Sunday, December 23, 2007


Wha' d'ya know, Bloggee? Maybe you should write your own book!

Two experts claim you can become an expert by writing and publishing a book. As an expert on one arcane subject, I couldn't agree more. And (hopefully), my expertise in blogging and multi-media book publishing will be evident when Carbondale After Blog is finally published (motivational plug). Not expecting to sell many copies locally, but the finished product will help land me a teaching gig. (Yesterday, a major obstacle to having video on the pages was overcome by using Quicktime.)

But you don't have to write a multi-media book to become an expert; just start a blog and ride the wave of the future!
"In the 10 years since the first site known as a 'weblog' went online, the blog has matured from a geek niche to the internet's dominant publishing paradigm,"
says Wired magazine: After 10 Years of Blogs, the Future's Brighter Than Ever.

The same is true in Carbondale, Illinois. In the 5 years since the first post to this blog, some very good local blogs have been launched -- by academics, musicians, business, and upright citizens. I read them all. One in particular - The Beer Philos'pher's blog - has gone world class, complete with gift shop and RSS feed! I savor Shawn's worts of wisdom, even though my own philosophy of beer is summed up in two words: Sam Occam's. ;-) Based on his blog posts, the BP could write his own b(l)ook.

And speaking of BP, our local business expert got it right! . . . The Greyhound bus stop will be moving to a better location.

And speaking of better locations, I'm flying to Portland this week. Still hoping to move there next Spr'ummer - unless I land a job right here at good ol' SIUC, or my campus comedy goes into production, or . . . .

Thursday, December 20, 2007

"Don't Tase..." Top Phrase

The Top Quotes of 2007 have been named by the Yale Book of Quotations, and the winner is: "Don't Tase Me, Bro."

Remember? The original utterer, Andrew Meyer, now maintains the "Don't Tase Me Blog." An outspoken critic of political hypocrisy and cowardice. But Meyer crossed the line of acceptable Q&A at the University of Florida when he asked asked aggressive questions of former Senator John Kerry about his membership in Skull and Bones, the secret male society he belongs to. That's when the taser toters removed him from the podium. Andrew protested their actions. If he'd gone peacefully, this post would be about the runner-up, the garbled reasoning of an unfazed candidate for Miss Teen USA (view it on YouTube). She is the one who should have been tased! Lucky for the language, Meyer spoke up.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sand dollars

On Friday, my friend the sandman, Vic DeGraff, delivered the sand painting of "Lucy the Elephant" I commissioned a few weeks ago -- with the elephant colored by sand from the beach where the "Elephant Bazaar" was first constructed (in 1882, to promote South Atlantic City, later renamed Margate, where I grew up).

16x20 inches, the image was drawn from an old post card, which Victor doctored with his sand pallet. I might sell prints to gift shops on my next visit East. But why wait until then, if it's possible to sell by internet? A search for gift shops in Margate should find a Lucy gift shop that could sell prints to benefit the Save Lucy Committee.

A similar fund raiser is getting off the ground in good ol' Carbondale: Victor created a sand painting of the demolished bank building for Art Lovers Trading Compay to benefit the Jackson County Stage Company, as explained in the press release.

Hopefully, a hopeful reporter will write about this artsy fund raiser when Victor's brick and print goes on display inside the Bank of Carbondale when the Christmas tree comes down.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bus gets hit by Onion . . . Will Onion get hit by lawsuit?

This morning, my friend "Dave 47" gave me a copy of the latest issue of the Onion "America's Finest News Source," which has a front page headline: "30 Miserable Lives Lost in Greyhound Bus Crash," with photos of some of the "degenerate sacks of shit" who were "never so lucky" as to perish in the crash.
According to Greyhound officials, the fatal crash occurred less than an hour after passengers gathered their pathetic belongings and dragged what little hope they had left onto the despair-soaked bus. Emergency crews called to the scene described the remains of the victims as "slightly more lifeless than they were before the accident."
That's some cold humor, Bloggy -- published online, too! The print edition even uses the Greyhound logo. Will the busdogs in Dallas sick (sic) their pit bulls on the ONION for including the corporate logo with its sick humor?

I might paste the article to the ticket counter at Graydog's, along with a petition demanding an apology from the humor magazine.
We, the undersigned, driven by circumstance to ride the Greyhound bus, do hereby demand the Onion apologize for calling us "degenerate sacks of shit" while using the corporate logo.
I love my Greyhound customers, even those who don't get the Onion.

Oh, the huge manatees.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Another hit piece on McKinney

"On paper," writes Carbondale City Councilman and Nightlife editor, Chris Wissmann, former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney is
a [L]iberal's dream: the first African-American Congresswoman from Georgia, she has ferociously attacked faulty electronic-voting machines, the Iraq war, federal (non)response to Hurricane Katrina, and the Bush administration in general . . . at a time when many so-called Democrats have rolled over and supported most major Bush administration positions.
But Carbondale's liberal gatekeeper seems to think the dream could be a nightmare when he adds:
McKinney, however, has what Nation columnist Katha Pollitt has called "foot-in-mouth disease." McKinney has entertained, if not exactly endorsed, some batty conspiracy theories about September 11. She's been accused of antisemetism.
Wissmann, however, appears to have "head-up-ass disease." After dangling (and misspelling) antisemetism over Cynthia's head ("she has been accused"), he concedes the "charge probably is a stretch"-- it was McKinney's father eleven years ago (not the Congresswoman in 2007), "who made blatantly antisemetic (sic) remarks."

So why bring it up? And what was the remark? In 1996 Billy McKinney called his daughter's Republican political opponent, John Mitnick, a "racist Jew." I don't know Mitnick, so I don't know if he is racist. But there are a lot of them around, of different religions and ethnicity. But this sounds more anti-Mitnick than anti-Semitic.

Unfortunately, Wissmann's dig at at 9/11 Truth is just as unsubstantiated ("batty conspiracy theories"). No one knows what theories McKinney may have "entertained" (but I hope the missing Pentagon evidence is one of them). In fact, McKinney has merely called for a true and thorough investigation of the events leading up to 9/11, in the spirit of the widows featured in the documentary 9/11 Press for Truth. Does anyone seriously oppose this?

Although, he later exonerates the would-be candidate, Wissmann's smears have Green Party leader Rich Whitney back-pedaling.

"I'm certainly not defending every sentence she's said. . . . Certainly, when you shoot from the hip and speak candidly, you can shoot yourself in the foot, but the vast majority of accusations against her are unfair-- they are distortions of what she said, like the [September 11] things that have gotten her in trouble, and other things have been taken out of context."

Vast majority? Sounds like there are a LOT of accusations against her! Shall I add mine to the list? Her speech at Berkeley on YouTube gets a 'D', since she begins her oft-viewed rant with "Just one question: Who are we? and Who's responsible for what we have become?" That's two questions. Since she's reading from prepared notes, I have but one question: who is responsible for Cynthia's lapse?

Ninety-nine percent of attacks against her, says Whitney, come from a demagogic political right-wing and corporate media threatened by McKinney's brash, frequently combative political positions, and intent on marginalizing her.

