Notebook nuggets to nosh on

Opinion: Ken Trainor

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By Ken Trainor

Staff writer

Some of what I've come across in my reading or on walks that ended up in my back-pocket notebook:

Observations:

  • Does it strike anyone else as ironic that we're working so hard at the high school to make alcohol and drugs less available to teens at the same time that we're liberalizing the village liquor ordinance to make alcohol more available to adults? I'm not saying it's wrong, just ironic. Wonder what our teens think of that? Is anyone talking to them about it or are we just letting our actions speak for us?
  • I'm so glad the Chicago baseball season is over. What an ordeal. Six months of disappointment. It's a rigged sport anyway. Has there ever been a year when the Yankees didn't have the highest payroll? They also have 27 World Series championships. The next highest number (the Cardinals) is 10. No wonder football is more popular. At least there's some parity.
  • We need an anti-name-calling crusade. Let's start with the horribly overused "idiot" and "moron." I'm as guilty as anyone (mostly when I drive). I'm trying to break myself of the habit, but it isn't easy. Questioning the intelligence of anyone we disagree with has become the default setting, it seems, of this uncivil society.

This newspaper could start by removing any online comment that insults an ideological opponent. I don't have the authority to impose that rule. I'm just casting my vote.

Where are the Hemingway homes? The village has posted a plethora of tiny signs directing people to our various tourist sites — such as Fox Park. No kidding, judging by the signs, all roads seem to lead there. But I'm out walking our streets as much as anyone, and the only questions I ever get from wandering out-of-towners involve the Hemingway Birth Home, which is located a block and a half north of the Hemingway Museum on the opposite side of Oak Park Avenue. But it's visually obscured by a thick grove of buffering trees.

The village, however, has posted no signs whatsoever for the Hemingway Birth Home, not even at the corner of Erie and Oak Park Avenue (see photo), where three signs direct the curious to Cheney Mansion, the Hemingway Museum and Scoville Park. From this spot, the Hemingway home would be to the left.

Never mind trying to find the other Hemingway home (a block north of Chicago Avenue at Kenilworth and Iowa). You'd think if we were going to spend taxpayer dollars on a sign project, we'd at least include our second biggest tourist attraction.

But I am definitely not questioning anyone's intelligence.

Observed — on the 600 block of Wesley recently, taped (with green duct tape) to the inside of the front picture window:

What is the cause of the U.S. economic debacle? Three wars.

In addition to Afghanistan and Iraq, the third war, presumably, was our recent involvement in Libya. Or maybe it's the continuing war in Congress.

Observed: A portable toilet at a construction site on the side of a house on Oak Park Avenue, courtesy of Oui Oui Enterprises.

Overheard — Mom (walking up Oak Park Avenue with her daughter): You're being very, very good.

Toddler: No, I'm not!

Observed: The sign by the front entrance of First United Church of Oak Park on Lake Street: Unashamed Faith.

Are some people ashamed of their faith? Can you believe something and be ashamed of it? Interesting topic.

Wondering: At the southeast corner of Marion and Lake streets, whose idea was it to paint the Cozy Corner and Cold Stone Creamery facades that horrible shade of green?

Overheard: I miss you. I'm in Chicago — like you were supposed to be for your birthday. (Young woman sitting on a bench by Lake Michigan, talking on her cellphone)

Quotes — Everyone's been questioning President Obama's leadership style lately. All that public second-guessing led to resurrecting this Robert Frost gem from his poem "The Lesson for Today":

I'm liberal. You, you aristocrat,
Won't know exactly what I mean by that.
I mean so altruistically moral
I never take my own side in a quarrel.

Apparently it's not a new condition. But Obama isn't the only liberal who needs to toughen up. Many have been sitting back waiting for him to work miracles. They should keep in mind a quote from Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen:

A different world cannot be built by indifferent people.

Put that in your notebook and nosh on it.

Contact:
Email: ktrainor@wjinc.com

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