Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Virtual Vaudeville This Saturday: Featuring The Acme Flea Circus!

I'm very pleased to announce that I'm getting into the remote performing craze.

This Saturday, from 3 pm to 9 pm (Chicago time), I and 8 other performers are creating a "Virtual Vaudeville" show that will feature 6 hours of continuous entertainment from some of the top vaudeville and variety artists in the country.

The show will take place on Instagram Live on the account phonographdjmac.

You can find out more about it on the following facebook event:


Over the course of the 6 hours, each performer will do a show or piece of their show at least 3 times.

(I should have set times when to tune in to see the flea circus pieces later in the week.)

Viewing is free, but we are asking for donations that will be split equally with all of the performers.

In addition to my show, the performers include some of the best in the business, including:

The performers of the first Virtual Vaudeville (Listed below top left to right, middle left to right, bottom left to right.)

I've seen and worked with a few of these people before, and they are great.  And what I've seen from the other performers shows that they will also be a lot of fun.

I've got a few technical issues to solve, like where in my relatively crowded apartment I'm going to perform the show, and whether or not I have enough lighting for it, and how I'm going to adapt my heavily audience-involved show happen without being able to see the audience!

 All solvable and all worth the challenge.

 I look forward to you seeing me (and the fleas!) and my friends on Saturday! 

Sunday, March 29, 2020

You've Come Too Far To Have Come This Far And Stopped.

There's an old joke about someone who was swimming the English Channel.  Halfway through she said "I'll never make it!" and swam back. 

I'm now on Day 200 of my fitness streak, assuming that I work out 30 minutes today.  (Which I will, short of being struck by a meteor).  And I've definitely had a few moments of "I can't make it."  But I know that if I swim back, I will have been able to make it.  So I'm following Dory's advice from Finding Nemo.  "Keep On Swimming, Keep On Swimming!"  (although, sadly, the pool is closed)

I'm keeping on swimming just like Dory.
(It's good when you can get your
wisdom from animated films.)
[ In case you missed it, Since September 11, 2019, I've been on a streak of doing the following:

  • Exercise 30+ minutes every day
  • Write down everything that I eat.
  • Don't eat after 9pm- Don't eat before 9 am.
You can read more about why, and see some embarrassing photos here.]

(I'm not particularly embarrassed by the photos, other than that they document how fat I actually was, and even now how fat I still am, despite losing 60 lbs. )

Okay, here's the embarassing photo.  Why make you have to go elsewhere:

I've definitely lost a lot of weight, but I still have a long way to go.


During this enforces Stay At Home Order, I've been doing just that, staying at home.

And following my program!

This is the Yoga series I've been doing every day.
True:  Yoga With Adriene
I can't swim or go to the gym (hmmm... wonder if I'll get a rebate on my gym membership?)  but I've been doing the recumbent bicycle at home, occasionally doing wall pushups or lifting my 12 lb dumbbells, and over the last few days have also started doing a yoga practice using the television.

I'm following along with the show Yoga With Adriene.

I like her style and her slightly flippant attitude, and the fact that she doesn't seem to judge me (which is ridiculous, since she is on television and doesn't know that I exist as I watch her)  But I feel like she's a good teacher, and although I can't do some of the things she does yet, I'm moving along to it, and working on things like my downward dog, my cobra, and my salutation to the sun.

She's got a bunch of yoga videos on Amazon Prime (which are free if you are a member)  I'm following True, which is a 30 day series, but there is a whole lot of Yoga content on Amazon Prime.  (And by the way,  if you are not a member, you should definitely try it.  There's a 30 day free trial, and now, coronavirus time, would be a good time to check it out!)  And if you start your 30 day trial by clicking this graphic, you will be helping this blog!


I have been cooking every day since we started self-quarantining on March 16.   We had gotten a good amount of groceries, and I've been out to the grocery store twice in the last 14 days.  (Typically I go to the grocery store 4-5 times a week.) 

We ordered out once since then (or it would be better to say we ordered in-- restaurants are still closed in Illinois)  It was Korean food from Crisp (our favorite Dak Wings, was closed, but it looks like they have since reopened for delivery and takeout)  The food was delicious, but it was so salty.  I literally gained 5 lbs the next day and my ankles were swollen.   Although I loved it, at this point, it's just not worth it.

