Shame on the Rickettses
BY RICK TELANDER Sun-Times Columnist
How I wish I could float bonds! My initial offering would cover the cost of a few cars, some memberships here and there, the updating and improvement of my house, the installation of new plumbing for the hot tub I don't yet have, some sprinklers for a yard that will be freshly landscaped, the pool I'll need -- well, I really don't have space for a pool, so there will be ''land annexation'' involved -- and other ''upgradings'' that will make my homestead (and me) so much more valuable to the neighborhood and, thus, all bond purchasers.
How will you get paid back-
My house is more than 100 years old -- truth -- and when it is renovated with the indoor gym I've always needed, plus the multiple wet bars and the elimination of the ''Saw''-style basement brick work, bare bulbs and cobwebs (now rampant), I'll have fun parties and charge people to attend, and you bond-holders will profit from it!
Oh, to be the Rickettses!
The Cubs-owning family wants to do what I said I'd like to do.
Except they want $200 million in city bonds to spiff up Wrigley Field.
They have a combined wealth that makes them, as a family, billionaires.
And they want you, Chicago taxpayers -- with your cash-strapped schools and services, not to mention random gunfire -- to buy the promissory notes that will give them the cash to make them wealthier than they already are.
Is there a triple-X rating-
I mean, didn't we just come through the biggest financial meltdown since the Great Depression by buying crap that people such as the Rickettses told us was hot stuff-
Clever folks in the financial-services field, such as the Rickettses, know how the game is rigged. Always against the little people.
Remember a year ago when Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein said he and his commission-rich underlings were doing ''God's work''-
If the bond scheme these Cubs owners are trying to foist on us -- with the help of government reps such as Illinois state Senate President John Cullerton -- does pass, it's the devil's work.
The Rickettses have revealed themselves. They might love the Cubs, but they love other people's money more.
*I ALWAYS GET RILED UP at the start of my ''Stews,'' so I should calm down. In, out. Good, Rick. Phew.
OK, there is a new sports movie out called ''127 Hours.''
It's written, directed and produced by the three British moviemakers behind the Oscar-winning megahit ''Slumdog Millionaire.'' It's about young U.S. mountain climber Aron Lee Ralston, who got pinned between two boulders in a remote Utah canyon in 2003 and eventually used a dull knife to cut off his arm to escape.
The movie, according to screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, is about overcoming personal fears and demons and rising above oneself and being, in essence, a champion.
I can tell you this: It still must be mostly about a guy hacking off his own arm with a blade.
I will see this movie when I have completed my multihour loop of open-heart-surgery footage.
*WE STARTED with the Cubs, so let's end with the Cubs.
Last summer, Ricketts family member Todd wore a disguise and worked various menial jobs at Wrigley Field for several days. He cleaned restrooms, helped the grounds crew and put up numbers in the giant, hollow scoreboard in center field.
He did all this for the CBS reality show ''Undercover Boss,'' and I guess that's an interesting and new way to do what Allen Funt used to do decades ago on ''Candid Camera'' and what everybody seems to be doing since ''Punk'd'' and ''Jackass'' became so amusing.
But here's the thing: The Cubs have enough humor, practical jokes and ''silliness'' in their history to do a thousand TV shows that might entertain people the way TV entertains the masses. That is, with brainless chuckles and occasional tear-producing semi-poignance, none of it requiring much effort or diligence.
What the Cubs don't have are any films or tales about winning in the last century or so.
Jokes, they've got. Funny beards, they've got. New owners, they've got. Rum, they've got.
But enough. Hijinks, begone.
That the reality series ''Sammy Sosa: My Life as a Bleacher'' hasn't been made yet is amazing, considering the numbing weightlessness of Cubdom.
Sell bonds for that.
And quit the rest.