Monday, June 29, 2009

June 29 Just Plain Funny

Hey I just caught up on my posts. I did two long ones for the weekend. So here's a quick one. This picture was taken on my way out of the parking lot at Comiskey. It is on a building that houses a metal works factory. I think they make iron gates or something like that. I thought it showed a sense of humor that this world could use more of, a lot more of it actually. Anyway this made me laugh, I hope it puts a smile on your face.

June 28 My Day At The Lake

This morning was absolutely beautiful. So Chrissy & I took the Fanook & Fluffy to Kemil Beach.

Here's Fluff kicking old lady style on the shore. Where are her nuclear testing quality brown wrap around sunglasses?

I guess they had too much sun, sand and surf. Yes, there was about 2 foot waves. Oslo got knocked over by one. The little devil almost looks angelic in this shot.
My dogs may be worn out but not me. Days like this are too rare around here. Plus I have a midnight 25 mile bike ride coming up. So my sister in law Kimmie and I biked Chicago's Lakefront Trail round trip from McCormick Center to North Avenue Beach.
The beaches were packed and many others just enjoyed the day with a walk along the lake...
...or a game of chess...
...and some settled for splashing around in a fountain....

...and this one just spent the day floating in a human powered kayak. A dog's life indeed.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

June 27 The Crosstown Showdown

I have been a baseball fan for as long as I can remember. I went to my first game in 1972 at Shea Stadium. I remember watching Bud Harrelson fight with Pete Rose in the 1973 playoffs. Because of that fight I was cheering for Carlton Fisk and the Red Sox to beat the Reds in the 1975 World Series. I loved the Yankees during my teen years as Reggie, Thurman, Sparky and the rest of the "Bronx Zoo" won the World Series in the late 70's. As I got older and jaded by the real world, I lost my child like love for baseball. I still go to games, but it isn't the same for me. Today I went to the White Sox game against the Cubs with the intentions of regaining my love of baseball. For Chicago baseball fans, these games are like the World Series. I met Patty at a packed Ricobenne's on 26th Street for lunch. Since this place is a southside institution, it was full of Sox fans with one or two people dumb enough to wear their Cubs jerseys. I'm not sure they were actually served and if they were, I'd be nervous about eating it. We got to the parking lot about an hour and a half before the first pitch. The tailgating was in big time party mode. Cubs and Sox fans mostly engaging in good natured verbal abuse. It really was a great scene. We did see a lot of mixed Cubs & Sox fans in the same party groups. Impressive, I didn't see one fight but the alcohol was just beginning to flow. My two favorite t-shirts were "Cubs Baseball Killed Harry" and "Any Team Can Have A Bad Century 1908-2008". Comiskey Park, also known as Cellular Field, was sold out. It seemed like the good weather was contributing to the feel good energy in the park. We watched batting practice. Only saw the Cubs, the gates don't open early enough to watch the White Sox. I'll admit that watching batting practice did remind me of my younger years. So far so good. We met Monte & Cheryl at our seats. The game long banter between us really added to my enjoyment of the game. Behind us was a split family, dad & son were Sox fans, mom & daughter were Cubs fans. The little boy made me laugh several times during the game with his blind faith cheering. Reminded this old man of someone he once knew. The game was very exciting. Not necessarily well played but very enjoyable. Both teams had the lead and blew it several times. The Sox rookie sensation, Gordon Beckham made two critical errors to give the Cubs the lead. Then in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, he doubled and drove in the game winning run. He was mobbed by his teammates and the White Sox fans went crazy. I had a huge smile on my face, it was one of the best games I've attended as an adult. On the way out of the stadium, there was relatively friendly taunting. Hell the series was tied at 1, tomorrow's game was the rubber match. The Cubs fan parked next me even said it was an exciting game. He was also glad the rookie was able to redeem himself with the big hit. Driving home, I still had a childlike smile on my face. Mission accomplished.
The parking lot was one big party.

Patty gets congratulated for waiting to pass until the bean bags were thrown.

Souvenir stand in the parking lot.

If Cub & Sox fans can get along, there is hope for peace on Earth.

A truly great baseball man is honored.

