|Colopalooza 2003: Chicago
"Ferris Bueller's Weekend Off"
In a quest to bring the Paloozian experience to every great
American city, the Founders made a bold turn toward the
future in deciding to hold the eighth edition of Colopalooza
in Chicago. Home to Paloozian inspiration Ferris Bueller...a
town with more restaurants and bars per square mile than
any on earth...land of the lovable Cubbies and the southside
Sox...hog butcher to the world...pride of the rust
belt...Sinatra's toddling' town...sweet home, Chicago!
Avoid the misery. Plan your day. And do it right.
- F. Bueller
I don't care if you're fifty five or seven--everyone needs a day off.
- F. Bueller
Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a
while, you could miss it. - F. Bueller
Be a man. Take some Pepto, get dressed and let's go.
- F. Bueller
The question isn't "What are we going to do?" The question is
"What aren't we going to do?" - F. Bueller
Our saga begins with the arrival of several Paloozians at
the mini-bar at storied John Wayne Airport. Yet another
exciting chapter in the Paloozian saga is about to unfold.
Milo and Sean hanging out in John Wayne discussing
Sean's poor decision to go with the bootie-sock look for
the flight. So, who's the gayest Paloozian? Puh-lease!!
Upon arrival in Chicago, the Paloozians begin the 36 mile
walk through O'Hare Airport, highlighted by the ever-so
relaxing jaunt underneath the United runway.
Enjoying the benefits of the world's most navigable city,
the young Paloozians ride the L downtown to their hotel.
Although not pictured, Sean's still wearing the booty socks.
The Billy Goat Tavern is a rat-hole underneath the city
that was originally made famous in 1945 when the owner
invoked a curse on the Cubs that has lasted to this day.
Just moments after arrival, the Paloozians
walk a few blocks through down the
"Magnificent Mile" toward the Billy Goat.
But the thing that really makes this place tick is it's
classic greasy "cheezeborger", made famous by former
patrons, John Belushi and Dan Akroyd of SNL fame.
Although Chuck highly recommended the Ribeye
Sandwich (which we tried two days later), it's the double
cheese, chips (no fries, chips) and Old Style that rock.
Big James and Chicago Playboys take the stage and bust
into a nice, steaming heap of Chicago Blues--heavy on the
horns and bass, with a side order of coordinated leg kicks.
After a lovely meal at The
Goat, the Paloozians head to
Buddy Guy's Blues Club.
Milo chalks up his stick, while Big James and his boys
bust out in the background. Craig & Milo manage to blow
through several games without winning one damn game.
I'll give you one guess. That's right, this is Big James.
Pictured here with Milo, he's sporting some sort of
paper-rock-scissors gang symbol that all the kids are into.
After Buddy Guy's, the Paloozians head north to sample
the lemon drops at McGee's. Sean and Al contemplate
the rigors of child-rearing over a couple of Marlboros.
A few hours later and the evening has dissolved into a
quest for butane. Here's Sean attempting to light the bar
on fire under the guise of filling Craig's new zippo.
Needless to say, things then completely unravel, as the
boys take a 2:30 am stab at some dump proclaiming to
have "burritos as big as your head". Gyros next, anyone?
As usual, the cube-dwelling Paloozians totally over-reach
on the first day. Sean and Chuck cab through the
darkness of Chicago contemplating a short night's rest.
Wake up, walk two blocks, take the train north for fifteen
minutes and you're there--at one of the finest spots on the
face of this earth--the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.
Chuck enjoys a fresh Heineken on a perfect afternoon at
Murphy's Bleachers, just steps from the Wrigley Field
bleachers. It's a perfect day at 75 degrees and a breeze.
Although under a variety of different names, Murphy's
Bleachers has been serving up beers to Cubs fans since
the early 1900's. And when you're there, you can tell.
The place is so popular before and after Cubs games that
the city lets them set up barriers that extend halfway
across the street to hold in all the beer-swilling Cubs fans.
