A couple of times a year, I like to write a pure observation column, pointing out, as you might guess from the name, observations about what’s going on in our world. I try to make the observations as non-judgmental as possible but occasionally reality becomes so big in the window, that I can’t help pointing out the absurdity.
Observation No. 1: The circus. When I was a kid, my dad and I used to go to the circus. To this day, I still don’t know if either of us really wanted to go to see the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus or if we just went for the other one’s sake. Either way, it was a sad day in history when after 146 years, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced they would be closing down operations for good. The reason given for the closure was a response to a prolonged slump in ticket sales that had rendered the business unsustainable. That’s trying to put a positive spin on the fact that nobody was going to the circus anymore.
My sadness at the loss of the circus was short-lived, thanks to the City of Chicago and the political goings on there. Chicago has turned into a three-ring circus. The moment the mayor, Lori Lightfoot, decided to put on a green cowboy hat to announce the Census Cowboy, it felt like I was sitting back in an arena, watching the clowns perform.
Just in the month of July, according to figures released by the PD, there were 406 shootings in Chicago, 105 resulting in deaths. Other than the occasional "boy that’s not good" out of the mayor’s office, it does not seem like a lot is being done to stop the shootings. Perhaps Mayor Lightfoot should give all Chicago police officers a green cowboy hat. That way, the criminals will know they mean business.
Observation No. 2: Whoever came up with the idea of cargo netting is a genius. I have long been a Jeep guy, having continuously owned Jeeps for over 20 years. But it was not until I bought my 2016 Jeep Cherokee that I was introduced to the cargo net that was draped across the back of the rear hatch opening. Simply put, this may be one of the best automotive advances ever introduced. I did a modicum of research to ascertain if Jeep, or perhaps more accurately Chrysler, is the company responsible for this wonderful device, but my research came up bumpkis.
Anyone who owns an SUV, and a lot of us do, knows the perils of the trip home from the store with various items in the back. Regardless of how carefully we try to drive, inevitably, when we open the rear hatch, stuff falls out. I have lost more than one gallon of milk over the years, not to mention cases of Diet Coke that could not be opened for several days without exploding.
The cargo net has changed all of that. It safely holds back, much like the wall of a dam, all the contents of the rear storage area, ensuring that they arrive at their destination unscathed. Thanks Jeep and kudos to whoever came up with the idea.
Observation No. 3: Boy, is my face red. In my last column, I made a huge error by giving credit to Robert Ludlum for writing "The Hunt for Red October." Ludlum is a fantastic writer, but Tom Clancy wrote the book in question. I humbly apologize for the error.
• Jonathan Freeburg is an Ottawa transplant for the last 25 years. Jonathan also is a regular contributor to 1430 WCMY Radio. His real job is insurance as a cover-holder for Lloyd’s of London.