As if this season's 18-27 record isn't bad enough, the Chicago Bulls haven't had an All-Star performer in 10 years!
As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. 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 over the past 12-plus years. ✶
Wednesday, March 22
As if this season's 18-27 record isn't bad enough, the Chicago Bulls haven't had an All-Star performer in 10 years!
District299, Alexander Russo's excellent blog on Chicago Public Schools, recently made the move to Catalyst Chicago's website.
You're probably already fed up with all the political junk mail you've been getting due to the February 5th primary, but the more info the better I say. In that spirit, here are some links that may be helpful for making an informed decision. All three major papers have endorsements online: the Trib, the Sun-Times and the Herald. There are a slew of good blogs, but if you haven't yet check out Clout City at the Reader and Capitol Fax, both of which are easily searchable. And for the nitty-gritty, as in voting records and bios, Vote Smart is a little slow but extremely useful. If you don't know what district you're in, the Trib has a handy gadget that will list your races based on address. Good luck navigating in these waters!
Chicago Magazine's February issue features "171 Best Chicago Websites," a nice round-up for your reading pleasure. It's
still not wasn't online, though, so Time Out took the initiative and created a linklist for you. Then Chicago Metroblogging created an OPML file of the list -- along with all the ones mentioned in Time Out's recent blog feature package -- that you can dump into your favorite feed reader. UPDATE: The Chicago Mag feature went online late today.
Yes, Gapers Block is mentioned in both the Chicago Mag and Time Out features. And, as Tankboy noted, we do get along with the folks at Chicagoist.
It's a condo owner's nightmare: The company hired to manage your association makes off with all your money. (Thanks, Sarah.)
So why isn't Chicago as big a draw for the world's music fans as Austin or Nashville? An article in the Reader offers some explanations. But the city is making one attempt at promoting homegrown talent: it's going to feature Chicago-only music on the loudspeakers at O'Hare and Midway. No Smashing Pumpkins or Fall Out Boy, though. They suspect that loud rock will rattle the nerves of already-frazzled passengers.
Registration for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon™ (yep, that's the new name) opens tomorrow. Runners, on your mark.
If you aren't going to be in town for the February 5 Primary Election, today is your last day to cast your early ballot. Each ward has its own early voting site [pdf], but you can vote anywhere you like, including the lower level of the Cook County Administration Building at 69 West Washington.
If you're in New York and looking for a taste of home, head to the Upper East Side and look for a bar called Wicker Park. Its seasonal draught beer this winter is Goose Island's Honker's Ale. The waitress tonight didn't seem to find that as amusing as I did.
What? Stephen Colbert was once (very briefly) in the Neo-Futurists!? (Thanks, Christopher!)
The CBC reports on a Taser stun gun study conducted at the John H. Stroger Jr. (Cook County) Hospital trauma center. The unwitting subjects of the Taser tests? Eleven pigs, two of which died from cardiac arrest after being jolted for 40 seconds, a brief pause, then another 40 seconds.
George Greenhalgh, an 84-year-old pensioner from Manchester, U.K., received a two-year suspended jail sentence on Jan. 29 for selling forged works -- produced by his son, no less -- to museums around the world, including the Art Institute of Chicago. Greenhalgh's piece to the Art Institute was a fake Gauguin, the Glasgow Daily Record reports. Due to his old age and poor health, Greenhalgh won't go to jail, but will instead be free to stay at home and listen to his old Oasis and Fall records.
Rich Uncle Pennybags is going to include city names in a new Monopoly edition. Apparently he's ok with competition in this case, so vote for Chicago's inclusion today, and if you're really dedicated, every day until Leap Day.
Hey, here's one that's actually worthwhile: "3. Get out into the neighborhoods. 4. Beware Navy Pier."
Even though I write this from an igloo, note that registration is now open for the May 25 Bank of America Bike the Drive, the ultimate car-free bicycling event (everyone should do this at least once in their Chicago lives). You can save $5 if you register before midnight on February 10.
The legendary Swap-o-Rama-Rama -- part swap meet, part political statement, part DIY Project Runway -- finally hies itself to Chicago on March 29 at the AV-aerie, 2000 W. Fulton. Bring $20 and a bag of your cast-off clothes, linens, and other goodies, then raid other people's stuff and gussy it up with the sewing machines, silkscreens, and other supplies on the premises. There will also be workshops and a fashion show. What is Swap-o-Rama-Rama, you ask? Watch this.
Margaret Truman Daniel, the only child of President Harry Truman, has passed away at the age of 83 in a Chicago assisted-care facility. A mystery novelist, Truman is best remembered for an incident regarding her former singing career. After critic Paul Hume panned her performance, Harry sent him a letter threatening "you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter down below. You are a guttersnipe!" Give those critics hell, Harry!
