A Trip Down the Road

I think Jack Kerouac was a far more impressive novelist than a poet, though he wrote his fair share of poems. His book Mexico City Blues sits beside me, and I look to it every now and again, but I don’t consider any of it real, serious poetry. I think his charm is more evident in prose, says Gaurav Mohindra. Poetry is too restrictive a medium for Kerouac. In his poetry, he tries to be too primal with sound play and line breaks, and it doesn’t quite translate. Kerouac typed the first draft of On the Road on a single 50-foot long scroll and in record time, though it wasn’t easy for him to get it published. Since the initial publication of On the Road though, the original, unedited copy, (the scroll,) has been published, and the first, most obvious difference between the first published edition and the Original Scroll (which is a recent publication,) is that Kerouac uses everyone’s real names in the Original Scroll. So Neal Cassady is simply called Neal Cassady instead of Dean Moriarty, and Allen Ginsberg is referred to as Allen Ginsberg rather than Carlo Marx.

Gaurav Mohindra

Another important distinction between the two is that the Original Scroll is uncensored. At the time of publication, 1957, six years after Kerouac finished drafting the novel, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, (friend and publisher of Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl,’) was involved in long, drawn-out trials over the poem, of which, copies were seized for obscenity by U.S. Customs. So, the obscenity and libel laws of the time being what they were, Kerouac’s publisher, Viking, who was afraid of being sued, had Kerouac either omit or soften some of the more explicit language and depictions of sex. They also were afraid of being sued for libel, particularly by anyone seeing themselves as being depicted in an unfavorable light, so they had Kerouac change all the character names as well, says Gaurav Mohindra. I always wondered how much revelation of others in one’s writing is fair. Kerouac’s friends and their personalities are on full display in On the Road, and while some of them are public figures who might have been accustomed to having their business out in the open, others, like Neal Cassady, are relatively private individuals who I don’t believe have much to gain from having their romantic and criminal exploits cataloged and immortalized in literature. One could argue that On the Road serves as a sort of legacy for Neal, but with the novel detailing some of the more unsavory moments in his life, I don’t know if it’s a legacy he would have signed off on.

A Picture of Cancer

I, like Henry Miller, find beauty in the strangest of places; a streetlamp casting its light on the road, the soft fabric of the t-shirts I live in, or a carefully crafted sandwich even. I sit and type as my oven warms itself in wait of the bread I will feed it. My toaster lies useless on the counter in hopes of repair. Too busy to go out and buy another one and craving a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the oven will have to do for now. I don’t often write about food, but right now I am. Henry Miller wrote a lot about food. He also wrote about prostitutes. I think he wrote about the things he craved most. He was hungry most of the time, as he seldom had a stable source of income, says Gaurav Mohindra. His bohemian lifestyle led him to prioritize food, as it was never easy to come by. In Tropic of Cancer, he details his meals so lavishly your mouth begins to salivate. He writes about food and its acquisition in the most tragic and epic language conceivable

Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn contain some of the most impressive prose ever written. I am perpetually moved by the writing in these novels, and I revisit them frequently. Miller’s writing is ecstatically lyrical—at times surrealistic and in others encyclopedic. He darts in and out of obscenities and pulls it off by sandwiching crude scenes in between long surrealistic rants filled with rapturous, mystical imagery. He’s a master novelist unafraid of scorn, daring to go where none have ever quite gone before.

Miller was hungry, perpetually. At least in the early part of his adult life before he managed to publish a few novels and secure a decent living. That’s the dream. It’s possible, but it certainly isn’t easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is. I think Miller understood this, but at the same time, I think he strangely enjoyed some aspects of his poverty. It seemed to serve as a sort of fuel for him, says Gaurav Mohindra. He seemed to thrive in a state of want. It fed his writing, so to speak. His hunger sharpened his vision, it focused his desire, and his writing is full of it—full of desire and its pursuit.

Miller is constantly looking up at the stars, always dreaming of new possibilities, new frontiers, new loves, new foods, new experiences. He naturally finds himself in novel situations because he leaves himself completely open to the world, open to the experience. He bumps into things and things bump into him, and he dives into the life and shares his experiences with us, and sometimes even the lessons he’s taken away from them. I admire his starry-eyed mode of living and his lyrical prose. It culminates in a perfect storm of lush language and rich experience. I smell my oven toast burning.

