Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, July 22

Gapers Block

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Claire's Bistro

If you're a writer you're probably familiar with mediabistro, a website filled with articles on writing as a career and job links that, as a Chicagoan, I've rarely found useful. Today the site launched five new weblogs, including MBToolbox, a "resource blog for journalists and writers." The blog's editor? Chicago's own Claire Zulkey. Suddenly my faith in mediabistro is renewed.

Crafty Bang-Bang

The Chicago Craft Mafia is going to make you an offer you can't refuse. "Buy local, or else!" Inspired by the recent craft explosion hitting this fair city, six local crafters decided their familia would join forces with the national Craft Mafia familia. You'll be able to get the first glimpse of their joined efforts this coming Friday at TOJO gallery. There's no amount of "hush-money" that can keep these folks quiet, so you'll be hearing from them.

It's a Sign

Ron from BigHappyFunhouse has a new photoblog,, documenting the city's handpainted signs.

Museum Attendance Falls Again

Crain's Chicago Business reports that in 2004 attendance fell for the fourth year in a row at Chicago's top museums. The Mexican Fine Arts Center experienced the biggest decline, with a 36% drop from 2003.

D'oh! Alan Keyes can't run for governor yet

Michael Sneed previously reported (and GB dutifully linked) that Alan Keyes was thinking of running for governor. However, as Eric Zorn and the Capitol Fax Blog point out, you have to be an Illinois resident for 3 years before you're eligible to be governor. Best to concentrate on building the Illinois Republican party for now, Alan. Or how about a run for mayor?

Photos of a Get-Together

Due to a scheduling snafu, Hopleaf's upstairs bar was reserved for a Cheetah Gym party, so the GB Get-Together ended up next door at Konak. We put up signs, but we apologize if you came out and didn't find us. We did take some photos, visible here on our new GB Flickr account.

Chicago's fiction of 2004

Golden Rule Jones has a month-by-month round up of 2004's Chicago-related fiction. His list shows that almost every month had a new book with a Chicago author, a Chicago setting, or both.

Critical mass for bikes-on-Metra-trains bill

In the Illinois General Assembly is a new bill that would allow bike riders to take their bikes onto Metra trains during off-peak hours and weekends. For their part, Metra officials are saying that making provisions for bikes would cut into the seating capacities of their trains, and are hoping to work with the bill sponsors and local bike organizations for a compromise.

Moms and blogging in the NYT

Tomorrow's New York Times will include an article on parents who record their child-rearing experiences on their blogs. What's the Chicago connection? Our very own Mimi Smartypants is quoted in the article as saying "Blogging makes parents more relaxed."

It's official: Brown Line closings during construction

Late-breaking news at the Tribune Website: the CTA has officially announced that 15 Brown Line stations will be closed anywhere from six weekends up to a full year during renovation of the stations starting after September. Criticism of the CTA's announcement came quickly; Alderman Gene Schulter and State Rep. John Fritchey said that the CTA "dropped the ball" when they failed to consult with city officials until only recently.

He's still around?

Alan Keyes is still around? Yes he is, and as Michael Sneed reports he's considering a run for Illinois governor. One thing Keyes would have in his favor in a gubernatorial campaign: he wouldn't be running against Barack Obama.

Chicago eats from a Streets-eye view

Author Dennis Foley worked for Chicago's Dept. of Streets and Sanitation for 7 years, and learned about a lot of good & cheap places to eat in the city. He collected a list of these places in a book published last May, The Streets and San Man's Guide to Chicago Eats (already in its third printing), and was interviewed on yesterday's Eight Forty-Eight on Chicago Public Radio about his favorite restaurants to have lunch (the Streets and San worker's favorite meal of the day). From the book reviews and the interview it sounds like he lists a bunch of lesser-known restaurants and bars to eat, but be warned you might have to battle with the Streets and San trucks for parking near any of these places.

Photos and Drinks

Today's Detour is an exhibition of photos by frequent Rearview contributor Archie FlorCruz. It's the first of what will be a monthly "gallery show" for a featured artist, and you'll be able to buy prints of the exhibited works.

And speaking of purchasing, we'll have GB t-shirts available for just $15 at the GB Get-Together tonight at 9pm at Hopleaf. Come on down and have a drink with us!

Snowball fight in Wauconda!

The Wauconda Lions Club is hoping to stage the world's largest snowball fight tomorrow morning at Cooks Park (600 N. Main, across from Wauconda High School). The Lions Club members came up with the idea after hearing that a town in the Swiss Alps organized 2,473 people for a fight. They're hoping to have at least 3,000 people in the park tomorrow morning and earn a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. If you'd like to be a part of the record, check the Lions' Website for details.

Red Line fire on the tracks

A fire in the Red Line subway south of North & Clybourn caused an evacuation of a train late last night. On the scene (and on the train) was none other than CTA enthusiast Tony Coppoletta, whose collection of CTA Stuff we pointed you to just a few days ago. Read his account of the evacuation in the Chicago El community at LiveJournal. (Thanks, Matt!)

Drinking cheap for tsunami relief

There's nothing like a Chicago winter to encourage combining your philanthropy with heavy drinking. The latest ridiculously easy way to help with tsunami relief comes this Sunday via Wrigleyville's Bar Louie. From 6pm onward you can buy a $10 wristband giving you access to $2 u-call-it drinks and half-price appetizers. The wristband fees go to the Red Cross. Details in Slowdown, natch.

A9 Is Watching You

A9, Amazon's search engine, has added a photo element to its yellow pages search function. Now you can see what a place looks like before you go and even check out what's nearby by scrolling up and down the block in many cases. Unfortunately, the method employed -- van-mounted cameras trolling up and down streets -- often captures vehicles and people, most of whom have no idea they're being photographed. Sepoy, local author of, found this the hard way when he searched for a local pizzeria and discovered his entire family up the block.

Spring fever

Chicago artist Alan Bolle is closing up his art studio, Springman Studio on West Kinzie, and is moving to Baltimore at the end of February. So to get some cash for moving he's selling his car, which in keeping with the name of his studio is decorated with 5,000 springs and has traveled to various art shows across the country (recently winning the Happiest Art Car award at an exhibit in Minneapolis). If you're interested in a one-of-a-kind car (which has been known to cause what the Sun-Times calls "gawkers delays", but which we at GB like to refer to by a different term), check the article for further info.


More for the public transportation buffs: this CTA Roster site has photos of the different trains and busses used by the CTA, listed by model and year, as well as a few streetcars.

