I wanted to write a column on Tom Barwin's five-plus years of service as Oak Park's village manager. He deserved a column. Certainly, a lot happened on his watch. He was hired in 2006. Talk about bad timing. About the time he figured out the crazy politics and minefields of our town, the worst economic collapse in almost 80 years hit the nation and the village.
They say travel is good for us because it gets us out of our comfort zone. Living even for a week in a different place and meeting different people presents us with an opportunity to view the world from a different perspective. So Marsha and I journeyed to Naples, Fla. last week to escape a Chicago February.
The high school's teachers and the District 200 school board announced agreement on a new two-year contract last week. The contract provides no pay increase in the 2012-2013 school year, and teacher compensation will be limited to step and lane increases the next year.
Sometimes I feel a little like Neo in the 1999 movie, The Matrix. You may remember this science fiction thriller, written and directed by the Wachowski Brothers. The film depicts a future in which reality, as perceived by most humans, is actually a simulated world created by sentient machines to pacify and subdue the human population, while their bodies' heat and electrical activity are used as an energy source. Neo becomes aware that perception and reality are not the same thing.
I'm a big fan of OP/FYI "A Newsletter from the Village Of Oak Park." This monthly publication has lots of interesting tidbits like "Be cautious, but don't run from a coyote." Seems counterintuitive. Then there was "Beekeeping approved; rules protect those with allergies." I wonder if Dressel's Hardware sells bees and hives.
As I try to figure out what to do New Year's Eve ( Is going to bed at 9PM an option?) I'm feeling good about the new year if for no other reason than I probably won't have to follow certain stories that seemed so very important in 2011, but weren't. So today I come not to praise, but to bury these 10 stories in no particular order.
Like the Magi in search of the savior, I have been searching for a Christian in Oak Park this Christmas season. To be sure, there are lots of Oak Parkers who, when asked, will tell you they are Christian, but then there were lots of false prophets and self-identified messiahs back in biblical times.
Television networks from time to time pursue a strategy of "counter-programming" whereby they concede the Nielsen ratings battle to a competitor, but air something completely opposite, hoping to attract at least a sliver of the audience. For example, a network might show the tearjerker An Affair To Remember with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr opposite the Super Bowl.
The Lake Theater's penultimate film in their yearlong celebration of their 75th anniversary is After The Thin Man. Throughout the year on the second Monday of each month, the Lake has screened a film that played in 1936 — the year the Lake opened for business. The series affords filmgoers a chance to see these movies on the big screen without commercials instead of at 2 a.m. on the commercial-filled small screen.
There's a new movie out titled, Anonymous, which argues that Shakespeare didn't really write the plays attributed to him. The movie makes the case that Edward de Vere the 17th Earl of Oxford was the real author. As a royal, it would be beneath him to be recognized as the author of silly diversions like plays.