Lead story: Last week I complained that the CTA’s proposed crowd reduction plan isn’t all it's cracked up to be. While the backlash against that plan hasn’t been too bad, the agency is starting to hear complaints about something else: those posh new train cars they just bought. Initial feedback was positive when riders got a peek at them two years ago; but as they’ve been rolled out, mainly on the Pink and Green Lines, riders have already found things to complain about, according to the Tribune’s John Hilkevitch. Those side-by-side seats are pretty darn uncomfortable at times, and apparently, the CTA forgot that America is getting fatter.
As much as I love to complain about the CTA, even I will draw the line at some of the complaints: I’ve ridden on the cars a few times now and they’re pretty damn nice, especially compared to the old, hobo pee-soaked cars; I'm jealous the Brown Line won't get these new cars when the Red Line does. I'm reminded of Louis CK’s classic “everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy” bit, here (even though the cars were recalled for defects that greatly upped the prospect of derailment). The CTA agrees and said the new cars are still coming, despite complaints.
Also: Things are getting weirder at the Drew Peterson trial. Forget the mistrial motions, the judge's lectures to prosecutors and the possibility that the state's best evidence against Peterson is borderline unconstitutional. Jurors dressed all alike yesterday, for the second time during the trial. This time their fashion of choice was sports jerseys. The presiding judge offered a zinger about why no one was wearing a Cubs jersey, but hasn’t otherwise admonished them. Indeed, there’s nothing against the law about what jurors doing. It’s just another weird layer to an already whackadoo case.
And then: History buffs may take advantage of convention season to point out that Tuesday marks the 44th anniversary of the big outbreak of violence between Chicago Police and protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. It’s also another important anniversary, though: the 57th anniversary of Emmett Till's death. The 14-year-old Chicagoan was visiting family in Mississippi when he was beaten to death for allegedly flirting with a white woman. The ensuing outrage helped spur the ongoing Civil Rights movement, especially after Till’s mother insisted on glass-topped casket so mourners could see the boy's fatal wounds. Till made headlines again thanks to the Burr Oak Cemetery scandal: While his body, which was buried at the cemetery, wasn’t disturbed, his original glass-topped casket was found neglected and rusting in storage. It was later cleaned, though, and wound up at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, scheduled to open in Washington, D.C. in 2015.
RIP: Tomáš Sedláček, a Czech general who fought the Nazis and, later, the Communist regime that overtook the country after World War II. Jailed for life in 1951 for anti-Communist activities, he was freed in 1960 and later exonerated. He was 94.
- As the GOP convention starts, presumed presidential nominee Mitt Romney is trying to up his “regular guy” image by admitting he buys his shirts at Costco. Because only a rich guy like him can afford that membership fee, eh? Oh, I kid…
- Interesting things afoot in the African nation Togo, where women are withholding sex from their husbands in an effort to get them to help oust President Faure Gnassingbe in a fall election.
- So how exactly do gay Republicans feel given their party’s anti-gay marriage stance?
- A tourist hiking around south Iceland was reported missing even though she was perfectly fine and briefly participated in a search for a missing person that turned out to be, well, her. And then the laughter of Bjork rang through the glaciers like the chiming of a thousand pixie bells.
- First photos of his Great Vegas Adventure, now this: It seems Prince Harry has been posting on Facebook under the pseudonym "Spike Wells."
- Illinois is one of four Midwest states that plan on allowing undocumented youth to drive legally as long as they can produce proper work papers.
- We haven't heard the last of this: Two people who contracted Legionnaire's disease at a Loop hotel have now died.
- Because there’s always a need for faking a slimmer look, Spanx is going retail this fall, with new stores in a handful of markets. No word whether awesome pants maker Zubaz plans to, uh, follow suit.
- After Hurricane Isaac makes landfall near New Orleans, it may start to affect things here in Chicago, be it weekend weather or gas prices.
- Even now, as you read this, you are close to a hot dog.
- After Penn State announced the school would no longer play Neil Diamond’s classic “Sweet Caroline” at football games, the school denied it was cut because of lyrics – “reaching out, touching me, touching you” – that may remind fans of the Jerry Sandusky trial.
- Good news for Sox fans: It looks like Gavin Floyd will be OK.
- Brian Urlacher and Patrick Sharp have both landed new endorsements with Coke Zero.
- Cubs owner Tom Ricketts sat down with our own Steve Edwards on The Afternoon Shift Monday and hit on a wide array of topics. This was just moments after I briefly accosted Ricketts about my recent acquisition of Cubs outfielder Brett Jackson in my fantasy baseball keeper league and Ricketts politely discussed Jackson’s potential with me. Good talk, Tom. Thanks.
- I’m not the only one who finds the new Notre Dame uniforms hideous. Maybe if they wear them Saturday against Navy, they’ll wake up fans: The game airs locally at 8 a.m. as they’re playing in Dublin.
What if you really could dig a hole to China, straight through the middle of the Earth? Science explains what would happen. Huzzah, science!