Sunday, December 21, 2008

Flashing in Public

Murder is murder. Flashing in public is foolish. Having witnessed the hostility generated from such a transaction, it is difficult for me to completely accept the explanations given. Teens want to make statements just like the dude in the doo rag. Impressionable kids are programmed by folks and people to kill over spilled milk. It is not difficult to imagine that there is more to the story. Yet, I was not there nor were most of us when Isiah Stroud was stabbed, so speculation abounds. Why did Isiah run blood, rather than run? My hope is that more appreciate that life is sacred. Teens need to accept that restraint is often a lifesaver.

Cars 'usually turn around' when the wrong response is generated. Yet, fighting over foolishness is F-ed up. I have witnessed a stabbing in the past. The victim, a tow truck driver, acted like a fool, IMHO. Perhaps, Isiah Stroud could have avoided the pain regardless of the idiotic act against him, his family and his friends. Social suicide need not last a lifetime.

Disrespect never justifies the taking of another's life. Regardless of whether, we once lived in a world where the hotheads' dueled and sudden violence was a means of ending all shortsighted concerns over disrespect. If those who minimally disrespected or are disrespected die over a thoughtless taunt, then do they serve justice with the taking of life? Murder is immoral.

The psychological game of stupidity ends when more of the ignorant integrate with more of the intelligent. This won't happen until the neighborhoods and suburbs economically balance out. There are many more Chicago wards that need to accept scattered site housing. Of course, there are many suburbs too prejudiced to find a place for those who need to witness success that comes from something other than a drug deal.

Rogers Park will only improve if our Alderman, among others, appreciate economic diversity need not be strongly tilted in favor of the less industrious and skilled. People who will not afford to live in a neighborhood and fail to demonstrate appropriate sidewalk manners deserve to be geographically evicted to another ward or area for their next lease. However, few LEAs coordinate with Section 8 Housing Administrators to flesh out challenged families or refer them to appropriate agencies for attention. I wonder if this was a Senn-Sullivan thing?

Chicago's Finest Need to Focus - Craig's List Crooks

I had the chance to review the 12/19 chatter on the bogus RP car sale to the poor cheese heads from up north. Think about it; asking for a money order or cashiers check from a bank is appropriate. When a seller insists on cash, then you are pretty much a walking porcelin piggy bank.
That said, no one deserves to get robbed.

The challenge is that Chicago's Finest rarely spend enough time to investigate these sorts of robberies unless someone is murdered. This is sad, because the next robbery can end in murder.

Other issues abound. There are many issues that Steans and other legislators rarely take up.
For example, for years, perhaps, decades, CPD evidence techs are without the ability to use flourescent fingerprint materials. Instead, they are limited to cheap-0 powder and the results are beyond pathetic. If you want flourescent, you have to summon the Illinois State Police based upon my understanding. Efficient internet investigation training? A pipedream?

All that Police need to do to stop it is to track the e-mail and the CL entry. The information from the Craigslist account remains on a hard drive. Criminals are dumb. Once the info is on the hard drive, deleting won't work.

This may be an arguably solvable crime, but getting police to subpoena CL or the ISP involved for the coordinates on the computer is pretty much the battle. Yes, other issues abound, but than again, sometimes it becomes a no brainer. Are investigators lazy? Do the right folks get the promotion?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Is there a Commander in the 24th District?

Just curious. Once pronounced, it seems like the one annointed to serve and protect is conspicuous by his silence. Will Commander Sobczyk come on down?

Oh well, perhaps he has better things to do. I wonder if he plays the accordian and dances a good polka? So much for PNA Membership! Maybe he's some other sort of Eastern European. I guess I might have to FOIA City Hall to find out.

Its was a Wonderful World! Or was it?

Did anyone go to The Morse for that Affordable Housing fund raiser with Its a Wonderful Life movie showing? Never got a reply from the charity. Could kids have gone? The URL was totally silent. To all those at the exalted and charity please get all the facts from the sponsor. The movie is a cult classic, so we can't assume anything.

We could have brought the kids if they were $25, but at $50 to $100 a head, this becomes more of a Francis Parker, Latin, NCA or Roycemore oriented event. Many neighbors may not have $200 or more for those events where there are families of four. A cut off figure may be $100 to $150, but if the group got the numbers, then that is all that counts.
Some may have something to sell! We don't. Was this a pay to play event? Or a sincere effort? Perhaps, someone just dropped a few balls and thought a few hundred from neighbors with 2.5 kids was not worth the effort. So much for not for profit marketing in tough economic times! Perhaps, next year will bring a better effort.

Challenges of a Rogers Park Dogwalker

We have seen the posts, whether it is from Broken Heart or The Inconsistent. The issue, what to do with the poop positioned on the parkways? As a dog walker, I know the answer: just pick up it. To all of those convinced that being lazy will work, just wait until you wallow in it.
Yes, late night experiences stepping on the parkway don't always do everyone justice. However, if you walk your dog, chances are you are more likely to land a sandal in it, if not a Sorel, or a Nike. Bags make the process easy. Rather than repeat, another 'blogspotter' has provided an easy to use online instruction manual for those so inclined. Frankly, a Dominicks bag will work and most will deify the deed even if it is not from your dog. It will also help if other neighbors keep track of those who cannot seem to 'bag it.'
Whether or not you canter with your canine, cleaning up, even if you it is not your puppy makes good sense. Scrubbing your shoes at the sink after the fact doesn't. Once you have stepped on 'DC' a few times or maybe observed the rodent population at a rare moment, you begin to appreciate Chicago's 'DC' ordinance.
If you pick up after your pooch, among others, then bring a few extra bags. You, too, can avoid misery in the future. Yes, we all should have a few bags to share. Perhaps, there is someone over at 7333 North Ridge, who could use an extra baggie. If you are out there, just ask and we'll answer. Bumming those doggie bags are easier to easier 'to bum' than a cigarette.
There is no excuse; Chicago has an ordinance. The anti-dog crap rule is meant to keep the rat population down, as well as the frustration level of your neighbors and their visitors. Perhaps, your visitors may step in it! As I walked my dog, one of your fellow residents at 7333 North expressed frustration with dog owners like me. The German Shepherd looks cute, but cut the crap.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Joe Moore to 49th Ward: Super Lawyers Must Sue Criminals, Chicago's Finest and Costly Agencies are Helpless.

Joseph Moore's Public Safety Meeting last Monday was more of a vent-fest. Moore's panel did not successfully facilitate enough comments on how law enforcement can creatively protect the public. At one point, Moore told a local attorneys to 'sue local criminals.' This 'Moore Mantra' should change. State legislators like Osterman and Steans should help to meaningfully re-evaluate and re-codify the dram laws.

Whether a conscientious effort emeges may depend upon the few offending liquor stores. Have they contributed enough to create a conflict of interest among legislators? Some bars and liquor stores merit less attention. Impotent political incest complete with 'Fagus and the 'Yes men'' does little to encourage the public's trust.

There is a place and a purpose for everything. Ineffective assistance of alderman or legislator counsel is unactionable. Your vote can make a difference. However, Moore is not completely responsible for ineffective or unwilling law enforcement; only for maintaining the status quo. Police officers should not mock residents when they try to help other neighbors. Officers should not 'glance and glide,' in their cruisers when dispatched to a trouble spots. It seems like mob action sometimes waits to return when 'the heat' moves south. Where is that subsequent timely drive by by our caring peace officers?

Assault, disturbing the peace, drinking in the public way, littering, statutory rape, and tagging are crimes. Chicago may have an easement over property. However, in doing so, it should reasonably enforce laws when private property is abused by litter bugs or the beligerent. Why can't these folks lose driving, licensing, transportation, or some meaningful privilege like the right to purchase alcohol until they shape up?
What about community service? When tolerated, in the absence creative policing, law enforcement sends the wrong message. Alderman Moore knows that the public cannot sue a 'judgment proof roving nuisance.' We know that if there is no enforceable penalty or public enlightenment, then criminal nuisance will continue.

Petty nuisances and major vandalism remain based upon a pitifully funded education and enforcement mandates from our Chicago and Illinois Legislators. This is sustained by the fear of a few more tax dollars. The top one percent continues to accumulate wealth. A few of the spoiled and outspoken prevent the wealthy from providing a fair share of their assets. In doing so, those like 'Joe the unlicensed plumber' ignorantly complain about taxes and do themselves a disservice. However, it takes more than money, it takes persistent attention.

Some locals just seem too addicted to keep the bottle in the brown bag until they get home. Those who have to drink and dribble on the walkway merit attention. Alcoholism is an addiction; addiction is an illness. Of course, there are a few who have forgotten to take their medicine, who the need attention of public mental health providers before they unreasonably assault others, as well. Yet, nothing is done to bring the resources to the neighborhoods before things get out of control.