The other one-percent must come from liberal media like Wissmann's, although both Alexander Cockburn in Counterpunch and Pollit (in the article referred to by Wissmann) clearly supported McKinney in her run for office in 2002.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Cynthia signs up with Greens

Ain't she a Peach? Georgia's Cynthia McKinney, a former six-term Representative in U.S. Congress, is campaigning to be nominated as the Green Party candidate for President. McKinney spoke to an audience of fish fry luncheon-goers at Hopewell Baptist Church on Saturday following a speech at SIUC Student Center, and a stint in the peace line on the sidewalk in front of the Town Square Pavilion.

McKinney's political career has been controversial due to her fiery speeches (such as this speech posted on YouTube) about racism, war profiteering, and 9/11 Truth. In fact, her talk to local Greens was not about environmental issues, but about the "lashes" she has received from corporate media -- such as this 2005 hit piece in the Weekly Standard.

Nevertheless, Rich Whitney (pictured next to Cynthia), the Party candidate for Governor in 2006, believes that Cynthia is Green at heart, so he persuaded her to get on the ballot in Illinois. And raised over $5000 for gas money for her drive to Chicago to continue campaigning.

A fashion tip for McKinney: wear something green to future Green Party events.

Friday, December 07, 2007

from bussy to beesy

Well, my supervisor at Greyhound checked out the new location I found for the bus to stop, and he likes it a lot. Next week, a bus will test the ease of entrance and exit from the lot. This whole thing is happening quite quickly . . . 'twas less than a week ago the moving bug struck. That's how guys like me and Cole role. We decide to do something, then do it. Like today . . . I decided to get out of bed, and I did!

There are some hurdles, naturally. As things stand, the lease at 215 N. Washington St. runs thru May. If I move the operation to Main St. in January, then I'll be responsible for rent at two places, unless another money making business can be moved into that space, or I come up with something else myself (Ebay service? Tom "What's a Blog" Egert thinks it's a good idea. As the entrepreneur behind Tropicana vintage, the Longbranch Coffee Shop and WDBX, Tom would know. And Ebay could help him get rid of the piles of stuff he has in the back (front) room of Tropicana, the room with the Washington St. entrance. What HUGE PILE of stuff!. That room should be put to more productive use!

Currently, the Tropicana is being run by Jessica Bradshaw, who doubles as the Rosetta Book Store girl and Greyhound ticket agent three mornings per wk, plus as another job. Her mom, Paula, wife of Rich Whitney, the Green Party standard bearer, helps out at the book store. Paula is a pistol. More outspoken than Peter the Great. An atheist, environmentalist Joan of Arc. She gets to rant on things she cares about each morning on WDBX. She may be podcasting soon, so you can hear for yourself.

Paula's actually filling in the spot that Jerry Bradley used to do with Greg ____ . Jerry is the former Southern Illinoisan Flipside, and Big Muddy IMC and Carbondale Times editor, who's split the media scene, it seems. A mutual friend told me he's working at The Neighborhood Coop, but I haven't seen him when I've shopped there. Meanwhile, at the Times capable Steve Miller is back at the editor's job.

Carbondale Main Street also has a new face at the welcome desk, since Linda Parker departed a few weeks ago. It didn't make the news, like when her boss Roxanne Conley was replaced by Megan Cole, but Linda will be missed. She did a good job for several years. She's not dead, though; I saw her at Aldi on Friday.

So who is sitting at the desk these days? . . . None other than Barbara Eidlin, former vocalist for the now-defunct Majnun band --with a new Masters degree and more energy and purpose than a barrel of bees. Because she gets around, disseminating ideas, I call her "Bee." But she's also a "Steamroller, cement-mixing, demolition derby" kind of bee. Hear a specially compiled ten-second clip from one of her live performances with Majnun at the Great Guitars Gig in 2005. Ya think this girl can pitch an idea?

Sharing the old train depot building with Carbondale Main Street, the crew at the Chamber of Commerce is working hard on its next promotion. I'm trying to talk the staff into a softball game in vs. the SIU faculty.... A Town vs. Gown thing..... Fundraiser. The Executive Director said she'd think about. Meredith Rhoades enjoys her work . . . like the time, her first week on the job, when she agreed to take a spontaneous and whirlwind Tour of Town Square with me. Charley Greer at Urban2 was impressed, although he still does not belong to the organization. I bought some popcorn from a Carbondale CoC member for a fund raiser, and donated it to the office. I'm trying to encourage a popcorn and cider social Friday afternoon. Nothing formal, but casual. See, I need more material on the Chamber for my blook.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Dave X makes his mark

Interesting people come in the Greyhound office, like Dave X, an avant garde artist and WDBX deejay with a worldwide audience. Dave has a blog, and he writes to it as he records his show "It's Too Damn Early" on air at 91.1 from 4 a.m. - 6 p.m. He says he chose the early air time in order to be prime time in Paris and Tokyo, where his show has attracted about 100 listeners via the WDBX stream.

Lucky for those who appreciate his music, it's recorded and podcast. He says the station has software for podcasting, but the other deejays I've talked to don't know about it or use it.

Mayor divorces himself from web site; engages intermodal

Leave it to Peter the Great. . . . I was wondering if anyone would comment on the change in Mayor Brad Cole's website -- now with only one working link: Contact. This was done at Brad's request, as he explained that the site's benefit didn't make it worth the bother of updating. Same deal with the Marry the Mayor (but substitute "dating" for "updating"). Brad noted that he still has 28 Days to find someone, get engaged and get married, in order to fulfill the New Year's resolution he jokingly told to a Southern Illinois reporter last year.

In fact, Cole doesn't make New Years' resolutions. For him, each day is New Year's Day, since he resolves and follows through on many things each day. We all do this, but our mayor more than most. One of the resolutions he's made is to bring an intermodal transportation center to town (like the one in Champaign). And he's got his ears to the track on that project. (Now if only a train would come whizzing by real fast, some would say.)

Speaking for myself, I won't sit back and "let Cole do it." Next week, a new location for the Greyhound bus stop will be announced -- an intermodal bus and limo station with high visibility, plenty of parking, in a clean, well-lighted place. The district manager is checking it out on Friday. I wonder if Peter, Scott or anyone can guess where it is.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Super Graydog Saturday

"Super Saluki Saturday" was the media phrase for SIU's football and basketball teams having big games at home on the same day. Saluki fans already know outcome: SIU topped UMass in football, but fell to Indiana in basketball. I didn't see either game, but heard some play-by-play on Magic 95.1, while doing other things . . . like researching internet security cameras online, and learning Alpha Five database manager in order to improve Art Lovers data management system. In between the two big games, the annual Lights Fantastic paraded up Illinois Ave., while I marched upstairs to my sitio, listened to new Eagles CD and did something.

Some comments in the Bytelife blog opposed the parade being held on Super Saluki Saturday, because of increased traffic. Why wasn't it rescheduled? I'll ask Megan Cole at Carbondale Main Street -- at whose desk the light switches on -- when I see her.

Also meeting Carbondale's other leading Cole this to discuss his career as a sit-down stand-up, and mine as an outstanding bystander. Also want to ask about the rail-side mural project and his resolution to get married by the end of the year.

I opened the Greyhound ticket office at 9:30am on Super Saluki Saturday, and stayed until the morning bus arrived -- long enough to get a dangerous vibe from two browsers in the Urban2 clothing store. They very briefly looked at shirts, but stayed very briefly -- just long enough to reconnoiter. I expressed concern to Charley G (the owner of the building and the clothing store), who earnestlyreplied through cataract-free eyes, "It's a dangerous time," meaning the season when people are hard-up for gift-buying money.

