Sunday, July 29, 2007

We Have a Great Touch Football Team.

Let's calm down. Nothing can really be determined by shirts-shorts practices. Love Muffin is enthused, and he should be. It is easy to be overly excited at the start of camp. Let's see how he feels when a Matt Leinart-type shreds the 1st D like last year's week 3 exhibition.
Everyone looks fast at the beginning of camp. That's because the players have only seen their kids running around at the waterpark. Or, they themselves have been running alone from the media after leaving court. They should have sent Devin Hester out first, as a decoy.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's Here!

When the clock strikes midnight, the Bears will all be in camp. The season will have officially begun. I am ready. I am very optimistic about this season. That is not always the case. However, Jerry Angelo did a great job this off-season with the business of Bears football. This season, the Love Muffin will do his job. The defense is back, intact. Folks, don't sweat the yardage. It's all about turnovers and points allowed. Our D is great in both of those categories.

As for the O, well, never underestimate the power of the contract year. Rex, we will know if you will stay or go. It is time for the Benson test. Let's see a healthy Mark Bradley for 16 games. I can tell you that I see good things coming from the offensive side of the ball.

The Bears are a playoff team. Especially in the NFC North. I have been a sceptic in the past. Not this year. A good, tough schedule will test and season our Bears. By playoff time, they will be a better football team than last year. Better and more consistent. Plus, we have Robbie Gould!!!

I cannot wait to kick it off. First pre-season game, Saturday August 25 v. SanFrancisco. Come on out to the parking lot. We are grilling it up for the new season.

Monday, July 23, 2007


I don't get to read like I used to. Back in the day, B.F. (before kids), I could read a book for hours straight. It was my favorite pastime. Now I grab a few pages here and there, before falling asleep at night, in the bathroom, whenever I get a free half an hour. It is not the same.

I would visualize the story and the characters in my head. I would choose the actors that would play the characters in the movie. Alec Baldwin is not Dave Robichaeux (James Lee Burke's great ex-cop character). Robert Urich as Spencer, O.K. I guess. Robert Shaw as Quint from Jaws by Peter Benchley...Masterstroke.

I would lose myself in a book. It relaxed me and took me away from reality. Reality can be exhausting, don't you think? I remember reading a whole book on my honeymoon in Jamaica. It was "And the Band Played On." A chilling look at the origin and evolution of HIV and AIDS. I have powdered off a couple on the few long plane trips we have taken. That's about it.

My only real everyday relaxation place is our neighborhood pool. In fact, I read "Unitas" by Tom Callahan at the pool. Great book, great location. I try to get there as much as I can. Now all I need is a long plane ride to a beach in Mexico with no kids. I could read like a wild man.

I have a better chance of winning the lottery twice in one week.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Just Fly Me in for Games

I will not be attending Bears summer camp practice in Bourbonnais, Illinois. I am not against the idea of watching a football practice. In fact, I do it all the time. I will not be a party to a circus, however. Remember the scene in Rocky 3 when Sly trains for his first fight with Clubber Lang (Mr. T) in the ballroom of a swanky hotel? Well, that's the Bears camp in Bourbonnais. I have seen the photos, too many people and too many distractions. I will quote Mickey to Lovie and Bears management. "Let's get outta here and go back to the old gym, and really work."

The "old gym" was Platteville, Wisconsin. Far away and not very fan friendly. A great place to get some work done. That is the purpose of a camp. Build some camaraderie, bust some asses and sort out the players from the arena-leaguers. I have been to Platteville, and it was all football. The move back toward Chicago was for money. That's all it could be for. In Platteville, you watched practice in the early a.m. Then, you left campus for lunch in town, which was neat. They had a great little main street, and the locals loved having you there. After lunch, you went back for another practice. If you stayed over night, you could probably catch a beer with a player at one of the local bars. Good Times.

Now they have a Fan Experience area and all kinds of nonsense. You can't bring a grill or a cooler. You have to spend your dough inside the gates. Bad Times. They should go back to Wisconsin and get serious about football. Screw the fans. If you love the Bears, you would take a drive up there.

Besides, you saw what Rocky did to Clubber after he went slummin' at Apollo Creed's gym. That is what the Bears should be doing. After all, movies imitate real life, right?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Neil Young is SO RIGHT.

In 1982, I saw Ozzy Osbourne perform live at the Rosemont Horizon. I loved Ozzy. He rocked. He was charasmatic. He was bigger than life. He rocked. It was a great show. If he had a concert in my backyard today, I would hide in my basement with the doors locked.

I want to remember being a young person. In order to do that, I don't want to be around OLD people doing things that YOUNG people do. I leave the live "rock n' roll" for those who should be there, young people. There are few things worse than these reunion concerts for long gone rock bands. I am trying to think of something worse...Got one: Cancer. Can't think of another on short notice.

