Monday, February 28, 2005

Obama Sticks

Reason and Common Sense is threatening to pull out the Obama stick over the Governor's failure to make good on a promised 50% budget increase for the Illinois State Departement of Veteran's Affairs.

Don't ask don't tell

Read Gay warriors in the Feb 24, 2005 Economist last week. I wish gay activists had called attention during the last election to the many gays serving our country in wartime instead of cheering Boston and San Francisco's defiance of state laws on marriage.

It would have been patriotic and better served their cause, but I fear the activists not inclined to tell this story. Sad because these folks could avoid service by telling and don't. They have an honorable story and it should be told.

Ibrahim al-Ja'fari's Biography

MEMRI sent out this biography for Ibrahim al-Ja'fari: Iraq's Designated Prime Minister.

Anti Semitism in Europe

I'm a follower of Current Viewpoint and alarmed at the growing anti semitism in Europe. Here's What is Happening to Tony Blair's Britain? Followed by this from the International Hearld Tribune. Below is a quote from the Current Viewpoint article.

This leads me to a dismaying incident at the Conference this past week of Brit Tzedek l’Shalom, a peace group devoted to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At a seminar about the American Christian Right (a mortal danger to the world, according to the facilitator), I got up and suggested that the poisoning of Islam by radical Imams and terror leaders in Europe and the UK, coupled with the appalling rise of anti-Semitism in Britain created such a potent mix as to make we want to emigrate from Europe to the USA. --Current Viewpoint Feb 28,2005

Rosty and Bishop's Chili

Congressman Dan Rostenkowski stopped at Bishop's on 18th and Damen for a farewell bowl of chili before trekking to Oxford Wisconsin and returned again soon after his release to celebrate with a another bowl.

The guys at the North Riverside Bishop's told me this story. They should know. They worked at 18th and Damen for years.

Chicago Public Schools tore down the original Bishop's and the City belatedly offered them a lot near Lindy's; but that location didn't make much business sense. Walgreens built over the second Bishop's in Forest Park so both haunts are lost to us now. Only the offsprings in North Riverside and Westmont remain.

Most don't know this West Sider trivia, but Chicago named Damen Avenue after fellow Dutchman and West Sider Father Arnold Damen. Father Damen founded Holy Family Church in 1860 and opened near by Saint Ignatius College; now known as St. Ignatius College Prep.

Father Arnold Damen died in 1890, but local legend believes his ghost continues to hauntHoly Family Church and nearby St. Ignatius school. Numerous people over the years have reported seeing a man dressed in clerical garb wandering the halls of the school at night or passing through the church. -- thanks to the Gapers Block

Iraq the Model

Omar and Muhammeds' Iraq the Model becomming a popular blog. Look at their site meter.

Delightful for Its Ordinariness

Arthur Chrenkoff gave a round up of Iraq news today in the WSJ.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Maureen Dowd on Iraq

Jackson's Juncton has streaming video of Maureen Dowd on Meet the Press today responding to Russerts queston: "Would you now accept the fact that because of the invasion of Iraq, there is a possibility of democracy in Iraq and that may spread in the Middle East?"

Not sure what in the world she was trying to say in response to Russert: Moral Absolutism leads to Putin leads to male escorts in the White House press corps... ok, well.

Watch for yourself thanks to Jackson's Junction: <watch>

Demo in Mainz to welcome Bush

Pics on David's MediaKritik of Mainz demo to welcome George Bush. I like the last picture of dachshund with the American flag.

After 1/30/05

William Kristol writes in the Weekly Standard on the world after the Iraq elections.

Chicago and the World

Years ago I heard Georgie Ann Geyer say Jimmy Carter shaped his foreign policy through the experience of growing up the son of a patrician in a small Georgia hamlet where the locals all deferred to him. Had Carter grown up in Geyer's Studs Lonigan Southside of the 1930s he would have realized some guys only understand a fist in the face. As a fellow who threw few fists, but did plenty of running, I know how Chicago shapes your outlook.

A classmate on the Grinnell 76 listserv told me the "world's not Chicago" so quit hurling Chicago stories at us, but here's one in today's Chicago Tribune on Chicago Austin-District Police Officer Jim Roussell using the same tactics he used hunting down the "Four Corner Hustlers" and "Conservative Vice Lords" on the West Side today in Iraq as a warrant Officer with the Marine Reserves: Gang-busting Chicago cop now hunts for insurgents.

