chicago columbian exposition


L. Frank Baum moved with his wife and children to Chicago around 1891, settling into a home at 1667 N Humboldt Ave. The former actor and failed entrepreneur had moved to Chicago to become a reporter for the Evening Post

After several years and moving from job-to-job, Baum began writing children’s poetry books, publishing a couple with no real success. 

In 1900 Baum released the book that would spawn a wildly successful series, countless stage productions and later a film that would become the most popular and beloved movie of all time, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

As the urban legend goes, Baum was working in an office building on Michigan Ave, his window looking out directly across the street to the Art Institute. It is believed that his view of the very-brave-looking and regal lion statues, flanking the entrance to the museum, were his inspiration for the character of the Cowardly Lion.

Though the lion story can be disputed, it is generally agreed upon by literary historians that Baum’s inspiration for the Emerald City was the majestic White City of the 1893 Columbian Exposition.

In Today’s Magic Story...

The planeswalker’s guide to Kaladesh


The suspense is killing me, it really is.  I need to know what happens!  I need story!  Part of me was hoping to see stories involving our new commanders – like checking in on Atraxa and how New Phyrexia is faring, or maybe a dash of romance between Kynaios and Tiro.  I feel like we’re in the vast stretch of grassland between cities when going on a roadtrip: there may be a neat thing along the way, but nothing compared to the splendor of cities and towns.

Heck, I might have to post some of my own stories just to keep myself sane.  But until then, here’s some tidbits from the guide…

  • Aether can be devoured.  It doesn’t say by gremlins only, so I believe there’s an exotic food or drink involving pure aether.
  • Avaati Vya created the process to refine aether – and by extension, could also be considered the creator of the aetherborn.
  • We’ve seen things from the Renegade side a lot, but here is the first time some doubt is shed on them.  It says they “…believe that the Consulate is concealing information and innovation from the public.”  Now we know from Tezzeret’s confiscation coup that its true, but it may not have always been that way.  Tezzeret could have been in the wrong place in the wrong time – unless Bolas intended this…
  • One reason I really like Kaladesh is that the Inventors Fair reminds me a lot of the Chicago Columbian Exposition.  Not only with the paralels to the World’s Fair, but also with the underlying tensions between the common folk and the government.  The Inventors Fair still lasted only one month, where the Exposition lasted six!
  • The categories of the Fair, and their subcategories:
    • Vehicles: Airships, skyspeeders, freighters, dragsters, barges, cruisers, and caravans.
    • Architecture: Buildings, arenas, and stages.  This is also a tie-in to the CE, as they had famous architects designing buildings, as well as the landscaping, which was a wild ride from start to finish.
    • Aether Science: New Refinement Methods, Enhanced Power Extractions Techniques, and Rashimi’s Teleporter Alternate Means of Matter Transportation.  Tezzeret himself put out a call for this.  Hmm…
    • Weapons: Long-Range, Personal “Defense”, Aether-Firing, Vehicle-Attachment, and Construct-Attachment.
    • Animal Constructs: This was included because it would be popular, not practical.
  • There are societies of inventors too:
    • League of Aeronauts: Skycaptain and the World of Tomorrow. Invitation only.
    • Derby Crows: The most talented of pilots.
    • Glint-Sleeves: Focuses on wearable artifice for arms and hands.
    • Scrappers: Robot Wars.  Of note, they treat their automatons like champs instead of machines, which is a detail I like.
    • The Countless Gears: Miniature artifice & Thopters.  Also known as Too Many Gears.
    • Ground Grinders: Speed Racer.
    • Greenwheel Lifecrafters: Perfect models of living creatures, but made gigantic.
    • Metalspiners: Kinetic sculptures, with form and function, and is apparently dangerous.
  • Saheeli Rai can apparently create endless metal threads into her creations.
  • Dovin Baan has had a 100% perfect track record, with no device he’s inspected needing a recall.  No wonder he took such offense at Tezzeret’s suggestion of a misstep.
  • Again, Tezzeret is building something.  What could it be…