By Tim Baffoe-

(CBS) One of the great things about Chicago is its fractured structure of neighborhoods, each with an identity and culture of its own. I say fractured in a good way—this sprawling juggernaut of ours is far from perfect, but perfectly imperfect and never letting a municipal injury stop the progress of the entire body. While all residents are Chicagoans, we identify with our neighborhoods often more than our city. And in each neighborhood there are the quirks, idioms, and unique joints that make each ‘hood separate but equal.

In Beverly, where I grew up, one of those joints is McGarry’s Boxing Club, the nonprofit training center run by Martin McGarry is his converted garage. I’ve always been lazy and am not a fan of strenuous work or being hit in the face, so I cannot say I’ve ever ventured inside the backyard gym, but I’ve had many friends and family members that have taken advantage of the place, either to box or just to use it as a form of exercise.

I watched many a product of McGarry’s training when I was in high school at Mt. Carmel and watched the much ballyhooed Fight Nights in the school’s gym featuring MC students all prepared for the ring by McGarry. I know of the many people McGarry has helped get on the right track in life via boxing and via the goodness of his own heart. I shared circles of friends and many a beer with McGarry’s own great children.

Martin McGarry is a guy who I only know as someone who has helped others. Unfortunately he needs help now. Luckily he’s in a neighborhood and a city that is willing to try to return the favors he’s done for so many. I’ll be at 115 Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park this coming Sunday for a great man, and it would be great if you were, too. And if you can’t show up, a donation would surely be greatly appreciated at

On to your questions. All emails and tweets are unedited.

What do you think Jay Cutler’s chances are for being a good, hire-able spokesman? He’s obviously gotten a lot of flack for his perceived attitude, but he kills it in that NFL apparel commercial. He may not be as well known as someone like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, but he’s got approximately 1000 times more charisma in one ad than Rodgers does in 15 ads. I’d rather watch him than any other football player in a commercial right now.—shinavonne

Completely agree on his ability to work scripted. But while it might seem obvious that marketing and advertising people probably think that Cutler’s pouty face or abrasiveness with the media begets bad results for product endorsement, it’s actually all on Cutler himself.

He has said that he’s avoided endorsement deals actually, so who knows how many companies have approached him about doing ads. While it’s admirable that he’s refusing to reap the benefits of celebrity until he feels he’s earned it, I’d love to see him do some more humorous commercials like the NFL one. The guy has a great dry sense of humor and would likely be a huge hit in the TV ad genre of wry and ironic humor (unlike the usually terrible light beer-esque brand of sophomoric stuff) popularized by Sportscenter ads and Peyton Manning that many products like the NFL are embracing today.

I’m having a debate with my friends and need your help. What is the appropriate time frame to play Christmas music? #TFMB—@LynchDavid

I was in a hardware store on November 1 buying a chainsaw for a non-murder-related project, and Christmas music was playing over the PA. As I checked out, the woman at the register with empty eyes that hinted at little brain function behind them smiled a robotic smile and said, “Dontcha just looooooove Christmas!” We were the only two in the store, and the thought of making that woman disappear without anyone knowing entered my mind, I have to be honest.

Any time before December 1 is absolutely uncalled for Christmas music, and people should be force fed poinsettias if they believe otherwise. (And why does the University of Illinois have a page dedicated to poinsettias? Because that’s the bowl they strive for each year?)

Christmas music is okay in moderation—at a holiday party or in a department store on Christmas Eve when you try to harness the gift-purchasing ratio of how much you care for somebody to how much money the love for that person is worth and just end up buying some random bottle of cologne or perfume anyway (ooooh, this one comes with a wallet, too! I could use a new wallet! This bottle of Curve shall be wrapped separately!), for example.

But people who crave Christmas music, who have an unhealthy love for it that makes them salivate at the sound of Johnny Mathis, they are not sane people. See, there are two types of people when it comes to Christmas music—those who can listen to it from time to time in the days leading up to December 25 (I like to call these people “mentally stable”) and those who get some sick, twisted pleasure out of immersing themselves in it (and almost always other people, too, subsequently). There is no in-between. And Christmas music is repetitive. It’s the same 15-to-20 songs over and over by a few different artists. Nobody without serious issues can stand that. “Yay a local radio station is playing Christmas music twenty-four-seven I’m so happy this will briefly replace the quiet hatred I have of my life the rest of the year OMG I love snow even though it injures and kills many people each year but it looks so pretty I need more pills!”

Now that we’re in Bear Weather, why aren’t the Bears running up the middle more?—@petegaines

Because Mega Ditka had a mini stroke. He’s “Rusty” Mike and therefore is having a difficult time telepathically calling plays through Lovie Smith and Mike Tice.

I’m wearing a bears jersey and I am a grown man but I work at a sports bar. Is this acceptable? #TFMB—@JohnnyDrinky

Even as someone who lets out a sad little sigh whenever I see an adult in a jersey, I’ll allow it because your money is at stake. Where I work, the waitstaff and bartenders all wear Bears gear on game days, too, which both acts as their equivalent of a casual Friday—which brings the illusion that their freedom of choice is intact because for a day a week for four months they are free from their independence-crushing uniforms—and it often results in better tips.

People who work in the service industry are very good at understanding the psychology of Joe Customer. In regards to tipping, customers are likely to tip better not only for good service but also if they’ve been mindstroked during the experience. This is blatantly done by being polite and cheerful and answering a customer’s every inane request. But it’s done subtly, too, with things like pretending to agree with his/her insane thoughts on the state ‘Merica is in right now, showing a bit o’ cleavage (I miss my v-necks from when I was a busboy), or in simply rooting for the same sports teams. A Bears fan is likely to tip a fellow Bears fan better, whether consciously driven to or not.

I purposely avoid wearing anything that says Chicago Cubs on it when I’m delivering, for example, because I live in White Sox territory, and there are awful Sox fans who will actually tip me less because I root for a team that has little bearing on the success of theirs. You’d be surprised how freely people will comment to a delivery driver about stuff like sports and politics, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t swallow my pride for the sake of a few bucks (or at least not a phone call to the restaurant from some idiot saying they’ll never order again because your driver doesn’t not support sending all racial minorities to Mars).

Thanks for emailing, tweeting, and reading. If your question did not get answered this time, that does not necessarily mean I am ignoring it. It may be saved for the next mailbag. Hopefully you’re a slightly better person now than you were ten minutes ago. If not, your loss.

Want your questions answered in a future Mailbag? Email them to or tweet them with the hashtag #TFMB. No question, sports or otherwise, is off limits (with certain logistical exceptions, e.g. lots of naughty words or you type in Portuguese or you solicit my death). If you email, please include a signature.

tim baffoe small Ten Foot Mailbag: Cutler Sells And Christmas Songs

Tim Baffoe

Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget, but please don’t follow him in real life. E-mail him at To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.

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