Friday, July 28, 2006

The Mideast: Send in the Frogs

Send in the frogs!

With the Mideast situation worse than I can remember, ever, I was thinking I might to say something on that. Unfortunately I can't think of anything positive to put in words. God himself currently seems to be on the side of the greatest guns, and He doesn't seem to have much to say either.

Looking around for some appropriate comment, I found a brief flash animation. You can click here to see that, but turn the sound down first if you're in a busy spot.

The only question you will have after seeing that little movie: who is Pharaoh this time? And what side is God on anyway? It's high time the frogs were sent in to let us know, because people and countries are lining up as if this terrible situation were a soccer match. For further understanding, I'll be starting my studies here.

Update: Wilmette's own Steve Huntley weighs in with a fresh viewpoint. An earlier editorial is here. Hat tip Anne.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Think Elevator Music--Easy Listening for a Rough Week in the News

Remember elevator music? Muzak? Easy listening radio? We assumed that it would be there forever for us, didn't we? I'll bet it took a long time until you missed it, much less noticed it was gone. But enough for nostalgia.

Move over Putumayo! We have something new for you today that's world music 21st century style, with perhaps a dash of American Idol.

Today's find is music by bloggers, and well worth a visit. While at the moment the website is mostly Indians in the USA, UK and India, you are invited to join and send along your music files no matter where you live. Click on this link BlogSwara. to start exploring. Some particularly nice songs are found at Gumbals Band which links there and acts as Blogswara's remixing team. No copyrights, either, so feel free to download with impunity--they encourage you to do so.

How does this work? The process starts out with one musical track (a digital file of course), gets passed to another blogger (maybe in another country) via e-mail, and so the process continues until the song is complete. So have a listen. You might be thinking that this is what would have happened if Ravi Shankar moved to California, met Ottmar Liebert, and got a band.

Thanks to Bala from whom I cribbed the link.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

New Wilmette Teardown Tax
Hearing July 24, 2006

Wilmette is considering a new tax--this time a teardown tax. The Backyard Conservative has all the details on that which you can read by clicking here.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Update on India's Blocked Blogs

Decent governments don’t go to war against their people—that’s fundamental. Nor do they try to deprive them of legal livelihoods. Yet that appears to be precisely what the Government of India has done. As of today, most of the world’s blogs remain blocked in India and a great deal more information has surfaced.

If you like US History, you will remember that once upon a time President Richard Nixon had a famous enemies list. The fact that he had an official list is one of the reasons that an entire nation came to believe that he was crazier than a coot. But Richard Nixon had quality enemies, rich and powerful people capable of causing him real trouble.

Not so with India. After the howl heard round the world when Indians realized that their blogs had gone missing, India’s blog-enemies list finally appeared--17 blogs that were the original targets of Government censorship. Take a look: the list is sad. The leadership of “world’s largest democracy,” a government with more than one billion citizens, is surely suffering from extreme lack of self esteem.

As a pundit said: “You aren’t anybody until you have enemies,” and there is some truth to that. But seriously, who are India’s enemies? A few Indian based websites with a political agenda, and surprisingly enough some American bloggers who use the Internet to push relentlessly God, Mom, Apple Pie, George Bush, and what might best be termed “solid Baptist values.” Seriously.

As one of the banned blogs put it
India is said to be a secular state with aspirations of greatness. Its actions today show that it is neither completely secular nor ready for its proper place on the world stage.
There are manyIndians working hard to defeat this censorship and their messages are freely available. It should be noted that in their spirited exchanges not one of them has suggested writing or calling their representatives in Parliament to complain.

The government directive ordering the block from the Assistant Director General of the Information ministry reads “It has been decided to block . . .” No due process, no hearing, and worst of all no advance notice that the blogosphere was about to be taken off India’s map. Even Pakistani bloggers, who remain unable to view most blogs in their own country, were presented with a Supreme Court Order when the blogs disappeared before their eyes.

While the pdf of the Indian directive has the appearance to have been spirited off someone’s desk, librally doused with white-out and photocopied several times, the Assistant Director who signed it has his telephone number prominently displayed.

I hope his phone is ringing off the hook.

Update: With blogger furor raging, the Indian Government has taken steps to require the internet service providers to block ONLY certain websites. Click here.

