Opinion / Commentary - Pamela Lannom


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  • Hinsdale falls behind competition on latest list

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Jun 12, 2024

    I am sorry to report Hinsdale once again has fallen short of the North Shore. One of those fancy "W" towns - Winnetka - beat out Hinsdale for the No. 1 spot on the latest list published by HomeSnacks. What is HomeSnacks, you ask? We're not entirely sure, but it produces lots of lists - safest states, most dangerous states, even dumbest states. You can read all of these lists on its Facebook page (which contains no information about who is preparing them or why). And what does...

  • Time is now for interested columnists to apply

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Jun 5, 2024

    The newspaper business, like many others, is seasonal. Our schedule mirrors the school year in many ways, with our busiest times occurring while classes - and high school sports - are in session. And then summer rolls around, and with it comes a slightly different to-do list. One of my responsibilities each June is to thank a group of contributing columnists who have been writing for us for the past two years and to invite interested writers to apply for one of the openings....

  • Cicadas - a rare writing opportunity - are back

    Pamela Lannom|Updated May 29, 2024

    I can't make up my mind most days whether I find cicadas fascinating or disgusting. I can't deny, though, that they provide a great writing opportunity. I wrote my first cicada story in 1990 for The Doings. My father-in-law, John Litster, was a letter carrier in town and had recorded interviews with homeowners on his route about the emergence of these rare insects. Their comments were hilarious. Seventeen years later, in 2007, before this paper had even turned a year old, I wr...

  • Catching up with ... Amy Owens

    Pamela Lannom|Updated May 15, 2024

    Amy Owens had undergone a cancer diagnosis, a total mastectomy and chemotherapy when I first met her in 2007. She had generously agreed to meet with me once a month for a year as she recovered from a rare form of breast cancer, invasive triple negative ductile carcinoma, as part of our Making a Difference partnership with Wellness House. I talked to her again in September 2009, about a year after my story was published and days before she celebrated her second year of being...

  • Mother's Day doesn't measure up for some moms

    Pamela Lannom|Updated May 8, 2024

    The Mother's Day images we see always show the perfect celebration. Handsome husbands present their expectant wives with a stunning piece of jewelry. Gorgeous young children bring breakfast in bed to their beautiful mom (who looks like she's been up for an hour doing her hair and makeup). Multi-generational families enjoy fabulous brunch spreads in amazing outdoor gardens. We all know that's not the reality many women will experience on Sunday. Some will face their Mother's...

  • Farewell to my godfather, aka Wee Wee the elf

    Pamela Lannom|Updated May 1, 2024

    I'll never forget a phone call I got one December when I was a kid. It was an elf calling from the North Pole! My own personal elf, he told me. I asked his name and was surprised when he said "Wee Wee." "Wee Wee?" I asked, wondering if he had a bed-wetting problem. He explained that was his name because he was a wee little elf. He told me a bit about Santa's preparations for the big day and after a short talk, hung up. I was too little to know that Santa's real elves don't...

  • No rush to welcome AI into our newsroom

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Apr 24, 2024

    I couldn't help but notice the headline of a Poynter article in a recent "E&P" digital newsletter: "AI is already reshaping newsrooms, AP study finds." The real shock was in the subhead: "Despite ethical concerns, nearly 70 percent of newsroom staffers recruited for an Associated Press survey say they're using generative AI to create content." As I'm sure you might guess, I fall into the 30 percent who are not using generative AI. Apparently, others are using it to create soci...

  • 'Just one more thing' will be the death of me

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Apr 17, 2024

    I was really looking forward to having dinner with a friend last Friday night. My husband and daughter were both going to be out, and I was excited for the chance to relax and catch up with her. I was all ready to go when I decided I had time to throw a load a laundry into the wash before I left the house. That way I wouldn’t have to stay up late waiting for the clothes to come out of the dryer. I headed downstairs to the laundry room and was still sorting clothes when I h...

