Thursday, October 29, 2009

Remember When . . .

Last night, I was telling the lovely Miss Healthypants about advances in the telephone industry that I’ve seen in my lifetime.

She replied, “Man, your are old.”

Actually, I’m not that old. It’s just that my little bitty home town in Texas was really behind the times. (They didn’t get push-button phones until 1983.)

So, for all the old folks out there, can any of you remember the following?

1. Telling the operator that you’d like to place a person-to-person long-distance call.

2. Placing a station-to-station long-distance phone call.

3. Phone numbers that contained letters. (Our phone number was MI 5-3191. Before that, it was OL 9-2368)

4. Sending or receiving a telegram.

5. Requesting the operator to place an overseas phone call and waiting for her to call you back when it was connected.

6. The first time you placed a long-distance phone call by dialing it yourself.

7. Calling someone who had a party line.

8. Knowing what a party line is.

9. The first time you ever used a push-button phone.

10. The thrill of using call-waiting for the first time.

Yes, I can remember all those things. (Man, I am old.)

How did we ever survive back then before the age of cell phones, email, Facebook, and online pornography?

I’ll tell you how -- We used clunky dial phones, wrote letters, visited each other in person and looked at underwear photos in the JC Penney catalogue like God intended.

I sound like an old fuddy-duddy and that’s not the case. Ever since I placed my first long-distance, direct-dialed phone call at the age of ten, (which was totally groovy) I’ve been a communication technology nerd.

Big time.

In the mid-eighties, I worked in the International department at a bank in Austin and practically got aroused every time I sent a Telex to Taiwan or Singapore. I’d even smoke a cigarette afterward.

I love the fact that I can play Scrabble on Facebook with friends all over the Earf.
Love. It.

I get nervous whenever I forget to bring my cell phone with me anywhere.

See? I fully embrace technology.

However, I still get insanely irritated whenever anyone texts me. That’s when I pick up my 1964 rotary dial Trimline phone, dial their number and ask them what the hell they wanted.

Man, I am old.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Tips

Are you concerned about how your overly-effeminate little boy will fare this Halloween? Have you run out of ways to "butch up" that little prancer of yours as he goes door-to-door?

Well, thanks to these great tips, all your problems have been solved!

(This really is one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time.)


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Winter is Coming

Here’s a photo of the farmer’s market in its final hour as it is closing down for the winter months. It’s been here every Tuesday in the plaza of my workplace since May and I really enjoy its bounty every week. I said goodbye today to the happy vendors that I’ve come to know over the last few months.

When it opens during the chilly month of May, spring onions, leeks, snap peas, and tart little strawberries herald the end of winter. As the warm summer months take over, a huge abundance of fresh corn, tomatoes and juicy red peppers are there to enjoy.

Today, as the temperature was in the high 40s, I stopped by as they were putting everything away for the last time. Winter is right around the corner and with that, I bought two pounds of Brussels sprouts, some acorn squash, and a few apples that had managed to straggle in just before the cider house ruled.

And that’s just as it should be.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Swine Flu's Second Cousin

I’ve not been blogging much lately because I’ve been a sick puppy. It wasn’t the swine flu but it was probably a second cousin to it.

My boss actually sent me home from work last Wednesday because I was emanating cappuccino-machine sounds from my office. I had a fever of 37.9 when I got home. (I still have a thermometer from when I lived in Canada and haven’t bothered to buy a new one.) I stayed home on Thursday and Friday.

I managed to make a big pot of 16-bean stew to nourish me through the whole endeavor but ended up eating pizza instead. I couldn’t attend choir rehearsal on Saturday. My voice had been so rattly that I could sing a low A -- the one two octaves below middle-C. That was scary. However, on Sunday I was feeling much better and was back in choir with my fellow tenors.

I remember being sick as a kid. My brother and I seemed to have more than our fair share of tonsillitis growing up. My mom or grandmother (Budgie) would supply us with the usual fare consisting of grilled cheese sandwiches. They made them with longhorn cheddar and mayonnaise – I loved them that way. But there was also the ubiquitous Campbell’s Tomato Soup -- a most vile substance if there ever was one. To this day whenever I see the tomato soup commercial and hear the narrator singing its praises, I become a Republican and shout, “You lie!”

