Date: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 03:34:42 -0400
From: "Barry A. Popik" Bapopik[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM
Subject: Chicago, "the Windy City"

"April is the cruellest month."
--T.S. Eliot, "The Waste Land" (1922).

"Be thankful I don't take it all."
--Beatles, "Tax Man."

Gosh, it was only applesauce!
As I've posted before, on February 12th Mayor Rudolph Giuliani signed
my "Big Apple Corner" bill into law. Sitting to my left to watch it was a
writer named Richard Barbieri, who will include some of my stuff in his
trivia book on New York City.
"Did you get twenty-four dollars?" he asked.
"I never got a penny," I said.
"The Museum of New York City gives twenty-four dollar awards to New
Yorkers who do good deeds. That's the price that New York was bought for
from the Indians. I'll recommend you for it," he said. I hardly contained
myself, so I told my sister, who was also there.
"Twenty-four dollars, that's income," she said. "You can deduct
expenses on your taxes."
I'm now doing my taxes. I can't deduct anything--not my trip to the
British Isles, not my trips to the Library of Congress, nothing. Twenty-four
dollars, if it DOES come, will buy me about half of DARE III. That's half
of one book. Maybe I can buy two letters.
I should have been prepared for this by now, but things have gotten
worse. I'm still shocked about what's happened after I solved the origin of
Chicago's nickname, "the Windy City."
I spent twelve weeks to get a form rejection letter from the Chicago
Historical Society that the meaning of Chicago's nickname wasn't for
them--well, that's old news. I'd like to deduct the $100 in mailing and
copying costs, just like any other donation--ah, forget it.
THE WINDY CITY was published in the January 1997 issue of Comments on
Etymology, with a few errors. The New York Evening Telegram picked the
phrase up from the Louisville Courier-Journal as early as May 12, not May 22,
1886. Also and most importantly, a cartoon was not published. In the Puck
of 28 April 1886, pages 136-137 (a week before the Haymarket Riots that would
give Chicago its nickname), Miss Justice is seen using a prick called "Law"
to puncture "THE BIG BOYCOTT WIND-BAG." It's great stuff.
I sent it all to the Chicago Tribune, a great newspaper that is
celebrating its 150th anniversary. I thought they could use this--a free,
exclusive story on the origin of "the Windy City." I told them to print it
around the Haymarket Riot date of May 4. An e-mail message was also sent,
and I begged, begged, BEGGED for the simple courtesy of a response.
The Chicago Tribune never responded.
So I sent it all to the Chicago Sun-Times, and I BEGGED, BEGGED,
The Chicago Sun-Times never responded, either.
These are newspapers that ran stories of Dennis Rodman's mascara on
page one.
Through the internet, I got the addresses of all forty of Chicago's
aldermen. Three weeks ago, I wrote forty letters. Forty letters. Forty
letters! FORTY LETTERS!! I went to Kinko's Copies at three a.m. after a
full day's work; each package of stuff cost me about $12.
I told each of Chicago's alderman the meaning of "the Windy City." I
asked them to honor the appropriate people this and every May 4th, and to
possibly put up plaques. This is, after all, their job.
Maybe I should have asked for big bucks, like twenty-four dollars.
What I did ask for--again--was the simple courtesy of a response.
Well, it's three weeks later! As I'm doing to everyone, guess who
responded! Guess how many of the forty people! Guess! Guess!!
I got it back yesterday!
Alderman Burton F. Natarus, 100 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60610.
No one! No one responded at all!!
Is this all a cruel cosmic joke? Can anyone, ANYONE out there give
me any good reason for living???

"This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper."