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Tue Feb 14, 2012, 01:33 AM

state by state speak your mind about...illinois

i have been through northern illinois
it was very city the part i saw as i was cutting over to wisconsin
i cant say i formed an opinion with the tiny slice i saw and i had no reasons to stop so i didnt meet any illini
4 presidents from there reagan lincoln obama and grant
competitive sports for fans on all levels and in several sports
next time i go through that way i hope i have more time to spend

51 replies, 15123 views

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Arrow 51 replies Author Time Post
Reply state by state speak your mind about...illinois (Original post)
SwampG8r Feb 2012 OP
Morning Dew Feb 2012 #1
GoCubsGo Feb 2012 #14
TlalocW Feb 2012 #2
SwampG8r Feb 2012 #3
TlalocW Feb 2012 #4
KharmaTrain Feb 2012 #5
Rochester Feb 2012 #9
trof Feb 2012 #12
The Genealogist Feb 2012 #6
eridani Feb 2012 #7
hfojvt Feb 2012 #8
dogfacedboy Mar 2012 #46
Rochester Feb 2012 #10
CanonRay Feb 2012 #11
seeviewonder Feb 2012 #28
CanonRay Feb 2012 #37
seeviewonder Feb 2012 #44
dogfacedboy Mar 2012 #47
CanonRay Mar 2012 #51
AngryAmish Feb 2012 #13
GoCubsGo Feb 2012 #15
seeviewonder Feb 2012 #29
MineralMan Feb 2012 #16
hfojvt Feb 2012 #20
MineralMan Feb 2012 #21
hfojvt Feb 2012 #23
dogfacedboy Mar 2012 #48
hfojvt Mar 2012 #50
trof Feb 2012 #17
TwilightGardener Feb 2012 #18
babydollhead Feb 2012 #19
Little Star Feb 2012 #22
rufus dog Feb 2012 #24
dogfacedboy Mar 2012 #49
WCIL Feb 2012 #25
seeviewonder Feb 2012 #30
rucky Feb 2012 #26
JFN1 Feb 2012 #27
WillowTree Feb 2012 #33
former9thward Feb 2012 #42
MrScorpio Feb 2012 #31
Brother Buzz Feb 2012 #32
roody Feb 2012 #34
davsand Feb 2012 #35
dog_lovin_dem Feb 2012 #36
undeterred Feb 2012 #38
lunatica Feb 2012 #39
abowsh Feb 2012 #40
dog_lovin_dem Feb 2012 #41
former9thward Feb 2012 #43
phylny Feb 2012 #45

Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 01:43 AM

1. I've lived in the Rosemont Horizon (now Allstate Arena) parking lot on occasion

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allstate_Arena

Grateful Dead Spring Tour '88 and '89.

Helped close a retail outlet near the Biograph Theater for a company I was working for around '95.

Never got the opportunity to do touristy things in Illinois.

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Response to Morning Dew (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 09:58 AM

14. I saw my first rock concert there.

It was Journey in 1980. I'm not sure why, but I started to lose my taste for that group after that. They gave a good concert, but I guess I had just gotten sick of them by that point.

I also got to see The Who in 1983. We were afraid the roof would collapse due to the fact that The Who were really loud, and because the roof caved in when it was being constructed, killing several workers.

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 02:00 AM

2. Illinois Nazis... I hate Illinois Nazis...

However, Chicago is my kind of town.

I really do like Chicago. I visited several times in college/grad school with a club I belonged to for an annual convention. First time sucked because I got in a group of people going sight-seeing, and some really passive-aggressive, clothes-horse jerk insisted that we visit all the hoity-toity famous name clothing stores so he could get catalogs (which he could have gotten on the net), but then years later on various trips, I came during the years the cow statues and the ping pong table programs were going on.

One year at the convention, we stopped in at the Chicago Museum of Modern Art and had a good time making fun of all the exhibits. My favorite was the pile of 2 feet by 1 foot pieces of paper (with a black 1-inch border on each sheet) on the floor. The sign next to it invited visitors to take a couple of sheets of paper, turning the pile into a dynamic "work of art." I proposed to one of the museum workers that they buy pads of post it notes and draw black borders on each sheet and sell them in the gift shop. My under-appreciation of what is truly art was not appreciated.

