Violence in Chicago

My brother just told me about this series of short documentaries looking at the tragedy of violence in parts of Chicago. Each focuses on one of the 10 Most Violent Neighborhoods in the Second City. Back of the Yards is number 10.

I live north of the city, but it’s still troubling that others must live in a war zone.

I agree with the reporter that if you don’t understand a problem, you can’t solve it.

Advertisements

Ben Hecht’s 1001 Afternoons in Chicago

I’m intrigued by a book I just discovered, Ben Hecht’s 1001 Afternoons in Chicago. It’s available on Project Gutenberg. It’ll have to go on my TBR (to be read) list for a time, but sample this:

FANNY

Why did Fanny do this? The judge would like to know. The judge would like to help her. The judge says: “Now, Fanny, tell me all about it.”

All about it, all about it! Fanny’s stoical face stares at the floor. If Fanny had words. But Fanny has no words. Something heavy in her heart, something vague and heavy in her thought—these are all that Fanny has.

Let the policewoman’s records show. Three years ago Fanny came to Chicago from a place called Plano. Red-cheeked and black-haired, vivid-eyed and like an ear of ripe corn dropped in the middle of State and Madison streets, Fanny came to the city.

Ah, the lonely city, with its crowds and its lonely lights. The lonely buildings busy with a thousand lonelinesses. People laughing and hurrying along, people eager-eyed for something; summer parks and streets white with snow, the city moon like a distant window, pretty gewgaws in the stores—these are a part of Fanny’s story.

The judge wants to know. Fanny’s eyes look up. A dog takes a kick like this, with eyes like this, large, dumb and brimming with pathos. The dog’s master is a mysterious and inexplicable dispenser of joys and sorrows. His caresses and his beatings are alike mysterious; their reasons seldom to be discerned, never fully understood.

Continue reading

The Jolliest Christmas Party

white-christmas-791x1024-museum-movie-classics-continues-with-horry-amazing-film-the-star-728x942

Hosted by my friend Luzanne and her husband, last night’s Christmas party might have been the best Christmas party I’ve ever been to. It’s certainly the jolly-est (jolly-est? most jolly?) I brought my friend Sally as my driver.

It was so well planned and so much fun. First at 4:30 we were to go to this pizza place, which was decked out for Christmas with lots of lights, fake snow, etc. They had the party room and lots of people sported cheesy Christmas garb. I’m glad I wore a Christmas sweater and I was wrong not to have worn Christmas earrings. It would not have been too much (as I thought).

They had a buffet of pizzas and salads at each end of the room. Waiters served pitchers of whatever drinks people wanted. Some people got wine, which I didn’t notice till late. Each setting had a stocking with your name on a label and some candy inside.

Screen Shot 2017-12-10 at 1.12.21 PMAt 5:30 the candy buffet was set out. They had all these vintage candies — chocolate cigarettes, Ice Cubes, Good ‘n’ Plenty, and on and on. It was such a trip down memory lane. You were supposed to fill up your stocking with whatever candy. We also all got jingle bells and these awesome cheap-o surprise glasses.

At 6 pm we walked 2 blocks to the Music Box Theater. They had bought a block of tickets. First the organist played Christmas songs as the screen showed a nostalgic slide show of Christmas in Chicago photos from the historical society. Then the sing-a-long started and was led by four carolers. Time to use those jingle bells!

Then I think they showed the old time cartoon Suzy Snowflake. Click here to see it.

Santa appeared and led some more singing including a jingle the organist had written. The carolers reappeared and we sang some more songs.

Then they showed “White Christmas” with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney. The movie has just the right amount of corniness, elegance (the clothes, the sophistication of going to night clubs), heart and holiday feel. When there was a song, the audience sang. When something funny happened or someone kissed everyone rang their jingle bells. People would call out with witty retorts and everyone hissed when the housekeeper did anything sneaky.

All in all it was such a joyful party. So well timed. So well planned. Luzanne sent out emails, twice, with updated parking lot info. The walk between the two venues was manageable.

Sally asked if she could come next year when we were leaving. Of course!

