Chicago – November 1, 2018

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Photo by Ellen Harder

My thanks to Ellen Harder for her cityscape photo. “Great view from my rooftop, simultaneously beautiful and ominous…” A magnificent capture by any measure.

Something tweaks the air. The cold weather is coming. In the Midwest we give it names, “Alberta Clipper” is a thing. The ebb and flow of the seasons in these latitudes is a blessing to all humanity. The freeze culls out the old and weak so the species stays strong. Push me on to Lake Michigan in a rowboat with no oars. Abandon me on the ice for the polar bears to eat.

The truth is my complaints are small. Retirement affords me limited direct engagement with the elements. I can remember waiting on the El platform under the radiator lights, the top of my head burning and my feet numb with cold.

Our shorter days promote “seasonal affective disorder,” a term that produces the acronym SAD. Dare I say dark humor? I find the opposite emotions at play. The big city is a different kind of light and never really dark. Whether you love or hate the classic holiday season, it is an explosion of artificial illumination, a good deal of it joyous by intent. It’s time to plan an after-dark visit to the center of the city.

It’s also a perfect time of year to read. Get comfortable with a hot beverage and exercise the brain, open new vistas, envision other thoughts. Central Standard Time is pleased to bring you one of the finest writing guilds on the internet. Join Steve Buschbacher, Tom DeMichael, Rainee Denham, Brule Eagan, Joseph Gardewin, Michelle Jackson Jewell, Marc Piane, John Zielinski, and yours truly, Joe Tortorici, at the round-table for conversation. The floor is open.


Please like and share your favorite articles. Comment to the writers, we love that. Be sure to visit the Central Standard Time and Contact pages.


It cannot be said enough…VOTE. If you are able, reach out and help others vote. We, the proletariat, are given the opportunity to shape the government. Let’s do it well.


Steve Buschbacher – Functioning On Blind Faith

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Tom DeMichael – Where Did We Go Wrong?

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Rainee Denham – Get the Ball Rolling Or Not

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Brule Eagan – A Giant Dies

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Chef Joseph Gardewin – Food #7

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Michelle Jackson Jewell – Violation

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Chef Michelle Jackson Jewell – Food #8

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Marc Piane – Outside In – Connection

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John Zielinski – Fear Itself

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Joe Tortorici – A Map Of The Greater Antilles

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The Publisher’s Desk – By Definition

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Chicago – October 1, 2018

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Photo by Joan Tortorici Ruppert

The atmosphere flipped a switch and autumn appeared. You can feel it in the air when you wake and decide to cocoon under the covers for a few more minutes. The morning sky has a pearly opaqueness. The first cup of coffee is a religious experience.

The great forests of the Midwest surrender their greenery for a palette of colors straight from the canvas of Van Gogh. I live in the neighborhood of Caldwell Woods, on the far Northwest side of Chicago. There is a long stretch of Devon Avenue that curves through the forest and for a moment, all evidence of the city disappears. You enter a towering arch of brilliant yellow foliage accented with the rusty deep red of Maple trees. Chicago’s motto is “Urbs in Horto” – “City in a Garden.” Indeed it is. Make this journey throughout the coming fall season and watch the genesis of living art.

As October sets in, let us also complain about the dearth of Halloween sales, Thanksgiving marketing, and the all-too-soon Christmas/Hanukkah orgy of “buy this, right now.” Here it comes! I find it wiser to reflect on the innocence of this season in a melancholy way. We were once children and it was a world of joy and good sweets at the table.

Speaking of sweets, get away from me with the “pumpkin spice!” (One of my all-time favorites is the Pumpkin Spice dog food…tell me how the animal knows.) I will, however, concede to massive amounts of pumpkin pie and whipped cream. Try to stop me, I dare you. Pumpkin pie transcends the individual holiday celebrations and uniformly blankets the season with a five-pound weight gain. Ah well.

Get out and walk, my friends. It’s “sweater weather” and a time for deep breaths of crisp air. We can hope for the occasional tendril of smoke from burning leaves.

