Monday, May 29, 2006

General Order 11 Lives On

The 140th Memorial Day ceremony in Carbondale, Illinois went off with a bang and a blast -- several of them -- and music and ceremonies performed by local people.

Master of Ceremonies, Mayor Brad Cole introduced prominent citizens who placed wreaths upon the graves of Carbondale forefathers who served in the Civil War. The keynote speaker, Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Rose of the Illinois Army National Guard, a combat veteran who served in Baghdad, Iraq, spoke for about 15 minutes (.mp3 download) about his experience there, and his appreciation for the support, prayers, and "care packages" from folks back home -- including Cole, who received a coin of appreciation from Jeff (who works at A.G. Edwards, now that he's home again). Vocalist Katie Damron should audition for American Idol, on the strength of her performance of "God Bless America."

Other participants included Commander David Conrad and VFW Post Teeter-Carter-Watson Post 2605, Company C of the 31st Illinois Volunteer Infantry, the Daniel H. Brush Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Carbondale Preservation Commission, the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 514 and Carbondale Boy Scouts.

Kenneth Carr (pictured above) played Taps (listen! don't jump at the gunfire) on the bugle, as he has done for many years. Other buglers used to accompany him, so the melody was played in echo-duet as intended, but they have died off. He says it's hard to find anyone who can play Taps on a bugle anymore. Maybe CCHS or Carbondale Middle School could teach it in music or band class. (Are you reading, Mr. Frick?)

From Gravel to Gavel?

I had the pleasure of walking up the hill from the parking lot behind Woodlawn Cemetery to the Memorial Day ceremonies with Sheila Simon, City Council member and candidate for Mayor. We spoke of the Iowans who visited here last week, and how good it must be to be able to choose where you live -- and choose Carbondale!

Will Carbondale choose Sheila? We did not speak of that -- but many people think so, and many think not. At this point speculation is premature, because our current Mayor has not announced his intentions. Personally, I hope Brad Cole does decide to seek relection, since it would provide this blog with months of material -- as well as an organization principle for the blook I'm working on (election issues like downtown redevelopment) and a symmetrical ending (election results).

Will the fact that I developed and maintain Mayor Cole's website color my view? Probably so. Will it prevent me from "telling it like it is?" Probably not. Will it cost me my job as the Mayor's webmaster? Possibly. Would I care? Probably.

I don't know who created Councilwoman Simon's website. At this point it's mainly home page with photo and statement. The black and white graphic on the banner shows six images: Carbondale City Hall, a group of four women musicians (Sheila's band, Loose Gravel), an image of Sheila and the flag, the SIUC logo, Sheila with banjo, speaking; and Public Library sign. Check it out. Why no photo of Thomas School? (where a music project she supports has flourished).

Reaching the front of Woodlawn Cemetery, we parted company, as I headed for the bugler and the banjo-playing Councilwoman found a seat with friends in the crowd.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Remember to not forget

I think of my mother on Memorial Day, since her birthday, May 30, was the traditional date for the Memorial Day observance. Some believe it should be restored to that date, feeling that when Congress made Memorial Day fall on the "last Monday of May" with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. As one VFW'er put it: "Changing the date merely to create a three-day weekend has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day."

Well, we're not nonchalant about Memorial Day in the city where the first Memorial Day service was held in the U.S. back in 1866. Rain or shine on Monday, the 140th Annual Carbondale Memorial Day Service will commence at 10:00 a.m. in historic Woodlawn Cemetery on East Main Street (behind old Taco Bell on Walnut St.). The keynote speaker will be Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Rose of the Illinois Army National Guard, who recently completed a one-year tour of duty in Iraq. In addition, a high school vocalist and veterans of other wars will participate, with Mayor Brad Cole as Master of Ceremonies. Cole shares his thoughts about Memorial Day in this month's Carbondale Communique.

According to the web site Memorial Day History, in 1999 a Senate Bill (SB 189) was introduced to restore the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day back to May 30th. The same year, a similar bill was introduced into the House of Representatives (H.R. 1474). Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Government Reform, the bills were never voted on.

It is a good thing on this last Monday of May for the nation to strew flowers on the graves of men and women who died in defense of their country -- then barbecue in the afternoon. But since May 30 is not currently being used, perhaps the date could be reserved as a day to remember the names of the civilian decision makers responsible for the Vietnam War and those behind Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Catching up

Made it to the Innovate Illinois awards ceremony in plenty of time to get a good seat for snapping photos of all the winners receiving their checks, including a couple of old friends for two different projects. At left Jim Zimmerman accepts a second place check for $2500 in the Health & Business Practices category for the regional portal site: Discover Places . . . and the $5,000 top prize in the Technology category went to DxR Development Group, accepted by Eldon Benz (right).

