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Sunday, April 3, 2011

"A place with such a name could not be poor or mean."

Just taking a moment to share a wonderful quote about Chicago that appears in The Chicago History Journal today!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Not in the Book -- but Still a Chicago Curiosity!


I think this is the only entry that I included in my Chicago Curiosities manuscript, that was not included in the finished book. I don't know why, except that it was probably just a case of too many words/pages so something had to be cut.

Back when I was asking around for ideas of curiosities to include in the book, my cousin Phil suggested Lar Daly. Here's what I found out about Mr. Daly:

Lar Joseph Sarsfield Daly sought office for forty years but never won a race. He started by seeking the Democratic nomination to run for School Superintendent of Cook County in 1938.

Daly was a Republican primary candidate for Governor of Illinois in 1956 and 1964. An equal opportunity politician, he was a primary candidate for both the Democratic and Republican parties for Mayor of Chicago in 1959. He ran in the Republican primary in the 1963 and 1967 mayoral elections. His final campaign was against Senator Charles H. Percy in the 1978 Republican Senate primary.

For many of his campaigns, Daly -- a tall, white-haired man -- donned a red, white, and blue sash and an Uncle Sam hat. His platform stressed religion and morality, along with Chicago’s political and social problems.

Daly is best known today for using the Federal Communications Commission's "Equal Time Rule" to force radio and television news broadcasts to give him equal coverage with Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley. He passed away in 1978 at the age of sixty-six.

The surname Daley (with an "e") is synonymous with Chicago politics. The name Daly, not so much. But I thought Lar Daly deserved at least a mention in connection with Chicago Curiosities!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chicago Curiosities - More Pictures You Won't See in the Book!

Sheffield's - exterior
I don't remember where or how I first heard of Reading Under the Influence (RUI), but I immediately knew I wanted to include it in Chicago Curiosities


RUI was developed by a group of Chicago writers in 2005. It meets weekly at Sheffield's Beer Garden and Backroom Barbecue Restaurant on North Sheffield Avenue. I was sorry that I wasn't able to time my visits to Chicago so that I could attend one of the meetings, but I did go to Sheffield's to get a feel for what it might be like. 


The group meets in the back room, surrounded by exposed brick and ductwork, next to a glowing fireplace. Each meeting has a theme (for example, Fighting Words, Dog Days, Cubbie Blues). 

As usual, I drew a HUGE crowd...
If you're scheduled to read your work, you order a shot, toast the audience, down the shot, read a short piece, then down another shot. (The shot doesn't have to be alcohol.) Readings are followed by trivia contests and drawings. 


When I visited (during the day), the place was empty, so I took a few pictures and had my husband take a couple photos of me at the "lectern." 


The best part is that you won't get a ticket or fine for "RUI" like you will for "DUI." Assuming, of course, that you don't DUI on the way home from RUI. 

And here I am, without a "shot"... at becoming famous...
You can read more about Reading Under the Influence on pages 91-92 of Chicago Curiosities.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chicago Curiosities Book Trailer!

I wanted to create a video trailer for Chicago Curiosities that would give people
a sense of what it's about and why they might (or might not) want to read it.
I hope I succeeded! 
(And I hope it makes everybody want to read it!)


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chicago Curiosities - More Pictures You Won't See in the Book!

Remember when you had to be good at math...
The minute I walked into Lincoln Square Bowling Alley I was catapulted back into the late 1960s. I was in high school. My two best friends and I wanted to study Russian, and the only way to do that was to have a special class with the teacher during his free period.

Unfortunately, we were scheduled to have P.E. -- which happened to be bowling -- during that period. The school graciously allowed us to attend the boys' bowling class. We formed one team to compete against the 2-person male teams. I think we were allowed to use our two highest scores or something like that.

The first game, I bowled a three. Yes. I knocked down three pins the entire game. My friend Nancy was using such a light-weight ball and throwing so daintily, she constantly needed to walk down the middle of the ball-return alley to retrieve her ball. We were amazing.

Honest Abe keeps watch over bowlers from on high.
Lincoln Square Bowling Alley reminded me of this because it still uses those old-time score sheets where you tally up everyone's score manually. Remember those? The place also has a decidedly retro look, thanks to the decor and lighting. And above the bank of neatly arranged pins there's a huge mural featuring Abraham Lincoln, gazing sternly upon the alleys as if warning bowlers not to try anything funny.

My entry about Lincoln Square Bowling Alley -- titled "A Trip Down Memory Lane(s) -- is on page 78-79 of Chicago Curiosities.

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Chicago Curiosities is now LIVE and available through the usual book-buying channels. The book is intended to be a fun read and also to act as a somewhat quirky guidebook to the wide range of peculiarities one can find in Chicago. In order to write the book and provide photos for it, I traveled all around Chicago on several different occasions (with my husband as driver and navigator). I took many, many pictures for each subject. I'm sharing a few of those in this blog.
Publisher: Globe Pequot; First edition (January 11, 2011). ISBN-10: 0762759844. ISBN-13: 978-0762759842