‘Chicago Rocks’ tour travels city’s punk-rock scene

Chicago tour — a short bus, 20 stran­gers smiling gamely at each other, an edgy guide checking his watch and eager to start on time. Which one is this? A food tour? Architecture? Ghosts, gangsters, the great fire?

Phil Rockrohr, the guide at the front of the bus, plugs his iPod into the stereo system and cranks it. Suddenly Tutu & the Pirates’ grinding punk-rock milestone “Wham Bam Son of Sam” is blaring, and we suspect Chess Records is not on the day’s itinerary.

“Chicago Rocks: 1980-2002” delivers just what its greatest-hits title states, a whirlwind drive-by of where the city’s punk, post-punk, alt-rock and modern rock bands lived, played and drank. Tours of Chicago’s blues and jazz history pop up intermittently, but the new mini-voyage — launching this weekend, with three-hour tours leaving each Saturday from Schubas bar and concert hall — aims at tourists and residents for whom Naked Raygun, Smashing Pumpkins and Liz Phair are foundation music, not necessarily Muddy and Buddy.

Rockrohr is a musician himself, a Park Forest native who’s played in about a dozen local bands, including his own Phil Rockrohr & the Lifters.

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Latvian Timber Exports 46% Increase


In 2010 Latvia timber exports increased by 46%, an increase from 2009 total of LVL 699.329 million to LVL 1.022 billion. Sweden, UK and Germany representing the main bulk of the Latvian timber export market.

Britain has a long standing tradition of exporting Latvian timber right back to 1403 when treaties were signed between the English King Henry IV and the Hanseatic League, an economic alliance of trading cities and their guilds that controlled trade along the coast of Northern Europe from the 13th – 17th centuries.

Baltic timber and hemp were essential shipbuilding materials. Many wars were fought over the control of the Baltic timber trade including most famously the battle of Trafalgar where Napoleon was thwarted by Nelson, despite his many attempts to cut Britain off from trading with Northern Europe.

Shipbuilding no longer requires hemp or large quantities of wood, but the UK trade in Latvian wood remains as healthy as ever. In 1999-2000 reforms were made in the Latvian forestry industry to go from volume-base to value-base. To maintain sustainability of the Latvian forests value-added products, such as kiln-dried timber, became the main focus. To achieve that end Latvian companies have invested in modern technology to produce more labour and skilled intensive joinery and carpentry products.

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Japan panics as nuclear plant belches high levels of radiation

Dangerous levels of radiation leaking from a crippled nuclear plant forced Japan to order 140,000 people to seal themselves indoors Tuesday after an explosion and a fire dramatically escalated the crisis spawned by a deadly tsunami.
In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said radiation has spread from four reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Fukushima state, one of the hardest-hit in Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami that has killed more than 10,000 people, plunged millions into misery and pummeled the world's third-largest economy.

Though Kan and other officials urged calm, Tuesday's developments fuelled a growing panic in Japan and around the world amid widespread uncertainty over what would happen next. In the worst case scenario, the reactor's core would completely melt down, a disaster that could spew large amounts of radioactivity into the atmosphere.

The Benefits of Taking Charter Buses

Traveling is always an excitement and if it's a group travel the fun would be manifold. However, many enthusiastic travelers would instantly agree that it would be better to take a charter bus for group travel than do the driving yourself. If you have never experienced the downsides of taking the risk of self driving, well, it would be better to avoid it. There are many drawbacks and the most severe being the inconvenience of getting from one place to another. The group may include kids, teenagers, aged people and all the complaints and howling would cause enough reason to loathe the entire journey. Here the best way to enjoy a peaceful journey is by hiring a rental bus and enjoy the package.
Charter buses are the excellent option for group travel. They are provided with luxurious and comfortable seating arrangements along with other services. If you check the modern charter buses you can see mushy leather seats where you can sit and enjoy the ride without being caught in the horrors of traffic jam and road hitches. The rental buses even have bathrooms on board and all the comforts would make it look like a home on wheels.
The charter buses ensure that you are nestled in the comforts of the bus with a soothing air-conditioning to thwart away the heat. The atmosphere in the bus would give comfy to the kids who would sleep soundly and aged ones also would be sitting back and enjoying the scenery. If you wish for a little more comfort, then you can hire some luxurious buses which would offer entertainment facilities like television and music. Sometimes they would even provide play stations, internet etc. However, the amenities and services would vary in each rental buses.
By hiring a charter bus for a group travel, you are actually doing a favor to yourself. Earlier there used to be a misconception that the rental buses are quite expensive. But if you compare the cost and pain of driving the whole journey by yourself, the charter bus charges would cease to be a problem to you. Nonetheless the recent melt down in economy has brought down the cost of bus charters relatively. This has become a boon to travelers as they can enjoy the luxury of traveling in rental buses without paying high fares.
It is really easy to spot a reliable charter bus service provider in your locality. You can surf through the yellow pages and your local phone book. It is always better to go for local bus charters for local journey. Otherwise you can also search the internet database for finding rental bus providers. The company website would give ample information about the service areas, fares and other details. You can inquire about the reputation and credibility of the company through acquaintances. But it is best suggested that you must go for a local bus charters and deal with them directly. This would help you to get a clear picture of their dealings and can see their buses as well. You must take your own time and keep a clear idea of itinerary before going for a rental provider.