  • Eclipse caught attention of just about everybody

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Apr 10, 2024

    I really wasn’t paying a lot of attention to the eclipse Monday — until I realized my 1:30 p.m. interview at village hall about Restaurant Week (insert shameless plug here — see story on Page 17) would end at just about the right time for me to join the Hinsdale Public Library’s viewing party on the front lawn of the Memorial Building. So I headed outside, picked up an Eclipse Shade (all the actual glasses were gone already) and took a peek at the sun. It was pretty cool to...

  • Honesty is (almost) always the best policy

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Apr 3, 2024

    I'll never forget the day I went in to meet with Ainsley's fifth-grade teacher at the start of the school year. The teacher asked if I had anything I wished to share, and I provided what I believed to be an honest assessment of my then 10-year-old daughter. "Wow. That was really grounded," she replied. I was surprised. I wondered if she meant that I was an exceptionally observant parent who had offered a particularly accurate portrait of her child. But I think what she really...

  • Trip to Liverpool, London didn't let us down

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Mar 27, 2024

    My senior year in college, as part of a January "short term" group trip to France and England, we traveled by bus to Wales to read William Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey" at Tintern Abbey. I'm not a huge fan of poetry in general or Wordsworth in particular, but the memory of that day has stayed with me. Last week I had a similar experience - this time, set to catchy tunes. Dan and I took Ainsley to Liverpool and London to see the stomping grounds of her favorite band, The...

  • Catching up with ... Cristina Henriquez

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Mar 20, 2024

    I first met Cristina Henriquez in 2007. I wanted to do a story on a new mom for the issue before Mother’s Day, and she fit the criteria. As often happens when interviewing Hinsdale residents, I discovered there was so much more to the story. In addition to giving birth to her daughter, Sofia, Cristina had published her first book of short stories and a novella the previous year. Since that time, she has published three more novels. And her latest — “The Great Divide” — recen...

  • Five I celebrate during Women's History Month

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Mar 13, 2024

    Many Women's History Month pieces focus on women whose names we all know - pioneers like Marie Curie or Rosa Parks. Or they might highlight less prominent figures like Rosalind Franklin, the British scientist whose work led to the Noble Prize-winning discovery of the double helix, the credit for which went to a group of men. I'm taking a different approach and saluting women who, during the time they lived or worked here, left their mark on Hinsdale. And on me. • Ly Hotchkin I...

  • Move over, Academy - here are my best film picks

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Mar 6, 2024

    The 96th Academy Awards will be presented Sunday night. And, as usual, I will have not seen most of the films up for awards. I am a big fan of one of the best picture nominees this year — “Barbie” — which also earned nominations for best supporting actor and actress, a pair of nominations for original songs and nods for costume design, production design and adapted screenplay. I even saw this one in a theater. I appreciated the performances of Annette Bening (best actress...

  • Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Feb 28, 2024

    Signs provide us with all kinds of information. "Slow, children playing" lets us know kids reside on a particular block. (Since kids live on many blocks that don't have such signs, these warnings also might indicate worried parents live on the block as well.) Signs indicating downtown Hinsdale and the Robbins Park subdivision are on the National Register of Historic Places demonstrate the importance of the village's past to Hinsdaleans - or at least to those who are...

  • Robots, they tell me, will not take over the world

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Feb 21, 2024

    I'm not worried about the world ending in a nuclear explosion or an alien invasion. The robots are what scares me. I am not the only person who worries about robots taking over the world, a quick Google search confirmed. I've been reassured by those who say that robots and AI lack the desires and motivations - say for world domination - that humans do. Others point out that robots and AI are programmed by people and operate within those set limits. But we've all seen the...

  • Ads add a lot to fun of Super Bowl Sunday

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Feb 14, 2024

    Which Super Bowl commercials were your favorites on Sunday? I loved Christopher Walken in BMW's "Talking Like Walken" ad, in which everyone from the valet to the guy at the drive through to his tailor offers their own impersonation of his unique voice. "There's only one Christopher Walken and one ultimate driving machine. The rest are just imitations," the announcer says, in his own Walken-esque style. The ad reminded me of one of my all-time favorite Saturday Night Live...