I am pleased to introduce a new page from the talented Michelle Jackson Jewell. I anticipate this is the first of many.

…and take us with you! Central Standard Time can be viewed on your tablet or smart phone.

Welcome to the October edition. There is much to talk about and we ask you to join us.


Rainee Denham – Do Not Obey

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Michelle Jewell – Me, Too

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Brule Eagan – The Man With The Sun In His Face

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John Zielinski – It’s Up To You

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John Zielinski – The Infinite Roads Not Taken

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Steve Buschbacher – Child Brides?

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Joe Tortorici – The Moral Component

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The Central Standard Time Food Directory can be found on the CONTACT page. There will be much more to come as the holidays approach. Stay tuned.

Don’t forget to leave your comments on the individual pages. The crew loves to hear from you.

JT

 

Chicago – May 1, 2018

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Harold Washington Library Center

Marc Piane and I shared some reading recently, The Stanger by Albert Camus. I read it long ago and he inspired me to re-visit this classic. We then communicated on a thread, joined by a handful of other “nerds” in our Facebook coterie. The core of conversation and reflections from the book were illuminating, as expected. It was a marvel how our virtual seminar of like-minded readers found a time and place to “talk” about what we had read.

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My manner of acquiring the book was also a statement of the modern world. Once the request was submitted to the Chicago Public Library website, within days I was notified by email. The “book” (it seems odd to call it that) was downloaded to my Kindle. At the end of the virtual checkout, it was returned without delay. How effortless the act of using the library has become. How fortunate we in Chicago are to have an amazing resource like our library system.

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This blog remains a strident proponent of the written word. Not just what you see here, but the mindset of expansive consumption of what you read. At various times throughout its existence, there could have been volumes of images, videos, and audio clips… but no. Central Standard Time is in this world for you to read, and be inspired to read more. No end of pride attends this effort.

Every part of our country, every municipality and county, has access to a library. Your inter-connected phone has the ability to borrow or buy books from all over the world. As we celebrated the life of Barbara Bush, be reminded of her signature advocacy, literacy. Literacy is the fuel of progress. So many of the world’s problems will be solved by a literate, informed populace. It’s vital to our survival.

Join us. Interact with the writers on these pages. Ask questions, state opinions, give argument… participate. It costs nothing and the dividends are priceless. Summer is here and I can think of no greater pleasure than being outdoors, relaxing with a good book.

We bring you another edition of contemporary essays for your pleasure.

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Rainee Denham – LEFT Isn’t a Four-letter Word

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John ZielinskiA Creature of Language

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Tom DeMichael Is That All There Is?

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Steve Buschbacher –  What the Hell Happened?

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Brule EaganConfessions Of A No-Talent

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Marc PianeBalance

Chapter 2 of Marc’s philosophical journey.

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Please support Marc’s upcoming fundraiser:

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Glenn EstryFood #7

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Chef Glenn would like to introduce you to a friend:

rvr-farm RIVER VALLEY RANCH

“I can tell you that some of the best tasting vegetables I have ever had come from his farm. My annual spaghetti sauce making uses about 35 pounds of their San Marzano tomatoes. The best you can get this far from Italy.”

Chicago – March 17, 2018

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Raft Man

The last vestiges of a winter chill will not deter our spring. Balmy temps and the “great outdoor escape” are around the corner. Hang in there.

One of the serendipitous coincidences when publishing a blog is discovery. I have known this talented woman for almost two decades and, once again, I’m awakened to the intellectual depth of my friend. Allow me to introduce Rainee Denham.

Rainee is the classic trifecta of a life in theater, a captivating voice, dancing graces, and the transcendent study of acting. Here she reveals a sophisticated level of communication through the written word. Visit her website (raineedenham.com) and be amazed.

Turn And Face The Strange is the first visit from Rainee. She will join us for the April edition of Central Standard Time with another compelling article.

Brule Eagan writes his annual homage to blarney in Up the Oirish!” 

