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"Where's Jesse?" That's the refrain that Chicago has been singing in recent weeks. Jesse Jackson Jr, son of the activist and a strange bedfellow of Rod Blagojevich, completely fell off the grid earlier this summer. After seemingly playing hooky from his office in DC, it was revealed that Jackson was at an unknown rehab facility in Arizona. Little is known about his condition other than what his close friends are calling a "mood disorder." Even his notoriously garralous father has been keeping mum. The Chicago media, famed for their persistence and glad-handing, is being shut out in every direction. It's not a major surprise, given his confusing track record of late.
A promising political figure when first elected 17 years ago, "Triple J" has ultimately proven to be more noteworthy at home than in DC, where is a very average, albeit quixotic presence in the House of Representatives. Rather than set his eye on higher office (Mayor of Chicago? The U.S. Senate?) Jackson seems more content to serve his constituents and nothing more. Jackson's connections to Blagojevich have done him zero favors. His star was on a slow simmer prior to 2008, now it's barely lit. Triple J has carried his district in a landslide for nine straight elections, but Jackson's next run at the vote will be his most daunting. Is Jackson really in a "bad mood," or does he know his mostly undistinguished run is near an end?
+ Speaking of Chicago, one of the greatest risks in local radio history has ended in abject failure. FM News, Merlin Media's attempt to bring talk radio to the other side of the dial, was an unlistenable mess for much of its one year run. The new ownership, led by the infamous Randy Michaels, took a perfectly fine (though middling ratings-wise) station like alt-rock stalwart Q101, canned and gutted the format, than replaced it with news/talk without a focus or purpose. In a city where talk and music formats are virtually segregated between AM and FM, the idea of FM News was noble but woefully ill-conceived. My sympathies to those that have lost their jobs this week, but the chip on Michaels' shoulder only keeps growing.
+ Improv Update: I made a house team! As of two weeks ago, I'm now a regular at the Gorilla Tango Improv Zoo in Wicker Park. We have weekly shows Tuesdays nights at 9 o'clock.
+ Finally, I'm going to look backward, rather than straight ahead. When I wrote my first blog entry in June 2005, I hardly had an idea of what I was doing. The prospect of writing about my life, whether intermittently on a weekly basis, seemed daunting and a little scary. On the other hand, I've always been stronger at writing than in any other means of communication. What started out as a weekly series of trite dispatches became my soapbox, my confessional, and my means of talking about matters unrelated to TV on a web site about all things television. Most importantly, it allowed me to connect to my fellow users and contributors. I'll still be around the forums, but golly whiz if TV.com won't be the same.