an evening in Piscataway

Rutgers is the birthplace of college football (1).  Street clothes clad students from Princeton showed up there November 6, 1869, responding to letters from Rutgers students challenging them to a game of football (2).  A series of “games” were played, a victor declared with the first score.  The scarlet turbans and handkerchiefs the Rutgers players wore to distinguish them from the Princetonians gave birth to “Scarlet Knights”.  Princeton won this series 12-6 and was declared National Champion of 1869.  Princeton proved to be quite the powerhouse in those early days, amassing 22 national championships (compared to Michigan’s meager 11), 10 conference titles (Ivy), and a Heisman trophy winner (Dick Kazmeier, halfback & QB, 1951).  But Rutgers forever retains the title of where college football began.  The game was played on the New Brunswick campus, across the Raritan River from the spiffy 52,454 seat SHI Stadium in Piscataway where the Scarlet Knights play now.  End zones there are emblazoned with “birthplace of college football” but it didn’t happen there.  It happened on College Avenue, now the site of College Avenue Gymnasium.  A beautiful 8’ memorial has stood there since 1997, sculpted by Thomas Jay Warren. 

By the way, Michigan didn’t get started till almost a decade later, when it met the Purple Stockings of Racine College on the playing grounds of the Chicago White Stockings by the shores of Lake Michigan May 30, 1879

The statue isn’t quite accurate, as the ball used in that first game was round and the London Rules followed prohibited carrying the ball.  But it sure looks nice and is part of a new tradition called the “Scarlet Walk” where each player touches the statue en route to the stadium.

Although Jim Harbaugh is a student of history, I don’t think he was daunted by that 19th century stuff.  Rutgers has tried to claw its way to big time football relevance.  In November 2011, Rutgers left the Big East to join the Big 10, joining Maryland who left the ACC and Nebraska that left the Big-8 to do the same the previous year.  It was part of Commissioner Jim Delaney’s effort to bring east coast markets into the Big 10 network.  Purists like me complained about the Big 10 expanding past its Midwest origins, but $$ spoke.  What it meant initially was all those U of M alums in NYC could take a short train ride down to New Brunswick to see their Wolverines in a road game. This didn’t go so well initially, as on 10/4/14, the Scarlet Knights beat a bad Brady Hoke team 26-24 to mark their first ever Big 10 win.  Two years later a Harbaugh team returned to trounce them 78-0, and the relationship has been pretty one sided ever since.  Rutgers hero Greg Schiano returned to coach from his NFL dalliance in 2020 and is as good a fit for Rutgers as Jim is for Michigan.  I expect he will return Rutgers to respectability, if not greatness.

So, it was into all this we waded as we planned our annual road game.  Over the years we’ve been to Columbus, Bloomington, Madison, Evanston, and Happy Valley.  I went to West Lafayette decades ago with my dad.  The experience is always fun: seeing the campus, negotiating the bars, mingling with the opposition.  This year, Rutgers seemed like a good target.  Easy flight from DTW and trains from Newark to New Brunswick.  We’d learn from our AirBnB host that Uber was a much better deal.

The ride from EWR only reinforced what we’d thought about New Jersey, with gas storage tanks and chemical refineries as far as the eye could see.  But as we came towards New Brunswick, the scene changed, with leafy trees, running water, and green everywhere.  Our AirBnB was on a dead-end street, a house with a garage with a suite in the back just for us.  Treks anywhere started across the back yard, though a gate, and onto a park.  It was a mile or more to any civilization (bars, restaurants, stores) but always worth the walk.

But we were here for a football game, so what about that?  Easy-peasy as it turned out.  A walk across the Delaware canal then the Raritan River, a left and we’re there!  Kathy took a reqqi in the early afternoon and ran into some Michigan folks from Ludington who invited us to their tailgate.  The path to the stadium went through a park populated by tailgaters paying the $40 fee (can’t buy a parking space in AA for that!).  Across from the Ludington folks were some Scarlet and Gray fans who were most magnanimous.  They plied Kathy with peanut butter whiskey shots which I eschewed.

The stadium was a hop skip and jump from there.  Rutgers played football on their New Brunswick campus until moving to this site in 1938.  Works Progress Administration helped build the original, but it was torn down and a new one built atop of it in 1994, expanded in 2008 for $208 million, holding 52,454.  Naming rights to defray cost of the structure included a sale to High Point Solutions (2011-18) then as of 7/19/19 SHI (“Software House International”) International Corp.  Approaching the north entrance of the stadium from Johnson Park, the main tailgating area, actually found us at the back door.  Here is where all the big trucks suppling the teams pull in.  Still a pretty impressive face.

I told Kathy about SHI, basically a technology company.  We wondered to each other if their full name had ever been “SHI Technologies”, generating an acronym Rutgers might not have wanted on its stadium.   Because it’s the back entrance, those steps leading to the doors are only the beginning.  Once in, to right and left are 3 flights of concrete stairs, not a defibrillator in site.  The scenery on the ascent is pure concrete, maybe accentuating the eyeful once you exit on the top level.

We were very early, so had lots of time to explore. Turning right for a counterclockwise tour of the bowl, we came on the first of many beer stands.  $14 got us 2 25 oz cans of cold Goose Island IPA.  Food stands were ample, too, including one run by cuties from the Farleigh-Dickinson U woman’s softball team.  There didn’t seem to be a bad seat in the place.  Our seats in section 106 were in row 25, about halfway up, with a good straight on view of the 35-yard line.  Behind us I found a beer cart vending “Tom Brady’s nightmare”, a New England Crusher, double IPA, 10% alcohol(!) made by 902 Brewing in Jersey City.  I had two of those, but I still remember the game!

Most of those filing in after us were in blue, not red.  In Michigan Stadium, the visitors sit in a couple rows at the top of the bowl in the end zone.  The first folks to file onto the field were the Michigan coaches.  We got to watch Denard Robinson trade 35-yard spirals with Milan Bolen-Morris, our female graduate assistant, who sported a hairstyle similar to Denard’s.  One thing that can make pre games at Michigan a little unpleasant is the “music” that blares from the scoreboard.  We employ a DJ to run it, and his choices are almost completely hard on hip-hop.  The students apparently love it.  My opinions clearly put me in the old fogey column.  Rutgers plays lively music, too, but their scoreboard can’t achieve the same decibels, and the music is modern pop, no hip-hop.

Rutgers employs a number of devices to keep its fans stirred up.  Most notable is the ancient cannon, reportedly with links to the revolutionary war, that sits to the west side of the south end zone.   It is tended by a suitably clad crew, who will fire it at least 5 times every game: three before the opening kickoff, one at halftime and one at game’s end. But the cannon is also set off after every Rutgers score — even points after touchdowns.  It’s very loud, shoots a long plume and plenty of smoke.