Business POV interviewed "Check Please!" executive producer David Manilow about CheckPlease.tv and his hopes for investment to bring the site to a national audience.
Helen's Two Way Lounge is the first Chicago bar found in violation of the state's smoking ban. City inspectors issued Helen's a written violation after witnessing illicit indoor smoking, but due to a technicality no ticket was issued.
CTA art isn't usually all that interesting, but this work by Jonathan Gitelson looks amazing, at least online. We'll have to wait for the Armitage stop to reopen to be sure.
From Call Northside 777 to The Blues Brothers, the Trib reminds us of another reason to check out movies filmed in Chicago.
Chicagoans Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis will follow-up their distinctively-monikered, Tony Award-winning stage musical Urinetown with another eye-catchingly named musical, Yeast Nation. The story takes places in the year 3,000,458,000 B.C. The show will have its Chicago premier as part of the America Theater Company's 2008-09 season.
There's a whopping array of things to do this Valentine's Day, making a decision difficult. If you're a food addict who needs your fix, however, you're in luck. Dinotto's Italian Ristorante is once again serving ravioli d'amore -- dark chocolate ravioli stuffed with sweet ricotta and Nutella, from February 14-17.
Other aphrodisiacal pleasures from the Valentine's Day menu include ostriche con Pernod (Chesapeake Bay oysters baked with spinach, Pernod and lemon cream sauce) and ravioli arragosta (lobster-filled ravioli topped with tiger shrimp, roasted red peppers and green peas in saffron cream sauce with caviar). Call the restaurant to make reservations for Valentine's Day (and V-Day weekend) or check the website for more info.
If you caught the MCA's Sympathy for the Devil exhibition this past autumn, you might recall encountering a couple of photographs by local artist Melanie Schiff. The 30-year-old Chicago photographer is now the subject of a three-page profile in the February issue of the international art magazine Modern Painters. The attention arrives after Schiff was recently selected for inclusion in the 2008 Whitney Biennial. The artist is currently represented by the Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago.
Controversial Obama fundraiser (and onetime photo op recipient with Bill and Hillary) Tony Rezko was taken into custody this morning after his $2 million bail was revoked. Rezko is facing a 24-count indictment for pressuring businesses to make campaign contributions and payoffs. For the record, Obama (or the Billary pic) is not connected to Rezko's legal troubles.
Flor Crisostomo, a Latin American immigrant arrested in 2006 on immigration charges, may flout her deportation orders and seek refuge in Adalberto United Methodist Church, the same church where Elvira Arellano sought refuge.
The REI Bicycle Friendly Communities Grant Program has awarded the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation with a $15,000 grant in recognition of its mission to make Chicago a more bike-friendly city. The Federation will use the grant to fund Sunday Parkways, a program that provides traffic-free biking on selected city streets during weekends and holidays.
The Montrose Ave. sinkhole now has its own MySpace page, where it promotes its own beauty and compares itself to the Grand Canyon. If you're looking for a way to throw some love its way, you're invited to join the rally outside the Montrose L station on Tuesday afternoon, to protest the city's ruthless plan to fill it it back up.
As This American Life prepares to release the DVD of its Showtime series this week (and as Ira Glass prepares to show up at Borders on Tuesday night), there comes word that the show is considering putting on a live stage show, which would be beamed across the country to movie theaters. Interested in seeing such a show? Then please consider taking a short survey about the event.
Want a zoning variance for your new oversized condo building? Make a campaign contribution to your alderman.
The Art Institute of Chicago will offer free general admission every day from Feb. 1-29. You'll still have to pay for the Hopper and Homer special exhibitions, which open Feb. 16, but the museum makes it up to you by offering weekend Q&A sessions with its curators, Saturday lessons in conservation and other perks.
"Rock over Chicago," as Wesley Willis used to sing. How about "winter dome over Chicago?" (Don't laugh -- Moscow's getting one.) Andrew Mason of local start-up The Point -- which applies the principles of Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point to enable people to organize fund-raisers, boycotts and other campaigns for change -- estimates the collapsible weather shield would cost "$10 billion." Campaign contributors won't pay a dime until the project reaches its funding goal.
Scott Hirschey, the driver of the snowmobile that killed WBBM anchor Randy Salerno Thursday night, has been charged with one count of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, as alcohol and speed were factors in the accident.
Sex toy boutique owner Searah Deysach comes clean: She was a grad school dropout. Now she pulls in nearly $500,000 a year in total sales from her business, Early To Bed. There is a lesson in there for all of us.
Now the Canadians are coming to Chicago to take advantage of -- you guessed it -- our chilly and cheap tourist attractions. Recently, USA Today and the New York Times published similar articles, making "Chicago -- a great winter travel destination" a bona fide trend piece. Coming up next: The Boston Globe on "Chicago: Cold, But Cool."
