When I was a kid, the town I grew up in – Oak Park, Illinois, which sits on the western border of Chicago between Austin Boulevard and Harlem Avenue – was dry. As in, no booze, no bars, no liquor stores. I once read that people used to say Oak Park was the place where the taverns ended and the churches began, which always seemed a bit preachy to me (because it is); but maybe it’s better than Ernest Hemingway’s reputed sobriquet for our mutual hometown: “A place of broad lawns and narrow minds.”
Well, Oak Park is hardly a place of narrow minds these days, nor is it dry anymore, but growing up in that stodgy atmosphere bars took on a kind of mythic significance. This is all the more true because Chicago was, at the time, a city where barroom raconteurs like Mike Royko and Studs Terkel still held sway – guys who worked for newspapers and wrote books, but who seemed to be just as likely to be found working an assembly line or bending an elbow at the corner bar, kibitzing and philosophizing and solving the problems of the world between innings of a Cubs game playing on a grainy television with the sound down. Of course, when you finally get to the age where you frequent taverns yourself, they’re nowhere near as romantic or interesting as you’d imagined them to be in your youth.
But work with me here: The Corner Tavern. Has a nice ring, doesn’t it?
So this’ll be my place to kibitz and bend an occasional elbow, and maybe between innings or a during Blackhawks intermission we’ll see if we can’t figure out how to right a few wrongs or solve a few problems. Or maybe we’ll just, as Dylan Thomas once said, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Only we’ll try to do it with a little less rage and a little more humor.
Speaking of which, I suppose I should say something about the content you can expect to find here. This is mostly a political blog, with occasional doses of sports and music thrown in for good measure, and I am opinionated – but, I like to think, reasonable. I’m a liberal; I make no apologies for that. I’m a Cubs fan, not a Sox fan, for which, again, no apologies will be offered and none should be expected. And one more thing: I don’t like Led Zeppelin. Period. Beyond that, I’m more than happy to engage anybody on any topic; just don’t expect me to change my mind about those three things.
I won’t be here every day, what with my paying gig as a lawyer and all, but I’ll try to stop by as frequently as possible. Leave comments as you wish, but don’t engage in personal attacks, name-calling or bigotry. This ain’t a democracy and I ain’t an elected official. So be nice.
Anyways, as we say in Chicago, I hope to see you over by here from time to time. Stop in, have a couple, and enjoy your stay.