Friday, November 3, 2017

chicago and the greater midwest



The Chicago Board of Trade building, built in 1930 and topped by an Art Deco statue of Ceres, Greek goddess of grain. (Think 'cereal.') There was a time when Chicago thought of itself as the economic capital of a great inland empire stretching from the Appalachians to the Rockies and from the Great Lakes to the Ohio and Missouri rivers,including notably the wheatfields of Kansas and Nebraska and the cornfields of Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. This was the Chicago of the Columbian Exposition, the Rockefeller-funded University of Chicago, and this Board of Trade building.

Somewhere along the line, Chicago became a much more parochial place, given over to working-class politics, organized crime, and racial tension. The city's older sense of itself got lost in all that, but I think we need to get back to that older, greater vision.

For starters, Chicago should at least be the capital of Illinois. The idea that a flea-bitten backwater like Springfield should be capital of a state that includes a world-class city is ridiculous. Talk about the tail wagging the dog!

But I'd go even beyond that. I'd like to see Chicago become capital of a semiautonomous  region on the order of a large Canadian province. Then this great city would achieve its true destiny.

Monday, September 11, 2017

'flyover'



I see where Minnesota Public Radio is now putting out  a weekly show called 'Flyover.' I listened to the first few minutes of it yesterday and found it to be your usual tax-subsidized center-left NPR pablum. I doubt I'll listen again. I also tuned in the last few minutes while waiting for the top-of-the-hour news. Interestingly, there were two guests in the last segment; one was in Philadelphia, the other in Los Angeles. Really? Flyoverland? Really?

https://www.mprnews.org/topic/flyover

Saturday, August 5, 2017

the mooch

It’s too bad he’s gone, but can we ever forget him? A newly minted Communications Director for the President of the United States of America who apparently didn’t see anything wrong with telling a reporter that one of his White House colleagues was ‘trying to s*ck his own c*ck’.?

In New York City, of course, there isn’t. I would submit, though, that most Flyoverlanders do have a problem with this; they’re just too cowed to admit it. It’s part of the problem with this country—that we’re letting New York (and its westward-migrating confreres in Hollywood) determine too much of our national culture. What’s the matter with this, you ask? I don’t know, you tell me. Do you find anything wrong with this, anything obviously cringeworthy, anything totally ‘inappropriate,’ as the current euphemism would have it?

Something’s wrong with a culture that treats us daily to the vulgarisms of a Howard Stern and nightly to the casual profanity of a Bill Maher. Oh, I know, I know: ‘Free Speech! I may disagree with what you say, etc., etc.’ But have we become such sheep that we no longer even protest such an assault on propriety? I’m just saying there’s something wrong with this, something wrong with a culture that has led itself to believe that this kind of thing is really acceptable.


It reminds me of something the late comedian Steve Allen said about the increasing vulgarity of comedy toward the end of his life. “These people pride themselves on ‘pushing the envelope,’” Allen said, “but why do they always insist on pushing it down?”

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

gatsby

The famous passage from 'The Great Gatsby' where Fitzgerald describes kids returning from East Coast schools to the Midwest for Christmas vacation:

'One of my most vivid memories is of coming back West from prep school and later from college at Christmas time. Those who went farther than Chicago would gather in the old dim Union Station at six o'clock of a December evening, with a few Chicago friends, already caught up into their own holiday gayeties, to bid them a hasty good-by.

'I remember the fur coats of the girls returning from Miss This-or-That's and the chatter of frozen breath and the hands waving overhead as we caught sight of old acquaintances, and the matchings of invitations: "Are you going to the Ordways'? the Herseys'? the Schultzes'?" and the long green tickets clasped tight in our gloved hands. And last the murky yellow cars of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad looking cheerful as Christmas itself on the tracks beside the gate.'
[ . . . ]
'That's my Middle West – not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede towns, but the thrilling returning trains of my youth, and the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark and the shadows of holly wreaths thrown by lighted windows on the snow. I am part of that, a little solemn with the feel of those long winters, a little complacent from growing up in the Carraway house in a city where dwellings are still called through decades by a family's name.'

Friday, February 24, 2017

buffet

The fairly nondescript Berkshire Hathaway building in Omaha, headquarters of Warren Buffet's far-flung financial empire. And that's about all I know about Omaha.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

indiana world war memorial

This is an amazing building I saw for the first time last fall as I was passing through Indianapolis. It's the center of a five-block complex in downtown Indianapolis that includes the national headquarters of the American Legion. Conceived in 1919 in the aftermath of World War I, construction on the Memorial began in 1926 but was not finally completed until 1965. It's modeled after the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It's really quite a sight.


View from park in the rear:


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indiana_World_War_Memorial_Plaza