He sees familiar tactics in his current assignment. Iraq is a world where the enemy hides in plain sight, using street names to cloak his identity and intimidation to protect it.

"The thing they're most afraid of is for us to know who they are and where they sleep at night," said Roussell, a chief warrant officer 5 in the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, a reserve unit with headquarters on the Northwest Side. "They're not so much afraid of airplanes and artillery."

Many of the most effective techniques against those insurgents are more familiar to Roussell's old colleagues in the Chicago Police Department's Austin District than Marines drilled in taking ground from the enemy and defending hilltops.

The tools include painstaking searches for connections between myriad pieces of information and patiently repeated sweeps of neighborhoods to overcome potential witnesses' hesitation to come forward. They depend on quick assessment of truthfulness and the ability to cultivate inside informants who may be motivated by money, a desire for leniency or, often, revenge.

A teacher told me everything I needed to know about life was in Shakespeare's King Lear but Chicago works just as well.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Milt finds more Cognitive Dissonance on Iraq

Miltsfile found another pundit with second thoughts joining The Chicago Sun Times Mike Brown's What if Bush has been right about Iraq all along?

But now our heroic and tragic liberal-intellectual capaciousness is facing its sharpest test since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Back then, most of us were forced, against our wills, to give Ronald Reagan a large share of credit for winning the Cold War. Now the people of this Bush-hating city are being forced to grant the merest possibility that Bush, despite his annoying manner and his administration’s awful hubris and dissembling and incompetence concerning Iraq, just might—might, possibly—have been correct to invade, to occupy, and to try to enable a democratically elected government in Iraq. -- Kurt Anderson, The Imperial City:When Good News Feels Bad, From the February 21, 2005 issue of New York Magazine

The Belt Railway of Chicago

I'm in a picture posting mood. Here's Belt Railway of Chicago's Electro Motive model SW1200 number 524. I had an apartment in La Grange Park in the 1980's that looked out on the BRC / IHB tracks. I watched a lot of trains and every afternoon the BRC's Alco Centuries would pass by around 2pm. They had a very distinctive sound. They've retired now and I miss them.
Belt Railway of Chicago loco 524 Posted by Hello

Locos and kids

Number One Daughter drew me a picture of a Steam Locomotive.
I carry Chicago around in my head as map of all its glorious railroad lines and yards. When we drive over tracks or under viaducts (Chicago has many Railroad viaducts and they cause business huge problems with deliveries as many trucks today no longer fit under them), I call out the name of the railroad: "we're going under the Harbor Belt, we're going under Proviso Yard, we're going under the "Q" and so on. West Side Agent considers this an affliction but Number One Daughter gave me a thoughtful present. Thanks kiddo!

Steam Loco at Crossing Posted by Hello

"Free World: America, Europe, and the Surprising Future of the West" by Timothy Garton Ash

WBEZ's World View program rebroadcast an interview with Timothy Garton Ash on his book Free World: America, Europe, and the Surprising Future of the West (Random House, 2004). Check WBEZ's listing for Feb 21, 2005 and you can replay the interview yourself. (geez the net great!)

Ash is no friend of the administration but he recognized America's great strength: the way we welcome immigration. He said it's easier to be a Muslim immigrant today in the US than in Europe and cited the Dutch reaction to Theo Van Gogh's murder at the hand of Islamic extremists. Ash explained the 911 terrorists in the US were visitors, while Van Gogh's murderers and the Madrid Railway bombers had lived in Europe for years; marginalized and alienated in slums with no hope of joining Europe's mainstream.

Ash also said the the best thing Europe and the US could do to alleviate world poverty would be to drop our Agricultural subsidies and open our markets to the the impoverished world.

USA Today ran an editorial on Feb 23, 2005 supporting the Administration's cuts on Farm Subsidies as a freebie to the rich. Ash said a cow in Europe lives on subsidies larger than the per-capita annual income of most in the southern hemisphere.

Brings me back to the West Side and Walmart breaking ground for it's first store in the city --by the old Helen Curtis plant on North Ave-- because Walmart's a leader opening American markets to the impoverished trying to sell to us.

The American sentimentalist wrote a good review of the Austin issue and explained both sides.

