Friday, October 31, 2008

still listening

I was saddened but not surprised by the news of Studs Terkel's passing today after 96 years of a life well lived. Roger Ebert and Rick Kogan each wrote moving pieces about Studs, who has been the heart and soul of Chicago since before I was born. He had such a rare gift for listening well and capturing the spirit of what he heard in his words and sharing it with his readers through so many books and vivid characters. I can picture him still listening out there somewhere, writing yet another book.

pass it on

For all the times you've been frustrated after getting yet another chain e-mail (or six), this one's for you.

Halloween silliness

Click here for a silly Halloween greeting.

funky Friday

A three-fer: Superstition by Stevie Wonder, Edgar Winter's Frankenstein, and P-Funk's Dr. Funkenstein. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

more politically inspired silliness

Ah, someone had a lot of fun with Sarah Palin video clips and an old Devo tune. And if this gave you a nostalgic craving for the original, here's Devo in all their geekiness.

slow down and enjoy

How fast you eat can affect how much you gain. A related article discusses metabolism and appetite.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

looking back, looking forward

Right now I'm watching Judy Baar Topinka on Chicago Tonight. In most elections, I'm more likely to vote Democrat than Republican, but my underlying choice is dictated by who I think is the best candidate for each position. I firmly believed back in 2006 that Topinka was the best candidate for governor, and I voted for her. I have to wonder how things would have played out between then and now if she had been elected instead of the clueless Blobhead. *sigh* I lost count long ago of the number of serious errors he's made, including this winner.

If the Rezko trial can take him down, I think we'd all be better off. All we need to make this picture complete and satisfying is saying Blobhead hauled off to the slammer as Patti says "let them eat cake."


A perspective from the north on Sarah Palin.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

not in your IN box

Here's an amusing spoof on some familiar spam. Enjoy!

waste to profit

On Chicago Tonight, they had a feature about a cool recycling program that was unfamiliar to me: the Waste to Profit Network. The program matches up businesses with waste they can't use with other businesses that can recycle that waste in some way.

Monday, October 27, 2008

striped visitor

Last night I went out to one last harvest of catnip from the veggie garden. I'd already taken the last of the basil and tomatoes. When I got close to the garden bed and the sensor light came on, there was a rustling in the leaves at the other end of the garden. A big orange-striped cat leaped out of the catnip and ran out of the yard. I guess somebody else wanted one more visit, too.

on the lighter side

Click here to check out photos of creative pumpkin carvings.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Alaska's largest newspaper endorses Obama

I was just reading a wire story about the Anchorage Daily News endorsement of Barack Obama. It's a well-reasoned editorial piece, worth a few minutes of your time.


Listening to Chicago radio stations, lately I've been hearing lots of radio ads that begin "here in Indiana." The first one made me do a double take. Most of the ads we hear are aimed at Chicago and nearby suburbs. It's a consequence of living in a metro area that spills across multiple states.

For those of you reading this outside the Chicago area, we do have a lot of folks from northwest Indiana who work in Chicago and many more who listen to Chicago radio and watch Chicago TV stations.

The Obama and McCain political ads aimed at Indiana are here in abundance, because so many people in/from northwest Indiana listen to Chicago radio stations and/or work in the city. I haven't been watching much TV lately, but I'd imagine it's a similar picture there.

Added note 10/26: Today's new ad was a well done radio spot by John Mellencamp saying that a vote for McCain is a vote for 4 more years of tax credits to the corporations that keep sending jobs overseas and closing down American factories.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Opie, Andy and the Fonz endorse Barack Obama

This one is fun.

bike repair workshop 10/29

A clinic to teach basic road repair skills to help cyclists be self sufficient will be held on October 29 at 7 PM in the REI community room at 1466 N. Halsted. In case you haven't been there, this is the new REI store that just opened - close to the North/Clybourn red line stop.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sunday Parkways on 10/26

Are you going to check out Sunday Parkways this Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.? No? If you don't know what it is, or you want more info, click here. Some local streets will be closed to motor vehicle traffic to promote walking, bicycling and other non-motorized recreation, and neighborhood interaction. There will be activities and entertainment along the route.

Lots of folks came out to enjoy the 10/5 Sunday Parkways event. Will you be part of the next one?

funky Friday

Watch Dee Alexander perform, and then see a Trib feature about her. She'll be back at Jazz Showcase next Tuesday night.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

foreign language roundtable

Tonight at Blue Moon: a foreign language roundtable at 7 p.m. on Thursdays. If you're interested, come on down and check it out!


one of my favorite photo blogs

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

happenings at Blue Moon

Do you know about the different 7 p.m. evening offerings at Blue Moon?
1st Wednesday of the month - Reading on Walden's political discussion group.
other Wednesdays - knitting nights with My Sister's Knits.
Thursdays - foreign language roundtables - brush up on your language skills!
Fridays and Saturdays - live music.

