Chicago’s Best Music: How to Get Some Serious Beethoven

February 7, 2015.

CHICAGO’S BEST IS AT SYMPHONY CENTER: HOW TO GET BEETHOVEN AT HIS BEST

I. THE STARTING LINEUP

I did not think Beethoven’s 5th Symphony could sound any better, but it did tonight as the highest quality and most excellent symphony in the world took it on and flew with it. The opening movement is the most familiar but the CSO makes it sound that much better, even if you have heard it a hundred times. Right from the opening bars this team lit all the engines to full commence and had them running right out of the launch pad. Under superior direction this seamless group of musicians proved tireless, focused, and worked every golden thread in with a tapestry of execution.

Rather the whole about one hundred members and that dancing-about conductor took on the famous work with all the energy of the starting line of the Indy 500. The basses and indeed all sections of the orchestra took the motor and oiled it and rode with it round every movement and the eight basses with all strings up and running resonated in their own right as the starting row of a NASCAR race, a rumbling classical rolling thunder that spurred the other strings on to completion. The winds were fantastic, the brass outstanding, the percussion excellent.

Every note, every familiar section, every part of the orchestra went right for it and held everyone in the audience speechless and spellbound till the conductor signaled the end. WOW, what a stellar show!

Lower balcony seats are the best by far, with the best view and sound. We haven’t tried box seats yet but I hope someday to have that privilege. In any seats you are fortunate to have at Symphony Center, you are sure to enjoy a spectacular show, from the best team of experienced musicians in the world.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra… make them a part of your life.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2015.

School and Students:: How to Be and Remain a Good Student

Are you a good student? Do you want to be a good or a better student? Here is an article about how to accomplish that goal… or some good pointers at least.

1. The Phrase “dress for success” Really Does Have Meaning… and here is how it does.

What influences the manner in which you dress, in which you get ready for each day in choosing what to wear? Naturally the seasons of the year have bearing on what you wear; if it is warm you might wear shorts, lighter -colored socks and pants, and light -material and lighter -colored shirts and blouses. If the conditions are cold, you go for thicker socks, heavier pants, and coats, mittens, and thick hats and earmuffs.

What else has to do with what you wear? One factor is what you have that is clean and pressed. If you need to do laundry then do it; if the codes of your school require that your clothes are properly pressed and your shoes polished then do that or have someone teach you how to iron and how to keep your shoes clean and neat. Clothing also must be appropriate for the situations you are going into. Many schools have dress codes and uniforms, and it is suggested that no fuss is made when you encounter those rules. Rules are made for a reason and should be followed. If you are not sure of something, please ask a trusted teacher or other authority figure and listen to them carefully.

If your school does not have a dress code and what to wear is under your discretion, play it safe. If you put something on and you have ANY doubts at all about how you look in it or whether or not the clothes will cause trouble or attract undesirable attention or makes you look funny, then take it off and save it for the weekend or the beach or vacation. Refuse to follow trends if they do not make you feel comfortable; after all you are the one who for hours a day will wear that shirt, those pants or shorts, those shoes and socks and belts and jewels. Opt for simple clothes without a lot of graphics or loud colors that will definitely attract attention and distract you from your studies or will distract others from their studies.

Remember that there are other people around; the school is not just you alone.

2. Be Respectful and Punctual as Possible

Respect is not only a manner of behavior, it is essentially a duty of every citizen one towards the other. To “respect” simply means to look at again. You can certainly respect yourself in a healthy way and thus you are able to respect others as easily as you breathe and walk and eat. In any public setting, respect of others is just essential and vital to remember, simple as that. How do you respect others, or how can you learn the ways to do that?

One way is to wait your turn to speak, especially if those who are talking are older than you. It is just proper to respect your elders, including teachers, professors, and all school personnel, no matter what position they hold. They are your elders and experienced in what they do, and can provide you with direction and knowledge, so listen carefully to what they say.

Never shout down a hallway or on a street corner or in a quiet room or library or other places where people are reading and studying. Shouting and screaming in public is a vulgar habit and is not necessary. If you cannot reach someone right away, you can call them or text them or send electronic mail any time. If you contact someone electronically, remember to use the rules of proper electronic etiquette. There are plenty of resources that teach those habits.

Endeavor to be as on time as possible. Get up earlier for the bus if you have to, so you have time to dress, have breakfast and not rush through it, gather your supplies and head off to school. Do not keep the bus driver waiting, and do not keep the class waiting. Being on time is a life skill that you will always have and need to work on, no matter if you are going to school, going on a vacation, going out to dinner, or meeting someone. Punctuality is a good quality.

