OK, what are the odds here? Kelley Graves is a 31-year-old Bloomington woman who, with husband Wesley, gave birth to twins last week.
Kelley is a twin herself.
The birth of her twins occurred Aug. 3, a day after her own birthday with her twin. Interestingly, when Kelley's mom (Kris Albert-Burke, also of Bloomington) gave birth in 1987 to Kelley and her twin, Kelley's mom's due date for her twins was Aug. 3 as well.
Hang on ... we're not done yet.
Aug. 3 is National Twins Day.
Are we that good at drinking?
A nicely rounded, highly educated place with scads of white-collar jobs, Bloomington-Normal is often accorded nice positioning in those “Best Places To Live” polls across America.
Now along comes a new ranking, this one not quite as prestigious:
Bloomington is Illinois’ “drunkest” city.
At least so asserts the website, 24/7 Wall St., that each year ranks the states and cities in the U.S. that most enjoy adult beverages, based it says on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
Its latest breakdown on us:
• Bloomington's rate of binge and/or heavy drinking is 21.5 percent of the populace.
• 35.1 percent of driving deaths in the B-N area are “connected in some way to drinking.”
A lot of B-N's alleged indulgence can, of course, be attributed to its college-town status. There are nearly 25,000 college-aged here also learning the not-so-fine art of being a tippler. Another B-N “problem” is also a strength — Twin City police are famously intolerant of drunk driving and annually are among Illinois leaders in per capita DUI arrests, thus skewing any statewide rating because of our unusually high number of DUIs.
Interwoven, too, is also this:
The B-N area has one of the highest percentages of college-educated people in the U.S. and, says 24/7 Wall St., “better-educated populations, because of job stress, often report higher levels of excessive alcohol consumption.”
Who knew, bartender?
And speaking of zero-tolerance ...
... D.J. Ashba is a musician, perhaps best known as a former guitarist for the mega-rock band, Guns 'N Roses.
Lesser known is he grew up in Fairbury.
In fact, he was back two weeks ago where, on his first night out, after sitting in with a band at the fairgrounds, his car was spotted running a stop sign and Darren Jay Ashba, 45, now of Las Vegas, was charged with a DUI.
But there were ample kudos for Ashba, who didn't let the arrest impede plans — by Saturday night, he attended the running of the Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury’s American Legion Speedway where he performed the national anthem. Additionally, to raise money for the Shriners, he also kept a "Meet and Greet," where he stayed "until everyone in line got to see him," as one attendee put it.
Two days later then, with no mention of his first-night "mishap," Ashba posted on his Facebook page: "It was so nice to chill back home for a few and reset. Thank you to everyone in my hometown of Fairbury, Ill., for having me out to perform the National Anthem for ya'll. It was an honor!"
For as gargantuan as this world is, is it not also amazing just how small it is?
Take Art Mier, a 75-year-old Bloomington man.
He was 2,000 miles from B-N last week, in Los Angeles, on vacation with his wife, Sandy, and two of their grandkids, Mike Mier and Kate Morris.
They were enjoying a simple afternoon stroll down Hollywood Boulevard, past Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
Suddenly a young woman approached to ask if Art is familiar with the Jimmy Kimmel show on ABC and would he like to appear in a “man-on-the-street” segment?
“Well, umm, OK, why sure,” said Art.
Within an hour, he’s doing the shtick with Kimmel — a segment on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" to commemorate National Watermelon Day that also featured Guillermo Rodriguez, Kimmel’s inveterate on-air assistant, serving Mier watermelon. That's after the melon was split open between the legs of a nicely contoured, highly muscular woman who said she makes lots of money on bets by being able to break open melons with her upper thighs (hey, this is comedic late-night TV, remember?).
Mier handled it all masterfully.
Shortly after the 5 p.m. taping, set to be seen at 10:35 p.m. back in Illinois, Mier is also told by Kimmel folk not to tell anyone about his appearance until just before it airs … but then gets a call from Dave Hill, a longtime Bloomington friend who at that moment is in Michigan.
Hill says there’s a rumor going across America that Mier is going to be on Kimmel later that night.
“Uh, how do you know that?” asked Art.
Hill explains that Cole Dooley and his family — they live and farm in the Bloomington area and Cole is the brother of Hill's fiancee, Stefanie — happened to be in the Kimmel audience that night when suddenly they “see a guy from Bloomington, Ill.” on the show!
And sure enough.
"Now I know why it is called la-la land," says Art.
Is Bloomington getting bigger or is this planet just getting that much smaller?