A typical example of a soup I might make.
I've been making lots of smoothies for breakfast, and/or egg white omelets with meat, veggies, and maybe a side of Kim chee.  For lunch I will usually have a large homemade Vietnamese style soup, with veggies, meat, gochuchang, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, spinach, and even an egg.

Dinner is usually meat with a vegetable, and a small amount of carbs.  (The other night I made polenta with pork and kale in a rough marinara.  It was pretty good.)  We also did a veggie taco bar the other night that was very tasty.

I do eat snacks, but I measure them out and weigh them out and try to space them out throughout the day.  I usually eat Pretzel crisps, or a piece of fruit, or sometimes a couple of ounces of deli-turkey.

Over the last 200 days, there have been a handful of times I've eaten after 9 pm, but typically not, and if I do, I still try to honor that minimum 12 hour window of not eating.  At this point I can do easily 14 hours most days, and could probably do more if I had to.  I'm not trying to push myself to hunger, but rather with the idea of "Delay, Not Deny."


It would have been easy to give up now, during these special circumstances, to find an excuse to not work out, to eat poorly, to order out food that I know I shouldn't eat, etc.

 It's been tempting, and I even bought a pack of Good and Plenty at the drugstore during one of those moments (just in case).  There have been moments of temptation, of wanting to not work out, of wanting to crack open the Good and Plenty, to just eat chips from the bag without weighing them first. 

So far I've managed to resist.  Part of my resistance success is the success I've had so far-- It's been 6 and a half months, and I've lost a little over 60 lbs.  I've come a long way, and I don't want to blow it on something that is not worth it.

The progress that I've made on my health and my discipline and my wellbeing is too important to me to just toss it all away.

 According to my calculations-- I should be at a "normal" BMI somewhere during the summer if I can keep up doing what I'm doing.  (My app says June, but I think I'm going to stall at some point.)

I can do this.  I will do this.

I've come too far to have come this far and stopped.

Friday, March 27, 2020

REVIEW: Teenage Dick, Livestreamed (sort of) from Theater Wit.

I just got through seeing the Livestreamed production of Teenage Dick by Mike Lew.  I wrote about it a couple of days ago here, and they very graciously offered me a ticket to see the show.

In short, it's a great play, well worth seeing.

The basic idea is that they have transplanted the story of Richard III into high school, where a boy with cerebral palsy (Richard Gloucester, played by MacGregor Arney) has it in his mind to become the class president over the teenage football quarterback Eddie (played by Ty Fanning). Along the way, he reads Machiavelli, confides in his also disabled friend Buck (played by Tamara Rozofsky), falls in love with Eddy's old girl friend Ann (played by Courtney Rikki Green), and dupes his high school teacher Ms. York, played by Liz Cloud.  Also in the mix is Clarissa, a Christian goody-two-shoes who also wants to be class president.  She is played by Kathleen Niemann.

Although the play follows pretty closely the plot of Richard III, it is set in high school, so bullying, twitter, Instagram selfies, online taunting, and hooking up all have their moments in the show.   The play has heightened language (and some swearing, so kids beware).  Richard speaks about half the time as if he were a Shakespearian villain and half the time if he was in the HBO version of Glee. (After the show, during the post-show discussion, I imagined a Glee version of this show, which would be interesting, but not nearly so well written or acted.)

Top Left:  Richard and Eddie.  Top Right: Richard and Buck.
Bottom Left:  Richard and Ann.   Bottom Right: Ann, Buck, and Richard. 
All photos by Charles Osgood.  Provided by the theater.

Richard, very well played by MacGregor Arney.

All of the cast are great, but I thought that MacGregor Arney as Richard did an especially wonderful job of striking a balance between power-mad Richard and a boy trying to be a human.  It's a hard needle to thread, but he manages it. There's a moment at the end where it was a bit of a cliff-hanger as to whether or not the play would follow Richard III's tragic conclusion (and rather than spoil it, I will urge you to watch the play and decided for yourself. )

Ann, played by Courtney Green, in a moment of indecision.

