Wednesday, October 29, 2008

First sleepover

Claire's parents had a social engagement, and so it happened that Claire had her first overnight without them.

Madame X and I had the honors of hosting the sleepover. The evening meal was a pancake supper, for which Claire assisted with the preparation.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Variety shows

Saturday afternoon and evening included a wide range of music.

Late afternoon, Madame X and I visited the Warehouse, where local band BlackBloom was among the groups playing at a Rocktober fundraiser for autism. A couple of members were friends with our younger daughter during high school and beyond. When member Brandon Hagen last weekend told us about Rocktober, we were glad it fit into our schedule.

Now, it might hurt BlackBloom's image if this gets around but this 50-something Grandpa enjoyed BlackBloom. They play with lots of energy, and they perform lots of original material. OK, so I might turn down the amplifiers a notch or two, but what can you expect at an event called Rocktober.

I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with one of the few (only?) cover songs in BlackBloom's set -- "Not Fade Away." That a group of 20-somethings perform a song that was first recorded 51 years ago tells me that they appreciate rock history. Sure, it was a more powerful and contemporary arrangement of the Buddy Holly number, a song covered many times over the years, but this oldies fan enjoyed hearing what a 21st century band did with it.

That evening, Madame X and I dined with friends at L. May and took in music of a different sort. The Bell Tower Theater presented Babes in Hollywood: The Music of Judy Garland & Mickey Rooney. The four-member cast was made up of members of the Slade Family of Dubuque: music teachers Steve and Teresa and two of their children, Andrew and Jillian.
The run concludes today.

After being among the oldest audience members at Rocktober, Madame X and I were among the youngest at the Bell Tower. What conclusions can be drawn about that?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My link to terrorist

In the newsroom the other day, we were discussing the most famous (or notorious) people we "know."

My usual contribution is usually Bobby Rahal, winner of the Indianapolis 500 in 1986, who sat next to me in Study Hall when I was a freshman. A sophomore, he spent the hour, day after day, doodling pictures of race cars.

There was another connection that I had forgotten. However, as we get closer to Election Day, I am reminded every day of my link to William Ayers (right).

I realize that this revelation will put me on some list or another, but in the interest of full disclosure -- and since I haven't posted for nearly a week -- I will provide some details.

Sometime in the early 1960s (probably 1963-66), I met Bill Ayers in his parents' home. He was the older brother of one of my grade-school friends in suburban Chicago. I encountered him only a time or two, because he was 10 years older and away at college (where he was helping form Students for a Democratic Society or some such). However, I do remember that it was through Bill Ayers that I first saw a Peace Sign button; he explained to us pre-teens what it stood for.

Within a couple of years, Bill Ayers became nationally known as a fugitive member of the Weather Underground. From time to time, as middle-schoolers with time to kill, we would go into the Post Office and look at his Wanted poster. Weird.

Years later, Ayers surfaced, became a professor and (pick one) acquaintance/associate/co-conspirator with Barack Obama. Meanwhile, I haven't seen his brother John -- we gravitated to different circles in high school -- but once in 35 years, at our high school reunion more than 15 years ago.

End of story.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Wait 'til next century

The imposters posing as the Chicago Cubs, the team that posted the best regular-season record in the National League, rolled over for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night, thus assuring that it will be more than 100 years between World Series titles for the North Siders.

Losing is one thing. But looking inept doing it is quite another.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Down but not (yet) out

My favorite team, the Chicago Cubs, are on the verge of their second early exit from the National League Divisional Series. Not only did they lose the first two games of the best-of-five series -- at home, no less -- to the Dodgers, they looked bad doing it. (Last year, they were swept out of the post-season by Arizona.)

The Cubs looked like anything but the team that racked up the best record in the National League.

Can they turn it around? Can they win three straight -- the first two on the road?

As someone who observed the collapse of 1969, the collapse of 1984, the whimper of 1989, the collapse of 2003, I struggle to muster any optimism.