One year, I arrived early for the convention, got a cheap motel room downtown and just went out walking for the day. I aimlessly strolled around until I came to the Field Museum (had the Star Wars exhibit going on) so I went through that. When I left, I meandered in the general direction of the Sears Tower and went in there. Great time.

Another year, I took a night off from the convention to meet up with three college friends (2 living in Chicago and one who came in from DC) to go out to dinner and see a Penn and Teller show. The DC friend and I wanted something traditionally Chicagoan, but one of the residents decided we needed to go to an overly fancy restaurant where an appetizer costs $25 and can be eaten in one bite. The DC'er and I spent the entire dinner making fun of the restaurant (the waitress joined in) while the food snob blushed and begged us to stop, and the other one laughed at his expense.

Two years ago, I drove there and stayed with a college friend while I went to Twist and Shout, the world's largest balloon twisters convention. Great fun.

TlalocW

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Response to TlalocW (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 02:03 AM

3. i had forgotten the nazis

illinois had quite a run with the nazis back in the day
what was the name of the town? stokely hits my memory
ah..the good old days

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Response to SwampG8r (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 02:13 AM

4. No idea

I was just quoting the Blues Brothers.

TlalocW

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Response to SwampG8r (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 02:15 AM

5. The Town's Name Is Skokie

...and home to an excellent Holocoust Museum now. One of many museums around the Chicago area.

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Response to SwampG8r (Reply #3)


Response to SwampG8r (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 09:49 AM

12. Skokie

Large Jewish population IIRC.

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 02:57 AM

6. Much to say about Illinois

Some of my direct ancestors were born in Illinois, and many more lived in Illinois as families pushed westward. I've been to many parts of Illinois, from Chicago all the way to the very southern tip, where the Ohio empties into the Mississippi. I was amazed at how "southern" southern Illinois felt. But Chicago, so urban, bustling, gleaming with skyscrapers. The space between is full of different landscapes, from flat acres of cornfields that seem to go on for counties and counties, to rolling hills and forest. The next trip I make for pleasure, more than just a day trip, will probably be to Springfield, for genealogy purposes, as well as to spend more time at historic sites related to Abe Lincoln.

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 04:01 AM

7. Illinois is 1/3 New York, 1/3 Mississippi and 1/3 Iowa n/t

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 04:43 AM

8. "that no good in law brudder o mine - from ill-i-noise"

I don't want to tell any FIBs about Illinois.

I sorta detest Chicago, mainly because the monster is so darn big.

Then too, there was the most evil team of all time - the 1986 Bears. Speaking of monsters.

But the picture I took of the Sears tower as we were driving through Shytown is pretty cool, and Galena seemed like a neat place, although I never spent much time there. Galena is like Ellis Island to me. It was where my Swiss relatives got off the boat and went overland to Wisconsin.

Had a fun incident in Chicago as well. We were driving through one year and trying and failing to get sports scores on the radio. Finally, we decided to ask the other drivers. So we made a sign that said "Honk, if the Dodgers won the 2nd game of the Series". A number of people started honking and waving. To me that was sort of a "brotherhood of man" moment. Those drivers in Chicago, like all good Americans, hated the New York Yankees.

The accursed Yankees overcame that 0-2 deficit and won the series that year (again). Kinda takes some of the happiness off of that memory.

On my 1999 trip to New York I drove well out of my way to avoid the horror of trying to drive through Chicago, took 74 down to Peoria and then 24 across Illinois. I remember it being a nice quiet road. It also had the advantage of taking me right to Logansport, Indiana which was a town I wanted to see. I don't remember paying much attention to Peoria, although it is a place out of legend. Is that gonna play in Peoria?

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #8)

Sat Mar 3, 2012, 04:29 AM

46. Correction on BEARS

1985 BEARS, not 1986.

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 05:06 AM

10. I like Illinois

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 09:43 AM

11. I grew up in Chicago and went to school downstate and hitchhiked through most of the rest.

Chicago is a great city. Prettiest part of the state: Apple River Valley in NW corner. Mostly it's flat, ugly and has a terrible climate. Strangest think I've learned about it, if you get south of Centralia, it's like being in the South, rather than a northern state.

