Start Your Year With a Smile

The fun photos and fails are back for the third consecutive year.  This year, they fell pretty neatly into several categories, so we’ll tackle them that way.  But not quite yet. . .

You can’t tell much from this picture, but the story is worth sharing.

Dunkin and Papa John's

This Dunkin’ Donuts is on Mannheim Road, near one of my clients.  Behind it, you can see a Papa John’s pizza place.  When Papa’s business gets slow, he sends a guy dressed as a pizza slice out to Mannheim to show a little pepperoni and try to attract some business.  On a blistering day in July, I saw the pizza slice walking into the doughnut shop to cool off.

Now, let’s get politics out of the way.  This is a page from an accounting firm’s presentation on upcoming changes in federal and state tax laws.  This one is for Illinois, which is billions of dollars underwater thanks to overly generous, seriously underfunded pensions.  It’s nice to know that our legislators are serious about fixing this problem.  I recently heard this provision described as a “pole tax.”


Signs are always a favorite, and this year yielded up a few good ones.  Starting with this:  My local bank branch has a fleet of drive-through ATMS, each of which is emblazoned as follows.


Did I mention that these are drive-through ATMs?

There would be nothing especially remarkable about this sign, except that it happens to be on the wall of an airline lounge.


As for this one, I can only say that I always thought the debate was strictly about the chicken and the egg.

Children's 2

This one is a little hard to make out because I took it just before dark.  Look closely at the name on the sign.  To help you out, the faint writing underneath the name of the place says “Bar & Ultra Lounge.”


This year, I’m adding an automotive category.  By coincidence, I took the one below about a minute before I took the one just above.  It was the end of a gray day.  I was heading downtown and took a route I never take in order to avoid a traffic jam.  Perhaps a higher power steered me this way?  It’s hard to imagine that a higher power is all that concerned with my blog.

Despite the green light, I wasn’t moving when I took this.  Anyway, that’s my story.   Also, I don’t speak Spanish, but I’m guessing the legend on the back of the truck says, “How am I driving?”


This has to be the most expensive used car ever.

Escalade 1

I’m coining a new term – sypo (a combination of “soap” and “typo.”)  To make sure this wasn’t one, I checked the other windows.  The seller seemed to be serious about his price.

Escalace 2026

Those of you who’ve been with me for any length of time know that I’m not above a bit of bathroom humor.  In fact, since I’m 13 years old at heart, I rather revel in it.

Before I get to the actual pictures in this category, let me tell you about the one that got away.  In February, I was on a plane from Chicago to Kansas City and ventured into the lavatory.  I didn’t have my phone because, well, I was on a plane and heading to the lavatory.  More’s the pity because next to the toilet I saw a small plaque that read, “Do not flush while sitting on seat.”  I leave it to you contemplate the power of the vacuum flush and the unfortunate event that must have led someone to create and post that little sign.

On that same trip, my colleague Jake Guterman and I drove from Kansas City to the middle of nowhere in order to spend an hour meeting with a guy.  On the way down, we saw an actual llama and a sign for a town called Humansville that made me think of Soylent Green.  On the way back, we saw this:

Urine Sign

Keep in mind that whoever created that sign first had to actually think of it.  Sort of like this blog post. . .

As always, a few great things showed up on my computer screen.  Early in the year, I received this invitation from some dear friends.  I didn’t attend because I couldn’t bear the thought that it would be the last time I would ever see them.  (Gene and Kevin, I hope you don’t feel like I’ve thrown you under the bus!)

These (guys) too will pass. . . (2)

My Internet connection failed one day, and after tinkering with it, I needed to test whether it was fixed.  I had a Bing window open in my browser (yes, I’m the guy who actually tried Bing) and searched “search.”  Here’s what I got.

Bing Search Fail

That raised an obvious question, so I repeated the search for “search,” but this time I searched “search ” using the acknowledged leader in search, which I found was not to be outdone.

Google Search Fail

I have a small beverage category this year as well.

This is the best wine label I saw all year.  Simple, clear, and to the point.  If this is how it makes you feel before you open it, imagine how you feel when the bottle is 2/3’s empty.

Smiley Wine

And this version of “tea” left me wondering if there’s anything they DON’T put in it.


If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know of my fascination with airport security.  A while back, I breezed through, while this unlucky couple was treated 50 Shades of Felt Up.  A good thing, too. . .I felt so threatened standing next to them in line.

Airport Security 1Airport Security 2

The following two pictures have no redeeming social importance, but I like them anyway.

This is my arm the day after my first attempt at shooting sporting clays with my friend, Tim Padgett.  I assured Tim that I knew how to shoulder a shotgun.  Obviously, I was wrong.


And this is the hind end of my dog.  For about 6 months, this was his favorite sleeping posture.  He is an optimist, and he can find something to be happy about just about anywhere.  I haven’t tried sleeping like this to see if it will work for me.  Perhaps I should.  Maybe you should, too.


Finally, a couple of pictures that are a bit more serious.

On October 30, I drove from Traverse City, MI, back to Chicago under the westernmost rain band of Sandy.  The rain stopped around Gary, but the clouds continued further west.  The bright line you can see in the distance, which was just visible from my neighborhood, is the absolute western edge of the storm.


Lastly, in June I had the pleasure of helping this gentleman out of his car and into a restaurant where it turned out we were both having breakfast.


Take a close look at the bottom of his license plate bracket.  This guy was the real deal.  There aren’t many of these heroes left – a living connection with history.

Flying Tigers

That’s 2012 in pictures.  I hope you found something in here to enjoy, and that you’ll accept my wishes for a healthy, happy, prosperous 2013.

3 thoughts on “Start Your Year With a Smile

  1. Hey Dan, thanks for keeping your amusing photog ritual going for another season! Fun to see me in the post, too. BTW, you know all of my talks are never topped, hence the suggestion that you may experience more than an “end-all” but in fact the “end of it all” since nothing better will ever be experienced!

  2. Great retrospective, in so many ways, on the year. It’s a great way to keep us thinking that no matter how hard, shallow, foolish and funky the world gets, we always have laughter to keep us going.

    Let’s rock 2013!

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