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Friday, April 18

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Water Projects Everywhere

If you don't know what's going on with the Department of Water Management, it's not their fault. They're one department that puts the notoriously dysfunctional City website to good use, filling us in on major projects, water quality reports, and a description of the flora and fauna of the Chicago River.

Wake Up Early or Stay Up All Night...

The recently relocated Ann Sather will serve free breakfast from 7am to 9am tomorrow.

Don't Park There! It's Gonna Snow!

As if the city could predict the arrival of the first winter storm of the season, the December to April winter parking bans go into effect tomorrow morning. Check your street (or these maps) for the snowflake-emblazoned signs, and don't count on any leniency from the tow truck drivers if you're car's in the wrong zone come 3am.

Start Shopping

The holiday gift guides abound already: Chicago mag and Time Out and the Reader have theirs done; stay tuned for ours.

That High-Class Brothel on Dearborn

The NY Times Freakonomics blog has a fascinating interview with Karen Abbott, author of Sin in the Second City.

Where's the Kiss and Fly?

Parking rates at O'Hare and Midway airports are moving on up as of tomorrow. You'll feel the biggest hurt parking in the international lot at O'Hare, where the daily rate leaps from $30 to $50 per day. Other increases are more modest, unless you roll big and valet, which will run you $45 (as opposed to $32). All this plus proposed city and county tax hikes? 'Tis the season!

Talking About the New Kid on the Block

Our guy on the inside of the CPD, Second City Cop, has an interesting discussion going with the many anonymous posters (all of whom are obviously his coworkers) on his site about the appointment of Jody Weis as the new Chicago Police superintendent.

Illinois - We're Just So Damn Happy!

Mental Health America has released a study finding Illinois to be the 8th least depressed state in the nation. Don't get too excited, though. The group says that no state should be happy with its current status. Bummer.

Pilsen Ham Processor Expands

Setting aside the great headline, this article is a nice little take on economic development smack dab in the middle of the city.

Are You Sure You Want The Drugs Sent to Your Office?

Yes. What could go wrong?

More Eminent Domain Loveliness

Save Lincoln Square.

FBI Guy is New Superintendent of Police

Daley made the announcement this morning that he has appointed J.P. "Jody" Weis to the position.

A Visual Poem

First Snow, a poem in words and images by Felix Jung, using flickr to find photos for key words.

GB Podcast

In case you missed it over in Airbags, Gapers Block has launched a podcast! This first edition is a little rough; please check it out and give us some feedback.

Not In My Backyard...

...or side yard or ...anyway, a group of Edgewater residents is seeking to block the construction of a proposed 45-story condo slated to be built on the parking lot of a Greek Orthodox church on Sheridan Road.

Henry Hyde is Dead

Former Representative Henry Hyde, the suburban Republican who steered the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton and championed government restrictions on the funding of abortions, died this morning. Politics aside, he did pretty good for himself -- he lived until he was old, and last month the President of the United States gave him a medal.

Transmission Feature: Record Store Love

Today Transmission brings you volume seven of our ongoing series on local record stores in Chicago. Click on over and read about a North Side and a South Side shop you've just got to check out.

Name Shedd's Baby Whale

The Shedd Aquarium and NBC5 are running another one of those "name the new baby animal" contests right now; this time, it's a three-month-old beluga calf. You can vote right now from a list of 10 finalist names, and then on December 10 the public will choose from among the top 5 vote-getters, with the winning name to be revealed on December 21. Note to the Shedd: "Mister Splashy Pants" appears to be a popular whale name this year.

Neglected Beauty

Rearview contributor and excellent photographer Carey Primeau launches a new photography site and portfolio. While I've seen my fair share of deserted and abandoned photography sites, Primeau really does elevate these photos to stunning. One of the more stellar sets has to be his Uptown Theater set, a building that has intrigued me for years. So good.

Naw, It Can't Be.

Yeah, This Is Really Chicago.

Clearly Not the Bank of Chicago

Bank of America made a rather unfortunate mistake when trying to convince Chicagoans it has "local commitment."

Genghis Blues

Highland Parker Maury Kravitz has spent the last 15 years and over $3 million in search of Genghis Khan's tomb. He's convinced that he's close and is looking to go back as soon as he can raise another $250,000 and collect some sophisticated metal-detecting equipment.

Tiny Shops All A-Glow

Andersonville shopping just got a little more indie. The Andersonville Galleria puts a bunch of micro-retailers under one roof, each with its own stall.

Red (Suit) Alert.

Santacon. Next Thursday. Prepare yourselves.

Silver Tongued Devils

Watching the clock, but still have no plans for the evening? Columbia College is premiering its new reading series, Silver Tongue, tonight at The Court. Playwright Idris Goodwin (whom URChicago calls one of the most influential people in Chicago under the age of 30) will perform.

Mmm, Delicious Art

Local restaurant Apart Pizza is devoting a chunk of the company's resources to supporting the arts in Chicago. Tonight the pizza company hosts a record release party at Schubas for musician/Chicago Trib writer Lou Carlozo, and in December, Apart will host a benefit for Cabrini Green Legal Aid by buying out tickets to a production of the House Theatre's Nutcracker. Bonus fun: Watch Apart make pizza, on YouTube.

Recruiting the Next Generation

Chicago's In These Times reports on a training session for military recruiters about how to speak the language of the Millennial generation.

A New SEED

The SEED Conference, put on by 37signals, Coudal Partners and Segura Inc., is returning to IIT's Campus Center January 18. Get your tickets now.

Bluegill Debacle = Pinkie Sacrifice

The emperor of Japan recently publicly apologize for the scourge of bluegills which have killed native species; the fish were a gift from Mayor Richard J. Daley 50 years ago. John Kass thinks the current Mayor Daley should do the honorable thing.

Public Domain Images of Chicago

Happened to stumble upon these while looking for something else: images of Chicago in the public domain on Flickr. While there is the usual Sears Tower/Millenium Park/El photos, there are quite a few historical ones as well. I find this one of the stockyards fascinating, as well as this locomotive shop picture.

Considering a New Career Path?

A mere 12 days after the latest near-miss of two planes near Chicago, Lewis University announced Tuesday in timely fashion that it will be the first Illinois school to offer an air-traffic controller degree. What a great job: "marked by high stress levels, bad work hours, little glory and the fear never far from a controller's thoughts that one mistake could kill a lot of people."