The current season of Layer Tennis finishes up this afternoon, and it's going out with a bang: not one but two matches, running simultaneously. Kiss your productivity goodbye at 2pm. (I'll be needing a drink after this one.)
Claire Zulkey (who got the profile treatment in Time Out this week) interviews Sun-Times music critic Jim DeRogatis about "Sound Opinions," music crit and the Chicago hip hop scene, among other things.
It may be more embarrassing than meaningful, but Obama supporters are taking glee in the photo featuring Bill and Hillary Clinton posing with Tony Rezko.
Channel 2 morning anchor (and former reporter and anchor at WGN) Randy Salerno died last night in a snowmobile accident in Wisconsin.
A hearing-impaired Bolingbrook woman is angry after a manager at a local Steak and Shake refused to take her order earlier this week at the drive-up window, demanding that she use the traditional speaker. The irritated manager then threatened to call police despite the woman's explanations of why she needed to order at the drive-up window, saying "If you had just let me know at the speaker that you needed accommodations then I could take your order through the window."
At the beginning of this month the Gene Siskel Film Center canceled screenings of the documentary Senator Obama Goes to Africa when the Senator won big in Iowa. In case you still wanted to see the doc, the Music Box will be hosting a couple of screenings in coming weeks. Details in Slowdown.
The Illinois Department of Tourism recently teamed up with the Open Doors Organization to develop the "Easy Access Guide to Chicago. Developed by locals for disabled tourists visiting our fair city, it's bound to be a boon to disabled Chicagoans as well.
Californian James Srodon has filed a $50,000 lawsuit against the Blue Man Group after attending an October 2006 show at the Briar Street Theater. The "esophagus cam," a video camera reportedly covered in food, dirt and the trademark blue paint was forcibly shoved down Srodon's throat during the performance, damaging dental work and giving him nightmares.
Citing a "change in the climate" regarding the death penalty in the US, a man held in Toronto for the attempted murder of a Chicago cop in 1969 has dropped his fight against extradition. (Meanwhile, no new news about the Hans Peterson extradition fight.)
Controversial psychology professor Richard Shweder likes to pose tough cultural and ethical questions as part of his effort to reshape the concepts of diversity and multiculturalism. See if you can figure out the answers when he speaks tonight, 6:30 p.m., at the Chicago Cultural Center as part of their "Starting From Scratch" lecture series.
This week in Transmission we want to get you out of the house (yes, we know how cold it is) and into a nice, warm music venue. Read our first set of Chicago music venue reviews just one click over. This week: Red Line Tap and Schubas.
Staff at the Sun-Times have started to receive layoff notices...over the phone. That could be the very definition of heartless.
Oak Brook-based RC2 -- whose comma-deficient motto, "compelling passionate parenting and play for all ages," makes us long for the days of static, indifferent parenting and play -- has purportedly agreed to pay $30 million to thousands of families nationwide who had purchased lead-tainted toys produced by the company. Last year, the families filed a class action suit against RC2 in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The court will decide whether to approve the settlement at a May 6 hearing.
CTA announced yesterday the purchase of 400 new rail cars that will roll into service in 2010. The cars feature live video security cameras, flat-screen monitors that display the train's current location, state-of-the-art diagnostic systems, and stain-and-smell resistant seat fabric. The new trains can run up to 70mph, unless you're in a beloved slow zone. Sadly cattle prods to move doorway loungers into the cars during rush hour will not be included.
Sun-Times Media Group announced plans this week to shutter three of its neighborhood newspapers at the end of the month. Now it looks like Oak Park-based Wednesday Journal is swooping in to save the Skyline, Lakeview Booster, and News-Star from imminent death.
Gapers Block contributor and FoundClothing head findatrix
Lauri Apple will appear tomorrow, Jan. 24, on Jonathon
Brandmeier's 97.9 FM morning show between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. Apple
will discuss her website, which was recently featured on WTTW's nightly news
I wonder if my landlord reads Gaper's Block. If so, he should be reminded that Section 10-8-180 of Chicago city code requires every person "having charge of any building or lot of ground in the city abutting upon any public way or public place shall remove the snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of such building or lot of ground."
Proving that he has possibly the biggest pair around, Drew Peterson (along with his lawyer) has proposed holding a "Win A Date With Drew" contest with longtime Chicago radio personality Steve Dahl. Guess Peterson's not waiting until the ... ahem... divorce to missing wife Stacy becomes final to start dating again.
Starting April 22 (that's Earth Day), Whole Foods stores will no longer give you the plastic bag option with your groceries. They'll still provide free paper bags, and you can purchase a cloth one from them for $.99, or, of course, you can byob (that's Bring Your Own Bag) from home.
