Chicago – 5

Every big city is going to have something in the way of a “natural history” museum. Chicago is no exception; the Field Museum is located smack in the middle of a park on the lake shore, on the wrong side of the Lake Shore Drive. Which makes it a bit inconvenient to get to, if you can’t figure out the bus routes and forget that you have a transit pass….and approach it from the side where the entrance happens to be closed that day….

But if you can pass – or at least bulldoze your way through – that intelligence test, the museum is well worth it. Continue reading

Chicago – 4

Given how many tour boats are on the Chicago River at any one time, it must be some sort of legal requirement that all visitors take a tour when they are in the city. There are several choices for type, length, and time of tour, but the most common ones are those that take you around the waterways to see the collection of interesting buildings in the downtown area. A primer, as it were – with examples – of 20th century American architecture.

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Chicago – 3

Remembering the walking food tour I took on my visit to Denver, I looked for similar tours in Chicago. A company called “Bobby’s Bike Tours” offered a couple. They looked good, so I booked a tour that combined a little bit of history with some of the city’s “iconic” foods.

Well, I did want to try deep dish pizza in the place that invented it, so….

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Chicago – 2

As I mentioned, Chicago is home to two major league baseball teams – the Cubs and the White Sox. The city is home to a few more professional sportsball teams, but I don’t care about them. So it was just a matter of finding a week when both teams would have some home games, and then scheduling my visit then.

While neither of their home stadia are in the downtown area, they are both convenient to mass transit. Wrigley Field was first on the schedule.

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Chicago – 1

So, I’m back. Like my last post didn’t give you a hint that I was going somewhere. And the title of this post ought to tell you where I went.

Why Chicago?

Well, I’d never been there before (changing planes at O’Hare doesn’t count). They’ve got a great science museum, a great art museum, and they’re home to two baseball teams. So why not? I’ll have plenty of things to see and do. Continue reading

Vacation Anxiety

For the first time in over three years, I will be actually going someplace for a real vacation. Not a day trip, not a weekend getaway, but an actual “Book a flight and hotel and activities” vacation.

And I’m nervous as all heck about it.

It’s not that I’m uncomfortable about flying or going to a place I’ve never been before; I can handle that. And I can read a map and use mass transit. It’s that I’m still an “old school” guy, and I want paper tickets for everything. I can cope with getting a QR or bar code to be scanned in, but did I remember to get them all? Where did I store them on my smartphone? Why do I have to get them separately from my reservation? Can’t you send them to me automatically – like you do with my purchase confirmation?

Then there’s packing. I always bring an extra pair of socks and underwear – but how many shoes will I need? What special personal care products should I bring? I’ll make a list, of course, but will I leave something off it? Does my bank have any ATMs in the area around my hotel? How much cash should I bring? How much cash should I reserve for the trip back? All those little things…..

Speaking of coming back, what do I need to take care of at home before I leave? Grocery shopping? Take out the garbage? Clean the bathroom? I should point out that I share an apartment with a guy who cannot be trusted to do any basic cleaning…. I’m not worried about mail or even e-mail; I’m not involved in anything important where I can’t be away from it for a week. Though there are a few things I need to do almost as soon as I get back.

Then there’s work. I’m not sure I can trust my co-workers to NOT leave me piles of crap on my desk. I have a lot of little responsibilities that they can easily ignore for a few days. Some of them, though, involve the maintenance of office equipment like the postage meter. Whenever there’s even a tiny hiccup, they come to me to deal with it rather than figure it out themselves. So, since I’m a nice guy, I want to make sure that everything is in good shape before I go…..

All these little, nagging things. I almost need a vacation from my vacation.

Movies I’d Like to See – The Sci-Fi Series

From James Bond to Game of Thrones, successful book series are huge sources of ideas for moviemakers. You get a reasonably guaranteed audience for several films. Done right, they can be cash cows for a studio.

There’s one series that I think could make for decent movies: Harry Harrison’s “Stainless Steel Rat” science fiction novels.

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On the 2022 All Star Game

Well, that was BORING. All the excitement happened in the first few innings.

I know you can’t expect much from an exhibition game, or even a regular game in an era when pitching is so dominant. But seeing so little going on had me flipping the channel to the Cartoon Network quite often.

FOX did itself no favors. Nor Baseball, for that matter. It can be fun to have players wearing microphones so you can chat with them during the game, but it should never take precedence over the game itself – especially when you’re going to ask the same stupid question (“What’s it like being here?”) every time. The absolute worst instance was when they had David Ortiz goofing around in the AL dugout while ALL TIME GREAT Miguel Cabrera was at bat for his only appearance in the game. If the purpose of the game is to promote the game’s best players, then PROMOTE THE PLAYERS. Tell us when a new player comes into the game; tell us something about them and what they did to earn the spot on the roster….

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A Modest All-Star Game Proposal

Despite being the “Midsummer Classic” and featuring the best players in the game, baseball’s All-Star Game has been rather dull of late. In addition to the “very little action happens” that the game as a whole is suffering, the game itself is structured so that the superstar players – the ones baseball wants to showcase – leave the game after a few innings and aren’t around in the later innings when the game is on the line. They’re both fine players, but who really wants to see Josh Hader face Ty France (for example) when the game is tied in the 8th inning?

Needless to say, I’ve got an idea. Continue reading

Reading the Kama Sutra – 7

Part the Sixth is titled simply “About Courtesans”. In six chapters, it covers – in great, broad swaths – the professional sex worker. Not just your basic everyday prostitutes, but any woman who trades sex and / or the “appearance” of love for money or goods. The high-class call girl, the “gold digger”, the “kept woman”…. All the ways women make a nice living with their beauty.

I can’t tell if this is a “How To” guide, a “What to Watch Out For” warning, or even the usual “This is How It’s Done” overview. The tone wanders all over the place, and the topics don’t seem very organized. The modern commentary notes that at the time the original texts were written, there were places where sex work was not only perfectly legal, but regulated by the government. So it makes sense for the Kama Sutra to devote some words to the “oldest profession”. Continue reading