Black Sox Documents Up for Auction

Mastro Auctions in Burr Ridge has put "thousands of rare documents, letters and memos" pertaining to the Black Sox scandal of 1919 up for auction. Included are notes from fans, angry letters from Charles Comiskey, and legal documents from the 1921 criminal trial in which eight White Sox players were banned from baseball after allegedly throwing the World Series. Items will remain on auction until December 13th, because nothing says "Merry Christmas Granny" like Shoeless Joe's canceled paycheck.

The First (Slide) Rule of Fight Club...

Wanna see "nerds" beating the hell out of each other? Head over to the University of Chicago where their Fight Club-esque "Thunderdome" combat society is hoping to body slam the image of 90-pound, slide rule-wielding weaklings. Not everyone is in awe of the physical spectacle. "We come almost every week, mostly to laugh," said one second-year student.

Drambui Rock

MyOpenBar is hosting a Drambui party at the Hideout tonight from 7 to 10pm. Andrew Andrew, the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players and Gabriel Kahane play, all for free. RSVP here.

Spruce Up the California CTA

Looking for something to do tonight? Put your hands and mind to good use and brainstorm how to revitalize the community bulletin board space under the California El stop. The Neighbors Project is holding a launch meeting tonight from 6:30 to 8 at Lyndale and Sacramento. RSVP volunteer [at] neighborsproject [dot] org for the exact address.

Former Pitching Stars

The Cubs signed a one-year contract with Kerry Wood (he'll be a reliever, not a starter). Mark Prior, on the other hand, may not be long for the team.

I'm Lovin' It... Just Not All Day

Got a hankering for an Egg McMuffin at 7pm? Forget about it. Oak Brook-based McDonald's is putting plans for serving breakfast all day on hold. Of course if you can't shake that craving, you can always try to make your own.

Journey to the Black Hole

Our friends at Coudal Partners spent some time at the Black Hole, a Los Alamos surplus store, and are showing their film in five parts this week. The full DVD is also available.

Phantom Feelings

Researchers at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago have found a way to give the sensation of touch to people with prosthetic limbs.

Vote Early, Vote Often

Bust out the party hats and dust off the Robert's Rules: it's special election time! Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert left Congress yesterday before the end of his term, blaming a lack of bipartisanship in the Democratically controlled House. One possible scenario has the public voting twice on the same ballot Feb. 5 to both select an interim replacement and nominate a permanent successor. It's up to the Guv, who has five days in which to schedule the special election.

Al Capone's Potato Chip Connection

Tonight on Channel 11: Foods of Chicago: A Delicious History, a documentary on the culinary history of Chicago, from Tootsie Rolls to Chicken Vesuvio. The doc airs at 7:30, with an instant repeat at 9:50. (via Chicago Foodies)

Fossett Dead...on Paper

The wife of billionaire adventurer Steve Fossett has asked the Cook County court to declare Fossett dead after his disappearance following a September 3 flight in Nevada.

Throw Away the Key

Jeanette Sliwinski, the former model who killed musicians Douglas Meis, John Glick and Michael Dahlquist in a botched 2005 suicide attempt, was sentenced to a paltry eight years in jail today for her crime, which could be shortened if she is released early for good behavior credits.

Ad Nauseum News

The best part about today's news that Oprah will campaign with Obama is that the same AP story is the top headline under three separate categories on the Sun-Times website: Politics, Elections, and Barack Obama. If only Oprah had her own category, too.

As If Middle School Isn't Hard Enough

Hundreds of eighth graders in Chicago are dropping more than $100 an hour this year to get into the city's most selective high schools. Up next: Grade school prep courses for kindergarteners.

Long Lines in Cyberspace Too...

Having trouble buying that Christmas gift online this morning (when you should be working)? Get in line... literally. A study shows that many major retailers are having trouble handing the traffic coming to their websites by holiday slackers trying to avoid the malls.

How Green is Your Alley

Apparently Chicago plans to surface new alleys with a porous concrete that will actually filter clean water back into the water table. If only we had a public transportation system that actually worked.... Or maybe recycling. That'd be neat.

Spendthrift Sissy's Mortal Enemy

The Cheapest Gay Man in America

RIP, John Drury

Chicago ABC newscaster John Drury passed away on Sunday at the age of 80 after a three-year battle with ALS.

Tanked

They may not be designed by Louis Sullivan or Frank Lloyd Wright, but preservationists still see architectural and historical importance in Chicago's 178 gravity-fed rooftop water tanks.

Name that Park

Speaking of city facility names, the Chicago Park District has some curiously named parks. Among them: Indian Road, Golden Gate, Valley Forge and, of course, the colorfully named No. 484.

Photo Swap on December 6

The second Gapers Block/Calumet Photographic Photo Swap is a little more than a week away, so print up five 4"x6" photographs to exchange with other photographers. Of course, there'll be plenty of free food and drinks to accompany the swapping. Details in Slowdown.

The Glory Days of High School Football

The Tribune has compiled an extensive report of the 2007 season for the Mooseheart Red Ramblers. Complete in three parts, with supplemental video and photos. Suburban high school football at its most enthralling.

Has It Come to This?

Apparently, it's national news when travel goes smoothly at O'Hare, a.k.a. "the hub that has been the scene of so many traveler nightmares."

The PBR Public Library

The city is currently exploring selling naming rights to public places, events and other assets.

More Fuel for Conspiracy

Chicago takes the stage in the latest twist in the JFK assassination.

Spertus Almost Ready

The Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies' new building will be open to the public starting on November 30 with a series of events and a new range of amenities.

Happy Anniversary, Max!

20 years ago tonight, Max Headroom the Video Pirate hijacked Chicago's Airwaves. He's never been caught. If anyone cares to confess please drop us an email.

Transmission Feature: You Weren't There

For your post-turkey internet surfing pleasure, we have a brand new feature all ready for you over in Transmission. Read about Chicago's historic punk scene, and the documentary taking a deep look at it that will premiere on Saturday at the Portage Theater.

The Night Before Thanksgiving? Naturally.

The National Weather Service has issued a snow advisory for the Chicagoland area, calling for snow and 30mph winds. The advisory will go into effect at 5 p.m., and last roughly until Great Aunt Hettie starts complaining about her corns.

Cool Map

I know what I want for Christmas. (Thanks, Jim!)

The Art of War

Iraq war veterans join artist Aaron Hughes to discuss their anti-war projects on Sunday, Nov. 25, 3-5 p.m. at the Hyde Park Art Center. The discussion is an extension of the Center's current "Consuming War" exhibit.

Chicken-free Chicago

To be filed under They Must Have Something Better to Do: the Alder-folks are working on a citywide residential chicken ban.

