Friday, August 3, 2007

Koko at Velvet

Caught the Koko Trio at The Velvet Lounge last Thursday night.

In their second set, the group presented a series of original works by leader Mike Avery (drums). I especially enjoyed the extended piece entitled, "The Children's Suite". "Chi City" also offered something enjoyable for the ear. Soloing was fine by every player, but I particularly noted the interventions of bassist Nils Hollenberger. It seemed that at every opportunity he was able to really pick things up and offer interesting thoughts.

Raise the Flag

Above the scoreboard at historic Wrigley Field fly flags.

They indicate the National League standings: in East, Central, West; each on its respective pole.

In 1984, the Cubs were chasing New York's Mets. A hated rival, we finally caught them about this time of year. I was at the early August game when the two teams matched up. Our Cubs won to topple the division leaders and take sole possession of 1st. They never looked back.

After the game no one would leave. For maybe 10, 15 minutes a full house stayed in place waiting, watching. Then it happened. The pennants came down, and shortly thereafter were raised again. This time with the Cubs' herald atop. A raucous response eminated from the celebratory crowd.

For some time over the last weeks, the Cubs have been on the chase. Not only have fans followed the games of their favorite home town team, but those of the Milwaukee Brewers, also. Two nights ago, I was there. With a win over the Phillies and a Milwaukee loss (ironically to the detestable Mets), the Cubs completed the climb to overcome the Brew Crew by a lone percentage point in winning percentage.

The fans were excited and hardly anyone left. A ninth inning rally brought in the winning run and led the Cubs to victory. We sang and celebrated. Not as many stayed around beyond the 9th as 23 years ago. But the mindful remained in expectation. Then, there it was. A thing of heavenly beauty. After that game, our flag arose, now where it belonged.

Today the Cubs play those Mets. Beating them back would only be added joy!

Sunday, July 29, 2007


One of the best breakfasts in Chicago can be had at Pauline's.

It's on Ravenswood, right along the Metra tracks of the old Chicago and Northwestern line to Milwaukee (now the Union Pacific cut back to Kenosha.... a worthwhile trip too). In an old double storefront building with al fresco dining out front. The place has a lot of character. You're taken back to a time of a few decades past. Complete with authentic signage from the era (I want my green stamps that one proclaims they offer), the diner obviously hasn't changed much over the years. Red and green colors the walls. Even the toilet room has some charm. The food is reasonably priced, if a little more than what you might pay in other locales, but it is worth every penny. Your food will be offered artistically. And it will taste heavenly.

Pauline's is open from 7 - 3 daily and also offers lunch after 10:30 - 11:00. A trip there is more than just a meal, it's an experience.

After eating, take a walk through the neighborhood and enjoy the architecture. (I happened across an old wood garage which is unique.) Or tour the old large cemetery nearby, Rosehill.