Wednesday, December 21, 2005

An email from to me: might like to know that Dispossessed: Life in Our World's Urban Slums will be released in paperback soon.

Woo hoo!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Some random things from the news:

Sean Paul talks with Jim DeRogatis of the Sun-Times about his progressive attitudes towards women:

Just the other day, I was in Chicago seeing a lady walking to work, and she had a baby on her arm and work stuff in the other hand. You do not see many men doing that. So if I tell a woman, 'Shake that thing / I find you sexy to me,' I hope that's inspiring her to feel, 'Yeah, I work hard all the time, and I've gotta take care of the kids, but someone sees that I'm hot,' and that makes her feel good about herself."

Suzanne C. Ryan of the Boston Globe chats with Mike Wallace:

Q. President George W. Bush has declined to be interviewed by you. What would you ask him if you had the chance?

A. What in the world prepared you to be the commander in chief of the largest superpower in the world? In your background, Mr. President, you apparently were incurious. You didn't want to travel. You knew very little about the military ... The governor of Texas doesn't have the kind of power that some governors have ... Why do you think they nominated you? ... Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that the country is so [expletive] up?

And a man in Miami Beach has lynched Santa Claus (it's worth looking at the pictures):

"It's just wrong, I mean who would want their children to see this, and it reminds adults of lynching," neighbor Estelle Farnsworth said. "It's just nasty, there is no spirit of Christmas in this."

The Santa also has his hands and legs bound by some type of wire.

"Now the kids are sad with that, you know, because they say it's not fair with Santa," neighbor Tanira Giacian said. "Santa should be around bringing their gifts, looking for the gifts, and not hanging on a tree. They're just kind of scared of that."

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I'm working on a story for class about how the pension system for the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority-responsible for the el and buses) is underfunded. This is every bit as exciting as it sounds.

Anyway, while digging through Google, I came across this gem about Carole Brown, Chairman of the CTA. This comes from the time when she was profiled by Crain's Chicago Business as one of the "40 Under 40." Brown had only recently been appointed as Chair.

It took her only a few weeks on the job to recognize the CTA's importance to area residents. "A lot of us just know it is there, but we don't think about how many people rely on it or the impact it has on people's lives," she says.

I mean, who knew that people rely on mass transit? Presumably candidates to chair a gigantic mass transit system might have given the matter a thought or two.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I bought a painting today. Isn't that weird?

I stood in the store a few weeks ago pondering buying a pair of sneakers, shoes that I knew I wanted, could afford, and were on sale for a good price. I am not an impulsive shopper.

So if I dithered around about spending $45 on sneakers, classic Adidas Sambas, I'm kind of amazed that I bought this painting (which cost more than the sneakers, less than a month's rent. I wouldn't be so cagey but it was quite affordable and I think the artist is great and I want him to sell a ton of work and get paid big-time and somehow I feel like actually putting the price here on the internet would set a weird cyberspace price celing into motion so why not be safe?)

There was an arts and crafts show at Hull House today. They threw open their doors to artists and craftspeople this weekend to set up tables and show their work.

It was all fine, nothing I really cared for but only one dreadful table with plastic doll faces sewn onto mammoth crochet-dresses. I went because I was hanging out with my friend Barry and his boyfriend, Mitch, who heard about the show and had somehow imagined that he was going to discover a little-old-lady knitter who made amazing gray hats. My fantasy life has never included discovering amazing homemade hats but it takes all kinds.

So I looked around and then, tucked into a hallway, were these paintings. I almost hate giving the link here because seeing the paintings on the internet isn't quite the same. Of course it isn't, otherwise we'd all just dial into the Louvre or whatever. I looked at them and then we walked down the corridor to see the other folks stuck in the weird, side space, and then back to Harry's stuff. And looked and looked. He had a little booklet with color copies of other recent work and I connected with this work. There was one smaller painting I liked very much. Isn't that cool? I really thought about that one but I kept returning to this one. Actually, mine is slightly different; same guys but the writing is different. Tiny, penciled words that surround the figures. I really wish it came across better online. I wish that looking at that image on your computer screen could make you feel the way that I feel when I look at the painting. I was going to type the words that surround the figures but that isn't likely to make things any better so you are going to have to take my word or just come over and look at it.

I didn't mention the part about him being from Tennessee. I had the feeling that he was the only artist there who isn't from Chicago. He said that he hoped to learn more about the Chicago art scene by participating in this show.

"I have a crush on your paintings," I said.

Somehow, they made me feel like Tennessee. They made me feel like the very best parts of living in Nashville, the music and the cars that would drive crazy because the drivers knew me and wanted to honk and wave and offer me a ride. Even though I love Chicago and it feels like home it doesn't feel like that.

They weren't expensive paintings but they were more than I had. He told me to make an offer. And I stood there, wondering how I would feel if I left without it. The show runs tomorrow as well, the smart thing would be to go home and sleep on it then, if I still wanted it, I could go back tomorrow and make an offer.

But Barry has a car, I don't, and we're supposed to get 2-4" of snow tonight and the more I thought about it, the more I worried that it might slip away, that I might not get to act on this crush.

After I wrote a check (do I normally carry around a checkbook? No, I do not) we put the painting in Barry's car and went back to their apartment to eat nachos and watch dumb home decorating shows and play with their dogs. And all the time there I tried to engineer some buyer's remorse, wanting to check in with myself and see how I felt. Was that a weird rush, where I just bought something expensive in the heat of the moment without really thinking about it and now I would feel stupid, having this big painting as a reminder of that dumb afternoon?


I was happy when we got back in the car and I could look at it again. And I moved some prints around in my living room, to give the painting a good spot. Now when I come home, walk through the kitchen, and into the living room BAM there they are, those two guys dancing.

Just because something starts out as a crush doesn't mean it won't blossom into love.