Another reason I haven’t blogged is because my computer caught a much worse virus than I did. And it didn’t make it.

It kept giving me messages like “I have to shut down in a most unusual way” and then it would just freeze up. It was a horrible virus. I fed it grilled cheese sandwiches with mayonnaise, but alas, it didn’t make it.

So, I ordered a new one. After all, having a new one sent is immensely easier than trying to spend any amount of time on the phone with a technician in India. Also, you can customize PCs now and I was able to order one in blue. Having a blue computer was exceedingly important to me. I’m also looking forward to using Windows 7.

I’m really glad my illness wasn’t worse. After all, I have to go to Peoria next week for work. And if you recall, the Applebee’s in East Peoria is just about the best in the state.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Try Not to Smile

Check out this little impromptu piano duet that took place in the lobby of the Mayo clinic. The gentleman is 90 years old and he and his wife have been married 62 years.

You absolutely cannot watch this without smiling.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Afternoon Scene - Applebee's

I told you I was probably going to post a photo from an Applebee’s parking lot.

This is the Applebee’s in Jacksonville, Illinois.

Mind you, it’s certainly no Applebee’s in East Peoria, but it is better than the Applebee’s in Aurora.

Monday, October 19, 2009

On the Road Again. . . .

It's late on Sunday night and I've got a half-packed suitcase beside me along with lots of media, presentation-type of equipment strewn about. Yes, I'm heading out of town in the morning and will be on the road all week for work.

This trip will take me, once again, to Springfield. I'll also be going to Quincy, Illinois which is in the farthest western portion of the state. Actually, I think Quincy is closer to Las Vegas than it is to Chicago. It seems that way, anyway.

I'll take my camera with me and try to supply you with breathtaking scenes from across the exciting state of Illinois.

Like the parking lot of an Applebee's.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Morning Scene - A Life Saver

I must have crossed the State Street Bridge over the Chicago River thousands of times in the past few years but never noticed that there’s an emergency life saver in a glass case just before you cross the bridge.

I looked for life savers at a couple of other bridges but there aren’t any. I wonder why?
Do the city authorities think that people will only fall off the State Street Bridge? Do pedestrians have a tendency to fall off this bridge and not the others?

These are questions I want to get to the bottom of.

I can just imagine the following scenario. Miss Healthypants and I are walking across the Clark Street Bridge and notice a pedestrian in the Chicago River below:

"Oh, look. A pedestrian has fallen in the Chicago River below."

"It looks like he’s drowning."

"That’s too bad. If we were on the State Street Bridge we could toss him a life saver."

"Yeah. . . . "

. . . .

"Hey, you wanna grab some Thai food?"

"Sounds like a plan to me."

My Secret Pastime

I’m going to admit something here that I’ve never told anyone before.

No one.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit this – but here goes. . .

. . . I like The Andy Griffith Show and watch it just about every day.

There. I said it.

The Andy Griffith Show really does remind me in a lot of ways of my little bitty home town in Texas where I grew up. The people in both Mayberry and my LBHT led simple lives, everyone knew each other’s business, and it was a really big deal for Mayberrians to travel to the big city of Raleigh just like it was for us to travel to Houston.

But one thing I’ve noticed about the characters on Andy Griffith is that they seem to have an aversion to telling anyone what they really think. In just about every episode, they seem to go out of their way in order to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings with simple honesty.

That bugs me.

Why can’t the nice people of Mayberry just come out with it and say:

Aunt Bee, no one likes your homemade pickles. They’re terrible.

Andy, just drop it with the fake Southern accent. No one else in Mayberry talks that way. Not even your son, Opie.

Andy, where in the world did you come up with that stupid name ‘Opie’?

Goober, for crying out loud, you’re only 30 years old. Stop wearing your pants up around your nipples.

Floyd, get some medication for your Attention Deficit Disorder.

Howard, just come out of the closet already. Even Opie says you throw a baseball like Aunt Bee. (He really said that in one episode.) The jig is up, Howard. We know.

Miss Crump, for God’s sake, put away those hideous fake eyelashes.

