Categories
Arts Chicago-esque Photography

Strange Spells Chanted Silently

Strange Spells Chanted Silently

 

Lake Street in the rain

I took this photo on November 17, 2015, and processed it in my digital darkroom May 3rd, 2020. Click to embiggen

Tools:

Nikon D7000
35.0 mm f/1.8
ƒ/2.5
35.0 mm
Shutter -1/60
ISO 100

Tri-X 400, in emulation, provided via a Photoshop filter (Exposure 5), plus some other tricks-of-the-trade, including using a gold reflector, and other techniques to accentuate the rain.

A while ago1 I purchased a raincoat for my camera: basically a thick, transparent plastic sleeve with a drawstring at one end. The drawstring is used to wrap tightly around the end of the lens, and the rest of the camera is contained within the sleeve, and thus kept dry. It works pretty well actually, except changing camera settings is a bit tricky, as is focusing, sometimes.

Footnotes:
  1. probably before this photo was taken, but maybe not, who can remember []
Categories
Chicago-esque Photography

Death Won’t Even Be Still

Death Won't Even Be Still

Lake Street Bridge, Christmas Day.

I processed this photo in my digital darkroom on April 11, 2020.

Gear:

Nikon D7000
35.0 mm
ƒ/1.8
35.0 mm
1/50 shutter speed
250 ISO

And of course Photoshop to emulate TRI-X 400 film, pushed a couple of stops.

Death does seem to be on everyone’s mind these days. I’ve been having weird dreams, I assume you are as well. I won’t bore you with mine, at the moment. We’ll see if the Stay At Home continues through summer, all the rules will be different…

Oh, and lyric magpied from Jeff Tweedy’s great song, New Madrid.

Come on, do what you did, roll me under New Madrid
Shake my baby and please bring her back
Cause death won’t even be still, caroms over the landfill
Buries us all in its broken back

Categories
Chicago-esque politics

Primary Day 2020

Exercising One's Franchise In The Time The Novel Coronovirus

Despite the underlying threat of contracting COVID-19 aka the Trump Flu, I voted in the primary today. 

191 N Clark Polling Place - Loop Super Site

The process was simple – it took me longer to walk to the polling location1 than it did to actually exercise my voting franchise.

I checked in, signed my name and address, using my own pen, gave my piece of paper to one clerk of the dozen or so, all of who were keeping several feet from each other, got my ballot smart card, went to the touchscreen. Again, there were enough voting machines that nobody was close to anyone else. Filled out my ballot, checked it twice, printed it out, and went to the optical scanner. Easy, peasy. 

More than just the president is on the ballot, as is always the case. I am interested in my Congressman losing in the primary, as I think it is time for fresh blood. I’ve had a Google alert for my Congressman for years, and he seemingly does nothing newsworthy most months. In fact, sometimes it will be years before I read any tidbit of news with his name. Sad, really. What does he do all day? I assume he does some work, and he seems like a pleasant enough man on a personal level, but I would be pleased if he was no longer my Congressman.

I voted for Kristine Schanbacher, fwiw.

WBEZ:

[Danny] Davis faces a similar push for new blood in the 7th Congressional District, which spans from west-central suburban Hillside all the way to Lake Michigan, making it one of the most economically diverse in Illinois. He was elected to his seat in 1996, after having served for nearly two decades on Chicago’s City Council and then the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

Davis’ opponents criticize him for missing a lot of votes, saying he’s no longer effective. One of his young challengers, Clark, a veteran and teacher from Oak Park, identifies as a Democratic Socialist and has been pushing a heavily issues-oriented campaign. Clark snagged the endorsement of the Sun-Times. Kina Collins, a community organizer for health care policy, has aligned with the newly elected alderman of Woodlawn, who’s been pressuring the Obama Presidential Center for a community benefits agreement. Another Davis challenger, Schanbacher, is a human rights lawyer from Streeterville. She already has the endorsement of three downtown and lakefront aldermen in Chicago and the west suburbs.

 

(click here to continue reading WBEZ 2020 Illinois Primary Election Voter Guide | WBEZ.)

Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands

Footnotes:
  1. changed at the last minute []
Categories
Chicago-esque environment

A Terrifying Interview About Lake Michigan

You Got To Try To See A Little Further

Edward McClelland of Chicago magazine reports:

In 2013, Lake Michigan reached its all-time recorded low, forcing ships to carry less cargo and leaving docks high and dry. Now, just seven years later, the lake is approaching its all-time high. Earlier this month, waters from a January 11 storm tore up the lakefront path, temporarily shut down portions of Lake Shore Drive, and forced the permanent closure of three Rogers Park beaches, which will now be covered with protective riprap.

Dan Egan, a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporter and author of The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, gave a talk at the Harold Washington Library four days after that storm. He spoke about climate change’s contribution to the lake’s rapid fall and rise, and why this is particularly threatening to low-lying Chicago. This week, I spoke with Egan about that same topic in more depth.

(click here to continue reading A Terrifying Interview About Lake Michigan | Chicago magazine | Politics & City Life January 2020.)

Preferential Treatment

Fascinating interview, worth a read. One snippet that has been haunting me a bit:

EM: Over the years, Chicago built its shoreline outward into Lake Michigan using thousands of acres of landfill. Would we still have these problems if we had our original, natural shoreline?

I think the problems would be worse. Chicago was kind of a sag. It was lowland. It was built up — that’s why Chicago is where it is. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to put three more feet of water into that lake. Just think: we’ve been up six feet since 2013. What if we went up six feet from 2020?

EM: Then all the lakefront streets are underwater.

It would seem. But they already were when the storm came in a couple weeks ago.

EM: Could we end up back down six feet, if we don’t have a polar vortex and we go back to the evaporation we were having?

It could go down further than that. At five feet above the long-term average, we armor the coast, then all of a sudden it shrinks back ten feet. That riprap at Howard Beach, what’s that going to look like if the lake goes down? Do you go in and pull it out?

Yikes!

Your Confidence Might Be Shattered

Categories
Chicago-esque

Building A Park Over the Kennedy Interstate Still Has Backers

Jammed Up

Chicago Sun-Times reports:

It’s a visionary idea for beautifying Chicago and lifting a community’s property values whose time has never come.

But might it come at last? There’s still an allure here for making no little plans, even if they are arguably unwise.

The idea is the Kennedy Expressway cap, a green oasis that could be built on a deck over the highway as it cuts its swath west of downtown. It would cover that unsightly traffic, diminish its roar and provide open space for a West Loop region that teems with new residents, offices, hotels and restaurants. Think of it as Millennium Park replicated about a mile and a half west.

Capping the Kennedy is a notion that’s been out there for years, always with a dream-like quality to it. It was included in the city’s 2003 Central Area Plan, its first comprehensive look at the downtown region since 1958, and it also was featured in a 2009 “action plan” update that cheerily set a goal of completing it by 2020.

(click here to continue reading ‘Cap the Kennedy’ plan, dormant for years, still has backers – Chicago Sun-Times.)

I whole heartedly still support this project 100%! Or more, if possible. 

This is especially a good time to discuss it as there is a large development project in this exact location that will probably start work this spring, and last for three years. The developers would probably like to have a park adjacent to their health club/hotel/apartment buildings, maybe they could even have input on the plan and contribute towards it?

As a friend said on Twitter, Chicago covered up lots of railroads, why not highways too?

And Have You Traveled Very Far Today?

Seems like I’m not the only to think those thoughts:

I was at a meeting last week called by Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) and the West Loop Community Organization where residents offered comments about a new hotel and apartment tower connected to an office building on the block just west of the Kennedy between Washington and Randolph streets. People liked the project overall, but talk inevitably turned to traffic management and lack of park space for an area that now has many young families. Residents said the closest parks, Mary Bartelme and Skinner, can be overrun. 
That’s when Burnett brought up capping the Kennedy. I asked him about it later. He said the project could tap into funds in his ward’s tax increment financing districts that may be close to expiring. “If we don’t use it, we lose it,” he said. “That money has to be distributed back to all the taxing bodies, so let’s use it while we can.’’

