Wednesday, April 30, 2008

If I were on City Council

I was relieved when back in ought-5, i lost my bid for Carbondale City Council in the preliminary round. I wonder how my fellow candidates are doing now. I heard about Angie Kaye on the news the other day, where she's webmastering something, but I don't think she's keeping up her blog. Rhett Barke I see at Schnucks once in a while. Don't see Fritzler or Wissmann; nor TyJuan Cratic. I supposed the closest friendship I formed from the experience was with Hugh Williams.

If I were on City Council, I would have pressed to relocate the Amtrak Station across the tracks to Washington St.: which would make the Amtrak property available for commercial development. Maybe it would have been shot down, like my request to have the Greyhound bus stop in the 200 block of N. Washington.

Something has definitely got to give with the combined bus-train ("intermodal") depot, like in Champaign. There is talk among state legislators and local politicians to make it happen, but ground will not be broken for a local project for several years, is my bet.

(Speaking of bets, looks like I'll hafta payoff on mine with Tom Miller, that Katie Curic would last at least 3 years.)

If I were on City Council, the Mayor would have (had) a comedic foil worthy of his world class smart-assiness. As it is, only Wissmann and McDaniel seem to appreciate his one-liners. It would be funny to assemble an amusing "reel" of Cole cracks followed by Wissmann's seconding laughter (I'll try to make one from the next City Council meeting I listen to, promise).

If I were on City Council, I would write about the experience, as it transpired, commenting on the stupid things some City Councilors say. It might be fun to put together a Haynes lowlight reel. If I were on City Council, I'd do it.

If I were on City Council, I would support Mayor Cole's efforts to rebuild a City that got run down due to poor decisions by previous City Councils.

I would put forward a proposal to give City official "Home of Dome" status, a better slogan than "Haven't You Heard." The Geodesic Dome invented by former local Buckminster Fuller would be a good symbol for the City, a viable vision from the City's recent past, as shown by efforts by a local group to preserve Fuller's home. The Arena Dome could be reconfigured as geodesic when it is upgraded.

Since I am not on City Council (thank dawG, some say!), I pay little attention to City politics. What I know I read in the Bytelife blog; or the City's audio of the meetings; or from periodic meetings with the mayory old soul, himself.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

If Maggie were Mayor

Looking around Carbondale today, I wonder how much of what we see (or don't see) is because this blog supported Brad Cole for Mayor back in 2003. Hard to tell, but the landscape would certainly be different. Maggie had a Renaissance Vision; Cole had a Reconstruction Vision. Since he's been mayor, nearly 3 dozen buildings have disappeared from view.

Would Jim Jarvis and Cycletech still be located in the now-demolished dairy building, along with Gasoline Alley if Maggie were elected instead of Cole? Would Selmier-Peerless still be crumbling on the corner of Washington & Walnut?

Would K-Mart building be empty? Would TIF District approval have occurred; would First Southern Bank be there?

My reasons for supporting Cole back then were due primarily to Ms. F's 4x failure to reply to email messages concerning the swimming pool issue. By then, Cole had sufficiently impressed with his follow-through and willingness to go along with some of my ideas.

Would things be stagnant if Flanagan had been elected? (If she had, Sheila Simon would not have run for Mayor in the last election.) Tom Redmond would still be working at his job.

I saw Maggie recently at a musical event at Hangar 9. She looked great, and told me of her family's effort to grow organic grapes on land east of town.

Cole, I get to visit with in his office, every two or three months. Will see him at Bike 2 Work Day on May 16 . . . . Would there be a Bike 2 Work Day if Maggie were Mayor? Sure. Why not?

This post could shape up as a chapter in my blook, so the next time I see Cole and Flanagan, I'll ask them what they think.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Shake, rattle & (rock 'n') roll

Like many others in the Midwest this morning, I was awakened by the shaking of my bed and rattling windows -- the result of what has since been labeled a 5.2 earthquake stemming from the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone, located in Southeastern Illinois and Southwestern Indiana.

I rolled out of bed and threw up the window sash. Nope, wasn't Santa and 8 reindeer on the roof. Nor was there a division of tanks rolling down my street. This was my first plus 3.0 earthquake, and I was surprised no knick-knacks fell from shelves, but I rearranged my Simpsons action figures anyway, and returned to bed and sleep, wondering if some modern-day Tecumseh predicted this unexpected shifting of the earth's plates.

Today, it's the hot topic for discussion, but you may find Pandora Radio - Free Internet Radio more satisfying in the long run. I found 14 different versions of "Shake, Rattle, Roll," including: Bill Haley & His Comets, Big Joe Turner (the original), Elvis Presley, Joe Turner, Johnny Horton, Billy Swan, Clifton Chenier, Snooks Eaglin, Deep River Boys, Jeff Healey, Sam Cooke, Ernie K-Doe, Joe Williams, NRBQ.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Speaking of jobs

Fernando Trevino may be out of job, but Jessica Bradshaw, the ticket bookster, has found full-time employment at SIU -- which means an opening at Greyhound for someone with computer experience, problem-solving personality, patience, and ability to collect money and give change 2-3 hours per day. I am certain that Fernando could handle it.

