Saturday, October 09, 2010

Heartland Cafe Crisis - Fundraiser on 10/10/10 & 10/11/10 - Deadline Looms!

I just received the down low on the Heartland Cafe from After years of taking this inspiration for granted, and the rejuvenation it brings, it now has a bit of a challenge. I remain fond of breakfasts on the veranda, so that I expect to be there for a few days in hopes of reviving my memory.

In the interim, it will have a needed fundraiser with an event this Sunday, October 11, at 7pm and repeat on Monday.  For more information, use the above link.  If you have some gems of wisdom for Michael and Katy, then e-mail them at or

I hope that those in the neighborhood with a heart can help Michael through this challenge. As some may know, The Heartland Cafe did a significant revamp of its restaurant in 2009.  Many of us have seen similar challenges in recent days for other reasons. Our efforts to avoid debt vary with the size and type of our businesses. I regret that I know of them, but have not had the chance to speak with either in decades.

Maybe a bit of networking is in order for all of us.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Charmer's Garden Makes Local News, while Joe and the Rahminator Ponder the Mayoral Election

On the eve of Rosh Hashana, a new genesis.  As Craig Gernhardt re-pots, The Charmer's Garden emerged from a temporary hole in the ground created by the CDOT. It was a stroke of brilliance in the midst of confused shock, Dan. You are not to be completely faulted.  Joe has presented it as it is.

Hindsight is always 20/20.   However, who can fault mother nature and manicured green spaces?  Will someone be passing the plate at the next Rogers Park Garden Group Fall Treasures Sale to help offset and support this adventure? Is the contractor bilking the City? Or is did the contractor simply have to delay pouring plans and rent new molds for a different curb type at an additional cost? As it is written,  Location location location!

Dan and Joe both mean well.  I think most of us realize, including Joe, that the garden is a better idea.  However, you can't fault Joe for the response and course of action taken after Dan completed his thesis on political theater for Bandito Gardening 101.  Hindsight is always 20/20. Dan did not think to ask until the patch of earth opened up like the Dead Sea. It is unclear if Moses would approve.  However, Joe knows the $2Gs is worth the improvement on that corner.  That area just keeps getting better!

FWIW, if those of us from RP had a choice, I hope we'd choose Joe Moore over the Rahminator in a mayoral election.  Rahm Emmanuel grew up in North Shore's prestigious Ramona and New Trier finishing schools. Rahm's first few years at Anshe Emet nursery school and kindergarten were dubious moments of residence presented in Wikipedia. However, Rahm ascended and took over Rod's old throne, which is now run by Congressman Michael Quigley

The reason why Bill Daley chose Rahm Emmanuel in 1989 was for his alleged suburb connections to raise funds for Friends of Bill Clinton (FOB).  The rest is history. Of course, his educational pedigree helped. Since then, Emmanuel shoehorned himself into Chicago politics after Rod left a void in that Congressional District once reserved for Dan Rostenkowski. Most of us know that there are too many Chicagoans, who are in better touch with Chicago, than Rahm.  The Rahmeister has lived on the Beltway and should stay there.  He knows how to schmooze and can continue to lobby.  He should have challenged Kirk for his position, but that might have proven too difficult in a world without Abner Mikva for so long. 

It makes sense that Bill Singer and Rahm Emmanuel have ties, since both seem to have an awkward opportunistic streak. However, it is unclear that Singer could have done better in that mayoral race with Hizzoner without Jesse Jackson's support. At least Singer spent much more of his life in Chicago.

However, suburban money will back Rahm unless Chicago politics can somehow limit contributions from outside concerns. For many of us, the disappearing act of Richard M. Daley does create a void encouraged and arguably nurtured by the DNC.  Now, the consequences of incumbency are clear.  Will we have another Hillary Clinton type election in Chicago with an arguable carpetbagger taking center stage?

I really don't think that Rahm 'knew Jack' about living in Chicago, even when he served as a U.S. Representative.  I'm glad to hear that Daley will not do a Dick Devine and endorse a questionable candidate.  Well, I almost did.  However, I changed my tune and my vote to Anita Alvarez days before the primary when suddenly it became clear that Milan's candidacy was going nowhere. He began to appear more like Burkett and less like Milan.

However, even if Joe runs, and he should seriously think about it, I see Fioretti and perhaps Danny Davis as serious threats over Rahm. Joe may want brainstorm with David Orr, among others on the North Side. Joe will need to seek Evanston and Schakowsky for support, as well.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rogers Park Garden Group Meander on Tuesday, July 27th

The Rogers Park Garden Group will have its Annual Garden Meander on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 from 6p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The walk starts at Touhy and Ridge to be followed by a catered reception and lecture at St. Scholastica High School near Fargo and Ridge.

