Chicago fun but not very windy

In my quest for wind, six of the Free Press staffers and I traveled to Chicago this past weekend to attend the Inde­pendent Free Papers of Amer­ica’s fall conference at the Westin O’Hare Hotel.

The Windy City didn’t perform its duty—no wind there either.

We actually didn’t go there for the wind but to learn about the trends in our industry and information to help us do a better job for our customers.

We thank Don and Andrew for staying home to cover sports, and Tina for holding down the fort in our absence.

BlackBerry Messenger or BBM was one of the neatest little tricks I picked up while in Chicago. Justin, whose company does our flip-through-the-pages edition on our Free Press Web site, showed me how to do instant messaging with anyone who has a BlackBerry phone.

It also has a voice feature that eliminates the need to type anything on the tiny keyboard; a quick voice message is sent easily.

Saturday night was free time, so our group took the train to downtown Chicago. We must have walked five miles throughout the evening with many stops, including Mike Ditka’s restaurant, a Chicago pizza place featuring deep-pan pizza—where we dined and enjoyed the Navy Pier and rode the giant Ferris Wheel.

Near the Chicago Tribune we stumbled upon the famous Billy Goat Tavern and Grill, scene of a Saturday Night Live skit featuring the late John Belushi and the place responsible for the hex on the Chicago Cubs.

We didn’t have “Cheeze­borger, cheeze­borger, cheeze­borger, Pepsi…no Coke and were taken back with the gruff greeting we received as we entered.

If you want the whole story about the place, Google it or go to .

I noticed on my walk this morning that the lines are now painted on the track at the stadium. It is really amazing how straight and uniform they are.

I attended the weight room orientation for patrons at the high school strength-training facility a couple of Sunday nights ago. Still haven’t made it back, due to the schedule being too full during the time it’s open.

Quite a few folks besides me noticed that the draw of a new stadium and Trojan football apparently trump any lingering feelings about a lawsuit to stop it from being built.

Customer service at the Westin was outstanding. People in the food service were specially attentive to our needs.

For example, when I asked for vinegar for my breakfast potatoes, they produced some in a matter of minutes. They had to-die-for olives and many pasta dishes that I couldn’t get enough of. So I asked what brand of olives in case I could find and buy some when I got home.

Our server couldn’t tell me, but soon returned with a big jar of them so I could read the label myself, as shown here.

Olives IMG00009.jpg
Olives IMG00009.jpg


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