I was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2012. It was one of the worst years of my life. My family still feels the impact of the diagnosis even though I’m firmly in remission. In some ways, life after remission is harder, bringing with it depression, anxiety, and sometimes cold fear.
Because my husband had just accepted a job two hours from home, my daughter was usually my main caregiver. She was 13. No 13-year-old should have to do this, and it bit a huge hunk out of her childhood.
In the first few months after diagnosis I was occupied with doing research, going through surgeries, and beginning treatment. I spent hours on the phone with insurance trying to get a second opinion and ended up having to pay out of pocket.
Three things came together to build a bridge that carried me over. First, my next door neighbor is a cancer researcher and she introduced me to one of the top bladder cancer researcher-doctors, Dr. Gary Steinberg, from whom I got a second opinion. Second, my daughter’s Social Worker at school pointed me toward the Cancer Support Center, where I found an amazing support group. Third, through my searches on the internet I found the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network.
BCAN is the hub of most everything you need when you’re diagnosed. They fund research, provide information, connect you to an online support group, and help you become an advocate for people with the disease.
I am most moved by the women in BCAN. Its co-founder, Diane Zipursky Quale, is a widow. She and her husband built the organization in 2005 at their kitchen table because there were no existing organizations. Until a few years ago, treatments for bladder cancer hadn’t changed for 30 years. BCAN deserves much of the credit, because of their funding of research, for the huge shift that came with the discovery of immunotherapies, a big game changer for folks with advanced bladder cancer.
BCAN also sponsors a yearly Summit, bringing together patients, family, doctors, researchers, and advocates. We learn about new treatments and about advocacy projects. We are also brought together in small groups to talk with doctors about our own opinions about needed research.
The biggest impact of the Summit, for me, is to look around the room at a large gathering of people who have walked in my shoes. Of this group, it’s the widows that grab me the most. They’ve lost their partners, they’ve served as caregivers, and they continue, year after year, to volunteer their time, energy, and love to this organization.
Many of the people in the room have lost their bladders and they aren’t shy about talking about the experience. It is such a comfort to be in their midst. They have been through the worst of it and are still active and engaged.
It’s not too much to say that BCAN has changed my life for the better. I walk because they’re serious about research. I walk because they know the ins and outs of how to get funding from the federal government. I walk because they’ve been there for me. I walk because they care.
I would like to invite you to join my team for this year’s virtual walk on Saturday, October 3rd at 10 a.m. If you register ($25), you’ll also get a t-shirt. The registration fee is also a donation. But, I’d love for you to give more. You can trust that it’s going to a good place, to good people who know how to use it to improve the lives of folks with bladder cancer. You can also register for this year’s Summit, also virtual, on October 10th. Registration is free. (Scroll to the bottom for the links!)
You can read my interview with Dr. Steinberg here.
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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot attended a memorial for Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday night at Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago.
“Devastated by the passing of RBG,” Lightfoot tweeted on Friday night. “She represented the finest among lawyers in our country. A giant in her advocacy for women’s rights, civil rights and respect for the rule of law. We must honor her legacy and all her contributions to American jurisprudence. Rest in power, RBG.”
What’s up beer-wise this week? Oktoberfest specials are ongoing. Noon Whistle opens its second location in Naperville. And Red Arrow in Naperville is rebranding to a Tapville Social. Same self-pour beers, more cocktails, different menu.
Born in Austria, based in Spain, and inspired by Chicago footwork and UK instrumental grime, Zora Jones has been making music for a decade but only just released her debut album, Ten Billion Angels (Fractal Fantasy). Its music is glossy, sensual, and alluring in its artificiality, and it pairs nicely with the cover art–a digitally drawn woman whose naked body is immersed in translucent liquid in ropes and streamers that bind and strangle her. Vulnerability, passion, and tension drip from every immaculate production flourish, and it all echoes a crucial reference point that Jones cites for the album: 3D tentacle pornography. Jones’s interest in this contemporary version of the art form–it’s associated with a Japanese tradition that’s been around for centuries, and it gained increased traction when the Internet made it easier to bypass obscenity laws–is particularly fitting. CGI renderings of beastly bodies heighten the peculiarity of such erotica, and Ten Billion Angels teems with digital bliss that mines the basest of human desires via a sonic language that feels similarly fantastical. On “Waiting for You,” Jones cuts up R&B samples so they sparkle like sequins–every processed coo and time-stretched warble exudes a deep pang of yearning for love. That somber spirit also suffuses “Melancholy Princess,” which opens with chime-gilded electronic ambience and then barrels into a rough-edged beat. Jones’s radically altered voice hovers over the proceedings, her sorrowful delivery pointing to the tragedy that must have necessitated such catharsis. Though “Revenge of the Bitch” is completely instrumental, it’s just as affecting as the tracks with vocals, repeatedly slugging the listener with pugilistic production that reveals another, equally emotionally intense side of Jones’s work. The album closes with the queasy vocals and dramatic string arrangement of “Come Home,” a song that’s sad, cryptic, and theatrical all at once, largely due to its synthetic sheen–Jones knows there’s truth hidden in the uncanny. v
In Week 2, Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky needs to attack the New York Giants in key areas.