It’s been a part of Rutgers football since 1949, when the class of ’49 bought the cannon to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the first collegiate football game (3).  As Manhattan brewery heir Henry Rutgers was a colonel in George Washington’s army during the American Revolution, it is only fitting his school has a Revolutionary War cannon.  Critics say Knights didn’t use cannons.  Killjoys.

The blast of that cannon will be the loudest thing you’ll hear at SHI, but close behind is that damned train whistle (train horn, actually).  They blow it every time the opponent faces a 3rd down or 4th down conversion attempt.  Almost always, it’s followed by a blast of music from the scoreboard.  Takes the pressure off the fans to drown out the opponent’s signals with their yelling.

Tho’ the blast is only a secondary feature, fireworks are a big deal at SHI, shot off from either side of either scoreboard, in unison.  These aren’t ooh-ahh 4th of July Fireworks, just basically industrial Roman candles shooting colored balls in the air.  They’re a big part of the pre-game, preceding every introduction.  There was so much smoke on the field Saturday the first 2 minutes of the first quarter were played in fog.  Of course, they get shot off when the Scarlet Knights do something good on the field, so the smoke rarely becomes a problem during the game.

Generating no noise, but still altering senses, are the light guys.  They like to play with the light switch at SHI, bringing dark so they can bring us light.

All this was on display as we experienced the pre-game ceremonies.  Probably the most exciting part of the evening, not counting the band’s half time show.  Helping matters was that this was their Veteran’s Day tribute.  Sincere accolades abounded and were much appreciated.  Also contributing to our enjoyment was the excellent weather, mid 60s and clear at gametime.  Pretty good for early November when we’re usually looking at old man winter over our shoulder.  The band got a shot and sounded great, leaving us eager for more.  Then comes the buildup for the team entrance.  Starting players had already been introduced on the scoreboard, complete with accentuations.   Then came the entry of the Scarlet Knight himself.  We use our billboard at Michigan Stadium to show James Earl Jones extolling the virtues of U of M (“the best University in the world!”).  Rutgers shows the Knight, clad in all red armor riding a white steed, getting ready to ride to the stadium.  Pretty soon, he’s here!  At the same Northeast entry where the players will later enter.  Galloping on the field, he’s here!  Time for cannon and more fireworks.  Then somehow, he disappears, and the lights go dark.  The cannon, horn, fireworks, and lights go off, and the players stream in.  As I watched it, I couldn’t help thinking of a human ejaculation.  I told Kathy only one would reach his ultimate goal.  Since the Knights scored but one offensive touchdown that evening, perhaps the analogy was apt.

The game had to begin, and we took it down the field like we owned them.  I won’t get all sports reporter here.  The final score was 52-17 and wasn’t as close as that.  The Knights managed to be up 3 at halftime, but that was from 2 fluke plays and 2 missed 50-yard field goals by our Lou Groza award kicker.

Halftime brought out the Knights’ excellent marching band.  A tease that something truly strange and wonderful might happen came in the 2nd quarter as they trotted out 7 xylophones to the sidelines.  Yes, these were malleted upon during the halftime show, but nobody marched with them!  The whole show was nothing but patriotic marches, truly outstanding.  I wish John Pasquale (Michigan Marching Band director) would take notice.

With the brutal pounding that characterized the second half, fans began to trickle out, finally with a torrent up the aisles between 3rd and 4th quarters.  Surprisingly, many wore blue.  You’d think for the money they paid to be here they might stick around.  Maybe some had trains to catch back to NYC.  We stayed to the end, enjoying seeing our second string score a touchdown.  We joined our remaining blue seatmates in a rousing chorus of The Victors, then headed to the exits as we heard news of defeats of Clemson and Alabama.  All we missed was hearing the lamentations of their women.

The nearly full moon and the lights guided us back, across Johnson Park and over the river and canal and it was home for a long Jersey snooze, complete with that added hour.

The next morning, in the Delta lounge at EWR, I saw hanging on the wall two portraits: Bruce Springsteen and Frank Sinatra,  New Jersey’s iconic crooners.  But the singer with the best take on New Jersey is another New Jersey boy who left for Pennsylvania (4).

To bring this all back to Michigan, that song will play over the closing credits of the movie about Niles’ Tommy James (remember those Shondells?) “Me, the Mob, and Music” (5), if it ever gets made.


1. Broback J.  Where is the birthplace of college football?  gfProFootball 9/2/22.

2. 1869 Princeton vs. Rutgers football game.  Wikipedia 11/2/22.

3. Tracy M.  Demanding Liberty or Death, or Maybe a Touchdown.  New York Times 9/20/14.

4. Folk Alley Sessions – John Gorka, “I’m from New Jersey”.  YouTube

5. McNary B.  Tommy James Biopic ‘Me, the Mob and the Music’ in Development (EXCLUSIVE).  Variety 7/18/19.


how to save your squirter

I was never great shakes in the lab (1).  In retirement, I’ve considered the kitchen my lab (2), and results have been more promising.  Certainly the joy of the lab, which escaped me while working, is something I’ve found here.  Still considering myself a scientist, I feel obligated to report my results, particularly when they might be of import to the general public.  That’s today’s communication, as I’ve discovered a solution to what I had found to be a particularly annoying problem.

I keep a couple squirt bottles under my sink containing home-made cleaning concoctions.  Why pay all that for Clorox clean-up (1 t Tide, ¼ C bleach, water to fill to 32 oz)?  I also keep a 1:3 bleach water solution, good for taking stains out of my Corian counters or cutting boards.

Problem is the squirt bottles seem to crap out after a while.  The bottles are cheap on Amazon, so I just toss the bad actor and employ the newbie.  It happened again a few weeks back.  You can still get the same cleaning effect by pouring out the bleach mixture, but that kinda negates the reason for having a squirt bottle.  This morning, facing a particularly nasty stain Kathy had left on the cutting board and an empty squirt bottle, I went downstairs to our reserve to find the other bottle that came in the Amazon order, filled it with bleach and water and went to town.  The stain was eliminated within an hour.  Wondering if rejuvenation was possible, I tossed the dead squirt apparatus into the dish water.  It sat there all day.  When I pulled it out late afternoon and left one end in the sink while I squeezed, it squirted like a champ!   I figure what happened (in scientific papers, we call this section “Discussion) is the bleach solution precipitated in the line and blocked progress of any liquid.  This didn’t happen in the Clorox bottle because of the Tide, which emulsified the solution.  Regardless, I’m happy to have my bleach solution on line and spared from having to buy more bottles.  A small advance, but one has to savor one’s victories, however tiny.

Should you like my food & drink posts, my new book is just full of ‘em (3)!  50 genuine tested recipes ready to print on 3X5 cards and the stories behind them, plus so much more.  The theme is, what else could we do during COVID?  My fattest book yet.


