Archive for the 'Fun Stuff' Category

Start Your Year With a Smile – 2018 Edition

Welcome to the 2018 Edition of my photographic year in review.  A couple of modest themes will show up later on, but for the most part we’re just going to dive right in.

Sometimes fusion works really well.  Like with cuisine. And jazz. As a retail concept, though, maybe it can be just a bit too much:


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Everything I know about practicing mindfulness says that it’s a good thing.  But still, I have my doubts.


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For an equally challenging version of staying mindful, there’s this:

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I once heard Eric Clapton say that he is at pains not to repeat himself.  Well, friends, I am no Eric Clapton.  When I first saw this a couple of years ago, I figured it was a rare, one-off experience.  But nope, they did it again! (Look closely – you’ll see what the sign is supposed to say.)

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Dammit, I think the wheelchairs deserve a little privacy!  Don’t you?

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OK, if you’re this guy, how do you go back to your day job on Monday and explain to your colleagues exactly what you did all weekend?  Or this IS your day job.  In which case, what do you say when you’re making small talk at a barbecue and new turns to you and says, “So tell me, Bob, what do you do for a living?”

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At last, the 2AM dry mouth explained!

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This big guy moved into my building just a few days after I did.  Apparently, he prepared for Moving Day by having way too much to drink the night before.

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I have to say, though, that moving can have its benefits.  The bear and I both get to enjoy this view:

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Speaking of being mindful, here’s a healthy approach to life:

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I spent some wonderful time in Italy this year, where I discovered that some things don’t translate very well:

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A pair of relics, side by side:

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My Italian is far from perfect, but this looks to me like the Institute for the Mastery of Filipino Pie:

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You can’t really make it out, but the green sign says “Angri.”  Exit at your own risk.

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That was from southern Italy.  The northern Italians are not to be outdone:

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By the way, the Italians make cars that look like Bugs Bunny:

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This is from the Colosseum in Rome.  They should have added to the sign, “But scratching hieroglyphics on them with a sharp object is totally cool!”

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Interesting name for a leather boutique in Florence.  Someone’s a big James Bond fan.

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To make it even more interesting, the trademark listing for this place starts with “Saddlery, whips and animal apparel; umbrellas and parasols. . .”  And, no doubt, so much more.  Yes, I look these things up.


Best Oxy-Clean Commercial Ever!!!!

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Go ahead, pronounce this.  I dare you:

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These two guys are duking it out for market share in Milan, but in the most civilized of ways:

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Back home, in the harbor where I now keep a boat, there’s a question. . .

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And just down the pier is the answer:

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Then there’s this guy:

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And yes, this really is the boat he’s on:

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Oh my God!  What are the poor amateurs going to use?!?!

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Oops, they did it again (again)!

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Food fight!!!!!

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OK, this might be a repeat as well.  This little sign reminds me of two things.

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First, many years ago, a colleague of mine, while asleep, managed to swallow his uvula, which is that little thing that hangs down at the back of your throat.  The result was an elongated uvula that required extensive treatment.  And, yes, I’m quite sure you didn’t wake up this morning expecting to encounter the phrase “elongated uvula.”

The consequences of ignoring this sign seem like they would be similar, only a lot more painful.

Second, it reminds me of this:  By the way, be careful of the video channel this will lead you to.  You could disappear in there for days and come out with your sides aching:


Nothing says “Happy 5th Birthday!” like a neon martini sign. . .

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. . .unless it’s the OTHER side of the same neon martini sign:

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Are you willing to entrust your life to an elevator company that counts this well?

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I THINK it won’t fall down! I THINK it won’t fall down! I THINK it won’t fall down.

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I received many great guest photos this year, including some that were wonderfully way too off color to use.  Here’s a sampling of the usable best.  If you sent me one that’s not here, I’m sorry.  There’s only so much time.

From Jack Altschuler:

Altschuler Bunny & Rabbit


From Tony Diaz, there’s this, which manages to turn the word “abut” into a noun.  And please don’t ask me to explain the metal pole.  I can’t.

Diaz Road Abutters


From Lisa Manning:

Manning Puddle


From John Muller:

Muller Shrub (Lake Cook & Waukegan)


And finally, this last minute (literally) gift from Lou Costabile, who answers the question I know you’ve been asking yourself: “Where DOES Jimmy John eat?”

