Thursday, May 31, 2007

What's in season?

You may have seen the earlier post about farmers markets and wondered what's in season. The Sun-Times recently ran a list of what's in season when, very useful when you want to have some idea what you'll find at the farmers market.

Asparagus, greens, herbs, leaf lettuce, pea pods, radishes, rhubarb,
spinach, strawberries, watercress

Asparagus, green beans, greens, herbs, lettuce, mushrooms, pea pods,
pod peas, radishes, rhubarb, snap peas, spinach, strawberries

Beets, blackberries, blueberries, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage,
carrots, cauliflower, sweet and sour cherries, corn, cucumbers, red
currants, eggplant, fava beans, fennel, garlic, green beans, greens,
herbs, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, lima beans, muskmelon, okra, onions,
parsnips, peaches, pears, peppers, potatoes, radishes, raspberries,
shell beans, spinach, summer apples, summer squash, tomatoes, turnips,

Beets, blackberries, blueberries, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage,
carrots, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, fava beans, fennel,
garlic, green beans, greens, herbs, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, lima
beans, muskmelon, okra, onions, parsnips, peaches, pears, peppers,
potatoes, shell beans, summer apples, summer squash, tomatoes,
turnips, watermelon

Apples, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots,
cauliflower, corn, cranberries, cucumbers, eggplant, grapes, green
beans, greens, herbs, leeks, lettuce, lima beans, onions, parsnips,
pears, peppers, plums, potatoes, pumpkins, raspberries, summer
andwinter squash, tomatoes, turnips, watermelon

Apple cider, apples, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage,
cauliflower, cranberries, dried beans, greens, leeks, onions, pears,
potatoes, pumpkins, turnips, winter squash

a new/old sound

I was listening to WXRT today and heard a new tune by Joseph Sumner's new band, Fiction Plane.

You're probably wondering "who's Joseph Sumner?" Police fans might recognize the name Gordon Sumner, Joseph's father, otherrwise known as Sting. The band's musical style is different from the Police or from Sting's solo efforts. However, I can certainly hear a bit of Sting in his son's voice, just as I can hear a bit of John Lennon in his son Julian's voice. Not bad. Hopefully he can have a successful musical career and a decent life.

tales of the clueless 3

This guy may be our prizewinner of the year. And gets better.

vegging out

The Trib ran a nice review of Lake Side Cafe today. If you haven't checked out this relaxing spot, it's worth a visit.

tales of the clueless 2

Yesterday at lunchtime I was walking on State Street. The sidewalk was very crowded, and I was stuck behind a group of 20-something girls dressed in the disposable fashion of the moment. We were all walking past Marshall Field's (sorry, can't call it Macy's). They passed a Streetwise vendor, who was holding copies of the paper, and one of them took a copy and kept walking. The vendor was calling out "hey, that's not free, it costs a dollar." The girl who took his paper said "Oh I don't want it then" and flung it back at him. How low can you go, trying to rip off a homeless guy?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

action alert - Complete Streets

Your action is needed to ensure the passage of SB 314. SB 314 requires that bicycle and pedestrian ways be established in the planning and construction of all state transportation projects. A weakened version of the bill passed the Senate, but following a meeting between legislators, IDOT and Chicagoland Bicycle Federation staff, the bill has been amended to restore it to it's original intent.

There will be a vote on House floor today or tomorrow, as the deadline to complete business is May 31. It is very important that you call your state representative and ask for their vote in favor of this important piece of legislation.

Click here to find out of the name and contact information of your State Representative.

Please call your representative's Springfield office to ask them to vote for passage of the amended version of the bill. Please make a phone call rather than sending e-mail so that the message is received today, with a message like:

"I'm calling to ask Representative _________ to vote in favor of the amended version of SB314. Thank you for your time."

You can help make a difference in the quality of your pedestrian and bicycling experience.

save internet radio

Do you enjoy listening to internet radio? If you do, please contact your U.S. Senators and ask them to support the Internet Radio Equality Act. Click here and here for more info.

