Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Write about the cop — or he may arrest you ]]> Lead story image

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 secret dances. After the story ran, I got an out-of-left field call from the other boutique in Chicago catering to cross-dressers, drag Gimbels to this store’s Macy’s, as it were. The owner demanded to know when he would get his due. How could I focus on one and not the other? I’m sorry, I said, … ]]> Mon, 04 Aug 2014 02:16:50 -0500 <![CDATA[ Does “Amara Enyia” ring a bell? It will. ]]> Lead story image

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.” ]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 19:45:34 -0500 <![CDATA[ All told, I prefer the wasps as metaphor ]]> Lead story image

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 to help. Stepping out of a cab, I pause before closing the door and scan the seat to see if I’ve left anything behind. I suppose that creates a different risk — the cabbie driving away while I’m holding the door, tearing my fingers off, a reminder that trying to skirt one peril sometimes puts … ]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:37:59 -0500 <![CDATA[ Basketball has a shot as alternative to gangs ]]> Lead story image

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 no job, no education and no future, drugs are the best part of your day, the time when you feel most real and alive, and until they come up with a program to counter that , to offer people a life better than drugs, nothing is going to work. I thought of that Saturday, sitting … ]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 02:15:11 -0500 <![CDATA[ Steinberg: Seeing Richard Branson in a tub offers clarity ]]> Lead story image

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 long bath,” he wrote. Oh wait, “had” — the bath might be over by now. In fact, by the time you read this, the bath is certainly over. Let’s start again. Richard Branson took a bath. In a lovely, oval-shaped Turkish stone tub that probably set him back $20,000. But the billionaire owner of Virgin … ]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:14:40 -0500 <![CDATA[ New Evanston bookstore shows never too late to turn the page ]]> Lead story image

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 an experience as that is, Evanston is off my beaten path, so while there, I try to be efficient by hitting the various cultural highlights — Comix Revolution sometimes, and, until last winter, Bookman’s Alley, the sprawling used bookstore actually located in an alley off Sherman. I started going there as a green NU sophomore, … ]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 06:18:59 -0500 <![CDATA[ Middle East battles haunt kids like Hanan, 7, now in Chicago ]]> Lead story image

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. ]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 21:08:47 -0500 <![CDATA[ Plan B gives glimpse of Palestine’s future ]]> Lead story image

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 plane in order to divert world attention from their military action, though that is exactly what occurred.To be honest, a preliminary check of the lunatic fringes found not a whisper of this, which surprises me. It must be on the way. The Israeli/Palestinian standoff is not an area where rational thought is much rewarded. The … ]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 02:14:27 -0500 <![CDATA[ Divvy could do better on helmets; head injuries up in bike-sharing cities ]]> Lead story image

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 taken, 250,000 day passes sold, 23,000 annual members signed up, including yours truly. I’ve taken over 100 jaunts on the Divvy this past year. It’s a fun, convenient, healthful way to get around town. But ...In one regard the city has failed in its rollout of the Divvy program, by downplaying the importance of wearing … ]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 17:14:53 -0500 <![CDATA[ Clunking out of conformity — in wooden shoe: Steinberg ]]> Lead story image

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. Meet Benjamin Pomerance, 26. I spied Pomerance — to be honest, I spied not him but his shoes. His wooden shoes. His bright yellow wooden shoes — across the Impressionist room at the Art Institute. My first thought, naturally, was: “Now that’s strange.” Maybe it was some event related to Rembrandt. Dutch Week or something. … ]]> Sun, 17 Aug 2014 06:15:16 -0500 <![CDATA[ Don’t spoil Chicago Riverwalk work; serve beer when it opens ]]> Lead story image

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. ]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 06:13:29 -0500 <![CDATA[ Cupcake Counter sweeps up as Crumbs closes: Steinberg ]]> Lead story image

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 Cupcake Counter, a tiny, 290-square foot store wedged between a parking garage and a La Quinta Inn on Madison Street. And a year later, New York giant Crumbs opened up directly across at Madison and Franklin. In 2011, I compared the two this way: “Cupcake Counter cupcakes weigh about 2¾ ounces and look exactly like … ]]> Sun, 10 Aug 2014 06:18:20 -0500 <![CDATA[ Eig’s ‘Pill’ book makes SCOTUS rulings harder to swallow ]]> Lead story image

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 “late.” His previous books — about Lou Gehrig, about Jackie Robinson, about Al Capone — were excellent, and this next one is excellent, too. It’s a shame it’s not available right now. Because to read of the arduous struggle of American women to gain access to contraception at the precise moment when the U.S. Supreme … ]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 06:14:22 -0500 <![CDATA[ Don’t be a dummy with fireworks; July 4 no time to be ‘degloved’: Steinberg ]]> Lead story image

“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: Our subject today is fireworks and how truly dangerous they are. Given that a certain number of Chicagoans will be hurt by nightfall, maybe maimed — last year a woman had her right foot blown off — maybe even killed, this column will stray into the grim specifics, and a person digging into his poached … ]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 06:19:20 -0500 <![CDATA[ Delight overtakes doubt after veterans take Honor Flight ]]> Lead story image

Before 91 veterans of World War II board a jet at Midway Airport early Wednesday, before the Southwest pilot powers up the engines and the tower clears the plane for takeoff to Washington, D.C., where they will be heaped with honor and visit a monument to themselves that most have never seen, Lindi Strobel has to answer their questions, calm their fears and coax them aboard that plane. “I receive from one to 20 calls per day,” says Strobel, a volunteer for Honor Flight Chicago. “On average, seven to 10 a day from veterans who have applied to our program.” … ]]> Sun, 03 Aug 2014 06:18:23 -0500 <![CDATA[ SCOTUS ruling on abortion clinics reminds us: Women fair game ]]> Lead story image

If only women got divorced, but not men, then they might, on their way to consult divorce lawyers, have to push through a gantlet of abuse from self-proclaimed advocates of the sanctity of marriage, urging them to cling to their marital vows, no matter how dismal a prospect that might be. But men also get unhitched, thankfully, so society permits both sexes to breeze through the process unencumbered, or at least unencumbered by the unwelcome intrusion of strangers telling them what to do. Only a woman can get an abortion, however, so the rules change. Women, even in the United … ]]> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 06:11:04 -0500 <![CDATA[ World fights land mines, but U.S. still on sidelines ]]> Lead story image

The U.S., while pouring money into combating harm caused by land mines, is still not among the 161 nations that signed a global mine ban treaty in the late 1990s. ]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 06:16:23 -0500 <![CDATA[ Of course Homeland Security is seeing more guns at airports ]]> Lead story image

Department of Homeland Security ... Gosh, that’s an awful name, isn’t it? It’s been around for almost a dozen years, and I’ve never gotten used to it. Anyway, Department of Homeland Security officials announced they’re seeing ... I’ll tell you why it’s such a bad name. Have you ever, ever, referred to this great country of ours, the United States of America, or America for short, or the U.S. for shorter, as your “homeland?” Have you ever said anything like, “I like to travel abroad, but it feels great to get back to my homeland”? Of course you haven’t. No … ]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 06:23:01 -0500