Chicago – June 1, 2019

Cover JUNE 19_edited

Sunrise on Luna Lake – Nicolet National Forest

Welcome to summer…I think! My sibling asks the rhetorical question “Is it safe to take the ice-scraper out of the car?” Perhaps.

It will be my first summer viewing the world from the 10th floor. This elevation is unique to the area and the vista looking west is that of a lush green carpet thrown across the land, extending to the horizon. Big thunderheads move in with their requisite light-show and sound effects. The sunsets are typically spectacular.

I propose we use all the vacation time we have struggled to “bank.” Isn’t it interesting to find what the word “vacation” means to each of us? The cover photo this month is a favorite. My ideal get-away is an isolated lake and a campsite only accessible by canoe. Did I mention my fishing rod and a flask of scotch?

Celebrate the season, my friends. Join the cast of writers here for your entertainment. Let’s have our morning cup of coffee and read away an hour or so. “Celebrate” is the word.

Quest For Smoke – Brule Eagan

Sonny Bryan's_edited.jpg

I Know What I Like – John Zielinski


The Stroll – Mike Kerr

Louis Armstrong and the Stompers at the Sunset Cafe_edited.jpg

A Royal Pain – Steve Buschbacher


A Tip of the Cap to Billy Buck – Tom DeMichael


The Publisher’s Desk – Virginia Beach

VB Final.jpg



Chicago – May 1, 2019


Bring the rain, indeed.  “Urbs in horto.” I have an elevated view to the west and see a haze of green begin to appear across the landscape. The uniform gray-tan of winter failed to reveal the amount of forest hiding in plain sight. We live in a place of seasons and humidity. Green things fill every space with soil and light. The geography supports rivers and flood plains. Good things begin with the rains of spring.

We see the results of balance and imbalance, don’t we? Yes, it snowed in April; no, the third ice-age did not begin.

I am convinced the little things each of us do, or refrain from doing as a habit, will make a difference in the long run. I now have re-usable water bottles instead of sacks of empties. Durable shopping bags are far better than plastic. Habits to change…conveniences I thought were real for some reason. The waste was just there. It has been the easiest thing in the world to embrace a solution.

We celebrate the rain.

Welcome to Chicago, Baseball Fans… – Tom DeMichael


The New Imperative – Joe Tortorici


STUDIO RAT …a frame of reference


Looking In – Rainee Denham


Frank Kulak and Fred Hampton: The City Chooses Justice – Mike Kerr


Radio’s New Wave – Brule Eagan

Radio Coffee_edited


Chicago – April 1, 2019

“Soft Landing” – David Jewell

And so we turn the corner on a notable winter season. There were moments it seemed infinite…but we knew better, didn’t we? It was a time of change and new adaptations to the world.

One of the most significant subjects for thought is our environment as the condition of climate change is amplifying. I worry for my many friends up and down the west coast. Between uncontrollable wildfires and flooding, it’s hard to imagine the greater danger. These incidents happen with more regularity and intensity.

Here in the Midwest, our seasonal changes are commonly dramatic. Yet who ever heard of a “bomb cyclone?” Whatever you call the phenomenon, rural areas across the heartland are devastated, some will never see normality again in our lifetime.

My fantasy of retirement somewhere along the Gulf Coast is now tempered by the reality of a capricious hurricane season. The notion of a “season” has has morphed into “who knows when?” and their escalating power is frightening.

In spite of these concerns, spring is coming into view, literally and figuratively. We understand the issues and regardless of any political chicanery, the coming generation gives me hope for change. A part of the answer will be the accumulated small acts each of us make to improve our planet.

In the mean time, let’s get out for a walk! It will do us good.

Let’s also put the world’s nihilism aside and sit with a good book. The manifesto I repeat every month remains consistent: read! Read everything; read the good and bad news; read fiction and history; read the box scores! Encourage reading with your family and friends. Get away from the smart-phone and computer for a measured time every day and read. It is the greatest civilizing force humanity has ever known. It elevates us.

Many thanks to the talented eye of David Jewell for our banner image. May it be the first of many.

It’s a new month and the writers a Central Standard Time are here for you. We hope to start a conversation, listen to new ideas, and grow for the effort. We’re so glad you joined us.

I am proud to welcome Mike Kerr to the blog. Mike recently published his first novel, The Legman, and it riveted me to a chair from the opening chapter. Without spoilers, let me say it’s a story for every Chicagoan, and every reader that enjoys a mystery. You can find it at Amazon.


40th Ward Run-off in Chicago – Roxane Assaf-Lynn


Ruminations of a Reprobate Mind – Brule Eagan


All Good Things – John Zielinski


The Void – Michelle Jackson Jewell


Mike! – Mike Kerr

1986 NBA Playoffs:  Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics

An Actor’s Everest – Rainee Denham

Mount Ama Dablam within clouds, way to Everest base camp

Gaze Into the Crystal Baseball… – Tom DeMichael


Rationalism – Joe Tortorici



Chicago – March 1, 2019


What better image illustrates the bone-cracking, sub-zero temperatures we have experienced? My sibling, Joan Tortorici Ruppert, is always on the hunt for a unique vision. This is a bubble freeze, with the help of ultraviolet ink and a black light…add some serious cold and an equal portion of commitment, of course!