Costabile Jimmy Johns
2017 was a very strange year in many ways.  In the midst of that, however, it’s worth remembering that it’s still possible to be rendered utterly speechless by the works of man. . .

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. . .and nature

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I wish you a healthy, happy, joy-filled and prosperous New Year.  If you’ve made it this far in the blog post, you’ve certainly earned it.




Start Your Year with a Smile – 2017 Edition

Here it is – Year 7 of the photo blog.  This year, I had 94 pictures to choose from, including a few that were sent by friends and (gasp) family.  I decided to keep it clean – strictly PG. Except, of course, for when I didn’t. Which means that the hardest part of this job is bottling up my inner 13-year-old.

Just remember that this is all about how people express themselves.  Including me, I suppose. And that if you want to see what I left out, I have nowhere near enough self-restraint to stop myself from sending it to you, so just let me know.

Here we go:

I start every year afraid that I’m not going to get anything good, and yet somehow I always do.

And so, our journey begins on January 2, 2016.  I’m in the airport in Huatulco, Mexico, heading home from a holiday warmup (where I was surrounded by Canadians whom I kept assuring over and over that Donald Trump was just a sideshow whom American would never actually elect).  And there, in the airport, I see these two signs:

Here’s the thing. . .one of them points to the airplanes and the other to the restrooms.

Moving on. . .

Check out the t-shirt and imagine your dog coming home from one of those treatments.  It would either be “Ahhh. . .” or “Dude, what the hell?!?!?”


If it was your cat, “Ahhh. . .” would not be an option.

CNN’s mobile app turns out to be good for a laugh or two.

I’m wondering if anyone at the Seattle Aquarium bothered to consult their octopi before this decision was made:



Online ads are targeted, right?  So why did I get this one?



When you open the CNN app, it takes a few seconds for the pictures on the top story to catch up to the headline, which yields some pretty interesting results.  There is nothing – absolutely nothing – I could say to improve on this one:



In local news, this used to be a terrific steak house.  It was located in a retired fire station near where I live and was called, appropriately, The Firehouse.  It was great – right up until it was. . .you guessed it. . .gutted by fire:



In less local news, I spent a little time in Northern California last summer.  This is a spot on the Cal Berkeley campus.  If you can’t make out the sign, blow it up until you can.  And then note that every sign in the row is the same.  Show-offs.



I’m not sure why Napa Valley needs this, but apparently it does.



I always thought it would be good to have this much money, but I never imagined it would fit on a single bill (yes, this is real money):


I didn’t go in this place.  Like you, I’m thinking that maybe I’d rather have food that was fresh?


And what, exactly, does this place bake?  A Revell 1/24th scale Ford Mustang?  Cindy Crawford?  I wish I knew.



The next part of that trip was on the Island of Hawaii, which yielded these. . .

Seems like the upper sign is all you should need:


Nothing quite says “Polynesian Rain Forest” like a band of Scandinavian marauders:


OK, this is just a No Smoking sign. . .


. . .except that what’s smoldering in the background is the crater of an active volcano.


Back home.  Last year, I shared a sign from a frozen yogurt shop that I stop into now and then.  It said, “From now on, you must have intent on purchasing a yogurt to have a sample.” (Sic, sic, sic.).  Apparently that wasn’t enough to get them the customer behavior they were after.  So they upped their game.  A single trip yielded these.  (Note – halfway through, you are going to say to yourself “Really?”  The answer is “Yes.  Really.”):



By the way, this is what greets you inside the front door.



In fairness, I have to say that the frogurt in this place is quite good, and it’s one of the few that has low/no-sugar options.  But there has to be a less stressful way to make a living.


The word choice on this street sign is interesting.  But wouldn’t “Rain” have been simpler and more to the point:




In itself, there’s nothing remarkable about this sign. . .


. . except that that the place down the block – the one with what looks like a small clock tower – is called Mario’s.


On a summer bike ride on the Lakeshore, I passed a sign saying that the under-construction bird sanctuary I was passing would soon be complete and ready for use.  That got me to wondering how the birds would find out that it was available.  The best answer I could come up with:  “They’ll Tweet.”

On that same ride, though, I failed in my attempt, after my January start in Mexico, to avoid bathroom humor for the rest of the year.  And I believe in failing big.

This sign sits above a urinal in a Chicago Park District restroom on the Lakefront, and it makes me worry about many things, including the state of civilization.




