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At a cookout in early July a couple of guys waited in line around the grill, talking about a deli they used to frequent. “You been up there lately?” said the first guy. “Naw, not lately,” said the second. He asked, “Food still good there?” “He makes the burgers different now,” the first guy replied. […]

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The sound of two large dogs fighting and one man howling in fear and pain destroyed the dark peace of the neighborhood one night. A German shepherd on the block had slipped through his gate and charged a neighbor walking his bearlike Lab-Rottweiler. By the time anyone could intervene, the shepherd’s teeth were clamped tight […]

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The goldfish, all seven of them, were new to the family with this past winter’s Purim festival. They were an integral part of that celebration of the richness and variety of life, and they were living in a comfortable suburban situation in a large, well-kept tank in a teenage boy’s bedroom. Then, well, they were […]

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During a cigarette break outside my Loop office building, I noticed a stooped old man standing about three yards downwind from me. He leaned heavily on his cane, but managed to straighten up to meet my periodic exhalations of smoke. He awkwardly gulped at the smoke, open-mouthed, like a goldfish sucking bubbles from the waterline […]

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With the first thaw of February, the streets of Chicago offer up their usual winter collage of crud. Foul gray flecks of stuff embedded in a matrix of crusty slush. The alley behind my son Richard’s school is a bleak black strip of cinders on the brightest of days; today it’s the Nordic tar pits. […]

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From the minute Bubba’s motorcade hit Lake Shore Drive last Friday, it was chaos for Gate 16. When the Secret Service closed off seven gates at Soldier Field during the president’s attendance at the World Cup game, Gate 16 got the overflow. As a Gate 16 ticket taker, I saw 13,000-plus ticket holders trying to […]

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“Look,” the old man said, stopping me as I walked down Lincoln Avenue. “They moved out and left them behind!” I looked through the window of the empty storefront, which until recently had housed a computer store. Sitting close together were three gray-and-black cats, a mother and two kittens. I’d seen them a few times […]