Friday, October 19, 2012

The Balding Handbook has a website

And it's a pretty good one too.

It includes a preview, a link to social media, a blog, and all the latest information from a totally bald-centric point of view.

Click here to see it.

Today's Best Tweets

I've begun to spend a few minutes every day reading my twitter feed. Here are ten that caught my eye today...

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost
'Alcoholic' sells wife for $110 to buy booze

Carol Riha ‏@carol_riha i made the starbucks guy say large instead of venti I HAVE ALREADY CONQUERED WEDNESDAY, WHAT NOW?

Harry Shearer ‏@theharryshearer
Newsweek helped teach me, when I briefly worked there, about one of the central problems of modern journalism:

Julius Sharpe ‏@juliussharpe
My plan to reduce the deficit would involve taking the middle piece of bread out of every club sandwich. It doesn't need to be there.

The Associated Press ‏@AP
Out of left field: Country star Jason Aldean announces shows at Wrigley, Fenway, and UGA: -RAS

Doug Glanville ‏@dougglanville
One thing I know for sure. Bob Brenly will not miss my 7th inning stretch singing! #Cubs

ABC 7 Chicago ‏@abc7chicago
Today marks the 25th anniversary of the 1987 Black Monday stock market crash #stocks #dowjones #wallstreet

Paul M. Banks ‏@Paul_M_BanksTSB
Jenny McCarthy gets columnist, blogger gig with Chicago Sun-Times: This is certainly a new low for the Chicago Sun Times...

Rob Hart ‏@RobHart1980
The glee directed at the failures of the Yankees and Albert Pujols tells me that class warfare is a winning strategy.

Ari Berman ‏@AriBerman
GOP operative arrested for trashing voter registration forms in Virginia. This is starting to sound familiar

Obama and Romney jokes

They were both pretty funny last night...

Cubs 365, October 19

On this day in 1876 (the same year the Cubs played their very first season in the National League), future Cubs pitcher Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown was born.

Three Finger probably owns one of the best nicknames in baseball history, and he earned it the hard way. As a seven-year-old boy, Mordecai caught his right hand in a corn grinder on his uncle's farm. They needed to amputate almost the entire index finger, and the middle finger was mangled and left crooked. His little finger was also stubbed. When he learned to add spin to the ball by releasing it off his stub, he became a pitcher. When he started to have success, the newspapers called him "Three-Finger" for obvious reasons.

Three Finger is one of the greatest pitchers to ever wear a Cubs uniform. In ten years with the Cubs, he won 188 games, including 29 games in 1908, and 27 games in 1909. He led the league in wins, ERA, shutouts, and even saves (in four different years).

He also pitched in four World Series for the Cubs. In seven World Series starts, he won five--pitching five complete games, and three of those were shutouts. That, sadly, is probably a Cubs record that will never be broken.

This is a very rare film of Mordecai in action.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Uncle Manny

I just got word that my Uncle Manny passed away this morning. He was 69 years old.

Ever since a very tragic few years several decades ago when we lost my grandparents, my dad, and my uncle, one after the other, back-to-back-to-back-to-back, Manny has been the man of the family; the patriarch. He hasn't lived in Chicago since the 1960s, but he still managed to be the glue that held us together.

I mentioned him on the radio many times when I was with John Landecker's show on WJMK. Manny came up to Chicago (from Atlanta) every summer and my mother, sister, aunt, and I always had honey-do-lists waiting for him when he arrived. Landecker used to make me read the lists on the air. He thought it was hilarious how clueless we all were.

I also mentioned Uncle Manny when I was interviewed about my contribution to the book "Cubbie Blues" in 2008.
A Cub fan his whole life, Rick’s attachment to his team dates back to his early childhood in Jefferson Park on the northwest side of Chicago. He and his family were German immigrants, but his Uncle Manny took a liking to this strange American sport of baseball, and went to Cubs games as often as he could. Manny passed on this Cubs-itis to his oldest nephew. They went to their first game together in 1968, and still go to games whenever Manny comes back to town. Rick doesn’t know whether to thank him or curse him for that.
When the Cubs won their division in 1984, I made exactly one phone call. I called Uncle Manny.

When I was co-writing "The Living Wills" I realized something about halfway through the writing process. We were writing a novel about a 60-something Vietnam Veteran dying of cancer. It wasn't a conscious thing, but I started to wonder if subconscious forces were directing me to confront Uncle Manny's reality (he was also a 60-something Vietnam Veteran dying of cancer).

