The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Observations: Chicago

  • First, you must learn to pronounce the city name. It is Chi-ca-go, or Cha-ca-ga, depending on if you live North or South of Roosevelt Rd.
  • Next, if your road map is more than a few weeks old, throw it out and buy a new one. If you are in Naperville and your map is one day old, then it is already obsolete.
  • Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Chicago has its own version of traffic rules... "Hold on and pray."
  • There is no such thing as a dangerous high-speed chase in Chicago. We all drive like that.
  • All directions start with, "I-94"... which has no beginning and no end.
  • The morning rush hour is from 6 to 10. The evening rush hour is from 3 to 7. Friday's rush hour starts Thursday morning.
  • If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear ended, cussed out and possibly shot. When you are the first one on the starting line, count to five when the light turns green before going to avoid crashing with all the drivers running the red light in cross-traffic.
  • Construction on Northwest Tollway is a way of life and a permanent form of entertainment. We had sooooo much fun with that we have added Elgin-O'Hare and the I-355 to the mix.
  • All unexplained sights are explained by the phrase, "Oh, we're in Cicero!"
  • If someone actually has their turn signal on, it is probably a factory defect.
  • Car horns are actually "Road Rage" indicators.
  • All old ladies with blue hair in Mercedes have the right of way. Period.
  • First Ave, La Grange Rd, Northwest Highway...all mysteriously change names as you cross intersections.
  • If you are asking directions in Cicero you must have knowledge of Spanish. In Bridgeport, Mandarin Chinese will be your best bet. If you stop to ask directions on the West or South side, you'd better be armed.
  • A trip across town (east to west) will take a minimum of four hours, although many north/south expressways have unposted minimum speeds of 75.
  • The minimum acceptable speed on the Dan Ryan is 85. Anything less is considered downright sissy.
  • The wrought iron on windows near Englewood and Austin is NOT ornamental.
  • The Congress Expressway is our daily version of NASCAR.
  • The Dan Ryan is called "The Death Trap" for two reasons: "death" and "trap."
  • If it's 100 degrees, It's taste of Chicago time. If it's 10 degrees and sleeting/snowing, it's opening day at Wrigley Field. If it has rained 6 inches in the last hour, the Western open Golf Classic is in the second round.
  • If you go to Wrigley Field, pay the $25 to park in the "Cubs Lot". Parking elsewhere could cost up to $2500 for damages, towing fees, parking tickets, etc. If some guy with a flag tries to get you to park in his "yard," run over him.

Submitted by reader S.P.

Poem: On 9/11/02

On 9/11/02, I defied the terrorists.
Just little old me.
I went to work [in public service].
Rode the subway.
During the moment of silence at 8:46AM—
The two ladies next to me crossed themselves.

Boston police at every turn,
I went into a court of law.
Smiled sadly at everyone I could.
And sang, "happy birthday" to my aunt.

Today I heard planes taking off.
Opened my mail.
Chose what I wanted to watch on TV.
Listened to music on the radio.

I tried my best—
To honor the memories of those who were taken
and the people who gave their lives,
attempting to help others;
during the violence one year ago.
On 9/11/02 I defied the terrorists,
like on each and every day.

—On the Blue Line & Winthrop, Mass., 11 September 2002. Copyright ©2002 Dena Barisano.

Submitted by reader D.B.

Humor: Marketing

You see a gorgeous girl at a party. You go up to her and say, "I'm fantastic in bed." That's Direct Marketing.

You're at a party with a bunch of friends and see a gorgeous girl. One of your friends goes up to her and pointing at you says, "He's fantastic in bed." That's Advertising.

You see a gorgeous girl at a party. You go up to her and get her telephone number. The next day you call and say, "Hi, I'm fantastic in bed." That's Telemarketing.

You're at a party and see a gorgeous girl. You get up and straighten your tie; you walk up to her and pour her a drink. You open the door for her, pick up her bag after she drops it, offer her a ride, and then say, "By the way, I'm fantastic in bed." That's Public Relations.

You're at a party and see a gorgeous girl. She walks up to you and says, "I hear you're fantastic in bed." That's Brand Recognition.

Submitted by reader A.C.

Humor: Theology of Programming

Some important theological questions are answered if we think of God as a computer programmer.