Let’s pause here for a second.  I’m always curious what the meeting was like where something like this got approved.  Like the marketing meeting from last year’s blog, when the bike company decided to put the words “Perineal Safety Area” around the opening in the bicycle seat.

I mean, let’s be clear.  I’m sure there’s a risk associated with the fact that the water is untreated rainwater.  But there’s also a risk that if you tried to drink it, you might, while bending over to take a sip, see an image in the water that you thought was Madonna – the singer, not the Blessed Virgin – faint from the shock, hit your head on the concrete and die of a subdural hematoma.

If I had to guess, I’d say the rainwater risk is smaller than the Madonna/hematoma thing. But they’re both pretty small.  And then there’s the fact that the water is in a urinal.  As my dog said when I brought him home from the chiropractor, “Dude, what the hell?!?!?”

But why am I worrying about that?  What I should really worry about is the strange looks I get while taking photographs in public restrooms.


On a separate adventure that was not supposed to involve plumbing, I was in a Lowe’s store and came face-to-face (or maybe it was face-to-bowl) with Kohler’s marketing strategy, which apparently involves giving toilet models profound, thought-provoking names. Like this:



There were two other models I didn’t get pictures of (yes, I actually started worrying about attracting unwanted attention).  One was The Cimmaron, which given it’s Western-ish name, seems it should be more outhouse than in-house.  And defying all explanation, there was the pièce de rèsistance, the sine qua non, the toilette de toilettes – The Biscuit.

And may that be the end of bathroom humor.


But nothing is off limits – or for that matter, private, let alone sacred – anymore.  And so I found this billboard on the road from New Buffalo, Michigan, back to Chicago.  No, not Carl’s Truck Repair.  I love the red circle with the slash through it and the Buy One – Get One Free offer.



Here are three great guest shots:

From my friend and colleague Rene Boer – a picture he took on a beach in Belize.

boer-vacationIf you can’t make out the little yellow sign, it says “Closed for Vacation.”

From my friend Jack Trytten, a road sign that seems like it might have caused lots of accidents.




And from my daughter, Julia, this bit of grocery store irony:



From this year’s holiday warm-up in Miami:

This store in Miami Beach might be owned by a brother and sister?  If so, they have a sense of humor.  I hope so, but I don’t know.  And they don’t have a website, so I can’t look it up.  Or see what they sell.  All I can say is that the name and the subtitle kind of contradict each other.



As the colors might suggest, this sign is by a guard house at the University of Miami.  I’m still trying to figure out exactly whom it excludes from entry:



And finally, for anyone who lives in Chicago (and probably many other places), there’s this:


That’s it for this year.  I hope you found something in here to give you a laugh.  And I wish you a healthy, happy, prosperous 2017.

Start Your Year With a Smile – 2016 Edition

It’s Year 6 of the photo blog and we’re going to dive right in.  This is my annual look-back at the year just ended.  What follows are the best pictures or screen captures I took (and in a few cases, that friends sent me) from all of 2015.  In one way or another, they are all about the things people choose to do and how they choose to express themselves.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I hope you find something that makes you laugh, and that you aren’t offended by the parts that are a little off-color.  As always, I refer you to my blog rule, which is that I never make anything up because I’m not nearly funny enough to come up with stuff as good as what real life provides.

With that, let’s get started.

My journalistic year started in January, when I paid a visit to Kohler, Wisconsin.  And I want to be absolutely clear about something:

Anyone who can turn a toilet factory into a tourist destination has my undying respect.

That said, the Kohler design center has an entire roomful of toilets, including a wall full of them that must be fifty feet high.  Standing atop that wall is this guy.

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I’m really not sure what he’s so joyful about.  After all, he’s gazing down on a roomful of toilets.  He looks like the toilet version of Rocky.  Maybe he’s feels like a king, in which case could this be his Throne Room?

The piece de plumbing resistance of this exhibit is Kohler’s remote control toilet.  Call me crazy, but I always thought the idea of a remote control anything is that you don’t have to touch, or even be near, the device in order to use it.  I’m not sure how that applies in this case.  Anyway, here is the remote’s screen.

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Yes, you can now have a toilet that will serenade you.

While we’re on the subject of toilet humor, there’s a high-rise going up across the street from the building I live in.  I walked out the front door one day and saw a handful of people on the sidewalk gazing skyward.  I looked up and saw this:

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It’s a little dark, but those blue things in the middle are a trio of Flying Porta-potties.  Trust me, there were lots of crossed fingers and a few prayers being said on the sidewalk.

In June, I had the great fortune to take a road trip with my daughter from Scottsdale, AZ, to Chattanooga, TN.  In Scottsdale, I happened to see this sign.

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I was curious, so I pulled in to see what it was for.  Here’s it is.

Lunch Box

As we were traveling, I discovered that there is indeed Welfare in Texas. . .

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. . .and that there are some roads probably best left less traveled.

Bad Route

At the end of the trip, we went up to the top of Lookout Mountain, TN, where we saw this:

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I’m thinking that Starbucks may have become just a bit too important in our culture.

We also saw this.  I’m pretty sure that “Restrooms” would have been entirely sufficient.

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At the bottom of Lookout Mountain, which actually puts it in Chattanooga, we came across this place.

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If you can’t make it out, this is the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame & Museum.  Aside from the history of the tow truck, it’s dedicated to those, and there appear to be many of them, who gave the last full measure of devotion.

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According to the website, this year they will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the tow truck.

While we’re on the subject of arcane museums,  I was back at the Idaho Potato Museum in Blackfoot, ID, this summer.

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Yes, back. Second visit. This time when it was open.  Well, not quite open. I missed closing time by five minutes, but they were still there and opened it back up to give me a private tour. I think I heard someone in the back yelling, “Hey, we got one! We GOT one!!!!”  I picked up a souvenir, a Potato Museum hat, which caused my friend Lynne Marek to comment, “OK, never wear that thing around your kids.”

This is the kind of thing you can find at the Idaho Potato Museum. Where is Garrison Keillor when we really need him?

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Last year’s post contained an ill-advised and regrettable beaver-themed section. So does this year’s.

A Beaver Tail

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In Auburn Hills, Michigan, you can find yourself at the intersection of Big Beaver and Crooks.

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And what year would be complete without Flying Beavers?  I couldn’t get the video code to embed properly.  To see this 1-minute “film treasure” (their words, not mine!), just click here or on the picture below.

Flying Beavers 2

As always, there were a few great signs in, on or near businesses:

I’ll have whatever this place is serving!

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A great sign, seen in Seattle:

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From my friend, author Debra Dean (if you haven’t read her novels The Madonnas of Leningrad and A Mirrored World, do yourself a favor. . .stop reading this, go get them now, read them, then come back here. . .you’ll thank me for it), came this rainy-day picture of our friends at the Neptune Society offering a service that I thought went out with the Spanish Inquisition.



This place is on North Avenue in Melrose Park, right across the street from a gun shop that has assault rifles on prominent display.

Red Star

Go back and take a closer look.  It does not way “Warehouse.” It does say “Bar.” And did I mention that it’s right across the street from a gun shop?

Bad grammar aside, I love seeing the poor, beleaguered Frozen Yogurt people take a stand.

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It is so good to know that that this company, in Elk Grove Village, IL, is keeping things clean.

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For a moment, I thought the T fell off this building, but it was only a shadow. Still, one can hope.

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It was another good year for things seen on, in or from cars.

Check out the model of the car, the license plate bracket and the first 3 letters on the license plate.

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The poor State of Illinois is so broke it is now private labeling vanity plates to neighboring Indiana.

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This one is a little hard to explain.  I only know what “twerking” is because Miley Cyrus did it once while performing on an awards show.  So last year, I thought it was pretty funny when I saw a car with a bumper sticker indicating that it’s owner was a (presumably proud) member of something called the  “Twerk Team.”  Imagine my surprise when this year I saw two more.  After all, I’m only one pair of eyeballs in a metropolitan area of 16 million eyeballs.  What are the odds?

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These people are very proud of their pastime and their membership on this team.  I figure that if there are enough people like this to form a team, then there must be other teams, so that they can hold some kind of twerk-off.

If you’re like I was and are wondering what twerkers do, I have saved you the trouble of Googling “Twerk Team Chicago.”  Click this link and watch any video you like.  I can promise that all of your questions will be answered.  I can’t promise that you’ll be happy about that.

Moving on.

Who wouldn’t give their eyeteeth to be able to go a barbeque armed with this as the answer to the question, “So, Bob, who do you work for?”

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As my friend Mike Paton will attest, I am rarely rendered speechless.  This did it:

2015-06-05 License Plate

The State of Arizona went to great pains to make sure that this cow is udderly, anatomically correct.

