Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Skating Illinois: Illinoistocht

As Governor Blagojevich threatens to shut down several state parks along Illinois' historic canals this winter*, consider Illinoistocht. This Web site ponders the potential for marathon ice skating events on the Hennepin Canal and/or the Illinois & Michigan Canal. Similar events are held in the Netherlands, Austria, Canada, and sometimes Japan, but there are none in the U.S.

I think it would be a great way to use and publicize these historic and scenic resources during the winter when they are largely ignored (one may argue that much of the Hennepin Canal is largely ignored year-round). If the idea gains traction, I'll bet IDNR and the Illinois Greenways & Trails Council would be enthusiastic, although I doubt that they'd be able to contribute financially given current budget realities.

The dream of Illinoistocht is still in its infancy, but if you're interested in long-distance skating, keep an eye on the Web site.

* The League of Illinois Bicyclists questions the legality of these closings. Since the Hennepin Canal Trail was funded with $15.4 million in federal funds, the state is obligated to maintain it. Not only could Illinois retroactively lose that $15.4 million, but the Federal Highway Administration could cut off all transportation funding to the state.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I've never read any of the Fletch novels. I didn't even see the movies, although I remember they starred Chevy Chase. I have seen the books, though. I think my dad owned at least one of the series.

Anyway, last night I had a dream that included a discussion of the Fletch books. One of my wife's friends and I talked about the distinctive title font (which, unbeknownst to me, has become italicized over the years).

Then this morning, I saw this -- Fletch author Gregory Mcdonald died on Sunday. I'm sure I hadn't seen the news before my dream.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A Forgettable Anniversary

The DJWriter blog turned four years old late last month, but I didn't even bother to commemorate it. As you can tell from the infrequency of posts, this blog has barely stayed alive this summer. I've been thinking about where it's been and where it's headed, but I'll save that navel-gazing for a future entry.