So far, my only security measure has been depositing receipts daily to the friendly crew at Old National Bank inside Schnucks. (What a great bunch of kids, seriously. Find out for yourself! Simply go to the bank counter and ask to make a deposit of $100 or more to "Creative Media.")

But other than occasional fear of armed robbery, things are good at Greyhound, even though the bus picks-up several blocks away, at the Amtrak Station. When customers complain, I point out Caleb Hale's article taped to the ticket counter -- about my attempt to have the bus pick-up on North Washington St., and their consternation is mollified.

But I'm not satisfied. . . . Writing this blog post convinced me to find a better location for Greyhound agency -- and I DID. I pushed myself away from the desk and went out and found a better location: one that is larger, better lit; open longer hours; and stocked with snacks, with enough parking space to accomodate more than bus! Still some detail$ to work out, but the principals agree in principle.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

sands of time

Yesterday's mail contained an envelope of beach sand from New Jersey (sent by a boyhood friend at my request) for Victor DeGraff to use in a sand painting of Lucy the Margate Elephant, a national historic monument which stands at the beach in Margate, NJ. My friend assured me the sand was authentic, and joked he added extra seagull poop for good measure.

The idea for painting Lucy the Elephant using beach sand was inspired by the sand painting created by Mr. DeGraff of the recently demolished Stage Company building. What makes the painting unique is the building is colored by actual brick from the building, authenticated by the artist and Mary Jo Hanes, of The Stage Company and Sue Mills of Art Lovers Trading Company.

It took ages to set up a process to fill all the orders we expect to receive, but with the help of Larry Weatherford (the dean of Southern Illinois sign & design), a way has been found to make prints of Victor's original sand painting on sand paper! The building in the sand print is also hand-colored with pulverized brick.

A representative of The Bank of Carbondale has agreed to display the original painting, and take orders for prints. It's a fun(d)raiser for the Stage Company. One-third of the $120 price will go to the Stage Company; one-third to Sands of Time, and one-third to Art Lovers gallery, which underwrote the project.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Looks like I'll have more time to write this blog, since the Amtrak train to Chicago is leaving one hour earlier each day -- at 7:30 a.m. instead of 8:30. -- which means, after driving the crew to the station (my early morning job 4 days a week), I'll have an extra hour to write before opening the Greyhound office at 9:30. Also, reduced hours at The Hound: two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon, yields a nice chunk of mid-afternoon time to edit what I've written, or work on other projects, such as my blook, where currently the chapter on the Tuscan Lodge is being written.

My trip to North Georgia for Thanksgiving was fantastic. My two cousins are cool. I should call them coolzins. The older one's retired and grows organic stuff to sell at market, living in a log cabin with picture window view of Blue Ridge mountain tops. Her younger sister lives nearby, with her own porchside mountain view, and her husband's blacksmith shop. Judy makes wind-chimes and other "touchable art' which happens to be the name of her business. Ginny calls her business Two Tiger Lillies. Neither has a web site, but we're working on that.

Driving to and from Georgia on the interstate, I listened to The Eagle's Long Road Out of Eden (2-disc CD) a couple of times. The band's first new music in 28 years, it's remarkably good -- a worthy follow-up to 1979's The Long Run. On Sunday night, all four Eagles were interviewed by Steve Croft on 60 Minutes. Among other topics, the band's controversial Wal-Mart marketing strategy was explained. Bottom line: the music's great and it's the top selling CD in the U.S. and several other countries, according to the band's website.

So what's hap'nin' on the local scene? A few new faces here and there. I'll write about them soon. And Scott Thorne is sticking with it at Bytelife (along with Gadfly and the other commenters). Too bad Peter the Great isn't still around to stir things up, but his spoon is long since he commented on my Tuscan Lodge project recently all the way from Corvallis, Oregon, where he's started a new blog. Peter also gives us food for thought in a Thanksgiving post about SIU to his Carbondale biz blog.

So I'm back, the Eagles are back, and Peter is back.

y'all come back.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A new chapter

Now that steps have been taken by the City to save the Varsity Theater, the next building on our agenda to preserve Carbondale's history should be the Tuscan Lodge.

I'd like to put together a pamphlet about the building (if there isn't one already), for fundraising purposes.

Someone wrote in a comment to Carbondale Bytelife that there have been "at least 16 benefits" for the Tuscan.
The historic Tuscan Lodge belongs to the African-American Masonic Order, who has owned the building since 1903. The group has had at least 16 benefits to raise money for the restoration of the facility.
That's a lot of benefits. I've never heard of any of them. So what's the latest?

Some denizens of the 200 block of North Washington St. are planning a hip-hop/jazz musical benefit for the building, on the property immediately behind the Tuscan Lodge, closing that one block of the street on that day.

I'll be visiting Development Services later today to glean some details about for the new chapter.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

One building saved; one remains

Yesterday's State of the City speech by Carbondale Mayor Brad Cole at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon contained a dramatic announcement: the Varsity Theater has been given a new lease on life due to the efforts of Cole and others working behind the scenes.

I was so excited about the news that I stopped in WDBX at the suggestion of Tom Egert and Paula Bradshaw to tell the station's listeners.

In Cole's words:
Several people are responsible for making this happen. First, of course, the Kerasotes family and Kerasotes Theaters company should be thanked and thanked again. Also, we should thank Trace Brown and Charlie Brown and Associates for doing a thorough inspection of the property and detailing an appraisal that makes it financially worthwhile for the company to donate it to us. And, without a doubt, all the people that have supported me behind the scenes (pun intended) to work with the property owners to get to this point… that specifically includes people like Blanche and Fred Sloan and Trish and John Guyon.
People like them, yes, but not people like me -- or Rob Gallegly and Bob Streit, who worked tirelessly on SAVE. But every time I visited the Mayor's office, I'd ask about the big V. And Cole checks out this blog occasionally, and he may have read the last sentence in my blook teaser chapter about the Varsity Theater. It's time for a new sample chapter. . . . But what?

Of the other chapters in the table of contents, none have the community-wide interest, and on-going drama of the Varsity Theater closing The only thing close to it, is the Saluki Way development, which I have mostly ignored in this blog, because others are on top of it.

How about a chapter on the Tuscan Lodge? The old building on the corner of Washington and Jackson St. is the next landmark building in desperate need of restoration. . . . For the past few months, I've been working on a project that would benefit this restoration effort: a hip-hop, blues, and jazz music festival on the property behind the building, and a street fair in the 200 block of N. Washington St. . . .

A few weeks ago I met with Megan (no relation to Brad) Cole, director of Carbondale Main Street, about CMS co-sponsoring the event in the Spring.

Perhaps Larue Love, and other owners of the Tuscan Lodge should contact the Guyons or the Sloans for a hopeful push.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Eagles have landed . . . at Wal-Mart?!

The Eagles band and Wal-Mart in "Strategic Marketing Partnership." According to the release, the company's sustainability agenda (PDF doc) -- was an important reason for the band's decision.

And over at Starbuck's other baby boomer icons, like Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Annie Lennox, have exclusive deals with the world's largest coffee corp, where CDs are sold at stores and online. The independent music stores are unhappy about this, and I don't blame them, but that's life in the world as we know it. Will REM be next?

I bought Long Road Out of Eden yesterday at the big Wal, and listening to it now, and happy to say, it's great. As I write this, Track 10 is playing, and there are ten more to go. I don't have to open shop at Greyhound this morning, so I have time to blog and catch you up on things.

