(Photo of sushi courtesy Kite Mandarin & Sushi)

Frame grab from Blade Runner of Harrison Ford eating sushiI have a love/hate relationship with sushi. I love the delicate and subtle artistry that goes into sushi. I hate the taste of fish. And that's all fish. It's not that I don't like sushi. It's just that I don't like fish. Fish is fish and fish tastes fishy.

One of my most vivid childhood memories is of choking half to death while a tiny bone from a rainbow trout turned me several rainbow shades of red, then blue, then white. That pretty much put me off fish -- including salmon, tuna, red snapper, shrimp, oysters, crab, lobster, calamari, the Filet-O-Fish sandwich and even fish sticks.

Oh, there have been a few occasions when I felt obliged to eat fish. Like in Casper when I ate over at my friend ______'s house and his mom made this huge batch of tuna salad. It was great salad, if you could tune out the tuna, which I just about managed to do.

Then there was the time in Key West that _____ convinced me that swordfish is the one fish that doesn't taste fishy. I was a in a pretty good mood, so I figured what the hey and ordered some. It cost a lot and I ate it all, but it tasted sort of like a good steak that had been gangbanged at the Shedd Aquarium.

So, it's safe to say that I don't like fish.

Logo for Kite restaurant featuring a Chinese or Japanese character But that may be gradually changing, thanks to recent trips to sushi restaurants. Recently, I accompanied Donna and Brendan Shultz to Kite Mandarin & Sushi, 3341 N. Lincoln Ave. (By the way, this place isn't just about sushi -- cooked Japanese and Chinese dishes also are on the reasonably priced menu.)

I ordered some delicious vegetarian tempura. And enjoyed miso soup. As usual, I also pigged out on pickled ginger and ate some California roll.

And then...

Brendan persuaded me to try barbecued eel. I'd like to say it was one of those "Green Eggs and Ham" moments, but even though I loved the sauce, I wasn't keen on the eel.

I guess you have to like fish.

If you do like fish, especially sushi, then give Kite a try. Brendan loved it and has been there a couple of times. Donna liked it, too.

Centerstage Chicago

Come back soon for "Sushi, Part 2." I visit Sushi Kamon in Buffalo Grove, where I also love the sushi but not the fish -- and discover a kind of "dessert sushi."

ChicagoScope feedback line: 312-683-5272.

Direct download: sushipart1.mp3
Category:Chicago -- posted at: 4:47am CST

Contributing Editor Brendan Shultz takes time out from preparing himself for the start of high school in a couple of weeks to fill us in on "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest." Brendan tells us what he thinks of the film, as well as the theater in which he viewed it.

Photo of characters from Pirates of the CaribbeanBy the way, I think this guy's a pirate in the making. At one point in his review, he boasts of having availed himself of an opportunity to "shove it to The Man."

Official Disney websites:
"Dead Man's Chest" motion picture.

"The Curse of the Black Pearl" motion picture.

Attraction at Disneyland.

Fan site Keep to the Code.

Other related websites:
A review of the Disneyland attraction by Theme Park Insider includes a paragraph about how political correctness has infected the "Pirates of the Caribbean" attraction in that the "pirates now chase women for food, instead of the original concept of chasing the women to 'pillage' them."

Wikipedia article about the durability of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise.

RingSurf's hub for "piracy on the high seas and sites with related pirate or nautical topics."

WebRing's hub for "pirates and buccaneers of all types".

Tinselman provides a fascinating view back to 1976 with an actual Standard Operating Procedure used in running the attraction at Disneyland. Pretty neat stuff.

You Tube has a nifty clip in which Johnny Depp tours the revamped "Pirates of the Caribbean" attraction and meet his Audio-Animatronic double.

Top 10 Pickup Lines for use on International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Great barbecue joint:
Fat Willy's Rib Shack, right across the street from the theater.

ChicagoScope feedback line: 312-683-5272.

Direct download: pirates.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 7:49pm CST

The Windy City has been associated with cows for a long time. There's the now-discredited legend of Mrs. O'Leary's cow and the Great Fire of 1871, as well as the enormously successful "Cows on Parade" promotion a few years back.

Old time photo of cow looking at the cameraThen there's the story of a guy who loved a cow just a little too much.

Pat Butler, a longtime Chicago journalist, visits ChicagoScope and talks about one of the strangest stories of his career, the saga of a guy who got caught having sex with a cow not once -- but twice.

And to think he manages to relate this tale without uttering a single word that would have made the Hays Office blush.

Well, mostly.

ChicagoScope feedback line: 312-683-5272.

Direct download: butler1.mp3
Category:Chicago -- posted at: 2:51am CST

Wide angle panoramic view of Wrigley Field outfield and scoreboard
Wrigley Field scoreboard and outfield during Cubs-Diamondbacks doubleheader.

A couple of days ago, our department got the chance to go see a game at Wrigley Field -- so, off we went.

Although I've lived in Chicago long enough to lose whatever passes as a Colorado accent, I really haven't been to Wrigley Field all that much. In fact, the first time I was there, the Cubs were playing Pittsburgh the day my dad died in a hospice overlooking Denver's Mile High Stadium. I ate two hot dogs that day.

My next Wrigley Field visit was two years ago about this time of year, when I got to see a game from one of the skyboxes. I kind of wish I hadn't. Sitting in luxury like that is similar to flying first class -- because the next time you get stuffed back in coach, you can't help but reach the inescapable conclusion that you're traveling well beneath your station in life.

