Gorby gab . . .
I got the Gorbachev embrace; a big Russian paw pulling me into a Perestroika moment; a bear hug and a slew of Russian words lost in translation.
Former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev sat down for a few words with Sneed Tuesday, while drinking Russian tea from a coffee cup and confiding that his American hero (“of my generation”) was President John F. Kennedy.
“Good man. A man of courage. It is what is needed today.”
â—† Thus spake (via translator) this bear of a man, the courageous former communist turned peacenik who dismantled Soviet communism and netted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.
â—† Although Gorbachev’s comfort level chiefly involves political discourse, he opened a little window into his private life Tuesday whilein town for the summit of fellow Peace Prize winners.
Gorbachev . . .
â—† Is not a big fan of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s macho press photo poses.
“I have posed for pictures, but not with Siberian tigers.”
â—† Is a fan of President Barack Obama.
“Do you like him? I do.”
â—† Does not like America’s plans for a missile system in Europe.
“I’m worried about it. America knows no one wants to go to war against the United States. Our countries need to cooperate. President Eisenhower went to war against the military industrial complex.”
â—† Lives in Moscow with his daughter Irina and his grandchildren.
“My daughter, Irina, was cautious about my coming,” said Gorbachev, who is 81. “I have had surgeries. She takes good care of me.”
â—† Once had a special hobby: walking “6 kilometers an HOUR every day for 40 years” with his beloved wife, Raisa, who died in 1999. “Now I come at life in a different way than I did as a younger man.”
â—† Introduced “Glasnost” and “Perestroika” to the Soviet Union, which eventually led to the end of the Cold War and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.
“I knew something big was being done by us. The world needed what happened.”
â—† Is not a religious man.
“Nyet. But it’s good the [Orthodox] church has revived. But only time will show its real value.”
$$$$$$ . . .
Is City Clerk Susana Mendoza embroiled in yet another sticky wicket involving the city vehicle stickers?
â—† To wit: Sneed hears Mendoza, who got caught in a hornet’s nest over the city’s “gang sign”-festooned car sticker, just dispatched nearly 1.5 million city sticker renewal notices to registered car owners.
â—† The kicker: She sent them out using first-class postage!
â—† Yipes! The going rate on a postcard’s first-class stamp is 32 cents.
â—† The flipside: “There is no longer a bulk mail rate on postcards,” said Kristine Williams, the clerk’s spokesman. “But we did get a discount.”
â—† How much? “I’m not sure, but we do make $100 million in revenue each year from city stickers.”
The job market . . .
Does U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner have his gun sights on becoming the next Dartmouth College president? Whaaaaaa?
A birthday with the boys
Former Mayor Richard M. Daley and his brothers Bill, Mike and John were spotted celebrating Rich’s 70th birthday at the Chicago Yacht club Tuesday over lunch.
The Blago beat . . .
No surprise: Jailed ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich just finished reading a book on former South African President Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison.
â—† Book ’em: “He’s also reading Parting the Waters, a trilogy about Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Blago attorney Sam Adam Jr., who just visited his former client. “He and my dad [Sam Adam Sr.] are discussing it and having a penpalship on particular chapters.”
â—† Meanwhile: Patti Blagojevich, wife of Blago, is planning to visit her husband every six weeks at his Colorado prison – and is selling life insurance to support her family.
â—† Meanwhile II: Blago’s brother, Robert, was in Washington, D.C., Tuesday to answer questions from the House Ethics Committee investigating U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s role in the Blago scandal.
The Cellini file . . .
Sneed hears convicted Springfield power broker William Cellini’s people are reaching out to psychologists and actuaries, asking them to testify as expert witnesses at his June sentencing.
â—† Translation: Cellini’s team wants them to testify about how any length of a sentence would be a death sentence due to the fact he is 77 years old and is not in good health.
Sold . . .
The New York City town house famous for being the “Sex and the City” home of the show’s main character Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, has just been sold for $9.5 million smackeroolees.
Sneedlings . . .
Today’s birthdays: Al Pacino, 72; Renee Zellweger, 43; Hank Azaria, 48; Jason Lee, 42, and Talia Shire, 66.