Happy St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

Thursday through Sunday, I happened to be in Chicago for the Society of Surgical Oncology annual meeting. Leave it to surgeons to schedule a meeting the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago.

In Chicago.

That means the drinking in the city started Friday after business hours and continued all the way through Sunday–and that was just the natives. Everywhere I went on Friday and Saturday night, there were staggering people dressed in green hanging on to each other. Another lovely thing was that the meeting was at the Sheraton (one of my favorite hotels in Chicago, it’s crappy, slow, and expensive wifi service notwithstanding), which is right next to the hallowed place where a yearly St. Patrick’s Day tradition occurs every year on the Chicago River between the N. Michigan Ave. and N. Columbus Drive bridges: the dying green of the Chicago River. Naturally, I bugged out of the meeting. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me; fortunately I had my camera phone. Some will ask: How can you tell the difference after they dye the river? The answer: Even the Chicago River isn’t fluorescent green normally. Usually, it’s a rather dull, pukey color green. Here’s what it looked like:


Come to think of it, it’s not all that different from the usual shade of green of the Chicago River.

Sadly, I was too dedicated to blow off the afternoon and go to the St. Patrick’s Day parade that started at noon.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, all!


  1. #1 J-Dog
    March 17, 2008

    So, did the Oncologists generally prefer the Plastic Irish Hat, or the Shamrock Hat at the meetings?

    (And thank you for the pictures.)

  2. #2 DrFrank
    March 17, 2008

    Dyeing the river seems pretty extreme – even the actually Irish generally don’t go that far. They just drink lots 😉

    Anyway, if lots of people in America are descended from the Irish, how come there are still Irish people? [/terriblegag]

  3. #3 Janine
    March 17, 2008

    Orac, you are sadly mistaken about when the debauchery started in Chicago. It began last Sunday, March 9, with the South Side Irish Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. It is a safe bet that many people started celebrating the night before. That’s right, a week and a half of partying over being “Irish”, i.e. wearing green clothing.

    As for the Chicago River, it normally is a more dull grayish green.

    Perhaps I should pull out My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless to celebrate. I try to avoid the stereotypically Irish activities.

  4. #4 Brendan Speer
    March 17, 2008

    Depends on the last time the Dave Matthews Band bus has been around, really.

    PS You were in town and didn’t schedule a meet ‘n greet! Sad day!

  5. #5 Orac
    March 17, 2008

    I used to live in Chicago. I still have two sisters living there. Not only that, but more than usual of seldom-seen friends from the surgical world were at the meeting, both from Chicago and elsewhere. I barely managed to see all the people I wanted to see while I was there.

    I’ll probably be in Chicago again in early June for the ASCO meeting; I anticipate time being less tight then.

  6. #6 peterbr
    March 17, 2008

    Hot damn! Thanks for the pics. Happy St. Paddy’s from Boston!

  7. #7 Chas
    March 18, 2008

    You’re just down the street from the Chicago Tribune, home of Julie Deardroff, Dennis Byrne, et. al. Maybe you should drop by and explain it to them?

  8. #8 Uncle Dave
    March 18, 2008

    Those are camera phone pictures? Nice camera phone pictures. You must have a mega pixel phone camera.
    Mine is about the same resolution as the graphics diplay which ain’t much.

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