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Showing posts from April, 2015

The Long, Inexorable Rise of Change

So much is happening in the United States at this moment. Strike that -- so much is always happening in our country but, this week, it feels like more than usual is taking place. Such is the power of the media, I suppose. Regardless, the riots in Baltimore have left me agonizing over the state of race and police relations, and the commencement of same-sex marriage arguments in front of the US Supreme Court has left me feeling anxious for the future of marriage equality in our country.
The fact that these events are occurring at all is both sad and remarkable. It's sad that, in 2015, we're still torn apart by racial conflict. It's unclear how many centuries need to pass before we learn to treat each other with respect, whether we're wearing a uniform or we're simply an average citizen. It's remarkable that the societal discussion of same-sex marriage has reach SCOTUS in such a relatively swift manner, given the fact that it was a very taboo subject (especially …

A Tree Grows In Champaign

Today is National Arbor Day, and folks are generally encouraged to go out and plant trees and some such. I'm all for it. While I enjoy living in a moderately urban environment, the fact that it is suffused with so many trees is something to treasure. To that end, I am today reminded of Mildred Sims, my teacher for both second and third grades, and the tree our class planted in Clark Park many moons ago.
From 1983 to 1985, Millie Sims was not only my teacher, but an adult whom I looked up to (both figuratively and literally). She was smart, fun, warm but knew how to keep her distance, and had a supremely endearing personality. She is to date the only person to have gotten me to eat celery (by smearing peanut butter in the hollow of the stick, placing raisins on it, and calling it 'Ants on a Log'). She brought local weather celebrity Judy Fraser to our class one day to discuss meteorology, which I thought was one of the coolest things ever.

Pic of the Week

Actor Robbie Amell (best known for the TV show The Flash and the movie The DUFF) turns 27 today, and he's our pic of the week!




Brushes With Fame

Meeting celebrities is an awkward business.
The above conclusion is one I've reached over years of going to the Roger Ebert Film Festival, and having visited Hollywood, California back in the 1990s. Perhaps it's just me, but there really doesn't seem to be any real connection that we, the public, have with those who produce and star in some of our most beloved pop culture touchstones.
Take, for example, Ebertfest of 2002. One of my favorite movies from that year's festival was Kwik Stop, starring and directed by Michael Gilio, who was in attendance. The film moved me and, after Gilio's Q&A on-stage, I decided to approach him and say what a marvelous movie it was that he'd made. Of course, once I was in his presence, it was more like gibberish that came out of my mouth, followed by a perfunctory request for an autograph, which he provided.
Then there were several years where actor Scott Wilson attended the festival. Known then for his role in the 1967 class…

Five Years

There are a lot of milestones in our lives: birthdays, wedding anniversaries, first date anniversaries, the day we began a new job, the day a loved one died, etc. Some are happy reminders, others not so much. Some have a bit of a mixed-bag impact on us. That's probably the best way to describe what happened five years ago today.
April 9th, 2010 was a Friday, much like any other. It was a couple of weeks before the annual Roger Ebert Film Festival, of which I am a regular attendee. Ebert was on my mind at the time, not necessarily because of the festival, but because he'd had thyroid cancer a few years earlier and, on that particular morning, I was rolling into Provena (now Presence) Hospital for a morning surgery to remove my own cancerous thyroid.
That morning was a particularly early one for Ashley & I. The surgery was scheduled for 7:30am and, like airports, hospitals want you to arrive at least an hour or two early. There was the check-in process, the interminable wai…