#969: The Original

August 20th, 2018 § permalink


The strip malls grew up around the ice cream.


It’s called Original Rainbow Cone, but I don’t know why they felt it necessary to add the “Original.” This isn’t a New York pizza place, Oregon-based chain of pancake houses or any other place that needs to declare itself “original” because it isn’t.

It’s the Original Rainbow Cone because it’s the only damn one.

PALMER HOUSE (New York Vanilla with cherries and walnuts) » Read the rest of this entry «

#900: A Family-Friendly South Side Irish Parade

March 12th, 2018 § permalink

“Union homes!” the dark-haired woman screamed into the megaphone. “They’re family homes is what they are! South Side Irish! And go White Sox, that’s the other thing! I see that guy in the jacket knows!”

And the children waved and tossed candy. And the candidates waved and tossed smiles. And the white-and-green poms of the floats flittered and fluttered and pamphleteers working the crowd feverishly pressed fliers advertising the dubious benefits of wads of dough you don’t actually want, but know you’ll end up getting in the end, like Krispy Kreme doughnuts or J.B. Pritzker. » Read the rest of this entry «

#585: The Jefferson Davis Coloring Book

January 22nd, 2016 § permalink

I own a copy of “The Jefferson Davis Coloring Book.”

Yes, that Jefferson Davis.

Yes, the Confederate president or czar or whatever the title be.

And, yes, I alluded to it a few stories ago when I plucked it from a North Center dumpster and, yes, I do plan to completely mock its belligerent racism when I do my next “Chicago Review of Terrible Books” for Third Coast Review.

And, yes, that was a plug.

But now I don’t want to talk about belligerent, mockable, historical relic (1980s) racism.

I want to talk about Chicago. About America. About white culture in 2016.

It goes like this: » Read the rest of this entry «

#177: The 7-Eleven Bookshop

June 14th, 2013 § permalink

As I walk past with my Chandler and Adams, a workbooted Sout’ Sider stood in the aisle in jeans that had seen a lot of labor, a baseball cap cocked to the sky and a cup of coffee in his hands.

He was eying either “Madame Bovary” or “Lord Jim” if I was following his eyes correctly. He was eying them in a bookstore in Beverly stuck next to a 7-Eleven. For 24 years.

» Read the rest of this entry «

#130: Steaming the Homburg

February 25th, 2013 § permalink

A foot pedal blasts the steam on command.

It takes a while to realize it’s a foot pedal. At first it seems the steam’s just there when it needs to be, curling and whooshing around what in a few seconds will be an elegant beaver felt homburg.

“The kind of hats we make have basically become extinct,” hatmaker Graham Thompson says as he flicks the steam condensation off the hat with what looks like a paintbrush. » Read the rest of this entry «

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