The main character of "The Living Wills" is not based on him, but he defintely has some Manny-like characteristics, so when I had to write the eulogy chapter, it was a gut-wrenching experience for me. I knew that Manny's time was right around the corner. I knew I would more than likely have to write his eulogy too. Every word of that chapter made me think of him.

When the book came out at Christmas last year, I was afraid to send it to him, afraid that it would hit a little too close to home. So I made my mom read it first, and she gave me the go-ahead.

This is what he wrote to me after he read it...
"As you might know, I pretty much lost the use of my left eye after a retina surgery; thus the very small print makes it nearly impossible to read your book, so I brought a magnifying glass and attacked the book again. As the three different segments came together I found myself more interested in what's to come. Midway through I saw it all come together and didn't want to put it down. The latter part of the book and the ending kept me engrossed as the story became more and more touching--especially around the cancer issues. Congratulations, Uncle Manny"
This summer he made one last trip to Chicago for a wedding party (my cousin's). He knew it was his last visit. He normally never drove through the city (he drove around it) to get to us, but this time he said "Jill (his wife) insisted." At that party, and another party the next night, he got to say goodbye to his family and friends here (and there are many). And though we could tell he was suffering, he was still the same Uncle Manny--laughing and joking through his pain.

My sister, aunt, mom and I drove down to Atlanta to see him one last time about a month ago. We told stories about the good old days, and the not so good old days (in Germany after the war). We laughed and joked, played cards and argued about politics. We even got to watch one last Cubs game together.

Before we left the next day he gave me three things to take back to Chicago with me: his private stash of liverwurst, a saw blade, and a really expensive bottle of tequila. (That three-pack of gifts cracked me up). Even though he really shouldn't have been driving anymore, Uncle Manny escorted the clueless foursome back to the highway--his one last gesture of help. He pulled into the parking lot right before the exit ramp, and waved goodbye. I could see the tears in his eyes--something I had never seen before.

It was the last time I saw him.

He called my mom and aunt a few weeks ago to tell them he was in hospice. (How many patients make that call themselves?) A few days ago, I was told that the end was very near, so I wrote him an e-mail. It said simply:
"Uncle Manny, I don't know if you're checking your e-mail, but I didn't want to bother you with a phone call. You're probably getting a ton of them. I just wanted to let you know that you are constantly in our thoughts and minds up here in Chicago. All of us are wishing you well and praying for the best. I know you already knew that, but I wanted to say it anyway. Love, Rick."

Aunt Jill says it was the last e-mail he was able to read.

He died peacefully this morning with his son Eric and wife Jill each holding his hand. His daughter Kara had been there constantly for the past few days too.

You know, as you go through life there are many people that touch you, affect you, and inspire you, but there are only a small handful of people that make you who you are.

For me, Uncle Manny was one of those people.

I can't begin to express how much I will miss him.

E-mails, we get e-mails

This just arrived in my e-mail box from "BP"...

Sorry to hear of the passing of Marty "Bo" Fortson. "California Sun" is one of my favorite songs from the 60s. But, I also love the cover by the Ramones. One of the best! It's very rare that a cover lives up to the original. "Twist and Shout" by the Isley Brothers and The Beatles is another one for this very short list.

Today's Best Tweets

I've begun to spend a few minutes every day reading my twitter feed. Here are ten that caught my eye today...

Kim Strickland ‏@acitymom
Down at the Golden Coin a "spiritual adventure" from a reviewer across the pond! …

Andy Borowitz ‏@BorowitzReport
If you're an actual slutty nurse Halloween is a very hurtful time.

Deadspin ‏@Deadspin
In need of cash, a Greek soccer team signed up a local brothel as its sponsor.

Sam Stein ‏@samsteinhp
Reuters/Ipsos polling independents. predebate Romney's fav/unfav was 51/49. Post debate it was 51/49. Obama went from 53/47 to 60/40

The Onion ‏@TheOnion
"I let Ann decide everything about the kitchen. That sound like a policy from a man who doesn’t respect women?" –Romney

Jimmy Greenfield ‏@jcgreenx
Thinking of giving "The Onion Book of Known Knowledge" to my kids without explaining what satire is. They will laugh so hard in 8 years.

Harold Ramis ‏@harold_ramis
it takes me an average of 30 minutes to find where the hell tbs is before i actually get a baseball game on. let's stick to real networks.

Len Kasper ‏@LenKasper
I wish BB the best. INCREDIBLY fortunate to have worked 8 yrs w/him. His next partner hit jackpot. Sad for us. Change is part of life/biz.

