Sunday, October 16, 2016

Black and brown do so go together

I was at Montrose Harbor with my lovely younger niece a week ago, looking for birds and looking for Pokemon.  We were much more successful with birds this time -- a Cooper's Hawk landed 20 feet in front of us on the ground, chickadees were two feet in front of our faces.  But we did see a late-season caterpillar inching and scooting along, proof positive that if nature says black and brown go together, then they go together.

Fashion icon, fall 2016

Sunday, October 9, 2016

When boneheads collide

We all know that Donald Trump is a colossal bonehead and this week's revelation of lewd comments made on a hot mike while with "Access Hollywood" correspondent Billy Bush is hardly a surprise.  I wasn't surprised by his comments.  Disgusted, nauseated, displeased, repulsed but not surprised.  The man is self-serving, self-obsessed, and entitled; why would his comments be a surprise?  He believes he deserves anything he wants.  He spews vulgarities about women even though he has daughters and is married.  What surprised me was Billy Bush.

Yeah, yeah, Billy Bush.  He has been married for 18 years and has three daughters.  He says he is happy in his marriage and he seems to be in love with his whole family.  This Bush cousin was not totally unlikable on "Access Hollywood."  I am disgusted, displeased, nauseated, repulsed, and surprised that he would stoop to such a low level as that where Donald Trump dwells.  His was not embarrassed laughter at Trump's remarks.  Billy Bush, father of three daughters, had a laugh of clear delight, like he was finally befriended by the high school quarterback, like he was now one of the cool kids.  The press described him as a sycophant -- a fawning flatterer -- and I have to agree with that assessment.  In 2005, Billy Bush wanted to be in with the cool guy for that one moment in time, even though he, Billy, probably had to have a hot shower when he got home to cleanse the filth of the experience from himself when he realized what he'd said. 

Billy!  When you have daughters you want to discourage that sort of behavior.  You don't want to think that maybe one of your daughters will be near him and he will snatch at her genitalia and it's acceptable because he's famous.  Another way to think of it?  I don't think Brad Pitt, Alan Alda, Alec Baldwin, or any other Hollywood person with a daughter would have enjoyed this sort of salacious remark. "Oh geez," is about the best he deserved, and then quickly change the subject.  "How about them Cubs?" is always apropos, good years or bad.  Billy Bush, you may have wildly damaged your new career on "Today."  The incident happened in 2005 but stank sometimes just will not fade.  Yours is a cautionary tale for broadcast journalism students and human beings everywhere.

When I was in college, a friend found a poem in an anthology and typed it up.  I kept it in my wallet for years until someone stole my wallet.  I paraphrase:

You have to know what you once said
Because it could travel in the air for years
And then return in different clothes
And then you have to buy it.

Clearly, the person who released this clip is not a Republican and was scared about the prospect of a bonehead in the White House.  This person deserves a thank-you note from all sane Americans.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Five weeks and two days

Five weeks and two days from today, Americans go to the polls to elect a new president.  I write them an open letter:

Dear Fellow Americans:

How are you?  How are things?  How is your family and that one crazy friend of yours whom I don't really like but you're crazy about so I feel compelled to ask about him/her until you're sick to death of him/her and cut him/her out of your life once and for all.  Of course he/she might be asking you about me for the very same reason unless he/she is a genuinely kind person which I very much doubt because there can't be two stellar humans in a friendship because you'd bore each other to absolute death with all that goodness, pleasantness, and niceness.  So I am pretty sure he/she is the crazy one because, wow, you're great.

I know you've all gone to some municipal or governmental location over the past few months to register to vote.  Maybe you've registered at your local library or at a folding table manned by someone who believes that people should vote.  About 24 years ago I joined the League of Women Voters just so I could register the lazy asses I was working with a the time.  I found out that many of my coworkers weren't registered because they simply didn't want to think about how to do it.  We worked second shift; they had all day, every day to work that out but they just were too lazy.  I joined the League of Women Voters, took a short class, and got sworn in as a registrar.  I got something like 10 people registered.  It turned out that most people were registered but were too lazy to make the effort to go to vote.  But the 10 people I signed up did go and vote.  One guy with whom I wasn't even friends said to me, "Good for you.  You made a difference."  I said it wasn't a big difference and he said that no one else had made any effort so good for me.  This man and I weren't friends; that was a huge compliment from him which I appreciated.