The Mayor Chimes In

We wondered what the mayor's plan was for the CTA. Well know we know.

Spread the Joy

One year ago Irishman Paddy Homan moved to Chicago permanently citing the beautiful lake front and according to him, the best Irish music scene in the country. Every day he uses tales and music of his native land to bring much needed joy to the hearts of his elderly clients.

Green for the Holidays

Get in to the sustainable spirit of things this year with energy-efficient holiday lights. Save up to 90% of the energy used by traditional lights and get a whopping 50,000 hours of bulb life. You'll cough up a bit more cash, but the lights last longer while running up a smaller electric bill. Plus, Al Gore will thank you for it, and if that's not reason enough, everyone who's anyone is doing it. Available at Target, Lowe's and Costco, or buy through ComEd's online store and get $2 off each strand.

See the City

Hey, cool, you can now search by "place" in flickr!

Quiet in the OFFICE

OFFICE will be doing a special acoustic set tonight at Schubas: most of it will be frontman Scott Masson playing stripped-down versions of new material. The full band will be on for a few songs, too, as well as some special guests. Show starts at 9:30pm; $5 gets you in.

You Try to Deliver All That Stuff On Time

Data released by the US Postal Service shows that Chicago has the worst mail delivery service in the country, with only 94% of letters reaching their destination within one day (an improvement from last year's delivery rate).

7 Rules for Talking About Gentrification

Says Kit Hodges of the Neighborhood Project, "We got a little tired of the usual shouting from all sides, so we put together some rules of engagement whenever this subject comes up -- which seems to be all the time in Chicago."

Kindling Chicago

Perhaps you've heard about Kindle, Amazon's new "wireless reading device?" One of the things you can do with it is read blogs, including a bunch of Chicago-related ones (although not us yet, dammit). Click "more" to see a list.

Blog-A-Bulls
Windy City Gridiron
Metroblogging Chicago
Apartment Therapy Chicago
South Side Sox
Bleed Cubby Blue
Blogs cost $0.99 to $1.99 for an annual monthly subscription. According to BoingBoing Gadgets, you can browse the web for free -- which means you can still read GB on it, just not via RSS.

One Nation, Under Poetry...

Dina Elenbogen, representing Israel, and Palestinian poet Issa Boulos will join voices at "Free Verse, An Evening of Compassion, Peace and Renewal" tonight, 6 p.m., at Flatfile Galleries, 217 N. Carpenter. The event, sponsored by UniVerse of Poetry, will also feature live music as well as 20 other local poets and an organic buffet. The event is free but donations are accepted.

T-Shirts for All

Threadless.com started its annual $10 holiday sale yesterday. Your mom probably loves good design and subtle irony; get her something nice here.

All By Myself...

It's lonely for Cook County President Todd Stroger's proposed tripling of the sales tax. At a press conference meant to show support for Stroger's 2008 budget proposal, State's Attorney Richard Devine (among others) declined to wrap an arm around the tax hike and smile for the cameras. "I think the public has a concern about a tax scheme that puts into the coffers more revenues than are necessary to balance the budget, " Devine said. A vote on the budget is due Nov. 30.

Everytime You Hear a Bell...

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. Bell's beer may finally be returning to Illinois.

Old Town School's Old-Timey Songs

Now on sale: Volume 4 of the Old Town School of Folk Music's songbook series CDs, on which they have the school's instructors recording classic folk songs with some musician friends (including on this volume Andrew Bird, Tom Paxton, John Prine, and the Sons of the Never Wrong). CD available at the school's music store or online at iTunes with bonus tracks.

"Everyone Gets a __________!"

It comes around every year, and even though it might annoy you, you know you're going to watch it: the "Favorite Things" episode of Oprah airs tomorrow, and this year's recipient of the coveted gifts is a group of people from Macon, Georgia, as that city reportedly has the nation's highest percentage of viewers tuned in to her show.

Conversing and Conserving

The Nature Conservancy in Illinois is starting a new kind of environmental awareness campaign to get Illinois talking about eco-destruction. Dubbed Start One Conversation, the campaign centers on a Website that gives folks enough background info about issues such climate change and habitat preservation to talk about them without sounding all "you know ... global warming, like, sucks."

Improv Vets Return Home for a Show

HollywoodChicago.com has a good interview with actor and "SNL" writer Kevin Dorff, who's back in town along with Horatio Sanz and a few other veterans of the Chicago improv scene for a show at the Lakeshore Theater Tuesday night.

Give and Ye Shall Receive

Bring a nonperishable food item or cash to tomorrow's Sharing it Day Food Drive in the south lobby of the Merchandise Mart and receive a coupon for a free Potbelly's sandwich, a slice of Eli's cheesecake and a warm fuzzy feeling for doing good. Donations benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

No Garland this Christmas

Retooling their lineup to try and get back to the World Series, the White Sox have shipped starter Jon Garland to the California Angels for shortstop Orlando Cabrera. The White Sox also get cash too, which should help the next time manager Ozzie Guillen gets fined.

Leading by Example

I admit to having a huge soft spot in my heart for groups and organizations that work to empower groups that are traditionally underrepresented in positions of power. Since Chicago has the third largest Latino population in the country, you'd think we'd have more Latinos in positions of power. To help make that happen, the Metropolitan Leadership Institute was created to provide the skills necessary for taking charge of the business, political, or entrepreneurial worlds. Any group that can get a closed door, anything goes session with Mayor Daley is all right in my book.

Chicago is Incompletely Dangerous

Seems that lots of mayors and fed types are upset about an inflammatory report listing the nation's most dangerous cities. Many question the report's methodology and motives, since they use data borrowed from the FBI and charge 50 bucks for the complete report. The study excluded Chicago because of "incomplete data." Hard to imagine anyone thinking that Chicago was lacking in crime data.

The City, Remembered

Forgotten Chicago.

Lutheran Lesbian Ordained Sans Celibacy

Jen Rude, a lesbian who refuses to take a vow of celibacy, has been ordained by a Lutheran church in Chicago. It comes about as a test of a new resolution that gives bishops room to discipline or not, such actions. Wayne Miller, Chicago's bishop, said, "My goal is to keep people in the conversation, and I do not see this as an issue that should be dividing the church."

More Public Transportation Woes

Facing a $4 million shortfall, Metra ratified a proposed budget containing a series of 10% fare increases along with a weekend rate jump to $7 a pop. The RTA still has to sign off before the rates are set.

