Affluent White Man Enjoys, Causes The Blues

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Vol 36 Issue 06

Witty Remark Repeated Throughout Week

HIBBING, MN–According to coworkers at Hibbing Vacuum Repair & Supply, all week long, Ed Andersen has been repeating a witty remark he made Monday. The original quip surfaced when Andersen spotted ordinarily dowdy coworker Jim Billick sporting a tie and remarked, "Hot date tonight, Jimbo?" Later that day, Andersen saw Billick in the break room and told coworker Lydia Samuels, "Old loverboy here's got a hot date tonight." When Billick arrived at work Tuesday, Andersen asked him, "So, how'd your hot date go?"

Cocktail-Party Guest Cornered By Joel Stein

NEW YORK–An innocent Upper West Side cocktail party turned tragic Tuesday, when journalist Michael Conlon found himself cornered by Time magazine columnist Joel Stein. "There I was, making light conversation and sipping a dry white wine, when, all of a sudden, I heard those four fateful words: 'Hi, I'm Joel Stein,'" a visibly shaken Conlon said following the 45-minute ordeal. "We covered a wide range of topics, from Joel Stein's favorite restaurants to Joel Stein's dating prospects, to anecdotes about famous people Joel Stein had met." According to witnesses, Stein paused briefly at several intervals to make sure Conlon was still nodding politely before launching back into his otherwise non-stop conversational stream. Conlon is said to be "recovering well" after an overnight stay at Mt. Sinai Hospital and should return to the cocktail-party circuit by early next week.

Innocent Man Unrepentant

WARNER ROBINS, GA–Dwayne Worley, wrongly accused in the brutal Feb. 11 slaying of two Warner Robins teens, showed "not the slightest remorse" during cross-examination by prosecutors Monday. Witnesses at the trial said the innocent man denied all wrongdoing in "a flat, unemotional voice that displayed not a trace of regret or shame." Said prosecutor Russell Sharp: "Worley is a monster, an inhuman monster. What kind of man could react so indifferently to such brutality?" Worley, who calmly repeated that he was at a friend's house at the time of the double homicide, was likened to such sociopaths as Charles Manson and Adolf Hitler by a psychiatric expert called upon to evaluate his mental state. If convicted, Worley is expected to face the death penalty.

Converse High Tops Reveal TV Character's Eccentric Personality

LOS ANGELES–"Wally," the wacky-neighbor character on the ABC sitcom Mixing It Up, is identifiable as offbeat and eccentric by his red Converse "Chuck Taylor" high tops, it was reported Monday. "Wally is what you might call 'out there,'" producer David Dahl said. "He's the type of guy who marches to the beat of a different drummer. If you have any doubt, please direct your attention to his footwear." Dahl said Wally was originally supposed to wear one red high top and one blue one, but "we decided that would be going too far."

Area 31-Year-Old Can't Believe 'You Must Be Born Before This Date To Buy Cigarettes' Sign Up To 1982

KIRKLAND, WA–Purchasing a pack of Camel Reds at a local convenience store, 31-year-old Kirkland resident Andy Belfour announced Monday that he "can't fucking believe" the "You Must Be Born Before This Date To Buy Cigarettes" sign is already up to 1982. "Christ, I was a freshman in high school in '82," Belfour said. "Now, kids born that year are old enough to smoke? God, I feel so old." Belfour went on to recall that 1982 was the year The Replacements Stink came out, an album he bought on vinyl and played that whole summer while dating Alison Haiduk, his first girlfriend. He then ran his hands through his thinning hair.

My Mind Is As Sharp As It Ever Was

As I grow increasingly ancient, and therefore more prone to the rapacious violations of that great pervert Father Time, I become imprisoned in my own loath-some flesh. My fore-arms have mostly succumbed to the leprosy, my iron dentures periodically rust together, and, just yesterday, I was awakened from a sound sleep by the concussive gun-shot sounds of boils bursting off my calves.

Who Wants To Be A Jeanketeer?

