#929: The Fire is on Roof

May 18th, 2018 § permalink

It was seamlessly ugly, each line and fissure unified in hideousness.

There were no pretty bits, no elegant lines that would be jarring in contrast to the overarching fuggo. It was impressively socialist in its design. There were no free riders here, no collective action problem. The pieces all came together as one to create a truly unified, democratic and nasty whole.

But it was also on fire, and the rooftop was very cold. » Read the rest of this entry «

#756: Blades

February 24th, 2017 § permalink

I saw a homeless man pull a machete out of his shopping cart on Thursday. » Read the rest of this entry «

#742: We Marched, What’s Next?

January 23rd, 2017 § permalink

The people screamed. They yelled. They chanted and hooted and all muttered between each other that “Let It Be” was probably a bad choice to play at the Women’s March because the whole point is not just letting it be.

The people took to the streets, strode down Michigan Avenue, yelled that this was not normal, that the loser by 2.9 million votes should not be the winner of the nation, that the clown should not be allowed to fail up.

It was super-fun.

So what do we do, like, now? » Read the rest of this entry «

#621: Thumbnail Lotharios 2016

April 15th, 2016 § permalink

I didn’t think she thought I was cute or, like, wanted my phone number or anything, but the next thing she said cemented my suspicions.

“You’re cute,” she said. “I want your phone number.” » Read the rest of this entry «

#546: Light-Up Copter

October 23rd, 2015 § permalink

A little rubber and plastic slingshot. The white man with the satchel and ball cap raised it.

With a turn of his fingers, he slid and slipped a white plastic bit into the thick rubber band. As natural as snapping fingers, he pulled the band back and shot the little twisty, twirly, bendy bit with the light-up end into the sky.

It shot 50, 60 feet into the dark air, its blue light flickering down through by the white terra cotta of the downtown Wrigley Building, a plastic helicopter seed available for tourist purchase.

He picked it up off the ground and shot it into the sky again. » Read the rest of this entry «

#500: Return of the 499

July 8th, 2015 § permalink

500. Half a thou. D, to the ancient Romans. As close to the halfway point of the project as an odd-numbered goal allows.

So what should I write this milestone story about?

I decided to toss that question to the folks who made up the first 499, asking the people who got me this far how I should kick off the second half. » Read the rest of this entry «

#469: The Question

April 27th, 2015 § permalink

A student of mine asked me the question.

I get the question a lot, or have in the three years I’ve been teaching journalism. Sometimes it’s asked as a gotcha challenge, sometimes it’s just blurted out as if I had mentioned I strangle puppies for a living.

And sometimes it’s asked in a quiet tone before class by a scared junior wondering if her choice of major has been a terrible mistake.

Do I feel bad about teaching journalism? » Read the rest of this entry «

#457: A Scene from a Table

March 30th, 2015 § permalink

“She’s sleeping,” the security guard said on her walkie talkie as she edged closer. “I’m gonna wake her-“

With that, the woman slouched over the table began to rouse. Sleepy but not sleeping, and resentful for being denied the chance, she lifted her earbud-dangled head, cocked it and blinked angrily at the security guard. » Read the rest of this entry «

#396: A Splash of History

November 7th, 2014 § permalink

On Michigan Avenue, where the skittering, milling tourists and shoppers pause for a moment for selfies by the river, there is a stone-faced building made of history.

Part of that is literal, as the Tribune Tower is dappled on the sides with rocks pulled from the Taj Mahal, the Parthenon, Hagia Sophia, Angkor Wat, even the Berlin Wall and the World Trade Center.

But the gray Gothic building of gargoyles and buttresses seems itself a massive stone, inset in a bustling, modern, mall-swathed downtown of glass and steel and TRUMP, there to remind a city of its past.

And I peed there. » Read the rest of this entry «

#370: Trunnion Bascule

September 8th, 2014 § permalink

He was older, with a dusty blue ball cap over sagging slacks and shirt. It wasn’t the dirtiest outfit in the world, just a little ragged about the edges.

The only clue he was homeless was the salvaged chair cushion he was stuffing into the Michigan Avenue Bridge. » Read the rest of this entry «

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