Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year Everyone

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Year of Mystery

One of my favorite stories this year is about the day I discovered a small cross in the middle of the front seat of my car.  It somehow arrived in my locked car while I was shopping at Whole Foods.  I was on my way to my heart doctor who told me during my appointment that I had recovered from my heart attack.
I loved telling this story and listening to my friends search for logical explanations.  I was up for believing anything, including the unexplainable.

The other night I was searching for my red gloves which were not where they were supposed to be.  So I was going through every pocket of every coat in my closet looking for them.  From one pocket I pulled out a small white box.  I did not recognize it at all.  When I opened the box there was a tiny gold Hindu figurine inside.  Forgive me for not remembering who gave me this gift.

So now I have the cross and the little buddha.  I figure I'm in good shape for 2014.

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

From here to Nebraska

Oh, those many times I've sat on my couch and dreamed of winning the lottery.  I even have my favorite numbers picked out with their secret significance giving them special powers to prevail.  I'd accept my winnings graciously and give most of it away to people and causes that I yearn to support.  And yes, spreading some cash around at the end could certainly help to heal a lifetime of missed accomplishments   Of course, none of this has been enough to actually take me next door to buy a ticket.   Just dreamin'.

So, with the movie Nebraska, the idea of an oldster's odyssey to cash in his winnings was an appealing plot line.  And, much of this film tackles difficult themes so well.  It dances with balance on the thin line between finding humor in people being themselves and making fun of others.   For us city dwellers, it exposes the composition and culture born of those bare roads and fields that we call "fly over country."

There's a keen eye working here so I was ultimately disappointed that the ending gave way to unwarranted sentimentality.  Too bad.

As the credits rolled, I turned to my friend Margaret and said: "I feel so lucky to have been born into a family interested in knowledge, culture, and beauty." And that thought has stayed with me.

I'm a winner in the lotto of life.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

50th Anniversary

With the media remembering the Kennedy assassination, I am re-posting my memories of the weekend we will never forget.

One of the things we loved to do as a young family was go to the Starved Rock Lodge and state park near LaSalle, Illinois.  The lodge was one of the marvelous structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's.  This is what we did as a country back then -- use the energy and intelligence of our unemployed to improve our public lands.

We loved to hike on the trails, many overlooking the Illinois River.  Even though there were stairs and bridges plus plenty of signs to help us get around, it was as close as this city dweller came to "wilderness."

Starved Rock is where we were on the weekend that Kennedy got shot, and Ruby shot Oswald.  Word came to us on that Friday morning, but we already had our reservations and decided to go, even though we were as traumatized as everyone else.

We stopped at Marshall Field's to buy some sturdy shoes.  I felt so guilty to be shopping.  Management must have felt the same way because they announced they were closing the store just as we were leaving.

It was a beautiful weekend as the weather was perfect.  The kids didn't know to be shocked, so we stuck with that.  I don't remember whether there was a TV on in the lodge, but if there was, we didn't give in to watching it.

All of my friends told me how they were glued to the TV the whole weekend.  Looking back, I'm glad we were away from it all hiking the trails.  Since then, we've had a lifetime to remember the death and ponder the consequences.

Monday, October 28, 2013


Recently, I had lunch with my friend Michele who is a "foodie" and is studying to become a "health coach."  As I added those two new words to my vocabulary, she mentioned another word which is now my favorite: flexitarian.  Michele explained that this describes people who eat from all food sources, but do so armed with information and care.

Wow.  I love this word!  And, I am going to keep it continually in mind.   Flexibility is such a desired stance in all circumstances.  And, if you think of Darwin, our existance depends on it.

I am a confirmed flexitarian.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Gravity is one force that physics has yet to explain.  Until we do, Einstein's "unified theory" awaits our understanding.  Gravity is the mystery that allows us to live.   I think and I hope that was on the filmmaker's mind when he chose "Gravity" for the title of this wondrous film.

The visuals are so arresting that I went back to looking at the real images captured by the Hubbel space telescope.  The film puts humans onto that tiny stage occupied by astronauts, space stations and modules.  And, it lets us spend a moment with what it means to be human in the vastness.

