Mr. Grumpy on the park bench

Next time you listen to the news on TV or radio, wait for the phrase "on the ground" to be spoken. Is it necessary, that is, does it add anything to the sentence? It usually pops up in a story about international news, like "troops on the ground" or "conditions on the ground." It brings to mind the distinction between those humans who are earthbound and those who float through the air flapping their arms, dodging tree limbs and the occasional helicopter.

Speaking of radio, Chicago's WBEZ is hot for a new kind of "branding." It's the Chicago Public Radio station so the station ID at the top of the hour is thirty seconds of the phrase "Chicago Public Radio" repeated in about twenty different languages. It's not as captivating as it sounds. If their goal was to make me switch to another station, it's working.

This is the first neighborhood I've lived in where grown men ride bicycles on the sidewalk. Is this a new municipal ordinance or is it nationwide? Friday's bicycling man on the sidewalk also wore a parka with the snorkel hood up, which must've made it interesting at intersections. (It was 50 degrees at the time, but that's another rant.)