Way to Go, Old Guy!


Elderly man crashes into license facility

By Ted Gregory and Suzanne Baker Chicago Tribune 10.10.17
A state driver’s license facility in Naperville has reopened after a 79-year-old Downers Grove man accidentally drove through the front window earlier this week.
The man had completed his road test shortly before noon Tuesday and had driven back to the facility at 931 W. 75th St., Naperville police Cmdr. Louis Cammiso said. With an Illinois secretary of state’s office employee in the passenger seat, the driver shifted the gear of his SUV to reverse and stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake, Cammiso said.
The SUV crashed through the front window and short wall of the state facility. No one was injured.
The driver, who failed his test, was not charged, Cammiso said.
Elburn resident Vince Szafranski said he was seated in the photo area behind a wall waiting for his name to be called in the final stage of renewing his license when he heard the crash.
The noise of the SUV crashing through the window sounded like a bomb going off, he said.
“Honestly, I thought it was a terrorist attack, with all that’s going on in the news these days,” Szafranski said. “All I could think is that this is going to be my last moment, and I’m at the driver’s license facility.”
As he peered over the wall to check what happened, his next concern was for people waiting in the lines by the door, he said.
“There are chairs right there. All I could think of was I hope no one got run over,” he said.
Realizing everyone was fine, Szafranski couldn’t help but laugh.
“You don’t see that every day,” he said. “I was laughing so hard when the lady tried to take my picture. I had to take 10 minutes to get my composure.”
The secretary of state’s office closed the facility after serving people already in the building, spokesman David Druker said Thursday. The building reopened Wednesday morning, he said.
“Thank goodness no one was injured,” Druker added.
Two years ago, an 87-year-old man who was taking his license renewal test crashed his vehicle into a wall at the driver’s license facility in Deerfield. No one was injured and the facility remained open.
Suzanne Baker is a reporter for the Naperville Sun.


A few years ago, I went to the Wilmette Public Library, parked in the lot beside the building, and  spent about 15 minutes inside.

When I came out I saw  fire equipment and police in the lot.  I was told a woman had driven her car into the library trying to park diagonally just outside the book processing office.  The front end of her car  was in the big windows of that office.  I didn’t learn her age.

I had heard nothing when this happened nor felt a tremor.

Now we have  a row of 4′ steel bollards guarding the building

That was not long after someone drove into the I-HOP here.


When you see a man with his pants down . . .

What do you do when you see a man with his pants down, his shoulders and torso wedged between the toilet and tub?

You laugh of course.

Image result for photo woman laughing

Anyone would!

Alice did.

She had heard my shouts from the lst floor bathroom at her 2nd floor workbench.  Came downstairs calling, “Where are you?”

When she’d gotten over the fun, she made some suggestions for getting me up, or out.

The one that worked was to pull my pants off, freeing my legs, so that I could roll over into the tub and use the bars there to stand up.

Why did I stumble backward and fall?  Maybe I was just careless.  Maybe I slipped on the dry bar of soap on the floor–strange it should be there.  Strange also to see a cat toy in the toilet with some kleenex.

I checked.  I did have my Medical Guardian device in my pocket so I could have pressed a button for help had Alice not been home.

A lady we know fell in her living room, broke a bone or two, and struggled to her telephone to call for help, forgetting the Med. Guard. button she was carrying.

I’m haunted by the story of the fat woman who fell in the shower, broke a leg, and sat in the tub for 2 days before someone found her.


Kindness of Strangers

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Recerntly at O”Hare airport,  a young man helped me climb several steps into the van going to the parking lot and 10 minutes later helped me off.  I’m glad I had a chance to tell him that, since I’ve had trouble walking, I’ve become surer of how good people are.

Carrying my cane, I’ve had people give me their seats on the EL  (finally realized it was wrong to refuse ), stand back so I could enter an elevator, and other such courtesies.  I’ve dropped my cane several times, and someone was there immediately to pick it up for me.

A few months ago, we were at a small reception at the Adler Planetarium when I stumbled and fell.  Two men were on me immediately, one looking strangely into my eyes.  He must have felt my discomfort with that, said  “I’m a physician.”  I found I was in the middle of a semi-circle of about 30 people–first entertainment of the evening.

The guys helped me get into a chair, then made sure I got into the lecture room safely.

I think it is  wonderful that people want to help, but a helper must do only what the needful person wants.  Injured or handicapped people still need their autonomy.  

There’s a story about a young man who walked toward a busy intersecton and saw a frail old woman standing at the curb.  He swooped her up and carried her across the street, evading a bus.  On the other side, he put her down and said, ” Is there anything else I can do for you?”  She said, “Yes, take me back to the place where I was waiting for the bus”.

Disabled people expect reasonable consideration.  I worked briefly at a food store when I was in high school.  One day I saw a one-legged man start through the front door on crutches. A woman in a hurry pushed past him, jostling him aside.  Some minutes later, as she was bending over the potato bin,  the man struck her   butt with a crutch.  She neither exclaimed nor complained.

I enjoy remembering a scene from a movie  in which an old man carrying a bag of popcorn across a street toward a park is frightened by a young man in a convertible who honks at him and nearly runs him over.  The old man turns onto a sidewalk, sharing his popcorn with a flock of pigeons.  The young man parks farther down the street.  When the old man reaches the convertible, he dumps his popcorn in the front and back seats of the car.  I hope everyone knows what the young man will find when he returns.



