Thursday, March 23, 2006

SpringBreak-itis: Gone til April 3 (give or take a couple of days)

School's out for summer spring break.

Thank you, thank you for stopping by. Happiness and peace to you right now down to your bones.

Please do come back. Would love to see you again. Posts to pick up at a much better pace upon my return.

Your friend,


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Won for the Environment: Debra Shore

Hooray! Debra Shore, whom I've blogged about before here,here, and here, WON her bid to become a manager of the Water Reclamation District. From her blast e-mail today:
We did it!

Though the official vote totals won’t be in for a while, it appears that I have captured second place in the Water Reclamation race. We only needed to be in the top three, so this is GREAT!

Yes, it is great. But, what struck me in an OMG! way was her before and after election day photos. Take a look for yourself. Here's a typical image supporters and voters saw before Election Day.

Now, here's the photo I received today in the post-election e-mail.

Yikes - what a change! Where did outdoorsy Debra go? I hope this means she's aspiring to run for governor rather than she's turned all politico on us already. Or, maybe that's how she gets ready to kick butts and take names. I sure hope so.

Congratulations, Debra! You go girl.

Friday, March 17, 2006

And the Baby Gap will turn into a . . .

A nail salon. Hmmmm. Likely a local entrepreneur rather than a chain. I do believe that would qualify as de-gentrification, wouldn't it? See previous posts about this here and here.

Happy St. Patrick's Day: Looper's Greeni-ness

Once again, Looper has captured Chicago beautifully and uploaded it for all to appreciate. See his "Greeni-ness" post here.

Btw, is it just me or does St. Patrick's Day seem like Chicago's Mardi Gras?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Lucy Grealy: Ideas about Place

"I especially liked being lost, tooling through strange neighborhoods with Stephen. As we drove by the houses, I gazed into the windows, imagining what the families inside were like. My ideas were loosely based on what I had learned from TV and films.

I pictured a father in a reclining chair next to a lamp, its shade trimmed with small whtie tassels. Somewhere nearby a wife in a coordinated outfit chatted on the phone with friends while their children set the dinner table. As they ate their home-cooked food, passing assorted white serving dishes, they'd casually ask each other about the day. Perhaps someone would mention the unusual sight of a horse trailer going past the house that day.

Certain that these families were nothing like my own, a certainty wrought with a sense of vague superiority and even vaguer longing, I took pride and pleasure in knowing that I was the person in that strangely surreal trailer with the kicking ponies and angry muffler, that I had driven by their house that day, that I had brushed against their lives, and past them, like that. "

By Lucy Grealy, from Autobiography of a Face.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Devil in the Developer

Armitage just east of Racine.Okay, okay, it's the realtor listed here, not the developer.

(If you don't get this, click here.)

Monday, March 06, 2006

Lincoln Park Conservatory: Who Loved This Place

Which U.S. city has the highest concentration of Polish people? Guess again.

Happy Kasimir Pulaski Day! As any Chicago student can tell you, it's a get-out-of-school- free day courtesy of some Polish dude. (Specifically, a Polish military officer who helped fight against the British in the Revolutionary War.)

This morning, if you would have asked me which city has the highest concentration of folks with Polish ancestry, I would have said Chicago. Nope, it's Posen, Michigan.

Irish? Chicago, right? Nope, try Spring Lake, New Jersey.

Iraqi? Somewhere outside of Detroit, right? Well, pretty right, but not quite.

Thank you EPodunk for this ancestry list, which I stumbled upon earlier today. It's based on 2000 Census data.
Image courtesy of the great state of Georgia.

The Craziest Street Names in America

Via Planetizen: The BBC ran a story about a U.S. organization's contest to find the craziest U.S. street names. The top five were as follows:
1) Psycho Path
2) Divorce Court
3) Farfrompoopen Road
4) Clinton and Fidelity Streets
5) Unexpected Road

Cheers to the commenter, "Martin from Chicago," who noted the Fed Ex facility that sits near the intersection of Hooker and Bliss.

UPDATE (3/13/06): Okay, I did a little fact checking, because that's what I'm supposed to do, right? I also drive by Hooker Street almost everyday, so I thought I would follow up on "Martin from Chicago's" mention of an intersection of Hooker and Bliss. The streets do not intersect, but there is a Bliss Street pretty dang close to Hooker. (See localized map here.) Clearly, Martin blarneyed it a bit. Or, he simply forgot they don't officially intersect. Either way, it's a gimme.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Illinois Landmarks Council Announces Top Ten List of Most Endangered Historical Places; Preservation Chicago Adds 7 More

Gaper's Block's Andrew Huff does a nice, quickie wrap up here. It includes a link to Preservation Chicago's "7 most endangered buildings." The Landmarks Council gave the recently burned Pilgrim Baptist Church a special "11th" designation.

Image of the Campana Building in Batavia, IL. It's one of the ten places named today by the Illinois Landmarks Council to its list of Endangered Historical Places.

Cabrini Green: Plan for Transformation, Part 2

Yesterday, I took and posted a photo of the demolition of one more building at Cabrini Green. Today I drove by and discovered this sign posted at the site.

Ben Joravsky: TIF'd off

Another fine piece of journalism by Ben Joravsky in this week's Reader. It's titled "You want blight? You got blight."See pdf here. He basically shows how easily tax increment financing deals (aka TIF) can be twisted to benefit private interests. And, he keeps it interesting.

The Berghoff Memorial Blog Debuts

It seems that Serenade in Green has been working nights lately. He's launched The Berghoff Memorial Blog just moments after that famed eatery rolled up its weiner schnitzel and went home. See previous post here.

Photo via The Olde Heidelburg Restaurant.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A Walk of the Stars in Grant Park? Are you kidding me?

Like Millennium park before it, the plans for renovating Grant Park (see Feb. 4 Tribune article) read more like a list of tourist and resident amenities than a park (like with, you know, natural things in it). Tney've proposed a skate plaza, dog run, sculpture park, and, possibly, the Children's Museum in the new plans.

Where will they put a new apple orchard or a place where you can read a book under a tree without getting hit by a baseball or sniffed by a dog? They didn't say.

Still, I was coping okay with most of it until I read that they also want to add a "Chicago Walk of the Stars." According to the article, a private enterprise, "The Motion Picture Hall of Fame Foundation" wants to do our city this favor. This has absolutely no place in our parks, not to mention I'm sick of the ubiquitous and vacuous, celebrity life that permeates our culture. Put the walk where it belongs -- near the rock-n-roll McDonald's and Rain Forest Cafe -- not in the park.

The park leaders have got to be out of their minds to have floated that idea. Furthermore, why let this commercial enterprise have a door into our park system? This is not Hollywood. I think they must be drunk on Millennium wine. And, let me tell you, a little Millennium Park goes a long way.

And, get this. A quick visit to the Motion Picture Hall of Fame's website shows no signs of their having a "foundation." It's all commercial ventures and "investor relations" without a hint of virtuous park building. Drives. me. nuts. I hope someone has the good sense to veto it. If not, maybe we can Meigs it
right after its built.

Photo by James Iska via