But I digress.

This is a huge election.  There is the intelligent, ex-Senator, ex-Secretary of State, ex-First Lady of the United States, Hillary Clinton.  There is the belligerent businessman, Donald Trump, who has never before run for office nor has he been nominated to any governmental position.  There is Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, who can't name any world leader anywhere, doesn't know what Aleppo is, and when he was the governor of New Mexico, fabricated a story about a tunnel in one of the prisons to make it sound like prisoners had dug said tunnel (it was a service tunnel that had been commissioned by the Bureau of Prisons ten years prior).  Finally, there is Jill Stein, head of the Green Party, who was wanted in North Dakota for misdemeanor trespassing and criminal mischief over Labor Day weekend.  The last two are mere spoilers.  The first two are the meat in this four-choice platter of voting.

People say they can't trust Hillary Clinton.  As Michael Moore asked his morning on "Meet the Press," did these people maybe ask her to water their plants for the weekend and she didn't do it?  There is no tangible reason.

Rudy Giuliani was on the same show (1) defending Trump for not paying taxes and taking a multi-million-dollar loss on his federal taxes in the mid-1990s.  "If he didn't claim that loss, he could have been sued by his investors."  He went on to say (2) that plenty of poor people don't pay federal taxes.  I address these things:  (1) Those people invested in Donald Trump's business but also in his alleged business acumen and alleged abilities to deliver on an agreement.  Rather than pay them back, he claimed a huge loss.  (2) Poor people don't pay federal taxes because they're poor.  If you make less than a certain amount, you're deemed too pitiful to have to pay.  In other words, the U.S. government tells them to keep their money, please, and buy some food for their kids.  Bottom line:  Rudy Giuliani is a simple tool.  I can't trust someone like Trump who won't take responsibility for his mistakes, screws his investors by saving his own ass, and doesn't pay his fair share of taxes.

Remember when George W. Bush gave that huge tax cut to the rich and everyone else in the early aughts?  But it mostly benefited the rich so they could allegedly create new jobs?  Did they create new jobs?  They did not.  Trump's idea to cut taxes for the rich will have the same result.  In the debate he talked about how terrible the New York airports area are and that they are just like the airports in Third World countries.  I am 99.9999% sure that Donald Trump has never been to a Third World Country.  Things like airports, bridges, and roads can get fixed with a healthy dose of federal funding.  Hello?  Donald?  Where does the government get its money?  Taxes.  Pay some.  To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, I like paying taxes; they buy me civilization.  (And more attractive airports.)

Hillary Clinton wants to improve the lives of Americans.  Donald Trump wants to improve the lives of rich Americans.  Are you a rich American?  If you're reading this blog, you are probably not.  You don't have to love Hillary Clinton, you just have to respect her and realize that she is well-prepared and sane.  And her husband left office with a surplus.  Remember surpluses?  Yeah, I do, too, but only vaguely.  If Bill can score one, so can Hillary.

As my sister said eight years ago, "The Democrats can nominate a flour sack with a smiley face drawn on it and that's who I'm voting for."  And as my former manager, Jeff, said 16 years ago, "I don't care who the Democrats trot out, that's who I'm voting for."

Thanks for your time.  Make sure you're registered so you can make the first woman nominee from a major party the first woman president and because she is very smart, very prepared, very capable, and is respected worldwide.  That was a hell of a sentence but you get my drift: Hillary Clinton 2016.

Love and kisses,

E. M. Nowak

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pokemon GO on the waterfront

It was a lovely day in Chicago today, probably the last day that will be over 80 degrees until 2017.  I am not a fan of the heat but it was so clear and pleasant by Lake Michigan.  Our Pokemon GO team leader, sub-leader, and I (lowly follower) headed down to Adler Planetarium to catch some Pokemon.  Our lead and sub-leader had great success there last weekend and they allowed me, lowly follower, to come along for the bonanza.