 I was also taken with Courtney Green's Ann, who has a meta-moment late in the play where she tells her story for a minute.  This was haunting and wonderful and reminded me of a moment in another play about disability, The Boys Next Door by Tom Griffin.   In that play, one of the retarded men steps out of his retarded character for a moment, to speak about what it is that he really wants, and I remember wanting to weep.  (The production I saw at Trinity Rep featured the amazing Ed Hall, in what turned out to be one of his last performances there, and it may be a moment in the theatre that I never forget.)  Ann's last monologue had a similar feel, and there was a symbolic moment that gave me chills. At the post-discussion, I wondered if that scene was an homage to the Boys Next Door (there are a number of homages and references to other plays, including Macbeth, Hamlet, and Hamilton  -- Eddie says "Talk Less, Shower More")  The cast didn't know, and the playwright wasn't there, so I will ask him on Twitter and report back in the comments.

Ann and Richard go to the school dance.
The play is not actually livestreamed-- it was filmed the day before all the theaters got shut down with a live audience. 

When you buy a ticket, you get an invitation to login to Vimeo about 15 minutes before showtime.  They ask you to start the video at showtime, and then after the show, there is a GoToMeeting Livestream after the event.  I recommend doing that.  It was interesting to talk to the cast, and see other audience members from far away.  (Seattle, Boston, and Calgary were all in the house that night)

Although I would prefer to see a live play, this is the second-best thing.  You get a lot of the experience of the theatre, mediated by your phone, and you never have to leave your house.  The camera barely moves (Equity rules), but they capture all of the action in a way that is almost as good as being in the room.

Teenage Dick will be playing through April 19 at screens in your house.  Tickets are limited by Equity Union rules to 98 per show, so don't miss out.  To purchase tickets, visit the Theater Wit website.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Risk is in the approach, and knowing when to stop.

We played RISK on my wife's classic original set
from the 1970's.
I didn't really want to play RISK, but when my son brought it up a few nights ago and said, "It's Family Game Night! Let's Play!"

And then my wife said "Great!" 

I felt a little trapped.   Trapped isn't the right word.  Pinned down?  Unable to escape? Having two few men on a battleground that I didn't want but couldn't avoid?  Yeah, that's about right.

So I capitulated, groaning loudly.  We started the game.

It's not that I don't like RISK. 

When I was a kid I loved it.  My best friend in second (or maybe third grade) Paul Squizzero had the game and on Saturdays, I used to go over to his house and he and I used to play rollicking games with his family on his kitchen table and his mom made us bologna and ketchup sandwiches, which I absolutely loved.

My mom was horrified, as bologna and ketchup were not what my mom wanted me to be eating, but there was nothing she could do about it.  I was nine, and I liked what I liked.  Mrs. Squizzero (Paul's mom) thought I was the politest kid on the planet.

But the thing about RISK that I don't particularly like is the element of luck.  You can have 20 guys in Mongolia and only one in Siam, and by the right rolls, that one guy in Siam could end up winning.   It's not the power of the Siamese training forces.  It's just plain luck. When I was younger I saw some kind of majesty in that, the romanticism of the one fighting for his ideals, but now, when I think of it, it just seems that it is one guy is forestalling the inevitable.  He won't be able to win, he should just give up. 

Is this the difference in outlook between youth and middle age?  

And the rolling, and the changing of armies, and the decision making, the game can be just interminable.  It just tries my patience.  (Boy, I sound like a cranky old man!)

But here we were, playing through it, and I was grinning and bearing it, like a good dad should.  (To be truthful, I was probably grimacing more than grinning.  I was dealt terrible countries, and my son, bless his little Siamese heart,  is an amazing roller.  He might get it from his dad!)

You can get this 60th-anniversary edition of RISK on Amazon.
That first night, it got to be about 9 pm, and we were about a quarter through the game.  I was in third place, far behind, and my wife was way ahead.  She's very good at strategy games, and she's a very lucky roller. (I'd like to think that she gets it from her husband!)

The board was set up on our dining room table, and over the next two days we ate around, over, and through the table, anywhere but where the game was set up.  Each time we played a few rounds, and things were moving.  I made an incursion into North America.  My son gained Australia.  My wife gained South America, and then turn after turn would lose one country only to gain it again.

After three days on and off of this, my son was in the lead, and I thought about giving up multiple times.

Day 3:  The Final Conquest. 