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Another road to leave less traveled:

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Back on the business front, every now and then, I see something that makes me wonder about the conversation that led to it.  Here is this year’s winner.  I’m picturing a team that has been charged with coming up with a new feature to differentiate their bicycles.  They’ve spend a long, frustrating day in the conference room.  They are tired and sweaty, there are empty coffee cups all over the room.  They know that soon they have to go back to the boss with an answer.  Then, suddenly, a member of the team sits bolt upright and cries out, “Eureka!  I’ve got it!”

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If you can’t quite make out the writing around the hole in the middle it says “Perineal Safety Area.”

And the winner in the “Helpful Labeling” category:

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In the ever-popular Animal Hijinks category, here’s a TV show you wouldn’t want to miss:

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If you’re old enough, as I am, you might remember Morris the Cat of 9 Lives fame. It turns out that Morris was adopted from a shelter in Downers Grove. Who knew?

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And in that shelter was this guy, whose motto, I’m pretty sure, is “Because I can.  Sue me.”

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Lastly, thanks to my friend Bruce Onsager, who bought the boat, did all the hard work and invited me to be part of the adventure, I had the opportunity this year to sail the Chicago-Mackinac race. We sailed in the Cruising (read “slow boat”) division, and even then we were the finest ship and crew ever to finish last in their group.  Nonetheless, we crossed the finish line with the same crew we started with, which is a win in my book.

Along the way, I got to see this:

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That wasn’t part of what I expected from the race.  It occurred to me afterward that we can’t force these experiences. All we can do, and we should, is to put ourselves in places where we might have them.

I hope you will in 2016, and that it turns out to be an even better year for you than 2015 was.

Just Plain Not Smart Enough

Political commentary coming shortly, but first, here are two recent conversations, one that I overheard and one that I was part of.

Overheard: The other day, in my neighborhood Walgreen’s, I saw a skinny young man who was wearing pants that defied gravity and an oversized baseball cap that was overwhelmed by it. I thought he was accompanied by one young woman, but it turned out to be two. I’m still not sure what that was about. He sidled up to the pharmacy counter and here’s what I heard:

Young Man (face mostly obscured by oversized cap): “Mumble. Mumble mumble. Mumble mumble mumble.”

Pharmacist (loud and clear – might as well have been using a bullhorn): “Over the counter?”

Young Man: “Mumble mumble. Mumble. Mumble.”

Pharmacist: “Fertility tests? Yes, we have fertility tests for women. They’re in Aisle 3.”

Young Man: “Mumble! Mumble mumble mumble mumble. Mumble.”

Pharmacist: “What?!?!”

Young Man: “Mumble mumble mumble!”

Pharmacist (looking a little disgusted): “No! For a test like that, you gotta go see a doctor!”

The pharmacist fled to the comfort of filling prescriptions. The young man and his crew slouched out of the store. All looked dissatisfied.

Part of: Over the last few weeks, I’ve spent way too much time on chat and phone with various forms of tech support. Most of it has had to do with Quicken, which inexplicably stopped working right, and then piece-by-piece, started working better. It now appears to be fine, although no one knows who or what caused the improvement. In the world of technology, an experience like this is known as a “Full Smolinsky.”

I have great respect for people who provide tech support from call centers in the places like India and the Philippines. To make better lives for themselves and their families, they work miserable hours supporting poorly built products that are used by ungrateful people like me.  And last week, one of those wonderful people called me and said the following:

“Hello. I’m trying to reach Mr. Daniel Wallace. Is this Mr. Daniel Wallace? Hello, Mr. Daniel Wallace. I’m calling from Intuit Quicken. I am the support agent who will be helping you on this call. My name is Ann-Margaret.”

You know my rule. I never make this stuff up.

Now, on to the political commentary.

Hillary Clinton has, at last, thankfully, conclusively demonstrated that she is not qualified to hold the nation’s highest office. This time, it’s not the general smarminess, the lack of transparency or the squishy ethics. It’s not the habit of doing questionable things and then acting outraged when people question them. And it certainly isn’t the deeply held beliefs, the policies that emanate from them, and the clear, compelling vision for the future of America. It can’t be any of those things because I have no idea what they are and, in fact, strongly suspect that they don’t exist.

No, this time it’s much simpler.