In what could have easily become the greatest Paloozian
moment of all time, a talent scout for Oprah spots your
heroes and targets one of it's founders for the show.
That's right folks, Oprah wanted to shave Dinky bald and
she wouldn't take no for an answer. But Dinky needed
some time to think about it and alas, he still has his hair.
Finally the Paloozians enter the hallowed grounds of
Wrigley and are immediately met by Josh the Old Style
guy, who hooks us up with some cold ones right away.
Once the Old Styles start flowing, the Paloozian hijinx
kicks into high gear. Here's Clem giving us an example
of what Oprah wanted to do with Dean's flowing locks.
The action begins and the Paloozians are treated to a
classic battle between hated rivals, the Cards and
Cubs--both of which are within 2 games of the division lead.
A game at Wrigley is a unique event. I don't know if it's
the wind , the sun or the Old Styles but there always
seems to be a lot of drama. Here Sammy gets tossed.
Which of course, leads to about 2,000 beers being thrown
onto the field by the infamous bleacher bums. The poor
guys in the red shirts scurry out to clean up the mess.
The tag on Al's spiffy new Cubbies sweatshirt said it all.
"Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don't
mind, age don't matter" by famed pitcher, Satchel Paige.
After the game, the hungry Paloozians partake in another
Windy City tradition--the deep dish pizza at Uno. With its
ultra-thick crust, you can only handle two pieces max.
Then it was off to The Second City Comedy Theater,
where we learn about Himacanes, Manados and the
infamous tea bags that would forever be part of our lives.
Fresh off a good night's sleep, the Paloozians embark on
a lovely cruise down the Chicago River to learn about all
the tremendous architecture that's found along the river.
It's another great day, so the Paloozians take the
opportunity to get a little sun as they float down the
world's greenest river and past several famous buildings.
At the far end of our tour, the boat turns around to give us
a perfect view of the Sears Tower--currently the world's
second tallest building. It often stands above cloud level.
And then on the other end, the Paloozians cruise out into
the edge of Lake Michigan to get another nice view of the
city before we return to port...and hit The Goat again.
After lunch, the Paloozians split into two groups. Here's
Milo, who somehow ended up as part of the beer-swilling
group, measuring up against the Hancock Tower.
Once we arrive at the observatory, the Paloozians are
shocked to discover that a giant spider was making its way
from Naperville, headed straight for downtown Chicago.
It didn't take long for Chuck to lose his balance and
eventually fall over the edge of the Hancock's scenic
observatory level. Nice expression, Chuckles.
Luckily, he was able to snag a beam and keep himself
from falling to an untimely death. Plus, he was able to
get a free lunch out of the deal--the apple was delicious.
Not realizing Chuck had landed on the beam, Craig also
dives from the top of the building in a valiant attempt to
save Chuck from almost certain death.
Unfortunately, he landed on the same beam, thus
knocking Chuck off (who actually landed safely down on
Michigan Ave). Just another Paloozian adventure.
With the touristy part of our day complete, the Paloozians
get back to the business of serious beer and root beer
drinking. Here they are at the Berghoff Oktoberfest.
Chuck and Dean discuss the many medicinal benefits of
beer drinking in a noble attempt to sway Milo from a sad
life of blue-drinks to one of pure barley, hops and yeast.
But it's to no avail, as young Milo continues his twisted
non-beer drinking existence. Here he is matching
"beverages" with his beer-loving friend, Craig.
After a few beers, Chuck continues his obsession with
living vicariously through others by insisting that we all
take pictures with women begging not to be photographed.
After a long afternoon at Oktoberfest, Chuck, Dean, Milo
and Craig venture on to the White Sox game on Chicago's
rougher south side. Chuck's Sox beat the Indians 5-0.
On the train back, another random person assumes long
hair = pot-smoker and offers Dinky some reading
material for the ride. He then accused us of being cops.
