The 4th oj July, Freedom and our governmernt who takes those freedoms.

          A few days ago we in the United States celebrated our freedom once again. Freedom I believe this is a word we take for granted sometimes. I see our politicians messing with every law they possibly can to take these freedom’s away, We sit here and let them take our freedom, and say hey its okay they are our leaders, and there is nothing we can can do about it.

       You are wrong there is something you can do, We as a people can vote these people out of office. We can make our voices known. We sit back and let them take our freedoms. I say its time we stop letting them take our freedom.

       We as a people several years ago on September 11, 2011 Watched as a Nation came together in one of the saddest, and most devastating moments in our history. Our politicians sat and said we as a nation should come together, Whether we are Democrat or Republican, African American, or White, Catholic or Muslim. We as a nation were that way for the first few months after September 11th, and then we went right back to the way we were.

      Sometimes I think as citizens we have forgotten what it is like to know we were born with the Freedom of Speech. The freedom to protest peacefully, The freedom to practice whatever religion you may be. This country is great and we let our politicians take advantage of us, and let them trample those freedoms.

       I have to say the past 4 years or so I have become so disappointed in our Nation. I myself still think we can be great once again. Lincoln once said,

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

A Government of the people, By the people, and for the people, shall not perish from this earth.

We as a People Have forgotten those words, In a time when we were still a fairly new nation. We warred, and Brother was pitted against brother, cousin against cousin, Friends against friends. Yet at the end We still figured out what a Great Nation we could be. Instead we have taken our freedoms, and let people throw them away. We have fallen apart Democrats once again dig Dirt against Republicans, and Vice Verse. They figure out ways to take more of our money because of a failing economy. Yet we sit back and let this happen and let what was once a Great Nation fall apart right underneath our noses.

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The Great Useless Amtrak Employees At Union Station, Chicago, Illinois

Normally I include a photo of some sort in every blog I write. today I am not including one, instead I want to write about the horrible experience I had with Amtrak the past day.

Last night I got to the Illinois Terminal, Champaign, Illinois about 5pm or so,I was a couple hours early due to the fact my ride had to be somewhere else that evening. My train was supposed to be in at 6:59pm Heading towards Chicago, Illinois. around 7:15 they finally call us out to the platform to wait. All the passengers including Myself waited an hour outside, until the customer service rep said it was going to be  awhile until the train would be there.

We went inside as the customer service reps and police started telling the customers they could not divulge any information as to why our train was this late. People started investigating it themselves, and found out our train that we were supposed to catch had been hit by a Tractor, the witnesses I talked to had said a Semi carrying a tractor had hit the train.

For the next 2 hours or so we sat around until Amtrak finally admitted, that their train had struck farm equipment. It was not until about 9pm or so when a freight engine finally towed the Amtrak train we were supposed to be on with the remaining passengers going to Chicago, and they let them off at the Illinois Terminal. As the Train passed I had noticed just how damaged the Engine pulling the Amtrak really was. As the Passengers were getting off shaken by this incident, Channel 3 news had showed up to interview them and get a shot of the train being towed.

We sat there until about 10:30 When the girl at the Customer Service Desk made an announcement, that all passengers going to Chicago should remain in the Amtrak lobby until further notice about the buses they had got. Around  11 pm they finally told us our buses would be there momentarily, and they had us stand outside on this island with a small roof over it as the rain came down. We stood there until 12am before any buses finally arrived.

We had boarded the buses as the bus driver started loading from the middle of the line and not the beginning of the line, and he had caused one female passenger to become irate with this, and he tried to play Mr. Tough Guy, and get in the woman’s face literally. After we boarded the buses, it was finally time to leave, but as we got further down the road, we had all realized the bus we were on had no heat. We dealt with this for about two and a half hours. We finally arrived at what we were told was Union Station in Chicago, Illinois, yet we were dropped off two blocks from the station itself, and we all had to walk in 45 degree temps through a steady rain.