Track 10 is called "Do Something" ... a song with a message. "Don't wait to long, even if it's wrong, you gotta do something. It's not over, no it's never too late."

Track 11, "You Are Not Alone" ....

The thing that makes The Eagles great is catchy tunes, wise lyrics, distinctive vocals and harmonies.

End of disc 1.

Disc 2 starts off with the title track: "Long Road out of Eden." I think this may be the music I listen to while I finish my blook. I wonder if Starbuck's would be interested in an exclusive one year deal for Carbondale After Blog.

Of course, many pundits questioned the Eagles-Wal-Mart exclusive one year deal, when it was announced. But it's turned out to work pretty well, the album is #1 in the U.S. and other countries. And it also turns out the other music stores have found a way to get around the exclusive: buy them at Wal-Mart for $11.88 and sell them for $18.99, reports Rolling Stone.

Reviews of The Eagles first studio album in 25 years have been good, although not everyone's a fan of this group in these hip-hoppy, flip-floppy, times. The review by Chris Jones at gets it.

And, if you like The Eagles, you should get it, too.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Time, it Changed

I stayed up 'til 2 a.m. on Saturday night, to watch the time get automatically turned back on my computer, catching up on YouTube and other video sources, like which has six different takes of the ‘Don’t Tase me, bro!’ scene when University of Florida student Andrew Meyer aggressively asked questions of Senator John Kerry in September.

Meyer was wrestled to the ground and "tased" (or "tazed") with an electronic stun gun) in a shocking use of police force at a democratic enclave.

Because the tase phrase has entered the cultural lexicon, I got to wondering if TASER was a brand name like Kleenex and Xerox? Say yes? Bullseye! According to CBC News In Depth:
"TASER stands for Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifle, from the Tom Swift series of children's novels written in the early 20th century, including Tom Swift and his Electric Rifle. The real stars of the series of science-fiction novels were potential advances in technology. Who makes them? Arizona-based Taser International makes virtually all of the 'stun guns' being used today. In fact, Taser is the brand name and the technical term for a stun gun, a conductive energy device, or CED."
The word is a shoo-in for the next edition of the next dictionary.

Speaking of brand name product promotion, Stephen Colbert recently noted candidate Sen. John McCain's "triple cross promotional pander 720" when McCain told the Smith & Wesson folks he will "follow Osama Bin Laden to the gates of hell, and I will shoot him with your products." Isn't that a great phrase?! Give Osama a cigar, while you're at it, John.

Colbert took dead aim at this, of course. Especially since his campaign coverage is being sponsored by Doritos -- the "Hail to the Cheese Campaign Coverage" of his campaign for President. The money can not go to the campaign, only to the coverage of his campaign.

Of course, now that Colbert has been kept off the ballot in South Carolina, the nacho cheese flavor of the crunchy Dorito snack is moot.

But, speaking of campaigns, a ghost from Carbondale's recent mayoral contest showed up at Greyhound this afternoon, Kyle Raccio, who I thought was a pseudonym. In fact, Kyle is a freshman at SIU, majoring in Political Science. He volunteered for Sheila Simon, and now supports Hillary Clinton. To further his education in political science, I offered to give him a paperback copy of Restoring the American Dream by Robert Ringer, which was setting on the bookshelf by the ticket counter (a political manifesto for Libertarian philosophy). But Kyle declined, since he is a confirmed left-wing Democrat, unlikely to change into a right-wing freedom ringer, like Judge Andrew Napolitano, who lets loose a blistering tirade against the Patriot Act's abridgement of 1st Amendment rights, in a recent FOX-TV editorial. A Nation of Sheep on YouTube. Worth watching. Much-digged. It's short, but not sweet.

Perhaps if the 1st Amendment had a corporate sponsor, Freedom of Speech, brought to you by McDonald's.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

too bussy to blog

I wish I could say more to those who crave more postings to this blog. Most mornings have simply been too busy -- driving the Amtrak crew to the train station at 7:30, then selling bus tickets on Washington St. from 9:30-11:30 -- leaving insufficient dilatory time for blogging (or blooking) or anything more than answering a few emails and reading the latest news in town and in the world. . . . Even the 6th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy came and went unmentioned by yours truly (although I gave the supermarket checkers and bank clerks at Schnuck's a "Happy Pretext for War in the Middle East Day," which they appreciated. Another phrase I'm trying out is "9/11 was an Outsourced Job," which also seems to resonate with folks.)

Today it's 10/11, and I am still "burned out" on local bickering. I'm glad Scott Thorne is pricking on the local scene in Bytelife. I also see where Peter the Great has weighed-in on the sales tax way out on the Left Coast. (I could pick a bone with Peter over his use of the term "Boneheads" to describe City Council, but instead will toss it to the dogs of blog to gnaw over. And they can chew on this:)

I spoke with (SIU Marketing Chair) Terry Clark over the weekend. He said that a half a million bucks has been budgeted for advertising SIUC in Chicago -- spent on second tier media. Bus stops in Chicago suburbs and cable television.

Speaking of marketing, my little bailiwick on N. Washington St. is all abustle. Tom Egert has purchased the building next door to WDBX and plans to tear it down and build an annex to WDBX. . . . And Auntie's Wings has been reincarnated yet again as "Truly's Country Kitchen .. . And Green Partiers Rich Whitney and Paula Bradshaw are renting out the Big Muddy Indy Media Center, which they are fixing up and painting with the help of volunteers. Paula has recently launched her own blog. Her daughter Jessica has started working part-time with me at Greyhound. She's a sweet intelligent young woman, who likes the new ABC tv series Pushing Daisies as much as I.

In late summer a group of us tried to organize as "Street Fair" in the 200 block of N. Washington St. We planned it for October, but the cost of insurance was prohibitive. The agent said if Main Street were to co-sponsor, the rate would be much cheaper, so a presentation to Megan Cole and Main Street board will be made in the Fall.

Speaking of Cole, I've only seen hizzoner the Mayor once or twice since the election. The last time I left his office a couple of months ago, laughing uncontrollably at the thought of him doing a comedy act, while sitting at a dais with a gavel.... "Next joke up for consideration. Item 6.1 Punchline 6.1.1.." I told him how I was thinking of changing my name to David B(for "Be" or "Bee") Moore, by adding an "O" to my last name.... I told him (jokingly) I wanted to ride the double-o internet wave "like gOOgle and yahOO" and he said, without missing a beat, that maybe he should change his name to Brad Cool. ... and that's where Brad Cool, "King of Sit-Down Stand-Up" was born, and why I laughed my way down the City Hall stairwell, even though the Mayor had just instructed me to remove all links to the "Team Brad" website, except his contact page.

Other stuff goin' on, too. the local Ron Paul for President contingent has been doing street corner sign duty and billboarding on East Main St. Personally, I like his Libertarian ideals, and if a Republican is to be elected in 2008, I hope it's him. But a Clinton/Obama ticket would be unbeatable, and John Edwards would be a good Attorney General.

Rudy Giuliani will be the Republican nominee, unless the media decides to treat Ron Paul more fairly. They're treating him like he's a Democrat - I guess because he's the only Republican candidate who is principled and honest.