This is why many are unimpressed with public safety meetings that simply march out the troops and the politicians. We don't need a 'dog and pony show.' The bottom line is Police need to find ways to do their jobs better. They are professionals, who should ask difficult questions. They should work with CAPs volunteers and politicians in more productive ways, not merely dictate statistics to them. The FOP needs to develop and encourage higher standards. The States Attorneys Office has resources and few Beats ever get much access.

Rational and responsible volunteers should be given a reasonable way to communicate more expedientely to those who care. Community Police reps from the 24th District need to effectively communicate with Caluris. Monday's meeting seemed like public promotion of the status quo. True, official crime is down, but the apathy that maintains our ignored and unreported crime still haunts us.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Drink Responsibly, but Don't Drive; Use Howard Terminal

The past challenges of a lifetime are trivial after subtle and sudden distractions while driving under the influence. Not all of the victims of drunk drivers die. Turning tipsy and skipping stop signs are reckless acts that can be avoided. Accessible public transportation is one reason why living in Chicago often makes it easy to avoid being a driver or passenger in car accidents. Public transportation abounds particularly to Rogers Park. Why not go public?

I don't care how many excuses are given; accessible public transportation makes it easy to leave the car keys at home when there is intent to imbibe. In Rogers Park, in spite of all of the sensationalism, I know the Terminal to be a rather safe place. The aberrations are the exception. I find that the new South Terminal is full of more than enough passengers to deter the ignorant felon or fool. Often, it takes two. Most of us have better things to do than to mouth or mutter, so we move on. If you are elderly, then the Howard Steet taxi cab stand at Paulina is just north and visible from the exit. The cab line is rarelywithout a cab driver ready, willing and able to drive you home even at 2 a.m.

If you just want to rush home after kicking back a few at your favorite nightclub or tavern, then leave the ride at home. The taxi or the walk may do you well. There is enough light. If you walk in pairs, you have four eyes and ears plus a witness. This seems sufficient. If you binged, which is not worth the effort, then taxi's make it easier to eventually do your discreet prayer to the porcelain gods. Frankly, a few drinks are usually enough and if you have three or four hours, space them out if you must, but don't drive DUI.

The Pace 290 ends service around midnight on most weekdays. Perhaps, it ends later on Fridays; the Pace website can be surfed for schedules. I find that CTA's Route 22, among others, will put you that much closer, where you live just east or west of Clark. The 22 will also take you to a nearby 24 hour burrito bin that will serve you coffee, where you don't want to travel west to Western and Howard for Dunkin Donuts or Bakers Square on Touhy. Of course, the Loop to Sheridan bus or the Route 22 will take you from downtown to the Terminal or even closer.

I post this after reading today's front page on the Chicago Tribune about the Jahn family. How many families and friends must we read about before enough of us understand? How much motivation or planning does it take avoid the hazy drive from point A to point B? Whether we are peace officers or the public, all of us should set the best example. All you have to do is begin a pattern. Park the car in the lot or at home, go to or the Pacer link, and check out the bus and train schedules. Standard Parking at the Terminal rarely charges more than $2 per exit and entry unless you push your luck beyond a few days.

You are more of a threat than you think you are! You can create your own hellhole for Craig to ponder over after the police radio requests back up. You don't need a cab, just a conscience.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Well, that Woke Me Up: Fire on Ridge, Somewhere

We run a seven day work shift in our household. My wife, who is in extreme demand, works the weekends. I work Monday through Friday. My kids try to figure out whether their parents will really make sure that they actually do their homework. Our dog tries to figure out if she will be walked at the brink of dawn; on Sunday. My wife strategizes how she will get me out of bed and momentarily fails. However, an opportunity emerges this Sunday at 6:30pm on the drive to work.

The phone spews out it's pleasant computer music tone that we have grown tired of. I look at the half functional caller id, courtesy of the cable phone service. It is my wife's cell phone. I pick it up. The voice; "You might want to walk the dog now." Next comes the half awake yawning "Why?"

Wife: "Well, there are four ambulances, two ABC7 News Trucks, and a lot of police cars."

Husband: "Thanks." [in an uncertain tone unsure whether to appreciate and levitate or return to slumber][Phone's push button is pressed and phone placed in charger with right hand].

My half conscious slumber is suppressed. The body has levitated and feet have hit the ground. What has happened? This concerned or nosy (depending upon your perspective) Rogers Park Neighbors want to know.

Within two minutes, the dog is leashed and I hit the pavement heading north on the east side walk on Ridge. As I walk, I realize that this event must be closer to Howard. Where? I have no clue. As I reach the subtle turn at Jarvis and Ridge I can see the large tower of an ABC News Truck. It is parked at St. Scholastica. A little further and it becomes obvious that there are two ABC Media Trucks. However, I see no ambulances.

At Birchwood, I notice that one of the cameramen is putting his equipment away. I walk with the dog across Ridge and reach St. Scholastica's driveway.

Me: So what happened? [or words to that effect]

Cameraman: There was a fire in an apartment building. A few people were hurt, no one was seriously injured.

Me: Thanks.

At this point, the dog gets the urge, and with baggies in hand, the indiscretion is promptly cleaned off St. Scholastica's grass. The conversation continues.

Me: You know, someone should do a public interest story about owners who don't pick up after their dogs. If you have to walk your dog, you are more likely to step in it than someone who is not an owner. I read that we have a . . . who alledgedly . . .Yada, yada, yada.

The cameraman acknowledged. Discussed his own dog experiences and again, wished me a good morning or words to that effect.

I continued to walk down Ridge, disposed of the baggy at Shell, purchased a cup of hot chocolate and continued back on the east side of Ridge. On the way, I stopped to say hi to a familiar dog owner with his chocolate lab, then stopped to talk to a second cameraman perched at Birchwood and Ridge.

Me: You know, I can smell the fire, but I can't see it. Where is it.

Cameraman2: Its over there. [pointing down Birchwood east of Ridge]

Me: Thank you.

Of course, I head down Ridge with eyes wide open. I see nothing. I also saw nothing down Ridge. However, you could smell something. I don't had no idea where the fire was, but at least the dog got her walk. Footage courtesy of ABC7 News.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The World is Watching - Near Head on Collision by Cop Car

Police indiscretion is visible and under reported. This is not disrespect; just disappointment. Most Chicagoans know that Chicago Police Officers demonstrate public disrespect for the traffic laws. When a safe option to ticket is there, police are known to overlook it, as well. Officers lose the credibility war, when they violate traffic laws, among other indiscretions. I was not the only one who witnessed the near 'head on collision' at Ridge and Chase this evening at 8:58 p.m. The officer would have been at fault, but is that how it would be reported?

I watched as a squad car parked in front of the alley sidesaddle to the sidewalk under construction on the north side of Chase. An officer stepped out of his squad car. He left the motor running. Someone was walking their small dog. Apparently, the officer was convinced that the dog walker wasn't going to commit grand theft auto this evening in a squad car. I'll leave some facts out. The officer walked north down the alley to a gated porch stairwell. He was greeted about thirty seconds later and let in.

Another forty five seconds passed before he trotted down the stairs and off to his squad car. Rather than properly head east down Chase, a one way street; or down the alley heading south to Rogers, the officer did a U turn against traffic and drove west bound on up one way Chase. At 8:58 p.m. this exemplary specimen of Chicago's Brainiest suddenly stopped within five feet of a 'head on collision' with a yellow colored taxi cab turning right onRidge and Chase. Your tax dollars at work.

If the 24th District officer is reading this, there were at least three witnesses. All of us were disappointed. A decision was made not to release the squad car number or the peace officer's description. However, we want you to know that we are watching. If we see you get into an accident, then OPS should know who caused it. Also, the lazy recklessness that goes into such a thoughtless act!

Be a good neighbor. State Farm is not always there. Follow the traffic laws like the rest of us! How can we encourage Police compliance without citations? Just a public warning?

I have seen Fire Truck travel at 50 mph or more up Rogers, among other indiscretions. We hear about Fire truck/car collisions too often these days. Those who serve to protect should not have to swerve, project, and perhaps, even eject!

I encourage those in Rogers Park who have the time, squad car number, and location to report CPD traffic violations as comments, among other concerns. Perhaps, online public embarrassment may make a difference. Perhaps Caluris might read this. Then, again, we didn't bother to identify the officer, so maybe he will ignore it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bezo, Oprah, and Kindle; A-Okay?

The temptation of bolstering another Bill Gates in Bezo bothers me. Do we really need to set ourselves back over $300 to help what seems to be an F-O-O- (Friend of Oprah) with a product that had bombed based upon bucks? The show attempts to simultaneously encourage and discourage debt with temptation after temptation. I thought that Oprah's mantra was against debt? This product has a price tag made for Malibu, but not for Main Street.

