Fading Ad: Oil Coal Gas Furnaces

Furnaces

Unusual find, on River Street in downtown Batavia, Illinois, where my mom lives. Other than ads I've seen on barns, this is the first one that I can remember seeing that was painted on wood instead of brick. And I don't even know what the name of the company was. And Google didn't clarify much, either. Nice little mystery.

July 26, 2015 in Photography | Permalink | Comments (1)

Joliet Police Blotter

The great Joe Hosey is remarkably restrained with this story - although that aside about the juice boxes is damned near perfect.
Drunken Joliet Man Sent 6-Year-Old Daughter Into 7-Eleven to Buy Him Beer: Cops
A drunken Joliet man sent his 6-year-old daughter into the Cass Street 7-Eleven to buy him a 12-pack of beer, police said.

Aurelio Aguilera-Lara, 36, waited with his 4-year-old daughter in his 1997 Pontiac Grand Am while his older girl went into the store about 10 p.m. Tuesday, police said.

The 6-year-old went in, brought the beer — and some juice boxes for herself — to the counter and tried to make her purchase, police said, but the 7-Eleven clerk grew suspicious and contacted the cops.

Shortly after, officers found Aguilera-Lara, who was “reeking of alcohol,” and the two girls still in the car parked outside the 7-Eleven, police said. Aguilera-Lara also allegedly had an open can of beer in the Grand Am.

Aguilera-Lara was taken to the Will County jail.

I believe we now have our first nominee for 2015 Joliet Horrible Father of the Year.

July 23, 2015 in Joliet | Permalink | Comments (0)

"To a sensitive being, pity is not seldom pain."

Interesting take on compassion, from Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener"; the narrator has bent over backwards to help Bartleby, but soon realizes that his employee is probably beyond hope.
My first emotions had been those of pure melancholy and sincerest pity; but just in proportion as the forlornness of Bartleby grew and grew to my imagination, did that same melancholy merge into fear, that pity into repulsion. So true it is, and so terrible too, that up to a certain point the thought or sight of misery enlists our best affections; but, in certain special cases, beyond that point it does not. They err who would assert that invariably this is owing to the inherent selfishness of the human heart. It rather proceeds from a certain hopelessness of remedying excessive and organic ill. To a sensitive being, pity is not seldom pain. And when at last it is perceived that such pity cannot lead to effectual succor, common sense bids the soul rid of it. What I saw that morning persuaded me that the scrivener was the victim of innate and incurable disorder.
Bartleby is still one of my favorite short stories ever.

July 22, 2015 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Quote

"I think that the minute a writer knows what his style is, he’s finished. Because then you see your own limits, and you hear your own voice in your head. At that point you might as well close up shop." - E.L. Doctorow (1931-2015)

July 22, 2015 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Update on Summer of Melville

My Summer of Classics (this year, renamed "Summer of Melville") continues. I just finished Moby-Dick yesterday (in a word: "Whew!") and this morning started another re-reading of the long story "Bartleby the Scrivener"; this is the third or fourth time I've read the story, and am enjoying it as much as ever. After that, it will be the novella Benito Cereno, and then The Confidence-Man. My old blog friend Golden Rule Jones is a big Melville fan, and at a recent lunch he recommended the latter novel as a fine way to round out my summer reading.

I'm going to refrain from any extensive commentary until the summer is over, so for now I will just say that Moby-Dick was every bit as thrilling and exasperating as I expected it to be.

Moby admirers might appreciate Peter Orner's recent essay "Brief Early Morning Thoughts on Ahab" at The Rumpus, in which he reflects on whether Ahab's monomaniacal quest was simply a ploy to avoid going home.

July 21, 2015 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Russell's Silverbar

image from http://www.boogaj.com/.a/6a00d83451ce9f69e201b7c7b1df0d970b-pi

I love this 1943 postcard for Russell's Silverbar ("Where the Crowds Meet") at State and Van Buren in Chicago. (The building is long gone; the Harold Washington Public Library now stands on that entire block.) The graphics are wonderful, of course, but what I really like is how all of the great old State Street department stores - Marshall Field, Carson Pirie Scott, Goldblatt's, The Hub, The Boston Store, The Fair - are labeled, as if to say "When you're finally all shopped out, stop by Russell's for a stiff drink before you head home."

July 21, 2015 in Chicago Observations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Quote

"If you take the life-lie away from an average person, you take away his happiness as well." - Henrik Ibsen

July 20, 2015 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Quote

"I think self-confidence is a very dangerous thing for writers. I tend to write in a fragile, edgy, doubtful sort of way, trying things out all the time, never confident that I’ve got something right." - William Trevor

July 18, 2015 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fascinating

image from http://www.boogaj.com/.a/6a00d83451ce9f69e201b7c7af962c970b-pi

From a 1937 Chicago Tribune article, here is an 1880s bird's-eye view of Chicago's downtown lakefront, superimposed with the grid of streets that were added later through landfill reclamation. The new streets are now some of the most valuable real estate in the city, but before reclamation the sandy shoreline north of the river was mostly an outlaw wasteland known as "The Sands." I have a book of the same name (by Francesca Falk Miller) that I picked up at the Newberry Library sale a few years ago but still haven't gotten around to reading yet. Soon.

July 16, 2015 in Chicago Observations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Literary cycling

How fitting to read this list ("The 10 best books about cycling") just a few hours after my weekly Saturday morning ride. I've already added the Wells, Krabbe and Bartolini books to my list (the Beckett was already there, though I haven't looked for it aggressively, and I've read The Third Policeman but didn't care much for it). I'll never be a racer and probably not even a daily rider, but I love my weekly rides. I never go for speed, just for good exercise and enjoying the outdoors.

July 11, 2015 in Books | Permalink | Comments (2)