Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Scratch Off Hall Of Fame

After Stephen Colbert finished selling off his Comedy Central extras he purchased 90 scratchers and a couple cigarillos. Smoking away on his favorite stoop he made quick work of the lotto cards. "C'mon Goddammit!" hitting nothing and then scattering them to the four winds.

Express Dollar Plus has plasterd their storefront with the small fraction that pay out. Their most successful coin scrapers have won one hundred dollars up to one thousand dollars. One Lucky Lottery store winner did win twenty five thousand.

Average spent before winning? In most cases equal to or exceeding the payoff. Most scratch offs end up on the sidewalk. Untold hours of our lives spent waiting for someone to buy their scratch offs. Well thats if we insist on shopping at the local bodega. At least we have smart phones to look at Twitter, Everyblock or Facebook to pass the time.

Last edited 5-19-15 5:44 pm

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

"Get The F%$^ Outta The Road" Program

Group of kids early evening (tonight) bouncing a basketball with a pair of adults. Crossing the street one of the kids decides to lay down in the middle of the road. The other kids start heading back in forth into the intersection playing in traffic. One driver honks them and is able to drive on. This driver turns the corner and the ball bouncer decides to dribble close to this writers car.

"Get the F off the Street!"

The adults watching the kids didn't say it. Of course it shouldn't have to come to that. No one was doing anything about this dangerous behavior. Police SUV cruiser saw it and gave the kids (and hopefully the adults) an earful. Horseplay on the main drag is a good way to get yourself killed. Cross the street and move along. If you don't learn it at an early age you probably won't grow old enough to tell other kids the same.

The official get the f outta the road program was rolled out six years ago with mixed results.

Last edited 5/17/15 3:27 pm

Recyclery 10th anniversary benefit tonight

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Dissent on the 'net

(Coach) Alley houses are cool

So many other things to talk about on the 'puter besides petty stuff. Kyros C. was a welcome addition to Everyblock with his (or her) accurate crime reports. Unfortunately he or she has decided to enter into Internet Argument Mode. There isn't a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. Just more and more bad karma. E-block goes through cycles. With luck this one won't last too long.

Some people like to cross swords on the 'net. Joining into the fray is a serious waste of time and makes for a dull read. Many people take 'puter 'net talk personally and hold real life grudges that last years. Unproductive, unrealistic and boring. Everyday we all get into disagreeements and tiffs with all sorts of people. And there is nothing wrong with that. You make up later and move on. Its normal and natural to get into squabbles. Rehashing old comments from years ago is ridiculous and obsessive.

Unplug your console, go outside, read a book, watch a movie, check back in later after you've spent enough time real world. What happened to sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Halfwit Coffee To Go @ Morse Red Line Stop

The signs are a little hard to read in this light.....

Now Open! Smack Dab Chicago. A weekday to go breakfast counter serving local drip coffee and freshly baked pastries. Yay we opened a coffeeshop! Locally roasted coffee.

Halfwit coffee did not disappoint. Excellent drip coffee, cookies and fast efficient service.

Single source brews and quality over quantity. This little shop hits the spot in the morning.

Update 5/15/15 4:58 pm - DNAinfo.com's coverage of Smack Dab.

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Smack Dab!

In-between Pub 626 and the Glenwood at 6956 N Glenwood a little commuter coffee shop is opening tomorrow. Finally those headed downtown jonesing for caffeine and late for work will be able to nab their morning energy boost. Chicago Honey Co-op tweeted the big news a couple days ago.

Common Cup is a great place for community events, reading the paper, doing your homework, and ordering caffeinated concoctions. It's also a little too far for some.

Smack dab will serve Halfwit Coffee, zucchini bread, sour cream coffee cake with handmade strawberry jam, and penny doodle cookies. For now opening at 7:30 am and closing at 11:30 am. If business is brisk they may open a half hour earlier.

This is a no-nonsense grab and go shop. No place to sit and no cappuccinos and lattes to slow down the flow. Get in get out and make your train.

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Seeing Double On Howard Street

Benjamin Keddy worked most of the day putting the finishing touches on his ersatz coffee shop. Lugging a ladder around for the outside work and adjusting your reality with his clicker.

He mentioned that the piece took a lot more time and money than he thought it would. But what doesn't? How does it work? Layering graphics, 3d modeling, tons of scans, computer programming, stuff like that.

Applications for this technological masterwork? Movie sets, mock ups for future businesses, landlords enticing new commercial tenants, stores for fake people, ultimately, the Matrix.

Last edited 5/10/15 2:00 pm

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Roman Susan Annex @ 1629 w Howard

Definitely not a promotion but a neat change nonetheless for this art gallery. The streetlight display is a return to cool smart art. The annex was losing its direction and then a Sprint pop up store prompted the move to this smaller, intimate storefront.

While the former movie theatre entrance is still occupied by a sneaker store RSA is next door and soon Factory Theater will be bringing drama back to Howard.

If you didn't know to look for it or aren't paying attention (like looking at your smart phone or texting your life away) you could easily miss 1629 w Howard.

