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Driving on expressways is fast, hectic and at times nerve wracking. If you occasionally use Chicago’s expressways you know exactly what I mean. Driving the city streets the traffic is often times bumper to bumper and the city driver feels a sense of freedom in the speed they experience when they drive the tollway. It is said that they fly like demons and in some ways they do.

Chicago drivers on the expressway drive as if the road were free and clear. They don’t seem to see anyone in front, beside or behind them. There is even a move that according to one New York driver is unique to the Windy City, the three-lane crossover. Without hesitation and with no turn signal the driver will notice at the last second that their exit ramp has come up and they cross three lanes of heavily laden traffic and the possibility of sudden death to make their exit. If they notice the sudden sound of screeching, burning rubber and squealing brakes they don’t show it. They drive fearlessly like a cat with double its nine lives. Why they think this behavior is no big deal remains a mystery to all safe drivers.

For the thousands of drivers who transverse these paths every day and the dozens of lunatic drivers who cross them up, it would seem luck is with them but luck only lasts so long and goes so far. July 20th of this year luck ended for two drivers as Dennis Anderson changed lanes unexpectedly in his Pontiac coupe leaving no room for Tito M. Rodriquez’s motorcycle. The two collided and Rodriquez, an off duty police officer was killed.

Anderson paid for his crime with a ticket for improper lane use and invalid insurance. Those will soon go away but the memory of taking a life will haunt him for the rest of his. The event is still under investigation.

 

Source: Chicago Tribune Monday July 21, 2014, Section 1, Page 9

The Lack of Caring

It always amazes me about some people. They’re self-esteem must be very low. How else can you explain the actions of your fellow man? Walking through a supermarket you get a good idea of what the local population is like and if you think at all about how others view you, you will be shocked.

People walk around in their pajamas and at times these are very close to underwear. Flesh hangs out in all the wrong places and yet they fail to cover themselves. They don’t care. I do and I avert my eyes. Bad hair days are really, just rolled out of bed at 3 pm. Rats nests abound.

Other than their appearance is their manners. I don’t expect everyone to adhere to Emily Post because I too am guilty of many a taboo but there are certain things that are givens. If you are waiting in line and haven’t yet put your perspective purchase on the convaire belt and discover someone standing behind you with only a few items as opposed to your several dozen, you should let them go first. There are still some brave souls who do but mostly they pretend you aren’t there. Instead of a quick one, two, three you spend ten to fifteen minutes waiting for Food Stamps, Link, credit cards and checks to pass through their hands while you stand in line with achy arms holding your gallon of milk in one hand and gallon jug of water in the other waiting to pay cash.

Then there is the eater. Yes, when we buy groceries we get tempted to buy what is looking back at us from the shelf but there are others who don’t just get tempted. They open the package up and begin to eat it right in the store. Have they paid for it? No. Is it ethical to eat the bag of chips as you shop and pay for it later? Not really. Do they always pay? No. Sometimes they simply stash the empty package on a shelf and walk away.

If people don’t care what others think when their in public, imagine what their house’s look like. Do you think that they’d be neat, tidy and clean or do you suppose their home looks very much like they do – unkempt, soiled and thriving in being lesser than the rest? I wish I could say that it would all change some day but I highly doubt it. People fall into habits and find it almost impossible to get out of them. Why? Mostly, because they couldn’t care enough. They have people in their lives who think as they do and so they cling together and remain who they never were meant to be. For what parent held their child in their arms for the first time and said – “Some day my daughter will be a window washer and toilet scrubber at a fast food restaurant!”

Please, I implore you, if this sounds like you, look at yourself in the mirror. If you admire yourself and think you look great, I’m happy for you. But if you look at yourself and say, “How the heck did I get here,” please take some action and be who you can be – a wonderful person with great qualities. No one was born to be a slug and you shouldn’t be content to be one. Take some action. Be a wonderful beautiful person with a smile on your face. Start today.

Her name was Betty Joan Perske but the world will remember her as Lauren Bacall. She was born September 16, 1924 in the Bronx section of New York. Like many young girls she dreamed of her name in giant letters across the marquis of Broadway. To help that dream come true she studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. It helped and she found herself performing on Broadway in minor rolls but she didn’t make it to the top.