Opie, just once, would you act like a real kid and have a meltdown? You’re going to explode.

Clara, you’re a nosy busybody and no one really likes you. Stay home and don’t ever come over again.

Barney, you’re a useless twit and we have no idea how you got to be a deputy.

That’s what I wish they’d say. But they won’t.

Andy and Opie just keep fishing while Howard keeps up with his weekly business trips to Raleigh.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

They're Creepy and They're Kookey . . .

Chicago may not have won the 2016 Olympic bid, but we’re certainly making up for it next month.

Normally, Broadway musicals come to Chicago after they’ve been on Broadway, but this time it’ll be the other way around.

On November 13, Chicagoans will be treated to the world premier of Addams Family – The Musical.” And then it will head to Broadway.

Now, that sounds like a lot of fun just in itself. But guess who’s playing the lead, Morticia?

Remember Lilith from Cheers?

Yes, the incredible Bebe Neuwirth will be playing Morticia in Addams Family – The Musical. All I have to say is, WOW!

Neuwirth has tons of experience in Broadway musicals and I cannot imagine anyone more perfect to play Morticia in a musical rendition of The Addams Family.

Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.

I loved this series as a kid. It was SO much more sophisticated than The Munsters. The girl I got roped into taking to the senior prom looked a LOT like (and acted like) Morticia. My younger brother teased me about it incessantly.

I also adored the cold, analytical character of Lilith on Cheers. One of my favorite lines was when, after Niles had a one-night stand with her, he said, "I learned that if you kiss her too fast, you get an ice cream headache."

So, you can imagine how excited I am over this musical.

You can bet that I’ll be there soon after it opens. Now if I can just find someone to go with me.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Morning Scene - Aqua

The 81-story building called "Aqua" is now complete and being occupied. I think it's simply stunning.

Years from now, I hope it doesn't become a silly example of early 21st-century architecture when architects were getting carried away with letting computers design complex structures.

But it probably will.

Labels: ,

Monday, October 12, 2009

Morning Scene - Hotel 71

This 36-story, 385 ft. structure located at 71 East Wacker was formerly the Clarion House Hotel which was formely the Executive House Hotel. It was designed in 1957 and completed in 1960.

Although its utilitarian structure is not the most glamorous thing to look at, it is a prime example of architecture from the late 1950s. Incidentally, only the east side of the building has 90-degree angles.

Labels: ,

Saturday, October 10, 2009


A couple of years ago I decided to take a simple subject and see if I could expound upon it to make an entire piece out of it. The subject was “nutmeg” and my posting about got quite a few responses from far and wide.

You can read it here.

Since “nutmeg” worked so well, this posting shall be about “cinnamon.”

Cinnamon . . . .

Okay, first of all, I’ve never particularly liked the flavoring of cinnamon.

Candies and gums from the 1960s that featured cinnamon flavors always seemed to burn my mouth and have a sort of “skunky” flavor.

I didn’t even like cinnamon toast, but my younger brother did.

When I was in the third grade, my parents were going through a difficult separation. My younger brother, Brad, and I were sent to live with our paternal grandmother (Granny) who lived 30 miles away from my little bitty home town.

Granny lived in the next-over little-bitty-home-town and it was even smaller than my own little-bitty one. Granny was also the principle at the local junior high school, my Uncle Nathan (her son) was the principle at the high school, and my Aunt Dixie was an elementary school teacher nearby. All three were in a two-block radius.

(The cinnamon connection will come in a little bit, I assure you.)

Even though my brother and I were going through a difficult, splitting-up family situation and being sent to an entirely different school, we were fortunate to have been surrounded by lots of family within the school system. I was in one room in the 3rd grade with my cousin, another cousin was in the 2nd grade and Brad was next door in the 1st grade.

Granny, Uncle Nathan, and Aunt Dixie were school officials in the very next buildings. (Believe me, none of us kids got away with anything, nor did we ever even think of trying to do so for that matter. Loving eyes were upon us at all times.)

Every day after school, the four of us kids rode the bus to the family ranch house where my aunt and uncle lived. After (literally) walking a mile down a dusty dirt road we’d be greeted by my Aunt Dixie who would have us all sit down and complete our homework. (But after a really substantial, homemade snack had been supplied.)