Does God control everything that happens in my life?
He could, if He used the debugger, but it's tedious to step through all those variables.
Why does God allow evil to happen?
God thought He eliminated evil in one of the earlier revs.
Does God know everything?
He likes to think so, but He is often amazed to find out what goes on in the overnight job.
What causes God to intervene in earthly affairs?
If a critical error occurs, the system pages him automatically and He logs on from home to try to bring it up. Otherwise things can wait until tomorrow.
Did God really create the world in seven days?
He did it in six days and nights while living on cola and candy bars. On the seventh day He went home and found out His girlfriend had left Him.
How come the Age of Miracles Ended?
That was the development phase of the project, and now we are in the maintenance phase.
Will there be another Universe after the Big Bang?
A lot of people are drawing things on the white board, but doubt that it will ever be implemented.
Who is Satan?
Satan is an MIS director who takes credit for more powers than he actually possesses, so people who aren't programmers are scared of him. God thinks of him as irritating but irrelevant.
What is the role of sinners?
Sinners are the people who find new and imaginative ways to mess up the system when God has made it idiot-proof.

Submitted by reader D.B.

Observation: When you hate your job

Next time you have an "I hate my job" kind of day, try this:

On your way home from work, stop at your local pharmacy and go to the thermometer section. You will need to purchase a rectal thermometer made by Q-Tip. Be very sure that you get this brand.

When you get home, lock your doors, draw the drapes, and disconnect the phone so you will not be disturbed during your therapy. Change into comfortable clothing, such as a sweat suit and lie down on your bed. Open the package and remove the thermometer. Carefully place it on the bedside table so that it will not become chipped or broken.

Take out the written material that accompanies the thermometer and read it. You will notice that in small print there is a statement:

Every rectal thermometer made by Q-Tip is personally tested.

Now, close your eyes and repeat out loud five times: "I am so glad I do not work in quality control at the Q-Tip Company."

Submitted by reader C.H.

List: You know you're Italian when...

  • You're 5'4", can bench-press 325 pounds, shave twice a day and you still cry when your mother yells at you.
  • You carry your lunch in a produce bag because you can't fit 2 mortadella "sangwitches," 4 oranges, 2 bananas and pizzelles into a regular paper lunch bag.
  • Your father owns 5 houses, has $300,000 in the bank, but still drives a '76 black Mercury.
  • Your mechanic, plumber, electrician, accountant and travel agent are all blood relatives.
  • You consider dunking a pack of Stella D'Oro "S" cookies in milk as a nutritious breakfast.
  • You live in a 900 square foot bungalow, but still have 2 kitchens (one in the basement).
  • Your 2 best friends are your cousin and your brother-in-law's brother-in-law.
  • You are a VIP at more than 4 after hours clubs.
  • You have at least 5 cousins living in the same town or street. All 5 of these cousins are named after your grandfather or grandmother.
  • A high school diploma and 1 year of community college has earned you the title of "professor" among your aunts.
  • You are on a first name basis with at least 8 banquet hall owners.
  • You only get one good shave from a disposable razor.
  • If someone in your family grows beyond 5'9", it is presumed his mother had an affair.
  • There were more than 28 people in your bridal party.
  • You netted more than $50,000 at your First Communion.
  • You eat Sunday dinner at 2:00.
  • You know what a riceball really is.
  • You have pasta on Sundays and Thursdays.
  • On Christmas Eve...only fish.
  • You have a gold chain with a cross and your horn.
  • Your Momma's meatballs are the best.
  • Your favorite movies are: Godfather, Goodfellas, Bronx Tale, The Last Don and Moonstruck.
  • You've been hit with a wooden spoon or had a shoe thrown at you.
  • Plastic on the furniture is normal.
  • You know how to pronounce "manicotti."
  • You've called someone a "mamaluke."
  • You own a Pinky Ring.
  • And you understand, "Bada Bing, Bada Boom."

Submitted by reader B.i.

Joke: the Rabbit

A lady opened her refrigerator and saw a rabbit sitting on one of the shelves. "What are you doing in there?" she asked.

The rabbit replied, "This is a Westinghouse, isn't it?"

"Why, yes," replied the lady.

"Well," the rabbit said, "I'm westing."

Submitted by reader S.P.

List: Fun things to do in an elevator

This one first came to us in 1995. It's a classic.

