Archive for July, 2009

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I took a trip down through corn and big sky to the Illinois state capitol, Springfield.

Springfield was originally named Calhoun after Secretory of War, John C. Calhoun from South Carolina.  About 10 years later, when Calhoun became the 7th Vice President under John Quincy Adams, and then again under Andrew Jackson, and maybe around the time that Calhoun became a staunch advocate of secession, the fact that he called slavery a “positive good” instead of a “necessary evil,” and that he spoke outright in favor of nullification, a state’s ability to void any federal law they found not to their liking, the citizens of Calhoun found their town’s namesake to be not to their liking, and renamed their town Springfield.

That was about the time this guy got here, where he would stay for almost two decades.

It was here he practiced law after having taught it to himself.  It was here he put his feet up on November 6th, 1860, his kids spilling ink on his law office walls, that he learned that he was elected President of the United States.

Lincoln freed the slaves, set a new direction for the country approaching its centennial, and kept these United States united, all while being under constant attack from his wealth of enemies, watching his sons die, as well as nearly 600,000 Americans, about 4% of the population at the time, yet he had the drive and vision to see a higher cause.

I’m totally in the bag for good ol’ Abe… But more on that later.

But check this out…

(Not my picture...)

I didn't take this one...

A face divided…

Cover up the right side of his face (his right) and you see happy Lincoln.  That man knew how to laugh, how to tell stories.

Now cover up the left side of his face (his left) and see sad Lincoln.  That men felt each one of those 600,000 deaths…

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I have no idea why I had to learn all the state capitals.


My father and I went to Chipotle today . He parked the car, handed me money and said, “Get me a pork burrito.” 

“Oh, I thought you were going in,” I said.

“No, just get me a pork burrito.”

“You want the meal?” I asked.

“No, but get it with the spicy sauce,” he said.

“And guacamole?”


“So no guacamole. No meal, but you want the mild sauce.”

“No, spicy sauce.”

“Right, no spicy sauce, got it. You want the burrito or the salad?”

“Wait, yes, spicy sauce, and the wrapped up burrito.”

“The meal? I don’t understand,” I said, concentrating hard with an expression like I was just told that 2+2 equals a sack of potatoes.

Then he grabbed the money, slammed the door behind him and went in himself. I fought back a smile.


My brother has a red ax in a case over his bed that says, “IN CASE OF ZOMBIES, BREAK GLASS.”

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This is the bean. People made fun of it when it was being constructed and complained about all their tax dollars going toward some stupid sculpture. (Granted, it ended up costing around 23 million of those hard earned dollars.)

But then everyone realized that it is the coolest thing ever.

Here’s what it looks like from inside:

Walk from the bean, and find yourself with a bottle of wine at one of Millennium Park’s  free concerts with full orchestra. Here are two things I like: cellos and skylines.

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I used to wake up at school in various stages of undress. That was my recurring nightmare at least. I’d be in bed, just my bed would be in the classroom. The teacher would be talking to me, asking me which president signed the Louisiana Purchase or if I could recite the Pythagorean Theorem, and I’d try to get to the answer with everyone looking at me. Each kid was in his assigned desk turned to me with ready eyes, except in the place of my desk would be my bed, same placement as always, and I would pull the covers up to my chin, look for exit strategies and say, “Jefferson?”

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In the early nineties, the town of Paris, Texas constructed a 65 foot replica of the Eiffel Tower. The tower attracted road trippers looking for the odd and out-of-place, as well as fit in nicely with the town’s occasional Bastille Day sidewalk sales.

After construction was completed, the town of Paris, Tennessee put up their own tower, theirs five feet taller, a massive 70 foot replica.

Texas, never to be belittled, out-shone, or messed with, did what they could to extend their tower to reach above 70 feet.

How do you get an already built tower to climb five more feet?

Their solution:

Photo taken from here.

Oh, Texas… Vast is my love.

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