Sunday, July 26, 2015

The artists/tourists visit the post office

I went to the post office one day after work last week to see if I had mail in my box.  I do this almost every day and the results of late are the same:  No mail as Alvin, our carrier, will be out for five months and they haven't hired someone to fill his spot in his absence.  There is the same disappointment as the day before.

This day was different.  There were tourists taking pictures on the letter box side of the post office.  They were excitedly taking pictures of everything -- the boxes, the counters, the light fixtures, the granite floors -- and they were pleased as punch to be able to get these pictures.  From my pictures you can't tell, but there were at least 10 of them.  No, I didn't think they were a terror cell because a terror cell would not draw this much attention to themselves and members of a cell probably don't giggle and let their voices get so high pitched.  They would take a picture and then race in front of the other and take a picture of that person taking a picture and back and forth but always moving forward.  At times they took pictures of each other stopped and from behind.  It was like some weird photographic ballet.  Of course, I joined in the action.

They didn't even notice me taking their pictures.  They liked taking pictures of each other from behind.  They liked making noise and conversed happily in a mystery language.  (Seriously.  I have no clue. It wasn't French, Spanish, Japanese, any of the Chinese dialects, Russian, Portuguese, Italian, or German.)  Their photographic ballet was thrilling to them.  They were so very pleased to be there.  When I stopped to put away my phone, one of the building guards had come over and was barking at them to stop taking pictures, that taking pictures in that facility were not allowed.  (News to me, but I didn't look up or acknowledge this interaction.  I go there every day.)

Next, everyone, including me, moved outside and there was much excitement about Flamingo.  I even offered my services to take a picture of three of them together with Flamingo behind but not before I managed to snap off one more picture of someone taking a picture of her friend and Flamingo.

It's been very slow at work so this was a most exciting five minutes!

"I can't believe I am seeing this for myself!"
"Make like you're going somewhere."

"Act casual."

"What is this large woman doing over my right shoulder?"

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sports made better

Last week I saw two of my oldest and dearest friends.  We talked about many things and when the topic turned to sports, one of them said, "After you've gotten into hockey, does anything really compare?"  It's true.  For skill, speed, seemingly-impossible shots, and amazing accuracy, nothing beats hockey.

Football is a snooze in comparison.  It takes at least three dull hours to play a game of football, with or without commercial interruptions.  Snorting, pushing men who are snorting on and pushing other snorting, pushing men, one thin man with a very good kicking leg, and one guy who can hypothetically throw with great accuracy.  (I say hypothetically because a certain Bears QB has talent that is only hypothetical.)  "Wasn't that game exciting?"  No, it probably wasn't as it took so long for anything to happen.  This doesn't mean I now dislike it, so forget about that.

Basketball is a bunch of really tall men running back and forth on a wooden court.  They are all so tall that they practically reach up and put the ball into the middle of the net.  Want to pep up bastketball?  No one can be above 6 feet tall.  That'd make it way more exciting.

Baseball?  As my Work Boo says, "Oh my lord Jesus."  Baseball is so slow they can take a commercial break and nothing is missed at all.

NASCAR is still not a sport.  It's a bunch of guys in cars in way too much of a hurry.  I see that anytime I drive on a Chicago thoroughfare.  If NASCAR is a sport, then why isn't ballroom dancing a sport?  It involves more athleticism and skill.

Yes, yes, soccer is two 45-minute sets of nonstop action but this is America and you know we just don't appreciate that kind of strength and ability yet.  It's football if American football weren't what it's become which is big men throwing balls and stopping balls and knocking down other big men.  You're big men.  We get it.  (But I still don't dislike it.)

Hockey's all excitement and action and fast guys on slick surfaces and a tiny hard rubber disc that can literally put out your teeth or take out an eye.  It's athletic and aerobic and graceful and forceful and improbable and highly unlikely but, damn, the puck went in!  I cannot make it better.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Insert frowny face here

Patrick Sharp, #10, left wing on the Chicago Blackhawks has been traded.  "NOOOOOO!" I shouted.  Patrick Sharp is not just a terrific hockey player but really seems like a pleasant, well spoken fellow.  And dear god in heaven, that is a handsome man.

In the words of Wikipedia, the NHL salary cap is the total amount of money that National Hockey League teams are allowed to pay their players. It is a "hard" cap, meaning there are no exemptions (and so no luxury tax penalties are required).  Patrick Sharp, while a great player, was the remaining player considered less-than-tippety-top elite who was putting the Blackhawks over their cap limit.  And classy as ever, and I am paraphrasing, he said it was an honor to play for the Blackhawks and to help win three Stanley Cups championships but it was time to go to Dallas and do that.

