Chicago – December 11, 2018

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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

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John Zielinski – Home for the Holidays?

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Sam Freeman – Mainstream Media

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CHILI !!

Brule Eagan – Brule’s Shiner Bock Chili

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Steve Buschbacher – Championship Chili

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Glenn Estry – Glenn’s Two-Time Chili

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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.

 

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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

 

Fall 2018

Central Standard Time returns from summer vacation, and not a moment too soon. The best and brightest bring their prosaic talents to the October edition in one week. We have missed you, and welcome your return.

See you October 1st.

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INJUN SUMMER
John T. McCutcheon
Chicago Tribune
September 30, 1907

Yep, sonny this is sure enough Injun summer. Don’t know what that is, I reckon, do you? Well, that’s when all the homesick Injuns come back to play; You know, a long time ago, long afore yer granddaddy was born even, there used to be heaps of Injuns around here—thousands—millions, I reckon, far as that’s concerned. Reg’lar sure ‘nough Injuns—none o’ yer cigar store Injuns, not much. They wuz all around here—right here where you’re standin’.

Don’t be skeered—hain’t none around here now, leastways no live ones. They been gone this many a year.

They all went away and died, so they ain’t no more left.

But every year, ‘long about now, they all come back, leastways their sperrits do. They’re here now. You can see ’em off across the fields. Look real hard. See that kind o’ hazy misty look out yonder? Well, them’s Injuns—Injun sperrits marchin’ along an’ dancin’ in the sunlight. That’s what makes that kind o’ haze that’s everywhere—it’s jest the sperrits of the Injuns all come back. They’re all around us now.

See off yonder; see them tepees? They kind o’ look like corn shocks from here, but them’s Injun tents, sure as you’re a foot high. See ’em now? Sure, I knowed you could. Smell that smoky sort o’ smell in the air? That’s the campfires a-burnin’ and their pipes a-goin’.

Lots o’ people say it’s just leaves burnin’, but it ain’t. It’s the campfires, an’ th’ Injuns are hoppin’ ’round ’em t’beat the old Harry.

You jest come out here tonight when the moon is hangin’ over the hill off yonder an’ the harvest fields is all swimmin’ in the moonlight, an’ you can see the Injuns and the tepees jest as plain as kin be. You can, eh? I knowed you would after a little while.

Jever notice how the leaves turn red ’bout this time o’ year? That’s jest another sign o’ redskins. That’s when an old Injun sperrit gits tired dancin’ an’ goes up an’ squats on a leaf t’rest. Why I kin hear ’em rustlin’ an’ whisper in’ an’ creepin’ ’round among the leaves all the time; an’ ever’ once’n a while a leaf gives way under some fat old Injun ghost and comes floatin’ down to the ground. See—here’s one now. See how red it is? That’s the war paint rubbed off’n an Injun ghost, sure’s you’re born.

Purty soon all the Injuns’ll go marchin’ away agin, back to the happy huntin’ ground, but next year you’ll see ’em troopin’ back—th’ sky jest hazy with ’em and their campfires smolderin’ away jest like they are now.

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.”