What a week it has been for the Chicago Bears and their fans. After an offseason unlike we’ve seen before, the Bears finally took the field in a real, live football game this past Sunday. Fans had been waiting for what felt like a decade to see this team in action.
Against the Detroit Lions, the Bears struggled early on offense. Defensively, they held the Lions in check for the first quarter and a half. But, in terms of their ability to score points, the team had a tough time doing just that.
After three atrocious quarters, the Bears’ offense came alive in the fourth quarter. Led by fourth-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky, the Bears scored three straight touchdowns to end up shocking Detroit and came away 1-0.
Despite the win, there are still many reasons to be weary of this team. Pass rusher Robert Quinn had missed the majority of practices leading up to kickoff and thus sat out with an ankle injury. The pass rush was nearly non-existent overall. Thankfully, Quinn looks like he could suit up this weekend.
And then there’s the curious case of Trubisky, who somehow became a different quarterback with about nine minutes remaining in the game on Sunday. If the Bears could get an entire game which looked like that Trubisky, they would be just fine. He was getting the ball to his key playmakers in moments when it mattered most.
Speaking of which, the Bears take on a vulnerable New York Giants defense in Week 2. Trubisky has a chance to continue his feel-good story if he is able to start fast against New York. But, it’s going to take him choosing the right reads and targeting his best weapons. If he gets the following three players involved heavily on Sunday, he’ll continue to be the hot hand in Chicago’s quarterback room.
The Chicago Bears need to do a good job against the run in week two or they will lose.
The Chicago Bears are going into a huge week two matchup with the New York Giants. This is their second week in a row where they are going into the game where they should be able to beat their opponent without much issue. Well, we saw how that worked out in week one as they probably didn’t even deserve to win that game against the Lions. They were a dropped touchdown or miracle fourth quarter away from starting the season 0-1.
One key to having a better week is doing a better job of containing the running game. The Detroit Lions pretty much had their way with the Chicago defense. They had 138 total yards rushing. Matthew Stafford had 23 yards on five carries, Kerryon Johnson 14 yards on seven carries, and D’Andre Swift had eight yards on three carries. None of those are awesome but 35-year-old Adrian Peterson was able to get 93 yards on 14 carries.
Petterson is a legendary running back but he isn’t what he was back when he was on the Minnesota Vikings. The Bears know all about him from those days but they still allowed him to dominate the game. With some of the names the Bears have on defense, you should be able to expect them to be better in that area.
Well, if they were that bad against an aging Peterson, how are they going to do against Saquon Barkley? That guy is one of the best running backs in the NFL and he has the ability to dominate games for the Giants. If the Bears don’t play him better than they played Peterson, they are going to have a very bad time.
The Pittsburgh Steelers did almost too good of a job against Barkley’s running attack on Monday Night Football in week one. Giants quarterback, Daniel Jones, led the team in rushing with 22 yards on four attempts. Dion Lewis managed to have one yard on one carry. Barkley had an abysmal six yards on 15 carries. That is something the Bears would love to see happen again.
In order for that to be the case, you need to get to him before he even reaches the line of scrimmage. Numbers that bad is probably unrealistic but they can try and repeat the ability to keep him grounded. They are perceived to have a really good defense but they didn’t show it in week one. This is their chance to take advantage of a bad offensive line and show some life against the run game. If they do that, it could be the key to starting the season 2-0.
President Trump, as he would appear as a Supreme court Justice
Acting just hours after the death of the beloved Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Trump indicated that he would submit his own name to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as her replacement.
