‘Super’ day for Manning, Coldplay, Beyoncé and Mars

  • Written by Joe Boyle


The Super Bowl is over. We can all relax now.

Perhaps now we can concentrate on other matters, like choosing a presidential primary candidate. For the record, the Denver Broncos staggered the Carolina Panthers, 24-10, in Santa Clara, Calif. This goes under the category of an upset victory, not that most of us mind. The majority of people I talked to did not have a preference in this game.

But Peyton Manning goes out a winner. The 39-year-old Denver quarterback has had a great career and is considered one of the game’s greatest at his position. But the former Indianapolis Colts quarterback is no longer great. Neck injuries have taken its toll on his once strong throwing arm. And he was never all that mobile to begin with.

But he is still a great field general, eluding several Carolina blitzes by throwing short quick passes. He simply did enough to win while the defense did the rest. The Broncos forced four turnovers and sacked Carolina quarterback Cam Newton six times.

So, in my opinion, Manning should retire. He now has two Super Bowl rings. The first one was against our Chicago Bears. If Manning retires, he goes out on top. Nothing is better than that. Manning said he needed time to think about it. He was going to kiss his wife, his kids and then drink a lot of Budweiser.

My advice to him is that when he gets over that hangover is to talk to the Denver Broncos’ general manager, John Elway. The former star quarterback of the Broncos, Elway won Super Bowl titles in his last two years. He retired after that. Elway, like Manning is now, was a shadow of himself at the end of his career and was more like a game manager. Elway just did enough behind a great offensive line, strong running game and a great defense.

When Manning sobers up, he will make the right decision. It is better to go out on top.

But the big game is over and life goes on. A lot of people were watching who do not even care about Manning, Denver linebacker MVP Von Miller, Newton or Carolina head coach Ron Rivera. They may have been more impressed with Lady Gaga singing the National Anthem. The game was played near San Francisco but Tony Bennett was nowhere in sight.

And then there were the commercials. I’m not a TV critic but they were not controversial or that memorable. Amy Schumer and Seth Rogan were amusing in a “Bud Light Party” ad. The majority of the ads seem to involve dogs that talked, drive cars or standing in the checkout line at the grocery store.

The halftime show did feature Coldplay, Bruno Mars and Beyonce, in that order. My only concern when I mentioned it last week was that the stage was going to be a little crowded for a 20-minute performance. But I also said that the National Football League is all about excess. Coldplay zipped through three songs, followed by Mars and then Beyonce marching down the field. My concern about excess was beginning to be realized.

But I thought it ended well and since this was Super Bowl 50, images of previous performers were shown, like Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder Diana Ross, U2, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Katy Perry, and Beyonce and Mars.

But the show is over. For football fans, I’m not sure what they will do. Maybe they will get pumped up over the NFL draft, which will again be held in Chicago’s Grant Park. We may not be able to pass a budget but we sure know how to throw a party.

The Grammys are coming up this week. The Academy Awards are just around the corner. A lot of people hold parties for these award shows as well. I guess it helps us get through the winter.

College basketball has fans across the country and that means March Madness will be in our midst. Personally, I find it easier to keep up with the Grammys and Academy Awards then to figure out where 64 college teams fit in.

Of course, there is the Chicago Blackhawks. Enough said there.

Now, dare I say it? The groundhog has predicted an early spring (I will believe it when I see it). Does that mean the Chicago Cubs and White Sox will begin the season playing baseball in 50-degree weather instead of the 30’s?

I guess we will just have to wait and see. By then, Manning will have quit partying and made his decision.


Joe Boyle is the editor of The Reporter. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

There's no faking the joy of marriage and spiritual life

  • Written by Claudia Parker



   Yes, I’m ashamed to admit I’ve faked it before. When my husband, Don, realized I was faking it, he was appalled. But, before you judge me, give me the opportunity to explain.

It was October of 2002. We’d only been married for three months. Our newly recited vows drew us toward activities designed to help marriages last. The Married Couples Ministry at Salem Baptist Church was hosting a weekend marriage retreat. Their website laid it out beautifully, “Learn how to have a joyful relationship with good communication, intimacy, financial security, and love.”

We signed up with zeal!

   Salem Baptist Church is known for doing things real big. They did not disappoint as the festivities were held at the gorgeous Wyndam Hotel & Resort in Itasca.

