Tuesday, September 30, 2008

only a few

Of our 50 aldermen, only a handful declined this year's pay raise. Joe Moore was not among them. How can he accept a raise in good conscience when hundreds of other city employees are facing layoffs, and the city faces a decline in city services?

free Sarah

I would love to see John McCain's handlers let Sarah Palin loose to speak more. If not now, then when will she get experience dealing with the media before election day? Such experience is essential to the office she seeks.


A bar in Old Town has an unusual new highlight.

are you registered to vote?

If you're not registered, or you have moved since you last registered, click here. Note that the voter guides page gives deadlines and other info for specific states. If you are legally eligible to vote, please take the time to register, research the candidates, and vote. Your vote DOES matter.

a bit of injustice

After reading this story in yesterday's Trib, I was left scratching my head as to how the police officer in this tragic incident could have made the scheduling error that caused the tickets to be dismissed. For those of you don't remember the names, this was the incident where a young woman was hit by two cars on Sheridan Road and killed.

I wanted to get a police perspective and asked a friend. He said that common practice to avoid what happened here is for the officer to set a court date within the required 60 days. If the only possible dates fall during the officer's vacation, that officer would designate one of those dates and contact the court to explain the situation and request a continuance, which is usually granted. He said that the dismissal of the tickets was unlikely to affect the family's civil case against the drivers.

Monday, September 29, 2008

solutions to our energy crisis

Someone sent me a link to this video clip - a testament to one legislator's inability to get his head out of his a$$, think outside the box, [or your metaphor here]. Contrary to what this jerk is spouting, riding a bicycle IS one viable solution to our energy crisis. And spending $1M per year on promoting bicycles as sustainable transportation is a drop in the bucket compared to the billions that are spent on highways and parking lots every year.

When I hear so many politicians talking about ways to generate more energy (almost always from non-renewable sources), I keep scratching my head wondering why our nation of energy hogs can't understand that the supply of non-renewable energy sources if NOT infinite and start to think about using LESS energy - turning off a few lights, using a drying rack or clothesline instead of a dryer, driving a smaller car or *GASP* not driving less or not at all, using bikes and public transportation instead.

If you're considering trying your commute by bicycle, there's an Intro to Bicycle Commuting workshop tomorrow afternoon (1:00 p.m.) at Northeastern Illinois University, University Commons (or inside the Student Union if it rains). This is on the Northwest side of Chicago along Bryn Mawr, between Kimball and Pulaski - sponsored by the Green Cycle Group and the NEIU College of Cycling.

BTW, if you feel inspired to write a letter to the jerk in the video telling him what you think about sustainable energy policies and bicycles, here's a link to his web site.

Barack Obama visits Appalachia

I'll be very curious to see how Barack Obama does in Appalachia in the general election. The New Yorker has some interesting insights on his campaign efforts there.

another winner

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler did it again - another great Sarah Palin send-up on Saturday Night Live.

a greener Sears Tower

I noticed this article in today's Sun-Times about new green amenities for tenants at the Sears Tower: loaner bikes for local trips, expanded indoor bike parking, and a few other improvements to reduce car trips and provide incentives for bike commuting. Not bad!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

up next....

If you didn't catch Friday night's presidential candidate debate, the New York Times offers a well done interactive feature about the accuracy of the candidates' statements. (Click on the tab "check point" in the boxed-out area to the right of the video. As you scroll down in that box and click on the words "New York Times Check Point", it takes you to that part of the debate in the video.)

FactCheck.org, a non-partisan and nonprofit organization, did an analysis that is interesting on both sides.

Then we have Thursday night's VP candidate debate, which should be highly entertaining.

a bit of local humor

Cheers to King Richie! [hic]

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rogers Park Garden Group fundraiser 9/28

The Rogers Park Garden Group is a having a sale of all sorts of garden-related stuff - tools, plants, pots, garden art, etc. It's happening tomorrow (Sunday) outside of Charmers Cafe, 1500 W. Jarvis at Greenview, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bring your cash or check and c'mon down!