She was a schoolteacher and would supervise our homework, mostly in math. I remember Aunt Dixie helping me and me cousin, Than (short for Nathan) with multiplication drills as well as math word-problems.

For about seven months, my younger brother, Brad, and I lived with Granny during that school term of 1967. She had a small house in town where we lived, away from the ranch house.

For some reason, I remember that Granny always prepared four slices of toast, each, for Brad and me every morning. She had a small toaster-oven rather than the usual pop-up toaster beside the table in the breakfast nook. (It was one of those 1940s tables with the curved chrome legs and the Formica table top.)

She’d prepare four slices of plain toast with butter for me (which I preferred) and then four slices of sugary cinnamon toast for Brad. She knew I didn’t like the sweet cinnamon toast but (hmmm) I can still remember that she sort of enjoyed preparing that “extra” cinnamon toast for Brad.

It was an unusually cold Winter that year of 1967, and I can remember my brother and I huddling in our pajamas on the floor by the gas heater under the chrome table legs, eating our four slices of buttered toast.

Brad’s had cinnamon.

Sure, four slices of buttery toast might not have been most nutritious breakfast for two little ones. But Granny had already been well-familiarized with the raising of two boys just two decades prior. (My dad and Uncle Nathan, who were two years apart just like Brad and me.)

She already knew that if you can fill up two hungry boy-tummies with breakfast . . Great.
If you can do it with something they like, do it efficiently, without them fighting . . .
. . . Even better.

Brad and I ate our toast every morning, huddled down in the corner by the heater. Granny was probably silently enjoying her coffee before planning her day being the principal of the local Junior High school.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that she was also a piano and violin instructor and gave me my first piano lessons during that time? She supplied me with weekly piano and violin lessons. (I hated the violin -- but ended up studying the piano for the rest of my life.)

Looking back, I realize that my grandmother was an incredibly talented woman. She definitely utilized a very powerful command over the direction of her own life . . .
. . . along a subtle use of it over those around her.

I only wish I could have known her much longer.

To this day, my favorite breakfast is toast, simply buttered.
That’s it.
Nothing else.

If I could eat it in my pajamas on a cold winter morning huddled up by a gas heater, all the better.

Brad likes cinnamon toast.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Work It

I hate working out. I really do.

I know I should get more exercise, especially now that I’m firmly implanted in middle age. I feel a lot better when I exercise. I really do want to look good and feel good and live a long, healthy life. I really do.

But working out hurts. And I don't like pain.

We’ve heard the saying, “No pain, No gain.” My mom who has been an athletic coach all my life is particularly fond of that saying. I love my mom like nobody else but you know how those coaches are.

But my philosophy has always been,

“No pain . . .

Hey . . . . no pain!”

I have this great membership at a very nice health club that couldn’t be more convenient for me to go to. It’s next door to my workplace and even connected by an underground walkway so you don’t even have to go outside to get there.

My workplace gets a discount there and then even pays for half of our memberships. My employer obviously wants us to be healthy. It’s practically a crime for me not to go there on a regular basis.

It even has a sushi bar inside.

But still, I haven’t been going.

No pain . .

. . . well, you know.

However, I am going to go today for one reason and one reason only.

I need my shoes shined.

You see, this health club is so nice that it has a shoe shining service. You just plop your shoes in the window by the dressing room and when you’re done with your workout, your shoes are waiting for you all nice and shiny.

I hate to shine shoes and I’m not very good at it either.

So, I’m going to work out today just so I can get my shoes shined.

Isn’t that just about the most pitiful thing ever?

I was on the phone with my friend, Jack, today and telling him about this. (Jack, by the way, works out all the time. He’s even running in the Chicago Marathon on Sunday.)

Here’s our conversation:

"So, how many times have you had your shoes shined?" he asked.


I really should work out.

Look at Anderson Cooper from CNN.

He’s always been this pasty, skinny news anchor but he’s been buffing up lately now that he’s middle aged. Someone snapped this photo of the Coopster working out yesterday. Could I be doing the same thing?
Just look at those guns. . .

My guess is he’s just dating someone way younger.

