Sunday, February 01, 2015

Neil Steinberg Is Right: Union Station Has LOTS Worse Parts Than The Worn Stairs

Photo from thethirdcity

When we lived with Nat's parents while we were fixing our house, I took the train in from Naperville everyday and used Union Station.  Now...I get the good fortune of using Ogilvie everyday.  And there is no comparison.  Union Station is just flat out awful.  *Gross* is a good way to put it. 

And..Steinberg points out that they want to fix the old stairs.  And...he thinks it is a bad idea:
Union Station is a hell hole — loud, crowded, smoky, cold, in winter, airless in summer, dripping cascades of what please God is water all year round. 
So news that Amtrak finally plans to toss $12 million into fixing has to be welcome, although anybody who has spent anything on home repair has to immediately wonder how far $12 million is going to go. Announcing a $12 million facelift of Union Station is like me saying I'm spending $600 to put in a new bathroom in my home. Given that the "multibillion dollar" master plan to truly update Union Station, can $12 million even give it a good scrubbing (a skepticism reflected in headlines such as Time Out's, "Amtrak Commits $12 million to make Union Station less gross." Less gross.

Although. One detail of the plan gave me pause. Not that they're listening to me, or any of the 120,000 commuters forced to descend into Union Station's stygian horrors every day. The geniuses in charge have announced they're going to fix the marble stairs into the Great Hall, steps gently worn over the decades by millions of feet, in Oxford wing tips and sandals and wrapped in rags. Chicago is not an ancient city, and those sagging stone steps are the closest thing we have to an old stairway in Jerusalem or Rome. So while God knows I would never argue with any kind of improvement at Union Station, I would say, fix those marble steps only after you've fixed everything else. Which is a code for "never." 
That said, they'll probably fix them first.
He's right.  Fix the exhaust.  Fix the platforms.  Fix the dripping.  Don't fix the old stairs.  

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Another Vintage Santa Pot


I was cleaning out my draft posts from earlier this month and realized I didn't post on a few of these vintage Christmas finds we picked up.  Yesterday, I posted the pic of the little Christmas angel and today, here's this beefcake Santa Claus.  He has a little bit of wear and paint loss on his cheek, but he is different than the other Santas we have, so I couldn't pass him by.  Our cabinet was pretty full last year and now...looking at all the posts I've written in January this year, it appears we're going to have to start thinking about a new way to show these Christmas pots off next year.

This guy makes 5 new pots along with a few houses, a tray, and a pin all added this year.  (and...I have another post or two tee'd up).

And...in a bit of #housekeeping news, today is the 31st of January and I've kept at it with a post everyday.  #everygoddamnday as my favorite Chicago columnist Neil Steinberg puts it.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Vintage Christmas Girl Candle Holder


Here's another little Christmas girl that we picked up earlier this month in Michigan.  I think she must be part of a set that holds taper candles.  Might she be an angel?  I packed her away weeks ago, so I can't remember if she has a halo or not?

The important part?  The mark on the bottom:


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kilwins Elmhurst - Ready For Opening Day


I took this photo of the brand new Kilwin's in the Elmhurst City Center last week as they were putting the finishing touches on the place.  When the sign went up and announced that Kilwin's was coming to town, I was surprised by the timing.  After all...I mostly considered Kilwin's an ice cream shop.  That's all we really ever use it for up in Michigan.

But...then...I saw how they had this place set up with various cases and displays and remembered that they are, indeed, a big-time candy shop.  They make chocolates and carmels and such right there in the window in one of those big copper kettles.

And you know what?  When is the biggest season for candies?  It isn't Christmas, I would guess.  It *has* to be Spring.  Valentine's Day is staring us in the face.  Followed fast by Easter.  Followed by Mother's Day.  

Candy. Candy. Candy.

Suddenly...now I know why they rushed to get the place open in February and not wait until ice cream season.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

YouTube.Comments.Are.Still.The.Worst

Yesterday, I posted about this Bob Dylan song that I really like and included a YouTube video embed.  If you looked closely, you'll see the worst of humanity on display at the bottom of the video.
Seriously...The.Worst.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

If You Ever Go To Houston... (Or How One Of Bob Dylan's Records Evaded Me)


Where have I been?  Bob Dylan put out a record in 2009 called 'Together Through Life' that has evaded me for five years.  What have I been doing to ignore this?  Turns out...it charted at #1 in the US and the UK.  Really?  It is his 33rd studio album and includes his touring band and a guy named Mike Campbell from The Heartbreakers.  That's pretty cool.