To keep money coming in she exchanged lines on a script for curves in magazines and became a model. She had the looks and she used them well. Her big break came in March 1943 when her picture graced the glossy cover of Harper’s Bazaar. Mrs. Howard Hawks took one look at the woman and showed her husband. Her Hollywood producer-director husband agreed and in one month Bacall had a seven year contract from Warner Brother’s in her hot little hand.

Perhaps the studio sensed something but either way their pairing her with leading man Humphrey Bogart yielded pure magic in her screen debut, To Have and Have Not. The two were fire on the silver screen and the now famous and much quoted line, “If you want anything, all you have to do is whistle,” spelled it out. Her line, “It’s even better when you help,” to a returned kiss from Bogart informed viewers that they were witnesses to much more than film simply rolling from one reel to another.

The true reality was the 19-year-old Bacall and the 45-year-old Bogart were falling in love during the film’s shooting. By the following year they were married and together they would make three more films together. Each with a slightly different tone but each with the same smoky come hither look from Bacall that would earn her the name, “The Look.”

Over the years she made more movies but they were sporadic as the studio presented her with parts and pictures she refused to do. Eventually Warner Brother’s suspended and fined her. From there she moved on to 20th Century Fox and other studios. During the 50’s her career was in a slump but always Bogart stood beside her, loving and encouraging. She became content with simply being a supportive wife and caring for their two children, Stephen and Leslie. When he diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 1956 she devoted herself completely to him. He died the following year and for a time she went into depression.

She remarried in1961 to Jason Robards, Jr. and together they had a son (actor Sam Robards.) Unlike her marriage to Bogart, which was complicated but good, her marriage to Robards was stormy. No longer able to deal with Robards’ violent behavior when drunk she left and they were divorced in 1969.

At the end of the 60’s she returned to Broadway where she appeared in the successfully received play Cactus Flower. Then in 1970 her youthful dream came to fruition in the form of a play entitled Applause (a musical remake of the film All About Eve) for which she won the Tony. After an eight-year absence from the movies she returned in 1974 but she didn’t give up on appearing in plays. In 1981 she had another hit when the play, Woman of the Year, rose to the top. In movies she found another triumph when she was nominated for the first time for best supporting actress in the 1996 film The Mirror Has Two Faces. In 2009 she received an honorary academy award.

Miss Bacall made her last film in 2012. She died of old age 35 days before her 90th birthday on August 12, 2014.

 

A List of Her Most Memorable Rolls:

 

  • To Have and Have Not (1944)
  • Confidential Agent (1945)
  • The Big Sleep (1946)
  • Dark Passage (1947)
  • Key Largo (1948)
  • The Shootist (1976)
  • The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) – Academy Award Nomination (Best Supporting Actress)
  • The Forger (2012)

 

Sources:

The Film Encyclopedia by Ephraim Katz 4th Edition Ó 2001 Bacall, Lauren, pg. 73

Chicago Tribune Wednesday August 14, 2014, Section 1, Page 14

Chicago Tribune Thursday August 15, 2014, Section 4, Page 1,6

Who can say why some things happen but what happens later is oft times an even bigger problem. In the Chicago northwest suburban town of Crystal Lake, ILL Thursday was garbage day. Amid the still sleepy drivers headed to work who wished it were Saturday garbage trucks rumbled up and down the streets.

The regular routine of one truck came to a sudden change when smoke and flames began to spark from its belly. The police and fire department were called around 6:30 in the morning to this unusual haul being driven down Route 14.

The story quickly changed again as the truck turned northward onto the Route 31 ramp the fire contents were emptied accidentally onto the side of the road and the nearby grass licked it up hungrily. Firefighters worked for twenty minutes to put the brush fire out but at seven that morning they were still working to put the smoldering garbage pile down. These hot spots of rubbish had no intension of giving up but the men where just as determined.

That morning drivers found a detour at the closed ramp and a very unusual sight. What caused the fire was a mystery. It could have been a teen’s prank to set a garbage can at the curb on fire or it could have been an early morning jogger throwing out a spent cigarette that wasn’t quite out. However it could have been a total accident. We’ll never know but the image of a garbage truck’s contents on fire will not soon leave our retinas.

 

Source: Northwest Herald, Friday April 11, 2014 – Page B2

There has always been a fascination between children and trains? How fast is it going? How much does it weigh? Will it really flatten a penny? The answer is simple. Trains go fast, they weigh a lot and they will flatten a penny.