I don't want to be reminded that I don't rock. I don't watch "Old-Timer's" games. Shame on these bands, Def Leppard, the Police, the ROLLING STONES, for the grand larceny that they are pulling on their "fans." Stop it. Better to have pulled a John Bonham, lose a member to choking on vomit, and burn out. Instead, these bastards think that we still need them. So, they pull all these baby boomer losers into a crappy outdoor venue and regurgitate their 20 year-old hits. Worse, they play "new" music. Ugh, stay gone. Hey, middle aged man, better to rip "Zenyatta Mondatta" into the I-pod and keep it to yourself.

I don't apply this theory to all music or all bands. Obviously, Tom Petty, Neil Young, U2 and other bands have been relevant and continue to bring new and interesting music to the world. They are not the problem. As for the real culprits, well, we all know who they are. I only wish Axl did.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Mouths That Whimper

Chicago sports used to have great announcers. Great voices and great personalities were the norm. Now, blah, blah, blahs. The Bears had Wayne Larrivee, the hardest working voice in sports. He left for Green Bay, his dream job. OK, I understand that. For his replacement, we get Jeff Joniak, who is terrible. He has an uninspiring tone, and no credibility. Grade: A to D.

The Cubs had Harry Caray, Steve Stone, Jack Brickhouse, and Milo Hamilton. All very good or great. I hate the Cubs and do not listen to their TV or radio announcers regularly. I think Pat Hughes is good, and I like Santo. Maybe you Cub fans can let me know. I would say A to a C.

The White Sox had Harry and Piersall. The kings. Now they have Hawk and DJ on TV. They are OK. A to a B-. Radio is where I get pissed. We go from John Rooney, one of the great voices in all sports, doing play by play, to Ed Farmer taking over the role. Rooney and Farmer, as color, was a kick-ass lineup. I could listen to Rooney reading a traffic report. Farmer sucks as a play by play man. He is humorless and dull. The Sox could have kept Rooney but they went on the cheap. Now, when I am in Western or Southern Illinois, I can hear him with Mike Shannon, doing the Cardinal broadcast. It is great. Grade A to F. The Cardinals went from Jack Buck, Hall of Famer, to Rooney. Great replacement; the Redbirds are a high-class operation.

The Bulls had Jim Durham and Neil Funk, both top of line. Nobody watches the NBA on TV let alone listens to it on the radio. Grade A to ? Tom Doerr and Red Kerr blow. Grade: Blow.

Last but not least, the Chicago Blackhawks. This is the worst. Legendary announcer Llyod Petitt then, Pat Foley manned the mike for my whole life. Then, for no good reason, other than they are the cheapest, lowest, dirtiest, lowdown, ratbastard fucks that ever owned a sports franchise, the Hawks dropped Foley. This should be a felony; get Blago on this. Foley was the best; great voice and opinionated. He called a dog a dog, or in this case a Hawk a dog. I never missed a game. I had to listen; the Hawks were not on TV (Ugghh.) Foley could paint the picture and raise your pulse. When the road games were on TV, it was a bonus, his voice with pictures. Grade A+ to "Death by Lethal Injection."

I am a cranky old fan, but I am right on this. So uninspired, these franchises. If the Sox don't sign Buerhle, just wait. I'll be off them for life.

Somewhere Over the South Side

I grew up on the Southwest side of Chicago. I lived there for 18 straight years. I was liberated in August of 1984. You may wonder how Galesburg, Illinois was an improvement, but let me tell you, it was as if the world had opened up to me. I had to get out; I got out; I never went back. I have done quick recon missions and worked in Markham for 5 years, but I never blended back into the clan. I thought about it several times, then, came to my senses. Or, my wife reminded me of why I left in the first place.

There is only one thing left in that area that "pulls me back in." The original Rainbow Cone. The ice cream joint of my youth. 92nd and Western, the original building still stands. There is a large, replica Rainbow cone on the roof that still lights up. The prize is a large cone, flat scooped with five flavors, into a wave of sweet delight. Chocolate, strawberry, pistachio, Palmer House, and topped with orange sherbet. Palmer House is an original, yellow vanilla with chunks of cherries. Alone, each of these flavors would not rank as favorites. I am a butter pecan man. But together, I loved this cone. It was always a stop with my grandmother, Busha, as well as a frequent destination for my mother. My dad would take us but order nothing. He was not a dessert guy.

Kathleen and I took the kids Saturday evening. It is a drive; there is no easy way to my old home. The rainbow cone was worth it. It tasted like I remembered. The memories were bittersweet. My youth is fading from memory, dying. It is hanging by a thread. My whole focus is on the future, my family, the kids, my own. I hold on to St. Rita high school and an ice cream cone. It will not go gently.