We played a quick round in the morning.  I conquered North America!  I set up strong borders.  I let my wife and son duke it out - she got greedy and tried to swallow Europe whole, but couldn't quite do it, and my son took it right back.   The cards kept on escalating.   We had to stop at my turn so that I could go to a telemedicine doctor's appointment, and my wife could get some work done.

Practicing social distancing in Australia
(photo courtesy of my wife stephanies )
After dinner, we sat down to play, one final time, and agreed we'd finish it off.   I had warmed up to the game. I was in it, to win it.  I fortified my borders.  I took over most of South America from my wife.   I managed to take my son's continents away while keeping two of my own.  My wife didn't have enough firepower to do anything. and flamed out on a spectacular set of rolls against my son. (I told you he was a lucky roller!)

Then it was my son's turn.  He turned in cards and got 62 armies.  He annihilated my wife's armies and grabbed her cards.  He tried to make an incursion into North America through Greenland and failed.  He tried to make an incursion into South America through Brazil and failed.  He decided not to try Alaska, and let me take my turn.  I turned in my cards for a total of 68 armies, and proceeded to romp through Asia, Africa, and Europe, and Australia, taking all of his continents away from him.

Rather than continuing to push my luck, I left strong troops in each of the continents and fortified my borders.  I thought he was going to win over the long haul, but he took a look at the board, realized that he was in for a much longer, sloggier mess than he had realized, and decided to give up!  I emerged Victorious!


There are actually a few morals that I can think of.

Thank you, Princess Bride.
  • Never get into a land war in Asia.   (Check)
  • Spending time with my family is fun!
  • It turns out that forestalling the inevitable will work when your opponent is young and impatient.
  • You should not always listen to your inner voice. 

    I had a fun time playing RISK, even though I groaned when it  was proposed  (I am sure that EMERGING VICTORIOUS had something to do with that.) 
  • Risk is as much about knowing when to stop as it is about taking actual risks.
  • I'm a lucky roller, and I get it from my family.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

SPONSORED: Quick And Easy Style

PLEASE NOTE:  This post was paid for by StitchFix.   They are helping to keep the lights on (and men just a little bit more stylish) during these tough times.  Please check them out, and mention you saw the post on Dadapalooza!  Thanks!

Making your outfits more stylish doesn't have to be a time-consuming process. Sure, if you have the time, it might be great to go for a hair cut or shop for a new wardrobe of clothes. But you can still have an impact on how you look by following these quick and easy style tips.

Clean Your Shoes

Image via Flickr by AJC1

You can use a simple water and dish soap solution to keep your shoes looking fresh and new. If you can't get rid of old stains, try scrubbing them with an old toothbrush. Additionally, remember to change worn laces as well so your footwear stays smart for long.

Match Two Things Together

This simple styling rule is a great way to smarten your outfits. The idea is that you include two pieces in your outfit that match. For example, pair a brown belt with your brown leather shoes, or a gray tie with your gray slacks. You can apply this rule to more than one pair in your outfit. If you're getting dressed on a cold day, for instance, you might pair a cardigan and polo shirt in the same color, and your brown shoes and belt to create a classy look.

Tuck Your Shirts

Tucking your shirts or T-shirts into your pants can give your outfit a neat and fine-tuned appearance. What's more, you can switch it up a bit by using different tucking methods. For instance, you can try tucking the front of your T-shirt into your pants for a slightly more casual front tuck. For a business casual look, tuck your shirt into your slacks all the way around.

Dress up an Outfit With a Blazer

If you've spent much money on a good suit for the office, why not make use of it on the weekend too? You can pair your suit jacket with a shirt and jeans to create a smart casual look for a night out. Alternatively, you might want to contrast your smart suit jacket with a T-shirt for a cool high-low mix.

Turn Up Your Jeans

If your jeans are looking worn at the bottom, turn up the hem to rescue the denim. This tip has the added advantage of allowing you to show off the socks you're wearing, so why not choose a colorful or patterned pair to add a twist to your look?

Getting a Personal Stylist

A personal stylist can provide you with helpful advice on developing your perfect look. In addition, they save you much time rummaging through stores because they can pick out items of clothing to suit you. That's time and energy you can put to good use while your personal stylist works on honing your looks as you get on with your busy life.