BobVorwald ‏@BobVorwald
Again, just cross out the "v" on all those yellow bracelets and you're all set.

Eckhart Tolle ‏@EckhartTolle
The significance is hiding in the insignificant. Appreciate everything.

Where does spam come from?

Not the meat-ish product, the annoying stuff that arrives in your e-mail box, and messes up your facebook page.

Would you believe it comes from India? One in every six spam e-mails comes from there. Italy is in second place (really?) and the United States is third.

Monty Python is not even in the top ten.

Candy Crowley on "The View"

Debate moderator Candy Crowley was on "The View" yesterday discussing the moment she interjected in the debate. She has been getting hammered by the right wing (cough) press because they say she is biased...even though what she said was absolutely true.

Watch her tell the View ladies why she did it.

I personally think she's being a little too defensive. You can tell she's rattled by the venom she's getting from the folks on the temple throbbing side. You did nothing wrong, Candy. You did your job. It's not your fault that Romney has no idea how to handle it when someone challenges him. He's even afraid to appear on "The View", so you're one up on him already.

Pete McMurray

The RAMP newsletter has a little more information on the departure of Pete McMurray from Merlin Media...

"Tough day around the Merlin Media radio ranch in Chicago as the company parts ways with veteran personality Pete McMurray. McMurray (pictured) had done mornings at Classic Rock WLUP (The Loop) for almost four years until this past August, when Maxwell took over the shift and McMurray crossed the hall to Adult Hits sister WIQI (i101). "I had a fantastic run at the Loop," said McMurray, whose lengthy history with The Loop dates back to 2001. "We accomplished some great ratings increases over the past couple of years," he continued. "Unfortunately you can't control the owners and what direction they want to take." No replacement has been named yet by OM Jim Richards. McMurray can be reached at"

Michael Savage

Michael Savage will be back on the radio soon.

Cumulus signed him to a big deal. Cumulus owns WLS in Chicago, so don't be surprised if he turns up on the big 89.


Cubs 365, October 18

On this day in 1910, the Cubs played Game 2 of the World Series against the A's in Philadelphia. The team had to feel like they were snake-bitten that year.

With Johnny Evers already sidelined with a broken leg, Mordecai Brown (the scheduled starting pitcher of Game 2 and the team's best pitcher) got into an auto accident just before the game. He pitched anyway, and lost uncharacteristically 9-3.

The day before Game 3, manager/first baseman Frank Chance got into a fist fight on the streets of Chicago. A heckler was giving him a hard time as he drove by, so Chance stopped the car, jumped out, and attacked the guy. Then in Game 3, Chance became the first person ever ejected from a World Series game when he went crazy arguing a disputed ground rule double.

The A's won the Series in 5 games.

This officially ended the Cubs dynasty. In a five year stretch 1906-1910, they had won four pennants and two World Series.

In the next hundred years they would win only five more pennants, and we're still waiting for another World Series title.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Say it ain't so!

This is a bummer: Bob Brenly leaves WGN/Chicago Cubs TV booth after eight seasons.

My take on the debate...written by an actual writer

His name is Charles P. Pierce, and he writes for Esquire Magazine. He also has the added benefit of living in Massachusetts, so he knows Romney better. But wow did he nail it with his description of the debate.

I bow at his ability to put into words exactly what I was feeling watching Romney in action. He picked out the exact moment I had a visceral reaction, and why...
The one thing nobody can ever say now is that they didn't know the exact character of Willard Romney, and exactly how he feels about The Help, including that member of The Help who currently holds the job that Romney believes should have been his by virtue of his god-kissed, golden life.

"You'll get your chance in a moment. I'm still speaking."

Put all those Romneys together and that's what they sound like, even when they're talking to the president of the United States. It's the voice of the bloodless job-killer, the outsourcing Moloch of the industrial Midwest, and the guy who poses with his Wall Street cronies with dollar bills in his mouth. People who claim to be interested in "character" should remember that.
I couldn't have said it better myself. And I tried.

Pete McMurray

Robert Feder just tweeted the following...

Chicago radio veteran @PeteMcMurray out as morning host at @i101FM. Co-host @JaneMonzures stays.

Sorry to hear it.

Today's Best Tweets

I've begun to spend a few minutes every day reading my twitter feed. Here are ten that caught my eye today...

Harold Ramis ‏@harold_ramis
"@FoxNews: 14-year-olds found working in #apple iPhone maker's factory in China - ask them if iPad mini is going to come in green.