We all want to see the economy improve. However, many of us in the urbs, that is, not living in the suburbs find this message of economic seduction, a disappointment. This Gadget episode is too opulent for our bank accounts; affordable cheap gadgets, not Visa and Mastercard gadgets is what should be promoted. The Kindle can wait unless we are in Oprah's Audience.

Many of us don't face foreclosure because we forgo the tempting tangibles. We are fond of travel, but must avoid getting United much of the time. Of course, choices must be made, and splurges occur. We feel that the opulent array of items generating on talk shows and shopping network screens disappoint us! Where are the personal interest stories? Why are we stocked with escape? Where are the stories where those with disabilities overcome? Where is the philanthropy? This sort of discount is really a temptation for those who make $250 to $500Gs per year. Most of us don't earn a hundred, yet our politicians do. The system is out of sync, when you have to have money to get political privilege. Is it the Jesse Jackson Juniors' that 'make the break' and garner the grail in Government?
I am a professional who works with foreigners who are disenfranchised too often by the minority of Americans too lazy to work in a job that reasonably pays. The laziness comes from the average Joe the Plumber who hires foreigners to do their bidding without penalty. The DHS lacks the funds from Congress and ignores that Joe. If wages are not paid, the unpaid worker fears complaining against one Joe or another who may threaten to deport his workers while seeking that almighty $250G gross per year. Those Joes are the ones who grasp at the Kindles. We are the ones who settle for used paperbacks. We work within the law; our license obligates us.

We are just as disappointed with those who may misrepresent their assets to bankers to secure questionable loans that bungle the banking machine. Those who can crank out keen algorithms and repackage financial disasters to questioning consortiums suck up even more. Yet, many of us don't have $50Gs, let alone $10Gs, due to challenged discretion and ethical choices. If the mortgage is paid, then the roof remains over our heads, and all is good. With that mantra which we have, we have other priorities. Perhaps, we may splurge. Everyone must occasionally take the anxiety and hurt off us due to the clients or customers that assume that we are financially better off. Does it affect savings and force us to forego the family trip to Trinidad, perhaps!

Well, we are free from most, but not all of the debt. We may be self-employed, but there is security. We know that the next president, Demo or Repo, will not bring us much salvation, just jargon. We are genuinely happy that the next president should be from an ethnic or racial group that has lacked political power in America. Nevertheless, we know that THE ECONOMY IS US, not Obama. Whether we lay brick or defend the legally challenged, we are the economy. As the economy goes through its throws, some of us are strangely doing better, but not best. We knew are limits and never overextended ourselves to the extremes.

That is, some of us held off on the kitchen remodeling and settled for a redone bathroom. We watched Oprah, but avoided overhanging debt. We tried to stay away from the Tru's and settled for more spaghetti. We did what we had to do and have nothing but disgust for those who extended themselves well beyond their means. Now, some merely ask for us to subsidize their craving for kindles, HDTVs, and mortgages that they were never able to pay for.

The uniting thread to all of this blabber is that some of us look at Bezo's Kindle, the banks, and the borrowers. We feel a sense of security for our own decisions and restraint. We harbor no worries, but the desire for reason and personal responsibility in our economy. We want Milton Freedman to rise from the dead and tell our Government to leave things alone. We want justice and will pay tax when we must, even if we must be penalized for forgoing priorities.

If the Government needs money, then Congress should not be shy to ask for more taxes. We want the Government take on its responsibilities or absolve itself of some power. We recall the presidential phrase, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." We are not fearful of the future, since the FDIC need only cover the less than $10,000 in our accounts, if anything. We appreciate restraint, but know that the deadly sins can doom those in any century with greed not gratitude. Some of us are just happy to be alive!

My Kindle order can wait; I would rather pay for the kindling wood to light our fireplace and experience the joys of the moment this season. Some of us hope for justice and find little solace in a $700 Billion dollar socialistic handout to the F-O-Gs' [Friends of George] on Wall Street. We loath the AIG Bailout for executives; there are those who used extremely poor business judgment and dropped a lifetime of earnings for most in a one weekend romp in California luxury.

The drop in the market gives us no delight, but we have no stock. Some of us recall when 2000 on Dow Jones average was a record two decades ago. The market fluttered in the hundreds for decades on Dow before it eclipsed into the thousands. We dabbled in stocks, dreamed, but dumped years ago. We were shocked when the Glass Stiegel Act was repealed by Bill Clinton; the justification for that move is malignant and menacing. We knew that new stocks may carry questionable 'come ons' from interconnected entities with conflicts of interest. We felt that those who were in the know were already on board including Martha.

Again, new gadgets are nice, including Kindle, but a disappointment when they come with such a high price tag even after a fifty dollar price drops. Our real income remains stagnant, but our reality remains realistic. I hope that you focus on why there are mortgage challenges; it takes two to tango, that is, negligent bankers and questionable consumers. I hope that you deter foreigners from being the scapegoats of our nation, since we should prize those who want to live the puritan ethic and work. Perhaps, we need to look at realistic issues that are overlooked, rather than the temptations, but than again, you can argue that we can dream, can't we. And I suppose that Bezo has, as well. We await the Kindle to come down to an affordable alternative. Oprah, fifty dollars just won't do it!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rogers Park, When No One is Watching

I was given a privilege to participate as a soccer dad in Rogers Park AYSO. For those without the experience, who pretend that Rogers Park lacks good neighbors, you may want to rethink that assumption. As I read this Obama piece with amusement, I thought of all the 'sung' but subtle AYSO volunteers in our community who use the resources and volunteer to improve our community. A few are known entities; I don't know that Joe Moore had children in AYSO; perhaps so, but Nathan was not on my watch.

It is certainly amusing for Obama to descend upon a Lake Front Soccer field, but there are many public figures who go on doing their jobs and still find time to serve their community. Yes, the baseball cap does bring Obama down to earth, since he is a contemporary, many of us contemporaries who do justice to our community also find time to work as volunteers.

For those in that position with kids, don't just attend the games, ensure that the games continue to happen for all who have yet to participate. Rogers Park AYSO needs referees, among others. AYSO Rogers Park is as significant as you want it to be. Being a soccer mom does not have to be cliche. Watching a child interact with other kids to reach any goal is quite an experience, even when they don't score. Take time out to participate in life. Don't be a statistic.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Reply to Dennis Rodkin; In a Nutshell, Appreciated.

For those who follow this rather slow blog, Dennis Rodkin just replied. His thoughtful post is the last comment in the previous piece. Mr. Rodkin, I appreciate the response and don't mean to sound formal. Sometimes, I feel a rasp in the writing, but revisions remain focused on the speculation and skepticism. I am no stranger to the provocative, which draws attention. I read Ted Allen's article on Chaz, but did not recall the author. It was well written, but I found the Chaz billboards beyond tacky. Whatever happened to the Chaz?

Alleged Visit

Apparently, my recollection of who I actually met and where must have failed to pierce through the haze of my aging and slightly disoriented memory. Perhaps, not you? The reason for the conceivable visit may have been my past involvement with the Illinois Orchid Society's Annual Show at the Botanic Garden. I am curious if this rings a bell. If not, then I must be mistaken and stand corrected.

That Annual Spring IOS show is huge and quite a spectacle. The Fall Show is small by comparison. Nevertheless, the IOS seems regularly overlooked by Chicago Magazine. This, even though the Society, among others have existed in the area since the early fifties. I think that the Show made the Robb Report. Maybe Chicago Magazine eventually included a piece on it. I recall leaving a PSA and some purple and white promotional materials with some Chicago Magazine writer. Who I actually visited and where must have eluded me.

That Orchid Organization returned to Botanic Gardens from a brief stint at Oakton Community College. Did a zealous IOS PR Person have any contact with you in the distant? I may have stopped off in Rogers Park. Like you said, it may have been someone else from the publication who ignored the effort.

The Love/Hate Relationship with Chicago Magazine from a Native Chicagoan's Vantage Point.

I am now on my 10th to 20th year on and off with the Chicago Magazine subscription. I think that everyone 'without deal estate size funds' has a love/hate relationship with the opulent ouzo of Chicago Mags articles. The Dreihaus Fourth of July Parties and Blue Blood articles fascinate some of us, but eventually begin to reek of anise when in overdrive. Maybe we fall in the arguable, but private 'nouveau pobre' ambiance. The phrase "nouveau pobre" was coined by someone other than me. Perhaps, it does not apply.
I haven't thrived on publicity, nor did family. I recall the Zahn kidnapping and his eventual escape. I wonder how many remember that story? Was there ever any follow up, because that story seemed like it was lost to history? Zahn was quite a publicity hound from what I was told until after the kidnapping and his escape.

