BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

Well ...

Daughter #2 and I went over to the park with the intent of feeding the squirrels with some peanuts we'd gotten. I had forgotten, however, that today was Newberry Library's "Bughouse Square Debates" and the park was full of people, with no sqirrels to be found (plenty of "squirrely people", but that's part of the charm, I guess). So, we ate some of the peanuts, tossed around a frisbee for a while, and eventually meandered over to see what was happening. The "formal debates" weren't on when we were there, but they had three "soapbox" areas that were drawing crowds. This particular park is a unique space in Chicago, as it is the only place where you can have a rally without permits ... the only requirement is that your speaker has to be on an elevated platform (hence the term "up on his soapbox") of some sort. This in a historical nod to the long use of this small 1-square-block park as a "speakers' corner" over the years. Needless to say, the City tries to keep this particular zoning curiosity as hush-hush as possible.

Unfortunately, none of my snaps of the event looked like much (you weren't dying to see the backs of a lot of people out amongst some trees, were you?), so I don't have real good illustrations! I did get a pic of this sign, however, which was from some group that was both against "Christian Fascists" and the Left (they had t-shirts that said something like "So, It's OK when OBOMBA does it?" with a picture of a bomb on them) ... didn't catch their name. There were various groups out taking advantage of the crowds to flog their particular neuroses (one was vehemently against using shredded tires as padding in playgrounds, for instance)

After listening to a couple of folks (they had 12-minute slots on the outer soapboxes), we wandered over to see what was happening on Walton in front of the library. Aside from a food stand (that had very tempting "gourmet root beer"), it was pretty much info tables for assorted organizations (although an Argo Tea place was selling stuff too).

Many of the vendors were representing organizations with an interest in books, such as the Chicago Literacy group, and the American Library Association, which was doing their "Banned Books" deal primarily, with handouts, pamphlets, newsletters, and buttons!

We ran into some of Daughter #1's friends, and they wanted to know if we'd been in for the Book Fair (which runs all weekend), but we said we were waiting for Sunday, when everything is 1/2 off. This is the 25th year of the Book Fair, so they're supposedly doing some special stuff for it ... don't know if that will extend into tomorrow, though. Last year I got some great deals on Sunday, but I also got hit with those pulmonary embolisms on the way home, I'm hoping for cheap reads without a trip to the ER this time!

Visit the BTRIPP home page!

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