27 October 2005

Another reason I love Chicago

Toward the end of the day, Science Boy calls me and tells me to meet him at "the Chagall" after work.

And I can.

It has just been filling my heart to think that our beautiful City has public art on the order of Chagall's Four Seasons, just on a corner by the El.

We are so lucky.


YAY! for our fabulous Chicago White Sox on their World Series Win!

Talked to Jim, my brother in Phoenix, right after the game. He was sad not to be here, but turned his ambulance siren on in solidarity. He said his son has been wearing the Sox shirts I sent him this week. I just sent both kids new t-shirts this past weekend, so we'll make sure they remain Sox fans, even from far away.

Science Boy and I watched the games from home. Last night, he made sure we put on some white socks during the sixth innning. Curiously, they scored shortly thereafter. (Actually, the night before, they were behiond when he realized he wasn't wearing white socks so he changed. The Sox surpassed the Astros soon after, so maybe he's on to something.)

We are not big Party People, but we did walk down to our neighborhood bar to share a quick beer and some celebration there. It was really cool to see so many people so happy and hugging each other. (Plus, our favorite bartended gave me back my moeny once she realized it was us and told us it was on the house.)

So, I'm not really a Cubs fan (though I guess I'd cheer them on if they ever made the series), but there is an article by a Cubs fan in the Trib this morning.

I am rambly, I think. And REALLY tired. (My brother, Wilhelm, called from Vegas around 1:45 this morning. Eek!) Nothing more to say, except:


25 October 2005

Ho, ho, ho...

"The man who gave the Jolly Green Giant a booming baritone 'Ho, Ho, Ho,' singer Len Dresslar, has died of cancer at the age of 80."

Read the whole story.

Get well soon, Studs!

I heard on WBEZ that Chicago's beloved Studs Terkel is in the hospital after undergoing heart surgery. It was said that he is doing well and expected to fully recover. I wish him all the best and send him good thoughts and lots of love.

Studs' latest book is And They All Sang: Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey It is, of course, getting fabulous reviews. Booklist gave it a starred review:

"Studs Terkel--Pulitzer Prize-winning author, oral historian, radio personality, raconteur, and humanitarian--has grappled with life's tough predicaments (poverty, war, prejudice, injustice, and death) in vital conversations with both regular folks and people in the public eye. But as much as Terkel has been a clarion champion of human rights and peace, he has also been an ardent and expert celebrator of the arts... In each priceless give-and-take, Terkel captures the distinct personality of each artist and the spirit of his or her world-altering music. Terkel is like no other in his eloquence, humor, empathy, and generosity."

In checking my library's card catalog, I see we have a copy on shelf. I am on my way to get it now.

In Memoriam: Rosa Parks

"I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear." (Rosa Parks)

Rosa Parks, angel of the Civil Rights movement, died last night in her home in Detroit. She was 92 years old.

In my work in public libraries, I have seen Ms. parks' remarkable story bring the Civil Rights movement alive to countless children. While they learn of many heroes -- people who faced daunting odds and challenges yet fought to make the world a better place in spite of this -- somehow, children seem able to relate to this story of a woman who had worked hard and was tired and was sick of being told where to sit on the bus. Stories of her life are always in demand in the public library, hopefully inspiring the next generation who will fight for justice in an unjust world.

There is an interview with Rosa Parks, conducted in 1996, here and a profile by Rita Dove here. Obituaries abound on the web, including this one on CNN.

Also, for a gorgeous picture book treatment of Rosa Parks' story, check out Nikki Giovanni's newest book, Rosa.

Rosa once said, "Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others." I wish peace to Rosa's loved ones and hope they find comfort and inspiration in knowing how deeply she touched -- and changed -- our world.

18 October 2005

All I needed to make my day...

FINALLY, the new Stevie Wonder cd, A Time to Love has been released. I stopped to get it on my way in to work. I have to say, definitely worth my wait!

Also eagerly anticipated, the penultimate Lemony Snicket book, fittingly titled The Penultimate Pearl. I can hardly stand it! I waited until the fabulous Sandmeyer's (my favorite local independent bookstore) opened and ran right down there to get it. Another great dedication: "To Beatrice -- No one could extinguish my love, or your house." Hopefully, we'll get more clues about the enigmatic Mr. Snicket as the story of the poor Baudelaires continues to unfold.

