Cigarettes contain Pig Blood

Pigs of the breed "Bunte Bentheimer"...

Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

Dutch researchers have found pig hemoglobin in cigarettes:

The pig’s haemoglobin was found to be a fairly effective filter for cigarettes but this information was not on cigarette labels because the Tobacco industry was not required by law to disclose the ingredients of their products

via Ozcar Guide “Cigarettes Found To Contain Pig’s Blood

The pig’s hemoglobin blocks toxic chemicals from entering the lungs. That is all fine and dandy, but cigarette companies really should disclose what is in their products. The new health care bill requires all restaurants to make their calorie counts publicly accessible, so why isn’t this the case with cigs? An Aussie Professor says it best:

‘It just puts into hard relief the problem that the tobacco industry is not required to declare the ingredients of cigarettes – they say “that’s our business and a trade secret”.’

via Daily Mail “Warning to religious groups after traces of pigs blood found in cigarette filters

If you are Jewish, Muslim, or a vegetarian, you now have another reason to quit smoking!

Albany Park begins initiative to display artwork in vacant storefronts

FONTANA, CA - OCTOBER 8:  A strip mall storefr...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Following the success of the Pop-Up Art Loop Program and Edgewater Artists in Motion, I decided to stop by the North River Commission (an umbrella group that also includes the Albany Park Chamber of Commerce) here in Albany Park to see if they were engaging in a similar initiative. As luck would have it,  they were, and in need of volunteers.  I naturally offered to help  (public art is one of my favorite things in life),  and I spent a day walking along Montrose, the proposed site of Albany Park’s future art walk, documenting vacant storefronts.

How has Albany Park faired this recession, you might ask? There are approximately 25 vacant storefronts along Montrose (a 25 block strip), and that number does not include the burned building on Montrose and Monticello that photographers love shooting. If the NRC uses all of the vacant storefronts to display art, the Albany Park art walk will be more extensive than Edgewater’s, and would hopefully drive some much needed traffic on that avenue.  On my walk I saw two empty diners with bored employees just standing around, and one store was boxing up their inventory under a “going out of business” sign.

If you’re interested in helping out with this initiative (or are a local artist that would be interested in displaying their artwork), please contact the North River Commission. UNITE Civic Association is also helping with this project, and go here to read about other neighborhoods in Chicago using vacant storefronts to display art.

Apple goes underground

The heroine from Apple's 1984 ad, set in a dys...

Image via Wikipedia

Am I selling out by showing some love to a big corporation?

A CTA spokeswoman confirmed that the transit authority is in talks with the computer and iPhone behemoth about a deal that could net the cash-strapped CTA as much as $4 million in funding from Apple to pay for an upgrade of the run-down subway station at North and Clybourn.

via Chicago Sun-Times

Through this deal, Apple will have first dibs on all advertisement going up in the renovated station, and considering how attractive Apple ads are, I am having a hard time protesting this development.  Apple also has an impressive track record for this kind of thing:

In the past Apple has provided improvements to sidewalks in in front of their stores, and has agreed to heritage preservation of its buildings, mostly in Europe. At the Regent Street (London) store the company paid to restore an intricate tile mosaic on the storefront, while at the SoHo (NYC) store they retained the historic shell of a former U.S. Post Office. At the San Francisco store, Apple’s architects incorporated the subway entrance into the store footprint and enclosed it with glass and stone.

via ifo AppleStore

When you compare KFC’s failed bid to fix our potholes with questionable asphalt and spray painted logos, Apple’s estimated 4 million for renovations makes them look like a saint. Nice try Apple, but I still won’t buy an i-phone….

Yuppie says what?

A more modern Parking Meter with a digital display

Image via Wikipedia

I found Mary Schmich’s recent column on the parking meters hilarious and upsetting at the same time. In her column, Schmich explains her preference for the new parking boxes because now she can always find parking.

And parking is easier with the new boxes.

It’s easier to find a spot to park. It’s easier to pay.

It’s also true that parking costs more now.   That hurts. But cheap parking isn’t all good.   It encourages people to drive and so discourages them from taking public transportation.

via Paying a compliment to the new parking boxes —

It’s all well and good to get people to use public transit, even if that public transportation system is in need of major overhauls.   It’s widely known that CTA ridership exceeds capacity during rush hour, that the train bridges are crumbling, and there is no way to transfer between lines except at the loop.   Schmich also mentions riding your bike, which would have been a better point in June.  In October, during the rain and snow, it’s not quite as practical.  Why doesn’t Schmich ride her bike? (Oh, yeah,  because she can afford parking.)

Schmich mistakenly assumes the anger is over a 10-second walk, and has clearly not read this piece on how the new parking meter boxes are devastating business on Clark.

It’s true — this is a common complaint — that now you have to walk up the block to get to the box and then walk back.

Fellow citizens, please.   Chicago prides itself on being tough.  We can’t handle a 10-second walk?

The “10-second walk” is a fairly  obvious straw-man argument.  When people have complained about the walk, it’s usually been in reference to the possibility of getting a ticket in the time it takes to pay the box.

Schmich’s article unfortunately views the parking problem through her financially secure, well-to-do lifestyle.   At a time when most people are struggling with debt, jobless, or at the least trying to pinch pennies wherever possible, Schmich’s column seems staggeringly out of touch.   Her article is the mental hoop jumping of a yuppie ignoring the fact that she can park because others can no longer afford to.

Take the train she says!  Let them eat cake!