  1. Ike B.  lab prattle.  WordPress 10/1/22.
  2. Ike B.  in my kitchen. WordPress 6/29/21.
  3. Ike B.  Musing through a pandemic.  On the sidelines.  Volume V.  Foodies!  Amazon (Kindle) 2022.  ISBN: 9798811634828.  Published 8/26/22 (paperback available 10/28/22)

cousin Terry

Terry died Saturday at his home in Bridgewater, Virginia, about an hour out of Charlottesville.  That I was even able to talk to him in his last months, and exchange some texts and e-mails, is a bit of a miracle, showing how life can be funny sometimes.  He was the oldest of a very large spawn of my Uncle Jim and Aunt Joan.  Jim was my mother’s baby brother, and very smart.  And talented.  He played trumpet in the MSU marching band, even going to the 1952 Rose Bowl, their first ever.  I inherited that trumpet, but peaked as first chair in the Birmingham junior orchestra,7th grade.  Jim pursued a PhD in economics at Ohio State, and in Columbus Joan began to have kids.  He already had an entourage at his graduation ceremony. 

Terry is far left in the cap. The kids eventually called themselves “rugrats” – and still do – but I don’t know when that started.  Knowing Uncle Jim, I’m pretty sure it was he who coined the term.   After all, he once dubbed his younger son Joe “Jo-Jo the Dog Faced boy”.

Uncle Jim went to DC and secured his dream job in the Department of the Interior.  He sometimes would say he got that job because of the Masonic handshake he gave his interviewer (both he and his dad were 32nd degree Masons).  Like his dad, he was never much to talk shop, but I do recall his description of sitting with some Saudi sheiks (over there) describing to them the benefits of a national park system.  He never donned a uniform for his job, but Terry did, spending a career as a National Park ranger. 

I never had a good handle on just how many kids Jim & Joan had.  I know that when their last daughter was born deaf, they adopted one or 2 additional deaf children.  If I never developed a strong individual relationship with Terry, it might be because visiting Arlington, where they lived, meant mingling with all the rugrats en masse in their basement abode.  Kind of like a hive, and not an experience to which this only child was accustomed, however delightful.

My last encounter with any of the rugrats came in medical school.  My Kraft Fellowship was sending me to a nutrition conference in DC in the Fall of ’78.  A female classmate, Judy, was also coming.  Jim said he’d put me up and put us in a trailer in his back yard.  The Metro made it easy to go to and from the conference. Nothing happened between me and Judy (darn) and we headed back to Chicago.

I never made it back to Arlington.  Jim became a gentleman farmer in King George upon  his retirement, raising peaches prized at the local farmer’s market, among other things.  Kathy and I visited him and Joan as she finished up her NASA chief scientist duties in 2002.  It was clear Jim was one happy guy on the farm, where he’d spend 27 years.  Joan got me on the phone with Linda, my favorite cousin (1)  Joan died first, then Jim a few years after.  The phone message from Terry in September 2019 telling me his dad had died was the last I heard his voice until last month.

Fast forward to this summer.  I’d decided that all the albums of old pictures in boxes in our storage room belonged on shelves where someone might actually take a look at them.  I saw an awful lot of wonderful old pictures, if but a fraction of what I had.  Quite a few I pulled, scanned, and sent to the individual pictured.  Such actions sometimes reopened relationships (2).  That’s what happened with Terry.  I found a picture of his clan (at the time) standing in front of our Grandma Slater’s garage, with me, my dear Aunt Dorie, Grandma, and dad.   My dad’s he short guy far right .   Joan is next to me in blue, and Aunt Dorie and Grandma next over. Only 7 rugrats, so they still had some time to go.  Terry is in a yellow shirt in front of his dad.

Terry’s a little more than 4 years younger than me, so he’s still a pipsqueak, but the biggest pipsqueak of the rugrats!  I had no contact info for Terry, so I plunged into Instant Checkmate to find a Terry Slater in Virginia who might match, and found a guy in his 60s who’d been a park ranger, so bingo?!  I copied the handful of e-mail addresses and shot it off.  Within a week I got a response.  He was the guy and we were off and running.  We talked a bit but he saved the bombshell for an e-mail.  Also with an e-mail came a synopsis of his sibs and what they were doing now. Only 9?  Who’s missing?  But close to 3 years ago, Terry was hiking alone on the Appalachian Trail when he came down with severe abdominal pain.  A stranger helped him the two hours to medical attention, which culminated in a diagnosis of gastric cancer.  At the point we connected, he was feeling pretty good but knew his days were numbered.  Having lost a dear friend to that diagnosis, I knew how rapidly it could turn (3).  I realized I should get my butt in gear if I were to meet up with him one last time.  Our phone conversations were warm and extended, and I figured as old guys we might be able to connect.  Linda stepped in and kept me posted. She was delighted to know I might come down to visit, but by the time I set to make arrangements, Terry was going downhill.  Last week, I booked a roundtrip to Charlottesville, got assurance from my cousin Rick, Terry’s next brother, that he’d pick me up and put me up.  Saturday came the fateful call from Linda.  I was in the grocery score.  Terry had stopped eating and drinking, and was no longer communicative.  I told Linda I had to think on travel plans. Later that afternoon came an all-family text: Terry had died.  I told Linda and Rick that I figured interjecting a 40-year absent cousin might not be appropriate for this time of loss and mourning.  I’ll catch them later this winter.  Virginia is balmier than Michigan.  All these rugrat reconnections were stirred up by Terry.  So even though he’s gone, he left me the rest of his family. As I recall, they’re quite a bit of fun.  Thanks, Terry.  R.I.P., my cousin. God be with you.


  1.  Ike B.  to Linda.  Word Press 10/28/22.
  2. Ike B. connections. WordPress 6/20/22.
  3. Ike B.  missing Nathan.  WordPress 5/11/20.

