Port of Amsterdam: Time-lapse coolness

Port of Amsterdam.

Seth MacFarlane on Dr. Ben Carson, nutbag scientist

Now the Kim Davis-Pope Francis meeting makes sense

Kim Davis Pope Francis jefferly.com
A never-before seen photo of the meeting between Kim Davis and Pope Francis, which Davis’ lawyers are saying was a session where “His Holiness counseled Kim and also taught her how to relax and stretch.”

28-room Schweppes Mansion still for sale

1 Schweppes mansion Lake Forest Illinois haunted jefferly.com
What a dump!

This listing for 405 North Mayflower Road in Lake Forest on Redfin describes it this way:

One of Illinois’ most architecturally significant estates on Lake Michigan, the Schweppe Estate, was restored to perfection in 1987 & 1988 by 70 craftsmen & European artists/stonecrafters. Over 440′ of lake frontage, 28 Rms/12 beds/12.4 baths, marble fpls, intricate limestone mldg & plaster relief clngs. Exquisite dining rm w/ beveled mirror panels, handsome library w/ spectacular detail. Fabulous gardens & grounds.


A 30-year on this, the Schweppes Mansion (yes, THAT Schweppes) would only cost you an estimated $49,254 a month. Whip out your checkbook.

But there is one more thing: it is rumored to be haunted:

The Schweppe Mansion became the home for Laura, Charles and their children. Its beautiful, breathtaking interior and exterior would soon be darkened by tragedy. According to findagrave.com, Laura Schweppe lost her life due to a heart attack in 1937. Laura was only 58 years old. But this devastating death would not be the last that the Schweppe Mansion would experience.

In 1941 relayed by strangeusa.com, servants entered Charles Schweppe’s bedroom and found him dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Charles Schweppe was only 60 years old. The only clue left by Charles as to why he took his own life was a note found on his dresser that simply read, “I’ve been awake all night. It’s terrible.”

There are several theories as to why Charles Schweppe committed suicide. When Laura Schweppe passed she had amassed a fortune of over 10 million dollars, of which a mere 200 thousand dollars was bequeathed to her husband Charles. The remainder of her fortune was given to their children. At the time of his death Charles’ health was rumored to be riddled with sleepless nights, deteriorating health and mental status. Could it be that Charles was so disappointed with his inheritance, or that sleep deprivation and or ill health created enough turmoil within his soul, that he believed death was the only way to escape his pain? One will never know the true reasons behind Charles’ desperate act. The spirit of Charles Schweppe will forever hold the secret.

I don’t believe in ghosts. But some people apparently do because they are having a hard time selling the place despite repeatedly dropping the asking price.

Video tour of the place is below. Buyer beware?

3 Schweppes mansion Lake Forest Illinois haunted jefferly.com
Just a little home by the Lake.
2 Schweppes mansion Lake Forest Illinois haunted jefferly.com
In case you like entertaining, one of the dining rooms should be enough for your uses. Assuming your guests don’t mind a reported few dead spirits about.


This is how one MMA fighter celebrates a victory

MMA fighter Sage “”Super” Northcutt shows off his particular style of celebrating  for the cameras. 

I could totally do that. Easy. 

No, I couldn’t. Not now. Not ever.

He makes it look so effortless.

What a single gay man does: truth vs. reality

What Single Gay Man Does jepperly.com

So many of my friends think my life is one big nightclub party here in Chicago.

There are dozens of gay bars and nightclubs in the Chicago area.

I’ve been to three of them in two years.

Not that there is anything wrong with going to bars and nightclubs a great deal. I used to do it a great deal. In my 20s and 30s. It was fun. And expensive. And meant most of us couldn’t afford to do much else.

It’s not that I don’t like the idea of going out to a bar or nightclub. It sounds fun. In the middle of the week I see some event that catches my eye at a nightclub and I think, “Oh, that could be fun. I really do need to get out more.”

Friday rolls around I’m on the fence. The frozen pizza in my freezer looks delicious and I’ve got a movie I’ve wanted to watch all week.

I eat just half the frozen pizza — OK, the entire pizza — lie down to watch the movie, and rest up for my big night out.  

People still go out at the same late hours. Except now that is way past my normal bedtime.

Next time I’m conscious it’s midnight and I think, “I’ve missed the best part of the evening. The bars will all be there next week.”

Lights out. Stumble to bed.

So for all you straight dudes out there who think gay life at any age is always a non-stop party compared to straight life, relax. 

Most of us are just as boring as you are. 

Man, I wonder how exhausted I would be with kids. How you parent people — gay or straight — do all that and stay awake at work is a mystery to me.

Tired at work jefferly.com
This would be me if my ambitions for going out on weekends ever met reality.


Comedian Jim Jefferies on guns and gun control


Jim Jefferies on gun control: a stand-up routine for the time we are in;

“In Australia we had guns, right up until 1996. In 1996 Australia had the biggest massacre on earth. Still hasn’t been beaten,” Jefferies says. “Now after that they banned guns. Now in the 10 years before Port Arthur, there were 10 massacres. Since the gun ban in 1996, there hasn’t been a single massacre since. I don’t know how or why this happened. Maybe it was a coincidence.”

Good stuff.

Just a raccoon in a rainbow tutu

raccoon trash panda tutu jefferly.com
Just a raccoon in a rainbow tutu. You’re welcome.

On an internet full of cute animal videos, some stand above the rest. Like this little “trash panda” doing pirouettes in a tutu.

An adorable raccoon. You’re welcome.