WWII Still with Us

Osyp Firishchak, a Chicagoan who was born in the Ukraine and served in the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police during WWII, has been ordered to be deported.

Michigan Tourists Love Us

Do they come for the sights of the city? Navy Pier? Sears Tower? The Mag Mile? Nope, it's Binny's...

Think Before You Link

You receive an email which contains a link. You forward the link to someone else. You get sued. A lawsuit filed this week in Kane County is seeking $850,000 in damages from Schaumburg resident Joan Burke. Her crime? Sending a email which contained a link to the blog Let's Stop Eastwood-Stein.

Impropriety Taxes

As if it weren't enough fun to learn of Daley's record frontal property tax hike this week, his stealth TIF budget likewise has broken half a billion dollars.

Not Much of a Surprise

Illinois drivers' understanding of traffic laws ranks 45th out of the 50 states.

GB at The DIY Trunk Show

The DIY Trunk Show, now in its fifth year, will play host to over 70 vendors of handmade goods and items. Gapers Block will be there up on the stage at Pulaski Park Auditorium, so feel free to stop by and say hello. We may even have some other goods on hand aside from the usual in the GB Shop.

The Holiday Train's Comin'

Well, there's one cut the CTA hasn't made (yet): the Holiday Train. Get your fix of twinkle lights, garlands and Santa all while moving down the tracks on your favorite CTA line. The Red and Purple lines get the train first, starting this weekend. Check the CTA's website for a full schedule of when the train'll be at your station.

Salavon's City

Jason Salavon, whom we talked to last year, has some beautiful new work, including this layered view of the Loop. [via]

Kind of Free Music!

Wilco, those ramblin' Chicago sweethearts, have released a European tour edition of "Sky Blue Sky". The new album features a bonus disc of three new tracks and two live recordings. The songs are FREE!...provided you already own "Sky Blue Sky". Album owners can download the bonus tracks here. Non-owners will just have to suck it up. Or buy a copy. Whichever.

Sexism at the Cafe?

A recent study has determined that women, on average, wait 20 seconds longer for their coffee than men. Yes, the study adjusts for the "frou frou" drinks that women tend to order.

Rock the Survey

The Metro is doing a survey right now; fill it out and you have a chance at two free tickets a month for all of 2008!

1968 All Over Again

A new trailer for the upcoming film Chicago 10. [via]

Um, How Would We Know?

The local transit union that represents CTA workers is threatening a work slowdown (among other unspecified "job actions") if legislators keep dragging their feet on finalizing the union's pension and health care programs that expire on December 31. A CTA work slowdown... it's the joke that writes itself.

Gronnnnnk!

U of C palentologist, and beautiful People person (1997 edition), Paul Sereno recently unveiled the remains of a heretofore unknown dinosaur. Called Nigersaurus taqueti, and described as a "cow of the Mesozoic" and "fern mower," due to its herbivorous nature, Sereno and his team discovered the fossils in the Sahara desert in Niger.

Yiff-O-Rama

Grab yer fursuit and head on over to Schaumburg this weekend for the 2007 Midwest FurFest.

He Must Have Been Sitting in the Bleachers....

Chicago's very own Judge Mark Filip has been picked as the new number 2 man at the Justice Department. Filip is a loyal republican but he seems to have an independent streak. Filip recused himself in 2004 from a challenge brought by independent candidate Ralph Nader to get on the Illinois ballot, because Filip said he signed a nominating petition for Nader while attending a Cubs game.

Opinions, Clash

The fine folks of Sound Opinions take on the new Joe Strummer documentary, The Future is Unwritten, during their movie night tomorrow at the Music Box. Tickets appear to be still available here.

Having His Cake and...

As if being a well-known musician and painter weren't enough, Sam Prekop, multi-tasking frontman for The Sea and Cake, will sign copies of his new book of photography this Saturday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m., at Quimby's. Prekop's paintings have been shown in New York City, Houston, Paris and Glasgow. Sam, one word: vacation.

Searching Pay to Play Politics

Who's giving and who's getting? Open Book, unveiled in late October by State Comptroller Dan Hynes, allows users to search political contributions made by state contractors. Follow the money, baby! [Via]

Putting the C in CTA

The Beachwood Reporter is asking what the Mayor and the folks in the Hall are doing to prevent a CTA meltdown -- besides, of course, hiring a guy plucky enough to come up with a show-stopping number like rolling "doomsdays."

The Show Must Go On

August: Osage County, the critically acclaimed play by Chicagoan Tracy Letts, has moved from Steppenwolf to Broadway. Unfortunately, Broadway stagehands went on strike this weekend, shutting down the New York theatre scene. They're in negotiations.

Got the Need to Knit?

Nina, a yarn shop in Wicker Park, is celebrating it's third anniversary with a store-wide sale. If you've got your holiday knitting hat on, and get inspired by what you see at the DIY Trunk Show this weekend, head to Nina for 20 percent off everything in the store 11/17-11/18. Plus, there'll be prizes. And snacks. (Who doesn't like snacks?)

Food for Nighthawks

Some night not far from now its 3am, you're feeling pekish and craving vindaloo for some reason and you thank your stars and garters the Reader has a guide on late night dining in Chicago.

Transmission Feature: Grace-ful Tribute

This week in Transmission, we reminisce about a simpler time when an album by a young singer/songwriter by the name of Jeff Buckley made everything seem a little sweeter. Chicago's Uncommon Ground is the site of this weekend's special 10th Anniversary tribute show to this sadly departed artist, along with the Metro who'll offer a rare second-chance venue for your nostalgia. Read on.

Interested in American Culture?

The University of Chicago just opened a center that will study everything from "painting of the 18th Century ... to the history of hip hop music." It promises to have a public presence, so hopefully we'll all have some more interesting events to attend soon.

Useless Website Features

The abc7 website has a CEO Wealthmeter feature. Don't worry, wealthy CEOs, you're probably not on it; it only has six names so far.

Business Blogging

Crain's examines the phenomenon.

Like to Get to Know You

Although it's reportedly unlikely, Delta Airlines is thinking about buying United in an effort to deal with rising jet fuel costs.

Razors at the Ready

Register now for this year's Mustaches for Kids mustache competition.

Transmission Contest: Going on a Mission

Who's free Friday night? (For one lucky reader, Mission of Burma, that's who.)

Another Doomsday?

Um, you might want to keep your bike by the front door. The latest meeting involving House Speaker Michael Madigan and Gov. Rod Blagojevch concerning, among other things, CTA funding descended into "nonproductive shouting, threats and allegations."

