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Archive for the ‘dessert’ Category

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Rochelle Clark, of The Potter’s Field, performs at the Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, on May 17, 2013.

The sanctuary in a Downers Grove church gave a spiritual tone to a folk music show on May 17. The Potter’s Field, en route to a music festival in Kerrville, TX, where the duo is set to perform two songs selected as finalists in the competition beginning May 23, strummed and sang its brand of original, covering-the-classics and interpretive folk music in front of a backdrop of bricks, a crucifix and the other furnishings of a religious altar slid to the side.

The Two Way Street Coffee House, 1047 Curtiss St., which hosts live folk music performances and other events throughout the year, was displaced due to the heavy rain and flooding that occurred on April 18. The church project is temporarily holding shows in the sanctuary while the basement is repaired from flood damage.

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Dave Humphreys, founder of the Two Way Street Coffee House at the First Congregational Church in Downers Grove introduces folk duo The Potter’s Field from Michigan on May 17, 2013.

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John Natiw, of The Potter’s Field, performs at the Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, on May 17, 2013.

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Rochelle Clark and John Natiw, of The Potter’s Field, perform at the Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, on May 17, 2013.

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Rochelle Clark and John Natiw, of The Potter’s Field, perform at the Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, on May 17, 2013.

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Rochelle Clark and John Natiw, of The Potter’s Field, perform at the Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, on May 17, 2013.

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Rochelle Clark, of The Potter’s Field, performs at the Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, on May 17, 2013.

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John Natiw, of The Potter’s Field, performs at the Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, on May 17, 2013.

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Rochelle Clark and John Natiw, of The Potter’s Field, perform at the Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, on May 17, 2013.

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Rochelle Clark, of The Potter’s Field, performs at the Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, on May 17, 2013.

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Rochelle Clark and John Natiw, of The Potter’s Field, perform at the Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, on May 17, 2013.

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Rochelle Clark and John Natiw, of The Potter’s Field, perform at the Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, on May 17, 2013.

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Rochelle Clark and John Natiw, of The Potter’s Field, perform at the Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, on May 17, 2013.

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Rochelle Clark and John Natiw, of The Potter’s Field, perform at the Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, on May 17, 2013.

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Rochelle Clark and John Natiw, of The Potter’s Field, perform at the Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, on May 17, 2013.

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Rochelle Clark, of The Potter’s Field, performs at the Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, on May 17, 2013.

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Rochelle Clark, of The Potter’s Field, performs at the Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, on May 17, 2013.

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John Natiw, of The Potter’s Field, performs at the Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, on May 17, 2013.

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John Natiw, of The Potter’s Field, performs at the Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, on May 17, 2013.

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The crowd was very appreciative of The Potter’s Field’s music performance at the Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, on May 17, 2013.

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The Two Way Street Coffee House, located in the First Congregational Church building, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove, IL.

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by Christopher Brinckerhoff

Since playing Scrabble online and becoming familiar with the 100 or so two-letter words, I thought it would be fun to research some of their meanings. Here are a few of the more interesting finds.

Ai, pronounced ah-ee, is a two-letter word for a three-toed sloth, according to The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, Third Edition.

Karoly Lorentey of Budapest, Hungary, "lorentey" on Flickr, shared this picture, "Linne's two-toed sloth," which was taken March 26, 2011 in Terezvaro, Budapest, according to the site. Lorentey wrote in the caption, "The Harpy Eagle likes to hunt these guys by snatching them from tree branches and flying them to its nest."

Sloths are slow-moving mammals with long, hook-like claws by which they hang upside down from tree branches, according to The American Heritage Dictionary Of The English Language, Third Edition. They eat leaves, buds and fruits, and live in Central and South America.

Sloths have a few teeth, as members of the Edentata order of mammals. Jacalyn Giacalone, who has a doctorate in Biology, discusses them in her article about sloths.

Ai refers to the three-toed sloth, not to be confused with unau, the two-toed sloth. Also, not to be confused with another two-letter word worth celebrating – op.

Op is a style of abstract art, according to The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, Third Edition.

