Monday, July 27, 2009

South Pond

I was walking through Lincoln Park today, and smelled something awful. The stench seemed to be coming from behind a large, makeshift fence, and after a block or so, I stumbled upon this sign, which explained the odor.

Basically, they are transforming the southern pond into an "urban ecosystem", returning native species of fish, plants, birds, frogs, and the like back to the area. I vaguely remember seeing something about the project on the news earlier in the spring; they had to kill off a number of the non-native plants and critters that were inhabiting the pond before the renovation, which made me sad, but I'm all for restored wetlands and furthering the native species and the like.

I'm not quite sure how I imagined they would go about "restoring the natural habitat", but I certainly was not expecting to see this:
Cranes and bulldozers and idle construction workers, oh my! I guess I never figured they'd have to do a complete demolition to make a natural restoration; I expected them to just make improvements to the existing pond. Not so. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product, which the sign assures me will be "an outdoor classroom for students of all ages", I just find their restoration methods a bit ironic.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Phone Book Rant

Dear Local Phone Company,

PLEASE STOP SENDING ME PHONE BOOKS! Why must you cling to this archaic practice? Nobody uses them anymore, yet each spring they arrive on the doorstep of every resident in the city, regardless of whether they have a land line or not! I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but after all the money you spend producing these monstrosities and all the fossil fuels you burn by distributing them, only a minuscule amount actually wind up in peoples' homes. Most are either pitched, recycled (I'm hoping...), or left to languish on the same doorstep where you left them.

These books are massive and take up precious space, and they're hard to use; the few times I've tried, I've failed to find the business listings I was looking for, because it wasn't logically categorized. Yet when I then turn to the online yellow pages and enter any related key word, I can find what I'm looking for in a matter of minutes! In summary, the Internet wins. Hands down, every time.

I recycled the books that appeared in my lobby in April, and I recycled the unwanted duplicates you sent me when I moved. Surely you can understand my frustration at opening the door to my apartment building this afternoon and finding YET ANOTHER STACK OF PHONE BOOKS. I've yet to recycle this batch, and every time I see them in the foyer, my temper flares. Since I already disposed of the last two sets of directories you sent me this year, why on earth would you think that I'd want a third?!?

Here's a thought: in addition to touting your online billing practices as your company's way of "going green", why don't you save some real green-- financial and environmental-- by only issuing phone books to customers who specifically request them. Then you could spend all the money you'd be saving on studies that quantify all the trees you'd be saving. This would stop clogging our landfills with those despicable space wasters, and the tree huggers of the world would begin hugging your executives instead. I think it's something that you, as a company, should seriously consider. After all, your rival company doesn't harass its customers (and potential customers) by littering their entryways with giant, heavy, yellow doorstops... do you really want to let your main competition have the upper hand in this regard? I highly doubt it.

I implore you to at least think about giving the printing press a rest. And in the meantime, LAY OFF the unsolicited phone book deliveries! Thank you.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Quiet Statement

I couldn't help but smile when I saw this "license plate" today; I myself am petrified to ride a bike in the city, but I certainly appreciate the sentiment!