Click here to find the names and contact info for your senators.

The Copyright Royalty Board enacted a decision that would increase royalty payments for webcasters to a much higher level than broadcast or satellite radio, as high as 1200% of revenues for some webcasters. This would take effect on 7/15/07 and would quickly wipe out most currently available webcasts, including the excellent Pandora.

Click here for news updates on the issue.

tales of the clueless

Yesterday I was in the bathroom at work when a blonde 20-something from another office on the floor came in, talking on her cell phone. She took the phone into a toilet stall and continued her conversation while peeing and flushing the toilet. Some people have no boundaries at all. Ick!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Monday, May 28, 2007

green choices - biodiesel and ethanol

Some news stories and advertisements would have you believe that biodiesel and ethanol are the next big miracles. However, when you scratch the surface, it becomes apparent that it's not quite that simple.

The demand for oilseed crops is growing with interest in biodiesel. California farmers are experimenting with growing oilseed crops in areas where more profitable crops cannot be grown.

Here are 2 sites about DIY biodiesel and Biodiesel FAQs.

Meanwhile, increased demand for ethanol is having a significant impact on the corn market, U.S.-Mexico trade and the Mexican economy. Click below for articles.

Ethanol, corn and Mexico
Corn prices in Mexico
U.S. corn in Mexico
Significance of corn in Mexico

I'm concerned that the effects of these changes on the Mexican economy will continue to force desperate attempts by Mexican citizens to enter the U.S. illegally, increasing tensions between the Mexican and U.S. governments. I hope that our governments will address the problems caused by this change in trade so that the poorest Mexicans do not continue to pay the price.

Burning either an ethanol-gas blend or a biodiesel creates less air pollution per gallon than straight petroleum, however, ethanol combustion generates less energy than gas, so fuel economy is lower.

These emerging fuel technologies have a lot of potential, but the reading I've done so far has not convinced me that either fuel is an ideal answer at this stage in the game. I hope that improved engine technologies can be developed that will more fully take advantage of the positive aspects of biodiesel and ethanol, and that related international trade issues can be resolved.

new Olympic sport

Should this be a new Olympic sport?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Rogers Park Garden Group

Here's the scoop on their next meeting:

Tuesday 5/29 at 7 p.m. - Rogers Park Presbyterian Church, 7059 N. Greenview - Free

* Presentation by Christy Webber of Christy Webber Landscapes
* Container gardening big and small
* 2007 Community Garden project plans

too-happy meal

Hey, dude, maybe a happy meal is not the best place to put your stash.

No Olympic welcome in Polish?

In the city with the biggest Polish population outside of Poland, this is just wrong! Click here for story.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

farmers markets are back!

Yesterday was the first day of farmers market season in the Loop. It was great to see everyone at Federal Plaza. The neighborhood markets start up soon. For lots of folks in Rogers Park, the Evanston market may be the most convenient.

The Edgewater market starts 6/9 (Saturdays) 7 a.m. to noon at Broadway and Norwood (6034 N). The Lincoln Square market starts 6/12 (Tuesdays) 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lincoln/Leland/Western by the Western brown line station.

For info on farmers markets throughout the city, click here.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

aftermath of the Mooninite saga

Remember the news story from January about the bomb scare in Boston (with echoes here and in several other cities) that turned out to be a stupid marketing stunt for "Aqua Teen Hunger Force?" Here's a bit of commentary on how things turned out.

Friday, May 11, 2007

green choices - no free parking

Slate ran an article recently about why there really is no such thing as "free parking" due to the environmental costs of providing parking.

Seattle is taking that thought a bit further and putting the squeeze on parking spaces to encourage use of public transit and bicycles for commuting instead of driving.

This Chicago Tribune article looks at the issue of parking and congestion across the country.

