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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Want to see a livecam of Chicago trains

 Via the Steel Highway YouTube Channel

We can start with this view of the Ogilvie Transportation Center. Metra trains leaving that station and watching CTA's Green & Pink line trains leaving the Clinton Station nearby. [VIDEO]

This view is looking east along Lake Street. We're looking at trains coming to and from Clark & Lake and possibly looking at trains entering and leaving the loop via Wells Street.  [VIDEO]

In this live stream we see trains leaving Ogilvie and yet another track at grade, those track at grade (on the ground as opposed to elevated) are leaving Union Station. You will see more Metra trains and Amtrak trains especially the Hiawatha & Empire Builder on those ground level tracks. [VIDEO]

And finally here we're looking at the elevated track from Ogilvie and that means more Metra trains [VIDEO]

It's very cool to see a live look out of downtown Chicago

Friday, November 17, 2023

A rare RESCUED Bell System van


[VIDEO] I wanted to share this with you all yesterday and just didn't get the chance to. This video led me to the film of Saul Bass' pitch for a Bell System brand redesign.

It seems like Shervin of Shervin's Garage YouTube channel is really trying to sell this old Bell System utility van. He couldn't get it to work but did get some restoration done revealing it's original livery. Revealing some aspects of Bass' redesign for Bell System vehicles.

I really like how he used vintage music and even tried to do a version of a 1970s Bell System film. I wonder how he did that.

All in all it got me curious about the Bell System, by the time I came a long the Bell System had been broken up. Pacific Northwest Bell was one of them and here in Chicago our local Bell System affiliate was Illinois Bell. Illinois Bell was in turn owned by Ameritech which merged with Southwestern Bell or SBC which later merged with AT&T...

In 1984, the Bell System had been broken up. AT&T was still the predominant long distance carrier and the smaller companies that made up the Bell System had become independent. Bell was a monopoly and had to be broken up in favor of competition. The funny part is even as there was supposed to be competition, Shervin can only name as telecommunications competitors Verizon and AT&T and he says "there goes breaking up the monopoly".

Oh and Verizon and AT&T are descended from the many of these broken up Bell System companies. Wouldn't it be something if they merged?

Iowa Caucus time - undecided voters sit with Ron DeSantis


[VIDEO] The new year is 2024 and what's the significance? It's yet time for another Presidential Election. And soon it will be time for one of the earliest presidential primaries, the Iowa Caucuses.

And so far the last almost three years IMHO has been very rough with Joe Biden in office. Right now the news has been about rising crime, a porous border (here in Chicago we're concerned about the migrants being bused from Texas and what to do with them when "Chiberia" weather hits), and then foreign affairs we got wars ongoing in Ukraine and in the Middle East conflict has again flared up between Israel and the Palestinians.

So in the next presidential election who might be best to usher in peace in Ukraine or even cool the tensions between Israel and the Palestinians? Who might be able to best ease the issues of inflation so that Americans will get more bang for their buck when it comes to buying food at least? And then someone needs to close that border and insure common sense measures to allow people to immigrate to America legally.

So anyway I asked all these questions and perhaps some if not all were address to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who engaged with undecided Iowa voters in this recent segment from Iowa TV station KCCI. Gov. DeSantis who is lauded as a very strong state governor and was considered by many - inlcuding me but what do I know - as a future President. However, his rollout has been rough.

As of now the current front runner for the Presidency who could defeat President Joe Biden is former President Donald Trump whom himself was defeated by Biden in 2020. It would be interesting to see how 2024 will unfold.

Oh and the Democratic National Convention will be in Chicago for the first time since 1996! 

Thursday, November 16, 2023

AT&T Pitch Video: Saul Bass Belly System redesign


[VIDEO] Before about 1984, all phone service was run by AT&T known as the Bell System. What you see here is a proposed - actually it went through - redesign of the Bell System's design identity.

This is a very interesting video. Saul Bass is well known as a designer known for his design of movie titles in addition to some corporate designs such as the one he's pitching to the AT&T Bell System.

So some aspects of his proposed designs were seen on telephone books (do they still publish those?) and on telephone bills, etc. Of course things do change as time marches on.

There is no Bell System, and we're not only communicating via land lines any longer. There are various companies that provide cell phone service. Although AT&T still exists in a different form and yet another company that came out of the break up of the Bell System, Verizon.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Peter Santenenllo: America's Underdog City


[VIDEO] Good afternoon and happy Veteran's Day.

I'm semi familiar with Milwaukee, Wisconsin having visited relatives up there over the years. Can't say that we've had the opportunity to really look around that great city. I almost consider that city Chicago's cousin. Both cities lie on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Milwaukee is a large city that has issues like many others. They have issues of crime and of course economic development. There are issues that involve race and one word that comes from that is "redlining" where you will have difficulty getting loans not exactly based on race, but where you reside.

We see Peter Santenello go around Milwaukee and meet some of its people with Fred who runs which is a merch site. We see the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly the same thing most cities have. It's great to see them make plans for an outdoor soccer stadium within the city.

Just a fascinating look about a city I've visited a number of times in the past.