Although this walk is for members only, membership is only $10 and can be paid through the website. Usually, membership can be paid at the events. However, I'd suggest you check with the Rogers Park Garden Group volunteers and its website. The Rogers Park Garden Meander is a nice way to spend a weekday summer evening. It can help you to know members, who are also neighbors that can provide good garden tips.

The Group may benefit from having the Meander on a weekend. However, I understand that the Meander is still well attended even though it is during the week.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Rogers Avenue: Advantage or Disadvantage? Who controls the pursestrings?

To those concerned with 7300 N. to 7500 N. Rogers Avenue:

I have walked nights on Rogers and live nearby. Pottawattomi Park is filled with children and the Off duty police officer helps, when the Park District pays for it. The Park District claims it will bring back the Officer after an approximately three month hiatus.

The commercial strip by Damen looks seedier than it is. Residents have to act like they belong.

People know me; they see me, and this makes a difference. Residents are welcome; riff raff isn't. You just have to be a little more tolerant at times. The challenge is often with those who don't live here, not with those who do, with minimal exceptions. We have a commercial landlord at Damen and Rogers who occasionally repairs, but refuses to reasonably maintain the commercial strip. This is what spurs neighborhood embarrassment. This is not a sellers market! However, this does not mean that the owners should sit on an eyesore! Michael Land, his predecessors, and the Alderman are aware of Damen and Rogers. It is debatable about what can or should be done about the situation.

Apparently, the owner has pie in the sky ideas about the value of the property, so it does not sell. It's a teardown! Perhaps there are ties to businesses and "The Ho" that lives in the area. I am sure that there is some neighborhood loyalty to "The Ho" and rightfully so. However, if The Ho won't go, then the building should be reasonably rehabilitated, not randomly redecorated. At least it is no longer pepto bismol pink!

Maybe the commercial strip owner wants to maintain the place as a potential movie set. Perhaps, Sanford and Son, The Movie? Or perhaps, "The Blues Brothers Part II: Urban Blight Ain't Right!" I just don't know! They should should shape up, or sell out!

As for Glencoe, been there, done that.

On convenience and diversity, I can walk to the corner bar, coffee shop, red line, Fish Keg, Jamaican food joint, Romanian Kosher deli, etc. Why would I want to head north just to live on an acre of grass? The suburbs are full of pale faces, who try to keep it that way. The north shore population of approximately 5% Asian, 2% African American, 3% Hispanic just does not cut it for us. I know my neighbors. We all have our 1% that need an attitude adjustment.

Of course, the RP Pace Bus picks up a from stop that is 100 foot walk. And the beaches? We have them! If I want to go to your Fourth of July parade, I just drive 20 minutes or take the Metra north.

The suburbs: nice places to visit, but I would not want to live there. For me, the advantage is in RP. You just have to understand and appreciate it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Vote: Say it ain't so, Joe!

Did you vote today? Did you feel like those who volunteered even cared who voted? It appeared like every mother's son from the suburbs and than some could have voted. Of course, "the vote" was a good faith gesture, or was it? I was never asked for identification.
The cost of those signs, some of which were stuck to an SUV with a Tinley Park High School Sticker made me wonder. Was this simply another ruse to lift Joe's political image to 49th Ward voters?
Again, I soured on the decision by so called election judges not to bother asking me for identification. Anyone could have easily brought in an entourage. I did not see Joe anywhere. Say it ain't so, Joe?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Starved Rock, The Eagles Tour, and an Eagle Tree Gets the Chain Saw.

After about two hours, give or take, we arrived at Starved Rock Lodge to see whether the eagles had landed. A buffet at 11 a.m. was followed by the Starved Rock Trolley car call. The son of a WPA worker explained how the Starved Rock Lodge was built, while he drove us to see the eagles at the I&M Canal Center. The I&M Canal ranger showed us a movie and gave us some eagle statistics. This was followed by a trip to the Starved Rock Visitors Center. We got out of the Trolley to see the eagles from the opposite side of the River.

The view of the eagles on Plum Island in the Illinois River was rather amazing. Over twenty eagles were perched in one location. A few had enough energy left to soar above and around the locks in spite of the cold temperatures. However, trying to photograph eagles from about a mile is challenging with a compact camera, even if it has a zoom lens. I understand that the eagles may migrate north any day with little notice. Yet, they can stay as long as the fifteenth of March.

This was followed by our tour guide waxing about liability from lawsuits. Apparently, a homeowner feared the wrath of raptor madness on his lawn or corn field. You would think that an opportunity to charge a fee for such eco-tourism might thrill some locals. Unfortunately, it seems that one Utican thinks that Corboy and Dimetrio of Bob Clifford have investigators perched in the cliffs ready to document and sue every landowner on Illinois River with an eagle's nest and a kitchy billboard.