Early Chicago

Amateur and professional historians now have a place online to deposit their wealth of information about our fair city:, an outgrowth of a self-published book on the history of Chicagoland prior to 1835. The site contains an encyclopedia, maps, listings of monuments and a chronology that somewhat humorously starts with the Big Bang. Here's a Tribune article on how the book and site came about.

Watching the Paper

And you thought we were the only ones who read the Sun-Times (and Tribune) so you don't have to. Introducing Sun-Times Watch, a daily blog where "Kit Kinzie" and "Will Wabash" dish on the tabloid's foibles. How soon before Trib Watch debuts? Oh, wait.

Reducing traffic jams by computer

Last September, GB mentioned that Chicagoans spend an average of 56 hours per year stuck in traffic. Well, Mayor Daley is in LA this week, learning about computer technology to automatically adjust traffic lights to ease traffic back-ups.
LA has seen road delays reduced by as much as 30 to 40%, and Daley is hoping for similar improvements with a Chicago computer system modelled on the one in LA. The bad news: such a system would be an expensive process that could take years to implement, according to the Traffic Management Authority. So for the time being, you're still stuck with the crappy commute times.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Don't worry if you missed Amy Krouse Rosenthal at the Hideout last night - there are plenty more chances to see her in the coming month as she reads from her book Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. Trust me, it's worth it. (And I totally want to find one of her books!)

He is watching you

CNN has a profile of Ron Huberman, the executive director of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications. The office monitors the security cameras throughout the city that a lot of people feel are more of a threat to personal privacy than terrorists.

Alderman okays Cubs expansion

The expansion of Wrigley Field gets one step closer to reality, as 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney has given his blessing to the Cubs' plans for building 1,790 new bleacher seats, as well as developing land near the ballpark into a combination parking deck, restaurant and Cubs hall of fame. Tunney okayed the plan after the Cubs agreed to create a 7,000-10,000 square foot neighborhood park at a location to be determined.

Pay It Forward

If putting aside more of your money toward good causes is one of your resolutions, but you're unsure of where it should go, check out DonorsChoose Chicago, an organization dedicated to helping out the city's public schools. Teachers write proposals for activities or supplies not funded by the school system and, once they're approved and published by the site, people like us can start making our contributions. It's an easy and interesting way to keep the karma flowing in the right direction. (Thanks to reader Fil for the tip!)

Chicago architecture musings and events

Repeat is a Chicago-based architecture site by Lynn Becker, an architecture contributor to the Reader. It contains reprints of articles that previously appeared in the paper, which is cool for those of us who lament the Reader's lack of online archival content. What's really neat about the site, though, is its calendar of Chicago architectural events.

Illinois is for 'Ballers

Suddenly Illinois is a basketball state. The Illini are at the top of the standings, undefeated, and have you noticed the Bulls are doing amazingly well? They totally sucked for most of the season, then all of a sudden they're two games over .500 and have won 11 of their last 12 games. They could make it to the playoffs for the first time in years! Crazy world.

Funny Ha-Ha II

Pulled over from Slowdown: Come hear some of Chicago's funniest writers tonight at the Hideout. The event is being hosted by Claire Zulkey and features readings from many friends of Gapers Block including Wendy McClure, Steve Delahoyde, Mark Bazer, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Nathan Rabin and many more. Check out the Hideout website for the complete lineup. The event starts at 8pm, donations will be accepted at the door.

Taxi drivers planning radio strike

Angered at the city's stalling on a taxi fare increase (the Chicago cab rates haven't increased since November 2000, while gas prices and insurance rates have gone up), a group of cab drivers is planning to call for a one-week job action by drivers in March, during which they would not respond to radio calls. Consumer Services Commissioner Norma Reyes counters that the rate hike that cabbies are asking for is too high. There's a City Council meeting coming up on February 9th, at which Alderman Tom Allen says he hopes to have "something together". It might be a good time to reacquaint yourself with CTA bus schedules....

Orange Mullet Alert This Weekend

Babes. The General Lee. Cooter. Spongebob. NASCAR. "Mike the Plumber". All this and more Sunday Sunday Sunday (well, Friday and Saturday too) at the World Of Wheels Chicago show at McCormick. If you've been mullet-deprived or want to pick up a NASCAR dad, this is your big chance.

CTA Geek Out

Tony Coppoletta's online collection of CTA Stuff will bring warmth to the heart of any transit nerd. He has photos from station tours, a huge set of WAV recordings of the CTA Voice from the el and buses, and a collection of scans of farecard designs from tokens to the ChicagoCard.

Still Alive

This Friday, at Chicago's Bucket Rider Gallery, the folks behind Art Prostitute magazine will be in town to celebrate the release of their fifth issue, Still Alive. Featuring work from Gary Baseman, Tiffany Bozic, Kozyndan, and Cody Hudson, this should be a nice way to start off the weekend. The party is free, but a 20-spot in support of the cause gets you a copy of the new issue. If you're lucky, Cody might even sign it for you. What more could you ask for?

Political family feud

Politics in Chicago are obviously intertwined with family: just look at the Daley administrations(s). Now the NYTimes has an article on how Governor Blagojevich is feuding with his father-in-law, Chicago alderman Richard Mell, over a landfill run by a relative of Mell and its "dubious practices."

Sam's Wine Blog

Sam's Wine & Spirits has jumped on the blogging bandwagon. Case by Case is a new, twice-weekly blog by in-house writer and journalist Bill St. John, who also writes a column for Wine & Spirits Magazine (not affiliated with Sam's).

Record Store Reviews

Looking for a good record store? Look no further than They've got a listing of nearly every shop in town (including a couple that no longer exist: Crow's Nest RIP), with customer reviews for most.

796-9600 from 312, 630, 708, 773, or 847

Namefinder, the phone line that you call to find out the listed name and address associated with any phone number in the Chicago area, is ending on February 7. SBC is shutting the service down because of outdated equipment, not because services like Google Phonebook are rendering it obsolete. Chicago police detectives are airing the most complaints about losing the service.

Renewed interest in Jack Johnson

After last week's PBS documentary "Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson," there have been several calls to Graceland Cemetery, where Johnson is buried, from visitors who want to see Johnson's grave. If you go, don't pay your respects at the big headstone labelled "Johnson;" although it was his intended headstone, Jack Johnson is actually buried in an unmarked grave next to that of his first wife Etta. And if you missed the documentary when it aired last week, it'll be rebroadcast on WTTW's digital cable station, starting today. See here for a schedule.