The increasing social and environmental costs of car traffic and parking have reshaped my thinking on transportation. I lived out of state for 10 years, in an area of low population density and minimal public transit. Although traffic congestion was not a significant problem for me on a daily basis, the lack of transportation options bothered me. I hated having to drive nearly everywhere because there was usually no other way to get there. My last apartment there was on the edge of downtown Concord, NH, with many friends and a good range of Main Street shops and restaurants and two grocery stores within walking distance. I drove for my commute but usually left the car at home after work. I enjoyed being able to walk so many more places. Main Street was a social destination on Saturdays, thanks to the Main Street merchants efforts to create a viable alternative to the mall.

I still missed the cultural amenities of Chicago and finally moved back 10 years ago. I'm using my bike for an increasing portion of my shopping trips to the grocery store, hardware store, garden center, etc., thanks to a cargo trailer from a new local business.

Now that it's an option in many more places, using bicycles in combination with public transit is an increasingly viable option. Using a car share program, such as I-Go or Zipcar, is a better option for those of us who have an occasional need for a car but don't use one on a daily basis.

In another 10 years, I'd like to see a lot more bikes on Chicago streets, and a lot fewer cars. In 20 years, I'd love to see more bikes than cars on our streets. Working for better facilities and programs and better laws is a good way to get there.

pet food recall expanded

The pet food recall list has expanded a few times as news has come out about more pet food products contaminated by melamine-laced wheat gluten, . It's a good idea to check the recall web site from time to time to make sure that your pet's food is not on the list.

If you're interested in alternative pet foods, check out this Seattle article on the subject

Fast Eddie gets nailed

What took 'em so long?

Here's the Trib's story on it and John Kass' take on the news.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

ready for cicadas

First I had to make a little cage around my baby Japanese maple to keep the rabbits from eating it. I had to add some fine tulle mesh (available cheap at any fabric store) to keep the cicadas from getting to it. Ready or not, cicadas are coming soon.

iris and lilac time

Take a walk, enjoy the colors, inhale lilac breeze....ahhhh....

Friday, May 04, 2007

new bike lanes in 2007

The city of Chicago is adding 70 miles of new on-street bikeways this year. These include bike lanes, signed bike routes, and shared lane markings. Click the link above for more details.

bicycle recycling

Do you have an old bike that you're not using? If you want to donate it to a good cause (sustainable transportation for folks in developing countries), bring it to the 49th ward office at Jarvis and Greenview tomorrow (Saturday) morning after 9 a.m. during the annual ward clean-up day.

You can also bring it here: West Lakeview Chase Bank located at 3335 N. Ashland (at Ashland & Henderson, 1 Block South of Roscoe, on either of these dates:
Saturday, May 5, 2007 between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 12, 2007 between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

Organizations demanding credit for participating in Bike re(Cycle) Chicago are:
Bike re(Cycle) Chicago a.k.a. Bike Chicago 2007 a.k.a. The Mayor's Office of Special Events, Chase Bank, NBC 5, Goose Island, SRAM, Bally Total Fitness, 93XRT, Time Out Chicago, Starbucks, Hinckley Springs, the Chicago Department of Transportation, Chicago Park District, Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, Chicago Police Department, the Messenger Service Association of Illinois, and the program beneficiary Working Bikes Cooperative of Chicago.

Working Bikes Cooperative of Chicago will restore all donated bikes to benefit their local and global community outreach programs. Working Bike's volunteers work to provide bicycles to charity organizations within Chicagoland and to ship bicycles to the Gulf Coast, Cuba, Guatemala, Ecuador, Africa and many other places of need. For more information visit

Working Bikes Cooperative of Chicago is a non-profit organization that recovers landfill-bound bicycles, repairs them to working condition, and sells them to Chicagoans at a low cost in order to fund shipments of bicycles and bike parts to developing countries. Their mission is to empower communities by engaging in activities that promote environmentalism, public heath, and human equality. By recycling bicycles locally and delivering them to communities in need at low cost, they are able to provide sustainable development within their partner communities.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

if this is it

another dose of Huey...