What makes us human?  Knowing from the start that we will die and what that knowledge provokes.  The film embraces this emotional space.  It embraces death as sudden and random.  With death as a deliberate act to save another.  With the choice of sweet surrender.  With patience, intelligence and determination to eek out a little more time to live.

Don't miss Gravity.  And let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

There's a Price on my Head

I am now leading "the ninety-nine thousand dollar life."  That is the price tag attached to treating my heart attack.  This expensive life was fought for by FDR and his "New Deal" and by all of the legislators who followed Lyndon Johnson's lead to vote for Medicare.  I take this history very personally.

And I'm taking this current fight over health care very personally.  That $99,000?  I'm no more deserving of those dollars than the next guy.

So, in the meantime,  since I am one of the lucky ones, I'm going to pay attention to leading a "valuable" life.   A better friend?  Better family member?  Better citizen?

I'm working on it.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Message to the Universe

Voyager 1, launched by NASA in 1977, is the first man-made object to enter the dark region beyond our solar system.  If there is a message stored inside, I haven't heard about it.  I hope there is one, and I hope it goes something like this.

Greetings from the planet Earth.

We have human beings here who are smart enough to have invented this device which has just now broken free of our solar system.  But, even though we possess so much intelligence, we are in deep trouble.  We have not been able to figure out how to live peacefully with each other.  Our whole existence has been one of killing and destruction.

We also have not been wise enough to respect our natural habitat.  Our lifestyle is destroying our planet to the point where we can actually envision our own extinction.  Yet, no one has the will to turn things around.  If you are more advanced, we could surely use your help.

All of us.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

KO in the First Round

Keith Olbermann is back.  He's back on TV (espn2) and he's back to his roots as a sports guy.  He is so good.  Seriously, he is really funny. We're in for a treat every night at 10 for as long as it lasts.  And, with Keith, you never know.
But, maybe this time he'll stay for awhile because he seems to be having such a good time.

Gone is the Edward R. Murrow complex.  Gone are the rants, substantial as they were.  Just watch him describe a baseball game, fans in the stands and all.  Keith has turned his permanent disillusioned eye into fast paced hilarity.

Tonight he's having John McEnroe as a guest.  I'm thinking of that game where you imagine who you would love to sit next to at a dinner party.  If I ever found myself between these two guys, I'd just keep quiet and let it all wash over me.

I'm going to have to change my biorythms to stay up.  Oh well. don't they say that new habits are good for you?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Big Frisk

New York's Stop and Frisk policy has been declared unconstitutional.  It is considered "racial profiling" because it targets blacks and latinos.  If the law is to be preserved it has to be administered more "across the board" by, I guess, expanding it to other groups.

Mayor Bloomberg says the judicial ruling is bad for New Yorkers.  He says the police go to the "high crime" areas.  I think he is a bit narrow in his thinking about "high crime."

I suggest that an ideal place to expand the policy is in another "high crime" area: Wall Street.  If the police stopped and frisked the suit and tie crowd, I bet they might find some of those infamous hundred dollar bills used for sniffing.  Of, if the frisk included opening a briefcase or two, there might be some of those highly touted worthless investments, or even a phony mortgage or two.

Most of the people stopped and frisked so far were innocent.  A few were sent to jail.  Since no one from the Wall Street crowd has yet been sent to jail, the police could immediately improve their record.

When it comes to Wall Street, we've all been frisked.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Braun Goes Down

I'm not going to join the sanctimonious hype surrounding Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez' supposed drug use.  Braun took the plea deal.  And, he comes across as a bum.  Alex is being spit upon before anything actually comes down.  Turn the guy into public enemy number one and do with him what you will.

The phony "war on drugs" mentality has taken over baseball.  This weekend, there will be no new players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  This is because the baseball writers are so freaked out about PED's, they won't vote for the "steroid era" players.  Never mind the racist past of "baseball," or the despicable behavior of Hall of Famers like Ty Cobb.