  • Why bad blood between football fans and Swift?

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Feb 7, 2024

    I wouldn’t describe myself as a huge Taylor Swift fan — although I do know all the words to most of the songs on “1989,” as it was the only music we listened to driving through Colorado on a family vacation in 2015. Of course, you don’t have to be a huge fan to know something about her. Sunday night she claimed her fourth Album of the Year Grammy, making history by surpassing the likes of three-time winners Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder. She’s won a total of 14 G...

  • Don't like the story? Tell yourself a different one

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Jan 31, 2024

    “If the story you’re telling doesn’t serve you, tell a different story.” I typed that while taking my morning walk and listening to my current favorite podcast, “Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris.” I wanted to remember the quote to share it with someone, which I did. And I thought I might want to listen to the episode again. If only I had written down which episode I was listening to at the time! I can never remember where I’ve heard things. There I go. Telling a story about...

  • Putting celebration over competition is way to win

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Jan 24, 2024

    I'll admit it. I joined a Ted Lasso Fans Community page on Facebook a while back. I was hoping the posts would share lots of great inspirational quotes from Ted. And there are some. But many of the posts are from fans - fanatics, in the truest sense - asking what book Trent Crimm carried through the office in Episode X Season Y or explaining the double in/double out rule during Ted's dart game against Rupert or wondering if anyone else caught the nod to "Hamilton." Oh, and way...

  • Hinsdale home to youngest TEDx speaker

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Jan 17, 2024

    I haven't watched all that many TED talks, but my favorite is one by a Hinsdale resident. Oh, did I mention that he's in preschool? At 4 years, 9 months and 22 days old, Bennet Haried became the youngest TEDx speaker Oct. 23 at an event organized by his preschool, Avery Coonley in Downers Grove. Bennet spoke on "Building Big Dreams: You Have to Make it Stable." It all came about when Kenny Bae, director of STEAM innovation at Avery Coonley, decided to organize a TEDx event at...

  • 'Hamilton' saves the birthday, doesn't disappoint

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Jan 10, 2024

    "Why would I want to go see 'Hamilton' in Chicago?" I asked a couple of months ago as we were talking about the show in the office. I've seen the original New York cast perform more times than I can count - even if it has been on my TV screen. How could anyone top Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs and Renée Elise Goldsberry, I asked my co-workers. Lisa, who has been to see the show two times - once for $10 when she won the ticket lottery - assured me I should...

  • Slow down, shut up are resolutions for 2024

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Jan 3, 2024

    Ahh, the early days of January, when we have yet to disappoint ourselves by failing to live up to our New Year’s resolutions. Since it’s already Jan. 4, I guess that might not be true. A cookie might have been consumed, a morning workout skipped. Yes, resolutions are tough to keep. I wrote last year that part of the problem, at least for me, is the specificity of the resolutions I tend to set. I will walk X number of days each month. I will spend X minutes a day cleaning out...

  • Picture-perfect shots don't tell the whole story

    Updated Dec 13, 2023

    Have you seen the ads for the new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro phones from Google? With a feature called “Best Take,” you take multiple shots of a group and then combine everyone’s best look in one photo. Magic Editor — using generative AI, whatever that is — lets you reposition and resize subjects. Audio Magic Eraser lets you erase the sounds of the barking dog or background surf from your videos. I’m amazed by this technology, and I can think of many of my own photos that would have benefited from Best Take. I can’t help...

  • Season of waiting has lessons to teach us all

    Pamela Lannom|Updated Dec 6, 2023

    Waiting is difficult - and we don't get much practice doing it any more. We used to have to wait for our favorite show to be on TV, for the weatherman to tell us the high for the day, for a trip to the library to check out a book. We even used to have to wait for the rotary dials to tch, tch, tch, back to zero seven times in order to make a call. Now TV shows, weather forecasts and books are available in an instant on our phones. We can call anywhere in the world by touching...

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