October 31, 2008

Optical Illusions

My favorite is the Mona Lisa.. yours?

Little Details


There are two identical pictures that will appear on the screen.
Almost 8,000 people were tested to see if they could find the 3
differences in the two pictures and only 19 found all 3.

See how observant you are. If you find all 3, you're one of very
few people who are able to do this.

Check your powers of observation here

October 29, 2008

Election Crazies

The election crazies are real and sometimes overwhelming. A friend hired someone to repair flashing after a leak developed during the Hurricane Ike rains. A week after the special application there was water dripping again after a rainy night. The contractor got into it with his client because he didn’t like the clients political choice. (Mind you, it came about via email because the client emailed after the contractor didn’t return phone calls.)

In spite of a written 2 year warranty, the contractor is refusing to honor it…just because his client isn’t pro-McPalin! Hope the client gets the money back.

Then there’s the grandiose Grant Park, sold out, ticket only election fest so our police can be diverted downtown for that. Not sure what the McPhalin’s have planned but at least it’s not here. Between the constant media coverage, polls and talking heads, maniacal people, here’s some appropriate therapy

October 27, 2008

Leo The Hero

This is one of those wonderful real stories of our best friends in the animal world.

When I was a child, we had a first-time Mama Kitty who didn't seem to get the maternal instincts package. She left her kittens in a barrel filled with straw - great for cold weather but not on hot summer days. Mandy, a shy mixed-breed dog, took the kittens one by one out of the barrel to the shade of the old oak tree. Not only did she rescue them, but she began lactating and nursed 'her babies'. It was a temporary situtation until we could find a safer home for the babies and get Mama Kitty re-introduced to her babies. Mandy was reluctant to turn over her babies and still kept a protective watch on them.

October 24, 2008

We're A Winner!

Sister Cecilia entered the Triangle Park Nature Garden in Mayor Daleys Landscape Award Contest. Our garden received third place and gardeners and park council members will attend the Mayors award ceremony on November 1 at Garfield Park.

Triangle Park Nature Garden

The spirit of volunteerism - it took a lot of work, time, and love of nature, and its a winner!

Many thanks to everyone who donated plants, time and energy.

October 22, 2008

October 21, 2008

Gunshots Heard NOH Area

Last night (Monday) around 11:47 pm neighbors west of Gale Park called 911 after hearing 5 gunshots. Police responded with 2-3 unmarked and 1-2 squads with siren blasting. The police were searching up and down the 7600 block of the Marshfield alley. I had gotten an email earlier in the day regarding this incident but didn't read it until a few minutes ago.

Tonight, we were in the monthly Parks Advisory Councils meeting when we heard a noise. Park District employees checked to see if we were alright. We couldn't tell what the sound was above the white noise of the vents and the discussion. It could have been a wreck, a car backfiring or gunshots.

But a neighbor emailed tonight that there were 3 gunshots a few minutes after 8PM tonight on or near Howard/Marshfield. According to this neighbor, people on Marshfield didn't react...so its difficult to determine where the shots were fired if no one called it in.

Did any others neighbors hear gunshots either night?

October 20, 2008

Double Standards

"One known medical episode could shed light on Palin's judgment. Just before her fifth child was born in April, she flew more than 3,000 miles from Texas to Anchorage. Local reports indicated she took the flight after realizing that her water had broken and despite knowing that the baby was one month premature." Chicago Tribune

Most airlines don’t condone pregnant women flying after 34 to 38 weeks. Yet here is this ‘you betcha’ mom endangering her fetus and herself on a 3000 mile flight. Let’s be anti-abortion for other women, but just call it God’s will for me, because I’m Sarah Palin.

October 18, 2008

Happy Sweetest Day

It isn't roses or chocolate - it's the demise of the summers hot gambling spot. Bystanders say it was removed Thursday or Friday. The chess/checkers tables in Gale Park were supposed to be a positive thing I suppose. The blatant gambling that took place all summer must have put some entity over the top.

GEDC0083 GEDC0085 GEDC0084

As the saying goes 'if you abuse it, you lose it'.

October 17, 2008

Howard Street El Rehab

The Howard Street El entrance rehab is progressing – the signs state it will re-open “early 2009” and it will be a welcome event.

Howard Street El Renovation GEDC0089 Howard Street El Renovation Howard Street El Renovation

It’s a PITA getting to the Paulina entrance, waiting for the long traffic light, climbing two sets of escalators then descending a stairway into the crowd that gathers below. It’s a danger zone the way people herd at the bottom of the stairs as if they’re afraid to move further out on the platform. Is it fear or just laziness?

