Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Peace fair, Sept. 6 Wed. Jnl column

"What does peace look like?" ask Peace Fair promoters

Try a nation run by German Nazis or Russian Communists or Sadaam the Sadistic and his Wretched Sons. 


Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Trapani wastes no time getting out of town, on board
Tuesday, September 06, 2005

TRAPANI TRANSPLANTED Elmwood Park must be pleased as punch to have former Oak Park village president and trustee Joanne Trapani, a new resident, on its Plan, Zoning and Development Commission (PZD). She was introduced at the Aug. 1 meeting of the Elmwood Park trustees, its minutes say. She bought a house in Elmwood Park 10 days after the April 5 Oak Park election. Her first PZD meeting was to be Aug. 8. The next is set for Sept. 9.

END OF OP AS WE KNOW IT? Ex-Oak Park trustee Barbara Ebner wrote both newspapers saying the village-manager concept is jeopardized by New Leadership trustees’ suggesting a hiring commission and regionalization of trustee accountability. She says the first takes from the manager what belongs to him, the second makes aldermen out of at-large trustees responsible to the whole village, not just part of it. This is sniping of a high order. It gets to mindset, even philosophy.

HOMER NODS (SAID HORACE), BUT CONCORDIA? The Concordia U. motto "Empowering the mind, Enriching the spirit" should be the other way around, "Enriching the mind, Empowering the spirit." The mind is well stocked or isn’t, the spirit is willing or isn’t, or so Matthew (26:41) and Mark (14:38) tell us.

WHATEVER DID IT WANT? The Village of Oak Park called Aug. 18 at 9:43 a.m. asking how I was doing that day. It had a young female voice: "This is the Village of Oak Park." When I suggested in slightly raised volume—nothing like when I tell the dog across the street to shut up—that it not ask me that and get on with its business, it hung up.

DIG THAT NUTTY EMERSON Here in Oak Park, there was once a Hawthorne School and once an Emerson. We know that, but do we know that Hawthorne considered Emerson and his friends "queer, strangely dressed, oddly behaved [seeing themselves as] important agents of the world’s destiny, yet [were] simply bores of a very intense water?" We didn’t, but now we do, thanks to an essay by Christopher Benfey in the Times Literary Supplement last December.

WHO’S IN CHARGE? Lines formed to the right and the left (not sure who’s right, who’s left) at a District 97 board meeting last June in the matter of teacher and principal evaluations. Peter Barber (yay Beye!) and Julie Blankemeier, both newly elected, stood for getting in on the process early and often. Marcia Frank, not newly elected, demurred: "We at the board are not conducting the evaluation. ... [W]e’re micromanaging if we decide what needs to be evaluated."

That’s about as old a school conundrum as there is: Do parents trust the professionals or would they rather count the cards? Do parents think only of their own kids, not of all kids, and don’t know how to take care of all, as only the pros do? Or are teachers their surrogates, responsible to them whatever their training? When Dist. 97 solves this conundrum, it should issue an all-points bulletin to school districts coast to coast.

JAVA JIVE Caribou on Lake Street, late fall, 7 a.m. Handsome couple behind counter. Very personable guy. Customer says a cup of regular for here, man asks if he wants award-winning Colombian, brandishing announcement of Caribou’s award. Customer says yes, man gives him a cup, says he gets three refills. He says he would never drink that much, but it’s nice to know.

ROMANTIC SPOKEN HERE In his novel Waverley, Walter Scott, creator of the historical novel as we know it, depicts his hero as romantic by upbringing, thanks to his seat-of-pants, highly literate but unsupervised and largely unstructured schooling. The lad’s tutor, with other fish to fry, let him have his head. It’s like most Oak Park kids these days. One of the best of Oak Park elementary-school teachers some years back encouraged students to "create" (not discover) knowledge, she told me.

YOUR SOURCE FOR EVERYTHING Bowman’s blogs—Chicago Newspapers; Blithely, Blithely; and Oak Park, Home of Edgar Rice Burroughs—are linked at

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