At Stitch Fix, your personal stylist will ask you for your measurements and style preferences when you sign up. Then, they'll select clothes to suit your needs and size. After you've received your items and tried them on, you can return anything you don't want to keep for free. You'll only need to pay for the items you buy.

Monday, March 23, 2020

How StoreFront Theaters are Dealing With the Coronavirus Crisis

Just a quick note about a fantastic article that recently appeared on the WTTW website, which talked about how storefront theatres in Chicago are dealing with the cancellations necessary to deal with COVID-19.

Photo from TeenAge Dick Livestream.
Chicago is  the storefront theatre capital of the country, with over 200 theatres in Chicago, and each one is taking a different (and often creative) approach to solving the problem of what to do when the audience can't come to you.

The article on WTTW (link below) highlights several different tactics that theatres are taking, from delaying productions to canceling productions to even leaving the sets in place and praying that this hiatus is short.

It also goes into shocking detail about the magnitude of the loss-- one theatre is out over $80,000 in lost revenues, including two different tours that have been canceled.  That's for the next month alone!  And insurance is not paying for that.  And many theatres have not yet had their gala, which typically raises 20% of their income for the year.

One of my favorite stories in the article is a positive one from Theatre Wit, who were producing the Midwest premiere of Teenage Dick by Mike Lew (a hilarious re-telling of Richard III, set in a high school, with a cerebral palsy survivor who wants to be class president.)  They were all set to open the show, when it became clear that the Corona Virus was going to put a kibosh on their plans.

This is a screen-capture of the Theater Wit website, which explains more about how remote viewing works.
Rather than canceling the show, they videotaped the show (without an audience), and with permission of Actor's Equity and the actors, each night that the show was supposed to be on, they are selling tickets to a streamed production of the show.  (It's not live-streamed, as it is the tape, but you can only see it that night.  In addition, after each show, there is a cast Q&A  Livestream on Gotomeeting.com  that ups the interactive potential of the show dramatically.   And the cast and crew are still getting paid!

Buy TeenAge Dick on Amazon
(boy, could that sound any worse?)
Furthermore, some of the first tickets purchased for this show were from NY, suggesting that this could be a future income stream for plays, extending the boundaries (and marketing) of a play, assuming that they can get continue to get Equity approval for these remote showings.

I love this kind of creativity in the face of adversity!

Read the full article at  https://news.wttw.com/2020/03/18/how-chicagos-storefront-theaters-are-facing-coronavirus-crisis

And you can read the Chicago Tribune review of the experience of watching Teenage Dick online here:  https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/reviews/ct-ent-teenage-dick-theater-wit-livestream-0320-20200320-l6jx5bw6fnbmdk2d5aypiqg6si-story.html

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Virtual Restaurant Week March 20-30

It's a tough time to be a restaurant in Chicago.  The state of Illinois says takeout and delivery only, people are afraid to go out.  At some point in the future, things will lighten up, but who knows how long that will be?  And will your favorite restaurants be able to survive during the Great Pause?

It's Virtual Restaurant Week in my neighborhood!  Start the ordering!
The Edgewater Chamber of Commerce has you covered.  They are instituting Virtual Restaurant Week, from March 20-30 with an opportunity to support the local restaurants that do a great job all year round, and now need some of our business during this particularly tough time.

The hours and even the menus of some of the restaurants have changed, so be sure to check them out.  Also, many of them use alternative online delivery sources (Grubhub/Doordash/etc)  Please remember that those services do take a bite of the money, so if you can order directly from them, please do.

And tip generously!

To find out more, visit https://www.edgewater.org/events/edgewater-restaurant-week/

Virtual Restaurant Week Participants:

Alice and Friends’ Vegan Kitchen
5812 N Broadway
(773) 275-8797
4pm-9pm, closed Tuesday
Featuring: Gluten-free Chana Poke Bowl $11.50
Delivery: GrubHub, Caviar, Door Dash, Phone
Pick up: Available
Broadway Cellars
5900 N Broadway
(773) 944-1208

