1. Customers don’t get their Ventra cards in the mail when they’re supposed to.
2. Some customers get literally hundreds of other peoples’ Ventra cards in the mail.
3. Customers don’t get the required email pass code via email to activate cards.
4. Customers report double, sometimes triple, charges when using Ventra cards.
5. Ventra card-reader outages hit most CTA stations during rush-hour.
6. Vetnra card-readers charge customers’ Chase Bank accounts (via Crain’s Chicago).
7. Ventra customer-service telephone lines are understaffed and only operational certain hours of the day/week.
8. Ventra customer-service telephone lines are stunningly unhelpful.
9. Customers using the pre-tax funding option are reportedly being associated with the wrong company.
10. Ventra officials have repeatedly stated they “don’t know” when any of these problems will be fixed.
11. In part, because new problems keep emerging.
12. No one anywhere has ever provided anything remotely close to an decent explanation as to why this system was forced on the city in the first place.
13. Ventra is now coming to Metra trains.
14. I’m all for bombastic hyperbole, but in all seriousness - what the hell is going on? How can this be allowed to continue? Absolutely every single aspect of the introduction and roll-out (conception, execution, technological, customer relations, social media/crisis handling) have been bungled. There is no witty remark my fantastically sarcastic mind can create that encompasses the utter *fuckery* of the entire endeavor.
15. By all means, Mr. Mayor, continue to send deep dish pizza to ‘The Daily Show’. Because that’s what’s really important.
Thank you, Blackhawks. You were all we had, and you gave us Chicagoans everything. Record setting seasons. Pucks to the face. Beating three of the last five champions to lift the cup for the second time in four calendar years.
Thank you, Blackhawks fans for mostly behaving yourselves (but really guys…the macaroni noodle? Really?). I have never experienced anything like Clark Street last night.
Thank you Stanton, Pirri, Lalonde, LeBlanc, Bollig, Smith, Brookbank, Morin, Mayers, Carcillo, Hayes, Handzus, Frolik, Hjalmarsson, Rozsival, Oduya, Kruger, Bolland, Shaw, Leddy, Sharp, Seabrook, Stalberg, Bickell, Saad, Keith, Hossa, Toews and Kane.
Thank you, Coach Q (and staff). Only the third coach since the 1st World War to win multiple championships in Chicago.
Thank you, Coach Q, for being the only Chicago coach other than Phil to win multiple championships during my lifetime.
Thank you, Stan Bowman. You are the first GM to win multiple Stanley Cups since the salary cap was instituted in 2005. You have the foundation of a dynasty and Chicago is hungry for more.
Thank you, Rocky Wirtz. You rescued the team from the brink of oblivion. You returned a lost franchise to a position of prominence. You have given Chicagoans a marvelous thing and we are better sports fans because of your efforts.
Thank you, all.
Poem: The Sad State of Chicago Sports
The Chicago Bulls:
Luol Deng has needles being shoved into his spine, is in the ER.
Joakim Noah has half a foot.
Kirk Hinrich is in (literally) one million pieces.
Nate Robinson is throwing up on the sidelines.
Taj Gibson is also throwing up and has a hurt knee.
Nazi Muhammad died in 2006 and was reanimated to play this year.
Derrick Rose refuses to play because he doesn’t want to.
The coach has done an amazing job and should win Coach of the Year.
The Chicago White Sox:
Gavin Floyd is having Tommy John’s surgery.
Jake Peavy has a history of being hurt in Chicago.
Paul Konerko is 47,000 years old.
Adam Dunn might be bad at baseball.
Gordon Beckham has a broken hand.
Dayan Viciedo has disappeared.
Tyler Flowers has no approach at the plate.
Jeff Keppinger can’t make contact.
Alejandro De Aza, Alexei Ramirez and Alex Rios’ collective trade value is hampered by contracts and lack of track record.
The manager is a slave to hitter-handedness.
The Chicago Bears:
GM Phil Emery on the one hand completely splurges in free agency.
GM Phil Emery on the other hand drafts a complete project in Kyle Long for an historic position of weakness.
Lance Briggs revealed himself to be at best childish and close-minded.
Lance Briggs revealed himself to be at worst a bigot.
Jay Cutler is an awesome dad.
Boy if you know, please tell me.
The Chicago Cubs:
Are completely rebuilding and will be bad this year and next.
The Chicago Blackhawks:
Please, please, please, PLEASE save us and bring the Cup to Chicago.
Please, please, PLEASE provide a light in a dark, sad year.
Please, PLEASE skate harder, better, faster, stronger than the rest.
Please just keep wining.
When Sidetrack holds a fundraiser for a drag queen whose iPad was stolen…”
Rachel Shteir’s New York Times’ Chicago Review.
I don’t understand the vehement Chicago reaction to the three book review in The New York Times. Rachel Shteir’s piece wasn’t kind, but you know what?
Nothing she wrote is false. Winters here are brutal (witness the fact that it’s virtually May and we are still subject to predictions of snow in the forecast). State governors are expected to go to prison (which is just embarrassing). The previous mayor completely bungled the parking meter deal and $6.50 an hour for parking is outrageous. This is a violent, dangerous city.
You’re surprised to hear Chicago is incredibly segregated? You haven’t been paying attention. There are no jobs here. The Cubs futility has become, not a national cause for sympathy a la the Boston Red Sox, but rightly cause for snickering and mockery. The White Sox own similar pathetic success has gone unnoticed because, outside of a handful, the White Sox have no fans.
