharpless is critical of Pinkerton’s beliefs, but they stand and agree, “America forever”. Pinkerton tells Goro to bring Butterfly to him. When Goro leaves, Sharpless asks Pinkerton if he is really in love.

Pinkerton admits to Sharpless that he does not know whether he is really in love or just infatuated, but he is bewitched with Butterfly’s innocence, charm and beauty, like a butterfly fluttering around and then landing with silent grace, so beautiful “that I must have her, even though I injure her butterfly wings”. Sharpless tells Pinkerton that he heard Butterfly speak, when she visited the Consulate, and he asks Pinkerton not to pluck off her delicate wings. However, Pinkerton tells Sharpless that he will do “no great harm, even if Butterfly falls in love.” Sharpless takes his glass of whisky and offers a toast to Pinkerton’s family at home, to which Pinkerton adds, “and to the day when I will have a real wedding and marry a real American bride.”

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Oh hell no.

Oh hell-to-the-no.

Oooh wheee…

And then Sharpless asks Butterfly how old she is.


I thought I was gonna come out of my seat and put the funky beat down on Pinkerton.

The last thing a pre-menstrual, single, gimped up 40 year old woman needs to (or wants to) see is a young woman child going into a train wreck.

Around these parts we call that the Drew Peterson syndrome.

The neck rolling, teeth sucking and eye rolling was monumental.

I was so pissed.

Not just railing as usual, but actually pissed.

I was so pissed I was my Sam Adams straight from the bottle AT THE OPERA!

During the intermission the nice lady behind me said, “Dear, you know its make believe? Right?”

Clearly I was having a psychotic break.

You see Butterfly really did love him. When she sang Un bel di I was in tears.

Child, I was the hottest mess in Chicago.

I was such a hot mess that I had to leave before the opera was over.

I’m such no one wanted to read the headline, “Crazed Black Woman shoots Lyric Tenor After Break With Reality.”

But I really do have a purpose for telling this story.

Other than the fact I’ll be really scared for anyone who meets me when I’m going through menopause (Which really isn’t too far off when you think about it.)

While I have my issues with some operas, it’s certainly well worth the experience.

Prohibitive costs aside; everyone should have a chance to see great art.
If you haven’t noticed, our country has slipped into a tad of a cultural abyss.

In the early 90’s school boards across the country sacrificed gym, recess, music and art to balance their budgets.

Now we’ve got a country of slovenly rubes that identify the “Ride of the Valkyries” as the Blues Brother’s song.

My bad, if you were a child born in the early 90’s you wouldn’t know that.

Let me try again---Now we’ve got a country of slovenly rubes that identify the “Ride of the Valkyries” as the song from the Hyundai commercial.

Sweet Baby Jesus.

But there is one man who’s making a difference.

The effervescent Neil Steinberg of the Chicago Sun Times is trying to turn the tide of dumbassness and cultural ignorance by giving away 100 tickets to Pagliacci & Cavalleria Rusticana on February 18th.

Granted, the clown is crazy and I think he pushes his poor put upon wife into cheating on him, but that’s just my opinion.

If you want to know what I’m talking about, go see the production or pray that luck is on your side and you win a ticket.

But whatever you do, don’t yell out “Laugh, clown! Laugh!”

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Site Manager

For those of you who’ve been long time readers already know I wasn’t going to let this Metropolitan foolishness fade to black.

In fact, since I seemingly couldn’t get any answers that I needed; I did what every resourceful, tax paying Chicagoan should do-----I called the police.

Well not 911 but the 3rd District CAPS office.

I started chatting with one nice police officer who then referred me to another nice police officer.

I’m gonna be honest with you, I thought this was shaping up to be a pass the buck type of moment.

Fortunately for me that wasn’t the case.

Everyone over at the 3rd District CAPS office has been extremely responsive; so much so that I heard via the grapevine the nice people at TWO recently had a chat with the police.

Now I wasn’t there at this little pow wow but from what I understand the word has come down---ixnay on the parties.

Apparently (and allegedly) no one over at the main TWO office knew anything about the shenanigans on 65th Street.

But they know now.

From what I heard, the site manager took the brunt of the blame in the conversation between the police and the TWO.

While I know it sounds mushy and girlish, I hope he or she doesn’t loose their job---more than likely they won’t. That wasn’t my intention.

My intentions were two fold: (1) Find out who’s making the party decisions at the Metropolitan and (2) Have them understand why it’s not appropriate to book a series of teen parties in a residential neighborhood.

Or strippers for that matter.

So at this point, it appears that things very well may be settling down.

But you never know.

I’ll pass the word along to the neighbors---Vigilance from everyone is required.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Parts of the entrie episode can be found here, here and here

Friday, January 16, 2009

Church Lady Mafia

They may go by a different name in your neck of the woods but I know you've seen them.

In my world, the nice ladies who ride my Metra line are generally quite, considerate and keep to themselves.

They tend to read the Bible or similar inspirational tracts that they received in church.

All in all a very picturesque scene.

Until you sit in a seat that was meant for their friend.

For those of us who know how it works---those of us who ride a commuter train 5 days a week, it is essential that you know your role.

It's essential that you know who reads, who sleeps, who puts their makeup on and who likes to "spread out."

If you take the train seat of one of the SSCLM, that's your ass.

