Friday, September 26, 2008

Slinging Grub

If you happen to attend a Notre Dame football game this season and you’re a little hungry and/or thirsty, satisfy your cravings at booth 19.

You’ll know you’re at the right place ‘cause it’s next to the drunk tank.

That little stand is run by members of my hometown church, Olivet A.M.E.

In return for managing the stand and feeding the masses, the church gets a cut of the profits.

Or as I like to call it, hot dogs for homies.

But don’t tell them I said that.

So if you make it down to South Bend, say “hey” to everyone and pick up an extra item or two.

You probably need to bank some “favor points” with God by supporting a church after you woke up handcuffed in the back of a police car---again.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hey Astor Properties...

Cut the freaking grass already.

And while you're at it, pick up the trash in the yard. If you don't, 5th Ward Streets & San will do it for you and charge you for their time.

Can you believe I have to look at this shit everyday?

Now do you gentle readers understand why I'm not a fan of non resident owners?

Take the wheel Jesus.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I Spoke Too Soon

Just when I thought the 'hood was taking on an air of respectability, the restless youth have slowly but surely returned to the corner.


Not only have a hand full of the original horde started hanging out on the northwest corner, but when people cast lingering glances their way they go across Stony Island and hang out in the bus shelter.

I noticed yesterday the bus shelter got tagged with graffiti.


I wonder if the owners of the building on the corner will enforce the no loitering order or if it will take another shooting (and a fatality) before people get it?

At least it was nice quiet month. I was just hoping it would last.


On a different note I found out that I'm a finalist in the Mayor Daley's Landscape Awards Contest.

While I'm excited, I figured that when you enter gardening contests and don't hear back from anyone in a reasonable amount of time that some Versailles inspired garden has kicked your garden's ass.

So imagine my surprise when I got a phone call last week stating that I was a finalist and that someone needed to swing by the flat to take a look at the flowers.

Who knew?

I'll keep you posted on both fronts.

Friday, September 12, 2008


It’s been a little over a month since the last shots were fired at the end of the block.

And believe it or not I haven’t seen any of the restless youth that normally hang on the corner.

Now what happened, I’m not sure.

But I do know that this new addition has been made to the building:

‘Cause without the restless youth hanging out the likely hood of shots being tossed decreases dramatically.

Via records from the Cook County Assessors and Treasurer, I discovered that the owners of the building are WECAN (Woodlawn East Community and Neighbors). And while I had my doubts about their tenant screening process, my faith has been renewed.

Once again, I have no clue what’s going on down there.

I don’t know if the adults have reclaimed their households or if WECAN had a come to Jesus meeting with some (or all) of their tenants.

Somebody laid down the law.

All I know is that the bullets have stopped whizzing.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Last Gasp of Summer

With the weather changing, I wanted to give you a last taste of summer. These are the flowers I planted for my friend's back porch.

Unfortunately all the prettiness will be gone as soon as the frost hits.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Truth Tellin'

It’s time for some truth telling.

I’ve been noticing some things while walking around the ‘hood and it’s time to call it like I see it.

Traditionally, we all know Black neighborhoods in Chicago have been largely ignored by local government.

This shouldn’t be news.

Yet the thing that chaps my hide is how some people just don’t respect their own neighborhood. How they’ll just throw trash just any which-a-way.

Frankly speaking it just pisses me off.

You practically have to pull teeth around these parts to get people (or institutions) to do right.

I’m sorry, strike that----my alderman is a rock star.

Leslie Hairston is a huge reason why our little stretch of paradise looks as good as it does. And truth be told I’d wager Alderman Cochran has chimed in a time of two to make the magic happen.

I don’t know for sure but I’m just saying…

Nonetheless, no measure of governmental involvement can lift people out of a “ghetto mentality.”

Hell, yeah I said it.

Because that’s only way I can explain why someone who actually lives on my street would turn the parkway into their own personal trash can.

I don’t get why it’s so difficult for some people to pick up after themselves.

Then of course these are probably the same people who think its okay not to know where their children are at any given time.

We all know how successful that philosophy worked out around here.

My point is that when something goes wrong in the ‘hood the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin.

Community activists come out of the wood work and “demand” governmental accountability.

Well I have a news flash for you.

