Category Archives: Off Topic

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Farnsworth House

In April of 2001, when the state of Illinois was considering the purchase of the Farnsworth House and the 62 acres of land it sits on along the Fox River, I wrote a letter and sent it to damn near everyone I knew at the time that had anything to do with conservation, along with sending it to the Letters sections of all the papers.

I knew that in 1996, when the Fox had a 100 year flood event, it inundated the Farnsworth House and it cost $250K to restore it. As the infamous WGN radio host Spike O’Dell said at the time of the 1996 floods… “What did you think was going to happen when you paved everything over, water’s gotta go somewhere.”

I had studied architecture and knew all about Mies and the historic significance of the house, why it was built the way it is and why it’s located where it is… and none of that mattered to me.

Apparently I made that quite clear in part of the letter I wrote back then.

Common sense dictates that you don’t build homes in floodplains.

I think the emphasis on why the State of Illinois should purchase the Farnsworth property needs to be reevaluated. The purchase of the house would include 62 acres of land that borders the Fox River. The land alone, with or without the inclusion of the house, should be purchased by the state.
The Farnsworth property is next to, and across the river from, Silver Springs State Park. Adding the 62 acres to Silver Springs would protect a beautiful stretch of the Fox River from development, and guarantee public access to a body of water that is quickly becoming surrounded by private property.
As for the house, if it is included in the purchase, it should be moved further back on the floodplain. I don’t think moving it will have any effect on its architectural integrity. In the long run, the move will save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in repair bills as the house will no longer get damaged by floods.

The picture at the top of this post is from April of 2013, never did bother looking into what it cost to repair it that time. I know there was another high water event just a few years earlier. Those pesky 100 year high water events decided to almost become a regular feature of the river.

I distinctly recall having a conversation about this back then and suggested moving the house to the edge of the cornfield up the hill to the north and east of where it now sits.

Flash forward 14 years to an article that was in the Tribune’s Beacon News on June 19, 2015:

Trust considers moving Mies van der Rohe home on the Fox River

One of the three options being considered is what I suggested 14 years ago.

Ultimately this has nothing to do with the Farnsworth House, the legacy of Mies van der Rohe or whether or not you like glass and steel buildings. I think the world could do just fine with a little less glass and steel.

For me it became a revelation as to why I get bored and disinterested with “issues” so quickly. I have no clue why my brain draws conclusions as quickly as it does, but for many years I’ve felt compelled to share these conclusions with others only to have them met with disinterest and ridicule.

Which is why I now consciously avoid saying much of anything regarding issues.

Yet here it is 14 years and at least two damaging flood events later, someone came up with the brilliant idea that maybe this building should be moved out of the way some how.

Well, there’s a novel idea.

Maybe by the time it gets out of committee and I happen to live to be 90, I’ll see it happen.

But I’m not banking on it.

In the mean time I think an opportunity is being missed.

I hear that on a nice, bright, sunny day the Farnsworth House turns into the world’s largest convection oven.

Imagine the cook offs that could be done.

Maybe this is what Mies intended for the Farnsworth House all along.

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Trout Is Good With Beer

Trout IS good with beer. I’m sure I can pick a trout species and find the perfect Sam Adams flavor to pair with it.

I have no doubt there are those out there scoffing and have an extensive list of white wines that would be better if only they could actually get themselves to eat one of their precious trout.

But I like beer.

Which is all besides the point. Point being, I thought I made it perfectly clear here back in January 2014 that I no longer wanted to be a Trout Unlimited member.

There are no trout in Illinois and I see no point in traveling to fish for them.

It took a few attempts at unsubscribing from their email to finally get that to work, but apparently nobody at the Oakbrook Chapter of TU seems to understand what unsubscribe means no matter how many of those I send back. I’ll still get an occasional email from them.

The paper mail still remains relentless though.

Seems like every week I get another offer from TU to subscribe. Each time offering still another enticement. Like I need another 10 flies that I can add to the other 100 or so I’ve received from them over the years. All of which go unused.

For some reason though, no matter how junky I think the junk mail is, I’m compelled to open it and look it over before tossing it all in the recycling bin. With the latest enticement from TU was a bumper sticker. It was about to get recycled when I realized that with a little doctoring, it would make a nice addition on the back of the Piece ‘O Shit Mobile.

So, there it now sits.

I think it looks good.

I never did finish my Is Good With Beer™ series to include trout. I do have one for Carp already done and up on my Skreened store and other fish species have long been planned.

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I’ll need to get this done soon.

After all, trout is good with beer.

I should know.

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Like Watching Grass Grow

I’m sure to most, standing along a creek and watching it flow is a lot like watching grass grow.

For me, sight, sound and smell become engaged and the end result is intoxicating.

I have no clue what’s going through my head at that point. Hopes, dreams, possibilities and memories all become one long flow of thoughts and mental images.

Not much different than how the water is flowing.

The other day I stood along a creek and took about a dozen shots of the creek as it flowed over rock. I wanted to see if I could capture the flow and glare and play of the water.

I have no clue if I succeeded, but I like the end results.

These shots and this post is for me. They’re only sized to fit here and I did no other post processing to them. I wanted to see how they looked when I took the shots.

I get to take breaks at work and now I can come here, click on this gallery of images and slowly go through the them.

Possibly relive in my head what I enjoy doing more than anything else.

I’ll have to watch so I don’t become mesmerized and slack jawed with a bit of drool forming at the corner of my mouth that has to be noisily sucked back in.

I could only imagine the level of ridicule from my coworkers that I would have to endure.

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Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Sleigh bells ring
Are you listening
In the lane
Snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
We’re happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland

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Gone away, is the bluebird
Here to stay, is a new bird
He sings a love song,
As we go along
Walking in a winter wonderland

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In the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he is Parson Brown
He’ll say are you married
We’ll say No Man
But you can do the job
When you’re in town

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Later on
We’ll conspire
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid
The plans that we’ve made
Walking in a winter wonderland

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Sleigh bells ring

Are you listening

In the lane

Snow is glistening

A beautiful sight,

We’re happy tonight

Walking in a winter wonderland

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Gone away, is the bluebird

Here to stay, is a new bird

He’s singing a song

As we go along

Walking in a winter wonderland

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In the meadow we can build a snowman

And pretend that he’s a circus clown

We’ll have lots of fun with Mr. Snowman

Until the other kiddies knock him down

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When it snows

Ain’t it thrilling

Though your nose, is a chilling

We’ll frolic and play, the Eskimo way

Walking in a winter wonderland

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