As a result, this led to the destruction of an eagle habitat. A tree that was being used by eagles for nesting on private property was cut down. Perhaps, like a good neighbor, the Audobon Society, Nature Conservancy, and State Farm can intervene and explain the facts of life.

It seems that such things as assumption of risk and the legal challenges to slip and fall lawsuits are unknown in these parts. Also, the fact that State Farm, among other insurance companies, own their own law firm to challenge questionable and valid claims. Maybe, an insurance companies can consider a discount and get some good PR!

Well, it was a good trip. We got out of the house and into Starved Rock State Park. It could have been a trip taken for the cost of gas and toll. However, we learned that the I&M Canal Center's Eagle presentation, with movie, is given exclusively to those who book the Starved Rock Lodge Eagle Trolley Tour. The Lodge is worth supporting and the $25 per person fee was not much to ask for. We didn't even have to stay the night!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

On Starved Rock, Plans and Polaroids.

Eat! Not that! Your fangs aren't made for corn chips!
You bitch, stop dominating the cat, he does not work that way.

Hey! What are you doing! get down!

The Doritos are picked up to prevent that gagging sound after an adventurous mutt has gourmet tendencies. The cat, once it breaks its canine chains, rebells, only to be lowered from the kitchen counter. The long awaited dog walk looms with too little gas in the tank to make it worthwhile.

Now, while simultaneously planning for the day trip, the rush to Costco to fill the tires before six! The four day Lincoln/Washington Holiday is almost over with Valentines Day nestled in for good looks, but no seclusion or much selection for that matter. It looks like will be my salvation, perhaps Dengeos. Will she remember that kids are not supposed to go to Valentines Day dinners?

Our plans to take off for a day, maybe a night, as well, could not be more tentative, even if reserved. This will be the second time that we have planned to see the eagles soar at Starved Rock State Park this winter. The first attempt was clogged with emotional congestion, sleep deprivation, and a decision to abandon plans. We are starved just to get out of the house in the antique minivan.

The kids are getting older. We aren't getting younger. I continue to persist on those yet to be taken voyages as the kids reach rebellion. I reach for the pomegranate juice, goji juice, and occasional dram of 'the water of life.' A few of the many efforts to find the fountain of youth complete with Lipitor. Well, at least my blood sugar is a pleasant 108! The heart rate also seems well. This is in spite of limited of exercise and a contemptuous diet. The occasional deviation to China Buffet, The Fish Keg, Gullivers, Hophaus, or Sabrin A Sub will not impress a cardiologist. The svelte physique, once worn, is in need of a comeback.

The walk up and down the heights, corners and crevices of Starved Rock may help a bit. The brisk breeze will hit our faces, our hands will be mitted, and we will scour the treetops in search of Haliaeetus leucocphalus.

My significant other has wanted to see the Starved Rock eagles grace the branches and cliffs of Utica, Illinois for a while. Unfortunately, work limits play. Our weekends may once, again, return and we may be a family. As a result, the eagles have never landed onto our schedule until now.
I have this sense of guilt every time I take the kids to some wonderland while the other half is tending to the ill. When we express what we have done, there is a subtle sense of envy eminating. This can put a chill on the moment. It had kept the kids in check for a while.

I'm unsure whether there will be a good photo op. However, I am bringing the Nikon Coolpix S70, anyway. This is the third or forth generation of digital cameras in a long line of broken crystals and malfunctioning lenses. Hopefully, we will land a few photos of the brown and white feathered raptors that will calmly caress our vision on Monday.

So does anyone else have any interesting plans over the weekend, other than those high points that Valentines Day may or may not create? Does Rogers Park have a family or two, who spent the weekend in tow? Are the empty nesters just going to nest in front of Apolo Ohno and wonder, "what happened to my kid?"

Friday, February 05, 2010

Obama, Don't Take it Personally, Kirk Wins, Bernstein Almost! Bottom Line: Fight for Seal

I am a non-partisan, but as an independent observer, Giannoulias has a challenge for many reasons. First, he is a newcomer on the political scene. He just became Illinois Treasurer and is six years younger. He has significantly less experience and credibility than his challenger. Of course, he has the hard to pronounce Greek name, as well. I can just feel the Opaa, which can scare off voters, even if I enjoy Greece and Greek Culture!
What clinches it for Mark Kirk is that he is viewed by most as a moderate, even if some try to challenge. It will take brains, not brawn, to beat him. Frankly, the current Democratic Strategists seem incapable, incompetent, and presumptuous!

Would I like Giannoulias to win? Likely. Yet, he needs to review how to present his platform on the issues. I just don't think that his current team can do it! In an election bound to bring out the worst in some Democrats, Mark Kirk will get the nod. Voters won't necessarily come from City limits, but will come from everywhere else. The City does not 'currently' have the drive to get out the vote for Gianoulias. The lawn signs and leaflets taped to doors 'turn off' voters!

