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Barrington Hillbillies

“TV families are a lot like real families. They always come together for Thanksgiving. For the ultimate TV Thanksgiving, look no further than the 1968 episode of The (Barrington) Hillbillies, The Thanksgiving Spirit.”

The crossover episode not only features the Clampetts, it features the cast members of Green Acres and Petticoat Junction. The episode culminates with a shared dinner that includes characters from the three shows.” (Source)

Editorial note: Many preferred to use the phrase, “Barrington Hillbillies,” when referring to the political antics of some in our “oasis of another time” Village, but that subsided until recently when the Cecola Administration took office. Now the popularity of that phrase is experiencing a resurgence.

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Why ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ is the ultimate Thanksgiving movie – and how John Hughes turned a buddy comedy into a Turkey Day classic.

Rolling Stone | Jason Diamond

Thanksgiving is all about the buildup.

You wait for it, that long weekend that you know will include family, maybe some football, plenty of food, and then leftovers and sales the day after that. Everything looks great in those weeks leading up to the fourth Thursday in November, until it all goes to hell, with that long drive probably filled with holiday traffic and the drunk relatives whose opinions you really don’t care to hear about. The anticipation of the holiday is fun. The drama that ensues during it is not.

That’s one of the many brilliant things about 1987’s Planes, Trains and Automobilesthe last truly great movie that John Hughes took on the triple job of writer, producer and director before slowly fading into the background, eventually all but vanishing from public view until his death in 2009. The buildup to the holiday weekend that Steve Martin’s Neal Page experiences as he tries to make it home from New York City to Chicago looks about as enjoyable as Dante’s exploration of the Inferno. And if we’re using that classic poem as an analogy, Del Griffith, played masterfully by John Candy, makes a horrible Virgil on the duo’s hellish journey back to the windy city.

Of course, this all equals comedic gold for viewers. Martin and Candy together is really the kind of pairing people dream of. The former, a few years completely removed from his standup days, was starting to inch away from zanier works like The Jerk and The Three Amigos and move closer towards his more family-friendly fare of the 1990s. For the latter, it was the start of a fruitful working relationship with Hughes, one that would see the SCTV alum go on to star in The Great Outdoors (1988), Uncle Buck (1989) and a small role in Home Alone (1990).

And for Hughes, it was the beginning of a new phase in his own career as well. Planes, Trains and Automobiles was his first attempt to make films aimed more at adults and kids, moving away from the teen movies that helped him make his mark in Hollywood. The Great Outdoors and Uncle Buck were both successful at the box office (though 1988’s She’s Having a Baby was a critical and commercial letdown), and the director would close out the decade by successfully revisiting the Griswolds, a family based off the short stories he wrote for National Lampoon in the late 1970s. Christmas Vaction was the first time Hughes would use the holiday as inspiration for his work; he’d return to December 25th as the basis for the first two Home Alone films, as well as the somewhat underrated (and way darker than you might remember) remake of Miracle on 34th Street. But while Planes didn’t bring in the same overflowing bags of box-office loot as the saga of Macaulay Culkin torturing two idiot burglars, it did end up as something else: a Thanksgiving classic.

Read more here.

Editorial note: Both copies of PTA are checked out of the Barrington Area Library, but Best Buy in Deer Park has two (2) on the shelf for $5.99.

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Hart Pooch

“Do you know who this beautiful puppy belongs to? She was found near Hart Road and Route 14. Contact Animal Care Center of Barrington with information at 847-381-4100.” (Posted at midnight)

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By John Kass

November 16, 2022

America has been feasting for years on angry politics and toxic politics and tribal politics. Many of us are literally fed up. And Thanksgiving is coming.

The White House picks turkeys to get a pardon. Can’t Americans be pardoned from the exhausting drama of politics? And before one of you starts screaming at me in the voice of the Napoleonic duelist Harvey Keitel to say that I never loved the emperor, all I’m asking is this:

As we prepare for Thanksgiving can we just push back from the table a little bit and set aside the warclubs, tomahawks and swords?

Yes, I know this will upset the true political warriors, but can we keep the tomahawks out where they belong, at least for Thanksgiving, just outside the doors of the lodge? Unclean, somewhat grisly tomahawks should be nowhere near the Thanksgiving table. The mere sight will ruin the appetite and kill dinner conversation.