Every mixed team couple we saw had a female Cubs fan and a male Sox fan. Patty thought it was because the female baseball fan wanted to date a knowlegable baseball fan. I thought it was due to the limited pool of heterosexual male Cubs fans.

The Cubs during batting practice.

Scotty Pods looking for divine intervention during pre game stretches. It must have worked. He went 4 for 5 at the plate.

The scoreboard shows the south side fans' favorite 2 words. OK, maybe their second favorite two words.

June 26 Chrissy Mourns Michael

When I got home from a long day of work, this is what I found. Chrissy sitting on the couch watching Michael Jackson tributes for the past 10 hours. When I told her to get off the couch and rehab her new ACL, she turned on V103's Friday Night Jams. They were doing a tribute to Michael, so she danced the night away.

This isn't as strange to me as it might be to you. I didn't know Chrissy when she was growing up, but I have heard the stories. Shockingly, she was not very outgoing. So she spent her formative years in her parents basement watching and dancing along to Soul Train. She even went to a couple of Jackson 5 concerts. After dancing to Michael songs, she said her knee felt fine. Then I figured out why.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

June 25 What's Wrong With The World

You probably do not know this little girl. I do not know her either. Her name is Chastity Turner.

"Chastity, a student at James N. Thorp Elementary School, liked to dance and jumped rope, said her cousin, Erika Johnson."

"Of about 20 cousins gathered at the house on Father’s Day, Chastity was the only one to accompany Johnson to a neighborhood park for a picnic. She showed off her latest dance moves — the Ricky Bobby and the Stanky Leg, Johnson said." These quotes and the picture were taken from the Chicago Sun Times website.

I first saw Chastity on the front page of the newspaper this morning at a gas station. I immediately read the article. I knew I was going to write about her in my blog. She was shot in the neck while washing her dog in her front yard. A gang related drive by shooting. I heard late today the police arrested two men accused of her senseless murder.

I also heard of Micheal Jackson's death tonight. Sad as his death might be to some people, it doesn't even come close to the sadness I feel for this little girl's death. Of course every channel in America is covering his death and Chastity will only be remembered by those that knew of her in her nine short years of life. I may not remember the names, but I do remember the mother that was shot on Halloween while holding her child's hand trick or treating and I remember the child that was shot while his mother walked him to school near Cabrini Green. The gunman was a frustrated citizen actually trying to shoot a gang member who deserved the bullet. There are many things wrong in this world, but not protecting innocent children from being murdered is one we must correct immediately. If we didn't spend so much time covering the passing of a probable child molester and spent the same energy covering deaths like Chastity's, maybe the world would be a better place.

June 24 NorthStar Hockey

This is the scoresheet for my hockey game last night. Yes we lost 8-4. We did win our first game 7-6 with a goal by Reg Dunlop with 5 seconds left in the game. So we are 1-1 in the Summer League so far. We fell behind 6-0 in the first period and battled back to 6-4 before allowing 2 late goals. Since I forgot to bring my camera I didn't have any pictures to use for today's blog. So I can use the scoresheet as proof that I scored a goal at 5:38 in the third period. I now have a two game scoring streak because I scored our first goal in out opening game. No scoresheet, you'll just have to believe me. If you are interested in keeping up with my hockey team, the H-F Ice Rink now posts stats on their website.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

June 23 The White Skirts

Summer is finally here. The weather has warmed up. But the White Sox bats are still cold. Even though they play in a terrible division, I have officially given up on them. Once again, they were dead at the plate against a pitcher that let up 9 runs in his last 11 innings. Hiroki Kuroda made them look more like the White Skirts than the White Sox. I know the Dodgers are the best team record-wise in baseball. I know Kuroda has been a good pitcher in the past. But he has sucked lately. The limp bat White Skirts have made a lot of pitchers look like Cy Young this year. They have no heart, no passion and very few baseball skills. The Skirts only win if the pound out a bunch of home runs. They rarely get a clutch hit with guys in scoring position and they rank 25th out of 30 teams in team batting average. They are one of the worst fielding teams in the league, again 25th of 30. The pitching has been a bright spot but they seem to blow a lot of games in the late innings. I'll still go to the games I already have tickets for, but I can't waste my time watching a team that has shown me so little after 3 months of the season. As a fan, I reserve the right to jump back on the bandwagon if they somehow turn it around and get back in the race.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June 22 Roland Harper