Monday night rock show

If you haven't been checking out Schubas' Monday night residency program this month, you are missing out. Kevin Tihista plays romantic acoustic songs full of yearning and clever lyrics. Andrew Morgan's densely arranged baroque pop songs got his debut album Misadventures in Radiology named one of the best of 2004 by the UK's Uncut magazine (it gets a US release this spring). They play two more shows together, tonight and next Monday. Details in Slowdown.

Floating Logos Project

Keeping in line with the Illinois Arts Fellowship coverage, one of this year's recipients, a Chicagoan named Matt Siber, is probably known best for his hilarious and thought-provoking Floating Logos Project. For the curious, other locally-based award winners include Sabrina Raaf, Matthew Steinke, Ben Vida, Brenda Cardenas, and BJ Krivanek. Lots of interesting work to sort through here.

IAC fellowships favor Chicagoans

The recipients of the Illinois Arts Council's 2005 Artists Fellowship Awards have been announced. Not surprisingly, the majority of them are from Chicago.

Mystery Music Contest

The hip and friendly folks at Hyde Park Records are having a contest! The first person to correctly name the artist and song titles of twelve mystery tracks wins $200 in gift certificates to Hyde Park Records. Rockin'!

Baja Fresh Leaves Chicago

So Burger King isn't the only chain restaurant to leave the city. Oddly, the same thing has happened to the Wendy's-owned chain Baja Fresh. Baja Fresh has closed most of its locations in Chicago, which were quite popular during lunchtime. No word on why or where, but Baja fans will have to look to alternatives for their tacos.

Genius Grant Authors Not So Impressive

The Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation's "genius grants" don't pay off when it comes to literature, according to Crain's Chicago Business. A study of the 31 authors receiving the award since 1981 found that most --88 percent -- had hit their artistic peak well before they received the money. A handy PDF charts the authors and their output before and after the grant. (Wonder if Crain's will examine artists and musicians next?)

Nick Hornby in Newcity

Every bibliophile loves a good book about books, especially when it's written by one of your favorite authors. Nick Hornby recently compiled his reading related Believer columns into The Polysyllabic Spree, making all us book lovers and Hornby fans squeal in delight. Tom Lynch shares an e-mail conversation with the author at Newcity.

Those sensitive Chicago cops

The NYTimes has an article on how Chicago police have successfully used videos to train officers with how to sensitively deal with people of non-Christian faiths. The sensitivity training has worked so well to strengthen ties between communities and police that other cities have ordered and begun using them.

CTA crime up, citywide crime down

Protect your valuables when you're on the train or bus! Crime on the CTA increased last year, while overall crime in the city decreased. CTA boss Frank Kreusi said the increase was just a "blip," and noted that CTA crime has fallen 32% since 1997. Still, commuters should watch out for theft on the CTA, especially pickpockets working in the downtown train stations. The stations with the highest theft rates: State and Lake; Clark and Lake; and State and Chicago.

Bird, Bird Machine

Andrew Bird has a new album coming out shortly, with cover art by Jay Ryan. To celebrate, there's a listening party and exhibit of original artwork tomorrow night at the Corbett vs. Dempsey Gallery, 1120 N. Ashland (upstairs from the Dusty Groove), 8-10pm. Bring your wallet.

Gay Rights Bill Signed

Governor Blagojevich signed into law today legislation that prohibits descrimination based on sexual orientation, making Illinois the 15th state with such a law. Learn more from Equality Illinois and join them in celebration tonight at 5:30pm at Sidetrack Chicago, 3349 N. Halsted St. (Of course, not everyone is so pleased.)

Read media or be a...

MediaReader. Early this afternoon I met Dave Laney. If you didn't already recognize the name, he's the singer/guitarist for Milemarker and his newer project Challenger. But in his other time he also manages a site and, more importantly, a small print magazine called MediaReader. Issues, which Laney has made easily available via the web or PDF formats, feature writings by fellow bandmate and zine legend writer Al Burian (of Burn Collector infamy). There's a lot of interesting subjects to explore on the state of various "scenes" and the country, so go read some new perspectives and takes.

Find the Encyclopedia

Next Tuesday, 1/25, copies of the book The Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life will be scattered throughout the city (as well as in New York and San Francisco) with notes from the author, Amy Krause Rosenthal. According to the book site, "the finder is encouraged to report back to this very spot and share with us when and where he found the book." A test run earlier this month yeilded some interesting results and a short video clip.

Someday We'll Get Paid for This

A University of Chicago study finds that careers in the arts contribute little toward monetary retirement goals. The arts, unlike law or business they say, are so different because "a lot of people are willing to work either for very little or even for free." Really? Tell us something we didn't know.


When I lived in London, the opening of this show caused quite a stir, with the press questioning whether or not skinless cadavers counted as "art." Ironically, Bodyworlds — Gunter von Hagens' "anatomical exhibition of real human bodies" — is about to hit the Museum of Science and Industry next month, and with little moral uproar or critical fanfare. I guess they're also presenting a new Omnimax film in conjunction with the exhibition, which I assume will be part and parcel of a more toned-down, family-oriented presentation. Either way, if you enjoy the show, you could always join the tour.

Dave Matthews' bus driver up the creek

The Dave Matthews Band's bus driver has been officially charged with misdemeanor counts for dumping 800 pounds (yes, 800 pounds) of raw sewage onto a sightseeing boat as the bus was crossing the Kinzie Street bridge last August. He faces up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Burger Mystery

Chicagoist is trying to unravel the story behind the transformation of many North Side Burger Kings into Burger Delights; a fact-finding mission by a reader turned up little info. Turns out they're not the only ones curious: a visitor to the RoadFood forum also investigated, with little to show for it.

Heat Wave Remembered

Local performance artist Nicole Garneau is doing a project called Heat:05 to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the '95 heat wave that killed 700 people. Every day this year she is doing a performance of some sort as a way to combat the social isolation that led to the deaths of most of the victims. Read descriptions of each performance here, and check the schedule to find an upcoming performance. (Thanks, Amy.)

Twang-Off Tonight at Martyrs

TwangOff is a once-a-month battle of the bands show that takes place the third Thursday of every month at Martyrs' (3855 N. Lincoln). As the title implies, the featured bands are folksy, alt-country... in a word, twangy. Tonight's battle features the Mark Sheehy Band vs. The Steepwater Band vs. Duenow. The music starts at 9 pm and it'll cost you $7. Giddy-up.

