On his way back from Brazil, Pope Francis raised eyebrows, first by giving an interview to the press corps on the plane (very unusual), then by allowing the interview to go on for an hour and 20 minutes while he spoke candidly (extremely unusual for a pope).
Whatever else you think about the Zimmerman verdict - and it has generated quite the lively national conversation — I think most of us can agree on one thing: George Zimmerman is a Grade-A Goof. When you end up shooting an unarmed 17-year-old because you wouldn't heed urgent advice from a police dispatcher to stay in your car, you're, at the very least, a goof.
Did you know there's an official Hemingway rum? Papa's Pilar ("Solera aged and artisan crafted"). Pilar was actually the name of Papa's beloved fishing boat in Cuba, but no doubt rum was a frequent accoutrement. Regardless, Papaficionados can celebrate his birthday this Sunday evening, July 21, at the Hemingway Museum (6-10 p.m.) with an exclusive tasting of Pilar, accompanied by live music by Pennies from Heaven and appetizers and cocktails from Maya del Sol.
In the virtual reality of our court system, George Zimmerman is "not guilty." In the real world, however, he is guilty of many things. Zimmerman is guilty of being an incompetent Neighborhood Watch volunteer. An effective Neighborhood Watch volunteer, if he sees something he considers suspicious, calls the police.
Every Fourth of July, Oak Park's Independence Day Parade embarks from the northwest corner of Longfellow Park and - this year 60 groups strong - and heads north up Ridgeland Avenue to Augusta Boulevard. Spectators line the parkways, sitting on curbs, in fold-up chairs, on house steps and tucked away on porches, many of which sport flags and red, white and blue bunting.
Gloria Groom had this idea. "I was working on some paintings and writing about Monet's The Artist's House at Argenteuil where you see his son, John, wearing a dress with a big blue sash in the back. I thought, 'What's this about?' so I wrote a friend in London and she said, 'Oh, that's a sailor's outfit and that was the trend that year. It shows he's a very upper-class little boy. That was the summer Monet actually had some money.'
I am, apparently, summer's only fan. At any rate, I'm in the minority. One never hears anyone, bursting with exuberance, say, "God, I love summer!" anymore. God, I love summer! Granted, the season has its downside. "Too hot!" "Too humid!" "Too many bugs!" "Too much rain!" "Not enough rain!"
Gloria Groom, the Mary and David Winton Green Curator of 19th Century Painting and Sculpture at the Art Institute, whose new exhibit, "Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity," which was a hit in both Paris and New York, and seems bound to make a big, well, impression in Chicago this summer, is a longtime Oak Park resident. She will be speaking about the exhibition at the Oak Park Public Library in the Veterans Room on July 10 at 7 p.m.
Recently, I wrote a column on what I love about this town [Embracing the hassle of Oak Park, June 12]. A reader who thinks conservatives are more patriotic than liberals challenged me to do the same for America for July 4th.