In a rambling statement on the White House lawn, and responding to questions by reporters, Trump stated “I had the utmost respect for Granma Ginny, but I was just waiting for her to die. Cryin’ Chuck wanted her living, but she was too weak to fight cancer, something millions of good Republicans fight every day. There are no dead heroes on the Supreme Court. I will be a living hero, and I am going to live a long, very long, time.”
When asked how this impacted his role as President, Trump stated that he felt no conflicts in maintaining both positions. “My legal experts, the great minds Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Rudy Giuliani, agree with me that nowhere, nowhere in our Constitution, our wonderful, wonderful Constitution, does it say a President can’t be on the Supreme Court. And believe me, I read the whole thing every night.”
In response to questions as to which judges he would model himself after he listed several including “the guy from Night Court who also did magic tricks and the first one from The People’s Court,” but not Judge Judy, who he said, “was just a hotter version of Nervous Nancy (Pelosi).” Asked to name his favorite current Supreme Court Justice, President Trump was unable to name any, forgetting both Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, both nominated by him and appointed during his own term.
Responding to a question about his thoughts on legal precedents, Trump clearly stated his position that “I am the legal President, I beat Crazy Hillary by 4 million votes, at least, and probably much, much more. And when I am on the Supreme court I can make sure that I will be legally elected one or maybe two, I haven’t decided yet, times.”
Senate Majority Leader McConnell, reached by telephone at his Kentucky home, stated that the appointment process would proceed swiftly to ensure that the “American people are never without a full Supreme Court for more than a matter of weeks,” blaming President Obama for the long gap following the death of Antonin Scalia in 2016. “He was only going to be in office nine more months so he had no right to choose the next Justice. I made sure he couldn’t. This is totally different.” When asked how it was different, McConnell said his wife, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, needed him in the kitchen and hung up the phone.
In related news, the family of the late Justice Ginsburg requested that no members of the Trump family attend her memorial service “in keeping with the wishes of half of America.”
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Hi! I am Les, a practicing pathologist living in the North Suburbs and commuting every day to the Western ones. I have lived my entire life in the Chicago area, and have a pretty good feel for the place, its attractions, culture, restaurants and teams. My wife and I are empty-nesters with two adult children and a grandchild. We recently decided to downsize, but just a bit! I will be telling the story of the construction of our new home, but also writing about whatever gets me going on a particular day. Be sure to check out the “About” page to learn more about where we plan to go with this blog!
Another Cubs win, another great effort by the pitching staff. In a way this past week has felt like the opening week of the season. Sure, the bullpen has been more reliable and the offense more inconsistent, but the Cubs rotation feels… dependable again.
Kyle Hendricks was maybe as good last night as he was in the season opener. His curveball, the pitch he worked on over the offseason, the pitch we all hoped would help re-establish him as a true ace was dynamic. He utilized it early and often, 29 times in all, 10 more times than his changeup. It helped him to a season high 10 Ks.
When Hendricks has the option of throwing all four of his pitches in any count, opposing lineups are in real trouble.
Yu Darvish may be battling a little inconsistency right now, but Hendricks is really finding his groove as we approach the playoffs. And its not like Darvish has been bad his last couple of times out. He’s just slipped from great to good. There is every expectation for those two to give the Cubs the necessary one-two punch to start off (and hopefully finish off) the Cubs opening round playoff series.
With that in mind, this week I’ve been bouncing some ideas around my head for how I think the Cubs Postseason roster will shake out.
Options: Adbert Alzolay, Jose Quintana, Tyler Chatwood,
We know who the two guys at the top are going to be. A four man rotation won’t be necessary until round two, but for round one, it is possible only two will be needed. If a Game 3 is played, then Jon Lester will be given the ball. He’s been hit or miss this year, but he’s looked better lately, and the Cubs will almost certainly count on Big Game Jon to rise to the occasion once again. He’s earned the right, and it is not like anyone else has emerged as a clearly better option.
That doesn’t mean they can’t be creative. Alec Mills ran into a rough patch in the middle of the abbreviated season, but he also has been better of late. You may have heard something about that earlier this week. In a do-or-die Game 3 the Cubs can pull the plug on Lester at any point in order to hand the ball off to Mills. Even that may not be necessary though. If Darvish and Hendricks pitch deep into Games 1 and 2, the Cubs could turn the game over to the suddenly fairly sound bullpen as early as the 4th or 5th inning.