This is about the fourth or fifth generation in Chicago with some in the family tree remaining on either coast and a few who left for other continents. I expect to remain and look forward to RP improvements.

Now RP Development in Spite of the Dogs of Gore

On Rogers Park developments, where can anyone begin. The Howard Terminal and the new apartments on Howard seem like quite a change. The RP Parent Club that you can locate at may reveal a transformation of sorts. A few of us are staying put and taking the CPS System seriously.

The old condo developments like Casa Bonita on Ridge Blvd near St. Scholastica and the Castle Condos by Indian Boundary Park have yet to be revealed in their full splendor. The HGTV show on the Oakley Property just north of Touhy ignored some of the new condos emerging down Touhy.

However, I am always fascinated by the Prairie Style Arts and Craft Stucco single family homes on and off Ridge. I regret the loss of the home on the Corner of Ridge and Rogers kitty corner from the Lamp Post. Nevertheless, the auction for the condo by Ridge and Chase should get some attention.
One thing that you might have meant to bring attention to is that Ted Allen once lived in Rogers Park, as well. Of course, I understood that he moved out, when Queer Eye went platinum for New Yorkers. I regret no Queer Eye visits to RP. I enjoy his current show, but we can always hope that he encourages attention for Rogers Park, as well.
I am glad to hear that you make efforts to keep your independence. Many readers might fear otherwise. It is obvious that the value of real estate dictates demand, even if a good location is in the eyes of the beholder. I thrive on the diversity of a non-Wonderbread world. Some don't. I harbor no grudges, just curiousity. Thanks for the insight.

The Next RP Piece is One that Some Should have Done Years Ago! Perhaps, it was, but forgotten. Check back on Thursday.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Will Chicago Magazine Dictates Deal Estate Value? Who is Chaz, Anyway?

I have always wondered what makes Dennis Rodkin tick? Ever since I first met him on his Ravenswood stoop back in the early nineties (eighties?), I've wondered! I mean, what a cushy job! Is he wined and dined by the other neighborhood realtors? Woo'd and Coo'ed by socialites in need of a little satisfaction on the deal estate exchange? Spoiled and oiled by mortgage brokers looking to suck in another $20Gs on the next 'cook the books' closing? Whose to blame for the mortgage mess?

Meanwhile, he gets to dice, slice, and dictate to us. The statistics are with questionable rationale. Pure numbers without any ability to determine what is going on in one neighborhood or another. What do the statistics on home buying really mean? I admit that reporters must remain objective. Perhaps, some of this speculation should be turned upside down. Now, I get to do it to some extent. Where to buy now? Buy where you want to dwell. Don't get fooled, again.

The Rogers Park statistics really mean less than they seem. In all, a measly 17 homes were sold from 7/1/07 to 6/30/08. What does that tell us? Rodkin surmises that it means that the value of our homes plummetted by -13.45%. I disagree. Few want to sell their home unless they are in foreclosure, perhaps. Most of us know that there is not much stock in single family homes in Rogers Park. That is a legitimate factor.

Presuming so, who wants to sell their home below market, when the neighbors know RP life is worth more? The average sale price of those 17 homes is $419,818. Were these distressed property sales? Perhaps, the housing stock stinks? Who wants to buy a home unless it fits expectations? Some may want to buy to fix it up. Others, to live closer to their jobs, the sights, the Lakefront, Loyola, NU, and public transportation.

The natives know that the new Howard Street Terminal is like a lit Menorah at Night. It is a major modern transportation hub. The Terminal is within walking distance of Ridge Boulevard for the more religious on Friday. This, combined with the Evanston Condos to the north will bring further revival to Howard Street. At night, there is always a taxi waiting to bring me home when I'm lazy and arrive after midnight. It is not a matter of if, just a matter of when!

Rogers Park homes have gone up at least 159.81% since 1994. We are not selling any time soon unless distressed. The average Rogers Park Condo sells for $221,452. One example; we visited the Casa Bonita's Spanish Revival Pool with the sliding glass doors, among other significant amenities. There is style and value. The photo is from a property on Hoyne north of Jarvis.

The attractiveness and size of the average RP Condo is a significant improvement over what many see elsewhere. The buildings are much more vintage. More buildings were gutted, renovated and subdivided. We have also seen teardowns and build ups on Touhy, but in so doing the replacements have really brightened up our neighborhood.

Chicago has many neighborhoods. This means that some neighborhoods will remain unknown gems ripe with value. There will be those who think that they can improve the quality of life with pessimism. They may discourage others. They will put fear into the ignorant and rookies. They will make Lakeview and West Ridge Boosters gleem with pride. I am not one of them. It is okay to bring reality to light. However, using a sledgehammer encourages outsiders to poke fun at the natives. I can live with a little humility.

Being the one who walks home late and varies the routine, I find that the walk is worth the exercise. How do you integrate with your neighborhood? Yes, there is security in numbers, but some of us feel secure and others don't. I am sure that they are reasonable. I can read fear a mile away. I think that if you fear fear, then you bring on stupidity. I realize that some areas are in need of better lighting, but some have it. Some of us should pick up the litter and push landlords to retain reliable maintenance contractors.

I realize that there will be apartments. We will have to questionable the ignorance of management from the Long Kogen folks, among others. There is a telephone number at 7239 N. Ridge. Iif you don't like the shrubbery or what is left of the grass (more glass), then contact Sandy and let her know. Her telephone number is strapped to the bricks just aching for attention.

The Challenge of Density v. Ignorance

Rogers Park has density, and with it, the challenges of city living. We are not looking to change the price as much as the quality of life. We need to work with those who have access to the brains of others when they are young. Why more neglect to volunteer or work just a little with the local school councils at Armstrong, Gale, Jordan, etc. confuses me. Perhaps, the kids can start influencing their parents.

Imagine if a kid rebelling against his mother by telling her to 'stash the trash,' only to get hit with a shoe? Imagine what you can do to influence those who need it the most. When kids have kids, then they 'may' develop generations of ignorance. That means that intelligence is often held by great grandma, not the other two generations that proceed her.

I hope that some of us wake up instead of living life through CSI. I am on maggot overload. Perhaps, some of us might learn something from those whom we least expect to learn. Maybe taking a walk is healthier and safer than couching your potatoes? Maybe getting noticed may get your neighborhood noticed? Perhaps a few more merchants and writers will smell the Starbucks and wake up. However, than again, maybe our neighborhood is better off a Duncan Donut Kingdom?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Litterpigs, Isn't There a Law? What about Enforcement?

What is the City Ordinance that requires dog owners to clean up after their dog? What is the City Ordinance or State Statute that penalizes pedestrians and derides drivers who throw trash on the ground?

Are homeowners and building management supposed to show some pride and clean up after their property is trashed? It is ashame that Chicago does not deputize or encourage Streets and Sanitation. Someone should cite those with perpetual litter on their property or fine pedestrians who are careless and could care less! Imagine if the litterpigs themselves had to do community service cleaning up Ridge Boulevard! Justice delayed is justice denied?
I recently saw what seemed to me like an obese drunk African American drinking a can of Sprite Zero. This is by no means limited to African American. I admit to seeing a drunk white patron and his less inebriated friend zigging out of the Lamp Post. The blond tried to get the neighborhoods attention last spring. Nevertheless, the Icehouse and Old English bottles 'tend' to be carried and dropped by those with darker complexions. However, I know that most of us of any complexion keep our empties inside. The challenge for us is how to live with the consequences of those who don't.
I was with the mutt, stuck walking until the doo hit the grass. That can take a while. I used the "H" word as in "Hi," G-d forbid. All that this guy could do is look up with tensed raging facial muscles, glazed glassy eyes and expend a subtle grunt. He may have been younger, but alcohol can age the dependent. As a momento, he intentionally placed his empty Sprite can on the small metal box attached to the traffic light. He was in a piss poor mood, perhaps, a piss plentiful mood.
Inside the white bag suspended from the fingers of his left hand looked like a standard issue vodka bottle. Perhaps, it was purchased from the grocer/liquor store south of Touhy and Ridge. The man's sacrifice to the traffic pole god now placed, he traveled north past Jarvis and Ridge. I was curious whether he would collapse en route, so I walked the dog north. I chose to lose track of him; perhaps as he headed for Birchwood or Evanston for that matter.
Unfortunately, Chicago police and paramedics seem to care less about those in need of alcohol or drug treatment. This does not overcome current neighborhood concerns, when Police look the other way to open expressions of drug and alcohol addiction. Maybe the arguable alcoholism and binge drinking exposed on ABC's 20/20 by Stoessel is the reason for what seems like reckless restraint.
Nevertheless, the above sign near the northeast corner of Chase and Ridge was removed in spite of the litter challenge. Perhaps, there are a few similar signs still posted on Chase west of Ridge. I was told by my significant other that it is inappropriate to post these signs. Yet, in an effort to encourage sign posters, I have come up with more amusing ideas for signage. I encourage those with the gall!
"Plant pride, not Kentucky Fried. Dogs that eat bones choke!"
"Display Respect: Stash the Trash."
"Dog doo on shoes makes for a poor first impression. Respect those who walk in your dog's tracks."
"Enjoy the view. Don't destroy it. Carry on!"
"She who throws garbage has no respect for those stuck displaying it."
"Neighbors appreciate restraint: The dumpster is just around the corner."
"We don't collect aluminum and glass, so stash your trash!"

