MAN OF THE HOUSE

Chicago: The Windy, Meaty City

Yeah, well, some zoos do a better job than others. At our little zoo back in California, the one I pay the mortgage on, we pride ourselves on cleanliness -- it's almost obsessive. We hose down the kids at least once a week, and the 300-pound beagle, the zoo's centerpiece, gets a mineral water bath almost monthly.

It's a little ridiculous, this attention we pay to zoo hygiene, but it pays off in the long run.

And what could be better preparation for college life?

::

Midway through my second beer, the cellphone burps.

"Where are you?" Posh asks.

"Who is this?"

"Your wife."

Time to move on. In fact, it's almost time to head back to Los Angeles, where the bars are generally too clean and the women all look like breadsticks.

We've had a nice stay in Chicago, though; we always do. Grandma seems half her age and the cousins -- there are six -- tumble in the yard with the little guy till he is breathless with glee.

The next day, we hop a freight train out of O'Hare -- a full flight, as always.

You can tell the Californians right away, by their flipflops and their tattoos. A certain proportion appears to be fleeing prosecution. Others, like us, are going West for the sunshine and the chance to meet a movie star.

California . . . America's Australia.

Honestly, it's good to be home.

chris.erskine@latimes.com.
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Space shuttle Endeavour remembered

Former Endeavour engineers reminisce about the legacy of the last space shuttle ...

Former Endeavour engineers reminisce about the legacy of the last space shuttle ever built.