Sarver said he still believes in the cap. If the experience of Millennium Park is a guide, the Kennedy cap “would generate billions in tax revenue for the city. It would be wonderful. That stretch of roadway is a real fissure in our city.’’ He said other cities, such as Dallas, have done well by relegating a highway to a tunnel and creating attractive public space above it.

“I think this really would be the kind of project that TIF dollars were intended for,” Sarver said.

The cost? Sarver estimates it at $50 million per block. If you did the stretch between Randolph and Adams streets, that would get you to $200 million. Others may suggest capping only two or three blocks.

The West Loop and Fulton Market has drastically changed in recent time, but there is dearth of greenspace. More greenspace is more better…

Categories
Business Chicago-esque

Boeing Employees Mocked F.A.A. and Clowns Who Designed 737 Max

Poster Child For Corporate Welfare

The New York Times reports:

Boeing employees mocked federal rules, talked about deceiving regulators and joked about potential flaws in the 737 Max as it was being developed, according to over a hundred pages of internal messages delivered Thursday to congressional investigators.

“I still haven’t been forgiven by God for the covering up I did last year,” one of the employees said in messages from 2018, apparently in reference to interactions with the Federal Aviation Administration.

The most damaging messages included conversations among Boeing pilots and other employees about software issues and other problems with flight simulators for the Max, a plane later involved in two accidents, in late 2018 and early 2019, that killed 346 people and threw the company into chaos.

The employees appear to discuss instances in which the company concealed such problems from the F.A.A. during the regulator’s certification of the simulators, which were used in the development of the Max, as well as in training for pilots who had not previously flown a 737.
“Would you put your family on a Max simulator trained aircraft? I wouldn’t,” one employee said to a colleague in another exchange from 2018, before the first crash. “No,” the colleague responded.

In another set of messages, employees questioned the design of the Max and even denigrated their own colleagues. “This airplane is designed by clowns, who are in turn supervised by monkeys,” an employee wrote in an exchange from 2017.

In several instances, Boeing employees insulted the F.A.A. officials reviewing the plane.

In an exchange from 2015, a Boeing employee said that a presentation the company gave to the F.A.A. was so complicated that, for the agency officials and even himself, “it was like dogs watching TV.”

Several employees seemed consumed with limiting training for airline crews to fly the plane, a significant victory for Boeing that would benefit the company financially. In the development of the Max, Boeing had promised to offer Southwest a discount of $1 million per plane if regulators required simulator training.

(click here to continue reading Boeing Employees Mocked F.A.A. and ‘Clowns’ Who Designed 737 Max – The New York Times.)

Approaching Dusk Over Boeing

Boeing has a real mess on its hands. Any future aircraft malfunction already has plenty of evidence of malfeasance ready to be presented in court. 

Would you feel comfortable flying a Boeing 737 Max? I know I wouldn’t.

Nothing’s Happened In A Million Years

Boeing “expresses regret” about the communications being made public. Err, their PR team told them to say this:

Boeing on Thursday expressed regret over the messages. “These communications contain provocative language, and, in certain instances, raise questions about Boeing’s interactions with the F.A.A. in connection with the simulator qualification process,” the company said in a statement to Congress. “Having carefully reviewed the issue, we are confident that all of Boeing’s Max simulators are functioning effectively.”

 
“We regret the content of these communications, and apologize to the F.A.A., Congress, our airline customers and to the flying public for them,” Boeing added. “The language used in these communications, and some of the sentiments they express, are inconsistent with Boeing values, and the company is taking appropriate action in response. This will ultimately include disciplinary or other personnel action, once the necessary reviews are completed.”

Ok. Crisis solved!

Categories
Chicago-esque

High Rise On Randolph and Halsted To Begin In Spring

Everything Had To Be Postponed

Oh joy. 52 stories…

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

With principal tenants signed up, the developer of a mixed-use project on the block east of Halsted Street between Randolph and Washington streets said he hopes to start construction this summer and finish the complex in three years.

Related, one of Chicago’s most active developers, is proposing a 550-foot-tall tower at 725 W. Randolph St. with an Equinox hotel and fitness club, plus 370 apartments. The Washington side, currently a Bank of America branch, would get a 250-foot-tall office building. Bailey said Bank of America and a Soul Cycle fitness club will anchor that building’s retail portion.