Photo: 50,000 Rubber Ducks in River

Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune

Workers corral and scoop the roughly 50,000 rubber ducks out of the Chicago River on Thursday after the 11th annual Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby. Proceeds for the event — in which supporters “adopt” ducks in the race — benefit Special Olympics Illinois.

– See more at: http://digitaledition.chicagotribune.com/tribune/article_popover.aspx?guid=7e46eb0f-cac7-402c-953a-d4d5f0e4ac83&t=1470399146939#sthash.2lHZOkac.dpuf

Milwaukee Janitor ?


Years ago, I was strolling through the Milwaukee Art Museum with a friend who cracked up when I walked through  a doorway and said, “Excuse me.”

I had apologized to this guy:
  He is an artwork made of fiberglass and other materials by Duane Hanson.  Fooled me! 
For an article about how the Janitor is made and how it was restored, click here.

Obama’s Texas Takeover


Texas Governor Deploys State Guard To Stave Off Obama Takeover

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the Texas State Guard to monitor a joint U.S. Special Forces training taking place in Texas, prompting outrage from some in his own party.   Eric Gay/AP

Since Gen. Sam Houston executed his famous retreat to glory to defeat the superior forces of Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Texas has been ground zero for military training. We have so many military bases in the Lone Star State we could practically attack Russia.

So when rookie Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced he was ordering the Texas State Guard (not the National Guard) to monitor a Navy SEAL/Green Beret joint training exercise, which was taking place in Texas and several other states, everybody here looked up from their iPhones. What?

It seems there is concern among some folks that this so-called training maneuver is just a cover story. What’s really going on? President Obama is about to use Special Forces to put Texas under martial law.

Let’s walk over by the fence where nobody can hear us, and I’ll tell you the story.

You see, there are these Wal-Marts in West Texas that supposedly closed for six months for “renovation.” That’s what they want you to believe. The truth is these Wal-Marts are going to be military guerrilla-warfare staging areas and FEMA processing camps for political prisoners. The prisoners are going to be transported by train cars that have already been equipped with shackles.

Don’t take my word for it. That comes directly from a Texas Ranger, who seems pretty plugged in, if you ask me. You and I both know President Obama has been waiting a long time for this, and now it’s happening. It’s a classic false flag operation. Don’t pay any attention to the mainstream media; all they’re going to do is lie and attack everyone who’s trying to tell you the truth.

Did I mention the ISIS terrorists? They’ve come across the border and are going to hit soft targets all across the Southwest.They’ve set up camp a few miles outside of El Paso.

That includes a Mexican army officer and Mexican federal police inspector. Not sure what they’re doing there, but probably nothing good. That’s why the Special Forces guys are here, get it? To wipe out ISIS and impose martial law. So now you know, whaddya say we get back to the party and grab another beer?

It’s true that the paranoid worldview of right-wing militia types has remarkable stamina. But that’s not news.  What is news is that there seem to be enough of them in Texas to influence the governor of the state to react — some might use the word pander — to them.

That started Monday when a public briefing by the Army in Bastrop County, which is just east of Austin, got raucous. The poor U.S. Army colonel probably just thought he was going to give a regular briefing, but instead 200 patriots shouted him down, told him he was a liar and grilled him about the imminent federal takeover of Texas and subsequent imposition of martial law.

“We just want to make sure our guys are trained. We want to hone our skills,” Lt. Col. Mark Listoria tried to explain in vain.

One wonders what Listoria was thinking to himself as he walked to his car after two hours of his life he’ll never get back. God bless Texas? Maybe not.

The next day Abbott decided he had to take action. He announced that he was going to ask the Texas State Guard to monitor Operation Jade Helm from start to finish.

“It is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed upon,” Abbott said.

The idea that the Yankee military can’t be trusted down here has a long and rich history in Texas. But that was a while back. Abbott’s proclamation that he was going to keep his eye on these Navy SEAL and Green Beret boys did rub some of our leaders the wrong way.

Former Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst tried to put it in perspective for outsiders when he explained, “Unfortunately, some Texans have projected their legitimate concerns about the competence and trustworthiness of President Barack Obama on these noble warriors. This must stop.”

Another former Republican politician was a bit more pointed.

“Your letter pandering to idiots … has left me livid,” former state Rep. Todd Smith wrote Abbott. “I am horrified that I have to choose between the possibility that my Governor actually believes this stuff and the possibility that my Governor doesn’t have the backbone to stand up to those who do.”

There’s no argument that after the 2014 election, Texas politics took a further step to the right. The 84th session of the state Legislature has given ample proof of that. But the events of this last week have been an eye-opener for Texans of all political stripes.

You will find the names of Texans etched into marble at war memorials from Goliad to Gettysburg, from Verdun to the Ardennes and Washington, D.C. The governor’s proposition that these soldiers and sailors constitute a potential threat and need watching as they go about their duties certainly stakes out some new political ground for the leader of the Texas GOP to stand on.

CorrectionMay 3, 2015  An earlier version of this story indicated that Gov. Greg Abbott had deployed the National Guard in Texas, when in fact it was the Texas State Guard.

Corn Souffle — verse


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She says I’ve been imagining a corn soufflé !

(this burst of culinary fervor toward my reading nook).

I think I’ll try it out today. Says how are you at stripping

kernels off the cob?  Excellent I say—my kind of job

although I may well cut myself.  A spurt of blood

will add a  je ne sais, some color to the food.

Oh never mind she says; you’d create crud,

and I return to safely minding my own book.