Friday and Saturday 4pm-9pm
Limited menu available at cellarsbarandgrill.com
Pick Up: Available by phone or walk up
Burke’s Public House
5401 N Broadway
(773) 944-1109
4pm-8pm daily
Special Deal: Fridays Only, Fish Fry carry out $11.95 per order and package beer carry-out available
Pick up: Available by phone order only
Cookies and Carnitas
5938 N Broadway
Pick up: Available through GrubHub and Door Dash
Edgewater Mexican Café
1055 W Bryn Mawr Ave
11am-10pm daily
Featuring: Burrito with Chicken of Beef $14
Delivery: GrubHub, Uber Eats, Phone
Pick up: Available
Edgewater Tacos
5624 N Broadway
(773) 944-0847 11am-9pm Monday-Saturday
Featuring: $3 Tamales and $3 Churros
Pick up: Available by phone orders or walk-up window
Ethiopian Diamond Restaurant
6120 N. Broadway
11am-9pm daily
Featuring:Free appetizer of Sambussa with any regular order.
Delivery: GrubHub, Uber Eats, Phone, Delivery.com
Pick up: Available by phone or website
Farm Bar Edgewater
1133 W Granville Ave
5pm-10pm, closed Monday
Featuring: Pasture Raised “Classic” Burger $13.50 and Indiana White Cheddar & Kale Turkey Burger $14.50
Delivery: Available by phone
Pick Up: Available by phone
Fireside Restaurant & Lounge
5739 N Ravenswood Ave
(773) 561-7433
12pm-12am daily
Delivery: GrubHub, Uber Eats, Door Dash, Chow Now
Pick Up: Available by phone or online
Flaco’s Tacos, Edgewater
1116-20 W Granville Ave
(773) 262-8226
11am-8pm daily
Featuring: Cold Beer Packages available for pickup or delivery.
Delivery: GrubHub, Uber Eats, Caviar, Postmates, Door Dash
Pick up: Available by phone and online
Francesca’s Bryn Mawr
1039 W Bryn Mawr Ave

4pm-8pm daily
Featuring: Family pack meals are available in varying sizes, Limited menu as shown online with some daily chef specialties.
Delivery: Uber Eats, Door Dash
Pick Up: Available by phone or website
Indie Café
5951 N. Broadway Street
11:30am-10pm daily
Special Deal: 15% off orders online at Indiecafe.us
Delivery: Available by phone or website
Pick up: Available by phone or website
Jerry’s Sandwiches
4739 N Lincoln Ave
11am-8pm daily
Featuring: Spiced Lamb Burger $14.95 and Cold Creole Meatloaf Sandwich $13.75
Pick up: Available by phone or website
Lickity Split Frozen Custard & Sweets
6056 N Broadway
(773) 274-0830
12pm-10pm  daily
Special Deal: Sweet Relief!  Buy one pint or quart of custard and get a second at half off (toppings not included).
Delivery GrubHub, Uber Eats, Postmates
Pick up: Available at the Broadway location
Metropolis Coffee Company- Roasterie Location
3057 N Rockwell Ave
9am-3pm Monday-Thursday
Featuring: Freshly roasted coffee, mailed to you or available from our Roasterie location for curb-side pickup!
Pick up: email:orders@metropoliscoffee.com, or call 773-338-4904
Milo’s Pita
6141 N. Broadway
11am-11pm, closed Sunday
Featuring: Shawerma, Falafel, and Kabob sandwiches for $5.59
Pick Up: Available by phone
Moody’s Pub
5901 N Broadway
11:00am-10pm daily
Delivery: GrubHub
Pick up: Available by phone
Nookies Edgewater
1100 W Bryn Mawr Ave
(773) 516-4188
8am-9pm daily
Featuring: Breakfast for dinner!
Delivery: GrubHub
Pick up: available online or by phone
Nori Sushi at Edgewater
1235 W Devon Ave
11am-9pm daily
Special Deal: Lunch Bento Box, Dinner Bento Box, Ramen, Sushi and many more. Phone orders receive $5 off with purchase of $35 or more before tax & delivery charge.
Delivery: GrubHub, Uber Eats, Postmates, Chow Now
Pick up: Available by phone and website
Pearl’s Southern Comfort
5352 N Broadway
5pm-11pm daily
Special Deal: 15% discount for call in/pick up orders
Delivery: Uber Eats
Pick up: Available and preferred by phone
pHlour Bakery & Cafe
1138 W Bryn Mawr Ave
(773) 293-6135
7am-3pm, closed Monday
Pick up: Phone orders only
Pizzeria Aroma
5350 N Broadway
(773) 769-4900
Pickup: 11:30am-10pm, Delivery 11:30am-11pm daily
Special Deal: Family Deal – 16in pizza, tub of pasta and mozzarella sticks for $32.95
Delivery: 773-769-4900 or pizzeriaaroma.com
Pick up:  Available773-769-4900 or https://www.pizzeriaaroma.com/
Ras Dashen Ethiopian Restaurant
5846 N Broadway
11am-10:30pm, closed Tuesday
Featuring: Veggie Sampler with a choice of 5 sides for $16
Delivery: Uber Eats, Caviar
Pick up: Available by phone
Rewired Café
3508 N Broadway
9am-5pm daily
Featuring: Small drip coffee $1.50 for delivery or pick up
Delivery: GrubHub, Uber Eats, Postmates, and Ritual
Pick up: Available by phone and preferred
Rice Thai Asian Kitchen
1136 W Thorndale Ave
(773) 878-8060
1pm-9:30pm, closed Wednesday
Pick up: Available by phone and GrubHub
Sauce and Bread Kitchen
6338 N. Clark
11am-7pm Thurs-Sun
Featuring: Eggs, breads, soups and ramen
Pick up orders by phone and GrubHub
6730 N Clark St.
(872) 241-9111
8am-3pm Tuesday-Sunday and 5pm-9pm Thursday -Sunday
Special Deal: 20% online orders with unlimited use promo code: quarentineQT
Delivery: smackdabchicago.com
Pick up: Available by phone and website
Susupuato Restaurant
6161 N. Broadway
4pm-11pm daily
Featuring: Taco Dinner: Three tacos with one choice of filling. Served with rice and beans or fries. $12-$16
Delivery: GrubHub, Postmates
Pick up: Available by phone
Uncommon Ground
1401 W Devon Ave
(773) 465-9801
11am-8pm, closed Monday
Special Deal: 20% off in store pick up on food and $12 Growlers (64oz)
or $6 Howlers (32oz) of Greenstar Beer.
Delivery: GrubHub
Pick up: Available by phone