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Should I like Ike? Hopefully, the Garden Will

Well, when it rained, it poured and so did the known and unknown pore in the ceiling. The pots, pains and plastic recycling bags came out. The roofer gave up and told us to hire a carpenter. In spite of last weeks carpentry bill from the previous downpour, we are back to the beginning.
We are on three voicemail messages to the carpenter, two completed calls, two disconnects from poor reception, no date to repair, and counting.

I think that Sting should have written a song entitled, "how to seal an imploding roof." It seems more evasive and inevitable, then defusing a nuclear bomb.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The White S90 Volvo reappears

Well, the car and driver covered in one of my recent posts seems to have reappeared in the neighborhood on the morning of August 27th. He parked his white Volvo on the north side of Chase just east of Ridge next to the alley. From my vantage point above the trees, I watched as the doo rag dude, without doo rag, exited the car. The camera was at work.

He headed toward the apartment building at Jarvis and Ridge. He wore his signature white t-shirt, but sported swimming trunks this morning. This is the one who lingered two Saturdays ago. As if in a trance, I departed to confirm my hunch. Behold, I discovered a Winnetka city sticker on the lower corner of his windshield.

Of course, we don't know that he is really from Winnetka with the city sticker. We don't know whether lives in the building. All we know is that he is at least visiting the building that he loitered in front of at a minimum. This time, I have the license plate.

Could it be that we are graced by the presence of an African American New Trier Graduate or Student who may feel obligated to drink his Old English 800 Malt Liquor at night at the corner of Jarvis and Ridge? Maybe he went to school at Northshore Country Day? I wonder if Winnetka's Finest would tolerate open alcohol in their neighborhoods? Perhaps, that is why he emigrates to Chicago from time to time. Illinois license plate G57 3923; look it up!

Monday, August 25, 2008

That Post Saturday Evening Post

The observations are in. The mob that decided to hang out in front of 7237-39 N. Ridge were looking for "white boy" on and off for about three hours It was unclear whether they were looking for 'a white boy' or someone named white boy. However, it seemed to be synonomous that evening. A hate crime? Perhaps!

Police were repeatedly called by many in the neighborhood. A group of neighbors claim that calls started coming in around 10:30pm. District 24 finally dispatched 5-6 police cars around 1a.m. Oh, one notable; a squad car stopped at the northeast corner of Ridge, Rogers and Touhy for about two seconds and drove off at about 10:15 p.m. It seemed to ignore the teens sharing the pint of brandy in front of 7237 N. Ridge acting as lookouts. Hmmm.

Residents report that the 25 to 30 visitors were on the property, in the alley or on its roof; allegedly an overstaying tenant is the cause celebre. Long Kogen Realty Strikes again with its impeccable management skills. L-K also gets the gardening award for the most decorated greenscape (I can't really call it a lawn, since there is no grass). The rye bread ornaments on the parkway sidewalk were a real treat last week!

So what is the deal with open alcohol. Should the law be repealed? What I noticed is that Police try to discourage 911 calls by what seems to me to be the intentional refusal to enforce the laws that need the most enforcement.

E-Town residents like to use Rogers Park for a stomping ground, when their Police Department is 'on to' them. Also, there are fewer abandoned and unsupervised apartments, among other distractions to frolic in, perhaps. I hope that Long Kogen has the brain power to change the locks on that apartment when the tenant finally departs. The written consensus on the Beat 2424 Board is that District 24 needs dedicated Beat cops walking the Beat, not just Beat cops doing mop up jobs and dispatching ambulances to St. Francis at 1:30 a.m.

DWB - Probable Cause to Frisk?

I appreciate that speeding and blowing stoplights present 'probable cause to stop and issue a traffic citation.' Yes, 'vocal belligerence' to Chicago's Finest is often a piss poor move. Okay, showing disrespect to a peace officer challenges that authority with few compromises to save face. Police are trained to take control of a situation. Yet, showing unnecessary disrespect to a disappointed African American by spreading his arms on the hood of a cruiser is overkill and unneeded theatrics.

'Driving while black' is not probable cause to frisk. I don't care how low the pants go or how long the t-shirt hangs. It is demeaning to get Chicago' Finest feeling you up. African Americans are forced more often to take the position. Why? We hear about the idea of questioning authority, but everything has a place and purpose. Discretion and grace sometimes pass in the night. Common Sense and education are not always in sync, when each needs to surface.
We view situations, but need to be objective. Respect and restraint are reciprocal virtues. Encouraging those virtues to kids and to adults makes sense. That is what those CAPs meetings are for. Otherwise, those who take the position of peace officer can breach the peace with disrespect just as easily as the teenager intent on expressing his frustration. Whether it was a stale green or a fire red light is best discussed in front of a Judge. Random acts of kindness in the form of a delayed warning, or two, rather than citations; think about it.

Just some objective thoughts on an observation this evening.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ridge Incident Last Night

Other than the chatter on the Beat 2424, what really happened on Ridge Boulevard last night. We observed some groups of teens prowling and some idiots cussing, but I heard that Police did a mop up at about 1:30a.m. with an Ambulance. Does anyone have any information to share?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

RP - Babies having Babies Abusing Babies, Who Abuse Babies; Role Models Welcome.

The endless cycle seems to unfold decade after decade. The child who you see being yelled at, impaled with fingernails, or dragged by the t-shirt collar on the sidewalk too often grows up to have a child as a youngster. As I watched the TiVo-ed 20/20 from last Friday entitled "Babyland." I earlier observed two African American teens walking side by side sharing a pint served up by a local mom and pop grocer. This afternoon another African American teen drove his bicycle on the sidewalk while cooking up a joint. What is known is that teens are more likely to get pregnant, when they are depressed. Seems like common sense.

Will those two teens find feasible fur this evening on Ridge Boulevard? Will she be a tween or teen ingenue? Will she be assaulted or inviting? Will her pastor push her to post-partum? In what type of condition will the fetus be born? What life will the infant lead? For how long? How much will hospitals financially bear before they go bankrupt? We know that fewer abusive mothers part with their kids unless DCFS intervenes. For those of us who have witnessed a DCFS baby farm, we also know that some foster parents (not all) abuse the privilege and also abuse the kids. How will this evening 'eventually end?'

Tonight, the inebriated teen boys cavort in front of 7241 N. Ridge at 10:30p.m. They may look for hispanic pelo de gatito. Perhaps, they are looking for an excuse to release some adrenalin with more proof than the police care to smell in one night. Maybe, there is hope that the metal love seat gets full antes de huele mal. Then, the opportunity to walk, put an arm around her, and pull out a few of those lifestyle condoms that may be tucked inside a jean pocket. More often, kids seem not to appreciate two words: "child support."

The cycle must be broken! Someone should begins to take control at Gale or Sullivan High School, among other places. Kids should not have kids. This is a cycle that breeds poverty, not privilege. For every second generation kid of a kid who makes it, there must be at least 500 who really don't. Where do those kids go?
Are the babies abused due to ignorance, end up ill, and on a stainless steel shelf at St. Francis or Childrens Memorial? Do they eventually end up at Audi Home or CCJ? Do they end up bleeding on a sidewalk, selling crack in tiny ziplocs, flipping burgers, or packing crates? Will they end up with some overwhelming student loan from some questionably uncompetitive college whose degree is as valuable as the mentality that leaves it? Where do the United Negro College Fund Scholarships go? Where could the funds go?

The rhetoric simultaneously struggles with reality; there are unmet needs in Rogers Park. Yes, there are kids with desires. They need our attention. The children of children need long term mentors in public places to fill the void. Short term 'feel good solutions' melt in less than one year and a spring thaw. I appreciate that I experience the spring thaw, myself.

It is easy to criticize those who push childbirth, when there are no mentors presenting all solutions to challenged youth. For those suburbanites who push these kids to postpartum; the pius also parade around and ignore why there is poverty. It may seem lofty to push an orthodox pro-life/abstenance agenda, but there are consequences for poorly planned parenthood.

