Neil Steinberg biography

Neil Steinberg began writing for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1984, and joined the staff in 1987 as a feature writer.

He became a columnist in …

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  • Steinberg: O doughnut chain! Canada flips as Burger King buys Tim Hortons

    I do not love Burger King because I’ve never loved Burger King. McDonald’s, all shiny white and red tile, showed up and won me when I was a wee lad. So had the news Tuesday been that Burger King was going out of business, except for sincere sorrow at the loss of jobs; I’d be indifferent. Ta-ta, BK Lounge. But instead the news is that BK is buying Tim Hortons, the Canadian doughnut chain, and while we barely note it in passing here, north of the border it is a huge deal.

  • Steinberg: Redmoon’s Chicago fire fest serves up ritual, potential disaster

    For a guy who never believed in God, not for a second, not even as a child, I sure am a fan of ritual. So, I was fertile ground when the city cooked up the idea of a new symbolic civic holiday, “The Great Chicago Fire Festival,” set to debut Oct. 4 on the Chicago River.

  • Steinberg: Haters here don’t see similarity to Islamic State

    Of all the stirring phrases Winston Churchill uttered, that one question, for me, echoes most over the years: “What kind of people do they think we are?” It rang out on 9/11, and came to mind again this week when the brutal Islamic State entity that has occupied a third of Iraq and slain thousands posted a video of a black-clad terrorist standing beside the kneeling figure of James Foley, an American journalist.

    Write about the cop — or he may arrest you

    Years ago, I was combing through the Reader classified ads, looking for something to write about, when I noticed a boutique offering women’s shoes in large sizes for men. I toddled off to Elston Avenue and plunged into the world of cross-dressing, safe houses and …

    Does “Amara Enyia” ring a bell? It will.

    P recious Quinn had never heard of the woman who walked into her drama class in the basement of the Austin Community Resource Center on Wednesday and stood watching their scenes. “My name is Amara Enyia,” she began. “I live in East Garfield Park. I work in Austin . . . and I am running for mayor of the city of Chicago.”

    All told, I prefer the wasps as metaphor

    I ’m a cautious person, so nothing bad ever happens to me. Mostly.I’ve never broken my arm. I’ve never lost my wallet, or accidentally set myself on fire, or any of the accidents and happenstance that seem to afflict so many people. I’ve developed rituals …

    Basketball has a shot as alternative to gangs

    Back in the 1980s, first lady Nancy Reagan coined her “Just Say No” campaign to combat drug use. I remember a social worker explaining to me why it was misguided. If you’re a 16-year-old new mother living in the Robert Taylor homes, she said, with …

    Steinberg: Seeing Richard Branson in a tub offers clarity

    Richard Branson is taking a bath. Or was, 23 minutes ago.I know this as a fact because he tweeted a photo of himself, in the tub, discreetly shielded by bubbles, thank God. “Right now I’m delighted to be alive and to have had a nice …

    New Evanston bookstore shows never too late to turn the page

    Editor’s note: This story originally ran July 11, 2014. A pal of mine teaches in Evanston, where we sometimes meet for lunch. At Dixie Kitchen, of course, where I get the blackened catfish, every time, since I can’t conceive of liking anything better. As satisfying …

    Middle East battles haunt kids like Hanan, 7, now in Chicago

    Hanan, 7, is Syrian, and came to Chicago in April for medical treatment for her right leg, which was blown off below the knee by a bomb in the Syrian civil war which, in case you’ve lost track, has cost 250,000 lives over the past three years and displaced millions. She was brought to Chicago through the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund for a new prosthetic leg.

    Plan B gives glimpse of Palestine’s future

    Yes, there is a connection between the downing Thursday of a Malaysian Airlines 777 jet over eastern Ukraine and the Israeli invasion of Gaza the same day. And no, it isn’t the inevitable conspiracy theory, the if-it-helps-you-then-you-must-have-caused-it delusion that the Israelis shot down the Malaysian …

    Divvy could do better on helmets; head injuries up in bike-sharing cities

    The city recently marked the first anniversary of its Divvy bike-share program with characteristic self-congratulation: “I encourage everyone to celebrate this milestone by getting on a Divvy bike and going for a ride,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel, trotting out the statistics — 1.6 million trips …

    Clunking out of conformity — in wooden shoe: Steinberg

    W e live in cages of conformity, shuffling, shackled by habit and timidity. How we act, what we wear, even how we think, are limited to traveling along these set rails of behavior, and it can take an iconoclast for us to even realize it. …

    Don’t spoil Chicago Riverwalk work; serve beer when it opens

    Getting clearance to build the city’s riverwalk was no easy feat. My impression, the rare times I’ve wandered down to the finished portion, is that the area is sort of forlorn. It would be a shame if no one used it. How to lure folks there? I would suggest food. And beer.

    Cupcake Counter sweeps up as Crumbs closes: Steinberg

    Y ou shouldn’t celebrate when any business goes under. Money lost, people out of work, dreams dashed. Yet, score one for the little guy. It will be five years ago this September that the mother-daughter team of Holly Sjo and Samantha Wood opened up The …

    Eig’s ‘Pill’ book makes SCOTUS rulings harder to swallow

    Timing is everything, in book publishing as in everything else. OK, maybe more so in publishing. So I do not want to suggest that by not being published until October, “The Birth of the Pill” by Chicago writer Jonathan Eig will be in any sense …

    Don’t be a dummy with fireworks; July 4 no time to be ‘degloved’: Steinberg

    “Degloved,” is a term I had never heard before Dr. Brian Sayger, chairman of emergency medicine at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, used it to describe a certain ... But first, a warning to those who might be squeamish or eating their breakfasts: …