A Chicago alderman once confessed he needed physical exercise but didn't like jogging, because in that sport you couldn't hit anyone.

A driver is a king on a vinyl bucket-seat throne, changing direction with the turn of a wheel, changing the climate with a flick of the button, changing the music with the switch of a dial.

Every day all day, every night all night, cars, planes, trucks, trains, motorcycles and even pedestrians flow through that sprawling intersection like blood coursing through the arteries of the heartland, of which Chicago still reigns as the square-shouldered capital.

The brawny mix of extraordinary sights-weather, politics, races, imagination, corruption and athletics. They clash and mingle here where the broad prairies that are the world's most fertile collection of farm fields meet the vast Great Lakes that are the world's largest collection of fresh water.

Calling O'Hare an airport is like calling the Queen Elizabeth II a boat.