Chicago photographer and Nelson Algren buddy Art Shay once took an artfully racy photo of Algren's lover, French author, philosopher, and feminist Simone de Beauvoir, which writer Susie Bright has thoughtfully provided on her blog. (Possibly NSFW, hardly hardcore, but definitely lovely.) For background on Algren and De Beauvoir's legendary affair, go here.
Back in 2000, Sun-Times reporter Howard Wolinsky was among the first to have his DNA sequenced for genealogical reasons. The results sent him on a journey through family history, which he's writing about (and other genealogy topics) at Gen-erocity.
So what the Packers made it to the NFC title game and the Bears... well. We'll get even with them somehow...
FitPregnancy magazine rated Chicago #28 out of 50 major U.S. cities in its "Best Cities in America to Have a Baby" survey. The city received praise for its progressive fertility resources but got a grade of F in categories such as affordability and something known as "stroller friendliness."
For our February meeting, the Gapers Block Book Club is reading The Enchanters Vs. Sprawlburg Springs, the debut novel by Brian Costello. Enchanters charts the life and death of a rebel band that shakes up its Florida suburb over one frantic summer, changing everyone's lives forever. Read the introduction to The Enchanters Vs. Sprawlburg Springs on the Book Club blog, and join us on Monday, February 11 at The Book Cellar to talk about the book.
Just a few months after Chicago abandoned its effort to provide free city-wide wi-fi to residents, Naperville and Aurora have followed suit. While Chicago was just in the planning stages, the network in Aurora was 20 percent complete.
For those of you that don't like to stand out in the cold, much less run through it naked (read: are normal), you can experience the grand finale of UChicago's annual winter celebration Kuviasungnerk through photos, and video. Neither one of which is remotely safe for work.
Sudhir Venkatesh details his interactions with gang members in one building of the now-demolished Robert Taylor Homes in a new book. Read an excerpt of the book, listen to an interview with Venaktesh, check out reviews here and here.
You were annoyed at having to dig your car out of the snow this morning, but imagine if you woke up to it submerged in water after a 36-inch water main burst in the wee hours. UPDATE: Check out Ryan Pikkel's shots of the aftermath from the GB flickr group.
If you've seen that odd, Blair Witch Project-ish TV commercial for SeeItNext.com that is running on the local television stations, you may have visited the website and found a lone prompt to leave your email address for a February 4th reveal of the mystery behind the commercial. What's really going on here? The most popular theory suggests that the commercial is a viral advertisement for General Motors' presentation at the upcoming February 7-18 Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place. And If the future is a GM car, I'm sure it won't be a much-needed reprise of the EV1.
Five West Chicago eighth graders were suspended for staging and filming a fake fight in the school bathroom. Because, you know, a "student who sneaks into a bathroom for a YouTube shoot could slip and hit his or her head on a sink and be seriously hurt."
East Lake View Neighbors and 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney are holding a meeting this Thursday to gather community feedback about a proposed plan to construct 150-unit apartment building, a 137-room hotel, parking, and 100,000 sq. ft. of retail space on the block of Addison across from Wrigley Field. Details in Slowdown.
The New York Times recently published a Travel piece on how to spend a winter day in Chicago -- with cold feet.
Chevrolet invites Chicagoans to nominate inspiring and heroic women to be named the Chicago Woman of the Year 2008. The winning woman receives a $5,000 shopping spree at Macy's and a big self-esteem boost. The nomination process lasts until March 10.
Former Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer died today at age 73 after a series of strokes. Sawyer served from 1987 to 1989, following the death of Harold Washington, and dropped out of public life after being defeated by Richard Daley.
Maya Soetoro-Ng, the half-sister of Barack Obama, gets grilled by the questionable Deborah Solomon in today's New York Times about her brother's campaign, why he was attracted to Chicago (a need for "rootedness"), and growing up in the multicultural Obama family.
You haven't seen a roller derby bout yet? Let's amend that ASAP. The Windy City Rollers, Chicago's all-girl roller derby league, has its first game of the 2008 season next Saturday, January 26. Check out their website for tickets and info.
Former Cook County Commissioner John Stroger died today from complications suffered after his March 2006 stroke.
A woman filed suit Wednesday after she claimed her eye exam ended with a medical assistant paying unusual attention to her feet.
DePaul College of Law grad David Wold is selling his diploma on eBay for $100,000. "This degree has been a great invitation to work at least 60 hours a week at a place where I don't want to be for people that I don't care about," he explains. As an added bonus, Wold will include his law school books, enabling the winning bidder to learn about the Carbolic Smoke Ball and other 1L in-jokes without having to attend any classes.