Burn, Barge, Burn

A barge exploded into flames and sank in the Sanitary and Shipping Canal on the South Side, nearly directly below the Cicero Avenue Bridge. Debris landed on the bridge, but amazingly no cars were hurt. At least one barge worker is still missing, and the clarified oil slurry the barge was carrying now pollutes the canal.

Ta-da List

Everyone makes lists. Some people love making lists. All the High Fidelity followers believe in Lists. So, what do you do if you're a web design firm? You make a FREE site where you can host your very own lists. Ta-da!

Tsunami Benefit @ Rodan

Please join Subsystence and PISTIL Magazine tonight at Rodan for an evening of good music in support of a great cause. A stellar lineup of DJs including WNUR's Dave Siska and m50 is donating their time to perform, and all the money raised at the door will be split between Oxfam and the International Red Cross. More information available in Slowdown. Hope to see you there!

Ian Dingman: Simplicity is best

Every so often, when a site goes for simple, it can be too simple. However, Ian Dingman's sparse site only enhances his artwork and forces you to pay attention to what's really important. I'm overly fond of the chairs (one, two) and his Flat File section is excellent, a little bit of this, a little bit of that. A site for sore eyes indeed.

RIP: Peaches

Peaches, the oldest elephant in the United States, died at Lincoln Park Zoo yesterday. She was 55. Tuberculosis is not suspected as the cause, as was the case last October when Tatima died. The remaining elephant, Wankie, may be moved to a different zoo -- elephants are social animals and don't survive long in solitary captivity.

Can Jimmy Buffett break the Cubs' curse?

The Cubs have decided to hold a pair of concerts at Wrigley Field on Labor Day weekend. The Lakeview neighborhood board has okayed the plan, and they're waiting for City Hall to give the go-ahead on the concerts. The Cubs have even got a headlining act in mind: Jimmy Buffett, who played Fenway Park in Boston last year and tried to break the Curse of the Bambino. (That appeared to work.) Can Buffett, a long-time Cubs fan, work his Margaritaville magic on the Billygoat Curse? Stay tuned....

The Odds Are Good, But...

...the goods? They are odd. So we say about the bizarre 70 percent marriage rate of University of Chicago couples. Contrary to my opinion, U of C Maroon writer Phoebe Maltz commends the U of C for being a "post-feminist utopia," by which she means that it is a place where girls are lucky enough to have guys within close proximity who care as much, or as little, about their appearances as they do. But have you been to the U of C? I'm not so sure this is a good thing.

Outrage at City Hall on MLK Day

Everybody loves the Billy Goat, right? It seems not everybody at City Hall is pleased, until some information is cleared up regarding a minority contract for the Billy Goat's O'Hare location. Owner Sam Sianis previously claimed a source inside City Hall told him to merely cross his name off of the liquor license and insert his wife's name. This little switch resulted in a women's business enterprise certification, enabling the owners to cash in on the abused minority set-aside program. This comes directly after a report from the Tribune that these contracts aren't even verified by the city. What a sad story coming out of Chicago on a day honoring the late Martin Luther King Jr.

No More Zoots

Eric Zorn mourns the passing of the big-and-tall store Zoots in Jefferson Park. The store has been around in one form or another since 1920. There's a big clearance sale on now; go to ZootsOnline for a coupon for even further savings.

City Font

A nice t-shirt for Mac and/or typography geeks out there: "Chicago" in the font Chicago. (Thanks, Brenda)

Brown line closures will hit businesses hard

The Sun-Times reports today on a consequence of the threatened Brown Line station closures that I didn't even think of until they pointed it out: businesses near the closed stations will be hit hard by the loss of the majority of their commuting customers.


Kitchen Chicago is a great idea come to fruition: a 1200-square-foot fully equipped commercial kitchen available by the hour to chefs, students and plain-old foodies to hone their skills or develop new recipes. There will also be a small store out front where tenants can sell their products. (Warning: the site's javascript does funny things to my FireFox browser, so proceed with caution.)

Bad, bad, bad

Do you like bad movies? Not bad in a good way, I don't even bad in a so bad it's funny way. I just mean bad in "I can't believe people got paid to make this film" kind of way. If so then you'll definitely want to head over to B-Fest. I'm pretty sure that most of the films should have a C or D rating, but somebody's gotta enjoy this stuff since it sold out last year. Yeah, you can get your tickets online.

Free Shedd

The Shedd Aquarium is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and as part of the celebration it's offering free general admission to the aquarium, and reduced admission to its Wild Reef and Oceanarium exhibits. According to the Tribune, one of the newer exhibits is "Seahorses and Seadragons," which features some animals from the aquarium's wildly popular "Seahorse Symphony" exhibit, which ended last year. Better hurry to take advantage of the free admission; the offer is good only through this Thursday.

Rendered Chicago

Blogger John Tolva has a little geek fun with the architecture of the movie I, Robot, which was set in a Chicago of the future. In this flickr photo set, he examines the changes in city geography that occur by 2035.

Lesbians! Podcasting! Satire!

Chicago film-maker and stage performer Richard Bluestein has apparently freaked out the fathers of podcasting, Adam Curry and Dave Winer, with his podcast featuring a character he created: Madge Weinstein, "saucy, outspoken breast cancer survivor and opinionated lesbian activist." Richard's crime? His podcasts were scripted, and Adam and Dave thought they were real.
To that end, they recorded a podcast in which they tried to puzzle out what to do about the situation. The majority of the reaction they've received from the podcast community, as The Register reports, ranges from incredulity that they could have been deceived by a guy in a dress to outright hostility at the idea that the founders of podcasting want to somehow regulate or label content. Nice work, Richard! It's not every day a Chicagoan fools Adam Curry.

Excalibur Hook-Ups

The esteemed Excalibur nightclub asks readers of its site, "Did you ever hook up at Excalibur?" The comedy potential for this is virtually unlimited -- think of all the great stories one could make up and submit to this contest. Aspriring writers, get crackin'.

Gaper's Snark: Scene Magazine

Since beloved Chicago favorite is still under construction, one has to actually delve into the real thing. For your true trixie needs, Scene Magazine delivers. This month's print copy has tips for botox/dental work/breast augmentation before your wedding in addition to the usual pictures and ads in Scene. And for your true Trixie chronicles, make up your own captions to the pictures on their photo page. Like who knew that you could get a bikini to match that Coors Light can?