Blades of Glory

The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park opens its 2007-2008 season today. Hours are 10:00am to 10:00pm daily, weather permitting. A park employee informed me that there are already people out on the ice, so dig out your skates and practice your moves.

ParkingAnyTime

ParkingAnyTime.com, is "a free community generated parking guide that connects motorists with on and off-street parking". Somewhat useful, especially in finding garages and getting the actual parking restrictions on a street, but areas covered are severely limited thus far.

Know Thy Blues Town

The city's Office of Tourism has produced a virtual tour detailing the history of Chicago Blues. The tour is narrated by that consummate blues man Buddy Guy and available at downloadchicagotours.com.

The Droids are Coming

The Google phone may still be aways off, but Elk Grove Village-based fontmaker Ascender already has your font pack ready.

Free Art Ends Today

The MCA's "40 Free Days" come to an end today; swing by after work.

StoryCorps Goes from Audio to Book

The StoryCorps trailer travels the country as an oral history center on wheels, allowing everyday citizens to record stories from their own lives on tape. Now StoryCorps Founder David Isay has hand-picked some favorite tales and compiled them into a book. Hear him read and discuss at Women & Children First on Sunday, Nov. 18 or in Naperville on Monday, Nov. 19.

You Can Go Home Again

Artist Keith Edmier recently unveiled his latest work Bremen Towne at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. Bremen Towne is a full-scale reproduction of several rooms of Edmier's childhood home in southwest suburban Tinley Park, circa 1971.

TypePad Tour of Chicago

Weblog software maker TypePad rounds up some quality Chicago blogs that use their service.

It's Official

Cardinal Francis George won 85 percent of the votes to become the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Chicago Landmarks Now Greener

CNET gives us a look at some Chicago landmarks that are greener than you'd think.

Hut 1, Hut 2, (Tax) Hike...

The City Council just OKd Mayor Daley's $5.9 billion budget. In addition to the largest property tax increase in Daley's reign, it also includes new taxes on everyday items including bottled water, beer and DVD rentals, which pretty much means the average Saturday night will cost a little more.

Four Chicago Organ Recipients Infected with HIV

The transplants, which occurred in January, mark the first such transmission in over 20 years.

Ventures in Babysitting

Congratulations are in order for Genevieve Thiers, founder of Chicago based Sittercity.com. The company, which allows parents and pet owners to research and hire sitters, won first place in the UPS Best "Out-of-the-Box" Small Business Contest.

The Price of Freedom

Freedom of speech means we sometimes have to hear things we would rather not. It also means websites that promote hate see US servers as a refuge. Unfortunately, as the Trib illustrates, many of these sites have ties to Chicago.

Stumping to No One

The presidential candidates have posted nearly 2,500 videos to YouTube, but almost no one is watching them, according to Stump Connolly at The Week Behind. [via]

Edging into the City

The GLBT media scene just got a little more crowded with the arrival today of EDGEChicago.com.

For the Love of Money

She's recorded with Bob Mould, cites Jimi Hendrix as an influence and kicks out the jams on a cello. Helen Money (aka Alison Chesley) brings her classical/rock mash-up to The Old Town School of Folk Music this Friday, Nov. 16, 7 p.m. when she opens for Tuvan throat singers Huun Huur Tu, in one of the most eclectic double bills of the year.

Vanity is Expensive in Illinois

According to a recent AP story, Illinois ranks third in the purchase of vanity license plates; Virginia is first, as the cost of their plates is a measly 10 dollars. Before you run off to the DMV to see if "Jordan 23" is still available, the joke is on us: Illinois also charges the most of any state for vanity ($94) and personalized ($47) plates.

From the Department of Heartbreaking Stories Involving Pets

The home of a Wicker Park couple was burglarized last week. Among the stolen items were several plasma televisions, a heap of DVDs, clothing...and the family's dog, a two year-old shih tzu named Moo Moo who has respiratory problems that require constant medication. Moo Moo's owners, Roseanne and Michael Denigris, are offering a $5,000 reward for the safe, no-questions-asked return of the dog.

Q101.1?

While Q101 has always been 101.1 FM, the station recently added the ".1" to their logo.

Battery Drive at DePaul

Do you practice eco-unfriendly, unhealthy battery disposal habits? Then repent for your sins and donate your used nickel, lead, alkaline, and lithium batteries to the Green Group tomorrow (that's Nov. 13) at the Student Center on DePaul University's Lincoln Park campus. The battery drive is a joint recycling effort with Columbia College. The donating lasts from 4-7pm, so stop by after work. For more info, call 847-971-3901.

Obama in Africa

Senator Obama Goes to Africa, a feature documentary by Chicago-based Media Process Group, comes out on DVD this month. The film chronicles Obama's journey around the continent, including such stops as the prison where Nelson Mandela was held, a Darfur refugee camp in Chad, and Kisumu, Kenya -- where he reconnects with his family's past. Pre-sales of the DVD began Nov. 10, with a ship date of Nov. 20. [via]

A Higher Order

Our very own Cardinal George may be in line for a big promotion.

Flying In Fast

According to New York magazine, the fastest flight from NYC to CHI is on ATA from Laguardia to Midway. The worst? Kennedy to O'Hare on Delta.

Gotta Cut Back

Diners at our local branch of Fogo de Chao put away six tons of meat each week.

The Most Five Diamonds

With seven AAA Five Diamond restaurants, Chicago now leads the nation in the club's fine dining rankings.

Kanye West's Mother Dies

Donda West, mother of musician Kanye West and former chair of the Chicago State University English Department, died Saturday night in Los Angeles at the age of 58. The cause of death is unknown at this time, and her death was apparently sudden.

Kick Push

Just the freedom was better than breathing they said / Any escape route they used to escape out / When things got crazy / They needed to break out.

Business Blogging

Crain's examines the phenomenon.

Ask About Their Fall Incentives

As the condo market slows and creative meetings at ad agencies get more wacky, AdRants points us to an ad for a Printer's Row condo development with a highly Photoshopped image a woman's torso and legs over the call-to-action line of "surprisingly doable".

Marina City Sick of All the Paparazzi

Lynn Becker, who runs the local blog Architecture Chicago Plus, writes about a head-scratchingly strange resolution on the table of the Marina Towers Condo Association. It proposes that they alter Rule 5 of their charter to say that no one can use the image of the Marina Towers without expressed written permission of the board. This includes filmmakers, advertisers, and apparently amateur photogs. It's raised a number of eyebrows, including those of some more open-minded residents. They vote on the resolution on November 15. [via]

Cline Keepin' Busy

If idle hands are the devil's workshop, former Police Superintendent Phil Cline seems to be keeping the tools put away in his early retirement. He hopped straight over to the Executive Director slot at the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation (an organization he helped get off the ground as Superintendent) and there's a loose rumor/ allegation over at SCC that he'll benefit from a $96,678 consulting contract with Cook County.

