Down goes Columbus!

I grew up in a world where Christopher Columbus was seen as a brave man who took great risks. But that world doesn’t exist anymore. And I’m glad that it doesn’t. The first time I ever really had an idea that Columbus wasn’t universally loved was at a parade in New York City in theContinue reading “Down goes Columbus!”

Thank you for your sacrifice

In a few hours’ time I’ll get up, get dressed, and drive to my job at the Chicago Police Academy. And it will be filled with sadness and grief at the passing of an officer named Samuel Jimenez. A few short months ago he was a recruit, learning all about police work and what itContinue reading “Thank you for your sacrifice”

It’s gonna be a World Series weekend in Chicago

One of my favorite old school Sammy Hagar songs–and I have quite a few of them–is Rock and Roll Weekend. Not only does Sammy name-check Chicago (and Cleveland) toward the end of the song, but he paints an image of the best part of the week, being filled up with the best music there is.Continue reading “It’s gonna be a World Series weekend in Chicago”

Something Old, Something New

It’s been a quiet February on the blog front. The enthusiasm I once had for doing this has ebbed, and I like sleeping at night, too. But I recently had my annual Cubs preview posted on (has it really been five years of doing that? Time flies!) and I had a piece that I reconstructed fromContinue reading “Something Old, Something New”

Calling out the biggest gun of all

My younger daughter’s school finds itself without a principal, at the beginning of a new school year. This is a recipe for disaster at any school, but when a school has thousands of students, the stakes are raised immeasurably. In such a situation, a leader is needed to provide a firm hand. I know ofContinue reading “Calling out the biggest gun of all”

A kick ass American weekend

The first time that I ever felt any national pride over a sporting event was the Miracle on Ice hockey team at the 1980 Winter Olympics. I was 11 years old, and giddy at the prospect of beating the big, bad Soviets at what appeared to be their own game. Flash forward 35 years, toContinue reading “A kick ass American weekend”

My Grateful Beard has disappeared

I spent much of February 2015 growing a beard. It originally grew out of the hockey-related idea of a playoff beard. If you keep a routine that does not allow for shaving to intrude, the thinking goes, it will somehow create a benefit for one’s team. Or at least it allows you to share theContinue reading “My Grateful Beard has disappeared”

Complicated and off-kilter

  I’m a big Abraham Lincoln fan, and I’ve written about statues of him, and busts, and artworks, and really anything else I could find. But Lincoln Avenue has somehow escaped my attention, until now. Last night I found myself driving down Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, and I realized a couple of things. There areContinue reading “Complicated and off-kilter”

Rock and roll band

  Last night, on a soggy beach in Chicago, I saw Boston play live for the first time in my life. I’ve written about Boston many times in this space, and hearing their music in the company of thousands more who also appreciate their unique sound meant a lot to me. I was once aContinue reading “Rock and roll band”

Better than expected

Sometimes things don’t go the way you expect. That’s what happened for a group of college alumni in Chicago in the year 1887. They had gathered at the Farragut boat club on Thanksgiving day, trying to find out the results of the annual football game between Harvard and Yale. I’m not sure how that workedContinue reading “Better than expected”

A regrettable clearance sale

Losing a bookstore is an odd paradox. On the one hand, the prices are slashed so that the store’s inventory can be moved quickly. But on the other hand, the store goes away once the sale is over. And the world needs more bookstores, not less. Such was my dilemma today when I visited Powell’sContinue reading “A regrettable clearance sale”

Nature’s beauty in the city

I felt like I should have been in a zoo, as I watched three lovely, full grown swans grazing freely in a public park near the Chicago river. As I got nearer to take their photograph, I expected them to fly away, as most birds would. But they remained calm, and began to chatter amongContinue reading “Nature’s beauty in the city”

Sweet home Chicago

The image above is taken from a mural on a parking garage on South State street. It’s a colorful interpretation of my hometown, and I’m glad to share it here. Is the train coming or going? That’s for the viewer to determine, but either way its passengers will end up back in Chicago somehow. AndContinue reading “Sweet home Chicago”

Keeping Winter at bay

Today is the birthday of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who is best known for The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, but who also wrote the following couplet: The love of learning, the sequestered nooks And all the sweet serenity of books There’s another cold day outside, here in Chicago. Keeping warm is essential this winter, moreContinue reading “Keeping Winter at bay”

Clearing out some space

The dirty secret about the practice of dibs–which is saving a parking spot on the street by putting chairs in the space during the wintertime–is that once somebody saves a spot for themselves, they have no incentive to clear it out. Once it’s theirs, it’s theirs. Or so the thinking goes, anyway. Today the sunContinue reading “Clearing out some space”

Was this the Mother?

Juvenile? Yes, of course it is. But when I drove past this gravesite, quite unintentionally, I saw a picture that just had to be captured. Just as this Fuka (however it’s pronounced) will be seen forever by those who visit this cemetery, so too will they be seen on this tiny little corner of theContinue reading “Was this the Mother?”

Scream without raising your voice

Yesterday I was driving through Chicago on a snowy day. My teenager was exhausted from a day of singing and acting and dancing, so she was asleep in the front seat of the car. I rarely get to pick out the music when she’s in the car so I popped in a U2 CD, andContinue reading “Scream without raising your voice”

Calling Dibs

Whenever a big snowfall happens in Chicago, the parking spaces along the curb get overrun with snow. If you walk down almost any block in the city when this happens, you’ll see parking spots being “saved” by an assortment of chairs, crates, traffic cones, children’s toys, and anything else that happens to be available. TheContinue reading “Calling Dibs”

The day after #Dominick’s went away

I haven’t known a day in Chicago without a Dominick’s store. In some of the places I’ve lived, it was my go-to place to shop. And now, they are all either shut down or in the process of becoming something else. It’s not like somebody has died, or that the world won’t keep spinning withoutContinue reading “The day after #Dominick’s went away”