Monday, June 29, 2015

Summer Gardening Chicago Style

One of Rink Rat’s long time readers and friends, Linda Prince MacKechnie writes us this week about her garden in Oak Park, Illinois. Linda is a Research Affiliate at The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

I have an organic plot with heirloom cultivars mostly.  Added some organic fertilizer/beneficial mycorhhizae/beneficial bacteria to the soil this year, plus mixed in some used peat potting media from work.  I've got a bunch of stuff in:

* Lettuce, arugula, and mizuna all do well.
* Spinach and Bok choi (or Pak choi) never do well - I can't get them in the ground early enough (due to spring access restrictions here at work - have to wait until the grounds people do spring tilling).  This year was a bit better.
* Tomatoes and peppers depend on the year - last year was good.
* Tomatillo seeds itself in like a weed.
* Summer squash (patty pan) does well, but the golden zucchini has been a bust (powdery mildew problems)
* Beets are generally a bust.  This year I bothered to soak the seeds before sowing and they are doing much better.  Apparently there is some inhibitor in the seed coat that should get rinsed out.  I soaked my seeds ~4 hrs prior to sowing.
* Radishes and turnips are the easiest thing in the world to grow anywhere.
* Carrots have been mixed.  This year is a good one, I think due to the really wet May weather.
* Onion and leeks (from seed) do well although I have to pull the leeks out too soon (for fall tilling) so they end up looking more like spring onions.
* This is my first year trying celery and a small, fast maturing cantaloupe-like melon; will keep you posted.

I don't use mulch, because I don't want to haul it in by hand.  I use weed cloth and it works pretty well.  I'll send photos if you really want to see them :)
I found gardening in California difficult.  Too hot in my south-facing patio and too much water (I didn't pay close enough attention).

Thanks Linda, great tips on gardening in the summer Chicago style.

SCOTUS - Mike Huckabee: I Will Not Accept Gay Marriage Ruling By 'Imperial Court'

 “Guided by my faith, I believe in traditional marriage." — @JebBus

From page 27 of majority opinion: "...The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection..."

The last two weeks should be a stark reminder of how far America has come and how far we have left to go.

The final passage of Justice Kennedy's opinion backing gay marriage across the U.S.

Small moments can change history forever. Had Ronald Reagan not nominated Robert Bork to the Supreme Court, this day may have never happened.

It was a 5-4 ruling: Men 4-2 against, Women 3-0 for. Another reminder of benefits of women in leadership positions.

@POTUS on #SCOTUSMarriage ruling: ‘All people should be treated equal regardless of who they are, or who they love’.

LOUSY WEEK IF YOU’RE A NEGATRON - [Last week] came very close to being the worst week of Barack Obama's presidency, and, effectively, the last: a possible repudiation from both Congress and the Supreme Court, from his own party, from a country struggling with the same racial tensions he's approached with a caution that's often come across more like muted fear. He would have been a failed president.

He would have been a failed promise. Instead, Obama finished the week in Charleston singing, really singing, and returned to a White House lit up like a rainbow that people who wanted to celebrate just felt drawn to. Hours after the partying stopped, they stayed late into the night, just sitting and staring at the building and thinking about how much had just changed.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – FORMER RECRUITERS TAKE FOR-PROFIT TO COURT: Two former University of Phoenix recruiters who targeted military members filed a class action lawsuit alleging they were required to enter military bases "surreptitiously" to gain access to military personnel, including wounded service members. The former recruiters, who were based in Louisville, allege a host of other misdeeds by Phoenix, including training recruiters in high-pressure tactics such as "poking the pain" - using a potential recruit's insecurities about career and finances to get them to sign. They also say they were required to attend job fairs and charitable events in places like Fort Knox, Kentucky, to gain access to military members - even when such actions violated rules.

- Apollo Education Group's senior vice president of external affairs, Mark Brenner, said in an email that Phoenix intends to "vigorously defend itself against the fictitious allegations." Brenner continued, "Their false accusations and baseless legal claims will not distract us from delivering a high quality, career relevant education for working adults, including all those who have so admirably served our country in the military." The suit, filed earlier this month in Kentucky's Jefferson Circuit Court.

SUMMER TRAVEL SERIES, Part I - Ann Arbor, Michigan - For an amazing outdoor festival experience in Michigan this summer, head to Ann Arbor for the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. Beginning in June running through the summer the festival is ideal for American Roots music fans, with two outstanding shows at the Power Center featuring gospel, jazz, and rock serving as the centerpiece to the weekend. The festival is perfect for families with fun performances, activities, workshops, and screenings all ages can enjoy. But first, a little bit about the festival.

Since it began 32 years ago, Ann Arbor Summer Festival (A2SF) has become a major arts destination in Southeast Michigan, drawing more than 80,000 attendees annually over its four-week run. It’s a favorite community tradition and a summer highlight for Ann Arborites. This year’s festival takes place in downtown Ann Arbor and on the campus of University of Michigan.

