Chicago in April. It’s either 8 degrees or 80 degrees. We experienced both. Summer in the city and winter in the cabin of an American Airlines Boeing 767. It seems that since AA refurbished their 767’s anyone in rows 20-24 sit in an arctic blast. The airline is aware of the problem but it would take money to repair so better to just freeze out 28 passengers every flight. And who knows? Maybe soon they can charge for blankets and hot coffee and make a tidy profit. In other words -- doing what they do best.
My wife and I were in the City of Wind to see the musical revue our daughter, Annie wrote and directed at Northwestern. It was so genuinely funny that I went from relieved, to proud, to threatened. I hope she hires me someday. I’m preparing a sample of my work. (“Frasier, dad? Do you have anything more recent?”)
On Saturday the temperature went from 50 to 80 and the entire city poured outdoors. Patio cafes were brimming, parks were jammed, surgeons were moving operations to the roofs of local hospitals.
There was no need for me to go to L.A. TAN to get some color. And I was able to walk four blocks without getting frostbite so no need to workout at L.A. FITNESS – two mainstays of Chicago.
KAMA SUTRA: THE MUSICAL and MENOPAUSE: THE MUSICAL are both currently playing. Each is the story of Madonna.
Every expressway – in and out of the city on a Friday – is a parking lot. If I worked downtown I think I’d rather never see my home again than to fight that traffic.
And yet, despite the brutal weather, congestion, and Cubs everyone is so NICE. And unlike Los Angeles, waiters are actually waiters not actors thinking they’re playing waiters.
I guess 28,000,000 nice people help compensate for Frank Lloyd Wright.
Among the many great sights in Chicago was gas under $3.00. Most of our photos from this trip were me at a Citgo station.
There is a local chain called the Homemade Pizza Company. They prepare frozen pizzas for you and you take them home. They have no ovens. I can think of another name for the Homemade Pizza Company – “Any Market”! I wonder if they offer delivery services: “Guaranteed to arrive frozen or your money back.”
Chicago is known for its great museums. Did not get to the American Bar Association Museum of Law (didn’t want to brave the long lines), the National Asian-American Sports Hall of Fame, the Leather Archives & Museum (perfect for showing off that L.A. TAN), or the International Museum of Surgical Sciences (I wonder if they have a hands-on room for the kiddies?).
I passed a place offering “Generic Dentistry”. What the hell is that? They use the CVS brand Novocain? Kenmore spit sinks?
Plans continue for “the Spire” (pictured), that 150-story tower to be erected on Chicago’s lakefront (along with three floors of underground parking). During winter windstorms that thing will swing back and forth like a metronome. The developers say that’s a good thing -- your views change. I hear Oprah wants the south-west corner penthouse so on a clear day she can see her other home… in Santa Barbara.
And not to be outdone, nearby Evanston unveiled plans for a 49-story condominium skyscraper that would be the largest building in Chicago’s SUBURBS. It would kick serious ass over the puny 31-floor Oakbrook Terrace Tower. Do you think if Northwestern had a football team that went to a bowl game more than once every thirty years the city wouldn’t feel compelled to erect these er…giant shafts? I’m just asking.
On Sunday I took the “El” to the southside – where the stockyards meet the shore. Went to see the “other” Chicago baseball team play (y’know, the one that actually won a World Series in our lifetime). The White Sox were hosting the Los Angeles Angels of Some Other City in Fine Print. Considering the traffic on the Santa Ana Freway if you do live in Los Angeles and want to see your Angels it’s easier to go to Chicago.
“The Palehose” play in U.S. Cellular Field (formerly Comiskey Park). U.S. Cellular must’ve really paid through the nose to get them to change the name from Park to Field too. The park/field/stadium/yard/crib/diamond is 16 years old and has already been refurbished. Good thing too. It’s much improved. You used to get vertigo from the upper deck. Now you can sit up there without harnesses. If you haven’t been to “the Cell” since the name change, check it out. Great fun. And the hot dogs are fresh. They were probably made across the street.
When I was broadcasting for the Baltimore Orioles I called the very first night game there. I also filled for four hours during their very first rain delay. That and my Emmy are my two proudest achievements.
I remember they used to announce on the P.A. that this was a residential area so fans were asked to please leave quietly so as not to wake up the neighborhood. Then they would shoot off deafening fireworks every time a White Sox player hit a home run.
Gee, folks in "Chicagoland" sure seem to like Barack Obama more than Hillary Clinton. Even though Hillary is from Chicago.
When kids on the street say, “Do you want to buy the Tribune?” they mean the whole corporation.
Sunday night was beautiful – warm, balmy, perfect for walking around. But just to remind us this was Chicago, a huge lightening storm appeared out of nowhere complete with loud crashing thunder. Or, it could have just been Jim Thome hitting another home run for the White Sox.
Either way, it’s my kind of town.
Tomorrow: The AMERICAN IDOL recap. Here's hoping they get back to music and stop trying to be sincere. It really puts a crimp in my snarkiness.