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Response to CanonRay (Reply #11)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 09:43 PM

28. My dad grew up in the Centralia area.

He moved to central IL where he met my mother shortly after high school. I then grew up in central IL and I went to college in the area, too. In the past year I moved to Iowa, but the large majority of my life was spent in central Illinois. It certainly is different south of the Windy City. I grew up in a small town and hated most of it. I dread going back to visit family because I stick out like a sore thumb as the "token liberal."

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Response to seeviewonder (Reply #28)

Sun Feb 19, 2012, 10:28 AM

37. I noticed the Cardinal logo

that's another thing, north of there are mostly Cubs fans, south, Cardinal fans. Like two different states.

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Response to CanonRay (Reply #37)

Sun Feb 19, 2012, 02:13 PM

44. Yep...I've been a Cardinals fan most of my life.

I like the White Sox, too. I've been to Wrigley twice and I don't 'hate' the Cubs like most other Cards fans.

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Response to CanonRay (Reply #11)

Sat Mar 3, 2012, 04:34 AM

47. Except for Chicago, Illinois is merely another shit hole like Indiana...n/t

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Response to dogfacedboy (Reply #47)

Sun Mar 4, 2012, 09:46 AM

51. Actually, I lived in the city and it was great

Chi has a lot to offer it you take advantage of it.

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 09:55 AM

13. Irredeemably corrupt.

 

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 10:14 AM

15. I was born and raised there.

As Canon Ray pointed out, the northern part is the nicest. The rest is corn fields. However, there are loads of really cool archaeological sites in those cornfields, such as the Koster site and Cahokia Mounds

http://archaeology.about.com/cs/bookreviews/fr/koster.htm

http://cahokiamounds.org/


I miss Illinois, especially Chicago. But, I don't miss the winters, although thinking about them helps get me through South Carolina summers.

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Response to GoCubsGo (Reply #15)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 09:45 PM

29. The Cahokia Mounds area is really cool.

I enjoyed going to Starved Rock when I was a kid as well.

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 10:29 AM

16. Illinois is interesting.

The northern part of the state is concentrated and urban. The rest of the state is rural. The urban part controls the state, and the rural part suffers. I like Chicago as a place to visit, but my wife lived in Normal, IL, which is in the rural part of the state, at the time when I met her. The contrast is striking.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #16)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 11:49 AM

20. So Galena and Freeport are urban

and Peoria, a city of 114,000 is rural? And so is Springfield, a city of 117,000 and Bloomington a city of 73,000. Not to mention Madison and St. Clair counties, both with over 250,000 people and part of the St. Louis metro area. And Normal a city of 52,000. That is your idea of rural?

Big city people have funny ideas of what constitutes rural.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #20)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 12:02 PM

21. General impressions.

Bloomington and Normal, along with Peoria are surrounded by farmland. They're cities, but not urban. Around the St. Louis area is urban, certainly. Galena, certainly is not urban, but I've never been there.

I'm giving general impressions of the state, based on my visits there. I now live in St. Paul, MN, but before that, I spent over 35 years in a small town in California, and the first 18 years of my life in a rural citrus farming town...less than 50 miles from greater Los Angeles. I know both urban and rural areas.

Most of Illinois is rural. The Chicago area takes up only a small portion of the state. There are regional cities, as well, all surrounded by rural areas.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #21)

Wed Feb 15, 2012, 03:06 AM

23. St. Louis and Kansas City and Twintown are surrounded by farmland too

A city doesn't become a rural area just because it is surrounded by farmland.

Richland county, Illinois, population 15,532 is a rural county. Sangamon is not, no matter how many farms it contains. It contains the large city of Springfield.

There are plenty of urban areas in the south and rural areas in the north, such as around Galena.

According to the 1990 census, 84.6% of Illini lived in urban areas.

I think they use a bad definition for 'urban' but even with that bad definition, rural states like South Dakota and Montana come in at 50% and 52.5%.