There's a Ron Paul meet-up group at Longbranch this morning.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

One more thing, before I go

The local scene's been fascinating, lately, but aside from reading Bytelife, my blogging has tailed off, due to burn-out caused by August heat and post-election malaise, plus morning bus'ness every day at Greyhound, leaving little time or inclination to write about the local sales tax increase, Saluki Way, or SIU President Glenn Poshard's shoddily documented decades-old dissertation.

The summer swelter has me pining for the cooler clime of Portland, Oregon, where a Jackson St. ambiance can be found throughout the city, and bicyclists ride to work year 'round, not just on Bike to Work Day. I plan to visit there this Fall to see my grandchild, and interview prospective employers.

But I ain't leavin' town until my blook is done. Sample chapters will be posted in this blog in coming weeks, beginning with the one about the Varsity Theater: "V is for Varsity."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dave's brain on blogs

An unpublished comment to my previous post "Night at the Park" states that my "brain is in my pants," which is a hoot, yet true, because my brain is focused on my wallet in my back pocket, where I have photos of some favorite people, like my grand-daughter (call me "Doodah") and my hero Ben Franklin, both of whom are pictured on my MySpace page, which gives another snapshot of where my head is at.

I think the commenter referred to my observation that a certain City Councilman's face lit up when he saw the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce director at last week's Miner's game. But she has that effect on everyone who meets her, 'cause she's beautiful and charismatic. And the Councilman had been imbibing, so he might have been having a beer-reverie.

Speaking of beer reveries, did you click on the photo of stadium vendor (below)? I couldn't resist his pitch (captured on video): PEAnuts, CrACKerjacks, Ahs Cold Bear. I bought a Budweiser Select from him, wondering what my friend, Mr. World Tour Beer Philosopher thinks of that beer. Have you checked out Shawn's blog? It's gone from down-home to world class in about a year or so. I remember when it was just me and him... ;-)

This weekend, I'm driving the Amtrak crew for my friends at Blue Star Lines. Pick up the engineer, conductor and LSA's at the station and drive them to the motel. Then pick 'em up the next morning, and take them back to the station. Interesting, the things I hear on these trips. Did you know the Cubs beat the Cards last night? ;-)

On Friday night, I joined a few of the crew at Show Me's. Have you been? It's like a cross between Hooters & Buffalo Wings, but smaller. It's one of a chain of midwest bar-restaurants. In Carbondale, it's located across the street from El Bajio on East Main. Can't recommend it, though: too loud and smoky, 'though the wings -- and breasts -- were magnificent. ;-)

One thing I CAN recommend, however, is the Carbondale Bytelife blog, where Scott Thorne is sticking to it, keeping us abreast of current thinking on the local sales tax and other local issues, with the help of commenters like D. Gorton. (Wonder what the D stands for.) Here's a trivia question: Whose hand is writing with a pen in the photo in the Bytelife header? Hint: local internet marketing whiz. The first person to correctly answer the question gets a complimentary blogging.

Have a great week.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Night at the Park

Friday night's "Carbondale Community Day" at Rent One Park in Marion - a game between the Southern Illinois Miners and the River City Rascals -- was a great success -- a feather in the caps of the Chamber of Commerce and the Southern Illinois Miners. While at the game, I touched base with City Councilman Lance Jack about his support for the newly proposed City Sales Tax increase, and also with Meredith Rhoads and Lisa Cardinale of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce.

You should have seen Lance's eyes light up when he saw Meredith approach. If you had, then you would have been standing with me, which would have been cool, because we'd be together, and I wouldn't have to tell you about it here. But Meredith has that effect on everyone she meets; so positive -- she's like the Nicole Sack of local business -- although she dropped the ball by not inviting Richard "Pete" Peterson, retired SIU prof, and author of the St. Louis Baseball Reader, to be among those who threw out the first pitch.

But future Mayoral candidate (i predict) Joel Fritzler was one of those who threw out the first ball. I didn't see if he reached the plate or not. But also tossing were Kevin Baitty, Woody Thorne, and a player to be named later. Four, count em 4 first pitches.

Lance said he's running the Lick Creek restaurant now, which is fitting, since he was chief cook and bottle washer in the kitchen at Harbaugh's for years, and has a "lick creeky" lifestyle, with many music contacts and friends.

Meredith was busy handing out fans and tickets to the play area -- and getting a check for $313 from the Miners organization, a kickback from ticket sales. Councilman Jack was in that photo, too.

Lisa C. was with her kids, who were diggin' Dippin' Dots, little ice cream pellets in a small upside-down Cardinals helmet, invented by an SIU alum, named Curt Jones.

Ran into Bryan Trammel, pastor of the New Beginnings Community Church, who used to be in the building where European Cafe was recently located (and LaRoma used to be). I first met Bryan in 2003, when he his new church had just opened, and the local street people were puzzled? Well, now the congregation meets at a new location off Striegel Rd. and the local street folks congregate at Veterans Park.

But the highlight of the night for me was getting a video clip of a Miners' stadium vendor hawking his products. I told him I'd put it on YouTube. He said they might want to use it at the stadium. I should send it to the Arthurians, right up the block from me on Town Square, since they create the Miners' media.

I left before the game was over, with the Miners were ahead 6 or 7 to 0 when I left for the 7th inning stretch, and rode my motorcycle down the 14 mile stretch of highway 13 back to Carbondale.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Blog days of August

Back from Denver for an extremely hot week on the street, wondering what next: to Rev up the bus issue again? Or continue fueling for a second run in Fall or Spring. Complete with posters of the City Council members who voted to inconvenience so many Greyhound bus travelers.

The Newell House building restoration continues, and my work at Art Lovers sometimes requires a hard hat.

Been keeping up with city politics with Scott Thorne, who's doing such an great job at Bytelife. No one else is posting much, city-wise, and frankly, I'm not much interested in most City Council business. Sales tax or property tax, it doesn't matter to me. A referendum on it might be a good thing, but we elected City Council members to vote on such issues for us, to save the time and expense of referenda. I think the sales tax increase would be a better idea -- if Carbondale Main Street businesses were exempt.

I wish Peter the Great was still in town, so I would know what to think. But having "Thorne on our side" has helped to salve the wound of Peter's loss. Many people are commenting on Bytelife, a full perspective of opinion -- possible fodder for the closing chapter of my blook about how blogging improved my personal life, and my community.

I should hire that Blook Blog gal to do pre-publicity PR for Carbondale After Blog. She has referenced it again, in the context of an experimental group fiction blog.

It definitely will need internet marketing like the Arthur Agency did for the Pillowshop and the Southern Illinois Miners. (Don't know if I can afford them, though.)

At least I can afford a couple of box seat tickets for the Chamber of Commerce "Carbondale Community Day" at Rent One Park in Marion -- as the Miners take the field against River City Rascals next Friday. Future Mayoral candidate Joel Fritzler will be among those to throw out the first pitch. He will be joined by Woody Thorne, and a player to be named later.

The Miners marketing really covers all the bases. Three persons throw out the first pitch at these events; and they have three different mascots, too. Not counting Auto Credit Man.

Speaking of naming players, Les Winkeler writes a SI Miners' blog called Miner Details!

And speaking of blogging newspapermen, I hear that Jim Muir's contract with the Southern has expired, and he won't be writing or the SI anymore. Perhaps he'll have more time to write to his long silent "From Where I Blog" blog, last posted to almost a year ago.