Big Obsession, Big Check

Chicago's (and GB's) Brenda Janish won Apartments.com's "Possession Obsession" contest! She was surprised with a giant check on Fox's "Good Day Chicago" this morning.

Does A Teacher's Race Matter?

CPS teacher Will Okun has become something of a celebrity education blogger at the NYTimes "On the Ground" blog sharing the real world challenges of urban educators. His most recent entry details how his students feel about the race of their teachers.

Return of the Green Awards

Chicago Magazine will once again recognize local "groundbreakers in the areas of conservation and sustainability." Know anyone who fits the bill? Nominations are open until December 15th. Winners announced in April 2008.

Pick the Photo ID that Looks Most Like You

Not that anyone thinks airports are safe, but recent security breeches and bomb threats relating to Chicago operations sure make the TSA look even more incompetent.

Sam Zell, Rough Rider

The New Yorker this week features a hefty profile of the new owner of the Chicago Tribune. (Thanks, Rick!)

What Will the Drugs and Rock 'n Roll Issues be Like?

Loyola students convened on Thursday to discuss the latest issue of Diminuendo, a student literary publication. Campus administrators pulled Diminuendo from campus racks this fall, apparently because of the publication's front and back cover.

Transmission Feature: Rebis Records

This week in Transmission, we have a profile of another cool Chicago label you should check out: Rebis Records. Read all about this label, and their catalogue of acts, including Number None, Jazzfinger, and My Cat Is An Alien.

Teen Sex in the WSJ

The Midwest Teen Sex Show, a sex-ed video podcast, got some attention from the Wall Street Journal today. The show is regularly in the top-10 in iTunes' Health section.

Cry Havoc, and Let Loose the Rugs of War

Local artist Barbara Koenen is currently at work on a war rug--composed not of thread but of various spices, seeds, and firecrackers--at the MCA all this week. For more information on the original Afghan war rugs, go here, here, and here.

Will Venerated Grocery Fly the Coop?

In a move typical of urban landlord schools, the University of Chicago is dangling an organic carrot in front of the venerated Hyde Park Co-op, promising to forgive their back rent if they'll close down and make way for a chain. The co-op has been beset by organizational and management problems for several years. The move would certainly spell the death of the 75-year-old grocer, long viewed as a model cooperative enterprise.

You Can't Kill the CTA Doomsday

The newest CTA doomsday date: January 20, according to a CTA press release. 81 bus routes eliminated, 2,400 employees laid off, 3 garages closed, and new fare pricing structure.

Undead Undead Undead

Berwyn, rubber chickens and B-movies. Chicago's very own Svengoolie (aka Rich Koz) has a blog. I know somewhere down there Jerry G Bishop is smiling.

Detectives Watching

The Mayor may be stiff-arming the City Inspector General, but that doesn't seem to be stopping David Hoffman from hiring people to help stop corruption in Chicago. The Chicago Police Weblog has a posting for Detectives who will "make arrests, conduct searches, and other police related activity".

146 Geeks on the Street

Electronic Arts said Tuesday that it is shutting down its Chicago studio and laying off or relocating all 146 employees who worked there.

New York {hearts} Chicago

Two Chicago-area theater companies high-tailed it to New York City this week to perform at 59E59, a theater complex in Manhattan that aims to present new, challenging work. The Hypocrites are presenting Sean Graney's The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love-Suicide, last performed in 2004, and Writers' Theatre is staging its own Crime and Punishment. The performances are part of 59E59's "Go Chicago!" series, and Tribune columnist Chris Jones says this might be part of a trend to bring more Chicago theater eastward.

More Police Brutality

The Chi-Town Daily News reports that several police officers beat a teenager's head into a pole while breaking up a group of loiterers at Truman College.

Behind the Design: The Chicago Spire

Not quite the expose on Santiago Calatrava (also known for his work on the Milwaukee Art Museum), but Creative Review, a design magazine based in the UK, showcases the design work of Third Eye Design who did the collateral for The Chicago Spire. Even if you don't like the Spire itself, the accompanying literature praises our fair city.

More Like Camp Poundcake

A peek inside the federal prison camp that will house former Governor George Ryan reveals cooking classes and high-tech fitness equipment. Still, Ryan will share a "Spartan barracks-like bunk room and single toilet" with two other inmates, and will work for $.12 an hour as a cook or groundskeeper. Sounds just like SONA.

CPS Launches New Email, Flirts with Social Networking

Considering the periodic uproar to "save the children from the evils of social networking," it's more than a little amusing to see the new CPS email/collaboration system so labeled. Teachers began using their shiny new @cps.edu addresses on Nov. 1st, and 5th - 12th graders will be getting accounts throughout the school-year. CPS is using FirstClass from OpenText.

Book Club: Disgrace Discussion Questions

Get a leg up on our November 13 meeting by checking out the discussion questions for J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace beforehand. Post any responses you have in the comments section or join us next Monday at the Book Cellar where we'll meet in person to discuss this, in my opinion, phenomenal piece of writing.

People Not to Rob

A 17-year-old followed the wrong person home yesterday in a robbery attempt: an armed, uniformed cop.

Grandma Gone Wild

The Chicago Police Department is investigating the level of force used in an incident where an officer subdued an 82-year-old woman with a Taser. The woman, Lillian Fletcher, was reported to be wildly swinging a hammer when officers arrived on the scene. Worried that Fletcher might harm them or harm herself, the officers took her down with 50,000 volts of electricity. Fletcher, whose schizophrenia may have contributed to her actions, was rushed to the hospital but has since been released.

Chicago {hearts} Caffeine

Chicagoans like their lattes maybe a little too much, according to a new poll that puts us at the top of the list for per capita caffeine consumption. Strangely enough, the rest of the top five were sunny, warm climes including Tampa, Miami, Phoenix and Atlanta. None of those cities ever had to deal with dark, cold Chicago winters. Who needs a mocha?

Blogging Shakman in Cook County

It's a New Day in Cook County was established as a "forum for public comment and debate about unlawful patronage" in county government by Julia Nowicki, a former judge now monitoring Cook County hiring practices and compliance with the Shakman Decree. The Shakman Monitor over the City of Chicago's hiring, however, has yet to start a blog.

