A Gastronomic Trip to the Other Side of the Planet: Touring an Indian Grocery Store in Chicago

…I wanted to let Susan know she didn’t need to spend any time on the basics, so I name-dropped my subscription to Cook’s Illustrated, an intense, no-frills cooking magazine that uses the phrase “molecular structure” at least once per issue. She got it, and volleyed back, mentioning the name of the magazine’s editor. Having finished taking measure of one another, we began the tour…

A Net Made of Rocks, and Other Guatemalan Surprises

…I hated taking the kids out for a break – I had to assume that any real estate beyond the moat of garbage had already served as someone else’s receptacle. Exacerbating the problem was that our two younger children did not yet have a healthy fear of infectious disease – they still wanted to touch anything and everything. Trying to get at the problem from the other end, I became reluctant to let the kids eat or drink…

The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

Mile 22 of the Indianapolis Marathon was not where I expected to have my first extra-marital tryst. Looking back though, I should have seen it coming – dangerous, illicit love was in the air. And as is probably often the case, it started with the Megabus ride from Chicago to Indianapolis.

White-water Kayaking with a Cautious Guide

We walked downriver along the shore to scout the upcoming rapid. Our guide was briefing us on what we should prepare for, what to do if we needed to perform an emergency wet-exit, and letting us know that it would be perfectly acceptable to opt out if we didn’t feel comfortable. At the very least, she said ominously, we would have to run it one at a time, because she wouldn’t be able to rescue both of us at once.

The San Francisco Marathon

I looked closer: all the jackets were adorned with a collection of Harley Davidson patches. Really? They hired a motorcycle gang for security duties? Are the race organizers not familiar with the fable of the Rolling Stones’ Altamont concert? The moral of the story: do not get a motorcycle gang to be responsible for security at your event. Perhaps the organizers calculated that everyone in attendance is a marathoner and, in case of trouble, can just run away?

Making no Little Plans, out of Legos

n the middle of July the Alumni Association at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) held their fifth annual Help Build a Lego City event. Some people were there because playing with Legos is fun. Others, who had obviously graduated from “playing” with Legos to “working” with them, were creating projects of such gravitas that light was having trouble escaping.

A Day at the Figment Art Festival in New York

The day began with a 10-minute ferry ride from Brooklyn Bridge Park with the skyline of lower Manhattan preening just off to the west. Once landed, we set out to get artified. My mild sense of apprehension (born of the assumption that free equals bad) quickly turned to relief – the quality of the performances and installations was surprisingly good. The selection committee had done an admirable job.

Category: USA

A Weekend at Illinois’ Cave-in-Rock State Park

There is an ad campaign, the posters for which are easy to find in Chicago, called Mile after Magnificent Mile, which is meant to entice visitors to venture beyond the friendly confines of the city into the Illinois hinterlands. The ads are, as far as I can tell, completely and unequivocally ignored. No one from… Read More »

Category: USA

Ferry-Hopping on Lake Lucerne

Promisingly, halfway up the hotels and restaurants gave way to cows and chickens. I don’t want to say that we were now in the “real” Switzerland, because that would have meant we were sitting in the waiting room of a boutique investment banking firm in Zurich

The Little Rock Marathon

When a Race’s Logo Foreshadows its Own Cancellation The orange goo oozed down the windows, casting the cabin in an eerie Halloween glow. I had never been on a plane while it was being de-iced before. It was an airplane that was supposed to be on its way to Little Rock, Arkansas, where the next… Read More »