From Google Play:
Together Through Life is the thirty-third studio album by singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on April 28, 2009, by Columbia Records. The album debuted at number one in several countries, including the U.S. and the UK. It is Dylan's first number one in Britain since New Morning in 1970. 
Dylan wrote all but one of the album's songs withGrateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, with whom he had previously co-written two songs on his 1988 album Down in the Groove. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Dylan commented on thecollaboration: “Hunter is an old buddy, we could probably write a hundred songs together if we thought it was important or the right reasons were there... He's got a way with words and I do too. We both write a different type of song than what passes today for songwriting.” The only other writer Dylan has ever collaborated with to such a degree is Jacques Levy, with whom he wrote most of the songs on Desire.

I'm a big fan of the 'late' Bob Dylan.  I've written about it before back in 2007 when I said that we were living in the "Golden Age" of Bob Dylan.  I still think that.

Ever since the late nineties 'Time out of Mind' I've been really interested in and listening to a lot of his new-er music.  In fact...a lot of this recent music (Time out of Mind, Love and Theft, Modern Times and even Tempest) has given me a chance to look at other records of his that I have missed.

But...back to this album from 2009 that totally missed me...

There's a song that kicks off the album - Beyond Here Lies Nothin' - that I've heard before and have some familiarity with...but the rest of the record?  Nothin'.  As in...I had never heard any of it.

But that changed a week ago.  I've been listening to it on my commute a bit the past week and the real standout for me is 'If You Ever Go To Houston'.  Give it a listen.  A couple of times.  Really puts you in a good place.

Check it out with this weird ripped YouTube version:

Monday, January 26, 2015

Goldie Box And The Tea Cup Ride As Built By The Babe


For Christmas, the Babe picked up a few more Goldie Box sets including the 'Builders Survival Set' that includes lots of parts and some new builds.  One of them - and the one that the Babe immediately gravitated towards was the tea cup ride.  You can see what she built here and I was really impressed that it actually worked!

Some of the parts weren't a super tight fit and the orange band kept falling off the wheels, but when you turn the handle the thing whirls around.   And...most importantly...light up her face.  She was geeked out over building it and wanted to show it to everyone who was around.

And...isn't that the point?  This is, after all, a super girl-y girl.  She likes dresses and ballet and shopkins and pink.  Anything pink.  But...Goldie Blox scratch her right where she itches.  She's into them big time.  And is learning how to solve problems and build things.

So...thanks, Goldie Blox!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My First Chicago Blackhawks Game


A few weeks back, I was invited to watch the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Dallas Stars by a friend who lives in Elmhurst.  I *think* I've been to a couple of 'Hawks games before (I believe Matt - the Mayor organized a trip to the United Center during one of the Christmas Breaks while we were in college (the late 90's) and I have a faint recollection of going to the Blackhawks game with my little league baseball coach and his son when I was really small.

But...I can't quite confirm those things in my memory...so I'm claiming this as my FIRST Blackhawks game.  It *is* the first one I've been to since the team has been good the past few years, so that's something, right?

Oh...and they won in overtime, too!  It was pretty awesome.  We then ran to the car and got out of the parking lot pretty easy.

I do have one beef, though.  They Hawks wear red jerseys at home.  That's too bad.  If I was a season ticket holder, I'd be pushing the team to reverse that and wear white.  The reason being that RIGHT NOW, every game you go see is always going to be red vs. white.  That's a little boring.

If they wore white at home, you'd see this cavalcade of colors coming through each night.  White vs. blue one night.  White vs. red the next.  White vs green after that.  White vs. orange, etc.  You get the idea.   With the home team wearing white at home, you get to really experience the full glory of all the jerseys (yes...I know they're sweaters) as each new team comes to town.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Georges Briard Designs Vintage Santa Tray


This tray was one of Nat's finds this past trip to the Great Lakes Antique Mall.  She picked it up, looked at the price, then did some comparison shopping on Etsy and said it was a deal.

So...it is now ours!  It went away for the year, but will be a nice surprise next season when we pull our stuff out.  It fits the criteria for me (made in Japan) and for her (has a pretty cute set of Santas on it), so it is a winner.

Check out the back below here for the mark and Japan stamp:

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Mail-in Bumble Finally Arrived


Back in November, I posted a photo of the foursome of figures that we picked up from the 50th Anniversary Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer set at Menards.

Part of the deal was that when you buy all four, you get 4 different codes you have to enter on the distributor's website and you unlock the code to get a free mail-in Bumble.  We did that back in November and right before Christmas, this guy showed up in the mail.

The four we bought at the store all came with little batteries in them, but this guy requires AAA batteries to be put in.  Because he arrived so late, he didn't get much attention this year, but I packed him away with the other four, so he'll be in heavy rotation with the girls next season, I'm thinking.
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