If all seven of the Cubs starting pitchers are healthy, they could all make the postseason roster. Mills, Chatwood, Quintana, and Alzolay have at least limited relief experience. Chatwood and Q won’t be fully stretched out, but along with Alzolay, they give the Cubs a ton of flexibility to piggyback a couple of them off Lester and Mills in Round Two, and still leave one avaialble as a long man in case Darvish or Hendricks get bounced early.
RHP locks: Jeremy Jeffress, Craig Kimbrel, Rowan Wick, Ryan Tepera, Jason Adam, Duane Underwood Jr.
Additional Options: Tyler Chatwood, Adbert Alzolay, Dan Winkler, Colin Rea, Dillon Maples, Tyson Miller, Pedro Strop (NR)
These aren’t exactly names opposing teams and fans fear, but each guy offers valuable skills if they are locked in come playoff time.
Jeremy Jeffress has veteran wiled his way to being the Cubs most reliable bullpen arm up to this point. He’s gotten the job done in high leverage spots, even if it isn’t always pretty. Ideally, he will not be the Cubs top option come playoff time though.
Craig Kimbrel is re-establishing himself over the final month. I doesn’t necessarily even want him to regain the closer job. The Cubs are better off if he can fill the role C.J. Edwards once did as a 7th or 8th inning guy who can match up against the heart of the opposition’s lineup. Use your best guy against the heart of the opposing teams order, regardless of the inning.
Rowan Wick has essentially replaced Steve Cishek. He isn’t always dominant, but he suppresses home runs and usually doesn’t beat himself. He makes the opposition earn it.
The one guy who has consistently missed bats out of the Cubs pen this year is Ryan Tepera. If Kimbrel regresses, a lot of weight will fall on the right arm of Tepera. He’ll likely be tasked with facing situations in the middle innings when the Cubs absolutely need a strikeout.
The good news is, another option has emerged. Jason Adam, he of the elite spin rates and dynamic four-pitch mix, has begun throwing more strikes as the season goes on. If he continues throwing this reliably, he could displace Tepera as the fourth option come the playoffs.
Duane Underwood Jr. has also secured a postseason slot. His fastball velo has returned, but most importantly, he’s gotten the feel for his changeup back. And he’s begun relying on his secondaries rather than his fastball. That was always his best path to MLB success, and it appears Underwood and the Cubs have finally realized it.
LHP locks: Andrew Chafin, Jose Quintana (assuming both are healthy)
Additional Options: Josh Osich, Kyle Ryan, Rex Brothers, Justin Steele, Brailyn Marquez (NR), Matt Dermody (NR), Danny Hultzen (NR), Burl Carraway (NR)
This is where the real questions lie. If healthy, Chafin and Quintana offer the Cubs their most experienced options, and both still possess enough stuff to deliver the necessary results. If they aren’t available for Round 1, things get a little dicey. Kyle Ryan has lost the trust he earned last season. His velo is down and his GB rate up. Josh Osich has been okay, but hardly a reliable option. The same goes for the consistently inconsistent Rex Brothers. If it came down to a choice between those three right now, I’d probably go with Brothers and then cross my fingers he could throw strikes when/if called upon.
The wild card is Brailyn Marquez (and maybe Justin Steele). The White Sox summoned their triple digit throwing lefty prospect last night, and I have to wonder if the Cubs will consider doing the same over the next few days. Their lead in the Division appears safe, and so I hope the Cubs will utilize that advantage to experiment a bit prior to the postseason. Brailyn Marquez doesn’t need to be “ready.” Even if he can only deliver five some-good-some-bad innings come playoff time, he could bring a missing element to team.
Assuming 14 pitchers, and full health…
Rotation: Darvish, Hendricks, Lester, Mills (BP in Round 1)
That leaves one final spot which IMO should go to Marquez, and if not him, than Alzolay. Get a youngster some playoff experience. Use the expanded roster on a potential game changer. A Dan Winkler, Colin Rea or Josh Osich are not that.
*One or more of Osich/Ryan/Brothers may have to fill in for Chafin and/or Quintana anyway. Alzolay would be my first choice to replace Chatwood.
On Friday, indoor service is back on the menu at bars and restaurants across Chicago’s far south suburbs after an improved COVID-19 testing positivity rate prompted Gov. J.B. Pritzker to lift restrictions on Will and Kankakee counties.
Here’s what happened in the fight against the coronavirus in Chicago, the state and the nation.
8:45 p.m. Homecoming in the COVID era: No football or dance, but event still puts ‘smiles on … faces’
Fall school festivities might look different than ever before this year, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still be fun.