Controversial chess champion Bobby Fischer died yesterday in Iceland at the age of 64. He was born in Chicago and achieved international fame by beating Boris Spassky in the highly publicized U.S. vs. Soviet Union World Chess Championship in 1972.
This week's Drive-Thru feature opens the culinary time capsule that is the Chicago Daily News cookbook for your reading pleasure. Published in 1930, the book offers many surprising (as in surprisingly edible) recipes and other advice. And finally, a good recipe for Mock Possum for those times that you don't have a real possum to cook.
If you're in the mood for some spooky photography and artifacts (a coffin, outmoded medical restraints!) this weekend, check out the opening of Ward 7: America's Abandoned Asylums at the Co-Prosperity Sphere Saturday evening.
Are you looking for a new Chicago-centric online community? CitizenPowered.org, an outgrowth of the Community Building Initiative between the City of Chicago & the Green Street Project, is now available in beta. Enjoy.
Chicago designer Scott Sullivan recently made the Wall Street Journal for his affordable and eco-friendly lamps and coasters, which he makes from discarded clutches, shift gears, and other car parts. Sullivan runs his own Etsy shop where you can purchase his wares.
Today's Trib has a great story about a Logan Square couple that have collection of photos of dead folk. Anthony and Andrea Vizzari's Museum of Mourning Photography & Memorial Practice is made up of more than 1,000 photos and occupies part of the Vizzaris' Logan Square apartment.
The Tribune's "hyper-local" community publishing service Triblocal, which provides content generated from both staffers as well as regular Joes and Joannes, is expanding its Web site this week to cover news from 13 Southwest and Western Chicago suburbs, bringing the total number of suburbs covered to 21. The growth is expected to lead to new jobs, says the Chicago Methods Reporter News.
"Less is more (boring)" for local financial investor Richard Driehaus, who takes a swipe at the city's modern architecture in favor of the classical style. So much so that he's opening his own museum for decorative arts in the Nickerson Mansion here in Chicago in the spring.
This week over in Transmission, we're talking to Jesse Woghin and James Kenler of Chicago's Flameshovel Records. Come on over and see.
Get ready to loosen that belt a few more notches. Not only will Chicago get its first official Restaurant Week, (as noted in Gapers Block's Drive Thru section) but it may even get another, courtesy of a group of local restaurants known as Chicago Originals. Three-course meals will be priced as low as $20.08 (2008, get it?).
Open Books, Chicago's first nonprofit literacy bookstore, is moving to new headquarters, and it's put out the word for people to help them move 100,000+ books. They might have to make two trips. Full details at the Open Books Website.
The Reader's film blog notes that Facets Multimedia is starting up its winter session of weeknight film classes next month. Four different classes are being offered; check the Facets Website for the schedule and class details.
Despite the presense of long-banned pesticides showing up their offspring, herons nesting along the Lake Calumet area are still going strong. So where are the banned pesticides coming from? Why the good ol' Chicago alewife, of course.
Botulism is killing thousands of birds on Lake Michigan. The culprit? Zebra mussels and gobies.
Officials estimate the costs of a 2016 Olympic Games in Chicago at $2 billion: $900 million for venue construction and $1.1 billion for an Olympic Village near McCormick Place. But calculating the costs of an Olympics is notoriously imprecise enterprise. London's 2012 games could cost four times the city's initial estimates. Here's Chicago's Olympic application.
That hot game you've been looking for? Chicago-based Dawdle can help you find it. It'll also help find that obscure Activision cartridge you remember playing in 1983.
Art Against AIDS, the annual art auction that raises funds for Heartland Alliance's AIDS/HIV programs, takes place February 28. But if you'd like the check out the art before the benefit, head to Gallery 180, 180 N. Wabash, from today through February 14 to see (or buy) work donated by artists from around the nation.
Rob Bochnik, guitarist and vocalist of Irish band The Frames will be performing songs from his first solo record Blowing Out the Cobwebs from 12:15-1pm today at the Goodman as part of their Playtime series. Leave your lunch in the breakroom fridge: mini corned beef sandwiches and bangers will be provided by Emerald Loop Bar and Grill for the event. If you loved last year's great movie Once, which starred Bochnik's bandmate Glen Hansard, this is an event to see. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased online or at the Goodman.
The Trib will become the first major paper in the United States to stop carrying traditional "help wanted" ads in its weekday edition. Of course, its online jobs section will pick up the slack.
Get your checkbook out. Residences in the yet-to-be-constructed Chicago Spire went on sale today. Prices range from $750,000 to $40,000,000 for a two-floor penthouse. No word on whether that includes free cable.
If you aren't going to be in town for the February 5 primary election, you can take advantage of early voting, which begins today and ends January 31. You can find your early voting location in the red, white and blue Voter Guide brochure you recently received in the mail, or by visiting the Chicago Board of Elections online.
