A Bridge Too Close

skyway_bridgeEveryone has their phobias. One of mine is traveling over a bridge, presumably even over non-troubled waters. It all started when I was a little kid in the late 1950’s. We lived on Chicago’s Far West Side a few blocks from the newly constructed Congress Highway (years later it would be renamed the Eisenhower Expressway). On Sunday family outings, Dad would take the Congress (until today I still call it this) east towards the Loop, the downtown area. The end of the highway was signified by the gigantic US Post Office built smack dab on top of it. I understand that they built it with the cutout for the normal height of semi-trailer truck traffic in mind. After you went under the building tunnel, you were immediately hit with crossing over the Chicago River. At that spot, the river was no more than fifty or so feet wide. For a kid it was terrifying going over the steel waffle-like bridge pavement rather than solid cement. I was convinced that the ground beneath us was not sturdy and that we would eventually fall into the river.
Continue reading “A Bridge Too Close”

Marriage, The Alternative Lifestyle

An interesting statistical comparison was broadcast on the news the other day that in 1960, two-thirds of all people before the age of thirty were already in holy matrimony. In 2008, a similar survey was taken and the rate had gone down to twenty-six percent. That meant one of two things: either the latest version of the younger generation was not interested in getting hitched anymore or they were waiting longer before taking the plunge.
Continue reading “Marriage, The Alternative Lifestyle”


The first thing a college graduate does after the ceremony is look for a job unless he has rich relatives who plan on putting him in the family business. For the rest of us, this means putting together a resume- excuse me, I mean, CV. For more than thirty-five years, I always thought that the thing you typed up over and over again until you got it absolutely perfect was called a “resume”. Why? I have no idea. The word association never made sense. If it wasn’t pronounce like a foreign word, it then sounded as if something was being continued. Resuming what? Oh, I know- going from door to door and being told to get lost because the job was either already filled or they were testing the market place to see if there were any quality unemployed people out there worthy of future consideration. Or maybe they just didn’t like your face and decided you weren’t qualified. So, you kept on resuming the task of looking and looking. Ergo, the piece of paper that attested to your life’s body of work was an instrument of continuing- “resuming”- going around in circles, or a resume. Sounds good to me.
Continue reading “C.V.”

In a Class by Myself

By Larry Teren

You’ve heard the expression, “boy, this guy’s in a class by himself!” In my case, it was almost true but not because I had a swelled head. It had to do with taking a course at Northeastern Illinois University on a campus of a couple thousand students where only three other dedicated underclassmen had the same crazy obscure interest.
Continue reading “In a Class by Myself”

‘Til Death Do They Part

Last week the Internet caught my attention with two stories that are not linked other than the subject of death. In one, a fifty-one year old woman died at her office desk and no one noticed until the next day when they saw her slumped over in her chair. The second story involved a man who has been sitting on ice for the past ten months in a county morgue because no one has come to claim the body.
Continue reading “‘Til Death Do They Part”

Hear, Hear!

In high school while taking a music appreciation class the teacher told us that the acuity of our hearing would peak in the not too distant future and that it would all be downhill from then on. A teenager doesn’t believe anything an adult tells him so I shrugged it off.

In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s I used to go to social outings where very loud music was played while people jerked their bodies around on a dance floor. At the time, the music was much too loud and I knew it was damaging my hearing but I thought it was wise to hang out and catch some action, if you know what I mean.
Continue reading “Hear, Hear!”

False Grit

There are no do overs in life. Whatever happens, happens, unless- that is- you are in the movie-making business. A producer with cash burning in his pocket decides that he can re-create a film made a generation or two earlier and do a better job of it. Or maybe he is out of fresh ideas so he takes what has worked in the past and runs with it. That works great for automobiles, trains and planes as well as computers, televisions and phones. But, give me a break!

Recently a big deal has been made about a redo of the 1969 John Wayne Academy Award winning movie, True Grit. To me, anything made in 1969 is not yet quite so ancient that it needs to have it redone to suit modern audiences. Besides, I’ve yet to see a re-make that is better than the original, and that includes Ocean’s Eleven and The Nutty Professor.
Continue reading “False Grit”

Always in the Middle

I am not a middle child but the second of five. I don’t often take the middle ground unless it is to get someone else to compromise toward my way of thinking. I am middle aged, I guess, unless I live to 120, which is possible.

One thing I enjoyed being in the middle of was the streets I lived on as a kid. Between 1955 and ’59, home to me was Jackson Boulevard in the West Garfield Park Chicago neighborhood between Kostner on the right (or east) and Kilbourn, to the left or (west). Situated in the middle of the block gave me an opportunity to roam a little further every year with more confidence in each direction without adult supervision. The moment my feet touched the sidewalk of our block on a return trip from elsewhere I already felt as if I was on the stairs leading to our first floor apartment. The only time I crossed to the other side of the street- the north side- was with my parents when the car was parked there. I was too young to play with a ball on the sidewalk out front so there was not even a chance of me running out onto the roadway to grab an errant throw.
Continue reading “Always in the Middle”

An Uplifting Story

I don’t watch a lot of prime time television- I’m no elitist. I have my peculiar tastes just as everyone does. I can just as readily be entertained by the Internet. But, what I like to do is turn on the tv with the remote control provided by my local cable company and click the menu guide. It displays to the screen a time calendar in grid form of all shows by channel with a brief synopsis of each. I go up and down the roster stopping to read the few description capsules that interest me.

One that usually catches my eye is TV Land. The station shows mostly old sitcoms from the 1950’s through the end of the last century. It has recently started airing brand new, first-run shows starring actors and actresses from many of the shows of the older vintage. One of the shows listed was headlined by Betty White. The lady is eighty-nine and still cooking. In the brief write-up the menu guide indicated that Mary Tyler Moore would be guesting with her.
Continue reading “An Uplifting Story”

The Friendly Skies

A certain airline company made news last week when they announced that they were pulling all their more than ninety model 757 airplanes from flight duty for repair. The initial report over the radio stated that it was a minor safety issue concerning the on-board computer that needed to be addressed and nothing to do with actual pieces of the plane. The newscaster stated that it would wreak havoc on the flights scheduled by the airline for the day as each plane needed to be out of commission for about ninety minutes. They also said that they were asked why it all had to be done at one time as it would affect travelers who already booked and paid for those flights as well as put a strain on other airlines trying to help stranded passengers by putting them into any available seats on their flights. The alleged answer by the airline’s spokesperson was that it had to be done and it was better getting it all done at once and out of the way regardless if it inconvenienced anyone.
Continue reading “The Friendly Skies”