But our seats were pretty good last week, maybe about five or six rows back from the Diamondbacks' bullpen -- certainly close enough to yell insults or encouragement to the visiting team. In our podcast, my colleague Matt Maldre admits that sometimes he enjoys heckling the players. But as often as not, I think he hollers out helpful information. In fact, during the second game of last week's doubleheader, I'll bet he yelled out more encouragement to Cubs than the first-base coach did.

What really impressed me about Matt, though, was his attention to scorecard detail. He doesn't just record runs, hits, errors, foul balls and such. Instead, Matt's scorecards are a complete record of what happened -- including the names of folks from work attending the game, a notation of when the sun came out and comprehensive listings of all the junk food that everybody ate.

Matt also noted the time when some apparently overenthusiastic fan ran onto the field. Cubs security quickly snared the guy and led him off the field and right past out seats. Here's a photo of the man:

Young blond-hair guy being led off field

If you'd like a refresher course in the basics of keeping statistics during a baseball game, Patrick McGovern serves up some great guidelines at The Baseball Scorecard. The site provides downloadable scorecard templates and also has a gallery of scorecards from amateur league games as well as the majors -- and includes a number of Cubs scorecards.

An overview of baseball scorekeeping and its history is on tap at the Wikipedia.

Dan's Guide to Baseball Scorekeeping not only teaches the fundamentals of scorekeeping, but discusses standard abbreviations and shorthand -- plus has links to applications that can automate the process.

Those wacky fans
Fan Reform

Podcasts, Blogs, etc.
The Heckler
Bleed Cubbie Blue
Len & Bob's Baseball Blog
Chicago Cubs Blogs

Below is Matt Maldre's scorecard for the second game. (You can see more of Matt's creativity at Spudart Productions.)

Image of intricately filled out baseball scorecard

ChicagoScope feedback line: 312-683-5272.

Direct download: matt.mp3
Category:Chicago -- posted at: 3:16am CST

This m4a version of "A Visit to Wrigley Field" incorporates supplemental images that will be displayed in the iTunes application.

ChicagoScope feedback line: 312-683-5272.

Direct download: matt.m4a
Category:Chicago -- posted at: 11:36pm CST

Photo of Fred Anderson sitting on a stool in the new Velvet Lounge
Fred Anderson in the new Velvet Lounge.

Chicago is a town of many traditions, and among its most important is jazz. In a special ChicagoScope interview, Contributing Editor Harold Devine talks with Fred Anderson, the internationally acclaimed tenor saxophone player who owns the Velvet Lounge.

Neon lights at new Velvet Loung display club name and a music note The Velvet Lounge reopened Friday, July 28, 2006, in the South Loop's historic Motor Row district at 67 E. Cermak Road between Michigan and Wabash avenues. The famed jazz venue relocated from its previous home nearby at 2128-1/2 S. Indiana Ave.

The new club, located on Cermak, midway between McCormick Place to the east and Chinatown to the west, is featuring several inaugural sets in the coming weeks as a part of its "soft" opening. Also, special grand opening concerts are slated for the weekend of Aug. 11-13. Details will be posted on the Velvet Lounge Web site.

"I'm just trying to keep the music alive," said Anderson, 77. "It's amazing! We were only closed three months. I am glad we were able to do it. The musicians need it and the fans need it. We all want to keep this music going. Without everyone's support, we would not be here. We are proud to reopen the Velvet for the music."

Photos of amber colored light fixtures at the new Velvet Lounge Anderson has operated the Velvet Lounge as a training ground for many of Chicago's creative jazz musicians since 1982. It is one of the few clubs in the world that provides a venue for musicians to learn alongside seasoned professionals and to experiment with new sounds. The importance of the Velvet was acknowledged earlier this year by Joe Segal and Wayne Segal when they lent their Jazz Showcase stage to Anderson and a cadre of Velvet musicians on successive Mondays in January for successful fund-raiser concerts.

For more than a year, "friends, fans and Fred" worked nonstop to raise the funds and do the work necessary to build the new Velvet. The effort included several benefit concerts at which musicians performed for free, hundreds of private contributions and countless volunteer work hours. The Velvet also received assistance from the Association for the Advancement of Creative Music, Architectural Artifacts, Asian Improv, Delmark Records, the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, the Jazz Institute of Chicago, the Hideout, Hothouse, Jazzman Consulting, the Jazz Showcase, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Rent Com Inc., Steve Maxwell Vintage and Custom Drums, Thrilljockey Records, 3030/Elastic Arts Foundation and Uptown Snack Shop.

More than $100,000 was raised in private contributions to build out two new storefronts for the Velvet Lounge. In this larger, nonsmoking club, fans will find better amenities and a column free view of a larger stage. Improvements include a vintage Chicago art deco bar, booth and chair seating, a musicians' locker room and accessible restrooms. Fans will also find many treasured artifacts from the old Velvet, such as the trademark chandeliers, the Schlitz sconces and the Velvet lady painting. Plans call for the enigmatic Velvet wallpaper design to return soon as a window covering.

Hear Fred Anderson
Hear more Fred
New Fred Anderson Trio DVD

Fred Anderson outside the new Velvet Lounge.
Photo of Fred Anderson standing outside the new Velvet Lounge

ChicagoScope feedback line: 312-683-5272.

Direct download: velvet.mp3
Category:Chicago -- posted at: 1:48am CST


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About Me
I'm Leigh Hanlon, a writer and photographer in Chicago. Before moving to the Windy City, I worked at daily and weekly newspapers in Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming. (Photo by Marty Larkin)

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