Category: Chicago culture

Do you live next to a boarded-up house?

Do you live next to a boarded-up house?
Chicago has many abandoned houses, especially on the west and south sides.  The houses range from simple raised ranches and traditional Chicago bungalows and brownstones to even older stock such as Victorian-era dowagers in Englewood and Kenwood and West Pullman and Roseland. Every house tells a story.  For some of these houses, the story starts... Read more »

Big or Small: How do you like your grocery store?

Big or Small: How do you like your grocery store?
I’m not going to start this post with “when I was a kid”…. So… when I was a kid, grocery stores were magical places, usually because of the “electric eye” that opened and closed the doors.  I used to torture the one at the High- Low Store on South Western Avenue, running in and then... Read more »

Chicago's Father Augustus Tolton -- from slave to saint?

Chicago's Father Augustus Tolton --  from slave to saint?
Dedicated to James, who prays fervently for Father Augustus Tolton to be elevated to Sainthood      “Notice James,” my friend, Michelle,  said.  I looked over to see a dignified man, standing straight and tall, who was lost in prayer, his lips moving silently.  I noticed that after Mass, James went to a portrait of... Read more »
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You can still get "liked" on... MySpace.com

You can still get "liked" on... MySpace.com
A few days ago I thought about MySpace.com.  I once had a page there, or whatever MySpace called its account, but that was way back somewhere in the first term of George W. Bush, about 2003 or 2004. I thought MySpace had gone the way of Compuserve chat rooms.  Who knows, maybe they are still... Read more »

All I want for Christmas is a Dibs Chair

All I want for Christmas is a Dibs Chair
With the first couple of snowfalls in Chicago I am reminded of a tradition called “Dibs”, which probably goes back to when Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was a pup. Even back then, when you shoveled out a spot for your horse or your horse and carriage,  you put out a piece of furniture to block another... Read more »

People in Lustron metal houses should only throw magnets

Thumbnail image for 'People in  Lustron metal houses should only throw magnets'
World War II was over, and millions of returning GI’s were anxious to settle down and start families, only they wanted an immediate bite of the American Dream Pie, so they wanted a house and a white picket fence and a car in the car-port, instead of crammed in city living, which had been the... Read more »
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St. Jude, Armed!

St. Jude,  Armed!
I could not even understand the language, but there it was on foreign television for me to see, news about my hometown, Chicago: 11 dead and 40 injured in Memorial Day shootings. No wonder everybody overseas thinks Al Capone is still alive. Even Big Al is put to shame by this toll.  And embarrassed, even.... Read more »

Vito and Nicks Pizza -- They Don't Deliver. They Don't Have To

Vito and Nicks Pizza -- They Don't Deliver.  They Don't Have To
Aside from Al Capone, memories of the great Michael Jordan and the Sears Tower (Yes, Sears Tower, dammit!), Chicago is known for pizza.  Usually the deserved heaps of praise go to the deep dish pizza titans: Pizzera Uno, Gino’s East or Lou Malnatis.  All well and good.  Very, very good, I might add.   And... Read more »

Chicago Was Once the Most Integrated City -- Just ask its Founder

Chicago Was Once the Most Integrated City -- Just ask its Founder
Who “founded” Chicago? Mayor Daley the First Al Capone Oprah John Du Sable Don’t spend too much time on the quiz.  I tricked it up a bit.  This quiz does not include the Native Americans.  Notice I used quotes around founded, okay? Those who picked the last name picked right, though I did anglice his... Read more »
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"Untouchable" at the Cub's Losers Convention

"Untouchable" at the Cub's Losers Convention
We put the debit card in the box for parking, and it told us that it was going to be twenty dollars and not the cheaper amount displayed at the entrance of the parking lot. The reason: “A Special Event”. What “special event”? When we entered the Hilton and Towers, on South Michigan Avenue, we... Read more »