Looking East…

Cardinal

I recently took a regular Amtrak line, the Cardinal, to the great city of Philadelphia. A visit with my daughter and granddaughter proved to be all the joy I anticipated. The train traveled about twenty-six hours across the southern border of Ohio, into West Virginia, and on to the eastern megalopolis. As expected, the Smoky Mountains are a vision this time of year. Nature throws a blanket of vegetation over the rolling terrain in what must surely rival any great rain forest of the tropics. Our country has many beautiful vistas.

As American cities go, Philadelphia is one of the elder statesmen. Established in 1682, Philadelphia played a pivotal role in the formation of a nation that revolutionized government in the modern world. In this place, the finest minds of an age met in conference and debate to plan for our future. For as much verbiage given to the considerations of the “common” man, this was no ordinary gathering. Among the participants to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were future presidents, ministers, ambassadors, and cabinet administrators. This was the best and brightest the colonies had to offer. We should do as well for representation in contemporary times.

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Independence Hall

I discovered Philadelphia is also one of the great “Food Towns” on the continent. Oh man! The classic cheese-steak sandwich and hoagies of doom; a fine colony of Italian restaurants; seafood befitting a culture in close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean; and home-made beer seems to be a “thing.” To my pleasant surprise, the Amish know a good meal, and their pastries are to die for…trust me.

I also saw stark contrasts in the culture of America. Coming from the urban sprawl of Chicago, the physical “rust” of Appalachia was very evident. Not crumbling, as some alarmists would have us believe, but more like aging and un-renewed. Along rail sidings appear miles of coal tenders and bunkers of ore waiting to be loaded. A glow of pastel orange emerges from the darkness and then a processing plant would come in to view. Enormous spherical tanks and pipes in a tangle of unknown purpose covering acres of land. In the distance were cracking towers venting licks of blue flame. It occurs to me that this is capital investment in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The human component is only part of the equation.

The motif of Mamet’s “The Water Engine” takes form in reality. Should science discover the grail of inexpensive, renewable, non-polluting energy tomorrow, there will be an inestimable physical, economic, and cultural impact. Can we abandon entire segments of the existing labor pool, let alone this infrastructure? In the name of progress, can we deny anyone a chance at survival in the modern world? Finding the “science” is only the tip of an iceberg we must surely face. Once more, we need the best and brightest minds to formulate a future in our best interests.

Indeed, the train was a welcomed break from the superhighway of regulated concrete. It was a time for reflection, extrapolation, and a quiet scotch as the sun went down. Highly recommended.

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July marks a return to publishing on the first of every month. This is far more considerate to the wonderful writers and artists that contribute to this blog, as well as you, the readers. On this sultry summer morning we offer two essays from mid-June that were not given their requisite fanfare.

Steve Buschbacher offers a double-dip of commentary with “Innocents Abroad?” and “Mascot-eers“…which conveniently segues to this month’s sports features. Baseball savant, Tom DeMichael, talks about the legendary Jimmy Piersall in “There Was No One Like Jimmy” and my cousin Nick Goehrke and I commence a running bucket of opinions on the state of the Chicago Blackhawks in “Hockey, Hockey, Hockey,” this is only the beginning (yes, that’s a threat). Hey, nepotism works!

Welcome, my friends, to the July issue of Central Standard Time. Grab your coffee.

Summer Breeze…

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Wish you were here…

…and not a moment too soon.

Welcome to the June edition. We revel in the coming of pleasant temperatures and sunny skies. The briefest getaways take on the gravity of great expectations…every moment counts! Let’s make it so.

City dwellers, such as myself, participate in an additional custom this time of year…road construction. My neighborhood is easily compared to the pit of hell for drivers, cyclers, and pedestrians alike. No, your GPS can’t keep up with closures, so don’t even try. Successful detours are for experienced neighborhood commuters as small side-streets and alley-ways become the secret passages to reach your destination. It’s an art.

As temperatures an humidity rise, the savvy population takes to the wooded areas that dot our environment. Great care is taken to provide these preserves as an oasis of sanity and depressurization for a harried urbanite. On the most muggy mornings, I can get on my bike and take a short run through the local Forest Preserve Trail. A moderate pace under the canopy of tall Elms surpasses any mechanical air-conditioner man can devise. Indeed, every moment counts.