Friday, September 26, 2008

a great weekend for art

East Pilsen open studios THIS WEEKEND: Friday 9/26 (6-10 pm) to Sunday 9/28 (12-7). Under the Wire gallery (2210 S. Halsted) will be featuring Full-Body Henna, (well, nearly full) performed by Tejal Mehta on Chicago Burlesque Star Ms. Cherish. The courtyard gardens in the middle of a few blocks will be open to visitors. The stage in the middle of the block accessed from the church garden at 19th & Peoria will have performances. More more events, click here.

Hyde Park Jazz Fest this Saturday

This Saturday 9/27 is the Hyde Park Jazz Fest from noon to after midnight. It's happening at many different venues around Hyde Park (including the Checkerboard Lounge) and it's FREE.

Tyler Perry gives back

Nice human interest story from Atlanta.

funky Friday

Old and new: older tunes, one in a newer video - Fantasy and September. These are two of my faves from back in the day. They still sound great.

lack of leadership

Bush has shown a stunning, but unfortunately not surprising, lack of leadership in the current financial crisis. Right now is NOT the time to opt out of debating. This is when we REALLY need to hear how our presidential candidates will respond to a crisis of this magnitude. Bring it on!!!

If you want to see the debate happen, please send a message by signing this emergency petition ASAP.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

stupid human trick

McCain's withdrawal from tomorrow night's debate to "fix the economic crisis" smells like a scam to me.

new restaurant

For those of you who have been wondering when the new restaurant would open in Cafe Suron's former space, it's here. Ropa at 1146 W Pratt (east of Sheridan) has been open for about 3 weeks and will have their grand opening on Oct 1. Got this review from a friend in the 'hood who checked it out last weekend.

Food and liquor prices are reasonable....imported beer $4 - domestic $3 - wine by the glass $6-8 with "tasting flights" 2x2 glasses = $4, 3x3 glasses = $6 etc....so if you want to try a sample of various wines, here is a nice opportunity.

I am not a wine snob but I would not order the 14 Hands Chardonnay again....The viognier shenin was quite nice....there is a malbec and I always feel good about a place that has malbec on the wine list.

The menu features a lot of grilled meats ($17-23), a few vegetarian options, and many "mediterranean" touches. The staff was very good about "substitutions" for suggested side dishes....I had a very nice steak sandwich ($10) with sauted spinach (excellent!) substituted for fries. My companion had Lemon Caper Chicken ($15) with sauted spinach (substituted for rice pilaf - build your own florentine, eh?) which was a good sized entrée and he ate the whole thing. He had salad (creative salads $6) and I had feta stuffed spring rolls. The fishy, pasta, poultry entrée choices were very nice and it looks like you could create a nice "tasting menu" off the appetizer and salad list.

I will go back again.....it was a good experience....passing thought - two people could share a "flight" of 5 2oz glasses of wine for $10....and create a very nice tour of the wine list.....don't get the 14 Hands Chard.

I plan to visit soon and try it myself.

Great Calumet Bike Tour this Sunday 9/28

There's a LOT of good stuff happening this weekend. Just got word of yet another calendar item, a bike tour sponsored by the Calumet Ecological Park Association. It's happening this Sunday 9/28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult cyclists should meet at Reynolds Club Student Center, 5706 S. University in Chicago. The tour starts in Hyde Park and makes informative stops at Oakwoods Cemetery, Historic Pullman, Lake Calumet wetlands, Wolf Lake, Rainbeach, South Shore Country Club and Jackson Park. They request a $15 donation, which includes a picnic lunch.

Reservations required. Contact John Pastirik at 773-991-0613 (or zccg@hotmail.com) or Judy Lihota at 773-646-4773.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

sign of the times

This morning at work, I encountered someone who was obviously unfamiliar with the building's new high-tech elevator control system, a conversation starter with many people. The conversation turned to occupations. When I asked "What do you do?" he answered, "I used to manage hedge funds. Now I'm looking for a lawyer to keep me out of jail." Ouch!

