#782: Cassini

April 26th, 2017 § permalink

The website ticks just out of time with the clock in the room. The pair keep pace, more or less. They’re just out of sync enough to notice.

The clock clicked 20 minutes to 11 roughly the same moment the website went from the 200,000s to the 199,999s. Each click of the clock brings another second on earth, another seven or eight miles tearing through space.

It’s going 79,032 miles per hour through the void, 198,381 or so miles from its target. I’m motionless, lit by a lamp behind, some streetlights outside and a gleaming laptop screen 934,000,000 miles away watching the spacecraft Cassini dive toward Saturn.

The clock ticks away another heartbeat, another seven or eight miles. » Read the rest of this entry «

#781: River in Strings

April 24th, 2017 § permalink

Does an F-sharp sound more like the North Branch?

Does Bubbly Creek feel more like a cello or piccolo?

How do you compose Centennial Fountain?

I know. Because after Saturday, I know what the Chicago River sounds like. » Read the rest of this entry «

#780: It Started Here

April 21st, 2017 § permalink

It’s one of those mighty and mighty common glass towers that dot downtown Chicago. It’s a glimmering, glistening testament to beautify and individualism, just like the two across the river from it.

It’s condos and rental spaces for stores that don’t seem to materialize. There are ads on the wall for a new ping pong bar, the trendiest of trends for 2017.

Here’s where it all started for Chicago news. This slapdash casement of glass and pretension is the site of the first newspaper ever printed in the city. » Read the rest of this entry «

#779: Bughouse

April 19th, 2017 § permalink

It’s just a little park on the North Side. It’s about a city block in size and has a fountain in the middle. People scream for both dogs and children to get right back here this second.

Both the dogs and kids take their time doing it. » Read the rest of this entry «

#778: Perfectly 22

April 17th, 2017 § permalink

She got on board the train at a stop in Wicker Park, which was the perfect place for her to get on.

She had mid-cropped hair bleached to a sandy platinum, the perfect color for her to have.

She wore the perfect big glasses, the perfect wafting dress, the perfect marigold top that an ingénue in a 1930s MGM romp would giggle over and say, “This old thing?” She didn’t giggle or act a part, though. She was just a woman riding a train to work — pretty, but giving me thoughts more of the calendar than the bedroom.

She was perfectly, perfectly 22. » Read the rest of this entry «

#777: A Tupperware of Kugel

April 14th, 2017 § permalink

Candy canes are breath mints, the ones that stack up untouched in the bowl by a diner’s cash register.

Turkey’s a sandwich meat noted for being drier than chicken.

Who the hell likes candy corn anyway?

And, until a few days in spring every year, matzo is a dry cracker. » Read the rest of this entry «

#776: Everything-But-The-Face-Lift

April 12th, 2017 § permalink

A neighborhood where you used to live is a gloomy night walk.

It can be fun in day, with popping in old haunts and sitting in parks and on benches where you whiled away those heady, halcyon days of yore when dreams seemed like promises made by an ever-expanding future. Ah, youth! Ah, those days of… like two years ago.

Maybe three. » Read the rest of this entry «

#775: That Day

April 10th, 2017 § permalink

The penguins toddled a bit. I guess that’s what penguins do on land. They hop and waddle and toddle a bit.

The polar bear just slouched. It slouched back to the colder area of the enclosure; out of sight, out of warm, sunny day.

The lion laid back and let the sun warm its tummy.

It was that day. » Read the rest of this entry «

#774: Bertrand Goldberg vs. The Nazis

April 7th, 2017 § permalink

You know Bertrand Goldberg’s work.

You know it from the half-Jetson, half-corncob conical twin towers of Marina City on the Chicago River. You know it from the looping concrete of River City I and River City II a bit further south along the water. You know the former housing project turned apartment of the Hilliard Homes, or maybe the old Prentice Hospital. But you know the man’s odd, compelling and utterly human approach to housing.

This is the story about Chicago’s skyline was changed by Nazi Germany, a prank call and that time Bertrand Goldberg got super-drunk with his wife. » Read the rest of this entry «

#773: It’s Time We Admit “Land of Lincoln” is a Terrible Slogan

April 5th, 2017 § permalink

I’ve been hearing about it at work for about two weeks.

Just little barbs and jabs. A few references here and there. Snarky asides, glare in the eyes as they call me out.

But I’ll stand by what I said, may god or man judge me how they will: “Land of Lincoln” is a terrible state slogan.

» Read the rest of this entry «

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