Sunday, March 5, 2023

Welcome to the club

Door knocker, Barcelona 2022
     Last week received several hundred new subscribers, thanks to the good offices of Eric Zorn and Charlie Meyerson. Since some of those newcomers seem to be taking a trust drop into the unknown, based on their complete faith in the two aforementioned journalists, I thought I would take a moment today to explain what they've signed up for.
     For the past 36 years, I've been on staff at the Chicago Sun-Times. For 26 of those years, I've written a news column. This blog was created almost a decade ago, after I mouthed off to the publisher and got myself suspended. If you are interested in the details of that episode, you can find them here, along with a test drive in a 2013 Bentley.
     The suspension only lasted a week, but the blog has been published every day since, without fail. More than 3,000 posts. Because I still have a job, I've never been much interested in monetizing the blog. It does run cheesecake ads, literally, from Eli's Cheesecake. But I don't charge for subscriptions, or accept donations, and only started blasting out a daily email because Charlie convinced me it was stupid not to. The email itself is not a newsletter, though I try to tuck some interesting detail of the day ahead, if there is one. Its sole purpose is to wave that day's link under your nose, as a convenience.
     My column runs in the newspaper Monday, Wednesday and Friday, usually, and on those days I post the first six paragraphs or so of the column, and then link to the paper for the rest, because they pay for it. The paper does not charge for subscriptions, now that we were taken under the wing of Chicago Public Media, a 501(c)3 charity. But to read the full column, they do require you register once by giving your email. If this violates your sense of propriety, then by all means, don't do it. But with Alden Capital gutting the Tribune, the Sun-Times is now the preeminent newspaper in Chicago, and being an informed citizen means taking time to read it. Given that our forefathers stormed Normandy Beach in part to protect our freedom of the press, it doesn't seem too great a sacrifice to ask that you share your email. 
     On Saturdays, I invite friends to pinch hit, and I suppose any reader who wanted to take a swing, since I consider you friends, or at least friends-in-the-making. The other three days I either write new material, or haul out something germane from the archive.
     Readers are invited to comment, but comments are posted at my discretion. If you made a comment and it wasn't posted, ask yourself: did I suggest the proprietor is an idiot? Did I wax at length about something I read on Q-Anon? Was I being insufferable? That might explain it. 
     I truly appreciate corrections, with a few caveats. There is no need to apologize, or be concerned with nitpicking. To write is to err, particularly here, where I have no copy editor. Try not to glory in the act of correction. No need to muse whether I mean 'hte," the acronym for high terpene extract, or merely mistyped "the." It's the latter. 
     There is a search bar on the upper left corner, and if there is a topic of particular interest to you — grapefruit, concrete, heart transplants — I encourage you to explore. Odds are I've written something about it. You might enjoy the first post, explaining what I'm trying to do here.
    That's about it. Feel free to ask questions. I almost always respond, because I'm grateful for every reader. Well, almost every reader. The blog is intended for people who like this kind of thing. If you no longer want to receive email notifications, simply ask to be removed, pay the $200 removal fee*, and your name will be taken off the list. For the rest, welcome aboard, and I hope you enjoy reading Every goddamn day.

* Kidding. There's no fee. 


  1. Thank you for your explanation. I was a little confused the other day when I attempted to send you a comment, which I can no longer remember, and the subscription request for the Sun-Times popped up. I think it will like it here. Carry on.

  2. The image of the hand sculpture is amazing. And thanks for all of the clarification. Happy Sunday to you.

  3. You got suspended for being a smartass? Didn't that editor understand what a newspaper columnist is? Lemme go on: because he felt butthurt by your smartassed-ness he reacted by punishing your readers for a week? Oh, and one more WTF moment: suspension? Had he confused the workplace with high school? Okay, I'm done.

  4. Is the editor who suspended you still around?

    1. Yes, but at a different publication. And we're friends.

  5. If I may offer one suggestion about commenting here. One currently has the choice of signing in via your Google Account with whatever your ID there is, choosing to comment under the heading Anonymous, as many do, or choosing "Name / URL" among the 3 options offered on the drop-down template.

    I would just like to point out that, when using the third option, you can pick whatever moniker or pen-name you like for "Name" and that no URL is actually needed.

    That allows readers to differentiate between the anonymous and pseudonymous contributors, and the commenters to maintain something of an identity, while they needn't use their proper name if they don't want to.

    1. People who comment as "Unknown" risk being lost in the slurry of crazy people who comment in batches of 10 and 20 as "Unknown." Usually they aren't read at all. Sometimes I notice them, but it's always better to register with a name.

  6. "There is a search bar on the upper left corner, and if there is a topic of particular interest to you — grapefruit, concrete, heart transplants — I encourage you to explore. Odds are I've written something about it." I'm shaking my head in disbelief, Mr S. I've been commenting here for five years, and I wasn't even aware of it Thanks for the heads-up.