Dozens of students and parents showed up Friday afternoon to Leo High School in Auburn Gresham for a twist on the usual homecoming celebration.
There was no football game or dance. Instead, teachers and staff at the private all-boys Catholic school handed out hot dog lunches, school supplies, T-shirts and backpacks, while parents picked up first quarter progress reports for their kids.
7:45 p.m. Trump Administration’s plan to bring EPA workers back is unsafe, union says
The Trump Administration is taking steps to bring hundreds of employees at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Chicago back to their offices in the coming weeks, putting them at risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus, the workers’ union charges.
The EPA is moving toward a phased return to work without taking appropriate precautions, said Nicole Cantello, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 704. While President Donald Trump has been pushing workers in all industries to go back to work for months, part of the motivation, she suspects, is tighter control of employees amid the administration’s ongoing efforts to weaken environmental protections.
6:45 p.m. Mexican restaurants scramble, get creative to survive during tough pandemic times
In the decade that Kevin Suarez has worked at Mi Tierra Restaurant in Little Village, he has seen the popular business go through a change of ownership, a fluctuating local economy, several makeovers and a variety of clientele and performers.
But never has the survival of the Mexican restaurant been so precarious as during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It affected us because this restaurant has a lot of capacity and many employees on staff,” he said. “In the beginning we laid off a lot of people and we’re practically counting this year as a loss.”
Latino restaurants had no choice but to adapt to the public health crisis. For many immigrant owners, their businesses are their only lifelines. It was do or die.
5 p.m. Northwestern graduate students host virtual, monthly science talks with seniors
Olga Ricketts-Peart is not what she calls a “science person.” But she loves science anyway.
The 77-year-old has been attending “Science with Seniors,” a program offered at the Levy Senior Center in Evanston that’s gone online in the past few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The third Thursday of each month, graduate students from Northwestern University meet virtually with seniors from the Levy Center for lectures on science and technology, topics that range from sleep to solar cells.
4:15 p.m. Latino officials call for more workplace enforcement, less victim-blaming in COVID-19 fight
Francisco Anzures learned he was sick with the coronavirus in May after his employer had him take a test.
For one week, the factory where he worked in the southwest suburbs was shut down for cleaning. For two weeks, the Back of the Yards resident received paid time off, at his $15-per-hour wage. And for two months, he stayed home sick, isolating himself from his wife and two kids while his family lost their source of income.
Anzures never went to the hospital because he has no insurance and feared he wouldn’t ever return home.
While he was sick, Anzures said he could barely eat. He struggled to breathe. One night, he feared he would die.
“I thought that I wouldn’t survive,” he said, speaking in Spanish. “It was taking me too much effort to breathe. It’s something so horrible that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”
3:30 p.m. Mayor: It’s likely Soldier Field will remain empty this season
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the odds of Bears fans returning to Soldier Field this season are less than 50 percent.
In an interview with “Mully and Haugh” on WSCR-AM on Friday morning, Lightfoot said that “we’re no nowhere near at a place where we can even realistically talk about fans coming back to Soldier Field.”
The Bears will not have fans inside Soldier Field for their home opener Sunday. The team just last week said it hopes that will change later in the season.
Lightfoot, though, sounded frustrated by a lack of communication with the team.
2:45 p.m. Pritzker OKs indoor dining in Will, Kankakee counties, crediting COVID-19 improvement to ‘neighbors doing right by neighbors’
Indoor service is back on the menu at bars and restaurants across Chicago’s far south suburbs after an improved COVID-19 testing positivity rate prompted Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday to lift restrictions on Will and Kankakee counties.
The eased coronavirus guidelines were set to kick in Friday evening, also allowing gatherings to increase from 25 to 50 people. The Democratic governor called it a “testament to the entire state and to the power of community” as he dished out the good news at an unrelated news conference in Rock Island.
1 p.m. We asked: How has the pandemic affected you financially? Some of the answers were heartbreaking.
Like a lot of Illinoisans, the coronavirus pandemic has hit Nicholas Senffner hard.
Restaurants and bars shutting down took a big toll on the 37-year-old, who owns a window-cleaning business that operates all over Chicago and the suburbs.
“It’s completely killed us, the way they shut down the restaurants,” said Senffner, of Lockport. “They’re not getting their windows cleaned if they’re not making money.”
Senffner says he built his business over 15 years and normally would work 12 hours a day five days a week. Now, he’s lucky to get two or three days of work each week: “Last year, I was a six-figure company,” he said. “This year, we’re barely pushing five.”
