Thursday, June 24, 2010

Heading out of the country

I haven’t been away from my kids for more than five days since they were born.

I haven’t been away from my wife for more than five days in 21 years.

I haven’t been away from my dog for more than three hours since she moved in with us about a month ago.

I generally don’t leave the house.

But I’m leaving today to go South Africa to see the World Cup, and I’ll be gone for two weeks.

It could be the adventure of a lifetime or it could be a disaster, but either way, I’m sure there will be some good material to share with you. You know I'll be writing about it.

My sister is bringing a computer, and I may be able to check e-mail, but I'm not sure if I can post my blog or not. I'm also bringing a camera and will be taking lots of pictures. Will I be able to figure out how to post them while I'm in South Africa? That's a big if. My guess is no.

By the way, while I'm gone I also won't be posting any new Father Knows Nothing columns (those will resume July 11), and I won't be posting any Chicago Radio Spotlight interviews (those won't return until the fall), but Just One Bad Century will keep on ticking. I've written a whole month worth of material over the past few weeks, and webmaster Mike will be posting new stuff every day.

If you're a Facebook friend, I'm hoping that's the place I can keep in touch while I'm gone.

See you in a few weeks.

Have a great 4th of July weekend. I promise not to embarrass our country overseas.

Go U.S.A!

Jackson Browne

30 years ago today he released one of my favorites--"Boulevard." I've seen him in concert a few times, and he never played it, but he did play it for Soundstage a couple of years ago. Still sounds good...

Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey was born on this day in 1895.

He was one of the most famous Americans in the 1920s. During that time he became acquainted with a certain scarfaced gangster in Chicago--and that caused him quite a bit of embarrassment the night of his biggest fight.

Several of the Chicago Cubs were on hand to witness it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


That was an unbelievably tense game, but the bottom line is this: U.S.A WINS!!!!!

I don't know how anyone who saw that game can say that soccer isn't exciting. I chewed my fingernails to the bone. And Sean and I both set white guy jumping records when they scored.

Now I get to see the USA play in the round of 16. Look for me in the crowd on Saturday.

South African fact of the day

 The drinking water in South Africa is among the safest in the world...provided you get in the city. The tourism board says Johannesburg and Cape Town are safe, which is where I'm going, but if you have any doubts, they suggest drinking coffee, tea, sparkling water, or any alcoholic drink instead.

Now we're talking.

White Sox Fans

This photo (sent to me by Sox fan "DS") is from the Blackhawks parade. I think this sums up White Sox fans better than anything else I could show you. During a parade celebrating a Chicago championship, totally unrelated to the Cubs, a White Sox fan shows that there's only one thing that pulses through their veins: pure hate.

Jimmy Piersall

On this day in 1963, Jimmy Piersall hit his 100th home run and ran the bases backwards to celebrate. I couldn't find video of that, but this is wild. Jimmy as a mystery guest on What's My Line...

Ryne Sandberg Day

26 years ago today...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Harry blacks out

Everyone remembers that Harry had a stroke and missed time during the 1987 season.

But not many people remember that he had another incident seven years later, during the strike-shortened season of 1994. On this day that year, Harry blacked out and fell while the Cubs were in Miami playing the Marlins. He missed a full month of broadcasts while he recovered from the fall.

It was the beginning of the end for Harry. He was 80 years old at the time of the fall. He died less than four years later.

South African facts of the day

 A few extra facts's getting close to D-day for me.

If you rent a car, remember that you must drive on the left side of the road. If you rent a Volkswagen Beetle, it's known as a "volksie" (pronounced 'fork-see'). If you take a cab, most taxis are white minibuses, and yes--taxi drivers drive like maniacs.

South Africa, like most of the rest of the world, uses the metric system; litres, metres, kilometres, kilograms and celsius (centigrade)

The drinking age is 18.

Haggling is not commonplace. Pay the fixed price.


My kids have been laughing about this video for the past three days. Tommy asked me to post it. So, here you go. It's a montage of Homer's mmmmms.

Judy Garland

Judy Garland died on this day in 1969. She was only 47 at the time.

Most Notorious Cubs Fan Ever

It's a pretty stiff competition; there are a few that could claim the title.

But we say it's this guy.

After all,  he was Public Enemy #1.

He was born on this day in 1902.

Monday, June 21, 2010

South African fact of the day

The two cities I'm visiting, Johannesburg and Cape Town, are major metropolitan areas. How big are they? Johannesburg has approximately three times the population of Chicago, and Cape Town is about the same size as Chicago.

But neither city has a giant reflecting bean.

7 Goals

I just watched the Portugal-North Korea game--the most one-sided World Cup game I've ever seen. The final score is 7-0 in favor of Portugal.

I'm not a huge Portugal fan (crybabies), and I'm normally not a fan of a team running up the score like this, but somehow, against North Korea it feels right. The North Korean fans in the stands are reportedly Chinese actors hired to portray North Koreans. That's how ridiculously repressive North Korea is.

The only thing that gives me pause is what will happen to these poor North Korean players when they get home. Grant all of them diplomatic immunity immediately.

25 years ago today...

"Cocoon" was released. It was Ron Howard's second hit as a director (the first one was "Splash"). The whole theme of the film appeals to me more now than it did then--I was only 22 at the time.

Captain & Tenille

This was the number one song in the country on this day in 1975. I know this reveals a character flaw on my part, but I actually like this song...

35 years ago today...

This movie debuted.

I saw it the first day. And I saw it three more times after that. Loved it. Was still scared the fourth time I saw it. Saw it again recently on cable. It's still scary.

This week in 1945

Eisenhower returns home, the battle of Okinawa ends, the United Nations charter is signed, Chicago school kids go on vacation, and Cubs pitcher Ray Starr is featured This week in 1945.

The Red Baron

Happy Birthday, Rick Sutcliffe.

The Red Baron is 54 years old today.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father Knows Nothing

I just posted my latest Father Knows Nothing column. This one is called "Another great day at the ballpark" and it's about my latest journey to the ballpark with my very lucky son Sean.

You can read it here.