John Zielinski is here with a wonderful essay near and dear to my heart…audio. But wait! John takes it one step deeper, as always. A great read in “I know What I Like…”

From the Publisher’s Desk, a review of the current environmental crisis and some very important, over-looked consequences of the “low-carbon” culture. A demon lurks in our midst disguised as a solution…it is not. Take a Moment with “The Nuclear Stain” and recall what the Hippies were protesting about fifty years ago. The truth is timeless.

Relax and pour a cup of your favorite bean. Join us for good conversation and the occasional spontaneous grin.

Thought Bubbles…

ThoughtBubble  by J. Tortorici

DJT: These Arabs know how to party! Huh!? This is a monarchy as it should be. And they know how to treat a guest. F**kin’ gold everywhere, and a necklace! No way!

Saudi King Salman (SKS): Infidel! You are easy. 

DJT: …and swords! Heavy! Nice…oh shit. Dance? No, don’t do this… 

SKS: Not like the smart-aleck Obama. What a pain he was. As for the Slavic barbarian, Putin, bah! This is how kings do it, bitch. 

DJT: The Brit’s are such tight-asses about royalty. Although there are some hot English women…Racheal Hunter! Remember her in “Jesse’s Mom?” 

SKS: Just the beginning. We will show him true wealth. Russians…goatherds! Walk him through the palace and bring the bling. Bring him young Fatima for the “Babylonian Onsey-Twosy.” This is easy. 

DJT: On to the Pope. Another tough guy. He’ll probably come after me…they all do. I fixed his ass though. Callista Gingrich! Bwahahahaha! 

SKS: Grinning baboon. Stick to the script and you will be rewarded. 

DJT: I have to rethink this culture. Their system with women is centuries old and it seems to work for them. 

SKS: Now, to purchase some military assets in our favor. He seems dazzled by the swords. 

DJT: Couldn’t live here. Too effing hot. But this palace, wow! The Mar’ is due for an upgrade. 

SKS: The preening unbeliever only now begins to understand the world he is in. 

DJT: I’m keeping the necklace. 

May 3, 2017

Greetings, and welcome to the May edition of Central Standard Time. This issue characterizes all the diversity and insights one could hope for. We want to tickle your humor and intellect at the same time. As always, we get the conversation started and let you take it from there. This issues line-up of articles and essays is ready for a cup of your favorite coffee.

Our favorite baseball guy, Tom DeMichael, finally gives up his age. For all of us elder pretenders to the baseball diamond, Tom hits it out of the park with “The Game…In Another Way.”

We are so pleased to see John Zielinski return to the blog with his salient insights to the modern world. John examines the coming tech’ revolution in “It’s All Part of the Job.” Buff-up your resume’.

Steve Buschbacher talks Blues history and the recent loss of giants in our uniquely Chicagoan style in his essay “On Those Who Preceeded Us…”

From the Publisher’s Desk, we have a bleated birthday celebration for Edward “Duke” Ellington, born April 29, 1899. He remains one of the world’s greatest composers and innovators. Profiled in a re-print of an article from January 2015 (The Chicago Progressive) “Happy Birthday Duke…”

Current events in our troubled world take the stage in an opinion piece examining the harsh realities of political posturing, “A War of Errors.”

Grab a seat at the table. We are here to talk and entertain each other with thoughts and opinions.

April 16, 2017

Ukrainian Village Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to a new edition of Central Standard Time. I am pleased to welcome back old friends, regular contributors, and some fresh talent. Grab your coffee and join us for comments, opinions, and interesting thoughts.

My friend Greg King is back with an observation on religion in today’s world with his essay, “Can We Talk?”

The bon vivant of South Texas, Brule Eagan, looks to his local politics for some contemporary perspectives in “The Trouble With Eddie.”

How fortunate we are to live in an urban environment brimming with the creative ethos. It is my pleasure to introduce Rebecca Francescatti. Rebecca’s art graces this issue’s cover.

I met this talented lady at a professional function in which she served as secretary and reporter. Her articles were very good. As I am always on the spy for exceptional writers, this was someone I needed to court for CST. The more you know of Rebecca, the more you see the essence of a complete artist. For some people in the world, the muse descends from Olympus and touches them on the forehead…”This is for you.” Writer of songs and insightful prose, and stunning artist, Rebecca is one of those people.

