Category Archives: Death

SECRETS DARK AND OLD

by John Jonelis

“I still say da guy deserves what he got. He ran down dat poor animal on purpose! Hates squirrels.  Says so in da papers.”  So proclaims Loop Lonagan regarding Alderman Brookins of Chicago’s 21st Ward.

“Is not true! Right here in Chicago Tribune, it read—how you say—kamikaze squirrel.” Donatis Ludditis thumps a stout digit on a newspaper headline and continues in his broken English. “Creature attack alderman. Throw itself into wheel of bicycle in suicide attack! Here is proof, see?” He points to a photograph—a photograph that Brookins took himself.  It shows the murdered animal lodged in the spokes of his ruined bicycle. “Newspapers in whole country print story.” says Ludditis.  “Not one say alderman cruel to animals! Not one time!” Continue reading

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MILLENNIALS ARE BECOMING OBSOLETE—ALREADY!

by Tom McBride

The first time I heard the word “obsolete” was when I overheard my father talking to a stranger on a bus. They were speaking about a new expressway that the city had built, and the stranger said, “That thing was obsolete before they ever opened it.”

I was impressed. I went home and looked up the word. And in time I realized the stranger was right. The builders of the new road had put in four lanes but should have put in six. Soon enough, traffic was snarled, and eventually cars started avoiding the route altogether. Then the side streets became overcrowded with autos. The whole thing was a mess.

social media MS OFFICE

“Obsolete” was a terrible word. It still is. If something or someone is obsolete, then he, she, or it no longer works. He, she, or it languishes in irrelevance. And then he, she, or it comes to be avoided altogether. Everyone would rather take the side streets. Obsolete things are just in the way. They are like old professors on college campuses. The young sneak behind buildings in order to avoid them.

Today’s Millennials are not obsolete—yet. Born between 1980 and 2000 they came to this planet during a fairly prosperous time, so they represent a population glut. There are already more Millennials alive than Baby Boomers, who constituted the mother of all population explosions.

percent of workforce MS OFFICE

Corporations are working overtime to figure out how to market to this bunch of fickle young consumers, who have an embarrassment of choices. Human resources directors are wondering how to motivate them in the workplace. They are praised for wanting a more healthy balance between work and life (some of them think overtime is evil), and they are feared, almost, for being digital natives. Unlike the rest of us, they grew up high-tech, so what do they know about cyberspace that we don’t?

phones and tablets MS OFFICE

Others can’t stand them—why won’t they look us in the eye at Starbuck’s instead of staring at their phones all the time? And a few of us older people see them as symbols of a world we don’t want to have much to do with. The whole idea of “looking something up on your phone” (which has more data than your local public library) seems repugnant somehow.

infographic MS OFFICE

But there’s one thing these non-obsolete Millennials can’t avoid: In time, they will become obsolete, like the city expressway of my childhood. They will seem irrelevant. They will be in the way. Young people will hide from them. The new generation will have to work around them.

The question, though, is how can Millennials tell when they’re becoming outmoded?

startup venture MS Office

Like, invest in my startup, huh?

The answer is simple. It’s when they start beginning sentences with “These kids nowadays…” I’ve heard early rumblings of this sentence, as when an older Millennial said of younger Millennials, “These people just take wireless computing for granted.” He was too young to say “these kids,” but give him another ten years.

loft MS Office

The truth is that older Millennials are already far enough along to have teen-aged children. A Millennial born in 1980 is now thirty-six and may well have a fourteen-year-old around. In just ten years that will be true for Millennials born in 1990. They will enter that most dreaded source of becoming old-fashioned and resented: parenthood. And then you will hear such sentences as these:

“You kids have it so lucky. We actually had to flip switches to get lights on in a room—none of this decadent voice-activation stuff.”

“You’re lucky, you kids: When I was your age we couldn’t get our genes edited at birth to make us better-looking.”

robot MS Office“When I was your age, we didn’t have to pay extra to get an actual human being to teach us calculus—unless you kids can learn on a machine, you’re going to bankrupt me.”

“Yes, that’s right, kids. Only when a political party isn’t in power does it object to big government deficits. That’s the way it’s always been. Don’t think that you kids can change it!”

“You kids just trust technology too much. I don’t want to have a robot remove my appendix even if it is cheaper.”

Do you hear the notes of weary impatience in these sentences? Do you detect the tone of resentment in the voice of older people when they encounter the youth and idealism of their kids? Do you sense the envy of the young? Do you pick up on the fatigue of bearing parental burdens?

time magazine MS OFFICE

Yet every one of these sentences will be spoken by…a Millennial. They will be speaking to their offspring, which will be called something like Generation Alpha.

And what about the rest of us—old Boomers and Gen X types? Most of us will be even better than obsolete. We’ll be dead.

But don’t you feel better knowing that these young whippersnappers today will also go the way of all flesh? That’ll be true even if, as predicted, people will be immortal by having their brains downloaded into a computer.

Eventually, even the computer will become…obsolete! Ha!