stressed & depressed

Becoming a doc is a hard road.  And it should be.  Docs have your life in their hands.  If you’ve got it figured early, there’s that time spent in high school making sure you get into a top college.  Once there, it’s the grind for grades (in hard classes!) and seeking recognition sufficient to impress a med school admissions committee, provided you’ve aced your MCATs.   Should you actually get into one, there’s your classmates who have been doing basically the same thing as you for years.  Talk about competition!  The pressure eases up a bit – even though the classwork is way harder than anything that’s come before, and then the wards! – as most med schools grade pass-fail, like my own U of C did even in the 70s.  But beware, they keep a separate set of books, and the dean always knows where everyone ranks.  If you can impress a few professors to get them to write you good letters, you might overcome meh grades and lack of honors to get into a decent training program.  You surrender your fate to a machine with that next choice, as the computer takes your rankings and the rankings of the places where you interviewed to come up with the best match.  But what comes next is the real crucible: internship and residency.  You’re the doctor now, with life-and-death power over patients who may not know the ink is barely dry on your diploma.  Yes, there’s always someone more senior to back you up, but the training process remains as it has been for ages: one of graded addition of responsibility.  And a good program makes sure you have plenty of opportunities to practice.  This involves many hours of hard work and more than a few sleepless nights.  I suppose docs have always realized that maybe this isn’t exactly a good thing – I sure didn’t like it when I was going through.  But recognition beginning in the 90s that overworked, sleep-deprived  doctors-in-training made mistakes – sometimes serious ones – spawned a movement to limit house officer’s work hours.  Finally, in 2002, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) established guidelines that limit on-call nights to 24 hr and the work week to 80 hr, implemented long ago (7/1/03) (1).    Two and a half decades before, my call nights regularly ran into the next day and my weekly work hours rarely came in under three figures.  So when I hang with my buddies from those days, we grunt how easy kids today have it.  But do they?  Being an intern or resident nowadays is different.  Compare the antics of the Beth Israel house officers from House of God (my era) (2) with those at the same place in Man’s 4th Best Hospital (3).  Time pressures may have lessened, but hospitalized patients are sicker, pressures from the business people are greater, and there’s that damned EMR (electronic medical record).  So interns and residents still get stressed and depressed and burn out.  How much that happens, and maybe even why, was addressed by a U of M faculty colleague of mine, Amy Bohnert, a PhD mental health services researcher in the department of Anesthesiology.  She assembled a team that assessed cohorts of first-year resident physicians (we used to call them “interns”) from across the country from 2009 to 2020, 17,082 docs in all.  Each doc completed a 9 item questionnaire that purportedly could measure features of depression, repeated quarterly.  Then, the team kept track of their work hours.  Wouldn’tcha know, more hours, more depression!  Of those working more than 90 hours a week (where’s the ACGME?!) 33.4% met criteria for depression. Further, the relationship between weekly work hours and depression scores was linear and, of course, statistically significant.  The U put out a little 4 minute video summarizing the study (4). As you might imagine, this all got a lot of press, even if it was a mere letter to the editor (“correspondence”) in the New England Journal (5).  Watch it be quoted by those pushing for a ratcheting back of the work week everywhere.  Since Professor Bohnert and friends looked only at two factors, they may have missed some others that could be contributing to house officer dissatisfaction.  I wrote her to point this out, as follows:

Dear Professor Bohnert

I read with interest your recent NEJM letter after having it brought to my attention in the online University Record.  I commend your ambitious work in a very important area, and am sure the accolades and attention you are receiving are well deserved.  From a mention I read today in an Asian publication (6), I see you are being recognized internationally and your findings are being extrapolated to the general workforce.  Please allow me, then, to raise a question and take issue.  Is it possible that work hours are not the only contributors to the stress and depression we see in today’s house officers?  After all, work hours, though still substantial, have decreased after the ACGME established guidelines that limit on-call nights to 24 hr and the work week to 80 hr, implemented long ago (7/1/03).  The admitted patient now rarely sees the same doctor through the night, instead being signed off to someone else covering.  I saw trends beginning 40 years ago.  I trained at Barnes Hospital, a pretty freewheeling place then with a proud and confident housestaff.  Coming to Michigan in ’82 for my rheumatology fellowship then beginning to round on the wards, I was taken by differences.  Medical students and house officers here often seemed timid, unwilling to think beyond their assigned roles or challenge group opinions.  Consultations were common, whereas we looked on a consult at Barnes mainly as a way to show off to a subspecialist what a good job we’d done on a patient.  Requirements for attending input increased steadily, then came the EMR.  Guidelines and protocols proliferated and it became less and less necessary for a doc to think through a diagnostic/treatment plan all the way oneself.  Who’s happier, a doc thinking independently on his/her feet or one sitting at a keyboard checking off the elements of a dictated protocol implemented?  And hours spent working can be fulfilling and not stressing if spent in an activity that engages one’s talents in a challenging and satisfying way.  Check out the work of Csikszentmihalyi (7), who pioneered the description and analysis of the “flow state”, in which a person is completely focused on a single task or activity.  Attaining the positive feelings which result is the main reason people scale rock faces or crack chests to do a CABG.   Do today’s house officers have chances to enter such a state?  I doubt that sitting at a keyboard entering data provides that.  Perhaps after 16 or more years of striving and achieving, our new house officers are hit with a little buyer’s remorse when asked mainly to be automatons.  Even less of that will still be depressing.  I think that better work, not less work, is the answer.  Medicine can still be a fun game, if you just let the players play it.  Time to loosen up a little and let some autonomy back in.  A mind is a terrible thing to to waste, especially of the best and brightest who choose to become doctors.


1. Philibert I, Friedmann P, Williams WT; ACGME Work Group on Resident Duty Hours. Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. New requirements for resident duty hours. JAMA. 2002 Sep 4;288(9):1112-4. doi: 10.1001/jama.288.9.1112.

2. Shem S and Updike J.  House of God.  New York: Richard Marek Publishers, 1978.

3. Shem S.  Man’s 4th Best Hospital.  New York:Berkley, 2019.

4. Work-hours and depression in first-year resident physicians. YouTube

5. Fang Y, Lodi S, Hughes TM, Frank E, Sen S, Bohnert ASB. Work Hours and Depression in U.S. First-Year Physicians. N Engl J Med. 2022 Oct 20;387(16):1522-1524. doi: 10.1056/NEJMc2210365. PMID: 36260798.

6. Number of hours worked in stressful jobs leads to risk of depression: Study.  Hindustan Times 10/23/22

7. Csikszentmihalyi M.  Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.  New York: Harper & Rowe, 1990.

to Linda

Linda might be my favorite cousin, oldest daughter of my mother’s brother Jim, who raised many, many children in Arlington. One of them, Linda’s big brother Terry, is in his last stages of a battle with gastric cancer, so I’m going to visit him in Bridgewater, an hour out of Charlottesville, next week. Linda teaches in Arlington and needs to work out plans to visit. We initially swapped e-mails fine, but my latest just won’t go through. She’s seen my blog (and still loves me), so I’m depositing the e-mail right here for her to see. Depending on how much I want to pad my posts, I may or may not remove it later, Here’s what I tried to send her:

Good afternoon, cousin

I spoke and swapped texts with Rick a little bit ago and I think I’m all set to come down and visit you folks.  To hear Rick’s description, Terry doesn’t have much “visit” left in him.  Sad.  But Rick says he seems to be aware of other’s presence, so I do want to see him if he holds on a few more days.  I’d already bought a plane ticket yesterday morning, knowing I could cancel if things weren’t going to work out.  I’m set to land in Charlottesville next Tuesday at noon.  Your injured and currently underemployed younger brother will drive his truck over from Rockingham to pick me up, then put me up in one of his spare rooms, finally taking me back to the airport next morning to head back to Detroit (via Laguardia).

Since making those arrangements, I’ve used my twin tools of Facebook and Instant Checkmate to check out some of your sibs.  Besides you, Terry, and Rick, I’ve managed to check out Tammy, Kelly, and Joe.  Their pics are always populated by children, sometimes a lot.  Where could they have picked that up?

