Saturday, June 12, 2010

World Cup/Daily Herald

The Daily Herald wrote an article about the World Cup. Among the people they interviewed; a certain little known local blogger that is going to South Africa.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lit Fest

I want to be sure to invite everyone to come on out to Printer's Row Lit Fest tomorrow (Saturday) morning at 11:00 (Grace Place/2nd floor). I'll be part of a panel discussion about baseball literature, along with fellow authors James Finn Garner, Gary Moore, Robert Goldsborough, and Donald Evans.

I've done a few of these panel discussions before, and they're always fun.

E-mails, we get e-mails...

"BD" writes regarding my Amos & Andy mention...

"Actually, Amos 'N' Andy was/were on radio, in one format or another, from 1928 until November of 1960, a total of 32 years. During the last five years they did a nightly 30-minute show that featured music between the bits. For television, 78 episodes of The Amos 'n Andy Show (which centered more on the character George 'Kingfish' Stevens, played wonderfully by Tim Moore) were produced between June 1951 and April 1953. They aired in primetime on CBS until 1955 and then in syndication until the mid-1960s. See? I do read your blog! And really enjoy it. 'Cept for all that Cubs stuff. A White Sox fan forever."

BD is correct (about Amos & Andy, not the White Sox). The radio show carried on until 1960. It was only the TV show that was canceled on this day in 1953.

The Daily Show on the World Cup

Not many people know that Jon Stewart is a big soccer fan--he actually played soccer in college at William and Mary. But they can probably guess that John Oliver, the show's British correspondent, is a big fan. Here he presents what most British people think of American soccer. It would be so sweet to beat them tomorrow...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
World Cup 2010: Into Africa - Two Teams, One Cup
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

South African fact of the day

Even though English is the recognized language of commerce and science in South Africa, only 8% of South Africans speak English at home.

There are 11 official languages: Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa and isiZulu. The three most spoken are Zulu (23.8%), Xhosa (17.6%) and Afrikaans (13.3%).

I think I can figure out Afrikaans (it's a lot like Dutch, which is sort of between German and English), but there's no hope with the others. That's another reason I'm considering this trip a great adventure. I leave in 13 days.

Space Oddity

David Bowie released the single "Space Oddity" on this day in 1969 to coincide with the first lunar landing, which was scheduled for a few weeks later. The original version of the song is slightly different than the one I played on the radio for many years (I like this one even better), and this video is way out there. I dig it...

Amos & Andy

On this day in 1953, Amos & Andy was canceled after 24 years on the radio and two on television. It was probably one of the three or four most important shows of the early days of radio.

Chicago plays an important part in that show's history.


It was released on this day in 1978.

I still like this song by Travolta and Olivia Newton John.

The rest of songs? Not so much.

Hank Sauer

He was a National League MVP in 1952 while wearing a Cubs uniform.

It was probably thanks to days like this one, when he hit three homers in one game.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

World Cup schedule

This is a totally cool site.

It's the calendar of all World Cup events put together in a wildly creative format. The games begin tomorrow morning.

I'm getting very excited...

The BP coffee spill

The Sopranos

The last episode of The Sopranos aired three years ago tonight. I absolutely hated the ending of that series (and I was a huge fan of it), but it has really stuck in my head. I still think about that last scene three years later...which I suppose means it was much more successful than I initially thought it was. I kind of like it now. (For the record, I still hate the final Seinfeld Episode).

Elvis in New York

Would you believe that Elvis Presley's first live concert performance in New York didn't happen until 1972?

It's true...It happened on this day that year.

South African fact of the day

It's winter in South Africa right now. The average temperatures in Johannesberg are in the low 60s during the day, and the low 40s at night...basically the same weather we've had here in Chicago since April.


 What a strange ending to a great, great series. I loved every second of it.

I missed the first two periods because of Tommy's graduation, but I got back in time to see the excitement.

For me, the gravity of the moment didn't sink in until Jeremy Roenick started to cry in the broadcast booth. He told that story about seeing a little kid in Chicago crying after the 1992 series, and he thought about that kid when the Hawks won. Roenick, who never publicly admitted what team he was rooting for until that moment, is a Chicago Blackhawk down to his very core.

I got a little verklempt.

Congratulations, Hawks!

Uniform numbers

 On this day in 1932, the Cubs appeared with numbers on their uniforms for the very first time. These are the numbers from that very first day...