But see? He’s obviously in terrible pain and pain is what I try to avoid if at all possible.

I’ll bet his shoes are really shiny, though.

Mine could use a lot of shining right now.

Labels: ,

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Every Eleven Years

My dear friend, Miss Healthypants, just posted a very nice piece about what was going on in her life every ten years and how the passage of time will often surprise us.

So, I’m unabashedly stealing this idea and will do the same. However, I’ll do it in eleven year intervals because I don’t like even numbers and I’m fascinated with the prime ones.

Also, for some auspicious reason, my life really sucked big time when I was 10, 20, 30, and 40 years old. You don’t want to hear about that. Trust me.

11 years old: Lobster wasn’t available at all anywhere near my little bitty home town and I really wanted to try it. So for my 11th birthday, my mom and grandmother took me out to eat at this Dutch-themed seafood restaurant in San Antonio called the Zuider Zee for one of those pick-out-your-own-lobster dinners. I was one excited kid. It cost a whopping (are you ready for this?) eight dollars and seventy-five cents! I felt SO special.

Also that year, I got sent to the principal’s office for telling a bully to “Shut your f**king mouth.” I was finally coming into my own and finding my voice. . . .

22 years old: I was in college and singing (and playing the alto recorder) in one of those nerdy Madrigal groups. I also discovered that I hated Renaissance Fairs. By the way, if you have hairy legs, it takes two pairs of tights to cover them properly.

I was also working behind the front desk at a Holiday Inn where the cast and crew of Best Little Whorehouse in Texas was staying. They were filming in nearby Hallettsville Texas for about three weeks.
Dom DeLouise propositioned me.
No lie.
(I politely declined.)

33 years old: I had just converted to Roman Catholicism and had become obsessed with monastic life. Also, my spiritual director happened to be one of the monks at the Cistercian monastery near Dallas. I was seriously considering joining and did end up joining a year later. I have to say that this was just about one of the happiest times of my life.
It was all very Thomas Merton.

I also quit smoking that year.

44 years old: Although the beginning of religious life was the happiest time of my life, seven years of it left me horribly, clinically depressed not to mention horribly, clinically addicted to sleep medication at the age of 40. By the time I was 44, I had moved to Chicago, gotten a good job and had wonderful friends like Miss Healthypants.
Chicago has definitely been good to me.

Now, if I could only lose about 30 pounds. . . after all, I really don’t want to end up looking like Dom DeLouise when I'm 55.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

As the Whorl Turns

After you read this, you’re going to find yourself constantly looking at the back of men’s heads. Mark my words.

Here’s the deal . . .

Take notice of a guy’s crown and, if his hair is short, you’ll notice that there is a hair “whorl”.

Here is a hair whorl.

Well, apparently this sociologist discovered that a far majority of hair whorls go in a clockwise direction – 92% to be exact -- but only in heterosexual men. Only 8% of heterosexual men have a counter-clockwise hair whorl.

However, in homosexual men, 30% of their whorls go counter-clockwise. (29.8% to be exact) He studied hundreds of men, both gay and straight and discovered these statistics.

Click here for the article.

Here's an illustration for you:

This guy likes to play football.

This guy likes football players.

Since I read this, I’ve been noticing hair whorls and, occasionally, I’ll see a counter-clockwise one. Three gay men I know have counter-clockwise whorls. That’s pretty a pretty significant percentage, considering how I don’t have many friends. (One guy I know has two whorls; one clockwise and one counter-clockwise and he said it’s always been a pain to deal with.)

Oh, and mine is counter-clockwise, by the way.

Now that you've been imparted with this information, I shall unleash you upon the public to observe the whorls around you.
Have fun with that.

Labels: ,

Trump Tower and Mather Building

I love this pic of the new Trump Tower juxtaposed with the top of the old Mather Building (which is my favorite building in all of Chicago.)

Labels: ,

Morning Scene - Water Works

The plaza in front of my workplace has this fountain and waterfall operating during the warmer months. It's a nice place to eat your lunch with all that pleasant white noise going on. I was surprised to see it still operating in October, so I took these photos yesterday.

This morning as I was coming into work, I noticed the fountain subside down to a dribble and then . . . off.

