40 years ago

In his brief career as a reporter Bob Haeger was the Mike Royko of Forest Park. He wrote that a Chicago Today columnist named Whitehead had taken a cheap shot at our local police, by writing, “A Forest Park cop encounters about as much danger as a nun in the St. Bernardine rectory [and] the village averages 1/15th of a murder per year.”

You can imagine Mr. Haeger had a ready reply or two to this frivolous remark. Space allows only, “This is typical drivel from a fast-sinking sheet. We thought Mr. Whitehead’s cop-and-nun comparison might be more fitting for congratulations rather than cynicism.” Right on, Bob!

In typical fashion, somehow, Reporter Bob closed it down with a joke:


A man tucked two singles under his dog’s collar and sent him to a nearby tavern for a pack of cigarettes. The barkeep made the exchange and the dog trotted home with the goods. One day, the man ran out of singles and folded a ten under the dog’s collar. The dog never came back. The man went to the tavern and saw the dog bold as brass, sitting on a bar stool, legs crossed, smoking a cigarette and enjoying a martini.”

“You’ve never done this before!” scolded the man.

“I never had the money before,” said the dog.

From the Aug. 19, 1970 Forest Park Review

30 years ago

We’ve had some big-time hotness here this summer, and in the summer of 1980 when newspapers shouted heat wave precautions and ComEd warned of over-consumption of electricity. The Midwest is host to whimsical weather, and so is the island of Elba. That’s where a pretty good words man, Welch poet Dylan Thomas, was sweltering while writing not a poem but a letter to a friend. It included this “weather report”:


“Oh, oh, oh, the heat! It comes round corners at you like an animal with windmill arms. As I enter my bedroom, it stuns, thuds, throttles, spins me round by my soaking hair, lays me flat as a mat on my boiled and steaming bed. Cold beer is bottled God.”

Anyone who could so describe a beastly hot day like that should be honored with more than beer. Yet, the poet knew well he could handle the English language better than he could hold his liquor.

From the July 23, 1980 Forest Park Review

20 years ago

This column sometimes recommends past films in video form. In a bold, sweeping departure, I now suggest a couple of My kind of movies. Yes. Lucky for you, I have impeccable taste. I’m scrapping the “20 years ago” lead-in and dipping deeper into the decades for a couple of films classified as classics. In my not-so-humble opinion, they’re eternal.

Days of Wine and Roses (1962) Jack Lemmon, Lee Remick, Jack Klugman, Charles Bickford. Theme is the B&W world of alcoholism, and acting is superb. It remains one of the most vivid and intelligent popular treatments of the subject. Realistic, highly watchable and not soon forgotten, it has a Mad Man feel with the sex dialed down.

Treasure of Sierra Madre (1948) Humphrey Bogart, Walter Houston, Tim Holt and a cameo of 12 year-old Robert Blake. All about the twin sicknesses of greed and gold. If you’re young and have only heard of Bogie; learn the real meaning of icon. Seldom have 3 stars worked so well to make a 4-star movie. Of course, B&W. Why would you add color to this masterpiece?

From a love of films in the Forest Park Review

10 years ago

If you liked the Dylan Thomas excerpt, here’s a trio of one-line poems:


“The stars, like measles, fade at last.” – Samuel Hofferstein

“Many a deed smells sweet at night that stinks in the heat of the sun.” – John Barth

“My name is Lassitude, and I linger in Langour.” – How we feel come 4 p.m. at the office.

From a love of words in the Forest Park Review