The extroverts are coming

The extroverts are coming
There was a loud thud in the middle of the night. The groggy watchman lumbered up the steps to the top of the castle tower. He heard another thud and a roar of laughter down below. The watchman saw hundreds of kayaks crossing the Chicago River. A dozen of these plastic boats were now harbored... Read more »

That busted pew in the middle of an Arby's

That busted pew in the middle of an Arby's
When Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the front door of the Catholic church, it was — in theory — a great historic moment. This act of defiance showed that everyone has a voice and anyone could take a stand. It was like the world’s very first religious blog post. I say, “in theory,”... Read more »

Remember when dad would just go to China?

Remember when dad would just go to China?
There will never be another business trip to China. I’m not saying we’ll never go back to normal. Or that Covid will never go away. No, what I’m referring to is a true business trip. Like the ones my dad went on back in the ’90s. Back then, “We’re doing business in China,” meant literally in... Read more »
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50 Medium Rare jokes

Ever since March of 2020, I’ve been cautious to write anything comedic. My internal fear-based logic being, “How can you make jokes when (blank) is happening.” And for 15 months, it seems like we’ve had a pile of (blank) every single day. I write today’s post not to be insensitive or aloof from all the... Read more »

House of Fire Restaurant

House of Fire Restaurant
By: Alicia Leitzen & Chris O’Brien Note – There’s a podcast version of this restaurant profile. You can download/listen on Noteworthy, a storytelling show from Long Overdue. House of Fire is available for delivery on multiple platforms including GrubHub and Doordash. Chris To be clear, I love fast food. I have nothing but nostalgia toward... Read more »

March Madness 2021: Medium Rare Bracket predictions

March Madness 2021: Medium Rare Bracket predictions
Note – If you want to dive right into the picks, click here. You can also skip ahead to the Final Four or a specific region. Final Four West Region East Region Midwest Region South Region But if you don’t mind reading my yearly March Madness reflection, hey, let’s begin! When I was a senior... Read more »
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Medium Rare turns 300: Writing at a grace pace

Medium Rare turns 300: Writing at a grace pace
This is the 300th Medium Rare blog post. With each milestone (100th post, 200th, 250th) I reflect on a couple questions. “Why keep writing Medium Rare?” or “Where’s the finish line?” Here’s what I said in the earlier posts. Why do it – Writing is the one thing I could spend my entire life trying to master and, even... Read more »

The Tell-Tale Heart: A Return Policy

The Tell-Tale Heart: A Return Policy
Background – I saw a headline that certain retailers are allowing customers to keep the product they purchased and still receive a full refund. This led to the idea: What if there was a customer who couldn’t accept this generous return policy. He was wrecked with guilt that he couldn’t return the product. Then what if you took... Read more »

Zoom fatigue and the return to work

Zoom fatigue and the return to work
On Monday morning, there was a Zoom call. 8:30 am. The manager had Mike send out the link. Mike, Carol, and Meghan signed in first. Terrence and Lincoln joined shortly after. Kris had somehow spent the last seven weeks in the Zoom waiting room. “Great, looks like we’re just waiting on Catherine,” the manager said. “And Jack from Del... Read more »
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Brys Estate: A glimpse at paradise

Brys Estate: A glimpse at paradise
On a sunny fall day in 1975, Walt and Eileen Brys toured a winery in Napa Valley. Some number of tastings in, a dream started to form in their imagination. The Brys wanted to create their own winery. The two returned home. Back to reality. Walt went to his job, Eileen stayed at home raising their three kids. The years went... Read more »