One dollar!


Some light Sunday morning reading

Reading the newspaper just isn’t what it used to be. I get the Sunday Chicago Tribune and it’s very thin now. I remember when it was two inches thick. Now, every section contains fewer articles. I used to spend at least four hours reading the paper on Sundays. Now, there’s not much left to it. And most of the stories I read, I discover that I have already read them on the Internet the previous day. Even the sales inserts are very skimpy. So I was surprised to see that Dollar Tree had a sale insert today. Was the Tribune so desperate for advertising dollars that they reduced their advertising rates to attract dollar stores? But why would Dollar Tree, or any dollar store, have to advertise when all their products are sold for one dollar? Why do they need to advertise at all? What’s the point? Won’t everything still cost one dollar even with the sale? If they reduced the price to 99 cents, they couldn’t call themselves a dollar store! So I inspected the sales paper and … everything costs one dollar!

Buy whatever you want! For just one dollar!

Olivia Maciel

Sombra en plata por Olivia Maciel

Olivia Maciel is a poet who was born in Mexico City, but has lived in Chicago a long time. She has written several collections of poetry over the years. She writes poetry in Spanish, but her books include an English translation on the facing page. I recently read two of her collections: Sombra en plata [Shadow in Silver], Chicago, Swan Isle Press, 2005, and  Luna de cal [Limestone Moon], Chicago, Black Swan Press, 2000. All her books are available for purchase on

I first met Olivia in one of my graduate classes at UIC. We took several classes together while earning our masters degrees. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a Ph.D. When Octavio Paz died, she wrote an article about her reactions to his death that appeared in the Chicago Tribune. We occasionally bump into each other at UIC because we are both Spanish lecturers there. I really enjoy talking to her because she’s so creative. Sometimes, she begins writing poems as we speak. She says that I inspire her when we talk. I asked her if she would hire me as her muse.

Viene vestida de viento y perlas.

Wing Yip

Wing Yip in Bridgeport

For the finest Chinese Food, you must go to Bridgeport on Chicago’s south side. Wing Yip Chop Suey, 537 W. 26th Street, 312.326.2822, is a cozy, family-owned Chinese carry-out restaurant. If you dine in, don’t expect a fancy ambiance. In fact, don’t even ask to use their public restroom. They don’t have one!

I have eaten at this Bridgeport establishment since the early 1980s, but I’m not sure what it was called back then because I don’t remember the restaurant ever having a sign outside with its name on it. This place doesn’t look like much from the outside–or the inside, now that I think of it–but the food is delicious and they serve generous portions for a more than reasonable price.

As you wait for your food, you may read the Chicago Tribune or Sun-Times that someone left behind after reading it. The carry-out customers are Bridgeport residents and people who work in the neighborhood. Everyone in Wing Yip is very friendly. People often meet other acquaintances, friends, or family members by surprise when they go there. But strangers greet each other, too. The loyal customers love this place so much that anyone who patronizes Wing Yip has something in common with all other customers who walk in. So it’s not that unusual for total strangers to greet each other and start up a conversation.

As a police officer, I used to like to eat lunch there because everyone respected the police there and I would meet other police officers whom I hadn’t seen in years. This is also a great police restaurant because the service is fast and cheap. I sometimes go out of my way just to eat there now that I’m a retired police officer. I like the fact that they know me by name because I’ve spent so much time in there over the years. If you go there, you just may see me sitting in the corner doing the crossword puzzle.

Immigration, legal or otherwise

Do you really want to live without Mexican food?

America, you better think twice. No Mexicans, no burritos! Next time you’re about to bite into that burrito, will you ask yourself, “Is this burrito here legally?” Of course not! You crave that tasty burrito and you’ll enjoy every bite of it.

Not many people really think about citizenship in their day to day existence, unless of course, they’re not U.S. citizens. No one really thought about how many Mexicans were in the Midwest until the immigration marches last year. Since then, everyone seems obsessed by a person’s state of citizenship, whether or not they’re here legally. It’s an immigration version of the House Un-American Committee, or the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in the military. Now whenever I read about Mexicans in the news, there’s no doubt if the subject is a citizen because the author will state their citizenship status. Or, if not a citizen, we read something like, “does want to give last name because he/she is not a citizen.”

On the July 4, I read “Squeegee economics” in the Chicago Tribune about Chicago skyscraper window washers from Mexico. For example, Salvador Mariscal of García de la Cadena, México, cleans the windows of the John Hancock Center and he’s a legal immigrant. Juan Ortiz, who worked illegally in Chicago for three years, is mentioned by name because he is now living in México again. Would you believe the Tribune reported that there are illegal immigrants washing skyscraper windows in Chicago?

Maybe we should work on the immigration reform bill a little harder. If we deport all the illegal Mexicans, we won’t have burritos and we’ll have dirty windows to boot.


Brighton Park, Chicago, Illinois

In Chicago, we have newspaper Hoy that is published in Spanish by the Chicago Tribune. I enjoy reading the news in Spanish because it provides a different perspective. Sometimes Hoy has articles that wouldn’t appear in other local newspapers because they deal with local Hispanic interests. I also subscribe to the Chicago Tribune, but I read Hoy first. Some articles appear in both the Tribune and Hoy. When they do, the articles seem to have been written in English first and then translated into Spanish for Hoy; they contain the same information in the same order. There are many more typos in Hoy than in the Tribune, but I still enjoy reading Hoy.

I have Hoy delivered to my house. Would you believe that this subscription is free? I believe that if you live in the delivery area for the Chicago Tribune, you may subscribe. Here is their telephone number in case you’d like to subscribe: 312.527.8467.

Anyway, I also have the Chicago Tribune delivered to my house. When I ordered Hoy, I started having problems with my newspaper delivery. I’m not sure what happened, maybe the delivery person didn’t think I could read both English and Spanish. I would either get the Tribune or Hoy, but not both. I really couldn’t complain about not getting Hoy since I didn’t pay for the subscription. However, I was paying for the Tribune subscription and I wanted to read the news. I called to complain and now I get both newspapers regularly, more or less. A couple of weeks ago, instead of receiving the Tribune and Hoy, I received the Korean Daily! I can’t read Korean! I wonder how the Korean Daily subscriber reacted when receiving Hoy!