Meanwhile, new pandhandlers are working the new Paulina area. A female was working the night time rush hour last week asking for money claiming her purse was just stolen. It's becoming a little cold for the one gent who sits on the sidewalk leaning against the building near Dunkin' Donuts.

October 16, 2008

A Little Bit Of History on Howard

This photo was taken June 11, 2005 – Better days for the Caribbean American Baking Co. building before the unfortunate collapse.

Planters.code violations.surplus 016

I took these photos today to chronicle the stages of the emergency rehab on Howard Street for the ongoing history of the area.

Caribbean American Bakery Caribbean American Bakery

October 15, 2008

The ACORN That Embezzled

All the more reason for local politicos to distance themselves from ACORN huh? That pair that slinked the North of Howard neighborhood during the Aldermanic elections were pretty unsavory.

But most elections have that ingredient don't they?

October 14, 2008

The Call, The Cost, The Election

I wonder how much the automated call cost the Democratic Party today? Of course, last week I wondered where the return call from Joe was - well, it landed today. It was over a week late and on the wrong subject - a reminder to vote early.

So everyone, if you so choose - please vote early - vote for one of the 7 candidates of your choice and pray a lot.

More information on Early Voting

And, from Rogers Park Voter:

"Grace Period Voting" from now through Tuesday, October 21 lets you do both if you are (a) United States citizen, (b) 18 years of age or older by November 4, 2008, and (c) have been a resident of your precinct 30 days prior to the Nov. 4 election. You need to show two valid pieces of identification, with at least one showing your current address. Grace Period Registration and Voting is ONLY at the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, 69 W. Washington St., Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This Saturday, October 18 from 10:00 am to noon at the Rogers Park Branch Library, 6907 North Clark St., our non-partisan Rogers Park VOTER organization will offer poll watcher training. Meet neighbors, enjoy refreshments, and learn everything you always wanted to know about poll watching but were afraid to ask!

We'll train any Illinois registered voter and certify you to monitor a 49th Ward polling place on Election Day. You can volunteer for a few hours or all day. Then we'll meet to share experiences and watch the election results together.

Contact: Rogers Park Voter for Poll Watching training.

The rules still apply to deceased voters, vacant building residents, suburbanites, and parking lots. If Joe really wants a clean election, he'll bar ACORN from Ward 49.

Outsourcing Our Jobs and Our Debts

Outsourcing, also known as off-shoring, has become a major revenue saver for many large American corporations. There are pros and cons to placing call centers outside the US; most of the pros (for the companies) are alleged cost-savings and the cons are fewer jobs for citizens here. Another frequent drawback is the language barrier that this article skims over ever so lightly.

However, the observances of the call center employees from India are accurate when it comes to Americans living beyond their means. Many have spent so far beyond their means they now want and expect sympathy and special favors. While that should be done on a case by case review by a real professional – individuals need to do their own self-review.

Recently, while waiting my turn for a hair cut, a young boy was being prepared for a trim. Dad put him in the booster seat, the stylist attached the drape and chatted with the little guy to ease the fear. Dad stepped away and returned with a laptop loaded with games to keep his son ‘occupied’ during the trim. Guess what, the little boy was more interested in what was happening in the mirror.

One questions many Americans stopped asking themselves years ago was: “Do I need this or do I want this?” The big gas guzzler was so tempting that Mom and Dad refinanced the home to keep up with the Joneses.

Forget about the Joneses and the Smiths - it wasn't worth it was it?

October 13, 2008

Columbus Day

The trend is to downplay Columbus Day – but Chicago will celebrate it as usual.

ABC 7 covers parade


Still, it isn't as if the only way the Native American story can be told is by raining on the Italians' parade. Had Columbus not stumbled upon the New World, it would have been somebody else -- the Portuguese or the English or whomever. It wasn't going to stay unnoticed. Why blame the Italians for what happened after Columbus arrived?

Perhaps a different approach could be attempted, a few "We Knew We Were Here All Along" floats in the Columbus Day festivities maybe. Everyone contributes to American history, and even though I may value Dante, Puccini and pasta more than Sitting Bull, war chants and maize, I don't see why the descendants of some of the groups that helped make this nation great should square off against each other. There's plenty of history to go around, and all who call themselves Americans have a place there, no matter what adjective they like to stick in front of it. Neil Steinberg – Sun-Times

Much could be said about the state of American Natives in the 21st Century, even more could be done. I suppose if any group deserves an apology, they should be the first in line. Are they included in the rally cry of ‘diversity’ we hear day in and day out?