Chicago Minibus Sightseeing Tour

Chicago is a beautiful city having lots of options for sightseeing and experiences to enjoy. There is a lot for everyone in this beautiful town says Gaurav Mohindra. You can visit world-class museums, dine at  Michelin-star restaurants or catch a show in one of over 200 theaters. It feels like there are nearly limitless options to experience and enjoy.

There are quite a few organized tours catering to various niches – such as city sights, sports, shopping, and other attractions. These tours are popular because they provide a curated guide to your particular interest. Chicago nightlife includes a variety of bars and nightclubs, live music and comedy clubs.

Minibus

A popular way to enjoy Chicago – and experience what it has to offer is through the Chicago Minibus Sightseeing Tour.  The CMS Tour make major city attractions accessible without any hassle.  You can travel around the Windy City in a smart, convenient, long windowed minibus, as you scope out the city’s cloud-skimming skyscrapers, art-filled parks, and charming neighborhoods. Along with the enjoyable tour around the city, you can get an expert guide who shares interesting insight into Chicago’s storied past and make lots of stops to take memorable photos. 

On the tour, you will experience the view on the top of the Willis Tower, the biggest office building in North America, Picasso’s sculpture in Daley Plaza, and Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park. You will also see Millennium Park’s reflective sculpture “The Bean”. The tour provides ample opportunity to stop and snap photos, capturing memories of the amazing skyline at Museum Campus, and then set a course for the historic architecture in The Loop says Gaurav Mohindra.  The bus will also take you inside one of the world’s first skyscrapers. This is an experience difficult to plan for by oneself.

While on the tour you can admire the Chicago River, along Wacker Drive; hear for lions roaring in Lincoln Park’s renowned zoo, also you can learn a bit about Chicago’s mobster past including the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. On your way back into town, the bus will take you through the scenic route along Lake Shore Drive for remarkable glimpses of Lake Michigan and the city horizon before arriving back to your hotel. This Chicago Minibus Sightseeing Tour is committed to make your visit to Chicago special and memorable.  So if you don’t want to miss the major attractions of  this city you should check out the Chicago Minibus Sightseeing Tour says Gaurav Mohindra.

New Non-Stop Travel from Chicago to Chengdu, China

Mayor Lori Lightfoot recently announced the launch of a non-stop direct flight from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Chengdu, China. This is the first non-stop direct flight from an interior US city to an interior Chinese city. The inclusion of this direct flight indicates the strong business relationship between Chicago and China, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Mayor Lightfoot indicated that the inclusion of this flight may bring at least $35 Million in revenue as an overall impact within the Chicago region. The new flight service is being offered by Hainan Airlines. Hainan Airlines is a well-known Chinese airline. It is currently the fourth largest Chinese commercial airlines and has been flying extensive routes throughout the world. They are currently operating 500 international and domestic routes to over 90 destinations. Other US cities that are serviced by Hainan Airlines include San Jose and Boston. Hainan Airlines has been offering a non-stop flight from Chicago to Beijing since 2014. The new service from Chicago to Chengdu will be offered twice a week. Flights will be offered on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The non-stop flight time heading eastbound is estimated to be 16 hours, and is westbound is estimated at nearly 15 hours.

The Mayor applauded the new flight service and indicated that it is a natural service offering as more international travelers are frequenting the Chicago-area. In addition, Mayor Lightfoot indicated that an increase in travelers and new flight routes will be complemented by the current and upcoming upgrades to O’Hare Airport’s infrastructure and facilities, says Gaurav Mohindra.

The upgrades are part of an $8.5 billion modernization plan being spearheaded by the City of Chicago to upgrade existing facilities, provide new passenger gates, and expand the terminal. Chicago is one of the busiest airports in the US and one of the most connected in the world. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is also one of the busiest hubs for transporting cargo to and from China, says Gaurav Mohindra. Currently, 25 percent of all cargo transported from China moved through O’Hare International Airport.

As the US and China business relations grow, having additional transit routes is important. China and the US are the largest economies in the world. Last year, the US imported over $530 Billion in Chinese goods and exported $120 Billion in goods to China. Having sufficient infrastructure to support this relationship is key to growing the relationship over the years.

