Talking with a lawyer friend: His advice to Michael Elkin, the purported attorney for Bali murder suspect Heather Mack is: “Shut up.” In his long, rambling interview with Wednesday Journal last week, Elkin proclaimed Mack’s innocence and portrayed her fractured relationship with her now murdered mom as pretty much the norm between teenagers and their parents. Lawyer friend does not believe this will prove useful in an actual trial in Bali. Believe he is correct.

Beyond Ferguson: Hope you’ll turn out tonight at 7 p.m. (Wednesday) for the forum we’re co-sponsoring at the main library. The topic is Oak Park’s successes and shortcomings when it comes to racial integration over these past decades. The comparison is with Ferguson, Missouri. Joining me for this conversation will be Police Chief Rick Tanksley, Oak Park Village Trustee Glenn Brewer, Oak Park Regional Housing Center Executive Director Rob Breymaier and Housing Center intern Jessica Hartshorn.

The Housing Center and the Oak Park Public Library are the Journal’s co-sponsors.

Sox start with subtraction: The White Sox were never going to succeed with Gordon Beckham at second, Alejandro De Aza as their left fielder and Adam Dunn as their DH. Good start in moving all three. There is still the horrific bullpen though. … And, I’m going to have to become a better man if the Cubs actually improve to the degree their young prospects suggest might be possible. Don’t be a hater, as my daughter tells me. But it is hard.

Talking to neighbors: We were somewhat preoccupied in the newsroom last Thursday with gigantic houses in River Forest. We’d seen the Trib report about the “alleged” mobster’s house on Franklin going up for sale at $2.1 million.

Then our real estate sales guy walked in and told me about what he thought was the highest-priced home ever in River Forest at $4.5 million. After gaping at the pictures of the Ashland Avenue home — and what the hell is that third body of water in the back yard all about anyhow? — I sent a note to Andy Gagliardo, the broker, and asked if it was really the top-priced home ever. No, he said, there is currently a home, the Smiley home, on the block at $5.2 million. We’ve written about this place before and Nancy and Alan Smiley are great, but looking at the interior shots with the listing, the obvious question is, “Does it come with the multitude of once-living, now-stuffed animals bedecking the walls and hallways?”

Was discussing all this with friends and I mentioned the annual property taxes on the $4.5 million dollar home on Ashland were just under $55,000. I was agape. That means I was gob-smacked or had my sensibilities smashed to smithereens. But this wise one noted that, on a percentage basis, those of us living in far more modest dwellings — not that we’re complaining about our lovely homes — are paying about twice the percentage of home value as our more well-to-do River Forest neighbors.

Not actively seeking to promote class warfare here and my rough calculations assume the house actually sells for $4.5 million. So it is all good.

Better than ice cream and other tips: Just saying that, given a choice, I’d pick Red Mango frozen yogurt with toppings over any brand of ice cream. … Had a wonderful dinner at Winberie’s the other night. But felt seriously out-of-step with the world when I realized that Winberie’s had gone to all craft beers. Just wanted a Stella. … Must be notable that Marion Street Cheese Market is now just Marion Street Market.

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Dan Haley

Dan was one of the three founders of Wednesday Journal in 1980. He’s still here as its four flags – Wednesday Journal, Austin Weekly News, Forest Park Review and Riverside-Brookfield Landmark – make...

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