We were not alone.  There were many people walking around, collecting Pokemon, including some children.  Yeah, you read that right, this was a crowd of 90% adults collecting Pokemon in a quest to evolve their present Pokemon.  Except for the heat, it was the perfect day.  Adler Planetarium had the Doane Observatory open and we walked up some stairs for the chance to look directly at the sun through a big-ass telescope with two different filters.  It was fantastic!  We saw spots on the sun that were as big as Earth!  Then we left and got back to the business of collecting Pokemon and I finally scored a bulbasaur.  It was two hours that were very well spent.

What's your nickname on Pokemon GO?  I want to look for you in a gym even though I know that you, whoever you may be, will probably whup my ass.

It was a good day to visit Adler Planetarium and see the view of downtown Chicago

Pokemon GO makes a good day better!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Flamingo: A new view

While I was on vacation, my department changed locations from our stunning view of Lake Michigan to a view of the top of the Dirksen Federal Building.  Just a few steps from my desk is another view I've been longing to see -- Calder's Flamingo from above.

Regular readers will recall my fascination and appreciation of Flamingo.  Alexander Calder's sculpture resides in Federal Plaza which is kitty corner from my workplace.  I've offered many different view of Flamingo, including a shot of the modele in the Art Institute.  The one picture I was missing was looking down on it.

So here we have it, folks.  It's a regular early fall day, the flag is waving, and Flamingo poses silently for us all.  I look forward to a snowfall on Flamingo from above but until then, this makes me happy.

Thanks to my employer for letting me take photos during work hours

Sunday, September 11, 2016

I am still Pokemon GO and on the move

Last week I admitted to my affection for Pokemon Go.  My love has not waned during the week.  Tuesday night, I went to my regular tap class.  My sister, a much better tapper than I am as she practices and is a better dancer than I could ever be, came to my Tap 2 class.  Afterward I said it was a good class that would've been made better had we been able to have our iPhones in hand with Pokemon Go hunting for available Pokemon in the area.  Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle ball change, BULBASAUR, paradiddle, stamp!  She agreed and we walked three blocks out of our way so she could show me how to fight in a gym.  Thanks to her tutelage, I won!
Jynx and I crushed something and someone
Today I am part of a group of three that is going to Navy Pier to look for Pokemon.  I got this text message from our leader yesterday:  "In preparation for tomorrow I highly recommend clearing some room in ur pokego bag for pokeballs by getting rid of some potions and revives

"Also make sure to transfer out any extra pokemon so there's room for catching stuff"

[Author's note: In the world of text messaging, correct spelling and punctuation are for chumps.]

Last night, after slogging around the Renegade Craft Fair for hours (it's a renowned inhaler of time but this year was not an inhaler of money), I came home and transferred all Pokemon extras to the Professor.  I unloaded lots of potions and super potions but kept most of my hyper potions and many revives plus my lures, incense, and eggs.  I kept all 103 raspberries (as advised by our leader) and will collect more Poke balls on the way to the Navy Pier meeting point so that I am ready as soon as I get there.

If you see three desperate characters slogging around Navy Pier with the iPhones in hand, don't say hello because that's not us.  We three aren't desperate, just fans of Pokemon GO.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

I am Pokemon GO

Let's agree about New York City.  It's the entertainment center of America, "if I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere."  It's the financial heart.  It's the fashion mecca.  Artists flock there to create their art and maybe create a thing that is big and popular and forever in the cultural forefront, like a painting or a play.  New York City is also the Pokemon GO place to be.

Pokemon GO is the sensation that melds catching Pokemon with a GPS.  People walk around trying to catch Pokemon which they can evolve into stronger Pokemon and then stronger Pokemon still.  If my sister and I turn on our phones at the same time, we see the exact same Pokemon.  If my niece is sitting a little to my left and she gets a Pokemon, I might have to wave my phone all around her in order to get the same Pokemon but said Pokemon can be had.

Before I left for New York last weekend, my sister told me New York was the only place where you could find a Charmander.  I was going to New York to see hotels and didn't want anything to get in the way of that.  Fortunately, with Pokemon GO you can walk from one appointment to the next and collect Poke balls and perhaps a Pidgey or a Rattata.  You get some exercise -- seven miles on Saturday, as it turned out -- which is part of the Pokemon GO deal.  The GPS finds you and tells you what's nearby.