  1. Make race car noises when anyone gets on or off.
  2. Blow your nose and offer to show the contents of your kleenex to other passengers.
  3. Grimace painfully while smacking your forehead and muttering: "Shut up, dammit, all of you just shut UP!"
  4. Whistle the first seven notes of "It's a Small World" incessantly.
  5. Sell Girl Scout cookies.
  6. On a long ride, sway side to side at the natural frequency of the elevator.
  7. Shave.
  8. Crack open your briefcase or purse, and while peering inside ask: "Got enough air in there?"
  9. Offer name tags to everyone getting on the elevator. Wear yours upside-down.
  10. Stand silent and motionless in the corner, facing the wall, without getting off.
  11. When arriving at your floor, grunt and strain to yank the doors open, then act embarrassed when they open by themselves.
  12. Lean over to another passenger and whisper: "Noogie patrol coming!"
  13. Greet everyone getting on the elevator with a warm handshake and ask them to call you Admiral.
  14. One word: Flatulence!
  15. On the highest floor, hold the door open and demand that it stay open until you hear the penny you dropped down the shaft go "plink" at the bottom.
  16. Do Tai Chi exercises.
  17. Stare, grinning, at another passenger for a while, and then announce: "I’ve got new socks on!"
  18. When at least 8 people have boarded, moan from the back: "Oh, not now, damn motion sickness!"
  19. Give religious tracts to each passenger.
  20. Meow occasionally.
  21. Bet the other passengers you can fit a quarter in your nose.
  22. Frown and mutter "gotta go, gotta go" then sigh and say "oops!"
  23. Show other passengers a wound and ask if it looks infected.
  24. Sing "Mary had a little lamb" while continually pushing buttons.
  25. Holler "Chutes away!" whenever the elevator descends.
  26. Walk on with a cooler that says "human head" on the side.
  27. Stare at another passenger for a while, then announce "You’re one of THEM!" and move to the far corner.
  28. Burp, and then say "mmmm...tasty!"
  29. Leave a box between the doors.
  30. Ask each passenger getting on if you can push the button for them.
  31. Wear a puppet on your hand and talk to other passengers "through" it.
  32. Start a sing-along.
  33. When the elevator is silent, look around and ask "is that your beeper?"
  34. Play the harmonica.
  35. Shadow box.
  36. Say "Ding!" at each floor.
  37. Lean against the button panel.
  38. Say "I wonder what all these do" and push the red buttons.
  39. Listen to the elevator walls with a stethoscope.
  40. Draw a little square on the floor with chalk and announce that this is your "personal space."
  41. Bring a chair along.
  42. Take a bite of a sandwich and ask another passenger: "Wanna see wha in muh mouf?"
  43. Blow spit bubbles.
  44. Pull your gum out of your mouth in long strings.
  45. Announce in a demonic voice: "I must find a more suitable host body."
  46. Carry a blanket and clutch it protectively.
  47. Make explosion noises when anyone presses a button.
  48. Wear "X-Ray Specs" and leer suggestively at other passengers.
  49. Stare at your thumb and say "I think it's getting larger."
  50. If anyone brushes against you, recoil and holler "Bad touch!"

Commentary: Rules for Patriotism

Here are the new rules regarding displays of patriotism in the U.S.:

  1. To buy an American flag, you must present proof you have voted at least once in the last three elections (yes, local and state elections count).
  2. To display an American flag in any form, you must present proof of voter registration.
  3. To wave an American flag in public, you must be able to name at least one of the following:
    • Your Senator
    • Your Representative
    • Your President ("George Bush" does not count; ambiguous)
  4. To sell any product with an American flag on it, you must answer the following question:
    The Bill of Rights is part of:
    • the Constitution
    • the Magna Carta
    • the Declaration of Independence
  5. Those heard singing patriotic songs in public may be asked to show their voter registration cards.
  6. To be permitted to scream "Nuke Afghanistan", you must be able to correctly locate Afghanistan on a map or globe.
  7. To be permitted to scream "Arabs go home", you must list and correctly locate ten Arab homelands.
  8. Those who wish to express opinions about Arabs and Arab-Americans must pass the following test:
    1. Those who follow the religion of Islam are called:
      • Moslems
      • Muslins
      • Fanatics
    2. The holy book of Islam is called:
      • The Koran
      • The Koram
      • The Bible
    3. In Arabic, God is called:
      • Ali
      • Allah
      • Jehova
  9. Priority for purchase of American flags will be given to those whose ancestors lived on American soil the longest. When all American Indians who wish to display the red, white and blue are satisfied, other applicants will be accepted.
  10. A call for war on any radio talk-show will be construed as a public declaration of willingness to enlist in the US Army; callers will have 24 hours to complete the paperwork.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Submitted by reader S.S.

Joke: Horseradish for Pesach

The Jewish community in Madrid needed horseradish for making chrain (horseradish) for Pesach, but all the European Union countries gave them the same reply, "Sorry, we have none to send."

In desperation, the Rabbi phoned one of his Yeshiva friends in Tel Aviv and begged him to send a crate of horseradish by air freight to Madrid.

Two days before Pesach, a crate of grade Aleph tear-jerking Israeli (chrain) horseradish was loaded at Ben Gurion Airport onto the next El Al flight to Madrid, and all seemed to be well.

Unfortunately, when the Rabbi went to the Madrid Airport to claim the horseradish he was informed that a wildcat strike had just broken out and no shipments would be unloaded for at least four days.

As a result, the chrain in Spain stayed mainly on the plane.

Submitted by reader M.B.