Op art, an abbreviation of Optical art, is a type of abstract art that exploits certain optical phenomena to cause a work to seem to vibrate, pulsate, or flicker, according to The Oxford Dictionary of Art.

This photo by Augusto Cesar Costa, "accosta" on Flickr, has a caption, "ceci ausi nes't pas une lampe," which as near as I can tell translates to, "This also is not a lamp." Well said.

Time magazine published a story in 1964 about the rise of Op art, “Op Art: Pictures That Attack The Eye.”

“Much op art is removed from the artist’s subjective discovery. It is the result of a mechanical muse, and the artist becomes a computer programmer churning out visual experiences,” the article reads.

Here’s what the story looked like in the magazine. And here’s a link to some of op artist Victor Vasarely’s work, for good measure, of course.

Ka is the spiritual self of a human being in Egyptian religion, according to The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, Third Edition.

Britannica Online notes the exact significance of the ka remains a matter of controversy. Written in hieroglyph with uplifted arms, the ka seemed to originally been designated the protecting, divine spirit of a person.

The ka symbolizes the reception of life powers by each person from the gods, April McDevitt wrote on her Web site, Ancient Egypt: the Mythology.

When the ka acted, all was well both spiritually and materially, McDevitt wrote. The ka could also be seen as a guide, or conscience, for each person, urging kindness, quietude, honor and compassion.

The ka could survive after the death of the body in a picture or statue of a person, according to Britannica Online.

Ka, conscience, is one of three principal aspects of the soul. Ba, soul, and akh, effectiveness, are the other two.

Other two-letter notables:

Aa is rough, cindery lava.

Oe is a Forean wind.

Al is an East Indian tree.

Od is a hypothetical force of natural power.

Ki, or qi, is a vital, life-sustaining energy force.

Xu is a Vietnamese monetary unit.

Copyright 2011

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Des Plaines Facts

by Christopher Brinckerhoff

5. In the mid-1800’s American naturalist Robert Kennicott grew up at The Grove near Des Plaines.

4. Lawn parties were popular in the 1900’s.

3. The Potawatomi, known as “keepers of the fire,” moved to Illinois, including along the Des Plaines River, from Wisconsin and Michigan in the mid-1800’s.

2. When 60 percent of Illinois was covered by a native tallgrass, greater prairie chickens were typical.

1. The Des Plaines History Center sells a button that reads, “Blame it on the train.”

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by Christopher Brinckerhoff

Flat screen TVs above the bar and small flat screens stationed at each table allowed everyone at The Pony Inn on Belmont St. in Chicago to watch as the hometown favorite ended the city’s 49-year Stanley Cup drought.

The room felt as electric as the mesmerizing, glowing televisions, and energy built up as the capacity crowd continuously rubbed against each other and smacked high-fives.

When the concluding goal to the Blackhawks’ stellar season finally made its way into the Philadelphia Flyers’ net, there was a pause of commotion in the bar and on the ice because we weren’t sure it was a score yet. People breathed in, or stopped breathing for part of a second – and then erupted.

Below is a short video I took of the celebration that followed the final goal of the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup victory. I hope you enjoy it. Congratulations to the Blackhawks for a game well played and an honor well deserved.

Copyright 2010

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Hot Potato, the little stories that fill you up, turned two today. Happy birthday little buddy.

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by Christopher Brinckerhoff

Live music is better, and live blues is best. Levee Town, a Kansas City quartet, occasionally drops by Chicago. Their music has a poppy, upbeat sound that moves people to smile and dance. They played at The Smoke Daddy on Division Street Feb. 20. Below is a clip from Levee Town’s recent show. The harmonica player is my cousin, Jimmie Meade.

Copyright 2010

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by Antonette Brotman

Has anyone not been bitten? This vampire trend seems to be sucking in everyone. From the Twilight saga to televised shows like True Blood and Vampire Diaries, it seems there is no escape from this infecting movement.

Heather Brewer, author of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod book series, continues to turn regular folk into minions with her stories, presence and outlook.

The 36-year-old writer appeared at the Magic Tree Bookstore in Oak Park on Feb. 18 to shed light on her life and creative work.