You've got to hand it to a 73-year-old woman in Springfield who consistently refuses to sell her home to nearby Memorial Medical Center. As a result, her home is nestled in the cozy, welcoming hospital parking lot.
We gave you fair warning earlier this week about No Pants Day, the nationwide event where transit riders would drop their drawers for the sake of, well, being pantsless on a train. The Sun Times reported on yesterday's event, which took place on the Red Line. There's also some nice photos on the Chicago chapter's Facebook page.
The Shedd Aquarium begins "discount week" -- today through Jan. 18. General admission is free, and special exhibits like Wild Reef and the Oceanarium can be added to your ticket for a small upgrade fee. I'm totally going to see some swimmy things.
This item can be yours, along with lots more manufacturing equipment from Jays Foods Inc.'s South Side headquarters. It's all scheduled to be sold off during a public auction scheduled for Jan. 24.
Chicago attorney Corri Fetman, the woman behind the "Life's Short, Get a Divorce," billboard, is writing an online column featuring her legal take on love. She also worked in a pictorial, available to those who can't find free pictures of naked people on the Internet. Column here (NSFW).
The Legend of Cecilio Guante site recalls a time when it was okay for the Monsters of the Midway to pack heat. Clever gun positioning there, Jim.
What does it take to become a versatile eater in Chicago? Take a look at our newest Drive-Thru feature for answers.
The Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago reminds us that January is National Radon Month. Radon is the number two cause of lung cancer. During January, radon tests are free.
If you have a negative blood type and are able to donate blood, please consider doing so as soon as possible. Chicago blood centers currently have a critical need for Rh-negative blood, especially O-negative and B-negative types. You can schedule an appointment through LifeSource, which runs blood banks and mobile units in the area.
ChicaGO, a new mapping service developed by two Loyola students, tries to give you an idea of how long it'll take to get from one point to another using the CTA.
A 114-year-old woman registered to vote yesterday; the downside is she probably won't vote because "she doesn't know who any of the candidates are."
The Senate and the House just approved a long-term plan to aid the CTA. Relief is in the air - provided Blago doesn't veto. If you'd like to give the Gov your two cents about transit, call (217) 782-6830 or email, asking that he sign the bill.
The Cook County Board of Commissioners is proposing a $4/month, $48/year tax on all phones — land, cell, cable and otherwise. The tax would also increase with inflation — at five years, your total amount paid would be over $250 a phone. Read more at NoPhoneTax.org. Update: Outside the Loop Radio will discuss the likelihood of the tax's success along with other taxes proposed at the end of 2007 on Friday's show. Look for Episode 68 on the main page around noon or listen to WLUW at 6pm.
Freakonomics guru and U of C prof Steven Levitt and collaborator Sudhir Venkatesh have determined that 3 percent of all "transactions" performed by prostitutes in Chicago are free samples granted the boys in blue to avoid arrest.
Organizers of Chicago's Tech Cocktail are starting the "Bring CES to Chicago" movement, after learning that the consumer electronics trade show -- the largest in the U.S., and underway as we type -- might be leaving its usual spot, Las Vegas. The Cocktail guys discuss their campaign for the masses as any savvy technogeek would: via BlogTV. To join in on the fun, you can email the T-Cocktail guys here.
Over at The Outfit, Kevin Guilfoile provides a good deal of new info on the Hans Peterson/Dr. David Cornbleet murder case.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom hired Astrid Haryati, formerly Chicago's Assistant to the Mayor for Green Initiatives to "make sure the greening of our urban landscape is not an afterthought but is central to all of our activities."
The NYT has a profile on Chicago native Kenny George, a Latin School grad who is 7 feet 7, 360 pounds, with size 26 shoes.
Congrats to Carlos Kenig of UChicago, recipient of the 2008 Bôcher Prize in mathematics for "important contributions to...nonlinear dispersive partial differential equations." Where's my prize for typing that correctly?
The Reader's film blog reports on one of the down sides to Barack Obama's big showing in Iowa: the Gene Siskel Film Center's cancellation of screenings of Senator Obama Goes To Africa, a documentary of Obama's visit to the African continent in 2006. If you still want to see the movie, it's available on DVD, and there's a short clip on YouTube.
Author and GB contributor Ted McClelland makes a case in Salon for why folks in the Sun Belt should move up to Chicago and other Great Lakes cities.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind director Michel Gondry will be discussing his new film, Be Kind Rewind at the Apple Store at 679 N. Michigan tonight from 7 to 8pm. Time Out Chicago's Ben Kenigsberg will be moderating the event.