This was actually going to be a feel good story but while searching for a picture, it took a strange turn. Here's the story. While working at a gas station in West Dundee, I was approached by a man asking about a fellow employee at the company I work for. He said, "is there an ugly guy named Ray still working at DRW?" Since I am nothing if not a smartass I answered, "there's an ugly and useless saleman named Ray." He laughed and said "Tell him Roland says hello". Since he was wearing a Secretary Of State shirt, I said "OK Roland with the State says hello". Then he goes on explaining that he doesn't work for the state and never would. This leads me into my usual rant about corrupt politicians throughout Illinios. The conversation continues for awhile, then he says, "It's Roland with the Chicago Bears". I guess it to be Roland Harper from his age and I am correct. I tell him how as a kid I watched him lead the way for Walter Payton every Sunday. We talked football for a little while, then he was on his way. I almost asked for a picture for the blog, but it seemed like a douchebag thing to do. He was really a cool guy and the conversation was very engaging. It made my day to run into a player I watched as a kid and he turns out to be a nice person. Slowly it turns...I googled Roland Harper to find a picture. Apparently, he was sentenced earlier this month to 2 years probation and one year house arrest for fraud involving the Chicago Public Schools. So much for my feel good story of the day. I got the picture of Harper & Payton from the Bears website.

Monday, June 22, 2009

June 21 McDonald's L.A.T.E. Ride

I did not do shit today. I rode my bike on the paved trails but the single track was way too muddy. The only productive thing I did today was sign up to ride in the overnight McDonald's L.A.T.E. Ride through downtown Chicago on July 11. Actually, it starts after midnight on July 12th. I've wanted to do this for years and I'm finally going this year. I am looking for people to ride along with me. You can sign up at the link above or click on the image. Your registration fee goes the the Friends of the Park organization. I have also set up a page where you can donate to the Friends of the Parks charity. If you would like to donate please click here to see my page. Please remember that this rarely entertaining blog comes to you for free. If it has ever made you laugh, please donate what you can afford. If you hope to never see your name on this blog, then dig deep and donate. Thank you for your time and money.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

June 20 Sunshine & Blue Sky

3.97 inches of rain yesterday, a record for Chicago. Today blue skies as far as I could see. I spent the entire day outside. First I took the dogs to Kemil Beach with my niece, Kristian. We went up & down a sand dune to get to the beach, then spent time in the very cold water with the dogs. When I got back home, we gave the dogs a bath on the patio with the garden hose. Then we cleaned out the gutters but I had to leave the back gutter clogged with whirlybirds because the doves made a nest in the gutter and it has two eggs in it. Then I worked on my mountain bike, just some minor maintenance. After lunch, we set up my new backpacking tent in the backyard. Late in the afternoon, I went to Cruise Night in Downtown Lansing to take pictures of the cool old cars. I was on my way to the Taste Of Randolph Street festival to see the Posies and Urge Overkill when I got called into work for an emergency call. We had to repair the unleaded STP at a Speedway. When I got home at 9:30pm, Chrissy & Kristain were camping out for the night in the tent. I let Oslo out to join them. While out there I realized that I had spent 15 hours outside today. Life is good.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

June 19 No Exaggeration

I heard Seattle set a record of 19 straight days without rain. If they really miss it, I suggest they visit Chicago because it has rained here about 5 days a week for the past 3 months. The picture on the right is how the day started. Later another storm moved in from the west (picture on left). I watched that storm slowly come toward us while frantically trying to finish a job. It thundered and flashed lightning for over 30 minutes before unleashing the heaviest rainfall I have ever seen. At the peak of it, I was at a Speedway gas station working on a pump that was about 70 feet from the building. I could not see the building through the rain. The drive sloped downward away from the building, there was a river of water about 1.5" high flowing over my feet across the entire lot. After that storm passed, the temperature rose into the 90's with ungodly humidity. By the time I got home, another storm was ripping through with wind so strong I thought the trees which were swirling in a circular motion were going to be pulled from the ground. My female dog, Fluffy, gets so frantic during storms. After three hours of the evening storm I thought she was going to die. She was hyperventilating and just shaking violently. I actually put a paper bag over her head to try to calm her down. Thank God it all stopped by midnight. Fluff kept me up the night before with last night's storm. Tonight I might get some sleep.