Chef Geofredo DiMucci (that may be an alias!) treats us to Chicken Cacciatore in Food #6.

Part 2 of Constitutionally Speaking continues a series from The Publisher’s Desk. We examine the concept of Federalism.”

A new index of recipes from our crack team of culinary giants (!) now resides on the CONTACT page.


As always, I am so pleased you are here. Every month the contributors to this blog ask you to read. Reading is the muscle of knowledge and intellect, and fundamental to our future. Visit the enlightened creativity that graces these pages and note your opinion with the “Like” button. Better yet, send your opinions with a comment. We love to hear from you.

Making Meaning In Art: In the Studio of Gabriel Karagianis by Erin reeves Denk

All The News That’s Fit To Print? by Steve Buschbacher

The Most Trusted Man in America by John Zielinski

Quo Vadis, Mr. Murrow by Brule Eagan

Ahh, Spring by Tom DeMichael

Philosophy Meets Real Life by Marc Piane

Constitutionally Speaking by Joe Tortorici

 

Chicago – March 17, 2018

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Raft Man

The last vestiges of a winter chill will not deter our spring. Balmy temp’s and the “great outdoor escape” are around the corner. Hang in there.

One of the serendipitous coincidences when publishing a blog is discovery. I have known this talented woman for almost two decades and, once again, I’m awakened to the intellectual depth of my friend. Allow me to introduce Rainee Denham.

Rainee is the classic trifecta of a life in theater, a captivating voice, dancing graces, and the transcendent study of acting. Here she reveals a sophisticated level of communication through the written word. Visit her website (raineedenham.com) and be amazed.

Turn And Face The Strange is the first visit from Rainee. She will join us for the April edition of Central Standard Time with another compelling article.

Brule Eagan writes his annual homage to blarney in Up the Oirish!” 

Chef Geofredo DiMucci (that may be an alias!) treats us to Chicken Cacciatore in Food #6.

Part 2 of Constitutionally Speaking continues a series from The Publisher’s Desk. We examine the concept of Federalism.”

A new index of recipes from our crack team of culinary giants (!) now resides on the CONTACT page.


As always, I am so pleased you are here. Every month the contributors to this blog ask you to read. Reading is the muscle of knowledge and intellect, and fundamental to our future. Visit the enlightened creativity that graces these pages and note your opinion with the “Like” button. Better yet, send your opinions with a comment. We love to hear from you.

Making Meaning In Art: In the Studio of Gabriel Karagianis by Erin reeves Denk

All The News That’s Fit To Print? by Steve Buschbacher

The Most Trusted Man in America by John Zielinski

Quo Vadis, Mr. Murrow by Brule Eagan

Ahh, Spring by Tom DeMichael

Philosophy Meets Real Life by Marc Piane

Constitutionally Speaking by Joe Tortorici

 

Chicago – March 1, 2018

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Raft Challenger – by Gabriel Karagianis

In the news…

The onslaught of information is overwhelming. At various times throughout the day my brain arcs and short-circuits my cognitive processes. Not only the deluge of mind-numbing facts in a world gone mad, but the preposterous takes up equal time. You just have to shake your head and ask “What?”

Objective reality is in competition with the absurd, all of it under the moniker “news.” How do we make informed decisions? Not only has it become necessary to have multiple sources, it serves us well to remember a time when misinformation was not legitimized. Reporting news, regardless of the medium, was a privileged enterprise. My friend, Brule, reminds us that informing the public was a trust left to professionals that did not speak to the lowest common denominator, but communicated to a literate public. We became educated through the news; we read newspapers; we heard a term and made the effort to find its origin or location on a map.

An acquaintance recently posted her decision making process – “Fox News, the Bible, my own thinking, and what my guinea pig says.” I’m not certain what part of that is a joke.

The talented crew at Central Standard Time gives enlightened perspectives on the information battlefield. Who? What? When? Where? How?

