In life, the best laughs are almost always created by life itself.

Like the other night, when a former Danville Commercial-News sports writer, Fowler Connell, was about to turn 95 and friends from around Central Illinois gathered to salute him for his life and devotion to covering area sports and present him with a cake specially decorated that day at an area cake shop.

That’s when they all looked down at the cake.

“Fowler was served the piece that said sports 'rider,'" reports Fred Kroner of Mahomet, a former sports rider, er, writer at this paper and then for many more years at the Champaign News-Gazette.

As all newspaper people know, editors are very much needed and important.

At cake shops, too.

Whatever happened to humor in politics?

As the chasm between Republicans and Democrats, and pro-Trump and anti-Trump forces, divides the country even further, we are reminded of a problem: lost today is a sense of humor. Politicians no longer make political points with wit.

Here's one idea: elect more Illinoisans to national office.

Our state has produced four of the all-time best at using humor and self-deprecation to make political hay.


  • "I will make a bargain with the Republicans. If they will stop telling lies about Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them." — Adlai Stevenson II, of Bloomington.
  • "He is the proof that it’s better to remain silent and be thought of as a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." — Abraham Lincoln, of Springfield.
  • “There are few things in life harder to find and, more importantly, keep, than love. Well, love and your birth certificate.” — Barack Obama, of Chicago.
  • "I want you to know that I will not make age an issue in this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” — Then 73-year-old Ronald Reagan, of Dixon (and Eureka College), of the then 56-year-old Walter Mondale.

Illinois ... win one for the Quipper(s).

Those embers of long ago revived

Back when Abe Lincoln roamed this land and local legends like David Davis and Jesse Fell worried about devastating things like fires, Sylvester B. Stine was a Bloomington firefighter, born in 1838, who died in 1908.

That’s 111 years ago, a span that wasted away the lettering on Stine’s tombstone in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Bloomington.

Insert here another charitable great deed and kudos of 2019:

To honor their fallen brothers, members of Bloomington Fire Department have been using their own money to replace the worn headstones of their compatriots of long ago. Stine got a new tombstone the other day, along with four others in Evergreen Cemetery.

What goes around comes around ... literally

Once upon a time, all public clocks had hands — until the Dawn of Digits in the ’80s when buildings with clocks — like banks or savings institutions — all went digital.

Have you noticed, though?

The clock on Uptown Station in Normal has hands.

A Commerce Bank branch just north of there has a clock with hands. Along East Empire Street near the airport is a Bloomington-Normal Community Bank where, perched way up on its front façade, is an old-fashioned clock. An exterior wall of Schroeder Hall at Illinois State University is graced by a big hands clock, not digital digits.

The so-called “hands of time” … they’re back, again!

A phone-y 2000's problem ...

There are, of course, all the signs of spring. Robins. Tree buds. Lawn mowers. Allergy commercials.

The other afternoon along the 300 block of North Clinton in Bloomington, there was a bit of an unusual one.

There was a woman, looked to be in her 20s, walking on the sidewalk at a rather leisurely pace, enjoying the spring day.

And she was naked.

“Whatchya doing?” asked one man, rather incredulously, as he rolled down his car’s window to yell out as he passed.

“I dunno — just likin’ this,” said the woman, in an apparent reference to the weather.

Within seconds, the internet and online sites like Facebook were lighting up about the incident, some with video.

One negative in these times to walking buck naked on the street on a gorgeous spring day:

With no pockets, the woman had no other option than to carry her phone, occasionally swapping it from one hand to the other. 

Life in the 21st century can occasionally be such a hassle, huh?

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