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New website makes me Chicago’s Wizard of ‘Odds’

Today’s column from the Kankakee Daily Journal and The (Ottawa, Ill.) Times

New website makes me Chicago’s Wizard of ‘Odds’

The WISCH LIST

Oct. 9, 2010

Most of you know me as a words guy.

But, as my Facebook friends have learned quite well during the past few years, I’m a photos guy, too.

Quite simply, I was born with an eye for the absurd and I’m observant to a fault. Every day, I seem to spot things in life that most others don’t. And, if something happens around me that I didn’t appear to notice, well, it’s probably only because I pretended not to.

Often, I write about the interesting, amusing and quirky things I catch sight of on the streets of Chicago and beyond. But, other times, I simply snap a photo of them with my iPhone.

And then share it with Facebook friends.

Today, however, I’m taking things to a new level by sharing my ever-growing collection of eccentric photos with all of Chicagoland – and then hoping that Chicagoland will, in turn, share its photos with me.

So, without further ado, I’m excited to announce the launch of my new website, oddchicagophotos.com, which is pretty much exactly what it says it is. If you swing by for a visit, you’ll see the tagline is, “If it’s odd and in Chicago, it’s here,” and soon discover that’s the truth.

Featuring a hearty sampling of the many photos I’ve snapped of Chicagoland’s oddball signs, offbeat outfits, over-the-top vanity plates (one of my specialties) and much more, it’s my hope that oddchicagophotos.com will provide you with at least a few chuckles today.

And with a lot more in the future, as the site grows through my own photo contributions, as well as those from Chicago-area residents just like you.

According to a national survey released in March by wireless association CTIA, about 91 percent of the U.S. citizens now own a mobile phone. Most have cameras, meaning that with about 10 million people living in the greater Chicago area, the potential opportunities to snap shots of the Midwestern quirkiness that surrounds each of us every day are almost limitless.

Just so long as we look for them.

My concept for oddchicagophotos.com is similar to that of the popular offbeat photo-sharing websites peopleofwalmart.com and awkwardfamilyphotos.com, but I think it has the potential to boast broader – and even more amusing – content. It all depends on what people see and shoot and how clever they can be with their captions.

To contribute your own photo to oddchicagophotos.com, simply visit the site and click the “Submit” button on the home page. Then, select “Submit a Photo” from the scroll-down menu that pops up, upload your photo from your computer, type in an amusing caption (if you have one), check the box accepting the “Terms of Submission,” and hit “Submit.”

All photos will be reviewed prior to posting, and keep in mind that I will be keeping the site both classy and clever. Inappropriate photos will be rejected, and only the most entertaining images will make the cut. Photos of anything that’s amusing and Chicago- or Illinois-related will be considered for submission.

To enhance the Odd Chicago experience, you can also follow the site at twitter.com/oddchicagophoto (no “s”) and become a fan of “Odd Chicago Photos” on Facebook. In the coming weeks, look for upgrades to the site, spread the word and be sure to check back regularly for new photo submissions.

If you have a Facebook account, it’s likely you already have at least a few funny photos buried somewhere in your Mobile Uploads folder. Thanks to oddchchicagophotos.com, now is the time to start putting them – and your phone’s camera – to good use.

Remember, the Odds are with you.

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Oh, Chicago, you never cease to entertain ...
Oh, Chicago, you never cease to entertain ...