The Chicago metro area is about 8 million people of Illinois total population of 12.9 million. That's 62% of the state population. Of the remaining 38%, 22.5% live in Urban areas and 15.4% in rural. So even the non-Chicago portion of Illinois is 59% urban. Most of the space in Illinois is rural, but most of the population, even in southern Illinois, is urban.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #20)

Sat Mar 3, 2012, 04:36 AM

48. Compared to the 8 million population of Chicagoland, yes, anywhere else is rural. Sorry.

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Response to dogfacedboy (Reply #48)

Sat Mar 3, 2012, 12:13 PM

50. but you don't, or shouldn't, judge the rest of the world by that standard

For example, compared to a guy who is 7' 2" a guy who is 6' 8" is relatively "short". But wouldn't it be stupid if a high school basketball team had a center who was 7' 2" and four other players who were 6' 8" and you said "Well, except for the center, the rest of the team is short."

Or if you had an offensive lineman who was 410 pounds and the rest were 340 and you said "Well, except for Mandarich, the rest of the offsensive line is small."

Sure, Chicago is far, far larger than Peoria, but that doesn't make Peoria "small" or "rural" if just makes Chicago monstrously, freakishly, disgustingly large. to wit, http://journals.democraticunderground.com/hfojvt/64

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 10:45 AM

17. I lived in Crystal Lake for about 5 years.

Actually, in the Village of Lakewood.
Got married in St. Mary's Episcopal Church in '69.
Our only child was born in St. Joseph's Hospital in nearby Elgin.

I enjoyed my time there.
Crystal Lake was a stop on the Chicago-Northwestern commuter line, so getting into the big city was a breeze.

I'm told that the area around the shores of the lake was a mob 'resort' hangout during Capone's criminal reign.

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 11:01 AM

18. We must have crossed it more than a dozen times on I-80--it's usually a stopping point

on our way east. I like the flat, farmey Iowa side better. Gets kinda ugly closer to Chicago.

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 11:26 AM

19. I love Chicago!

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 12:12 PM

22. About 30 something years ago I spent a week in Woodridge, IL...

My daughter attended the Wilton Cake decorating course and I was along for the ride. We did find some time to go into Chicago a couple of times. But not enough to really form an opinion about the city as a tourist adventure. All in all we had a great time and we especially liked the waterfront.

Here are some of the things I think would interest me if I visited Illinois:

Northern Illinois: The Windy City & Galena

Central Illinois: Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum & Amish Country

Western Illinois: Take a drive along the Great River Road, which follows the Mississippi and extends the full length of the western border. “A riverside Illinois vacation rental is the ideal way to experience the western part of the state”, that statement really speaks to me!

Southern Illinois: Drive the 188 miles of the Ohio River National Scenic Byway.


Here is a link to The Illinois Official Tourism Website:
http://www.enjoyillinois.com/home.aspx



Just for fun here are some trivia and facts about Illinois:

1. Ottawa, Freeport, Jonesboro, Charleston, Galesburg, Quincy and Alton hosted the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates that stirred interest all over the country in the slavery issue.

2. The first Aquarium opened in Chicago, 1893.

3. The world's first Skyscraper was built in Chicago, 1885.

4. Home to the Chicago Bears Football Team, Chicago Blackhawks hockey team, Chicago Bulls basketball team, Chicago Cubs and Chicago Whitesox baseball teams, Chicago Fire soccer team.

5. The first Mormon Temple in Illinois was constructed in Nauvoo.

6. Peoria is the oldest community in Illinois.

7. The Sears Tower, Chicago is the tallest building on the North American continent.

8. Metropolis the home of Superman really exists in Southern Illinois.

9. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site--most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico

10. Illinois had two capital cities, Kaskaskia, and Vandalia before Springfield.

11. The NFL's Chicago Bears were first known as the "Staley Bears". They were organized in 1920, in Decatur.

12. Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery.

13. On December 2, 1942, Enrico Fermi and a small band of scientists and engineers demonstrated that a simple construction of graphite bricks and uranium lumps could produce controlled heat. The space chosen for the first nuclear fission reactor was a squash court under the football stadium at the University of Chicago.

14. Des Plaines is home to the first McDonald's.

15. Dixon is the boyhood home of President Ronald Reagan.

16. Springfield is the state capital and the home of the National Historic Site of the home of President and Mrs. Abraham Lincoln.

