Friday, October 31, 2014

Haunted Hotels for a Haunted Stay

From the October 19, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Jay Jones.

Even better than going to one of those made-up haunted houses that seem to be everywhere, why not actually go to sleep with the scaries in a real haunted hotel?

Here is a list of five supposedly haunted hotels.  But. like the Eagles said in that song about the one in California, "You can check in, but you can never check out."

1.  THE 1866 CRESCENT HOTEL & SPA (75 Prospect Avenue, Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  They bill themselves as "America's Most Haunted Hotel."  It was a Depression-era hospital for desperate cancer patients.

2.  THE OTESAGA OF COOPERSTOWN (60 Lake Street, Cooperstown, N.Y.) isn't far from the former home of Louis C. Jones, author of "Things That Go Bump in the Night."  At one time it was an all-girls school.

3.  THE QUEEN MARY (1126 Queen's Highway, Long Beach, Ca.).  The former ocean liner is now a floating hotel and attracts 1.5 million visitors a year.  Many, many eerie things, one of which is said to be from a young crewman in the engine room who was crushed to death in 1966 by the closing of a watertight door,

4.  17HUNDRED90 INN (307 E. President Street, Savannah, Georgia).  Resident ghost Anna is not mean, but mischievous.

5.  THE STANLEY HOTEL ( 333 Wonderview Avenue, Estes Park, Colorado).  Book a night in Room 217.  Former housekeeper Elizabeth Wilson haunts it.

And, actually, there is a real HOTEL CALIFORNIA in Santa Monica, California.

"We Are Just Prisoners Here of Our Own Disguise."  --DaCoot

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Stunts-- Part 2

4.  According to common myth, a stuntman died during the filming of the chariot-race scene from the 1959 movie "BEN HUR."  But that never happened.  Ironically, the director of that scene, Andrew Marton, may have fueled the rumors by denying them, saying sarcastically that 20 people and 100 horses had died filming it.  The studio's infirmary primarily was treating sunburns during its filming.

5.  EDWARD BERNAYS, a New York publicity agent and nephew of Sigmund Freud, marketed cigarettes to women as a way for equal rights and to stay slim with the slogan, "Reach for a cigarette instead of dessert."

For the 1929 Easter Parade along New York's Fifth Avenue, he orchestrated a stunt in which classy-looking women at designated locations joined the promenade and lit up cigarettes.  His product, Lucky Strike.

6.  The TOUR DE FRANCE bicycle race was started in 1903 as a publicity stunt to help save a struggling sports newspaper called L'Auto.

And then, there was the famous "Bunion Derby" along Route 66 in, I think, 1929 which did a lot to promote the new road.

7.  ALVIN "SHIPWRECK" KELLY is most often credited--or blamed?-- for popularizing the flagpole-sitting craze in the late 1920s.  In June 1927, he sat on top of a pole on a Newark, N.J., hotel for 12 and 1/2 days.  He returned to the ground to wild acclaim and much fame, and it clearly went to his head.

Seven years later, his wife had him forcibly removed from another pole and charged him with abandoning her and their seven children.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Stunts-- Part 1

From the October 26, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer, great researchers.

What with Nik Wallenda intending to walk across the Chicago River on a tightrope next weekend as a stunt, here are ten other stunts.

1.  The last major stunt in Chicago was perhaps DANIEL GOODWIN "SPIDER DAN" scaling the John Hancock Center on Nov. 11, 1981, and authorities didn't like it a bit.  They tried to stuo him, even with him being hundreds of feet off the ground.  Firefighters doused him with high pressure hoses and then tried to block his way with a window-washing scaffold and pike poles.

They even broke out windows and tried to pull him inside.

Finally Mayor Jane Byrne decided to allow him to finish his way to the top where he was promptly arrested.  Wallenda, of course, won't be arrested for his stunt.

Living in the Chicagoland area, this event was all over the news and most everyone was pulling for "Spider Dan" and not really happy that he was arrested.

2.  LINCOLN BEACHEY, one of the first great stunt pilots, was known for his "death dips," his loop-the-loop and his flights around the U.S. Capitol, under abridge at Niagara Falls and inside a building in San Francisco.

At a 1912 air show in Chicago, Beachey dressed as a woman and pretended to be an amateur pilot, flying wildly and buzzing cars on Michigan Avenue.

He came to his end in 1915, when he tried an extreme maneuver and his plane's wings fell off, plunging him into San Francisco Bay.  He was found drowned, still strapped into the pilot's seat.

3.  SNAPPLE'S attempt to clinch the world record for largest ice pop on the first day of summer in 2005 in New York's Union Square rapidly turned into a sticky mess when the 25-foot tall, 5-foot wide, 17 ton ice pop liquefied in the 80 degree heat and really mucked up everything.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pulled the Boat Out on Monday

This past Monday, we pulled the boat out of the water and took it over to the marina to be winterized and have the bottom cleaned.  It was a nice day with temps in the 70s and with the rest of the week expected to get quite a bit wetter and colder with temps in the upper 40s.