A four-story building at 737 W. Randolph St., home to the Haymarket Pub & Brewery, would be kept.

(click here to continue reading West Loop project: Related Midwest aims for summer start – Chicago Sun-Times.)

Breathing Out, Breathing In

Three long years of construction related irritations with traffic flow, contractors skirting laws, clouds of diesel smoke, extra wear and tear on the local infrastructure and so on. Can’t wait to be woken up at 6:30 AM some Saturday mornings with the sound of pile drivers or whatever.

Stoic Delicacy

Categories
Chicago-esque

There’s no place like home at yellow brick road honoring L Frank Baum author of Wizard of Oz

Not Ray Bolger 

Elaine Chen, Chicago Tribune, reports:

Finishing touches were made Monday on a yellow brick road in the Humboldt Park neighborhood to commemorate L. Frank Baum, who lived in the neighborhood when he wrote “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and other Oz books.
Spanning 200 feet of the sidewalk at the corner of Humboldt Boulevard and Wabansia Avenue, the brick road surrounds a group of affordable housing town houses managed by Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp. that are on the site where Baum lived when he wrote the children’s novel in the late 19th century.
Bickerdike also plans to install a tile mosaic mural on a low wall engraved with a line from the movie adaptation of the novel: “There’s no place like home.”

(click here to continue reading ‘There’s no place like home’ at yellow brick road honoring L. Frank Baum, author of ‘Wizard of Oz’ – Chicago Tribune.)

I need to go there one sunny afternoon and take some photos. 

The Wizard of Oz

I didn’t know this when I moved to Chicago, but my grandfather lived in an apartment in Humboldt Park. I have always meant to take my own photo of the specific address (1627 North Humboldt Boulevard, Chicago, IL).

Categories
Chicago-esque Photography

Waiting For Yesterday’s Midnight – Explored

A photo of mine made into Flickr Explore

Waiting For Yesterday's Midnight

Click to embiggen

Christmas day was very warm, I had to go outside for a walk, and snapped this photo of Wolf Point and the Chicago River by resting my camera on the railing of a bridge.

Categories
Chicago-esque Photography

Knut Sitting On the Steps of the Museum of Contemporary Art – Explored

A photo of mine made it into Flickr’s Explore

Knut Sitting On the Steps of the Museum of Contemporary Art

Click an image to embiggen

Labor Day weekend visitors Honoria and Knut explored Chicago with me (and on their own).

For instance, the Virgil Abloh show at the MCA

 You're Obviously In The Wrong Place
You’re Obviously In The Wrong Place

Some other photos from that weekend’s fun…

Knut After An Aperol Spritz


Knut After An Aperol Spritz

Tai Chi on Sedgwick El Platform


Tai Chi on Sedgwick El Platform (Knut’s photo)

Memorializing An Aperol Spritz


Memorializing An Aperol Spritz

Categories
Chicago-esque crime government News-esque

Illinois: First day of recreational marijuana sales begins

Legalize Marijuana: Cook County

Cannabis is legal for adults to consume in Illinois as of this morning. Amazing. I’d visited Amsterdam for a week in early 1990s, so I knew it was theoretically possible for governments to allow citizens the freedom to chose whether to consume plants, but I did not think it would happen in America in my lifetime. Happy to be proven wrong.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton purchases edible gummies as Sunnyside Lakeview opens in the first minutes of legal recreational marijuana in Illinois.

Dispensary employees at Rise took orders from customers outside in line to speed up the process. There were outdoor heaters, and free coffee hats and gold bead medallions.

The dispensary also hired a steel drum player to play outside, adding a little “Red Red Wine” to the proceedings.

(click here to continue reading Legal weed in Illinois: First day of recreational marijuana sales begins – Chicago Tribune.)

 Henry Anslinger

and this is among the good outcomes to Democrats winning elections:

On the day before recreational cannabis becomes legal in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced he was pardoning more than 11,000 people who had been convicted of low-level marijuana crimes.
“When Illinois’ first adult use cannabis shops open their doors tomorrow, we must all remember that the purpose of this legislation is not to immediately make cannabis widely available or to maximize product on the shelves, that’s not the main purpose, that will come with time,” Pritzker said to a crowd at Trinity United Church of Christ on the Far South Side. “But instead the defining purpose of legalization is to maximize equity for generations to come.”