"Baseball" (whatever that term means) is applauding the Players Unions for not defending the supposed users.  I think that stinks.  The owners and the media have enough power to deem anyone suspected of drug use as guilty.  The union is supposed to be on the workers' side.  C'mon man, whatever happened to due process?

The public seems not to care so much.  In fact, I bet a lot of fans really miss the homers more than they are celebrating the rash of no-hitters.

Consider this: If you were a poor boy in the Dominican Republic, and had a chance to escape from a life of cutting sugar cane, would you do what you had to do to have a chance?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Healing Heart

Recovering from a heart attack is an emotional experience.  I find myself tearing up when friends come through the door.  I'm teary thinking about all of the calls I've received;  some completely unexpected, from people long alienated, who step forward to wish me well.

Christopher Hitchens, the brilliant cultural critic was a prominent atheist.  As he was dying of cancer, he was told that people were praying for him.  He responded: "If it makes them feel good, that's fine with me." I was asked my religion at the hospital and I said I was an atheist.  But, if the spiritual shows up, and it has, like Hitchens, that's okay too.

The men who work in my garage are from Africa.  They are a lovely group.  My favorite is Clement.  Every Sunday, when I come down for my car, I joke with him about the church services he plays.  I tell him my Sunday dose of Jesus is keeping me "saved" for the week.  He knows I really like the music, and he's right.

When I told Clement I was home from a heart attack, he took my hand and looked me straight in the eye.  "You are fine now, you are fine," he said quietly.

I believe him.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Exorcism's Curious Path

I have travelled to Paris twice.  Unfortunately, both times I was in an unhappy place and unable to enjoy the splendor of the city as much as it deserves.  A big regret.

A few years after my last trip, I was chatting with my co-worker Harry, who said he was getting married and going to Paris on his honeymoon.  Harry was an actor at night and I had seen him perform in a play based on Edgar Allen Poe's story The Pit and the Pendulum.  I sensed that he had an appreciation of the supernatural.

So, I gave him some cash, and asked him to have drinks in Paris with his bride, and perfom an exorcism for me.  I would be relieved of all negative energy surrounding the city "forevermore."  He happily agreed and the deed was done.

I don't know if I will make it back to Paris.  But, tomorrow Bill and Natalie are off to the great city for a father/daughter adventure.  Fantastique!

I hereby extend all of the exorcism's magic to them.  They are going to have a wonderful time.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pump Room Revisited

My wonderful friend Lisa treated me to lunch at the Pump Room.  I knew the famous room was under new management and even the Ambassador Hotel had a new name.  But, on the way over, I was thinking of Kup in booth number one, of the celebrity photos in the hallway, of how you could get a phone plugged in at your table.

For certain dishes the waiters would march to your table to serve your food from flaming swords.  The whole idea was over the top pagentry.  The men wore elaborate hats with huge plumes above suits that looked like they came from Versailles.

Today, the pump room is beige.  Very elegant, very quiet, very soothing.  Our waitress wore plain black and sneakers.  Imagine that: sneakers.

Myles has a copy of Fodor's Guide to Chicago, 1954.  It  has reviews of Fritzel's, Shangri-La, Red Star Inn.  I'm sure the Pump Room is in there too.  I want to see what Fodor had to say.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Slouching Towards Anarchy

Is anarchy the proper response to a surveillance system gone mad?  I was thinking about "the joy of non-cooperation" when I told the cashier, "No, I will not give you my email address."  "But, you'll be eligible for a discount," she pleaded.  "No, thanks," I smiled, feeling even more self-satisfied by my sacrifice.

Another total intrusion story broke out this week. The Supreme Court ruled that big pharma can no longer own our genes.  This bit of commen sense took 30 years to achieve.

So, I'm thinking:  "If I can obtain a patent on my phone calls and my emails, maybe I can keep big brother at bay for 30 years, by which time I'll be long gone."

Harry Browne, the late libertarian, wrote: "Don't do anything that requires your signature."
If only.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A New Look

Elsa sent me her photo today showing her new hairdo:  From long and straightened to short and naturally curly.  She looks beautiful.