O’Hare International Airport

The Chicago Department of Aviation recently announced that they are continuing an ongoing program to use grazing animals to help control the wild vegetation that is growing near O’Hare International Airport. The grazing will take place on nearly 12 acres of land adjacent to the airport. There will be 30 animals, including goats, sheep, and a donkey. The grazing program, called the Sustainable Vegetation Initiative, has been going on for six years as part of an effort to provide sustainable environmentally friendly initiatives throughout the airport, says Gaurav Mohindra. This initiative is the first of its kind in any US airport.

Previous seasons of the initiative have included grazing animals such as herds of sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, burros, and donkeys. The initiative has helped maintain green space near runways and on adjacent parcels of land surrounding O’Hare International Airport. The grazing herd provides a safe eco-friendly solution around the airport.

Seeing goats and sheep around O’Hare may raise some eyebrows, but herds of grazing animals have become an innovative solution to maintain healthy ecological environments in an environmentally friendly manner, says Gaurav Mohindra. A variety of animals have been leveraged in grazing hers. Animals such as horses, cattle, sheep, and goats can be included in such grazing herds.

The type of animal used for grazing can depend depending on the environment and vegetation of the area. Also, the size and weight of the animal is key to protect the soil compaction of the ground. Typically, Horses clip grasses off the ground. But, they are heavier animals which may result in more soil compaction. Cattle, which are even heavier than horses, consume large amounts of vegetation including grass, but they can’t clip the vegetation as low as horses. Sheep and goats are effective at clipping vegetation on steeper grounds.

There are numerous benefits in leveraging grazing herds in urban areas, particularly around airports. The herds will reduce the natural vegetation that can creep into runways. This vegetation, if left untreated, may pose an impact to planes on takeoff and landings. In addition, grazing herds do not cause pollution that traditional mowers and equipment causes. Using the grazing herds also provides motivation for other urban environments to adopt similar sustainability measures.

In 2013 the Sustainable Vegetation Management initiative was launched at O’Hare International Airport. It quickly became a beacon for other airports to aspire towards. The sustainability practices include providing green space on rooftops, environmentally friends utensils for eating and drinking, the grazing program, amongst others. As O’Hare continues with its several billion-dollar large facilities overhauls, hopefully, more ecologically friends initiatives are introduced, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Traverse City – A Quick Trip from Chicago

Ready for summer vacation?  Traverse City, Michigan is a short 5-hour drive from Chicago – and is the perfect place for a quick getaway from the city.

The fact that Traverse City is an easy drive, and one can avoid a flight, is a big consideration for families, says Gaurav Mohindra.  Traverse City offers great beaches and dunes.  Sleeping Bear Dunes provides a fun activity for families and provides scenic landscapes overlooking Glen Lake.  In the summertime, Traverse City provides vast dining and entertainment options.  One of the more popular options is the National Cherry Festival.  Northern Michigan is home to many cherry orchards – and the fruit is celebrated throughout the region.

Chicago

Traverse City is close to Lake Michigan and provides miles and miles of beaches.  The lake is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the beaches or go sailing.  There are many fishing operators and tour guides in the area too.  In addition, there are numerous hiking and bike trails to take advantage of during the summer seasons, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Traverse City is also home to numerous craft breweries that are getting international attention.  There are numerous brewery tours which showcase local beers, which are often made with local ingredients.

Kayaking is also a big attraction in the area.  The Crystal River is a popular kayaking destination – and provides a scenic backdrop through parts of a national forest for kayakers to meander through.

Traverse City is considered the unofficial capital of northern Michigan.  The city has the largest population, and a vast array of restaurants, hotels, and cultural events.  As for the restaurants, there are a wide variety.  According to TripAdvisor, some of the most popular restaurants in Traverse City are Trattoria Stella, The Boathouse, Red Ginger, PepeNero, Mission Table, Slate, and Cook’s house.  When dining at certain restaurants one will find that chefs often take advantage of the excellent local ingredients available from the area. 

In light of Traverse City’s proximity to Lake Michigan, there are numerous old lighthouses situated along the shoreline.  These charming lighthouses are fun to check out.  Another popular hangout is the Village at Grand Traverse Commons.  The Commons are an old converted hospital that now includes shops, restaurants, and event space.  It truly blends old-world charm with modern vitality, says Gaurav Mohindra.

As you can see Traverse City is a short trip from Chicago and a great place for a visit – especially in Summer.

Illinois Passes Bill to Legalize Marijuana

On Tuesday, June 25, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law a bill that will legalize marijuana in the state. The passage of this bill was a key campaign message promoted by Pritzker throughout his campaign, says Gaurav Mohindra.

