Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A DAY IN THE LIFE (of Chicago): 18 heads. But who’s the recipient?

When I first saw the headlines connecting “O’Hare airport” and “18 human heads,” my first reaction was to think that somebody accidentally dug up an old burial ground in the areas right around the airport.

Which would be sad, but not exactly tragic. Re-interment is always possible.

BUT THE REALITY is something even more bizarre.

For it seems the human heads are meant for some sort of medical research, but no one is sure who the recipient of the skulls is meant to be.

Both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday that the packages arrived at O’Hare International Airport from Rome just before Christmas. There are goods that get shipped through the airport, as well as people.

But it doesn’t seem that the heads are meant for anyone in Chicago. It seems they were meant to be put onto a different flight for somewhere else.

WHETHER IT IS bad penmanship, or someone’s carelessness, or who knows why, it seems that the label on the package (actually, the package is three coolers meant to preserve the heads in as close to prime condition as is possible) wasn’t clear.

So now, we have the Cook County medical examiner’s office storing the heads until that question is resolved – with the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and Customs all trying to figure out who the heads belong to. Although later in the day Tuesday, it came out that the heads may wind up being cremated -- with the medical examiner having to make the arrangements.

The odd part is that no one has come forward to claim them yet. If they are truly for research purposes, you’d think that someone would anxiously be awaiting their arrival – and would have said something to someone about the fact that a package due nearly a month ago hasn’t arrived yet.

What else these days is noteworthy along the southwestern shores of Lake Michigan?

A GUILT-FREE CONGRESS?:  I happened to catch President Barack Obama’s nationally-televised address this week while eating lunch in between news reporting assignments, and couldn’t help but nearly lose it.

It was Obama’s admission that while he wants stricter measures concerning firearms purchases, he knows he’s not going to get them. Which is realistic. But Obama said that members of Congress will “have to examine their own conscience” to determine what to do.

As though the president thinks he can shame the politicos of Capitol Hill into doing the proper thing – instead of knuckling under to the National Rifle Association and other firearms advocates.

I think a segment of our Congress (and our society as a whole) has shown its “conscience” on this issue is off in its own world – one where they are just a little too eager to have the “right” to shoot another human being whom they perceive as intruding on their “space.”

OPRAH ON LANCE – DO WE REALLY CARE?:  I don’t plan to watch Oprah Winfrey’s broadcast of an interview she had with Lance Armstrong – the man whose seven titles for bicycling have been stripped because of his use of drugs meant to artificially boost his performance.

It’s not that I’m one of those people who refuses to watch Oprah on some grand principle – it’s just that I could care less these days about anything related to Armstrong.

As far as the athletic world is concerned, he has been punished. As far as criminal justice is concerned, the statute of limitations has long passed. What would come out of anything that Armstrong said to Winfrey?

You might as well try to interview one-time baseball slugger Reggie Jackson to ask him whether he really stuck his hip into the path of a thrown baseball during the 1978 World Series to prevent a double play from being completed.


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