Obviously, the writer/blogger/all over everywhere

in print and on-line loves to hear himself write;


if you can get through all the “super clever” verbiage,

he has a valid critique of economics, race relations,


the environment, culture, international relations, war

and just about every thing else on the face of the earth;


he’s long on what’s wrong and short on solutions ex-

cept a simplistic call to the simple, urban life (Hello-oh!);


he hates tattoos. On a weekend in Chicago, I saw this

tattoo-filled guy (the ears, no less) checking into the


hotel paying in cash and, honestly, it was somewhat

disconcerting and while it was great (Chicago Symph-


ony season opening concert, Art Institute, architectural

tour on a river boat), I was bothered by what seemed


all very impersonal in the midst of all the busyness,

hustle and bustle:  a zombie-like quality of people star-


ing at their i-phones in elevators (I pulled out a flip top,

and called attention to it; the two, handsome, young


people looked away from their little luminous rectangles

for a nano second and laughed), walking down the street,


sitting in hotel lobbies, at tables in restaurants. At a sup-

posedly top-notch restaurant (recommended by a chef


whom I sat next to on the train into the city), the bum’s

rush we got felt like cattle herded down a chute to the


eating trough in West Texas and out the revolving door.

At the same time, employees at the hotel and at two


other restaurants were really gracious, helpful and

attentive. So, what are we to make of it?  Is it all


(culture, economics, environment, politics) bad, in de-

cline, wasting away, rotting/ thriving like sewer rats


coming out when the weekend revelers from out of

town go back to their hotel rooms and the dump-


sters are full of flavorful leftovers or is the good and the

bad in some kind of uncomfortable homeostasis? Is it


tipping one way or the other?  What to do? Is there a

historian in the house for some perspective here, please?

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