Friday, January 30, 2009

funky Friday

Here's a two-fer of Take Me to the River, by Talking Heads and Al Green

Thursday, January 29, 2009

it's unanimous!

Blago's out! Quinn's in! Too bad he had to rip us off one last time by taking the state plane to Springfield this morning, fleeing Springfield before he was stripped of power, and taking the state plane home while he still had the right to use it. He can't rip us off with the bleepin' plane anymore. Celebrate!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

we have a long way to go

As long as there are incidents like this, the need for more education, better signage and bike facilities, and appropriate criminal penalties continues. Please support our local advocacy organizations, Active Transportation Alliance and League of Illinois Bicyclists, our allies in the fight against this kind of criminal stupidity.

Please keep these things in mind when you're out on the road. If you ride in areas where you sometimes have problems with police officers who are not fully informed about bike laws, you may want to carry this information.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

more Blago humor

Here's a local news highlight of the week and John Kass keeps having fun at Blago's expense. Who knows how much material for humor will come out of Blago's media blitz tomorrow?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

take a trip to Whateverland

One of my favorite photo bloggers has posted a fine image of one of my favorite Chicago places.

a creative visual

A graphic representation of the words of Obama’s inauguration speech...

Friday, January 23, 2009

good news for medical research

Here's an early piece of positive change: FDA approval of the first trials of embryonic stem cells in humans. Stem cell research shows so much promise for serious conditions such as stroke, Parkinson's disease, damage from heart attacks, Alzheimer's disease, and other issues. I feel hopeful that President Obama (it feels SO good to write that) will overturn Shrub's ban on most types of stem cell research in the near future, and equally hopefully that this research will generate significant methods of treatment in the next 20 years.

funky Friday

One from Steely Dan: Green Earrings

a word to the not-so-wise

Da Mare offers a few pointed suggestions to a certain drunken aldercreature after her arrest in Rogers Park the other night.

a different view of the inauguration

For all the photo geeks in the audience, this is how a cover shot for many newspapers was created.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Alice Peacock at World Music Company on 1/24

I saw her play there last winter, and it was an excellent show. Click here to listen to her song "Time."

Click here for more info.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

inauguration day

Celebrate the end of an error....Barack is in the house!

Monday, January 19, 2009

climbing a mountain towards a dream

It seems perfect that today, Martin Luther King Day, would be the eve of the inauguration of our first black president.

a day of celebration, with a little disappointment

Yesterday was an extraordinary day of celebration . Unfortunately, Bishop Gene Robinson's moving prayer was omitted from the HBO broadcast. Sun-Times columnist Cathleen Falsani shares his words with us.

whose piano is it anyway?

Something silly for your Monday....

all-star jailhouse rock

A funny musical parody....

Sunday, January 18, 2009

bird party

Today I finally refilled and rehung the bird feeder that's been empty all week. It took about 10 minutes for the birds to discover the newly stocked bird buffet. This view of the nearby hedge doesn't do justice to the scene. Imagine 50 feet of this hedge filled with hundreds of sparrows chirping, hopping around, and flying to the feeder (left of the picture) and back constantly, and my cat Silvie in the window going nuts watching all the action. Once it gets going, it's quite a party.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

how to build a hot frame for your garden

I'm curious about this workshop, happening next Saturday 1/24. Maybe I'll go check it out.

Friday, January 16, 2009

what's the game?

Is this a stalling tactic? a publicity stunt? a bailout because they're not getting paid? something else? Stay tuned...

finding equality

I was happy to read about Barack Obama's plan to end the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy concerning homosexual and bisexual members of their ranks. It's good to see this kind of positive change.

This news about the inaugural didn't hurt either.

Gay rights is the civil rights struggle of this generation. I hope that my older gay friends will see equal rights in their lifetimes.

winter bike swap tomorrow

The Chicago Winter Bike Swap is happening TOMORROW (Sat. 1/17) at Harper College in Palatine - an opportunity to buy or sell new or used bikes. You can also bring your old tires or tubes in for recycling.


Click here for a silly random cat photo. TGIF! I'm more than ready for some warmer weather.