Chris Rock ‏@chrisrockoz
Actual Newt Gingrich Quote: "I find it pretty hard to justify rich guys like Mitt Romney who find clever legal ways to loot a company."

Slate ‏@Slate
That "binders full of women" story. Apparently, it wasn't even true:

Greg Sargent ‏@ThePlumLineGS
The right's unwillingness to face reality of losing debate contrasts sharply with left's acknowledgment of Obama Denver failure

daveweigel ‏@daveweigel
Folks in my hotel breakfast snort when the "he did, in fact, say 'acts of terror'" moment is replayed.

Neil Irwin ‏@Neil_Irwin
WHOAH. Huge gain in housing starts, up 15%, blowing out forecasts.

Life Advice ‏@ozlifeadvice
Arguing politics is like trying to convince someone that their baby isn't cute.

Mark Edwards ‏@markedwards
You get what you pay for. @Cubs reduce ticket prices for 2013 - Chicago Sun-Times

Slate ‏@Slate
Wow. Lance Armstrong steps down from Livestrong, loses Nike deal:

James Janega ‏@JamesJanega
Out of curiousity, are people still wearing their Livestrong bracelets, given Lance Armstrong's past week?

The Debate

I watched it last night (although I missed the first fifteen minutes because of a Cub Scout pack meeting). I watched all the pundits afterwards too. They all seemed to think Obama won. I agree with them, but not for the same reason.

To me, last night proved once and for all what I've always suspected but never knew for sure until I saw it in action--Mitt Romney is the walking, talking, caricature of the completely unlikable CEOs I created in my novel "$everance". I studied CEOs for years before I wrote that book, and Mitt Romney could play one of them in the movie.

Just to be clear, those are NOT the heroes of my story.

Last night Romney didn't show strength, he showed contempt and disrespect. The way he talked to the President of the United States was shameful. The way he talked to the moderator was downright rude. That's the real guy right there, not the one that puts on the phony smile and says he cares about the 100%. (Have you heard a more insincere thing in your life?) The real Mitt Romney is the guy we saw on that 47% tape.

Until last night I wasn't sure. I thought, "Well maybe he was just pandering to those people too." But when he walked around that stage like he owned the place, I knew. There's only one kind of person that does that so casually and easily. It's the kind of person I instantly dislike when I meet them in real life.

I had doubts until last night. I no longer do.

Hard Days Night (outtake)

Bart Shore's Time Warp podcast has been featuring Beatles outtakes all week. I really enjoyed this one...The Beatles working in the studio with George Martin on "A Hard Days Night"

Cubs 365, October 17

On this day in 1906, future Cubs pitcher Paul Derringer was born. To say that Derringer was a colorful personality is to understate the case.

*He once woke up from an operation in the recovery room, swung at a nurse, and knocked her out cold.

*In 1936 he got into a fight at the Bellevue Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia. He knocked on the door of a party in a nearby room, angry that he hadn't been invited. He was drunk and wasn't wearing a shirt. Among the party guests; the Secretary of War, and an envoy (Robert Condon) that had been sent to confer with the Secretary of War by New York Mayor LaGuardia. After being told to go away, Derringer attacked Condon, putting him in the hospital for eight weeks.

*In 1939, Derringer and Dizzy Dean got into a fistfight on the field before a game at Crosley Field. They wrestled each other to the ground right on home plate and exchanged punches before being separated by teammates.

*In 1946, while pitching in the minors for Indianapolis, he tried to bean Jackie Robinson on two different occasions. The second time he narrowly missed Robinson's head--and Jackie hit a triple on the following pitch. After that Paul told Branch Rickey that Robinson "will do."

Derringer won over 200 games in his career, was an all-star, and has the distinction of winning the first night game in baseball history (for the Reds in 1935), but he only pitched for the Cubs the last three seasons of his career.

His very last game in the majors was the last World Series game in Cubs history. He came in to relieve Hank Borowy in the first inning of Game 7 against the Detroit Tigers. Derringer pitched 1 2/3 innings, walked five, gave up two hits and three earned runs.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Announcing: The Balding Handbook

One month from today, Eckhartz Press will be shipping our newest book: "The Balding Handbook: 5 Stages of Grieving for your Hair Loss" by David Stern. On November 1st we'll start taking pre-orders for this self-help classic, at the Eckhartz Press website.

David Stern is no ordinary cueball. He's a fully actualized bald man. Stern has gone through all five stages of grieving for his hair (that's the author on the cover during stage 4), and he's now in a better place. If you or someone you know wants to join him there, "The Balding Handbook" will provide you with a road map.