SSCLM is short for the south side church lady mafia.

No harsh words are spoken, no voices are raised.

One look is all it takes.

For the most part you should already know your role.

If you're a regular, you have a tad more standing. Slight infractions might be overlooked.

But if you're repeat offender----It will get ugly real fast.

Real, real fast.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Are You Kidding Me?

Admittedly this isn't the best picture.

But as I walked---limped, gimped---home from the train late Monday night, I was struck by how pretty the snow was on this tree.

The snow is nice to look at, but now that it's freezing due to the sub zero temperatures, it's beauty has increasingly decreased exponentially.

12 below?

12 friggin fraggin below?

If the summers weren't so phenomenal, I'd ditch this ice rink.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Slip and Slide

Convalescence is not for the faint of heart.

I should know, I've been gimped up for nearly three weeks as a result of slipping on the ice a few days before Christmas.

Hairline fractures to my right patella, thank you for asking.

That's kneecap to those of you who may not know.

And let me tell you how challenging it is to do so many of the things you take for granted when your knee is messed up.

Getting dressed, walking down stairs, walking in general---all so painful to do when you can't bend your knee.

Let's not even talk about getting in and out of the shower or going to the bathroom.

Especially when your bathroom is not ADA compliant.

If the cat had a camera attached to his head, I'm sure the resulting footage would be sheer comedy.

But on the morning I slipped it sure wasn't.

I took a header in front of the Bank of America building near the corner of LaSalle & Jackson across the street from the Federal Reserve.

I'm sure that fall was sheer comedy as well.

That morning was brutally cold and ice was everywhere.

I thought I missed the sheets of ice in front of the building by stategically stepping around them but apparently I was wrong.

Oh so painfully wrong.

When I slipped I planted my feet so I could fall backwards. Apparently that strategy didn't work as after I was helped to my feet I felt something very wrong with my right knee.

24 hours, an emergency room vist and a couple of glasses of wine later I was on the road to recovery.

It still hurts like a mother but I will say it's getting better, so at least I'm making progress.

And by making progress I mean being to go to the bathroom without as much pain.

Unfortunately I won't be doing any of the dance scenes from Royal Wedding anytime soon.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Post Script

Just wanted to keep you all in the loop on a couple of recent developments:

Per my expectations, the driver responsible for my latest bootleg cab experience has been found liable of violating the municipal code of Chicago.

I bet you he won't ask another person to prepay if they happen to live on the south side.

When will people learn that one way or the other, that they'll pay the price for their ignorance.

My Developer, Carlton Knight, goes back to court on the 12th of this month. He wil appear before the Hon. William Pileggi in regards to the buidling violations in the Marquette Road condo development.

Naturally, I'm sure there will be yet another loophole for him to slip through to not comply with the building codes.

Go figure.

Rumor has it that he was granted more time by Judge Pileggi due to the fact that he was making an effort to move forward on the work.

I wonder if the good judge would be as understanding with Mr. Knight if he knew the intersting circumstances surrounding the single family townhome at 32nd & Rhodes.

Now I will say that my time has been spent the past year or so scratching around, looking for and keeping multiple jobs.

So my Inch High Private Eye game may be off a bit.

But the last time I checked, Mr. Knight did not have a valid City of Chicago real estate developer's license.

Furthermore, the property at 32nd & Rhodes was supposed to continue to be a hole in the ground until Mr. Knight got his seemingly questionable permits approved by way of a legitimate developer's license.

Clearly that wasn't the case.

Per this listing the single family townhome is nearing completion and delivery.

Now Mr. Knight could have applied for and received his real estate developer's license.

He could have sold the property and another limited liability company (or corporation) may have scooped it up.

This project may be totally on the up and up.

Yet if Mr. Knight is still heavily involved---and I tend to think he is---I would consider his past real estate efforts and total up the wins for the owners in the won/loss column.

You tell me who comes out wanting.

So let's play hypothetical.

If I'm a "real estate developer" who dosen't have a City of Chicago real estate developer's license and yet I still get permits and the like pushed through one of two things springs to mind---I either said that the development was for myself and turn around and put it on the commercial market


Things are not as squeeky clean and monitored as the city would like us to believe.

Hypothetically speaking of course.

Lastly, you've never seen a happier woman than me watching the salt trucks go down our humble little street last night.

What was previously a two block ice rink prior to a drastic turn around in snow removal and salting policy has now become a passable throughfare.

Which is good considering I'm all gimpy from my recent tumble.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


Lately there's been a little too much room for cars on our street.

Normally it's nuts to buts attempting to park.

I don't have a car, but living down here for seven years I know that if you're not home and parked by 6:30, you'll be parking on the next block.

Something wasn't adding up.

Coincidentally, the trash on the parkway has dropped dramatically.

It wasn't until I walked east toward Stony Island and looked at the building next to the Astor Properties debacle did I figure it out:

It's empty.

I haven't seen anyone parking in front of or going in or out of the building in the past two weeks.

Because I normally take the Metra to work, I rarely pass by the other end of the block. But when I put my thinking cap on, it all made sense.

I bet you that building is going condo.

And as we all know, depending on who buys the units and/or who moves in that may or may not be a good thing for the 'hood.

If the Astor Properties building is any indication, we may have another weed choked yard in the near future.

I'll keep you posted.