Even so, Trump’s pronouncements from Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday night bear digesting. His words will take some time to sort out. I don’t feel like blasting out some quick hot take about Trump and the Republicans. I’ve already done that. And now I’d rather consider, and digest what the former president says and take my time.

It may be that the former president’s time has passed, that Republicans appreciate his combat with the establishment but now they’re looking to move on. At least, that’s the media theory, and you know how fairly Trump has been treated by the American media.

Or, it may just be that he’s been playing a turtle trick, hiding back in his shell to see who will come out against him and then grab them like that old snapping turtle in the muddy waters.

I’d like to clear my mind and ride a good horse in the snow. A fine high stepping sure-footed horse, a Friesian horse or maybe a good old American quarter horse. A horse in need of good work, the horse stopping on the trail, breath pluming, maybe an antlered buck with his head up nearby.

I’m tired of the drama, Mr. Trump. And I think many Americans are tired of it. The thing is, I can’t stand the left, I can’t stand the media that simpers about “speaking truth to power,” yet carries the left’s water day after day on behalf of Big Tech and Big Government and the Security State and mocks the American people. Watch the lefty cable news, read what we used to call “mainstream media,” and the sense you get from them about Republicans is that we’re the people the country is supposed to hate with reason.

But I’m also tired of the drama. Maybe someone who could read animal tracks in the snow can look over those political numbers from the mid-term election and see the evidence of Americans dragging their heels, tired of constant drama, dreading the next news cycle.

Leading up to the Trump event announcement, the other day on The Chicago Way podcast with Jeff Carlin, and again in my free column off the podcast, I wondered if Trump was about to “jump the shark” like Fonzie in the old “Happy Days” sit com, and wear a leather jacket like the Fonz while water skiing near Mar-a-Lago.

Or are his voters committed to the fight with him in the lead? They can’t just be whipped on in a frenzy, with screams of “lock her up,” not if you want a nation at the end of victory. They must be inspired to reach for the greater good, inspired to exhort each other to that good. That’s leadership. It leaves something behind worth building.

Politics is important, yes. But Thanksgiving is coming, and thanking God is also important, too. And the nation needs a break. The presidential election is two years away. President Joe Biden doesn’t know what time it is, he can’t remember the time if you wrote it on his forehead. He can’t stay up late, even in crisis. And now we’re told that missiles fell in Poland and now NATO wants to ratchet us up to World War III. As we stumble ever closer to nuclear war, the rest of us could use a few days of peace, even if Biden is mercifully isolated away from world leaders and media and left to chatter to himself in a room alone.

Read on here.

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Editorial note: Downtown Chicago has had a near epidemic of street racing recently (seeMore deaths tied to drifting and street racing), so this will likely only serve to encourage the situation. Brilliant, Lori.

Chicago Racing

Tickets went on sale this week for the first-ever NASCAR Chicago Street Race, a 2.2-mile course around Grant Park over the July Fourth weekend in 2023. The priciest option is for temporary skyboxes above the pit road, shown in an artist’s rendering, where tickets for the President’s Paddock Club cost more than $3,000 each. (NASCAR/Chicago Street Race)

The NASCAR Chicago Street Race, which is set to transform Grant Park into a pop-up urban racecourse during July Fourth weekend, is hoping to get some traction this week with the opening of its Chicago office and the launch of ticket sales.

NASCAR anticipates 100,000 attendees will descend on Chicago for its first-ever street course event, which will include two days of racing, concerts and other festivities.

Tickets will not come cheaply, however. On Tuesday, NASCAR began selling two-day reserved tickets starting at $465. Two-day general admission tickets, which start at $269, will go on sale a couple of months down the road.

Premium club seats run a lot higher. At the top of the list are temporary hospitality suites perched above the pit road, where tickets for the President’s Paddock Club cost more than $3,000 each, according to the NASCAR Chicago website.

“It’s a temporary hospitality structure very similar to what you would see at a golf tournament,” said Julie Giese, 45, a veteran NASCAR executive named president of the Chicago Street Race. “Those are two-day experiences, all inclusive of food and beverage, with access to the concerts and the races.”

Giese said the ticket pricing for Chicago is comparable to other NASCAR races, including the permanent hospitality suites at facilities such as Daytona International Speedway in Florida, where she was previously involved in the $400 million redevelopment of that track.

Read more here.

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Crain’s Chicago Business’ editorial board is endorsing a ‘no’ vote on Amendment 1. Two Crain’s columnists did so, also, because of the unchecked power it would grant government unions.