3. When You Have a Problem, Ask Questions.

Every once in a while we run into situations we do not understand, something about which we need clarification. At that point we need help… we need to ask questions. We need to gain understanding and problem solving.  This is where teachers and other trusted people enter the picture. These are folks who have the experience you need to get to the root of the problem and find out the answers. If there is a problem with the mathematics homework, ask your parents, or get onto a homework hotline, or ask your professor. Do not be afraid to ask for help; that is what these people are there to help with, solving problems. Be patient and learn the steps that will help in the future when you encounter other odd situations. Problem -solving is a life skill as well; you will need to learn to do this as you go through school, no matter what subjects you study. You will problem -solve in the workplace as well, so learn that skill and polish it every chance you have. Helping others to solve problems or get through concerns is a fine way to polish your own skills and such leadership is desirable. When you teach others you should get a good feeling and want to do more teaching.

4. Branch Out: Grow Out of Your Neighborhood and Into the Global Setting

Many people think that sticking to being in “the neighborhood” is a good thing. It is to a point, that point being that once you have seen everything, know everyone, know the habits and sights and sounds, you are probably ready to go to other places and see new things.

Branching out is a good thing and a vital element of growing up. Being social is just a part of what we do; it is why we are a “society”. You have to have the courage to say, “There are others out there who are different, and I want to get to know them. Sure others say to stick with people who look like me or talk like I do… but no one does that.”

Which is why you must take the lead and talk to others at your school. Is there someone who does not make friends easily? Talk with them. Is there someone who seems alone? Talk with them. Invite them to your lunch table or to sit outside on the school grounds and have a bag lunch out there and just talk about things. You will feel good, someone else will feel better, and both of you might become fast friends for life. Everyone is unique and individual and special, and because of that we must respect everyone.

You are the one who must take the first step away from the streets you find familiar, to reach towards that part of town you have not explored before but have heard about. Go there and look around, ask about what interests you and learn from the people in that area.

And when you have the chance, travel. When I had the chance for international travel I took the opportunity. Because I had the courage, the world was as an open book, but instead of looking at someone else’s photos, the pictures became living and colorful and alive and vibrant. In China there were people doing Tai Chi in the morning. In Japan there were people exercising and walking about and doing business. In Europe people went about their daily lives, playing and working and maintaining the home life. Some were there to take care of the tourists, and thanks to them my times in these areas was made pleasant and comfortable. Travel is essential in the growth process, even if it is just to another part of your city, and favorably if to another part of America and the world.

5. Growing Up, Have Fun!

No matter what you do, be your real self, learn what that means, and have fun exploring what that means. When you are sitting at the desk at home, burning the studying oil after dinner or late into the night to get that term paper ready, you are preparing for a lifetime of work and fun. You are the one who will grow out, make the changes, and learn to help others while helping yourself as well.

Enjoy your life!

Downtown Chicago

Photos taken with a Leica V -LUX -4 “bridge” style camera.

Communication is the Answer

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

 

Wabash Renewal Project? Clean Up Your Spaces First!

It seems that the more we hear about tax increases and paying for the management errors that have resulted in our pension crisis (or is it pension emergency?) here in Illinois, the less enthusiastic we become, the more we tune out any more talk of taxes and politics, and the less happy we become with our officials, from the mayor to the city council to everyone above and below and in between.

Now we have word of this special district around State Street, and the talk of raising taxes and of funding to work on Wabash Avenue and the areas between State Street and Michigan Avenue. Now hold on a moment, folks! Before you waste even one more minute talking about it or one more cent “working on” a plan or “looking into it” or “investigating it”, there are certainly aspects of that area we affectionately call “the Loop” that we can take care of right now.

As my late grandmother would tell you nonsense talkers and big talkers, “DO SOMETHING!” She was not one to take the nonsense stuff politicians and planners throw out these days to woo the taxpayers and to lull the citizens into doing what they want. No way. She would have tackled what can be easily done at the moment the need is seen to take care of a very important facet of revitalizing any area or doing any kind of project of that nature.

Clean up the area first. That’s right, use elbow grease and planning and gather the resources and CLEAN UP THE SPACE FIRST.