Update 2 - July 29,2006: Apathy has set in. The India blog blocking remains--sort of. The government says they will solve the problem and that seems good enough for most bloggers. Some service provides have unblocked the blogs, either totally or partially, some service providers have changed nothing. There is no shortage of technical solutions to defeat the block, and no one seems to realize or care much that the block is at least partially in place, with the exception of this impassioned writer.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Furious Indian Bloggers Dismayed by
New Government Censorship of Blogs

Indian Bloggers are furious! There is wholesale blocking of their blogs in India, and their government says its not censorship, it's an "Operation" to counteract terrorists. Worldwide, Indians are dismayed that suddenly they have all the freedom of, say, Pakistan or China.

Blogspot, Typepad, and Geocities blogs are affected. If you are interested in this story most of the information is here. If you click on this link, you will find a long list of links to blog posts which have further information and first hand accounts of the situation.

While indications are that the block is for a limited duration, citizens of "the largest democracy in the world"--complete with plenty of First Amendment-type protections--can barely believe this is happening. And thoughtfully enough, one blogger noted that if terrorists are using blogs to communicate perhaps it might make more sense for government security people to READ those blogs rather than block them.

When Pakistan blocked blogs following the cartoon contraversy, there was virtually no press coverage of the situation. It will be interesting to see whether US media picks up on the story, or whether they will continue to believe that America's vision stops at America's borders.

Wilmette's Ash Trees in Peril

Wilmette has no patience with tree worship, but there is troubling news about local ash trees. If you have been spending any time outdoors lately, you will notice that many local treesl look a little moth eaten. While we may have assumed that is a result of last year's drought, it turns out that it may be even more serious. The emerald ash borer is having its way with our local ash trees, and all the news is bad. The Tribune has the story here.

The Village of Wilmette will start a survey of village ash trees today. I hope that if the trees have to be removed the village won't be requiring permits for that!

Thankfully, retired village forester Don Gustafson spent years working for a wide variety of trees in the village following the nightmares of the Dutch Elm Disease.

Further information from the Village about the trees and the emerald ash borer is here. There is also a contact form so you can write the Village directly.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Wilmette Weekend: All Wilmette all the Time

Stay home this weekend and stop complaining that there is nothing to do in Wilmette! I don't mean stay in your house, but this weekend there is absolutely no reason to leave our fair suburb.

There is, of course, the French Market at the Metra Station all Saturday morning--word is the lady with the large amber selection will be there this weekend as will the French sisters from Notre Dame with their excellent tarts and baguettes.

We also have two art fairs this weekend--one at Edens Plaza on Saturday, July 15 ( 10 am – 5 pm) and Sunday, July 16 (noon – 5 pm) and the Wilmette Arts Guild art fair at Hibbard Park (on Glenview Road at Skokie Boulevard) Saturday, July 15, from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday, July 16, from 10 am to 4 pm.

On Saturday, July 15, from 2:00 – 3:30 pm the Highland Park Pops Big Band will be providing free entertainment at Maple Park at 4th and Maple. At 7:30 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Oklahoma! continues at Gillson at the Wallace Bowl.

If you make the effort and walk from the Arts Guild Fair by the Community Recreational Center to Edens Plaza you won't feel guilty making a purchase at the new Cinnabon store that's in the old Sears Optical location. Bet you didn't know about that new shop!

If you haven't been to the beach or the pool lately, this would be a good weekend for that! With a heat advisory for Sunday, you might need to know how to cool yourself outside without air conditioning. Here's how to do that.

There is evidence via Fandango that the Wilmette Theatre is showing the Devil Wears Prada and Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest, but better check with the theatre at 251-7411 to make sure. Stay out of Skokie and avoid the nightmare parking at Old Orchard.

Our trustees are always diligent in reminding us that the citizens of Wilmette are the beneficiaries of local spending, so this is a great weekend to do all your spending here. While you are hanging around town, gas up the SUV's locally--the village could use the money.

Happy Bastille Day!

