#709: Vote Like a Champ in Just Six Steps

November 7th, 2016 § permalink

Voting is like improv comedy: The fact you’re unprepared is only amusing to you.

For the rest of us, those who take more than one stab at existence and who tire of any activity with a cover and two-drink minimum to watch state school theater majors laugh harder at their own jokes than the audience ever will, we like to be a little more prepared.

So in the vein of my Bare Minimum Voting Guide from the primary, a six-step plan that will get you voting like a champ in no time. * » Read the rest of this entry «

#707: The Daily News

November 2nd, 2016 § permalink

It’s got sports on the back, a preview of Augustana College basketball’s new season.

That seems newspapery.

It’s got boring calendar items too, meeting dates for the Keep Moline Beautiful Commission and the Andalusia Township Library Board. That certainly seems like newspaper turf.

But does a newspaper purporting to print the news of Rock Island, Moline, East Moline and Milan print pieces on how Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis was “refusing to honor the United States of America by standing during the national anthem.” Does the Quad Cities readership care about the seating situation of a woman who was diagnosed with cancer last year 181 miles away? » Read the rest of this entry «

#689: “Dhoom 3” vs. “City That Never Sleeps” – What’s the Daffiest Chicago Movie?

September 21st, 2016 § permalink

One year and 198 stories ago, I reviewed 1953’s “City That Never Sleeps,” a cinematic world of crooked cops, gangster magicians, the handyman from “Newhart” and a character named, I kid you not, Little Stubby.

It was the single silliest, most ridiculous and just plain most daffy Chicago-based movie I had ever seen.

Until Sunday. » Read the rest of this entry «

#688: Anise and the Morning Commute

September 19th, 2016 § permalink

I’ve seen old white men before, and messenger bags too.

I’ve seen long, sheathed hunting knives gripped in palms. I probably have seen tatty blue jeans sprinkled with ball point pen signatures, presumably from friends or a self-inflicted hobby.

But I’d not seen an old white man with a messenger bag, a long, sheathed hunting knife and tatty blue jeans sprinkled with ball point pen signatures set a bottle of ouzo and a metal goblet on the ‘L’ platform during morning rush. » Read the rest of this entry «

#685: The Winnow

September 12th, 2016 § permalink

A cold wind pulses through the region.

It pulses down streets, up alleys, through television-clad bars. It throbs and flits, breezing some Chicagoans away like the puff of air that separates wheat from chaff in an ancient farm’s winnow.

It’s the winnow for Chicago. It’s the season where the wind blows residents away, clustering them in eddies around televisions and bars any given Sunday to stare en masse at that most sacred of taxpayer-subsidized franchise-based multi-billion-dollar corporate endeavors, football. » Read the rest of this entry «

#671: The Bolshoi Ballet

August 10th, 2016 § permalink

I was too young to be a father.

I couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t handle the pressure knowing she was out there, living in this world. How could I care for her? How could I care for a child when I was just a child myself?

I was 10. And she was a 74-ton finback whale I adopted through Bubblicious. » Read the rest of this entry «

#636: Local Boy Makes Good

May 20th, 2016 § permalink

It’s 1980-something. I don’t like getting out of bed unless it’s a Saturday morning and I can watch cartoons until my eyes bleed.

As it’s not a Saturday, it’s the usual battle. Yelling, repeated threats, maybe the offer of breakfast drags me downstairs. My dad has been known to threaten an ice-cold wet washcloth as the nuclear option in waking me up. » Read the rest of this entry «

#612: The Sounds of Dawn

March 25th, 2016 § permalink

The sounds of dawn are cars racing down Western.

The cars get more frequent but slower, the Doppler screams of early morning racers becoming moans as stray drivers morph into that thing called traffic.

The slow tear of an airplane comes overhead. A train groans by in the distance.

The sounds of dawn are movement, life. They’re of people getting to and from.

The sounds of dawn are the hiss of a kettle for some tea. It’s a cheat on my part, the only sound coming from within and the only sound not of motion. I’m not going anywhere. » Read the rest of this entry «

#584: Tuck-In Everlasting

January 20th, 2016 § permalink

I don’t remember if I called it the tuck-in at the time, but I remember it that way now thanks to a line in Roald Dahl’s “Matilda.”

“I never eat anything when I get home. I have a good old tuck-in at the school lunch and that keeps me going until the next morning.” » Read the rest of this entry «

#576: Past Midnight

January 1st, 2016 § permalink

Without falling prey to the “Great Writer” love of meaningless generalities I railed against a few stories back, today is a holiday celebrating the concept of new beginnings.

Not to address the issue on Jan. 1 would be as disingenuous as saying you’re not thinking about love on Feb. 14 or projectile-vomiting frat boys on St. Paddy’s.

Starting clean is an illusion, of course. We might as well celebrate each July 17. But we didn’t. Culturally, legally, economically, today is the day it all turns over, from your income tax forms to the special offers fitness clubs give to capitalize on resolution guilt.

Wouldn’t it be nice? A new start, a new you bringing only the good parts of your life and soul past this temporal border of 12:00:00 each January first.

But like the hangover many brought in from the last of 2015 revelries, we hauled our shames, shams and bad habits past that midnight divide as well. » Read the rest of this entry «

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Bucktown category at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

  • Get Stories by Email

  • Chicago Corruption Walking Tour

    Join the email list for tour dates and info.