That said, this blog will fall silent for another week or so. I'll post some photos of the game.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Thorne on our side

Looks like Scott Thorne of Bytelife is stepping up to fill the shoes of Peter the Great (who by now is safely at is new home in Oregon, perhaps reading this post). Fill the shoes? Well maybe Scott and I can each fill one shoe. Scott can write informative factual posts about the local political economy like the one about Sheila Simon being not so dumb after all, and I can focus on throwing people under (or on) the bus.

I saw Peter on Monday, and presented him with a going away present -- the DVD I did for Art Lovers, about sand painting with Victor DeGraff. We chatted over chocolate in the Back Room of The Branch: he downed a (scrumptious) brownie, as I sipped a chocolate egg cream. (Shoulda got two straws so I could snap a photo of us sipping from the glass at the same time! lol).

I got the feeling Peter was ambivalent about the move, but with his positive attitude (expressed in his final post to Gregorian Rants) and hard work ethic (not to mention, bankroll), his success is guaranteed.

I think the same thing might be said about Scott Thorne, who has a great track record of his own, as a professor of Marketing at SEMO, as owner of Castle Perilous, and now, as a blogger with an eye on the City's business(es).

Thursday, July 19, 2007


The local blogging scene's evolving ...... 2006's "Blogger of the Year" and winner of the "Soggy" for the best blog (sez me) Peter Gregory is moving to Oregon's greener pastures, and Bob Pauls found greener ones in Iowa, Jim Syler's restarted his 21 Days (blog about his National Guard experience) and Scott Thorne is posting more frequenty to the Bytelife blog, and Tom Leverett continues to do yeoman work on his blog(s) about his life, work, and play; and Cindy's MySpace blog about her family and music keeps me updated on her doings, while I have added Graydog's Blog, about my Greyhound experience.

Since I've been spending more time "uptown" in the 200 block of North Washington, I'm seeing a different side of the world than I am used to at the art gallery up the street. On Tuesday afternoon my son and I played catch with an unlucky (dumb) Greyhound customer who got kicked off the bus for smoking in the lavatory. Don't know when the last time anyone played catch in that block Washington St.

This afternoon, I took him with me to work at Greyhound, and he enjoyed watching me explain to a man who doesn't speak English why I couldn't give him a full refund for his ticket. Eventually the hombre who runs the Santana Auto Body shop on the corner of Oak and Washington volunteered to translate, which helped. He gave me his cell phone #, too, in case I never need his help again. I asked about what "questionable activities" he might have been engaged in, according to the testimony of M. Stalls, on the anti-bus-stoppers. Mr. Santana was surprised to hear that someone made some disparaging remarks about his business.

In the afternoon, my son and I walked with me on my walking tour of the Main Street, the Chamber where I got some good tips for places to go and things to do, such as the Herrin Pool.

It's a good thing Family Video rents PlayStation 2 by the week.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Since you ask . . .

A longtime reader writes:
Have all the bloggers in Carbondale gone on vacation or WHAT?! Everyday I check to see if you or Peter have posted anything new -- nada! I hope things are well, I know you are writing a Blook and that Peter was considering a move to Oregon or something granola like that. How's the king? I see he's going after that liquor commission again....
Well here's the skinny, Minnie: Peter the Great is moving in two weeks to his favorite college town in Oregon, where there are more people like him, and more opportunity to do great things.
In his latest post he tells us he's been summoned to serve jury duty for his last two weeks in town. He says he has two or three more posts in him before leaves, so look for them.

I'm planning a little going-away party for PG at Pinch Penny Pub next week. The Beer Philosopher will be there (He and Peter have never met! And maybe some other Bloggers and Bloggees will want to come slap Peter on the back (or in the face, if you're Sheila Simon, ha ha).

I spoke to Sheila, two-three weeks ago, outside of Tres, and she was planning a bicycle trip in Canada with her husband Perry, to mark the 20th anniversary of their marriage. She also received an "All Year 'Round" Trophy from Mayor Cole at Bike 2 Work Day in May, and will work with the "Spokes Folks" group to improve the bike lane situtation in The Dale. . . .

Roxanne Conley has stepped down from Main Street, a new Exec Direct is Meghan Cole (no relation to you-know-who) .
Roxanne has moved on from the position because she believes "change is good" and that this change simultaneously encourages growth within the organization. Mrs. Conley added, “Of course there will be a transition period and I encourage everyone downtown to be helpful during that time.” Mrs. Conley has not yet accepted another position, but will be actively searching for a suitable position soon.
Makes you wonder what the reason for her resignation. Certainly not dissatisfaction of the Board of Directors.

As for Ms. Cole, she

impressed the Main Street board with her enthusiastic attitude, strong skill set and valuable experience during their initial meetings. She comes into the job with a strong knowledge of downtown revitalization and improvement gained during a brief tenure with the downtown association in Decatur, Illinois.
Since Roxanne will be searching for a suitable position soon, the Main Street press release offers glowing testimonial to what a great job she did. (She'll probably have another position before my blook is published. ;-))

"King" Cole is doing his thing. On the political side, he took a lump from the School Board, which failed to act in time to sell a piece of land.... And his liquor commish request, and salary increase for the next term mayor are on the table at the next City Council meeting. On the personal side, besides his surprise date with the winner of the Marry the Mayor contest, I hear he's dated other women from that deal. Women who have contacted him directly.... He was seen last week having dinner with a beautiful grad student at a local restaurant. Probably one of his MySpace friends. And someone at The Hound told me of another, so . . . he may yet be married by the end of the year, as he resolved to do in January.

My own professional life is very busy, or bussy, lately. Having fun with the new blog, posting photos of customers and brief blurbs about them. Planning to revisit "The Great Bus Stop Debate." The City Council dropped the ball on June 19 by turning its back on the plight of so many people. Someone in the City should be doing more to address this problem than voting "No" to an imaginative and viable solution. At least Wissmann and Jack tried to do the right thing. But it turns out that Pohlmann, Haynes and McDaniel are anti-bus(iness) racists. Safety in that "bad neighborhood" was Pohlmann's main concern? Isn't that racist? The other two may not be racist, but just wrong, as will be shown in Graydog's Blog.

In the world of Creative Media, the sand painting by Vic DeGraff of the old Stage Company building is complete. And Larry Weatherford has found a way to make sand paper prints -- which Victor has touched up with actual brick from the building.... To be sold as a fund raiser for the Stage Company.

And work has begun for a new Between the Rivers compilation cd, this time Voices.

Let's see, what else? No Troy Hudson Basketball Tournament this year. I guess there was a fight or something at the last one, and he wanted to avoid liability. Something like that. His mom has opened a shoe store in the Campus Shopping Center.

Oh, and the other night I bumped into TJ Silas, former CCHS b'ball standout, turned rap producer/impresario. We talked about the benefit for the old Tuscan Lodge building currently on its last legs. He's currently producing a show at Eurma Hayes.

And, I hear that Bethany Krajelis has started work at the Southern Illinoisan. A fresh grad from the Public Affairs Reporting Master's Program in Springfield. Looks like another step in The Illusion's turn around.

The Newell House renewal continues. And owner Dan Terry is opening a new bar up the street where Herald Printing used to be, called Maxum's selling expensive, exotic drinks, in a sumptuous atmosphere. (Unlike the "sump pump" atmosphere at Greyhound. ha ha.)

Another real estate wiz, Tom Egert, sold the WDBX Community Thrift Store building to a plumbing or electrical outfit, I hear. He's buying the building next door to WDBX in order to expand the station.

