Champaign, squirrels and Michael Jordan

By Courtney Linehan

Forgive me for being lazy, but I just finished my master’s thesis and really wasn’t in the mood to research some mind-blowingly important topic. Instead, I have decided to take a different approach to today’s column.

I realize many of you are sitting around campus as I am, soaking in the lazy days of a Champaign summer. Others, sadly, are toiling away in class or in office buildings, wishing you were here enjoying this fantastic weather like we are. So I have taken it upon myself – with help from my good friend Martha Spalding (Daily Illini managing editor extraordinaire) – to enlighten you all to the wonders of summer in central Illinois.

First, the Champaign City Council is still fighting over liquor laws. Nothing important has happened. I think it’s a waste of time.

Secondly, on a similar topic, they named a street after Austin Cloyd, the former Champaign resident who was killed at Virginia Tech. I think that this is a wonderful tribute, and a valuable use of city resources.

Memorial Stadium renovations are coming along. The new student section is gorgeous, but I’m disappointed with how high it is relative to the field. I’m told this is to prevent players from jumping into the stands after a touchdown. I think it’s to save money.

    Sign up for our newsletter!

    Some of us at the Daily Illini have begun a summer crusade to visit every bar on campus and partake of their delicious beverages. My co-worker here is especially dedicated to this mission.

    Orientation is over, and there are finally open tables in front of the Union again.

    Some lucky Animal Science students have one fantastic teaching assistant in Illini linebacker Brit Miller. If I wasn’t a graduate student and knew about it sooner, I certainly would have signed up for the class. I hear he makes a mean transparency.

    While on the subject of athletes, here’s an ironic twist: In the 1996 movie “Space Jam,” Michael Jordan’s son Marcus was played by a kid named Eric Gordon. Last year, another kid named Eric Gordon backed out on his verbal commitment to play basketball at Illinois, but Jordan’s oldest son, Jeff, will be on the court for the Illini in 2007. We like Jeff Jordan. We like Marcus Jordan. We’re even OK with the first Eric Gordon. But that other kid … we can’t even come up with a non-threatening punch line for him.

    So there’s this killer squirrel that sits on the porch outside the Union, waiting for people with food to show up. We saw him viciously claw a girl’s leg the other day, and then watched a group of adults foolishly feed it potato chips. I hope they don’t get rabies.

    If you feel like being rolled out of a restaurant, the Pizza Hut by Parkland has one of my favorite childhood traditions, the Lunch Buffet. We saw a kid with a button-down T-shirt while we were there. We viewed that as a clever way to accommodate his growing waist line. Smart move, Lunch Buffet Guy.

    When laying out on a sunny day, don’t mistake a breeze for sun block. NOT the same.

    I have less than a week left in Champaign, and will be making a late-night trip to Merry Ann’s at some point. Get a diner stack ready.

    On that note, the next few weeks may feature a series of goodbye columns. If you someday want to rant about how much you love Champaign in the Daily Illini, e-mail [email protected]