Think of a true class act – think Palmer House Hotel. This is a beautiful, classic building inside and out, with a sense of welcome and of luxury and of grace that I think epitomizes what Wabash Avenue should be. Sturdy elegance and gracious service are what make businesses of any kind special and inviting. A bland interior need not be what is all that the business shows, as is seen by the interior of the Palmer House. A plain brick and glass and neutral stone face might conceal a richness of color and pattern and creativity in artwork and displays prepared to welcome customers and visitors, families and colleagues.

The Palmer House Hilton Hotel - Chicago, IL - Mezzanine The Palmer House Hotel

So here is what is needed: Get the pigeons away from the buildings and the “L”, get the trash off the streets, the trash cans cleaned and sanitized, and the sidewalks power blasted. Get the windows washed, the alleys washed, the buildings washed and given a good dusting inside and out. Break out the shovels, the rakes, the bags, and tackle the parks; break out the tool kits and tool belts and work on the doors and windows. Give the store displays a totally fresh look, an appealing look that will invite shoppers to come in… but first go back to step one and get the resources together.

It is very simple, though tackling the bird problem might be somewhat risky and complex, it needs to be done. The health department must get involved, especially in the area that is bordered by State Street, Adams, Jackson, and Wabash. In that area are some of the filthiest L tracks, sidewalks, signs, and stairs. There is a stink in the air in that section that is probably caused by the accumulation of bird waste and trash, and in an area where there are so many restaurants and thousands of people walking it every day, that is a recipe for health problems and the driving away of business. I mean, it is not very pleasant looking around there.

So, for that project there is step one: get the resources together. The needs are easy to figure out: gloves, masks, shovels, hoses, trash bags and trash cans, power washers, boots, sturdy clothing, head protection, bug spray, pest control. Everyone must organize, from first responders to be around in case someone gets into serious trouble, to small business owners giving solid input as to what they want to see and what is best for their customers and capital plans; from volunteers willing to give hours to making their city look better and smell better and be more inviting to people giving supplies to make the project successful.

 Picture taken from a search on GOOGLE images, showing businesses alongside the Loop “L”.

No one person will be able to take on the remodeling, renovation and reworking of the Wabash Avenue Loop area alone. It will take the veritable mission control team to make it happen: people to supervise, people to take over when others are on breaks, people to bring in supplies and people to haul trash away. It will take everyone looking out each for the others to ensure safety and security. The project is huge, but taken step by step, beginning with a good solid cleanup session as detailed above, a lot of problems will be seen and some will be solved. Issues regarding structures will then be noted and repairs or other steps can be taken, such as historical preservation or demolition or repurposing.

It is hoped businesses would open their doors to those working on the project, for restroom use, or for dining in the food courts or just for a place to sit and have a simple lunch if the weather turns wet or stormy. Were I a business owner, that might be on my menu too – wanting to help out the workers who are giving time and energy to make the Loop look better and be welcoming to visitors and to my customers. I might have a place set aside with a sign saying, “Welcome Loop Work Volunteers! Sit here, rest and have something to eat!” Pitch in and do your part, and don’t worry about the money. It will come when things look and feel better.

Get cleaning first, and then take the next steps.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

RESOURCES

1. http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/illinois/palmer-house-a-hilton-hotel-CHIPHHH/index.html?WT.srch=1

Boeing Sets Up Shop in a New Design and Technology Center for Goose Island, Chicago.

Hello to the mega -technology and design consortium moving to Goose Island, Chicago!

TEXTTiles is here to help boost your teamwork, creative expressions and corporate productivity with products and articles we can design to help you get the message across to your associates and customers.

This week we focus on Boeing, one of the companies included in the consortium.

What's Your Inspiration to Look Up and Fly?

What’s Your Inspiration to Look Up and Fly? Make the plan, feel the inspiration, get to the runway and soar!

I. BOEING CALLS CHICAGO HOME

One of the best reasons for Boeing to be among the companies and industries in the new design consortium is that their headquarters is in Chicago. The location is distinctive, active and busy, being near the METRA Station at the Ogilvie Transportation Center, within easy reach of the Chicago Loop and famous “L” train system.

Most likely, every day if you listen and raise attention to the skies you will see many of the products Boeing produces. Regular flights over the city transport thousands of people every hour to O’Hare, our largest airport, which is northwest of the city, and to Midway, which is south of the city. Those jets make their banks and levels and lay out their approach patterns, coming in like huge kites with engines churning and silver wings cutting through the troposphere.