A few months ago I met with a group of friends to discuss "The Feminine Mystique."  The book was being celebrated on the fiftieth anniversary of its publication.  The oldsters talked about how the book changed our way of thinking and inspired us to do different things with our lives:  maybe grad school, a job, politics.

It was a new hairdo that did it for me.  I remember vividly getting a different cut and style. I came home from the beauty parlour and looked intently into the mirror.  I saw a new woman from the one who had left the house a few hours before.  That woman said: "It's fear that's keeping you from making the changes you need to make.  Let's get started now."

My new hairdo was also short, kind of tossed on top.  It was called "the artichoke."

Saturday, June 8, 2013

My Year as a Foreigner

My application to Northwestern was a spur of the moment decision made later than the normal time.  When the acceptance letter came, I was told the dorm rooms were full, but if I would agree to live in the “Foreign Student Home,”  I could come to school in the fall.

“Foreign Student Home. Sounds like an adventure. Yes!”, I smiled.  So I unpacked my bags at the Victorian mansion on Orrington Street eager to meet my new exotic friends. Here were the others who showed up that day:  several girls on music scholarships, most from Chicago, some of them black(!); the rest like me, the dormitory overflow.  Not a foreigner among us.

My roommate Joy was a tiny blond girl from the southwest suburbs.  She played the piano like a dream.  All the music girls were talented.  The practicing and the jam sessions went way into the night.

On Friday and Saturday nights Joy played piano at a bar on the “wet” side of Howard Street.  That was the dividing line between Evanston (dry) and Chicago.  We soon found out the hard way (being kicked out of bars in Skokie), that the Howard Street place was the only one that would seat our little integrated group.

Looking back on that fabulous year, I guess that the black and white friendships developed on Orrington Street were a pretty foreign adventure at that.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bye, Bye Bulls

I like what Kenny Smith said during the half time show.  "I want to live my life like the Bulls.  They stick to their game plan, they believe in themselves, work together, and they don't give up."

I loved being a Bulls fan this season.  There were so many stirring moments that were all the more satisfying because they were so unexpected.

Be honest.  Did you ever think they would take the Heat all the way to the last seconds and only lose by three points?  Neither did I.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Barack Obama as Jackie Robinson

Maureen Dowd has written a scathing criticism of President Obama in the New York Times.  Referring to the debacle on the gun vote, she rips into the President.  He didn't mount a vigorous campaign. He didn't threaten enough Senators who could have been pried off the fence.  He didn't go full "Lyndon Johnson SOB."

Jackie Robinson was not chosen to be the first black baseball player in the major leagues because he was the most talented.  He was deemed to be the most intelligent and hopefully the most stoic.  His job was not to directly challenge the brutal eruption of racism, but to endure.

Obama endures everything that is thrown his way.  He goes out and speaks eloquently. He figures that the opposition will be shamed into doing the right thing.   Maybe in the long run it works that way.  For a time.  The civil rights laws that the SOB got passed are being overturned.  Daniel Ellsberg gives way to Bradley Manning.

When No. 44's number is retired, his hair will probably be as white as No. 42's.  And eventually we'll love him the way we love Jackie.

And the guns endure.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston on my mind

Boston plays out in special ways for me.  As a teenager I visited family friends in the summer, and as a college student, I attended Harvard summer school.  I loved the place.

An infamous connection with beantown occurred in the late sixties.  I was divorced and my mother staked me to a fancy cruise.  Would it be unkind to think she was hoping a rich son-in-law might be the payoff?  I ended up with two union bosses from Boston.  They were up from "the dig" probably with dues money. Married, but no wives on board.  They insisted that the fancy French chef prepare corned beef and cabbage.  Yes, it was a trip.

