Category: Chicago

Why I don't miss working as 'holiday help'

By all reports, the roaring economy has made retail stores desperate for seasonal workers, or what used to be called “Christmas help.” This brings back memories of my own adventures working in retail during the holiday season. The first was in the 1980s, when I was an 18-year-old college freshman. I took a job at... Read more »

Taking carriage horses off Chicago's streets is an idea whose time has come

If you’re like me, your heart has ached witnessing horses hauling carriages down congested Mag Mile area streets in the brutal cold of a Chicago winter night, or the scorching heat of summer, and you’ve felt helpless to do anything for these creatures. On Wednesday, September 12, at 11 a.m., the Chicago City Council Committee... Read more »

Attempts to sanction bus operator for offensive ad could run afoul of First Amendment

Suburban Express, a Champaign-based bus line that serves Illinois college students, provoked outrage recently when it sent a promotional email to University of Illinois students that read: “You won’t feel like you’re in China when you’re on our buses.” The line, from what I’ve read, was an apparent reference to the allegedly high number of... Read more »

Keep those tops on, ladies. Federal court upholds Chicago's public nudity ordinance

A time may come when women can successfully make the case that as long as men are allowed to bare their chests in public (man-boobs and all), then in the name of gender equality women should be allowed to as well. But that time is not now, and that place is not Illinois. The U.S.... Read more »

Thank you Eric Barry, you reminded me of the good things about my city

While I was at Foster Beach the other day enjoying the waning days of summer, my thoughts drifted to, of all things and people, Eric Barry. You may have heard of him; he’s the self-styled “comedian” and writer who authored a “goodbye letter” to Chicago in Huffington Post that went viral, except not in the... Read more »

Steve Bartman's grace and class sets an example for us all

On Monday the Chicago Cubs announced they were giving the long-suffering Steve Bartman a 2016 World Series ring, as a gesture of forgiveness and “closure” for the infamous 2003 playoff game incident. Bartman’s statement of response was characteristically gracious and conciliatory. Bartman has consistently shown himself to be a class guy who eschews bitterness and... Read more »

Note to the media: It’s not a 4-day “holiday weekend”

  I need to vent people. If I see or hear one more reference to the so-called four-day “Fourth of July holiday weekend,” I’m going to barf. Humbug. Independence Day falls on a Tuesday this year. Not a Saturday, Sunday or Monday. As far as I know, Monday the third of July is not a... Read more »

Prerecorded CTA Voice: Please Shut the "L" Up

Warning:  This post is especially curmudgeonly. On the curmudgeon-o-meter, it’s about a nine. I have ridden commuter subways in Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., London, and for one day, Paris. I feel like I could write a book about it. By far, the one I have ridden most is Chicago’s, and I can’t... Read more »

Ringling Retired Its Elephants, But Big Cats Still Suffer Under Its Big Tent

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is back at the United Center for another Thanksgiving season in Chicago, with “Out of this World.” You may remember that early last year, Ringling announced that after more than a century, it was ending its live elephant act and retiring the long-suffering beasts to sanctuaries beginning in... Read more »

11/9 I Await You: I've Got Political Ad Fatigue

November 9th can’t get here fast enough for me. I feel this way every election year. It’s because I can finally take my TV off mute when the commercials come on. It’s safe to turn the TV on without a relentless onslaught of back-to-back slimy political attack ads, each more brainless than the last. Is it... Read more »