I hate graffiti. I don’t see the art in it. At it’s best it’s a cliche urban fake ghetto expression. Mostly it’s just selfish, juvenile and costly. OK, I’ll admit that some bathroom graffiti amuses me, because let’s face it, a cartoon penis is always funny.

Back in the boom days — the Oughts — any new condo being built along the El was tagged at some point during construction. Nothing was spared. When the CTA closed several stations along the Brown Line for renovation a few years ago, those were tagged before completion.

But I saw a piece of graffiti on the Brown Line the other day that gave me a chuckle.

Scratched into the window was “BURN YOUR TV/’READ,'” followed a skull and the word “REVOLT.”

It got me thinking about who tagged the window. Was this some kind of guerilla promotion for a book store? Or the work of an anarchist librarian?



I’m all for reading, although I don’t think I could burn my TV. That’s probably bad for the environment, for one thing. Besides, I’m fairly addicted at this point.

If the NBA season had not been saved, I might have learned to live without TV. Following the news out of the Major League Baseball winter meetings last week and seeing the team Kenny Williams is putting together on the South Side, there won’t be much baseball worth watching in 2012. There hasn’t been much worth watching on the North Side for most of 103 years, but they are in better shape with fewer dead branches left to prune.

Things are looking so bleak, I’m thinking of following the Baltimore Orioles again. At least they will have cool new retro uniforms. They are bringing back the cartoon bird with a modified version of the logo they wore on their hats back when the team was the class of the American League East. But who am I kidding? There is no way they can compete in that division. They still have the worst owner in baseball. This is my world, where my three favorite baseball teams are the White Sox, Cubs and Orioles.

Why not read instead?

This is the time of year I start to jones for some baseball. My dad gave me a few books a while back that have only been collecting dust. This might be the winter I finally get around to reading them. One I have been meaning to read is Wrigley Field’s Last World Series: The Wartime Chicago Cubs and the Pennant of 1945 by Charles N. Billington, but I already know how that ends. So I think I’ll first read You’re Out and You’re Ugly Too: Confessions of an Umpire with Attitude by Jim Merrill.

OK, valedictorian tagger. You’re on. But I’ll save my matches for when I really need them. The Bulls will be on soon.

About the Author

Tom Long

Tom Long is one-third of the seldom heard Chicago band The Ethyl Mermen. The name Tom Long can be found in the dictionary, Baseball Encyclopedia and a pub in Ireland. Tom Long is not affiliated with any other Tom Long; he won the rights to use his own name after prevailing in a three-way game of Jan-ken-pon by choosing "dynamite!" No Toms were harmed in the making of this blog.

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