I visited the Museum of Modern Art, one of the great art collections in the world, free on Fridays from 4pm to 8pm it's free, courtesy of Uniqlo, the Japanese clothing store.  Thanks, Uniqlo!  But it was so stuffed that being there was stuffy, slow going, and kind of uncomfortable.  After 30 minutes, I'd seen Van Gogh's "Starry Night," and a zillion people looking at that painting, including 10 minutes to work my way to be in front of it.  It was a clear night and I returned to my hotel so I could have some water and a little rest.

I needed to visit the Apple Store, a block from my hotel, so I walked.  Why are all those people sitting by the statue of Sherman?  I'd heard rumors that this might be ground central.  I went and had a seat and Pokemon came to me because of a Pokemon lure.  I was very excited to catch things.  I talked to people near me.  One man was from Ohio and his son-in-law got him hooked on Pokemon.  "Have you seen a stampede yet?" he asked.  I asked what that was.  Someone will spot a rare Pokemon on their phones and everyone runs to get it.  I asked if just young people ran and he said no, everyone who wanted that Pokemon went.  He was about 50 and he had participated.  "I'm going back to my hotel in a minute," he said.  "I've been here for a while."  I went over to the Apple Store and came back 90 minutes later. Ohio man was sitting on the steps of the statue."Still here I see," I said. "I am going back to my hotel right now." he claimed. I walked away.  He wanted some Pokemon.  I know the look. 

On the northern side of the Sherman Statue -- which is at the Southeast corner of Central Park -- is the place where the Pokemon GO Meet Up group convenes.  Every Friday night at the Sherman Statue and every Wednesday night at Union Park, like-minded fans get together and collect Pokemon.  The guys who run it do it for free, for love of Pokemon GO, and bring a charging station.  He had a Poke Ball backpack from the late 90s that he'd bought on ebay.  He said it was usually in his backpack and everyone plugged in there but this evening he'd set it up right by the statue and several people were getting a charge.  People from all over were congregating -- Japanese tourists, a family from New Jersey, me, the guy from Ohio, adults and their adult children.

And then it happened!  A sighting of a rare Pokemon!  People ran across the traffic of the street that curves around the statue without looking -- thus explaining the police presence -- and continued running into the park.  At 9:30 pm.  In the dark.  Disappearing into the darkness.  Roughtly 50 to 75 people took off with them, including me.  One of the warnings when you log into Pokemon GO is "Don't enter dangerous areas at night."  So much for that, I thought, as we followed whatever signal it was that said there was something rare inside the park, right by this lagoon.  This is evidence there is safety in numbers and the gods really do watch out for fools.

The rare one wasn't to be found but the night air offered up a Bulbasaur.  I tried to capture it but found out that I had run out of Poke Balls so I turned around and left the park.  I returned to the Meet Up guy and he asked me if I got it.  "I ran out of Poke Balls," I said.  He looked genuinely disappointed for me.  "Oh, man, you can't run out of Poke Balls.  But it was a false sighting anyway.  The radar they're using is faulty."  Yes, there are several radars to be had and one of them likes to give fake readings.  It didn't matter to me because it was so great to be a part of something so culturally current.  The stampede is one of the coolest things I'd done in a while.

The next evening, the day of the seven-mile walk, I was sitting in Union Square, right before I went to dinner, having a short rest and snagging some Pokemon.  A man approached those of us sitting on this stretch of bench and said, "We're going to be shooting a skyline shot of New York from here," and then explained what would be in the shot, including us, that we shouldn't look right at the camera, then turned to get ready to shoot.  Some people got up and left without a word.  The two couples on my left were excited to be on TV.  I said, "I just want to catch Pokemon," and walked away to catch a Beedrill and a Dodrio.  I think I got the better of the deal.

Target is also Pokemon GO

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Yessir.  Nothing much to see this week.  See you next Sunday!

Shout out to moms

Someone in the lobby of 131 S. Dearbon wanted to take advantage of steamy windows to send a message to mom.  This week's offering is "Hi, Mom, with Nike of Samothrace in the background." Medium:  Finger on steamed glass 2016  Original 1/1

Yes, Mom. I think he means you.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Politically correct

I remember the days before political correctness.  I worked with a woman who was racist to her core.  She was not a bigot, she was simply a racist.  With every fiber of her being she hated anyone who was not White, Latino, Native American, or Asian.  You get the idea.  She was in the position of training newly-hired people to our job and she was especially unpleasant to those of the race she hated.  As I talked to everyone who worked there, veterans and neophytes, I heard what they said about her and what she said to them.