We had got to the doors of Union Station, and the police were standing inside, and would not listen to who we were, and things were about to get heated. The Manager was a tall skinny, white , shaved head snob with glasses he finally listened after 5 minutes of arguing trying to prove who we all were. We kept telling him we are Train 392, and the buses just got us here, and yet he stared at us like we were zombies about to eat him. He had finally let us in, and we were all ushered downstairs and told to go to the Amtrak Lobby basically without question, as if he was trying to avoid being confronted by already Irate passengers.

At the Champaign, Illinois Terminal WE WERE TOLD THAT AMTRAK WOULD PUT US UP IF WE MISSED OUR CONNECTING TRAINS BACK HOME, AND WE WOULD BE PUT UP IN A HOTEL. I told the Manager at Union Station this, and I was told this is my final destination this is where I stay. I then proceeded to tell him I have been stuck in Champaign, Illinois for 6 hours, some of us brought just enough money to get back to our destinations, and we are hungry and just want a place to lay our heads. He vehemently denied Amtrak ever telling me this although this was a guy in Chicago telling me what someone in Champaign said. I finally had had enough. I went to Customer relations to ask to use the phone, because mine was not working, and I was told I could not use the phone, and Mr. Tough snob manager came out and tried to confront me again. This time I told him we want accommodations or I want a cab back to my mothers house which is 75 miles away. He refused again telling me he cannot get me a cab because them getting us there this late was not their fault and this is my final destination and this is where we will stay until our trains in the morning.

After Awhile I went back in and told him again look this is not our fault and should not have to pay the consequences because of the mistakes of Amtrak. He had then told me he was gonna call the Police. I said fine call the police because I think this whole thing is gotten way out of hand, and the fact you will not take care of your customers but instead refuse to listen or even provide a cup of coffee for that matter for the weary travelers which you refuse to help.

The police arrived listened to both our stories agreed my story was the more compelling argument but he could not do anything, and he left. The manager then passed the buck to !-800-USA-RAIL the customer service line, I said I did not want to speak to a representative on the phone. He then asked me why I left Champaign If I knew I was going to be stuck here in Chicago for the night, I explained to him once again, We were told we would be put up in Hotels for the night, He then Proceeded to tell me, and mind you this was now past 2:30 in the morning that he had just called the Illinois terminal and they never said that Illinois Terminal usually closes completely for the night before then. So I knew he was blatantly lying to me right there and then. He then proceeded to ask me why didn’t i just stay there in Champaign and have my parents come get me because that is where I was headed for the weekend. I told him I live 240 miles from my parents they are not going to travel 240 miles at Dam near 11pm at night to come get me to bring me up. Mind you my father is well into his seventies, and does not walk to well anymore. He then said well why didn’t you call them and ask for a ride when I got to Union Station, We got in about 2 am and my parents are still 75 miles from that point. I was getting mad at his why didn’t you questions, because he acted as if it were just that easy.

I waited until about 6 in the morning as I finally nodded off in an Amtrak lobby chair for about an hour maybe less, it was not comfortable, and I did not sleep well. I went to customer relations to try to use the phone again, because Amtrak does not have WiFIi like they claim in Union station it is only for those who are using sleeper accommodations . i explained I was part of the 392 debacle, and my phone does not work right now I would just like to call my parents to let them know what time to meet me in Fox lake, Illinois this morning. She  snipped at me I need a ticket to prove that because we normally Do NOT DO THIS! I said here is my ticket and you and your managers have already put us out, I need a phone!. She let me use the phone, and afterward told me my ticket was no good since I did not take the train into the station. So I had to go get a new return ticket, because If you do not Check in on the train, they do whats called a forced check in and your ticket is no good. Mind you some of us never got checked in on the train because we got bussed because of this fiasco. I went to the customer service lady at the ticket counter, she actually called customer service to clear the force check in. and was the nicest lady I encountered all night that worked for Amtrak! I even told her that.

I suggest that if you take Amtrak read their small print, and buyer beware if a train gets in a wreck before or while your on the train you may experience some of these same problems with bad customer representatives of their company. If this ever happens again no matter how I will find a way back home to my own bed before I try to go on ! It is not worth the hassle and the problems you encounter. These guidelines for the way they treat people need to be rewritten for them at Amtrak.

