Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Stupid bureaucrats!

The geniuses who run the Illinois Bureau of Tourism have come up with a list of the "Seven Wonders of Illinois," and not one of them has anything to do with Abraham Lincoln, the state's greatest claim to fame.

We've got plenty of Lincoln shrines in this state, including a terrific new museum in Springfield, but none of them passed muster in the bureau's idiotic selection process.

Ah, but another important Springfield attraction, an eatery called the Cozy Dog Drive-In, was on the list of finalists. Oh, boy, let's go there soon!

One might argue that the bureau is not at fault in this snub of the Great Emancipator. After all, the "Seven Wonders of Illinois" were determined by online votes cast by visitors to the bureau's Web site during March.

Therein lies the problem. Online polls are worthless. They don't represent a cross-section of the populace. They're easily manipulated. And who among us even bothered to visit this Web site? Not surprisingly, the bureau has declined to reveal how many votes were cast. The number probably is embarrassingly small.

Another ridiculous feature of this exercise is that the "Seven Wonders of Illinois" are evenly distributed among seven geographic areas of the state. Would you rate the seven best restaurants in Illinois that way? The seven best hotels? The seven best state parks? The seven best museums? The seven best college campuses?

Here's the list of "wonders":

  • Wrigley Field in Chicago

  • Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette

  • Starved Rock State Park near Utica

  • Allerton Park and Retreat Center in Monticello

  • Black Hawk State Historic Site in Rock Island

  • Rend Lake in Benton

  • Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway in Alton

All of these are nice places, I'm sure, but I could come up with dozens of others that arguably are better destinations for vacationing couples and families.

The most overrated of these "wonders," of course, is Wrigley Field. In all of Chicago, with its many cultural and natural attractions, this ballpark is the most wonderful place to visit? Please.

Sure, Wrigley has its charms, but it's accessible only when the Cubs are at home -- and even then it's enjoyable only when the weather is nice.


Will Pfeifer said...

Rascal, you're one of the Seven Wonders in my book!

The Rascal said...

Will: It's a porno book, right?