By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): On a January morning in 1943, the town of Spearfish, South Dakota experienced very weird weather. At 7:30am the temperature was minus-four-degrees Fahrenheit. In the next two minutes, due to an unusual type of wind sweeping down over nearby Lookout Mountain, thermometers shot up forty-nine degrees. Over the next hour and a half, the air grew even warmer. But by 9:30am, the temperature had plummeted back to minus-four degrees. I’m wondering if your moods might swing with this much bounce in the coming weeks. As long as you keep in mind that no single feeling is likely to last very long, it doesn’t have to be a problem. You may even find a way to enjoy the breathtaking ebbs and flows. Halloween costume suggestion: roller-coaster rider, Jekyll and Hyde, warm clothes on one side of your body and shorts or bathing suit on the other. Read the rest of this entry »
By Tony Fitzpatrick
As I write this, the Cubs have gone down two games to nothing to the hated Mets.
I surprised a great many of my diehard Sox fan friends by wishing the Cubs well in the playoffs. “Traitor”! they squealed, “turncoat,” they inveighed, Blah Blah Blah.
I honestly couldn’t find it in my heart to hate on this team; they play the game the way the game ought to be played. And as much as I love my White Sox, it was a good deal more fun watching the Cubs this year because they honestly looked like they were at play, rather than grinding it out at work. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): According to the online etymological dictionary, the verb “fascinate” entered the English language in the sixteenth century. It was derived from the Middle French fasciner and the Latin fascinatus, which are translated as “bewitch, enchant, put under a spell.” In the nineteenth century, “fascinate” expanded in meaning to include “delight, attract, hold the attention of.” I suspect you will soon have experiences that could activate both senses of “fascinate.” My advice is to get the most out of your delightful attractions without slipping into bewitchment. Is that even possible? It will require you to exercise fine discernment, but yes, it is. Read the rest of this entry »
Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick
By Tony Fitzpatrick
When he was in his thirties, my friend Vince Solano could hit a golf ball 300 yards. He was thick, had huge arms and the strength of a weightlifter. Now, thirty-five years later, he is trim, much slimmer and still loves to golf.
I’ve known him since I was twelve years old and possibly the worst caddy in the history of golf. Oh, I knew my yardages and carried the bag well enough–often two bags–and I actually had a great deal of acuity reading greens; planes made sense to me because I drew a lot and this helped. I just didn’t give a fuck about golf.
I liked caddying because it was cash money, right now; because golfers told dirty jokes, bitched about their bosses, wives, kids and politics and, in a very real way, exposed the secret life most men live. On the golf course, guys didn’t have to keep their guard up or be polite. They could gamble with abandon, drink, swear and, in four-hour increments, be free men. They could walk out in nature without their phones ringing or their bosses carving on their dicks. It was a place to shut out the noise. Read the rest of this entry »
Gabe Klein (left) toasts the new riverwalk with Active Transportation Alliance cofounder Randy Neufeld/Photo: Steven Vance
Ex-Chicago Department of Transportation chief Gabe Klein says that when he returned to Chicago earlier this month for his first real visit since he resigned almost two years ago, it was a highly emotional experience. He was finally able to see the Bloomingdale Trail and the Chicago Riverwalk extension, projects that he spearheaded as commissioner, filled with people enjoying themselves. “It reinforced to me that there’s such a huge demand, particularly in urban spaces, just for great places to hang out.”
Klein was in town for a conference on “shared mobility” tools like bike-sharing and car-sharing. He was partly there to talk up his new book “Start-Up City: Inspiring Private & Public Entrepreneurship, Getting Projects Done, & Having Fun” (Island Press), a primer on how to quickly make improvements to cities in the face of grinding bureaucracy. Disclosure: I contributed a photo for the pint-sized paperback, of the commissioner striding diagonally across Jackson and State during the ribbon cutting for the city’s first “pedestrian scramble” intersection.
Klein came to CDOT in May of 2011 as part of the Rahm Emanuel administration, following a stint as director of the Washington, D.C. transportation department. During his two-and-a-half years in Chicago he also launched the (highly controversial) speed camera program, built dozens of miles of buffered and protected bike lanes, created the Divvy bike-share system, and planned the Loop Link bus rapid transit corridor. He says he quit the job to move back to D.C. for the birth of his daughter Simone, whose name was partly inspired by noted Chicagophile Simone de Beauvoir. Read the rest of this entry »
FREE WILL ASTROLOGY
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Here’s actor Bill Murray’s advice about relationships: “If you have someone that you think is The One, don’t just say, ‘OK, let’s pick a date. Let’s get married.’ Take that person and travel around the world. Buy a plane ticket for the two of you to go to places that are hard to go to and hard to get out of. And if, when you come back, you’re still in love with that person, get married at the airport.” In the coming weeks, Aries, I suggest you make comparable moves to test and deepen your own closest alliances. See what it’s like to get more seriously and deliriously intimate. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): If I warned you not to trust anyone, I hope you would reject my simplistic fear-mongering. If I suggested that you trust everyone unconditionally, I hope you would dismiss my delusional naiveté. But it’s important to acknowledge that the smart approach is far more difficult than those two extremes. You’ve got to evaluate each person and even each situation on a case-by-case basis. There may be unpredictable folks who are trustworthy some of the time, but not always. Can you be both affably open-hearted and slyly discerning? It’s especially important that you do so in the next sixteen days. Read the rest of this entry »
Cover by Fletcher Martin
“We shall leave, for remembrance, one rusty iron heart.”
—Nelson Algren, “City on the Make”
What’s rattling around that rusty heart some fifty years hence Algren’s lovingly caustic sendoff? For some, a boomtown of glass-sheathed skyscraping ambition and beautifully manicured space. For others, a city on the brink, potholed with equal parts resilience and resilient decay.
Maybe not so much has changed. Maybe this bifurcated nature—what Algren called the “Janus-faced city” and what might today just be called a condition of “the Global City”—has always been an elemental part of the city’s framework. From the Gilded Age splendor of Prairie Avenue hulking over Jane Addams masses, to Operation Breadbasket pushing up against Gold Coast shores, it’s a city aggressively unsure of how sure a place it is.
These multitudes play out in the city’s streets everyday, where the design of the city’s buildings, parks, transportation networks and policies all inform the way we go about our daily lives. It’s design that makes Chicago, and Chicago, long home to the most transcendent of American design moments and movements, makes design.
Read the rest of this entry »