Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chicago Radio Spotlight: J-Hood

I just posted my latest Chicago Radio Spotlight interview. This week I talked to ESPN Radio's Jonathan Hood (J-Hood) about his career in sports-talk radio.

You can read it here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

McCaskey Smackdown

I just read Steve Rhodes' scathing smackdown of Michael McCaskey, and it sums up beautifully why Chicago is so happy to see him step down as the Chairman of the Bears.

You really should read it.

New Coke

It sounded like a good idea at the time. New Coke came out exactly 25 years ago today...

Hal Totten

On this day in 1924 the Cubs were broadcast on the radio for the very first time. The man behind the microphone was sportscaster Hal Totten (photo). The radio station was WMAQ.

What did he sound like?

You can hear his voice in this montage of early Cubs announcers.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Incredible play

You have to see this to believe it. It happened in a college baseball game. The runner jumped over the catcher and touched home plate...

The Best Earth Day Jokes

Today is the 40th Earth Day.

Earth Day is considered overly serious, but it doesn't have to be.

Watch this video

Blues Brothers

They debuted on this day in 1978. Two years later, they starred in their own movie...

A few more baseball stories

This is a lovely piece about Ron Santo in

And this is another great piece in about the joy of playing catch with your son. I've been doing a lot of this lately with my seven year old son Sean, and I'm loving every minute of it.

Thanks to "DE" for pointing these out to me.


75 years ago today...Bill "General" Lee pitches the Cubs to victory to get back to .500 (4-4). They don't look much like a pennant-winning team yet. Meanwhile in Chicago, a radio show debuts that will become one of the most popular shows in America: Fibber McGee and Molly.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bernie Goldberg Smackdown

This is a classic Jon Stewart smackdown to an amateurish Bernie Goldberg smackdown attempt. It reminds me of Super Bowl XX. Jon Stewart is the Bears defense. Bernie Goldberg is Tony Eason. (For those of you too young to remember, at halftime of that game Tony Eason had more testicles than passing yards.)

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bernie Goldberg Fires Back
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Mark Twain

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) died exactly 100 years ago today. I always heard he was a baseball fan, but now I know for certain. I found a website that chronicles all things Twain, and here's a pretty comprehensive account of Twain's love of baseball.

He went to his grave thinking the Chicago Cubs were the ultimate baseball dynasty. They had been to the World Series four times in the last five years of his life.

Happy Secretary's Day

From the folks at Funny or Die...


This was sent to me by MG, and because it was a forwarded e-mail I didn't believe it was true (a natural assumption by the way...always assume forwarded e-mails are not true). But I checked on Snopes, and sure enough, this is real...


In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $200 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:
*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
*If so, do we stop to appreciate it?
*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . ......
How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

Fergie Jenkins

On this day in 1966 the Cubs traded away two big name pitchers, former all-star Bob Buhl, and former 24-game winner Larry Jackson, for two outfielders (Adolpho Phillips and John Herrnstein) and a little known reliever named Fergie Jenkins.

The outfielders didn't amount to much, but that little known reliever was converted into a starter by Leo Durocher and won more than 140 games for the Cubs over the next seven seasons.

He's in the Hall of Fame wearing a Cubs cap.

The story of Wrigley's first opening day

It's this week's Tale from a Bad Century.

The craziest Cub

If he were still with us, former Cub pitcher Bill Faul would have turned 70 years old today. He might not have been a great pitcher, but he certainly was memorable.

Read all about his crazy antics here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sad news

My old friend Leslie Keiling lost her mother this week.

Two summers ago I filmed Leslie for my website Just One Bad Century talking about her mother, and the love she had for the Cubs....

ESPN saw the video on my site and included Helen Keiling in their 100 years of losing special later that year. Here is Helen's profile from that story. She represented the decade of the 1910s.

RIP Helen.

We'll carry on the quest.

Viva Las Vegas

The movie came out on this day in 1964. Still one of my favorite Elvis movies (although, admittedly, that's not saying much)...

Weeghman Park

On this day in 1914 a brand new ballpark officially opened on the North Side of Chicago. It was conveniently located near the elevated train stop on one side, and the streetcar on the other.

The home team was the Chicago Whales of the Federal League, and the stadium was called "Weeghman Park"

Here come da Judge

One of the biggest Cub fans in America happens to reside on the United States Supreme Court. His name is John Paul Stevens, and he is 90 years old today.

Read all about his Cubs love here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Father Knows Nothing

This week's Father Knows Nothing column is about athletic supporters. Sean wore one for the first time last week, and hilarity ensued.

You can read it here.

101 year old Cub fan

I read this story expecting to be depressed, but it's actually a wonderful story about a 101-year-old woman who literally lives for the Cubs.


He was a big boy, and it was a much less politically correct time.

His name was actually Ernest Phelps, but his Cubs teammates called him Blimp, and he was born on this day in 1908.

Read all about him here.