Monday, September 8, 2008

Daley has big shoes to fill for 2016 Olympics

August 22, 2008 Southwest News-Herald - City & Suburban

Daley Has Big Shoes To Fill for 2016 Olympics


Mayor Daley was easy to spot in his pink hat at the Beijing Olympics, but I bet he was green with envy at watching the opening ceremonies, wondering to himself how in the heck can he surpass the bar set by China?

Simply put, the opening ceremonies were phenomenal. Even though the impressive image of “giant footprints” formed by fireworks walking across Beijing to the Olympics “Nest” stadium were faked, everything else was unbelievable.

The Chinese Government brought 2008 people to beat drums in an opening count down, with glow-in-the-dark drum sticks, in a ceremony putting all past Super Bowl halftime shows to shame. The programs that followed tapped a Chinese Army of 22,000 additional performers.

The stadium seats 91,000, which was larger than the populations of at least two countries that competed. The “Nest” was wrapped with a huge “TV screen” displaying a stunning array of high definition images.

The center field had a floor that went from graphic animation to three-dimensional formations using blocks replicating ocean waves — not by computer control but through the intricate coordination of individual people who moved each block up and down in precise synchronization.

A Chinese athlete “walked” sideways around the stadium’s screen to light a spectacular and huge Olympic torch.

But all I could think of was what was going through Mayor Daley’s mind as he watched the 90 minute spectacle unfold?

My first thought was that dictatorships like China can tapped forced labor to do what it wants on a whim. It doesn’t need to go hat-in-hand to a legislature to beg for money to cover outrageous opening price tags some placed at $200 million, not including the billion spent on building the Olympic Village.

Chinese dictator “President” Hu Jintao reportedly didn’t like one set of costumes among the 15,000 costumes used, and, three days before the opening ceremony, ordered all new ones with lights that created a synchronized visual masterpiece.

So what might Daley do for the opening of the 2016 Chicago Olympics, if it happens?

Well, for one, the Chicago Machine is not dead, and there are more than 38,000 employees at City Hall who can be tapped at any time to create the worker force Daley needs to make his ideas a reality.

It’s a cinch he’ll have at least 2016 people to start with, just counting ghost-payrollers who never show up for anything at City Hall except their checks.

The performers can wear easy-to-fashion felon stripe uniforms with electronic ankle monitors from the County Jail, with dim amber street lights balanced on their heads that will need to be replaced every 15 minutes.

ComEd can shut electricity throughout Cook County — and blame it on a storm — redirecting it to the Chicago Olympic Stadium, that instead of built to look like a “nest,” can replicate in the finest detail a white envelop stuffed with cash.

What will the 2016 opening drummers use for their opening number? Garbage can lids painted in a glow-in-the-dark street corner blue camera lights tapping to the tune of the themes from “The Godfather” or “Jaws.”

If the stadium crowd doesn’t applaud, Daley can Denver Boot every car in the parking lot. By 2016, you won’t need any parking tickets to get the Boot.

Daley can just order it on a whim.

Oh. I wasn’t talking about Richie Daley being mayor. He’ll retire. The mayor of Chicago in 2016 will probably be his son, Patrick.

All hail Emperor Daley.


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