Alaska women say NO to Palin

This is a short video from a 9/13 anti-Palin rally in Alaska. I wish they'd shown more of the signs so we could read them.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

subway series?

It could happen. Go Cubbies!!!! Go all the way!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

World Music Festival TODAY

The 2008 Rogers Park World Music Festival is happening at Gale Park, 1610 W. Howard St. - 11:00 am - 6:00 pm - FREE

Angel In the Solar System, Cuban Soul & Salsa 1:00
Roots Redemption, Reggae 2:00
Andiandi, Pop/R&B 3:00
Yves Francois Et Rocambu, Jazz 4:00
Samba Mapangala & Virunga Dr. Congo/Kenya 5:00
African Rumba & Soukous

musical silliness

Somebody had a LOT of fun adding funny captions and graphics to this old footage. Watch if you need a laugh.

(park)ing day

This event has been happening for a few years now, but I know that plenty of you haven't heard about it yet. It's a creative way to make a statement about the need for green space in our cities.

I just got this update on Chicago locations from Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail: Please join The Trust for Public Land this Friday, September 19, 2008 for National Park(ing) Day. For the 2nd year in a row, TPL will be hosting a 1-day-only “park” next to the future Bloomingdale Trail, on the 1800 block of N. Milwaukee Avenue. The Bloomingdale Trail will be Chicago’s 1st, and the world’s 3rd, linear park converted from an elevated train line.

Here is the current list of the various Park(ing) Day sites taking place in the Chicago area. All except the last are in Chicago.

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, 1350 W. Belmont Ave. (Lakeview): 9am-3pm
CB Richard Ellis, (Walton Place) West of Michigan (Near North): 8am-1pm
Chicagoland Bicycle Federation , 9 W. Hubbard St. (Near North): 7am-7pm
Method Home Products , 2034 N. Halsted (Lincoln Park): 7am-7pm
The Trust for Public Land, 1801 N. Milwaukee (Bucktown): 6am-1pm
City of Waukegan, Madison St. (West of Genessee), Waukegan: 8am-2pm

Notes added later:
And here are LOTS of pictures from yesterday's event, from Perth Australia to Portland (Oregon and Maine) to Manhattan to Florida, and lots of other locations. I was disappointed that the CBF park was NOT at the advertised location in River North. It was at Boulevard Bikes in Logan Square instead. Last's year's location in East Pilsen was very cool. I hope that next year will see a revival of that spot.

Friday, September 19, 2008

funky Friday

Let's go time tripping back to 1978: One Nation under a groove and Groove Line. TGIF!!!!

wishful thinking

Here's another good example of political satire that is open to misinterpretation.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

your nation on white privilege

For an interesting perspective on the campaign, click here, go to Blog and read This is Your Nation on White Privilege. I wish this site allowed a direct bookmark.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

disturbing news

The news about BPA is worse than we originally thought. For more info, click here.

Jarvis Square news

There's a new business: Pig Pen at 1536 W. Jarvis. They offer children's clothes, arts and crafts, activities for your toddler, and more. Toddler time is on Wednesdays at 10:30 am. After school milk, cookies and crafts is on Thursdays at 3:30pm. Check out the free face painting all day on Friday. Store hours are Tuesday - Saturday from 10 to 7, and Sunday from 10 to 3. Closed on Monday. For more information, call (773) 336-8652, or click here.

RP Garden Group will have its second annual Jarvis Square Sidewalk Sale on Sun Sept 28 - from approx 11 am til 2 pm. If you have stuff to donate (divided outdoor perennial plants/excess houseplants, excess tools, pots, mulch, plastic/wire fencing, garden gnomes (my favourite!) or garden themed craft items.....contact RP Garden Group. And come on down to the sale on the 28th.