Here is another site with pictures of Austin. Note the comment on Austin's heroic resistance to Walmart. I'm baffled as to what's heroic about fighting investment in a neighborhood void of a retail besides suffering high unemployment. Drive the West Side's streets and you'll see housing stock in reasonably good shape (look at th pics) but empty lot after empty lot where retail once stood.

Got a feeling Pastor Joseph Kyles of Heirs of the Promise Church at 4100 W. Grand Ave was right when he told the Sentimentalist, "We do not like the fact that this neighborhood has been used as a political balloon. Why should our community suffer for what other people want?"

Be wary of people telling you you're a hero for fighting their battles on your turf.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Rummy Watch

Nick Turse wrote this in and I received the link from "stuffhappens" on yahoo's Rumsfeld Fan group.

Work in a large gov agency and you can appreciate how this weirdness happens. Maybe it happens in small outfits too.

Here are some clips from the end of Turse's article:

Responses like these have come fast and furiously from Rumsfeld since the Abu Ghraib scandal first broke. Obviously, a pattern has developed, involving what looks like a systemic breakdown in information reaching the Secretary of Defense. The question is why? Why do reporters consistently know more than he does? Hell, why had I read the stories (and probably the military's own reports)before Rumsfeld?

I assume he's busy, but given his lack of reading, what exactly is he busy doing? Is he having personal problems? Recent reports indicate that lately Rumsfeld has been increasingly belligerent and cranky; most recently packing up his briefcase and spouting off about his lunch while being questioned by the House Armed Services Committee (where he also replied incoherently to a question about an aide's comments pertaining to the expansion of military retirement benefits with, "I have not… seen the statement that you've quoted in the context that it might have been included").

Other theories exist. Has he developed his boss's aversion to reading? Or has he somehow, despite all the new intelligence powers he's been garnering for the DoD, been squeezed out of the national security information loop. Is he being kept in the dark even about front-page national security news? Could Pentagon subordinates be rebelling against him for unknown reasons by refusing his requests for information, thus making him look uninformed and inept? Or could this be a more general problem of incompetence at the Department of Defense? Okay, maybe you can't expect a 72-year-old Secretary of Defense to be up-to-date on the latest technology, but can no one at the Pentagon figure out how to photocopy a report? Burn a photo CD? Copy a disk? Find an article on-line? Or figure out how to email a file?


You'd think with this kind of spending the people at the DoD could manage to get copies of crucial materials to their chief. But they either can't or won't. They've left Rumsfeld twisting in the wind, forced to admit on a daily basis that he can't get the information he asks for or wants to see in a timely fashion. The implications for national security are obvious. It's time for an inquiry. We need to know what Rumsfeld didn't see, when he didn't see it, and why he is so incredibly uninformed.

Makes you wonder what's going on.

Milt's file on the Overstretch Myth

Milt posted this today from Foreign Affairs. He says it's important and Milt's almost always right in my book. Here's the closing paragraph,

The United States continues to reap major gains from what Charles de Gaulle called its "exorbitant privilege," its unique role in providing global liquidity by running chronic external imbalances. The resulting inflow of productivity-enhancing capital has strengthened its underlying economic position. Only one development could upset this optimistic prognosis: an end to the technological dynamism, openness to trade, and flexibility that have powered the U.S. economy. The biggest threat to U.S. hegemony, accordingly, stems not from the sentiments of foreign investors, but from protectionism and isolationism at home.
---The Overstretch Myth By David H. Levey and
Stuart S. Brown

Muon-assured defense

Matt-the-limo-guy told me about using muons to detect of radioactive stuff last night on the way home from O'Hare and said the concept was invented at Fermi Lab in Batavia. I thought he was kidding and then found this in the Economist today on Muon-assured defense.

A muon is similar to an electron, but heavier and unstable. Muons are created in the atmosphere by cosmic rays (high-energy particles from outer space) colliding with air molecules. They arrive at the Earth's surface at a rate of one per square centimetre per minute. Crucially for Dr Morris's and Dr Chartrand's idea, they are good at penetrating metallic objects such as lorries, and yet also tend to be deflected from their paths by heavy atomic nuclei such as those of uranium and plutonium.

Matt said we can use mouns to scan trucks and containers and tell within 20 seconds if there is radioactive stuff inside. Unlike x-rays nothing dangerous about using mouns as they're naturally occurring and surround us (may be more accurate to say they go through us) all the time.