The opening ceremony left us mesmerized as we watched a step-show made up of married couples. A step-show is a complex performance involving synchronized, percussive movement, singing, speaking, chanting, dancing and drama. In the 1960s, historically black fraternities and sororities began stepping on college campuses as a rite of passage for pledges.

Now stepping has evolved from campus organizations to high schools, local community events and church groups. The precision in their claps, boot stomps and body alignment left me speechless. That wasn’t the only thing that left a loss for words. My ears expanded during our “wives only” breakout session from the marital discord revealed. Once the couples reconvened, the raised eyebrows on Don’s face said the husbands dropped a few bombs as well.

   The dramatized play that evening brought to life every major issue a marriage could experience. Some women sobbed aloud, for them, things were hitting close to home. The next morning was our final session. Impacted couples gave testimonies of deliverance. Everyone seemed moved. Upon conclusion, the retreat leader told couples who wanted prayer to stand in line. The pews went empty. We were 100 couples deep, single file. Soft music covered the hushed chatter of those of us who found ourselves at the end of the line.

So engrossed within ourselves, Don and I didn’t notice the powerful anointing hitting the recipients of prayer. They were going down like fighters in a boxing match, all with just a touch from the palm of the pastor’s hand. Now three couples from our turn, Don tells me we should take our seats. “Are you insane?” I whispered while moving up again.

He kissed my cheek and replied, “I’m not in the mood to faint. It don’t take all that. We can pray at home!” Terrified of the impression sitting would leave, I yanked him over. The elder began putting anointing oil on Don’s head. Then, just as he had with others, he professed blessings over him, stretched his palm and struck him lightly on the forehead.

Don didn’t budge!

   The elder repeated this palm strike a few more times. He looked bewildered, as if his circuit to the Lord had malfunctioned. It wasn’t him, it was Don. He said he felt God’s power but had chosen to quench the Spirit.

I, on the other hand, FELL OUT as soon as the elder touched me. My school of thought was, “When in Rome, do as the Roman do.” After lying quietly several seconds, I eased one eye open to check my surroundings. The infuriated look on Don’s face told me I was BUSTED! He’d been staring down at me the whole time wondering if I was r-e-a-l-l-y out. He mouthed, “Get up!”

I hustled to get to my feet. He tugged at my arm and walked us briskly to our seats. He remarked, “This is a new low. I can’t believe you FAKED the Holy Ghost!”

If you ask me, we were equally awful, both guilty of a disgraceful smokescreen. Neither of us had been honest about what we were feeling that day. Don felt something, as the minister prayed for him, there were real tears streaming down his face. I actually didn’t. I was distracted. All I was thinking as the Elder prayed is, "I hope they catch me good."

   Don and I will be attending Salem Baptist Church's marriage retreat again this weekend to celebrate Valentine’s Day. My, how we’ve grown over these 14 years.

Today, I stand firm in knowing that despite being tempted to the lure of pleasing people, I’m confident and proud of the woman I am. It is my intention to live a life that is pleasing unto God, not man. This means I must learn how to take His direction by hearing His voice.

Are you wondering how someone can hear God’s voice? It’s not audible; at least it hasn’t been for me. I’d be a little freaked out if it was. It comes from within. It’s a subtle thought. It’s a dream or a message within a song. Or it might be random advice from a loved one or stranger that fits your situation perfectly.

When you hear it, you’ll know it’s meant for you. Don’t allow the perception of others to distract you or quench what you know is real. The pleasure of a purpose driven life awaits you.

Excerpts of this column first appeared in the Inside Oak Lawn Magazine in 2013.


Claudia Parker is an Evergreen Park mother, author and runner whose columns appear in The Reporter the second and fourth Thursdays of each month.


‘Super Sunday’ turns 50 years old

  • Written by Joe Boyle


The Super Bowl organizers are having a party and were all invited. The big game that pits the top teams in the American Conference and National Conference will square off at about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7 in Santa Clara, Calif.

This mega game really needs no hype but this year will be Super Bowl 50. The NFL will celebrate with special guests and a crowded halftime show. More on that later.

And to get into the spirit of the big game, here is a quiz question. What team has won the most Super Bowls? The answer will appear at the end of the column.

Fifty games means this contest has been around a long time. But I have been around a long time as well. I actually remember the first Super Bowl. This was so long ago that the first game was not even called the Super Bowl back then. It was officially titled the AFL-NFL Championship Game.