A list of all the winners in the Southern region of the State of Illinois can be found at the Innovate Illinois web site. Perhaps Blog Lynx will read this and copy and paste the list into this space (with added links).

Jim Z. (The Jimmerman) is wearing a baseball cap because he recently had brain surgery. He has been mentioned in this blog before, but up until now, my personal geek guru Eldon Benz has not been given props: I first learned how to write computer applications using Macintosh Hypercard under Eldon's tutelage . . . before the company moved to the Dunn Richmond Center, when it was housed (literally) on Elizabeth Street and I had a summer appointment. Also thanks to Eldon, I came to appreciate Eric Clapton more. Way back in 1990. . . (She did look wonderful that night).

These days, DxR does business around the globe! Although it was not mentioned at the awards ceremony. The $5,000 grant will help defray the cost of translating the company's flagship products into Japanese.

What about the Iowans?

I am happy to report that the long-expected Iowans (Tom & Diana) came, saw, and concurred: Carbondale's a groovy place to be, Bloggee. After lunch at Longbranch, a walking tour of Town Square (why is no sign on the Pavilion?) stopping in at various establishments to say 'hi'. . . . After that, a chauffeured tour of campus and residential areas -- and drive down Springer Ridge Road to Makanda and Giant City State Park. Looking for a warmer, more progressive place to live, the two children's book writers will be visiting Mankato, Minnesota next. I got a lovely parting gift from Tom, too: an autographed copy of the book he wrote about basketball arenas.

And speaking of basketball . . .

How about those Suns!

And I don't mean Tom Horn's copper creations, available exclusively at Art Lovers Trading Company. . . . I mean the Phoenix Suns -- who found a way to defeat the Dallas Mavericks at home at the final seconds. I'm telling you non-basketball people: the current NBA playoff series has been the best EVER! More overtime and last minute games. Watch the fourth period, at least.

Props to Hicks

The man of steely gray has won this year's American Idol contest. You already knew that, unless you're from Iowa (ha ha). The entire show was terrific -- concluding with two performances by Prince! I was moved to tears myself by some of the performances (but not by Prince) especially Mary J. Blige and Elliot Yamin. That lady can Sing! She'll be performing on Good Morning America on June 23, so mark your calendar, if you want to hear her perform.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Comings and goings

Since "Tooth in Advertising" was posted, people see me at the market or restaurant and ask me how it's going -- has any money been raised to get it fixed? And what happened to the tooth in the first place? Long story short: broken crown (just like Jack).

Well, you may as well know this, too: my bicycle got stolen while I was at the art gallery on Sunday afternoon with the birthday boys, Victor and Dylan, working on the sand painting documentary. Long story short: running late; unlocking door; not locking bike. Gone.

Moving on. The birthday boys are 14 and 84 years old. The elder, Victor, lives in Cobden, where he practices the time honored art of sand painting; the younger, Dylan, is from Carbondale, a student at CCHS, and a very competent video editor. Coincidentally they have the same birthday in late June, so we hope to have a the premiere on that day at the Unitarian Fellowship.

What going on today?

At 11 a.m. the regional awards for the Innovate Illinois contest will be presented at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center. According to the press release, SIU President Glenn Poshard will speak at the event, which showcases innovations and novel products and processes and services by Illinois businesses. The statewide competition is sponsored by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center and the SIU Edwardsville Entrepreneurship Center are partnering to offer $40,000 in prize money for this regional competition. First place winners in each of the five categories receive $5,000.

After that, a meeting with an outspoken, outgoing Open Sourcer to discuss the blogification of Carbondale; then meet the Iowans for lunch-- and give them an unofficial tour of the best of Carbondale -- especially the Public Library, which owns several copies of the couple's books. . . .

The Iowans will be here today and tomorrow -- with a lunch scheduled with SIU emeritus professor and baseball chronicler Richard "Pete" Peterson on Tuesday.

Maybe that's what I should do . . . instead of writing about Carbondale all the time . . . chronicle basketball -- like Pete does baseball (his new book about the St. Louis Cardinals will be available in October). I could begin right now by writing about the TWO Seventh and Deciding Game NBA semi-final contests on TV (TNT) tonight. Who will win? the old guard Suns and Spurs, or upstart Clippers and Mavericks? Expect great games. Gotta go with the home team.

