22 May 2009

CVS Pharmacy

The drug chain, CVS, was in the news yesterday. Apparently, they are being accused of selling expired products.

I have a friend who was as sick as a dog after eating eggs that she bought at the CVS at Broadway and Foster. I myself have had a couple of bad experiences at their Broadway and Granville location. As a result, I have resumed doing business with Walgreens which is located just down the street from CVS. So far, I have had no problems with Walgreens. But, I avoid CVS.

I have been to two CVS drugstores: Broadway and Wellington; and the one on Granville. Personally, I found the stores depressing and the employees unfriendly. And there is NOTHING on the shelves that I would really want to buy. Even their Sunday paper inserts aren't enough to lure me into their stores. Walgreens is more welcoming and offers a wider variety of products.

CVS is making the same mistake made by Starbucks: Saturating the market with too many locations. Customer service is virtually non - existent at CVS. At both of the locations I visited, the workers were very rude! I got the impression that they would rather be somewhere else.


Summer is Calling

Memorial Day heralds the 'unofficial' start of summer. Ah! The smell of barbecue picnics. The last waning days of school. The appearance of the first West Nile Virus case. Yellow jackets spoiling outdoor weddings...

Though I am more of a jacket - weather fan, I do appreciate the many activities Chicago (and surrounding suburbs) has to offer. What I don't appreciate are days when both the temperature and humidity are in the 90's. In the wintertime, you can always put on more clothes; but no matter how hot you are you CAN'T take it all off! The police would not be amused. Usuallly, I spend the majority of my summer hibernating in my air conditioned den. This year will be no different. I'm even taking time off from my busy schedule at Immanuel Lutheran Church where I attend Sunday worship. (Hey! If God needed seven days to chill out after creating the universe, I can take a holiday, too!) Besides, the church isn't air - conditioned and my apartment is.

Every now and then, I will emerge from the comfort of my home just long enough to attend 'Taste of Chicago' and visit a couple of museums. But, for the most part, I will remain in hibernation.

I both love and loathe summer. I look forward to all of the fun I'm going to have at the museums and at home. A visit to The Field Museum and, then, a 'Pirates of the Caribbean' marathon in my living room. Sounds like a summer plan to me!


16 May 2009

Tommie O'Leary: A Local Legend

He first began attracting attention while tending bar at the famed restaurant, called 'Binyons'. He was a Japanese - American who was born in Seattle. He and my Mom met in an internment camp during World War II. When I came along in 1958, we lived in an apartment building located where Truman College now stands; we moved into a two - flat on Rascher, in the Andersonville neighborhood. We resided there for over 30 years. After calling it a day at Binyon's, my father opened a private dinner club, called 'Tommie O'Leary's Original Key Club'. The restaurant attracted a number of celebrities, both local and nationally known figures. It wasn't rare to see the likes of Fahey Flynn and Irv Kupcinet. My father also knew Harry Caray (who attended my brother's wedding), Steve Lawrence & Eddie Gorme, Chuck Connors and, even, Old Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra (in fact, my Dad attended Sinatra's last wedding).

My father's generous nature extended beyond family members, and he was particularly fond of kids. Sometimes to a fault. He would take me to a toy store and all I had to do was point to the toys I wanted, and they were MINE. Also, my Dad would get me tickets to see The Beatles (at the old Comiskey Park and the Amphitheater), Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Chicago, and, the King, Elvis Presley! I remember one night going to the old Oriental Theatre with my Dad to see Little Richard. What a blast that was!

But there was also a dark side to his personality: He had a horrible temper! I recall an incident in Wisconsin where my family was vacationing (I was about age 7). Apparently, he started yelling at my older brother for speaking to him sarcastically. A similar event occurred some years later involving my uncle (one of my Mom's 16 siblings). He was also known to throw objects when he was upset about something and use language that would have made the characters in the movie 'Platoon' blush.

Despite his flaws, now that I am much older, I recall with fondness the many happy years I spent with Tommie O'Leary, my father. My best friend.

Tommie O'Leary passed away in 1988 from a stroke.


07 May 2009

Not Surprised!

I was not surprised to learn that two pedestrians were fatally struck by a car recently, at the intersection of W. Devon and N. Western. I AM surprised that it does not occur more frequently because of the hazardous driving demonstrated by motorists who use this intersection. Red lights are either ignored or drivers step on the accelerator before the traffic light changes. At Devon and Western, it's cross at your own risk, because drivers there don't stop and it does not matter if you have the green light. And their behavior is getting worse!

05 May 2009

Devon/Western Hit and Run

At 10:35 pm Monday, two pedestrians were fatally struck by red Honda at West Devon and North Western in the West Rogers Park neighborhood.