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Chicago and Main construction site

If you haven't driven through or ridden by this intersection in a couple of weeks stuff is finally happening.

The bigwigs here tried floating an office building but no takers. Guess the corporate fat cats still prefer downtown commuting. Instead it will be more of the same; luxury apartments.

Jane Jacobs school of thought - mixture of uses resulting the most vibrant community with activity all day long - is unfortunately rarely practiced in Chicagoland.

We want to (or have to) shop at the mall, work way downtown or the burbs and live somewhere else.

Last edited 5/4/15 2:45 pm

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Opening salvos

@Chicago Scanner - 024: Shots fired 1628 W Sherwin #Chicago #ChicagoScanner #RogersPark

@Chicago_Scanner  ·  14h 14 hours ago

So, basically, shots are being fired in #Chicago

Sometime after midnight cannon like booms echoed through the outskirts of Chicago. 200 or so years ago it was the sound of flintlock and musket fire in the forest.

A half block east of Touhy Park rivals actual or perceived encountered one another last night. No news story or police tape or investigation as the shooter missed his mark.

The beautiful summer like weather means the return of old grudges and turf battles. Where the hotspot will be this summer is anyone's guess.

A city sign proclaims Touhy Park a gang free zone. However when competitors randomly run into each other everywhere; anywhere is the field of battle.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Back From The Races

Runge's race car now with three flats waits for its post race tune up. This dirt car isn't street legal. Taking closer look one notices the headlights and brake lights are decals.

The lucky right front tire "Hoosier" made it through the contest unscathed. Faithful readers will remember Runge's racecar from March when Austin Runge was working on in it inside the garage.

Number 71's trailer has been sponsored by Speedway Motors, Lefthander Chassis and Motion Pro. Well maybe not sponsored, but made possible by.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015


May is an odd month and so another Jargowood Meeting looms on the horizon. 7350 N Sheridan May 5th at 7:30 pm Chalet. Incorporated in 1988 its one of the longest running neighborhood groups in Rogers Park and Chicago.

The Fargo "L" viaduct wall continues to crumble. Towbar is under new management. Plots at the Howard and Ashland Peterson garden wait anxiously for their gardeners to start tending.

If you live anywhere from Clark to the lake inbetween Howard and Jarvis and have a bone to pick with the alderman or want to keep up with neighborhood developments and news you should stop on by.

(Anyone remember the heart of darkness of Jargowood? Thankfully no photos were taken of the scene.)

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Chillaxin In The Backstreets

Rambling the virtual streets of Rogers Park on Google Maps the urban explorer can walk down more alleys than not. Coverage still far from complete with many abrupt stops and dead ends. Chicago is blessed with a proponderance of alleys. Houses or apartment buildings without alleys are the exception.

Some neighbors take advantage of the road less travelled looking for metal scraps, odds and ends, a quiet place to hang out. Drivers find another way around a blocked street or a new way home. Eccentric builders built coach houses some with stables, some without.

A couple back lanes (like the those inbetween Jarvis and Fargo) have stop signs. The scene below resemles a farm house on a country road.

For now there is no designation on Google Maps for which alley is what or an archive as to which alleys are included. If you haven't all ready got your building or your house address outback there's no time like the present to rectify the situation. Doing so aids firemen and policemen responding to emergencies.

Using Google Maps to scout alleys is an excellent way to check out unfamiliar territory, study a neighborhood you think you know quite well, or a good way to pass the time. There are always hidden pockets of the city that merit further investigation.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Alleys Off Clark Street

Is there a human skull on the red truck's hood?

Now that Google Maps has been almost everywhere they need to finish off the alleys. Random backstreets here and there are visible on the Chicago edition. The short lived Pac-Man version of Google Maps proved how important back lanes were in evading Blinky, Inky, Pinky and Clyde.

Joe Zekas commented on the slow addition of alleys to Google Maps last year. The most famous alley featured on Google Maps is the fictional Diagon Alley. There is an alley named alley on Google Maps here in Chicago, but the car never made it through.

So far the longest stretch of alley here in Rogers Park runs from Lunt to Touhy parallel to Clark. Exploring the alleys the virtual wanderer takes a left behind the old firehouse on Greenleaf. At the deadend make a right and take it straight down. The street view car took a right before hitting Pratt and then traveled east to Clark. 

Another short jaunt from Albion north (just east of Clark) almost to Pratt and then right to Ashland. Gets boring just driving on the streets. How many other alleys are on the 'net?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Faces Of Rogers Park

Another vacant store front is being put to good use. Photography will be on display at the former Goods For Less at Jarvis Square. May 28th at 6 pm with a suggested donation of five dollars.

So far 500 have been invited and 107 are going. Another great event sponsored by the folks at Tow Bar and R Public House. Rogers Park has a lively and active Photography Facebook page. Should make for an interesting gallery to study before taking the "L" downtown or just before dinner at one of the Jarvis Street restaurants.