Tombstone gets another title

John Kass has been cracking me up with his columns on our political follies. Enjoy!

funky Friday

Two from Liquid Soul: Sure Fire One and Salt Peanuts

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Christmas tree recycling

Instead of throwing your Christmas Tree into the garbage, please consider bringing in to one of the local parks listed below to have it chipped and turned into mulch. Free mulch will be available to city residents for pickup at these locations now thru Friday, 1/16. Please note that quantities of mulch available are limited and that other recyclables are not accepted at these locations.

For further information, contact Alderman Rugai’s Office at (773) 238-8766 or

Christmas Tree Recycling Locations:
Kennedy Park - 11320 S. Western
Mt. Greenwood Park - 3721 W. 111th St.

more snow

Monday, January 12, 2009

saving roses from rabbits

A week ago, when I was doing some dormant rose pruning, I discovered a problem. The clean, broad diagonal cuts on the branch ends circled in yellow were made by the teeth of voracious rabbits.

Time to scrounge through supplies leftover from previous projects and run to the hardware store for one more item.

I made these from that coil of heavy gauge wire above...

... to hold the cage of rabbit fencing to the ground.

Mission accomplished...

...just before the ground froze too hard to push in the stakes.

Silvie checks out the rabbit fencing as I get ready to measure for the next cage.


Lake Michigan in January

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

Beverly All Stars at Blue Moon on 1/10

Beverly All Stars are back at Blue Moon Saturday night 1/10 from 7:30-10. C'mon down for good jazz and friendly fun.

yes, yes, yes!!!

Here's a bit of welcome news. And what's your $0.02? Then there's the latest Burris angle. What next?

Burris sticks to his guns

How special, since he was advocating for other people to turn in their guns, and possessing a handgun is illegal for the average Chicago citizen.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

it's about freakin' time!!!

...that Daley shows some common sense.

how unusual

Did Shrub hit his head? He's actually done something positive for the environment.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Silvie watching birds

In her own little chirpy world...

All done now...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

disappearing parking meters

The disappearance of neighborhood parking meters has an unintended effect: loss of bike parking. Have the parking meters you often use for locking up your bike disappeared, replaced by parking slip machines? It’s happening in a lot of neighborhoods, leaving few options for locking bikes. If this has happened to you in the city of Chicago, click here to request installation of bike racks where they’re needed.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

north side vs. south side

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend down the street talking about the pros and cons of north side vs. south side living. I wish that the south side had more good non-fast food restaurants and a higher percentage of businesses that do customer service right. The north side definitely has the edge there.

Few areas have the wealth of green space that we do, including parks, forest and house lots. We are abundantly blessed with parks. Ridge Park offers a variety of facilities and programs that are among the best of the city's parks.

I enjoy tasty Jamaican dinners from Kingston's. I'd love to see more small ethnic restaurants like Thai, Middle Eastern (Lebanese, Persian or other), Ethiopian, Vietnamese, etc. There are plenty of vacant spaces on 95th. Why can't we get more restaurants to fill them?

I wish I could find a hair salon in Beverly or nearby with a stylist I like who can actually do a good reasonably priced wash-and-go cut, not a high-maintenance do. If I were a woman of color, I'd have choices. For white women who don't do high maintenance hair, where are the options? I'm still going to my old salon in Evanston and planning to try Hyde Park next. If any readers have suggestions closer than Hyde Park, please respond in comments.

And don't get me started about movie theaters. Other than Beverly Arts Center and DOC Films in Hyde Park, I try to avoid going out to see a movie down here. Netflix has become my friend. Going to malls and mall theaters is my idea of hell.

For special occasions, we are doubly blessed by having both Koda and Cafe 103 here in the neighborhood. Few areas of the city have restaurants on this level, much less two of them. Our independent coffeehouses are a treat. Blue Moon is my favorite, as you might have guessed. To make it even better, we have Calabria and Beverly's Pantry for goodies to take home. Top Notch offers better burgers than most restaurants in the city for reasonable prices. Franconello's is delicious. I don't understand the lack of good pizza in Beverly. Barraco's may not be in Beverly, but it's close enough. Jimmy Jamm's pies make me sing. And I can't forget to mention Rainbow Cone. I miss their delicious ice cream while they're closed for the winter.