It’s meant laying off two employees and cutting back things like visiting his family in Colorado.
“It was horrible, I mean, this was 15 years of hard work, of day in and day out of building routes and gaining customers, making sure that everything ran like clockwork. I watched my whole world fall apart.”
He doesn’t think business will ever return to what it was, given that many of his customers were mom-and-pop shops that have permanently closed, some having taken a double hit from the pandemic and from looting after the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd while being restrained by a police officer.
“It hasn’t been easy. I’m just trying to ride this year out until it’s all over with, and they get back to work.”
12:03 p.m. Survey finds teens will follow COVID rules, but want specifics
America’s teens and young adults have a crucial role in containing the spread of COVID-19, but a series of youth surveys suggests that many misunderstand social distancing guidelines and want clearer advice on how to safely live their lives.
This is especially relevant now that universities are back in session and many campuses are seeing COVID-19 outbreaks.
Over the last several months, a team at the University of Michigan has conducted several national text-message surveys of more than 1,000 American youth ages 14-24 to better understand what they are going through during the pandemic.
The responses by young people in their surveys suggest that they are taking the pandemic seriously, but want more concrete guidance: advice that gives them safe ways to socialize, not just rules for what they can’t do
8:43 a.m. Dentists see surge of oral health problems, and the pandemic is likely to blame
Stress and isolation brought on by the pandemic are certainly bad for our mental health, and dentists say they’re seeing evidence our oral health is suffering, too.
Dentists say reports of a huge spike in cracked teeth are just the start of the problem.
“It’s like a perfect storm,” says Dr. Michael Dickerson, an independent practice owner with Aspen Dental in Tarpon Springs, Florida, who says the patients he sees need “a ton of work.”
One factor in the upswing: The first patients to go back to the dentist after widespread stay-at-home orders were likely the most in need.
Also, before shutdowns, lockdowns and quarantines, “Your day had a rhythm to it,” American Dental Association spokesman Dr. Matthew Messina says. When that rhythm is interrupted, it’s easy to forget “simple little things like oral hygiene.”
Other factors leading to dental problems: Teeth grinding due to stress is probably up. Brushing and flossing are probably down as good habits slip and social outings decline. Routine cleanings have been put off.
2:30 p.m. Remote learning compounds longstanding challenges facing bilingual students like me
Sometimes it’s difficult to consider being bilingual an advantage.
The road to achieving what is seen as a powerful skill leaves a mark. For a Mexican like me, it’s imposter syndrome.
Picture laughter erupting from a second grade class after a non-English speaker can’t respond to a question like, “Is your birthday coming up?” Or a 9-year-old practicing the word “world” for two weeks because it will come up in conversation some way or another. Seriously. Try it. Your tongue does about four movements for a word with one syllable.
7:47 a.m. Rosh Hashanah livestreamed in COVID-19 era
The Jewish year of … checking … 5781 begins at sundown Friday, and is a reminder that the Chosen People are not newcomers at celebrating holidays during hard times. As grim as the COVID pandemic has been, it doesn’t hold a candle to Babylonian captivity or Roman persecution, the Inquisition or the Holocaust.
Not yet, anyway.
The business of maintaining Jewish identity, already under siege by modern life, is complicated in the Plague Year of 2020 as Judaism celebrates Rosh Hashanah — literally, “head of the year” — and then atones for sins in the year to come at Yom Kippur nine days later.
“This is an interesting year, unlike any other,” said Rabbi Steven Lowenstein, whom I called because his synagogue, Am Shalom of Glencoe, is one of many streaming high holiday services.
Wicker Park rapper Judy knows that with the right delivery, his subtle groans can be just as compelling as his lyrics. On “Inside Grey,” from his new Ard Bet (Wing Hoe), his words slide out of his mouth with the battered weariness of a twentysomething who’s lost count of the number of late nights he’s misspent on one bender or another, but he counterbalances the song’s dark themes with an intuitive grasp of melody. Judy’s austere soundscapes can be downright chilly, but the understated playfulness of his performances injects his sparsely arranged, nearly monochromatic songs with bursts of color. On “Don’t Worry,” he unloads a drizzle of brief, brittle bars atop a maudlin organ melody and a skipping, skeletal beat, but when he begins to sing, his full-throated AutoTune shout streaks through the song like a rainbow after a summer downpour. v