Chicago loves parades and there are many ethnic parades and festivals celebrated here. While no one can reverse history – one can always make the attempt to learn from it.

October 12, 2008

At Last - A Destination Place

Tonight was another adventure into the history of Rogers Park. A friend and I went to the totally renovated Morse Theatre to enjoy the early performance of Taj Mahal presented by 93XRT. We were in floor area and the acoustics were superb, as was Taj Mahal, and so was the host, Andy McGhee.


Andy was collecting empty glasses from the tables but made time for a hug and a photo. He expressed his thanks to Joe Moore for sending people power to help with last minute pre-opening details. That’s as it should be, support for a new venue that will put Rogers Park on the positive map of Chicago.

The history of the building can be found in the website links. As I told Andy “Thank you for creating a destination place in Rogers Park.”

October 11, 2008

Caribbean American Bakery Cleanup

By mid-afternoon the clean-up began on the collapsed storefront that houses the Caribbean-American Bakery.

GEDC0089 GEDC0090

GEDC0092 GEDC0100 GEDC0104 GEDC0088 GEDC0091 GEDC0083

The remaining terra cotta had be pushed over to prevent further collapse. The owner is the man in the bright blue T-shirt and white cap. He was amazed that many of us cared enough for Howard Street history to take momentos of the ornate slabs. The building is about 100 years old. He plans to re-open in a few weeks when re-construction of the facade is complete.

He was inside the building last night and said he could 'feel it starting to shake'. Thankfully he wasn't injured.

Tonight it's boarded-up all the way to the roof.

October 10, 2008

Storefront Collapses

This evening around 8:30 the front of the Caribbean American Bakery on Howard Street collapsed, crashing through the protective scaffolding that had recently been erected. A gentleman was at the scene who claimed he told the owner the bricks and terra cotta needed repair and had erected the scaffolding. The business was in the process of getting architectural renderings. Since it will now be considered an emergency, perhaps the City will grant permits a little faster. Now there is one less business on Howard Street.

Caribbean American Bakery collapse Caribbean American Bakery collapse

No injuries were reported. One driver who ignored the police roadblock at Greenview and Howard was removed from his vehicle at Bosworth and Howard and taken to the station.

Help Sarah Palin Guard The Northern Frontier

Another crazy week is winding down - TGIF and hope you enjoy the game!

October 8, 2008

Gale Park - Update

At 5:44PM my cell phone rang as the red line pulled into the Belmont station. Eva was calling with an update on the strange twist of events at today's Park District Board Meeting. She managed to make time in her hectic Wednesday schedule to attend the meeting and it had just adjourned when she called.

Joe Moore attended the meeting as did an assistant of a local NFP and others affiliated with the NFP. Joe asked for an extension until the end of the year so students could work on this special project as mentioned in last nights post. The research will be limited to students in Gale Academy only - I don't have many particulars on that aspect other than my assumption that there are time constraints plus the fact that it is the local grammar school. Or perhaps someone hastily worked with the principal to broker a deal.

It's interesting that Joe never returned my calls after leaving a message asking me to. Then there was our little discourse about the facts of the matter yesterday at the Howard El. It's interesting that he actually made an appearance on behalf of the project. All he had to do was discuss it with me - like an adult. It's an uneven playing field to call someone 'difficult' to work with if one doesn't return calls.

At least the Gale Academy students will have a different kind of history lesson to work on in the next few weeks. It was considerate of the Park District board to accomodate this extension so the students and neighbors can participate in naming their local park.

It's possible the students and the community will chose the name and legacy of Willye White for the park. At least it will have come from the community (and from those who care) for the community - that's what counts.

Post Script: The NFP director didn't attend, just the assistant

X number of people - some who reside in the suburbs spoke in favor of naming the park after Ms. White
X number of persons claim they will come to Gale Academy and educate the students on the legacy of Ms. White

Now is that politickin' or what?

How about just sponsoring a basketball league or doing a fundraiser? Be really proactive ladies and gentlemen.

A Good Story - At Long Last

All the best to Andy and Devin -and our Morse area neighbors.

October 7, 2008

AIG's Shocking Spa Weekend On Our Dime

The rest of us can clip our own toenails, we aren't precious.

Park District Re-Naming Gale Park Tomorrow

Park District is to rename Gale Park tomorrow.

The issue is: the Park District is not following their own rules in the process.

“We hope that this effort continues to inspire and educate the residents of communities with the renamed parks,” said Timothy J. Mitchell, general superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District. “Each park site that is selected for renaming is located within a 3-mile radius of where one of the women lived, worked or performed community service.” Source of Mitchell’s quote and another version of not following their own rule of residency or employment in the community

I’m not bypassing the rules – the Park District is doing a very good job without my assistance.