Which brings me back to Carbondale. Luckily, Blue Star Lines needs a driver this afternoon, so my transportation problem is solved for today at least. . . . Plans to get a vehicle from ValuCar (next door to El Bajio) have crashed because it's out of business. Too bad. Monty Smith is one of the nicest, smartest guys I know, and ValuCar was (is) going to get a chapter in my blook. Thanks to him, the guitar wizardry of Zack Catlin can be heard on Volume 2 of Guitars Between the Rivers.

Speaking of guitar wizardry the crowd to hear Ivas John Band is growing every week at Key West in Carbondale. Last night he had a five piece group with piano and sax in addition to the stalwart bass and drums. There should be an American Idol category for cats like Ivas..... guys who write their own songs, play an instrument and sing soulfully.

And speaking of singing soulfully, I'm sorry I missed the benefit for Big Larry at Hangar 9 on Saturday night.... I heard it was fantastic..... Robbie Stokes, who organized the show, also recorded it, so maybe a CD will be available someday.

Gotta go, the Innovate Illinois press conference starts in 30 minutes.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Iowans are Coming

Remember the Iowa couple planning to visit our fair (and consistent) town this month? The date has been postponed 'til May 22 & 23 . . . so if you'd like to meet these two authors of children's books -- to tell them what a fine place C'dale is to live . . . or steer them somewhere else, you still can.

Looking for a warm, progressive place to live, they may want to head straight to Austin, Texas, but I'm thinking of arranging a tour of Carbondale for them, including a bicycle ride and a Town Car toodle to Panera Bread for lunch and internet -- with stops to see the other hot spots, and meet cool people. Of course the comely Civic Center building and friendly folks within will be a stop along the way; as well as the SIU campus (of course) and Giant City State Park . . . Perhaps we'll go the whole nine yards, and visit the coveted sliver of land at the western edge of Williamson County described by reporter Nicole Sack in what may be her final article for The Southern on the Carbondale beat. . . . Soon her news will come from Marion, Illinois, and someone new will be reporting on Carbondale meetings etc.

With the students out of town for a couple weeks before Summer School begins, I'm gonna take a few days off from posting to this blog . . . in order to do other things -- like prepare for the coming of the Iowans.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Colbert rapporte

I finally found the complete video of fake news pundit Steven Colbert making his (in)famous speech at the Washington Correspondents' dinner (two weeks ago), attended by many media and political luminaries, including our fearless leader, Precedent Bush (sic). The second part includes Colbert's "audition tape" for the job of White House Secretary, which turns into a bizarre fantasy involving veteran newshound Helen Thomas stalking Colbert in search of a the real reason the U.S. invaded Iraq. Pretty lame sketch, but Steven nailed his stand-up, don't you think? If you prefer to read a textual transcription, here ya go.

Click to see Part One

Click to see Part Two

The jury is out on how funny Colbert was, but he has his defenders. One thing is for sure, it took a lot of guts on Steven's part to do the material he did before that crowd. But the gut is where Colbert lives; he says so himself. Watch the video.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Bike 2 Work Day IV

The 4th annual Bike 2 Work Day cruised smoothly -- but windily -- to completion here in Carbondale. Thanks to everyone who participated; especially these Town Square restaurants (Longbranch, Thai Taste, and Newell House) and all the bicyclists who braved strong winds to ride to work -- and then pedal to the Town Square Pavilion over the noon hour.

Also helpful in making the event a success: Laura Chamness, who arranged for drinks and tables for the group, and Darby "Starchild" McGrann who entertained the crowd, and even got Carbondale Mayor Brad Cole to join in on a rousing version of a Sesame Street classic.

The trophy for riding the farthest distance went to SIH IT guy Stace England (yes, that Stace England) and the trophy for the business or organization with the most riders went to the SIUC Microbiology Dept. (yes, that Microbiology Dept.) while a special trophy was awarded to Jane Hinze, who rides her nifty recumbent bicycle (the one in front, with the windscreen) to work all year 'round.

In addition, several people were recipients of gift certificates for tune-ups from the local bike shops: The Bike Surgeon, Phoenix Cycles, and Carbondale Cycle, who also helped make tee-shirts commemorating the event available free of charge to all participants.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was receiving a message from the Chancellor, delivered by bicyle courier, in support of year round bicycling -- posted on the Bike to the Future blog.

More details and photos will be available later today or tomorrow -- including a funny video clip of the Mayor /StarChild 'duet'.

