Saturday, March 26, 2011

Plastic bottles made from trash? We're going to need the marketing department to work overtime on this one...

But, otherwise, this is really a great idea.

The Chicago Tribune reports this week that PepsiCo has invented "what it calls the world's first plastic bottle made entirely from plant-based, fully renewable resources."

Actually "plant-based, fully renewable resources" sounds a lot better than the explanation in the linked Tribune article, namely, "such renewable materials as switch grass, pine bark and corn husks. The company expects to use other materials, such as orange peels, potato peels, oat hulls and other agricultural byproducts from its own food businesses...." In other words, trash. That kind of diminishes the 'yum' factor, I suppose.

This is a picture of switchgrass. I suggest we start the marketing department with a nice picture of a plant like that one, or a pastoral scene like that one below.

Most plastic bottles these days are made from petroleum. It strikes me that if we can drink from bottles made from the same stuff as oil slicks without even flinching, we can get used to drinking from bottles made from trash. And we can toast an important step on the road to energy independence when we do.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Politicians and more on the march at Sunday's Northwest Side Irish Parade

Parades and politicians go together like peanut butter and jelly or (to be seasonal) corned beef and cabbage. Some pictures of the groups supporting Northwest Side aldermanic runoff candidates can be found on page one.

State Senator John Mulroe had a large group marching down Northwest Highway.

So did Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky:

The best parades mix the serious and the silly. This, for example, was not the Grand Marshall of this year's Northwest Side Irish Parade, the banner notwithstanding:

The real Grand Marshalls of this year's Northwest Side Irish Parade were Brother Konrad Diebold and Dr. Joe Schmidt, the President and Principal, respectively, of Chicago's St. Patrick High School.

St. Pat's is observing its 150th anniversary this year.

Sights and sounds of the 2011 Northwest Side Irish Parade

The Notre Dame Resurrection Marching Band participated in this year's Northwest Side Irish Parade.

A group of athletes from Notre Dame College Prep also marched in the parade. With that group were Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Mike Hennessey and Coach Joe Gale, Chair of the school's physical education department.

The Northwest Side Irish Parade forms up at Onahan School. Onahan's group marched near the front of the parade.

A JROTC group from Foreman High School also participated:

And there's always an interesting variety of costumes on display at any St. Patrick's Day Parade. Today's was certainly no exception:

The spectators sport interesting costumes, too:

And there's always something to learn at a parade. For example, until today, I never knew how to use windshield wipers as a flag waving device.

Special thanks are due my daughter Brigid for volunteering to take all the pictures used in this and all the other posts I've put up about today's parade. She pointed out, not unreasonably, that I take an inordinate number of pictures of my shoes or of fuzzy things that seemed perfectly in focus when viewed through the unaided eye.

As today's posts attest, Brigid's pictures turned out very well. Brigid, however, is a dog fancier. She seems to have taken a disproportionate number of pictures of dogs. It didn't help that the Norwood Park Dog Association participated in the parade. Here are a couple of pictures from that large group:

There was yet one more dog, near the very end of the parade, who had to be photographed. Descriptions of this creature would have been scoffed at unless accompanied by this indisputable proof that a dog can achieve this prodigious size:

Brigid advises me that this is an Irish Wolfhound. It looks more like a Whole-Pack-of-Wolves-Hound to me.

Pipes and drums and cops and firefighters at the 2011 Northwest Side Irish Parade

The Chicago Police Department's Emerald Society led this year's ninth edition of the Northwest Side Irish Parade.

Not to be outdone, the Chicago Fire Department Pipes & Drums also participated in this year's Northwest Side Irish Parade.

The Fraternal Order of Police also had a group in today's parade:

And there were more firefighters, too:

Lots of Irish dancers at the 2011 Northwest Side Irish Parade

There were four schools of Irish dancing represented at Sunday's Northwest Side Irish Parade.

First up, the dancers from the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance:

The Mullane Healy Godley Academy also had a large group:

The O'Hare School of Irish Dance also turned out for the parade.

Last but not least was the Dillon-Gavin School of Irish Dance: