Photos: Morning Fog Along Salt Creek in Elk Grove Village

For many people a thick fog is a gloomy inconvenience. Unless you’re like me. Yesterday morning I was excited to see heavy fog billowing outside at 6 a.m. I grabbed my camera and went for a brisk walk along Salt Creek near my home in Elk Grove Village. There’s nothing…

Orange metal sculpture of a dragon serpent in the desert at Borrego Springs

Strange Safari: Surreal Metal Sculptures In Borrego Springs

I was caught in the shadow of a man-sized lizard. Its long sharp teeth were like railroad spikes and it had cruel, curled claws. Not only that, it was giving me a baleful gaze, the same I’ve seen before on my cat Pixie when she’s finally about to murder some…

Flowering Trees at Morton Arboretum

Midwestern winters can be shocking. Poor wife. For her they’re basically the same as the generation-long winters from Game of Thrones. She grew up in California after all. Yet in a blink of an eye, spring’s here. For all the lingering beauty of winter, spring surpasses it with a swift-growing…

Silhouettes of trees against dark purple night sky full of stars

The Last Dark Skies of Northwest Illinois

There’s a whole lot of nothing in northwest Illinois before you reach the Mississippi River. Between Savanna and Galena, it’s just cornfields and an occasional one-street farming town. So, what’s the awesome weekend sightseeing destination marked on my map? Nothing! It’s great because there’s nothing out there. There’s no cities,…

View of Chicago River all dyed neon green

St. Patrick’s Day In The Emerald City

Irish-Americans are to blame, of course. We Irish-Americans can’t help but get carried away by that intoxicating nostalgia for the old sod. It doesn’t matter if our families last saw Ireland’s shores back during the great potato famine. That was only five generations ago. We’re still Irish. So, Erin go…

ZooLights Gives Lincoln Park Zoo A Holiday Glow

Going to the zoo during the winter? Sounds weird to me when it’s so cold out. Plus the animals tend to hide, hibernate or go off exhibit. I completely understand. When it gets to freezing, I’m tempted to go off exhibit, too. Send me somewhere tropical! But you don’t have…

Creepy statue of a hooded figure

Chicago’s Valley of the Kings at Graceland Cemetery

I first met the grim reaper when I was in 4th grade. I was on a school field trip when I suddenly saw him. He was covered in a thick green shroud. Plus he stood more than ten feet tall, almost floating over a sea of tombstones. Brooding and quiet,…

The King and I Sparkles Like New At Marriott Theatre

For my very first time seeing the Rodgers & Hammerstein hit The King and I, nothing could have beaten the Marriott Theatre. Any musical that gets the Marriott treatment comes out sparkling. Even the well-worn classics. This is, no doubt, because of their imaginative sets and world-class performers. It’s an…

Dancers at the Grand Entry procession

A 21st Century Pow Wow Near Chicago

Loud drumming and spirited vocalizations, at once jarring and beautiful, filled my ears as Native American pow wow dancers spun and swayed within the grassy dance circle. In a long procession that marked the evening’s Grand Entry, they followed military veterans bearing eagle feather staffs, and the U.S. and Canadian…

Mysteries Beneath The Lost Colony of Aztalan

By 1250 AD, in the quiet cornfields of southern Wisconsin, a fortified frontier town of several hundred people was suddenly abandoned. The town they left behind became an enduring mystery — strange pyramid mounds, huge brick walls and chilling evidence of cannibalism. Today this quiet windswept place is known as…