The SCIENCE page returns. Here is an essay on the fate of our species, “The Solar Federation.” I can promise my favorite page will get more attention in the coming months.

From the Publisher’s Desk, a long hard look at the myth and fate of one particular Arab Spring. “Out of Egypt…” examines the zero-sum game of power in the Middle East.

Here we go! Summer is pulling at our sleeve and the time is right for a moment of leisure and good reading.

 Rebecca “F” Francescatti is a performing songwriter, musician, artist and writer residing in Chicago.  Currently a student in the M.A. Counseling program at Northwestern University, she holds an M.A. in English Literature from DePaul University.  When not moonlighting with her bands Rebecca F. & The Memes or Night Jogger, you’ll find her serving the humanities in the fields of counseling and publishing.  

 

April 4, 2017

vintage_compass_rose

After a long hiatus, we return to the ether  refreshed and ready to rock. This has been a sabbatical of sorts as I dove in the waters of political science. I haven’t read this much in thirty years. It’s not Dickens, either. University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer on Great Power Politics, Paul Collier, Daniel Drezner, a detailed examination of the United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the process of our national government. If I intend to bitch about the state of the world in print, a bit of knowledge would be a good idea.

We are going to try for more diverse and frequent postings from our friends and contributors. As the circle of interesting people expands, so too will sharing their views.

Tom DeMichael gets us in the swing (pun intended) with his always salient views on baseball in Chicago and the WORLD CHAMPION CUBS!! How about that?

Marc Piane offers Chapter 3 of his travelogue and the zen of solitude. My brilliant comrade gives even more brain-power with a thoughtful essay about Thinking Less.

From the Publisher’s Desk are some views on the future of the American electorate. Yes, there is much hope.

Thank you for being here and please peruse the archives for more excellent reading.

January –

GettyImages-855728_2640652aWelcome to the January edition of Central Standard Time.

As a child of the Sixties, socio-political awareness was a part of the era’s cultural framework. The best motives of those times are experiencing a re-birth. Through the rigors of daily life, economic survival, the ladder of success, or the “old ennui” Sinatra sang of, we start the new year with an air of activism. It fills the heart. The new generation of advocacy is broad, crossing lines of gender, age, race, faith, income…we are all in this together and it’s time to speak up.

The limit of my “front-page politics” concerns an apolitical epiphany. For decades, my disappointment with our government’s cavalier handling of money always crossed party lines. “Vote the bastards out” has been my rally cry. In general, the whole situation would be better served by some common business sense and capitalist principles. I now feel this is in error, deeply so.

The responsibility of good governance is providing for the least of our countrymen, while cultivating the best we have to offer the world. Tomorrow will surely arrive, and the enemy of that progress is poverty and illiteracy. Those poisons are as diverse as the population. Of all the resolutions made in vain at this time of year, stepping away from the computer and contributing to the betterment of our world is the greatest calling to which we can aspire. Coming editions will shine a light on new avenues of attack. The mindset remains apolitical.

This month’s offering of articles is nothing short of spectacular.

Joan Tortorici Ruppert joins the crew with a conference reflecting on the loss of so many music giants in Broken Records.

Friday the 13th would not be complete without our resident sage, Brule Eagan, and the big question: Do You Feel Lucky?

Always insightful, John Zielinski writes an excellent political essay about the big post-partum, This is Not the Piece I Had Planned to Write. Good stuff.

We begin chapter 2 of Marc Piane‘s “Outside In.” Night Hike takes us to the perfect moon.

Roxane Assaf-Lynn graciously allows us to reprint her latest article as it appears in the Huffington Post. Expose’ or Hip-Hooray is an entertaining journey, from departure to arrival.

The Grand Pubah of the dugout, Tom DeMichael, talks Chicago baseball in But, What Have You Done For Us Lately?

Our favorite blues guy, Steve Buschbacher has some questions about song lyrics in the modern age with They Don’t Write ’em Like they Used To.

And finally from the Publisher’s Desk, a conversation about self-control.

I am so happy you are here. Let’s have a morning or two of respite from the daily grind. Did I say “grind?” That must mean coffee is involved.