9. Campaign 1860 - An exhibit in the ALPLM (see No. 6 below) that shows how CNN might have covered Abraham Lincoln's first run for office. Every since I heard the museum was opening, this was the exhibit that interested me. Election coverage and talking head coverage of the politics of the 1860 election sounded so cool. And it did not disappoint! Tim Russert was really good as the anchor.
8. The Whispering Gallery - A number of unfavorable political cartoons contemporary with the early days of the Lincolns moving to Washington shortly after the election in 1860. We think we have sharp-tongued political pundits today! Damn, they were harsh on the Lincolns.
7. Lincoln's Eyes in the Union Theater. This was a high tech special effects ridden overview of Lincoln's life and times. What I liked about this show was how they didn't shy away from taking on Lincoln's critics' on both sides of the slavery debate, particularly when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation. It gives a good overview of the deep divide our country faced at that time.
6. Okay geez, the entire Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL. I'm a sucker for history. And this museum and library rocks. Not great for small children (only one exhibit that is really geared for kids specifically). But for kids 10 and older, there's a wealth of information to be taken in.
5. A family of deer feasting in a bean field, benefiting from the toil of human farmers rather than being hunted for sport.
4. A cross-section of about a thousand of Illinois' finest, half naked, citizens at Knights Action Park enjoying a weekend afternoon of family fun and frolicking. My niece and nephew loved it! I even went on the water slide with them a couple of times and ended up at the bottom each time with my swimsuit still covering all the right things!
3. Hitting more balls than B at the batting cages at Knights Action Park, but not hitting as many as my 6-year-old niece, who hit 10 out of 12! Discovering I even could still hit a ball with a bat was very cool though.
2. A visit from the Schwan's Man at 10 AM on the 4th of July I kid you not. My mother bought 35 dollars worth of ice cream and frozen fried meat patties of one sort or another. The capitalist machine must continue its grind--even on holidays and especially in Mayberry, USA.
And the number one patriotic thing I encountered over the 4th weekend...
1. A bunch of signs (see below) next to corn fields and gas pumps touting the use of ETHANOL as a clean-burning home-grown fuel alternative. These signs are part of the Renewable Fuels Development Program made possibly by a law enacted in 2003 by Governor Blagojevich.
"Through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's alternative and renewable energy programs the State of Illinois is working to lessen America's reliance on foreign oil, while creating new economic opportunities and protecting the environment" - Dave LoosMy sister, who thinks the jury is still out on the veracity of global warming, even asked me if my car was E85 -- compliant which means it can run on a mixture of 85% Ethanol now being sold in many filling stations across the state of Illinois as part of the Flex Fuel campaign... that will be coming to a fuel station near you soon... we can only hope!