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Articles filed under Columnists

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  • Our picks for some of the year's best performances Dec 25, 2014 5:00 AM
    The best of the movies of 2014 are celebrated with a run-down of the actor and actress of the year and other notable honors, as selected by our film critic, Dann Gire.

     
  • 'Zero Motivation' jumps around a lot for a military comedy Dec 25, 2014 5:00 AM
    Talya Lavie's military comedy “Zero Motivation” has been aptly described as “Private Benjamin” meets “M*A*S*H*” meets “Office Space,” and that's a fair description of the subject and style the Israeli filmmaker employs in her third feature, a crazy, lumpy mix of feminism, supernatural possession, attempted military rape, friendship and brainless bureaucracy.

     
  • Getting from ‘humbug’ to ‘halleluiah’ Dec 24, 2014 5:01 AM
    Guest columnist Jim Swarthout: As the various versions of the Prayer of Saint Francis put it, we can never attain joy, consolation, peace, forgiveness, love and understanding by actively pursuing them. We attain them by giving them out. That’s the great paradox at the center of every breath we take. We breathe in, and breathe out. We receive and take. In a way, we share what God has given us.

     
  • A global conspiracy of good health Dec 24, 2014 5:01 AM
    Columnist Michael Gerson: In the category of stunning, heartening, woefully underreported good news: In 2000, an estimated 9.9 million children around the world died before age 5. In 2013, the figure was 6.3 million. That is 3.6 million fewer deaths, even as population increased by about 1 billion. Shout it from the rooftops.

     
  • Jackson: Well-worn fishing gear that keeps on giving Dec 24, 2014 7:00 PM
    I’m sure I was imagining things when I thought I saw tiny, seasonal elf-life creatures near the reel drawer. I‘ve had similar hallucinations at this time of the year but shrugged them off to an overdose of eggnog. I, like some of my odd friends, have a tendency to hold on to fishing gear that others may have either tossed into the garbage or stored in a closet. The “others” I speak of could very well be that element of the angling community that would rather relegate a well-worn, older spinning reel to the dark recesses of some dank spot in a basement. I like the old stuff mixed in with some of the newer, glitzy contraptions that do everything except open a Diet Pepsi. I finished wiping some grease and grime from the body of my reliable, older, green-body Zebco Cardinal #4 spinning reel. And because this gem has never failed me in any regard, I searched high and low for a match. I never acquired one, but I did manage to tap into the rumor mill quite a few years back that the Shirley brothers of Ed Shirley Sports fame, had “taken custody” of a bunch of the “greenies” and sold them each for what had been described as a modest mortgage payment. It was about 15 years ago that I happened across a black-bodied model of the same ilk and was thrilled to spool it up with 6-pound mono. The only difference was this one had the Abu label affixed to the body. Those in the know warned me that because of the age of my Zebco green version, I needed to use extra caution using the reel for big fish. The spool and arbor could have been weakened by a simple little thing called age. Because my stubbornness often overrules common sense, I took “blackie” to northern Canada, while greenie rested comfortably in a drawer. It’s not that I had retired the old bugger, but rather decided not to overly stress the arbor and spool with the give-and-take supplied by the monsters of the deep. In fact, I’ll sometimes use the green reel around here for bass and panfish I find in the area ponds. I have a couple new Shakespeare and Pflueger spinning reels featuring drag systems that, if need be, could figuratively haul a barn door up from the bottom. In the 1960s, Zebco originally came out with its reel series dubbed “Cardinals.” There were two versions; one green and the other red. I even spotted a few white jobs in a small town. The most unique aspect of this reel series is the actual body. It’s built with plastic and some kind of composite material and hardly ever needs to have grease or oil applied to the gears and crank. During that time such engineering was unheard of and extremely revolutionary. When I told friends about the maintenance–free aspect, most of them refused to believe any device that behaved like a piece of machinery did not require lubrication to exist in the world of tough-stuff angling. Zebco and Abu had the last laugh when they proved the skeptics wrong. Do we have anything like those beauties in today’s fishing world? To the best of my knowledge, I doubt it. If you have a Cardinal or two let me know if you want to trade for any of my treasures. Be safe, not sorry: If you’d like a safe, happy and productive holiday week and weekend, don’t behave in a foolhardy fashion, especially when it comes to shore fishing. The lakes and ponds in the FPD system are not ready — nor are they open — for “make-believe” ice fishing. I’ve seen at least two people trying to navigate the ultra-thin ice on two different Cook County forest preserve lakes. These super-sharp mavens supposedly believe the thin layer of ice will support their weight as they try and get to the open water to throw a lure. If anyone wants open water, try the piers on Lake Michigan or the shoreline of the upper Fox River, where a few walleyes have been taken near St. Charles. Show time: The first outdoor fishing show opens its doors Jan. 8 — the All Canada Show at the Pheasant Run complex in St. Charles. • Contact Mike Jackson at angler88@comcast.net, catch his radio show 7-9 a.m. Sundays on WGCO 1590-AM (live-streamed at www.1590WCGO.com) and get more content at www.mikejacksonoutdoors.com.