However, in an email today, a Park District employee stated the “guideline was never adopted as a formal part of our naming process, and it has never been a requirement that a park be named for someone who specifically lived in that neighborhood.”

Then what’s the point or purpose of having a 3 mile radius guideline I ask?

It’s really difficult being a ‘team player’ when surrounded by greedy, grabby players who would just as soon rip the shirt off your back as not. Like many, my property tax bill landed in the mailbox – a little bit for this and a little bit for that. Yet are any of us being respected and listened to for our contributions? Line item to the Park District, line items to the payroll of city employees, line items to hell and back but who is listening?

Yesterday the little red message light was on my work phone. I accessed the voicemail system to hear Joe Moore leaving a garbled cell phone message about renaming Gale Park on Wednesday and to call him. I have no idea what bad cell area he was calling from or if he was standing by a microwave but it was garbled. I returned the call and left a message. I left another just before I left work too.

Flash back to June 5, 2008 when some of us council members were summoned to the ward office for a ‘renaming committee’ meeting. There for the first time, I met Elizabeth Vitell and Dorothy Gregory who had been invited by Joe. That’s the day he dropped the Gale Fiasco in our laps at the very end of the meeting, remember? Joe stated he’d spoken with the Park District and asked for an extension to get community input on the renaming process.

The committee met again at RPCC and worked up a draft to send to principals of elementary schools in late August. Actually, some of us brainstormed and Ms Vitell typed up the document on her computer. It was to be sent to Betsy at the Ward office. It was to be sent to the schools in late August for 6th or 7th graders to do research on famous deceased women in the Chicago area, preferably women who contributed to the Rogers Park area. Joe was to do an email blast outlining how the students would research, make their presentations and the ward could vote on the finalists. The naming would be a community event.

Well, in yesterdays garbled message, Joe just wanted to let me and others know that the Park District was going ahead, by-passing Joe’s alleged stay on the naming from the summer and re-naming Gale to Willye White Park at tomorrows board meeting. The meeting is being held at 2210 West Pershing Road so hopefully many people with parks complaints can’t attend and it can be business as usual. It’s a combined budget meeting too! (I hope Mr. Mitchell has recuperated from whatever ailed him since he couldn’t attend many or any of the other budget meetings.)

Flash forward to this morning: Joe was meeting/greeting/registering voters. He always wants to avoid me…and sometimes I feel the same way but I asked if he received my messages. I simply told him the truth – told him to ask Ms. Vitell and Ms. Gregory why the ball was dropped. He was informed that Ms Vitell sent an email to Eva that more or less blamed the Gale Fiasco as a reason to ‘do nothing’. In true form, Joe mentioned the Park District is unhappy about another lawsuit and would I know about that? I stated the matter at hand is renaming Gale and the fact that he invited the duo to interject their ideas and run the show – ask them, ask Betsy who was copied on the 9/23 email from Vitell.

Vitell stated in part that she didn’t take any action regarding sending the information we worked up to the schools. Her reasoning was that a committee had been formed of several members (she named three and the rest of us were etc. – i.e. no names). She further stated in part that the whole project fell “by the wayside due to the controversy over the Boys and Girls Club”.

As I stated yesterday and this morning – the matter at hand is renaming the park no matter who resided in the building, a private organization or a public entity or Sarah Palin. Joe asked for a respite on the push by a certain Park District board member who wanted Gale named for his late friend. So one must assume the Joe, Vitell and Gregory decided that the renaming process was over when the building opened as a public facility without communicating to the council. Not real logical thinking for two lawyers is it?

Not being able to handle the truth, our Joe became sophomoric and said “That’s right Toni, it’s always someone else’s fault isn’t it?” In this case, yes Joe, I don’t have the document and I don’t have access to send Ward 49 email blasts on your behalf! Typical of the man whom I contribute money to via taxes, he said ‘Well, why don’t you go there tomorrow and make a stink?”

No, why don’t you Joe – you love bucking the system so much!

Just remember we’re all contributing to the Park Districts hard times

And we’re contributing to our ward employee, Joe Moore

The least he could do is discuss an issue without a threatening demeanor laced with accusations and etc. with anyone who is contributing to his paycheck.

Willye White contributed not only to the world of female athletes, she contributed to girls and young women of all ethnic backgrounds as a role model, but that isn’t the issue at all.

The issue is: the Park District is not following their own rules in the process.