II. Chicago’s History of Designing, Technological Progress, Education, and Creativity

From its inception, born out of the swamp in the late 1700’s and through the early 1800’s, came a city that increased rapidly in size. With the influx of various peoples from all over the country, from the middle 1800’s, when the Civil War divided the country and caused folks to leave the South and migrate to the North, to this very moment, Chicago has grown in more than population and area. This great city, third largest in America and with what is termed the most beautiful lakefront in the nation, is ideal ground for testing and developing, researching and building.

Chicago is home to the Adler Planetarium with its tradition of research, educational promotion, and inspiring generations of scientists; home to the world- famous Field Museum of Natural History, a gigantic building on the lakefront which houses collections displaying the multi-versity of many nations and cultures, and home also to the Museum of Science and Industry, with a beautiful display of aircraft.

One of these is an exhibit that caught my eyes when I first visited the “MSI”. Yes the museum’s scene opens up the moment one enters the cavernous space and ascends to the next level. But in that area known as the Transportation Gallery, I looked up to see one of the most impressive exhibits ever- a jet appearing as though it was coming in for a landing, suspended just above a display showing downtown Chicago. The plane is in fact a Boeing 727 which has been cantilevered into the structure of the gallery. There are other planes and vehicles as well but this one is very special. A visual and oral feature accompanies the display, giving the impression of a flight complete with air traffic controller communications, lights and action and moving portions on the jet, and sound effects as of takeoff and landing. Many days I have stood through repeat performances of that display and the film that can be viewed before the performance begins. The film shows how the 727 came to Chicago and was taken apart and brought into and assembled in the museum. Originally in another livery pattern that showed its first set of colors, it has been given a fresh look and remains a standard at the museum for families and aviation enthusiasts.

III. POSITIVE ATTRACTION: LOOK UP AND MAKE PROGRESS

The art of flight is one of constant improvement and testing and research. In the hundred- plus years since the first planes took to the skies we have recorded advances in wing design, in powering the aircraft, in how the instruments are made and arranged, in ways to make the pilots comfortable, and in ways to take on more and more passengers and cargo. Planes became larger and heavier; they required new kinds of fuels, new wiring, new lighting, and upgraded safety features such as those now delivered on the most modern passenger jets.

Monsters such as the Boeing 747-400 and now the magnificent 747-8 are the rulers of the skies, taking over from decades of reliability from the 707 series. People in the Chicago area are accustomed to seeing the standard jet of Southwest Airlines, the 737 series. Looking at Boeing’s website, there is forthcoming the next generation of this family of jets, with a -900 series in production and use around the world. The 7 series has included such models as the 757, 767 and 777

Of necessity there is the need to bring up the unmanned craft that inhabit our skies. Drones can be used for more than the typical surveillance tasks with which people associate them as regards privacy. The drone crafts can be used to make deliveries, spray crops, and go into areas where it would be too hazardous for people, such as disaster areas where there could be dangerous chemicals or animals, into situation of violence such as hostage situations, or into military incidents where troops must go into or around buildings that are unfamiliar and that are potentially booby-trapped. Drones can be life- savers and that is how we can take a better view of this brand of aircraft.

Of course now you can be the executive of the skies with Boeing’s fantastic line of business jets. Creating your own corporate jet is rather as designing a grand house or making a custom car – you can have it any way you want it. Many people think of owning a private island as the attainment of true expandable wealth and the exhibition of that wealth, so now if you own the island why not construct your own airfield, and get the jet that will complete the picture? Fly in real luxury, rule the aeries of the wild blue expanse, and enjoy every moment!

IV. The Uplifting Conclusion:  The Author’s History of Enjoying Flight The Corporate Connection Has a Human Side.

It seems this flight buff cannot get enough of watching the patterns outgoing and inbound to Chicago’s airports. But this history started in Nashville, where flying regularly for vacations and later for business was just part of the yearly picture of activity. The flight pattern in and out of Nashville’s Berry Field (BNA) is over our houses so the rumbling noises of the jets was just a natural part of the setting.

As a child I could not wait to get to the airport, just as soon as I knew we were going on a trip I would get out the luggage and anticipate that ride to the airport, being at the ticket counter, getting on the jet and heading into the great and welcoming skies. Flight was and continues to be fun, bringing out “the kid in me” and inspiring creative thoughts to soar and uplift my spirits. Later my father and I made the annual trek to Smyrna to the big air show held on that base. We would get the flight pattern of the military jets coming right over our house; one year a pair of F-15’s came in low and loud and I ran outside just in time to see them turn left over our backyard.

