Friday, September 28, 2007

remembering Phil Frank

Back when his comic strip was "Travels with Farley," I became a big fan of Phil Frank's humor. In 1985, he decided to go local and change it to "Farley," focusing on San Francisco area humor. I was sad to read of his passing in yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle.

A fellow Chronicle cartoonist pays tribute to Phil Frank and Farley. Here's a 2005 tribute to Phil Frank. Sounds like Phil got quite a send-off in San Francisco the other day.

I will miss his unique, clever humor. Vaya con dios, Phil!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Break the Gridlock PARK(ing) action day

This happened last Friday. ZDnet ran a story on San Francisco's efforts. And here's a write-up on another local temporary park.

Residents to call attention to threatened community garden this Friday

Pilsen, Chicago: in conjunction with international Parking Day, Chicago activists, artists, and local residents will transform parking spaces into gardens in the Pilsen neighborhood.

The action is to take place in the 1900 block of S. Halsted street, from 6 P.M. to 8 P.M. on Friday September 21 2007.

The site was chosen to call attention to a garden space which was deeded to the community by former alderman Ambrosio Medrano, which garden stewards charge was innapropriately sold to Pilsen property mogul John Podmajersky Jr . by current Alderman Daniel Solis. Neighbors and participants in the care of the Cesar Chavez Community Garden, located at 19th and Canalport, were shocked earlier this summer
to find workers cutting down trees on the site, reportedly to create a parking lot for a nearby condominium development. Residents of east Pilsen have organized to fight for continued access to the garden, and will be on hand Friday to help raise awareness of the struggle.

Members of Chicago's growing carfreedom movement saw an opportunity to partner with proponents of the fight to save Jardin Cesar Chavez by targeting Pilsen and Podmajersky with this Friday's action. Payton Chung, a 26 year old urban planner, explains, "Podmajersky and Solis want to replace a garden with parking, so we're going to replace parking with a garden!"

According to the website, PARK(ing) Day challenges people to rethink the way streets are used and reinforces the need for urban open space. Pioneered by San Francisco arts collective Rebar in 2005, PARK(ing) Day 2007 is organized by Rebar and San Francisco nonprofit Public Architecture in association with The Trust for Public Land, which is coordinating a parallel national effort.

Public participation in Friday's action is sought, and participants are encouraged to add their own touches to the installation--additional plants, garden furniture, tiki lights, and outdoor decorations such as trellises and fencing are welcome.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Ground Zero and what is means now

The Boston Globe ran an excellent op-ed piece on this subject today.

Shrub continues to do the American people a great disservice, turning Ground Zero into a monument to America’s culture of victimhood. If our diplomats visited Ground Zero with Ahmadinejad, it could be an opportunity to start reversing our country's course of alienating Iran. This alienation only pushes our nations closer to the brink of war. Instead, Shrub, Hillary Clinton, and Rudy Giuliani are perversely united in denying Ahmadinejad a visit to Ground Zero.

While I am no fan of the current regime in Iran, continuing to insult Iran does not serve our nation or any other. Finding a way to step back from the brink would be a much more suitable memorial to those who died on 9/11.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Three for laughs

Nothing earth shattering here, just three “news of the weird”-type items for your amusement.

Genius #1
Genius #2
Genius #3

Hard to pick a winner in this particular race, but it seems like these folks are a few brain cells short of a normal quota. Who gets your vote? ;)

Friday, September 14, 2007

cool September bike rides - updated

This Sunday the North Shore Century awaits. There are routes for riders of all abilities, from the 10 mile family route to the 25, 50, 62 and 100 mile routes. You can see different areas of the north shore, and visit the Kenosha velodrome if you're up for 100 miles. Food at the rest stops is great. There is mechanical assistance available along the way if you have problems. Live entertainment and a massage tent await at the finish.

This ride benefits the Evanston Bike Club, which donates a large portion of the proceeds to local bike-related organizations and programs.

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Last weekend's Boulevard Lakefront Tour was a success. It featured a 15-mile family route, a 35-mile route, and a 62-mile route (metric century), with lunch and live entertainment at the post-ride festival. The ride started and ended in Hyde Park, highlighting Chicago's system of boulevards and parks. Rest stop locations include Palmer Square and Ping Tom Park. Here are a few highlights of locations featured on the ride: Logan Square/Palmer Square, Washington Park, and the recently revived Drexel Boulevard

This ride benefits the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, our local bike advocacy group. They work to improve bicycling in the Chicago area through education, municipal bike plans, and efforts to make bicycling more feasible as practical transportation.

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The Pullman Labor Ride is done. Beautiful day for it. It's a tale of 2 factory towns: Pullman and Marktown (part of East Chicago). If you can ride 30+ miles and have an interest in local history, it's very worthwhile. This ride benefits the Pullman Civic Organization, which was founded in 1960, when the entire historic section of Pullman from 111th Street to 115th Street was threatened with total demolition to create an industrial park. It continues the work of preserving the architectural and historical integrity of the community and helping to make it a good place to live.

For more info on Pullman, click here or here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

more changes at the Chicago Reader

As of 10/5, the Chicago Reader will be changing its format and changing its distribution day to Wednesday. Will this be a good thing or a bad thing? Guess we'll have to wait and see. Click here for more details.

Monday, September 10, 2007

teenage heroes

Once in a while I see a story that restores my faith that there are still some ordinary people out there who will go out of their way and risk their lives to save a stranger. This is one of those stories. My hat is off to Tom Foust and his friends for saving an elderly driver from being killed by an oncoming train. You are true heroes.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

the beat goes on

The Boston Globe recently ran a series about retracing the route of Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" 50 years later. Kerouac's widow says his message was misunderstood. I haven't picked up my copy of "On the Road" in a while. Time to revisit the journey...

Slate ran a piece that includes some interesting quotes from folks who were close to Kerouac. And here's a Sun-Times piece to add a bit more.

When I lived in New Hampshire, I visited Lowell many times. It was interesting to experience the transition of the Lowell millyard and nearby millworker housing from gritty, neglected bits of history to national historical site and Kerouac memorial. The blue collar life of a French-Canadian millworker family that Kerouac lived is a common thread in New England culture. I knew a number of people there whose parents or grandparents worked in the textile mills that were the lifeblood of the region until the Depression of the 1930s.

Every March, Lowell celebrates Kerouac's birthday. And they have another big celebration planned for October. Kerouac's scroll manuscript is on display at the Boott Cotton Mill Museum through the end of the October festivities.

If you happen to take a trip out that way, consider a stop in Lowell - for Kerouac, for all the history, and a taste of modern Lowell culture.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

landmark idol

If you have an interest in architectural landmarks and would like to see your favorite landmark win a generous preservation grant, check this out. It's an interesting list of landmarks. Vote early and often! You can vote once per day until October 10th.

honeybee update

If you are as curious as I am about the recent problems with colony collapse disorder affecting honeybees, here's an update on the story.

is your dog missing?

This morning I was walking to the Metra station and was asked by a police officer if the wandering dog she'd picked up was mine. She found the dog roaming in the area of 99th & Damen, crossing back and forth at 99th. In the morning rush hour traffic, I'm amazed she wasn't hit.

I didn't recognize the dog or know its owner. The dog is an older female, medium-sized, somewhat overweight, possibly a collie mix. If this is your dog, or you know the owner, the officer was planning to transport the dog to the Animal Welfare League at 103rd and Southwest Hwy., rather than city animal control.