The last time I was in Boston was when I went to visit my friend Camille who had moved there in the '80's.  It was New Years eve and Boston had invented "First Night."  It was celebrating free cultural events all over town.  We were in a happy crowd waiting to get into a performance by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Just like the happy crowd waiting for their runners to make it to the finish line.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Connected and Not

DISCONNECT opened yesterday in seven or eight major cities.  This is was happens with smaller, independent films. In Chicago, the major newspaper critics gave it 4 and 3 1/2 stars.  If it catches on, like The Intouchables, the film may become a blockbuster. While I think  DISCONNECT deserves a big audience, it tells a far different story than a feel good fantasy.  It is immediate and real.  I felt so little distance between myself and the people on the screen that their pain played out in my body, and I can't get the story out of my mind.  Even if I wanted to, the reminders are everywhere.  Another teenager hanged herself because of cyberbullying.  Another college on lockdown. And...and...and. . .

Bill came to Chicago to show the film at a fundraiser.  It was a scholarship fund at his high school in memory of his favorite teacher, who guided him into the world of literature and film. Lots of his friends (and mine) showed up.  Afterwards, several of us went over to Gene and Georgetti's restaurant.  Remember that place?  You can't believe it's still in business, except that it is.  Nostalgia night.

 I didn't see anyone checking their cell, or pulling out their tablet.  Lots of catching up  and good conversation.  Lots of connection.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

In the Minority Again

I was interested when I heard that Ron Johnson, the Apple person who had created those marvelous looking retail stores, was taking over stodgy old  JC Penney.  And, I was excited when the first JC Penney insert showed up in my Sunday paper:  White. Clean. New name (JCP). Great design. Colorful logo. This was worth investigating.

The closest JCP store was miles away in a northwest suburb.  But,  my curiosity propelled me to the Golf Mill Mall.  I was not disappointed.  A few departments had been transformed to the Apple ambiance.  And, the clothes (mostly t-shirts, sweaters, jeans) were inviting.  Sephora, the makeup place, had been installed as a store-within-a store.  The salespeople were extremely capable and flexible. (I got to use the "wrong" coupon.)  I was a very happy customer.

I looked around at the rest of the merchandise and thought:  "Mr. Apple is going to have his hands full for the next few years."

Silly me.  Why should good old JC Penney change for the likes of  Steve Jobs?  Or Ron Johnson?  Or me?   It didn't.  Ron Johnson was fired last week.

Maybe I'll go back one more time for the clearance sale.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Roger Ebert Figured it Out

I read Roger all the time because I never gave up my subscription to the Chicago Sun Times.  Roger wrote this in his memoir, LIFE ITSELF, and I hope to keep it in mind.

I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do.  To make others less happy is a crime. . . I didn't always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

I chose this picture because he never gave up on himself right to the end.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cell Memories

A few years ago, a journalist wrote an article about her visit to a therapist who practiced "Emotional Liposuction."  The words stuck with me so strongly that I wrote down his name and number.  The idea is that the therapist, using techniques that sounded like reiki or healing touch, draws out of the cells memories that are lodged there and cause pain until their energy is released.  Makes sense to me.

 Going through my papers, I came across the Liposuction name yesterday.  A sign, or a coincidence?  Maybe this is exactly what I need to get rid of some of the pain I walk around with every day.  Funny how putting powerful chemicals into our bodies seems perfectly reasonable, even when we have to ignore all of those side effect warnings.  And, it's covered by insurance. But, imagining cell memory -- and a cleansing -- seems so squishy and thus unsupported by the powers that be.  I'm going to investigate it.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Big Day

Today features the White Sox home opener and April Fools Day. Coincidence or prophesy?  It would be too soon and too sad to describe the Sox season as a joke.  The wonderful thing about opening day is that every team is a winner when they take the field.

I like that baseball begins in the spring. . . just when our spirits are ready for a lift.  When you live in a cold weather city like Chicago, you know how to appreciate those early rays of sun.

Here's another thing about baseball that makes it fascinating to me:  infinity made real.  No clock, no time.  That's a concept an oldster can take to heart.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Zirin the Siren

Dave Zirin, my favorite sportswriter and commentator, spoke yesterday at the Heartland Cafe.  He is on a book tour for his latest entry, GAME OVER.  Dave is the clearest voice I know for explaining how sports, politics, race, and power operate on a global scene.  His insistence on fairness and decency -- and his winning personality -- are what makes him unique.