For learning and entertainment, we have both Beverly Arts Center and World Music Company - more than most neighborhoods. We have many fine independent retailers who understand customer service. County Fair gets a special mention there. I can't remember when I could honestly say that I looked forward to grocery shopping at a neighborhood store. County Fair has changed that for me, and I'd like to say thank you. Few neighborhoods have a seafood store like DiCola's.

I could go on longer, but you get the idea. There are plenty of north side places I miss that have no Beverly equivalent. There are many Beverly/Morgan Park places that have few north side equivalents and some have none. We may not have all of these great places in a compact area like Andersonville, but we have an abundance of unique and wonderful places that make Beverly special. The variety of architecture and gardens is amazing and beautiful. And it's all within easy bicycling distance in what I consider to be the most bike friendly neighborhood in the city.

ready to ride

We didn't care that it was 18F and windy on New Year's Day. There's a reason we call it the "weather be damned" ride.

bad news for trees

The emerald ash borer has reached Cook County forests. The only thing that mitigates this news, IMO, is that ash varieties are a small fraction of the trees in our forests, and that the emerald ash borer only likes ash trees.

Oaks are a much higher percentage of our forest trees. Ash trees were heavily planted along city and suburban streets to replace elm trees destroyed by Dutch elm disease and other trees infested with the Asian longhorned beetle, which likes many different tree species.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Burris? WTF?

The Blago situation continues to be bizarre and surreal. Yesterday's news about Blobhead naming Roland Burris to fill Barack Obama's Senate seat is just plain bizarre. Never saw that one coming, especially after Burris called for Blobhead's resignation 2 weeks ago. I always considered Burris to be ethical and competent during his terms as Illinois comptroller and attorney general, not a rock star, but a solid, dependable guy. If Blobhead had stepped down and Burris had been nominated by Pat Quinn, I don't think anyone would have had a problem with that nomination. A Sun-Times article about his life and career helps put it into perspective.

Why would someone with his long, clean record of public service willingly accept a nomination from someone as radioactive as Blobhead? Jesse White, who would have to sign off on the nomination as Secretary of State, has publicly stated that he would refuse to do so, because any nomination by Blobhead would be tainted by the current scandal, even for a seemingly clean nominee such as Burris. Also, while I would like to see increased minority representation in Congress, should Obama's replacement be chosen on the basis of race, regardless of who is most qualified?

Watch the video of the press conference, accessible from the first link above. One of the reporters questions Burris about a $14K contribution by his firm to Blobhead. According to a Sun-Times article, Burris, his lobbying firm, his clients and a law firm that includes him donated $127,986 to Blobhead since 2002. Burris gave $4,500 personally, including $1,000 in 2008. Blobhead got $10,796 in cash and services from Burris & Lebed Consulting (lobbyists). Burris's law firm gave $5,000. Burris' consulting firm has scored $294,546.30 in state contracts under Blobhead's tenure in office.

Is the latest bit of pay to play to see the light of day? That and Burris' answer certainly make him look like less than he previously appeared to be. Here's more on the money angle. Some of the comments here are interesting.

What's your $0.02 on this? Please leave comments.

safe ways to get rid of your old TV

Has your old TV seen better days? Did you get a new one that won't require a digital converter? Throwing your old one in the trash can be hazardous to the environment. Please read here for safer ways to dispose of your old TV.

the gift that keeps on giving

John Kass continues to have great fun at Blago's expense. Enjoy!

not so sweet

This article about potentially contaminated honey being routed through non-origin countries to disguise its origin is rather alarming. I deal with this by buying only local honey – from farmers’ markets or folks like Marc Korton in Pullman - not buying honey from huge retail chains like Walmart.

The next article in the series shatters some illusions about U.S. honey. Organic honey of U.S. origin is a myth due to the foraging range of bees, what they may pick up along the way and the degree to which this country has been developed. Even domestic honey may have labeling that is misleading regarding origin, inspection and certification standards.

A related article focuses on the issues and conditions affecting U.S. honey production.

festive Friday

funky Friday

Two from Third World: Now That We Found Love and Reggae Ambassador. TGIF!!!!!