Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Elf classic

Deep in the archives of a Hollywood studio, this trailer of dancing elves was discovered. They look somewhat familiar.
Click this link and enjoy!

Monday, December 29, 2008

More photos discovered

I am one month and three days from my self-imposed (well, it's now on my publishing contract) deadline to submit the manuscript, photos, captions and release forms for my Ray Schalk biography. I think I will make it, but it will be a busy time.

The other day, while working up captions, I came across some additional photos on the Library of Congress web site. Either I missed them on my previous visit(s), or the LOC has added more images, many of which are copyright-free.

Here is one of the few game action shots of Ray Schalk I've seen. He is waiting at home plate to congratulate Johnny Mostil upon scoring a run in Washington. The year was 1925.
Mostil’s failed suicide attempt during spring training in 1927 added unexpected drama to Schalk’s first year as White Sox manager. Mostil recovered but played just one complete season afterward. He left the team in early 1929.

(Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division,
National Photo Company Collection, LC-F8- 36908.)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Yes you, Carl!

I'm not prone to taking photos in men's rooms, but I couldn't resist using my phone's camera after seeing with this sign on the inside of the rest room door at a Subway in Illinois.

I wonder when Carl last used the rest room.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Blagojevich film parody a hit

I have no claim to ownership on this video. A friend directed me to it on YouTube.
Apparently, the credit goes to Chicago TV host Marcus Leshock (real name? Hmmmm.)

You have to laugh to keep from crying, right?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Asleep while on duty

Claire's parents had a holiday party to attend, so Ma and Pop hosted a sleepover for our favorite 2-year-old.

Claire demonstrated her amazing skills at working puzzles and her slightly expanding vocabulary, which includes "Yes, Ma'am" and "Yes, uh-huh."

Shortly after snapping this photo (using his phone) Pop demonstrated his skill at falling asleep on the sofa. Good thing Ma was on the job, or else Claire would have had to have put herself to bed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cheap Trick opens new casino

Madame X and I were guests of the Diamond Jo Casino, which tonight unveiled its brand-new land-based casino. The massive facility replaced the permanently moored riverboat.

Casino officials booked Cheap Trick to play its Mississippi Moon bar and 800-seat auditorium. It was a fun show and a great night.

Though we are not gamblers, I can foresee us taking in other shows at the Diamond Jo. And the casino will host lots of well-known acts.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Chicago getaway

Madame X and I just returned from an enjoyable "getaway" weekend in Chicago. The short summary: Fun. Shopping. Walking. Restaurants. Museum. Walking. Cold. Walking.

Four years ago, we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill, 445 N. Clark, rated as one of the best restaurants anywhere. Our next several visits, we made attempts to return. But Frotera doesn't take reservations, and waiting two hours -- literally -- for a table is not for us. At noon Saturday, after Round 1 of shopping, we found ourselves walking in the neighborhood of Frontera Grill. Well, the wait for a table would be an hour, we were told, but we could see if there were chairs at the bar, where patrons also could receive food service. Turns out, we got the last two and enjoyed a great Mexican lunch.

Dinner on Saturday was at another place we have enjoyed previously, Volare, 201 East Grand. A friend from 30-plus years ago and his wife joined us, and we had a great time. Volare took reservations (made Tuesday) and had our table ready at the appointed (early) hour. The food was excellent, the staff attentive and professional, etc. The place was packed -- and rather noisy -- but it was a good-natured crowd.

Sunday found us at the Art Institute of Chicago, where we saw an amazing exhibition of centuries-old textiles, some maps from Daniel Burnham's plan for Chicago 100 years ago, the French impressionists, photography (including a half-dozen images by Edward S. Curtis, whose collection in Dubuque raised a local furor a few months ago) and of course Grant Wood's famous American Gothic.

Other details. Metra commuter train between Elgin and Chicago ($5 each for both days of the weekend). Swissotel (thank you, Hotwire) and no weather-related problems (though the cold and wind were a challenge).

And that's how I spent my winter vacation.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Worst dive ever!

It has been a couple of years since I hung up my whistle after a dozen years of officiating soccer. I never worked any World Cup matches, and I missed my share of decisions. But I think I could return to the pitch tomorrow and recognize this play for what it is -- a blatant dive by a player. An attacker offside, no less.

Incredibly, the referee rewarded the offender with a penalty kick (unfortunately, successful). Instead, the attacker should have received a yellow card (caution) for simulating a foul.

And the defenders should have received an indirect free kick coming out, not be forced to stand by and watch as they give up a cheap goal on a PK .

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Superintendent search: Who cares?

The good news is that turnout at Day 2 of the public forum to guide the search firm helping recruit the next Dubuque schools superintendent jumped 14 percent compared to the Day 1 attendance.

The bad news is that the 14 percent increase represented one person.

Just shows how one may accurately report statistics but mask the real facts.

The fact is that seven people attended the first evening's program, on Monday. Even with a story in the next day's paper, reminding that Day 2 would be that night, turnout zoomed up to eight.

To the shock and horror of the Telegraph Herald reporter covering the event, I was one of the seven. I'll confess that I probably would not have made it had I not received a separate letter inviting me -- they had the idea that I am a community leader -- to participate.

The turnout contrasted greatly with the overflow crowds that showed up earlier this year when the superintendent (John Burgart, who is retiring at the end of the school year) and school board wrestled with redistricting, proposed closure of a pre-school program and closure of the alternative high school.

Maybe organizers of this week's listening sessions should have stated the meeting would be about raising taxes or closing their neighborhood school. People care about that. The next superintendent? Who cares? Nobody -- until an issue that upsets them emerges.