The Inventor of Handwashing Died of a Flesh Wound

The Google Doodle of the Day on Saturday was a fascinating rabbit hole.  It features Ignaz Semmelweis, who was one of the first proponents of handwashing.

As an Austrian doctor and obstetrician during the mid 1800s, he noted that one clinic in the Vienna general hospital had a much lower rate of childbirth than the other.  He noted that in one maternity clinic the practitioners also dealt with the morgue, and the other one they didn't.  He did a series of experiments, trying to discover what the difference was to make the mortality rate so high in one clinic and not the other.  Through a process of elimination, he imagined that there were minuscule cadaverous materials that the doctors were bringing with them from the morgue, and was convinced that was the problem.  As an experiment, he asked them to clean their hands using a solution of chlorinated lime (because this was good at erasing the smell of corpses.)  The mortality rate went from 10-15% in that ward month to month down to 1-2%, and even a couple of months there were no mortalities.

Despite this evidence and more, the medical community scorned his ideas.  He had 20 years of rejection and people laughing at him.  He lost his post in Vienna, moved to Budapest and took to writing incendiary letters to his detractors and to obstetricians, calling them murderers.  In the end, his wife and his friends committed him to an asylum, where he died two weeks later of-- oh the irony- gangrene from an infected wound.

This chart courtesy of the Wikipedia article on Semmelweis.
The esteemed scientists who laughed at him believed in the idea of four humours-- that diseases were individual, and that the best way to right a person was by bloodletting.  20 years after his death, Louis Pasteur's theory of germs became widely accepted and would have been supported by the work of Semmelweis.

Semmelweis's struggle has been captured in plays, films, and operas. In fact, a 1938 film about him won the Best Short Film Oscar (One Reel) of 1939.  That Mothers Might Live. (video below)

Also, Semmelweis's plight has been immortalized in a psychological term known as the Semmelweis Reflex, which is the often reflexive tendency to reject new ideas or evidence because it contradicts established norms or beliefs.

And this could still happen today.  That's why it's so important to have an open mind and be willing to be persuaded by new evidence or knowledge.   (I'm looking at you #trumpsupporters)

Enjoy this movie-- I found it on Youtube, and its' pretty powerful.