Winter is right around the corner.

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Huge Inconvenience

As of today, the laundry room in my building is closed for renovation. Each 60-story tower of Marina Towers has a laundry room on the 20th floors and, beginning today, mine will be out of commission for about a month.

Even though only half of my stuff needed laundering, I did laundry last night knowing that it wouldn’t be convenient to do so for the next month.

Everyone else in my building had the same bright idea.

I’ve never seen that poor laundry room so busy. Everyone coming in and out of the elevators had laundry baskets with them.

It’s not like we won’t have access to a laundry room for the next month. It’ll just be a little inconvenient to walk across the lobby and up to the other tower. And, of course, the laundry room in the other tower will be serving double-duty for a while.

Still, we were all getting our laundry done before this HUGE INCONVENIENCE set it. You could feel the tension in the laundry room and see the panic in each other’s eyes. It was as if we were Titanic passengers, leaping for the last lifeboats.

The next month will be difficult. I’ve thought of different strategies I could employ rather than subjecting myself to the HUGE INCONVENIENCE of schlepping my dirty underpants to the other tower and back.

I’ll admit that my laundry basically consists of underpants, socks and towels. I don’t launder my own shirts and pants because then you have to iron them and, well, that’s just not gonna happen. I have them all dry-cleaned instead.

I could just keep buying new underwear and socks until the new laundry room is ready. (It’s not like I haven’t bought new undies when I ran out of clean ones.)

I could hand-wash everything in the bathtub rather than trudging all the way across the lobby with my laundry. (Don’t think I haven’t considered it.)

What if I get all the way across the lobby, up the other tower, and all the washers are occupied? I might have to come back and do the trek across the lobby all over again!

Sigh. . . .

At least, for now, I’ve got a good supply of clean laundry.

For now.

I’ll keep you all posted on this precarious situation.

Morning Scene - Just the Tops

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Puppy Mass

Sunday was the Feast of St. Francis and so we had the traditional "Puppy Mass" as I like to call it.

St. Francis was the patron saint of animals so it's traditional that there is a service in which a Blessing of the Animals is provided. Attendees are invited to bring their pets to church for a blessing. I know that sounds strange, but the service is really touching and, besides, it's pretty fun to see a cathedral filled with pets. The Episcopal church where I'm singing had one as well, attended mostly by our canine friends.

So that's why I call it Puppy Mass.

A friend of mine wanted to know what sort of hymns were appropriate for this service. I can never remember the names of hymns (or for most things for that matter). I knew we'd be singing All Things Bright and Beautiful but since I can't ever remember that, I've always called it The Tiny Wing Song because it includes the following verse:

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

See? The Tiny Wing Song.

Anyway, here are some photos as our canine congregation was congregating outside.

There was a big fella in attendance; a 110-lb chocolate Labrador named Rock.

And, on the other end of the spectrum was this little guy of Chihuahuan descent, dressed in his Sunday finest.

A few more of our furry friends.
Plenty of water bowls were supplied.
A playful little meet-n-greet session broke out before the procession.
The pastor gave a few instructions to our guests on how to process in.
All the pets processed into the cathedral before the clergy and choir. Once we began to process in, they let loose with their "joyful noises."

At one point, I looked down from the choir loft and noticed Rock sitting near the front. He was perched on his haunches in the pew with his big paws on the back of the pew in front of him. Every once and a while, he'd let out a bark which would get all the other furry friends going.

Afterward, I got to give Rock a big hug. As I was changing out of my choir robe, I noticed copious amounts of dog-slobber on my sleeve.

Oh well. That's just part of singing at Puppy Mass.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

My Most Favorite Sandwich Ever

My friend, Jack, gave me some lovely tomatoes from his garden the other day. I'm sure you'll agree that there's nothing quite as good as a garden-ripe, homemade tomato. Having these tomatoes on hand, I've been eating My Most Favorite Sandwich Ever.

Here's how you do it.

Spread some really good mayonnaise on white sandwich bread.
Do not neglect the corners.
Add thick slices of the tomatoes along with slices of extra-sharp white cheddar cheese.

Assemble the sandwich and nuke it just long enough to take the chill off, but not so that the cheese melts.