I’d love to go back with my nieces, nephews and family to the movie again or to see “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which is also playing till Dec. 24th. I think you should go to the movie. The pizza place is a good choice for dinner and Candyality where I bet Luzanne got the candy is just about three doors up from the Music Box.

For a few other Jolly posts:

 

Candlelight Christmas Tour

IMG_20171202_174658

I was lucky to go to the Glessner House’s Candlelight Christmas Tour on Saturday. Located on the famed Prairie Avenue, where Chicago’s elite lived 100 years ago or so, the Glessner House is a museum housed in a 18th century home that looks like a fortress. Mr. Glessner made his fortune as an executive for International Harvester.

This holiday season, the museum is decked out for Christmas. They have charming Christmas trees, vintage cards and books as well as holly, garlands and ribbons.

IMG_20171203_115509_051

Gifts wrapped in wallpaper

For the evening tour, there were docents in each room who explained about the home’s history and how the Victorians celebrated Christmas. A few nuggets I picked up are:

  • Victorians used to put a small bough of holly over ancestors’ portraits to remember them.
  • Holiday wrapping paper wasn’t invented and used till 1910. Before that people wrapped gifts with wallpaper.
  • As you may know, people lit their Christmas trees with candles. What I learned was that the Glessners (and probably other families) only lit their Christmas tree candles for 10 minutes. According to Mrs. Glessner’s diary, the family gathered at 10  am to see the tree lit. They’d have a bucket of sand and water on hand in case of fire and they only had the candles lit for 10 minutes because of the fire danger.

The tour was informative and so well organized. The docents were approachable and knowledgeable. At the end of the tour, which cost $15, we were offered hot apple cider, water and cookies from Trader Joe’s in the coach house.

The house will be decorated till December 31st and it’s free on Wednesdays.

Today the Chicago Tribune’s Rick Kogan wrote about this gem, Glessner House.

Travel Theme: Warm

-846

Shanghai

xian baby on back

Xi’an

river town hat

Rivertown near Shanghai

In response to Ailsa’s prompt this week, I’m sharing photos with Warm. Can be warm things, warm colors.

What does Warm make you think of? If you fancy exploring the unfamiliar, exotic and unknown for this week’s travel theme (everyone’s welcome!) here’s what to do:

  1. Create your own post and title it Travel Theme: Warm
  2. Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  3. Watch out for the next travel theme which will come out next weekend
  4. Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes.
  5. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS.
    ❤ Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack?

Floriole

IMG_20171121_103703

On Webster Street near DePaul, Floriole offers a beautiful setting for its coffee, bakery goods and food. The decor is warm and modern.

I was prepared to love this spot, which was new to me. However, my quiche was so disappointing. In fact, it was the worst I’d ever had. The Starbucks in China offer consistently good quiche for less. How I missed it. This quiche was very custardy or gooey in a way that didn’t appeal to me at all. I ate about half and didn’t enjoy the egg part at all. The price was more than double Starbucks. Also, it’s a place where there’s no table service.

IMG_20171121_104934

The Unappealing Quiche

I should have gone up to complain, but I didn’t want to make a fuss. My introversion got in the way. It’s a shame they don’t have employees asking if everything’s alright. I probably would have mentioned the quiche and given them a chance to make me more satisfied.

IMG_20171121_103842

hot cider

Their hot apple cider was good, but smaller than I expected for the price.

I might go back, but I’d order something different.

 

Travel Theme: Fragile

IMG_20170103_114201

Sydney, Australia

IMG_20161014_094623

Flea Market, China

DSCN5511

Shandong Provincial Museum

fullsizeoutput_a36.jpeg
In response to Ailsa’s prompt this week, I’m sharing photos with Fragile. I’d delighted to share photos of one of my loves, pottery.

What does Fragile make you think of? If you fancy exploring the unfamiliar, exotic and unknown for this week’s travel theme (everyone’s welcome!) here’s what to do:

  1. Create your own post and title it Travel Theme: Fragile
  2. Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  3. Watch out for the next travel theme which will come out next weekend
  4. Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes.
  5. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS.
    ❤ Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack?