I’m tired of being positive, so I’m taking a break:

The Des Plaines CTA terminal is a disgrace. The roof leaks. The concrete platform is pockmarked and it gives off a faint fragrance of eau de latrine. That, along with runaway trains and slow zones, is ruining my Blue Line experience. 

I’ve found firsthand that the negative stereotype of the French being godless, lazy, chain smokers is not true. When I was telling this to one of my students, she smiled and said, “Yes, but we are all so rude.”

Scientific fact: Men’s fat cells are concentrated in their bellies, while women’s fat cells are evenly distributed. This explains why women are warmer than us at bus stops and we can’t tuck in our shirts.

I’m shocked that Forest Park doesn’t have a Rotary Club. It’s especially ironic if you consider our own Scott McAdam is the President of the Rotary Club of Oak Park-River Forest. Not to mention, they meet the first Thursday of every month at Cocina Lobos Restaurant. Scott and company are starting a satellite club to attract Forest Parkers. Call McAdam Landscaping if you’d like to become part of the world’s largest service organization. 

Capitalist greed has ruined just about every American holiday. Try as they might, they’ve failed to commercialize Thanksgiving. But they’ve sucked most off the joy out of Christmas. I used to like listening to carols before they became sonic wallpaper for shoppers.

Littering remains rampant in Forest Park. I have to remove the top layer of trash before I can rake the leaves.

America is the sixth happiest country on Earth, according to a study by a Paris-based organization. We’re trailing Australia, Sweden, Canada, Norway and Switzerland. What’s holding us back? Low education levels and lack of community involvement. If you consider Forest Park’s dysfunctional high school district and disgraceful voter turnout, we are part of the problem. 

Driving in Chicagoland is like navigating through a minefield of stoplight cameras and speed cameras. These have nothing to do with safety but everything to do with revenue. They also violate the principle of police needing probable cause to make an “arrest.” What’s next, crosswalk cameras ticketing us for jaywalking? 

Speaking of which, some pedestrians act like there’s a law against crossing at the corner with the green light. They’re defying drivers to hit them. I drive around these people but make sure to give them a dirty look.

Never thought I’d see a French controversy in Chicago but Mayor Emanuel was upset that the French tourism board warned French citizens to avoid the south and west sides of the city. The mayor responded in his typical tactful manner, “Don’t even ask me what I think of the French.”

I don’t mean to veer into positive territory but I was so happy that the pope addressed financial inequality in our world. He declared that trickle down doesn’t work. He also suggested that priests should not be afraid to get their shoes muddy helping parishioners. 

Now that I’m feeling upbeat again, I have to give a shout out to Tim Shanahan. He’s such a modest guy, gratitude makes him uncomfortable but I want to thank him for hosting fourteen of my students for Thanksgiving. They all were touched by his generosity and promised to take him out for a beer the next time he and his wife visit Paris.

John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries.

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.