#948: A Drink at Hinky Dink’s

July 2nd, 2018 § permalink

It’s the home of sweatshirts and domestic beer, Bud Light bottles and Steppenwolf overhead. Cubs on two TVs, Sox on two, but when the classic rock dies down, the sound is Sox, even in the seventh-inning stretch.

“-eanuts and Cracker Jack,” the guest singers for the late April Cubs game wordlessly mouth. » Read the rest of this entry «

#947: Fillet of Soul

June 29th, 2018 § permalink

I was alone amid the plastic palm trees, the stack of South Shopper coupon magazines and a display of Gospel Tract and Bible Society leaflets expounding fundamentalist Christianity.

Behind the door behind the counter behind the bulletproof Plexi, a woman worked to make my sandwich. I was left to poke around the empty pickup area of Dan’s Soul Food and Bakery on 79th in Ashburn.  » Read the rest of this entry «

#946: First They Came…

June 27th, 2018 § permalink

First they came for the immigrants, and I did not speak out—

Because when they go low, we go high. » Read the rest of this entry «

#945: The Chicago Corruption Walking Tour Book — A Hail Mary Pass with Dinosaurs

June 25th, 2018 § permalink

For the past two-ish years, I’ve been trying to find a publisher for a book version of the Chicago Corruption Walking Tour.

No dice.

So, in a sort of Hail Mary pass spurred by the fact the Field Museum moved SUE the T. rex out of the main hall so I have to find a new scene-setting bit for the intro anyway, here is the latest draft of the intro. Hopefully, it’ll whet your appetite to either take the tour or to say, “By gad, why I’m a publisher looking to find hot new properties that will appeal to adult nonfiction readers in the political science segment, the highest earner within Publisher Weekly’s History/Law/Political Science category, which saw 9.3 million unit sales in the first six months of 2017 — a 25 percent increase over the same six months in 2016! It makes great business sense to email this Paul fellow at 1001chicago@gmail.com!”

And if not, hey, at least you’re getting a fun read today. » Read the rest of this entry «

#944: The Ins of Court

June 22nd, 2018 § permalink

There are certain mornings that are wet, certain ones that are noir.

It’s a day when getting off a rain-blattered train stop at Washington and Wells dressed in smart if rumpled business attire seems like the only natural step, as if taking one step off the safe and well-trod will cast you into a world of intrigue, violence, the guffiniest of MacGuffins and finally learning the difference between a woman and a dame.

What better morning for hunting down a missing street? » Read the rest of this entry «

#943: The S.E.P. Field

June 20th, 2018 § permalink

I don’t know how many times I’ve ridden the ‘L’ around the Loop studying things.

It’s not a deep study nor a particularly insightful one. It’s a simple joy of trundling down the tracks and looking at buildings, staring at passersby and wondering where they’re off to, the delightful daydreaming and examination created by a cityworth of visual stimuli splayed around you at a time you don’t have to worry about getting hit by a car.

But in all these views where I’ve ogled pretty architecture and daydreamed about what would happen if I, like, totally stole that guy’s briefcase and ran off giggling, I had never noticed the blank-faced building. » Read the rest of this entry «

#942: The Thick Red Line

June 18th, 2018 § permalink

D41. Hazardous. “Mexicans are scattered thruout, as well as other foreign elements.”

It’s Tri-Taylor.

B67. Still Desirable. “Jewish infiltration has started along the edges and may be expected to continue because of favorable reputation and location.”

It’s Ravenswood Manor.

D74. Hazardous. “[The then-upcoming Ida B. Wells federal housing project] has the realtors guessing as to what the ultimate result will be when so many of this race are drawn into this section from the already negro-blighted district… Already Washington Park at the south, a very fine park, has been almost completely monopolized by the colored race… Washington Park is doomed.”

I’m reading about the history of America. I’m reading about redlining. » Read the rest of this entry «

#941: The Romance of the Rickety (Or Elon Musk is the Simpsons Monorail Salesman and You Can’t Convince Me Otherwise)

June 15th, 2018 § permalink

I don’t like how the train shrieks when it goes around even the slightest of bends.

It shrieks and croaks and I think if one could actually hear metal fatiguing in real time, that’s what going around the Loop in 2018 would sound like.

I don’t like how the corners all smell like pee, how if you do find a quiet nook where you can prop up against a window, sip coffee and watch the tops of trees meander by, you’re forced to wonder what dried where you’re sitting.

I don’t like when the homeless people scream or when I feel like a horrible person for wishing someone away when they just want to find a place to sleep without freezing to death.

But I’d take all the smell, noise and moral ambiguity a thousand times over Elon Musk. » Read the rest of this entry «

#940: The Sleepy Magician

June 13th, 2018 § permalink

“People ask why I bring my bag,” the magician said, gently tapping the toiletry kit he had set on the stage’s lone chair. “It’s just some personal possessions in case I get deported.”

The joke was, of course, found in the color of the magician’s skin and the sing-song Tapatío accent with which he charmed the crowd. It was a dark joke told lightly. It was masterful.

It wouldn’t be the last time the sleepy magician amazed. » Read the rest of this entry «

#939: The Jazz Singer

June 11th, 2018 § permalink

We’re sitting on a couch. I’m sipping tea. The walls are filled with art and the house pet is an app-controlled R2D2.

The jazz singer is talking about her clothes.  » Read the rest of this entry «

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