At this point, you may be wondering what has become of
the other Paloozians. Here are Clem, Al, Sean and Oprah
sailing Lake Michigan on the spacious SS Tea Bag.
Later that night, the boys shaved their heads, dipped
themselves in blue paint and worked the streets of
Chicago for tips, pretending to be the Blue Man Group.
Luckily, the stray group came to its senses later that
night and met the root beer/beer-swillers at Tilli's. Yes, I
stole this shot off the web, hence the mysterious day shot.
In commemoration of the first
official Paloozian "Gay Day",
the Paloozians share tea bags.
Then about 1/2 before kick-off, they bust into the Notre
Dame fight song and march across campus, as all the fans
descend upon the stadium behind them.
The next day is highlighted by our long trip to see Notre
Dame take on Washington St. Before the game, the band
assembles on the edge of campus for some fan taunting.
At this point, there must be at least 40,000 people heading
toward the stadium all at once from all directions. The
crown is so thick, it feels like they are leaving a game.
Then everyone shows up at the Stadium at the same time
as the band. The players come out and run beside the
band and lead them through to tunnel to the field.
Finally, we're ready to get this party started. The band
(which is friggin' huge) pours through the tunnel and
onto the field for some more fight song work.
Hard to see in this shot but one of the coolest things
about a Notre Dame game is the student section. After
touchdowns, they do student push-ups above the crowd.
In a study of contrasts, here is the root-beer swilling Milo
Chavis--fired up to see his second favorite team, dressed
in his ND jersey and ever-present visor. He's good to go.
And then there's Chuck O'Connor, he of the beer swilling
contingent. He's busy dreaming about what it would be
like if he hadn't lost his cell phone at Comiskey last night.
After the game, the Paloozians are quickly back in the
saddle, enjoying some frosty cold margaritas at "The
Legends"--the bar right outside of Notre Dame Stadium.
The Notre Dame campus is half old buildings steeped with
tradition and half classic catholic marketing. These guys
know how to work the whole Notre Dame tradition thing.
The tailgating at Notre Dame is pretty damn serious,
evidenced by this stunning display of trash and a co-ed
who's sleeping against a car. And they go all night long.
Dean and Chuck met these guys before the game and
convinced us to return to the scene of the crime after it
was over. They were set up to go on for days there.
Before catching the train back to Chicago, the Paloozians
take a quick tour of the old end of the campus. This is
the famous "golden dome" that rises above the campus.
And here is the equally famous grotto where the Virgin
Mary apparently watches over the Notre Dame football
team as they pray for touchdowns, field goals and safeties.
Our final day of the Palooza ushers in another splitting of
the Paloozian experience. Sean goes home early, Dean
stays in Chicago and Chuck tries to get his phone back.
Meanwhile Clem, Milo and Craig venture
onward to historic Lambeau Field. Here are
Craig & Milo before the Lombardi statue.
After the game, the Paloozians decide to sample some of
the local flavor and make a last minute stop at The
Coaches Corner before heading back to the airport.
The Coaches Corner proved to be a fine local
establishment, offering all-you-can-drink Pabst for only
$6 and the ever-popular "Perch Plate" for a scant $5.95.
The game quickly gets out of control for the Pack, as the
Vikes shoot out to a big lead. Here's Moss scoring yet
another TD. Minnesota holds on to win by a touchdown.
The sweatiest day I'll ever spend at a football game was
the day I spent watching this game at the "frozen tundra
of Lambeau Field". Here is Brett Favre warming up.
And so concludes the eighth chapter of the outstanding tradition known as Colopalooza.
Hearkening back to the early years--this was definitely one where we packed in as much as
possible, much to the detriment of our bodies, sleep patterns and overall health. But as always, it
was a blast. Where are the Paloozians headed next? Philly, Dallas, DC? Or back to the
comfortable environs of the Log Palace? Stay tuned to find out in the coming months. Thanks go
out to this year's Paloozians for another fine excursion. Until next year...
You're still here? It's over. Go home.
- F. Bueller