#823: Taste of Chicago

July 31st, 2017 § permalink

Chicago tastes like kimchi and sausage. It takes like bulgogi beef and a side of fries.

Chicago looks like a Saturday night in Bridgeport as the sun dips down into the suburbs and the strings of bulbs flip on over a restaurant’s walled but open-air seating area.

It sounds like parties. It sounds like laughter of friends, the cheers of a tattooed crowd’s surprise birthday and the flirting of the various couples sprinkled throughout Maria’s Community Bar and associated Kimski restaurant touching and eyefucking their way through first, second, third, 85th dates. » Read the rest of this entry «

#822: 7 Lies I Intend to Tell at Tonight’s High School Reunion

July 28th, 2017 § permalink

As mentioned earlier this week, I will be attending my 20th high school reunion this evening.

In advance of what is sure to be a night of memories, revelry and conversations about which teachers were gay, I have prepared seven lies to tell my former classmates.

These lies are not intended to impress the Class of ’97 — what a sad slog that would be, to care about a virtual stranger’s judgment of your life because you sat near each other in fifth-period Econ — but rather for the sheer love of lying to people I kinda sorta know.

Let us begin. » Read the rest of this entry «

#821: The Man in Gray

July 26th, 2017 § permalink

He stepped out of the black SUV by the train station, and I was pretty sure.

His back was to me, though, so I couldn’t be certain. The small man in the gray suit and the two large men in black were consulting over an iPad, so I couldn’t catch a face. The man in gray and one of the men in black broke off to enter the station, leaving the other bodyguard, the SUV and me behind.

I was a step behind the man through the turnstile — I got through, the sensor didn’t beep his Ventra so he did that embarrassing thing where you clonk into the bar. The momentary clonk let me catch up enough to see his face. » 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 «

#819: Tour de Chicago – A Warhellride to the Goddess

July 21st, 2017 § permalink

When I was in Paris, you were cycling through 184 years of Chicago newspaper history.

When I was exploring Le Puy-en-Velay, you went 9.3 miles into the LGBTQ community.

While I was in Marseilles, you took your bike down our endangered lakefront.

My wife and I are following the Tour de France. You’re taking the Tour de Chicago. And for your last stage, a one-mile jaunt down LaSalle Street.

This one’s going to get weird. » Read the rest of this entry «

#818: Tour de Chicago – Lakefront Encroachment

July 19th, 2017 § permalink

If all went according to plan, the wife and I are currently backpacking through Marseilles following the Tour de France and you’ve already taken bike routes through the history of newspapers and the LGBTQ community.

Now let’s talk about the lake. » Read the rest of this entry «

#817: Tour de Chicago – LGBTQ Landmarks

July 17th, 2017 § permalink

For those of you who missed Friday’s story, the missus and I are backpacking through France following the Tour de France for our honeymoon. If everything went according to plan, we’re currently in a little town called Le Puy-en-Velay.

Since I don’t want to miss a moment of this, I loaded up the site before we left with Le Tour de Chicago, four bike routes through famous sites in the city’s history. I’m not posting these as thought exercises — get out there and explore this city.

We rode through Chicago’s newspaper history on Friday, and later this week will learn about lakefront encroachment and something I’m just calling “A Warhellride to the Goddess.”

Today’s bike tour is going to go through some of the spots connected to Chicago’s gay and lesbian community » Read the rest of this entry «

#816: Tour de Chicago – News History by Bike

July 14th, 2017 § permalink

By the time you read these lines, my wife, two travelers backpacks, a whole ton of jetlag and I will have have landed in Paris, France (Motto: The Paris, Texas, of France) for our honeymoon.

Although there will be two days of pastries, Seine and wine, we’re spending the bulk of the trip backpacking, following the Tour de France. It’s a lifelong dream of my wife’s to watch the Tour and a lifelong dream of mine to get drunk at 10 a.m. with skinny Belgians in wicking fabric.

While I’m watching Austrians argue over what exactly went down between Cavendish and Sagan, I leave you my city with your own cycling tour. This and the next three stories will come in the form of bike tours I designed taking you to different sites in Chicago history. » Read the rest of this entry «

#815: Dan O’Leary, the Plucky Pedestrian

July 12th, 2017 § permalink

As mentioned before, I collect old, weird books. The older and weirder, the better, from 1880s children’s math textbooks to disco-era restaurant guides to old pulps and manuals for radio station technologies and sound effects in the 1930s.

It’s a cheap hobby — by nature, no one wants these weirdos. But every Ahab has his white whale, every Gatsby his Daisy. My obsession is, at some point in my life, holding a copy of 1878′s “Biographical Sketch of Daniel O’Leary, Champion Pedestrian of the World: Together with a Full Account of all his Great Walks in the Past” by John E. Tansey.

It’s a story about Chicago’s professional pedestrian Dan O’Leary. » 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 «

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