Are Times and life are down for you? Listen for the uplift, the change in the noise of the engines, and then see the smooth inbound four -engine silver “heavy” making its way to a safe landing. Troubles disappear, the mind and the body seem to rise away from the hard ground, and you realize, “There are people in that plane who are just like me, who are having challenges, who are rushed and baffled and hurried about, who needed that uplifting experience of flight. I can see it; I can leave the bounds of this earth and this city behind if only for a few seconds and my thoughts can fly.”

There is then no need to welcome Boeing to Chicago- they are home, they have made a successful landing, and they are going to open up new fields of technology and design and work for many people just waiting to carry on the grand traditions of everything related to the fine art of flight.

RESOURCES

1. http://www.msichicago.org/visit-the-museum/museum-info/

2. http://www.boeing.com/boeing/commercial/747family/back/index.page?

Minority? Who’s a Minority? Second City and Chicago Needs to Grow Up Fast!

Well now, this story tidbit featured in the past few days on News Radio WBBM 780 in Chicago caught my ears, and I think it is time to once again bring to the social fore this awful idea of race and social injustice. But we are faced with more than just calling the problems or the signs “race” and “social injustice”.

Communication Utility Street Hole Cover

Communication: We Need to Respect Each Other and Come Together in Unity and Active Goodwill.

COMMUNICATION: MADE IN USA, 2013.

What we have is the problem of arrogance, pride, and just plain being mean -spirited. Americans are crude, rude, blind with arrogance and wily, with some sort of idea that we can say and do whatever we want without any kind of consequences for ourselves or others. Well there ARE consequences, folks.

Chicago’s history of dealing with the Census Bureau’s falsehoods about race and other categorizing and demeaning factors is one thing, but now Second City has taken up the reins of wanting to keep this delusion of “minorities” going by offering some sort of program that will draw in “minority” performers. They are drawing on the idea that the people of Saturday Night Live (SNL as it is known) figured out that they had no diversity in their ranks of performers, that there were not enough “people of color”.

Now a lady whom the news media call a “woman of color” puts out this program to attract minorities to the stage of Second City. Does she really want to be called a “woman of color”? Maybe she wants to be simply known as a patron of the arts, or a business person doing good things for others. The way the story comes out now, she is keeping the whole business of calling people by such degrading and meaningless and terrible terms that others have put out there and are meant to put people down, make others feel inferior in some way, and in every way is terribly offensive and misguided. At least such thinking offends me, and there is some person out there who wants to put me in that group some power broker dares to call a “minority”.

The only “minority” among us is our entire “race”, every human being, the whole human race. We are all in a minority. Think about it- we are on one planet, Earth, which so far as we know is the only one so far found that is capable of supporting our form of life as we know it. We are faced with reduction of already rare resources, the soiling of our fresh water supplies with carcinogenic chemicals that we invented, the burning of forests that contain medicinal plants, the fouling of our atmosphere, and the increase in air pollution to the point that in some parts of China it is beyond a level considered unhealthy.

Fire Department Vehicle (photo use permission approval pending). Photo taken in Nashville, Tennessee.

Why should it matter to you who is on the crew that comes to rescue you or put out your house fire? Who cares if the guy flying the 747 out of Chicago is one or another race or nationality? So what? You are on the sales crew, you deserve respect and you need to give respect. You’re on the lineup to play with the team- same thing: give and earn respect. Don’t let others label you or tell you who you are because “they” have some kind of sick need to make others “feel vulnerable” or incite other feelings of insecurity or lack or inferiority. You are a citizen, you are unique, you are special, you count, and you are a sovereign person. No one has the right to label you for their own selfish purposes; no one has the right to judge you so boldly and loosely and cruelly. That’s profiling, plain and simple; that’s prejudice and that’s racism. Who dares to be so bold and so foolishly arrogant?

Illuminated Communications Connections

Illuminated Communications Connections: What We All Need Every Day so Progress Will Pave Our Way.