Many of the lofty encourage, but refuse to welcome enough teen families in Glencoe, among other North Shore communities. Such shunning perpetuates a system of will nots. That system puts its full weight on urban neighborhoods. Premature teen pregnancies can cost urban hospitals upwards of $500,000 or more. Many pregnant kids are African Americans or Hispanics. Perhaps, the suburbs can only deal with about three to five percent African American before each fear real estate depreciation and white flight. Segregating poverty is no solution.

I appreciate scattered site housing as long as it is scattered across metropolitan Chicago, not simply concentrated in urban Chicago and Evanston. Affordable housing concentrated in urban Chicago and other appropriate solutions weighs down on the children of children. This also perpetuates a dense population of ignorance in need of attention and role models.
The suburbs should look to programs like One Milwaukee for guidance. One Milwaukee should advocate for more scatter site housing in its Milwaukee suburbs. Volunteer support must welcome the ignorant and stigmatized. I can only wish that the teenagers drinking the pint had packs of Lifestyles in their jeans. Usually, they don't.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Nuts at Hoyne and Fargo?

Does anyone know if the nuts that drop from this tree at the north east corner Hoyne and Fargo are edible? There are two of these trees. The green husks with prickles that drop look unique. I have yet to identify the tree.

How about the huge plant with the orange flowers that look like daisies?
How many really take the time to look around? Walking the dog can be an adventure!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Applauding the Pick Up Your Dog Poop Signs

The signs may be viewed as crass, but for those who know, dog poop attracts hungry rats and creates stinking footgear. I appreciate the wisdom of the signs, even if it seems a given to most dog owners. The rat food claim comes directly from Streets and Sanitation Investigators. They were dispatched to our alley after repeated complaints. There are at least two neighbors who seem to noticeably forget their bags at home to put it, politely.

I heard from another dog owner about someone who actually wrote on sidewalk cement that people should keep dogs off their lawn. Our home gets periodically hit by distracted, insensitive, or negligent dog owners. Who wants to step in dog &h*t?
One homeowner posts a copy of the Chicago Dog poop Ordinance in the alley running west of the 7200 block of Damen. This plastic encased sign on the telephone pole is getting old. Yet, despite the valiant effort, we still experience the callous wrath. What brain trust finds the signs embarrassing and a challenge to their insensitivity? What is so challenging about using a Dominicks bag. The rolls of small Petsmart poop bags are cheap compared to rat abatement! Why entice a local rat pack to evantually raid your kitchen pantry?

There is a rational basis to issue citations to those who refuse to pick up their dog's poop. However, with no Beat cops on foot patrols, there's no enforcement of the poop-scoop ordinance. How can District 24 reasonably deal with routine open alcohol drinking, sidewalk gambling, littering, street mechanic, and dog poop scoflaws. Have you ever given your local Beat Officer a cup of coffee, lately? Have you ever seen one? Will Caluris send us a few good peace officers? Will ignorant neighbors be offended?

Fred, the Alley Guy, in a Coma at St. Francis

For those who know him, he is a saint, sentinel and sinner all wrapped in one. A teller of tall tales, Fred, the Alley guy was known to pass out peppermint sticks to neighborhood kids in December. He occasionally rejected gifts from neighbors, as well.

Fred watched the garages when they accidentally remained open, while smoking his signature Swisher Sweets. His wife, Carol, walks the streets exercising and helps out with the neighbors animals, when they are unable, as well.

I heard that Fred suffered a fall last week. I also heard that Fred is currently in St. Francis Hospital in Evanston in a Coma. He had been battling with his diabetes, among other maladies that he liked to boast about. He is a teller of tall and straight tales as well as some ridiculous ones. Perhaps, somewhere in the muck was the truth.

Fred was like a member of the family for a while, but when he stopped coming out to the back, we stopped. When he unpredictably returned, I was too anxious to get into the house. Although I know that Fred cannot read this, I wished that he would wake up from his desire to expire. Although Fred could be the quintescential B.S. Artist, he always had something to say and he was worth a listen from time to time.

Snap out of it Fred and I promise to stop by the fence.

Abandoned Stroller, Day 4

Attention, a neighbor has moved this abandoned or lost stroller to the parkway. If this is yours, move it! If not, do you recognize it? Will the Police deal with abandoned items before the junk dealer picks it up, among others?

Who leaves and forgets a stroller? I guess that embarrassment and pessimism sets in, but it still costs money. Well, we actually found a stroller in our parkway, but it had a luggage tag on it. We were able to call the owners. They returned for it. Any thoughts? Do Police ever take the time to collect and inventory abandoned or lost items? Why not?

We called 911 on a bike left on our sidewalk about five years ago. After two calls to Police and the District along with repeated promises to pick up the bike, we left it on our cement front porch, as instructed by CPD. After two weeks, we realized it was not going to be picked up, but the bike was just functional. What to do?

Well, the bike became a social science project, not another piece of crap in our garage. On day 17, the bike disappeared. Who took it? Anybodies guess? We should have installed a security camera.. That would have been interesting.

It was Old English! -- Transient Rant, Part II

Last nights piece; this mornings trash. Yes, it was fiction based upon speculation. If only, I had taken down the license plate, then the subject's residence would be verified. What happens if some fool of a suburban kid attracts flies and gets shot on the parkway in front of your apartment building? Who needs the hassle!
Loitering with open alcohol is an issue. I realize, as a kid, you have to find a place to drink with the under 21 prohibition. However, screaming at crazy drivers in moving cars on a residential street takes things up a notch. What ever happened to the concept of "Beat Cops?" Why not drain the bottle in front of 'junior' like they do in the suburbs?
What is the real deal? Do Police really cruise or simply pick up the pieces and ship them to Saint Francis? Does periodically cruising and walking the neighborhood Beat create conflicts of interest, hostility, or foster respect?
If Steve Caluris suggests to the Tribune that negative loitering is a challenge, among other crimes that evolve from it (e.g. mob violence, open alcohol, drug sale/use), then what is his plan to address it? The most obvious violations are not innocuous (e.g. littering, loitering, and public alcohol/drug use). Each need to be discouraged with meaningfully productive enforcement or intervention.

The air show ends on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. A days pay for a days work or a days pay for an hour of work? When will 'some' members of the Local FOP anointed by 'hizz honor da Second' start appreciating the community? When will they do their tour of duty? They don't even have to smell Napalm or inhale subsaharan dust in the morning! Maybe they can learn about us at something other than a CAPs Meeting or a mop up expedition!
Does 911 really work?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Does this Sign Mean Anything to Chicago's Finest or is it Just an Antique?

This rusty sign regurgitates Chicago's prohibition on open alcohol. It is perched high on Chase and Damen and has historic symbolism. It is rises on a street just north from where local bums used to congregate with impunity.
A once popular Chinese Banquet Hall was demolished. The space made way for the Dubin Development just west of Summit Grocery.
The Hall had built-in tile shelves for plants or other displays. My recollection was that the local drunks, who liked to hang out here, planted themselves in these shelves as a convenient place to sit.

The buzzed would guzzle their brownbagged Colt 45 or Old English 40s within the cubicles. I don't recall if Police found the need to ruffle the feathers of these pissing human pidgeons. However, I did not miss the stench from the west side of Damen before the first owner's son sold the Banquet Hall to developers.

Now, we are left with this perched sign, little enforcement, and wandering alcoholics. Summit Grocery persists from its ancestral predecessors as does the Pantry. Our local Otis, or Otises, still occasionally waltzes through. As they dip, empty cans of Ice, Malt Liquor quarts and pints of Schmirnoff appear on the lawns and sidewalks.
Yet, this is an ongoing issue that has persisted for decades. What if Police reasonably cited with better discretion? How about all of those minor things like disturbing the peace, verbal assault, open liquor, underage drinking, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, not picking up the dog poop, and littering?

Would Otis Campbell and company actually begin to care and not escalate their insensitivity to 'deaf con 5?'

He's Just a Dude. . . Doo Rag Rage?

He’s just the dude with the black doo rag sitting on the hood of an immaculate, almost antique, well polished White Volvo S90 at Ridge and Jarvis. He arrives complete with designer white t-shirt and jeans. Maybe he is from Evanston or lives up north, glamorously, but just can't accept it.
Perhaps, he wants to be in the hood, so he drove Daddy's birthday present south to picturesque Rogers Park. Maybe he is hanging out with a cousin or some internet acquaintance. He cops a call perhaps to one of his Chicago girlfriends with a cell phone thin enough to sport the letter ‘i.”

The brown paper bag sits on the curb 'possibly' waiting for the next swig from that liter. He seems to be standing sentinel. Tonight’s assignment is just Rogers Park. The idea is to facilitate action and upset some locals, even if it kills him or them. Is it a game of chicken? Does his mother know where he is at 10:00 p.m.? Where are the Police?