Okay, kids, sharpen your pencils and get out a piece of paper, because it's pop-quiz time! I know, I know: You're all thinking, "Pop quiz? We read Jean's column as an escape from our dreary day-to-day routine! Now she wants us to take a boring old pop quiz?" But, hey, it's not a quiz about the chemical elements or who fought in the Civil War or anything. It's none other than the First Annual Jean Teasdale Trivia Challenge!

Stop Smoking Tips

Millions of Americans are addicted to smoking. If you are among them but don't want to be, here are some tips to help you kick the habit.
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Man Considers Nodding Approvingly After Friend’s Drink Purchase

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Spring

Affluent White Man Enjoys, Causes The Blues

HIGHLAND PARK, IL–Steve Smalls, a senior vice-president at Chicago's Alliance Manufacturing, the world's largest producer of industrial refrigeration systems, is a self-described "blues nut."

Steve Smalls enjoys a Kenny Wayne Shepherd CD with his wife June.

With his regular table at Dan Aykroyd's House Of Blues, vast CD collection featuring the likes of B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, and Jonny Lang, and framed photo of himself with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Smalls has been "a huge fan" of the music for more than 20 years.

But the 43-year-old Smalls is not merely a blues lover: With his May 1999 relocation of Alliance's main assembly plant from Cicero, IL, to Hermosillo, Mexico, Smalls put 2,700 mostly black employees out of work, making him one of Chicago's greatest blues causers.

"The best show I've ever seen had to be Clapton at the Rosemont Horizon back in '94," Smalls declared over a $5.50 Sam Adams draft at the Bulldog Brew Pub. "He did a version of 'Before You Accuse Me' that absolutely smoked. Unbelievable."

Pausing to enter a favorite Buddy Guy song on the jukebox, Smalls explained why the music resonates so strongly with him. "In 1996, when Alliance was indicted for illegally burying dozens of 200-gallon drums of deadly freon near Chicago's South Side, I was losing a lot of sleep. There was even talk of some of the top brass getting fired. We got out of it, of course, paying a token fine, but that was a rough experience. At that point, I really felt like I knew what it's like to have the blues."

Smalls is so committed to causing the blues that in the early '90s, he used illegal price-fixing tactics to drive smaller refrigeration-systems companies out of business, causing additional unemployment and poverty among the nation's blacks.

"Running a major corporation isn't easy. You sometimes have to make tough decisions to preserve your competitiveness in the marketplace," Smalls said. "But when you do have to make the painful decision to order layoffs, a good Robert Cray record goes a long way toward soothing your soul."

Some of the thousands of laid-off Alliance employees who have the blues, courtesy of Smalls.

While the average corporate vice-president would rather attend a golf tournament than listen to Susan Tedeschi, Smalls is happiest at one the countless blues shows he attends each year.

"Kenny Wayne Shepherd was just in town," Smalls said. "I got front-row seats and talked to him for a while at a $500 cocktail meet-and-greet backstage. That was a big thrill. He's one of the best young axes around."

"Have you seen The Blues Brothers?" Smalls asked. "I just ordered it on DVD. It's one of my all-time favorite movies. Jake and Elwood sure know how to play them blues."

A longtime fan of Blues Brothers star Aykroyd, Smalls can often be found at the comedian's famed club.

"Dan really did [House Of Blues] right," Smalls said. "The way he modeled it after an old Mississippi shotgun shack was a great touch. It looks just like those old tin-roof shanties I used to drive past near Alliance's South Side factory–only with much better drink specials."

Smalls says he has no plans ever to stop loving the music.

"The blues certainly isn't the only music I listen to–the new Santana hasn't left my car's CD player for months–but it's what I always come back to," Smalls said. "Other kinds of music may come and go, but the blues are forever."

"Blues music is all about pain: It's about losing your job, your dog dying, and your woman leaving you for another man," he continued. "Listening to the blues, I can almost imagine what it would be like to experience one of those things."

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