     
  • Imrem: How about a day of peace for Bears? Dec 24, 2014 4:45 PM
    If a Christmas ceasefire could be observed for a day during World War I in 1914, so can be the public outcry against the Bears in 2014.

     
  • Gift ideas for last-minute shoppers Dec 24, 2014 12:01 AM
    You could say it’s crunch time. It’s Christmas Eve, and you’ve got your work cut out for you if haven’t finished Christmas shopping yet. But you don’t need to panic. There still are plenty of items to buy, and plenty of hours to shop.

     
  • Rozner: A wish for those suffering domestic violence Dec 24, 2014 4:54 PM
    Domestic violence was the talk of the NFL a few months ago, with so many stories written, so many conversations taking place about it on radio, TV and in millions of American homes. And it has gone away with the same speed at which it arrived.

     
  • Lame duck ends on a wing and a prayer Dec 23, 2014 5:01 AM
    Columnist Donna Brazile: The “lame duck” Congress limped to an end and was able, despite gridlock, to make some accomplishments.

     
  • The gap on Hispanic outreach Dec 23, 2014 5:01 AM
    Columnist Ruben Navarrette: Sometimes you’ll have a disagreement with someone but you’re not that far apart. My argument with Dallas-based radio host Chris Salcedo, who has a weekend show on The Blaze network, is not like that. On one issue, the gap is enormous: How should Republicans approach Hispanic voters? The question is tearing the GOP apart, as some candidates engage in Hispanic outreach and others disparage the very idea.

     
  • North: With Clausen, Bears looked like a team Dec 23, 2014 5:18 AM
    Mike North was happy to see backup Jimmy Clausen play with a pulse and throw two touchdowns in a close loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

     
  • Making the most of New Year’s resolutions Dec 23, 2014 3:30 PM
    Our Ken Potts provides some tips and suggestions for making New Year's resolutions that might actually stick.

     
  • A look at one woman’s collection of more than 500 Santas Dec 23, 2014 12:01 AM
    Linda Schielke’s parents loved Christmas. It’s no surprise that she loves the holiday as well. Schielke, wife of Batavia mayor Jeff Schielke, expresses her love of the season through her extensive collection of Santas, which now numbers more than 500.

     
  • He carves Dala horses; his daughter paints them Dec 23, 2014 6:01 AM
    He does the carving, and she does the painting. That's how Swedish Dala horses are created by father-daughter team Jason and Julia Lekander of Batavia. The horses are popular in Scandinavian decor, particularly around the holidays.

     
  • Pop-culture moments to remember in 2014 Dec 23, 2014 9:08 AM
    Dancing Groot. A Bowie song in the '50s. An essential Foo Fighters track. The furious finale of "Whiplash." These and more are Sean Stangland's essential pop-culture moments of 2014.

     
  • Music director from Arlington Heights on Broadway this holiday Dec 23, 2014 5:48 AM
    Broadway doesn't really take a Christmas break, so neither does music director and conductor James Moore, a native of Arlington Heights. Instead of celebrating in the suburbs with family, Moore will be working — directing and conducting one of 2014's biggest hit musicals, a revival of Leonard Bernstein's “On the Town” at New York's Lyric Theatre.

     
  • Cookie care packages sweeten holidays for military Dec 22, 2014 1:01 AM
    In 2004, Diane and Roger Ahrens started “Operation Sweettooth” to sweetly let U.S. military men and women know the country has not forgotten them or their sacrifices. Ten years that have passed and the East Dundee couple, who own Piece-A-Cake Bakery, continue to bake and individually wrap cookies and Rice Krispie treats to thousands of troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, and U. S. military hospitals around the world.

     
  • ‘Tech, Tech Baby’ video a big winner for Des Plaines school Dec 22, 2014 9:50 AM
    Dorothy Henson has found entering students in competitions can be motivating -- and empowering. That was the case earlier this month at Algonquin Middle School in Des Plaines, when it was announced that a video Henson and co-teacher, Cathy Hanley, had helped students produce won a national contest and up to $60,000 worth of education technology. “Working together on a competition gets the kids involved,” Henson said, “and it teaches them that they can succeed.”

     
  • Culinary adventures: Seasoned cook gives a salt block a try Dec 22, 2014 6:20 AM
    Penny Kazmier goes shopping for faucets and discovers salt block cooking instead. Salt blocks retain heat as well as an iron skillet and also can be used to chill foods or as a serving dish. The shape is not limited to blocks; you can also find salt formed into cups and bowls, perfect for cocktails and guacamole.

     
  • No need to worry about thumb-sucking in infants Dec 22, 2014 5:45 AM
    Q: I’m pregnant with my first child. Do you have any advice about whether or not to give my baby a pacifier? Also, is it OK if my baby sucks her thumb?

     
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