This is a city that clings to a football team that won a single Super Bowl 28 years ago, instead of hating the team coach who cost them two additional titles. This is a city populous that still considers Al Capone some bizarre role model. A city where political back room deals are expected, where progress and gentrification are mocked and stalled in pitiful attempts to cling to yesteryear’s glory. A glory that really never existed.
Instead of knuckling under and working to generate businesses for Trump Tower, Chicagoans pass by the beautiful blue hotel/condominium and say, “Boy I hate that guy and I hope those store fronts stay empty.” How shortsighted. How sad. Richard Daley is praised as being a “real Chicago guy” but his stiff-arm way of politics helped fracture the political environment and his refusal to check corruption has contributed to 2013’s gridlock. And again, there’s that whole indescribably bad parking meter deal Daley ‘negotiated.’
Instead of embracing owners who want to modernize Wrigley Field, legitimate amounts of time are dedicated to placating Lakeview Rooftop Owners who have profited off of someone else’s product for years. Cries of, “You can’t change Wrigley, my father/grandfather took me to games there as a kid!!!!” abound. Let me tell you - your grandfather saw a bad Cubs team play, your father saw a bad Cubs team play, you saw a bad Cubs team play and your child has seen bad Cubs team play.
Major streets, like Ashland, Fullterton and Clark badly need repavement. The CTA recently introduced more fair hikes with little to no corresponding increase in service. Only two lines run 24/7 - can we please get the Brown and Orange lines going all day?!!
None of these touch on the problems of gang violence, racial segregation, public employee pension funding and education funding the city can’t answer. Perhaps residents won’t demand answers - they’re too busy having their egos hurt by words in The New York Times Book Review.
You want to be the City Of Big Shoulders, Chicago? Then grow up.
Bulls, Rose Have Work To Do.
Two games into the 2012 NBA Finals and we’ve got a barn-burner. The series is split 1-1 as the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder head to Miami for Games 3 and 4. The MVP against the Scoring Champ. The narrative of the ‘good’ guys, OKC - a team that was built through drafting, against the ‘bad’ Heat, who only exercised the most American of rights in choosing for whom to work, is an easy retell of last year’s Dallas/Miami series.
OKC needs to figure out how to avoid slow starts, which started with Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs. Russell Westbrook was bad last night in Game 2 and while I initially bemoaned the no-call foul of Kevin Durant by LeBron James, that wasn’t why the Thunder lost. Serge Ibaka put on a defensive clinic last night that was great to watch. I really have no idea which team to pick in the series, I’m just hoping for seven great games of basketball.
However, these finals have made me sad because it has reinforced just how far away from an NBA championship the Chicago Bulls really are. Let’s allow for the idea that Derrick Rose comes back 100% from his torn ACL in…February of 2013. The Bulls are good enough, and the Eastern Conference bad enough, to make the playoffs as the fourth or fifth seed. But then in the playoffs, it’s the Miami-Chicago conference finals everyone wanted this year*. With a year-older Carlos Boozer and Rip Hamilton. Nothing I saw from either of those two last year makes me think they can be critical contributors on a championship team.
So the Bulls are a one-man show going up against a Miami team that will either be the defending champs or extraordinarily determined because they will have lost two finals in a row they feel they should have won. And LeBron will guard Rose, and Rose will try, will fight, will struggle and will get shut down. And the Bulls will lose. Oh, goodie. But even if one allows for the miracle of miracles and the Chicago Bulls beat the Miami Heat in the playoffs, they still have to play the Thunder. And in comparing the rosters, the Thunder would trounce the Bulls. Oh, goodie. GM Gar Foreman/John Paxson have to make personnel upgrades for the larger goals to be viable. And they need Derrick Rose to make some changes, too.
Rose doesn’t need to make substantive changes to his style of play or the way he’s going about his rehab, although it would be nice to see him swatted out of the air a little less. No, unfortunately for Rose, and Bulls fans that identify with him so much, Rose must swallow some of his pride. Rose must be more proactive in recruiting free agents and top-of-the-line players to come play with him in Chicago. Yes, he must massage Dwight Howard’s ego. “Dwight, I can’t do it alone. You know you can’t do it alone. Come to Chicago.” Rose wants to do it himself, Chicago wants Rose to do it himself. It’s a great story, it’s a great narrative angle, but it does not lead to winning basketball. For years in Cleveland, LeBron dragged terrible roster after terrible roster to 60 win seasons and crushing playoff defeats before realizing he needed other superstars to win titleS**.
I don’t know if Rose has realized that yet or not, he’s certainly a devoted student of the game enough to have an inkling. There is no other superstar on the Bulls’ current roster, there is no player who projects to develop into a superstar. Rose’s torn ACL provides the Bulls a chance to really evaluate their position in the NBA landscape. I hate to seem like a guy who just complains and moans all the time***, but honestly watch the rest of this Thunder-Heat series and tell me if you really believe the current Chicago Bulls can match/best that level of play.
* = Unless players get hurt. And in the NBA, as in all sports, players get hurt.
** = The S is capitalized on purpose.
*** = But I have some really positive thoughts about the Chicago Bears that I’m happy to share with everyone very soon!!!