Queen's Landing

Power to the foot people!

a new business opportunity

A small but growing number of pedal-powered messengers in New York City are outfitting their bicycles with boxes and flatbeds on which they can load hundreds of pounds of cargo. I've seen the same thing here. For a few years, I've seen an increasing number of restaurants in and near downtown doing food deliveries by bike. Now I'm seeing regular bike messenger services offering bike cargo deliveries. Bring it on! This makes WAY more sense than using cars or vans in congested areas.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Palin in comparison

What can I even say after that brilliant SNL bit? I noticed a few comment postings in response that seem very appropriate:

Please Google "Wasilia meth capital" and you will find 33 articles about Wasilia being the meth capital of Alaska.
"According to Alaska state troopers, Wasilia became the "meth capital of Alaska" while Palin was mayor. In 2003, there were nine meth labs discovered, by summer of 2006 over 42 labs were busted." Sorry. --posted by Kathy in N. Galveston

I was thinking about the Palin convention speech and who it reminded me of. All of a sudden it came to me. Sarah Palin does not exist at all. She is really Sally Fields doing her stand up routine from Punchline. OMG. The whole thing is the greatest routine in modern history. There is no Sarah Palin. Only Sally Fields playing the original everywoman who doesn't aspire to political office, only to entertain. Wow, she is good. -- posted by Paul (undisclosed location)

...and from Martha in Alaska: Finally - some laughter and common sense! Palin is my governor and is absolutely a mega star for a week until you ask her a real question when she's not in front of a live audience. The assault on science will worsen under this woman unless we laugh her right off the podium. I think that's a more humane way to say goodbye to Sarah Palin than to throw tomatoes - which many Alaskans are tempted to do right now. I don't want her anywhere near the White House, but then I don't want her back in Alaska either. But since I live in the capitol city, she's never really here anyway so what the heck. Better than foisting her off on the world. Question everything you hear, talk to an Alaskan, get involved, vote and really really keep your sense of humor!

We definitely need to keep our collective sense of humor. We'll need it to get through the rest of this campaign.

a funny for your Monday

Sunday, September 14, 2008

finding humor in the darkness

All this rain seems to be feeding a need to find humor in our current political situation. Here's a dose of Doonesbury, and Pat Oliphant, Tom Toles, The Boondocks, and something silly and non-political.

in memory

On Thursday night, I attended an event that was both somber and hopeful, a memorial and ghost bike installation for Blanca Ocasio, who was killed a year ago while riding her bike at Armitage and Kedzie.

A large group gathered at the corner of Palmer Square for the memorial. Over 100 people came together: 30 or so from the local bike scene, the rest were family and friends of Blanca Ocasio, or people from the neighborhood. Todd Allen introduced the event. Gin Kilgore spoke on behalf of Logan Square Walks. She would like to see the area be a safer place to ride when her little boy is old enough to explore on his own. Rob Sadowsky of Chicagoland Bicycle Federation also spoke. Blanca Ocasio's father, Ramon, spoke briefly about missing his daughter, but being sure she's looking down on us all from heaven. He was overcome with sadness and unable to continue. Blanca's brother continued, thanking the ghost bike community for organizing the event. He also thanked Howard Kaplan for coming and speaking to them privately about the healing power that a memorial can have. He spoke mostly in Spanish, staying that Blanca's life and death and the memorial were important both to Latino community and to anglos, mentioning the need for more driver awareness of bikes on our streets.

A common theme was the dangers we all face as cyclists and pedestrians when drivers focus only on getting where they are going faster. The way that roads are designed and the way drivers use them affects us all as we go about our daily lives. Logan Square Walks and CBF's Healthy Streets program are working with Alderman Rey Colon's office on improvements to make neighborhood streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists. None of us wants to see anyone else killed at that intersection.

There were plans to do a ghost bike memorial last October, but when Howard Kaplan spoke to the family, they weren't ready. Thursday was the first anniversary of Blanca Ocasio's death. I hope that she is happily riding her bike in heaven, free from the threat of careless drivers.

