When a veteran sportswriter was asked why he quit at the top of his game, his one”word answer was “February.”

February is the short month that seems to last forever. Now that Groundhog Day and the Super Bowl are behind us, what do we have to look forward to? Is that all we can come up with, Valentine’s Day?

I know February is Black History Month. If I could find another underreported African-American achievement, believe me, you’d be reading about it now.

So, in keeping with this brief month, here are a few brief thoughts:

A sense of humor is a valuable coping mechanism. Does anyone need it more than fundamentalist Christians and Muslims?

Democracy is spreading through the world, but why are all these Anti-American governments coming to power? Oh, I forgot, Canada went conservative not communist.

I read that four factors are disrupting the democratic process right here in America: campaign financing, gerrymandering, racism and corruption. How many of these factors are undermining the process here in Forest Park? I’ll spot you gerrymandering.

By the way, I attended the first candidate’s forum hosted by Citizens United in Forest Park. No one was more candid than Calvin Giles, who represents the “Forest Park Heights” slice of our small community. He said that 90 percent of what they do in Springfield is for political purposes; 3 percent is done for the good of the people “by accident”; 2 percent is intentional good for the people and 5 percent is good that is done without anyone noticing it. Can’t wait for the next forum on Feb. 23.

How does the sound of Governor Topinka grab you? Don’t you think it’s time for an ex-Review reporter to lead the Land of Lincoln?

If Saddam doesn’t have a prayer of getting acquitted, what can he lose by raising hell at his trial?

I get so much out of a sermon sometimes. This week I learned that selfishness is the root of all unhappiness and that true authority starts with humility. But the best part was when the Centurion told Jesus that he didn’t have to enter his house to cure his servant. Even Jesus was “amazed” at the man’s faith. And I was amazed that a high-ranking officer would care so much about a lowly servant.

When I watch Hollywood movies these days, I see a lot of talented actors on the screen but the scripts stupefy me. What happened to sensible plots, witty dialogue and originality? Maybe I’m watching the wrong films; because I see recycled ideas, bathroom humor and action sequences that defy the laws of physics. It makes me long for cinema classics like “Zoolander.”

Speaking of bathroom humor, if you’re the person who left a bag of dog crap on my front steps, rang the doorbell, and ran away, let me set you straight. That stuff didn’t come from my dog. Otherwise, if you meant it as a prank, you forgot to set the bag on fire.

There, I finally got that out of my system. As you can see, during the short but slow month of February, we can get pretty desperate for a news story.

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.