Crain’s Chicago Business is the newest editorial board asking Illinoisans to reject Amendment 1.

Prior to the editorial board’s endorsement, two of their columnists wrote against the amendment as well as The Wall Street JournalChicago TribuneDaily Herald and News-Gazette in Champaign.

In addition to editorial boards, a prominent Democrat, former Chicago 43rd Ward Ald. Michele Smith, endorsed voting “no” on Amendment 1.

Crain’s Editorial Board

Crain’s endorses a no vote because of the effect Amendment 1 would have on Illinois’ business climate. Voters will decide its fate Nov. 8.

“In fact, it’s the very last thing this state needs. Bestowing special constitutional status on unions would give companies one more reason to avoid Illinois.”

This year, businesses such as Tyson, Citadel, Boeing, Caterpillar, FTX and Highland Ventures announced moves out of Illinois. McDonald’s restaurants said its headquarters’ future in Illinois is uncertain.

When Gov. J.B. Pritzker visited the Crain’s editorial board, he discussed impediments to businesses coming to Illinois. The state’s fiscal mess creating tax uncertainty and Chicago crime were on his list, but the editorial board had a third.

“Though Pritzker didn’t list it, there’s a third impediment – one the governor was eager to back away from in our Oct. 12 conversation. It’s the perception that labor runs the show in Illinois, making it costlier to do business here and nearly impossible to solve the biggest budgetary burden we face as a state – namely, the unfunded obligation of about $130 billion that every man, woman and child in this state owes to our public employee pension systems.”

They said passing Amendment 1 would be a major mistake.

Read more here.

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

In a world of sleek movie multiplexes, Barrington’s Catlow Theater was something special.

Younger visitors might not have appreciated its charm. After all, the seats weren’t the cushy recliners you find in newer theaters. The bathrooms were cramped. Hot new films took longer to get there.

But film buffs didn’t flock to the Catlow to see superhero flicks on their opening weekend or catch the latest rom-com in comfort. They were there to soak up the place’s unique character, to enjoy a sense of community and to embrace the history of a movie house that dates back to the dawn of the talkies.

Last week, Tim O’Connor announced he had sold the Catlow, a theater he had owned for 41 years. Taking over is Brian Long, a Barrington resident and owner of Long & Co. Jewelers on Main Street. That he has strong ties to the community — and has been a champion of the Catlow — is reassuring.

“My main concern with selling the theater was that somebody would keep it as the Catlow,” O’Connor told reporter Steve Zalusky last week. “We had planned on maybe putting live music in there and maybe showing movies at the same time. He seems to be on board with it. This is going to keep going for generations.”

We hope he’s right.

The Daily Herald editorial continues here.

Editorial note: We wholeheartedly agree with the spirit of this and prior Daily Herald commentaries. But, the cold hard reality is parking is so severely limited to potential movie patrons by the Village of Barrington, Jewel and other retailers that it’s doubtful the Catlow will open again as a movie theater.

In fact, the Village of Barrington is considering closing Park Avenue (seeBarrington Village Unveils Plans for Proposed Park Avenue Plaza with Outdoor Dining, Gathering, Green Space”) a block an a half away from the Catlow, and eliminating parking for retail businesses.

Nonetheless, we wish the new owners of the Catlow the best of luck, and this publication will do everything possible to help them succeed.

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Fifty-two years ago, Illinois adopted a new state constitution that favored a special interest through language that would later decimate the state’s finances and drive the tax burden to among the nation’s highest: the pension protection clause.

That one provision locked Illinois and its taxpayers into funding unsustainable retirement promises for government workers. Even though Illinoisans continue to make pension payments that eat into funding for other critical services, the state’s pension funds have still built up debt that Moody’s Investors Service estimates to be more than $300 billion and other forecasts predict will grow to $143 billion this year.

Now a proposal for another constitutional clause, Amendment 1, threatens to worsen Illinois’ precarious financial situation and place a greater financial burden on taxpayers. Amendment 1 would give that same special interest, government unions, the power to make broad new demands that would drive up the cost of government and force taxpayers to pay the bill. Voters will see this issue at the top of the ballot Nov. 8.

History offers a warning about the dangers of extending special treatment through the Illinois Constitution. When the pension protection clause was first submitted for consideration to the 1970 Constitutional Convention, delegate John Parkhurst of Peoria understood the implications.