Clear and cool

The weather is fine for Bike 2 Work Day. Not a cloud in the sky, 52 degrees. How many people will ride their bicycles to work? How many will gather at the Town Square Pavilion for lunch and prizes, plus the guitar stylings of 'Starchild' Darby McGrann? I wonder which business or organization will win the trophy for most riders, and which individual will ride the farthest. There are some high benchmarks from previous years. The first year Kyle Harfst rode 12 miles! A record that still stands. (Unfortunately, one participant -- a nurse who works a 12 hour shift at Heartland Hospital, will ride her bicycle 14 miles each way from Carbondale to Marion, but will not be able to attend the lunch to pick up her trophy. Winners must attend the lunch. Better luck next time, Nurse Butty. Better soak those gams.)

Thanks to Longbranch Coffeehouse, Newell House cafe, Thai Taste restaurant, and Arnold's Market for contributing to the delicious lunch. There will probably be more than enough food. So if you're reading this before noon today, and didn't ride your bicycle today, but want to rub elbows with bicyclists, and promise to ride your bike to work some other day(s), then JOIN US for lunch.

Is that clear? . . . Cool.

blogitor's note: "Nurse Butty" is a fictional creation. A joke derived from a private conversation.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Limo to Work Day

Things have changed since I organized Carbondale's first Bike 2 Work Day in 2002. Back then, there was a spirit of esprit d'corps between me and Carbondale Times' then-editor Tom Riechman, who used to ride from Makanda to Carbondale every day to work at the Thomas Publishing offices across the street from where I write this blog. As it turned out Tom and his wife Mary won a trophy for the longest distance traveled.

In those days, I rode to work myself every day, doing the last stretch coasting no-handed down Elm St. . . . past the back entrance to the Paul Simon Federal Building on my way to the old Carbondale Greyhound ticket office, next door to The Bike Surgeon. No helmet, either -- although there was a time I could have used one.

Not any more, though. Since I no longer write tickets for Greyhound, I have become Mr. Sartorial -- driving a Lincoln Town Car three days a week for the Blue Star Lines limousine company, and working in the office of the Art Lovers Trading Company, entering the inventory into the computer, and developing the gallery's new Ebay store.

So I've been thinking. . . . Next year, I may relinquish my bike to work campaign for something more fitting to my new employment and mode of travel: Limo to Work Day!

Here's how it would work: One day per year, participating Carbondale residents and businesses will be picked up and driven to work in a stretch limo. It will mean riding with others, but it should be fun . . . with orange juice and coffee and donuts for the riders. I have joked about it before in this blog, but this time I am serious about joking about it. . . . or simply serious.

Wouldn't it be a fun way to ride to work? The limo company would get publicity, and the lucky riders would feel special. And Carbondale would be the only city in the WORLD to have a Limo to Work Day. . . . Why not?

I'll tell you why not: Because many (most) people won't want to climb into the back of a limousine with a group of strangers, or worse -- with someone you don't like . . . unless there was a strong inducement -- like having some famous person that everyone likes along for the ride. Someone like Carbondale Chamber of Commerce director and former Saluki football quarterback, Joel Sambursky. Perhaps he'll catch this pass and run with it -- or drive it down the field.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Table Talk

Missing tooth, or not.. . on Monday, I attended the 3rd annual "Lunch with a Blogger" at one of Carbondale's fine restaurants with Chancellor Walter Wendler, Mayor Brad Cole and radio news guy Tom 'Cap' Miller. Since I mostly listened to these leading figures discuss the hot topics of the day, chewing their words with my Houli-burger, no one seemed to notice my infirmity.

Will he run again? When will he announce? The Mayor wasn't saying, though my own guess of July 4 got a "good idea" from the waitress.

Naturally, the Chancellor's pet project, Saluki Way came up -- in particular the opposition being expressed in some quarters to the amount of money budgeted for athletics. As I munched a forkful of slaw, Cole recalled the days when SIU Professor Jerry Handler headed up a movement to abolish football altogether.

Before our food was served, the Chancellor sketched a drawing for the Mayor to show him what he meant -- which this blog was able to obtain through the Freedom of Paper Napkin Act before the table was cleared.

Since our talk was mostly 'off the record', I can not say just what the drawing shows, but since it's of an academic nature, a multiple choice could work. Does the drawing depict . . . a) Where the football stadium will eventually be moved for Saluki Way? b) How he managed to evade a mob of hostile students who had congregated in Anthony Hall? or c) Directions to Global Gourmet on Jackson St., next door to the Longbranch Coffee House.