In this day and age, if you don’t know that you can carry one phone with two email accounts on it, if you think that the right way to get a personal email account is to get your own mail server, if you can actually get your own mail server, and yet your answer to the question of whether it was secure is, “Well, it was on a property protected by the Secret Service,” then, at least in my humble opinion, you simply are not smart enough to be President of the United States.

Case closed.

Start Your Year With A Smile – 2014 Edition

Welcome to Year 5 of my annual photo review. Once again, I went into the year afraid that I’d get nothing and once again I got lots. Once again, I had help from friends and family.  And once again there’s the silly, the absurd, and the in-the-kind-of-bad-taste-that-appeals-mostly-to-inner-13-year-olds-like-me.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This year instead of themes, I’m mostly going to work chronologically. But first, here are the gifts from friends and family. With apologies to those who sent them, over the course of the year, I mostly forgot who sent what.  So I’m not going to attribute them because I would almost certainly get it wrong. Here they are, in the order received:

This school bus company decided that the best way to recruit drivers was to run a bus off the road and slap a sign on it.  Which seems like a great way to recruit exactly the people who shouldn’t be driving a school bus.

Bus Drivers Wanted!

I don’t often post things that have been posted elsewhere, but I like this too much not to.

cookie jar photo

An accurate reflection of last winter in Chicago.


I dare you. . .go ahead and figure out what you are and are not allowed to do here.

No Parking!

A new form of nightlife. . .the Raw-iano Bar?

Piano Player

OK, on to my year.  My tour of the visually absurd which started at O’Hare on January 13. I wasn’t fast enough with the phone, so I missed the actual picture.  But here’s the scene.  See the guy at the far end in the blue hat?

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About a minute earlier, he was right in front of me with his backpack on the floor, bent over, trying to find something in it.  Let’s just say that in that moment, he, umm, revealed himself to be a plumber. Not an apprentice, either. A full-on, no kidding, 100% card-carrying, can’t you at least feel the draft, master plumber.  As the saying goes, I will never be able to not see that.

I’ve stayed in hundreds of hotels, and I’ve never hoped or expected to find a pre-printed, fake-handwritten Post-It like the one below stuck to the headboard of the bed.  And I hope never to see another one.  Methinks they doth protest too much.

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The former Caribou near me used tips to run informal polls.  I.e., one cup for Dogs and one for Cats.  Put your buck in the cup you favor  This poll took me a second. Then it made me wince.

2014-04-18 14.15.55

By the way, Holyfield won by a knockout.

OK, bad taste time. . .

In the spring, I found myself stuck in traffic behind this car on a Chicago expressway. (Side note: now, there’s a misappellation for you.   There’s nothing “express” about Chicago freeways. For that matter, there’s nothing “free” about most of them, either.  Now, back to our story. . .)

The nice lady driving this car either loves horse country or she really likes to over-share.

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My money is on over-sharing.  A couple of days later, at the very beginning of the same “expressway,” I saw this sign.

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It’s a little hard to make out because it was flickering. It says “Beam Erection.” Really.  “In the event of a road construction project lasting more than 4 years. . .”

Departing from the chronology briefly (but staying with the bad taste). . .when I was in my mid-20s, I lived in Washington DC for a couple of years. Every day, page 3 of the Washington Post was graced by an ad from Fred the Furrier. One day, the ad featured a woman in a lovely coat under the headline “Joie de Beaver.” Now, I”m sure Fred thought he was being clever, but I got D’s in college French, and even I can translate that. It was the source of much amusement for my roommates and me.

My roommates have matured. I haven’t.  So I was pleased that it turned out to be a banner year for the beaver-related.

There’s this place – an institution on Chicago’s north side:

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And this street downtown Flagstaff (I’m actually not sure which I like better, the name itself or the fact that it’s one-way):

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None of which prepared me for this, which I saw in a brew pub in Idaho Falls.

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I had one, by the way. It was very good.

Back to chronology.  Years ago, my friend Chuck Nordhoff introduced me to the joys of in-bad-taste lawn statuary. So I was delighted to see this guy.  He’s about 4 and a half feet tall.  The hat and the glasses are real.  I don’t know anything about the neighborhood over which he presides.  Only that someone thought he was a good idea.