Sorry for the rant I just wanted to get this all off my chest as I have now been up for almost 24 hours with maybe an hour or so of sleep or a power nap. I would like comments on this ! and tell me your views.

Thank you,

Brian

Middle of Nowhere, Illinois!

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      Everday I pass this grain elevator on one of my walks, or even on the way to go to the post office. Living in the middle of nowhere Illinois is a definite culture shock. I am used to having a grocery store within a few miles, and not having to go far. Instead we are driving 9 miles to the nearest grocery store. We are 30 minutes from any Walmart. Our town consists of a few gift shops, and a Casey’s General Store. I should also mention we have an antique store, a Gun shop, a cabinet maker, and last but not least the local butcher. Our police station appears to be the old Train station, and have two squad cars. It seems to, be a slower pace to life. I do miss my family and friends. I also miss Whitesox games on T.V everyday, and Blackhawks Games Everyday too. Instead I am stuck Watching St. Louis Cardinal Games and St.Louis Blues Games. Eventually I do plan on going to see my Hawks play the blues in St. Louis, and going to see the Arch, and Busch Stadium, maybe go visit the St. Louis Zoo. there is plenty to photograph around here including Aurthor Illinois, which is a great little Amish Community. I also might try to catch some Illini Baseball games this spring in Champaign, Illinois. I am hoping to start doing more Ive pretty much explored this little town. If anyone in Central Illinois has any Ideas of stuff to photograph, comment or let me know.

Wondering what is around the Corner

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       So next week January 15th, 2014 I leave Northern, Illinois for the Fields consisting of Corn, and Soy and a Vintage town in Central Illinois. At the same time I am excited, I still feel some sadness, because of some things I leave behind, like my Family, and Friends mainly. I grew up here since I was about 14 years old or so, and have been in this area since. I got Used to places like McHenry, Illinois. Although me and my ex-wife are no longer together, I met her here in this area, and we had 3 beautiful kids together. I will be getting them a week of winter break, spring break, and all of summer. It is more time to spend with them overall though. Normally I only get them every other weekend on Saturdays and Sundays. I will be sad that they are over 200 miles away.

     I know this will be a change, like I said I am leaving my kids here with their mother, but I know they are still in good hands. I have many memories here though. High School Hanging out with my friends at the High School football games when I was a teenager and the dances after the games. Homecomings, turnabouts, and proms where many new relationships were made, but heartbreak also happened at times. Spending Time at the Spot which was a pool hall in McHenry, Illinois. Working at the McHenry outdoor theater forever and a day.Many nights spent there watching movies. Movies such as Casper, Finding Nemo, Jay, and Silent Bob Strikes Back, The Others, and the list goes on and on.

     The good thing about moving though is I am starting a new life, and getting to make new friends. I will also be able to break out the camera and explore new areas. the closest Wal-Mart will be about half an hour or so away. It is an amazing little town so Vintage, with a splash of modern with the outlet mall. St. Louis and Chicago are only about 2 hours or so away in case I do want to go to either city. Lets face it going to see a Blackhawks game at the United Center is Expensive and it will be cheaper for me to go to see them play the Blues in St. Louis.  Monicals Pizza is a delight to go to if your ever in Central, Illinois, and they have the most amazing French Dressing for their salads, and an even more amazing Pizza. We may not have places like we got up here like a Jewel, as those seem reserved for northern Illinois, and the Chicago Land area. We do on the other hand have the convenience of an IGA. If your hungry late at night places like Denny’s and a 24 hour subway are open. Some of the Best Carmel Apples I have ever had come from the Candy Kitchen there.

    I know I will miss the convenience of some of the stuff here. Most of all though I will miss My family, kids, and My Friends the most. I will be back occasionally to see them and spend holidays and such with them though. I hope my friends also maybe find it in their heart occasionally to come visit me to, I will not have very many friends to start down their, and sure would be nice to see some familiar faces on occasion!!! Well I am going to go for now I hope you enjoyed this it is different than I normally write. But if you like this hit like share it and please follow!!!

Thank You,

Brian

Bald Eagles a majestic raptor!