Cell Phone Girl MS Office

Tom McBride is co-author of The Mindset Lists of American History

and The Mindset List of the Obscure,

and the author The Great American Lay: An All Too Brief History of Sex.

He lives in southern Wisconsin.

Graphics from MS Office.

This article appeared in News From Heartland

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HAT TRICK

20161220-20150207-_jaj5090tby John Jonelis

He can feel it, hear it—his heart—beating hard, beating fast. Pounding above the din of those big nubbly tires and the blast of snow hitting the wheel wells.  Is it anticipation?  Fear?  Primeval blood lust?

How will it feel to gun down a living animal? Can he really pull the trigger?

Today, Loop Lonagan joins seven seasoned hunters and four highly trained dogs to indulge in what his editor calls one of the great joys in life—slaughtering a few of God’s creatures.  He’s a last-minute stand-in and rounds out the party to eight.  Two hunters per dog.  Perfect!  How did he let himself get roped into this? Continue reading

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TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM

20161201-_jaj0288tby Mark T Wayne

Howard Brookins Jr, the alderman for Chicago’s 21st ward, was biking along Cal-Sag Trail on Nov. 13, when a squirrel darted into his path. The squirrel wrapped itself in the spokes of the alderman’s bicycle. [The Washington Post.]  According to the alderman, “I can think of no other reason for this squirrel’s actions than that it was like a suicide bomber, getting revenge.” [The Chicago Tribune.]

If this is revenge, there is good reason for it. Yes sir!  As the Post also reports: “Brookins denounced the eastern gray squirrel in a Chicago City Council meeting and has publicly spoken out about a toothy menace.” He complains of “aggressive squirrels that undermine efforts to overhaul the city’s trash carts.” [Chicago Sun Times]  He claims that squirrels are gnawing through garbage cart lids at a cost to the city of $300,000! Continue reading

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Filed under Characters, Conflict, Death, Jim Kren, mark t wayne, Politics, Story

NO GOAT

no-goat-tby John Jonelis

This thing still replays in my mind. And the news is everywhere!

“The last real American sports story—the story of the team that couldn’t and seemingly never would—is gone for good…  [Rick Morrissey – Sun Times]   Now I watch in shocked delight as the Cub’s sleeping bats come alive! A leadoff home run…

“…ending more than a century of flops, futility and frustration.”  [Ronald Blum – Associated Press]  …now more runs—a lot more runs, but way too many innings left to go… Continue reading

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THE VENTURE CANOE

_JAJ2989TJohn Jonelis

Citizens often refer to their country as the ship of state.  In like manner, investors picture big corporations as sleek cruise liners or enormous freighters.  The thinking goes like this:  The bigger the hull, the more seaworthy the ship and the more stable the ride.  And that’s true—most of the time. Continue reading

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THE PRICE OF THEIR TOYS

Oshkosh-1371 Tby John Jonelis

The radio crackles, “Cherokee Six, rock yer wings and rock ‘em good.” Jim Kren ignores the command. We’re no Cherokee Six.  Is the controller looking at another airplane?

The sky is lousy with traffic converging on one tiny airport Too many planes for back-and-forth radio chatter. Special rules apply. The controller spots incoming with binoculars and radios his instructions—the pilots respond in a kind of airborne sign language. Keying your mike is tantamount to declaring an emergency.

Jim can comply. He can bide his time. Either is dangerous if he’s wrong. Aviation is full of moments like that. The entire air transport system won’t function unless responsible people break the law in just the right way.

Continue reading

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INJURIES TREATED BADLY

 

Team Interval 7Tby John Jonelis

Kids are dropping dead on the athletic field. Dead! These are our kids—those highly cherished and precocious little brats, grades K-12. Just a few years back we suffered a miserable year—120 deaths according to the Youth Sports Safety Alliance. Here’s a huge problem waiting to get fixed. Continue reading

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CLOSER TO HEAVEN

 

Canada 2014-8843ATas told by Mark T Wayne

Danger and deprivation make up the joys of any wilderness expedition.  Have you ever heard an adventurer speak of anything else?  I have not, sir!  Our bold band is bound for a rare excursion!  Today, we hope to try our mettle against the Canadian Wild! Continue reading

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THINK FAST

Combat Brain Training T

Brain Tech – Part 3

Adapted from the Journal of the MIT Enterprise Forum – Chicago

John Jonelis

“I must’ve walked down that alley 100 times, but for some reason something told me I shouldn’t go down there.” But the Marine dismisses the thought and carries on with his mission. Next, he gets blown up. Continue reading

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MAY IS GONE

Ron May - Tech CocktailWe lost Ron May. There’re those that are bitter and those that’ll weep. There’s those that always revere him and swear by his widely circulated May Report—and then there’s the others that still feel the sting. Everybody has a powerful opinion, but I got more than one reason for liking the guy. Continue reading

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HOPE AND PARANOIA IN THE NEW DIGITAL AGE

OreosJeff Segal – message therapist – Part 2

“Sure I’m paranoid, but am I paranoid enough?” – David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” – Google CEO Eric Schmidt, 2009. Continue reading

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