Street Smart Chicago

Free Will Astrology: Week of October 23, 2014

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The driest place on the planet is the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. It gets about a half-inch of rain per year. And yet in 2011, archaeologists discovered that it’s also home to a site containing the fossilized skeletons of numerous whales and other ancient sea creatures. I’m detecting a metaphorically comparable anomaly in your vicinity, Aries. A seemingly arid, empty part of your life harbors buried secrets that are available for you to explore. If you follow the clues, you may discover rich pickings that will inspire you to revise your history. Read the rest of this entry »

The Social Media Yada Yada

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Who has time to read websites anymore? All the cool kids in town are too busy reading print magazines (or are we mistaken here?). Luckily you can find us on the same social platforms that every other blog, publication and laundromat in town are on—so be sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

If you’re like us and don’t want to succumb to your worst Candy Crush impulses every morning commute, you can stay on top of Newcity’s newest stories by liking our Facebook page and following our Twitter feed.

Also, the polls are now open for our legendary Best of Chicago issue – have you voted?

Linework: Breathing in the 21st Century

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By Alex Nall. Edited by Ivan Brunetti and Aaron Renier. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Nall_Breathing21st Century_WEB2

Dime Stories: Some Thoughts on Crazy Horse

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Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

“Crazy Horse’s vision first took him to the South, where in Lakota spirituality one goes upon death. He was brought back and was taken to the West in the direction of the Wakiyans, or Thunder Beings…” —Wikipedia entry about Crazy Horse

I haven’t a fucking clue as to what the above quote is supposed to mean. Nor, I suspect, am I meant to. Native American and Indian lore wasn’t written for me. Still, the idea of a “Thunder Being” sounded powerful and poetic to me. As a kid I was scared by thunder and thought of it as something that walked the earth; a giant of some kind.  As I grew older, I rather liked it. It seemed something that nature had in its back pocket anytime it wanted to let us know who (or what) was in charge. Read the rest of this entry »

Checkerboard City: 95 Problems

Beverly, Checkerboard City, Green, Southeast Side, Transit No Comments »
Memorials to the people who died in the Oak Lawn car crash. Photo: John Greenfield

Memorials to the people who died in the Oak Lawn car crash/Photo: John Greenfield

By John Greenfield

“I avoid 95th Street as much as possible for my safety and sanity,” Beverly resident and transportation advocate Anne Alt told me, in the wake of a horrific multi-car crash on the massive road earlier this month. This senseless disaster in west-suburban Oak Lawn injured almost a dozen people and killed three, including two nuns.

On Sunday, October 5, at around 4:30pm, a man noticed retired contractor Edward Carthans, eighty-one, slumped over the steering wheel of his pickup, police said. Carthans refused help and instead sped west on 95th, colliding with three cars at Keeler. He kept driving, blew a red light at Cicero, and then veered into the eastbound lanes, causing an eleven-car pile-up. After his truck became airborne, he was killed, along with Sister Jean Stickney, eighty-six, and Sister Kab Kyoung Kim, forty-eight, who were driving home from a shopping trip. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of October 16, 2014

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): New York City’s Diamond District is home to over 2,000 businesses that buy and sell jewelry. Throughout the years, many people have lost bits of treasure here. Valuable bits of gold and gems have fallen off broken necklaces, earrings, watches, and other accessories. Now an enterprising man named Raffi Stepnanian is cashing in. Using tweezers and a butter knife, he mines for the rich pickings that are packed in the mud of sidewalk cracks and gutters. “The percentage of gold out here on the street is greater than the amount of gold you would find in a mine,” he says. I’d love to see you get inspired by his efforts, Aries. Dig for treasure in unlikely places where no one else would deign to look. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of October 9, 2014

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Situation #1: If you meet resistance or doubt, say this: “Ha! This diversion can’t slow me down, because I am in possession of an invisible magical sword!” And then brandish a few charismatic swipes of your sword to prove that you mean business. Situation #2: If angst and worry are preventing your allies from synchronizing their assets with yours, say this: “Begone, dread! For with the power of my wicked crazy songs, I am the destroyer of fear.” And then sing your wicked crazy songs. Situation #3: If you’re finding it hard to discern the difference between useless, ugly monsters and useful, beautiful monsters, say this: “I am a useful, beautiful monster!” Your kind will flock to your side. Read the rest of this entry »

Linework: You’re Not Mexican

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By Javier Suárez. Edited by Ivan Brunetti and Aaron Renier. (Click on image to enlarge.)

newcity_comic_suarezWEB

Dime Stories: Notes From a Former Lifetime

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TheStrangeAngel_300b

Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

If you drive rural roads, particularly the ones in the Midwest where the landscape is flat, you often see owls in radio towers at dusk or dawn. This is mostly when they hunt. When I was young, I hitchhiked everywhere (across the country a couple of times) and I remember being stuck on a road outside Galesburg, Illinois, which  is the very definition of “East Bumfuck,” trying to thumb a ride. I got picked up by a guy who was shuttling U-Haul-style moving trucks who drove me back to Champaign where I was not attending college. He gave me a job cleaning and servicing moving trucks, which I used to load up with my friends after hours and have rolling parties, with twenty goofballs packed into the truck, a keg and a boom box blasting AC/DC. We would stop at a townie bar in Urbana called Huffy’s, owned by one Earl Huffman, an ill-tempered drunk and bad pool player who, when angered, would start throwing pool balls at the clientele while ordering everyone to, “Get the fuck out, Skippy!  Chop-Chop!” Read the rest of this entry »

Checkerboard City: Is There Really a Blue Menace?

Bicycling, Checkerboard City, Green, Loop 1 Comment »
Detroit native Junior Bashi rides a Divvy on a A Michigan Avenue sidewalk. Photo: John Greenfield

Detroit native Junior Bashi rides on a Michigan Avenue sidewalk/Photo: John Greenfield

By John Greenfield

Chicago’s master bike-baiter, Tribune columnist John Kass, was one of the first local pundits to warn the public about the dangers of Divvy. “I can’t stand those Divvy bike people,” he griped in an online video in August 2013, a couple months after the system launched. “Go outside on Michigan Avenue… Reporters going in and out of this building almost get killed. ‘Cause you’ve got some little old lady from Denmark… and she’s on the sidewalk, and she’s almost smashing into the Polish pedi-bike guys.”

However, more than one year and 2.6 million trips later, the bike-share system has a solid safety record. To date, there have been zero reports of Divvy riders being involved in crashes resulting in serious injuries. What’s more, last August Reuters reported that there have been no bike-share-related deaths in the U.S. since modern bike-share debuted in this country seven years ago. Read the rest of this entry »