June 18 Twentyone Years Ago

Who the hell are these two dopey kids? I vaguely remember them. She looks pretty hot. So why is she with that bow legged dork with the bad perm? Who knows! Anyway, I heard they've been married for 21 years today. I guess that makes them legal now. If you see them, buy her a drink. I'm sure she needs one after 21 years with him.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

June 17 Something Good From Rain

Here's a positive from it raining for 50 of the past 70 days. Chrissy took pictures of some of the flowers in our yard. I have to admit our backyard never looked greener or more colorful.

June 16 SAD

The picture on top is from June 11, the picture on the bottom is today. I have self diagnosed myself as having Seasonal Affective Disorder. I know it is a winter time disorder and I love the winter, but it rains 5 days a week around here so I have a summertime version of it. Here's the symptons from WebMD.
What is seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?
Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that affects a person during the same season each year. If you get depressed in the winter but feel much better in spring and summer, you may have SAD.
Anyone can get SAD, but it is more common in:
People who live in areas where winter days are very short or there are big changes in the amount of daylight in different seasons.
People between the ages of 15 and 55. The risk of getting SAD for the first time goes down as you age.
People who have a close relative with SAD.
What causes SAD?
Experts are not sure what causes SAD, but they think it may be caused by a lack of sunlight. Lack of light may upset your sleep-wake cycle and other circadian rhythms. And it may cause problems with a brain chemical called serotonin that affects mood.
What are the symptoms?
If you have SAD, you may:
Feel sad, grumpy, moody, or anxious.
Lose interest in your usual activities.
Eat more and crave carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta.
Gain weight.
Sleep more and feel drowsy during the daytime.
Feel like shooting up a WalMart.
Symptoms come and go at about the same time each year. For most people with SAD, symptoms start in September or October and end in April or May.

Monday, June 15, 2009

June 15 BLT

Chrissy's rehab seems to be going quite well. She is getting around much better. There is your update on her health. As you've read on this blog, I have been cooking dinners for the past few weeks. I've made pasta dishes, baked a crumb cake, grilled salmon, tuna steaks, filet mignon, chicken and tilapia. Most of these have turned out pretty well as I experimented with marinades and seasonings. Tonight Chrissy made dinner and I had to eat a fucking BLT sandwich. That's it. And it wasn't technically a BLT. It was turkey bacon, spinach and tomato sandwich. It was a TBST. TBST sounds like a venereal disease. "I knew I shouldn't have tapped that, now I have TBST and need some penicillin."

June 14 Doggy Play Date

Today we had a play date for my dogs, Oslo & Fluffy. Bill & Vicki met us at Central Beach with Harley & Caesar (this is the correct spelling but it is more commonly spelled Ceasar, I'm sure Bill will let me know). I was told that Harley who is older doesn't play much and he prefers to just lay around. Caesar is younger and very active. That part was true. Caesar chased his rubber Kong on a string for over two hours. Harley also ran around a bit and went into the lake several times. Fluffy, who is the oldest of the four dogs, did wear out after awhile. We were there for almost 3 hours. Everyone climbed up a steep dune and ran back down. Oslo & I went down at full speed then stopped right in front of me. I went flying right over him and tumbled into the sand. Sorry no pictures of that. At one point, I had to pee and Vicki said "we live in the country, just go up into the bushes." Later she did the same thing but for some reason Bill waited until he could use the bathroom by the parking lot. I always thought the comments left on the blog about me needing to 'man up' were left by Bill, now I'm thinking they came from Vicki. The weather started cloudy & cool but ended sunny and warm. A very nice morning walk on the beach. Sorry I never got a group shot of all four dogs. The first shot is Fluffy taking a drink of that e-coli flavored Lake Michigan water. Then a Valentine family shot. I added the picture of Bill & Caesar because I really liked it. Vicki posed Oslo & Harley under the tree, Oslo looks like a statue but that was the best shot. Caesar reminds me of that old boxing statement, "pound for pound he's the strongest man alive". That dog is rock solid and incredibly strong. The last shot just had a cool look with the sun rays breaking through the clouds.