The circumstances drawing us together are very sad, but I’m glad for the chance to get reacquainted regardless.

See you soon



PS. When I talked to Terry a few weeks ago, he said one of his daughters sort of followed in the Slater family business and became a firefighter/EMT.  I’ve come across a wonderful old picture of our very young (but still tall and handsome) grandpa at work, and I’d like to give her a copy.  But I’ve forgotten her name.  I’ll carry it to Terry and he, or his wife, can give it to her.  I have a scan of it I can send you once I’ve downloaded it off the disc.


Just like my first post titled “DTE” (1), this one’s about electric cars.  But there is some news about my own energy provider in here.  Stories about EVs just keep piling up like a freeway full of Teslas with dead batteries.  Since you’ll not be hearing these on the Nightly News, I have a duty.

Several general discussions about the problems with EVs have appeared.  Danish economist Bjørn Lomborg, who’s had the audacity to apply cost-benefit analysis to proposed climate change mitigation policies (2), got some space in the Wall Street Journal to expound on EVs (3).  He starts by asking if EVs are so great why do they have to pay us to buy them?  He blasts those who drive them to save the planet by using actual numbers.  He calculates that if all states and countries reached their ambitious goals by 2035, the planet will have been spared 251 million tons of CO2.  Plugged into the United Nations Climate Panel model, that leads to a temperature reduction of 0.0002 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century.  For this there will be costs.  EVs generate more particulate air pollution than gas guzzlers.   Material costs for EVs, mainly for batteries, are skyrocketing, and the social costs of relying on resources from Communist China and poor third world countries are considerable.  Always one to look at the true costs of subsidies, Bjørn offers an example from Norway, where most new cars are electric.  To promote these sales, the government has waived sales and registration taxes on these vehicles, amounting to $25,160 a car.  Norway can afford this lost revenue as it is rich with North Sea oil.  To cut one ton of CO2 emissions through the subsidization of electric cars, Norway has to sell 100 barrels of oil, which emit 40 tons of CO2.

Steve Hayward, commenting in a lesser forum (4), included this tidbit about Volvo’s new electric car, the C40 Recharge, whose manufacture generates 70% more CO2 than its gas twin, the C40.  Volvo says the deficit will be redressed by carbon savings while driving.   Volvo calculated that at the world’s average electricity sourcing today, a C40 Recharge driver would need to drive his car 68,000 miles to reach a break-even carbon footprint with a gasoline-powered model. The average American drives about 14,000 miles a year, and thus would need to drive his Volvo EV almost five years before reaching a lower carbon footprint.  What if we had a grid that was 100 percent wind- or solar-powered? Volvo calculates that an EV driver would still need to drive 30,000 miles before reaching a carbon-footprint breakeven point with a gasoline car.  But the Volvo has always been a prime car for virtue signalers (“it’s so safe!”) – I myself had a black 142 in med school – so I’m sure sales of the Recharge will be brisk.

Even us gas guzzler aficionados might admit that a little EV go cart might be good for getting around in town, not that we’d even buy one.   But EV mania has extended to some much bigger vehicles, with not unexpected consequences.  Ford’s made an electric version of their iconic F-150 pickup truck.  It’s quiet, looks snazzy, and has mighty torque, but can’t haul worth a pinch (5).   And who asked for the electric Hummer?  The $110,295 (base) 9,000# (2,923# is battery) guzzles energy just like its replica HV2 with the 60-gallon gas tank.  A 212-kWh charge is said to give 329 miles of range (6).  At regular DTE rates, that’s 11.5¢/mile, nearly 3 times that for a Tesla S (4.6¢), which is cheaper.   Charging the Hummer on a regular 120 V home outlet will take 4 days.  An upgraded 240 V charger will do it in half the time, maybe even 24 hours.  Regardless, it ain’t no overnight plug-in.  And if we’re talking big trucks, how about Elon’s super semi?  But I’ve already covered that (1).

But don’t EVs “save resources”?  This burning Tesla required over 25,000 gallons of water to douse, something ever-drought stricken water-poor California can ill afford to waste, although the reported fire took place in Connecticut (7).   And it was an “easy” EV fire to quench, as the burning battery fell out of the car out in the open where it could be attacked directly.  And those burning lithium batteries generate plumes of toxic smoke (8).

Yet governments, particularly California’s, are beginning to eye EVs as “resources” in themselves.  The charge in those EVs’ batteries can be tapped and returned to the grid, a process recognized since the last century (9).  Power nerds and politicos are salivating over this new “source” (10), no more so than in – of course – California.  The California Public Utilities Commission is looking seriously at this process as a way to pump some juice into its sorry-assed grid (11).  There’s not only a name for this – “bidirectional” or “vehicle-to-grid” charging – the latter has already generated an acronym “V2G”.  Will fit easily onto the stickers the state will slap on your EV to explain why its battery is dead.  But the future’s so bright, they gotta wear shades.  If California really does get 14 million EVs by 2035, local utilities could use V2G to power every home in the state for 3 days!  Heck, you could blow up another hydroelectric dam and save more endangered minnows!  Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

Those natural disasters God visits upon us, as opposed to those we bring on ourselves, can put a sharp focus on problems that might not have been so evident when things were normal.  Electric cars aren’t too popular in Florida, fortunately.   Just trying to get out of Dodge to flee Ian in one of them would have been a disaster, with dead EVs whose charge range can’t possibly traverse the peninsula dying in flight clogging the highways for ICEs that can.  The state had investigated this situation 2 years previously and knew what might happen (12).  Of course, EVs and water don’t mix, especially salt water.  You can imagine what a class IV hurricane did to Florida’s fleet.  Not only do the waterlogged go-carts not run, they go flambé big time, and those lithium battery fires are damned hard to put out (13).   But don’t worry, Uncle Joe – with the help of Congress – has authorized the printing of $1.5 billion to build charging stations across the fruited plain.   Coming to a storm near you.  And fighting those EV fires is proving to be a burden on Florida fire departments, as dousing a pile of burning lithium takes much more time and more than twice as much water as it does to put out a gas car fire (14).  Sometimes, even in a state surrounded by water, there isn’t enough for the task and fire departments must just clear the area and hope the virtue-signaler doesn’t catch anything else on fire. The process obviously takes resources away from other rescue efforts, for which there is plenty of demand after Ian.

Just driving a car these days is draining plenty of resources from the average citizen.   Mayor Pete, Bimbo Jenn, and Uncle Joe in particular push EVs as the way to escape high gas prices.  Pain at the pump has been a fact of life since the last election, mitigated only somewhat by Uncle Joe’s draining 10s of millions of gallons of crude from our strategic reserve.  EV drivers sit smugly by as their cost per mile continues to drop relative to us poor gas guzzlers.  But that ain’t gonna last.  Remember when Obama was talking about how under his plan to combat global warming “electricity prices would naturally skyrocket” (15)?  Well, here come the fireworks.

