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.