­­ Bumper sticker of the week: Charlton Heston is my President.

­­ Quote of the week: ''I saw Christ yesterday. He walked into my office. He was old, worn down from all the living. His skin had that fragile, transparent look, like the slightest touch would draw blood. Everything had taken its toll, including the booze. Whiskey mainly. I don't know what they thought I could do. He talked and I listened. Stories of delight, hope, despair, betrayal, friendship, love, hate, all enmeshed into 67 years of life. He had died and come back maybe five or six times. Back from prison, from skid row, from divorce, from a bleeding ulcer, from promises unkept and nightmares turned real. Each time saved he was thankful, but not enough to stop drinking. What could I do for him except listen, say thank you, help him from his chair, squeeze his shoulder gently, and wonder how you tell Christ he's Christ. You don't.'' (from ''Walking With Christ,'' Bruce Weik).

­­ I've got to quit watching ''60 Minutes.'' Wouldn't you know it, I catch a segment on the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). It seems they're holding adoption parties -- picnics for children hoping to be adopted. Generally speaking, DCFS doesn't have half a brain in its collective head, although admittedly, it's given an impossible job by the rest of us, who don't want to be bothered. Tupperware parties, birthday parties, Halloween parties, now pick-a-kid-to- take-home parties. I'm betting Martha Stewart had something to do with this. This is what happens when you hire old ex-cheerleaders to run child welfare organizations. They should have stuck to organizing social events for their bosses. The whole outfit should be dismantled and we should go back to the orphanage model. While sometimes problematic in the past, when it was done right, it at least had a level of dignity and self-respect to it. It allowed a child to identify with a place they could call home and most often provided some good role models. I would much sooner place my hopes on a system like that than on one that parades kids around in a show ring like prized cattle, hoping someone will pick them out as ''best of show.'' You see these things on TV and you can only hope the producers make them up to entertain and confuse us. Otherwise, we're in trouble.

­­ Ten things you learn as you grow older:

I. Sleeping the entire night without going to the bathroom is a miracle. Going to the bathroom but not getting up is a bad sign.

2. No one asks you your opinion about the future.

3. Remembering what day it is becomes less important than remembering your name.

4. When someone tells you you should worry about tomorrow, you just laugh.

5. Any talk about trouble with the Social Security system breaks you out in a cold sweat.

6. Having someone help you with a bath becomes the closest thing to a sexual encounter you can remember.

7. You can tell people what you really think about them and blame it on Alzheimer's.

8. When you go to the doctor's office, you can count on getting your money's worth.

9. Trying to please others makes you a lot less anxious.

10. You discover that all that money you spent on trying to stay young was wasted.

­­ I heard the head of the Federal Railroad Administration explaining the problem of engine vehicle collisions at railroad crossings. She wants them to toot their horns longer and louder. She obviously doesn't live in Galesburg. With the 915 trains that go through here daily, her proposal would result in one continuous toot for us. I suppose we could rename the place Tootie's, but that name is already taken. I figure anyone who drives around the gates, with all the flashing lights, is either drunk, in the process of committing suicide, or is in need of being weeded out of the gene pool anyway.Why bother the rest of us with all the noise?

­­ We really have some great bank robbers in the area. During the last two robberies, the suspects were identified before they left the bank. Whatever happened to disguises?

­­ Looks like the main goal of the spring legislative session in Springfield is to see how quickly they can adjourn. How can you argue with that?

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online February 1, 2000

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