The White City illuminates Me

I am constantly seeking fact upon fact on why I am in love with my city, my home. Not because I feel insecure about where I live, but because I am a believer. As I hear the news that Chicago is one of the top four (4!) cities in the running for the 2016 Olympics, I smile. I think back to the pleasant shock I felt while discovering that in the year 1893, beating out New York City and Washington DC, Chicago trumped the location for the largest, most awe-inspiring World's Fair. I refer to the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, aka, the Chicago World's Fair of 1893.

This fascinating event spanned 600 acres (2.4km), took in nearly 27 million people (the automobile was not even invented yet!) and featured the birth of the Ferris Wheel, named after George Washington Gale Ferris. Ferris was brought in to design a useful (money-making) machine that was as post-card friendly as the Eiffel Tower. The 1889 Paris World's Fair was the one to beat, and in grand scale, Chicago surpassed all expectations.

As the "White City", named after it's temporary bright white stucco buildings and a magically new technology of electric street lights, it inspired many. Poet Katherine Lee Bates was so taken by the illumination of the fair grounds that she penned "Thine alabaster cities gleam..." This passage, and the entire poem was put to music as the United States 2nd (unofficial) anthem, "America the Beautiful."

All these buildings and sculptures were temporary and built specifically for the fair. They are not part of the modern day City of Chicago.

One of the dark sides of the fair focuses on the more seedy, unofficial exhibits in the "Midway Plaisance." This long street of "pleasure" showcased a walking tour of foreign beauties and attractions that would make any man swoon or sweat. Belly dancing, native music, snake charmers and camel rides were exotic fairie tales that no American would have ever seen if not for the fair. Buffalo Bill was outcast from the proper exhibit halls to the Midway Plaisance because of his low-brow performances, only to make a killing in ticket sales and keep the profit all to himself.

In the deep darkness the fair's 6 month run, America's first serial killer H.H. Holmes found his playground, torturing victims in his labyrinth hotel (you can get in, but you can't get out) and used his medical training to perform heinous crimes with the unwilling.

So many countries had exhibits to show off their art, architecture, food, and innovations. If you are from another country, do you know what your nation exhibited? i encourage you to find out as there are amazing things to uncover.

Wikipedia it. You'll be glad you did. Uncover and share!


- The original site of the fair is located on the southside lakeshore (Jackson Park). Most buildings were temporary, so the only 2 remaining buildings are the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry.

- The street of attractions "Midway Plaisance" is still named as such and is located in the University of Chicago area.

- The nickname "Monsters of the Midway" of the Chicago Bears is taken from this fair street, as is all other references to Chicago as "Midway". It is synonymous with fun and games. ;)

The Birth and Death of Edie Sedgwick

Many people are intrigued by this beautiful flower who passed way too young (before she was 30). Privileged, yet not the best childhood: two of her brothers committed suicide(also before they were 30), she and Andy Warhol supercharged eachother in the New York art scene and night life of the mid-60's. The rest of her history is on wikipedia if you are not familiar.

Much to my surprise, I recently found out that I own a piece of Edie nostalgia (of sorts). As I was pulling out one of the many vintage pieces in my wardrobe, I looked closer at a snap-in-the-back femme cut hospital gown from none other than the place Ms. Sedgwick was born, and had her last stint in the mental ward. "Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital." How could this go unnoticed in my closet after so many years of owning it? Blind am I.

So tartlettes, here it is. Go check out the other pictures in the iUnisex gallery for a full shot.  And say a small prayer for Edie as fashion goddess, a true original.

The Environmental Gods Have Spoken

Along with food poisoining and flu like sickness, the month of October has haunted me. And to end le mois avec un bang, I find myself at a loss on what to say for my bad luck.

It seems that the environmental gods hate SUVs and they decided to strike in the form of a criminal, driving a crappy Dodge Neon (sorry) playing bumper car with the vehicles on my residential block. If I had a diagram of the aftermath, you would be like "Whoa, dude! That's nasty!" but alas I have one photo to show you, albiet after several cars were moved, towed and swept out of the way of the roadway and sidewalks. I bet my vegetarian ass that mother earth has vengeance on her sleeve. Is it because I stopped recycling?

Odd Jobs

I do many different things in my job. I do computer work, I manage projects and occasionally I get to scream into a microphone like I'm falling to my death. Today was one of those usual days where you come in to work, check your email, then ask men to take their shirts off and take pictures of them. ??? Before you say, "How dare you, you sexist beast!" , in my defense, I was forced to. A requirement. Mandatory to my employment.

Just another dull day in the video game world. Ho hum.

Lentil-Walnut Burgers Recipe!

3/4 cup toasted walnuts, cooled
1/3 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3/4 cup lentils, cooked, drained, and cooled
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large egg (or egg replacer/olive oil cornstarch)

1. In a food processor, combine walnuts, breadcrumbs, garlic, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; process until finely ground. Add lentils and 1 tablespoon oil; pulse until coarsely chopped (some lentils should remain whole).
2. In a large bowl, whisk egg. Add lentil mixture; mix well. Divide into 4 equal-size parts; roll into balls, and flatten with the palm of your hand into 3/4-inch-thick patties.
3. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add burgers; cook over medium-low heat until crisp and browned, turning gently with a thin-edged spatula, 8 to 10 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

I like to put these on some grain bread with green leaf lettuce, mustard (dijon) and mayo (non-fat mayo is vegan I think). Its tricky to get the right consistency so they dont fall apart but you should also make sure you're oil is really hot so they fry well and hold themselves together.

Mother's Milk Cookies (for new mommies)

my baby daddy helped me make these
Mother's Milk Cookies
Repost:-Housepoet's Famous Lactation Boosting Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip & Flaxseed cookies

* 1 cup butter or margarine
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 4 tablespoons water
* 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal*
(I ground flaxseeds in a coffee grinder)
* 2 large eggs (vegan: egg replacer or cornstarch olive oil mix)
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 2 cups flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 3 cups oats, thick cut if you can get them
* 1 cup or more chocolate chips
* 2 generous tablespoons of brewers yeast*


Preheat oven at 375 degrees F. Mix together 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal and water, set aside for 3-5 minutes. Cream (beat well) margarine and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mix well. Stir flaxseed mixture and add with vanilla to the margarine mix. Beat until blended. Sift together dry ingredients, except oats and chips. Add to margarine mixture. Stir in oats then chips. Scoop or drop onto baking sheet, preferably lined with parchment

Bake 8-12 minutes, depending on size of cookies.

Serves: 6 dozen cookies

Preparation time: 15 minutes

*can be found at any local health food store.