Electric utilities do not operate in a free market.  If they did, we’d probably be screwed already as the companies passed on to us the costs for the fuels they used to generate our juice.  Yeah, God hasn’t jerked up His prices on wind, water, and sunshine, but His other gifts come to us through intermediaries who most assuredly have.  We’re all aware of oil and gas, but even coal, which accounts for most of DTEs energy, has tripled in price over the last year (16).

Whatever utilities wish to charge, they must first have the numbers approved by a public service panel.  In Michigan, we have the Public Service Commission (MPSC), composed of three members appointed by the Governor to serve staggered six-year terms (17).  They’re supported by staffers specialized in engineering, law, economics, finance, accounting, and technical and administrative support.  They meet about every three weeks.  Companies must submit a detailed application which then grinds though a dozen step review process that takes at least 10 months.  DTE made its last formal new application in June 2020 but has submitted numerous addenda, last on 10/5/22.  Even though each of the 3 commissioners is a highly accomplished person, I’m sure they’re aware of the political ramifications of their decisions and thus are slow walking these requests for rate increases.  But they can’t hold them down forever.   In DTE’s next to last brief (8/16/22), it projected an operating loss for the coming year of $367.9 million.

So, look for a reckoning, probably not till after the midterm elections.  These are Public Utilities, not Public Charities.  EV drivers will be laughing out of the other side of their mouths, their butts bitten at least as hard by DTE for KwH as we unenlightened knuckle-draggers have been forking over to Sunoco.  Meanwhile, what’s a good response to our betters pressuring us to go electric?  Dear Nancy Reagan said it best – on another topic – over 3 decades ago: “Just say no”.


1. Ike B.  DTE.  WordPress 9/10/22.

2. Lomborg B.  Cool IT (Movie Tie-in Edition): The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming.  New York: Vintage Books, 2010.

3. Lomborg B.  Policies Pushing Electric Vehicles Show Why Few People Want One. Wall Street Journal 9/9/22.

4. Hayward SF.   Piercing the Electric Car Fantasy. The Pipeline 7/24/22.

5. Sanibel H.  “Complete And Total Disaster”: YouTuber Drives Electric Ford Truck, Recounts Disastrous Results [VIDEO].  The Blue State Conservative 9/27/22.

6. Posky M. How Long Does the GMC Hummer EV Really Take to Charge? 10/7/22.

7. Landry M.  Tesla Catches on Fire, Takes Over 25,000 Gallons of Water and 42 Minutes for Firefighters to Extinguish.  The Western Journal 9/20/22.

8. Nolan L.   Green Inferno: Tesla Battery Catches Fire in California Causing Shelter-In-Place Advisory Due to Toxic Smoke. 9/21/22.

9. Kempton W, Letendre SE.  Electric vehicles as a new power source for electric utilities.  Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment 1997:2(3):157-75.

10. Marshall A, Simon M.  Electric Vehicles Could Rescue the US Power Grid.  Wired 9/19/22.

11. Zavala A.  Experts: Electric vehicles could help, not hurt, California’s energy grid.  KCRA3 9/8/22.

12. Downing S.  Challenge of electric cars in mass evacuation was warned of in 2020 Florida report.  Must Read Alaska 10/1/22.

13. Roberts K.  Florida’s Top Fire Marshal Warns ‘Tons’ of Waterlogged Electric Vehicles Catching Fire After Hurricane Ian.  Epoch Times 10/7/22.

14. Altus K.  Battling fires from water-damaged EVs ‘ties up resources’ in Hurricane Ian recovery, Florida fire dept says.  Fox Business 10/7/22.

15. Martinson E.  Uttered in 2008, still haunting Obama. Politico 4/5/12.

16. Trading Economics. Coal.

17.   Michigan Public Service Commission.  Ratemaking.



Should you send me an e-mail and receive a response, chances are I left in the signature box I created for my Yahoo email.  The bottom line will be these 14 logos, each representing an important stop from my snotnose 60s to today’s much-enjoyed retirement.  If I talk you through them, you’ll know more about my arc than you probably ever wanted to hear.  But I do these posts mainly for me, so just sit back.

  1. The bulldog.   These guys were the mascots for all the sports teams at Vicksburg (MI) Community High School, where I was a student ’65-’70.  The logo came long after I left, but I love it.  My time in the ‘burg let me start becoming a real person, rather than the fat stilted individual that was developing in Birmingham, which my dad happily left to come here.  Part of my heart is forever in that little village, as some of my lifelong friends are still there and I go back to visit frequently.  A few years back, some kids at the high school made a video over top of an ‘85 chestnut, if you want to take a look (1).  Still the same place.

2. The U.  It was the only place I would really go to college, coaxed on by my True-Blue dad, who never went there but followed Wolverines sports since the Depression.  I almost didn’t survive the post-hippie era but managed pre-med and grad school only to come back for post-doc and ultimate faculty position.  My paychecks outnumbered tuition checks and I retired True-Blue, even if the U didn’t love me back.

3. Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen.  My wife tried to coax me out of this one, as I never had a real official connection to the band.  But I’ve been a fan since end of my freshman year and have written a book about the experience.  No band has brought me more joy.

Fisher Body Logo, 1930s era

4. Fisher Body.  My job for 4 summers as a security guard at the Comstock Fisher Body plant, where my dad was head of Labor Standards, basically paid for my college.  I had to tuck my long locks under a short-haired wig one summer to fake it.  The 30s era coach insignia, which used to grace every GM car, is long gone except for some very good bottles of red from Fisher Vineyards (2), started in the 70s in Napa by some descendent of Frederick, Charles, William, Lawrence, Edward, Alfred, or Howard.  I had a bottle of their cabernet to celebrate my father’s 100th birthday.

5. University of Chicago.  The coat of arms for this staid college on the south side of Chicago – where I was privileged to go to medical school – had a pretty fierce beginning (3).  Approved by the board in 1910, just 18 years after the founding of the University, the hot red phoenix rising out of yellow flames hearkened to the rebirth of the entire city of Chicago after the 1871 fire.  Since 2012, the University has used a monochromatic maroon version of the same image.  Not so scary. By the way, “Crescat scientia; vita excolatur” translates to “Let knowledge grow from more to more; and so be human life enriched.”

6. St. George’s Hospital.  One of 2 London Hospitals where I did a month’s rotation as a senior medical student in the winter of ’79 (4).  The figure is St. George slaying the dragon.  The group of medical students seeing St. George’s that year were to be the last.   This site on Hyde Park Corner, the most expensive piece of real estate in London, had seen a hospital since 1733 and this grand white building since the early 1830s (5).  It’s now a luxury hotel, the Lanesborough (6).  Rooms start at £1000/night, give or take a few quid.

