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In honor of Halloween, Cooper Hewitt features The Gorey Alphabet, by the delightfully macabre Edward Gorey. I’m a huge fan of Gorey. 

October 31, 2018 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Boy's gotta have it.


Reproductions  of the original sixteen Hot Wheels cars, plus a re-creation of the original store display, to celebrate Hot Wheels' 50th anniversary. Though I still have (most) of my Hot Wheels, it would be great to have all of these in pristine, non-kid-damaged (the "kid" being me) condition, but at a cool $500 - plus shipping - I'll have to pass. Of the original sixteen, I think I have/had Cheetah, Cougar, Eldorado, Volkswagen and Silhouette, and possibly more. 

October 30, 2018 in Personal | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fading Ad: Gibbons Box Co.


H.R. Gibbons Box Company, 1210 W. Lake Street, Chicago. I took a longer-than-usual walk yesterday afternoon through an area I visit only rarely, and was very pleased to find this ad. Though I’ve walked this block before, I must have been on the other side of the street, where the ad is obscured by the L tracks. The company is long defunct, and doesn’t even appear in the State of Illinois corporations database.

This 1921 obituary for Harry Gibbons (from an industry trade journal, with a typically laudatory tone) seems to suggest that the company made boxes for Marshall Field & Company, where Gibbons worked before leaving to start his own firm. Great customer to have, especially back then. 


October 25, 2018 in Chicago Observations, History, Photography | Permalink | Comments (0)


“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet.” - J. Robert Oppenheimer

October 21, 2018 in Current Affairs, History | Permalink | Comments (0)


“You can’t stay at home with something like this going on. Women are feeling empowered and stronger, and it’s no longer going to be the good ol’ white boys’ club. It can’t be any more.” - Angela Trzepkowski

October 5, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)


“I only know that I will never again trust my life, my future, to the whims of men, in companies or out. Never again will their judgment have anything to do with what I think I can do. That was the wonderful liberation of being divorced and having children. I did not mind failure, ever, but I minded thinking that someone male knew better.” - Toni Morrison

October 4, 2018 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rebecca Solnit, on breaking the silence.

From "A Short History of Silence," in The Mother of All Questions

Speech, words, voice sometimes change things in themselves when they bring about inclusion, recognition, the rehumanization that undoes dehumanization. Sometimes they are the only preconditions to changing rules, laws, regimes to bring about justice and liberty. Sometimes just being able to speak, to be heard, to be believed are crucial parts of membership in a family, a community, a society. Sometimes our voices break those things apart; sometimes those things are prisons. And then when words break through unspeakability, what was tolerated by society sometimes becomes intolerable. Those not impacted can fail to see or feel the impact of segregation or police brutality or domestic violence: stories bring home the trouble and make it unavoidable.

Solnit also has stirring words of praise for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, in The Guardian. "What was tolerated by society sometimes becomes intolerable." We can hope.

October 2, 2018 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

“…the country breathed a timeless life…”

The opening paragraphs of Isak Dinesen's short story "Sorrow-Acre" (from Winter's Tales):

The low, undulating Danish landscape was silent and serene, mysteriously wide-awake, in the hour before sunrise. There was not a cloud in the pale sky, not a shadow along the dim, pearly fields, hills and woods. The mist was lifting from the valleys and hollows, the air was cool, the grass and the foliage dripping wet with the morning dew. Unwatched by the eyes of man, and undisturbed by his activity, the country breathed a timeless life, to which language was inadequate.

All the same a human race had lived on this land for a thousand years, had been formed by it soil and weathers, and had marked it with its thoughts, so that now no one could tell where the existence of the one ceased and that of the other began. The thin grey line of a road, winding across the plain and up and down hills, was the fixed materialization of human longing, and of the human notion that it were better to in one place than another.

Lovely beginning, but unfortunately Dinesen goes on like this for more than two pages, taking forever to narrow the focus and actually start telling the story. And I'm not expecting the story itself to move much more quickly than this.

October 1, 2018 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)