Street Smart Chicago

Free Will Astrology: Week of July 24, 2014

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): A report in the prestigious British medical journal BMJ says that almost one percent of young pregnant women in the U.S. claim to be virgins. They testify that they have conceived a fetus without the benefit of sex. That’s impossible, right? Technically, yes. But if there could ever be a loophole in natural law, it would happen for you Aries sometime in the coming weeks. You will be so exceptionally fertile, so prone to hatching new life, that almost anything could incite germination. A vivid dream or captivating idea or thrilling adventure or exotic encounter might be enough to do the trick. Read the rest of this entry »

Linework: Life Before Death

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By Betty Heredia. Edited by Ivan Brunetti and Aaron Renier. (Click on image to enlarge.)
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Dime Stories: Murder City

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By Tony Fitzpatrick

There is a bitter, humorless irony in the  wake of Chicago’s bloodiest weekend this year. “Chicagoland,” the  eight-hour  reach-around  CNN extended to Mayor Rahm Emanuel now appears to have gotten it wrong! The little man with the shiny shoes is beside himself with the Fourth of July weekend’s horrifying murder statistics: eighty-two people were shot. Fourteen of them died. The police shot a fourteen- and  sixteen-year-old and killed both of them.

Rahm fumes, flinging blame in any direction it will land: “Where are the parents?… Where are the community leaders?” Oh where, oh where, oh where? Here are the better questions: Where are the cops? Where are the jobs? Where is the leadership? Why do we keep hearing horse-shit about the shrinking crime rate while  our city’s children are being cut down by gunfire in the street? Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of July 17, 2014

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “I have complete faith in the continued absurdity of whatever’s going on,” says satirical news commentator Jon Stewart. That’s a healthy attitude. To do his work, he needs a never-ending supply of stories about people doing crazy, corrupt and hypocritical things. I’m sure this subject matter makes him sad and angry. But it also stimulates him to come up with funny ideas that entertain and educate his audience—and earns him a very good income. I invite you to try his approach, Aries. Have faith that the absurdity you experience can be used to your advantage. Read the rest of this entry »

Oh Captain, My Captain: Chicago Blog Inspires Worldwide Community of Awkwarders

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jennifer peepas

Jennifer Peepas

By Megan Kirby

In Baltimore, look for a girl with blue hair in a Batman t-shirt. In Washington DC, find the red balloon at the coffee shop. In London, seek out the table with the Cthulhu plushie perched on the edge. You’ve found the Awkward Army.

These are fans of massively popular advice blog Captain Awkward, and they are meeting up worldwide. The Captain herself, Chicago-based filmmaker Jennifer Peepas, never expected such an active global audience. Today, self-proclaimed “Awkwarders” plan meet-ups in coffee shops and ice cream parlors from Boston to Tokyo, gathering with coloring books or knitting projects or stacks of fiction and graphic novels for impromptu book clubs—essentially, getting together to just hang out.

When Peepas first launched Captain Awkward in January 2011, she just hoped she’d have enough readers to never have to fabricate a reader question herself. Now, she gets so many emails that she can’t answer all of them. At the end of 2013, Captain Awkward’s page views hovered just under eleven million. As of March 2014, 557 reader questions have been answered. (Everything from “How do I deal with my abusive family” to “My crush might be a furry.”) Posts garner hundreds of comments with readers’ advice and stories (and tangents about books, TV shows, vacation plans and any other topic). The most dedicated Awkwarders even started a fan-run forum, Friends of Captain Awkward, to keep up with conversations off comment threads. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of July 10, 2014

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): What are the sources that heal and nourish you? Where do you go to renew yourself? Who are the people and animals that treat you the best and are most likely to boost your energy? I suggest that in the coming week you give special attention to these founts of love and beauty. Treat them with the respect and reverence they deserve. Express your gratitude and bestow blessings on them. It’s the perfect time for you to summon an outpouring of generosity as you feed what feeds you. Read the rest of this entry »

Linework: Lemons

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

LW_070314_MaxClarkeLemonsWEB

Dime Stories: The Relentless Wisdom of Anthony Potenzo, Volume 3—The Patio.

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Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

Anthony Potenzo believes a good joint must have rules. That there are unwritten rules which most sentient, sane, bar regulars understand without explanation—the barroom social contract: “Y’know, stuff you don’t have to explain to anyone except the drool-cases and mutants,” he says. “You know what I’m sayin’? Stuff that people who walk upright already understand.”

 And then there are the rules you have to write down and spell out. You notice that the people who have to read the posted rules? Their lips are moving while they read them. Hell, their lips move when they read the comics or a grocery list. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Would you like your savings account to grow? Then deposit money into it on a consistent basis. Would you like to feel good and have a lot of physical energy? Eat healthy food, sleep as much as you need to, and exercise regularly. Do you want people to see the best in you and give you the benefit of the doubt? See the best in them and give them the benefit of the doubt. Would you love to accomplish your most important goal? Decide what you want more than anything else and focus on it with relaxed intensity. Yes, Aries, life really is that simple—or at least it is right now. If you want to attain interesting success, be a master of the obvious. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): According to an astrologer named Astrolocherry (astrolocherry.tumblr.com), Aries is the sign of the freedom fighter, the explorer, the daredevil and the adventurer. That’s all true; I agree with her. But here’s an important caveat. As you get older, it’s your duty to harness all that hot energy on behalf of the softer, slower, more tender parts of your life. The coming weeks will offer you a great opportunity to work on that challenge. To get started, imagine how you can be a freedom fighter, explorer, daredevil and adventurer in service to your home, family and community. Read the rest of this entry »