Thumbs-down: To making the animated characters from Disney’s “Winnie the Pooh” movies into live-action figures. In “Christopher Robin,” a new film from Disney to be released Aug. 3, Christopher Robin is all grown up, living in London – and he’s a real person. His childhood pals from the Hundred-Acre Wood – Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore the donkey, Tigger the bouncing tiger, and so on – are real, too, and they look, well, a little creepy. The movie, starring Ewan McGregor as grown-up Christopher, hasn’t been released or reviewed yet, and it’s entirely possible that the odd-looking characters grow on you. But for people who grew up watching the animated classic Winnie the Pooh movies, the characters look a little jarring.
Thumbs-down: To a deadlock by design at the Illinois State Board of Elections. The board, which is supposed to determine when there have been campaign finance violations, has an even number of members. So as it deliberated on whether Illinois Auditor General and former Democratic state Rep. Frank Mautino’s campaign committee violated the law, the board came out deadlocked 4-4; the Republicans on the board said violations occurred, the Democrats said they hadn’t. Why is a split vote even possible? This board, and any board designed to make decisions on a majority-vote basis, should either have an odd number of members or a tie-breaking process. It’s this same situation that makes people question whether DeKalb’s mayor should be allowed to cast an eighth – and sometimes tie-creating – vote on the City Council.
Thumbs-up: To a shot at the big time. Sycamore graduate Ben Niemann, who helped the Spartans reach the IHSA Class 5A state semifinals in 2013, went on to play at Iowa and now is trying out for the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL. After playing safety and receiver at Sycamore, Niemann went on to become a linebacker at Iowa and now for Kansas City, which signed him as an undrafted free agent. He will have many obstacles to clear to make the 53-man roster, but it’s remarkable Niemann has made it this far and we wish him the best as he chases his dream.