The stores on Jackson St. are thriving: Longbranch, Global Gourmet, Arthur Agency, Town Square Market. Behind The Branch, Rosetta Books has merged with the Tropicana. The back of the store opens onto Washington St. across the street from where I spend mornings at The Hound, me and Charley chatting on the sidewalk in front of our storefronts, looking at the ugliness across the street. Tom Egert says he's gonna clean out the storage in back of the Tropic-etta to open it up for business. The Big Muddy Independent Media Center has possibilities, as well. Auntie's Wings? Another one just bit the dust there. I can't count how many failed restaurants have been at that location. I've spoken to some neighbors about closing the 200 Block of N. Washington Street for a STREET FAIR, so let's see what develops. .... Perhaps a WASHINGTON STREET BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT AND RAP FESTIVAL TO BENEFIT THE TUSCAN LODGE!

Blooking Central: blook-to-be

My blook has been noticed in Blooking Central: blook-to-be: Cheryl Hagedorn sez:
"I somehow have a feeling that Carbondale After Blog won't be winning any Blooker Prize. [I could be very wrong about that. Maybe they too would be bowled over by novelty. And if the writing on the CD held up ... .]"
She's probably right, but "if the writing on the CD held up . . ."

Held up? That's the final test of anything, the quality, which is all that matters in the end.

Prizes, Awards and Honors are nice, but the greatest reward is a trophy from Carbondale Trophy: "World's Greatest Blogger." . . . I think I'll have one made for myself. ;-)

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Post Independence Day post

Not much time for blogging lately, busy with other things, like working on my blook, and Art Lovers projects, such as the sand painting of the old Stage Company (Bank of Carbondale) building.

And since the morning bus now leaves at 10:10 a.m. instead of 10:40, been opening the office at 9:30, instead of 10. So now, instead of sitting at this keyboard writing, I'm selling Greyhound tickets to St. Louis and beyond.

Poor me, going to work at 9:30.

But that's okay, I also plan to change the focus of this blog from local to national, supporting political causes like 9/11 re-investigation, and political candidates like Ron Paul, a friend of mine on MySpace -- a Libertarian in elephant's clothing.

Although some say Ron's foreign policy is naive, but he's raised more money than McCain, and stands for principles I value, such as peace and freedom.

On the Democratic side, there's Obama, Clinton, Edwards, and the dark horse, Gore. The Dream ticket: Clinton-Obama will be the final choice, I predict.

Republican dream ticket: Ron Paul and Brad Cole. . . . Yeah right. In my dreams.

And Cindy Sheehan could prove to be a nightmare for House Speaker Nancy P. Cindy says she'll run against Pelosi if the Speaker doesn't put impeachment back on the table in the next two weeks. You go girl! (and you, too, girl!)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Steven Haynes, Carolyn Plochmann, Jon Qualls, and James Joyce in the same title

Over the weekend, I listened to the City Council discussion of Item 6-5 (available on the City's web site) about the bus stop prop; and saved each Council member's comments separately for further analysis. Particularly interesting were the ill-informed comments made by two City Council members, Haynes and McDaniel. I'll publish each City Council member's contribution in Graydog's Blog later today.

Meanwhile, to get away from the computer on Saturday, I went to the local artisans shop and art gallery at Rend Lake, and took-in Carolyn Plochmann's amazing paintings -- on display this summer -- a field trip for Art Lovers Trading Company, and the Heartland Artland blog.

After that, I caught my first Miners' game, which was fun, although I left before the men of Marion beat Slippery Rock, 5-4. Either way, the crowd was a winner-- there was always something fun going on between innings. And with big screen, you don't miss a thing. Ticket prices range from $4 for lawn or picnic table seating to $8 for box seat. Beers are 4.50. Unfortunately, only Budweiser products are sold. And it's a little confusing with no less than 3 mascots roaming the grounds. Is AutoCredit Man an authorized 4th?

Besides the stadium, the three mascots, the players, and graphics by Carbondale's Arthur Agency, what most impressed me was the interview with Miners' pitcher Jon Qualls, who loves to read instead of watching television, to have a life beyond baseball. He was tackling Laurence Sterne and James Joyce, no less, with somewhat less success than he had against the Sliders of Slippery Rock that night, scattering 9 hits.

Before he gets called up to the majors, Jon should check out local James Joyce scholar and baseball writer, Dick Peterson, SIU professor emeritus -- who literally "wrote the book" on baseball writing.

And maybe Jon could start his own blog? Maybe the Southern Illinoisan or the Marion Daily can enlist his contribution.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Council throws request under the bus

With Mayor Cole abstaining, and only Councilman Lance Jack voting in favor, Item 6.5 on last night's General Business Agenda went down in flames -- 5-1 against -- after the owners of D's Quick Shop (a take-out fish place on the corner of Oak & Washington St.), complained about the downside to letting the bus to stop next door to their business.

Hugh Williams spoke ably in favor, but no one else (it's always easier to motivate people to come out against something than in favor).

The only shock was seeing Councilman Joel Fritzler's new look (above left) -- like a totally different person -- with new eyeglasses and no moustache.

And while the vote didn't surprise me, I was floored (or rather hopped up from the floor!) when I heard Councilman Wissmann propose requiring the office to be open two hours before and one hour after each bus arrived! But Councilman Jack, doing the math, pointed out that this would mean offices hours from 8:40 a.m. - midnight, 5 days a week! Something physically and financially unreasonable for a small business.

In the end (but is it?) the experience cost me about $250 (which I can write off). But at least I tried to do the right thing. (I wonder if the City could have found a way to work it out more effectively behind the scenes. )

To those who would gloat at this 'defeat', I must say -- I'm completely satisfied with the outcome, since I did my best, and the Council's decision will make my job easier, for the most part.

So there. ;-)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Between Hugh, me and Channel 3

I've decided to not attend the meeting tonight, but to delegate Hugh Williams to speak for me. I've known him since we ran for City Council in 2005. An old school attorney who can frequently be found at Longbranch. I am making this decision for personal reasons.
  1. The Council has probably already made up its collective mind. And there will be a lot of "haters" in attendance, whose arguments I've already heard.
  2. I emailed a 3 page PDF attachment with a brief history of Greyhound and a petition requesting that the Permit request be approved. But that ain't nothin'! The City has a 46 page PDF file, containing both a resolution to approve, and one to disapprove.
  3. I am indifferent to the outcome. Although from a standpoint of customer service, it's the right thing to do, ticket sales will continue at the current location no matter where the bus ultimately makes its stop.
  4. I can watch it on TV, on Cable 16 via MediaCom.
And speaking of TV, Channel 3's Jackie McPherson wants to do a preview interview at the ticket office later today, for the 6 o'clock news.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Venerable building gets facelift

They're finally removing the aluminum skin at the Newell House building. . . . The old "Bening Square" letters are being removed, and the windows will be replaced.

When the job is done, the building will be repainted.

The pigeons don't like it.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

On the bus, or off the bus?

I was planning to hop on the bus, Gus - yesterday, for Denver - to bring my younger son back with me for a visit. Instead, I'm "off the bus" for reasons having nothing to do with the 20hr ride, or $128 round-trip ticket price.

So now, there's time to prepare an informative e-packet for the City Council members who will be meeting Tuesday night to decide the fate of "Operation 'Let The Bus Stop Here'."