There is not currently enough interest in this election. The voters are not voting in droves. The 'populist Jewish name' garnered more interest than the most recommended Judges. Even the recommended arguable Jewish surnames like Bender and Greenspan were overlooked by actual voters! Mary Trew, a qualified candidate, nearly lost her election to the least competent candidate, Bernstein. Subcircuit 9A became a circus of political irresponsibility. Yet, Bernstein got his name out!

Bernstein, who is an Evanston Councilman with supposedly little or no recent experience in Court, per ALL lawyers organizations, beat the experienced. Bernstein nearly took the election. He could have been a member of the Socialist White People's Party. It was a near Democratic disgrace. Bernstein should have never run, IMHO, but he had the right to run! It was his choice and his supporters went all out! Perhaps, Bernstein should have run against Gianoulias! This election is one more reason why merit selection of judges should be reconsidered!

That said, the Dems have to look at realistic options. Danny Davis, among others, could have run for U.S. Senate! What are these Dems thinking? Why put out the ethnic name of the son of a dubious banker, whose bank is allegedly in hot water? Yes, Hoffman came out as the reformer. Unfortunately, he appeared to have little experience and limited name recognition. His stint trying to clean up Chicago politics was an obscure fact to most voters. He was a political lesser known 'Jim Thompson' looking to be a somebody. He ran against a politician with limited experience, some name recognition, and the political machine firmly behind his opponent.

Gianoulias and Scott Lee Hooker err Cohen remain mistakes, but not disasters, even if they lose. Now, its time to regroup or concede, but carefully build support Seals, because Dold is on the war path! If Dold appears like a moderate, then Seals' loses! The Democrats must find a way to be civil, not pushy. You can't send pushy Fuller Brush Salesmen door to door on the Northshore and expect to sell voters. It backfires like 'greasy kids stuff' at a '1970s Happening!'

There are more effective ways to reach Northshore Voters without upsetting them. Dold has firm backing from moderate groups that can make a difference. If the Democrats, including the DFA don't get the message, then the Northshore will dump Seals like bruised goods. Yet, few want to see someone like Seal with such drive simply crash, burn, and get slaughtered. This comes from someone who has lived on the Northshore for their entire life.

Yes, Seal has a chance. Learn how to circle the wagons, not pitch a match on the kerosene that lights another backfire.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

2010 Primary - One of the Few No One For Office Moments

As expressed, I was nauseated by this primary election. I expect this November to bring more of the same. Lawn signs on locations creating blight for month until someone gets sick of the Bernsteins, Gianoulias', Lubys', Nubys', and Doobys'. Isn't there a better way?

When in doubt, don't some might say. For me, I was happy to learn that the most publicized, was unqualified and did not win in our district. Yet, Mary Trew was no angel with her lawn signs. Her gang decided to take turf from St. Scholastic and so it goes.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Life at the Lake stop. At 8

Just another fringe benefit. Living in Chicago is dense but intelligent. I am looking 4ward to a morning off work on Friday plus Free Shakesphere on Navy Pier tickets courtesy of CPS. Slainte!

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Politcal Waffle Boarding Descends on Rogers Park.

I don't mind political waffleboards as long as 'my family consents to the boards being on our lawn (my sentiments aside). This is the name that I call the plastic cardboard corrogated political signs with the metal prongs. What some call freedom of speech, but others call political propaganda, urban blight, or trespassing depending upon perspective. It is to blindly persuade those who are waffling over who to vote for, not for those who really care.

Yet, when people live in a shared community, such as an apartment or condo, I don't think that one should nail heels on the native's feet to quote George Carlin. It seems rude and arguably counterproductive without the consent of the tenants, ownership or management.

This is a bit different than wheatpasting an anti-nuke poster over ads on a CTA Platform. Albeit that might seem to some like a lesser form of civil disobedience, even if it is a petty criminal offense. Is there any justice in this synthetic plastic encroachment?

Of course, a political waffleboard is not as harsh as waking up to graffiti on the brick wall of your home or apartment. A political waffleboard has the essence of blind partisanship that presumes or disrespects what others may think. The name for name's sake mentality is an unfortunate fear of politicians. So they foist their name on the electorate in fear of their opponent. It is a rather anti-FDR-like gesture. Apparently, they fear "fear itself!"

Why should Chicagoans tolerate non-consensual Freedom of Speech encroachment on private property. There are too many candidates/supporters who neglect to ask for prior consent! The city has an easement on the parkways, not our political hacks. If 'waffle-boarding' was a strict liability crime, then I realize opponents might remove and place the signs in the most offensive locations for the sake of screwing their opponent. Of course, doing so might backfire, and get the opposition elected. Am I missing another equally reasonable perspective?