It's A Small World After All


In honor of Disney's "It's A Small World" celebrating it's 50th birthday later in April, I thought I would tell a "small world" story that recently happened to me.  (Yes, that is a picture of the Small World Ride at Disneyland that I took when we went there 2 Thanksgivings ago, thanks for noticing.)

A couple weeks back now, after a 6" snow, I drove The Daughter to school, because I'm a nice dad.  So, instead of my normal "school year" routine of riding the CTA bus with The Daughter, and then continuing on to the L to go to work, Cora and I followed our "summer" routine, where I walk to a different L line through our nice, quiet neighborhood.

As we were walking through the still falling fresh powder, Cora spotted a set of keys mostly buried in the snow.  I had a sneaky suspicion that these keys might belong to a police officer.  Or maybe the spouse of a cop.  Maybe it was the 3 different key tags and whatnots with "Chicago Police" written on them.  I'm not sure.


Not knowing what to do, we hung them on a tree branch, beside the sidewalk where we found them.  Surely someone would retrace their steps and come back looking for them, right?


A week later, they were still hanging there.

So, we did what we were supposed to do, and took them to a local police station.

And that's where the world got small.  Real small.

And here is roughly the conversation I had with the officer behind the counter.  (Names have been slightly altered.  I'm not sure why.)

Scope:  I found these keys in the snow about a week ago on North Cardwell.  Obviously, they belong to a police officer.

Cop (Turning to the two officers behind him):  Hey, doesn't Sweetin live on Cardwell?  Isn't he with the FBI now?

Scope:  Yes, that he lived by WGN.  This was further north.  And I think he moved a while back.  (And thinking "He's with the Secret Service").

Cop:  Maybe their his old man's.  He was a sergeant.  (One of the tags was for a "sergeant")


Scope: Doubt it.  Rod lives over on Melvin.

<End Scene>

So, to recap: 

  • I walk into a random police station.
  • They mention the last name of a guy who hasn't been on the force in 10 years.
  • I know who they are talking about.
  • They mention his dad.
  • I know him, too.
  • "It's A Small World" turns 50 on April 22nd, but will be celebrated on April 10th to avoid conflict with "Earth Day".

Now, this is the City of Chicago, not a suburb or something.  I've only lived in the city since 99, and only been in this neighborhood for 5 years.  My roots aren't that deep.  But I walk into a police station, and they mention the brother and father of someone who I've known since '83?  (Referred to as "The Blonde" in earlier blog stories.)

It is a small world, after all.


Catching Up On Things

So, what have I been up to recently?  I know I haven't posted often.  Heck, no one really has.  I've been kind of MIA since at least Thanksgiving.  Posting now and then, but not really anything.

So, in November, the family took a run down to the Museum of Science and Industry for The Daughter's birthday and saw the Disney Exhibit.  The exhibit had a lot of artifacts regarding Disney's early life (you know he briefly lived in Chicago, right?).  It was pretty cool.  Props and behind-the-scenes artifacts from the earliest years to the present.  LINK

There was a huge promotional drawing Disney made when he was trying to pitch Disneyland to the bankers.


And then there were the costumes from one of my favorite live action Disney movies, The Rocketeer, and one of Cora's, Mary Poppins.

The-Rocketteer MaryPoppins-01

Before Christmas, we had our work Christmas party at the Art Institute.  We actually got to wander around some of the exhibits in the Modern Wing.  I got to see the very interesting "Woman in Tub" and Chairman Mao looking FABULOUS!

Art-Institute-01 Art-Institute-02

We had a great Christmas.  Well, we had a bunch of Christmases (Christmasi?)  One celebration with our little family where I gave her (among other things) a Hedwig purse.  Yes.  That's a purse.  A backpack purse.  No.  She will never use it as such.


We then had a Christmas out in Seattle, where we went downtown and rode the carousel.  The painted horses weren't nearly as pretty as the gals who rode 'em.


Then we had a "snow" fight with this weird fake snow.  It claimed to be biodegradable, but all it really did was make the bottom of your shoes both slick and sticky at the same time.  And I found bits of it inside my coat pocket over a month later.  "Biodegradable"?  "Half-life" is more like it.


Later, we hit Salty's to see the nutcrackers (no, not that thing I did off the high dive in Jr. High.)  This is also the place where I took those Sound pictures of Seattle (LINK)


Then, we went shopping for a Christmas gift for my father-in-law.  You see, over the summer, it became URGENT that one of these be deployed, but he didn't have one.  Only two of those auger things.  Talk about "stirring the pot".


So I got him a good one.  (Yes, I'm a boy.  I have even licked a fly swatter in a store once.)  Needless to say, it was the HIT present of the party.  (No, he's not drunk.  He's English.)


Once we got back, The Daughter got into one of the monster sized peanut butter cups she got for Christmas.  (That's not the only thing she got, punks.)  As you can see, this isn't the peanut butter cup of your youth.


She was giddy with the awesomeness…


Then tried her best to be serious in her "Panic at the Disco" tee.  As you can see, this is a serious hunk of chocolate encasing the peanut butter.  She didn't eat the whole thing in one sitting.  She wrapped it up, and then, with a knife, would carve out an bit as needed.


Then came the Chinese New Year, so I took Cora and The Daughter out to our local "favorite" Chinese restaurant.  (It is our "favorite" but it is also really the ONLY Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood.  Thai?  There's probably a dozen within a mile or so, but only one Chinese joint.)  As you can see, while she's not blogging regularly at the moment, the wife is still taking pictures.


And now on to why I've had trouble blogging recently:  Work.  We've been working on a huge IT project for about a year that went live on 2014-02-22.  In the fall, I was working from 8:00 am to about 6:00 pm.  Then the leaving time started creeping upwards.  7:00 pm.  Then finally 8:00 pm or later.

One thing about leaving work so late this winter, you got to see how the city handled all the snow.  In the picture below, the Bobcats are scooping up piles of snow that the plows have stacked on the curbsides, and depositing them into a dumpster to get hauled off. Not sure where it goes from there.  Years ago, they would just dump it in the Chicago River, but the EPA has banned that practice.


But the place I've been spending most of my time recently is this:


Yes, my desk at work.  With these fabulous shades of grey and black and beige.  The walls do have a bit of faded weird khaki green.


We've been working on a year long IT project.  Over the course of the project, I think we had around 5 different managers, and the project lead was let go.  So my normal 8 – 4:30 job morphed into 8 to 6, then 8 to 7.  And for the last few months, 8 - 8+.  Finally, at the end of February, we went live.  I went into work around 10 am on Friday.  We started part of the conversion at 9:00 pm.  The major part of the conversion started at 11:00 pm.  At about 12:30, I managed to sneak a little nap for maybe 45 minutes while other processes were running.  We made our 7:00 am deadline to get things back up, and I left sometime around 12:30 pm.  Over 26 hours.  I went home and, **GASP**, passed out and took a nap.  And since the project was over, that meant I got to start going home at a reasonable hour.  Or maybe not.

But I  am glad to report that things have eventually mellowed and we've cleaned up most of the issues.  Now on to the next one.  No chance to breathe.  But, soon I will be moving into a new desk with a little different view.  I'll show you that soon.

Since I know all (both) of you trying to figure out what all stuff on the desk is.  Starting from upper left and moving clockwise.


  • Receipt from when I went to jury duty about a year ago.  I started a blog post on that day that is still in draft.  It still needs a few more hours of work.
  • A Venn Diagram on how to do inner and outer joins, some syntax crib notes, et cetera.
  • My sweet, super wide monitor.
  • A picture of Cora and I from our honeymoon.
  • My lunchtime meds.
  • A mouse the same shape as the one I have at home.
  • My reading glasses.
  • Some extra keys, including "PANIC", "EJECT", and "DO PROJECT".  You have no idea have many times I hit that "DO PROJECT" button.
  • My cell, to text the wife around 8 pm to let her know when I should be leaving.
  • A tiki cup that I use for water.  It used to look like THIS before the paint all fell off.
  • A flying monkey.  Yes, a flying monkey.


Authentic Mexican Cuisine?

So, the other day I was riding the "L" and saw this ad.

I was… confused.


Do you see it?


Authentic Mexican Food, like…




Next Sunday Is Going To Be Okay

175 years ago, in the city of Boston, the word "OK" was born.

If you watch the included video from CBS Sunday Morning, you will see Ph.D. Metcalf; Executive Secretary of the American Dialect Society talking about the word "ok".  That's what you'll see.

What I see is Dr. Metcalf.  The advisor for "The Daily Other".  The newspaper where "Scope" was born.  While I never actually had Dr. Metcalf as a professor in any of my classes, 25+ years after I graduated, he still remembers my name.  I also see the reference room in the Henry Pfeiffer Library.  A room I spent as little time in as possible.  Then I see Rutledge lawn.  A space where I spent as much time as possible.

Dr. Metcalf and MacMurray College both look OK.


Corn Huskers–And I Don't Mean "Nebraska"


To say I suffer from "winter skin" is an understatement.

I am Winter Skin's bitch.

For the past, I don't know, 6 years, between December and February, if I wore short sleeved shirts, it looked like I had been mauled by a bear or ran a marathon through a brier patch or something.

My arms and back were carved with scratches from itching I my sleep.  The rest of my arms were red and with hive like bumps. The back of my calves looked like some kind of lunar-sc(r)ape.

I tried the Eucerine as told HERE.  It worked okay, but was expensive, and need to be applied constantly just to keep the dry skin at bay.  And, I'm sure 50% of it is still in the tube.

This year, after scratching myself raw the first 3 months of winter (it's been brutal here in Chicago, like everywhere, I guess), I had enough and bought a bottle of the good stuff.

Corn Huskers Lotion.

Normally, I would provide a link to the official Corn Huskers Lotion website, but I don't think there is one.  I've searched the web, and am not sure who even manufactures it.  They probably just made a monster batch of it in 1943, and have been just selling that batch ever since.  But let me tell you, it works.

Within 2 applications (night then morning), my skin was so much better.

Applying it before bed and after the morning shower, and I've had no winter skin issues since.

Sure, the stuff looks like a 7 ox bottle of snot, but don't let that put you off.  Just pour a nickel sized drop in your hand and go for it.  It's a little thin, so be careful.  It has a nice, clean smell, so you won't smell like lavender & lilac unicorn farts or anything.  Just be warned:  As it dries on your hands, it does go through a "tacky" phase, but that doesn't last long.

And at around $3.99 a bottle, you can afford to be liberal with it.

A few things:

  • It was originally formulated for actual corn huskers, i.e. men who shucked ears of corn.
  • It can be hard to find.  I've scored some at CVS.  You may need to try… Walmart.
  • According to at least one site, it can also perform as a "personal lubricant".  Well, shuck that corn.