Charles Gerber, second from right.

The Story of Charles Gerber—a Life in Photos and Documents

A few years ago after my grandmother passed away my father and I found a box of photographs and documents in a closet. At the top were photos we recognized: family trips, cousins, weddings and births, but as we sifted through the box we went further back in time until finally reaching the turn on the twentieth century.

At the bottom of the box were photos of her father—my great-grandfather—during World War I, his Army discharge papers, and paperwork for things like apartment leases and life insurance. As we assembled the pieces a portrait of a man began to emerge. Continue reading


Digitizing History—Grandpa’s Travels

Growing up I remember sitting in my grandparents living room as my grandfather narrated a slide show of my grandmother and his latest travels. They spent over 50 years together wandering around the world and my grandfather never missed a chance to take a photo (or 50). Lately I’ve been going through his old slide collection and digitizing a large portion so that he can provide captions and stories to accompany the photos. Continue reading


2013 Chicago Marathon—A Beautiful Day for a Race


About 40,000 runners took to the streets of Chicago yesterday for the Chicago Marathon, a 26.2 mile trek through Chicago’s near north, west, and south side neighborhoods. I headed down to the race to cheer on my friends who were running and take some pictures. It was a beautiful day fro a race. Continue reading


2013 Chicago Marathon—Spectate Like a Champion

Every year a bunch of people I know take to the streets of Chicago to run 26.2 miles. And while this is an activity in which I would never wish to partake, I do my very best to support them. I cheer, I shout, I urge them along. And it’s a lot of fun. Continue reading


Recapping the O’Hare Run on the Runway

Yesterday I participated in the annual O’Hare Airport Run on the Runway to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, a great organization that supports wounded veterans returning from war. Along with thousands of other people I took to runway 10C-28C for the first (and probably only) chance to run on a runway not yet open to air traffic. O’Hare will commission 10C-28C on October 17, but they wanted us to try out the pavement first. Continue reading

Lufthansa MD-11

A Perfect Way to Spend a Saturday

There’s no better way to spend a beautiful Saturday than staring off into the distance trying to spot the small dot on the horizon that in a few short minutes turns in to a 200-ton behemoth roaring overhead at 140 knots. This Saturday Bruce from NonRevAdventure and I headed out to O’Hare International Airport to do some planespotting and we weren’t disappointed. In addition to the unending parade of regional jets O’Hare sees, we were treated to a strong lineup , including some surprises like an AeroLogic 777F and American’s AstroJet retro livery. Continue reading


United Airlines Returns to a Classic Slogan

United Airlines announced today that they’re bringing back “Fly the Friendly Skies,” the Leo Burnett-created slogan used from 1965-1996. To me “Fly the Friendly Skies” is one of the most enduring travel slogans of all time. With Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” United has consistently produced quality advertising using the combination. Continue reading


Touring the Koval Distillery

When a friend suggested that we go on a tour at Koval Distillery it didn’t take much for me to say yes. I love whiskey, so getting a chance to see how it’s made sounded like a good way to spend an afternoon (and $10). Koval is Chicago’s first (legal) distillery to open post-Prohibition. While the craft brewers began cutting through red tape about 15 years ago, craft distillation continued to be a bridge too far until 2008 when Robert and Sonat Birnecker opened Koval. Continue reading


Discover Chicago—How to Start University off Right

DePaul University (the fine institution that pays my salary, but which neither sponsors nor endorses any of the content here on the blog) requires it’s incoming first-year students to take one of two courses: Discover Chicago—an intensive immersion program that uses the city and surrounding area as the classroom—or Explore Chicago—a more traditional classroom experience focused on Chicago.

My colleague teaches a Discover Chicago course called “Crime, Chaos, Culture, and Cosmos,” looking at various aspects of life and ideas of the afterlife in Chicagoland. When he asked if I would help him with his class for the day by driving a van full of students, I was initially hesitant, but when he told me where we’d be going (and that lunch would be provided), I agreed. Our itinerary would take us to Argonne National Laboratory, the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago, the Lithuanian World Center, historic St. James on the Sag, the Zoroastrian Association of Chicago, and the Chicago PortageContinue reading