Day of the Dead

Photos by Roman.

The photos below are of a mural facing an alley a block or two north of Devon Avenue along Clark Street. The photo above is a panel from the 2006 “Artists of the Wall” in Loyola Park (I rarely know who the artist is); it has something of a “bad date” feel to it, yes?

As a geezer, my humble opinion is that the southern Mexican celebration, Day of the Dead, makes much more sense than Halloween. We celebrate both, here in the Chicago neighborhood of Rogers Park. But in all the decades I’ve lived here, I’ve never had anyone “trick or treat”. Well, would you allow your kid to solicit candy from someone looking like me? You would if you knew me, but life is scary enough. Not that we’re much good at judging risk; otherwise, I’d not so often have the bench to myself on CTA trains during rush hour. (No complaints! I regard it as a benefit of grunge.)

Photo by Roman.
Photo by Roman.
Photo by Roman.

Fall Prairie

Photo by Roman, taken at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Having been an urban dweller all my life, I hadn’t realized that the prairie also turns color in the Fall. This was a delight to discover, and so the Chicago Botanic Garden’s restored prairie is a must see each time I visit.

It was a visit to Matthiessen State Park in Illinois one Fall that taught me the colors of the prairie. I was acquainted with the park by its older name, Deer Park, as it had been a regular summer visit during my childhood. At that time, it was mostly a smaller version of Starved Rock State Park, which it is very near though on a different river: all grotto, ravine and forest. Sometime later, it was expanded to include a neighboring farm that was restored to prairie. I first visited the prairie one Fall in the late 1970s with a girl friend and her near-kindergarten aged son.

Her son was none too keen on hiking, and when he became tired, like most kids his age, he began to lose control. We responded by telling him that whenever he needed to rest, we’d stop. He was as fascinated by this newly discovered power as I was by the prairie in all its Fall colors. We ended up hiking a long distance. It was win-win as he got a ride on my shoulders part of the way back.

Unfortunately, the relationship between his Mom and I did not default to friendship at the end, so my knowledge of their stories ends decades ago. I like to think they’ve done well, but I’m content with the memory and enriched by the colors of a prairie Fall.

Painted Leaves

Photo / Graphic above by Roman.

Have you noticed? It’s Fall.

Fall is my favorite season, despite its melancholy connotations. Here in Chicago, it tends to be a longish, humble period. The leaves of various species of tree turn color at their own convenience, only to be blown away by lively wind or pelting rain, leaving behind their still green neighbors. The season never quite explodes in color as it might elsewhere but falls asleep in stages.

This year seems to have been more quiet than the past several, so the season has gained in the intensity and the variety of its colors. Whatever other evil has been going down in the world, Chicago has been quite lovely, quite vivid, an explosion of color.

Good night, flora. Until next year, sleep tight. Thank you for the beautiful dream.

Photo by Roman.
Photo by Roman.
Photo by Roman.

Strike as Performance Art

On Saturday October 26, a community support rally for the striking members of the Chicago Teachers Union and the Service Employees International Union Local 73 was held out in Union Park on Chicago’s near West side. (“Union” as in “United States”, though there is a statue of Governor Altgeld there.) For reasons good and not, I did not go. But, to wave the flag in support, here is an example of something that’s been happening on more than one picket line, so I’ve heard.

Lord Tahpot’s Comedy Minute

It’s nice enough that Senator Mitt Romney has developed doubts about President Trump after having gone begging for a job in the Administration just after the election. But it brought to mind his comment, when running against President Obama, that 47% of us are freeloaders who’d vote for Obama because we dig the goodies.

All this came to mind when I viewed Jonathan Seligson’s “Lord Tahpot’s Comedy Minute”:

Music by Danny Elfman!

Actually, I like nearly all the stuff Seligson has posted on his Vimeo channel, especially Taboo 96 and Nueva Vida.

Demon Machines

Photo / graphic by Roman.

These are actually sculptures in a building foyer just outside Chicago’s Loop. I haven’t bothered to learn the name of the sculptor or the artistic intent. And I imagine the building management doesn’t much care beyond having an otherwise large and sterile foyer of a brutal steel and glass building occupied by something denoting wealth and power. To me, though, they are demon machines… but maybe that’s just a psychedelic flash-back.

Tuesday Is Laundry Day

Well, traditionally here in the Midwest it’s been Monday. But for me, it’s become Tuesday. Despite shopping at thrift stores, I’ve a limited wardrobe so a week is about my limit.

So. Rise and shine for a chore that’s become synonymous with life: laundry!

See? It’s not so bad.

Wake up! It’s a beautiful day, even from the laundry room. Photo by Roman
Photo by Roman.
Regressing to my inner five year old civil engineer, it was always a challenge to coordinate the washers so that one of the two sinks would overflow. Photo by Roman.
But bubbles are nearly always cool to look at. Photo by Roman.
I’m a guy, so of course this reminds me of… Photo by Roman.
Photo by Roman.
Older lighting. Photo by Roman.
Modern lighting. Photo by Roman.
We’re all done! Photo by Roman.