Though Brewer now lives in St Louis, Mo. with her family, she was raised in a small Michigan town with a population of 814. She was the unpopular kid growing up.

Looking like a vampire herself, Heather Brewer is the author of the popular book series, "The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod." Photo by Mimi Ragano.

“Even the adults didn’t like me,” she said. Being bullied made her who she is, one tough chick. Brewer stood before her audience, towering not much over five feet, dressed in Hot Topic black pants with silver chains and grommets.

Brewer’s popularity is growing, making the USA Today’s Best Seller List at number 69 and The New York Times Best Selling Series List at number 6.

At 12 years old, Brewer decided she wanted to be an author, but parents and other adults around her were discouraging. They told her to focus on getting a real job.

“I didn’t know what a real job was, but I knew I wanted nothing to do with it,” Brewer said.

The infamous question: above all else, what is the number one thing you would like to be? For Brewer, it meant being an author. And her husband said, “So be one.”

It was these three words that changed her life, and Brewer decided to follow her writing dreams.

This was when she started considering the possibility of getting published. Brewer sent out her work, and was rejected 248 times. The second time she was rejected 98 times before halting her submissions. This called for a reevaluation. She considered the popular phrase, “To write well, write what you know.” So she made a list of things she knew, which consisted of three things: what it is like to be unpopular, teenagers and vampires.

Each vampire smiley comes in a different color, representing a different book in the series. "Eighth Grade Bites" started with the red, "Ninth Grade Slays" is blue, "Tenth Grade Bleeds" is purple, "Eleventh Grade Burns" is orange and "Twelfth Grade Kills" is green. Photo by Mimi Ragano.

Her fascination with vampires stemmed from Count Chocula breakfast cereal, Sesame Street’s character The Count and, of course, the infamous Dracula himself.

“The moment I knew his name [was Vladimir Tod], I knew his whole story,” Brewer said. “And not just Eighth Grade Bites, but the whole series.”

Brewer felt that her writing “was right this time.” It only took her four months to write the entire first book. And she had seven offers by publishers for representation within the first week of sending submissions for publication.

The book sold and it all started when one person told her, “Yes.”

“Follow your dreams no matter what you do, and be sensible about it,” Brewer said.

Recently, Brewer returned to her middle school to give a talk. There, she was able to get vengeance on her former unpopularity because many of the kids she went to school with stuck around the town and had children of their own. It is those kids that are now reading and worshiping Brewer’s books, the sons and daughters of those who used to bully her.

Heather Brewer and fan Andre Marin (my brother) both sport Vlad gear. Fan wear is not yet available on Brewer's site, but the author holds online contests in which readers can win t-shirts and hoodies with the vampire smiley. Photo by Mimi Ragano.

Many of Brewer’s minions are curious as to how Brewer feels about the Twilight series. She said she liked the first book, but Brewer read the second and third books for the characters other than Bella because she “prefers strong female characters.” Brewer was dissatisfied with the last Twilight book, however.

“I despised it, and don’t recommend people read the Twilight series,” Brewer said. “It promotes dangerous ideas like, ‘girls, you need a man,’ or ‘it’s okay for your boyfriend to stalk you or physically abuse you.’ These messages are unacceptable, and I would say the same thing to Stephenie Meyer if she were here because if you have an opinion, you need to own it.”

Brewer is a strong advocate for reading and said she “love[s] books because there are so many different kinds.” For readers who can’t find a good book, she suggested going to bookstores and libraries to talk to the workers about what kinds of books they might enjoy.

Vladimir Tod begins the series in eighth grade and ends in his senior year of high school. After Eighth Grade Bites come the books Ninth Grade Slays, Tenth Grade Bleeds, Eleventh Grade Burns, and finally Twelfth Grade Kills. Twelfth Grade Kills is the only book that is not out yet, but its release date is Sept. 21, the same day the author turns 37.

Fans gathered to hear and meet Heather Brewer, author of all five Vladimir Tod vampire books. The last of the five, "Twelfth Grade Kills" is expected to hit the shelves Sept. 21, the author's birthday. Photo by Mimi Ragano

For additional information, please visit the Heather Brewer site.

Copyright 2010

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