#755: A Cask of Amontillado

February 22nd, 2017 § permalink

“I wouldn’t get walled up for that,” she said, passing me the small snifter of medium dry sherry. “I would for a Palo Cortado, though.”

I took the glass, sniffed and sipped the amontillado. It had a semi-pleasant taste that I liked quite a bit. Not good exactly, but unforgettable.

It was a taste I’ll never taste again at a place I’ll never go to. » Read the rest of this entry «

#753: Whispering City

February 17th, 2017 § permalink

The downtown whispers at night.  » Read the rest of this entry «

#747: The Chicago Journalism Quiz – Answers

February 3rd, 2017 § permalink

On Wednesday, I ran the Chicago Journalism Quiz, looking at our city’s journalism heritage.

Each correct answer below is a link to a place you can learn more about what really happened. » Read the rest of this entry «

#746: The Chicago Journalism Quiz

February 1st, 2017 § permalink

Hello from the opposition party!

When I’m not spouting emo political whines on this blog or fighting crime as The Crimson Hammer, I’m a journalist.

The news is troubled and troublesome, both a victim of the current political climate and complicit in its creation. But when the president of the United States starts yelling FAKE NEWS at anything he doesn’t like and calls your inky tribe “the opposition party,” it’s hard not to swell with pride a little.

It’s also a discouraging time for some in news, so in a rally-the-spirits moment, let’s remember how we got here in this city with the Chicago Journalism Quiz. » Read the rest of this entry «

#745: A Ramble

January 30th, 2017 § permalink

It seems like time for something funny, an uproarious deep dive into the minutiae of urban living, like… winter hats or something.

But nothing seems funny. » Read the rest of this entry «

#734: A Small Thing

January 4th, 2017 § permalink

“Have you ever had your life entirely changed by a small thing?” he asked, whipping around to face me. » Read the rest of this entry «

#732: Putney’s Prophecies – Did 1899 Come True?

December 30th, 2016 § permalink

Fifteen minutes to midnight on the last day of the 19th century, a real estate historian named Mark Putney climbed to the roof of a downtown Chicago skyscraper and dreamed about the future. » Read the rest of this entry «

#731: Whirled History

December 28th, 2016 § permalink

I’m scared for the microfilm room at the Harold Washington Library.

It’s a vacant place, one avoided by even the street people who come to the library for the heat and the chairs. There’s one staffer there, maybe. Sometimes a security guard sits against the back wall, leans back and strikes up conversation, asks what era you’re looking for.

“1890s?” he said. “I like looking up the 1950s. I like looking at the old car prices. You could get a brand new car for…”

He names a price you don’t remember when it comes time to blog. He chuckles and the two of you walk about cars for a bit. » Read the rest of this entry «

#729: Empty World

December 23rd, 2016 § permalink

I think I like the business district best when I’m alone.

It’s not alone-alone, of course. It’s city-alone, where solitude means hundreds instead of thousands milling, bustling, shoving, pushing, dawdling, daydreaming denizens crowding the walks and roads.

The day before Christmas weekend is city-alone. » Read the rest of this entry «

#720: Street Poets

December 2nd, 2016 § permalink

They stand on corners, sheets in hand. Folded chapbooks or maybe CDs with some ponderously poetic name scribbled on the disk in Sharpie.

They move and hustle. Some smile and gladhand. Some make eye contact and try to lure you in with that economic lubricant of guilt.

Some of the passersby think they’re bums, I guess, or see the sheets in hand and think the sidewalk hustlers have been paid to spread coupons for mattress stores or the happy hour menus for new-opened bars.

But they haven’t. These sidewalk hustlers spread their words. » Read the rest of this entry «

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