#826: Lapse, Part 2

August 7th, 2017 § permalink

The water still laps in the morning. The gulls still swoop and the geese still make too-low passes that make you wonder about dive-bomb threats to your health and hygiene.

There’s still a city to the south and safe-wrapped suburbia to the north. And if the sun glints at a different angle between a.m. and p., it does so over the same sand and prairie grass.

There’s still a concrete pier shaped like a question mark jutting out into the water. » Read the rest of this entry «

#824: Lapse

August 2nd, 2017 § permalink

There’s no such thing as silence in a city.

Oh, I’m sure there are empty rooms, abandoned corridors, deep dank tunnels where all you can here is the drip drip drip of a long-forgotten pipe.

But in general, the lapping of the water and screaming of sanctuary birds is the best chance we have. » Read the rest of this entry «

#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 «

#686: Willful Wills at the American Indian Center

September 14th, 2016 § permalink

The fan droned in what looked like a grade school gym.

Hardwood floors of the type that made sneakers squeak. Overhead fluorescent and steps to the back of the gym leading up to a stage perfect for plays about the importance of saying please and thank you.

The steps were riddled with holes.

I nocked an arrow, drew back the string and let a shaft of aluminum fly into a target tattered by all the arrows before. » Read the rest of this entry «

#655: Learning Piggy

July 4th, 2016 § permalink

“Piggy! Piggy! Y’all don’t know how to play piggy?”

We did not.

Blanket, grill, Montrose Beach Park. Fun, friends, three separate dogs, a Frisbee no one used and baseballs we did toss around every now and again.

And the baseballs netted us the invite. » Read the rest of this entry «

#640: Treasure Hunt

May 30th, 2016 § permalink

It was dark now.

The conga line of beach-and-parkgoers was now heading westward, hauling now-empty coolers and now-full livers back to parking spaces, buses and home.

Dogs worn from a full day of fetch trotted sleepily after their masters. Children too, also worn from 16-inch softball, soccer, volleyball, Frisbee and just running like mad midgets between grass, sand and a freshwater lake trotted after their adults too.

Stomachs were full, muscles were tired and a family of garbage pickers was tipping over the recycling bins to fish out aluminum cans. » Read the rest of this entry «

#606: A Most Difficult Chicago Trivia Quiz – The Answers

March 11th, 2016 § permalink

On Wednesday, I put out an incredibly difficult Chicago trivia quiz.

The purpose, aside from the fact I’ve been all coughing and bronchial and wanted a story I could write from my sickbed, was to get people to explore certain sites I like, including this one, Atlas Obscura, the Chicago Collections Consortium, the Chicago History Museum, Mysterious Chicago and Curious City.

So I made the quiz goldanged impossible. (And Curious City, that thing we talked about? It’s handled.)

From the Fool Killer submarine to park bats to Iroquois Theater Assistant Chief Usher Archie Guerin, here are the answers you didn’t get to the 1,001 Chicago Afternoons Really Difficult Trivia Quiz. » Read the rest of this entry «

#605: A Most Difficult Chicago Trivia Quiz

March 9th, 2016 § permalink

You might know the Iroquois Theater Fire happened in 1903, but do you know the name of the assistant chief usher called to testify after?

Sure, you know that the first self-sustained nuclear chain reaction was at the U of C campus, but do you know what sport the room was originally made for? » Read the rest of this entry «

#602: Chicago, the Home of the Pie in the Face

March 2nd, 2016 § permalink

The largest pie fight in cinematic history was in Laurel and Hardy’s “The Battle of the Century” from 1927. More than 3,000 pies were used.

The most famous unseen pie fight was the original ending of 1963’s “Dr. Strangelove,” in which a massive pie fight breaks out in the war room. It was scrapped because no one told the actors to play it straight, or because it was filmed shortly before Kennedy was shot and the line “Our President has been struck down in his prime!” after getting hit by a pie was a little close to home, depending on which version of the story you believe.

But the very first cinematic pie in the face in history was right here in Chicago. » Read the rest of this entry «

#569: The 1,001 Chicago Afternoons Holiday Gift Guide

December 16th, 2015 § permalink

Although Hanukkah is over, there is actually another gift-giving holiday in December.

Followers of the sect known as Christianity celebrate a special day called “Christ-mas” in which trees are slaughtered, cookies are left for fat, flying elvish deer-herders and Irishmen receive massive amounts of birds.

In case you want to purchase a gift for this regional folk festival, here are some ideas that will support a few of the people and organizations I’ve written about in the 150 stories that have appeared on this site so far in 2015. » Read the rest of this entry «

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