It's one of the cool places to be in the neighborhood.

planting a tree

On Saturday, I got to be part of a special event: planting a tree in a city park.

Bringing the tree to its new home

Measuring the root ball so we could dig the right size hole

Moving the tree into the hole

The root ball is unwrapped. Sorry I don't have shots of filling the hole, but I had a shovel in my hand.

Putting mulch in place

Water is soaking in

The Treekeepers class has been a great learning experience. I'm looking forward to going to volunteer workdays starting next month. This class is almost over, but the next series will be in the spring at Warren Park.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

interesting turn of events

Seeing the Sun-Times endorse Barack Obama wasn't a surprise. The Trib's endorsement wasn't surprising in light of their editorials on Obama in the last several months, although it is a bit of a change from their historical penchant for Republicans. The comments on the Trib endorsement are quite entertaining. Now Colin Powell is on board. Here's Powell's interview on Meet the Press where he discusses his reasoning in detail. It's long but worth watching to the end.

As a nation, are we ready for a return to civility, respect, diplomacy, and thoughfulness? I hope so.

weekend update with Sarah Palin

more Saturday Live fun, this time with the real Sarah Palin...

soon in their backyard?

On Block Island, RI, lots of folks welcome the idea of a wind farm.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

a few laughs with Barack

He's got a lot of great lines in this speech.

Root for Chicago

Every so often American Express does a cool promotion to benefit some type of program in local areas. A while back it was historic preservation. Now thru 10/31, it's Root for Chicago to win money for local tree planting, which would be done through Openlands. I'd like to see Chicago win it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Playback at Blue Moon

Playback, the acoustic trio, is back at Blue Moon this Saturday night 10/18.

lots of laughs

Lots of fun with Photoshop here: movie poster spoofs featuring our presidential and VP candidates. Enjoy!

a musical vacation

I had an exceptional treat last night - seeing the Danilo Perez Trio at Jazz Showcase. If you've never experienced the music of Danilo Perez, it's sophisticated jazz with classical bones - at times lyrical, often intensely rhythmic, heavily syncopated, with complex interaction between the players. When you hear a familiar tune, such as the Beatles' Yesterday or a jazz standard, it is creatively and refreshingly interpreted. Listening to them was like mentally traveling to many destinations in the space of a few hours, escaping from the mundane.

If you want to see three first-rate performers at the top of their game giving an extraordinary performance, GO! If you haven't been to Jazz Showcase in their new space, GO! The Danilo Perez Trio is in town thru Sunday 10/19.

funky Friday

Two from Steely Dan: Josie and Kid Charlemagne

talking and saying nothing

Two clips of Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric: on Supreme Court decisions and on staying informed.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

more political humor

yes, it's a theme for the week: more Sarah Palin humor


In an e-mail exchange with a friend in New Hampshire, he was talking about a conversation with a co-worker who is a fervent McCain supporter. He was amazed at some of his co-worker's views. As he put it, "working people supporting McCain is like chickens supporting Col. Sanders." Couldn't have said it better, my friend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

theatre in the neighborhood

Are you looking for a theatre event here in the neighborhood? Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel is playing at Morgan Park Academy Arts Center, 2153 W. 111th St., from Friday 10/17 to Sunday 10/26. Fridays and Saturdays - 8 p.m. Sundays - 2 p.m.

how green is your bathroom?

Take this Sierra Club quiz on household cleaning chemicals, water use, and other bathroom items.

I confess that I've tried a few low flow showerheads that were pretty lame. When I find one that actually works well, I'll install one. If you've found a good one, one that actually rinses off the shampoo without having to stand their for 10 minutes, please feel free to share that info in comments.

the same all over

Rudeness on public transit is not unique to the CTA. Here's a Boston perspective. All the issues sound all too familiar.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Palin as president

a fine bit of political humor - mouse over different areas of the image for more fun, some are just mouse-over, and a few are clickable.

a rolling memorial

If you've never heard of the Dick Herron Memorial Bike and Walk event, click here and here for info. It's happening on Sunday 10/19.

Monday, October 13, 2008

new wheels

It was great to read this article about Working Bikes Cooperative doing a bike give-away for the homeless. It's a fine way to offer sustainable transportation to folks who really need it.

sign of the times


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008

negative 2008

another Mark Fiore classic...

cool Friday night

If you've never checked out East Pilsen on the 2nd Friday of the month, you might want to go there and browse the art openings tomorrow night. Under the Wire gallery will have a provocative video installation in addition to the work we regularly see there. Photographer Archie FlorCruz will have work on display at 818 W. 18th St. (Mode Realty). For more info on what's happening tomorrow night, click here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

an opinion on the debate from across the pond

I find it refreshing to step back and get an international perspective on our national events. Here's one from the BBC. How did you think that Obama and McCain did in the debate?

opposites attract?