The 11,017 people pardoned by Pritzker will receive notification about their cases, all of which are from outside Cook County, by mail. The pardon means convictions involving less than 30 grams of marijuana will be automatically expunged.
 
 Pritzker and other elected officials said they believe Illinois is the first state to include a process for those previously convicted of marijuana offenses to seek relief upon legalization of cannabis.

(click here to continue reading Pritzker pardons 11,000 weed convictions in Illinois – Chicago Tribune.)

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

Shortly after 6 a.m. Wednesday, Renzo Mejia walked into Chicago’s Dispensary 33 and, after perusing a menu, bought an eighth of an ounce of Motorbreath OG.

With that, the West Loop resident made the first legal purchase of recreational marijuana in Illinois history.

As soon as the order processed, a cheer permeated through the small showroom floor and employees and customers embraced.

“To be able to have [recreational marijuana] here is just mind-boggling,” said Mejia, who paid about $80 for his purchase. “ … To be able to now make the first purchase in Chicago, it’s just surreal.”

To be the first, which Dispensary 33’s Abigail Watkins said was confirmed a short time after the sale by state officials, Mejia rang in the New Year in line — literally.

He took his place outside the store at 5001 N. Clark St. at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday — when the temperature was already below freezing.

(click here to continue reading 1st man to buy legal recreational pot in state history rang in New Year in line, braved freezing temps – Chicago Sun-Times.)

Truck full of Cannabis

Block Club Chicago reports:

They began lining up at 2 a.m. in the cold, with fold-up chairs and blankets in tow. By 6 a.m., when Dispensary33 in Andersonville opened, the line, composed of people from all corners of the city and beyond, stretched for more than five blocks.

Trevor Seyller of Lakeview was first in line to buy legal recreational weed as it went on sale for the first time in Illinois. He waited four hours in temperatures below freezing for “the fun of it” — and for history.

“It’s been a long time coming, this is an historic moment,” Seyller said.

Charlie Wells drove three hours from Madison, Wis. to be among the first few in the line. He said he skipped celebrating New Year’s Eve to take part in the state’s legalization of recreational marijuana.

“It’s the end of prohibition and it’s a lot safer than drinking,” Wells said. “I’m here because my state doesn’t have it yet.”

Dispensary33 — named for 1933, the year the prohibition on alcohol was lifted — is located at 5001 N. Clark St. To help patrons battle the cold, Dispensary33 put out a few propane heating lamps along the Argyle Street.

(click here to continue reading Legal Recreational Weed Goes On Sale — And Chicagoans Line Up For Blocks In The Cold – Block Club Chicago.)

More photos of the big day at WBEZ, for instance.

Cooking Up that Cannabis Juice Like There’s No Tomorrow

Personally, had plans to go join the party and photograph people in line, but decided to wait until tomorrow or even next week to visit a dispensary. My days of being an all day smoker are long gone. Don’t get me wrong, I plan on purchasing something from a dispensary in the near future, but I didn’t feel enthusiastic enough to brave the below-freezing weather to be first in line or anything. By spring, the supply shortage should be addressed, presumedly.

Reefer songs 23 Original Jazz & Blues Vocals

Kudos to Illinois! Time to queue up the Reefer songs!

Categories
Chicago-esque

A walking tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Oak Park

Speaking of exploring Oak Park, coincidentally, I ran across this Curbed Chicago walking tour guide today on Twitter:

Before Frank Lloyd Wright became an internationally-recognized name in the world of design, the architect spent many years in Oak Park, Illinois, designing homes for Chicago-area residents. Wright got his start working for the famed Sullivan & Adler firm from 1888 to 1893, and it was under the tutelage of Louis Sullivan specifically that Wright began to explore the elements that would eventually lead to the Prairie School movement. For the rest of the 1890s and the first decade of the twentieth century, Wright continued to live and work in Oak Park and designed dozens of structures here.

