Say Hello to my Little Friend – Part Two

I wrote a while back about riding my bike in the colder winter temps without my dog and feeding the squirrels  in her absence. The little guys don’t have as much to eat with the cold temps and thinned ranks of tourists on the lakefront.

I learned something new the other day. I stopped for a rest around Buckingham Fountain and was tossing nuts to a squirrel when I wondered if he would take one out of my fingers. I know they are wild animals (tiny, but still wild), but I thought if I held a long peanut, there wasn’t much chance of getting bit.

sqrl
I tried that andhe took it out of my fingers and scampered away to eat it. What I didn’t realize is that this apparently removed a barrier between us. He no longer considered my a possible predator, just a source of food. We had become buddies. The next time I was holding a peanut he ran up my leg to get it. As you can see below, I had my iPhone videocamera ready.

As you can see from the video, I was able to catch him in the act.

You can see my previous squirrely encounter here.

Tony

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Say Hello to My Little Friend

With apologies to Tony Montana for using his famous line from Scarface, I wanted you to meet my little friend the squirrel. Now that winter is here, the temperatures are too cold to bring along my dog, so I ride without her. I miss her company, but the good news is that when I stop for a rest break, the neighborhood squirrels aren’t afraid to come by for a bite. Also, the colder temps have cut down the amount of tourists around so the squirrels need help.

I met this little guy at the Buckingham Fountain plaza while I was taking a rest break from a ride. Lucky for him, I carry a baggie of peanuts for just such occasions. Maybe he knew that. The peanuts are not salted as I don’t want to contribute to hypertension in the squirrel population.

The squirrels around here are amazingly bold. One of them crawled right up my back fender one afternoon as I was standing chatting with a friend. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my iPhone out fast enough to shoot a picture of his little face looking at me while clutching my fender.

This little guy sat right in front of me and dined. Usually they take the nuts  run away  to eat them.

Cute, isn’t he?

Tony

Really Cool Billboard Truck

I saw this billboard truck yesterday morning. It was parked by Buckingham Fountain. I rode past it three different times. It isn’t beautiful in the same sense as fall color, but I think it was particularly effective. I went home and fired up my panini maker to make lunch.

Tasty Billboard Truck

Tony

Windy Clouds Behind Buckingham Fountain

I shot this photo today while taking a break on a bike ride. I love Buckingham Fountain and ride by it every day. Today there was an east wind that became gusty. As you can see from the spectacular clouds the winds seemed to be blowing at the higher altitutes, too.

This is wind and clouds around Buckingham Fountain. Click the pic for full view


We have such gorgeous sights on the Chicago Lakefront!

Tony

My Dog, My Bike, Buckingham Fountain

This is a picture from a couple of years ago when I first got the front carrier assembled for riding with my dog. I am not sure why I shot the photo as there doesn’t seem to be any attempt at composition. Yet, I really like it. Maybe it’s the lack of composition, it is kind of whimsical. The Fountain sprays away, poochie looks cute and my bike is there. All things I enjoy greatly.

Anyway, enjoy!

Tony

A Chicago Lakefront Bike Ride

I made this video a couple of years ago when I got my first iPhone. I was so thrilled to have a camcorder with me on rides, I decided to make a video riding a bicycle ride along the lakefront.

I hope you can get a feel for riding along with me on the bike. That’s Willie Nelson on the soundtrack.

Tony

Chicago’s Buckingham Fountain

I love living in Chicago and Buckingham Fountain is one of my favorite places here. I have lived within a half mile of it for years and I ride my bike over to see in nearly every day. But my relationship with this brilliant landmark goes back even further. When I was in college in summer time, I would take dates downtown to listen to the concerts in Grant Park and then walk to the fountain to watch the light show. In those less affluent times, I was able to buy us two rides on public transportation from the west side of the city downtown and back for $1.00. We would pack a little picnic and have a lovely evening. Times were simpler then.

Here it is before shooting off. Tourists photograph it all year even though the water is shut off in November

Here is the official description of the fountain from its website: The Fountain officially opened to the public on May 26, 1927 and was dedicated on August 26, 1927.  As the centerpiece of Grant Park—“Chicago’s Front Yard”, architect Edward H. Bennett (1874–1954) designed the Fountain to serve as the park’s formal focal point without obstructing the views of the Lake Michigan. Kate Sturges Buckingham (1858-1937) dedicated the structure to the people of Chicago in 1927 in memory of her late brother, Clarence, donating one million dollars for the Fountain.

It shoots 150 feet in the air every hour on the hour for 20 minutes

Edward H. Bennett designed the monument in collaboration with French sculptor Marcel Loyau and engineer Jacques H. Lambert. Inspired by the Latona Basin at Versailles, the structure is composed of four basins clad in elaborately carved granite and pink Georgia marble. The Buckingham Fountain; however, is twice the size and re-circulates

One of my great joys at the fountain occurs when the wind, sun and angle are exactly right – you can see a rainbow.

approximately three times more water than its French counterpart. Chicago’s fountain is also unique as it symbolizes Lake Michigan. Conveying the enormity of the lake, its major display uses as much as 15,000 gallons of water per minute and sprays water to a height of 150 feet from the ground. The massive lower basin features four sets of Art Deco style sea horses representing the four states that border Lake Michigan.

A colored light shot from the night

To create the sea-related bronze elements, sculptor Marcel Loyau studied the sea horse collection at a zoological institution in Paris. The fountain’s sculptural elements garnered Loyau the Prix National at the 1927 Paris Salon. The monument’s original design included colored lighting to emulate soft moonlight. During the dedication in August of 1927, John Philip Sousa conducted while his band played “Pomp and Circumstance” before an audience of 50,000 people.

For years, the fountain was entirely manually operated by two engineers who each worked a twelve-hour daily shift. Although the evening light show was first automated in 1968, the water continued to be manually operated until 1980, when the operations were fully computerized. From 1983 to 1994, the fountain’s computer was located in Atlanta. Today, however, it is on site and with a monitoring system in Arlington Heights, IL.

The Fountain has remained intact except for a brief theft of two carved fish heads from the fountain, weighing several pounds each. The fish heads were recovered when a salvage place was offered the pieces and the buyer thought they looked very familiar and reported them.

This iconic Fountain continues to be one of Chicago’s most popular tourist attractions.

I shot the first two pictures in the daylight this morning. The night one was from the web.