Pullman house tour 10/11-12

Have you been hearing about the Pullman house tour for years and never gotten there? It's happening this weekend, Saturday 10/11 and Sunday 10/12.

Winter cycling free workshop on Sunday 10/12

Are you interested in trying year-round bicycle riding but aren't sure how to make it feasible for you? Check out Stay the Course: Winter Cycling Tips and Tricks, a free workshop to promote biking as year-round transportation in Chicago, happening this Sunday, 10/12 at 11 a.m. at Logan Square Farmers Market Grassy Knoll, Southeast corner of Logan Blvd. & Milwaukee Ave.

Workshop topics will include: winter biking attire with the ever-popular "get layered" demo; riding safely though wind, snow, and ice; gear and maintenance tips; and a visit from jolly old St. Nick! Free door prizes will feature cycling accessories that will help make all- season cycling a breeze.

This workshop is part of Chicago Bike Winter, a series of educational, social, and activist events encouraging all-season cycling since 1999. For more information, visit or call 773.252-4657.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tuesday 10/7 is the last day for voter registration in Illinois

...if you want to vote at your regular polling place in the November election. You can register at the following locations downtown:

Chicago Board of Elections, 69 W. Washington, Suite 600, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Chicago City Hall Lobby, 121 N. LaSalle, 8 a.m. - 12 Midnight

Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.

I believe that Alderman Rugai's office is also a registration location. You can also register at public libraries.

You will need to show 2 forms of identification, including one showing your current address (such as current utility bill, bank statement, or paycheck).

You can register at Chicago Board of Elections, 69 W. Washington, Suite 600, thru 10/21, but if you do, you will need to cast your ballot on the spot or vote absentee.

what about keating?

Over the weekend, I was working on this piece and looking for one more item to finish it off.

As we get closer to the election, I'm really surprised that I'm not hearing more about a particular skeleton in John McCain's closet: his role in the Keating savings and loan debacle. More sources here: 1, 2. And the pattern may be repeating. Having Phil Gramm in his pocket may end up being a liability.

Then the skeleton re-emerged. More later...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

sharing a dream - on wheels

Most people have never heard of Marshall "Major" Taylor, the first African American sports star. (Click here for more info.) In the late 1890s and early 1900s, he lit the bike racing world on fire. If he were performing at the same level today, he might be as famous as Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan.

The recently built Major Taylor Trail on the south side is named for him, with a mural along the trail at 111th Street. His grave is several miles away, separated by some bike-UNfriendly industrial territory.

One of the best memorials may be a program for kids in Portland, Oregon. And here's a recent item about the kids.

Here in Chicago, Yojimbo's Garage is starting a youth track racing program. Maybe the next Major Taylor is in the making.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

bridge to nowhere

Joe Biden made some excellent points in the debate the other night. Here's a little food for thought.

Friday, October 3, 2008

blown away

Last weekend's Hyde Park Jazz Festival really blew me away. The quality of the acts, the organization and preparation that went into presenting the festival and the quality and variety of venues was all superb. I didn't get to stay as long as I would have liked, but I got to enjoy Bethany Pickens at Little Black Pearl, Nicole Mitchell Quartet at the Smart Museum of Art, and Robert Irving III, also at the Smart Museum. I wasn't able to stay for Dee Alexander's show at Rockefeller Chapel, but I enjoyed seeing her earlier in the week at Jazz Showcase, where she currently has a Tuesday night gig. I'll look forward to next year's event.

the urban naturalist

To read the Chicago Park District's quarterly nature newsletter, click here.

political humor for your Friday

Sarah Palin debate flow chart - enjoy!

funky Friday

Enjoy a rhythmic jam from Jon Cleary. TGIF!!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

under observation

Sometime when you're standing at the corner of LaSalle and Jackson waiting for the light to change, look up and around. The number of surveillance cameras around that intersection and within 1 block is a bit mind boggling. There are more at this intersection than most, thanks to the Federal Reserve Bank. Big brother is watching.

common sense

On a recent morning, woman fell on the sidewalk in front of me. I helped her get up and asked, "Are you okay?" She sheepishly said, "Yeah, it's my own stupid fault. That's what I get for texting while I'm walking." I've seen this same thing happen several times since then. Is common sense utterly dead in our communication-obsessed society?

bike rainbow

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

back to normal

It was nice to get off the train at 95th St. tonight and see all the barricades gone. I'm guessing that some drivers didn't realize that the construction was done. Traffic was a LOT lighter than normal. That probably won't last long.