Far as I am concerned every person has some color on their outsides. A “white” person still has some pigmentation (unless a disease robs them of it), some pinkish tones or tanned tones on the skin; a “black” person has more pigmentation. We sure have a lot of work to do to rid ourselves of the ideas that skin color (“race”) has anything to do with how intelligent or funny we are, what kind of jobs we can do, where we can live or what kind of clothes we should wear. Throughout history people have painted their skins in times of war and celebration; we have painted ourselves in blue, white, red, black and the vivid colors seen on people in tribal Africa. We have made ourselves up with tanning salons, with rouge, with lipstick, henna, with concoctions of berries and bark. We put paint on ourselves for sporting events, and we enjoy it because we have fun and we can laugh that we look totally ridiculous. If we can laugh off having yellow, green, blue and orange and vivid red face paint on our bodies, then we should just as easily dismiss what we look like when we are not human canvases. We can learn to have fun and enjoy the company of others and lessen social tensions by remembering this one simple fact: Skin color is just that, a difference in how we look on the outside, and nothing else, absolutely nothing else.

The only “race” we need to be concerned about is the “race” to save ourselves from ourselves, from delusional thinking, from arrogance, pride, greed, power obsession, power hunger, malice, and denying that we are all in trouble and troubling to others unless we very quickly shed these useless factors of race, color, and gender as nothing but hindrances to progress. Yes that’s right, the Census Bureau is at fault for pushing these ideas into the fabric of our nation and thus warping that fabric that, without these silly and stupid categorizations would be a fine and beautiful tapestry indeed.

We need have nothing to do with letting skin color or other outside factors influence how we interact with others. We need right now, this very moment, to stop thinking on the outside and turn to how we think and feel on the inside. We need to grow up fast, to drop our support for organizations that seem to think that such thinking is useful, helpful, progressive, or social or better.

Sure everyone should be represented, but that’s just it. Everyone deserves respect and not because of what we are, where we are from, some sort of ethnic or heritage issue (serious identity problems), but because we are citizens of the American and the global community. Focusing on the other ways we are diverse is the key, ways such as what we like to eat, what we like to read, what art forms we enjoy or can do, what are our favorite sports, where we like to travel, what kinds of things we like and how we can get together and interact with each other in a truly civil and social and meaningful atmosphere….

…An atmosphere that is not clogged with the pollution of “race”, “color”, “creed”, or “gender” or the Census Bureau for that matter. If this is what thinking in the already given and par for the course way of “diversity” is doing to our country, I just as soon think of another word, one that is part of the very title of our nation. We are the United States of America. Let’s practice it, let’s respect it, and let’s get with it. Are you ready for it? It’s simple, easy, and right with the times; it is easy to understand and as basic as ABC and 123. The word is………………………….

UNITY.

Speak Up, America! Watch US Work.

America, get out of your old social shells! What do You Have to Say?

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

Chicago Public Spaces and Parks a Disgrace: What are the Consequences When we Do Whatever We Want?

We Have Freedoms and Privileges… But What Happens When we Abuse Them?

redwingbird

Last year it hit me, so to speak, and I have spent months wondering what to do about this situation…

Maybe get out my own broom, mop, dustpan, trash can, trash bags, gloves and boots and get to the parks and clean them up myself?

That is what I gladly would have done had I those resources and the time to improve a particular section of Grant Park. I wanted to take a nice walk along Michigan Avenue in sunny weather, to clear my head, get away from work for a while, and ground to the natural world to get some good Earth energy. What met my eyes and other senses was enough to make me want to get back to the hard sidewalk (not much cleaner) and go back to where I work.

 Grant Park Scene

In that one stretch of what would have been nice green space and good space were cigarette butts enough to take over the grass, evidence of pet and human waste, trash and enough detritus to make it seem that area of the park had not been cleaned in weeks.

That is what I have encountered in parks and beaches all over Chicago- litter and trash blowing about or embedded in the ground, glass shards, food waste, pet waste, cigarette material including butts and containers … and all in sight of trash cans someone could easily walk or ride a few steps over to deposit the waste.

View Towards Downtown Chicago from Lincoln Park Bridge near the Zoo.

View Towards Downtown Chicago from Lincoln Park Bridge near the Zoo.

Do we dare think ourselves in America civilized and progressive? Hah, I think not. We are about as crude, lazy, disgusting and indecent as people can get. I think people whom we dismiss as “Neanderthals” were more civilized than we are… we ought to be ashamed of how we are treating our public spaces and how little attention we are paying to the others who want to use them and enjoy them, who want as I did to get away from the office and have a good lunch or a nice walk in the parks that line the “Magnificent Mile. We want a place to step into the fresh grass, see the fine trees and flowers, and get in touch with the energies of the universe that can revitalize and inspire us, that wonderful world of nature.

