Archive for February 2016

What is art?

At the risk of sounding like a rube, I’ll admit I seldom visit the Museum of Contemporary Art. When something looks like I could have done it, I have a hard time considering it art. Aficionados have explained that it’s concept, not technical skill, that’s important in modern art. If you’re the first one to... Read more »

Does being warm require an $800 coat?

It’s been ubiquitous this winter, the label with an inverted Arctic map, multiple maple leaves, and “Canada Goose Arctic Program” within a red circle. Canada Goose isn’t the first outerwear brand to have its logo prominently displayed — heck, the North Face, the previous hot brand, displays its name front and back. The blatant advertising... Read more »

Thank you, Harper Lee

When Harper Lee’s death was announced, my first thought was to wish that the last year of To Kill a Mockingbird’s author had been different. That the manuscript for Go Set a Watchman had not been found. That the second novel had not been published, sullying her reputation and Atticus’s. There were rumors that Lee,... Read more »

Listen more to working-class voters and label less

A couple of recent articles in the Chicago Tribune have me thinking about the working class, from which I come. The white working class has been “ignored and belittled for decades” by both political parties,Tribune writer Ron Grossman wrote in a February 16 piece analyzing its attraction to nonestablishment presidential candidates Donald Trump and Bernie... Read more »

Not a plain Jane

(Every now and then I hope to feature inspiring or otherwise interesting people. Jane and David aren’t the real names of the people in this post.) As a Chicago Greeter volunteer, I give tours to out-of-town visitors. Most every guest (as we call them) has been enjoyable, but I’ve seldom liked a guest immediately as... Read more »

It would be hard to coast through Dyja’s The Third Coast

Thomas Dyja’s The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream is the current selection for One Book, One Chicago, the city’s community reading program. It received glowing reviews from the New York Times (“intensely engaging”), Vanity Fair (“a rollicking cultural history”), Publishers Weekly (“a magisterial narrative”), and Booklist (“a thrilling read”), among many others.... Read more »

So much to do in downtown Chicago for free

I lived in Edgewater on Chicago’s Far North Side for 22 years and was happy there, but living downtown was a wish for a long time, especially after I gave up my car. As much as I liked Edgewater and its friendly community, I was getting bored. Where was there to go when I wanted... Read more »

Why would a recently retired editor return to the word business?

I’m five months into freedom from a job, having retired August 31 after working 25 years at Northwestern University as an editor in the publications office. From the time I was hired as a college freshman to write obituaries at the local newspaper, I spent my whole career editing and writing. So, why would I... Read more »