    Up to now, I've been searching the hard putting "Every goddamn day and grapefruit" (or concrete, or whatever else I'm interested in reading or re-reading) into the Bing search engine, and hoping for the best. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

    Most of the time, it does. But it often takes several tries. Especially if there's more than one post about the same topic. I tried grapefruit, to see if I got the post that had the comments from readers who can no longer eat it because of their meds (I'm one of them). Nope. Got one from before I was here.

    I don't feel the need to proofread or copy edit. It's not my place to do so, and I'm grateful to have been allowed to sound off here for so long. And I don't want to piss you off. Maybe a factual error or two,like a place or a date or a historical event, but not much more.

    That week-long suspension sounds a little harsh, but I've gotten in trouble for being snarky, too. Sometimes, it has cost me dearly...other times, not so much. Maybe he was just in a bad mood. Or somebody had pissed in his cornflakes. Who the hell knows?

  7. Welcome to the fray, newcomers. I’ve been tuning in to EGD for over a year. At first, I didn’t know what to expect, hoping for a daily analysis of Chicago’s major headlines. That, I found out quickly, is not the direction and, as Neil says, he’s not a hard news guy here to clean up the mess with analysis, opting instead for forgotten civic history, passed-by people and things you should know and warnings on the imminent demise of our democracy. As an expat Chicagoan, I wanted more on Lori Lightfoot, rampant crime and the Illinois exodus and some recognition of what’s happening in the suburbs, particularly the forgotten South Side (he writes from Northbrook and his former colleague wrote from the North Shore) That doesn’t mean he ignores the news, but it’s more like a refreshing breeze when he goes that direction. New readers will hopefully bring more diversity to the comments, which are dominated by a raft of regulars remembering ‘back in the day.” Diversity is a much needed commodity here and maybe we’ll get there. He suffers no fools as I learned when my comments didn’t appear, making me think he was having a bad day. The role of “city columnist” is a vanishing fixture in American journalism, because no one person can present the full voice of America or a major city today. Neil embarks on his 37th year at the Sun-Times this month. Don’t let him coast with memories and sentimental odysseys. As much as this blog is his creation, it’s also yours as we seek an idea of what’s going on in a Chicago media world with so few voices. New leadership arrives soon at City Hall. This is the time to buttress EGD and make it a valued feature of your digital news world. Be a contributor, and not a lookie-loo.

    1. Have you posted under an identifiable name for a year? You’ve got style...and I like it. Excellent comment, touching on a number of highly relevant points. But they were tough to sort through without rereading. Paragraphs are your friend.

      Mr. S has never been strictly a Chicago-centric blogger, preferring to paint with a broader brush. In addition to mining the rich vein of Chicago history (while expanding those mining operations into a fascinating book), and resurrecting stories of obscure and forgotten Chicagoans, past and present, he’s also called to our attention many things we might not have otherwise known, and brought up issues, both national and international in scope, that were under the radar. Refreshing breeze, indeed.

      I’m also an ex-Chicagoan, and on many goddamn days, Mr. S. keeps me enlightened and informed about the hometown I left three decades ago. I’m one of those regulars you’ve alluded to. There are far fewer of us now, and some of us do tend to skew toward geezerhood, awash in nostalgia for a lost city, a lost country, and a lost era. Guilty as charged, but without remorse.

      Perhaps we will hear some new voices soon--younger and more diverse. Diversity is not a street on the North Side. It’s what has always made Chicago what it is…and maybe some of it will rub off on EGD. Time will tell.

  8. Love this -I grew up with the Tribune (but my Dad read all the newspapers-one on his train ride to work, another on the ride home -included the Sun Times and the Daily News and one that had an evening edition. hen we were able to move back to Chicago
    we started getting the Trib. Always wanted to either get the Sun Times also -but now I think I will go ahead even tho its tree on line but I think print newspapers are important (I also get the Sunday New York Times-mostly for the Book Review section). Thanks!

  9. As noted by our host at 4:36, above, if you don't differentiate yourself with some name other than "Unknown" or "Anonymous," your comment might not get through, whether he's having a bad day or a fine one.

    If you've been commenting for a year, we could put your thoughts into a bit more perspective if you weren't lumped in with the hundreds of anonymous comments we've read in that time. Just sayin'.

    I'm all for more diversity and more comments, in general. The quantity of comments has definitely picked up of late and new folks are certainly a welcome addition. But, as somebody who's been clinging to the raft since the get-go, if it weren't for the "back in the day" contributions, there would often have been no comments at all. For whatever that's worth.

    Unlike you, I appreciate this blog largely because it's NOT "a daily analysis of Chicago’s major headlines." Neil's clever, beautifully-written takes on all manner of quotidian things other than what everybody else is talking about is what makes EGD what it is. IMHO.

    "As much as this blog is his creation, it’s also yours..." Uh, no. IMHO.


Comments are vetted and posted at the discretion of the proprietor.