 He's just such a friendly guy.  Here is a man who appears on TV, has his national radio show, his blog Edge of Sports, and, of course his many books, and yet, remembers me from the last time I saw him in Chicago.  "Hi, Joan.  Thanks to you and the other Nation people, I got booked on their cruise."
Now, there's a guy you can love.

P.S.  Buzz Bissinger, another of my favorite commentators on sports and life, (remember Friday Night Lights?), wrote today on Dennis Rodman's trip to North Korea (it's at the Daily Beast web site).  Great insight.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Happiness is a two letter word

Occasionally, Elsa asks me to edit something she is writing for her marvelous web site Art is a Way www.artisaway.com .  The other day, she was writing about happiness and pain.

Happiness is not  tangible.  You cannot touch it, you cannot measure it, you cannot put it in a box and keep it in a safe place. That is because happiness is a concept, a creation of the mind, something invented. I believe that happiness is up to each of us. What makes someone happy could make someone else sad . Happiness is a personal experience that belongs to us alone.
The opposite of happiness is pain, physical and emotional. But I want to focus on emotional pain. Emotionally  painful experiences have endless sources; some come from childhood and some from adulthood. They come in all sizes and colors. Some create deep scars and some don’t leave scars at all. But all of them shape us to be the person that we are, depending on how we interact with them. When pain owns you, you become a victim and it is hard to move forward from that position. But when you do the opposite and own your pain, then you become the object of the experience, so it is easier to establish some distance, evaluate the situation and find solutions.
 The filmmakers of NO, the captivating movie from Chile, created a great depiction of Elsa's profound ideas.   In 1988, responding to international criticism of the strongman dictator Pinochet, a referendum was held in which people could vote "Yes" or "No' about the current regime.  Each side had equal time on TV during the campaign. Everyone expected that a "Yes" vote was as inevitable as the military might behind it.
A young, ambitious advertising man was called in as a consultant for the "No" campaign.  The "No" people wanted to make a compelling case against Pinochet for his human rights abuses.  The deaths.  The torture.  The disappearances.  The ad man (a Don Draper as man of the people?) had another idea.  "Let's talk about a bright future for Chile.  Let's talk about a rainbow coalition.  Let's talk about happiness."  And, that's what the winning ad campaign achieved.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Philip Roth is going to be 80.  His hometown, Newark, is celebrating his birthday with a tour of places associated with the writer and his works.  No, to my knowledge, this is not the latest heroic act of Newark's irrepressible Mayor Cory Booker.  But, it might as well be.  We don't notice Newark too much and, when we do, it's not for literary excellence. (I wonder if New Jersey's other high profiler, Chris Christie, will partake in the festivities.)

Recently, I wrote about the book,  Gone Girl.  The more I think about it and discuss it with my friends, I'm convinced that it's not just a manipulative page turner.  It's an important work that captures our time in a thoughtful and significant way.

Which reminds me of American Pastoral, Roth's masterpiece.  I'm not putting Gillian Flynn up there with Roth, but they both give us lots of insight.  And, lots of great reading!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Death...Death...and Now Life

My friends have been asking me why I haven't been writing lately.  I'm not sure why, but what came to mind is sadness stopping my pen.  Sadness that every time I look at the news, someone I admire, or remember fondly has died (Van Cliburn, Dawn Clark Netsch, Chavez).

So, I was thrilled last night when my friend Margaret called to tell me that she is expecting a new grandchild in July!  And, it's a boy who will be a great cousin to her other baby boy born last year.

And, since I'm in a good mood now, I can laugh at the goofiness of Dennis Rodman becoming our "diplomat of the day."  I say, with things going the way they do in Washington, Dennis was inevitable. Kind of like when Rodney King broke through with "Can't we all just get along?"