This wholesome player of soul may have hung with the homies on a romp back northbound past the local convenient store. He may have bought Old English or Miller GD, from the Pakistani. The brown bag conceals all but the clear glass upper neck of the malt liquor bottle. The bag with bottle is strategically placed within within three and a half feet of his right toes on the narrow cement curb sidewalk.

The almost feng shui placement of the bottle in bag looks like it may avoid a citation. It appears poised to look like someone else's trash rather than open alcohol. Perhaps, it is not his, but the bag looks too convenient to think otherwise.

Earlier, the dude and his foot patrol; all 'less than magnificent seven' of them . . . may have moved some fingers up and down on the corner of Jarvis and Ridge. Apparently, the driver to which the fingers or vocals twitched was less than pleased with the communication. She let out linguistics, which were returned by useless chatter. She screeched her tires, then sped south and west towards Western Avenue. From my vantage point, these folks have a death wish; thanatos, anyone?

The others, well, they went upstairs at that point. Perhaps, they were freshening up. Maybe, they simply wanted to get away from the dude or in need of supplies to head out to some party. Are they are watching from above while what appears like a fool become a 'target' in spite of Alderman Joe Moore's opposition to Big Box.

Meanwhile, back in the hood, some folks in a fire red pick up truck circle the hood cussing out their open window. This seems like an effort to provoke action from others with profanity. Did their dear mother encourage such civility? Was the profanity deemed chic and edgy after a trip to an unsupervised playground? Where are they from, anyway? Evanston?

Now Cochise hangs out on the hood of his Volvo. He aches for action, IMHO. He looks to me like he is humming Carly Simon’s Anticipation while simultaneously sucking on a Heinz ketchup bottle for attention. He wants to ‘sit watch;’ perhaps others may end up sitting at his wake. Not ‘how’ Cochise . . . ‘why?!’ Is this copacetic or pathetic? Maybe, its just an adrenalin dream that tempts stupidity. Get a life, take the horse north Cochise, hang out on the links with Kemo Sabe; they subsidize those greens just for you! Cooley High is gone.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Politics and Hypocrisy: Inconsistent, International, and Subtle, So Get Used to It

I am not sure whether this rant falls into the Murphy's Law or the arguable Facts of Life Blog. We, like this YouTube video, view hypocrisy in our families, friends, journalists, politicians, and ourselves. The trash compacter of life looks for the least consistent hypocrites. We crown the virtuous few, but nearly all eventually lose their way in the fog causing the abuse of power and privilege. Some are unable or unwilling to wait for the fog to evaporate, so mistakes are made. Too few will admit to error.

Lessons in life: (1) everyone will eventually become a hypocrite, but not as consistently as others; (2) those in power with privileges often hoard it and become gluttons, fearing other alternatives in life; (3) the haves and those who seek economic interdependence support the status quo and democratic options; (4) those who envy the power or productivity of others often criticize those in power until they too become powerful and are themselves, criticized; (5) exaggerations and irresponsible posturing within the body politique nauseate moderates.

The concern of these journalists is, why now? The answer: Congressional ‘posturing’ and ‘tolerance,’ pure and simple. Posturing and expending money for a ‘cause delayed’ turns off voters. The above CNN video is an example of Congress spending our money on political partisanship. This is a commercial for the Democratic Party that offends most except for an exceptionally devoted niche of political storm troopers.

Nevertheless, the ‘alleged’ CNN Clip fails to get the political parties correct! We can talk of the virtues of politics; yet, it is the reality of politics that counts. Politburo or Congress; man is an imperfect leader, but so is HAL! [Reference to movie “2001 – A Space Odyssey”]

On the “We” so fondly brought up in local Rogers Park Political Discourse?

We the people "try to form a ‘more perfect’ union." Perfection is a pipedream for those with personal agenda's or OCD. One may prevail more, but in politics, compromise and tolerance is what should carpe diem. Sometimes, people neglect to appreciate peace and reasonable opportunities for prosperity until it evaporates.

Partisanship is not an issue like slavery. Yet, people should demonstrate and struggle. Fewer seem to rally for causes that they are more content writing about. Congress is postures in an era of arm chair complacency, despair, and frustration; call it laziness. If someone wants to publicize their POV, then more tools are available than ever. However, most of us need to appreciate the most effective routes. We also must learn how to separate the wheat from the chaf and reality from the rasp.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Annual RP Butterfly Month

From experience, we see the most butterflies around now. This is the season when Phlox, milkweed, butterfly bushes, and coneflowers seem irresistable. It is strange for me to see Yellow tails beyond tame, but the food supply in Beat 2424 will not repulse.

Monarchs are a common sight. Yellowtails are becoming more of the same. Now, morning cloak varieties seem much more majestic than last year. Perhaps, we were not around or forgot without photographs.

While walking the dog, Fargo and Damen had one yellowtail that just wanted to sit in the grass, but flew around when it felt disturbed. I wanted to bring it to the garden, but noticed ample food in nearby yards.

The above flowers, among others, will work. However, butterflies are creatures of habit and education, perhaps. This year, we saw more Yellowtails and Morning Cloaks, but Monarchs are now daily and often bi-hourly visitors in August.

Last years' photo makes this years experiences seem overwhelming. I can only hope for a group of four or five yellowtails to return en masse next year, perhaps sooner.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bernie Mac 1957-2008

For those of us reaching fifty who listened, watched and witnessed this Big Mac of a Chicagoan grow onto the silver screen, we will remain numb and in shock for a while.

Bernie Mac struck a chord and stuck with what he wanted to do. In his persistence, he proved that hard work as well as getting into the right place at the right time pays off. His success should serve as inspiration to every teacher who chooses to work at Chicago Vocational. Some of us can only hope for a wife like Rhonda to tolerate our efforts and challenges.

The trade offs of any career may unintentionally hurt. The hope is that when you are struggling, all will be forgiven, when life hits the mark. I share that mutual desire to find time in my fifties, perhaps sooner, before my time runs out. Balance is a vital brass ring to reach for. Everyone wants to get home, but the detours toward success in any career can drive us away.

It does not matter what you do, but how you do it. Bernie had his own candid style. He could not hold back. At times, he made statements that had to be made where too few were willing to make them. All of us want to reach that pinnacle in our careers and some of us take longer than others.
Of course, like anyone, B-M- had his moments, but those blips were totally overwhelmed. Those who paid attention, recognized his remorse and the efforts made to give his gay nephew the respect that he deserved. Sometimes, the only way to learn is to make a mistake, reckon with it, and ask for forgiveness. At times, some of us are too busy, ignorant, or overwhelmed to appreciate remorse.

Some might have found some of those comedic or personal moments crass and over the top. Nevertheless, Shecky Green, among others, were much more racy, IMHO. The Mac Man was sensitive and had a heart. His career turned the corner and humor persisted to those who paid attention.

Bernie was on a run and did not stop until pre-mature illness took his lungs from him and those of us who wanted to hear and see him one more time.
We are fortunate that Bernie's grace, skill and timing will remain digitally ingrained on America's memory. We can only hope that others with such discipline, grace and talent learn, persist, and grow, rather than ignore the challenge. We can ill afford to allow the talented that we know to become the litter of lost dreams.
Those who experience the wrath of sarcoidosis deserve attention. Perhaps, other incredible talents are in our midst who also need our support to keep them going for years to come. Apparently, some of us were unaware of Bernie's challenge.

Let's hope that his wife Rhonda, daughter Je'Niece and grandaughter Jasmine look forward to the future. They should cherish good memories and encourage more of the same among those who care. Chicago has much more talent to share with the world. Let's cheerish it and put it on a pedestal for public consumption.

7200 N. Damen Near Daily Drinking Fiesta

Has anyone seen 7227 North crowded with underaged drinkers? It seems like the grand daddy neighbor at 7223 N. Damen kicked off the public binge. This may be old news, since I have seen less action in recent days.

The old man drinks from his paper bag. This seasoned senior citizen sets a bold example for neighboring teens. There seems to be a twenty-something resident who hosts a perpetual drinking party. He looks like a Hispanic guy around 5' 5" to 5' 10" from a distance. I was in the area on the morning of August 10, 2008 in front of 7227 N. Damen hanging out with a neighbor. For those who drive, walk, or ride the bus by, 7227 N. Damen often had a crowd on the east side of the street just south of N. Rogers.

The groups tend to get obnoxious with loud and abusive language which intimidates and offends some neighbors. At least three other neighbors observed the group on this recent borachero.

