A sign of times past
If you ever lived in West Rogers Park, or even if you have driven down North Western Avenue in the last four or five decades, you know it: The massive "Z" Frank Chevrolet sign that stands as a neon beacon over what once was one of the largest Chevy dealerships in America.
But by the time you read this, the sign, like the business, could be gone. Unless someone steps up at the last minute to save it.
According to DNAInfo.com, the building at 6016-60 N. Western has been vacant since the car dealer moved in 2008, and was sold not long after. Now, the building is being demolished to make way for a Toyota dealership, and the roughly 50-foot-tall sign is on the brink of destruction.
If, however, you are into preserving neighborhood history, or simply are looking for that extra-special lawn ornament that will have all the neighbors talking, it can be yours - if you act really quickly.
Chuck Frank, the son of dealership founder Zollie Frank, told DNAInfo he's had no luck finding someone to rescue the icon. But if you're interested, give him a call. You are "welcome to take it for free."
Which is an even better deal than his dad offered when he told prospective buyers "Don't make a $300 mistake."
Hey, Chris, is that a mosque on that hill?
It turns out that it wasn't Columbus, or even the Vikings, that discovered the Americas. It was the Muslims.
That, at least, is the argument put forth by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose credentials as a historian generally are overshadowed by his day job as the president of Turkey.
According to the Washington Post , Erdogan told a mid-November summit of Muslim leaders from Latin America that "Muslims discovered America in 1178, not Christopher Columbus," and that when Columbus did show up a few centuries later, he "mentioned the existence of a mosque on a hill on the Cuban coast."
The Post notes that Erdogan's claim apparently stems from the disputed work of Youssef Mroueh, who in 1996 reported that Columbus' papers state that, on Oct. 21, 1492, "he saw a mosque on top of a beautiful mountain." The newspaper article says most scholars believe the statement was a "metaphorical allusion to a striking land feature," and that there have been no Islamic structures discovered that pre-date Columbus' arrival.
Of course, the story duly calls into question the entire notion of "discovering" continents already inhabited by the descendants of long-ago immigrants, the forebears of thriving cultures that quickly were labeled "savage" by whatever visitors ultimately descended upon their shores.
Take two tokes and call me in the morning
As a tiny but growing handful of states tentatively conclude that there may be some merit in prescribing marijuana in certain medical situations, Israel is emerging as a pioneer in research and innovation in that field.
One of its latest achievements is the development of a medical marijuana inhaler that provides metered doses of vaporized cannabis granules. While perhaps lacking some of the sensory and social side effects associated with smoking a joint or scarfing down brownies, the device provides "a scientific way to separate marijuana's stigma as an illicit recreational drug from its proven health benefits," according to Israel21C.
Perry Davidson, an entrepreneur who helped launch the Israeli Health Ministry's Medical Cannabis Program in 2007 and created Syqe Medical to develop the inhaler, said one of the problems with administering cannabis is that "physicians have been unable to control, monitor or fine-tune dosages. And patients who wish to alleviate their symptoms without being too inebriated to function properly have a tough time reaching the right amount."
The Syqe Inhaler could begin testing in Israeli hospitals this year, with a "home version" ready for market in 2015.
Development of the inhaler is but one of nine medical marijuana stories spanning the last decade that Israel21C has compiled into a special report, aptly titled "Israeli medicine goes to pot" (see slide show at end of story.)
An overly "creative" English teacher at the Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts in Givatyim, Israel, spent a lesson sharing with her students the poem "Richard Cory," written by Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935) - yup, the same Richard Cory immortalized and popularized in a song composed by Simon and Garfunkel in their 1966 hit album, Sounds of Silence.
But rather than discussing with her students ''masks and appearances' and "whether osher (wealth, spelled with the Hebrew letter ayin) ensures osher (happiness, spelled with an aleph), the English teacher told her 11th graders to go home and write a suicide note as homework.
The school principal cancelled the assignment and ordered a school psychologist to talk with the students … a good idea considering the school's mission statement declares "at Thelma Yellin, we believe that students must be given the opportunity to put into practice things which they have learned in class." (Yisrael HaYom)
God Texts the Ten Commandments.
This one actually has been around for at least five years - an eternity in the digital age - but it still holds up. It was first offered (to my knowledge) by Jamie Quatro in Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency .
1. no1 b4 me. srsly.
2. dnt wrshp pix/idols
3. no omg's
4. no wrk on w/end (sat 4 now; sun l8r)
5. pos ok - ur m&d r cool
6. dnt kill ppl
7. :-X only w/ m8
8. dnt steal
9. dnt lie re: bf
10. dnt ogle ur bf's m8. or ox. or dnkey. myob.
M, pls rite on tabs & giv 2 ppl.