Breakdown: There are a few big marathons that the average person on the street could list off at a moment’s notice. You know the ones I mean: New York, Chicago, Boston. World-class runs, to be sure. And then there are those marathons that the average person is probably not aware of, and may even be surprised to discover exist, but that have been mythologized in the world of the average runner to a revered status that those on the outside can hardly comprehend. The Big Sur International Marathon, that epic Californian canter from Big Sur to Carmel along the winding, wide-open Highway 1, falls squarely in the latter category.
Though it sells out just as quickly and leaves hopeful runners just as frantic for a place at the starting line, with a registration cap around a tenth the size of Chicago or New York, Big Sur, which just had its thirtieth running on Sunday, operates on an entirely different framework than these massive urban events. “Spectators are outnumbered by grazing cows and horses,” boasts the race program, and it certainly seems possible, given the complete closure of the only roadway spectators could gather on. Still, an assortment of musicians (including the iconic betuxed pianist at a grand piano near the halfway mark) provide plenty of on-course encouragement. Read the rest of this entry »
By Tony Fitzpatrick
More than thirty years ago, New Orleans crept into my work and she never left. My heart is perpetually divided between my home of Chicago and my home of New Orleans. It is a place for which I have nothing but unconditional love.
When I first got there, it seemed everyone around me was a lot freer than I was, as odd as that sounds. It was a crazily sexy place with grownup women who were frank and forward about what made them happy. It was hot, so there was always a lot of sweaty skin and poetry and music. It was like entering one of those snow globes without the snow. It was Spain and France preserved in architectural amber. It was history. My friend Charlie Neville told me about Congo Square which along with Storyville, was the birthplace of jazz. He also had me read “Up from the Cradle of Jazz,” Jason Berry’s essential history of New Orleans music. Read the rest of this entry »
By John Greenfield
“Slow Roll Chicago is helping to bridge Chicago’s geographic divides,” says cofounder Oboi Reed. “We’re getting people from all over the city to show up for rides that are not in their neighborhoods.” The group, whose focus is getting more people on bikes in low-to-middle-income communities of color, is putting on thirty-one bike tours this year, mostly on the South and West Sides.
These include neighborhood rides every Wednesday evening during the warmer months, organized with local nonprofits, neighborhood groups, and churches. “These rides are created with input from the people who live and work in these neighborhoods, so there’s a sense of ownership and involvement,” says Reed, a board member and occasional writer for the transportation news website that I edit.
The Chicago rides were inspired by Slow Roll Detroit, which was launched in 2010 by Jason Hall and Mike MacKool. The Motown events take place every Monday night and regularly draw about 4,000 participants for a relaxed, law-abiding pedal around the city. The Slow Roll movement has spread to several other U.S. cities, as well as three Swedish cities, Berlin, and even the city of Slemani, in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Chris Moneymaker was employed as an accountant in Tennessee. On a whim, he paid $39 to enter an online poker tournament. Although he knew a lot about the game, he had never competed professionally. Nevertheless, he won the tournament. As his award, he received no money, but rather an invitation to participate in the annual World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Can you guess the storybook ending? The rookie triumphed over 838 pros, taking home $2.5 million. I don’t foresee anything quite as spectacular for you, Aries, but there may be similar elements in your saga. For example, a modest investment on your part could make you eligible for a chance to earn much more. Here’s another possible plot twist: You could generate luck for yourself by ramping up a skill that has until now been a hobby. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): If you’re stumped about what present to give someone for a special occasion, you might buy him or her a gift card. It’s a piece of plastic that can be used as cash to buy stuff at a store. The problem is, a lot of people neglect to redeem their gift cards. They leave them in drawers and forget about them. Financial experts say there are currently billions of dollars going to waste on unredeemed gift cards. This is your metaphor of the moment, Aries. Are there any resources you’re not using? Any advantages you’re not capitalizing on? Any assets you’re ignoring? If so, fix the problem. Read the rest of this entry »
By Tony Fitzpatrick
Well, it’s over, the fat lady has sung and the kinder, more sensitive Rahm has won another term. Chuy Garcia ran an honorable, honest campaign and honorable and honest gets you shit, and shoved in it—when it comes to Chicago politics.
No big deal. Baseball season started and it is still colder than a nun’s ass on Good Friday. On opening night the Cubs forgot that, after all of that Old Style, people would need to take a leak and started filling their beer receptacles with the personally brewed amber fluid. Jesus, shut it down to one bathroom and the whole park turns into “Lord of the Flies” in a blue ball cap.
Such are the pleasures of spring in Chicago. Not that my White Sox had it any better. Jeff Samardzija and the Sox bullpen got shelled in their first game in Kansas City 10-1, therefore making it hard to harass Cub fans about the rivers of piss over at the friendly confines. Read the rest of this entry »
By John Greenfield
“Some people think pedicabbers are nuisance, but we’re really only here to help people,” says Darren Hilton, forty-two. A former bicycle messenger, he’s been in the bike taxi business for five years. “As pedicab operators, our job is to give visitors red-carpet service and keep them coming back to Chicago.”
Hilton says Chicago’s pedicab ordinance, which passed City Council about a year ago, is too restrictive, and has led to some of his colleagues being slapped with thousands of dollars in fines. He has received a few $500 tickets himself.
The purpose of the local ordinance was to regulate what some officials saw as a somewhat anarchic industry. The law was introduced by 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney, whose district includes Wrigley Field. Downtown Alderman Brendan Reilly pushed to include geographic restrictions: pedicabbers are now banned from State and Michigan, between Congress and Oak, at all times. They’re also prohibited from working in the Loop during rush hours. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): The California Gold Rush hit its peak between 1849 and 1855. Three-hundred-thousand adventurers flocked to America’s West Coast in search of gold. In the early days, gold nuggets were lying around on the ground in plain sight, or relatively easy to find in gravel beds at the bottom of streams. But later prospectors had to work harder, developing methods to extract the gold from rocks that contained it. One way to detect the presence of the precious metal was through the use of nitric acid, which corroded any substance that wasn’t gold. The term “acid test” refers to that process. I bring this to your attention, Aries, because it’s a good time for you to use the metaphorical version of an acid test as you ascertain whether what you have discovered is truly golden. Read the rest of this entry »