Friday, June 18, 2010

South African fact of the day

Some of the biggest music stars in South African history are Juluka, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Mango Groove, Brenda Fassie, Just Jinger, and Henry Ate.

I loved the Juluka song "Scatterlings of Africa" when I was in college. We played it on WPGU all the time.

Watch the video here.

Bull Moose

On this day in 1912, the Republicans met in Chicago to begin their convention.

It didn't go so well.

At the time, the Cubs were only four years away from their last World Series title.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

South African fact of the day

The president of South Africa is Jacob Zuma.

In the 60s and 70s he was in prison with Nelson Mandela on Robben Island (a place I'm going to visit, by the way. It's a major tourist attraction now).

Zuma believes in redistribution of wealth, and identifies himself as a Socialist. He has been the president since May of 2009, and before that was deputy president for six years.

Other than a few *ahem* "minor" legal problems (being charged with rape in 2005 when he was deputy president, and racketeering and corruption since he became president), Zuma's reign has been smooth sailing.

Happy birthday Bridget

My lovely wife is celebrating a birthday today. I've written about Bridget many times over the years, but here are her two favorites (written on our last two anniversaries)...

18 years in 18 pictures


17 Things I've Learned about my Wife

Happy birthday, wife. You'll always be four years younger than me.

Watergate anniversary

On this day in 1972, the Watergate burglars were arrested. Thanks to the good hard reporting work of Woodward and Bernstein at the Washington Post and others, this was eventually tied directly to the president (at least the coverup of it).

Two years later articles of impeachment were filed.

This was one of his speeches addressing the scandal while he was still the President, and still believed he could survive...

By the way, care to guess what the number one song in the country was on the day that the Watergate burglars were arrested.

Would you believe it was sung by Sammy Davis Jr.?

(Confession time: I loved that song. LOVED it. But then again, I was nine.)

Kaempfer's Tody Tyrant

One of my ancestors must have been a bird lover. Last year I told you about a bird called "Kaempfer's Woodpecker," which is a real bird that was discovered in Brazil in 1926.

Well, I just found there's another bird named Kaempfer. This one is called "Kaempfer's Tody Tyrant" and it's on the endangered species list. There are only about 9000 of them left, and they are also found in Brazil...

The luckiest people on earth

Don Kessinger

On this date in 1969, things were looking pretty good for the juggernaut Cubs.

Don Kessinger even hit an inside-the-park home run.

I don't follow the sport too closely, so I'm not sure what became of the Cubs that season.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

South African fact of the day

The most popular radio station in Johannesburg is 94.7 Highveld Stereo. Their morning host is the very well-known (in South Africa) Jeremy Mansfield. Jeremy calls his breakfast program the Rude Awakening. And yes, it's a wacky morning show.

Mansfield has released four CDs - "Raw", "Beer-ya-ti-ful"; "Even More Raw" and "Eastlife". But here's the item that will really impress my kids--Jeremy will be contributing a voice for the movie Toy Story 3.

I'm going to get to hear the last few weeks of his radio show. He plans to retire after the World Cup.

30 years ago

The item below about the Blues Brothers coming out 30 years ago reminded me of something else that happened exactly 30 years ago this family moved back to America. The Blues Brothers was the first movie I saw here after we moved.

I was 17 years old at the time.

I've only been back to Germany four times in those 30 years (1981, 1990, 1994, and 1996), and I've never taken my children to see the Fatherland. I need to rectify that situation in the coming years. Tommy is almost the age I was when we moved.

30 years ago today...

Most of the critics hated it, but I was there opening night in 1980 and absolutely loved it. Heck, they even had a Mt. Prospect police car.

The Blues Brothers movie debuted exactly 30 years ago today.

I saw it recently, and it doesn't exactly stand the test of time--but the music is still great.

50 years ago today...

America was scared to death by the premiere of this film...

Cracker Jacks

On this day in 1993, on the 100th anniversary of Cracker Jacks, the company that makes the tasty treat made a terrible judgment call.

They asked Harry Caray to talk about them...

Around 350,000 people have viewed the video we created about that memorable day.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Hawks on the Tonight Show

These guys seem to be enjoying their time in the limelight.

Camp Calamity

The latest issue of NWI Parent magazine is out, and as usual, the back page "Family Room" essay is mine.

This issue's column is called "Camp Calamity."

Daily Show World Cup Coverage

This was an enjoyable little segment...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
World Cup 2010: Into Africa - US Ties England
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

South African fact of the day

If you're traveling to South Africa, and you've packed something electrical (a hair dryer, an electric razor, etc), be sure to bring a converter. Their electrical system is not compatible with ours--they use 220 volts.

By the way, I found this great site for anyone traveling to any country in the world: Electricity Around The World.

Hee Haw

On this day in 1969, Hee Haw debuted. It was a combination of country music and corny jokes, and my father, the immigrant from Austria, absolutely LOVED it. Seriously. He watched it every week...seriously.

I wish I could eliminate it from my memory banks, but I saw enough of this show to remember the bits. "I'm a pickin' and I'm a grinnin'," was a banjo pickin session interrupted by one-liners, and BR-549 was the fake phone number for Junior Samples fake country comedy commercials. Heaven help me.

E-mails, we get e-mails

Some World Cup e-mails.

From "RP"...

"In honor of the World Cup (TM), you have a South African fact of the day. I think you should also have a Dive of the Day, which plays much more to the sensibilities of the uninitiated American, who finds dives to be the most interesting thing in any soccer match: Here's one."

I've seen a few so far, but that's a good example. I also got this e-mail from "BP" (Unfortunate initials these days, eh?)...

"Can’t stand those vuvuezelas. Hope you’re bringing earplugs."

Can't stand 'em either. And yes, I will be packing earplugs.

Worst Trade Ever

A day that will live in infamy in Chicago.

This is the anniversary of the Lou Brock trade.

Monday, June 14, 2010

South African fact of the day

I think a lot of Americans think of Africa as a largely Muslim continent, but Christianity is very strong in Central, Eastern and Southern Africa.

In South Africa, nearly 90% of the population is Christian, across all demographics, black and white.

Casey Jones

"Casey Jones" was released by the Grateful Dead on this day in 1970. Here they are performing the song the following year...

World Cup setting TV viewing records

It's doing pretty well here in America, but according to this article, it will set records around the world.

Things you don't want to read

Just read this one about the security situation in South Africa for the World Cup. Not thrilled with the headline or the story: World Cup Security Raises Concerns.

Let's get that tightened up, please, before June 24th (the day of my arrival).

Eddie Waitkus

He had just recently been traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, and had just made his triumphant return to Chicago, when something went terribly wrong in his hotel room.

On this day in 1949, Eddie Waitkus was shot by a deranged fan.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Father Knows Nothing

I just posted my latest Father Knows Nothing column at NWI Parent. This one is about my photographic stalking efforts at Tommy's 8th grade graduation. It's called "The Suburban Marlon Perkins."

You can read it here.