I saw camera crews from Univision and Telemundo, but none from the major networks or Channel 9. Steven Lane produced a video. I saw no stories in the Trib or Sun-Times. But we were there. We remember.

where it came from

We've all been hearing the phrase "lipstick on a pig" a lot lately in relation to the presidential campaign. Here's a little piece on the origins of the phrase. Enjoy!

Friday, September 12, 2008


Are you interested in the health of trees in parks and other public spaces? You might want to check out this program for training volunteers in tree care and health, starting this Saturday.

funky Friday

Time for a real old school two-fer: Let's Groove and September.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

is your bank safe?

What happens if a major bank fails?

bike friendly states and communities

As with those "most liveable places" lists, some of these choices mystify me. I'm not surprised to see Wisconsin near the top, but didn't expect them to be #2. Some of their other choices also surprise me. In Illinois, they list only Chicago and Schaumburg as Bike Friendly Communities.
Schaumburg? How about Evanston and Oak Park? What's your $0.02 on this?

slight change of pace

and now...a small change in our regularly scheduled programming....

walking billboards

interesting concept

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

no Hillary Clinton

Sarah Palin may be a lot of things, but she's no Hillary.

do we really want a pit bull?

Garrison Keillor and Clarence Page have good commentaries in today's Trib.

the real cost of a free ride

Well, duh! Many of us were saying this up front. How much could these free rides end up costing us later? Will they cost us the ability to keep the system running without large and painful service cuts later? Blago proves himself a wizard with numbers yet again by doubling the pain – promising free rides AND eliminating a $32M state subsidy that would have paid most of their cost. $66.5M is a DEEP hole. Gov. Blobhead does not inspire any confidence in his ability to effectively solve the problem. Stay tuned...

another ghost bike

Tomorrow night another memorial will be dedicated. A ghost bike will be installed in memory of Blanca Ocasio, who was struck and killed while riding her bike. I hope that there are no more cyclist deaths this year.

creative living in the city

Are you familiar with Safe Routes to School? If you have kids, you should be. Tomorrow at lunchtime, Shana Hazan, Director of Safe Routes to School programs for the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, will be doing a presentation on the program at the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph, in the Claudia Cassidy Theater. You can check out this free 1-hour program starting at 12:15 on Thursday 9/11.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Chicago Cycling Club meeting tonight

If you've seen the Chicago flag jerseys around town or heard about some of CCC's rides and you're curious, you are welcome to come to our club meeting tonight at 7:00 PM at the Sulzer branch of the Chicago Public Library, 4455 N. Lincoln Avenue.

Our Speaker will be Michael Zellmann, US Road PR and Media Manager for SRAM Corp., the World's second largest component manufacturer. They are a $500 million dollar (annual sales) company that makes almost everything that goes on a bike. Their brands include RockShox suspension, Truvativ bars and stems, Zipp wheels, Avid brakes, and SRAM mountain and road drivetrain. They sponsor many of the largest (and smallest) teams and athletes in the world. They were founded here in Chicago in 1987 with the Grip shift twist shifter, it remains their most popular product. If you have ever twisted to shift gears, you have likely ridden SRAM.

PLEASE COME. There will also be a representative of the Dutch Bicycle Company De Fietsfabriek and he will bring along one of his cargo bikes for us to test ride.

Also coming...a member of anti-dooring.org, the group that is distributing the stickers that say "Someone opened a door and killed my friend. Please check your mirrors before exiting your vehicle." They would like our help in sticking these in places that motorists will see them.

There are bike racks in front. There are lots of restaurants for before or after. See you at a new meeting location this coming Tuesday - Sulzer Library. Meetings and membership are open to anyone.

Jargowood news

Thanks to Lorraine Dostal for these bits of news from last week's Jargowood block club meeting:

Howard station: The new CTA estimate for the completion of the old station is February of 2009. There is still wrangling going on over the use of TIF money to assist the CTA. Alderman Moore is in discussions and plans to retain some TIF money for the Howard Streetscape.