So sorry marriage made you consider suicide

Bride Groom Wedding Hung Suicide jefferly.com
Hope your marriage lasts longer than your doubts about it! Stay away from rope!

I’ve heard these feelings can secretly surface on a wedding day. Now there is a greeting card to bring it all out into the open. 

“So happy for the two of you that your marriage is happening.  Ignore the doubts until after the honeymoon. Today is your day!”

It’s hard to believe that nobody noticed that this might be interpreted the wrong way.

(Don’t write to me. It’s a joke!)

My two-year anniversary in Chicago

Today marks two years in Chicago after pulling up stakes from my hometown of Boston and a job I loved at Harvard Medical School to move with my partner to an unknown city with no friends.

I hated it at first. I moved here without a job and struggled with a relationship and a life which were falling apart at the same time as I spent one of the worst winters here on record. It was cold. And lonely. And boring as hell being snowed in all the time with nowhere to go.

But I found myself beginning to love the city as the cold gave way to my first Spring when this city comes alive with street fairs and festivals and beautiful Lake Michigan always just steps away.

Everyone walks here when it is warm out. I’ve never witnessed a population that walks around as much as people do here. I like that. You miss so much being cooped up in a car by yourself. (It’s also very bike-friendly.)

By far the thing I love most, aside from the energy and heartbeat of the city itself, is the people. You have all the benefits of this massive city with a population that hails largely from places around the Midwest. People who moved here from small-town Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin and elsewhere. This has helped keep this very large city more friendly than any other city in which I have lived.

I smile more easily. I talk to strangers more comfortably. It’s made me a better person. Not morally, of course. I’m the same person I always was in that respect. There are moral people everywhere. I mean a better person in terms of just not being do closed off from other people.

I am less irritable and less likely to take offense at small inconveniences in public.  If someone gets in your way when you are walking here, you don’t roll your eyes, get huffy and indignant. You both say, “Excuse me” and you move to the side and you keep walking. Simple, huh?

I used to think my East Coast coat of armor I wore most of my adult life — that which considered aloof to be sophisticated and Midwesterners to be hayseeds in their goofy niceness — was a sign of East Coast superiority. Now I don’t know how to describe it, but it seems limiting in retrospect. 

Crown_Fountain_Spouting Chicago jefferly.com
The Crown Fountains — this is one of two which face each other — are made of glass block towers onto which images of Chicago’s varied residents are projected. Every few minutes water shoots out the “mouth” of the projected person, to the screams of wet children in the summer.

I’ve grown to love the niceness. I love that I laugh so much with people I don’t know. It would be difficult to go back to me as I was before. Yes, you have to watch out for crazies. It’s still a very big city with some very shady characters about. But I’m more open to the possibilities of day-to-day human interaction here. That means I don’t dread every time I walk out the door to mix with the world, just wanting people to leave me alone in my hard outer shell until I get to work or home.

People here seem far more receptive to getting into all the things a big city has to offer: museums, shows, concerts and the like. The city has some of the most breath-taking architecture in the world and its residents think up more ways to enjoy it and learn about it than you can imagine. There are so many museums you could go to a new exhibit opening every week. I started a calendar on this blog and I simply cannot keep up with all that is going on here.

I enjoy the fact that I can walk out my door on the way to work and hear five, six or seven different languages being spoken on the way. This city forces you to live around people who do not look and sound like you, and that is a very good thing.

I am fortunate to teach English as a Second Language to immigrants from all over the world, and they teach me every class that the things that hold us together and make us similar — raising families, working hard, sending kids to school, trying to make our lives better — are so vastly more important that those which keep us apart.

And Chicago is cheap. Despite being, according to a recent report, the 7th most expensive city in the country, the gulf between what you pay here for rent as opposed to rents in places such as Boston, New York and San Francisco, is enormous. It’s because the housing stock here has been allowed to build up with, as far as I can tell, very few restrictions. 

High-rises which would never get built in Boston because adjacent property owners would complain about their views being ruined, or others would pitch a fit about something not fitting in with the neighborhood or density concerns — all those issues seem to get a hearing here. And then they mostly just build it anyway.

This is how it should be. Cities should not exist for the benefit of the landed upper echelons. If people lose their view, those are the breaks, kids. It’s a chance you take. Having enough affordable housing is more important than keeping real estate prices artificially inflated.

As for the weather, people like to think they have it terrible here. Chicago is actually on par with Boston — with cold winters — but actually beats Boston on some weather averages.

Chicago has its flaws. The murder rate — mostly poverty-inspired crime that keeps law-abiding Latinos and African Americans in violent neighborhoods in their homes at night — is out of control. Five-hundred kids have been killed in the last five years as the unintended targets of street violence. And that’s not counting the others who have been killed, intentional and otherwise. 

Any city that has to post bright yellow SAFE PASSAGE signs on the street so that school kids know the streets where they are least likely to be shot is a city with problems that will require solutions that are out of financial reach in a society where so much wealth keeps amassing only at the top.

Trickle down? What trickle down?

But, still, I have slowly grown to love this place.

Which is why I like the video at the top of this page so much. It’s a short but beautifully done drone video of scenes around the Windy City.  It’s nice enough to watch on a small screen but, if you can, play it on a big screen TV. 

This is the Chicago I fell in love with.

Buckingham Fountain Chicago jefferly.com
The city’s spectacular Buckingham Fountain.



Just because you want to be informed doesn't mean you can't laugh along the way. Science, politics, religion, pop culture and the law.