#722: It’s Time We Talk About the Cubs and Trump, Part 1 of 2

December 7th, 2016 § permalink

This is a less-typical 1,001 Chicago Afternoons, in that it’s not about an amazing local Chicagoan, observations from the sidewalks or me saying “fuck” 8,000 times and then deleting it because I remembered my mom reads the site.

I’m going to use this space to lay out some thoughts on the Chicago Cubs’ ties to President-elect Donald Trump and, on Friday, decide if as a moral person, I can continue to support the team I love. » Read the rest of this entry «

#721: The Guide

December 5th, 2016 § permalink

When Barbara Morris was a little girl, her family would take yearly trips to the Deep South to visit relatives.

It was the 1950s. They were black. » Read the rest of this entry «

#720: Street Poets

December 2nd, 2016 § permalink

They stand on corners, sheets in hand. Folded chapbooks or maybe CDs with some ponderously poetic name scribbled on the disk in Sharpie.

They move and hustle. Some smile and gladhand. Some make eye contact and try to lure you in with that economic lubricant of guilt.

Some of the passersby think they’re bums, I guess, or see the sheets in hand and think the sidewalk hustlers have been paid to spread coupons for mattress stores or the happy hour menus for new-opened bars.

But they haven’t. These sidewalk hustlers spread their words. » Read the rest of this entry «

#719: Help Nonprofits Survive Trump – Call for Submissions

November 30th, 2016 § permalink

On Jan. 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump will take the oath of office and become the 45th president of the United States of America. The world will be worse.

So let’s spend the night before making it just a bit better. » Read the rest of this entry «

#718: Barbara’s Bike Ride

November 28th, 2016 § permalink

“I graduated from Indiana State University in nineteen sixty… eight? Something like that. And I was the first black teacher hired out in Alsip, Illinois.”

We’re sipping sugared green tea in a kitchen in a house filled with photos of family.

Barbara had shown me the photos, shown me her uncle’s pictures from the Tuskeegee Airmen, shots of her parents handsome and smiling at military galas, showed me a collage she was working on from her grandkids all the way back to her great great great great great (five greats) grandparents, who they think were slaves-turned-sharecroppers in South Carolina.

In a future story for this site, I’ll tell about why I was there. Since the 1980s, Barbara has run a black history tour company. It’s amazing. But that will be later.

Right now, I’m transcribing the unedited and verbatim story Barbara told me over tea, memories and gospel music in a kitchen in Auburn Gresham.

Do not read it. Instead, listen along here.

It starts with the oil crisis of 1973. » Read the rest of this entry «

#717: Five Images from Chicago Collections Consortium to Haunt Your Turkey Comas

November 25th, 2016 § permalink

In the spirit of July’s story The Five Greatest Sentences the Chicago Tribune Has Ever Written and because I just want to eat turkey leftovers today, here are five horrifying images from the Chicago Collections Consortium, a wonderful online resource for anyone interested in local history or horrific apocalypse clowns.

Speaking of which… » Read the rest of this entry «

#716: Clocks, Stars and Getting Over Chicago-Style Names

November 23rd, 2016 § permalink

I was walking by Marshall Field’s on Hubbard’s Trace en route to my Smokey Hollow office when I started wondering why I don’t take better advantage of my city’s more touristy options — trips up the Sears Tower, riding my velocipede to Weegman Park see the White Stockings Base Ball Club or to Comiskey to see the Sioux City Cornhuskers — heck, I’ve never even been to a Decatur Staleys game at Municipal Grant Park Stadium as long as I’ve lived in Fort Dearborn!

Yes, yes, I know. It’s not called Sears Tower. » Read the rest of this entry «

#715: Historic Aldermen Who Would Hurt You Very, Very Badly

November 21st, 2016 § permalink

On the site of the Dirksen Federal Building, where three of our four convict governors saw their trial date, in a long-dead hotel called the Great Northern, following the adjournment of the Republican County Central committee on a Wednesday night in mid-September of 1895, Chicago Ald. Buck McCarthy bit off the ear of Ald. Joe Lammers.

Lammers was not the only Chicago alderman of the 1800s to get a body part bitten off in a fight. » Read the rest of this entry «

#714: Did They Know?

November 18th, 2016 § permalink

Her mouth was full when she yelled, but I can’t speak Spanish anyway.

She yelled at him to knock it off, body language told. Head thrust forward, arms thrust out, elbows cocked inward in sort of a third shrug, third “I can’t believe you’re so stupid,” third “I might backhand you so watch out” gesture.

He laughed and laughed, so she swung her backpack at him.

They were young, and I don’t know if they figured out they’re in love. » Read the rest of this entry «

#713: In Praise of the Tamale Guy

November 16th, 2016 § permalink

“Tamale!” he yelled, lifting the small red cooler to demonstrate his wares. “Tamale!”

Marc from the office got a strange, quirked look on his face. He turned to the others clustered around the table.

“Who would buy a tamale from a-”

“Tamale!” I yelled, walking up from the ATM.

The Cubs won the World Series and, electorally, orange is the new black, so I should be through the looking glass on surprises this month. But somehow it managed to shock me that none of my coworkers had ever bought a tamale off a tamale guy. » Read the rest of this entry «

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