Chicago May Be Most Ironic City Ever

Who could beat the Windy City?

The Chicago Irony Meter has officially exploded.

Not surprisingly, it was Mayor Daley who did the honors. But he had a lot of help this week.

For example, the Meter almost broke when we found out Todd Stroger had an outstanding tax bill after he vetoed a repeal of his controversial sales tax increase. It was already straining after Stroger continued to deny the county is stuffed with incompetent patronage hires even as the details of his bringing aboard a troubled steakhouse bus boy came to light.

But then, anything is possible in the city that gave America a reform president whose chief of staff is Rahm Emanuel. After all, our former reform governor is under a 19-count indictment and the General Assembly that impeached him is trying to kill in its crib the legislative proposals of the new, actual reform governor. Unpack the layers in that one.

A City Council moaning about its marginalization took up the hot-button issue of how many dogs to allow per household and spent more time on Art Institute fees than a 75-year parking meter privatization.

The city is giving subsidies to the folks who changed the name of the Sears Tower so they can redecorate, but can't come up with the money to fix potholes. Maybe they can ask Willis to sponsor pothole repair instead of KFC.

Speaking of subsidies, here in Chicago we give money to the affluent so they can buy homes made for the poor in order to get richer while taking homes from the poor in order to give them better places to live that are never built - except when they are built and sold to the affluent. Got that?

The mayor put us over the top, though, with his statement on Thursday that Chicago leads by example when it comes to ethics reform.

Yes, but leads us where? To the pokey?

What's next, we find out Lou Piniella is a Buddhist? That Tom Dart has a partial interest in the Mustang Ranch? That Patti Blagojevich may replace Rod on a reality TV show because she's the one that isn't yet indicted? Oh, that's really happening. The irony? The Blagos, whose voracious fundraising is what got them in trouble in the first place, need the money.

Every novelty item loosely connected with Barack Obama seems to be making millions, but the folks who make the clothes on his back are in bankruptcy. Then again, so are the city's two major dailies and it's biggest weekly -- even as they continue to tell everyone else how to handle their business.

Even Oprah is ironic -- with a capital I. Has any self-help guru ever been so unable to help herself? Still unmarried and struggling with her weight.

Oprah recently shared her magazine cover with Michelle Obama, who recently wore a pair of $540 shoes to help out at a food bank. Those could have bought a lot of meals, but then the Obamas haven't always been that charitable.

Especially compared to the Tribune Company, which just had a judge approve $13 million in bonuses to keep them motivated after doing such a good job laying off boatloads of colleagues, including 60 who were denied $2 million in severance pay. Bonus: the Tribune Company, whose flagship paper has had a field day with Stroger, is being audited.

Finally, it turns out the Blackhawks are the most exciting team in town -- and they didn't even need to bring in Milton Bradley to "ignite" the team with his special brand of "intensity" to do it. They do have the Cubs old marketing director, though.

All he ever wanted to do was win a World Series with the Cubs. He may win a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks instead.

I don't know if that's ironic, but as they say, it's close enough for government work. In this town, anyway.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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