7. The Brompton.  Pardon me, Royal Brompton Hospital, the national chest hospital (heart and lung), more prestigious than St. George’s, started in 1842 as a place for patients with “consumption” (tuberculosis) and moved to its present site in 1846. Hyde Park and the Royal Albert Hall are nearby.

8. Barnes.  Where the computer matched me for my internal medicine internship and residency, probably one of the top five programs in the country.  Opening in 1914, it was one of the first teaching hospitals in the country.  Much of the money to make the hospital possible came from Robert Barnes, who made most of his bankrolling a little brewing operation by August Busch.  The “symbol” is something I scanned off my i.d. tag.   In 1996, Barnes merged with the even older (1902) Jewish Hospital next door, yielding one of those awful, hyphenated terms.  Two years earlier, Barnes merged with Christian Health Care which operates the two hospitals north of St. Louis we used to call “the Christian Brothers” (Christian and Christian Northwest), known to us for their excellent moonlighting opportunities.  The corporate name is “BJC Healthcare”, but somehow, no one says “Christian” when talking about Barnes.

9. The Karolinska.  The Nobel prizes are chosen by an assembly of 50 professors selected from the faculty of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.  Karolinska Hospital is their medical branch.  Shortly after I hired on as faculty with the directive to develop arthroscopy as a tool for the rheumatologist, Staffan Lindblad, a rheumatologist at Karolinska Hospital, published a paper describing features of the synovium (joint lining) in arthritis he discovered by using an arthroscope (7).   Staffan was immediately my hero and we became friends.  When he organized the 1st EULAR/ESCIT Arthroscopy Course to take place in March ’95, he invited me to be on the faculty, a duty I’d repeat for the 2nd course the next September.  We faculty were treated well: at each setting around our lunch table was placed a cold bottle of beer.

10. Hôpital Cochin.  French rheumatologists were the first to do arthroscopy in their county and did the most of it till the last decade or two.  At an American Rheumatism Association meeting in ’85 or ’86, my arthroscopy mentor Bill Arnold met up with Maxime Dougados, a hugely productive clinical researcher based at Cochin who was finding research applications for arthroscopy as performed by his young charge Xavier Ayral.  Bill and Maxime saw to it that Xavier and I met, and we became fast friends.  His activities were an inspiration.  We collaborated and co-authored a paper (8).  He and Maxime were instrumental in getting me invited to address the ’95 EULAR meeting in Amsterdam.  I visited Cochin once when I was in Paris for another meeting.  Xavier said he’d invite me there to give grand rounds, but that I’d have to deliver my remarks in French. 

11. Leeds.  Yes, I was once “Live at…”.   Paul Emery asked me to be part of the faculty for the 4th EULAR Arthroscopy Course to be held at University of Leeds Hospital in June ’99.  His young charges who were actually doing the work, Dougie Veale and Richard Reece, became good buddies of mine.  Both moved on from Leeds, Dougie being hugely successful at St. Vincent’s in Dublin.  Yes, I spent some time there for a project, but it was only a few days, so I didn’t include the logo. Oh, and “Et augebitur scientia” translates to “And knowledge will be increased”.

12. UCSD.  Ah, those 3 winter months in La Jolla ’17 .  Tenured UofM faculty are eligible for a paid sabbatical leave, so I aimed to take mine.  I’d hang out with scopy buddy friend Ken Kalunian and see what we could come up with.  Our grand arthroscopy plans were dashed but I managed to submit 5 papers and a grant.  My formal UCSD title was “Voluntary Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine, University of California at San Diego” and ran to July ’19.  Of course, “voluntary” means “no paycheck”.  Lovely part of the world.  Wish I could afford to live there.

13. Harbal.  When I started my blog “The View from Harbal” in January ’20, I thought it could use a logo.  For not too much money, some on-line outfit constructed this one for me.  It’s graced over 300 posts since. It actually looks a bit like my house on Harbal.  The only other street in the world with that name is in India.  The guy who developed this cul-de-sac neighborhood from an apple orchard in 1958 was named Harry Baldwin, and he just contracted his names (9).

14. Docere.  The word comes from the Latin “to teach”.  My wife formed this LLC in ’02 as she emerged from her Chief Scientist’s position at NASA to take on the speaker’s circuit, needing a place to park her fees (10).  The current income stream is mainly from her on-line textbook on scientific writing (11).  She let me join the outfit after about 6 months of retirement, in part so I could gin up some new business cards since all the rest were obsolete.  I designed our business cards and stationery, choosing our big blue earth as company symbol.  I don’t believe it’s trademarked.  We deal in all forms of knowledge generation and dissemination.  And as we know from Faber College (Animal House), “Knowledge is Good.”


  1. Small Town – Vicksburg, Michigan.  YouTube.

2. Fisher Vineyards.

3. University Emblems.

4. Ike B.  London ’79.  WordPress 11/11/21.

5. London Remembers.  Memorial.  Plaque: St. George’s Hospital.

6. Oetker Collection. The Lanesborough.

7. Lindblad S, Hedfors E. Arthroscopic and immunohistologic characterization of knee joint synovitis in osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 1987 Oct;30(10):1081-8. doi: 10.1002/art.1780301001.

8. Ayral X, Gueguen A, Ike RW, Bonvarlet J-P, Frizziero L, Kalunian K, Moreland LW, Myers S, O’Rourke KS, Roos H, Altman R, Dougados M.  Inter-observer reliability of the arthroscopic quantification of chondropathy of the knee.  Osteoarthritis Cartilage 1998;6:160-166.  doi: 10.1053/joca.1998.0108.

9. Ike B.  on Harbal.  WordPress 9/21/20.

10. Ike B.  Docere. WordPress 2/24/20.

11. Clark K.  Scientific Writing. An Online Book.   Dubuque IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing Co, 2019.


Talk about a find.  It all began as a search for a suitable Chicago restaurant for our 36th anniversary dinner.  I searched for spots near our Lakewood AirBnB, specifically seafood restaurants.  Pescadaro was plenty close (1), but we’d been there and the long tables upon which the admittedly great food is served detract from the elegance of the place.  Not that we need elegance, but Kathy would be wearing a dress, forgodsakes!  A little further out, where Dominick Street & Clybourn Avenue cross in the West DePaul neighborhood near the river, was Diamond Hook (2).   Great looking simple menu, 2022 OpenTable Diners Choice Award, pretty new (established 2021).  Booked!