Bridge Winners Awarded

The winner's for the recent LSD bridge competition have been announced and it's neat to see the city's continued committment to architecture. None of the winners selected are modest in the scale of their proposals, and I can't wait to see these winners go from 2D to 3D.

Durbin Likes a Little Sugar

"When I walk into a building with a bakery and a brothel inside, I'm certain to walk out with a little sugar on my lips." Reader "spotmeter2000" points us to a great anecdote on Craig's List about an embarrassing moment at the opening gala for Kendall College's new culinary school involving Senator Dick Durbin and school president Howard Tullman.

Let The Sun Shine In

If you're feeling a little blue lately, it might have something to do with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and our recent lack of sunlight. WGN's Tom Skilling reports that Chicagoland has only received 201 of its possible 7,662 minutes of sunshine this month as of last night (that's only 2% of our possible sunshine). Also of note is our January rainfall so far, which has now established a new record of 4.30 inches recorded at Midway airport, the most since recording began there in 1928.

A Newer, Sharper Pitchfork

Pitchfork Media, our local indie music webzine, has finally launched its redesign after some delays. Cleaner design, improved readability, and pretty blue instead of blah brown make it a kinder, more pleasant three-pronged poker.

More Jackie at Marshall Field's

As a sponsor of the Jacqueline Kennedy exhibition, currently open at the Field Museum, Marshall Field's is presenting its own version of Jackie-goodness at the State Street store. This extra exhibition, opening today and running through April 3, features photography of the Kennedy family during the White House years and a life-sized recreation of Jackie's wedding gown. For more information call 312-781-4699.

Our Kind of Town

The city of Chicago's Greeter Program receives a nice write up in the Seattle Times today, "Touring the Windy City gets personal, thanks to Chicago Greeter program". The author took advantage of the city's two-year-old program, and chose the Greeter's Choice tour for her visit. Meeting with her greeter at the Cultural Center, she was taken on a quick tour of Millennium Park before heading out to Lincoln Park for the afternoon. The program gets a solid review, based on the author's experience. It was adopted from New York City, and right now, we have 180 volunteers in the program. Sound interesting? Head over to the city website to explore how to become a volunteer, visitor and volunteer testimonials, and how to sign up for a tour for out of town friends and family.

"An Evening with Langston & Martin"

Actors Danny Glover and Felix Justice perform writings and speeches of Langston Hughes and Martin Luther King, Jr. tonight at 7:30pm at St. Sabina, 1210 W 78th Place. Tickets are only $10 ($5 for children). Call 773/483-4300 for more information.

Tagging Chicago

Community blogs will always have their place, as hand-selected content remains preferable to lists of automatically generated links. But, 'tagging' — the process of adding keywords to posts — is allowing for the quick distillation of information, grouping thoughts together around shared subject matter. You've no doubt seen the Chicago tag, and the Flickr Chicago tag, both great Windy City-related resources.
But now, the folks at Technorati have added a tag system to their site, alllowing for the instant search of a particular theme on member blogs. Check out their Chicago page, and you'll notice that it not only aggregates posts with the city as their subject, but conveniently consolidates each of the above services onto one single page. Brilliant.

Prospective juror cuffed!

Better think twice about trying to lie your way out of jury duty, at least when you're in Judge Evelyn Clay's courtroom. A woman who had shown up at the 26th and California courthouse on Monday apparently didn't handle the jury questioning to the judge's liking, because Judge Clay held her in contempt of court on Tuesday, prompting the sheriff's deputy to briefly handcuff her and place her alone in a holding cell. About two hours later, the woman was brought back into court, at which point she apologized to the judge and was let go.

You've got maille

Do you have lotsa patience? Does the idea of linking little rings together to create jewelry or even chain maille make you giddy? Then you'll want to take a gander at Blue Buddha Boutique. Rebeca Mojica has lots of classes set up around the city, or she can give you, and a few friends, a personal lesson for a very reasonable fee. Before you go thinking that chain maille is clunky and ugly, take a look at her gallery and you'll change your mind. If you're more likely to just buy pre-made jewelry, check out Rapt in Maille by Melissa Banks. Thanks, Fil!

Stay inside all the time

Ben Johnson offers timely tips for surviving Chicago winter, such as "Allow yourself the simple pleasure of getting shitfaced alone in your apartment. Bars are expensive and itís cold outside." This and many other insights can be found in The Greenroom, the "improvisationally-slanted digital literary magazine" at

Update: Bikes On Metra

As this map shows, Chicago is waaay behind the rest of the country in allowing bicycles on trains. The Lt. Governor's Office has started an online petition to force Metra to allow bikes on trains during "non-rush and weekends". Finally. Sign-up today!

CTA threatens wider cuts

The CTA continues its dire threats/predictions on what will happen to service if state lawmakers don't come through with increased subsidies for mass transit. According to the Tribune, the CTA is toying with such lovely options as: increased fares for people who pay with cash; increased rush-hour fares; different fares on buses and trains; and a 40% cut in service (up from the 20% cut threatened last year by the CTA). Meanwhile, the Sun-Times has some stark figures on the proposed Brown Line closings mentioned yesterday. The line's stations may be closed during construction anywhere between 4-6 months and 10-12 months. Oh, it's not going to be a happy year for commuters.

OMG Clothing: SkinnyCorp do it again

Not content to sit on their massive pile of t-shirts, SkinnyCorp are once again at it with another t-shirt site, this time you don't have to be a designer — just a witty slogan will do. OMG Clothing works like Threadless in that you submit, it gets scored and it gets printed. However, this time, you're just submitting slogans. Pretty 'effin cool we say.


Knitting in Public. There are several local groups where you can meet up with other knitters and knit at a coffee shop or someone's home. Well now, the Chicago Park District is getting in on the act. (scroll down the list) If you thought the parks were just for soccer and basketball, you'd be highly mistaken. There are also several sewing programs. (search for "sewing")


Jessa Crispin, editor of Bookslut, got a nice write-up in the Tribune today. "The best part is the free books and the worst part is the free books," she says.

Tale End of the Tape

Jeff Tweedy and Steve Albini discuss the lengths they've gone to to get reel-to-reel magnetic tape now that the last reputable manufacturer has filed for bankruptcy in this Wall Street Journal article. (If, for some reason, the WSJ link doesn't work for you, the full text is available in this forum discussion on Albini's site.) Interesting read, especially for audiophiles -- and a good opportunity to see a stippled portrait of Tweedy. (Thanks, Dan!)

