Michelle Obama, the American Dream, and black millennials

I’d like to hear a conversation between Michelle Obama and Reniqua Allen. Who’s Reniqua Allen?, you ask. She’s the author of the recently published book It Was All a Dream: A New Generation Confronts the Broken Promise to Black America. Coincidentally, on the day I finished reading Obama’s memoir Becoming, I noticed an essay by... Read more »

How much penance for youthful follies?

As the long-ago misbehavior of public figures like Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has been exposed, maybe you’ve been recalling regrettable incidents from your own past. I have. Among them are a couple of misdeeds for which I wish I could apologize to two gay men. I can’t remember their last names anymore, and even if... Read more »

When insurance will pay, why not?

Last week I wrote about a misunderstanding with an audiologist at the office that sold me hearing aids three years ago. When the hearing aids came back from a factory check, she asked me to get a referral from my primary care physician. I thought that was because the devices needed reprogramming; she thought I... Read more »
ChicagoNow Video
Advertisement:

Wandering in the health insurance maze

We all have stories to tell about hassles with medical practitioners and insurance companies. Stop reading if you don’t want to hear someone else’s. Humana Gold Plus, a Medicare Advantage HMO, has mostly served me well. It even paid $2,000 toward hearing aids. Those hearing aids caused a recent annoyance — not with them but... Read more »

The difficult task of sentimental decluttering

Other than Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi, the person whose name it seems we’re hearing the most at the start of 2019 is Marie Kondo, author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and focus of a new Netflix series. Netflix’s Tidying Up with Marie Kondo began this month, inspiring people who made new... Read more »

How a Chicago voter might narrow the mayoral choices

The feds did Chicago voters a favor by charging Ald. Ed Burke with attempted extortion before the February 26 mayoral primary.  It helps us eliminate candidates in a congested race. Now I feel okay about ruling out four top candidates, those with ties to Burke: Toni Preckwinkle, Susana Mendoza, Gery Chico, and Bill Daley. Burke... Read more »
Advertisement:

Don't tidy your place for me

For the last few of my building’s monthly game nights, only two of us showed up. Before he moved out of town in mid-December, my game-playing partner invited me to his apartment for a meal and a last game of Scrabble. The invitation for that evening was issued spontaneously during his workday, so he had... Read more »

Give me socks, give me lots of socks

Socks appear on many lists of the most boring gifts, but not for me. Because I always need them, every Christmas season I put crew socks on my wish list for the family gift exchange. It’s not just colorful, patterned socks that I wouldn’t call a boring gift. I ask for white or black so... Read more »

Intrusiveness vs. showing interest: how to ask questions

In the December issue of Chicago magazine there’s a short piece on how to make small talk at parties. Anne Libera, director of comedy studies at Columbia College, suggests asking, “What’s the weirdest food your family eats on a regular basis?” or “Tell me about the most exciting thing you ever did as a teenager.”... Read more »
Advertisement:

Having an undecorated Christmas

Having an undecorated Christmas
December 18, the calendar says. Only a week until Christmas, and I haven’t put up any decorations. I may not.  Has a bah-humbug attitude overtaken me?  I don’t think so. I’ve happily gone to the Chicago Greeter and my building’s holiday parties. I eagerly read the cards that are arriving and will email holiday notes... Read more »