Our cover art is courtesy of Gabriel Karagianis. Erin Reeves Denk talked to Gabriel as only another artist can, and shares her conversation in Making Meaning In Art: In the Studio of Gabriel Karagianis.

Steve Buschbacher gives us a quick review of the available sources for information in his essay, All The News That’s Fit To Print? 

When confusion reigned, we turned to The Most Trusted Man in America. Regular contributor John Zielinski offers a profile of the reporter that defines his profession to this day.

Broadcaster Brule Eagan, has been on the front-lines of the information flow for decades. Who better to give a long look at how we arrived in this place. His essay Quo Vadis, Mr. Murrow is a detailed history of the reporter’s profession.

The pre-season in underway! Both the Cubs and White Sox are brimming with new prospects and enduring hope for the season to come. The “Sports Oracle” Tom DeMichael, gives us the skinny in Ahh, Spring.

Our blog shares many stories of diverse interest. No greater subject of discussion is that of our humanity and our common circumstance. Marc Piane writes a moving note to all of us about the value of goodness in Philosophy Meets Real Life.

Chef Janet (my sister!) keeps a legacy intact with the essence of Sicilian soul-food. Check out Food #5 for a family specialty.

And from the Publisher’s Desk, we begin a series of plain-language examinations regarding the truth and untruth spoken about our Constitution. This is more than simple civics, Constitutionally Speaking.

Please support Marc Piane’s fundraiser

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As always, grab a cup of coffee and have a seat. Don’t hesitate to join in and comment or ask questions. We are here for you.

Reaching into the New Year…

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Foggy Mag

Welcome to an update for the February edition of Central Standard Time. As promised, there will be more in the coming weeks.

New contributor, Glenn Estry, joins the crew with a wonderful offering in Food #2… Glenn’s Mussels.

The Studio Rat returns with a memory of mad obsession in “We’re Rolling.” What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Please re-visit the outstanding essays in this month’s edition. I am happy you are here.

February’s cover image is another from Paul Chen. This is what happens when one of Chicago’s finest videographers walks the streets on a foggy day. More of the city can be seen on his page.

The world moves forward on the coattails of the obsessed, the driven, the inspired and tenacious humans around us. Beings unable to put down the pen, the paintbrush, the instrument, the book, the stats; they stay up later than they should and rise early to refine their physical being and mental processes. Here are some of the obsessed and driven people we know. Sit with us, then write your own story.

Marc Piane reflects on nature and nurture in “Origin“.

I encourage everyone to visit and pledge to the Marc Piane MS Fundraiser:

http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR?px=5297905&fr_id=29358&pg=personal

 

Don’t miss Brule Eagan’s “A Radio Life.” My buddy has too much fun and he’s not finished.

Steve Buschbacher recently underwent a knee replacement. He immediately underwent the best physical therapy, his drum kit and Philadelphia band, Bluestime, in “Feeding My Soul.”

Erin Denk returns! I wouldn’t stop asking (the poor woman rolls her eyes). Though I asked for good reason. Erin’s amazing art is a given and her writing is always a gift of insight. Check out “A Creative Life.”

Billy Denk also relented to my requests and penned “Inspiration.” My first impression of Bill, the musician, will always be remembered as a constant flow of invention, his story reveals how it happened.

We travel with Tom DeMichael through the sacred time of Sixteen-inch Softball, the clincher. The more you played, the softer it became. The farthest I ever saw this powder-puff get hit, Tom was at bat. I don’t know a greater embodiment of the sport, but “Why Baseball?

In Search of the Lost Chordis John Zielinski at his finest. It’s about the need to create.

Uh oh! Chef Geoff has a knife in his hand and he’s headed for the kitchen. We celebrate the return of good meals in Food #1.

Grab a mug of your favorite beverage. I’m down with Kenya AA right now, the world is good. Have a seat at the virtual table and join the conversation. As always, feel free to speak up and let the writers know your thoughts. You can CONTACT me, anytime.

Some nights I lie awake and think of audio signal paths, wondering if anyone else is this insane. Of course… too many to count.