The festival is an international multi-arts gathering that presents an eclectic mix of music, dance, comedy, film, spoken word, street arts and spectacle, and family entertainment. Their indoor, ticketed program is called the Mainstage. In 2015, this series includes nine ticketed indoor shows featuring stars such as the Indigo Girls, Ingrid Michaelson, and The Moth Mainstage, which is a live storytelling show from the makers of NPR’s The Moth Radio hour.

Something that sets A2SF apart from other performing arts festivals is that the programming is so broad. There truly is something for everyone! Over 21 nights, you can hear bands playing everything from jazz, rock, blues, indie acoustic, and gospel to West African, salsa, and samba. There are established and up-and-coming acts alongside kindie rock bands and marching bands. The festival works with community partners like the library and local museums to offer hands-on experiences in a KidZone. A2SF also specializes in large, outdoor spectacles, so you might catch a free acrobatic exhibition on the lawn or a one-of-a-kind attraction like this year’s massive, pedal-powered acrobat stage, The Cirque Mechanic Gantry Bike.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Larry David (68), Olivia Munn (35), Michael Phelps (30), United States of America (239).


Women’s World Cup: 1). Germany, 2). U.S.A., 3). Japan

Wimbledon: Gentlemen’s Winner – Novak Djokovic, Ladies Winner – Petra Kvitova

Season to date (59-24)

MARKET WEEK – HEADING FOR THE GREXITS?  In a fateful climax to five years of funding crisis, Greece has been cast into extraordinary uncertainty after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called a referendum on the country’s debt conditions over the weekend. At stake is Greece’s European identity, writes our columnist Simon Nixon. The government shut down its stock market and banking system this morning, and its central bank moved to impose capital controls. The latest decisions put Greece closer than ever to an exit from the euro and cast doubt over whether Athens can strike a deal with its creditors, denting investor optimism. European stocks have slumped and the yen has gained against the euro. Meanwhile, antiestablishment parties across Europe expressed their support for Mr. Tsipras’s risky decision to allow Greek citizens the final say next Sunday.

The euro fell almost 2 percent on Monday and European share markets looked set to eclipse big declines in Asia, as investors were spooked by the specter of a Greek debt default which forced Athens to shut down its banks to prevent a run on deposits. ... Adding to the gloomy backdrop, China shares dived another 7 percent, bringing the losses in the past two weeks to 25 percent, with the Chinese central bank's measures on Saturday to support the economy unable to calm jittery investors. ...

With the prospect of Greece being forced out of the euro in plain sight, the common currency fell as much as 1.9 percent to $1.0955, its lowest in almost a month. It last stood down 1.3 percent at $1.1020. ... U.S. stock futures dived almost 2 percent at one point to hit a three-month low, and last traded down 1.6 percent while Japan's Nikkei fell 2.6 percent. 

DRIVING THE WEEK – It's all about possible Greek fallout today ... Ex-Im officially runs out of time at midnight Tuesday but could come back later this year as part of other must-pass legislation ... President Obama today holds a working dinner with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at the White House ... Jeb Bush is in Charleston, S.C. today ... Case-Shiller Home Prices at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday expected to rise 0.8 percent ... Consumer Confidence at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday expected to rise from 95.4 to 97.1 ... ISM Manufacturing at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday expected to rise to 53.1 from 52.8 ... June jobs report on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. expected to show a gain of 230K and unemployment at 5.4 percent ... Markets closed Friday for the July 4th holiday.


Stephen A. Smith of ESPN, is our Jack Ass Nominee for his latest act, he’s made a horribly out-of-touch joke about women’s soccer players not wanting to mess up their hair.   Stephen A. thought that terrible joke was so good HE HAD TO REPEAT IT TWICE TO MAKE SURE WE ALL HEARD HIM. And it’s just so funny, and so original, because of course when female athletes competing at the highest level of international competition in the World Cup, their first thought is their hair.  

At least that’s what Stephen A. Smith thinks of when he thinks of female athletes.
At this point, I’m fully expecting Stephen A. Smith to go on ESPN’s First Take at some point and debate the merits of women’s suffrage.  At the very least, I see another incredulous Twitter rant and forced apology in Stephen A’s future. Stephen A. Smith a popular choice for this month’s Jack Ass of the Month.

Next week: Summer BBQ and those who get it and those who don’t get it.

Until Next Monday, Happy Independence Day.

Claremont, CA

June 29, 2015



  1. Yay for the shout-out to Ann Arbor!
    On the side, June was the rainiest month in ages for the area (sorry, Cali), which literally dampened some of the enthusiasm for outdoor entertainment. Still, there's plenty of indoor fun to be had - we're going to see Pink Martini tomorrow night!

    1. Pink Martini, one of my favorites...enjoy!! Thanks for the read.