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        So last weekend I was out at Grant Farm’s neat St. Louis, Missouri, and there it was the most beautiful bird of prey in the world, the Bald Eagle. Bald eagles are indigenous to most of North America, and normally nest in non-human populated areas along rivers, lakes, marshes, with abundant fish life. The American Bald eagle has over 700 feathers on its body, and the male of the species weighs about 9 pounds, and the female approximately 14 pounds.

        The Bald Eagle is a thing of beauty in  the air, and has soaring speeds 35-42 miles an hour, and diving speeds 75-99 miles an hour. The Bald eagle was so named not because it was bald, but because of the white coloring in the feathers on the top of its head and neck. Their diet consists of mainly fish, birds, and mammals. They have even been known to bring cats back to their nests to feed. When feeding their young usually the stronger of the the eagle offspring survive and the strongest of the nestlings will bully the weaker of the two and gain the upper hand, until the other is malnourished and eventually dies.

       Eagle nests are usually large and have a cover from the foliage of no more than 60 percent and no less than 20 percent. Eagle nests have been recorded up to 10 feet in diameter, and 20 feet deep, and weighed over a ton. The breeding pair of Eagles is the only bird that once they find a mate will stay together for life.  A Bald eagles life span in the wild is usually 20 years, and the oldest recorded eagle in the wild was 28 years old.

      The Bald Eagle is the National Bird and National Animal of the United States of America. In the late 20th Century the Bald Eagle faced Extinction from the wild, and was extremely endangered due to hunters and poachers. Now because of modern science and people willing to help they were removed from the Endangered species list July 12th, 1995, and put on the threatened list instead. It was removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the lower 48 States on June 28, 2007, and today there are over 15,000 breeding pairs alone in the United States. We should still fight to protect this beautiful bird, and all other endangered species including the African Elephant, and The Bengal Tiger.

     In order to protect such species places such as the World Wild Life fund have been set up for research and helping bring species back from the brink of extinction. If people donate to these funds or even volunteer time to help such causes, or even just make these causes known, our children, and grand children can enjoy the animals in the wild, and not just in a zoo, or in pictures in a science, or text book someplace. I urge all to please share and make sure we protect these birds and animals.

Thank you!!!

Traveling

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      I went down to Tuscola, Illinois this past week again I love going down there. most of the land is Farmland, Untouched, Or photo spectacular. Let me explain that last one photo spectacular. I mean that there are so many unique aspects old barns, old signage, or even your early 20th century brick roads. While traveling I love looking out the window seeing barns such as pictured above. I love having the little bit of puffy cloud cover, because it gives depth to the photos. As I said before I love looking at something and seeing something old as a beautiful piece of America. Driving down through central Illinois you see corn and soy. our 2 major bumper crops! It is nothing but fields for miles and I love it!. I love the open skies, the fresh air, and not smelling exhaust, and other pollutants in the air. I cannot wait to go back down there again I have tons more to photograph down there!.

American Icons the Drive-in theater

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On December 31st of 2013 A couple hundred Drive-in Screens across America might go dark simultaneously, and never see another movie played upon them again.

Honda has combined in an effort to preserve our past to give away 5 digital projectors, to 5 drive in theaters who will be voted by the American public to get them. This will only be 5 out of a little over 300 Drive-in theaters to be saved. On December 31st, 2013 film companies will stop producing 35 mm film, and all theaters will have to make the digital conversion. These digital projectors at a cost of a little over 85,000 dollars are expensive, and most Drive-in theaters being open seasonally cannot afford this conversion. The theaters depend on donations, and contests like this to survive.

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The McHenry Outdoor Theater could be one of these that close. They are in this contest. Here is the link http://projectdrivein.com/vote_111.

Here are some things that will be lost not only the experience of seeing a movie under the stars, but also packing your kids up in the car in their pajamas, eating popcorn, hotdogs, and slurping a giant Coke. We will also start to forget Americana, poodle skirts, and Friday nights with classic cars, where carhops would bring you your food!.

The Drive-in became a part of Americana, and was featured in movies like Grease, The Outsiders, and classic Tv series like Happy Days. Please help if you have a local Drive-In that needs help, please vote, or donate they need your help. If we forget our past we will be worse off in our future!