There was one fellow who was especially terrible at the job.  He simply couldn't do it and no amount of hints and training from anyone was able to save him from being fired.  A few weeks after he was let go, he bought a garment from me -- a green leather jacket that looked better on him than on me -- and when he came to pick it up, he said he was fired because she was a racist.  I said I didn't disagree with that at all but did he consider that he couldn't do the job and he didn't like it either?  She was (and probably still is) a skin-crawlingly creepy racist (who was otherwise a decent person and could be a good friend) but he was (and maybe still is) a guy who had trouble concentrating on a job that required concentration (and who was pleasant and quite fun).  He needed the job so she did him no favor by letting him go but no one of her nonpreferred demographic deserved to be around that sort of passive-aggressive vitriole.  A mutual friend in another department told me he found a job that suited him better.

And then came political correctness and she was forced to not say racist remarks.  Our company brought in movies about not harrassing people because they were different from you and about watching what you say.  She zipped it because even racists can get the hint.

There are those who are proudly not politically correct.  They are usually proud of it but not being politically correct means they've decided they can be racist, bigoted, jingoistic, anti-semites and it's okay.  It's not okay.  It's rude, thoughtless, unkind, and wrong.

Perhaps the term "politically incorrect" is out of date.  Maybe you know it by its new name:  Trump Supporter.  If that's you, then why are reading this blog?  You know I'm a Democrat.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Bears are back, they're gonna save my reputation

I'm so out of practice with football writing that I am almost overwhelmed.  My head is all into the election and how this is the most important election of our time.  My heart is breaking by the people who are so stupidly willing to throw their votes away not because they like Trump or Green candidate Jill Stein but because they hate Hillary Clinton.  Hard to write about Jay Cutler and, well, bla, Jay Cutler, when my head and heart and wrapped up in the election.  But I will try!

Jay Cutler, bla.  I discussed Jay with a friend and he believes Jay is actually shy and that's why it's hard for him to talk and not look all smirky faced.  This makes sense.  He's putting on a face but doesn't know what face to put on.  Hint for Jay:  Ask someone.

Charles Tillman, yeah!  Charles "Peanut" Tillman was a Bear for 12 years until he was traded to the Carolina Panthers.  He suffered a torn ACL during his year as a Panther which ended his season (but the Panthers went on to Super Bowl 50 but lost to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos). Charles Tillman and his wife, Jackie, run the Cornerstone Foundation.  Its mission is to help improve the lives of critically- and chronically-ill children throughout Chicago. Tillman created the foundation after his daughter, Tianna, was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and needed a heart transplant.  Charles Tillman was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year for his charitable work.

In July 2016, Charles Tillman signed a one-day contract with the Bears so he could retire as a Chicago Bear.  Good for the Bears! Good for Chicago that we have someone like Charles Tillman in our lives! Seriously.  Check it out:

Hint for Charles Tillman:  Keep being awesome.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Gold Star parents I want to know

Hillary accepting the nomination, courtesy of PBS
 Being a big old left-leaning Democrat, I was thrilled with the speechifying and yikkety yakking and Michael-Bloomberging that went on in Philadelphia.  I was delighted with many things I heard (but I did think Bernie Sanders could've tossed it over to Hillary sooner in his speech instead of riling up his supporters one last time and, p.s. Bern, they didn't need to be wound up.  That group is like the watch my college boyfriend had, i.e. self-winding.)  Chelsea talked about her mom and grandmother; I liked Bill Clinton pretending that everything was always hunky dunky and he wasn't a big old horndog for a long, long time but I know other horndogs who also think they're happily married and that their wives don't know they're horndogs, but hey if you're willing to find someone's most private place in which to slip your member then you're a horndog but they're nevertheless proud of their spouses and the longevity of their union; Michelle Obama was classy and smart, and if I invited her to dinner with me and my best pals, I bet she'd say, "Sorry, no," instead of just sicking the Secret Service on me.  President Obama brought it.  I listened on the radio in the car. I watched on the television machine at home.  The one that took me by storm was Khizr and Ghazala Khan.

Donald Trump totally slammed them, two Gold Star parents.

