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Foto Friday: American Gothic Statue in Chicago

Posted on March 20th 2009 by Arthur in Chicago, Foto Friday, Illinois

This 25-foot sculpture by J. Steward Johnson is called God Bless America and was installed on Pioneer Court in Chicago last December 2008. It is based on one of the most famous American paintings, American Gothic (1930) by Grant Wood, which is in the Art Institute of Chicago.

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Pictures of The Chicago Bean

Posted on March 18th 2009 by Arthur in Chicago, Illinois, Photos, Travel

Cloud Gate, nicknamed ‘The Bean’ because of its bean-like shape, is a sculpture in Chicago by British artist Anish Kapoor. The highly polished 100-ton steel structure was unveiled in May 2006 and forms the centerpiece of the AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park. I’ve seen it several times and think it’s a really cool sculpture. Here are some photos from our visit last Saturday:

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DeLoreans in Chicago St Patrick’s Day Parade

Posted on March 17th 2009 by Arthur in Chicago, Illinois, Movies, Pop culture

At the end of the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Chicago last Saturday, they had three DeLorean cars! As a fan of the Back to the Future movies and someone who had never seen an actual DeLorean before, I thought this was very cool. Only approximately 9,000 of these gull-winged cars were made in 1981 and 1982 by the Delorean Motor Company in a factory in Northern Ireland, hence these Irish cars were in the parade. Only about 6,500 DeLorean DMC-12s are believed to still exist today.

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St Patrick’s Day Parade in Chicago

Posted on March 17th 2009 by Arthur in Chicago, Events, Illinois, Life in America

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone!! Last Saturday we went to downtown Chicago to witness the Chicago River going green and after that we walked to Grant Park for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which started at noon. The parade lasted for about 3 hours, which was really too long, but it was still fun. Lots of groups gave out free stuff (like green hats, beads, candy, etc.) and it was a sport trying to get as much as you can (we didn’t get much though).

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Maple Syrup Hike at Ryerson LCFP

Posted on March 15th 2009 by Arthur in Forest Preserves, Illinois, Nature

Today we participated in one of the Maple Syrup Hikes at Ryerson Conservation Area. On the one-hour program we learned about the Sugar Maple trees that make sweet sap and how they tap them to make syrup. I love maple syrup on my pancakes and waffles and have always wanted to see this.

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Chicago River Goes Green

Posted on March 14th 2009 by Arthur in Chicago, Events, Illinois

Today we traveled to Chicago by Metra train for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the dying of the Chicago River! We arrived at Union Station at 8:30 and walked around Millennium Park a bit before heading to the river, which was scheduled to be greenified at 10:45. The riverside east of Michigan Avenue Bridge was packed with thousands of people in green hats, green wigs, green t-shirts and green everything.

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Chicago Riverwalk

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Foto Friday: Sears Tower

Posted on March 13th 2009 by Arthur in Chicago, Foto Friday, Illinois

I saw on the news yesterday that the Sears Tower here in Chicago is being renamed to Willis Tower. A global insurance broker, Willis Group Holdings, has announced that it will place its name on the 110-story skyscraper and lease 140,000 square feet of office space in the building. Sears Tower was the tallest building in the world when it was built in 1973 and it still is the tallest building in the western hemisphere.

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Pluto is a Planet Again … in Illinois

Posted on March 7th 2009 by Arthur in Illinois, Space

Despite the State of Illinois’ deficit of nearly $9 Billion and a recession with record unemployment, the Illinois Senate has apparently plenty of spare time to vote on trivial issues such as whether or not to make Pluto a full planet again. A bill that was unanimously-approved by the ninety-sixth general assembly of the state of Illinois declares that as Pluto passes overhead through Illinois’ night skies (whatever that means?!), it be reestablished with full planetary status.

Uh, shouldn’t they leave this sort of astronomy stuff to the astronomers? Pluto was downgraded to a dwarf planet in 2006 after the International Astronomical Union defined the term “planet” for the first time and reclassified Pluto as a member of the new category of dwarf planets along with Eris and Ceres.

Solar System
Source: IAU

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Short Visit to Nippersink Forest Preserve

Posted on March 2nd 2009 by Arthur in Forest Preserves, Illinois, Nature

Yesterday we went to Nippersink Forest Preserve for a walk, which was rather unpleasant because of the freezing wind. We saw only two other people there that were crazy enough to be outside in the cold. We made only a quick walk around the lake before our faces froze off but did see most of the area and trails. It seems like a nice place that we’ll need to check out further in the spring, when it’s warmer.

Here’s a panorama photo (16 pictures stitched together with Windows Live Photo Gallery) from a lookout point at the south side of the park:

Nippersink Panorama Photo

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First Backyard Bird

Posted on February 22nd 2009 by Arthur in Birds, Illinois, Nature

We moved into our new digs in Round Lake Beach ten days ago and hadn’t seen a single bird in our backyard. All that changed today when we saw a goldfinch on one of two bird feeders that we put up five days ago.

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