Honestly, I thought he would announce he is retiring and will be staying here in Chicago to work in hockey broadcasting.  I am surprised he hasn't already.  This proves that I know a whole lot of nothing.

Who will the Blackhawks ever get that looks that good in his post-season-we're-not-shaving beard?  That is the challenge and I think those of us who like Blackhawks hockey and Patrick Sharp know it might be impossible.

I ♥︎ Patrick Sharp.  I wish him and his wife and two daughters all sorts of well.

AND THIS JUST IN:  Further proof of Patrick Sharp's greatness, below please find the words from the full-page ad he took out in today's Chicago Tribune.

THANK YOU, CHICAGO

I arrived in Chicago in 2005, not knowing the journey that the Blackhawks would take me on over the next 10 years. This team gave me an opportunity to play, to grow and become the person I am today. I will always be grateful for the time I spent here.

Winning the Stanley Cup was a dream come true; winning it three times with three different groups of teammates, coaches and trainers, was the ultimate privilege as a player. I feel an overwhelming sense of pride when I look back on all that we’ve accomplished together.

Thank you to Rocky Wirtz, John McDonugh, Stan Bowman and the entire Blackhawks family for allowing me to be part of a world class organization on and off the ice. Thank you to the fans for embracing me as a player and as accepting me as a part of Chicago.

This city has meant so much to me and my family: Three Stanley Cup victories. The birth of Madelyn Grace and Sadie Ellen. Endless memories from the fans, my friends and teammates. For the Sharp family, Chicago has become home.

Thank you,

Patrick, Abby, Madelyn and Sadie Sharp


Sunday, July 5, 2015

And why not?

The most American of holidays is Independence Day, July 4th.  The other most American is Thanksgiving, the 4th Thursday in November.  Thanksgiving is taken so very seriously that most stores are closed, except for a few hours of grocery stores, K-Mart, and, in the evening hours in the Chicago area, Carson Pirie Scott.  It ushers in the Christmas season.  Independence Day is not given the same reverence.  July 4th is a day devoted to some pretty good shopping , outdoor grilling, and the chance to spend a lot of money on illegal fireworks then set them off until about 1 a.m. on July 5th.

Let's talk about the shopping.

The more conservative members of the Supreme Court of the United States like to talk about what the framers of the Constitution meant when they wrote put it together.  They allowed slavery, dudes, so their credibility is shot right there.  I have a hard time believing the framers would go along with a corporation being a person.  I doubt they would agree with Scalia's "jiggery-pokery" assessment of the healthcare act because people deserve to be healthy and as an advertisement from my youth said, "When you've got your health, you've got everything."  Good health = happiness, so it's part of the whole pursuit of happiness thing. 

The more conservative members of the Supreme Court and Congress and those running for President don't address Independence Day as the day it should be -- one for honest reflection on how great it is to have freedom, to be able to be anything in no matter how humble your beginnings, to know that the Patriot Act is going to go away and we will not feel like we were Big-Brotherized.  The liberals don't talk about it either.  Sometimes the liberals are conservatives in disguise, more Republican and crazy than their conservative counterparts, which makes them more dangerous; you think they're one thing but they turn out to have an agenda about schools or city infrastructure that makes them look like they are all the same.

So back to the shopping.  All state, federal, and municipal service are shut down for the day.  There is no mail delivery and you can't get a library book.  You can, however, go to the outlet mall by the airport and find a $10 shirt for 25% off then another 20% off that as you have a coupon.  You can find 20 people on line to get into the Tory Burch outlet store and the Coach outlet store and the Gucci outlet store, but I honestly think they are non-US citizens.  Tiffany is open to sell its fine products (say what you want about Tiffany, the customer service there is always stellar) as is every other store at any other mall.

I don't think the framers would understand a need to have an extra 40% off the cost of already reduced black flats but I don't understand how the Declaration of Independence didn't apply to slaves.  Still, maybe we can take this day and have an honest discussion or simple reflection about what it means to be an American, not paying taxes to a far-off sovereign who wants our goods, resources, and money but doesn't wish we be represented in his government.  Independence Day, the 4th of July, can be the day we all reflect on what America means to each of us.  I bet those flats will still be on sale on the 5th or are further reduced on the 11th.  I bet I will still not understand how they could allow slavery.  Seriously, SOTUS conservatives, explain that one.