Cole, who once served as Student Body President at SIU, had some good advice for the Chancellor, concerning his interaction with Student Government, which Walter seemed to take to heart. Will he follow through? Time will tell. But if censured outgoing SB President Nate Brown had listened to his hoary-headed predecessor's advice earlier in the semester, things may have turned out differently for him.

What advice did Cole bestow? To paraphrase: make students feel they are important players in the process; and let the students act accordingly.

Driving back toward campus with the man in charge, I asked Walter Wendler what I could do to help the cause of Saluki Way. His answer: "Tell the truth."

The truth is, I support Saluki Way.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

But can a blog replace a tooth?

The power of blogging was never more powerful than last Friday morning, when I dashed outside to snap a photo -- when out of nowhere, the guy from Neighborhood Services drove up and posted his notice. All I had to do was think about publishing it to this blog, and he showed up.

Much faster than it took the Free Market System to produce a new business in the old "Rally's" hamburger stand on South Illinois Ave. But praise be to Dan Terry (owner of the Newell House restaurant) for opening a new coffee and food spot in that prime location (right next to Friendship Park), which has been boarded up for several years. The building has now been spiffed up and . . . should be open for business very soon.

It's funny how so many of the things called for and bitched about in this blog have either come about, or been improved over time. This is one of the themes of my 'blook'-in-progress . . . Zeitgeist power. . . . Remember the "Blight Spots"? Not many of the originals remain, but some new ones have sprung down (so to speak) -- like the old Tuscan Lodge bldg. (formerly Cousins and Jeremiah's). That old building will be going down, unless some miracle (such as a "We Are the Lodge" hip-hop fundraiser) occurs to raise the quarter-mill or so it would take to refurbish it.

But what about the Hickory Lodge? What's going down with that? No one seems to know when the judge's ruling will be given.

Tooth in Advertising

And what about my missing front tooth? What will be constructed in its place? How will it be paid for? Since it was already an amalgam filling, it doesn't qualify for a State Historical Tooth Grant, and my Bloggers' Dental Insurance, doesn't cover dental work -- just paste and floss.

I could put a PayPal link on this blog for donations. If a dude can trade a paper clip for house on the internet, then I might be able to raise enough money to buy a tooth, by selling advertising on it. A donation of $1250, could get the donor's name or business logo displayed in that space. Am I serious? Make me an offer! I want to get it fixed. I might be willing to have a message like "Buy Penn's Luminous City on Amazon.Com" or "This Tooth Sponsored by a Charitable Donation from the Tooth Fairy" (Probably need teeth the size of Matt Dillon's in "Something About Mary" for those, but you get the idea.)

I could add one of those donation drive measuring sticks, using a giant tooth instead of a thermometer, to show how much $ is raised.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bennett surf

James Bennett, the editor of the Southern Illinoisan has hopped on the blogwagon. Good for him. His pieces are pithy and personal, but no links are given (like to the Williamson County Airport, or Southern Illinois Society for High School Achievement -- which has very little web presence)

Bennett sometimes asks his readers their opinion with questions like "define greatness" . . .(the sort of questions newspaper editors ask readers). He wants debate, but he may find spam comments a problem. At least Bennett is making an attempt (which is part of my own definition of greatness: lofty aspiration, plus persistence and success). I wonder what the Southern Illinoisan editor's definition is. Shall I ask him?

* * * update, 5/5 * * *

I did ask . . . and he responded in his blog. . . . and I'm drafting a follow-up question or two, in the interest of greatness.

[blogitor's note: the photo above is not James Bennett, but the great Bennett Cerf who had many publishing milestones, before the internet and blogs were invented. The author of this post could not resist a visual shout-out to the dead ed.]

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

First, the good news

Despite a bad case of 'missing front tooth', I did my duty last night and personally accepted the mayor's proclamation of Bike 2 Work Day at last night's City Council meeting. Of the two other people who were supposed to appear with me, one failed to show, and the other (at the last minute) refused to join me at the podium. But I stumbled through it, and will try to have the audio for you, along with other news later in the week.

So plans for Bike 2 Work Day are falling into place, and yesterday the Thai Taste restaurant joined the list of food providers for next week's Bike 2 Work Day lunch at the Town Square pavilion.

Meanwhile, another e-borhood the Arbor District Newsletter reports good news about the Buckminster Fuller dome home. . . and newly-announced Mayoral candidate Sheila Simon tells me she is shutting down her blog, but starting a new campaign web site.

