This is the scene outside former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's home in Chicago's Ravenswood Manor neighborhood, the day before he is scheduled to report for his federal prison sentence on corruption charges: It's already a complete circus.
There are satellite trucks for blocks in every direction. The FOX network has a giant tent set up in a neighbor's yard. Cars can barely get through. Trucks are stopped in the street. There's already a bunch of gawkers stopping and taking pictures of the house. It's just an absurd scene.
By 11 a.m., there were already a dozen cameras set up. The thing you have to remember about the former governor is that he's capable of doing anything. Amendment: If there are cameras around, he's shown he's capable of doing anything.
His public plans are to speak at 5:02 p.m., so he can have what he calls a dignified departure on Thursday. Given past history with the former governor, his two public corruption trials and his own propensity for showmanship, it seems unlikely.
Regular readers of Trib Nation and Trib Photo Nation may have seen my famous (infamous?) helmet cam footage outside of his home the day Blagojevich was sentenced. When you look at well-composed images on the front page of the newspaper, you might be lulled into believing there's an element of organization and dignity involved in getting those photos. Watch that video, and you can see how a mixture of skill and luck is required. And maybe mild aggression.
So Wednesday's assignment was to be in place and be prepared. In case.
The morning's pictures were of the strange signs that started showing up at his doorstep. There are characters who show up when cameras arrive. One man is a regular at shootings in the city, to act as a "spokesman." Anyway, it feels like it's just starting up.
It definitely feels like the carnival has come to town. The ringmaster is scheduled to speak at 5:02. In time for the evening newscasts. Live.
-- Jason Wambsgans