I could have used him yesterday, since my cosmopolitan, diverse City does not currently have a Spanish-speaking police or community service officers on duty. But English-speaking Officer Rebecca Mooney kindly stayed with an unfortunate Spanish-speaking woman who got left behind by the Greyhound bus, due to misunderstanding. She was very upset, in Spanish. . . . Jim at Amtrak phoned me and I drove over to investigate and help. Turns out she was the parent of a client at CCS (Center for Comprehensive Services) who eventually came to her aid with their vehicle. I plan to follow up on this with someone from The City. It seems unbelievable there isn't a Spanish speaking employee on City administrative or law enforcement.

I made it to another house of worship today, for my blook A Month of Sundays; this week to the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship, where an internationally-known speaker inspired everyone, and I saw some old friends and met some new ones.

Got the rugby video completed yesterday, but the soundtrack did not get fully uploaded, which you can see/hear for yourself. No expert on video formats, I'll trial-and-error it again when I have time. I guess that's how YouTube makes it simpler, by standardizing, but I wanted to post it on the Vegetable House movie website.

Speaking of movie websites, been checking out the web sites of three forthcoming "stoner" movies. Harold and Kumar's site is the best . . . for entertaining uploading, but I like the marketing promotion by the producer of "Super High Me." on April 20. (Can you guess what time?) Maybe it can be shown at the Big Muddy Independent Media Center.

The photo above of Old National Bank -- with the Man-Tra-Con sign in front -- is there because I told the receptionist I would write something about it in my blog, including a link to the corporate web site.

Time to get started on a job I've been postponing.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Rugby shoot

With Final Four action in San Antonio and the All-Fools Rugby Tournament in Carbondale, sports were on my mind on Saturday. Didn't see the NCAA, but shot some video of rugby matches for Vegetable House 2: Hold the Sausage. Spent most of Sunday putting it to music ("Start the Commotion" by The Wiseguys (performed on YouTube), so stay tuned. It'll be linked here when it's completed.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Hill and Dale Travelers

FOREVER JUNG: But one plate falls, and another begins to spin: . . . . One year after his too-young passing, collection of essays by Jim Jung is in the works. Going back to the 2000 edition of Waterman & Hill-Traveler's Companion, through 2007, the last almanac published before he died.

Local book maven Jessica Bradshaw is helping edit, and Terry Clark, marketing chair, will sit on the sales committee. Yesterday, I met the guy who bought Jim's house. He plans to donate specimens of plants and herbs from the yard to Green Earth. Also, if you knew Jim and his wife Ruby, you may be interested in her news!

Prof. Clark and I had a brilliant conversation a month ago at Pinch Penny Pub. It was hilarious. About "image" advertising, in particular a spot that was run for SIUC. . . . Couldn't find it on YouTube though. The upshot of our disagreement was "What is the message?" Until I see the actual ad, I will not know the answer, because Prof. Clark could not tell me! ;-)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Information Specialists

Following through on my post to Bytelife last week, the April 2, 2008 City Council meeting has been updated with the audio links, thanks to Mark Jones, the City's IT guy. Interesting to learn that someone in City government sees the need for a public information official. Until they hire one, I'll try to fill in. . . . with the help of Google Docs, Drupal content management, and information specialists like Beth Spezia of WSIU, who posted a news release to the WSIU Public Broadcasting blog at ShawneeNet, yesterday . . . all by herself, without me bugging her, the way I have to do with most people who would benefit from blogging. How many information specialists are there in Carbondale? There are two kinds: the content providers, like SIUC guy Mike Ruiz and the SIUC News Service and Spezia, and technical enablers, like Jones or Jamie Throgmorton, who set up the WDBX stream.

To make Carbondale's information easily accessible to all, the cooperation of these professionals is needed. For the next few weeks, I'll try to track them down: the web gurus and news nerds who make Carbondale's clock tock. Perhaps some video.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

blogger on the roof

This afternoon, after work, I went up on the roof with some duct tape, staple gun, and heavy duty trash bag, hoping to stem the leak from my bedroom ceiling.

Although I got a tenuous foothold, I couldn't move enough to cover the whole spot -- it simply was too steep.

Still, I'd like to climb up there again some sunny day and take a panoramic photo: there are some nice old buildings in the neighborhood.

forecast stimulates upward mend

Another rain storm is the weather forecast, and my roof still leaks. Instead of writing this, I should try to get it repaired. I phoned the property manager to see if she can someone to patch it up today. If not, I can try to fix it myself.

One job I wouldn't try myself is circumcisioner (mohel). The subject came up recently concerning the future of my grandson's foreskin, which currently is attached to the rest of his 3-day old body. Knowing what I know now, (if I had a choice) I wouldn't have had it done to myself, nor to the son who plans to put his own son under the knife.

A staple gun, some duct tape and a heavy duty garbage bag might do the trick . . . temporarily.

I informed my son the people in the circumcision ward don't work for tips; he said the procedure costs $250. Ouch.

It would hurt more than my pocketbook if I fall from the roof while fixin' the hole where the rain gets in and stop my mind from wanderin'.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Corporations p(l)ay the fool

No foolin': Funny Business leads to profits through a newly launched website from The Corporate Jester, Jeff Rogers, and a new book by David Riveness reveals The Secret Life of the Corporate Jester.

Perhaps I've found my niche: Greyhound bus jester.