“This is a terribly, terribly mischievous amendment,” he said. “It is the desire of a special interest group; it should be legislative; there is no history of impairment; there is no history of welching on any contracts; and to put it in the constitution is simply pandering to a group that haven’t been able to have their way in the General Assembly.”

Today, Illinoisans are feeling the pain of not heeding Parkhurst. The provision’s legacy has been one of costly and unsustainable pension promises. In 1990, 20 years after the new state constitution was adopted, the legislature passed a minimum 3% compounding cost-of-living adjustment completely untethered from inflation. Three years later, the Edgar Ramp, designed to push the pain of pension payments onto future generations, took effect.

Read more here.

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“Pritzker has hitched his political future to the SAFE-T Act. The Illinois Black Caucus is for it, Attorney Gen. Kwame Raul was there as the law was passed in the middle of the night. Why didn’t Kwame say something?”

By John Kass

I was born near the Union Stockyards on the South Side of Chicago.

Early on I learned it was a great neighborhood, with hard, tough, and direct people with big and true hearts. It wasn’t a neighborhood for dreamers. It wasn’t a neighborhood of huggers. And it wasn’t a neighborhood for saps.

We were all taught to have sharp eyes and the lessons were painful.  The men worked at the stockyards or in the can factories on Western. They drank and played 16-inch softball. The women stayed home, minded their kids and their parents and the church. Or they’d sip in silence. It wasn’t ideal.

We’d sit out on the front porches of our two flats, whole families together, commenting on the passing circus of the world.

In Back of the Yards then, nobody had money but the politicians. The rest of us had been thrown together into the giant cast-Iron melting pot, and it was up to each of us to fight our way out of there.

I said it was an honest neighborhood. It wasn’t a neighborhood of fake kindness and virtue signaling, so it wasn’t Oak Park. Nobody would dream about placing a ‘Hate Has No Home Here’ sign in the postage-stamp front yards. Everyone would mock you for a fool. Even the nuns of Visitation Parish would snicker.

It wasn’t a neighborhood of hugs. It was a neighborhood of fists, and we all knew it. And still I loved it and miss it. My cousins lived in two-flats up and down the block. There were fights in the alleys and outside the taverns, and in Sherman Park too, where men like Mr. “Moon” Brannigan became a softball legend.

You didn’t whine. You didn’t complain. There’s no virtue in taking a beating but if you were expected to take one, you kept your mouth shut about it. They took real beatings from cops, metaphorical beatings from judges and aldermen, and bloody beatings from the street gangs.

Read more here.

Related: “McLaughlin cosponsors ‘bills calling for the repeal of the Safe-T Act and for the restoration of monetary bail’

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2000px-Chicago_Tribune_logo.svg_These days, the fight to pass bills and amendments typically begins with pithy — or, some might say, Orwellian — titles. Everyone knows that the controversial SAFE-T Act would have been more honestly described as the End Cash Bail Act, but Democrats clearly decided that everyone likes safety and therefore that name might just hide some of the legitimate worries about whether the bill would result in more violent criminals out on the street.

So it also goes with the so-called Workers’ Rights Amendment, as proposed to the Illinois Constitution. The naming theory here is that every decent person supports the rights of hardworking Illinoisans and, therefore, voters will be more likely to vote in favor.

In this, the first of the Tribune Editorial Board’s 2022 endorsements for the Nov. 8 elections, all to unspool here in coming days, we recommend you reject (to use the dryer, official name) Amendment One to the 1970 Illinois Constitution.

But first, here is what the amendment does.

In essence, Amendment One adds Section 25 to the Bill of Rights Article to the Illinois Constitution. It would enshrine a fundamental constitutional right to organize and bargain collectively and to negotiate salary and other working conditions. Any future state law that bars or restricts those rights would presumably be overruled by the amendment.

And thus, supporters say, workers will have better and more permanent protections in numerous areas, including whistleblower cases, safety violations and health issues. They also say there is a better chance of workers being able to secure higher wages.

Several Illinois unions, including the Chicago Teachers Union, the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois have expressed support for an amendment that, leaving aside any political spin, clearly would greatly increase the power of public sector labor unions. How voters view the amendment likely will turn on how they feel about such a change.

Simply put, the Illinois Constitution then would ban any right-to-work laws (not that Illinois actually has any such law), and employers would be able to require workers to pay dues to unions as a condition of employment — something unions generally like because it can otherwise be challenging to collect those dues.

The Chicago Tribune editorial continues here.

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