Category: Chicago

Musical Shoes

A black suit with a black bowler hat to match, the hat covered brim to brim with black sequence, sunglasses as black as the suit.  The man could be blind behind there, behind those dark as night shades, it wouldn’t make any difference in the dimly light underground subway.  Crisp white gloves on each hand, black tap shoes on each foot, coupled together with a red bow tie over a white button down shirt.

With a beat in his legs to match the tap in his foot, he searches through his flip book cd collection, searching for the song in his bones.  He creates a mood with his energy as much as he does with his percussion step. His style is sleek, his dress is subtly costumed, his demeanor that of the born dancer.  He chooses an old jazz song to start, tapping on top of the melody, hands jazzed to accompany the horns, he spins with spirit, glides with an effortless slide. This guy gives the cha-cha an easy-going jive, he twirls arms wide, with a smile of childish glee hidden behind the dark black suit.

He seem to do it out of enjoyment, not for the tips, although the box is clearly marked and never empty.

A one man act, he steal the attention of the traveling masses, stops that hustle of the day, casts a performer’s spell on the rushed crowd with his musical shoes.



Friday Night Rush

Tucked away in the corner of the train I am surrounded by the calm masses that are in a hurry to get home. Sardined in my seat, squished in my spot, silently we wander wayward towards home.  The subdued rush is content with the distraction found in the small handheld phone. Conversations rage on silently, games are individually studied with concentrated attention, eyes are trained at the tiny yet enthralling miniature screen. The train car packed with people, without an inch to give on all sides, remains quiet.  There is nothing to say to the fellow strangers, nothing to talk about on this trip away from the week of work.  Only the gentle sway of the train teetering on the parallel tracks, rocking us like children to our final destination, is the full extent of the action in this crowd.  The silent soldiers of the work force are content passing through the dark and rainy evening.  The train gradually empties as I slowly speed home, fresh air fills the vacated spaces.

The Tomato’s Last Stand

I sort through the ruby red jewels, the tiny gems left from the great last garden heist.   The wonderland of tomatoes is just about depleted, just about wrinkled up, ready to wink out of existence.  There are still a few more catches to be had, then back to the grocery store to get tomatoes from Mexico, tomatoes in a can, tomato paste in a tube.


Hot Melody, Peaceful Fire

Somewhere in between frozen blue finger tips, and purple prune hot bath hands, there will be the fire red finger type jazz of hot burgundy passion, both subdued like Benny Goodman and ablaze like Chuck Berry, steady as steam like Chuck Higgins, smooth like Frank Sinatra, as moody as Miles Davis.  In that short time of transition between fire and ice, my fingers jazz.

Obtuse Stance

Man spread.  Why do you need to take up three seats on the train with your wide angle leg posture?  You cannot point your knees forward like a civilized human, you have to point them in an obtuse angle, creating a triangle of empty space in between your legs.  I don’t want to squish my lady bits either but I still have the decency to cross my legs so that others can sit down.  Not only is this extremely rude, I don’t want to see the innards of your crotch.  Have some respect for the ladies.  Most all men do this, but how many ladies do you see spreading their legs wide taking up half of the train?  Are you doing this promote your masculinity?  Are you that insecure that you have to act like you have basketballs for balls?  I simply do not understand where this obscene common behavior is stemming from.  I know men can cross there legs and I know that is has nothing to do with having outdoor plumbing.  In fact, when I see man spreading out like butter on a hot day, I assume that he is overcompensating for something.  Oh its more comfortable to sit like that?  Well yeah I know but you are on public transportation.  I want to lie down and stick my hands down my pants but you know what? I don’t.  Because I have manners.

Midnight Hug

The dark world is comforting with its constant midnight hug.  I miss the sun but the forever night is appealing with the bright glowing lights.  This warm yellow light in inviting with its lazy glow.  The slow and constant wintertime rains feels like staying under the covers for the whole day, comfortably hiding from the outside world.  There is something magical about the mystery of the long moonlight.  Something provocative about the deep black, something charming about the abyss of black holing you stead fast in a cozy embrace.

Eulogy for the Working Man

Everyone is dressed so seriously in their dark navy pants, black jackets, brown boots, gray hoodies, houndstooth hats, herringbone trousers, mahogany leather purses, chestnut gloves, maroon socks. The rush hour traffic is dressed subdued, ready for a funeral procession, solemn as a depressed preacher, lonely as a poet, dismal as a rainy autumn day.  I feel adequately prepared for the day in my purple pants, bright legs ready for the dance of another day, ready to jig for another hustle . In this parade of sad clowns, I am the outlier.

A White Thanksgiving?


I love the falling snow.  The flirtatious fluttering of giant, soft snowflakes topple downward, cartwheeling in the glee of being free from the heaviness of aquatic drops.  It is so pretty and peaceful.   The snowflakes lazily glide down without a care in the world, unaware of how its light weight can cause such a heavy burden.  You cannot capture the elusive snowflake, it vanishes upon touch.  It’s almost magical in its existence, this complex crystal of frozen water.  A frozen prism that sparkles rainbow confetti.  Each one is so intricate and so fragile, so blissfully inspiring in how such a small, delicate, almost invisible object cause can such dismay, foul language, full hearted grunts, such a scurry in the step, can change the mood of an entire city.  In a snowflake’s moment, the whimsical crystal can dispatch an entire fleet of large trucks with shovels so giant that you question the laws of gravity.   It certainly is motivating, these tiny lightweight miracles, that collectively can impact the world so ostentatiously.

Food Writing Upgrade

Not to focus the full fury of Marigold’s spite directly at one particular website, but the thesis of this particular argument is one that supports a more diverse amount of websites to deal with said issue.  There really is only one in which to point the digital finger, and that lucky contestant is Yelp.

Restaurants hate Yelp because it is the opinion of the ignorant masses.  The public also is over Yelp because it does not offer well balanced advice.   Yet consumers continue to use the website because they don’t know where else to go for a quick and informed decision on where to eat dinner, lunch, a quick snack, who offers breakfast.  There are so many restaurants in the big city, and so many contingents to evaluate.  Hungry people pour over stranger’s opinions and place their fate in what to order based on this amateur information.

The fact that Yelp is so popular and so mediocre goes to show that we need to have more food writers, more restaurant critics, and more websites that can digest this giant culinary scene for the hungry and rushed masses.  There needs to be more information offered up in the reviews, such as where is good for a group, where is good for a casual encounter, where is good for a quiet date, where is good for music, where is good to dine alone.  What places focus on healthy food, what places have small portions or large plates.  Where should you take your mom?  All of these fields of inquiry are important, but instead of having an informative amount of information provided, we get endless pictures of food and chef gossip.

We need more food professionals, more writers for digestion.

Gifts from the Garden


Late ripening heirloom tomatoes are the trend in the 7th inning stretch in the Chicago summer.  The secrets of their jeweled inside hang seductively like hidden chandeliers.

We are uncertain if the good times are over, or if the weather might swing back into a good mood before the long hibernation ahead.