Oak Park’s federally designated Frank Lloyd Wright/Prairie School of Architecture Historic District boasts the world’s largest collection of Wright-designed homes, and by studying his work in Oak Park, we can get a good read on the architect’s evolution.

For fans looking to explore on their own, here’s a rundown of the 25 buildings in Oak Park that were designed or remodeled by Frank Lloyd Wright. Map points are listed by direction, starting from the north and heading south.

(click here to continue reading A walking tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Oak Park.)

Good to know! I have a tentative re-visit scheduled for mid-January 2020.

Categories
Chicago-esque Photography

Don’t Know Where To Finish was uploaded to Flickr

Wolf Point somewhere

embiggen by clicking
https://flic.kr/p/2fLd1Xj

I took Don’t Know Where To Finish on August 31, 2014 at 04:51AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on May 09, 2019 at 05:52AM

Update: apologies for multiple posts (IFTTT messed up again)

Categories
Chicago-esque politics

Paul Vallas Lost My Vote was uploaded to Flickr

In honesty, I don’t know much about Paul Vallas’ campaign for Mayor, but any idiot who spam texts me at 12:33 AM should not be allowed near public office. There is now zero chance I will vote for this jerk.

embiggen by clicking
https://flic.kr/p/2dCipCd

I took Paul Vallas Lost My Vote on December 20, 2018 at 11:50PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on December 21, 2018 at 07:56AM

update: IFTTT posted this image 5 times, so far. Sigh.

Categories
Business Chicago-esque

Michael Ferro Is A Horrid Human Being, Part the 454,239th

The Perfect Way to Unwind

I always thought that Sam Zell was the worst owner the Chicago Tribune ever had, but Michael Ferro seems much worse.

NPR reports:

Several months after taking control of the troubled Tribune Publishing Co. in 2016, Chicago investor Michael Ferro convened a session of corporate leaders from within his own news empire, including chief news executives from such storied papers as the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and The Baltimore Sun.

The group of about 20 people trooped from Chicago’s iconic Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue to an upscale restaurant nearby. In a private room, participants dined on seafood and steak while Ferro, then the company’s chairman, held forth on his plans.

His own net worth was newly in the nine figures. Associates and peers say Ferro held ambitions that were wide-ranging, even audacious, given the newspaper industry’s stiff headwinds.

At the dinner, as at other moments, Ferro railed against those who he felt were impeding him — including perceived rivals and competitors. Among them: the Southern California billionaire and civic leader Eli Broad, whom Ferro called part of a “Jewish cabal” that ran Los Angeles.

(click here to continue reading Tribune, Tronc And Beyond: A Slur, A Secret Payout, And A Looming Sale : NPR.)

You Gave Without Taking

Yeah, and this:

Early this year, however, Tribune Publishing made the first in a series of secret payments to total more than $2.5 million to avert a threatened lawsuit filed by a fired newspaper executive, according to three people with knowledge of the deal. That had the effect of keeping Ferro’s anti-Semitic slur out of the public spotlight.

The company agreed to secretly pay Maharaj more than $2.5 million, in installments, according to three people with knowledge of the pact. That financial obligation was not disclosed in corporate filings to shareholders and analysts. The payments started in the first quarter of this year, for which Tribune Publishing reported a net loss of $14.8 million. The loss was attributed to the company’s decision in December 2017 to pay Ferro $15 million in consulting fees even as he served as chairman and was the company’s controlling owner.

Even as the company cut back jobs in traditional newsrooms, Levinsohn and other executives acted to create a separate staff apart from the LA Times and its other newspaper properties. He planned to draw upon outside writers, some uncompensated or who would even pay for the privilege of being associated with the newspapers’ brands. Plans included a consolidated entertainment website called LA.com and the outsourcing of Washington coverage to the digital news service Axios. Neither of those initiatives came to fruition. (LA.com still says “coming soon.”) But the digital strategy, gravitas with scale, sparked distrust among journalists.

The kicker is Michael Ferro still owns 25% of the Tribune, or what’s left of it as Ferro’s hand picked lackies furiously fire writers and jack up executive compensation to pull whatever profits they can off while the Tribune still exists.