The conversation was surprisingly lively at our little soiree, even though only a few people partook of our California “Champagne.” We now know about sexting, for instance. But one guest mentioned she refused to use the self-checkout lanes at the local Topps because they’re eliminating jobs, which is a very good point now that we have inadvertently become a nation of DIY tellers and busboys and gasoline pumpers. Drive around the bleakest parts of downtown and you can also see clearly where delinking the horse from the carriage led, to huge parking lots and monstrous parking garages and neighborhood-wrecking interstates. The car made the streetcars obsolete and the suburbs viable, too. In the 26 years I’ve been going there, even the oldest Polish restaurants have devolved into empty, rotting buildings, and now a scary number of houses are marked for demolition. Yet front-page news on Sunday was the city’s refusal to allow a local couple to buy just two acres there to start an urban garden. Don’t tell Alice. Bad governments still prefer empty lots to locavorism.