Advice to Newbies

A couple of writers from Iowa sent me the following email query:
. . . [We] are children's book authors in Central Iowa, looking for a slightly-warmer, more-progressive place to live. We're coming to Carbondale May 15-16. Your reports are quite insightful. That's why we'd ask you: If you had never been to Carbondale before and wanted to explore, where would you go? Who would you try to meet? Thanks for any ideas you can share, and for making a difference in the community.
Is that a fun question! Who and what would you recommend, Bloggee? I'm thinking on it.

For starters, the SIU campus, of course, and Giant City State Park . . . a drive down Elm Street and left on Forest St. to Oak Street to Poplar (that's the Arbor District), then East to Illinois Ave. and a look at the historically closed Varsity Theater, then North on Illinois, across Main to Jackson St. Make a right, cross the tracks, park. Walk around the block. Stop in as many places as you choose. Cross over Main St. at Washington to the large building with the word BENING on it. Visit the Art Lovers Trading Company gallery there. Tell 'em Dave sent you.

Now get back into your car and head west on Main St. several traffic signals to the Murdale Shopping Center . . . You'll see a big park on the left. Turn there and park anywhere. Walk down the shopping center and check out all the shops and see the new location of the Neighborhood Coop and go on down to the Vegetable Store at the end of the strip. If it's Saturday Morning, then you'll see the Farmer's Market!

Another shopping area worth visiting is over by the Campus Shopping Center. Another area where you can just park your car and check out the area on foot.

Which reminds me . . . the Jackson Street businesses ought to try closing the street to foot traffic for one day . . . a Sunday . . . when the bars wouldn't be hit by loss of biz. Get some artists and musicians and food vendors . . . You know the drill. It would be fun.

There I go "magic wanding" again. Any event like that should probably wait until the new businesses fill the spaces vacated by the Neighborhood Co-op and New Chillans. We know that Arthur Agency is moving into the Co-op space. Before I put my magic wand away . . . someone should talk to the folks at Arnolds Market about opening a small store in the corner location.

As for the second part of the query . . . Who should the Iowa couple try to meet?

Would any readers like to meet these authors of children's books? They're for real . . . I checked them out on google. They'll be here Sunday, May 15 and Monday, May 16.

I suggest on Sunday night that they go to Hangar 9 and hear Carbondale's classic jazz combo Mercy, then over to Key West to hear Ivas John Band play the blues. I'll drive.

And speaking of Ivas, his band has been booked to play at the WSIU Fantasy Auction.

So what's the bad news? A dental crown broke off and I am missing front tooth, and I don't have dental insurance. The answer? . . . Smile like Elliott Yamin.

Sheila runs; Dave rides

Out riding my bicycle, posting flyers for Bike 2 Work Day yesterday, I ran into my old friend 'Moneybags' who was curious about my take on Sheila Simon's announcement of her intention to run for mayor (as reported in today's Southern Illinoisan -- but you won't find it in Sheila's blog yet.)

This morning, she explained her reasons (mp3 file) for running to WJPF's Rick Gregg, saying she wants more citizen involvement in the governing process, and that she announced so early so she (and her kids and kid's friends, I'm guessing) will have the summer to go door-to-door. Good plan.

Of course, besides a large network of friends and family, Sheila has the famous family name -- something Cole would have to overcome if he seeks reelection. One way for Brad to do this would be to legally change his name to "Simon" Cole. This has more of an old-time 'Lincolnesque' quality than 'Brad' (suggesting muttonchops and top hat), and also taps into the Simon Cowell phenomenon on Idol. . . . During a debate with his opponent, Brad (I mean 'Simon') could make statements like "If I'm being honest, my opponent's plan for recycling is rubbish."

In an interview with Miller later in the WJPF morning news, Cole told Tom Miller (.mp3 file) that he wasn't running for mayor . . . because he is mayor! And that he still has one year to serve. "Voters get tired of long political campaigns," said Cole. He'll make his announcement this summer.

And so this blog will move on to other topics for the time being.

Tonight, there's a City Council meeting and an official proclamation of Bike 2 Work Day. Will it mean more people ride to work? We'll have to see. I'm gonna take another few days off -- until next weekend-- before next posting to this blog.

Don't forget to get your bicycle out of the garage, Bloggy. This is excellent bicycle riding weather. Even if you don't ride to work -- take a ride around your neighborhod. Maybe you'll see Sheila out campaigning.