#469: The Question

April 27th, 2015 § permalink

A student of mine asked me the question.

I get the question a lot, or have in the three years I’ve been teaching journalism. Sometimes it’s asked as a gotcha challenge, sometimes it’s just blurted out as if I had mentioned I strangle puppies for a living.

And sometimes it’s asked in a quiet tone before class by a scared junior wondering if her choice of major has been a terrible mistake.

Do I feel bad about teaching journalism? » Read the rest of this entry «

#468: Elsewhen

April 24th, 2015 § permalink

Tinged with doo-wop and a quarter-step flat on the high notes, his voice was a throwback to when black men sang falsetto.

“Somewhere over the rainbow,” his voice rang through the Red Line subway station at Grand. “Way up high.” » Read the rest of this entry «

#467: The Blue Lie

April 22nd, 2015 § permalink

Charles Henry is not a bum off the street. I know this because he told me twice.

The first time was at the Blue Line Western stop when he meandered up to the bench I had claimed for sipping coffee and eating Combos.

“Excuse me. I’m not a bum off the street,” he said, holding out a small leather clutch full of diabetes testing supplies. » Read the rest of this entry «

#466: “I’m Glad I’m Not That Guy,” by That Guy

April 20th, 2015 § permalink

She glided through the room, sidestepping happy soon-to-be diners discussing spring rolls and panang curry, past tables and plates and chairs and wall decorations saying no doubt happy things in crinkling Thai characters.

“Do you have another card?” she asked, holding my debit card out to me as if it were something very wet and cold that she no longer wanted to be touching. » Read the rest of this entry «

#465: Chocolate and Wind

April 17th, 2015 § permalink

There’s a place on Milwaukee where you have to cross two lanes of traffic uphill to get into the left-turning bike lane. » Read the rest of this entry «

#464: Kim Jong Alex

April 15th, 2015 § permalink

They call him Kim Jong Alex, sometimes the Tiny Overlord.

He takes their money and he takes their sleep. He screams at all hours and for no reason. He burbles up spit on their clothes and has made 8 p.m. a late night.

And they could not love him more.

“He is shitting himself right now,” Jake said as he bounced his son on his knee in their backyard. » Read the rest of this entry «

#463: The Greatest Show on Infinite Earths

April 13th, 2015 § permalink

Mister Terrific hoists the Green Arrow into the sky. Captain Hammer patrols the crowd, a groupie perched on the nape of his neck. A Jedi and Joker juggle as the 11th Doctor balances his sonic on the tip of his nose.

This is Acrobatica Infiniti. This is the nerd circus. » Read the rest of this entry «

#462: Hogwarts has WiFi: A Visit to the University of Chicago

April 10th, 2015 § permalink

I had been in the library for an hour, crawling up and down floors, heading up twisting paths between gray stone towers, parading by endless locked doors festooned with office hours times and course-relevant Far Side cartoons, before I found out there were no books.

“They took those out years ago. Now they’re all underground at the Reg with the ~robot arms~” my friend Rachel, a U of C alumna, texted when I finally gave in and asked where to find something to read in the University of Chicago’s Harper Library. » Read the rest of this entry «

#461: The Elopement of Lucy Bruise

April 8th, 2015 § permalink

She was Lucy Bruise, Rat Face Ratticus. Her hair’s been long and platinum, mohawked and spiky, completely shaved or finally a growing-out undyed. Her body is a canvas of tattoos, from elaborate Baba Yagas to stick-n-poke mallets advertising the Punk Rock Croquet Club of which we’re both founding members.

“Sup dood,” the email read. “I hope you’re doing well.” » Read the rest of this entry «

#460: The Mystery Half-Wit Sure Has the Girls All Agog

April 6th, 2015 § permalink

Norwood Park seems like a suburb.

The single-family houses, grassy lawns and seemingly omnipresent Little Leaguers seems to scream suburbia. There’s a Metra station there. Little shops.

Only the Rahm and Chuy signs for Tuesday’s mayoral race remind what municipality you’re in.

Part of the confusion is the new development. Newish, at least. Places with developer-sanctioned nouns like “Crossing” wedged in. One angular thing with jagged points that screamed “modern” 15 years ago sits kitty from the train station. » Read the rest of this entry «

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