17. Chicago is home to the Chicago Water Tower and Pumping Station, the only buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire.

18. Before Abraham Lincoln was elected president he served in the Illinois legislature and practiced law in Springfield. Abraham Lincoln is buried just outside Springfield at Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site.

19. Carlyle is the home of the largest man-made lake in Illinois.

20. Illinois has 102 counties.

21. Ronald Wilson Regan from Tampico became the 40th president of the United States in 1980.

22. The highest point in Illinois is Charles Mound at 1235 feet above sea level.

23. The state motto is: State Sovereignty, National Union

24. The ice cream "sundae" was named in Evanston. The piety of the town resented the dissipating influences of the soda fountain on Sunday and the good town fathers, yielding to this churchly influence, passed an ordinance prohibiting the retailing of ice cream sodas on Sunday. Ingenious confectioners and drug store operators obeying the law, served ice cream with the syrup of your choice without the soda. Objections then were made to christening a dish after the Sabbath. So the spelling of "Sunday" was changed. It became an established dish and an established word and finally the "sundae".

25. The round Silo for farm storage of silage was first constructed on a farm in Spring Grove.


There's a bunch more at: http://www.50states.com/facts/illinois.htm

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Wed Feb 15, 2012, 03:15 AM

24. Chicago, one of the greatest cities in the Country and World

Never been to Champaign, Peoria and Down State is decent but boring.

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Response to rufus dog (Reply #24)

Sat Mar 3, 2012, 04:53 AM

49. Chicago is THE greatest city in the world!

Think about it. Not as crowded as New York. Not as scattered as L.A. Much, much cleaner than the big cities of Europe and elsewhere. The best damn food on the planet. Affordable (mostly). Nobody from Chicago is embarrassed to be from here (well, nobody who matters, anyway). Excellent public transportation. The lakefront is awesome. President Obama is from here! Relatively few teabaggers. World Class universities. World Class museums. World Class hospitals. The CUBS! the sox. The BEARS! The BLACKHAWKS! Great night life. Beautiful parks. Beautiful women. Great neighborhoods. The Smashing Pumpkins! The Northside! Da Sout'side! Great street fests in the Summertime. Me!
What else could anyone want in a city?

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Wed Feb 15, 2012, 07:36 AM

25. I have to stand up for my part of the state

(at least a little). I live in Quincy, which is about as west-central as you can get. It isn't really the wasteland that some are describing here - we have a community theater, a symphony/chorale, and a decent art scene for a town our size. It is relatively inexpensive to live here. We also have a thriving historic preservation group, and several homes with historic and architectural significance.

The bad - the democratic party is hanging on by it's fingernails here. The very vocal tea party is posturing. We haven't passed a school referendum in years, and we tend to run school superintendents out of town. This is very much a "teachers make big bucks and get 3 months off" kind of area. That idiot Bobby Schilling is our Congressional representative, and his buddy Aaron Schock is in the next district.

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Response to WCIL (Reply #25)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 09:50 PM

30. I lived in Danville for about four years.

If anyone says Quincy is bad, obviously they have never been to Danville (or Dirty Vegas as it is known by its residents).

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Wed Feb 15, 2012, 07:49 AM

26. Love Chicago

even though it has some of the most brutal weather in America

I saw it rain sideways once.

Never been to the other parts of the state, but mid-sized Midwestern burgs appeal to me, even though the politics can get a bit dicey at times.

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Wed Feb 15, 2012, 08:07 AM

27. Illinois is a terrible state...

Chicago? LOVE IT!!! It is like a whole other state by itself! But move south a bit...and man, what a fucked-up place...

The state capital of Springfield is a real shithole. It is a sprawling, disorganized, run-down mess; the streets are perpetually in need of sweeping, the traffic is almost always crappy, and the people are, for the most part, distracted and unhappy - at least those I've encountered.

Interaction with the State government is like having a root canal performed in a poorly lit, poorly ventilated machine shop located a mile underground - oh, what fun! - and dealing with the State while physically in Springfield is somehow, well, disparaging...you come away feeling...I don't know...dirty, and in need of a long, hot shower.

