Rambling through central Illinois, recalling Dad putting on “the snow tires” in years long past.
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After attending Monday’s Farmington City Council meeting and hearing talk about possible increases in video gaming fees, I spent more time than was prudent reading about Illinois gaming legislation. What a tangled web of obvious deceit, lies and certain corruption. As I read, a comment made by Farmington bar owner Bub Malott kept resonating: “I just don’t know what the city has done to earn a raise to take my money.” Actually, Farmington getting more gaming money doesn’t bother me. But I have a real problem with the State of Illinois upping its take annually. Tell me, what has the state done to earn more gaming money? Can you come up with anything? … Congrats to Olivia Stage of Elmwood, who won our random drawing of a $50 prize for folks who submitted pictures of their big bucks this season. Anybody who questions the randomness need only know that my son Vic also submitted an entry! Olivia, your prize sits in my wallet to be collected at your leisure – and no, I won’t give it to your dad in a beer tent or tavern.
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The late Brian Kjellenberg of Yates City is someone who proved how much there is to learn, even later in life. After retiring from the Air National Guard, Kjellenberg returned to Western Illinois and Bradley University to study art. And until his death in April of 2020 at age 81, he kept creating art, much of it in the sculpture lab at Bradley University. This is worth noting for at least two reasons. For one, it’s inspiring to hear about people who are eager to continue learning and pursuing their passions later in life. For another, some of Kjellenberg’s paintings, hand-made metal toys and sculptures will be displayed at Bradley University’s Hartmann Gallery from Jan. 19 through April 24. … Blame me for the recent storm. After getting a more powerful snowblower via The Weekly Post classified ads, I’ve been praying for a blizzard. The next hurdle is getting up early enough to beat neighbor Bob Woodcock to the fresh white stuff.
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In addition to blowing snow, enjoying a week off that coincided with actual winter weather provided plenty of time to watch, read and think. Among the most pleasurable watching and reading was the “Watership Down” story by Richard Adams, one of my favorites. The youngest boy finally read Adams’ masterpiece, which meant we could savor the Netflix animated series based on the book. That got me thinking. The book’s final words are very reminiscent of the end of “War for the Planet of the Apes,” when Caesar and Maurice, his orangutan buddy, take time to reflect after reaching paradise. The theme in each is that through hard work – maybe even some suffering – you eventually earn a payoff. That’s also a central message to Jordan Peterson’s fascinating “12 Rules for Life,” a book that has helped me find hope through recent dark days. But I wonder, is there room left for that message in today’s society? … Speaking of societal woes, shame on the jerks who dumped all the garbage (pictured above) at the free recycling dropoff on Parks School Road. Here’s hoping trail cameras placed around the recycling site catch the next people who use this as a dumping ground. … Question: Is it child abuse to sneak into the college boys’ rooms some morning at 11 a.m. and cut off a few inches of hair while they slumber?
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One of the nieces has a very cute baby who made Christmas extra special for their family. Pondering the little one triggered a flow of memories about enjoyable Christmases with little kids – and bad baby gifts. No gift made less sense than the Diaper Genie, which is somehow still being sold. In case you were lucky enough to avoid receiving one, here’s the idea: Instead of quickly disposing of diapers to get the stench out of a room, you put a whole lot of diapers into a stink-leaking cylinder that – once it is full of stink – yields a bag that has to be dragged through the entire house to spread smell everywhere. … Speaking of bad gifts, my brother gave the boys an electric football set this Christmas. Anyone who has played electric football understands. What made this gift even worse was that it came with New England Patriots players and included Patriots stickers for the end zones. On my next really bad day, I plan to break all the little Patriots with a hammer. Or maybe I’ll melt them with a blow torch. Either way, that will at least be satisfying. … But the gift also resurrected nightmares of running home from grade school to see if the electric football players had arrived. My brother and I are not artists, and our efforts to paint the players that came with our electric football game resulted in lots of snickering by friends. So I sent a check to Tudor Games for a complete set of custom-painted NFL teams, which took about 17 weeks to arrive and prompted all those sprints home from school (my poor mother). When the players finally arrived, I can still recall the excitement of setting up the Dallas Cowboys to battle the Washington Redskins – only to watch the men fall down and go in circles as soon as we made the field jiggle. Sigh. What a ridiculous game. … Parting shot: Speaking of Christmas presents past, Foto-Electric Football was vastly superior to the headache that is electric football.
Contact Jeff Lampe at (309) 231-6040 or firstname.lastname@example.org