I saw several stacks of discarded holiday trees sitting while walking by several alleyways in my neighborhood tonight. Before you haul your tree to the garbage, think about a city-spondored opportunity to put your tree to good use this Saturday by participating in the "Turn Green into Blue" events at several city parks, where you can receive your choice of blue bags, a reuseable water bottle, or compact fluorescent bulbs in exchange for the tree (or a bag of recyclables).
If you're familiar with the New York-based group Improv Everywhere, you know about their annual No Pants event, where dozens of straight-faced folks ride without their trousers on the subway for the amusement of bystanders. IE is taking the event nationwide this year, so if you're interested in knowing what the creepy fabric on CTA seats feels like on your bare, defenseless skin, join your comrades this Saturday afternoon at the Loyola Red Line (more details TBA).
Aramark and the Kane County Sheriff are being sued by three inmates for $2,000,000 in damages due to food being "insufficient" on a variety of measures, including nutrition, sanitation and sogginess.
WBEZ has given quiz show "Whad'Ya Know?" its walking papers. The Madison, Wis.-based show aired on Chicago Public Radio for 22 years.
Tracy Buckley, a supervising investigator for the city Office of the Inspector General, was charged with stealing food from a Northwest side Whole Foods this past Saturday. Buckley has worked for the city office for almost 14 years.
The president's visit to Chicago today hasn't gone without the arrest of four demonstrators.
This afternoon, the cruel overlords at Chicago Sketchfest gave teams of performers a mere 8 hours in which to write, direct and rehearse an entire 30-minute sketch show. Tonight, see what the teams cooked up: Octasketch, 8pm at Theatre Building Chicago; tickets are $5.
At the American Economic Association's annual meeting, held over the weekend in New Orleans, University of Chicago economist Steve Levitt and sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh of Columbia University presented their preliminary work on a study focused on data collected from more than 100 Chicago prostitutes. Some of the scholars' findings: that prostitutes work 11 to 12 hours a week and make between $25- to $35-an-hour; and that condoms were used in only five percent of 2,000 transactions. According to portfolio.com, Levitt and Venkatesh's full results will be featured in the upcoming sequel to Freakonomics.
If, like me, you happened to be walking around the Northwest side this morning and ended up standing agape at a couple tandem rotor choppers barreling downtown roughly over the Kennedy; you can thank our Pres.
The American Dialect Society recently chose "subprime" as the word of 2007 at a recent meeting in Chicago, the BBC reports. Other cited words included tapafication -- defined by the BBC as "the tendency of restaurants to serve food in many small portions, like tapas" -- and "wrap rage," or "[the] anger brought on by the inability to open a factory-sealed package."
If you're not registered to vote, you have till tomorrow (Jan. 8) to do it, and it's going to be a hassle. (I'd say check here to see if you're registered, but the form appears to be broken.) Details on last-minute registration after the jump...
• Download a PDF voter registration application from the Chicago Board of Elections website, or at any public library.
• Register at any Illinois Secretary of State driver’s license facility.
• Register in-person at City Hall or the Chicago Election Board offices, 69 W. Washington, Suite 600, from 9am to 5pm, or until midnight on the 8th.
Word to the wise for any Chicago Olympic bid officials: keep your own house in order. The wife of a sportscaster involved in the planning of the upcoming Olympics in Beijing hijacked his press conference and let his infidelity cat out of the bag. Includes video.
Crain's points out some stats on Chicago's human capital for us to enjoy: Chicago ranks first amongst US Cities in concentration of young people (25-34) who live within 3 miles of downtown, and is second (to NYC) in the number of young people who have college degrees.
As Chicago tries to rise in the global marketplace, Crain's has some suggestions how to improve its image.
We've pointed to Green Bean before -- the blog run by Erik Olsen, the Green Projects Administrator for the City of Chicago. Today he writes of a remarkable DIY green building project run by two brothers in the South Chicago neighborhood. Their use of reclaimed old growth forest wood framing, hardwood flooring, sub-flooring and joists to make cabinets, patch floors, and frame out new triple-glazed windows is a welcome change from the bulldoze-and-build crowd.
Today's New York Times Style section picks up on an increasingly popular article subject: The growing discontent among today's overworked lawyers and doctors, and employers' attempts to stop staffers from quitting. Partners at big law firm Perkins Coie's Chicago office, for example, have formed a "happiness committee" to offer snack items such as candy apples and milkshakes to their associates.
But such measures seem like generic band-aids (which always fall off!) on a complex problem: According to the Times, firms lose nearly 20% of their associates in any given year, and the same percentage of lawyers will suffer depression at some point in their careers.
It's easy to fall into a slump this time of year -- which is all the more reason to check out the newly launched Library of Inspiration.
Curious Chicagoan Branden Dixon, 27, earned himself two counts of felony disorderly conduct after making two fake 911 calls, the Chicago Tribune reports. "Police said Dixon made the calls on his cell phone because he wanted to watch officers respond to emergencies," the paper says. Dixon might be the only American man who does not watch enough reality television.
