#868: I Shall Hunt and Destroy Andre Salles

December 27th, 2017 § permalink

More years ago than I care to admit, I was lost in the snow outside the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois.  » Read the rest of this entry «

#863: Me and Julio

December 15th, 2017 § permalink

I have a neighbor who doesn’t know my name.

He does, sort of. He knows it now and again, “Paul, right?” I say yes. He asks the same question about my wife’s name. I confirm he got that right too.

I don’t mind that he barely remembers me. I mainly know him because of Rocky, his little dog he walks in the morning, at night and presumably in between while I’m at work. Outside my apartment window is one of Rocky’s favorite spots for business, so I see the little black-and-white furball with his skittering little paws and the lumbering old Latino in the Cubs hat more often than they see me.  » Read the rest of this entry «

#862: The Secret History of Illinois License Plates

December 13th, 2017 § permalink

Vanity license plates are one of the strangest displays of clout Illinois offers. They’re highly sought after and passed down through politically connected families for generations, with the lower number the bigger display.

“Low-number plates, that shows you have big you-know-whats,” an anonymous political operative told Chicago Tribune Magazine in 1999. » Read the rest of this entry «

#842 ½: An Announcement

September 15th, 2017 § permalink

When I started this site my worry was getting to my goal. Now I’m scared I’ll get there too soon. » Read the rest of this entry «

#825: The Poetry of Starbucks

August 4th, 2017 § permalink

One of the more grandiose dreams of this project is to chart for future historians what Chicago was really like.

I’d like a future researcher to stumble on whatever online archives come, and fall in love some line I wrote about how Chicago in 2K17 looked, sounded, smelled. I want to provide a bit of color, an unattributed quote in some future textbook about the lives and migratory patterns of Great North American Chicagoan in the dawn of the 2000s.

Unfortunately, “what it was like” is less and less “what makes it unique” each day.

So for this blog, this post, this day in the future’s history, I’m looking at a Starbucks. » Read the rest of this entry «

#820: A Letter to Me, Pre-High School Reunion

July 24th, 2017 § permalink

My high school, while a fine place with some lovely people, was never much in the “having its shit together” department. » Read the rest of this entry «

#814: Paul Clifford’s Open

July 10th, 2017 § permalink

The crash woke us up, early morning mumbles of oof, uh, what, oh just thund- and then back to sleep mid-word.

The crash of thunder kicked off a gray, wet, want-to-sleep-must-work Monday morning. It was a morning made for failures, busted deadlines, plans oh so many plans that just won’t come to pass because you had the audacity to enjoy life for a few short hours over the weekend instead of work work work.

It’s a cheap writer’s trick — both cheap writing and done by cheap writers — to talk about the weather. Never open a book with weather, Elmore Leonard tells us, the first and foremost of his 10 rules for writing. We mock it with Snoopy’s tapping over his doghouse. It was a dark and stormy night.

It was a dark and stormy morning. » Read the rest of this entry «


June 26th, 2017 § permalink

I’ve been a bit busy. » Read the rest of this entry «

#804: Daisy Mills Puppy Farm

June 16th, 2017 § permalink

It turns out Snoopy was born at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm, but the man running the trivia night said he’d take Daisy Mills. » Read the rest of this entry «

#801: Icing

June 9th, 2017 § permalink

No one likes a happy man. » Read the rest of this entry «

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