Thumbnail biography of Ignaz Semmelweis (courtesy of Wikipedia)

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Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis (1 July 1818 – 13 August 1865) was an Austrian-Hungarian physician and scientist, now known as an early pioneer of antiseptic procedures. Described as the "saviour of mothers", Semmelweis discovered that the incidence of puerperal fever (also known as "childbed fever") could be drastically cut by the use of hand disinfection in obstetrical clinics. Puerperal fever was common in mid-19th-century hospitals and often fatal. Semmelweis proposed the practice of washing hands with chlorinated lime solutions in 1847 while working in Vienna General Hospital's First Obstetrical Clinic, where doctors' wards had three times the mortality of midwives' wards. He published a book of his findings in Etiology, Concept and Prophylaxis of Childbed Fever. 
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Despite various publications of results where hand washing reduced mortality to below 1%, Semmelweis's observations conflicted with the established scientific and medical opinions of the time and his ideas were rejected by the medical community. Semmelweis could offer no acceptable scientific explanation for his findings, and some doctors were offended at the suggestion that they should wash their hands and mocked him for it. In 1865, the increasingly outspoken Semmelweis supposedly suffered a nervous breakdown and was committed to an asylum by his colleagues. He died 14 days later, at the age of 47, from a gangrenous wound on his right hand which might have been caused by a beating from the guards. Semmelweis's practice earned widespread acceptance only years after his death, when Louis Pasteur confirmed the germ theory, and Joseph Lister, acting on the French microbiologist's research, practised and operated using hygienic methods, with great success.

Friday, March 20, 2020

The Rise of the Corona Challah: Crazy Days

I found this photo on the Internet.  I wish I'd thought of this!

The Rise of the Corona Challah.

 I found this photo on the internet, of a #coronachallah, and I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry, which is about right for the sign of the times.

The Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times." comes directly to mind.

This is not your ordinary Friday, and I guess we shouldn't have an ordinary Challah either.

Typically challah is braided, to symbolize the weaving of the sacred into the every day, and to symbolize the togetherness and unity that Shabbat brings to a family and to the community.

I think this challah, shaped as it is, is the perfect antithesis of that.  We are on day three of a self-imposed quarantine, and our familal togetherness is a little strained.  Fortunately we have a large enough apartment (and enough doors to close) that we are not in each other's faces 24/7.

There's no real end in sight- Today the governor announced that all of Illinois is on soft-close-down and that non-essential trips outside are being discouraged.   Trips to the grocery store, to the pharmacy, and to walk your dog are okay, but gatherings of more than ten people are not permitted, nor is non-essential travel.  Just stay at home if you can.  Which was already our plan.

I've heard from at least three friends online that they think they have the virus.  They can't get tested (well one has-- but two are in NYC and don't qualify yet for the severe testing.  They have symptoms, they are strict quarantining, they are doing everything right, but sometimes you get it when you don't know you are going to get it.)

There's a line from Hamilton that I hope this doesn't become:  (there always is)

ELIZA: When he was ten his father split, full of it, debt-ridden, two years later, see Alex and his mother bed-ridden, half-dead sittin in their own sick, the scent thick,
COMPANY:  And Alex got better but his mother went quick. 
From everything I've read,  there will have to be probably 4-6 weeks of strict working quarantine for this whole thing to play out, and even then it will still be virulent, but it won't be a pandemic.  [UPDATE:  it will always be considered a pandemic, which means a disease that spreads globally. But the rate of infection will be on the other end of the bell curve.]. But because there's no cure but avoidance, it will never 100% go away or fizzle out until they come up with a vaccine.

By the way, there's a really good website that does some Corona Myth Busting from the World Health Organization.

Just one of the myths busted on the #coronavirus #mythbusters page.

I'm not sure that the economy (or my family life can take 4-6 weeks of shelter in place.) But even if we do survive,  it's the economic fallout of this that is going to be terrible.  Forget about the stock market, which is terrible.  I've had 10-12 friends report that they've been laid off.  Shops are closed all over the place, and many will not be able to re-open.  It's not going to be easy.

I don't have an easy answer.  But what I do have is the Corona Challah, unbraided, socially distant, and this Shabbat, I'm going to be socially distant and eat Challah.  It's about the only thing I can do.