But this is awfully hard to do when the park walks are cracked and jutting and uneven and littered. It is hard to do when there is human waste in evidence, which is not only unsightly but can be dangerous. Suppose someone touches it, or steps in it, which in the former case could lead to disease and in the latter is tracked into cars, busses, trains, your place of work, the restaurants, the schools, the museums, maybe your condo or apartment. Kids and pets are curious about lots of things and they could easily touch it, lick it, or put their noses into it. Wastes endanger people and pets, so when you leave wastes around you are creating a public nuisance. By your disordered and crude thinking you are endangering others. How pitiful and how disgusting and how uncivilized. EEWWW.

Come on, folks, think right: you have rights, privileges and freedoms, but do not abuse them. Think of others for a change and get some discipline in your lives. If you are going to be around others (the public) then you have to respect the rights, privileges and freedoms of everyone around you. If you start to get that sly, foxy look and frame of mind as you walk the streets chewing on that burger or banana and you think, “Oh, I’ll just dump the paper here, no one will notice,” (what cave did you crawl out of?) you bet someone will notice, the person who has to clean up after you or steps in that stuff and gets it on their new shoes. Take the few steps to the nearest trash can and dump the refuse in there and then quietly go your way.

You pay taxes to keep the parks clean and others pay taxes too, for the purpose of having spaces to enjoy. Respecting others is simply a matter and part of being a good citizen, something you should have learned from an early stage of life. You don’t just throw down your garbage and expect that others will clean up after you because “it is their job”. Cleaning up is a matter of safety for yourself and others.  It is disgusting to litter and “do your think” in a public setting, so just don’t do that. And do not eat or drink on public transit. Ever seen a train car or a bus littered with sunflower seeds, banana peels, chip bags, disposable cups and candy bar wrappers and gum stuck to places others touch? YECCH.

As for the personnel of the Park District, I bring to your attention Bughouse Square, which one year before the Chicago Marathon was littered with cigarette refuse, other trash, dog waste and leaf litter, a disgrace for people visiting to see and have to deal with. In fact I went back to my apartment and took out a broom and went to the park to try and clean up a little bit of it. It got so disgusting after a while I shook off the broom and went to do other things, wondering why it looked like that part of the Gold Coast had not been touched in a long time.

ChiNash2013 093

Wood Duck in Stunning Plumage.

Lincoln Park is also just as bad: cracked and crumbling walking paths that jut bodies and bikes and are uneven and dangerous, litter everywhere, cigarette crud that is toxic and unsightly, trash blowing about, remains of picnics, food waste. It is not even a thought to want to step on the grassy areas in that (should be) beautiful park because of the junk that is in those spaces. Areas north towards the 2800 and 3000’s areas of Chicago also have parks that are in terrible shape. These parks are close to homes, schools, hospitals, hotels and restaurants and museums.

Where is the money for the parks and public spaces going? I think any concerned citizen should get down to finding out.

In the meanwhile, we concerned citizens might just have to use our own brooms, gloves, tarps, mops, trash cans and trash bags and clean the parks up ourselves, using the wonderful concept of the neighborhood cleanup day to do just that the moment we have weather good enough to do that in. We should consider the parks as we would our own yards and keep them clean. We can see them from our living spaces after all, and most city dwellers do not have a real yard, so we have the parks and beaches we all should be able to enjoy and love.

What we love and enjoy we ordinarily want to take care of, right? When you get something precious as a gift you want to have it for a long time and take good care of it. The parks are a precious natural resources set aside for everyone, that’s right EVERYONE, to enjoy, to go to and commune with nature, to romp around with family and friends, to take a quiet walk or a bike ride, to walk the dog or to stroll the baby. Naturally if you walk the dog it is up to YOU to clean up after the pet totally and thoroughly and leave no trace of where you have been. Dispose of the waste in a trash can, tightly wrapped to prevent odors escaping. Change the baby before going out. If you eat, dispose of your trash in the proper receptacle, and that is not including park benches, the ground, or any surface. Trash goes in trash cans.

Black-crowned Night Herons from part of a Colony in Lincoln Park.

Black-crowned Night Herons from part of a Colony in Lincoln Park.

Take care of what you have, including your dignity and your fellow citizens.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

RESOURCES

1. Wikipedia contributors. “Grant Park (Chicago).” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 30 Dec. 2013. Web. 29 Jan. 2014.

Photographs taken with a LEICA V-LUX-4 bridge camera.

