#840: A Review of ‘Hamilton’ Written Several Hours Before I See It

September 8th, 2017 § permalink

In October 2016, my friend Kate stood in line for six hours to buy a block of tickets for “Hamilton.” Thursday’s 7 p.m. showing was the first available date. So I saw “Hamilton” last night.

Although my readers deserve a probing, incisive review of the rap musical’s portrayal of our nation’s early days, I have a flight this morning. In the interest of time management, I pre-wrote my review before the show based on what I’ve heard about the play and what I remember off-hand about American history. » Read the rest of this entry «

#831: The Eclipse, Charlottesville and a Timeout for America

August 18th, 2017 § permalink

On Monday, the sky will darken, and we’ll see a universe greater than we can ever hope to be.

If we choose to use it. » Read the rest of this entry «

#830: Light and the Rocket

August 16th, 2017 § permalink

A child I knew just killed a man. » Read the rest of this entry «

#819: Tour de Chicago – A Warhellride to the Goddess

July 21st, 2017 § permalink

When I was in Paris, you were cycling through 184 years of Chicago newspaper history.

When I was exploring Le Puy-en-Velay, you went 9.3 miles into the LGBTQ community.

While I was in Marseilles, you took your bike down our endangered lakefront.

My wife and I are following the Tour de France. You’re taking the Tour de Chicago. And for your last stage, a one-mile jaunt down LaSalle Street.

This one’s going to get weird. » Read the rest of this entry «

#818: Tour de Chicago – Lakefront Encroachment

July 19th, 2017 § permalink

If all went according to plan, the wife and I are currently backpacking through Marseilles following the Tour de France and you’ve already taken bike routes through the history of newspapers and the LGBTQ community.

Now let’s talk about the lake. » Read the rest of this entry «

#816: Tour de Chicago – News History by Bike

July 14th, 2017 § permalink

By the time you read these lines, my wife, two travelers backpacks, a whole ton of jetlag and I will have have landed in Paris, France (Motto: The Paris, Texas, of France) for our honeymoon.

Although there will be two days of pastries, Seine and wine, we’re spending the bulk of the trip backpacking, following the Tour de France. It’s a lifelong dream of my wife’s to watch the Tour and a lifelong dream of mine to get drunk at 10 a.m. with skinny Belgians in wicking fabric.

While I’m watching Austrians argue over what exactly went down between Cavendish and Sagan, I leave you my city with your own cycling tour. This and the next three stories will come in the form of bike tours I designed taking you to different sites in Chicago history. » Read the rest of this entry «

#815: Dan O’Leary, the Plucky Pedestrian

July 12th, 2017 § permalink

As mentioned before, I collect old, weird books. The older and weirder, the better, from 1880s children’s math textbooks to disco-era restaurant guides to old pulps and manuals for radio station technologies and sound effects in the 1930s.

It’s a cheap hobby — by nature, no one wants these weirdos. But every Ahab has his white whale, every Gatsby his Daisy. My obsession is, at some point in my life, holding a copy of 1878′s “Biographical Sketch of Daniel O’Leary, Champion Pedestrian of the World: Together with a Full Account of all his Great Walks in the Past” by John E. Tansey.

It’s a story about Chicago’s professional pedestrian Dan O’Leary. » Read the rest of this entry «

#813: Speak for the Trees

July 7th, 2017 § permalink

It was a pleasure to burn. » Read the rest of this entry «

#811: Screw You, Iceland

July 3rd, 2017 § permalink

The storefront is closed for the day, the workers off to turn a Tuesday holiday into four days of relaxation and barbecue.

Along the stretch of Michigan Avenue, other revelers wander by. It’s the morning, so they’re still happy and energetic. It will be hours before they slog back to the hotel lugging overtired children, too much SUE at the Field Museum merchandise and probably more than one Chicago Cubs hat.

The storefront, though, is unnoticed. Pasted print-up in the window pledging holiday hours and darkness inside. Which is too bad because I really wanted that damn magazine. » Read the rest of this entry «

#809: The Pantheon of Terrible Chicago Mascots Welcomes Jewel-Osco’s JoJo, Who Feeds on Children’s Darkness

June 28th, 2017 § permalink

Please take a moment to enjoy this image of JoJo the Bloodshot before beginning this story.

[Scene: A conference room in a spacious Loop skyscraper. A group of foam and fur creatures wander around the table, chatting and sipping coffee. A pantsless preteen bear trades business cards with a dancing pig as a giant eagle squats and starts to say “I’ve got something-” to an inflatable women’s basketball fan with a jetpack.]

[A giant green pile of sentient moss shaped like a child’s drawing of a dinosaur walks in, takes off his White Sox cap and places an attache case at the head of the conference table.] » Read the rest of this entry «

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