#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 «

#693: News of the World

September 30th, 2016 § permalink

I got a new job. I’m a magazine editor now.

I like it. I like the people. I like the work. I like that when I decide something, it’s done.

But this isn’t about that. It’s about a reel of paper, winding through machines. » Read the rest of this entry «

#672: A Rowdy Punk Club and the Unstoppable March

August 12th, 2016 § permalink

There’s a ritzy stretch of a ritzy stretch.

There’s a high-end Irish restaurant there, something bordering cuisine and pub. It’s lovely, golden lettering on the side and tasteful sidewalk patio area. Even among River North, the swath of condos, hotels, hot bars and beggars, it glitzes.

In 1978, this was skid row. Lines of liquor stores passing the hooch through bulletproof glass. Drunks and junkies slept it off in the alleys.

And the site where this lovely Irish restaurant now sits was the home of one of the most raucous, rowdy and seminal punk clubs in town — O’Banion’s. » Read the rest of this entry «

#661: Zubat and the Theys

July 18th, 2016 § permalink

They and they were of types who usually don’t talk.

The first they were 30s-ish, white and cool, aging punks and hips whose once candy-colored hair was now seeing threads of white come through. A man and a woman riding a rocking, jumbly ‘L’ train toward the Loop. » Read the rest of this entry «

#262: Peace to 2013

December 30th, 2013 § permalink

Peace to the old man sipping drinks at the VFW bar.

And the bagpiper on the condo roof.

Peace to the newsman, chasing stories for cartoons.

Peace to the lady who jammed in Tunisia.

And peace to the one who makes really sexy ladies’ underthings. » Read the rest of this entry «

#222: The Bubbles

September 27th, 2013 § permalink

On the long slog chunk of a September afternoon, getting to that time of year when 5 p.m. means slanting light and a sky yellowing into sunset, tired workers in shirts and ties or skirts and jackets slouched through River North on their way anywhere else.

A bubble wafted down. » Read the rest of this entry «

#203: Penile Servitude

August 14th, 2013 § permalink

His earliest memory was realizing his penis looked different than his brothers’.

“The doctor who did my circumcision has been called incompetent,” the now-white-haired man said as the crowd whipped by to get to the Red Line Grand stop. » Read the rest of this entry «

#198: A Roundabout Apology

August 2nd, 2013 § permalink

My biggest professional shame is when I chickened out on writing a story where I knew I was right.

It was in the ‘burbs, so it wasn’t a Chicago story, but the themes of friend-friend deals, smiles and handshakes and winks and timing on contracts that they don’t want anyone to put together are the same. This one just happened in bucolia, where people are smiling and happy and rich and THINGS LIKE THIS don’t happen here. » Read the rest of this entry «

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