Click here to see the other day's post about the great websites in France. And, we do have the last world on Zidane.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Former Trustee Cautions Community about the Ford Development

John Jacoby was President of the Wilmette Board of Trustees from 1989-1997. This week he has a long letter in the Wilmette Life about the proposed development at the old Ford dealership on Green Bay Road. I would link you directly to his letter, but the Wilmette Life doesn't seem to post them on line. If you click here, you can read the letter.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Wilmette Weekend: Make Plans for Oklahoma! and Verdi

Make plans now to head over to Gillson Park this weekend--the Broadway musical Oklahoma! will be playing at the Wallace Bowl tonight, Saturday, and Sunday at 8 pm. If you are wondering whether this will be another not-ready-for-prime-time provincial offering of the Starlight Theatre, I would say probably not--the musicals are usually excellent and well worth your time. And since it's free, you can't beat the price. No more blankets on the lawn, though, either take a chair or sit in the bowl. Consider going a little early and taking a picnic--stopping by the Jewel at Plaza del Lago is a lazy way to plan that! Or go even earlier and enjoy some quality beach time.

Oklahoma! will continue to play for the next two weekends: July 13, 14, and 15, and July 20, 21, and 22 at 8:00 pm. Click here for complete information.

Verdi's Requiem is on the schedule at Ravinia at 7:30 on Saturday. This is a great take-the-whole-family opportunity, with plenty of $20 pavilion tickets still available. The lawn is $10. You can purchase tickets right on the Internet and pick them up when you arrive. James Conlon and the CSO were in fine form last weekend, and (seriously!) the teens will love the music. Go early enough, and you can park nearby for $10. Or, take the Metra--its easy and fast. Complete information for taking Metra to Ravinia is here, here, and here.

Serious Talk about Wilmette School Board

The Backyard Conservative has some serious talk about problems with suburban school boards generally, and problems with Wilmette's School Board particularly. Rather than summarizing her post, you should just click here and read it for yourself.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Dear Reader: You are Mighty

If you are feeling like there is nothing more fun to do this week following the long 4th of July celebration, there is hope for you here! Thanks to Amit who found out about this from Balaji, we have found a way to make you smile as broadly as if there were still fireworks tonight. Simply go to the address bar of you browser and type in http://your If that isn't clear, just see Balaji's instructions. Have fun!

Update: August is here, and "You are Mighty" is growing in popularity. Lots of people are asking, "What is the music being played at the you are mighty website?" The music is from an album by E Nomine, a German music project. The album is Das Beste aus Gottes Beitrag und Teufels Werk, and the song is Schwarze Sonne. There is a link via Youtube which you might be interested in. Just click here.

If the music sounds somehow both new and very familiar, you might want to take a listen to Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, specifically the track Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi. If you want to hear all the music from Carmina Burana, just click here. If you want to hear exerpts from a Carmina Burana CD, click here. To find the music that sounds so much like music choose Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi. If you want to know more about Carl Orff you can find out at Wikipedia.

If you want to buy the exact CD used for the music in you can skip the bit torrent search and go directly to creator Robert "Gunny" Blake's web site and buy the CD through his partnership with Amazon.

If you are looking for the Christian Praise Song with the lyrics "You are holy you are mighty" you can find a video at Youtube by clicking here.

Do you like music? Wilmette has more links to interesting music. Just click here.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

I hope you have a wonderful fourth of July. You can read the text of the Declaration of Independence here; it is always worth reading one more time. has over a hundred links to important documents essential to a free society, worth a few minutes as we prepare to celebrate a very special day.

Over at Wilmette, we kicked-off the holiday early with an evening at Ravinia. James Conlon and the CSO were in fine form, starting the concert with the Star Spangled Banner and ending with an encore of the Stars and Stripes forever.

Lawless Drivers
Today's Reason to Stay Out of Florida (and Illinois)

I am sick-to-death of people who honk their horns at traffic lights, but the latest from Florida is just over-the-top. A driver in Osceola County, Fla., was injured Sunday when he was shot by another motorist for honking his horn at a traffic light. Read the entire story here.

This story follows the Sun Times weekend report on Illinois speeding, where 833 drivers were ticketed in the last year for driving over 100 mph. The fastest speeder was clocked at 145 mph.

It would appear that the lawlessness that we experience on a daily basis in our automobiles isn't just happening in our minds: its real, its frightening, and its deadly. You can read the Sun Times report here.