Street Smart Chicago

Free Will Astrology

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us,” writes novelist Robert R. McCammon. “We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow path and told to be responsible.” That’s the bad news, Aries. But now here’s the good news: The next twelve months will offer you a series of excellent opportunities to re-magic yourself. If you have not yet caught wind of the first invitation, I bet you will soon. Read the rest of this entry »

Hack Attack: In Taxi vs. Uber, the Drivers Are Sidelined Says an Ex-Cabbie

Essays & Commentary, Transit 2 Comments »
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Illustration: Dmitry Samarov

By Dmitry Samarov

A lot has been written in the last couple years about ride-share services like Uber threatening the livelihood of cab drivers. In most of these articles Uber, Hailo, Sidecar, et al are pitted against local taxi companies like Yellow and Carriage. What is rarely made clear is that none of these companies—ride-share or traditional taxi—actually employ any drivers. So while they fight it out in the courts about regulations and who can and cannot get what part of the transportation market, the people doing the actual driving aren’t being represented by either side.

In 1993—when I became a cab driver—calling a taxi was a simple business. You picked up your home or office telephone, dialed your favorite cab company, and waited outside for your ride to arrive. A cabbie had two choices for picking up fares: troll the streets for passengers or “play the radio,” which meant turning on the two-way and submitting to the whims of his company’s dispatcher. Picture Danny DeVito in “Taxi” for an idea of the types we had to deal with. Read the rest of this entry »

Linework: Maakies: The Funny Pages

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

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Dime Stories: The Chicken Store

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Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

All over the West and South Sides of Chicago there are still live poultry shops. It only now occurs to me that I’ve never actually been in one. Americans are particularly squeamish this way—we never want to look the creature we’re about to slaughter in the eye. We’d rather see it fried with some biscuits and gravy on a plate, or in nugget form in a small styrofoam box or, even better, chopped up with a bunch of vegetables in some soup. We’re not much for the blood and the feathers and the screeching death that comes along with butchering poultry.

A number of people have begun to keep chickens in their yards in Ukrainian Village to raise their own eggs and I have to admit it is kind of heartening to see a plump chicken or two walking the alleyways. You want to warn them that feral cats, large rats, raccoons and now coyotes also walk these alleys, and would gladly feast on them. But then you notice these are some big-assed chickens and when you get right up close and look them in the eye you see all of the madness in the world. These chickens are Chicago chickens and they just might be able to hold their own. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “When I was young,” wrote French author Albert Camus, “I expected people to give me more than they could—continuous friendship, permanent emotion.” That didn’t work out so well for him. Over and over, he was awash in disappointment. “Now I have learned to expect less of them than they can give,” he concluded. “Their emotions, their friendship, and noble gestures keep their full miraculous value in my eyes; wholly the fruit of grace.” I’d love to see you make an adjustment like this in the coming months, Aries. If you do, the astrological omens suggest you will experience a blessing like Camus’. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I believe your persuasive powers will be stronger than usual in the weeks ahead. The words coming out of your mouth will sound especially interesting. I also suspect that your intelligence will get at least a temporary upgrade. The clarity of your thoughts will intensify. You will see truths you have been blind to in the past. Innovative solutions to long-running dilemmas are likely to occur to you. The only potential snag is that you might neglect to nurture your emotional riches. You could become a bit too dry and hard. But now that I’ve warned you of that possibility, let’s hope you will take steps to ensure it won’t happen. Read the rest of this entry »

Linework: Acquaintancing

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

ACQUAINTANCING_web

Dime Stories: A Night in Tokyo

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Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

Some years ago, I visited Tokyo with the filmmaker John McNaughton. It was one of those experiences that has stayed with me and opened my mind to Asian literature and art, and broadened my view of the world. It also made me aware of the long lens with which the East and the West view each other. How little we know of each other and, oddly how alike we are. These are some of the thoughts I still have about this trip.

Li Po has been the best-known Chinese poet in Asia for about the last thousand years. He was a huge influence on the haiku poets, and is credited with being the seminal influence in the idiomatic languages of poetry and specifically, haiku. He was one of those wandering, searching poets who worshipped nature. Much like the Japanese haiku monk and poet Basho, who would be born a thousand years later, he was so great a poet that there are volumes of poems by other poets proclaiming their devotion to him—

Today I laid bare before you
all things stored in my heart. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): When the path ahead divides in two, Aries, I am hoping you can work some magic that will allow you to take both ways at once. If you do master this riddle, if you can creatively figure out how to split yourself without doing any harm, I have a strong suspicion that the two paths will once again come together no later than August 1, possibly before. But due to a curious quirk in the laws of life, the two forks will never again converge if you follow just one of them now. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Fireworks displays excite the eyes and lift the spirit. But the smoke and dust they produce can harm the lungs with residues of heavy metals. The toxic chemicals they release may pollute streams and lakes and even groundwater. So is there any alternative? Not yet. No one has come up with a more benign variety of fireworks. But if it happens soon, I bet it will be due to the efforts of an enterprising Aries researcher. Your tribe is entering a phase when you will have good ideas about how to make risky fun safer, how to ensure vigorous adventures are healthy, and how to maintain constructive relationships with exciting influences. Read the rest of this entry »