Gale Park: The community can celebrate the success that the field house is finally open. Currently the Park District is running the field house, which is open every day except Sunday. Discussions with the Boys/Girls Club are ongoing. A lot of visible drug dealing going on around the field house, in spite of the police presence that has been added. NOTE: park infrastructure and grounds issues are not 311 calls. Those types of calls must go to the park supervisors. Only graffiti in the parks is a 311 call.

Rogers Park Fruit Market: To help with traffic problems, the parking spaces closest to Clark Street are to be removed. There will only be 2 handicapped spaces west of the entrance. Regular diagonal parking will only be available to the east of the entrance. An additional traffic light will be installed on the SE corner of Jarvis & Clark.

New fire station: It was supposed to be opened this month, but is now expected in October. Both the Rogers Park Community Council and the Rogers Park / West Ridge Historical Society are still interested in using the old fire station. Economics are the constraint for both.

Mega Mall: No news yet. The Chicago Academy of Math and Science appears to be the front runner due to the current economic situation.

Jarvis & Ashland: Everyone is still frustrated at the lack of progress with standing water at the intersection. Seems like that's been a problem forever. VTone fitness center is to be open by the holidays. No particular holiday was specified. The owner also expects the Belgian Ale House to be open in the Spring of 2009.

Friday, September 05, 2008

funky Friday

Celebrate! It's Friday. I don't care if this one has been a little overused. It's an old school fave and the right tune for the moment.

Want more Kool? Enjoy the kaleidoscopic visuals style of this one and get down.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Boulevard Lakefront Tour

This is absolutely my favorite big ride in Chicago - a wide range of city neighborhoods, a great mix of people, live entertainment, food, and fun. This year's 20th anniversary event is happening this Sunday 9/7. It's not too late to register. Registrations are accepted up to the start of the ride.

It starts at the University of Chicago, within easy riding distance of the CTA red line, if you prefer not to drive. It's even a Climate Neutral event (the first of its kind in Chicago). There's a route for every ability: 15 mile family ride, 35 mile main route, and 62 mile (metric century) route. For the first time, the 62 mile route visits Beverly and Morgan Park.

The Ride Guide will point the way and offer details on Chicago’s rich history and main points of interest along the route. The post-ride festival will feature live entertainment, picnic lunch and drinks by Goose Island Brew Pub.

Registration includes:
• Event T-shirt and post-ride festival
• Volunteer support and five rest/water stops on the course
• Ride guide with points of interest along the route
• Scavenger hunt for raffle prizes
• Live entertainment at the festival

If you'd like to support the event but can't ride, please volunteer.

Either way, I hope we'll see you out there on Sunday!

funding cut for many state parks and historic sites

An article was published on 8/28 detailing planned state park (and historic site) closings due to Gov. Blagojevich's budget cuts. Click here to read the full text of the article.

The historic sites on the list will close Oct. 1, while parks will close Nov. 1. The cycling locations most affected will be the Hennepin Canal Trail (losing all maintenance workers) and the I&M Canal State Trail (losing maintenance along 2/3 of the trail).

Illinois State Parks on the list include Castle Rock State Park, Oregon; Lowden State Park, Oregon; Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park, Sheffield; and several others. Illinois state historic sites that will be shuttered include Dana-Thomas House, Springfield; Lincoln Log Cabin, Lerna; Bishop Hill, Henry County; and several others.

If you want to speak out on this, contact the Governor's office.

on voting

An amusing piece of video political satire.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

green pest control

Are bugs driving you nuts? Sounds like these folks have some less hazardous options for dealing with the problem.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

jeepers veepers

a bit of political humor

car-free Sundays

Car-free Sundays are happening here soon. Portland tried it, and it was a great success. They've done it in NYC and Cleveland. Seattle is trying it today. And here's a another video from the NYC version.

Soon it will be our turn. Read about it here and try it in October.

Monday, September 01, 2008

deja vu

A bit of timely political humor is circulating on the internet:

Joe Biden may already be practicing his drop-dead line for the vice-presidential debate: “I know Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is a friend of mine, and governor, you’re no Hillary Clinton.”

tough sledding

a laugh for your Monday