The fervor and buzz that surrounds recent Super Bowls was lacking from this game. The Green Bay Packers won the NFC title game in the so-called “Ice Bowl” in December of 1966. The Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.

The National Football League and American Football League decided to finally meet in a championship game played at a neutral site. Since the game was going to be played in January, a warm-weather city was going to serve as hosts.

The Kansas City Chiefs were the AFC representatives and there was even some talk they could defeat Green Bay. They had some star players in quarterback Len Dawson and running back Mike Garrett. However, I’m not sure anyone bought into that. The championship game was played early in the afternoon on Jan. 15, 1967 at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles.

Lots of us watched the game at home out of curiosity. The stadium was not even sold out. The Packers, after a slow start, romped to a 35-10 victory. Legendary Packer head coach Vince Lombardi was asked how the Chiefs compared to other NFC teams. He replied that they were like facing the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were then perennial cellar dwellers in the NFC before moving to the AFC. Ouch.

The Packers rolled over the Oakland Raiders the following year. “Broadway Joe” Namath staged an amazing upset in 1969 as the New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts, 16-7, for the AFC’s first Super Bowl. The game had arrived. The contest was still played earlier in the day and marching bands performed at halftime. The marching band gave way a few years later to the “Up With People” singers.

In regards to the Super Bowl game, legend has it that the children of Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt were bouncing a Super Ball, a tightly wound ball that would bounce repeatedly. It was popular toy for kids in the mid-1960s. Hunt watched in amusement and later brought it up to some reporters. He casually referred to the championship game as the Super Bowl. Some reporters continued to use the term and, as they say, the rest is history.

The games began to start later in the day to assure a larger television audience and allow for charging higher fees for commercials. Well-known musical acts began popping up in the 1990s like Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and Shania Twain. The 2000s had Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction. The NFL then elected to bring on established veteran rockers who were deemed safer like Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones and Prince. But there were complaints about the Stones’ “Start Me Up” and Prince’s unique way of gripping a guitar behind a screen.

For the most part, these halftime shows are entertaining. The only problem is of late these performances have a Las Vegas glitz to it. This year, Coldplay will perform at halftime but they will also be joined by Bruno Mars and Beyonce. The stage appears to be a little too crowded for a 20-minute show but the NFL is all into excess.

So, the halftime show has to be big. The commercials are another reason casual fans tune in to see some of the first-run advertising moments. Some of them are funny while others fall flat. That will be debated the next day.

Oh, and there is the game. In case you didn’t know the AFC will be represented by the Denver Broncos while the NFC has the Carolina Panthers . This is a championship game in which a lot of people will tune in who could care less about the contest. I guess that’s the appeal of the Super Bowl. The game is played on a Sunday in early February. The NFC has the stage to themselves.

Now back to that quiz question. The Pittsburgh Steelers have won six Super Bowls, more than any other NFL team. Now get prepared for two hours of pre-game hype, Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars. It’s show time.

Joe Boyle is the editor of the Reporter. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Resist taking new drugs until they are on market for five to seven years

  • Written by Dee Woods


I’m going to give you some information that America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not given American patients as yet, according to the authors of Best Pills/Worst Pills Newsletter. This is an issue I can totally relate to regarding drugs and interactions and contraindications. The article appeared in the January 2016 issue of Worst Pills/Best Pills, a public citizen newsletter regarding various drugs.

The Canadian counterpart of the FDA did something that none of the American agencies have done, according to WP/BP. It seems that back in July of 2015, Health Canada issued a serious warning about mixing certain drugs. Health Canada warned of the risk of extremely dangerously low levels of blood sugar when repaglinide and clopidogrel are taken together.

Repaglinide (PRANDIN) is a drug for Type 2 diabetes and Clopidogrel (PLAVIX) is a drug to prevent blood clots. They additionally listed PRANDIMET, (another combination drug for type 2 diabetes) also containing METFORMIN, as causing the serious drop in blood sugar. Dangerously low so as to lead to death or coma. So far, according to the publication, the FDA has not warned the American public of this danger.

One of our experiences with drug interactions occurred when my husband was given Plavix after his stroke in 2002. Plavix was to prevent blood clots. Because doctors had given him too much Coumadin and other anticoagulants, he ended up with a bleeding ulcer and other internal bleeding.

Because of his bleeding ulcer, (that he never had prior to the overuse of blood thinners), he was also prescribed a proton pump inhibitor (PPI’s) such as Prevacid, Prilosec, Nexium and other acid preventing drugs.

But, in a shocking turn, he was rushed to the hospital, at which point he was found to have two blood clots in the lungs. They called them “saddle” blood clots (embolism) because they appeared as a saddle on the X-rays. It’s rare to survive such conditions. But, how could he have sustained blood clots when he had been taking Plavix?

Well, turns out proton pump inhibitors completely obliterate the anti-blood-clotting function of Plavix. No one had been aware of the fact that these drugs could not be taken together. It was only after people like my husband showed up with blood clots that it was finally realized the two drugs didn’t mix.

This is the reason the authors of Worst Pills/Best Pills suggest we never try new drugs. Unless there is absolutely no alternative and the condition is so serious, that there is no hope otherwise, we really should stand back and allow the drugs to be on the market at least five to seven years before tying them. Basically, the problems with new drugs aren’t seen until after they’ve been on the market for a while. You might want to ask your physician about the warning the Canadian government is giving to their citizens if you are on Plavix or one of the type 2 diabetes drugs to assure you have no dangerous drops in blood pressure.

Dee Woods can be reached at


Rising above being vindictive puts you in a better place

  • Written by Claudia Parker


 Workplace betrayal!

I liken it to the corpse of a rat, rotting between the office walls where your desk sits. Since that stench can’t be masked, you’re forced to tolerate an uncomfortable environment until it fully decomposes. Pending that occurrence, you avoid deep inhalations of the contaminated atmosphere.  

Haven’t we all been there, at least metaphorically? As my grandma used to say, “Honey child, let me tell you…”

Here are a few scoops of dirt from back-in-the-day. My first corporate job was in the mortgage division of a bank. The mortgage industry was just as volatile as some of the people in the office. Depending on the day, you never knew w-h-a-t to expect.

I could only put my confidence in one person, my supervisor. She had a razor-sharp mind and a supersize personality. She wore a moderate aroma of arrogance with an extra wit for humor. We became friends fast, she had my back. The women were few around the place. She looked after those of us who felt vulnerable to “boys behaving badly.” It was a rowdy atmosphere of profanity-laced conversations, tight deadlines and unpaid overtime.

Not my cup of tea. I sent several S.O.S prayers up to God. “Get me out of this place,” I pleaded. Just pulling into the parking lot sent me into an anxiety attack. I felt like I needed to breathe into a brown paper bag a couple times to calm my nerves. To my delight, God intervened. On my voicemail one afternoon was a male voice asking if I’d like to work for his organization. “If you’re interested in an interview, call me at…” said the caller. A promotion. Sweet!

There had been rumors of a reorganization of our department so my supervisor, whom I confided in about the message, was eager to help. “I say go for it,” she urged. “I’ll even write you a letter of recommendation.”

The rumors turned out to be true. Within a couple of weeks, we all received our walking papers. I was the only one optimistic because I had already interviewed for a new job. Come to find out, my supervisor, the one person I thought I could trust, tried to snatch the opportunity. The letter of recommendation (LOR) she said she was writing on my behalf turned out to be her cover letter and resume. I suppose I was naïve. I didn’t question her insistent request to send the LOR to them directly. “Give me their contact info, I’ll send it for you, it’s the least I could do,” she said.

She had my back all right, with a sharp-edged knife to it!

I felt like trail blazing over to her with a few choice words but I refrained. Betrayal can only occur where trust is established. She hurt me, but I didn’t give her the satisfaction of knowing I knew what she’d done. It took a few weeks for the perspective employer to decide, but I was the candidate they selected.

So what became of the “other” candidate and my relationship? Well, she made attempts to connect with me in the weeks that followed. My response was always polite, yet fleeting. Eventually, she recognized I wasn’t interested in entertaining a friendship that was a facade.

That experience forged a self-control I’ve honed over the years. A wise man once said, “It is impossible for offenses not to come but woe unto him through whom they come.” Allowing myself to become bitter, angry and vindictive toward people who wrong me doesn’t align with the way I desire to live. And it certainly doesn’t provide the example I wish to set for my children.

Light illuminates darkness. When given the choice, chose to be light. Not every betrayal needs to be dignified with a response. True strength is proven with restraint.

Claudia Parker is an Evergreen Park mother, author and runner whose columns appear in The Reporter the second and fourth Thursdays of each month.