Monday, April 4, 2011

A DAY IN THE LIFE (of Chicago): Inter-gallactic visitors “do” the South Side?

I’ll be the first to admit the truth behind the statement that UFO’s were in Chicago airspace on April 2, 2011. By that, I mean that something was flying in the skies, and neither I nor most other people have any clue what it was.
What would E.T. think of the South Side?

That fits the definition of “unidentified” flying object to me.

SURE ENOUGH, SEVERAL people indicated seeing bizarre lights in the skies above the South Side on Saturday night. My first guess would be to think that they were airplanes coming out of Midway Airport, except that the reports (including video snippets shot by people who couldn’t resist the chance to pull out their cellular telephones and take pictures) indicate the “lights” moved about in patterns unheard of by any aircraft known to man.

Because those people shot video of wildly-moving lights, this story is getting picked up by television broadcasts across the country. It seems that the sure-fire way to get on the television news is to provide video.

Don’t do anything actually significant. Just come up with a goofy picture or two. That will get you more air-time than winning a Nobel Peace Prize (hear that, George Ryan?).

The part of this story that captures my attention is that these objects were reportedly seen over the South Side – 35th Street and Western Avenue, to be exact.

WHICH MAKES ME wonder what any inter-gallactic visitors who allegedly were responsible for the lights would actually think of our fair city. It’s not like they checked out our downtown skyline or the other sights.

It’s not even like they could go to a Sox game – they were about 1 ½ miles west of U.S. Cellular Field, and anyway, the White Sox were in Cleveland that day to play the Indians.

And in the end, a group called the Baby James Foundation rallying against child abuse nearby at 35th Street and Archer Avenue took credit for the “lights,” saying they released sky lanterns as part of their program. Which sounds too much like a bad conspiracyfrom an X-files parody.

What else was notable about life on the southwestern shores of Lake Michigan?

IT’S A BIRD. IT’S A PLANE. NO, IT’S A GOOF!:  There was another flying object in the skies over Chicago this weekend. Only this one is completely identifiable.

Chicago Police say patrol officers heard a “loud, popping” sound near a construction site on Wacker Drive early Sunday, then saw a man come floating to the ground. It seems the man, a native of Ottawa, Ill., used a parachute to jump from the upper floors of the structure – which will someday be 90 floors tall.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that police, after checking to see the man did not injure himself, placed him under arrest. The charge will be reckless conduct – for which he will appear in Misdemeanor Court next month.

It’s too bad the man couldn’t have pulled his stunt about six hours earlier. Then perhaps he could have used his unique view from the skies to tell us all definitively what those lights were that flew about the South Side.

OPENING DAZE!?!:  The late baseball mogul Bill Veeck once described the difference between Chicago White Sox and Cubs fans by saying that Cubs fans go to games to relax, while the last thing a White Sox fan would ever do to put himself at ease would be to watch baseball.

I couldn’t help but sense the truth in that statement (which he made in his book, “The Hustler’s Handbook”) this weekend – watching the White Sox start off the 2011 season by taking two of three games from the Cleveland Indians. That included the 15-10 Opening Day victory on Friday.

His "wisdom" lives on
Yet the cynic in me can’t help but notice that the White Sox, in that first game, would have been humiliated by a 10-1 loss, had they not managed to jump out to that early 14-0 lead. Then on Sunday, shortstop Alexi Ramirez hit into the first triple play of Major League Baseball’s season. Now the White Sox go on to Kansas City to play the Royals (who managed to start out their season by winning three of four games from the Los Angeles Angels), before finally having their Opening Day Thursday against the Tampa Bay (not so devilish) Rays.

As for those Cubs? They started the season by losing two of three games to the Pittsburgh Pirates, including a Sunday afternoon game where they took a lead into the 9th inning before blowing it. Yet I’m sure many Cubs fans were just thankful to sit in the chill of Wrigley Field, pretending that the ivy on the walls was fully-green, the grass had grown to full length and that their team had a clue.


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