... The Chicago Architecture Foundation's Architecture River Cruise
, a 90-minute tour of the Loop from the Chicago River, including both branches. Neat stuff on a few different levels.
... reading the back of your River Cruise ticket. It warns you to be wary of pucks or other equipment that might be launched into the spectator area.
... Steak 'n Shake
. Rich Bocchini introduced us in 2002 in Rosemont. Dangerous.
... the Metra and its $5 weekend pass
, all-you-can-ride. Hours of entertainment. With a 90-minute ride each way from Joliet to Chicago (down the Rock Island Line -- it's a mighty good road
), that was precisely six hours of entertainment for us. There was the 4-or-so-year-old boy in front of us who kept asking his mom questions -- intelligent questions, actually. There was the 6-or-so-year-old girl behind us who told her mom a 10-minute story about a field trip -- in one run-on sentence. There was the dude who kept getting phone calls as we approached LaSalle Street Station; the first (loud) conversation began: "Dude! What's up! Yeah, I just got out of jail!" (The woman next to him got up and moved.) He later talked about his dream of opening up an, um, "adult" video store. Ah, entrepreneurial spirit. And then there was the group that just made the train on our last trip out; half went upstairs, half stayed downstairs, and the women proceeded to have loud conversations between the two levels. (Most of the guys just looked mortified.)
... wearing a green shirt while an Irishman makes a charge at Carnoustie. It looks like you've planned ahead.
. My brother can't find good pizza out there. This place is different -- their stuffed pizza isn't exactly what you're looking for in that regard -- but it's good stuff.
... The El
(or the L, or whatever). No urine, no rats, no problem! You still shouldn't make eye contact with anyone.
... Vin Scully. He was on the MLB package calling that 13-9 game last week. Riveting.
, where the guys at work told my brother to go. It's a chain, but it's good, family-style stuff. Guaranteed leftovers.
... a trip to Springfield, Ill., to visit as many Abraham Lincoln attractions as you can fit in. We made it to the Lincoln Tomb
(check out the virtual tour
), the Lincoln Home
and the Museum
(which included a cheesy but endearing Tim Russert fake newscast, imagining campaign ads by the four candidates of the election of 1860; and a video map that showed the progress of the Civil War and each army's situation, one second per week). Fascinating stuff all around. And Lincoln's speeches
... giggling at your own typos. Because "campaign ads" above originally came out "campain ads," which seems almost Freudian.
... A pit stop in Atlanta. That's Atlanta, Ill.
... buying unleaded plus in southern Illinois, where for some reason -- didn't get to ask why, though I'm suspecting some kind of ethanol thing -- it's cheaper than regular unleaded. Regular unleaded was under $3 a gallon down there; it was around $3.40 near Midway.
... The Sears Tower
. Hurry, before it's not the tallest building in the United States (let alone in Chicago
... ignoring hockey for six days, just to get away. It was a lot easier this year than last year...