newyorksubalien has evolved. New city, new life, new blog

newyorksubalien has evolved. New city, new life, new blog.

Yes, I’m still socially-insecure and still deemed too primitive a life form for a bank account. I still can’t say ‘water’ correctly and voice-recognition software still doesn’t understand my number 8.

Meanwhile Superalien is still as super (at least in my eyes), Male Mini-Me is taller than all of us and Mini-Mum has returned to the home of the Mini, only popping back from London to sleep, be fed and help balance out testosterone levels.

But in my new home of Chicago, I can at least lay claim to my own subgroup. I’m now Chi-rish as in Chicago Irish. Apparently the hyphen is important so as not to be confused with Chinese Irish or the town in Armenia. But I’m trusting my readers not to be churlish and to forgive these, my (hyphen-less) Chirish chatters…..

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Chirish-land shows its true colour - all 40 shades of it....

If we’ve been feeling the effects of global warming over the past few months, at last we’re about to embark on a period of global greening, even if we can’t quite yet see the grass through the snow!

St Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and Chicago is participating in Tourism Ireland’s annual "Global Greening" campaign which sees iconic monuments such as the Sydney Opera House and the Pyramids in Egypt all given the green light. 

Buildings and skyscrapers all over Chirish-land will adopt several of the 40 famous shades (as opposed to 50 infamous ones) in the week running up to next Saturday’s parade and the celebrated dyeing of the Chicago river.

The first thing that pops into your head when you see the Chicago river is that it is green already. Honest, it is. A nice murky, soggy welly-boot, moss-covered-wood-‘cos-it’s been-raining-non-stop-for-two-weeks green. But apparently it gets greener.

The story goes that in 1961 the Business Manager of the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers encountered a workman in Irish green-splattered overalls. He discovered the plumber had been using a green dye to test for waste leakages in the river and the idea for turning the river into an apparent field of clover was born.

The first year, around 100 lbs of dye were used and the "clover" hung around for a week. More recently, worries about possible pollution caused the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers to rethink their dousing and today around 40 lbs of vegetable dye are used, the recipe for which is as closely guarded a secret as Coca Cola. 

The powder dye is actually orange so you just need some white in there and there's the Irish tricolour. Which could be provided this year by floating blocks of ice as we'll only be seeing daytime temperatures climb above freezing in the week before the big event.

Having lived through a few St Paddy’s Days in New York, I’m almost immune now to the luminous-green hats, beads and flashing sunglasses that invade the shops this time of year. The Shamrock Shakes are back at McDonald’s and the supermarkets are pushing corned beef and cabbage (don’t ask). I did have to look up the ingredients for an Irish Car Bomb cocktail as it was a new one on me. Needless to say, it sounds as if it should taste as awful as its tasteless name.

I’ve been warned that the top of our wee road is a no-go area the day of the parade because the rest of the city will have been on the go there since 8am. In particular we’ve been told our go-to local Irish pub, the nicest I’ve been in outside of the Emerald Isle and provider of real Irish bacon, sausages and tea during early morning Premier League football matches, is a very definite no-go-to. 

So we’re planning to give it a miss parade-day and instead slip over there for a quiet dinner and wee drink the following Monday night when all the shenanigans have died down. Why that Monday? Only because it’s actually St Patrick’s Day!