As we get older our questions change to, ‘What if’s.’ What would happen if the tracks froze? What would happen if a car where on the tracks? How about a tire? Would that be a problem? If the tracks freeze the train goes on, if it hits a car it’ll spin the vehicle and stop when it can but it’ll stay on the tracks.

Unlike the penny that simply gets flattened, a tire on the tracks is an entirely new deal. If it hadn’t been proven before, it was a few months ago when a Chicago train encountered just such an issue. The Blue Line train left the city headed to Forest Park. At approximately 7:40 p.m ., they left the West Side station at Cicero Avenue. Shortly there after, the train encountered a very out of the ordinary problem.

There on the tracks was a semi trailer truck tire. With the tire suddenly in the driver’s vision there was no time to stop. Only Superman could see a tire a mile away and it takes a mile for a train to stop completely. With nothing to do but move forward train and tire hit head on. The result? The front car of the train derailed! The score? Tire 1, Train 0. The tire won.

As of the source date there were no injuries reported. The passengers were shuttled to the next station and the tale of the tire had come to a full circle. Pun intended.

 

Source: Chicago Tribune, Friday April 11, 2014 – Section 1, Page 9

To be a forger or not to be a forger, that is the question. Tamera Alexander’s character Claire Laurent struggles with this question as she fights for what she knows is right and what she can not undue. Claire’s story is written within the rich background of America’s recently ended Civil War.

Painting is Claire’s passion in life and she wants nothing more than to paint one painting that she can call her own but as a forger, her life’s blood is strengthened by the works of the masters and Claire’s own family are her masters. Then, suddenly, the unexpected happens and Claire finds herself alone and her life spiraling out of control as she is forced to flee the one city she’d begun to call home.

Alone in a new city and in the company of strangers, her every instinct tell her not to trust, she must again run. Now, truly on her own she must fend for herself. The shelter of a church gives her a place to sleep but what to do in the dawn.

The next morning, a bit of accidental eaves dropping and a chance encounter send her on her destined path but can she become the woman she longs to be? Can she truly put her past to rest and start the life of happiness she longs for? Can the man she’s come to love accept her for who she was and who she has become? Follow her journey in A Lasting Impression and see if Claire’s story leaves a lasting impression upon your mind.

Driving down the road we don’t usually think, “I’m fine because I’m buckled in,” or “I’d feel safer if my belt were on.” If we think about wearing a safety belt at all it’s usually because we don’t want to be stopped by the police for not wearing one. We think of the money getting stopped is going to cost us and not of the health and safety reason why we should buckle up.

Recently a six-year study found that of 200,000 fatal passenger vehicle crashes, people who were of larger than normal weight were 66% more likely not to be wearing a seat belt. The safety standard for seat belts went into affect in the 1960’s. At the time seat belts were required to service people up to 215 pounds. Today’s American population has grown not only in size of population but in physical girth as well. We’ve reached beyond the 215-pound capacity seat belt and now passengers find it difficult to near impossible to put the belt on.

We don’t need new laws. What we need to do is adjust the regulatory needs of the safety belt so that people who are larger will be safe.

Source: Chicago Tribune – Sunday, February 2, 2014 – Section 1, Page 24

There once was a time when living well was not so hard. All we had to do was eat well and be aware of our surroundings. If we did that, we tended to be all right most of the time. It was that other fella that got in the way that upset the apple cart.

Today things are very different. While fruit and vegetables are a renewable resource and the advent of refrigeration and freezer trucks makes it available all over the nation, all year round, some places still seem to be left behind. Produce is not available to everyone simply because the grocer doesn’t provide it for his clients.

I know this to be true. I live in a small town in the Chicago Midwest. Population 9,000, there abouts. A few decades ago we were a self-sufficient community. Then a big box store moved into town and slowly but surely the downtown began to fail. It’s a familiar story. Many of you have experienced the same thing. Last month our last regular independent grocery store closed its doors for good. It tried everything in the last twenty years to stay open. It expanded. It shrunk. It changed into a cost plus food outlet center and then it just died. Today, I get my groceries from the big box store that closed down the downtown.

There you can find almost everything that the small mom and pop stores had. What it lacks is consistent service and quite a few of the essentials of a healthy life. You can get all the variety of chips, pops and snack foods but the real life sustaining foods are missing. When it comes to fruit – apples, oranges and bananas are the choices. In the summer you can get some additional fruits but these only last a few months and then they’re gone until the next year. To get actual food you have to leave town and go to a neighboring town.

