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Monday, October 17, 2011

The U-505 exhibit

Owing to my interest in World War history, I was aware of U-boats and their significance. I recall reading the book "Iron Coffins" when I was a kid. Loved that stuff. Still do.
At some point, I became aware that a U-boat was exhibited in Chicago, and so when Kathie invited me to join her for her trip to that town, I agreed.
So, on our second full day in Chicago, we took a taxi down to the Museum of Science and Industry to see the dang thing.
One of two German torpedoes exhibited. This one looked like a marvel of engineering--intricate and beautiful, despite its actual nature and purpose.
I took lots of photos, but, surprisingly, they were all much too dark. So, instead, I'm showing these photos I took from the internet--mostly  from the Museum's website(s).
The exhibit is marvelous. The ship is much larger than I expected--and quite beautiful. Chicago did a first class job with this thing. The latest iteration of the presentation was developed in the late 90s. Very extensive, impressive.
Naturally, we took the brief tour. The museum had cut two "doors" on the starboard side of the ship--one near the stern, the other near the bow. (If they were more imaginative, they would have included screen doors.) The tour involved gradual movement from one end to the other. We marveled at the crampedness  of the interior and its utterly utilitarian quality.
It is impossible not to sympathize with the crews that once manned these ships.
The ship had an interesting and colorful history. It was forcibly boarded in 1944 and rescued from hasty efforts to scuttle her.
Almost immediately, it received a skeleton naval crew and toured the east coast to help sell war bonds. It was popular.
How it survived and ended up in Chicago is a fascinating tale.
This little girl--Marisa--was our tour guide. Here she (and we) are at the "entrance" near the stern (starboard side). One among us was a 65-ish former American submariner. He seemed dazzled by everything he saw and heard.
After the tour, we talked to a kindly old guy--a volunteer who was there to answer questions. Gene had served as a cook on a U.S. submarine from the mid-fifties until the early sixties. He seemed proud of the exhibit and appreciative of the experiences of wartime submariners. "They're my heroes," he said.
The museum had no money for the U-boat project, but, owing to the efforts of two or three figures, all obstacles were overcome and Chicago came to embrace its U-boat. In 1955, she made her way across Lakeshore Drive--a massive project by itself.

Last full day in Chicago: downtown

Click on pics to enlarge them.
Took most of these during a boat cruise of the Chicago River.
Marilyn, here, is actually 20 or 30 feet high, and she stands just outside the beautiful Chicago Tribune Building, next to the river.

The Wrigley Building

Along the river

I love the look of the Carbide and Carbon Bldg. (1929), covered in polished black granite.
 It really did shine like this at the end of the day.

The Copts were protesting Egyptian police/military.

A marvelous mix of the old and new.
As I recall, this building--the Merchandise Bldg. (1930)--was built by the Marshall Field family; it was eventually purchased by the Kennedy family (1948).
It's enormous--it was for a time the largest building in the world--and it's right on the river.

Most of these shots were taken relatively late in the day.

Later, on one of the marvelous bridges across the Chicago River.
On our way to a fun bar right along the river.
Later that night: at an Italian place just down the road from our hotel.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kathie and Roy's Chicago adventure: day 2

It's been rainy today in Chicago, but Chicago is a town that looks good wet. This is true of other things as well.
Kathie is here to read a paper before the Association for Humanist Sociology, which is having its annual meeting this week. Today, I went along as a guest.
From the conference HQ (the Hilton-Orrlington), conferees took a bus to Hull House, which is a very cool place indeed.
Hull House was founded in 1889 by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr. It is the most famous example of the century-old phenomenon of "settlement houses," of which there were 500 in the U.S. by 1920.
Naturally, Addams, a pacifist and progressive sociologist, had an FBI file; she was regarded for a time as "the most dangerous person in the country."
She was a philosopher, you know. A "feminist pragmatist."
In 1932, she received a Nobel Peace Prize. She died in 1935.
There isn't much left of the huge complex that Hull House became, but at least two buildings remain, and they are fascinating. Above is a clock in the larger building. Here we see keys used by Addams and other Hull House officials. You can read more about Hull House here.

In the old community building, we heard a lecture by scholar Mary Joe Deegan. Deegan is attempting to correct neglect of the sociological and philosophical work of Addams and her peers.

Tomorrow, the U-505

Tonight, we walked down the street to Dave's Italian Restaurant. Had some wine. 
Kathie carefully studied the menu. 
This is a public library across the street from our hotel.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The southwest, 1958

The Grand Canyon, natch
This is actually a detail from a double-exposure. You can see some "doubling" in Annie's face
Another double exposure