Who does that?  Donald Trump.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Brexit, American Style

The right wing of American politics has their cranks -- always-cross men and women who give us their bitter, angry opinions on how terrible things are in these United States. What's terrible is that these cranks are dashing to the bank with big paychecks right after barking out their bile-laden fear-mongering and we are left upset or paranoid.

The left really doesn't have as many political enthusiasts spouting statements that make even fellow liberals go, "Say what?"  The left, of which I am a part, does have Michael Moore.

Michael Moore is a famous author and documentary filmmaker, films that include "Roger and Me" and "Bowling For Columbine."  His movie about pre-Obamacare America, "Sicko," was one of the best movies I saw in 2007.  (I remember walking out of the movie theatre in Birmingham, Michigan, and saying, "Wow, that was a good movie.")  He is enthusiastic and extreme in his views but he often makes valid points.

In an episode of "Real Time with Bill Maher" that was taped at the RNC in Cleveland, Michael Moore states why he thinks Donald Trump will win.  It's the same reason we discussed weeks ago in this column -- the Brexit Syndrome where people either don't vote because everyone else will vote and get it taken care of or they vote one way thinking the other side will win anyway.

Here's the article from Us Weekly's online edition (don't judge me for Us Weekly, please and thanks):

My final salvo:  If you want Hillary, vote for Hillary.  If you don't want Donald, vote for Hillary.  If you want Donald, then why do you read my blog? You know I'm a Democrat!

-- EXTRAS BELOW -- Two excellent clips from S. Colbert's Late Show --

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts verbally spanks Trump:

Jon Stewart returned to TV and said this:

Sunday, July 17, 2016

No, not quite a loser

This week the Republicans converge on Cleveland, Ohio, a great, old American city, to stroke each other's yokes and probably place Donald Trump officially on the ballot for president.  He's bringing along Mike Pence, the socially conservative governor of Indiana who yesterday said of himself that he's "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order,” and he described Mr. Trump as a “patriotic American.”  Why would he feel the need to say that?

Unless you've committed treason, you're a patriotic American.  You've not joined ISIS or Al Qaeda?  Patriotic American.  You've not renounced your citizenship and moved to Canada, New Zealand, or or anywhere else?  Patriotic American.  Not hiding under Vladimir Putin's skirts?  Patriotic American (although Mr. Snowden probably thought what he was doing was for a supremely great idea, even for those CIA operatives in deep cover).  You don't have to wear a flag pin to be a patriotic American.  By being an American and standing up for yourself and your Constitutional rights, you're a patriotic American.  Exercising your right of Free Speech?  Practicing the religion of your choice?  Do you bear an arm?  Patriotic American.  Vote and serve on a jury?  You get the idea.

Donald Trump keeps talking about making America great again.  When did America stop being great?  It's the greatest country in the world.  Mistakes have been made -- case in point, public education -- but people knock themselves out to be here, live here, vote here. More than any country in the world, Americans can be born with nothing and go on to build a multimillion-dollar corporation.  What other country affords that opportunity?  You're born in a hovel in Appalachia but can join the military and build a life for yourself that gets you educated, fed, clothed, and sent around the world, and retire as a general.  There are opportunities for Americans that can be had if you're willing to take advantage of the pportunities.  So what about that makes America less than great?

Mr. Trump enjoys name-calling, not seeing that such behavior diminishes him.  All that hot air and he cannot rise above anything.  Nothing rolls off Mr. Trump. He takes everything personally and fires back with ill-advised, badly worded, hateful remarks.

It's a Senate election year in Illinois.  Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth is the Democratic candidate opposing Senator Mark Kirk, the junior senator from Illinois.  Congresswoman Duckworth proudly served in the Iraq War and was the first female double-amputee in that conflict, losing both legs and her right arm damaged.  After receiving a medical waiver, she continued in the military as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Illinois Army Reserves, from which she retired.  Senator Kirk served in the Naval Reserves and also did active duty.  Mark Kirk made some questionable remarks about his own military service, inflating his own record for whatever reason that politicians do boneheaded things.  Congresswoman Duckworth, a new mom, has never said or done anything like that because, well, Tammy's record speaks for itself.  Senator Kirk released a tweet that Tammy Duckworth didn't stand up for vets.  This was over a lawsuit that was dismissed in court three times.  (And, still, Senator Kirk did serve for many years and, still, is the Illinois finest embroiderer.)

