20130603 – Culture Vultures

Monday – sunny and just a nice temperature.


Catch the subway up to the canal. Amazed how clean and pleasant the subway was. Even had two guys playing music.

Did a 90 minute Architectural Boat tour of the Chicago canals. Docent was very informative and opened our eyes to some of the amazing architecture. That’s our cultural overdose over with for the day.

Then walk up the Miracle Mile to the Hancock Tower. It’s $18 each to go to the observation floor at the top, I’ve been on a previous hardworking business trip. Wendy’s not that keen so instead we catch the lift up to the Signature bar on the 96th floor. Get some DSC02018awesome views and cost us nothing – see pictures. May well come back one evening when views of the city at night will be even more stunning and who knows we may even buy a drink. Certainly cheaper than the $18.

Walk back down the “Miracle Mile” and all the way home despite our 7 day travel pass. Certainly the best way to see Chicago is on foot or on the canal.


Arrive home after a 6 hour jaunt tired and ready for some wine. Sit on the balcony reading enjoying the late afternoon sun, coffee and the views. Not so impressed with the city noise.

I’ve already commented about the beggars, sorry pan handlers, in Chicago but today I got time to do an impromptu survey while Wendy browsed the Disney store. I reckon that this one woman who had “4 children and had lost her job etc..” made about $30 and hour on the brief 5 minute unscientific sample I witnessed. Better than working on a minimum wage job or as a Phd researcher into cancer DSC01978– somethings wrong somewhere! Then to my amazement as we strolled back down the “Miracle Mile”, exactly on the opposite side of the street of the first women, was another women with the same message scrawled on a similar piece of cardboard. Can you buy these cardboard messages ready one in Staples?

In one respect Chicago is similar to Belthorn, they just can’t forecast the weather accurately more than a few hours ahead.


The last of the loony laws in and around Illinois:

Spitting on the sidewalk is a criminal offense.

Trucks may only park inside closed garages.

Basketball hoops may not be instaled on a driveway.

Citizens are taxed because it rains on their property.

It is illegal for anyone to give lighted cigars to dogs, cats, or any other domesticated animals.


Map shows world’s ‘most racist’ countries (and the answers DSC01987may surprise you)

Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Jordan and India named least tolerant countries

U.S., Britain, Canada and South America are among the least racist 0 to 4.9%

Survey asks people if they would want neighbours of a different race

Britain is one of the most racially tolerant countries on the planet, a survey claims.

People in the UK are also tolerant of other differences such as speaking a foreign language or practising an alternative religion – for example, fewer than two per cent of Britons would object to having neighbours of a different faith to them.


Interesting. Perhaps next time any of the Liberal Do Gooders or Racial Thought Police are kicking off in the UK they might reflect on this first. 

Now here’s a lovely word I cam across – OCCUTARD – not in the 18 tomb Oxford dictionary but in the Urban Dictionary:

Spoiled brats that blame hard-working, successful people for magically causing the failures of their own lives. Occutards have been coddled by their parents from birth and given everything they want without being expected to work for it. Now grown, they expect the government to arrive in place of their parents and provide everything their hearts desire for free. Their ultimate goal is to create the occutard utopia in which the nanny-state plunders money from the productive members of society and “redistributes” it to them, removing any necessity to ever work.

Tuesday – warm and very sunny.


Set off for a walk to the Art Institute. It was such a lovely day we just walked through Millennium Park, along the shore, and walked and walked and walked. Too nice to spend in a museum. Did manage a Starbuck sat on the pavement, deafened by the overhead Loop train.

Really getting to like Chicago – mind you weather helps – it so pleasant, clean, wide streets, awesome parks, busy but such a pity about the noise.

In the evening we went to Lou Malnatis, famous Chicago Pizza restaurant, just round the corner from us. I had “The Malnati Chicago Classic” deep dish pizza with extra Pepperoni and spicy giardineria (whatever they are). I’ve never tasted tomatoes so sweet. Best restaurant pizza ever. Quite exceptional especially we usually avoid Pizza in the USA as it’s certainly not one of their strong points. Nearly as good as Wendy’s home made Pizza.

Food wise that’s two best ever’s for Chicago. I remember back in about 2003 on a business trip being wined and dined and having a Porterhouse stake in a famous steak restaurant – that famous I can’t remember it, mind you I wasn’t paying – the best steak I’ve ever had.


Then caught the Metro – CTA – up to the Steppenwolf Theatre. We feel real outcasts and odd balls as we’re the only ones without iPhone, iPad, Smartphone, Kindle, ubiquitous white ear phones or laptop.

Obviously a classy district, as you come up out of the CTA there’s a famous place of worship – an Apple Store. They have such a simple, clean design for all their stores.

Typical modern concrete and breeze block IMG 1347playhouse, compact and comfortable. $20 last minute tickets, good seats. Oh so civilised though. You can take your drinks to your seats and no rip off programme prices, they’re free.

The play was “Head of Passes” based in Louisiana, deep South. What language was that play in? Black Louisiana’ese me thinks  My “Teach Yourself American” never prepared me for that. Oh and before the namby pamby PC brigade go screaming off to report me to the thought police I should point out that over here that don’t seem to have a problem with that word black – dam me no, I’ve said it again.

Fantastic effect at the end of the first half the whole house just suddenly slopes down. How did they do that on such a small stage?

Worried about memory loss. Well this science museum explains it  all. Apparently as we get older we’ve more information stored in our brains so it takes longer to find. Just like a computer having to search through a bigger disk drive. Hmm….!

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One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark of such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks (i.e. ‘you’re nothing but a fanboy’ is a popular phrase) with no substance or relevence to back them up as well as straw man arguments, which he uses to simply avoid addressing the essence of the issue.

Here’s a dam good reason not to go to Egypt:

An Egyptian court has convicted a Coptic Christian lawyer in the southern province of Assiut on IMG 1349charges of blasphemy and sentenced him to one year in prison with hard labor.
The verdict against Roman Murad Saad was handed down on Saturday. It’s the latest in a surge of blasphemy cases following Egypt’s 2011 uprising.
Saad was sentenced in absentia. If he’s arrested or surrenders to authorities, he will be given a retrial and will have to pay 10,000 Egyptians pounds (around $1,400) in fines.
Court officials say Saad was found guilty of ridiculing Islam’s holy book, the Quran, at a lawyers’ union library. No further details were immediately available in the case.

That’s another country on my avoid at all costs list.

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Don’t you just love the sheer stupidity of religious fruitcakes:

‘Nothing to do with us, guv. It was Jesus Christ who organised an attack on The Gays’, says priest

ONE of two Orthodox priests charged with violently disrupting an anti-homophobia rally in Tblisi on May 17 claimed at a court hearing on Friday that the affray had been instigated by Jesus Christ.

Hundred of anti-gay protesters, including a sizeable gang of priests, attacked a few dozen gays who took part in the rally. Some are alleged to have threatened rally participants with bunches of stinging nettles.

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