Sunday, November 29, 2009

5 miles of tunes

I logged a 5-mile run this morning. That's not saying much, I know, but it was only my second run of that distance this injury-filled year. (The previous occasion was Feb. 1.)

Anyway, the run felt pretty good, and I enjoyed a variety of songs on my MP3 player along the way. The control dial on my player is out of control, so I am effectively limited to "play all" and shuffle. Here is how today's mix came out:
  1. #9 Dream – John Lennon (always plays first)
  2. Medley: Splish Splash/Beyond the Sea/Artificial Flowers/Clementine – Bobby Darin
  3. Shape of Things – Max Frost
  4. I’m Not Guilty – C.J. Chenier
  5. Rhythm of the Rain – The Cascades
  6. Stand by Me – John Lennon
  7. Up the Ladder to the Roof – The Supremes
  8. Michelle – The Beatles
  9. The Times Are A-Changin’ – Bob Dylan (Unplugged)
  10. Be-Bop-A-Lula – Gene Vincent (pictured)
  11. Way Over There – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
  12. Ooby Dooby – Roy Orbison
  13. Savoy Truffle – The Beatles
  14. Louie, Louie – The Kingsmen
  15. Words (Between the Lines) – Neil Young

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Schalk relative reflects, remembers

Since the Schalk biography was released this fall, I have heard encouraging words from several of his relatives. This week, I received a nice letter from a great-nephew. It reads in part:

I just finished reading your book "Ray Schalk" and wanted to say how much I enjoyed the reading. Thank you so much for taking up the subject of my Great Uncle Ray Schalk. Mom had told us of all the correspondence back and forth between you and she and I was very much looking forward to the completion and the arrival of the book.

As we have all said in family long after his passing, we wished we would have had more time with Uncle Ray when he was around, and had more knowledge of his playing days and background. But as a youngster, you don't know the magnitude of someone like that until it's too late and they are gone. I remember thinking that yeah he was someone big back "in the old days" but I want to hear about Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Johnny Bench and those guys who hit the big home runs and so forth.

What really struck me about the book was how big a personality he was during his prime in Chicago. Being the second largest city in America at that time, he was a household name to anyone who followed baseball in Chicago, if not the rest of the country. I always thought he was kind of just there, sort of in the background on a team with Joe Jackson and the star pitchers. He really was something else and was very durable over those years. Not to mention all the celebrities he associated with, that was another story altogether.

He was quite a guy, a small man from a small town who made big in the big leagues. I remember when he came down, he always had his cigars with him and always dressed very well.

He was still pretty gruff at times. I recall one time he took us to an Illinois-Purdue football game in Champaign, III. My Mom and brothers went, for some reason my Dad didn't go, and I don't recall if Aunt Vin was there or not. Anyway we have great seats, probably on the 50-yard line. Later during the game and he asks me who I'm rooting for. Naturally, I'm from Illinois and I say "Illinois." He says something like "what the hell you doing, I bring you over here to see Purdue and you're rooting for Illinois!" I think it was half show and half serious, he didn't know that I didn't know his connection to Purdue. I believe I was about 11 or 12 at the time. Ah the fun old days with Uncle Ray.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How I spent my (fall) vacation

I used a couple of vacation days last week for yet another trip to Chicago. I spent most of it in this building -- the main library of the University of Chicago, which houses a massive newspaper microfilm collection.

I used the time to go through the Daily Maroon, the UC student newspaper, for the final two years of Jay Berwanger's undergraduate years. The Daily Maroon, by the way, printed three days a week.

Berwanger, a Dubuque native and UC '36, won the first Heisman Trophy.

About 150 microfilm copies later, I came home able to fill some gaps in my bid to capture a better feel of campus life (including athletics) in 1934-36, when Berwanger was literally the Big Man on Campus.

My thanks to Ray Gadke, microform manager, for his support and assistance during my "campout" in his department.

Last week's trip might be my last to UC for research -- but then again you never know.

After organizing articles and notes, I hope to start writing by Christmas.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Congratulations, Ellen and Adam!

I'm going to be a father-in-law again!
Adam proposed over the weekend, and our daughter Ellen said "Can I think about it?" YES!
Adam works for Wells Fargo by day and pursues his master's degree at night. He's a great guy -- for a Packers fan.
No specifics on the nuptials as yet, except the plan is Fall 2010 in Dubuque.
Congratulations, Ellen and Adam!