Tuesday, September 30, 2008

only a few

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


A bar in Old Town has an unusual new highlight.

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.

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.

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

Great Calumet Bike Tour Sunday (tomorrow) 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.

tonight at Blue Moon

Playback, a acoustic trio, is playing at Blue Moon 1742 W. 99th St., 7-10 p.m.

Friday, September 26, 2008

95th St. detour Friday update

The other night I wrote about the construction closure on 95th St. I saw its impact in many locations on Wednesday. Some of the traffic detoured to 99th between Vincennes and Western, so 99th St. was bumper to bumper for that whole distance, even in the middle of the day.

On Thursday, the pattern changed a bit. I saw more traffic aides, barricades and signs, and the buses and some other traffic were detouring on Longwood or Vanderpoel to 99th. It looked like they were discouraging at least some of the traffic from using 96th. I've also noticed more traffic on Damen. I had trouble today with drivers turning from 95th onto Longwood wanting to keep moving, in spite of pedestrian traffic to/from the Metra station. Don't forget that pedestrians in the crosswalk have the right of way. You and your car can kill those pedestrians. Please slow down and let them cross - at 95th, at Ridge Park, on 99th St.

Whether you are walking, driving, riding a bike or otherwise getting around in areas affected by the construction at the 95th St. Metra station, be prepared for more traffic than normal in places you don't usually see it. Please remember that pedestrian right of way isn't suspended just because you have a temporary detour. Allow a few extra minutes and slow down. Thank you!

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.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

95th St. detour starting tomorrow

In case you haven't driven across the Metra crossing at 95th & Wood recently, you might want to make note of this little detour. Starting tomorrow morning, Wed. 9/24. this crossing will be closed for construction. They're saying it will only be for a week. If Metra's speedy fix-up on the 90th and 91st St. crossings is any indication, it will be. For now, you'll need an alternative to this section of 95th.

praying mantis

Last week we were taking down the trim from the front porch ceiling and discovered a bug buddy hanging over our heads.

In case you're wondering, that bug is about 4" long.

good morning sunshine

Monday, September 22, 2008

before and after

We've been working on a little house project for a while. We'd gotten a bit sick of this corroded old light fixture on the front porch.

I ordered a new light fixture. This picture doesn't do justice to the beautiful linen textured glass. When I assembled it and we took another look at the front porch ceiling, we didn't want to put that new light on the nasty, old ceiling.

We wanted a stained wood, and I spent a while searching to find a source for real beadboard. Plywood grooved to look sort of like beadboard just wasn't going to do the trick. When we finally got the red cedar beadboard and agreed on a stain color, it took a while to get it stained and varnished and cut to exact size pieces. Today I came home to a nice surprise - installed beadboard and light fixture. The finish trim will follow soon.

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!

Blue Moon

...now has a web site.

Alaskan 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.

9/26 fundraiser for a special group

"Raise the Woof" will be happening on Friday 9/26 at 8 PM at World Music Company, 1808 W. 103rd St. Guest rockers, bands and theatre artists include Jean Vanier, Jeremiah Stone and The Smokin' Js. Raffles, refreshments and a great evening of entertainment are planned for this enjoyable evening devoted to raising funds for a very worthy cause. Blessed Bonds helps people who are ill or otherwise incapacitated keep their animals thru various creative solutions.

Go to www.BlessedBonds.com, www.MySpace.com/JeremiahStone or www.JeanVanier.biz for more info and to buy tickets. Or call 773-779-7059 for info and tickets. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

To make a donation to Blessed Bonds (if you cannot make the fundraiser or want to make additional donations) send your donation to: Blessed Bonds, PO Box 129, Palos Park, IL 60464-0129 or click the PayPal link on their home page. (Donations are tax deductable; Blessed Bonds is a 501c3 non profit organization)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

subway series?

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

Saturday, September 20, 2008

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.

Queen's Landing

Power to the foot people!

drying out

What a relief to see NO RAIN outside the windows, after so much rain all weekend and seeing the huge line of Ike-related storm action. From Friday night until Sunday morning, the radar picture showed a solid arc of intense storms, all headed right for us. We're usually not on the receiving end of such concentrated hurricane moisture.

I thought that the 3.75" we got from Gustav was a lot, certainly more than normal for a day and a half.

Friday during the day was less than 1/4", then we got this from late Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon.

And from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, when the rain stopped.

I'm grateful that our experience here was nowhere near as bad as what happened in Albany Park, Riverside, Des Plaines and lots of other towns throughout the area.

We had some seepage in the basement, trickling across the basement floor and into the floor drains, which did not back up. Our intersection was starting to flood. We put on our raingear and got shovels and rakes to clear debris from the drains. All the leaves that have fallen from trees stressed by the August drought clogged up those drains good. Once we got them open, all the water drained from the intersection. Parts of our lawn had some standing water. We had no leaks. We were lucky compared to lots of other folks in the area.

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.

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!

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.

more of this

I'd like to see more of this on the south side over the next few years. I appreciate the Major Taylor Trail. This is good, too. We need more good on-street routes in between.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

household hazardous material disposal Sat. 9/20

[from an informational flyer, just received] Just about every Chicagoland resident has products in their home that are dangerous to the environment, themselves and their families – from old paint cans to insecticides, from batteries to fluorescent light bulbs and prescription or unused drugs.

Continuing to offer Chicago residents the opportunity to "be safe at home" and remove potential hazards to the environment or family members, the City of Chicago – in partnership with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Northeastern University – is offering safe disposal of dangerous, everyday products on Saturday 9/20, 9 am – 3 pm at a City of Chicago Facility located at 900 E 103rd St.

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

Beverly All Stars at Blue Moon

The Beverly All Stars will be back at Blue Moon Cafe on 99th St. this Saturday night from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. C'mon down and enjoy some fine jazz!

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 9, 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.

Friday, September 5, 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 4, 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.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

on voting

An amusing piece of video political satire.

green pest control

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

Tuesday, September 2, 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 1, 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.”