Wednesday, January 31, 2007

real genius

When I read about today's bomb scare in Boston, I had to wonder what genius came up with this and what bigger geniuses actually approved it. In our nervous post-9/11 society, how smart can it be to attach devices resembling bombs to the undersides of bridges or in transit stations? This ill-conceived marketing stunt affected a fairly large area of Boston and nearby suburbs, shutting down I-93, a major hospital, train stations and a train line, bridges across the Charles River, a major road, and other locations. Police have arrested a Boston-area man in connection with the case.

But wait, there's more. Similar devices were supposedly planted in several other cities, including San Francisco and Chicago.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if a bit of litigation comes out of this. Will the story get any weirder? Stay tuned...

R.I.P. Molly Ivins

Print journalism has lost a distinctive political voice. Molly Ivins died today of breast cancer. I will miss her unique wit and humor.


This is some real silliness, courtesy of Bicycling magazine.

Bring Your Own Big Wheel (no rubber tires allowed)

Six Easters ago, artist Jon Brumit decided to ride a plastic Big Wheel down San Francisco's Lombard Street, said to be one of the most crooked roads in teh world. As with so many really good bad ideas, others quickly recognized the appeal of his ride. In 2006, the event drew 17 racers and about 500 spectators - and lasted about one minute. Riders apply duct tape to their shoes for extra stopping power on the bricks, and compete for Brumit's handcrafted pricez, including string art, shellacked plaques and underwear with custom iron-on patches. Bonus tip: Last year's champion was the last to cross the start line (he was meditating), which allowed him to avoid the inevitable carnage at turn 1.

Jon Brumit's web site has pictures and info. Very entertaining pictures.

local politics in the blogosphere

The News-Star has a good article on the interaction between neighborhood political blogs and local politics. Since I've been reading other people's blogs and writing my own, I've been impressed by the ease of sharing information with many people and exposing facts that the powers that be might prefer to keep hidden. A blog can be a powerful tool to unite people, push for change, or provoke discussion. Blog on, folks!

Monday, January 29, 2007

candidate forums

Debates between the 49th ward aldermanic candidates will be happening on the following dates:

February 1, 2007 at 7:00 pm
Loyola Park Fieldhouse
1230 W. Greenleaf
Sponsored by Rogers Park Community Council and DevCorp North

February 3, 2007 at 10:00 am
United Church of Rogers Park
1545 W. Morse
Sponsored by Rogers Park Community Action Network (RPCAN)

February 7, 2007 at 7:00 pm (corrected)
United Church of Rogers Park
1545 W. Morse
Sponsored by ONE/League of Women Voters

February 14, 2007 at 9:30 am
No Exit Cafe
6970 N. Glenwood
Sponsored by Rogers Park BizArts

February 14, 2007 at 10:00 am
Good News Community Church
7649 N. Paulina
Sponsored by Howard Area's Alternative High School and Senior Club

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

and they're off and running...

a delightfully cynical view on our broken political system...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

off the rails?

Crain's Chicago Business ran a detailed story about the CTA's current woes, with lots of facts and dates that spell out exactly how bad the situation really is.

good karma

A cool story from San Francisco about a bit of good car-ma...

why circulate residents' SS #s to ward offices?

That's the question that yesterday's news story prompts me to ask. Today's Sun-Times has a follow-up story, which clarifies that the practice of including social security numbers in the data given to ward office was stopped 3 years ago, and that the data CDs in question go back to that time.

A class action lawsuit has been filed, and this site is the place to go for information regarding the lawsuit.

Is there any legitimate reason why data other than the most basic voter registration info (name, address, gender, birth year, political party) should be given to ward workers? I can't think of any.

Did I miss something, or has the Tribune utterly failed to provide any coverage on this story? Is somebody asleep at the wheel over there?

Monday, January 22, 2007

information leak

If you are a registered voter in Chicago, read this. You may be at risk of identity theft, thanks to the circulation of sensitive information to ward offices.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

omitted facts

Things are stirring in Rogers Park. The Reader has an interesting item about a strategic error/omitted fact in one of Joe Moore's tree killers (otherwise known as campaign brochures).

Check out Toni's blog and Hugh and Craig's contribution to the discussion for more.

Joe has picked up the impending CTA construction/service reduction nightmare as an issue and is milking it for every possible bit of campaign publicity. (And it's obviously for the campaign, since he doesn't seem to say much about the CTA otherwise.) It's worth noting that he has omitted a major fact on this subject. Last year the City of Chicago contributed only $3 million towards operating expenses, the same skimpy annual amount they have given for the past 25 years. The city of Atlanta gave $18 million last year to MARTA, a system 1/10 the size of the CTA. Hmmmm.....

Monday, January 15, 2007

getting on board

Our country as a whole has a long way to go in reducing oil consumption. Improving Amtrak service and other non-auto forms of transportation would be a good step in that direction. Some states, including Illinois and California, are increasing state funding for Amtrak. Ridership on the high speed Acela service in the northeast has increased every year since it was introduced. Trains can offer a much more pleasant alternative to air travel if they are adequately funded so that they can be well run. Time to get on board...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A double loss

R.I.P. Michael Brecker and Alice Coltrane. The jazz world has lost two unique voices and talents.

Click on links to read more about Coltrane (1, 2) and Brecker (1, 2).

Saturday, January 13, 2007

noticing instead of passing by

The other day I was standing at the corner of LaSalle and Washington, waiting for the light to change so I could cross the street. I often pass this corner walking fast on the west side of the street, too close to see much above street level. Noticed some cool things when I approached from a different direction and had to wait. The street level facade is contemporary and bland.

If you stop and look up, the original facade is more interesting.

Friday, January 12, 2007

taking down the tree

A crew takes down the giant Christmas tree at Daley Plaza. And you thought it was a big job taking down your tree.....

Thursday, January 11, 2007

art changed by technology

David Byrne wrote an interesting piece on his blog about how the evolution in recording technology has continued to change music.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

fashion statement

Tonight I got an amusing eyeful on my way home. Sometimes I observe unusual fashion statements. This was one of those times. A short, blonde woman was walking down the street wearing a black with fake fur trim. Under the sodium vapor streetlights, I wasn't sure of the color of the trim. I got a look at the true color under different lighting at the train station: bright yellow. Yowza!

The coat had a slanted hemline, longer in back, with very long flared sleeves that echoed the hemline - wizard sleeves. A long, pointed hood hung down her back, with a fuzzy ball on the end. Where it hung, it resembled like a fuzzy bunny tail. She also wore red pants and white sneakers.

We ended up on the same train car. Up close, the fuzzy trim reminded me of Big Bird in color and texture. The overall look was wizard meets Santa meets fuzzy bunny meets Big Bird. Truly unique.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

business as usual

I was just perusing a few of the Rogers Park blogs and noticed this entry. Ah, business as usual, unfortunately. The video says it all. BTW, the background music for the liquor store expedition was a very nice touch.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Pigs flew

Who could have imagined that the city of Chicago would have a spine regarding a travesty of a redevelopment plan for the former home of the Terra Museum on Michigan Avenue? Read here and here for more details.

Kudos to the city's landmark commission for saying no to this plan.

time for equality

It often amazes me how slowly progress comes on some social and legal fronts. I hope the day comes soon when my gay friends can have the same set of legal rights granted in traditional marriage, whether it comes in the form of gay marriage or civil union.

Some of my gay friends here in Chicago have adopted children and are raising happy, healthy families. My gay friends in Florida do not yet have that same right. It's about time for the laws to change to eliminate these forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation.