Greetings. Shalom. Salaam.
Over the last few centuries, the 20th of particular note, my name was misappropriated with reckless abandon. A quick perusal of the modern world shows that I have: islands, mines, several delicatessens, a key, and much more. I receive bupkis in residuals from said, but I’ll let it slide—including that magnet school in North Park—because I need not for cash.
What I need these days is stimulation.
Back in the BC, I was amply stimulated, what with the 1,000-plus mix of wives and concubines at my disposal, not to mention the occasional dalliance with a traveling queen.
These days, and thanks in part to the whole idolatrous, kingdom-dividing end to my human career, I’m stuck in limbo at about 30,000 feet as an enormous, invisible floating head; and since I’m susceptible to swirling metropolitan weather systems—not to mention a good piece of deep dish (wink)— I’m stuck over the Second City this summer until Andy Avalos gives me the nod.
But then I get this call from the nice boys at ChicagoSide, asking if maybe I can settle some business and answer some questions—once-and-for-all questions about sports and recreation from the everyday Chicagoan, and maybe a few Dear Shlomo-esque requests. Questions like…
Q: Cubs or White Sox? (Sam Roos, Lakeview)
A: Remember the baby and the meshuga moms? All I had to do was threaten a quick little David Copperfield maneuver and the real mother made herself known. Point was: To love something, truly, is to protect it; to be incapable of seeing it permanently broken without breaking yourself. While every White Sox fan worth his or her weight in nachos—$15 for a 5-pound helmet? Really?—loves that team, a Cubs fan would sooner be doused in Old Style and set on fire than see his team and its Friendly Confines destroyed. The Cubs (in the abstract) are members of the Cubs fan’s family, and Wrigley is a second home. If you gave the Cubs community two choices: the destruction of Wrigley and the dissolution of the team, or the full replacement of the franchise by the White Sox, my heart says the majority’d take the latter.
Q: Ketchup on your hot dog, King? (Ralph, South Loop)
A: When I rode the throne in Jerusalem, our ketchup was just lamb’s blood thickened with sand and sweetened with a little cane sugar. We put that shit on everything. I think the real question is, Do you know what’s in a hot dog? You might as well drizzle a little ethanol and tap out a Marlboro on that wiener and then shove it up your tuchas. Real talk. Oh, and nice try on the trick question. If I was tangible and had arms and an army, I’d have you drawn and eighthed.
Q: Is running, biking, etc. really a sport? (Daniel Kach, Lincoln Park)
A: Daniel, son, tamer of lions, you bless me with your prophetic presence.
First, to the Runners of Chicago: No. At best, yours is a recreational activity, salubrious for the body and soul, that can be made moderately competitive but cannot be labeled as legitimate sport. At it’s heart, running is no more special than walking, or talking, or chewing; to be sporting is to use intrinsic human process(es) to achieve something with extrinsic value. Now, if your running is motivated by a vengeful horde set on dismemberment, and you are forced to navigate obstacles, scavenge for sustenance, or seek secret shelter, then your running would in fact create sport…for the horde.
Second, to the Cyclists of Chicago: Whatever you say. Y’all are cy-chotic.
Q: Put these miracles, actual and hypothetical, in order from most impressive to least impressive—Moses splits the Red Sea, Jesus raises Lazarus, Cubs win the World Series, and the “Miracle On Ice.” (Shmuel Davidovich, Skokie)
1a. Moses splits the Red Sea.
1b. Miracle On Ice (Herb Brooks : Moses :: Russian Team : Red Sea?)
2b. Cubs win the World Series (Theo Epstein : Jesus :: Cubs : Lazarus?)
Q: How will I get to Sox games next year without the Red Line? (Mr. Strauss, Lakeview)
A: I’ve seen you, Strauss. Just last week you made two visits to Bobtail on Broadway, each time coming out with a double scoop of Daley Addiction. I know you, Strauss. And just like almost every other Sox fan in Chicago—especially those slumming it on the North Side—you still haven’t gone to a game this season. So how will you get to Sox games next year? The same way you get to them this year: on television.
Q: Should the Bears show Matt Forte the money? (Phil E. , South Loop)
A: They already did: $7.7 million franchise tender. The rest of the shekels for the running back position went to the Bruising Bush from Oakland—this signing was a truly Solomon-esque move that both helps Forte on the field, and hurts him at the negotiation table. The Bush deal deflated Forte’s leverage in his efforts to wrangle a long-term deal with $20 million guaranteed, as Bush is a serviceable chain-mover on a newly pass-first offense on a team with an aging defense in a league that no longer mythologizes star running backs. On the field, Bush’s bulk will save Matt from shouldering all the between-the-tackles battles required in December, and by extension, extend Forte’s career…so he can make more money. Either way, Matt needs to get into camp, get into the offense, and get his soft tissue ready for September.