Clintons in town? (and a self-made man!)

I have always LOVED downtown Chicago. When I moved here in 1985 (i think) I fell in love with the city. While I liked in the south ‘burbs’ I longed to live in the city. When I finished my last day of high school the immediate next day I moved on campus at Moody Bible Institute with a grounds crew job to get me downtown. I had a ton of different jobs during my four awesome years in college.
I valet parked for Ed Debevic’s among other Lettuce Entertain You restaurants. (Some of the best in Chicago!) Worked as the house magician at several restaurants including the Rock n’ Roll McDonald’s which was recently rebuilt. (Several of the other restaurants are now out of business, hopefully not the magician’s fault! D.B. Kaplin’s in Water Tower, Kenny’s Ribs on Rush, Boogie’s Dinner in the Bloomingdale’s Building, to name a few)

Original Rock n’ Roll McDonald’s where I was the
‘house magician’ for several years while at MBI.

The new Rock n’ Roll McDonald’s without a magician but still able to make
your money disappear selling the same McFood for twice the price. :)

Lame pic of my office buidling then,
but only one I could find.

One of my favorite non-ministry jobs was working for Bollinger, Ruberry and Garvey. I started as a delivery boy and worked my way up to copy boy – office supplies ordering boy – office moving whenever someone earned a window or corner office boy – whatever no one else wants to do boy, but I LOVED IT! I even got to go pick up the petty cash at the bank, I don’t want to say how much it was to protect the current ‘go fetch the money’ office boy. It was located in the 500 West Madison Train Station building.

I don’t get downtown much, but I LOVE the feeling of being downtown. The energy and busyness always charged me up. The place makes even a lowly office errand boy feel important, like he is a key part of a huge machine that would break down without him. (even though it didn’t when I left for ministry in the burbs)

Our business downtow took us to a building across the street from the State of Illinois Building. One of the first buildings I was fascinated with when my grandmother first took me there back in the 70’s on a summer trip from California as a boy.

The State of Illinois Buidling.

The building as a kid I called ‘The Inside Out Building” because it looks much bigger on the inside than it does on the outside. If you are ever near it, it is worth a trip inside.

Several movies have been filmed in this buidling with chases and shattering elevators. My favorite TRUE story is the bold burglers who dressed in white overalls with a hand truck and rented van walked off with a cash station while security guards held the door for them. They said they were taking it for ‘repairs.’ Oh, they repaired it alright – it was never seen again and they got away with it. After that Cash Machines started be installed into walls.

GET THIS: The building is cooled by eight 100,000 pound ice cubes, each 40 feet by 12 feet by 14 feet frozen at night, when electric rates are lowest, to cool water for air conditioning the following day!! Try doing that at your house! Read LOTS OF FACTS about this fascinating building.

Our visit downtown was short and a tease… but I was surprised to see that the Clintons were in town even though I didn’t hear that on the news. How did I know???

It was obvious by this truck I saw parked across from the State of Illinois Building and in front of some law offices:


I think the Clinton’s had one of these following their motorcade!

The Self Made Man!

Final picture… on the tollway (using my new I-Pass I FINALLY got!) I got a kick out of this sculpture on the back of a truck. It’s a man forming himself out of stone. I titled it “The Self Made Man.” That’s gotta hurt!

ONE OF THESE DAYS I’m gonna do what I used to do even back in high school… go downtown for an entire day and just take pictures of buildings at unusal angles and capture shots most people walk past. Here are a few I took in San Fransico on sabbatical:

Anyway, they look cool to me. Thanks for humoring me. I love working with angles and creating combo shots with non movable objects. (Generally, I can’t move buildings)

Until next time, keep on keeping on!

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Karl Bastian is the founder of, the creator of, and the author of His personal website is He is Big Kid with a passion for equipping and encouraging those who minister to children.


  1. I really like the design of the new Rock ‘n Roll McDonald’s. It has more of a “big deal” type feeling to it… haven’t been inside yet. The State of Illinois Building has been renamed The James R. Thompson Center.

  2. And by the way, congrats on finally getting an I-PASS :)

  3. The Thompson Center IS pretty cool. I have been there several times because DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) has an office out of that building. It also has a decent food court and a mini mall inside it! :)

  4. Thanks for sharing your photos and love of Chicago with us. My pastor has a blog that I think you would love. It’s He also loves Chicago and recently put a interesting picture of Chicago’s Apple store on a post that made him get 13,000 hits to his site in one day. Anyway, check his blog out…I think you’d really like it!

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