Move farther south, and it is literally the Wild West. Los of small towns (under 10,000 people, most of them under 5,000), few liveable-wage jobs in most of these little towns so poverty is widespread, and the State, unless there are political points to be won, does not give a FUCK about Southern Illinois (they let Cairo DROWN, fer pete's sake!!). The people are nice (if you fit in), there are churches EVERYWHERE (37 just in my small town of 5200 people - 37!!!), shopping is mostly done the Walmart/Kmart/Dollar Store way, and for every $1 in taxes we pay, we get something like 84 cents back in government services while Chicago gets something like $2.44 (sorry, don't have a link to that, it was in the local paper a couple years ago - bitching about Chicago is an official hobby around here). Education ends after high school, for about 85% of the population...so naturally the southern counties are mostly hardcore Republican. Unless you enjoy killing animals and fishies, there isn't a whole lot to do around here besides shopping, movies, and tossing 'em down at one or more of the many local bars.

Oh yeah - the State (Republican dominated legislature, naturally) is $18 BILLION in the hole!!!! WTF?????

Outside of the flat, monotonous central part, Illinois is pretty - lots of lakes, lots of trees, lots of deer and other critters - strange weather though, even without global warming - overall, not terribly hard on the eyes.

But gods, I hate living here...it is so fucking corrupt...and sooooo fucking boring...I really miss the Northwest...wish I could move back there...

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Response to JFN1 (Reply #27)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 11:41 PM

33. I wouldn't suggest trying to tell Mike Madigan that the legislature is dominated by Republicans.

As a matter of fact, the Democrats hold majorities in both houses of the legislature.

Just sayin'.

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Response to JFN1 (Reply #27)

Sun Feb 19, 2012, 12:55 PM

42. What time machine did you come from?

The Republicans have not had a significant presence in the legislature in at least a decade.

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 11:06 PM

31. That's where the in-laws live

I love my in-laws

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 11:23 PM

32. Lincoln Logs were invented in Illinois by Frank Lloyd Wright's son, John Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright was born Frank Lincoln Wright.

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Sun Feb 19, 2012, 01:11 AM

34. My parents met at Moody Bible Institute

in Chicago and married in the early 1940's. My dad did not go off to war because he was a pastor. He is still alive and 92 years old living in Iowa.

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Sun Feb 19, 2012, 01:26 AM

35. There are things about Illinois that you can appreciate.

There are also things that you can (and should) make jokes about.

There is Chicago. I am a downstater, and I will admit freely that there is a lot to admire about that city. Ain't nothing like the lakeshore anyplace. Lake Shore Drive (LSD to a lot of people) is a thing of beauty. Grant Part and the museum campus is something not to be missed. The museum of Science and Industry is like nothing you will find anyplace else, and, frankly, the Art Istitute is a gift to us all. (I saw my first O'keefe there...) Something about Chicago that a lot of people don't spot is "the attitude." New Yorkers have it too, but in Chicago it is elevated to a fine art. In New Tork they say, "Fuck you." In Chicago they'll likely say, "Fuck you AND your mother" then they proceed to tell you why your mother needs to be included in this activity. Chicago is nothing, if not showy. The entire history of the city is larger than life, and that attitude is rife in everything they do. You have got to admire it. Chicago was home to a couple of the pivotal events in the history of Labor. Look up the Haymarket Riots and the Pullman Strike. Eugene Debs ended up in prison after it was over, and the entire national railroad system had been crippled as a result of the Pullman walkout.

The middle part of the state is agriculture. Period. Flat like a table, with some of the richest soils to be found anyplace on the planet, the farmers here can (and do) produce amazing amounts of grain. Mostly it is corn and soybeans--but there are still the occasional plots of wheat and oats. What visitors need to see in Central Illinois is the green. I'm not talking the green of lawns or golf courses, but the endless shades of green that are here. In spring and early summer you can see every shade of green ever thought of, plus about a dozen more. In some ways, that profusion of green makes the winters that much harder to take--Illinois gets RFC (Really F***ing Cold) but it also goes dormant, and that brown and gray is just oppressive after living with the endlessly verdant springs and summers.

