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Dime Stories: Man With a Gun

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Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

There is a horror implicit in the stick-figure, “Man with a Gun,” from the hobo alphabet. Its triangle with outstretched arms hints at a fleeing figure and encourages the viewer to do the same. Hobos were shot at, shot in earnest, and had a very real and rational fear of firearms.  More than one of them admitted it kept them from committing serious crimes.

One-hundred-and-fifty years ago we were the most well-armed country on the planet. We still are. Firearms were part of our contract with the idea of freedom and sadly, they still are. If one defies the government in any meaningful way, eventually they send men with guns. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Here’s the curious message I derived from the current astrological configurations: It’s one of those rare times when a wall may actually help bring people together. How? Why? The omens don’t reveal that specific information. They only tell me that what seems like a barrier might end up serving as a connector. An influence that in other situations would tend to cause separation will in this case be likely to promote unity. Capitalize on this anomaly, Aries! Read the rest of this entry »

Dime Stories: The Sky at Ohio

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Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

Every election cycle, Ohio is a battleground state. For months before the election there are political operatives, state-wide, working the populace into a furious lather about jobs, immigrants, unions, guns and gay marriage. As goes Ohio, goes America—or so the consensus seems to indicate. Our Speaker of the House, John Boehner, is from Ohio—the orange, douchey crybaby a native of Cincinnati. He typifies the Ohio political operative.

It is a state with an immense unemployment rate—like the rest of America right now. What has particularly hobbled Ohio though is the disappearance of its manufacturing base. The last century’s slow-leak of economies have been almost unduly brutal to Ohio. Steel, paper, glass and rubber all found cheaper places to be made than Ohio. In fact the government, in many cases, paid companies to outsource these industries—and jobs—a dirty secret they blame everyone and everything else for. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): For every trillion dollars the United States government spends on the military, it creates about 11,000 jobs. That same expenditure, if directed toward education, creates 27,000 jobs. Personally, I’d rather have the taxes I pay go to teachers than soldiers—especially in light of the fact that the United States spends almost as much money on its military as all the other nations in the world combined spend on theirs. I suggest that in the coming months you make a metaphorically similar move, Aries. Devote more of your time and energy and resources to learning, and less to fighting. Ironically, doing that will ultimately diminish the fighting you have to do. As you get more training and wisdom, you’ll become more skilled at avoiding unnecessary conflicts. Read the rest of this entry »

Miss Rose: The Life and Times of the Gold Coast Madam

Chicago History, Gold Coast/Near North, Love & Sex 1 Comment »

Rose Laws with friends.

By Harrison Smith

Rose Laws stands five-feet four-inches, with red hair, glasses and a strong Southern accent she’s retained from a childhood in Tennessee. She once had thirty-six-triple-D breasts, which she lost purposely because they were too big, and a tiny waist, which she lost with age because that’s how things go. She looks and talks like a grandmother, is gracious and warm like the best grandmothers, and at age seventy-seven is, not surprisingly, a grandmother.

Tonight she is without her grandchildren, though two of her sons are with her at the Everleigh Social Club on West Randolph. The club is pretty empty this early in the evening, and most of the people who are there—just about all of whom are friends or family of Rose—are sipping the night’s signature drink, a “Gold Coast Madam” cocktail mixed specially for the occasion. Read the rest of this entry »

Dime Stories: Atlantic City

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Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

Everything dies baby, that’s a fact
but maybe everything that dies, someday comes back…
Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty
and meet me tonight in Atlantic City.
Bruce Springsteen“Atlantic City,” 1982

There is a huge set piece in the Green Point neighborhood in Brooklyn. It’s right on the water, and from a distance it looks a bit like a palace of some kind, or an urban mirage. It is the set for “Boardwalk Empire,” the hugely entertaining tale of Prohibition-era Atlantic City on HBO.

It stars Steve Buscemi as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, who is based on the real-life politico and racketeer of the twenties. It is thinly veiled fiction and is filled with a lot of very good actors doing some of the best work of their careers, most notably, Dabney Coleman and William Forsythe, playing a couple of homicidally despicable motherfuckers, and the great Chicago actor, Michael Shannon, as a Prohibition agent with a bad case of Jesus. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): You will never be able to actually gaze upon your own face. You may of course see a reasonable likeness of it in mirrors, photos and videos. But the real thing will always be forever visible to everyone else, but not you. I think that’s an apt symbol for how hard it is to get a totally objective view of your own soul. No matter how sincere you may be in your efforts to see yourself clearly, there will always be fuzziness, misapprehensions and ignorance. Having said that, though, I want you to know that the coming weeks will be an excellent time to see yourself better than ever before. Read the rest of this entry »

Dime Stories: Little Egypt

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Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

“Well a woman I love is named Ramona
She kinda looks like Tempest Storm
And she can dance like Little Egypt
She works down at the snake farm…”
–Ray Wylie Hubbard, “Snake Farm,” 2006

There were actually three women that danced using this name—a name that later became synonymous with belly dancing.

Farida Mazar Spyropoulos was a chubby Greek girl who danced at the 1893 World’s Fair, or Columbian Exposition, as it was called. She so wowed the crowds with her “Hoochee-coochee” dance that it was made illegal in Chicago almost immediately. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Life tests you all the time. Sometimes its prods and queries are hard and weird; they come at you with non-stop intensity. On other occasions the riddles and lessons are pretty fun and friendly, and provide you with lots of slack to figure them out. In all cases, life’s tests offer you the chance to grow smarter, both in your head and heart. They challenge you to stretch your capacities and invite you to reduce your suffering. Right now, oddly enough, you have some choice in what kinds of tests you’d prefer. Just keep in mind that the more interesting they are, the bigger the rewards are likely to be. Read the rest of this entry »

Dime Stories: The Misfits

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Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

Around second grade, boys are able to join Cub Scouts, or at least they were forty years ago. I remember the first time I saw a bunch of my fellow second-graders wearing Cub Scout uniforms—I thought they looked like a bunch of slap-dicks.

Dark-blue uniforms with a yellow kerchief and the retard hat with the short bill. Our teachers had special duties for the boys wearing the blue uniforms. The ass-boys. Read the rest of this entry »