Another problem is paying for this real food. Chips and pop are cheep. It’s easy to budget those items into the household accounts. But trying to figure out how to pay for peaches when they’re $2.99 a pound and a pound is only about 4 pieces of fruit can be frustrating. It’s gotten to the point that real, unprocessed foods have become luxury items. We buy them when a guest is coming over. Day to day life leaves no room for them and our health fails just as the grocery store in my town failed.

In this day and age we have so much at our fingertips and yet there seems to be a forgotten measure of life. We don’t think of ourselves as healthy people because we don’t think of our health and so we aren’t healthy anymore but we don’t know it. We have too many over-weight people and too many who are bordering fat that still think they have nothing to worry about. They look to their neighbor and say – well there’s a lot of us so I must be okay. That simply isn’t true. There are a lot of people who don’t pay any attention to what they’re doing to their bodies and that is wrong.

They decide to go to the doctor only when they are forced to and then if they don’t have insurance a bomb is let off over their heads. To get a doctor to look at you and do some lab work the cost has reached $800 for the uninsured. If you forgo the lab and just do the question and answer portion of the exam it still costs enough to make you wince. It’s reached the exorbitant rate of $200. Now with prices like that it seems that we should be extra sure to watch our diets. It might cost more to eat healthy but in the long run it costs less and we feel better.

 

The Story is in the Pipes

Copper-pipeDesperation makes people do strange things. In the beginning there is a feeling that something will come along and things will begin to look up again. As the days become weeks and then months this faith slowly dwindles until there seems to be no hope left. What would have never crossed their mind before slowly creeps in until it is seen as a possibility. This happened to Brett A. Roberts.

Something drove Roberts on. There was a devil on his tail and he responded. There was a vacant house on Queen Anne Road near Woodstock, Illinois. How he got in I don’t know but once in he saw a possibility few would have. In the basement Roberts found the plumbing pipes to be copper. Copper has gone up in the last few years and Roberts must have known this and devised to steal them. melted down they would feed him for days. What he didn’t count on was someone coming into the supposedly vacant residence.

The house might not have had people living in it but it wasn’t abandoned. It was simply For Sale. While Roberts was busy in the basement, hacksaw in hand, the real estate agent came in to check things out. He was interrupted in the act but got away before McHenry County Sheriff’s Police could get there. If he’d been smart he’d have worn gloves but he hadn’t thought of that.

In his haste he left behind the hacksaw and the pipes he’d already cut loose. On the pipes he left his fingerprints. Already in the criminal database they left a direct trail.

Roberts thought he could steel the copper pipes and get on with his life. He couldn’t see the future and so he didn’t know the outcome. April 14, 2011 he was charged with residential burglary and criminal damage to a property. He was found guilty. His punishment could have been up to fifteen years in prison. He was able to testify that since no one was living in the house it was no residential burglary and therefore his sentence was reduced to the possibility of three to seven years. If he got it or not, I doubt he would say the pipes were that valuable. He should have known better. After all, he’d already been convicted in the past for theft and forgery. Lesson learned this time? Perhaps, at least, one would hope so.

Sources:

Northwest Herald Friday, February 2, 2011 Pg. 3B

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20130114/news/701149623/

 

What would life be like if nothing ever happened?

WRITING IS?

Writing is a free-for-all of all of thoughts and activities. Anything that comes to the mind or any action the body can perform can be translated to the written word. Life is creativity and a huge supply of both the mundane, mediocre and the fantastic. All can be wrapped up in one package known as Pandora’s Box. Once opened humanity will suffer from a jarring strain on the nervous systems that threatens to implode.

 

The reality is that we can’t stop the inevitable from happening. We can advise, warn and tell others not to do things but in the end we can’t stop them from doing what they will. Destiny is the unknown and we are indeed powerless to understand it or prevent it.

OLD?

Old, what defines old? Is it a time, an age or a memory on the verge of forgetfulness? Some shop owners define an antique as being any object of fifty years but does that mean that when we ourselves slight forward from forty-nine to fifty that we too are old? If our memories hold true, if we can get up and journey onward doesn’t that mean we haven’t reached the winter of our lives?

 

I submit that to be old, one no longer remembers self. Time itself has forgotten that way of life. Our history books inform us of that other time and place before our parents and grandparents were thought of.

 

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