We in the Midwest keep an eye on the month of March for schizophrenic swings of weather. Things change, we endure. All the more fortuitous time to jot some notes to ourselves and each other. Central Standard Time exists as a meeting place to share thoughts and ask questions. The daily informational zeitgeist flooding the ether descends into repetition, every space, every second needs to be filled with the drone of someone unable to stop speaking long enough to think. We, however, are here to include your ideas and reflections.

Use the contact page or comment on the articles you read. We love to hear from you.

Central Standard Time is proud to support Marc Piane’s fundraiser for MS. Join us and see an end to this malady in our lifetime.


Bike MS: Tour de Farms 2019

SpaceX Update – Brule Eagan

Pic 1

Show Me The Money – John Zielinski


Definition – Michelle Jewell


Human Training – Rainee Denham

Final Ginger 4x5

Is It Enough Yet? – Steve Buschbacher


Vegan Gluten/Dairy-Free Chocolate Cupcakes – Michelle Jewell



Chicago – February 1, 2019

Intuition – Jerry Siegan

Welcome to the big chill! Despite any conditioning we Chicagoans may have for such weather, it never fails to test our resolve. We have been fortunate for the past few years with relatively mild winters. This was overdue. We endure.

While the political world, local and national, continues to assault us with hubris and marginal ethics, the real world of human interaction reminds us of the dividends when we leave good things in our wake. The scope of support for federal workers throughout the “shutdown” was magnificent and exemplary of the true American spirit. Furloughed individuals manned the bread-lines and food banks to serve those in need. Chef José Andrés showed us all what faith and courage looks like. There is ample hope for mankind after all.

Grab your coffee, have a seat and join us for a few moments of escape. This month we talk sports, food, art, media, global affairs, and much more. Interact with the writers, ask questions and debate issues. I am so pleased you are here.

February’s featured image is the work of local artist Jerry Siegan. Jerry represents the best example of our quest to discover hidden gems in the visual arts. Visit his page for more work and be amazed.

Central Standard Time is proud to support Marc Piane’s fundraiser for MS. Join us and see an end to this malady in our lifetime.


Bike MS: Tour de Farms 2019

When All Sundays Were Super – Brule Eagan

Photo 2.jpg

An Artistic Intersection – Jerry Siegan

Inclusion acrylic ongessoboard.jpg

Chef Janet – Stuffed Shells


“Never” Is A Really Long Time – John Zielinski


Cafe au Lait – Michelle Jackson Jewell


When Do We Stop Listening – Steve Buschbacher


Going to the Head of the Class – Tom DeMichael


A Map of the Greater Antilles, Part 2 – Joe Tortorici


The Publisher’s Desk – This Is Not Theater



Chicago – January 7, 2019


Welcome the New Year! Renewal is a worthy theme.

From a personal perspective, I recently celebrated a milestone birthday. Something about the Obsessive/Compulsive personality makes much ado about round numbers and my 70th year stimulates both joy and angst. I will never be the child prodigy my mother hoped for. Still, I’m here and able to have a few moments of fun with my friends. It all worked out rather well. My daughter counsels “Own it, Dad.”

Retirement from the music business is a curious change. It has been an adult lifetime in the studio working with some of the best in the business. I’m grateful. Perhaps it’s time to be a critic! If Neil Tesser and Howard Reich are reading, I promise you will be a part of the greater dialog!

Most of all, let’s resolve to be a kinder to one another and enjoy every day. Get a walk in. Leave good things where we pass. This month’s gallery of writers does so with their usual aplomb. We are so happy you are here.

List-O-Mania – Brule Eagan


It’s the Top 10 Countdown! – John Zielinski


Stage Fright – Michelle Jackson Jewell

tom & michelle tango (2)

A 2019 Challenge To Myself – Marc Piane


Calm In The Chaos – Rainee Denham

From the porthole window of a vessel in a rough sea

Less Than Two Years To Go – Steve Buschbacher

january article picture

The Chill On The Infield – Tom DeMichael


The Publisher’s Desk – Joe Tortorici


Chicago – December 11, 2018

AILion wreath

The best of this holiday season to you all! The year was eventful and we each changed the course of history in our own way. There were goals reached and decisions made that will bear witness in the coming year. But enough of that…we are here to celebrate a time of love and friendship.

Personally, I revel in my new digs. The delay in this month’s post is testament to the degree of upheaval moving creates. Cardboard boxes and chaos will greet me for weeks to come. I tend not to move around and this location was worth the wait. The psychological impact is overwhelmingly positive. My sleep has returned.

Once again the esteemed writers in our orbit share their insights and remedies to the cold Midwestern winter…chili!! Enjoy these recipes from the crew. We are also touched with the spirit of family memories and the gift of giving.

To every one of you reading these pages, have the best holiday. Thank you for being here.

– Joe

Rainee Denham – Perfectly Imperfect


John Zielinski – Home for the Holidays?


Sam Freeman – Mainstream Media



Brule Eagan – Brule’s Shiner Bock Chili


Steve Buschbacher – Championship Chili


Glenn Estry – Glenn’s Two-Time Chili


The January 2019 edition of Central Standard Time will mark our third year in this format. What a long strange trip it’s been…and more to come. The follow-up article to “A Map of the Greater Antilles” will offer potential solutions to the revival of our neighbor’s prosperity. The list of contributors continues to grow: Steve Buschbacher, Tom DeMichael, Rainee Denham, Brule Eagan, Joseph Gardewin, Michelle Jackson Jewell, Marc Piane, John Zielinski, Glenn Estry, and yours truly, Joe Tortorici, and many more.

See you then.