Thursday, January 08, 2004

Ice-spitting blog.

The atmospheric temps were more civil today, coming in a shade or two below freezing, so I was willing and able to walk to my luncheon from my office, I'd say about three-quarters of a mile. Some of this walk was on Wacker Drive, which curves along the south bank of the Chicago River. Elsewhere I was in the shadow of some of the city's great buildings, and they were spitting drops of ice down onto the street.

Sometimes this combination of high-clinging ice and near-thaw conditions make buildings toss out something really big, and very occasionally a luckless pedestrian will end his walk crushed by ice, dead as Julius Caesar if not quite as dispersed yet. But of course, there are other hazards to sidewalkers downtown: office-strength window panes pop out, scaffolding falls, and cars leave the road. All rare but possible.

I made it intact to Maggiano's in River North, a large Italian restaurant with meeting rooms that does a brisk trade in exactly the kind of event I attended, a lunch meeting of CoreNet, whose members are corporate real estate managers. That is, people who keep track of real property owned by large corporations. Maggiano's serves enormous portions of everything to every table, more than even eight people can eat, various salads, antipasti, pastas, and chicken and fish courses. Quantities enormous, quality reasonably good -- I like their cheese ravioli especially. The dessert course was a Himalayan agglomeration of creme puffs.

An economist from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago gave a presentation, a PowerPoint presentation of course, about the state of the Midwestern economy. His affiliation with the Fed gave him some cachet with the audience, who were eager to ask questions. The long and short of it: Things ain't that bad.


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