We didn’t talk much of it as the trip approached, and I had trouble even recalling the name of the place.  We came off a grueling morning characterized by a lunch of Harold’s Fried chicken (3) and beer in Grant Park followed by a 4 mile walk home. Come anniversary afternoon, we weren’t too keen on the 20-minute ride to Diamond Hook on the #9 bus, which would include about 12 minutes of walking.  It would be a straight shot down Southport to walk it cxompletely, about 1 and a quarter miles, but we weren’t in the mood for that either.  Our Uber driver arrived so fast we thought he was hyper-enthused to take us to the place.  We got there to see a clean white storefront and nicely appointed interior, completely empty, save for the waitress who greeted us.  Granted, it was 6:15 on a weeknight, and the waitress assured us all was o.k.  Indeed, it was, as we sat to an outdoor table on quiet Webster and proceeded to chow oysters and octopus downed by French champagne followed by the best crab cakes we’d had this side of Maryland then crab stuffed shrimp, washed down with a nice sauvignon blanc.  Thinking ourselves done, and very satisfied, the chef brought us out a piece of his key lime pie that even my sweets-averse sweetie liked.  All in all, it was a memorable anniversary dinner.  We’ll surely be back.  West DePaul neighborhood isn’t on the tourist track, nice as it is (4), but worth the venture if the Hook is your destination.

Here for your reference is their menu.


  1. Pescadaro Seafood and Oyster Bar.
  2. Diamond Hook Restaurant.
  3. Ike B.  eat Harold’s.  WordPress 5/23/21.
  4. Trulia.  Chicago IL.  West DePaul.


Cindy’s on Michigan was our destination as we set out on our 5 1/2 mile walk from Lakeview.  It was a beautiful sunny October morning, perfect for a stroll along the lake.  Choosing to go inland along the Miracle Mile for our last leg, we stuttered after crossing Madison before finally identifying the entry to the 13 story Chicago Athletic Association’s 1893 Venetian Gothic hotel (1), upon whose roof Cindy’s (2) sat.  There was no marking other than the 12 S. street address.

You had to go through the lobby to the elevator before seeing a small sign to Cindy’s.  If you looked down off Michigan, out could see the worn logo of the CAA on the rug in front of the door. 

For the first 123 years of its existence this home of the Chicago Athletic Club was a private club, a hotbed of social activities and athletics.  A few mementoes of that past are on quiet display

On the way up the elevator to Cindy’s you’re reminded that this place is still home to some sweating with a purpose.

Once up and in, it was clear from the Monday brunch crowd that the place was no longer a very well-kept secret, even if you had to work to find it.  It’s hard to get a seat there, but there’ll be no sitting whatsoever on their deck.  Patrons may bring their libation out there to admire the view – and in summer be served by a bar right on the deck – but sitting and eating must take place inside.  The deck commands the best outdoor views in all of Chicago (the observation decks of those skyscrapers are all enclosed), with the lake and the park straight ahead, flanked by architecture to the left and museum row to the south.

Looking east from Cindy’s deck you see out to Monroe Harbor and Lake Michigan.  Millennium Park is in the Foreground, with the skating rink to the side and the seating area of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion crisscrossed by metal bands.  Beyond to the lake is Maggie J. Daley Park (she was Da’Mere’s beloved wife).  The skyscrapers you can see on East Randolph include the deep blue Blue Cross Blue Shield building and the rounded black shiny building at the end, the Park Shore Condominiums, where my brother-in-law Bob lived for a year.  Cut out of the picture to the left of BCBS is “Big Stan” (once the Standard Oil building, now the AON building), the 3rd tallest skyscraper in Chicago.

Looking southward you see mainly the buildings of the Art Institute.

The little round bump on the end of that spit, the Adler Planetarium, makes the east end of the Museum Campus. Just in from there at the foot of the spit is Shedd Aquarium and in from there the much larger Natural History Museum.  Way, way beyond that on the water are the buildings of the South Shore neighborhood.

Even when you’re done taking the view, the bar/restaurant is pretty good, with fancy cocktails and fine food served under soaring ceilings.

As you come back down the elevator and step onto Michigan Avenue, the fun is hardly over.  You can turn right and ascend the stairs between the lions of the Art Institute to go in and see your Monet, van Gogh, Seurat, Picasso, and such, or you can turn left into Millennium Park, climb the steps to Cloud Gate (“The Bean”) and see yourself in all sorts of distorted ways.  Once done, you can walk back to Michigan and look up to see where you’ve been.

You can make reservations at Cindy’s through RESY, with a booking window of one month.


  1. Chicago Athletic Association.

2. Cindy’s.

Le Piano

There are lots of places to hear live jazz in the Windy City (1).  Some experiences are not to be missed.  You can sit in Al Capone’s booth and listen to whomever is sharing the stage with Ceres, goddess of the harvest and fertility, at the oldest jazz club in the world, Green Mill in Uptown (2).  You could venture into the South Loop, slip into the elegant Jazz Showcase (3) and slide into one of their plush leather chairs to stare at the big picture over the stage of Charlie Parker cradling his sax then wish you had a tiny fraction of his cool.  Someday, the Fat Babies will emerge from their COVID hibernation so you can check out their swing that’ll make you think the 20s are roaring again (4).  But if it’s just plain fun you seek, take the Red Line north to Rogers Park, get off at the Morse stop and walk around the corner to 6970 Glenwood to knock on the door of Le Piano (5).  They’ve closed off that block of Glenwood to traffic, so if the weather’s nice and you want to hear your jazz outside, you can sit in their tables there.  Occupying an old brick industrial building with high ceilings and a front face of windows that go nearly floor to ceiling, the owners have installed a magnificent grand piano and scattered touches than invoke Paris’ Latin Quarter.  The bartender knows how to whip up a sazarac, and their wine list is 4 times as long as their spare menu, on which every item is sumptuous.   It doesn’t take many to fill up the place, with little tables right up front by the musicians and booths back a bit for those who prefer comfort to contact.  Sitting close has its advantages.  You can talk to the musicians as they’re setting up and you might even get pulled into the show, as Kathy and I were when here last November, invited to lay under the piano as it was played, the better to feel the vibrations from that grand instrument.  Although I don’t recall doing so, it’s an experience you can order off the menu: “The Happy Ending” (6).   Le Piano is far more than a piano bar, with a schedule that features a cabaret night, Brazilian Latin jazz, retro blues and jazz, and our favorites, the Chad Willetts band.  Chad owns the place.  See his band here as we watched them Friday night.

No, they weren’t playing the blues.  For 30 years in music, Chad is pretty shy vis-à-vis YouTube.  He drives his band from behind a drum kit, but plays a pretty nice piano, too (7).   This 3 ½’ clip purports to be about the “under the piano” experience but is also a nice intro to everything about Le Piano (8).  So next time you’re in Chi-town, head north and check this place out.  Your evening will have a happy ending even if you chose not to crawl under the piano.


1. Ike B. Chi Jazz. WordPress 5/23/21.

2. Green Mill cocktail lounge.

3. Jazz Showcase.

4. The Fat Babies.

5. Le Piano.

6. Lie under a piano at this jazz club. abc7 Chicago 2/6/20.

7, Chad Willets at the Chicago Knickerbocker Hotel. YouTube 1/4/13.

8. Lay Under a Piano at this Jazz Club | Localish. YouTube 10/20/20.

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