Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's a wrap!

After more than two years and 400-some pages, on Monday I shipped my Ray Schalk biography manuscript to my publisher, McFarland & Co.

My suggested title is Cracker: Ray Schalk, Hall of Fame Catcher of the Chicago White Sox. I can't predict whether McFarland will like that title (or my suggestion for a cover photo), but it's not my call.

The photo shows the manuscript binder, which, with the CD of the entire text, photos and captions, weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces. That is about the weight of a newborn baby, and this was my "baby" for the past couple of years.

An acquaintance who is prolific with these books observed to me, "You are never really finished writing a book. You finally just have to stop." I know what he means. I could have added this or polished that. But this book needed to be done.

Now the wait begins. It will be many months before I receive page proofs. My hope is that a finished book will be out by Thanksgiving, but that is optimistic. McFarland says books take 9-15 months after submission.

Meantime, I'll catch up on long-overdue projects around the house -- and think about my next project.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A really big show

The Telegraph Herald hosted its sixth annual Big Boy Toy Show this past weekend. I had no official duties, but did stop by for the event -- held for the first time at the spacious Grand River Center on the Dubuque riverfront. The previous five shows were at the Dubuque County Fairgrounds.

Good thing we changed the venue -- the place was packed!

We had a record turnout, and it wasn't because of the climbing wall.

On Saturday, the featured celebrity was legendary fisherman Babe Winkelman. On Sunday, people were lined up by the hundreds to get the autographs of Iowa Hawkeye and Wisconsin Badger football stars, including likely early-round NFL draft pick Shonn Greene. I couldn't get close enough to get a better picture of the athletes -- lest I get roughed up by the people in line, thinking I'm a budger -- however, the bottom photo prominently features another Greene (Amy).

Anyway, we were pleased with the turnout and the response, and look forward to the seventh annual show in 2010!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Franckly, he's fantastic

I came across this video of highlight plays by French soccer player Franck Ribery. When I saw it was six minutes long, I doubted I'd watch it until the end. I was wrong (again!). The moves of this player are amazing. Keep in mind, his competition is not a youth team but top professionals.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

One lump or two?

Madame X and I stopped by Claire's house for a few minutes today. In no time at all Claire and Ma were having a little tea party. That both were wearing purple tops was pure coincidence.

Hope for Blagojevich?

As has been well documented, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, indicted and now impeached, is not the first Illinois governor to have his legal difficulties. Most reports cite indicted governors from the Land of Lincoln the past four decades or so.

However, this is not a recent phenomenon. While doing some research over the Internet (thank you, Carnegie-Stout Public Library!) regarding the Black Sox trial of 1921, I noticed (couldn't help but notice, actually) the lead headline.

Gov. Small, who had just taken office earlier in the year, was indicted for his alleged actions in his previous job as state treasurer. A jury acquitted him -- and four jurors subsequently and quietly received state jobs.

Six years later, as a civil case on the matter dragged on, Small Governor Small agreed to pay the state $650,000 and the state agreed to not prosecute him for what other charges were out there.

Here is a link to Time's 1927 report.

Well, if Small could get off, perhaps Blagojevich has hope.

Ah, my native Illinois.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Outstanding citizen

My first post of 2009 concerns what might be my personal highlight of the entire year: The public reception and award presentation for the Telegraph Herald First Citizen Award.

As editor of the Telegraph Herald, I have the privilege of overseeing our First Citizen program, including the selection process, notifying the honoree, a few arrangements and serving as MC at the program. Doing that for 23 of the previous 24 award cycles (I was on sabbatical one year), it has been a great experience to interact with our various winners.

Msgr. Francis Friedl, a 91-year-old former pastor, priest and president (Loras College 1971-77), was overwhelmed with tonight's turnout. I didn't count, but I'd estimate the crowd of well-wishers at 300.

Tonight's audience included former parishioners, former employees, a retired archbishop, the mayor, the current Loras president, former First Citizen honorees, and dozens more.

Msgr. Friedl is a noted homilist -- he's written a book on homilies -- and he showed his stuff with the opening of his acceptance speech, sharing a little story about a town outcast.

With the tremendous outpouring of love and affection he was shown tonight, it's clear that our recipient is the total opposite of an outcast.

Here is the Telegraph Herald's video report (by Tony Frenzel) from the event.

Congratulations, Msgr. Friedl!