Photography, not Demography: The Arts Bring Us Together

PHOTOGRAPHY… NOT “DEMOGRAPHY”: Art Brings Everyone Together

Sometimes we like to say or think, “Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we could get along, if we could communicate easily all we say and think, our hopes and dreams and plans?” We can communicate in spoken and written words and in other ways as well.

ChiCOMMU

 

Communication Manhole Cover”. Divi Logan, Chicago. 2013.

There are those who cannot speak, and those who cannot write, at least in the conventional methods most people understand, with the computer or with pen and ink and pencil and paper. When language is a barrier, when we cannot understand the standards of Sign Language, and when music appears as foreign as a tongue with which we are not familiar, we can use other ways to get our message across.

One way is art, and what a broad range of expression that covers! We think of painting, dance and music; we think of sculpture, architecture, bronze casting, batik, and skywriting. We see people in the studios dreaming up ways to hack into the marble block or figure out which line to put in next on a drawing; we think of designers of cars and planes looking to the future, and we can envision the astronomer pondering ways to use the space telescopes to image distant galaxies and stars. We can follow the lead of that astronomer and, in our own special ways, “write with light”, which is the fine art of photography.

The arts transcend every barrier humans can create, any of the nonsense of demographics, of census bureaus, of departments of commerce and of those who wish to lead our nation in Congress by those very examples of separation and division, which in the long run do much more harm than good.

Why would anyone want to do more harm than good, or any harm at all? Those are subjects for another time; for now we want to concentrate on the good that “the arts” can do for us and for our nation and our world.

“The Arts” are so elemental, so basic to us that we wonder how schools can cut such programs even in the most budget -strapped of situations. We need our artistic forms of expression in order to release stress, in order to focus on the special gifts we have, in order to share our talents and our unique natures. Those arts listed above are fine ways to tell others what we think and how we feel when words escape us.

 Writing with light is a special art form; photography has been around for more than one hundred years and it is an art in which anyone can participate. In photography, all the demographic lines are erased; the person holding the camera is not “black”, or “white” or “man” or “woman” or “ethnic” or “income”. The person is a photographer, and they have something to say.

With that camera in your hands- be it a SLR, a DSLR, or a rangefinder, with whatever film format you choose, or with memory cards ready for video or for a few hundred photos of special occasions, you are prepared to tell the stories of others or your own special tale. You have the means of helping others speak. You can express thoughts and plans in your mind that you might not be able to put words to but which the image, which what you see can tell. The person on the street, the landing plane, the dragonfly on the tree or over a pond, the incoming storm and the building being constructed speak to people in different ways, and anything can be used to help express something in the brain.

What do you want to say that perhaps cannot be said with ordinary words, but which a photo can say? The picture is worth a thousand words, goes the proverb, and by taking one simple photo you can look at it and write about what it says to you.

Look at the photo – what are the elements in it?

 

redwingbird

Here is a photo I took at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The dominant feature is the Red- winged Blackbird, a standout with its distinctive colors. It is on a rail over a bridge that overlooks a pond where other birds feed and nest. But there are other things you see in the photo besides the bird. What about those flagstones, or the metal of the rail, or the grass, or the branches? Might those things say something to your audience?

interiorcolor2

Here is an interior I photographed. There are many things here, and what might the picture say? What is special about the room- the chandelier, the furnishings, the drapes, the lighting, the way items are placed on tables, or the dividing column on the right? If you photograph a home, inside or out, professionally or casually, some element you see might just speak to you in a way you did not expect, and it could be very pleasant and enlightening.

Use your camera to help someone else tell their story or stories. Is there someone in your home or community that cannot speak or walk, an older or disabled person that wants you to take pictures of memories in their home or business, a person that is unable to take photographs? Offer them the use of your hands and eyes and camera gear; tell them you can help out and will gladly photograph for them. Perhaps they want to make an album to share with relatives or others that will factor in their later lives. Offer to use any artistic talents you have to help them create an album or scrapbook.

Naturally you can use your photographic skills to branch out and start your own business or work for a media company. You can do events such as weddings and holiday parties; you can become a field photographer for a news corporation… there are so many things you can do, including photographing sports, working for transportation companies, and working for interior design magazines or architects. Combine the skills of photography with other lines of work, such as going into the military or the fire department or astronomy, and the horizons will expand.

As you take your camera up today and think about how to use it, consider the good you can do with that specialized equipment.  How will you “write with light?”

Divi Logan for ®EDUSHIRTS, Chicago, ©2013.