Chicago – May 1, 2019

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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

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The New Imperative – Joe Tortorici

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STUDIO RAT …a frame of reference

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Looking In – Rainee Denham

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

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Radio’s New Wave – Brule Eagan

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Chicago – April 1, 2019

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“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.

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

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Ruminations of a Reprobate Mind – Brule Eagan

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All Good Things – John Zielinski

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The Void – Michelle Jackson Jewell

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Mike! – Mike Kerr

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An Actor’s Everest – Rainee Denham

Mount Ama Dablam within clouds, way to Everest base camp


Gaze Into the Crystal Baseball… – Tom DeMichael

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Rationalism – Joe Tortorici

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Chicago – January 7, 2019

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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

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It’s the Top 10 Countdown! – John Zielinski

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Stage Fright – Michelle Jackson Jewell

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A 2019 Challenge To Myself – Marc Piane

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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

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The Chill On The Infield – Tom DeMichael

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The Publisher’s Desk – Joe Tortorici

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Chicago – April 1, 2018

– from Joan Ruppert
Shortly before the March 24 “March for Our Lives” demonstrations I contacted David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez via Twitter to ask what art (musical, visual, written word) helped keep them inspired and energized. About a week later David Hogg posted this. I’m sure the timing was only coincidental to my query because he likely wades through hundreds of messages every single day. But still, I had to smile.
David Hogg Playlist

CENTRAL STANDARD TIME – A SPECIAL EDITION

Are we at a threshold? What is the point of activism if neither rage nor outrage appear to be working. The innateness of good and evil hasn’t changed, so, what are we missing? The battle for social justice needs a new strategy.

These stories of activism and acts of personal strength portend a season of change.


Brule Eagan doesn’t mind a bit of detention. We’ll see you in the back row. – The Breakfast Club.”

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Pennridge 225

Whatcha Gonna Do? While public demonstrations in favor of stronger laws are laudable, the fight requires more. As always, John Zielinski is our guide.

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Rainee Denham brings a story of strength. A Well Directed Production is a conversation with Chicago-based theatre director/adaptor, Lavina Jadhwani.

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Lavina Jadhwani

On December 2, 1970, Richard Nixon’s administration created the Environmental Protection Agency. We can all join together and sing Sometimes All I Need Is The Air That I Breathe with Steve Buschbacher.

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Erin Denk pens an excellent essay on the movement in “Me Too”:  A Space to Listen. Women stand. Will women vote?

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Here we are again…

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Stephon Clark

How is a cell phone mistaken for a weapon? Twenty rounds later, another brown person is dead at the hands of frightened policemen. It’s always the brown people. Really… here we are again. It is impossible to narrate the dozens of similar incidents across the country, so let’s review the video of this one, again and again. Stephon Clark committed no crime, possessed no weapon, and, likely, never knew what hit him. End of story.

Can we clarify the effectiveness of activism, because neither rage nor outrage appear to be working.

A significant time approaches and I wonder if our culture is willing to seize the initiative. A succession of events is merging to form a nexus, begging important questions. It’s time to deal in new concepts; a time to make daring plans and not settle for less than what serves us and our posterity. Everyone is involved, everyone.

Bold decisions require action. An effective start is changing the population of our government with the vote. How will we gauge their competence and awareness in the course of events? What will be the litmus test? Specifically, let’s see major progressive legislation, of the daring and audacious type. Why not raise the level of conversation and impose greater expectations, not “what we can get” laws that serve no one.

So many events, so many questions:

What will it take to stop the murder of young men of color? Why are they expendable? If life weren’t already tough, they settle gang affairs with guns, at the same time fighting a war with police. It’s everywhere and never stops. What quality of life includes a percentage likelihood of gun related death? Ask them to vote, I’ll wait.

The web of immigration intrigue entangles huge swaths of society. Add a systemic promotion of fear and “It’s the brown people” mindset. Resolutions to immigration and the flow of labor across the continent are inevitable, and in everyone’s favor. Global economies flourish, limited economies fail.

Women have every reason to take a stand. Statistics point to a wave of female candidacy across the country. Will women vote?

Advocate for the Assault Weapons Ban, demand it.

A group of smart young people in Florida embraced the big-picture from the beginning. They reached out across the country; Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, north to south, and they see a greater malaise. They are not asking permission to make change. Will they vote?

Where is a strategy for future industries to fuel the economy and support our social structure? If we insist on nostalgia to feel secure, let’s borrow from the Republican genius of Eisenhower; the National Defense Education Act of 1958; The International Geophysical Year; the infrastructure titan interstate highway system; it was civics on a grand scale.

The welfare of each citizen is connected to all. Will we vote for social safety nets, will we vote for science?

Then there are the increased white supremacist advocacies… they vote too.

Trump is the old log we kicked over and all of the creatures come pouring out, crawling, scattering, and burrowing out of sight. The cold underbelly of interest and identity politics is laid bare. Fat maggots, tentacled, multi-legged, fast movers, the backdrop of a million tiny beings, all chaos, moving as one.

The lighter view is we are living a cartoon saga. Matt Schlapp versus Tom Perez in “Celebrity Death Match.” Stephen Miller as Grima Wormtongue, whispering in the despot’s ear. Attorney General Jefferson Sessions, my god. The con and the marks. The president can’t find a good attorney. Russia!

I have answered my own question. Here is the intent of activism. We must remain vigilant and aware of serious issues in a world mugging us with information. The sideshows will end. The ship-of-state will right itself when we participate.

“Fortune favors the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur

Education remains the strategic high-ground. A groundswell movement is at the grassroots as teachers across the country are rightfully upset and they are beginning to demonstrate. They march. They speak out. They vote.

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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

Raft Man-web
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