And, there you have it.
My Most Favorite Sandwich Ever.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Downtown Chicago - 24 Hours in 60 Seconds

This is so cool.


A Good Slap in the Face

Chicagoans gathered at Daley Plaza react to the news:

You know, even though it would have been exciting to have the 2016 Olympic Games here in Chicago, (not to mention the boatload of cash I could have made) I fully agree with the IOC’s vote that eliminated Chicago in the first round.

We don’t deserve to host the Olympics here. We just don’t.

There have been four Olympic Games here in the U.S. during my lifetime:

Lake Placid
Los Angeles
Salt Lake City.

The U.S. is not the center of the world. Let’s give other countries a chance.

Also, look at the violence here in the U.S. compared to other countries. The homicide rate, alone, should prevent the U.S. from ever being considered. Ever.
BTW - the homicide rate in Rio dropped by 30% last year.
Chicago's rose by 15%.
When all is said and done, I think the main reason we lost the bid was because of the Cubs.
It's Chicago. It's always the Cubs' fault.

It’s too bad Billy Mays died a few months ago. His presence in Copenhagen would have typified what we're all about in this country much more accurately than anyone else.
By the way - -
Rio de Janeiro!
(At least the Games will be sexy!)


Morning Scene - Vincent

Vincent was sporting a striped, mustard-colored ensemble this morning.

Labels: ,

Chicago 2016 - Today's the Day

The announcement of which city will host the 2016 Olympic Games will be made today just before noon, our time.

All of us at my workplace will be watching the announcement at that time. I'm really excited, because although Chicago looks like it has the lead, you just don't know. It'll be interesting to feel the reaction the instant the candidate city is named.

If Rio wins it, I really will be happy for them. They want it SO badly and they are such a lovely, passionate people.

No matter what the outcome of Chicago's bid will be, you can bet that Fox News will use it as another opportunity to trash Obama. Either way, it'll be interesting to see how they pull it off.
Those guys can be SO creative.

Labels: ,

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Evening Scene - The Aon Center

For the past couple of weeks, the front doors at my workplace (Aon Center) have been closed periodically and I didn’t know why.

Here’s why:

From the Chicago Tribune:

The countdown to the Olympic bid announcement has been exhausting -- just ask the 20 or so workers armed with black plastic and duct tape at the Aon Center.

Since Sept. 16, the team of engineers, carpenters and others has hustled to create 12-story countdown numbers by illuminating and shading offices on the building's south side. Wednesday night was "2" -- a tricky numeral because of its curves and points. Thursday night will be "1," which is more difficult than it looks, said Matt Amato, general manager for
Jones Lang LaSalle, which manages the tower at 200 E. Randolph St.

Workers usually wait until office employees are gone to haul in ladders and step stools. They politely ask late-working tenants to leave their lights on or to allow a shade to be taped up as they work, Amato said.

People don't always remember.

"There have been plenty of nights where I or another staff member has stood out in the middle of
Millennium Park to see how it looks and then we see there's a light missing on the 50th floor, the fourth window," Amato said.

In those cases, workers use walkie-talkies to communicate the glitch back to staff, who make necessary adjustments inside the building. Aon's countdown, which has required a different Excel spreadsheet design and change of window dressing every night for more than two weeks, is the building's most ambitious to date, Amato said.

(Our offices are on the south side but only on the 22nd floor.)

Here’s a test-run they did the other night:

Labels: , ,

Morning Scene - 35 West Wacker Drive

Also known as the Leo Burnett Building, this 46 story, 635 foot tall structure is a prime example of the “Chicago Style” of architecture. Constructed in 1989 with a dark granite façade, the windows contain stainless steel bars that provide a lightened appearance to the darker structure -- typical of many skyscrapers in Chicago’s downtown area.

Also noteworthy are the four open structures at the twelfth story level.

For the life of me, I cannot find out what they are for or what purpose they serve. They aren't observation decks, for I've never seen anyone in them. I’ve heard tour boat narrators call attention to them, but haven’t been able to hear what they are saying.

Every day when I walk by this building, I wonder about those darn things. One of these days, I'll walk in and ask the security personnel.