He Did the Crime, Now He Must Do the Time

After several failed attempts to overturn his 6 1/2 year jail sentence, former Illinois governor George Ryan must report to prison in Oxford, Wisconsin by 5pm tomorrow.

Magnetized

The Magnetic Fields are playing six shows at the Old Town School of Folk Music in March, and tickets are on sale now -- buy them at the school, by calling 773-728-6000 or online at TIX.com.

40 is the New 30

Crain's 40 Under 40 feature includes the usual collection of business execs -- and Jay Ryan of The Bird Machine and Ryan Schreiber of Pitchfork Media (I thought he moved to NYC?)

Mayor's Revised 2008 Budget Includes Recycling Program Delay

Residents who have been waiting for the long-promised replacement to the city's blue-bag recycling program might be waiting even longer. The mayor's revised 2008 budget calls for delaying the distribution of the garbage container style blue carts until July 1. The delay would save the city $2.4 million, but it remains unclear how many of the proposed 131,000 residences earmarked to receive the carts in 2008 will actually see them.

Not Enough Spit in this Celestial "Snowball"

Coming unglued at a speed of 1000 mph, Comet 17P/Holmes will disintegrate in a highly visible spectacle for several weeks. (No word yet if Shia LaBeouf's career will follow suit.) The exploding comet, roughly 100 times the size of earth, can be seen by the naked eye in the northeastern night sky, and several local observatories are offering a closer look.

Long Live the One-party System?

Yesterday was the last day to file nominating petitions for Chicago and Cook County ward committeeman, among other races, to be held in February. And while Machine Dems have had a lock on the city for decades, for the first time the Green Party now has access to the committeeman ballot in the city's 50 wards and statewide.

CB2 is Branching Out

In other Chicago retail expansion news, the NY Times City Room blog fawns over CB2's expansion to New York, albeit in its typical New York way.

Bye Bye Betsy

The Lincoln Park Zoo lost a long-standing resident this weekend. Betsy the Harbor Seal died of cardiac arrest after exploratory surgery to scope out some abnormalities and determine the cause of her reduced appetite in the last few months. Betsy was 36 and had been at the zoo since 1972.

Becker & Hyde

Two area luminaries-- one who is nuts for numbers and the other was is known for a youthful indiscretion-- were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom today. Gary Becker was honored for "broadening the understanding of economics and social science" and a former Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde was pimped as a "'powerful defender of life' and an advocate for strong national defense."

Loud and Clear

The City Council finance committee rubber stamped Mayor Daley's $83 million proposed tax hike this afternoon, proving that constituent outrage really can make a difference.

Condé Nast Picks Chicago

While you won't be able to read the reviews online, in the November issue of Condé Nast Traveler, critic Alan Richman picks 20 of the best dishes to eat in the country in a feature called The Great American Food Odyssey. Two Chicago dishes made the cut, including the ceviche fronterizo at Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill and the goat cheese, asparagus and balsamic vinegar terrine at Charlie Trotter's. There are beautiful pictures of both the ceviche and terrine in the slideshow feature on the site, but you'll have to buy (or peruse) the print edition to get all the details.

Art: What?

Inspired by My Kid Could Paint That (the documentary of a father who sold his four year-old daughter's paintings for big bucks), the what-is-art debate rages amongst Chicago's storefront theater intelligentsia over at the blog Angry White Guy. You can still catch the film in Wilmette and rue your own unappreciated kinder-masterpieces, or see Mr. Fluxus at The Neo-Futurarium and decide whether you agree with Yoko Ono's take on art.

More Celebrities in Town, Area Drugstores on Alert

Vince Vaughn is making an appearance at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St., tonight at 5:15pm for the Chicago premiere of his new movie, Fred Claus. Tickets to the premiere are sold out, but you can help create an atmosphere of celebrity-crazed pandemonium by lining up to watch Vaughn and director David Dobkin walk the red carpet.

Bucket o' Bits

Apparently puppies aren't the only things getting stolen: a local server co-location company has had one of its centers robbed four times in the past two years, with the culprits escaping with sensitive data and equipment running into the six figures. (Thanks, Kevin!)

Threadless in Person

Chicago Business posted a video profile of the Threadless retail store and included a mention of its "loose plan" to have stores in at least 11 cities by 2009.

Bucket o' Pups

A South Side pet shop was burglarized over the weekend; the only things taken were 17 puppies, stuffed into the store's garbage cans. But the pups cost up to $1,000 apiece, so the total lost was in the $10,000-15,000 range.

Tasty Menu

Chicago magazine lists its favorite 124 dishes in Chicagoland, from the common (tempura green beans) to the unusual (pineapple rum soup).

Harrison Ford Would Never Pull this Crap

Actor Shia LaBoeuf was arrested at the Walgreens store located at Chicago and Michigan Avenues Sunday morning for (drunkenly) refusing to leave. The actor, who will appear in the next Indiana Jones movie, will be back in town for his court date on November 28.

Frugal(?) Traveler Visits Us

In today's New York Times Travel section, writer Matt Gross raves about how he spent so little cash during a recent visit to Chicago. Gross received $500 to live on during his Windy City weekend -- in his words, a "meager budget" -- and spent $370.16, mainly on taxi rides, dinner at May Street Market, and lodging at the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Hostel. Overall, Gross doesn't seem very frugal -- $16 for breakfast? However, he does deserve props for coining the phrase, "unctuous sausage."

Coats for Critters

Now through Earth Day 2008 (April 22), take your real fur apparel -- including trims, accessories and shearling -- to any Buffalo Exchange used clothing store and donate it to the Humane Society's Coats for Critters: a campaign to collect used furs to provide bedding and comfort to orphaned and injured wildlife. Don't worry if Aunt Ursula's mink still has that nasty rip from the dramatic spill she took on New Year's Eve 1955: Condition of the fur is unimportant. Chicago has two Buffalo E's -- one in Lakeview, and a new Wicker Park location at 1478 N. Milwaukee.

The Idiots Come to Chicago

Come see Craig Anton, a founding member of MadTV and Ron Lynch (Tom Goes to Mayor, Sarah Silverman Program) duke it out as Watson and Crick's less brilliant children in the comedy show The Idiots, which is at Lakeshore Theater (Belmont and Broadway) tonight at 8:00 p.m. Click here for tickets.

More Art Named After Food

In February, Millennium Park gets an installation by Canadian artist Gordon Halloran. Its official name is "Paintings Below Zero," but the Tribune has already nicknamed it "The Popsicle."

