Reasoning my way to a reluctant vote for Pritzker

Is not voting ever a responsible choice? I really don’t want to vote in the Illinois governor’s race. Voting for the antiunion Bruce Rauner was never a consideration, but I was prepared to reluctantly vote for J. B. Pritzker until hearing about the toilet scam. Seems like it would be voting for a crook. The... Read more »

Renting a car for no reason except to drive

Do people take Sunday drives anymore? When I was a kid, we’d eat Sunday dinner at my grandparents’ house on the East Side of Joliet, and then all eight of us would pile into the car for a trip to Pilcher Park, always stopping at the greenhouse and the artesian well. Sunday drives have largely... Read more »

Learning about Native Americans firsthand

“Are you a native?” I asked the Lyft driver who was taking me to pick up a rental car in Albuquerque. I meant native of Albuquerque, but she thought I meant Native American. It was an understandable assumption: New Mexico has a higher percentage of Native Americans, almost 11 percent, than any state except Alaska.... Read more »
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In containers, creeping charlie is not a weed

In containers, creeping charlie is not a weed
“My definition of a weed,” the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Tim Johnson wrote in his Chicago Tribune gardening column, “is a plant that is growing where it is not wanted.” I had started to compose a post that began the same way: The best definition of a weed is anything that grows where you don’t want... Read more »

Leaving the Catholic Church but not leaving it behind

Every member of my family but me is still Catholic. Some liberal friends remain Catholic as well, considering the church their parish and not the institution. I couldn’t do it. I hesitated to write a post on this topic because I didn’t want to offend anyone I care about, but nothing I say can be... Read more »

Hometown prison opened for tours

“When did you get out?” We Joliet natives were used to getting that question. Two prisons weren’t my hometown’s only claims to fame. Joliet had the first junior college in the nation. Basketball star George Mikan, actress Mercedes McCambridge, children’s author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, and singer-songwriter Lionel Richie were among the luminaries with Joliet roots.... Read more »
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Time for another Chicago to-do list

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about having been to only two of the places on Chicago magazine’s 2018 best of Chicago list. I score better with the self-made list I blogged about in May 2016. Now that I’ve gone to a Chicago Sky game (August 19), all but one of the things on... Read more »

Love pizza? Check out pizza museum

How many different types of pizza have you eaten? According to Kendall Bruns, there are 16 styles of pizza, and Chicagoans can sample all but one of them right here. The 40-year-old Chicagoan will rattle off restaurants serving coal-fired or Neapolitan or whatever pizza style you favor. But don’t expect him to tell you his... Read more »

What does it mean to know a city?

Best of Chicago features — like that in the August Chicago magazine — make me feel I don’t get out enough. Of the 57 places highlighted, I’ve been to two and heard of three others. More than 90 percent of this year’s Chicago bests are off my radar. How is it possible that I’ve lived... Read more »
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An indelicate topic: Is cat poop a health risk to humans?

The headline on Advocate Health Care’s daily health email — “Is poop everywhere?” — made me chuckle. I live with a cat that has inflammatory bowel disease. I had just finished walking around with a solution of Nature’s Miracle, a sponge, and a scrub brush when the email arrived. I wrote about Lizzy a couple of... Read more »