What's good, bad and ugly this summer

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By Mary Kay O'Grady

blogger

The good
You know you're getting old when two friends call to check on you during the heat wave. Wait a sec, I just called to check on my sister, who's really old (87) and you're checking on me?  Oh, well, it's the thought that counts, and I was grateful to share war stories. Over 100 degrees for days in a row. And more on the way. Wow.
 
However, going out  to see the movie Monsieur Lazhar at the First Tuesday Film Club was heavenly. Wonderful lead actor, believable plot, no special effects, just sad and funny. Anybody who teaches kids should see it. Score another for the Lake.
 
It was too hot to watch fireworks from the roof of my building, but I have a panoramic view of the city from my 11th floor window. From approximately 8:30 to about 11 pm there were fireworks all along the horizon. And when the Oak Park fireworks lit up at the high school, it was spectacular. Thanks, Wednesday Journal, for the finale. Add the raspberry pie and it was a fine Fourth of July.
 
I hate to sound pretentious, but since I've been stuck inside so much, I've been rereading Hemingway (note the word "fine" in preceding paragraph). I started with a biography of his first wife Hadley Richardson, which was a Kindle freebie, I think. When you have nothing else to do, it's fun to read about a story he wrote and then read the story. But is it true that all geniuses treat women so badly? I'm thinking Hemingway, Frank Lloyd Wright, my favorite artist Picasso, my favorite writer Philip Roth. Friend and architecture whiz Ed McDevitt says you can't let the artist's personality interfere with the art. I think he's right.
 
Got a good start on my vow to attend as any of the Millennium Park concerts as possible, until the heat wave hit. It's such a glorious setting and I love when the lighting hits the wings around the structure. And the L makes it so easy coming and going.
 
Gee, this is nice, I'm thinking of mostly good stuff - Takara's shop on the mall and her fabulous self; the divine Sugar Fixe with its delicious pastries and great coffee served in pretty cups; two fashionable shoe stores - one on Oak Park Ave and one on the mall -  (please, you know I can't remember names); Cheryl's cookies on Lake which has a 12 for $12 sale every day from 5 pm to 7 pm, and Spa O on Lake near Oak Park Avenue. I have no idea why there are so many nail salons, but this one is quiet, clean and friendly and they do a "swell" (Hemingway) job. 
 
Hey, health care being upheld by SCOTUS was a welcome surprise, but can't we get a law to allow campaigning only after Labor Day? 
 
I've been told that Greenline Wheels on Marion is offering three-wheel bicycles with the first four hours free to senior citizens. We do love our discounts. 
 
The Festival Theatre's production of Inherit the Wind was really fun. The setting in Austin Gardens was perfect. The setting in the play mirrored the warm evening in the park, with the cast members fanning themselves and wandering in and out of the audience, and the audience encouraged to become part of the jury. (Do you love that Hemingway sentence?) I can't wait for Richard III, although I'll never make it all the way through if it's hot.
 
Finally, the underpass at Home between North and South Boulevards has become a  colorful, fantastic illustration of the life of Henrietta Lacks and her biography, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the best book I read in 2011. Go see it and then read the book, or vice-versa.
 
The bad 
People trying to preserve the dangerous left side ramps to and from the Ike at Austin and Harlem are in some kind of alternate universe if they don't see how dangerous those ramps are. 
 
The property tax bills were horrific. Do we want all the young families who buy and remodel our lovely houses to get on those Eisenhower ramps and head for points west?
 
The Ugly
Unlimited TV ads require unlimited money and appeal to people who watch unlimited TV. Not hard to figure out whose votes could carry the election.
 
I ride the Green Line a lot and board at the Harlem Station. The stairs are in such bad shape that someone is going to get hurt badly if they don't fix them soon. Also a big fat obscenity to the guy that runs the convenience store in that station. Several weeks ago I wanted to buy one of those scratch-off  lottery tickets and I asked him how it worked. He said "You don't know how?" and waved me off and walked in the back. A security guard was nice enough to walk me through it.

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