Quick Hits – October 9, 2017

Viva Cristoforo Columbo!

I’m probably going to lose my official social liberal credentials for this, but that’s the way the meatball bounces.

Look! If you want to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day on this fine October morning then, by all means, have at it. It’s an eminently worthy cause! But despite all the possible implications, I’ll be hoisting a Peroni to the memory of a man who took a chance; who bucked conventional wisdom; and who was the physical embodiment of the word “discovery.”

Columbus 2

Was Christopher Columbus a dick? Yep! But so am I. And if we summarily discount all of our heroes for that inevitable tragic flaw, then we ain’t gonna have any heroes left. Celebrating one aspect of someone’s life isn’t a de facto endorsement for some of the other stupid shit they pulled.

“Columbus, didn’t even discover America,” you say? To quote that great philosopher Ralph Kramden, it’s “a mere bag of shells.” Oh! And those indigenous people were pretty good about wiping themselves and each other out, too.

The “meeting” between Native Americans and Europeans was bound to happen, and even if it was all rose petals, puppies and unicorns, those indigenous folks would’ve been virtually wiped out by diseases that nobody understood and Native Americans had developed no immunity to.

Though I frequently wonder how far we’ve really come, applying today’s standards to a 16th Century commercial and colonial endeavor is a patently unfair proposition. This was about 100 years before the time the Thirty Years War would wipe out 8 million Europeans and devastate large swaths of the continent.

So, while he was far from perfect, I’m still willing to doff my Cubs cap to the man who made the most out of a minor navigational error.

Sometimes liberals really suck. Here’s to the spirit of exploration! Viva Cristoforo Columbo!

 

The good!

As I crossed the two-mile mark during my morning run, I saw that someone had inserted a bench along my favorite stretch of farmland path, right behind the Geneva community gardens just west of Peck Road.

Bench

Since there’s no memorial plaque and it’s anchored with 4 by 4s and not concrete, I’m guessing some enterprising individual simply considered that adding a restful touch was the right thing to do. And I wholeheartedly agree!

Thank you anonymous bench putter!

 

The bad

If you ask the Geneva Police for help with anything of consequence like – I don’t know – your pickup truck being firebombed in your driveway or vandals regularly targeting your home, they’ll swiftly lament a chronic lack of manpower that makes it impossible for them to do anything meaningful about it.

But, as I frequently find on those morning runs, that dearth of officers is no barrier to the kind of “gotcha” speed enforcement that gives all police departments a bad name.

GPD Speed Enforcement

At least once a week, one of Geneva’s “finest” will be sitting in the entrance to the Union Pacific staging area on Keslinger Road just east of Peck Road. The reason they choose that cherry picking spot is because it’s downhill and around a curve which gives ‘em a much better shot at issuing a citation.

The thing is, unless a former First Baptist Church Sunday service is getting out, there are absolutely no accidents along that stretch of road. So, the only reason the GPD “patrols” it is because it’s easy money and it doesn’t take much effort.

 

And the ugly

As we discussed in a previous Quick Hits edition, bumblebee hives tend to last just two to three months. When the original queen dies, the new ones take off with their retainer of worker bees to find a new place to ply their pollination practice.

BumbleBee2

To wit, the bumblebees that graced our backyard all summer suddenly took off for parts unknown, and now we’re besieged with the kind of bitchy fall wasps and yellow jackets that dare you to bleepin’ look at ‘em sideways.

What I’m saying is, all you Elgin folks who insist on freaking out about backyard bees should chill. As long as our bumblebee protectors were on duty, backyard life was great. In fact, it was the first time since 2005 my wife’s pool and deck didn’t rack up at least one wasp’s nest.

I don’t care what Geneva says! Next year, I’m putting a beehive right behind the pool, but let’s just keep that between you and me.

 

A way with words

“Rascal Flatts targets S. Barrington” the Daily Herald masthead blared. I don’t know about you, but even I’d be circumspect about pairing the word “target” with any popular Country and Western singer these days.

Ya really gotta love the tone deaf folks at the DH.

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