The new law will permit adults, aged 21 or older, to possess and consume marijuana within the state. The law also regulates how the marijuana will be sold and ensure that vendors are licensed by the state. Pritzker strongly advocated for the legalization of marijuana as an opportunity to empower communities negatively affected by criminal convictions related to the drug possession and sale.

The new law will be effective as of January 1, 2020. With the passage of the bill, Illinois becomes the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana. Other states with legal recreational marijuana are Alaska, California, Colorado, Main, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Vermont. When signing the bill into law, Prizker made it a point to emphasize that Illinois was the only state to legalize recreational marijuana through the legislature rather than voter referendum.

The new law provides the automatic expungement of arrests for marijuana possession under 30 grams, says Gaurav Mohindra. Pritzker indicated that he will pardon convictions for possession up to 30 grams. However, people can seek expungement of cases involving up to 500 grams.

Legalize Marijuana

The new law stipulates that 25% of the revenue from marijuana taxes will go to marijuana business ownership in minority communities. Many of these communities were disproportionately affected by the war on drugs, says Gaurav Mohindra. The new law will also direct 20% of marijuana tax revenue towards substance abuse treatment and prevention and mental health care. And additional funds will be allocated towards Illinois’ bills, law enforcement and public education on marijuana related health issues.

The bill was introduced into the Illinois state General Assembly and was overwhelmingly passed. It will allow Illinois residents to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana flower, 500 milligrams of THC in a marijuana-infused product such as edibles and 5 grams of marijuana concentrate. Non-Illinois visitors may possess up to half those amounts.

Only state-licensed businesses will be allowed to grow, process or sell the product. An important part of the plan calls for special consideration in licensing for social equity applicants. Social equity applicants include business owners and workers from disadvantaged minority areas, or those who were arrested for or convicted of misdemeanor marijuana crimes that are due to be expunged under the plan.

Chicago Bulls – 2019-2020 season

The Chicago Bulls finished the 2018-2019 season with a lackluster record.  They won 22 games and lost 60.  Their record clearly indicates that need to make some distinct changes to turn the team around, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Fortunately, the Chicago Bulls have an estimated $20 million to spend on free agents in the next year.  As a result of their excess cash, and desire to attract fresh talent – it’s safe to assume the Bulls will be active in the upcoming free agent season, says Gaurav Mohindra.

The Chicago Bulls drafted Colby White in the NBA draft.  The Bulls had the 7th pick in the NBA draft, and by using that pick on Colby White indicates that they have high hopes for him.  White played college basketball for the North Carolina Tar Heels.  White became the first player since Michael Jordan to be drafted from North Carolina in the 1st round by the Chicago Bulls.

In college, Colby White had an impressive career.  He played point guard had an innate ability to score himself, but also enable others to score – as he was one of the team leads in assists.  White surpassed Michael Jordan to become North Carolina’s all-time leading freshman scorer. 

The Bulls also drafted Daniel Gafford as the 38th overall draft pick.  Gifford played forward at the University of Arkansas.  In his last year at Arkansas, he put up some impressive numbers by averaging nearly 17 points per game, 8.7 rebounds, and .7 assists.  He brought a degree of consistency and power to the position which is something the Bulls can rely upon.  Gafford quickly became a fan favorite at Arkansas as became known for his explosive dunks, alley-oops, shot blocking ability, and just overall powerful play says Gaurav Mohindra.

While in high school, Gafford’s play attracted numerous colleges.  He received offers from several schools having top basketball programs, including Kansas, Vanderbilt, and Florida. 

The addition of Colby White and Daniel Gafford adds some impressive depth to the Chicago Bulls roster.  These young players will help provide the energy and skill the team needs to turn around their lackluster season.

There has been quite a bit of turmoil with the Bulls, particularly with the recent firing of head coach of Fred Hoiberg.  With new head coach Jim Boylen and the addition of new players – the Bulls can look forward to the fact that new strategies will be in play. 

Cricket World Cup 2019

There are much excitement and fanfare spanning across the globe for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.  This year’s World Cup is being hosted by England and Wales from May 30 through July 14.  This is the 12th l tournament being held by the International Cricket Council.  The tournament is held every four years.  This is the fifth time that the World Cup is being held in England and Wales.  The last time the tournament was played there was 1999.