Reason and Common Sense

Nice Blog on Illinois politics: Reason and Common Sense.

Rice, Sex, Power, and Robert Fenton

Today's Washington Post has this story on SecState Rice's clothes.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived at the Wiesbaden Army Airfield on Wednesday dressed all in black. She was wearing a black skirt that hit just above the knee, and it was topped with a black coat that fell to mid-calf. The coat, with its seven gold buttons running down the front and its band collar, called to mind a Marine's dress uniform or the "save humanity" ensemble worn by Keanu Reeves in "The Matrix."

The press lets us down if this is all they can write about.

Tom Fenton (retired CBS news) has this book coming out March 1, 2005: The Decline of Reporting, the Business of News, and the Danger to Us All. I'm going to need to read it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Eddie Vrdolyak, you're gone!

From today's Sun Times on Underdog stuns Cicero leader :

Dominick, a Cicero employee for 34 years, had a long climb from garbage man to town president. His supporters roared with delight when the victory became apparent around 8:15 p.m., chanting "Larry, Larry, Larry."

Dominick said his first task would be to get rid of Ed Vrdolyak, the former Chicago alderman and Loren-Maltese adviser whose law firm bills Cicero about $1 million a year. Dominick claimed Gonzalez was a puppet of Vrdolyak,which Gonzalez denied.

"Eddie Vrdolyak, you're gone!" Dominick told cheering supporters at Alessandro's Banquets on Cermak. "His days of controlling this town and getting rich off our tax dollars are over."

The Sun Times wrote earlier about Dominick bumping into mobsters at the Czech Plaza on Cermak. It's a great restaurant with a great selection of Czech and Slovak beer now.

The future is our property.

Stephen Schwartz wrote this in an essay on Hunter Thompson, The End of the Counter-Culture , in the Weekly Standard.
Doubtlessly, the most pathetic aspect of the '60s phenomenon was the absolute conviction of Thompson and those who encouraged him that "living in the moment" really did count more than anything else in the world, that history never existed and that the future was their property.
Some of us feel the same way now about Social Security reform. We're going to make our kids and immigrant workers pay for our senior "living in the moment". Their future labor is our property and we'll probably hike the FICA tax again as Congress did in the 1983 reforms to take a bigger chunk from them.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Ray Hanania and Johnny Carson

Ray Hanania's the arab street explained why Arab-Americans should care about the death of Johnny Carson. He has a good point.

Eric Hoffer and Mike Lavelle

My Dad enjoyed Eric Hoffer and bought me a copy of Working and Thinking on the Waterfront. Found many google hits on Eric Hoffer including a few filled with Hoffer quotes.

It was steady going all day, yet the feeling at the end was one of pleasure. The pleasantness was due largely to the presence of Jack, the headup man--a highly competent and soft-spoken person. We did an enormous amount of work yet did not feel driven or frustrated. It made me realize again how a single individual can count in the development of a pattern of life.
--Eric Hoffer, Working and Thinking on the Waterfront

The Trib ran a column by a steel worker named Mike Lavelle in the late 70s who was Cicero's flavor of Hoffer. Lavelle wrote a book (I've never read it): Red, white and blue-collar views: A steelworker speaks his mind about America with an introduction by Studs Terkel.

Leonard Kriegel wrote a review of it in The Nation, September 27, 1975 .

I just recall reading Lavelle's columns as a high school kid. He had one on draft-dodging youth of the rich. He said he didn't have anything against them (I think Lavelle had been a Marine), and said every guy should be out driving a sports car instead, if they could honorably avoid induction.

For some reason the sports car option has stuck in my head for decades now.

Wired and Quiet

West Side agent wired our kids with iPods for Christmas so I appreciate the quiet Andrew Sullivan describes in yesterday's TimeOnline in retreating into the iWorld.

Norman Davies' Europe: A History imagined the natural stillness and quiet of pre-industrial Europe. Maybe we're headed for a return.

Iraq Mass Graves and Randall Thies

Randall M. Thies is excavating mass grave sites in Iraq and keeping Thiesblog to record his experiences. Read him.


Jim's Market is gone but Bobak's is becoming Chicago's sausage juggernaut with their own website. Check the pictures. My step-Dad shopped at the Bobak's by Midway but for the real Lithuanian sausage he went to some forgotten butcher in Cicero's Grant Works neighborhood. You can still hear mass said in Lithuanian at St Anthony's there.