Doomsday Called Off, Band-Aid Applied

Looks like Monday will be a commute just as usual, in more ways than one. CTA and Pace have accepted short-term assistance from the Governor. Again.

Candy Remix

Wondering what to do with all that leftover Halloween candy? We've got some ideas for you in Drive-Thru.

Boggling Joggler Blogging

Local, self-described "joggler" Perry Romanowski just set a new world record for running a 50-mile ultra-marathon while juggling three bean bags. Romanowski did it in an amazing 8 hours, 23 minutes, and 52 seconds with no more than four drops--a half hour less than the old record. Hold on there... there was an old record to beat?

Hup Two Three Four, I Love the CPS Corps

Chicago is number one in public military schools (we'll have six by 2009). Advocates say the schools build better students through military history classes, regular uniform inspections, and marching drills. Critics, however, think the military is taking advantage of a school system composed largely of nonwhite kids from low-income families.

Discovery Center Fall Classes Now Available

Learning opportunities both offbeat and conventional fill the Fall/Winter calendar at The Discovery Center, Chicago's self-proclaimed "Lifelong Learning Center". Can't afford to escape the cold and vacation in a warmer climate this year? Sign up for the "Out of Body Adventuring" seminar and astral-project yourself to Cabo San Lucas for the weekend. Or just learn how to paint, write a screenplay or become a private investigator. Classes start now and run through March 2008.

Transmission Contest: Pale Gents

Hey, what are you doing Monday? Peek over at Transmission and see.

Map Lovers, Rejoice!

The citywide Festival of Maps kicks off today with exhibits at the Field and other museums, and continues through early 2008. More than 30 Chicago-area institutions are participating, with exhibits, lectures, films, and other cartography-related events. Some of these are highlighted in Slowdown; for a complete schedule, click here.

Tis the (Pre)Season...

Eager to cram The Little Drummer Boy down our throats as early as possible, WLIT-FM has lit the Yule log and started their all-Christmas music format NOW, instead of their previously planned Nov. 9 kickoff. They beat WCKG-FM, which is set to switch to an all-Christmas music format later today, to the (Holiday) punch by a few hours. Among the first songs played on WLIT: Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow … indeed.

Sadie Hawkins' Day Race & Style Ride

The now annual Sadie Hawkins' Day Race & Style Ride is back again, November 10th. What is it? "Sadie Hawkins Day Race/Style Ride is an on-street, in-traffic, point-to-point bike adventure for couples or pairs... There are prizes for the fastest couple, fastest tandem team, fastest out of towners, best dressed, and more." Last year's inaugural event drew people from out of town, generated a ton of missed connections and suffice to say, there were a few couples that are still together to this day.

A Punk in Phnom Penh

Anne Elizabeth Moore, former editor of Punk Planet and our own Sky in Five columnist, is going to Cambodia for a leadership residency at the Harpswell Foundation; she'll be teaching them media literacy. Unfortunately, the foundation doesn't have the funds to pay for her airfare. Help her out here.

There Ain't No Bottomless Pit Here, This is F@#king Magic, Man, and We're All a Part of It Together

One of my favorite designer-artists out there, Cody Hudson, is having a solo exhibition at the MCA. Hudson brings a mix of street art, urban graphics and blends it with his own personal inspirations to create his work. The exhibition, which is titled that long title up above, begins tomorrow (Nov 3rd) and runs through December 2nd with Hudson presenting an Artist Talk on November 20th which will have him leading a tour of his exhibition.

It's Touch-and-Go at Chicago Gas Stations

In an unlikely application of high technology, 10 Chicago Shell gas stations are getting fingerprint scanning payment systems. Expect a mad rush on Play Doh locally as well.

The 2008 GB Book Club Reading List

We received your suggestions and counted the votes, and now we are ready to unveil the selections for the 2008 Gapers Block Book Club. Just for starters, next year the book club will be having a fire sale, visiting Sprawlburg Springs, getting naked with a contemporary humorist and going off to see the Wizard. Check out the full list at the GB Book Club blog.

Chicago Scores a Knockout

The head of the International Boxing Association is giving rave reviews to Chicago's hosting of the World Boxing Championships, calling them "the best ever." The hospitality he has received has prompted Dr. Ching-kuo Wu to say he'll support the city's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics. And participating boxers were equally overwhelmed, although three could not be reached for comment. Um, you have gone to a match, right? If not, you have until Saturday, Nov. 3.

Cinnamon on Design Sponge

GB's own multi-talented Cinnamon Cooper is interviewed at Design Sponge, talking about her business, Poise, the Chicago Craft Mafia and the DIY Trunk Show.

Swap it! Swap it Real Good!

If you're like me, you've got loads of books hanging around your shelves that you're just not too attached to any more. So tonight, grab up to 15 of them in your arms, and head to the Cubby Bear in Wrigleyville for the Chicago Reader's annual book swap. It's a free (21+) event from 5:30pm-9pm, and the first 300 folks through the door get some Reader swag to boot. No magazines, technical, medical or really distressed books.

District 299 on the Move

The "Highly Unofficial Scoop on Chicago Schools" AKA the District299 Blog -- is moving to Catalyst Chicago to create one consolidated powerhouse of a Chicago education-news resource.

Transmission Feature: What an Umbrella Fest!

Tired of being relegated to a few scattered stages around town, one group of talented Chicago jazz heroes took it upon themselves to create Umbrella Music and then the Umbrella Music Festival of Jazz and Improvisation was born. Read about it's second year on the calendar, over in Transmission.

The New Jargon

Jargon Magazine relaunched today with a new design and new sections.

Former IBM Plaza May be Landmarked

Amid flagging occupancy rates, luxury hotel ideas and changes in the downtown office market, Prime Group Realty Trust is seeking landmark status for the 1972 Mies van der Rohe structure.

Some Awkward Moments With City-Employee Friends

The Better Government Association has a nifty new lookup that allows you to browse the salary of every employee of the City of Chicago and Cook County. Fun fact: Police Officer Anthony Abbate, by dint of his surname, appears on the first page when you choose Chicago from the pulldown menu. He makes (made?) $70,656.

Another Way to Whine

Chicago Tribune public transit forum.

Millennium Park Gets Icy Art

An announcement was made yesterday that "Paintings Below Zero," an outdoor exhibition of a multicolored, 95-foot-long wall of ice, will be on display at Millennium Park during the entire month of February. Finally, the Bean will have someone to talk to when he's feeling a little gloomy.

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