Tuesday, September 13, 2005

What Passes For Advice These Days ...

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I worked at the Chicago Sun-Times. I was in college. I had become friends with Jeff Zaslow -- Zazz, as he was known to the readers of his advice column, "All That Zazz" -- and he needed someone to help him one summer. I've been through this drill with you before in another post.

Jeff did great things with his column: He collected Santa letters from the post office and farmed them out to readers willing to buy gifts for needy kids; he held school-supply drives for needy kids; he hosted an annual singles party to help his readers meet (and marry, as many eventually did); and he dispensed great advice, using his many and impressive journalism skills to access experts when called for and everyday folks (The Regular Joes Advisory Board) when good old common sense was in order.

I loved Jeff. Still do. These days, we go to Springsteen concerts together. (Jeff is a rabid fan.) But I didn't stay at the Sun-Times in those days. I had college to finish.

After college, I ended up at the Chicago Tribune. I left there in 1997.

A guy named Chuck Ulie eventually took over the job I vacated.

The Sun-Times pulled the plug on Jeff's column a few years later, and he returned to the Wall Street Journal, which was his employer when he wrote about the Sun-Times' search to replace Ann Landers, entered the contest to get an interesting angle on the story, and then ended up winning.

Chuck, in the game of musical chairs that is journalism, ended up leaving the Tribune to go to the Sun-Times.

Today, he has an advice column of his own. Click on the title of this post to go there.

Ladies, there are a lot of people in this world to whom I would not turn for advice about men, and Chuck is one of them.

I'll be interested to see how long this social experiment lasts.

They got rid of Jeff for this?

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