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Third World Super Bowl

What if, as part of some frenzied world-wide marketing plan, the NFL decided to hold the Super Bowl in Africa?   They could trumpet the scheme as "spreading around the dollars."  Imagine all of the corporate private jets flying in formation to the far away continent.  Many of the players could connect with their ancestors.  Henry Louis Gates could guide them to find their proper tribe.

Now, imagine that the lights go out.  Fear grips the fans.  Game delayed.  Every sky box holder is on his cell phone demanding that his "people" get him out of there.  So much for the NFL marketing team.

Just a few years ago, the World Cup (the "Super Bowl" of soccer, the world's most popular game) was held in several cities in Africa.  To my knowledge, there were no power failures.  Just those noisy horns.

Some say Beyonce is to blame for the Super Bowl going dark.  She was using too much of the available power for her half-time show.  The popular super star is about to engage in a world wide tour.  Let's see how the other countries manage.

Rest of the world?  Thumbs up?  New Orleans?  Thumbs down?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dark Dawn

Dawn Clark Netsch has been diagnosed with ALS.  I can't image a worse fate.  Netsch brought some dignity and high-mindedness to public service and politics in this sullied State.  She deserves our admiration and gratitute.

The year was 1994.  I was living in exile in Elmhurst -- the heart of Republican DuPage County.  Netsch was running for Governor as a "straight shooter." (Remember those marvelous billiards commercials?)  She was the first woman in Illinois to get the nod from a major party.

When I entered the polling place at Primary time, there were a few gents totally at ease enjoying the coffee and donuts. I asked for a Democratic ballot.  "Oh right," one of them smirked.  "We'd better bring out some of those ballots today.  The 'little ladies' are going to want to vote for the gal."  The others chuckled along with the joke.  And, they made me wait while they pretended to fumble around looking for the "wrong" ballot.

I'm sure Dawn Clark Netsch faced, confronted and overcame all of this in her long career.

Why did she make her illness public?  She says "It might get people thinking more about ALS."  If anyone could cure the incureable, I'd put my money on her.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Gillian Flynn has written  a stunning novel" Girl Gone.  I enthusiastically join all the other readers who couldn't put it down.  Kathy thinks the book has staying power, in the same category as Lolita.   We agreed that it perfectly captures the ruthless self-centeredness that is crashing like Sandy over our national shores,  destroying the norms of accepted behavior in its wake.

Me. Me. Me.  Win. Win. Win.  And, if I have to bring the country to a "cliff", or spray a clip of bullets, I will not be denied the feeling of power!

The person in public life who reminds me most of Amy, the girl in the book who is gone, is Lance Armstrong.  Today, I've been listening to clips of his public statements.  They are chilling.  I also learned of the havoc he wrecked on everyone who dared to challenge his lies.  The most intriguing question is why is he admitting anything?  Why now?

The answer that makes the most sense to me goes back to the novel.  When they finally decided to nail Lance Armstrong, he lost his "story." He was no longer in charge of his narrative.   So, he must regain control.

The book ends at the same place where we are now with Lance:  we'll see over time if Amy and he suceed.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


We were stunned into silence during "Too Big to Fail."  We were angry, but impotent during "Too Big to Jail."  We were grateful for Obama because he wasn't Romney, even when we were forced to stick with Guantanimo, Mortgage Crisis, Drones, and 1 percent.


Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clements.  Yes!  Bring down the cheaters.  Shame them all.

Feel better now?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Art is a Way

Elsa has a new web site:  www.artisaway.com

I think you'll love it!

Friday, January 4, 2013


Elaine, a woman I have met and admire, is writing a blog with the self-explanatory title: "The Rookie Widow."  It struck a chord with me as two of my best friends entered the big leagues in the same way last year.  One of the unintended benefits of not being married for too long, is that I can avoid induction into that Hall of Fame.  2012 was tough.  Those husbands were dear to me, too.  I'm happy to turn the page, even though I'm in the last chapters.

So, Happy New Year 2013.  I'm looking forward to visiting Natalie and Diego in February, the (hopefully) return of Derrick Rose in March, and whatever other good news is out there. Isn't it great to know that the unexpected endures?