2014-06-12 17.53.08

We’re now up to mid-summer, and if the beaver thing wasn’t bad enough, please remember that I never make anything up. My friend Anne Beall invited me to view Chicago’s “Pride Parade” (a public celebration of LGBT life, but others join in).  It passes right by her house, and you can see her in the lower right corner of the picture below.  This was my first time seeing the parade. It’s quite a show.

This was the first thing I saw when I arrived.

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I guess everybody needs a cause.  Remember, a group of men and women sat around someone’s living room and decided that they were sufficiently, well, hacked off about this (there are adjectives I could insert here, but even I won’t stoop that low) issue to do this.

I passed this sign on my way home from a day with a client.  Maybe it’s me, but I’m thinking that this is a product for which no amount of advertising or promotion is really going to increase demand.

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I’ve always thought that the homeless suffer perhaps the worst misfortune among us.  So I was surprised to learn that they’re apparently doing quite well.

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I was enormously relieved to see this car. Since they treat all ends of the horse, there’s still a place for me to get medical care.

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This was next door to an office where I had a meeting with a client.  (Yes, you can see me exercising my craft.)  I was not able to get my client to move the meeting here.

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Please read the description of the Grill Room Burger. Then head straight to your local ER because just reading this puts you at risk.

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I saw this just before I heard that Family Dollar had put itself up for sale.  It’s a little dark and you may not be able to make out the sign on the far right.  It says, “New!  Everyday Low Prices!”  Really?  This is Family Dollar.  What the hell have they been doing for the last 25 years?

2014-10-04 18.59.53

Jimmy Hoffa may still be missing, but at least we found Miley Cyrus.

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This place is closed.  I don’t know anything else about it, other than that they stole Dunkin’ Donuts’ tradestyle. But just try to pronounce whatever it is that’s on the sign.  I tried.  I can’t do it.

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I love this place’s definition of “foot.”  Very generous.

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Presumably, the Jew Arena is a foot-traffic nightmare.

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I could imagine this company being many different colors. Honestly, green really isn’t one of them.

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And wrapping up the year, this is the entire beef/poultry section of the menu from a wonderful Italian restaurant. There’s not a lot of beef in the beef/poultry section. For that matter, there’s not a lot of poultry, either.  Lots of lawsuit fear, however.

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And lastly, putting the fun stuff aside for a moment. . .this is the new Freedom Tower (actually One World Trade Center) in New York. From a distance, I didn’t like it very much.  But up close, it’s astounding.  From the right vantage point, It truly seems to ascend forever, touching, one might hope, the souls it honors.

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That’s what I have for you.  I hope you had a wonderful 2014 and that 2015 is even better.  For my part, I already have the first entry for next year’s edition.

My Neighborhood Has a Moose! Does Yours?


I usually pay attention to things with more redeeming social importance than this.  Except when I don’t.  Which is often.  Including now. . .

Yesterday and again today, I’ve been busy getting ready for a week of business travel.  Lots of desk time catching up, cleaning up and prepping.  And a curious distraction.

There’s a building that I see every time I look up from my laptop.  It’s a few blocks north, older, maybe 8-10 stories.  I’ve never paid any attention to it before, but yesterday a work crew was busy painting the side of it a bright, vibrant blue.  Today they’re back.  At least I think it’s them.  Maybe it’s a different crew.  Whoever it is, today they’re hoisting up the side of the building a giant picture of a moose that appears to be blowing a bubble-gum bubble.

I have no idea why my neighborhood is getting a bubble-blowing moose.  Perhaps there’s new research showing that bubble-blowing moose(s) raise the value of nearby properties?  Maybe the building owner misses Bullwinkle, just like I do.  That seems unlikely, though, since the bubble makes this moose look a little more like Rudolph than Rocky’s BFF.

Whatever the reason for it’s appearance (and I hope that eventually I’ll find out what that is), I’m sure it will be a great enhancement.

Consistent with my rule that I never make this stuff up because I’m just not that good, here’s my new neighbor.  Enjoy!

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PS – Lots of fun trying to come up with tags for this post. . .:-).

Speaking Plainly

Having been away for a long time, I owe my handful of faithful readers something better than this.  But it’s what I’ve got for you.

Perhaps you heard that the King of Spain recently abdicated the throne.  You know what this means, of course:

  • The reign in Spain went lamely down the drain.

<sigh> Finally I come up with something Twitterable and I have no Twitter account.  I refuse to create one because I believe that behind every great Twitter is a Twit.

Or perhaps I’ve put the cart before the horse?

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