Monday, June 23, 2008

For all Our Belly Aching, We Don’t Live in Cedar Rapids’ Squalor

With all the sympathy in the world for China and Iowa, among other losses, I accept that there are a few residents extremely eager to live in a ‘sanitized version’ of an urban Kenilworth.
I applaud these visionaries for their high hopes, but Chicago's Urban life in Rogers Park brings a few challenges with no natural disasters thus far. We live in a diverse world full of information and ignorance. We live in a community of bliss and brilliance, but unclear priorities. We want peace without disrespect or hatred. We dislike certain things; we have every right to express ourselves. Some work to improve their conditions more than others. Vigiliance is not a bad trait. Frankly, suburban existence thrives on its closed doors at times; significant thefts don't always make the blotter.

Whether we consider Alderman Joe Moore, some wannabe gangster, or a local blogger like myself, we all look for attention to our concerns and local pet peeves. A few are unable to locate that missing link for a reasonable and responsible outcome. Trying to seek that ‘holy grail’ is sometimes a futile crusade; it is a humorous exercise not limited to the cast of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

I just could not ignore page 3 of the Chicago Tribune from Sunday. We have our challenges in RP. However, they don’t come in the form of the rising river banks courtesy of Mother Nature. Those entities unknown to date but arguable called “freaks of nature” seem to only come from that lakefront phenomenon known as a ciche [okay, I don't have the time to figure out how to spell the Lake Michigan equivalent of an unexpected swell].

Instead, we have a few irresponsible residents. Some, we hope will wake up and sell Taiwan Li Shan or another legal substance on eBay instead of a controlled substance like Thai Stick in the Jonquil Jungle. BTW, Li Shan Oolong tea sells for an average of $190 a pound on the market. You can find reasonable quality Li Shan for $138 plus shipping from eBay. However, until demand reaches reasonable proportions, this tea will be overlooked by all except the most die hard tea aficionados. I guess that those who want to avoid reality, rather than face it, are willing to more easily part with their money.

Yet, so few spend the time to look at lawful options to make serious money. There is broker churning, insider trading or mortgage fraud, among other diversions. There are those who simply give up instead of putting in hard time, outside of incarceration or a questionable reputation, to learn or point out the attraction that brings respect in any trade.
A few of the optimists still dwell with a realistic and objective appreciation of our surroundings. There is the school of hard knocks and the school of fast knocks, when you seek or market goods. Fast knocks don’t always come from Chicago’s finest these days, so why waste the effort and your days on Earth.

FWIW, there are too few looking at how to wake up the minds of those with little. How do we ease the access and use of education, information, markets, social services and trades. This seems like the wisest means to raise the quality of living in Rogers Park and the residents who live here.

In the restaurant trade, it comes with attentive service and good human relations. If you are a bus boy or a waitress, you ‘kibitz’ and console while serving bisquits and tea, when the chef is inefficient, slow or having a tough day. You don’t sit in the corner and complain about the guests.

In the construction trade, if you don’t have the materials and tools, you work with what you have. You make room for those things that you will have to do in the future. I am sure that have shortened the long list on this one. Logistical challenges are overcome without giving yourself and others headaches during oversight in the project. Project managers depend upon others, as well. Contingencies are worth attention.

Finding reasonable labor in a closed shop city is possible, but takes a little more time and effort. However, there will be those who are too cheap, shrewd, or looking to keep the bottom line too low. This makes Chicago’s challenges that much more realistic. For those moments, we really depend in some trust, not necessarily the local inspectors who seem overwhelmed. A few are willing to use limited discretion and fear losing their jobs or stifling development. We can only hope the Alderman does not ignore tradesmen, while kissing up to them. How many contractors in Chicago 'reasonably rely' upon the local IBEW or the Plumbing Council? How many neighbors have bothered to inquire to find out how much it really costs for a journeymen, among others, to do the job? How many of us have ever tried to reasonably get a job with a union in the last year?

Life takes time and effort. If you get cash handed in your lap, then 'chances are' it is going to disappear with interest and anxiety without the hard work to retain it.

Why is there poverty? Where can G-d or anyone begin! There is no exact answer to everyone’s excuse or actual priorities. Ignorance of people’s actual priorities, the desire to make a fast buck without the communications skills/wisdom, and all sorts of other intangibles are sometimes the function of chance and planning. Some just want to sit around and drink a beer off of another’s earnings. C’est le Vie! However, there is some bias so let's face it. We can ill affort to incorporate bigotry in our day job or our lives. We are a nation of minorities, who need to find strength in our similarities and differences.

No one is going to end all of the ignorance in the world by eliminating those that refuse or unable to listen. Finding the right flavored carrot to get them to eat is not a task left to the social scientists. Only those who yearn for affluence enough that they can taste it will take that road. Few want to spend ten years away from the community for the seeking the wrong product to sell. However, ignorance is bliss, until your dead or dumbfounded, along with your family.

Frankly, some people don’t want all of that money and just don’t care. They just want enough, but the economy keeps moving in a direction. It forces us to re-evaluate where to go next. Sometimes 'just enough' never seems like enough. That is, until you wake up and look at where you are now compared to where you were five years ago. Sometimes, success look evasive based upon our state of mind.

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