“We hope that this effort continues to inspire and educate the residents of communities with the renamed parks,” said Timothy J. Mitchell, general superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District. “Each park site that is selected for renaming is located within a 3-mile radius of where one of the women lived, worked or performed community service.” Source of Mitchell’s quote


October 6, 2008

Fuld Earned That $350 Mil

"You made all this money by taking risks with other people's money," Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the panel's chairman, said. "The system worked for you, but it didn't seem to work for the rest of the country and the taxpayers, who now have to pay $700 billion to bail out our economy."

A subdued Fuld opened his testimony declaring, "I take full responsibility for the decisions that I made and for the actions that I took," but he conceded no errors or misjudgments in the chaotic period that led to the firm's bankruptcy.
And he said a compensation system that he estimated paid him about $350 million between 2000 and 2007 even as the company headed for disaster was appropriate. Source

Humm, I wonder which banks he deposited it in? Switzerland?

Appropriate – has become one of the most misused words of this decade. Note the similarities in attitude between Fuld and our own Ron Huberman regarding his pension and in the next breath his need to raise CTA fares.

Meanwhile, Joe six packs and hockey moms can just puck off.

October 2, 2008

Eat and Toss -

According to a voicemail Michael Land left, he’d checked out the trash I’d complained about on the Broadmoor East Parkway. That was in September. He said he’d been here to check out my trash complaint and said it wasn’t too bad. Well, here’s the opening shot for the end of September and beginning of October.

Broadmoor East Eat and Toss

At least when the paper trash is weighted down with rainwater it doesn’t blow north for the rest of us to pick up from our parkway spaces.

Across the street, the Broadmoor is undergoing renovations. Should that be an excuse not to pick up the trash that accumulates in the parking lot? It would be helpful to put some screening up so the loiterers who sit at 7616 Bosworth couldn’t stash their booze and/or other highlights there. They stash their goodies in the parking lot next to the 'concrete bench' in front of 7616 and reach through when they need a brew or other items. That might help the police who drive by when called about dealing or dice games to actually see the nature of the complaint. It might help if they parked and got out of the vehicle once in awhile. If it isn't a blatant scene they don't get out.

Last summer, the big planters in front had flowers, this summer they contained weeds, half pints and beer cans.

I did receive calls from neighbors letting me know they too had contacted the attorney who represents the new owner(s) of the Broadmoor East. We sincerely hope he’s taking note of the temperature of Bosworth Neighbors. Right now, he is the only conduit between the future of Broadmoor East and the real people who live here, walk here, pick up other peoples trash here. Listen to us – not the fab 14 who live elsewhere.

If you live on Bosworth it shouldn't matter if you are within 250 feet or not if you walk past this mess two or more times a day.


October 1, 2008

An Old Familiar Song

Excerpt from Newsweek 9/27/08:

The McCain campaign told reporters the fees were irrelevant because Davis "separated from his consulting firm … in 2006," according to the campaign's Web site, and he stopped drawing a salary from it. In fact, however, when Davis joined the campaign in January 2007, he asked that his $20,000-a-month salary be paid directly to Davis Manafort, two sources who asked not to be identified discussing internal campaign business told NEWSWEEK. Federal campaign records show the McCain campaign paid Davis Manafort $90,000 through July 2007, when a cash crunch prompted Davis and other top campaign officials to forgo their salaries and work as volunteers. Separately, another entity created and partly owned by Davis—an Internet firm called 3eDC, whose address was the same office building as Davis Manafort's—received payments from the McCain campaign for Web services, collecting $971,860 through March 2008.

Didn't we hear similar songs about Cheney and Haliburton - the one and only company capable of cleaning up Iraq?


Poll Watchers Training

Rogers Park Poll Watchers Help Ensure Our Votes Count

Greetings, Rogers Park Voter!

Sure, you'll vote in our historic presidential election, but what else can you do to make a difference? On Saturday, Oct. 18 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Rogers Park Branch Library, 6907 N. Clark St., ; our non-partisan Rogers Park VOTER organization will offer poll watcher training. Meet neighbors, enjoy refreshments, and learn everything you always wanted to know about poll watching but were afraid to ask!

We'll train any Illinois registered voter and certify you to monitor a 49th Ward polling place on Election Day. You can volunteer for a few hours or all day. Then we'll meet to share experiences and watch the election results together.

Rogers Park VOTER works to foster an environment that results in the fair and honest election of public officials who are accountable to the constituents they serve and who demonstrate a commitment to transparent and open government.

Get involved and RSVP now for our training session
at info@rogersparkvoter.org.