Category: Current events and social commentary

For the elderly, giving effortless food is a winner

Christmas shopping for 90+-year-olds whose home is overflowing with stuff is a challenge. For years I gave my parents gifts from Omaha Steaks, but they still have to cook the meat, along with side dishes. As they’ve gotten older, it seems better to reduce their work. This year I decided to check into whether Omaha... Read more »

Are you advising relatives about college applications?

College application season is under way. Though the topic seems ill suited for a blog titled Retired in Chicago, you may have children or grandchildren you’re advising about college.  Having worked at universities for 30 years, and having recently observed my two nieces’ experiences, I have opinions about applying to colleges. (Apologies to my nieces... Read more »

The frustration of proving I’m me to Equifax

You may have heard that as of September 21, the three major credit reporting bureaus are offering free credit freezes. Unless you’re planning to apply for credit in the near future, a freeze is advisable. It makes it harder for identity thieves to open accounts in your name. At the end of September, I started with... Read more »
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Reasoning my way to a reluctant vote for Pritzker

Is not voting ever a responsible choice? I really don’t want to vote in the Illinois governor’s race. Voting for the antiunion Bruce Rauner was never a consideration, but I was prepared to reluctantly vote for J. B. Pritzker until hearing about the toilet scam. Seems like it would be voting for a crook. The... Read more »

Leaving the Catholic Church but not leaving it behind

Every member of my family but me is still Catholic. Some liberal friends remain Catholic as well, considering the church their parish and not the institution. I couldn’t do it. I hesitated to write a post on this topic because I didn’t want to offend anyone I care about, but nothing I say can be... Read more »

Fortunate are those who find a purpose

My brother just retired after 35 years as sports editor of the Herald-News in Joliet. The outpouring of thanks, congratulations, and good wishes from a sports-crazy community must be immensely gratifying to him. Of course I am very happy for him. But also a bit envious. He found his purpose and pursued it for 35... Read more »
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Ours isn’t the democracy I thought it was

Among the many reasons to bemoan the Trump presidency is that it’s eroded faith in our system of government. Ours isn’t the democracy I thought it was. From high school civics class on through five decades, I held to belief in the separation of powers — that our federal government has three equal branches keeping... Read more »

Discomfited by displays of wealth

A high school graduation party I attended was held in a backyard in an affluent suburb. The yard seemed to me as big as a football field, but having a balcony as my basis of comparison, I no doubt exaggerate. At any rate, the backyard was large enough for several seating areas, which were furnished... Read more »

Raising my voice against loudness

I saw Jesus Christ Superstar at Lyric Opera last week, just days before it closed Sunday. Reading critics’ overwhelmingly glowing reviews after, I was surprised that only a couple of them mentioned what I thought the production’s flaw: it was too loud. The music drowned out the lyrics. On Chicagoland Theater Reviews Dan Zeff mentioned... Read more »
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Can Melania’s Be Best initiative be taken seriously?

There’s a part of me that feels sorry for Melania Trump. Just a little. It’s clear that she feels uncomfortable in the role of First Lady. She accepted the role of wife of a fat cat, but no one thought then that the fat cat would run for president. I even feel somewhat sympathetic to... Read more »