30 June 2010


CHICAGO. I receive daily email summaries from a service called 3QuarksDaily, which posts entries of interest in science, literature, the arts, politics and philosophy. One of today's entries was a video showing lightning striking three of the tallest buildings in Chicago at the same time. The video repeats several times, in real time and in slow motion. Pretty awesome. It reminded me of being in center city Philadelphia once, when a huge thunderstorm erupted overhead. The downpour was so intense that we had to pull over and park. The thunderclaps reverberated off all those skyscrapers, magnifying to earth-shattering decibel levels. I loved it.

Chicago was also host last weekend to Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival, an event to benefit a drug treatment center in Antigua. "Crossroads" is a reference to a song by the seminal blues guitarist and singer, Robert Johnson. The festival features dozens of legendary blues and jazz guitarists. Clapton hosted the first Festival in Dallas, Texas in 2004 -- it was recorded for PBS, and is available on DVD. The 2007 and 2010 events were held in Chicago. Here is a review of this year's festival. Whether seen and heard live or on DVD, the Crossroads Festival is a jaw-dropping gathering of instrumental and vocal talent.

LONDON. On this day in 1894, London's Tower Bridge was opened, spanning the River Thames near the Tower of London. The bridge is a combined bascule and suspension design. Its entire center roadway section raises vertically to allow passage of ships beneath. After 116 years, the Tower Bridge still serves both road traffic and river traffic, and is an iconic structure in London. (Click on any image to enlarge.)

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