Bloggin’ for me and for a great cause

July 26, 2010

Look at me, ma! I’m bloggin’!

I figured it was about time that I had an honest-to-goodness blog site. However, it’s not as if I haven’t been doing this for years already. When I had a radio show at WGN, I would post information about my program on the WGN website. For various reasons, however, my posting wasn’t consistent.

That changed when I took my dogwood and peony show (so to speak) to Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT 820AM and 92.5, 92.7 and 99.9FM. I felt it was important to give my radio audience a chance to revisit topics and people who were on the show, so Kathleen Thompson and I revamped my website and I began regularly posting on the “This Week’s Show” page.

I have faithfully posted information about my show each week for almost two and half years. Frankly, I don’t know how bloggers do this every day–writing ONE  comprehensive blog post per week sometimes nearly kills me. But the one thing that kept it from truly being a blog is the lack of interaction with the readers. So it was time to step up add this site to my media empire.

For the most part, this site and “This Week’s Show” will look pretty similar, since I want folks to react to the information and guests that are presented on my radio show. But who knows? Maybe I’ll get all hepped up about this here new-fangled 20th Century technology and spend every waking hour writing blogs. And maybe Richie Daley will decide to step down and anoint me his successor. Hey, it could happen.

Meanwhile, the following is pretty much straight from “This Week’s Show,” July 25, 2010:

I’ve recovered from last week’s big broadcast. I think. During the week, I headed over to Kewanee, Illinois to see the 2010 STIHL Tour des Trees riders visit the historic Potter Osage-orange tree that was in danger of being cut down as recently as a year ago. I should note that the riders were well into their fifth day of riding–mostly in stultifying heat–and it showed. They were sweaty and exhausted but still in good spirits. My hat is off to those intrepid supporters of the TREE Fund.

I hope you go to my home page to see the slide shows of last Sunday’s broadcast in Millennium Park,as well as photos of the Tour des Trees stop in Kewanee, and video of several riders–complete with orange shirts and bicycle helmets, ascending the tree for a photo op. By the way, in case you didn’t catch the Facebook comments, that method of scaling a tree is state of the art, according to Scott Jamieson from Bartlett Tree Experts.

But back to this week’s show and music. Last week, I was honored to interview Chuck Leavell on the show. Not only is the man a brilliant musician and just as knowledgeable about tree care, but he is one of the most down-to-earth, approachable geniuses I have ever met. And he’s doing tremendous good for trees and the environment in general.

This week, I’m bringing more musicians on the show, thanks mostly to producer Heather Frey, who told me about Threadhead Records (THR), Who better to write a song about the monstrous-Gulf-oil-spill-courtesy-of-BP catastrophe than musicians from New Orleans?

THR, which formed after Hurricane Katrina to help Gulf Coast musicians keep producing music for the world—has, in three short years, helped in the creation of 24 CDs . Threadhead fronts money to musicians, who pay it back with interest when they release their recordings. Most of the funds go to New Orleans Musicians Clinic. However, with the BP spill being the latest catastrophe to hit the Gulf Coast, THR has released a song called “Nobody Knows Nothin’.” It features the world-famous Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Threadhead label artists including John Boutte (who wrote the popular theme song to HBO’s hit series Treme) and Paul Sanchez, formerly of New Orleans’ own Cowboy Mouth.

Sanchez and Threadhead founder Chris Joseph say you can download the song for just $1.29 with proceeds going to Gulf Aid, a nonprofit corporation which formed after the biggest spill in U.S. history. The group aids organizations focused on preserving the wetlands and coastal environment, the livelihood of fishermen, and the regional seafood industry.

Mick Dumke moves on…but recycling in Chicago doesn’t.

A couple of weeks ago, The Chicago Reader‘s Mick Dumke called to get a quote from me. He was writing another of his insightful stories about recycling–or the absence of it–in Chicago. Of course, for those of you who have listened to the show more than once, I am president of the Chicago Recycling Coalition (a non-paying job, by the way, so don’t get your knickers in a twist) and I have more than a casual interest in this issue.

It was the lead story for this past week’s Reader and it was probably his last for that publication. Like the headline and the way Mick writes in general, the story got right to the heart of the matter: “Why Can’t Chicago Recycle?” What I had to add to the report is marginal at best. I think he quoted me simply because he likes me. And maybe because he needed some words from the environmental organization that sweats blood over the city’s cavalier attitude toward one of the cornerstones of 21st Century environmentalism.

And then he told me that he was leaving The Reader for something called The Chicago News Cooperative. Of course, I was not to reveal this in public, but it was going to happen in a couple of weeks. Well, now it’s a fait accompli and Chicago Reader media writer Michael Miner explains the move and gives Mick a nice send off in this article. If you can’t get enough of Mick Dumke (and who can?) you can read about it in the Huffington Post, too.

All I have to say is that I’m glad Mick is staying in town and that (I think) he will continue to be a guest on my show. I won’t even go into Mayor Richard M. Daley‘s threat to shove a gun up his…well, you know. And Michael Miner covers it in his story anyway. The point is that good journalism is in short supply in America. All you need to know about that are two words: Shirley Sherrod. We need more people like Mick Dumke. I’m proud to call him a friend and colleague.