And, if those things weren't nice enough, the effusively friendly Greek man who runs the lot where I park my car on days I bring it to work told me, "Your face, it is sweeter than honey. I swear to God, you are so beautiful." Yeah, he's full of shit, but it's still nice to hear...

Sigh. A happy day, indeed!

14 October 2005


The trailer for the upcoming Curious George film is now on-line.

I don't like it.

Then again, that's just one opinion...

13 October 2005

Help a Katrina Survivor

I know there are at least 100 ways to assist Katrina victims monetarily. Here, though, is your chance to buy a cool New Orleans t-shirt while helping a New Orleanian artist rebuild his studio and his life. Jonathan Schwehm is an artist who also conducts weddings for couple who elope to New Orleans. (I came across him while doing some research on this -- for the future, not right now!) Besides the CafePress merchandise, it looks as though some prints of lovely paintings are available at zazzle.

We sent a check immediately when the news of Katrina started making the news, but this seems like a nice way to make a more personal donation to a city we love. Please consider purchasing something to help one artist re-build.

"Everyday prattle"

It's finally been announced: British playwright Harold Pinter is the recipient of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature. The Academy says that "in his plays [he] uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms."

And a quote from the winner (from Pinter's play, "Oh Superman):
"Does reality essentially remain outside language, separate, obdurate, alien, not susceptible to description? Is an accurate and vital correspondence between what is and our perception of it impossible? Or is is that we are obliged to use language only in order to obscure and distort reality - to distort what happens-because we fear it? We are encouraged to be cowards. We can't face the dead. But we must face the dead because they die in our name. We must pay attention to what is being done in our name."

Congratulations to Harold Pinter!

12 October 2005

Quill Award winners announced

The winners of the chosen-by-the-public Quill Awards have been announced! I honestly cannot remember who all I voted for, but I was pleased to see that Chris Moore was chosen for The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror. I actually haven't read it, but The Boy has and assures me it is marvelous. Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal is one of my personal favorite books. I remember that Moore came to town to promote this book and The Boy was denied permission to come with me because he hadn't cleaned his room or some such. I told Chris about this and he took the time to speak to The Boy by cell phone. What a wonderful man!

Check out a list of all the winners here.

07 October 2005

This will be either awesome or grotesque...

I am leaning toward awesome; what do y'all think?

When Elvis Costello was asked three years ago by Denmark's Royal Theater to write an opera about Hans Christian Andersen, his first thought was, "Why didn't they choose a Danish composer?"

"Then I recalled that Andersen belongs to the world," Costello said.

On Saturday, his work "The Secret Arias" — based on Andersen's unrequited yearning for Swedish soprano Jenny Lind — will debut at Copenhagen's new waterfront opera house, with Costello himself playing two lead roles.

Read the rest.

06 October 2005

What an inspiration!

What an amazing article about knowing the power of books to transform lives! A Brazilian man recognizes this in a way that many Americans do not:

"To Leite, though, nearly all the books are mysteries. Born into a poor family, he dropped out of school after third grade and, at 51, is practically illiterate.

But books, he knows, are the gateway to a life of greater possibility and more promise than his own. It might be too late for me, a working man, he reasoned, but not for others.

So bloomed the passion that has consumed Leite's free time over the last two years: transforming his home into a public library, free and open to all in this poverty-stricken neighborhood outside Rio de Janeiro. The streets here are unpaved and unweeded, daily life is a struggle and even a single book is an enormous luxury that can cost up to half a week's wages."

Read the whole wonderful story here.

04 October 2005

August Wilson dies

From the New York Times: "August Wilson, who chronicled the African-American experience in the 20th century in a series of plays that will stand as a landmark in the history of black culture, of American literature and of Broadway theater, died [Sunday] at a hospital in Seattle. He was 60 and lived in Seattle." Read the rest.

Better yet, read one of his marvelous plays.

03 October 2005

Deleted comments

Lest anyone think I have gone to the dark side and joined the censors, I just wanted to explain all the comments that have recently "been removed by the blog administrator."

Some ambitious spammers posted almost 50 comments to the blog this weekend, none of them relevant to any of the postings, all of them including links to various pay sites. If they were true responses to the blog, I may well have left them alone -- it was a pain in the ass to go to all the comments (some left in archived posts from 18 months ago!) and delete them.

But, I did, and shall continue to do so. No spam here!