Grinnell College (my Alma Mater)

I graduated class of 1976 from Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa with a major in History. Favorite Profs were Philip Kintner, Joe Wall, Don Smith, Robert Voertman, and Jack Dawson. Voertman introduced me to Economic History and Thorstein Veblen and Kinter to Norman Cohn's Warrant for Genocide :

It is a great mistake to suppose that the only writers who matter are those whom the educated in their saner moments can take seriously. There exists a subterranean world where pathological fantasies disguised as ideas are churned out by crooks and half-educated fanatics for the benefit of the ignorant and superstitious. There are times when this underworld emerges from the depths and suddenly fascinates, captures, and dominates multitudes of usually sane and responsible people, who thereupon take leave of sanity and responsibility. And it occasionally happens that this underworld becomes a political power and changes the course of history. ---Warrant for Genocide: the Myth of the JewishWorld-Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, p. 18

Maps or do you say "Pop" or "Soda"?

Know your Illinois legislative district? A great resource to look it up is You'll find fascinating (at least they fascinate me) political, economic, and demographic maps of Illinois here.

A friend on the Hill sent me a great map displaying generic names for soft drinks by county. We say "pop" on the West Side and I had no idea there was an alternative for a long time.

Anyone trying to understand data displayed through maps must first read Mark Monmonier's book How to Lie with Maps. You can bamboozle yourself with map-displays besides getting suckered by the mapmakers.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

1939 Oldsmobiles

My buddy b39olds keeps a site devoted to 1939 Oldsmobiles. The 2dr club coupe on the main page was a junker abandoned in the garage of a two flat his folks owned near Altgeld Park on the West Side.

Friday nights can find b39olds and myself at the Elgin Turner's Fish Fry, the Thirsty Fox, Pub 222, Lil Jims, or The Scotland Yard.

Freddy's Pizza in Cicero

Great pictures of Freddy's Pizza in Cicero on the Oak Park Journal's webpage. Try the breaded veal sandwich sometime.

Sad to say Jim's Market across the street from Freddy's is closed so no more Pork Roasts with Bohemian marinade. We still have Vesecky Bakery for kolacky.

The Groninger Hoek

Dr. Robert P. Swierenga has a nice paper on Chicago's West Side Dutch Community known as The Groninger Hoek

Check the link with the audio of his lecture on "Garbios: Chicago's Dutch Scavangers". Grow up Dutch in Chicago and you know the Dutch ran the private waste-hauling business and fought the mob to keep control of it.

Rumsfeld ruffles feathers

"Stuffhappens" on Yahoo's Rumsfeld Fan group sent out this link from the Salt Lake Tribune on Rumsfeld ruffles feathers, but has staunch defenders .

I'm agree with Cannon:

Third District Republican Rep. Chris Cannon also supports Rumsfeld and said calls for the resignation of the secretary of defense are a "historic constant" during wartime. "We are at war, and Don Rumsfeld is no exception," said Cannon. "He is a tough player in Washington and is, at times, less than diplomatic. I suggest those are not bad traits for a secretary of defense during these challenging times, whether dealing with Congress or with the Pentagon bureaucracy."

Zoe Lewis

West Side Agent bought a Zoe Lewis CD for her sister for reasons unknown and we both agreed we didn't like Zoe. But we played the CD over and over again and Zoe grows on you. Now we love her and have kept the CD for ourselves.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Egg Breaking

If you love Chicago you need a copy of The Encyclopedia of Chicago.

Pages 887 to 896 devoted to entries on "Work" and "Work Culture" including a photo of women working in an egg-breaking plant in 1941.

"Egg breaking to provide processed egg products (as compared to shell eggs) was well established before World War II. The demand for dried eggs for lend-lease and military needs during the war meant an increased need for egg breakers." p.890

I worked summers at Harrington and King Perforating Company in the West Side's neighborhood known as "The Island" . My boss was from Hungary and his constant compliant was someone was slacking off, and instead of doing their job, the slacker was out hunting for the guy who invented work because they wanted to hang him.

Paul Douglas Brigades

I was an anti-war activist during Vietnam. During those years my Dad would tell me the story of Illinois' Senator Paul Douglas volunteering to serve in WWII as a private in the Marines. Dad never told me what to believe or protest or not protest. He just told me about Paul Douglas.

