Smokin’

Cuban cigars for sale at the Miami International Airport

Cuban cigars for sale at the Miami International Airport

Smooth and smokey hot

tingling spine and tastebuds

oh well, those Cubans

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Tribute to the Tribune

Tribune Tower, Chicago

Although it’s been around for ages, media wasn’t always as aggressive as it is today. At least that’s what I thought before I arrived at the Tribune Tower, home of the Chicago Tribune.

Erected in 1925, the tower is a living testament to thousands of targeted publishing and outreach activities through the years. The frame of the building itself holds historical stones and rocks—relics from correspondents’ time abroad researching and reporting what’s what.

It was a novel idea, and until I looked it up once I got back home, I didn’t realise that the remains of global constructions came upon the Tribune as a natural progression of events—I’d assumed architects thought it through first and then found the stones as decor. How naive of me, when in fact they had incorporated those stones just because they had a story to tell.

Still a living, working entity, the insides of the building is even more marvellous, if that’s possible. Beyond the lobby area is also off-limits to tourists.

The lobby, though.

Words of wisdom, words of courage, words of wonderment, and even debarment and endearment lined those walls. Each quote revealed painful precision—according to the receptionist, the architects wrote them all by hand. Hard to believe there was a time when humans wrote on walls, words we’d read generations later. And how assuring that that’s not in the time of Facebook.

The Tribune Tower was just that—a massive building with impressive exterior and interiors. But it’s also a lot more than that. Even though there’s not much to observe in the building and only Tribune employees have access to its interior, the tower remains a reminder of what true journalism is all about. In this time of skewed media and sensationalisation, it’s quite amazing that the journalism of the past still survives and attracts people.

Hey, Joe!

A coffee shop signboard on the streets of Austin

A coffee shop signboard on the streets of Austin

The morning glory

sunrise on the horizon

first cup of coffee

Busy Beaver Buttons

I’ve never understood the hoopla around buttons. When I say buttons, I don’t mean the essential ones that hold shirts and pants in place. I mean the ones that pop up in unnecessary places and situations just because they’re a cool thing—places like school bags, caps, hats, and scarves.

Students and adults alike share this affliction with buttons, I realised when I was in Chicago for a work-related event. It’s now the most popular swag corporates can give away at trade shows. People grab these fancy, custom-designed buttons, endorsing companies they’d never even heard of before.

And so it seemed pretty ordinary to have a museum of buttons. Or so I thought until I visited the place.

The Busy Beaver Button Museum (go o, click the link—it’s an online museum too) in Chicago hosts buttons dating back to the 70s and 80s. They have about 1200 buttons on display, all categorised, awaiting appreciation and well-deserved jaw drops. Oh, and they had another 3200 buttons in crates still unopened.

How do they get all these buttons?

They buy from various people and organisations—it was obvious that they’d been doing this for years.

As I browsed through the many witty buttons, I realised that the trend wasn’t new or specific to modern corporate culture. There were buttons about beer, parenting, wine (of course!), social causes, awareness, politics, and so many other topics the world’s cared about for years.

Buttons have helped people express their emotions for years. And this trend won’t go away anytime soon.

Oh, and if you’re interested in getting yourself some buttons, the folks who maintain the non-profitable museum, also have a for-profit business of making buttons. The factory consists of a few people and you can hear the machines while you walk along the wall of exhibits. It’s one of those little things in a city that not a lot of tourists know of. But it’s so worth the 20-minute train ride. Well, if you’re ever in town…

Art attack

Chicago Mural in the Chicago Cultural Center.JPG

The Chicago Mural, as exhibited in the Chicago Cultural Center.

One to another

philosophies they catch on

Ah, art— a plague

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