Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Things and Stuff

Nothing much has happened lately. My IM football team (Stimulus Package) won its first game, I spent most of the weekend talking smack about fantasy football with a friend who was in town (I lost 109-110, thank you very much Santonio Holmes), I went to a reading by Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong'o, and for the first time in what seems like way too long, I got a really good run in today. It only lasted 2:20, but I did some stuff up in Tilden I hadn't done in a while and was absolutely bombing down the hills on the way back with a gorgeous sunset and 4 bridges in view and Tarkio's cover of Squeeze's Goodbye Girl on the iPod.

I also finished listening to Erik Larsen's Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America. It's separately about both the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and a serial murderer who was operating in Chicago at the same time. It was recommended to me by a buddy of mine who lives in Chicago when I was visiting him in Chicago during a family reunion in Chicago this past summer. Chicago. I think I should have said Chicago a couple more times in the past few sentences. ANYWAY, the book was great. Larsen made the fair extremely suspenseful (Will Chicago be chosen as the sight? Will it get built on time? Will they build something cooler than the Eiffel Tower? Will it be a success?) and also turned it into a beautiful and inspirational mass civic action, like the civil rights movement or something. And he contrasts that to one of the first serial murderers in US history. It's an unusual combo, but it seems to work for the most part.

It's certainly possible this is an exaggeration of the importance of the fair in history, but Larsen does a great job of showing how many famous people were involved in the fair, how many inventions came from it, and how Chicago was growing rapidly during the gilded age. Finally, having somewhat recently had the unfortunate experience of listening to Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, it was interesting to learn about the Chicago architects that were involved with the fair (Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright) on which her book was clearly based.


  1. You didn't like The Fountainhead (I know that should be italicized but I can't/don't care to figure it out right now)?

  2. I know I used to be libertarian and all, but I think Rand is ridiculous. It's like Scott Stapp/Creed music in book form. It's philosophy for junior high school girls.