Mark Schields wrote a column suggesting creation of Paul Douglas Brigades. It's a good idea.

Many of my friends opposed to our invasion -and liberation- of Iraq told me Bush was motivated by fundamentalist Christian beliefs. But I believe History will find the example of Bush Senior's service in WWII was at work inside Bush (and me and others) and not religion. Not that I think Bush was irrational, but I think it's important we know the ghosts influencing our choices, and I think our parents' ghosts often the most influential.

Working in Iraq

I sent applications for a whole slew of civilian jobs with the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. I didn't make the best qualified list for Financial Manager and called the personnel specialist in Rock Island to ask why. She said there were a 146 other applicants from within the Army for the job. So the competition was tough.

These can't be desperate unemployed people looking for jobs. They already have good jobs and volunteering for temporary duty in Iraq and Afghanistan out of a need to serve.

My contribution to the war effort at the moment may be setting the bottom-of-the-barrel so low that Uncle Sam doesn't have to reach far down.

Bean Counting

I'm an accountant. I only passed one part of the CPA exam, but I still manage to make a living counting things and that's why I found this exchange between SecDef Rumsfeld and Rep Sanchez at the Feb 16, 2005 House Armed Service Hearings on the FY06 DoD Budget so delightful.

It's hard to explain what you sum today, will not be the same as yesterday's or tomorrow's totals. Hard for me at least, SecDef did nice job here.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: "We're scheduled to have 200,000 in September or October of this year. When the elections take place with respect to the constitution, and the program takes it to 270,000 by June of'06."

Representative Loretta Sanchez: "The numbers that you bandy around about how many troops we really have out there that are Iraqi police, et cetera,
et cetera."

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: "You say we bandy around numbers. They're not my numbers. I don't invent them. They come from General Petreus. There's no bandying at all."

Representative Loretta Sanchez: "I have Petreus' numbers. They're different than your numbers, by the way."

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: Well, what is the date? They're not different if the date's the same. The date on my paper here is February 14th. What's yours?"

Representative Loretta Sanchez: "December 20th."Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: "Not surprising there's a

A West Towns Bus

I'm just getting the hang of this software and posting pictures. I'm not totally consumed with politics and religion, or any other 'big' issues. (At least I don't think so, only this blog will tell.)

Ever since I was a kid I've been in love with trains and trolly cars. The trollys had been replaced by buses, like the West Towns one below, by the time I was a kid.

A West Towns Bus like the kind I would ride on Oak Park ave in the 1960s. Posted by Hello

Me at work

Old picture of me at work. I smile more in real life. Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 17, 2005


I attend Church at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva. Here is our covenant,

Being desirous of promoting practical goodness in the world, and aiding each other in our moral and religious improvement, we have associated ourselves together: not as agreeing in opinion, not as having attained universal truth in belief or perfection in character, but as seekers after Truth & Goodness.

I believe in Universal Salvation after life, and I believe in Democratic Univseralism while alive. That's why, after voting for Democrats since George McGovern in 1976 through Al Gore in 2000, I changed and voted --enthusiastically-- for George Bush in 2004.

Bush's second Inaugural Speech sums it up for me. I don't think I've ever been so for a politician as I've been for President Bush.

America has need of idealism and courage, because we have essential work at home the unfinished work of American freedom. In a world moving toward liberty, we are determined to show the meaning and promise of liberty.

Saturday, February 05, 2005


My wife just looked at my first post and thinks I'm positively nuts for doing this site. She was an agent (The person who collects fares) on the Lake Street line of Chicago's Rapid Transit System. She's darling woman and I love her madly.

Bill Baar's West Side

I'm Bill Baar. The "West Side" is Chicago's West Side. Baar is a Dutch name and my father's side of the family came from Groningen Holland to Chicago's West Side in the 1870s. They settled in the "Groninger Hoek" between Taylor and 16th Streets, and Laflin and Wood.

The Dutch West Siders have been moving West ever since. I may be the frontiersman because I live in Campton Township, Kane County Illinois. That's about as far west as you can go and still buy an Italian Beef. You know you've left metro Chicago when you can't find Italian Beef stands anymore.

My Dad used to take me to Carm's in Berwyn for beef.

And a good book about the Dutch in Chicago is Robert Swierenga's Dutch Chicago.