This year’s World Cup features 10 teams.  In past years, there have been as many as 14 teams.  Matches will be played throughout England and Wales, and are expected to attract large crowds from around the world, says Gaurav MohindraIt is scheduled for matches to be played in Birmingham, Bristol, London (Lord’s), London (The Oval), Manchester, Cardiff, Chester-le-Street, Leeds, Nottingham, Southampton, and Taunton.

The teams participating in this year’s World Cup are England, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, India, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Australia, and West Indies.  England was never won the World Cup, yet many oddsmakers are considering the home team to be the favorite this year, says Gaurav Mohindra.  England has earned a 2nd place finish on three past occasions of World Cup Tournament play.  They’re most recently 2nd place finish happened to be in 1979 when they were hosting the tournament. 

While the winner of the World Cup certainly earns bragging rights, there is also a considerable monetary prize in place.  The World Cup winning team gets $4,000,000.  The 2nd place runner-up team gets $2,000,000.  The semi-finalists each get $800,000.  Each league winner gets $40,000.  All teams that do not pass the league stage earn $100,000.  There is a total of $10,000,000 in prize money distributed amongst the teams.

While the prize money may seem impressive, it’s a pittance compared to what the ICC earns in broadcasting rights, says Gaurav Mohindra. The World Cup is a global event that will broadcast around the world.  Many countries will be able to access the matches vis Fox Sports (Australia), Hotstar (Europe), ESPN (Carribean Islands), Star Sports (India, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives), Digicel (Oceania), Sky Sport (New Zealand), Willow TV (USA, Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands).

While Cricket is not a very popular sport in the US, there will be many fans watching the World Cup throughout Chicago.  Chicago has a large and diverse population including many immigrants from countries where Cricket is popular.  It’s always exciting to see fans root for their teams throughout the city.

Vegandale Festival – Chicago

On June 22, the Vegandale festival is coming to Chicago.  This event attracts an array of visitors to celebrate the vegan lifestyle.  As veganism is increasingly becoming more popular – this event will surely attract many visitors, says Gaurav Mohindra.

The Vegandale festival is the culmination of the Toronto based Vegandale brand.  The Vegandale brand has numerous vegan storefronts and product offerings in Toronto – from foods and clothes, but also encouraging the vegan lifestyle.

The festival celebrates the vegan lifestyle which is the practice of abstaining using animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.  The lifestyle has been popular throughout the world and is becoming increasingly popular for its health benefits, environmental impact, and animal welfare mission.  Accordingly, it’s refreshing to see such a large, well-coordinated, festival visit Chicago this year, says Gaurav MohindraThere are numerous vegan restaurants in Chicago, but there are more non-vegan restaurants starting to offer vegan fare for customers.  The diet, which was once viewed as “fringe”, is becoming more accepted.  I wouldn’t call it mainstream as yet, but definitely more widely accepted and understood.

The Vegandale festival is in various cities this year, including Chicago, Toronto, Miami, Houston, and NYC.  The festival attracts thousands of visitors and hundreds of vendors.  They have a large social media presence and have been advertising the festival by showcasing foods and large crowds on Instagram and Facebook.

The Chicago Vegandale festival will be hosted in Grant Park on June 22.  The festival will open at 11:00 AM and close at 7:00 PM. 

Some of the out of state vendors visiting the Chicago festival include:

Imerative (Tornot, ON)

Eggloo (New York, NY)

Snackrilege (Portland, OR)

Evolution Burgers (Los Angeles, CA)

Superieur Electrolytes (New York, NY)

Having the out of state vendors in Chicago will provide local Chicagoans access to new vendors and foods they typically could not try in Chicago, says Gaurav Mohindra.  Along with these vendors, there are dozens of Chicago vendors who will be present as well, a partial list including:

Art of Dosa

Higher Healing

Buddy’s Italian Ice

Crazies and Weirdos

Juice RX

DOTERRA

Chicago’s Doghouse

Asian Outpost

Sprout

El Campeon

Joycoast

Tubby’s Taste

Smashbowl

The Guiltless Garden

Jamaican Me Krazy Vegan

Alongside all of the food, there will be DJ’s and MCs throughout the day keeping the energy live and activities running.  Tickets can be purchased online at the festival site or purchased on location.  Early-bird tickets are $10 through June 17 and increase thereafter.  This will surely be a fun event for all food-lovers, says Gaurav Mohindra.