Dry Frat Flap

Northwestern is abuzz about the New York Times Magazine article (reg. req'd.) on the culture of alcohol consumption in the school's fraternities. "'He made it seem like most NU frats were like Animal House and portrayed us as Revenge of the Nerds,' [Sigma Chi president Diego] Berdakin said."

These photos are Grand

This is Grand, the Website devoted to stories of Chicago's rapid transit systems, has finally posted the winners from its 2004 photo contest. (The winners were announced last November, and the pictures were on display at Darkroom, but they've only just recently been posted online.) Quite a few of the winners' names will be familiar to Rearview fans.

Kraft Changes Marketing Strategy

The big news in the business world today is the announcement from Kraft Foods Inc. that it will no longer advertise Oreos, Chips Ahoy! cookies and several other sugary products during children's programming. Kraft Foods Inc. began in 1903 when James L. Kraft started a cheese delivery service in Chicago, using a horse-drawn wagon. Today the company is headquartered in suburban Northfield, IL.

100 Years of Jumps

The Norge Ski Club in Fox River Grove is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year with a ski jump tournament this weekend -- as well as the Junior Olympic Qualifiers and Masters National Championships. The club is expecting past and future Olympic competitors to show, and on Saturday night there'll be a live band and fireworks. Tickets are $15 at the gate. Check here for more information. (Incidentally, 2005 also happens to be the 100th anniversary of Norway itself.)

Brown line stops closing for construction?

The CTA, facing skyrocketing costs for its Brown Line renovation project, is considering temporarily closing some stops on the line as construction affects them. The cost of working on a train station while keeping it open is apparently too prohibitive, and the CTA warns that, without closing stations, construction costs would use up funds needed for other CTA amenities, such as bike racks and escalators. Says 32nd Ward Alderman Ted Matlak, "If they close the Paulina stop, we'll be picketing. Where's [CTA President Frank] Kruesi's house?"

Obama on Rose

Obama-philes, take note: the junior senator from Illinois will be on Charlie Rose tonight. The show airs on WYCC Channel 20 at 11pm. (Thanks, Brandy!)

Co-op Anyone?

If you ever shopped at your very own grocery Co-op, well, you probably didn't do it here. If you think that Chicago totally needs one (maybe in the Logan Square/Humboldt Park/Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village area) you can get in on the ground floor. A group of interested folks is circulating an email, asking for input from you. If you want some co-op of your own, write deliciae{at}yahoo{dot}com by January 31. There'll be a meeting come mid-February.

A Walk for Juvenile Diabetes

A recent article tells the story of an Elgin native, previously working as a teacher on a Native American reservation in Arizona. Bill Holden decided, after watching "This Old Cub" a number of times, that he would walk from Arizona to Chicago in a personal journey to raise awareness for juvenile diabetes; his decision was based on the film which documents Ron Santo's struggle with the disease. Holden sees the horrors of this disease up close on the reservation, and he believes he can do something about it. With a year off from work, his journey begins today, and contributions are accepted at JDRF, Illinois Chapter, 500 N. Dearborn, Suite 305, Chicago, 60610; or online at

Speaking of wi-fi, here's a detailed list of wi-fi spots around the world. I found out which houses on my block have access.

Organic Food All-Year Long

In the off-season, you can't get the farm-fresh produce from a local co-op as it doesn't grow here. You might want to try TCF Organics. They have boxes of organic produce that you can order which are then delivered to you. It isn't locally grown, but it is all organic and they offer additional products like bread, eggs or beef.

Dueling Banjos

Ever since the demise of the Boulevard Cafe, bluegrass music has been harder to come by in Chicago. The Chicago Bluegrass website, while surely not comprehensive, has a few links out there to upcoming bluegrass shows, including one this Saturday in Evanston.

Car dealers can really be pricks

On that freshly launched Cartype, Carlos Segura posts an interesting story about trying to test drive (and perhaps buy) a Ford Mustang. Because I absolutely hate when businesses are complete pricks, let it be known that North Ridge Ford and especially TV-ad-saturated Al Piemonte Ford fall in those categories. At least if you're trying to buy a Mustang. Tsk, tsk.

The City in Pictures

Picturing Chicago is huge collection of photos of the city -- not unlike Chicago Uncommon, but nearly all in black-and-white, and not for sale.

Segura Launches Cartype

Chicago-based designer Carlos Segura, the man behind T.26 Digital Type Foundry and custom CD house 5inch, has just completed another project entitled Cartype. Labeled as a "personal collection of images, comments, links, information and general interest related to cars and motorcycles," this is a well-executed, comprehensive resource for the vehicle aficionado. Now, if he could just make these appear in the US sooner, we'd be all set. [via Signal vs. Noise]

Bikes on Metra?

Heard at the rumor mill: Lt. Governor Pat Quinn is expected to announce legislation to require Metra to allow bicycles on trains on Thursday.

Big Happy Fun Game

BigHappyFunhouse has started a weekly contest. Each Friday, he'll put up a special photo, and your job is to write a story to go with it and send it to ronbighappyfunhousecom by the following Thursday. The stories will be judged by a panel that includes yours truly, and the winner will receive a cool-ass prize -- the first is a set of four 1966 Robin (as in Batman and) mugs and a picture of a baby in a hat. Good luck!

Wi-Fi at Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts will be experimenting with wi-fi access at some of its Chicago stores, although the chain denies it is trying to be like that other coffee chain. According to Illinois FreeFi, there is one confirmed Dunkin Donuts wi-fi spot so far.

NextFest Chicago

Kick ass news for computer/tech geeks: Wired Magazine's NextFest is coming to Chicago this summer. Started last year in San Francisco, NextFest is intended to be a "mini World's Fair" showcasing emerging technologies in fields ranging from alternative fuel vehicles to invisibility cloaks to the latest in computer gizmos. It'll be at Navy Pier June 24-26.

Tour Da Chicago gets press

The most recent alleycat race from the Tour Da Chicago series that took place this past Sunday garnered the attention of the Tribune. "Rogues Race Under the Radar" looks at a glimpse of one of the stages in the series. I wasn't present for this one (chalk it up to oversleeping) but will be doing so. I suggest cycling enthusiasts to come out, for the camaraderie or for the simple thrill of biking in winter.

Blogging in McHenry County

Always on the cutting edge, the McHenry county daily paper, The Northwest Herald, writes an article about blogging. It does have some interesting statistics on blogging (92% are under 30), and then this great picture of a guy at a computer.

