Stephanie is teaching a class at the LaGrange Art League called "Creating Abstract Art Using The 'Pour' Method."
Details, and sign-up information are on their site. She's taught this class in the past to much acclaim and much positive feedback. Classes are now under way, but there's still time to sign up and join the fun!

The next Tamale Hut Cafe Reading Series night will be on Saturday, June 23, and Matt will be reading the next chapter of his new "Barnstormers" story. You can read the previous chapter on his web site at On that site you can sign up for his mailing list, and you will receive the entire Barnstormers story to date, most chapters with content not read at the Tamale Hut.

For more information about Stephie's art, please also check out
For Matt's writing projects, please go to Enjoy your visit here!

05/31/17: Every so often, a news article will pop up about the blooming of a "corpse flower" in a conservatory or greenhouse nearby. I'd always been intrigued by the Amorphophallus titanum, a plant native to western Sumatra, which blooms once every seven to 10 years, and only blooms for a 24 to 48 hour stretch, giving off a scent that's been described like that of a rotting carcass to attract the flies and carrion beetles in hopes that they would pollinate it. There have been several blooming in recent years, but the short notice and short bloom time usually means that the only way to view the flower is via the Internet.
     As luck would have it, I'm now working at the Chicago Botanic Garden, and earlier this week they announced that two of their titan arums, named Java and Sumatra, was about to flower! I was able to run over there at lunch time today and stood in line to see (and smell) this rare event!
     The line was not that long, and I was soon walking by the two flowers as people milled back and forth and kids ran by. Both were huge, well over seven feet tall, and while Sumatra was not yet open, Java was in full bloom. The picture here does not do it justice. I'm fan of anything larger-than-life, and these two were impressive.
     The only disappointment was the actual smell. One of the volunteers said that it was not as pungent as expected because the greenhouse was not as warm as the plant would have liked it, but the odor was strong. I think I was disappointed because when I worked in the Produce department, I experienced, at various times, a pile of liquefying potatoes and a bin of rotting watermelons, and both of those smelled worse than the corpse flower.

05/21/17: I really need to delete the Bat Out Of Hell album from my phone. I recently loaded it because I hadn't heard it in a while, and I read an article in Classic Rock about how its essentially the soundtrack to a musical that Jim Steinman wrote years before, and is now being staged as a musical in London. I've listened to it couple of times in the car (typically singing along at the top of my voice) but now I can't get the songs out of my head. And it's not like a typical earworm, with one song that won't go away. It's almost all the songs, over and over. At work, at home, in the shower, in the car, it's driving me nuts! It has to go.
     I did, however, replace it on my phone with Bad for Good, the album Steinman recorded when Meat Loaf lost his voice after the Bat Out Of Hell tour. Let's see how that goes.

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