On the tenth, when the four revelers left, they carried their Modelo beer cans with them. Sometimes, they drop the empties. Today, they were drunk enough to urinate on their SUV's bumper in public or pretend to. I didn't bother to check, but the act looked convincing. Another teen looked out his second floor window with disgust within 10 feet of the Black Chevy Blazer with Illinois license plate 848 1188.

If Chicago will not enforce its litter laws or open alcohol ordinances and State Statutes in some meaningful way, even inconsistently, then we will continue to experience regular and routine violations in our neighborhood.

Non-enforcement encourages contempt for police, where police don’t first warn and then come back to see if these whether the drinkers think Police are actually serious. Most ignore the warnings. If they see that they can get away with open and obvious beer drinking and public pissing, then what's next? Will it turn to drug sales, where it has not, already. My belief is that one from the party at 7227 N. Damen networked and picked up a drug seller who periodically vends in front of Summit Grocery.

The challenge of reasonable enforcement is not that extreme. A little enforcement can encourage compliance; the drinking party will move indoors or into the backyard, where it belongs. To drink in front on a public sidewalk is an advertisement. It encourages party crashers or those who might be acquainted with a few, but have no business being at 7227 N. Damen.

Again, I am not against a good party, but the uninvited may get frustrated. Some recruit for gangs with open drinking. Why does CPD encourage delinquency, open alcohol uses, and public urination with its 'mop up and pick up the pieces 20 minutes later tactical unit?' Is it understaffing or the desire to avoid confrontation? Is it really the best practice to let the situation fizzle out?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

National Night Out Attracts Neighbors/Group Home Spurs Crime?

Beat 2424 and Brummel Park Community conduct walks to encourage concerned neighbors to pay attention and get to know each other. Walk numbers vary, but the Beat 2424 website can be reached at the Police links from for more information . Last Tuesday's Walk for National Night Out attracted about 30 Evanston and RP walkers. The group trapsed up and down Howard. Walkers passed out flyers and met local police. The Chicago Police provided a cruiser, while Evanston Police had at least four officers on foot. The walk culminated at Brummel Park, where tables were set up and a buffet dinner was served courtesy of a local restaurant. A few Evanstonians filmed participants.

No, Joe Moore was not in attendance. He doesn't need to be at every event that graces our shores. Those who are concerned about the 2424, amoung other Beats may want to lend their eyes and ears as well as their pens. Perhaps, the walks will introduce them to places that they may not know and neighbors that they did not understand. Sometimes, spontaneous walks with neighbors are worth the effort, as well.

A Delinquent Dumping Ground Spurs Delinquency Wave Among Group Residents?

Each of us has perceptions, others witness, and a few report what they hear on police scanners. Sometimes a few who cause a mess need Audi Home after parental and group home malfunction. What do you do when you see parental malfunction on RP sidewalks? Have you ever called DCFS? Do you do a double take to decide the right thing to do? Is Rogers Park, like Uptown, being used as a dumping ground for dilapidating delinquents? Perhaps, this needs to be re-evaluated. Perhaps, our Alderman should pay attention to these important concerns that foster crime, not children. Some agencies are ill-suited to handle some of societies challenges.

Group homes are better placed in isolation rather than dense neighborhoods. There is merit to the concept behind Military Academies, Secret Harbors and Boy Towns. Inadequate and fuzzy supervision in dense neighborhoods incubates delinquency. Chicago's Northside should not be an MSI chickhouse for gang recruitment. Less aggitated suburbs can provide options for some emotionally challenged youth. Inadequate supervision in group homes spawn criminals. Suburbs are better suited to apply pressure for appropriate supervision.

Those who write should map the locations of densely packed problem group homes and their related organizations. Placing homes in claimed gang territory is flirting with recklessness. Those with licenses to treat should be cited for inept supervision that leads to crime. Those without licenses should be subject to closure by State of Illinois authorities. Illinois Agencies can assert control! We cannot depend upon Chicago, alone, where Federal and Illinois laws are ready to be enforced upon persistent request. Simply reporting to a kvetching blog crowd does little to wake up the regulators.

Periodic follow up to report on inept regulation until the message is understood, sanctions issued, or major media awakened makes moral sense. Simply hitting the crimes of a few and moving on does little to identify suspects. Justice may be overlooked when sensationalism takes center stage. The accolades of a badge of blog fame does not, in itself, cure laissez faire neighbors.

There were about six locals who walked in Beat 2424 on National Night Out. Where were you, when neighbors were attacked?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Politics and Hypocrisy: Inconsistent, International, and Subtle, So Get Used to It

I am unsure whether this rant falls into the Murphy's Law or Facts of Life Blog. A concerned neighbor highlighted the above YouTube video. In life, we experience hypocrisy in our families, friends, journalists, politicians, and ourselves. The trash compactor of politics searches for the most outspoken but least consistent hypocrites. I recall former Third Ward Alderman Dorothy Tillman as a bold example, but there are many others.

Society may crown the publicly virtuous and outspoken few. Nearly all of our laureates eventually lose their way in the fog causing the abuse of power and privilege. Most are unable or unwilling to wait for the fog to evaporate, so mistakes are made. Too few will admit to error. Some errors are not fatal to every politicians career; get used to it.

Lessons in life: (1) everyone will eventually become a hypocrite, but not as consistently as others; (2) those in power with privileges often hoard it and become gluttons, fearing other careers; (3) the haves and those who seek economic interdependence support the status quo and democratic options; (4) those who envy the power or productivity of others often criticize those in power until they too become powerful and are themselves, criticized; (5) exaggerations and irresponsible posturing within the body politique nauseate moderates.

The concern of these journalists is, why now? The answer: Congressional ‘posturing’ and ‘tolerance,’ pure and simple. Positioning for a ‘cause delayed’ turns off voters. The above CNN video is an example of Congress spending our money on political partisanship. This is a commercial for the Democratic Party that reasonably offends and serves an exceptionally devoted niche of partisan storm troopers and yes men. Republicans in need of credibility found an easily accessible soapbox at this hearing.

Nevertheless, the ‘alleged’ CNN Clip fails to get the political parties correct! We can talk of the virtues of politics; yet, it is the reality of politics that counts. Congress, Committee, or Politburo; man is an imperfect leader, but so is HAL! [Reference to movie “2001 – A Space Odyssey”]

On the “We” recently scribed in local Rogers Park Political Yahoo! Group Discourse?

We the people "try to form a ‘more perfect’ union." I believe 'perfection' is a pipedream for those with personal agenda's or OCD. One's opinion may prevail more, but in politics, compromise and tolerance is what should carpe diem [seize the day]. Sometimes, people neglect to appreciate peace and reasonable opportunities for prosperity until each evaporates.

Partisanship is not an issue like slavery. Yet, people should reasonably demonstrate and struggle for their cause. Fewer seem to rally for causes and seem more content writing, rather than interacting. Congress postures in an era of arm chair complacency, despair, and frustration; call it laziness. If someone wants to publicize their POV, then more tools are available than ever. However, most of us need to appreciate the most effective routes. We also must learn how to separate the wheat from the chaf and reality from the rasp.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Skunk stuck in Yoplait Container Surprises Neighbors at Chase and Ridge

Yesterday, a skunk with a preference for Yoplait was discovered with head encased in a yogurt cup near Chase and Ridge. According to concerned neighbors, the furry black and white varmint with extremely noxious scent glands was seen running around in circles. It was also viewed doing other odd and contorted jigs for local residents. We are unsure whether the skunk that another neighbor is smoking had any effect on this Pepe Le Pew's propensity to get the munchies.

This dance was an effort to rid itself of the plastic yogurt cannister left by local litterbugs. Fortunately, with additional local attention, the skunk freaked out and managed to make the right move; it suddenly separated from his visual obstruction and head east. This is not the first sighting of a skunk with a taste for Yogurt; one was also spotted doing a similar dance in Hopkinton, MA on the morning of September 17, 2007. [note: use the "find" function in your browser to uncover news of the Hopkinton Skunk Dance].

I understand that a group of garbage loving skunks have now found a habitat near our Veola dumpsters in the alley just east of Ridge behind 7239, but roam the sidewalks, as well. Neighbors strongly suggest that pedestrians approach with caution. Also, discourage neighbors from dropping Popeye's chicken leftovers, McDonalds, other fast food waste, and yogurt cups anywhere other than in local trash cans. Otherwise, you may be bathing in tomato juice for a week, when you meet up with a skunk that does not want to get to know you.

In the last week, we have noticed about two incidents where skunks lifted their tails, so to speak. We are unsure if there are any locals who were the recepients of the exotic perfume, but have no doubt that it won't be difficult to determine.

Again, use caution. For those who are unaware, according to Streets and San, the rats not only appreciate and multiply from the fast food leftovers, but also feast on dog feces, as well. There is a reason for those little dog doo bags, so use them.