Headless people in Grant Park

This week, the Chicago Park District is expected to accept a sculpture installation for Grant Park created by Polish sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz, whose work has been exhibited in Italy, Japan, France, Germany, and elsewhere in the US. The installation, which will consist of 100 cast iron human figures without heads, will be called "Agora" and will show up in Grant Park next year.

Chicago Computing Events

Interested in getting together with other technies for some chit-chat? The Chicago Computing Events home page lists them. (Thanks Eric!)

Frat Crackdown

Check out this week's New York Times Magazine for an interesting look at today's changing frat culture. In his article, "The War on Frat Culture," Northwestern grad and former Phi Delt Benoit Denizel-Lewis returns to his alma mater to take a look at his former frat has changed its boozing ways due to increasing regulation.

MLK Week 2005

I don't remember this existing when I was there, but apparently the University of Chicago is preparing to celebrate MLK Week, a week commemorating the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. Kweisi Mfume, former president of the NAACP, is slated to deliver the keynote address, with events running January 10-17. Pass the info along -- you'd hate to spend four years there and not know about it.

First Chicago Photobloggers Meet-up

So you keep a photolog in Chicago and would like to meet fellow like-minded peeps? Well you can. The Chicago Photobloggers are getting together for the first time this Sunday January 9th at Puck's at the MCA. Snap a photo or two for us will ya?

Help Wanted: Editor-in-Chief

The Sun-Times will be looking for a new editor-in-chief—in a not-unexpected turn of events, Michael Cooke is leaving for the NY Daily News. The Sun-Times is promising to name a new EIC within six months; polish up those resumes, kids!

Your Theatrical Debut Awaits

Admit it: you've always wanted to write or direct a short play. Here's your chance: Collaboraction is now accepting submissions for its upcoming 2005 production. (If you're not familiar with Collaboraction, check out 2004's show.)

New York Times Makes The Baby Go Blind

Chicago's Neo-Futurist theater company gets a mention in today's New York Times, on the occasion of the New York chapter of the company returning to Manhattan's Belt Theater tonight to perform the Neo-Futurists' flagship show "Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind".

Reading Resolutions

Still not sure where to focus your resolve this year? The Seminary Co-op Bookstore offers five places to start. From children's books to graphic novels, you're sure to find at least one resolution you'll be able to keep. (What? Read even more is a great resolution.)

First Friday

Tomorrow is the MCA's First Friday and the announcement made me chuckle. Body painting, DJs, and a pool-party afterwards. Oy. Sounds more like a Hollywood Hills party than a museum gathering.

Fixed Price Menus Through Feb.

The Chicago Tourism & Convention Bureau is offering you a chance to enjoy a sumptuous meal at some of Chicago's finest restaurants for less. Through the end of February, savor fixed-price, three-course menu options at restaurants like Bistro 110, Rhapsody, Pili Pili and more.

Lessons in Hooping

Hooping, the art of dancing/meditating/grooving with a large hula-hoop, is coming to a yoga studio near you. Local artist KC will be teaching a class in hooping at Nature Yoga on Sundays, so if you want to try a different type of motion for your body, you might want to check it out.

Deutsche Chicago

The Goethe-Institut Chicago has a virtual tour of the city's center of all things German, Lincoln Square. It's an interesting guide to one of the city's fading ethnic neighborhoods. (There's also a guide to the Christkindlesmarkt in Daley Plaza for those who read German.)

3" From the Street

While I don't skate too often anymore, I still love the skateboarding culture and how it embraced me when I was a young 'un as the first 'sport' I could ever really get into. Thus I am super excited that Rotofugi's newest art show is all about skateboards. This travelling art show, titled 3" From the Street collects the works of twenty artists spanning the globe who have customized skateboards in their own unique style. Curator Joshua Brown states, "I and those like me, come from this subculture, the culture influenced by this simple wooden toy." The exhibitions opens Jan. 11 through Feb. 19 with an opening night on Friday, January the 14th. If you know Rotofugi's opening nights, then you know there'll be good beverages, good music and great people.

Winterize Your Car

In the spirit of better late than never, check out these tips from AAA Chicago for winterizing your car. Among other things, they advise you "keep the gas tank at least half full to prevent frozen fuel lines and to allow you to drive an alternate route to safety or run your car's heater if you get stranded."

Fat City

Men's Fitness magazine has released its latest ranking of America's fittest and fattest cities. The rankings take into account such factors as commuting times, weather patterns, and local cuisine. And for the second straight year, Chicago ranks as the fifth fattest city!
Among the details listed in Chicago's ranking: although we like to think of Chicago as a city with plenty of parks and outdoor garden areas, the city "has one-fourth as much parkland and open space as the national average," according to the magazine. Also, more than half of Chicago's population exceed their ideal body weight to such an extent that it raises their risk for health problems. So maybe those New Year's resolutions should include working out more in 2005...


Chicago blogger and friend of GB Wendy McClure's forthcoming book I'm Not the New Me, based partly on her web journal, has a brand new promo site of its own. And she got blurbed by Jennifer Weiner! The book arrives April 26.

Funk the Mental...or Something

Do you like going out when it's really unpleasant and snowy outside? Well, if for some reason you do, your best bet is to head on over to Sonotheque this evening for Chris and Don's unfortunately-titled Funk the Mental monthy event. Combining a variety of abstract and danceable electronic genres, Funk the Mental is a consistently-programmed and often enjoyable night out. Tonight features WNUR DJ Dave Siska and Traum recording artist Kate Simko. All proceeds from the $5 cover will go to tsunami relief, so show some support if you can.

Gang signs

Chicagoans are proud of the influence our city has on the country. We brag about our comedians, our actors, our authors, and our politicians. But the Florida Department of Corrections, breaks down how Chicago gangs have influenced gang culture nationwide. There are also several sketches and photos of graffiti, in case you want to find out who rules your hood.

Tsunami Media Relief

Chicago TV and radio stations are participating in a collective "Chicago Media Tsunami Relief Drive" for the Red Cross today. By 10am they had already raised nearly $200,000. Call 866/278-8354 to donate, or go to their special online donation page. Channel 2 also has a list of other organizations you could donate to.

Veggiesomething: new works

Our friend and fellow comrade, James Liu is churning out some really nice stuff as part of his Veggiesomething and FizzieFuzzie empires. His Funny Club Figure is neat and will be travelling the world as part of the Funny Club Show which will hit Chicago March 3rd at your favourite designer toy store and mine, Rotofugi. Also of note is the soon to be released White Panda Plushie which looks to be exclusive to Rotofugi. Good toy works coming out of these parts.