Mark Kirk, however, good little Republican that I've always thought him to be, came out almost immediately and said he didn't support Mr. Trump.  I am convinced that he believes this as he's never backed off the statement.  He faces a tough race against Congresswoman Duckworth, so maybe it's chin music, trying to say things that will sway those who might otherwise jump to his opponent.  But, honestly, I think he just doesn't like Mr. Trump and what he stands for.

And so Mr. Trump had a meeting with Congressional Republicans and Mark Kirk wasn't invited.  At the party, Mr. Trump called Mark Kirk a loser.  You know what? That really sizzled my cheese because I think Mark Kirk really isn't a loser.  He suffered a massive stroke in 2012.  Surgeons went into his brain and removed dead brain tissue.  He walks like a guy who had a stroke.  After a year of rehab, Mark Kirk came to the US Capitol Building and walked up the steps.  Everyone could see him limping and struggling but up the stairs he went, kind of like the Witch of the Waste in "Howl's Moving Castle" only he didn't get his comeuppance when he got to the top; he simply went to back to work as the junior senator from Illinois (who is desperately trying to hang onto his Senate seat).  I don't like Mark Kirk, I've never voted for Mark Kirk and never will, I don't much care for the conservatives with whom he associates in Washington, I don't think he's been totally straight with his constituents about his military record, and I look forward to saying the phrase, "Senator Tammy Duckworth," but I don't think a loser would go through a year of rehabilitation and go back to work.  Mark Kirk?  Not a loser, no, at least not for any reason other than his desperate attempts to remain a senator so he doesn't have to do real work.  I hope some businessman will also see that in November when he loses the election and needs to find gainful employment.

What did Mark Kirk say about Mr. Trump?  He said he is an "Eastern, privileged, wealthy bully."  Yes, that's about right.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

It could happen to you

Every person I know with a brain who is paying even a little bit of attention has come to the same conclusion:  If voters are not careful, we could have our own Brexit except it would be Donald Trump as president.  So I won't give my own sweet mini-lecture.  I instead I give you the very funny Samantha Bee making her own point in a funnier, smarter way that I could do it.

I also can't address the lack of budget in Springfield because all the gassy guys got together this week and had a mini-compromise.  Hoo-freaking-ray!  Why'd it have to take a year, guys?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Still toasty

I really thought I was going to write about the Illinois budget crisis which is now over one year old.  However, before I write opinions of Governor Bruce Rauner and how he could end said crisis, I want to more carefully formulate what I want to say.  So next week!  NEXT WEEK!!  I will have my on long-awaited (by me) blog on Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) which he surely won't read and which I suspect only a few people will, in fact, read.  As with everything in my blog, I do it for myself and if others read and enjoy it, I will get some small satisfaction. 

Meanwhile, dang, it's still toasty here, but good news -- an a/c is in.  Things get cool!  I am sleeping better and will accept that as being good enough for now.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

It's toasty

It's summer and it is very warm.  I thought about discussing Illinois's Year Without a Budget but I will work on that for next week.  In the meantime, my a/c isn't installed yet.  I really gotta do that...

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Train magic

So suppose you're on one of the Hiawatha trains that travel between Chicago in Milwaukee, making stops at Glenview, Illinois, Sturtevant, Wisconsin, and General Mitchell Milwaukee Airport before Intermodal Station in Milwaukee.  It's the return trip from Milwaukee to Chicago and it's been a very nice day.  You've done what you wanted to do in Milwaukee, you got a nice salad to eat on the train, and though the train was delayed by a passing freight car for 30 minutes, the conductor has kept everyone well informed. It's a hot day and the train is neither too warm nor stupid chilly.  The sun is shining and the storms they swore would roll through did not materialize.  Really, a very nice day for 93ºF.

There were some pictures taken at the Milwaukee thing but they're for one's hobby of making jewelry.  No pictures were take on the ride up and on the return it was all about texting with three different people, all at once.  The texting ended and next was time devoted to looking out the window trying to figure out where we are or else trying to get a picture of the skyline.  The latter was mostly unsuccessful and when you get home you realize they really are pretty junky and there is a deletion fest.