How bad is the CTA's budget crisis? Bad enough to catch the attention of The Economist. (Thanks, Jill!)
The Chicago Sun-Times announced plans today to cut 35 union and five non-union newsroom jobs. Meanwhile, the paper reports that the nation's jobless rate has climbed to five percent. Um, Crappy New Year ...
Fiery food fans will be flocking to Jake Melnick's Corner Tap to take on their new hot wings tossed in Red Savina pepper sauce, the second hottest pepper in the world.
The city's opaque Department of Planning and Development, which controls development of and rehabilitation of landmark buildings and areas, has approved an additional 70 "bullpen box seats" and more digital signage.
Two cleaning women were trapped in a stuck elevator in a Niles office building for two days, surviving on two cough drops and six aspirin before an employee discovered them on Christmas Eve.
According to a recent U of C study, 48% of Chicago doctors surveyed gave placebos to patients. Only 12% were against the practice.
The Reader brings us word that a radical Italian theatre company is looking for 40 dudes to come on stage and beat a young lady with pillows. Oh, don't give me that -- it's for art! Check it out for more info on the company, the performance and how to apply. Watch out for those feathers.
This week the GB Book Club has its annual round-up of Chicago books published in the past year, including fiction by local authors and nonfiction books about our city. From mysteries to graphic novels, and from water tanks to horror movie TV shows, the list reveals another strong year for local talent.
Here's a potential lead: According to Crain's 2008 Book of Lists, Chicagoans of "mixed race" use their cell phones more than any other demographic group (putting in 1,469 minutes per month), followed by blacks (1,365), Asian/Pacific Islanders (1,171) and whites (638). Local Native Americans use their cell phones least, at 243 minutes (oh, and thank Telephia for the stats). Anyone have any theories? Well, come back with some research results for us in 2010 or thereabouts, m'kay?
Conservative Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak, outer of Valerie Plame, puts forth a theory about Hillary Clinton's political strategy under the possibly offensive headline, "Hillary's premature triangulation."
As expected, with 442 murders recorded in 2007, Chicago's homicide tally is at its lowest in 40 years. That's good...right?
If it's too cold to stroll, you can still check out your favorite street artists -- indoors at New'd. Artist Artillery curates a show at the new/used clothing shop each month. Currently, he's showing blutt work. Next month, it's tiptoe and Saro.
"Attend more special sessions of the General Assembly" was apparently not on many Illinois lawmakers' 2008 resolutions lists. Due to sparse attendance at yesterday's meetings, little progress has been made to solve the CTA's funding troubles, and unless something happens soon transit riders will once again have to worry about major service cuts.
O'Hare is still the second-busiest airport in the nation, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Atlanta's Hartsfeld-Jackson airport has been the busiest for the last three years due to increased travel needs in the area and advertising efforts by Atlanta-hubbed airlines Delta and Air Tran (which used to be the deadly ValuJet Airlines, FYI).
I've been fighting making this post, but I must acquiesce. It seems the gold rally and the Chicago Board of Trade's rising wheat, corn and other commodity prices have something do to with a man's mugshot.
The seventh annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival opens tonight, showcasing the best in sketch comedy from around Chicago and across the globe (actually just the US and Canada). Check out the full schedule and randomly select a wacky-sounding ensemble to see. The festival runs through January 13 at Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont. For ticket info, call the box office at (773) 327-5252.
Now that the smoking ban is in effect, what to do with all of those leftover ash trays? West Town Tavern chef Susan Goss is currently collecting some of them for use in an "Ashes to Art" exhibition which will feature creations by local artists. The exhibition, to be held at The Architrouve and benefitting Erie Neighborhood House, is slated to open February 19.
President Bush is slated to appear in Chicago on Monday to celebrate the anniversary of his No Child Left Behind Act. Why Chicago? "Pizza?", suggested his press secretary.
This week is your last chance to view Jasper Johns: Gray at the Art Institute. The special exhibition, which closes on Sunday, showcases Johns' use of the color gray as a "statement of skepticism, quietude, or anticipation." Besides being a critically acclaimed artist, Johns also guest starred as himself in a 1999 episode of "The Simpsons" entitled "Mom and Pop Art."
As the Gapers Block Book Club heads into its fourth year, we have a full list of books to read in 2008, starting with our January selection, Never a City So Real by Alex Kotlowitz. Read the introduction to Never a City So Real on the Book Club blog now, then read the book and join us on Monday, January 14 at The Book Cellar at 7:30pm to talk about the book.
If you haven't checked it out already, you may want to swing by the Chicago Center for Green Technology and check out elementhouse, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign entry in the 2007 Solar Decathlon.