1--Woody English (3B)
2--Billy Herman (2B)
3--Kiki Kuyler (OF)
4--Riggs Stephenson (OF)
5--Johnny Moore (OF)
6--Charlie Grimm (1B/manager)
7--Gabby Hartnett (C)
8--Rollie Hemsley (C)
9--Mark Koenig (SS)
11--Billy Jurges (SS)
12--Charlie Root (SP)
14--Guy Bush (SP)
15--Pat Malone (SP)
16--Burleigh Grimes (SP)
17--Lon Warneke (SP)
18--Bob Smith (RP)
19--Harry Taylor (1B)
21--Bud Tinning (RP)
22--Marv Gudat (RP)
23--Leroy Herman (RP)
27--Bobo Newsom (RP)
31--Stan Hack (3B)
34--Zach Taylor (C)
41--Red Corriden (coach)
42--Charley O'Leary (coach)
49--Vince Barton (OF)
51--Frank Demaree (OF)
56--Lance Richbourg (OF)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


John Oliver is in South Africa covering the USA-England game for the Daily Show.

If you don't watch the Daily Show, Oliver is their British "correspondent." In the article above he beautifully sums up what a loss would mean to the UK. This game is HUGE for them.

The game is at 1:30 central time. I'll be watching it in a bar nearby the Printer's Row Lit Fest (see details below about my appearance there). Any suggestions for a good place to watch it?

He's graduating?

Yes he is. My oldest son Tommy is graduating from 8th grade tonight.

I asked him if he wanted a party and he said no. I asked him if he wanted to go out for a celebratory dinner afterward and he said no. I asked him how he wanted to celebrate, and he said: "Let's get some ice cream."

He's growing up, but he's a guy. He'll never actually grow up. That's comforting, somehow.

South African fact of the day

A popular South African dish is called Trotters and Beans.

That is made from boiled pig's or sheep's trotters (meaning feet) and onions and beans.

I won't be trying that one.

Printer's Row Lit Fest

Attention society! Rick is leaving the basement this weekend.

I'll be appearing at the Printer's Row Lit Fest on Saturday morning at 11:00. I'm part of a panel discussion about baseball literature, along with fellow authors James Finn Garner, Gary Moore, Robert Goldsborough, and Donald Evans.

I have never gone to the Lit Fest (some author, right?), so I'm not sure exactly where this is, but we'll be at Grace Place/2nd floor. The discussion is scheduled to go until Noon.

Come on out if you're in the area. I have done a few of these panel discussions elsewhere with these particular authors, and we have a great time talking about baseball and the Cubs.

Donald Duck

He made his debut exactly 76 years ago today. He looked a little different, but the voice was there from the start...

Roy Smalley

The former Cubs shortstop had a great arm.

Just ask the people in the seats behind first base. They caught most of his throws.

He was born on this day in 1926.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

A new Hawks song

This is funny...

It's catchy too.

South African fact of the day

I'm researching this for my trip to South Africa anyway, so I thought I'd share in case you're interested.

The currency in South Africa is the South African Rand.

The current exchange rate is approximately 8 Rands=1 US Dollar.

Bull Durham

I still love this movie. It came out this week in 1988.

Half Full

Here is an analysis of the Cubs #1 draft pick that makes me feel a little better than the posting below.

It's from Baseball Daily Digest
, which compares him to Tim Lincecum.

This analysis was provided before the draft, and he didn't think he would get picked in the first round...but at least he raves about him.

Things you don't want to read

An analysis of the draft, from the Major League expert at
"The biggest surprise in the 2010 MLB Draft first round selections was at No. 16 by the Chicago Cubs, who dipped into Division II to take a player. Hayden Simpson was the selection by the Cubs, a nice pitcher at Southern Arkansas that didn't make it on to most of the draft boards of the experts here, on ESPN, or on the MLB Network."
Great. Just great. I'm sure this will turn out fine. Baseball America, by the way, had him ranked 181st.

The Amateur Draft

Tis the season for baseball's amateur draft.

Over the years, it has not gone well for the Cubs.

And that's a very kind way of putting it.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Blogger issues

Sorry for the lack of posts today.

There have been some issues with blogger nationwide. It was completely shut down for about twenty four hours.

Not that I've been checking it every twenty minutes or so to see if it was back up.

I don't have a problem.

I can quit blogging anytime.


Ferris Bueller

25 years ago this week, John Hughes was filming Ferris Bueller's Day Off in and around Chicagoland. One of the days of filming took place at Wrigley Field...during a Cubs game.

That story is here.

Honoring 3-Finger

The town of Terre Haute Indiana is finally honoring one of their most famous citizens.

One hundred years ago he was one of the best pitchers in baseball, the ace of the Chicago Cubs--a team that had been in the World Series four of the previous five years.

He also had one of the greatest nicknames of all-time, the result of a farming accident in his native Terre Haute.

Three Finger Brown.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Father Knows Nothing

My new Father Knows Nothing column is up. This week's is called "The Birds and the Bees" and it's about finally having "the talk" with my two oldest boys.

You can read the column here.