BTW, who knows about the St. Joan of Arc Chapel located on the campus of Milwaukee's Marquette University which was dismantled in France and brought to Milwaukee to be rebuilt there.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Trains Are Awesome: The “Secret” Subway Under the US Capitol


[VIDEO] Perhaps another thing worth taking a look at when I do some traveling.

One thing on my list is the visit the US Capitol and Thom at the YouTube channel Trains Are Awesome does that and explains that no one should be at the Capitol Grounds without an escort, especially if they're not working there.

If you as a citizen want to visit the Capitol then you should make arrangements with your Member of Congress. That is your Representative or Senator, I'll link to examples from Illinois and that's something I plan to do when I visit D.C. in the near future. Especially take in a session of both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate.

Now as Thom refers to the Capitol Subway is a means to help keep the country running. The US Congress is America's national legislature and this transportation system is a means to ensure that these legislators are able to make crucial votes. Of course I'm not trying to determine what's crucial or not.

And yeah I know there are many in America who's not happy with Congress right now.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Stormy Kara: 🚉 Taking Transit to the State Fair


[VIDEO] One goal I have at least for my own YouTube channel is to take a day trip to Springfield, ILL. At the least I do want to visit the Illinois State Capitol and perhaps one day visit the Illinois State Fair.

Stormy Kara who is another YouTuber I follow took Amtrak down there - one of the midwest regional services Amtrak offers - and then took a local bus to the state fair. He definitely has an opinion on the Sangamon Mass Transit District and how they do things. While Springfield is Illinois' state capital city it's still not the "metropolis" Chicago is.

You see what I did there.

Anyway, his visit to the state fair has sparked my interest though the only time I know about is when political events occur there as often covered by the Capitol Fax. Politicians from the Democrats to the Republicans will have their days there and of course what happens there will have consequences as far as elections. For example, there is a hotly contested race downstate going on between former 2022 GOP gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey who hopes to take a congressional seat away from incumbent Republican Congressman Michael Bost.

Of course there will be more press if there is a Gubernatorial race as there was last year in 2022 and certainly in the Presidential race next year in 2024.

Regardless there is still plenty to do there at the state fair beyond politics. There are rides things to eat and of course agricultural exhibits which may well include a cow made of butter.

I really need to try to go next year.

German in Venice: Bob Barkers House , graveside, his Star on the walk of fame 2023


[VIDEO] One guilty pleasure for the last few months have been watching German in Venice. He's known for documenting the scenes around his native Los Angeles, Calif. It's a place I've only visited three times in my own life.

So he arrives on the scene of where deceased celebrities have made their marks. He did so most recently with Paul Reubens who played Pee Wee Herman - and children of the 1980s & 1990s would know who he is. He went to the Hospital where he passed away and he went to sits where Rueben had started performing as a stand-up comedian. He also went to a house where the film Pee Wee's Big Adventure was filmed.

So this video shares some of the sites of Bob Barker who passed away over the past weekend. So he went to Barker's home, visited his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, went to where the Bob Barker Studio is located. And as an aside as of June 2023 Barker's former game show The Price is Right is moving to a new studio so they're no longer at Bob Barker Studio.

And of course he visits Barker's future grave. His wife Dorothy Jo Gideon had passed away in 1981 way too young and Barker himself lived another 40 years and about 26 of those years he was still hosting The Price is Right. He already had his headstone next to his late wife so as the GiV states it's weird that Barker would visit his late wife at the cemetary knowing that one day he himself would be buried there and was looking at his own headstone minus the date of his demise.

Either way just another person from my earliest memories of watching TV that has most recently passed away.

Monday, August 28, 2023

US101: Metropolis, IL - The amazing...and forgotten world of Superman


[VIDEO] The YouTube channel US101 who is actually a Chicago history teacher took a quick road trip to Metropolis, ILL which is right on the Ohio River which I didn't know. Right on the border with that entity known as the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Well Metropolis is more of a small town that the city where Superman calls home and which is home to the Daily Planet where Clark Kent works. However, Metropolis is known for it's Superman connection due to the work of it's residents to make that DC Comics superhero part of that town's attraction.

It's fascinating to see him go back and forth between the real life Metropolis, IL and comic book history.

Bob Barker R.I.P. 🙏

When Alex Trebek passed away I noted that he seemed to be a constant presence thanks to his role as being host of Jeopardy! Although to be honest I didn't totally understand Jeopardy! when I was younger, therefore I hardly really watched the show. However that program was such a pop culture icon.

And then there's Bob Barker. Although I fell off of my fandom for The Price is Right it was a show I did watch often. In fact my dad was a huge fan. It was probably a sad day when Barker retired and made some reappearances to the program he started hosting in 1972. In fact there was an April's Fools Day episode that he hosted a few years ago [VIDEO]

I wish I could say that I watched his very last season in 2006-07. It was certainly the end of an era when he left the show. And it's hard to believe he was only 99 years old when he passed away. He's had a long career in TV and he was well known for his pitch to control the pet population and have pets spade or neutered. He was very passionate about animals.

And now another part of my childhood watching TV has gone on to that great beyond. At least we still have the memories available on YouTube

And the above meme, how appropriate.