Why don’t those activists as well those members of the community hold each other accountable?
Why don’t we speak out as voraciously against shitty landlords who don’t perform adequate tenant background checks and rent to anyone with enough money (or government subsidy) that can afford their rent?

Why don’t we take the fight to them in their comfortable neighborhood as they make money off of ours?

And here’s the tough one.

Why don’t we try to convince the nice lady who lives down the street that her no account grandchildren who live with her do more harm than good to the neighborhood.

You know what I’m talking about.

Despite the fact no one wants to publically admit it, there’s always a home (or homes) on the block that harbors those asshole, layabouts who leech off of a family member and single handedly contribute to rise of crime.

Who bring their bootleg ghetto ass friends along with them and their collection of bad habits.

And when I say bad habits I mean felonious behavior.

I’m not advocating being unnecessarily nosy in people’s affairs but when the situation warrants questioning the status quo, you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable to do so.

After all closed mouths don’t get feed and bullets seemingly never hit their itended targets.

Turning a blind eye to the blatant foolishness that’s going on may one day come back to bite you in ass.

I know it’s not easy.

Nobody wants to be labeled as the self righteous Gladys Kravitz of the block.

But in this “Stop Snitching” atmosphere, perhaps it’s time to go back to some good old fashion community standards.

No I’m no going all conservative on you.

Then of course I don’t think our conservative friends have cornered the market on values and standards.

And no I could give a shit what two (or more) consenting adults choose to do in privacy of their home.

As long it doesn’t attract a negative illegal element.

As you see it’s a slippery slope.

My negative element could be your set of best friends.

The qualifier here is illegal. That’s the whole shooting match---if you’ll forgive the pun.

Ladies and gentlemen we’ve got to do better.

We must either individually or collectively hold those who seek to continue to marginalize our neighborhood accountable for their actions.

We have to want better neighbors who mind their children, throw their trash in the proper receptacles and live law abiding lives.

It’s not enough to hold an anti violence march.

We have to do better.

So the next time you’re up in arms at a CAPS meeting or find yourself thinking that the police aren’t doing enough to keep your neighborhood safe you need to reflect on what you’ve done to improve or eliminate a problems that surround you.

At the very least, you should at least be truthful with yourself.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Hanging Gardens


Are you effing kidding me?

Lushly planted Ponds? Colonial Williamsburg? A floral patchwork quilt? Prairie grasses?


No wonder my container garden doesn’t even raise an eyebrow at the Trib.

As usual I sent in my glorious gardens entry hoping that the love would come my way. Disappointment reared its ugly head before but I solider on hoping one day that I’d get that fateful call.

Yet year after year the call never comes.

I look at it as another learning opportunity---a chance to refine my gardening skills and to widen my knowledge base.

No matter how much I think I’ve grown or improved, a sister can only do so much with containers.

Perhaps my thinking is too limited

Unless the overall winner is a hellafied container garden (we’ll find out next week), how can an urban gardener such as myself ever hope to complete against a Versailles inspired garden?

That's like putting a soap box derby winner in the Indianapolis 500. Can the Trib throw us small space container gardeners a bone?

Short of recreating the Hanging Gardens of Babylon I guess I’ll toil away in gardening anonymity

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Sign of the Apocalypse

“They” say the south side is a ghetto and dangerous? There may be a sliver of truth to that but at least our flowers are real.

Jesus take the wheel.

Monday, September 01, 2008

They Kept Their Word

Mt. Carmel finally finished their turf installation for the annual Brown and White intra squad game last Saturday.

The pictures on the Mt. Carmel's website are much better than what I can take with my cell phone from my balcony.

The nice wrought iron fence is (mostly) erected and everything looks sparkly and new.

Don't even get me started about that fabulous new sidewalk.

Moreover, the tall grasses and weeds have been cleared out. They also put down the grass seed as promised.

How that grass seed is going to grown on dry dusty ground that doesn't get any water is beyond me. Then of course, I had my doubts about the spray on grass that was put down last year with the other sidewalk installation.

What do I know?

The point is they kept up their end of the deal.

My question is will Mt. Carmel continue to do so when they don't have a lawn service picking up the trash on the parkway?

I'm keeping my fingers crossed but my eyes peeled.