Bummed that the toboggan runs in the Forest Preserve are closed? Looking to get out and play in the snow? Here are some resources about where to go.

1. If getting out and away from home isn't an option, then know that this is less than ideal snow-angel snow. I'd save that for later.

2. This is absolutely incredible snowball-fight snow, and the snow is wet and packable. Keep that in mind.

3. I tried to beat the rush and went out and got my sleds last night ($10/per at Kmart). A few places that come to mind for sledding are: Montrose Hill, Gompers Park, Robichaux Park. The Forest Preserve District has some info on sledding, but the Chicago Park District does not (even though the home page of the Chicago Park District currently has a picture of someone sledding).

4. Skiing is an option too, if you got the skis.

5. After years of careful research, I can tell you the vodka goes best with hot chocolate.

6. Despite the storm, everyone will expect you at work. But calling in sick to play in the snow is darn tempting, isn't it?

Chicago Testing New Street Deicers

In the ongoing efforts to make Chicago more environmentally friendly, news comes that two streets in Edgewater, Kenmore and Winthrop, will be testing a new corn-based anti-icing spray, M-1000. These safer road deicers are billed as 70% less corrosive to streets, making the steeper price tag acceptable in the long run due to less road repairs and maintenance.

Your kitchen chair is safe

City-dwellers collectively exhaled as Dick Daley indicated that the city would let people stake out their shoveled parking spaces with old chairs. I think this is my favorite quote: "Aldermen breathed a sigh of relief that claim-staking would be allowed to continue." Thank God for our alderpersons, always looking out for our best interests.

So That Was Christmas

I, for one, am happy that the Christmas season has drawn to a close. Call me a Scrooge, I have a lot of problems with the way the holiday is celebrated in our country, not the least of which is that it seems to increase in length each year. In an interesting article, Father Andrew M. Greeley gives his take on the traditionally Christian observance.

Hall of Ryno Fame

Congratulations to Ryne Sandberg for making it into the Baseball Hall of Fame! It's about time they recognized.

New Threadless, new contest

The good folks over at Threadless, who have been clothing those of discerning tastes, have an all new site and a brand new contest — $2005 cash prize for 2005.

Theater Thursdays

First Friday's not happening often enough for your cultural cruising self? Try Theater Thursday, a new promotion by the folks behind HotTix. Every Thursday they'll have discounted theater tickets, cocktails and snacks before or after the show, and a chance to shmooze with actors or go behind the scenes. This Thursday things will get started with "I Am My Own Wife" at the Goodman.

Poses with Hoses

If you're still shopping for that perfect new calendar, look no further than the Chicago Fire Department. They've put out a lovely 2005 calendar featuring the best men on the force. Proceeds from this $15 spread go to the Ignite the Spirit Fund, which benefits firemen and their families in times of need. Check out the men featured online, or meet them in person on Thursday.

Sonotheque Presents Influence

Every month since last April, local magazine Subsystence has organized a unique music event at Chicago's intimate Sonotheque. Dedicated to providing local DJs and producers with an alternative outlet for their musical interests, INFLUENCE. encourages people to play a variety of records that have inspired them artistically. Tonight, employees from of some of Chicago's most well-respected distributors, including Drag City, Southern, and Carrot Top will be on hand to share their personal favorite tracks. More details are available in Slowdown.

Rape! I mean fire! Fire!

Have you noticed an increase in news stories about rape in the past month? First there were three women attacked in Wrigleyville and then there was a woman raped yesterday on the Blue Line while it was moving. But the majority of rapes happen in neighborhoods which are virtually ignored by the media. Thankfully, two astute male reporters of the Chicago Tribune don't hold any punches as they explain why rapes on the South and West sides of the city don't get reported.

Lush Comes to Chicago

If you really dig nice cosmetics and bath products, release your inner metrosexual and head over to LUSH, which has opened their first Chicago store in Lincoln Park on Armitage. Lush is the new Body Shop, and I hear their stuff is great.

Free Tuesday Surprise

Nothing to do today? Come celebrate the Art Institute's 200th Ford Free Tuesday! The first 200 visitors will receive complimentary audio guides of the museum's permanent collection and the 200th visitor will receive a tote bag filled with two exhibition catalogs and 20 general admission tickets. A word to the wise: Tuesdays are still free, but they are no longer late, so plan your trip with enough time to be out of the museum, and the Museum Shop, by 4:30pm.

Another Brickyard in the Wall

The former site of the Brickyard Mall at Narragansett and Diversey is now a spanking new "power center" (or "lifestyle center") with a Target, Jewel, and Chicago's first Lowe's. It's really quite nice, but even nicer are these photos of the mall's demolition. The hosting site, Chuck's Photo Spot, also has plenty of Chicagoland urban exploration pics.

2005 Bloggies!

If you really loved us, you'd nominate us for a Bloggie. :)
Any one (or more) of them will do, but for maximum effect, may we suggest Best American Weblog, Best Photography of a Weblog (Rearview), Best Non-weblog Content of a Weblog Site, Best Topical Weblog, Best Group Weblog, Best Designed Weblog, Best-kept Secret Weblog and, of course, Weblog of the Year. Yes, you can nominate us in more than one category.

When bikes ruled Chicago

The Tribune posted a nice slice of history concerning Chicago's ever-growing love affair with cycling. It's a nice read for those interested in bikes, but also a love letter to Chicago's strong cycling past.

Diaries of Our Madmen

Shure Electronics, based in Niles, has an odd little webloggy thing on their site: their artist relations guys in Chicago and Nashville keep diaries of the bands and musicians they meet. It's a weird mix of fanboyism and product name-dropping.

Feeder Ramp

I'm not sure it does much good for people actually on the roads, but you can now get an RSS feed of current traffic conditions from Traffic Pulse, which has a pretty good visual traffic map, too.

43 Things

The Robot Co-op and 37 Signals have launched 43 Things — a site where you can track things you want to do, or rather, goals. The site itself is similar to Flickr and Friendster (and even integrates with Flickr and other popular weblog systems) — you can see who else is trying to achieve your goal, what they do, etc. More social software, more community building.

Berwyn Barbie?

The Chicago Report has a scoop: a whole new line of Barbies is being rolled out -- with a Chicagoland theme.



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