"The Balding Handbook" takes you beyond those embarrassing denial moments (hats, combovers, plugs, pieces), keeps you out of jail during that angry second stage, helps you construct a perfect offer to God while you bargain for your hair back, comforts you through the depths of balding depression, and brings you into the light. Of course, you'll need sunscreen when you get there, but the few extra bucks you shell out to the Tropicana people is a trifle when you consider the incredible life that awaits you after reading this book. Whether you're a fellow sufferer, or just a mean person that wants to give this book as a gag gift to that baldy you know ("Tee hee, Get it? You're bald!"), The Balding Handbook is for you.

"The Balding Handbook" isn't just a book. It is going to change the world...$15.95 at a time.

Cubs 365, October 16

On this day in 1967, Smoky Burgess was released and retired from baseball. His real name was Forrest Harrill Burgess, but no-one called him that. He was simply Smoky. Old Smoky, who inherited his name from his father, was a five-time National League All-Star. He was a very good catcher, but he became even better known as one of the best pinch hitters of his era. He retired with a record 507 pinch at-bats. Only Manny Mota has more pinch hits.

Unfortunately, none of that happened with the Cubs because they traded him after his second season in the majors (1951) for little remembered Johnny Pramesa and Bob Usher. If he had stayed with the Cubs, he likely would have been their starting catcher for a decade. (Pramesa played 22 games for the Cubs, Usher played 1.)

Smoky always said that his most satisfying pinch hit was his home run off Cubs pitcher Sam Jones with two games left in the 1956 season. The Reds, his team at the time, were going for the record--most home runs by a team in a season. The record was 221, and when Smokey came up to bat, the Reds had 220. Reds manager Chuck Dressen ordered Burgess to pinch hit for Roy McMillan, and said, "Make it a home run - or nothin'!" The ball landed on Sheffield Avenue.

Smoky ended his career as a pinch hitter for the White Sox. That's who released him on this day in 1967. At the time, Smoky was 40 years old.

Hulk Hogan Sues Gawker

Hulk is not only suing Gawker, he's suing them for $100 million.

Bubba the Love Sponge is also named in the lawsuit. It's all about a videotape of Hulk having sex with Bubba's ex-wife six years ago. Gawker got their hands on it somehow, and posted it. Hulk had no idea he was even being taped.

Hogan, by the way, was the best man at Bubba's wedding.

Today's Best Tweets

I've begun to spend a few minutes every day reading my twitter feed. Here are ten that caught my eye today...

Eric & Kathy ‏@EricandKathy
This guy was kicked out of an Australian bar b/c of his mullet! It broke their "dress code".

Josh Liss ‏@JoshLissSports
"There's dislike in the division between all of us. We're not sending each other Christmas cards." Lovie Smith #BearsInsider @WBBMNewsradio

daveweigel ‏@daveweigel
Tonight, Obama should take his debate advice from columnists writing conventional wisdom on deadline.

Talking Points Memo ‏@TPM
Jon Stewart mocks Fox News' post-VP debate spin

Roger Ebert ‏@ebertchicago
Paul Ryan turns up uninvited at charity soup kitchen for photo op. Does nothing. Charity pissed off.

Mike Baker ‏@MikeBaker45s
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will host the 70th annual Golden Globe Awards on NBC January 13 from the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.

Sarah Silverman ‏@SarahKSilverman
I feel badly for people who are annoyed by everyone and yet can't seem to ever be alone

T Dog Media ‏@tdogmedia
Phillip Rivers throws like Joan Rivers. #Chargers #Impolde

Zach Galifianakis ‏@ZachGalifinak
Dear Raisin cookies that look like chocolate chip cookies, F*** YOU.

Mark Edwards ‏@markedwards
'The Larry Sanders Show' Reunion: Gary Shandling And Jeffrey Tambor Reflect On Classic Comedy's Legacy (VIDEO)

Gangnam Style parodies for the election

I think this first one is brilliant, if not exactly suitable for the workplace (bad language). I posted it on my facebook page, and a few of my Republican "friends" got really upset, so I deleted it there. Lesson learned. I inadvertently violated my own rule. I haven't posted anything political on my facebook page for two years because I can't handle reading the instant temple throbbing hate. It depresses me.