This mall isn't in as bad shape as Rogers Plaza recently purchased by Jennifer Pritzker at Morse and Wayne. Its right next to rapid transit and the lake so definitely not the highest use for the land. Its perfect for those people who like to drive around and not walk.

Great place to get errands done but its definitely not drawing folks off the "L" or from outside areas. Unless you have business with the alderman, laundry (with wifi), currency exchange, cleaners or need a quick bite to eat or Indian food there is no reason to park here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Now you see it and now you see it?

Starting next month Sol Cafe will have an evil twin. An unreal doppelgänger tempting you to come in for coffee. Opening the door, reaching for that first cup of joe in the morning, it slips through your fingers. Your waving hand waves right through your friendly neighborhood barista. Your head starts spinning and you wonder if you've been drugged.

No you haven't dropped acid. It's just Benjamin Keddy's public interactive video installation. DNAinfo.com first broke the news back in early March. This morning the flyers for this art project gone mad were on display at Sol Cafe. Gotta do something with these empty storefronts.

Starting May 2nd running through May 29 th "a 3d digital model of Sol Cafe" will be "projected on the windows" next door at 1617 w Howard Street. Opening reception on Saturday May 9th 8 - 11 pm.

Last edited 4-22-15 11:10  pm

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Come For The Quesadilla & Stay For The Yoga

The awning which hung like a poster now serves as an awning. Now your local source for Mexican vegetarian cuisine. Too much bad karma from the chicken, pork and beef.

Inside decor is the same. Those in search of nirvana can start with introduction to yoga. Blue flyers have been posted all over the neighborhood inviting literally everyone to give it a shot.

Created to appeal to people from a wide range of goals are to stretch and lengthen tight muscles and connective tissue, improve strength and balance and enhance full range of motion. Yoga practice also cultivates a peaceful, open heart, a clear, focused mind, and refreshes and illuminates the spirit.

The I.M.U. lives on Mondays from 5:30 to 7:30 pm for 16 dollars.

La Reina Del Sur (DNAinfo.com broke the news in early Feb) unfurled their new awnings sometime this past week. We were promised a Mexican restaurant at the other end of Howard. Looks like this one will do just fine. Sunday through Thursday 10 am - 10 pm and closing early on Friday at 5 pm. Credit cards and their resultant fees are also bad karma. So cash only please.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Pub 626

Brought to you by the same schmucks as the Glenwood. This corner (Morse and Glenwood) has seen a lot of changes since the dollar store closed a couple years ago. First Morsel, then Bulkhead Canada (or was it Bullhead Cantina)? The only other corner to see this much action recently is Pratt and Sheridan (Pillars, Ciao Bella and now Philly's Best).

A Mexican restaurant gay tavern? Retaining the same wild west depression era bar and eeping what worked with Bullhead's Cantina fusing it with what works with the Glenwood. Catering to the growing influx of gays and lesbians priced out of Lakeview and Edgewater is just common sense. Gay Pride North only started being celebrated here a few years ago.

If you must try the Blue Moon Horchata Ale remember its a novelty drink. Cinnammon in a bitter alchoholic drink? It tastes about as good as it sounds.

Last edited 4-17-15 8:17 am

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Marshfield & Rogers Avenue CTA Cut Through Cleaned Up

CTA workers use this gate on Rogers Avenue to walk up to the "L" tracks. Its not uncommon to see their trucks parked at this corner doing some emergency repairs.

Years of accumulated garbage and litter has finally been picked up.

The 7400 N block of Marshfield used to be the boulevard of broken dreams.

 In case you forgot that big white metal box on the hill "is part of the ATC signal system, which keeps the trains from colliding with each other." Clark St posted this helpful comment last summer.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Do You Feel Lucky?

Be a part of our penny floor mosaic. Drop your two cents in the mail slot. We're making tiles like these to renovate the gallery.

B1E Gallery is out of commission right now because a much needed? overhaul. As long as it has that same charming off the wall content. Nothing posted to the Facebook page since 2013. Perfect timing for an Abraham Lincoln themed storefront. Yesterday marked the 150th anniversary of his assassination at Ford's Theatre.

This corner of Rogers Park is always fun to check up on at least quarterly. Google Maps reminds us of the dark days before B1E opened. Hope to see new paintings, sculptures, dioramas, and artists soon.

Like (Almost) Nothing Happened

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Roof Crash @ Gateway Parking Garage

Attempting suicide is not funny. Flipping your (Zip) car over on an empty roofdeck is hilarious. Kudos to the architect for making the walls tall enough so that unbalanced drivers can't drive off into the sunset. You never know how well designed something is until its put to the test.

Trying to kill yourself in spectacular fashion is one thing. Please don't do it at the expense of innocent bystanders. The important thing here is that no one died.

Every news or traffic chopper in the city (ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC) covered the scene of the driver being rescued by firefighters earlier today. How about just one helicopter get the scoop and then share the photo? Probably not a good idea for every pilot lookeeloo to do a fly by.

By the way when is DNAinfo.com getting a helicopter?

Kyros C. recounts the facts of the case on Rogers Park Everyblock.

Last edited 4-15-15 2:32 pm

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