#775: That Day

April 10th, 2017 § permalink

The penguins toddled a bit. I guess that’s what penguins do on land. They hop and waddle and toddle a bit.

The polar bear just slouched. It slouched back to the colder area of the enclosure; out of sight, out of warm, sunny day.

The lion laid back and let the sun warm its tummy.

It was that day. » Read the rest of this entry «

#774: Bertrand Goldberg vs. The Nazis

April 7th, 2017 § permalink

You know Bertrand Goldberg’s work.

You know it from the half-Jetson, half-corncob conical twin towers of Marina City on the Chicago River. You know it from the looping concrete of River City I and River City II a bit further south along the water. You know the former housing project turned apartment of the Hilliard Homes, or maybe the old Prentice Hospital. But you know the man’s odd, compelling and utterly human approach to housing.

This is the story about Chicago’s skyline was changed by Nazi Germany, a prank call and that time Bertrand Goldberg got super-drunk with his wife. » Read the rest of this entry «

#773: It’s Time We Admit “Land of Lincoln” is a Terrible Slogan

April 5th, 2017 § permalink

I’ve been hearing about it at work for about two weeks.

Just little barbs and jabs. A few references here and there. Snarky asides, glare in the eyes as they call me out.

But I’ll stand by what I said, may god or man judge me how they will: “Land of Lincoln” is a terrible state slogan.

» Read the rest of this entry «

#772: The Antelope Takes Flight

April 3rd, 2017 § permalink

“Man,” she said, lapsing into silence for what my digital recorder tells me was six seconds.

Six seconds might not seem like a long time, but try it sometime. Sit in silence for six seconds at a peppy Streeterville coffee shop after work on a Friday while Fatboy Slim’s 1998 hit “The Rockafeller Skank” blasts about funk soul brothers overhead and you’re trying to explain to a virtual stranger with a digital recorder why you love something you love.

“Sometimes it’s the smell?” she said, laughing. » Read the rest of this entry «

#771: The Harold Washington Robot

March 31st, 2017 § permalink

If you watch the robot instead of the movie he gestured you to, it shifts in its chair.

Once or twice, it blinks, maybe cocks its head. They’re jarringly human gestures. They’re the little twitches and nods a man would make trying to get comfortable while you watched a movie about his life.

But the man has been dead for 30 years. At his desk, a robot sits, gesturing and blinking and being eerily almost natural as it narrates the life of Mayor Harold Washington to visitors to the DuSable Museum of African American History. » Read the rest of this entry «

#770: Quack Cures and How Bad They’d Kill You

March 29th, 2017 § permalink

I’m currently off in South Dakota with the family, looking at dinosaur stuff and chasing the wild jackalope. I’ll be back Thursday, but to tide my throng of fans, here are a few Chicago-based 1800s quack cure ads from a book I bought at Wall Drug, along with brief commentary on if they would kill you. » Read the rest of this entry «

#769: God’s Edmontosaurus

March 27th, 2017 § permalink

Years ago, I visited a creationist dinosaur dig.  » Read the rest of this entry «

#768: Rules for Not Being a Jackass Tourist (and Why Ferris Bueller is Crap)

March 24th, 2017 § permalink

The days are longer. Atypical languages like Italian are heard on trains. Selfie sticks are extended at an exacerbated rate on downtown bridges and the City Winery location on the Riverwalk has clear, plastic geodesic domes for rent so people can sip wine at sunset without freezing their jacquard knit popovers off.

The tourists are coming. » Read the rest of this entry «

#767: On Rooftops

March 22nd, 2017 § permalink

I wonder if I would think about rooftops so much if I didn’t live in Chicago. » Read the rest of this entry «

#766: What I’m Looking For

March 20th, 2017 § permalink

The two-headed calf stared at us as we walked in the door, or at least one head did. » Read the rest of this entry «

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