Downstate is rolling and wooded. Shawnee National Forest is down there, along with some of the most amazing hiking areas you'll ever see-- in parks called "Garden of the Gods" and "Giant City." Something a lot of people do not realize about Southern Illinois, is the history that is present there. Mother Jones is buried there. The coal industry was huge down there at one time. Even further back, the civil war was fought within families. Southern sympathizers were called "Copperheads" and there was an awful lot of local violence there in those times. The south end of Illinois is still more southern than most people realize, and you will hear the accents of the south there. River Pirates played a role at Cave in Rock in Hardin County, and there is an acceptance of the fact that the area was mostly settled by outlaws and "hoss thieves."

Illinois is not a place for everyone. It could be--but a lot of people can't deal with the weather extremes, and our politics here are pretty ugly when you get right down to it. We averge an incarcarted or convicted Governor every few years, and shoeboxes full of cash have turned up in the closets of dead pols. I will tell you all from direct personal experience that the corruption in this state is not only recognized, but is almost the thing of jokes in legal circles. Voters in Illinois are jaded, and even at the low level of public office I hold, I have been offered a bribe on more than one occasion. It is what it is, however, and if you are tough enough to survive Illinois politics, you can probably thrive damn near anyplace.

YMMV, but I'm from here and I see both the good and the bad in this state.



Laura

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Response to davsand (Reply #35)

Sun Feb 19, 2012, 02:19 AM

36. Very well-written

response, Laura. I have lived in Crawford county for 53 years; born and raised here. I agree with you 100%. There are many scenic areas, depending on ones perception of beauty, and a plethora of historic sites covering the entire state. There are an abundance of Universities, (and college towns), cultural events, and a wide array of political and cultural ideologies amongst the citizens of our state.
Though I am a downstate dweller and come from a red county, there is a strong democratic party in my area and I have many liberal friends and family members.
Some see the climate as a drawback, but I love the changing seasons and have been disappointed with the mild winter we have experienced this year...though last winter was more extreme than I would have liked as well!
Yes, the corruption of this state and many of our elected officials is an embarrassment, but makes for good joke material!! All things considered, I think Illinois is a pretty good place to call home.

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Sun Feb 19, 2012, 10:33 AM

38. If you love paying expensive tolls

and traffic congestion go to northern illinois. Then go to the Western suburbs and meet all the fundy Xian Republicans who think they are better than everyone else in the world... and remember that these people elected DENNIS HASTERT to represent them.

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Sun Feb 19, 2012, 10:37 AM

39. I lived in Joliet for a while

I really disliked it. People were quite unfriendly compared to other States and parts of the country. I remember Winter time with piles of dirty snow bulldozed off the streets and onto the sidewalks. Nothing charming or compelling about any of the architecture. It just seemed to be famous for Stateville Prison. Joliet had a dark and dreary look to it.

Chicago was OK though.

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Sun Feb 19, 2012, 10:58 AM

40. The most corrupt state in the nation

 

I lived in Chicago for a spring internship a few years back. I absolutely loved living in Lincoln Park. Chicago is beautiful, especially in the summer.

However, it's hard for me to get past the corruption of Chicago and the State of Illinois. The Mafia was very strong in Chicago, and it seems that mentality hasn't fully left the city. You routinely hear about crooked politicians, you read about people being placed into high level positions with no prior experience, or areas of the city that are ignored by the police.

The rest of the state is odd. The state politicians like to take advantage of Chicago. Obviously, Chicago is the most important city and market in the state. But I constantly read about policies and programs that are being paid for by Chicago mostly (hotel taxes) but the programs are for the rest of the state. It creates a lot of tension between Chicago residents and the rest of the state.

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Response to abowsh (Reply #40)

Sun Feb 19, 2012, 12:48 PM

41. I have a cousin from

Louisiana who would disagree. She takes pride in the corruption of her state and swears it is more shady than Illinois.

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Response to abowsh (Reply #40)

Sun Feb 19, 2012, 01:01 PM

43. The University of Illinois at Chicago has just called Chicago the most corrupt city in U.S.

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Response to SwampG8r (Original post)

Sun Feb 19, 2012, 02:28 PM

45. We lived in Naperville twelve years ago, and we loved it.

I also got my Masters at Governors State University. I liked Illinois, loved living in it and near it during Michael Jordan's reign with the Bulls, but sure don't miss the cold!

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