And the title of this post refers to more than merely me not boarding schedule #4700 in front of Amtrak at 10:40 a.m. It hearkens back to novelist Ken Kesey, who coined the phrase. In the late 1960's he and a group of LSD-taking friends, calling themselves the Merry Pranksters drove a bus called "Furthur" (pictured here) cross-country from California to New York.

On that legendary journey, (marvelously recounted by Tom Wolfe') the phrase "you're either on the bus or off the bus" as a metaphor for group consciousness was popularized.
"The idea was to put individual differences aside and work as a group. . . an attuned group. Those who weren't attuned were seen as rocking the boat, disrupting the trip. These were the people who were considered 'off the bus.'

The metaphorical meaning of 'You are either on the bus or off the bus' is '
You are either attuned to the group consciousness or you are not attuned to the group consciousness.' . . ." (boldface added)
What is Carbondale's group consciousness? Is it fragmented? Can you be off one bus, but on another?

I hear a lot of people are "up in arms" against letting the bus stop at 215 N. Washington St., led by Margaret Nesbitt and her brother. "You don't know the power of Ms. Nesbitt," someone said. "She's lived in town a long time, and she has standing the community." Actually, I did hear what the owner of the fish shop on the corner of Washington and Oak St. had to say, standing before the Planning Commission. I was not impressed by her arguments. This is the same woman who opposed the construction of the building for WDBX, across the street years ago.

Quite a few others who support the move will not be in attendance (whereas the opposition will be out in force!) I think Jim Skinner, the blind blues singer will be in the house that night. . . . Maybe he will sing the blues to City Council about having to walk 6 blocks to report his missing bags.

Have a Happy Pappy's!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Date update

Yesterday, I heard from Barbara Ebert, star of the "Future Mrs. Cole(?)" video on YouTube -- a nice email message with some photos. Apparently she and Mayor Brad Cole (of Marry the Mayor fame) met for their "dream date" over the weekend, including meals at Harbaugh's and Tom's Place, where the photo below was snapped. What they did between meals, Barb didn't say; only that "he was a perfect gentleman and I truly enjoyed getting to meet him."

Wouldn't you know it? The man who's a self-professed perfectionist would be a perfect gentleman. But look more closely at the photo below of the two of them "acting silly" before dinner." Is a perfect gentleman ever silly?

What caption would go here? (click photo to enlarge) Barbara's saying something like "Are you going to be a perfect gentleman all night?!"

Was there a "Love Connection?" According to the future Mrs. Cole(?), they "do not have another meeting planned thus far, but . . . will keep in touch."

A third photo from the date is posted at the Marry the Mayor blog.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Cole's goals

Is it boring, with the students gone for break? You wouldn't know it from Brad Cole. The other day I spoke to him about my upcoming request for a special use permit for the Greyhound bus to stop at Washington St., and other matters of interest to us both. He listed as his chief goals for his next term, the following.
  • an innovative improvement for the budget process.
  • safety center at the former site of Lincoln Jr. High
  • retirement neighborhood/community
  • varsity theater development
  • intermodal transportation center
The intermodal center touches a nerve close to home with ol' Graydog. But it's not gonna happen anytime soon. It took the City of Champaign 10 years to build its intermodal center. And Cole and the City Council think the new Police headquarters is more important, so it may take a few years to get the ball rolling on bus-train-cab headquarters.

Carbondale's most eligible bachelor (excluding Darby McGrann) didn't mention Barbara Ebert, "the future Mrs. Brad Cole," which struck me as a bit odd, since he is on record that his resolution for 2007 was to get married by the end of the year -- and here it is June, already, and he hasn't had a date yet! True, he had a short-lived affair with a married woman, but it ended rather abruptly on April 17.

The future Mrs. Cole's winning video essay is posted on YouTube. She's supposed to be in town this month, and Curt at Two Doves and Kara at Blue Star are looking forward to giving the future lovebirds first class treatment.

And speaking of dates, Les Winkeler compares the baseball Miners team and Fans to dating teenagers: "you just don't know how it's going to turn out."

And if it doesn't work out between Barb and Brad, "Handsome" Lance Jack, City Councilman and bon vivant, is still standing in the wings.

Monday, June 04, 2007

A trophy and a possibility

Looks like the server problem has been fixed, so I can keep this blog updated as the Shawnee Net news aggregator is streamlined, and the sources are updated. This morning I read an actual page at breakfast - about the Miners' third straight loss.

But good news about the Cleveland Cavaliers "rising up" to the next level of the NBA playoffs. I'm a big Cavs fan because sometimes I adopt a cavalier attitude about things like the proposed new Greyhound bus stop.

I've spoken to some key people at the station about the possibility of selling Greyhound tickets in the same building, including Mr. Thomas T. Pleasants, a conductor, who received his Bike 2 Work trophy belatedly this morning. I also spoke to other Amtrak employees over the weekend about the possibility of sharing space. Without going into details, the upshot is it ain't gonna happen anytime soon. Amtrak has other plans, it seems. However, the City may have some leverage to encourage an "intermodal" approach, like they have in Champaign and other cities.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Miners club Otters

Last night's home opener for the City of Marion's new minor league baseball team, the Southern Illinois Miners, was a big hit, judging from the coverage in the Southern Illinoisan, which has a nice slide show accompanied by (asynchronous) interviews of fans by Caleb Hale (nearly drowned out by the sound of wind). Good job by Patrick Laxson, although snapshots of the people being spoken to would have helped. Les Winkeler contributed two articles: one about the stadium (with audio) and one about the quality of the team. And Robert Crow covered the game itself, which the Miners won, 9-6. . . . Hardly a 'clubbing', but a tip of the cap to Tom "Cap" Miller for suggesting the phrase "Miners Club Otters" in yesterday's "morning news watch" on WJPF-AM -- as a tee-shirt (but rejected for polically correct reasons).

The Miners will play the Evansville Otters again tonight. Then tomorrow it's the River City Rascals.

Will the headline read: Miners Throw the Rascals Out?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

News news

The Shawnee Net news aggregator is working again (without the Blogger RSS feeds, since they wouldn't work). But the latest version of Drupal has been installed (thanks to my man Peter, by his man, Mike) and I've been working on the "look and feel" during downtime at my Graydog gig.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Stop with the bus, already

Puzzled by some (unpublished) comments I've received from readers, on Friday I put a makeshift petition on the counter for Greyhound passengers to sign, if they want the bus to stop on N. Washington St. instead of S. Illinois Ave.

The first two signatories are students, but customers come from other towns besides Carbondale, and from many walks of life (not just 'bums', as one commenter put it). We'll see how many sign before the City Council meeting June 19. I should try to get an online petition going too.

It seems some commenters are merely trying to stir up trouble and be negative, so I will not "get into to it" with them, or with my old friend Eric Deutsch. I apologize for using an unpleasant term for Eric -- a term which I would not have used, if not for the alliteration, and quasi-accuracy. Both of us will have a chance to speak on June 19, along with anybody else who wants to put a stop to the new Stop -- or give it a go.

P.S. to "Mrs. Patrick Campbell": What you see in Eric, reflects yourself. I always kind of liked the guy (as a local character), before I learned of his behind-the-back tactics. I'm going to address his public claims (and those of others who spoke at the Planninc Commission hearing on May 5) in a new blog about my Greyhound experience, beginning with a draft of my upcoming City Council presentation next month.