Apparently it's too difficult to explain this in a status update, but I honestly didn't post it to make a political statement. I posted it in admiration of the comedic work. (Writing parody songs used to be what I did for a living.) I'm posting it here in the same spirit. If you're humorless, or you can't find any humor in making fun of Mitt Romney, don't click on it. I think it's hilarious.

Here's another one that isn't done quite as well, but I admire the attempt anyway...

John Paul Stevens

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is still a Cubs fan, despite the Nationals trying to convert him.

That story is here.

Stay strong, Judge. Stay strong.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Father Knows Nothing is Moving

Well, actually, it's already been moved. If you have my weekly column Father Knows Nothing bookmarked*, please change it to this address:

*Don't laugh, some people have bookmarked it.

The Jump

I would have vomited all over myself. But that's just me. I'm a vomiter.

Meet the Moderator

The next debate moderator is Candy Crowley, and she has both the Romney and Obama campaigns unnerved...which leads me to believe that this might be a good debate.

Politico has the story today.

Kindle Users To Get Refund?

From a Reuters report this morning, an explanation of the e-mail I received yesterday from amazon...

"Owners of's Kindle e-readers will receive refunds on past e-book purchases and see e-book prices drop if a judge approves legal settlements with publishers accused of fixing prices, according to the Internet retailer. Amazon told Kindle owners in emails on Saturday that they could receive a refund of between 30 cents and $1.32 for e-books they bought between April 2010 and May 2012. The books must have been published by three publishers who have agreed to settle a lawsuit that accused them of inflating e-book prices."

The publishers that agreed to settle were HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette. Those are the big boys.

Colbert on Meet the Press

The 24 Mile Jump

Scientific American has a great write up on Felix Baumgartner's 24-mile jump. I didn't watch it, but then again, I'm deathly afraid of heights.

24 feet is scary enough for me.

Today's Best Tweets

I've begun to spend a few minutes every day reading my twitter feed. Here are ten that caught my eye today...

Richard Lewis ‏@TheRichardLewis
Emotionally, the hardest part about living for me is being me.

Max Armstrong ‏@maxarmstrong
MOM WOULD TWEET IF SHE WERE HERE (her note I found today) "Politicians and diapers should be changed often--and for the same reason."

Albert Brooks ‏@AlbertBrooks
Fiat ad where car drives off cliff into ocean it says "Fictionalized. Do not attempt." Thank God. I was a block away.

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost
Daredevil skydiver makes history, photographs capture the joy

Chris Nickles ‏@nickles71
My new bumper sticker: "I'd rather be free free falling for 41/2 minutes at over 800 mph." ©

Michael Calderone ‏@mlcalderone
George W. Bush has "taken up painting, making portraits of dogs and arid Texas landscapes."

Greg Sargent ‏@ThePlumLineGS
New Post poll: Obama leads 49-46 among likely voters; 50-43 among RVs:

Keith Conrad ‏@keithrconrad
The worst legacy of the Watergate scandal isn't distrust of our government institutions. It's the constant use of "gate" for every scandal.

Ron Smith ‏@oldiesmusic
B.B. Cunningham, singer of the Hombres' "Let It All Hang Out," dies in a Memphis shootout: -

Chris Rock ‏@chrisrockoz
Gay marriage is legal in 6 states. Having sex with a horse is legal in 23. Goodnight everyone!

Father Knows Nothing

This week's Father Knows Nothing is my annual tribute to my son Tommy, born 17 years ago this week.

You can read it here.

Cubs 365, October 15

On this day in 1918, the University of Illinois released a report about the influenza epidemic. Among other things it reported: "An analysis of the influenza situation in Chicago today shows that the epidemic has not reached its crest here. For the week ending September 28, there were 598 cases reported in Chicago with 176 deaths. During the week ending October 7 there were 6,106 cases reported with 627 deaths. The week which ended October 14 produced 11,239 cases and 1,461 deaths. The total number of deaths from influenza and pneumonia in Chicago during the past three weeks was 2,264 compared with an average of 156 for the same period during the past five years."

On one horrible October day 381 people died from influenza in Chicago.

Baseball was not immune, either. Among the victims, former Cubs outfielder Jake Stenzel. In addition to Stenzel, Boston Braves outfield Larry Chappell died in San Francisco. Former St. Louis Browns outfielder Emmet Heidrick died in Pennsylvania. American League umpire Silk O’Loughin also perished in the pandemic. As did former Tigers owner William Yawkey.

By the time it finally subsided in 1920, a fifth of the world's population had been infected, including 28% of all Americans. An estimated 675,000 Americans died of influenza during the pandemic, ten times as many as in the world war.