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Despite prison stint, Vrdolyak says ‘I've never had a bad day in my life'

5-17-07 Former Chicago Ald. Ed Vrdolyak exits the Federal Courthouse Thursday following his arraignment. photo by Jean Lachat/Sun-Times

Eddie’s out!

“The Croatian word for Happiness is Vrdolyak!”

Thus spoke former political powerhouse Ed Vrdolyak, who is now a free man. No more jail. No more electronic bracelet. No more halfway house. No home confinement.

“I told my wife, Denise, that if anyone needed electronic monitoring it was her,” quipped the man known as “Fast Eddie”… more for his quick wit rather than fleet feet. “So for the next few months we will be electronically monitoring her. … No more shopping!”

Vrdolyak, a former Chicago alderman, served 10 months in federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., after pleading guilty to a political kickback scheme with federal snitch Stuart Levine.

He was released early from home confinement Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly instead sentenced Vrdolyak to 300 hours community service after Ed’s lawyers entered a motion for release last Tuesday.

“I have to keep moving … and working,” said Vrdolyak when Sneed phoned during the dinner. “We’re eating Bella Luna pizza and having some cocktails.”

Then Ed opined: “You know, I’ve never had a bad day in my life. I’ve got the kids and grandkids and most of all, Denise.”

“We’ll be going to my son Eddie’s farm with the 10 grandkids soon and see the llamas, and the donkeys and the horses in the paddock with the kids,” chirped Denise. The farm once included a buffalo, which escaped.

They are also going to check out the latest addition to the farm brood. “He’s ‘Joe the Camel,’“ said Vrdolyak. “He’s got two humps.”

Now why did I think it wouldn’t be a white horse named “Fast Eddie?”

The Hudson File …

The dirge detail: Sneed hears singer Jennifer Hudson is chauffeured daily by Cook County State’s Attorney investigators in a three-car caravan to the Cook County Courthouse, where her brother-in-law William Balfour is on trial for killing three members of her family.

She is accompanied by her significant other, David Otunga, relatives and … three personal bodyguards.

Puck Luck …

$$$$$$: Hockey goon Raffi Torres’ 25-game suspension for an illegal hit on beloved Blackhawk Marian Hossa may not produce the dollar dent in his wallet that was intended as punishment for his savage behavior.

â—†Translation: Torres, who is already on suspension for the hit – and has sat out three of the 25 games in the suspension – is not losing any money yet because he doesn’t get paid during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

â—†It’s an unlikely possibility, but if his team, the Phoenix Coyotes, plays 21 more games this post season – Torres would only be docked for one game next season – forfeiting only $21,341.46!

â—†Sidenote: When Torres, a hot headed redhead, was little his mother reportedly told him he was picked from an orange tree to explain his auburn hair.

Lindsay Lore …

Actress Lindsay Lohan is expected to glitz up the ho-hum celebs (Oops! Forgot about George Clooney and girlfriend Stacy Keibler) gathering at the White House Correspondents’ dinner this weekend. Lohan, who seems to be cleaning up her side of the celebrity corner these days, will attend with her attorney, Shawn Holley – who seems to be the troubled actress’s personal mentor. Lohan is the guest of Fox’s Greta Van Susteren.

Lamarama …

Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leader in exile, told CNN’s Piers Morgan he loves President Bush.

“Which one?” Morgan asked.

“The younger one,” he said. “… a very nice person.”

There ya go.

I spy …

Yes, that was the entire Daley clan celebrating former Mayor Richard Daley’s 70th birthday over dinner at Art Smith’s Table 52 eatery … Chicago Bulls Kyle Korver and Carlos Boozer at Chicago Cut steakhouse Saturday … Ditto teammates Jimmy Butler and Ronnie Brewer, as well as comedian Frank Caliendo and Chicago Blackhawks Corey Crawford and Niklas Hjalmarsson on preceding evenings.

This & That …

â—†Vet set: Actress Betty White, the ultimate “Golden Girl” and actor John “Frasier” Mahoney are expected at the Museum of Broadcast Communication’s 25th anniversary gala June 12th at the museum’s State Street home.

â—†Dugout dirt: The Illinois House beat the Illinois Senate Wednesday in their annual softball game in Springfield, 22-19. The House won last year as well!

Sneedlings …

Thursday’s birthdays: Jessica Lynch, 29; I. M. Pei, 95; Bill Wennington, 49, and Carol Burnett, 79.