Category: Current events and social commentary

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 »

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 »
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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 »

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 had 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 »
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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 »

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 »
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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 »