Experience the fun of group travel in charter bus

It is always a great experience to take a group outing with your family and friends to exotic places. There are many reasons to enjoy a group travel starting from the pleasantries, the group adventures and above all there wouldn’t be any place for boredom. But problems began to arise as you plan the itinerary. The dilemma in deciding the places to visit, dealing with the climate changes and moreover if there are children in the group, that would be enough reasons to crack your brain.

The best way to ensure a safe and enjoyable group outing is by renting a charter bus. They are buses used to travel long distance and have become an alternative mode of transportation for everyone who is taking a group travel. When you are taking a pleasant trip, you don’t want to get into the hassles of traffic and fight with the road through out. It is not always possible to take turns in driving as it would wear everyone off. By renting charter buses, you can relax and enjoy in the comforts while the driver would battle with the traffic. Moreover, with the rising fuel cost, it would be highly economical to rent a bus than take your own vehicle.

The charter buses are luxurious and comfortable for long journeys. Generally people go for day coach or deluxe motor coach which would be provided with a restroom on board. They would also have TV monitors with VCD players that would give you endless entertainment. If you want to make some announcements, the bus charters would even offer you a PA system. This would help you inform everyone about the travel plan.

Before taking the services from a bus charter, it would be better to check their reputation and reliability of the company through browsing. All the companies would provide information on their bus rental services online. Prior to the journey, the bus drivers are required to take a drug test and provide a proof of physical examination. The drivers are not supposed to drive more than ten hours at a stretch and should also have had the previous eight hours free from driving. The coach buses may be missing seat belts as it is not mandatory. Smoking is prohibited in rental buses however some coaches permit alcohol on board.

It is a common disbelief that the charter buses are not affordable. But if you choose a bus charters that would suit your needs, then it would be really cost effective. It is always good to book the bus at least three weeks in advance before the trip. At the time of reservation, you would be asked to pay some deposit amount. The balance payment should be done a few days before the journey. The charter bus usually charges by the miles covered and sometimes they consider the traveling hours. Some companies offer packages in which they would have tie up with some hotels. In such packages, the charges would be fixed per head. The companies even offer discounts for nonprofit traveling groups.

Buses are more environmental friendly and the joy of traveling would be double folded if you are taking a charter bus. It would directly take you to the destination without many hullabaloos.

7 ways to make grilled cheese a healthier dinner


1. Use bread made with whole grains instead of plain white bread for the sandwich.
2. Slip some vegetables inside the sandwich. Tomatoes, fat-free salsa or avocadoes work well in a grilled cheese sandwich.
3. Slip some fruit inside the sandwich. Apples and pears between slices of cheese can be yummy.
4. Use low-fat cheese, but think twice about using fat-free cheese. Fat-free cheese doesn’t melt very well, and a good grilled cheese sandwich needs to be gooey.
5. Skip the potato chips, but keep the crunch. Serve crunchy, raw vegetables or apple slices on the side.
6. Add a cup of healthy, full-of-vegetables, low-fat soup to make it a heartier meal.
7. Use organic ingredients and/or cheese and butter that are made from dairy that is rBST-free.

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Healthy food doesn't stack up in flavor


Welcome to a world where half-truths flourish - the world of healthy cookbooks and magazines.

Consider this recipe for "healthy" lasagna from a cooking magazine on newsstands this month.

Ingredients include: turkey sausage, reduced-fat cream cheese, 1 percent cottage cheese, whole wheat lasagna, reduced-fat Italian cheese blend, part-skim mozzarella cheese.

This recipe will "trim cholesterol and saturated fat without losing the flavor," the magazine promised.
Hey, I was born in the 1950s. Not yesterday. Someone is trying to feed me a big fat half-lie here. Call it truth "lite."

Sorry, folks but use the above ingredients and your lasagna is going to lose flavor.

Oh, it is true that the ingredients listed above are better for you - at least physically but perhaps not spiritually - than traditional lasagna ingredients such as Italian sausage, whole milk cheeses and pasta made from white flour.

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