And then you see this one picture.

You never saw the thing when you were going past it.  You never realized it was there; it was just part of trying to get a skyline shot.  When you see it at home you wonder what it could be, where it came from, where it was going, and who would be riding on it.  Of course, after true consideration you realize what it very well could be and that's that, it is that thing and hooray for us, there is true magic in our lives.

Look!  It's the Hogwarts Express and wizards and witches walk among the Midwest Muggles.

Dear Mr. Potter, Please don't turn me into a newt, even if I will get better.  Love, Lena

Next stop: Hogwarts

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Words you can use (or not, up to you)

When I was a young woman living in New York, I had a job working for a small fabric manufacturer.  The principals in the company made a very good living -- the wives of the owners had full-time cooks -- but the rest of us were not treated as they treated themselves.  They were very generous with overtime but we all got minimum wage or just above and so every person worked five hours overtime a week.  It was generous but required.  If you sashayed out "on time" they let it be know that you'd made a mistake.  Once we understood it was something that had to be done, we all did it.  Misery loves company.

Our big boss was a smart man and I thought kind of unscrupulous.  In fact, he probably did have scruples but they were the scruples of a man in business who had scratched his way up from nothing to build something for himself and his children and their families.  Nothing was going to take that from him and if an employee -- even one of the loyal, longtime workers -- happened to be having a bad time in life, maybe calling in a lot, frequently coming in late, or just behaving from how he expected them to behave -- instead of sitting them down and talking to them and asking what was going on, he would fire the person.  Coldly, without consideration of their situation, without any thought really, he would call them in on a Friday afternoon right before quitting time and tell them to never return.  (At one point he'd fired so many people in such a short period of time -- eight people in eight weeks -- that the State of New York sent him a letter telling him that if he kept it up, they were going to start levying fines.)  It really was shifty, shady, and, yes, unscrupulous.

In this office, with the used furniture and ancient typewriters and questionable bathroom tidiness, was an old dictionary which I managed to get onto my desk.  In the occasional slow period, I would open the old dictionary at a random place and let my eyes fall on a word.  One day I found the word that, for me, described him perfectly.  The word is snollygoster.

Here is what says about it:

noun, Slang.
1. a clever, unscrupulous person.
1855-60; origin uncertain

I subscribe to the blog called Apartment Therapy.  I live in an apartment, if I ever buy my own place it will be a condo, so the whole concept appeals to me.  They have different writers and today Taryn Williford, offered an article about words that we might be able to use.  I offer them to you as they are much more useful than snollygoster.

Decathect (v.)
To withdraw one's feelings of attachment from (a person, idea, or object), as in anticipation of a future loss.

Clinomania (n.)
An excessive desire to stay in bed.

Ultracrepidarian (n.)
Someone who gives opinions beyond one's area of expertise.

Tidsoptimist (n.)
A person who's habitually late because they think they have more time than they do.

Potvaliancy (n.)
Brave only as a result of being drunk.

Sangfroid (n.)
The ability to stay calm in difficult or dangerous situations.

Apricity (n.)
The warmth of the sun in winter.

Swivet (n.)
A state of nervous excitement, haste, or anxiety; flutter.

Tacenda (n.)
Things not to be mentioned or made public—things better left unsaid.

Trouvaille (n.)
A lucky find.

Bibelot (n.)
A small object of curiosity, beauty, or rarity.

Ailurophile (n.)
A cat fancier; a lover of cats.

Abditory (n.)
A place for hiding or preserving articles of value.

Sprezzatura (n.)
Perfect conduct or performance of something (as an artistic endeavor) without apparent effort.

Lachrymose (adj.)
Given to tears or weeping.

Akrasia (n.)
The state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgment through weakness of will.

Cryptomnesia (n.)
When you forget that you've forgotten something, and perceive it as a new, original thought.

Foofaraw (n.)
A great fuss or disturbance about something very insignificant, or an excessive amount of decoration or ornamentation, as on a piece of clothing, a building, etc.

Pogonotrophy (n.)
The cultivation of beards, beard-growing.

Mumpsimus (n.)
Adherence to or persistence in an erroneous use of language,memorization, practice, belief, etc., out of habit or obstinacy.

Lethologica (n.)
The inability to remember a word or put your finger on the right word.