We were able to get out on the boat 45 times (we keep count).  We figure we need to get out at least 40 times a season to make all the money we spend on boating worth it.  This was one of the coldest, worst weather summers we remember in our thirty years of boating.

Some More of That Global _____ I Suppose.  Only It "Ain't" That Warm!!  --RoadDog

A Break from the Strike

I had already arranged to take the weekend of October 29-30, 1994, to Nashville, Tennessee, for the NIU-Vanderbilt football game, so after walking the line on Friday, Oct. 28th, I went to O'Hare Airport and took a plane to Nashville and stayed with my brother Bob.

Unfortunately, Northern gave Vandy a good game, but lost at the end.  Vandy fans kept coming up to us as we left the game saying that we should have won.  Afterwards, we went to Second Avenue and later saw a German oom-pah band, Oktoberfest, you know.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Round Lake Teacher Strike-- Part 10: Orange Fences All Over My School

As angry as I was at the school board and administration for bringing on this strike, those orange snow fences infuriated me the most.  I even made up a sign saying "Don't Fence Me Out" taking from the old Bing Crosby song "Don't Fence Me In."

The fence also caused me to buy the "Don't Tread on Me" flag.


"I had a long talk today with Lt. D.W. of the Round Lake Beach police force about the fences and their presence.  He said they had done long studies on strikes and decided the fences were good because they clearly showed where people could and couldn't go.

"The police need to be there in case mob psychology takes over.  he says the police recommended that the board take these steps."

It was an interesting talk, but the fences were not needed, nor was police presence needed.  We were teachers, not likely to go on a rampage of destruction and mayhem.  The fences were put there to make us look bad and I'm sure that is what the administration and school board had in mind.  Same with the police being there.  The strike, however, did make the police a lot of money in overtime which I understand the district had to pay.

We have been out on the line in Waukegan three times and never even seen a cop car drive by the picket lines, much less park their cars there with an officer inside it.  And, there are no FENCES!!   The few other strikes I've been at have been officerless and fenceless as well.

The Lincoln Memorial: Facts

**  Ground was broken for the memorial Feb. 12, 1914.

**  The Lincoln statue is in 28 pieces and weighs 340,000 pounds.

**  The original murals in the memorial faded badly and were restored in the 1990s.

**  Hollywood has featured the memorial in movies such as the "Transformers" films and"The Day the Earth Stood Still."


The Lincoln Memorial's Role in History

From the May 25, 2014, Chicago Tribune by William Hagerman.

"It would ne hard to visit the Lincoln Memorial and not be moved.  Few locations, in the nation's capital, or anywhere else, are as evocative."

The Memorial has been a backdrop for events in American history, especially to the blacks in America.  Songer Marian Anderson was banned fro  performing in Constitution Hall because she was black and instead sang at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939.  Of course, there was the  famous Dr. Martin Luther King speech in 1963.

Jay Sacher has a new book out called "Lincoln Memorial: The Story and Design of an American Monument," where he looks into its history.

He covers the big events as mentioned, but also obscure ones like the fight to get it built, the partnership between architect Henry Bacon and sculptor Daniel Chester French.

I wrote about Henry Bacon's father, Henry Bacon, Sr., who engineered "The Rocks" at Wilmington, N.C. as well as the Swash Defense Dam at the same place in my Running the Blockade blog.

--  Cooter

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Round Lake Teacher Strike 1994-- Part 9


"Walked back to Magee and took pictures of the fence and several of the trees which weer in brilliant autumn colors.  Walked the line until 9:30 when I went to the picket captain meeting and while there, Kora came in and said I should go to Ellis to take pictures of the Hispanic kids.

"Liz drove us there and I got good shots of them and the Ellis teachers.  We also went to Indian Hill which is very isolated and they were happy to see us.  We stayed there about twenty minutes and saw only three or four cars go by.

"They took me back to hq and I went back to the Magee line.  Some local pizza places delivered free pizza to the line at one but refused to let us know who was responsible.  That was a very nice thing to do.

"We had a big rally at Hart's Woods and I got it all on tape.  The Ellis teachers performed three songs that were very good thanks to the skills of D.F. and B.E..

Afterwards, we went to Costello's and stayed until 9.

Friday, October 24, 2014

12 Facts About Autumn-- Part 4: Pumpkins

9.  HALLOWEEN is a large part of autumn.  (After all, we have the Halloween stuff on store shelves since September.)

The concept of wearing masks and costumes hails from the ancient Celtic tradition.  The Celts believed ghosts roamed on Halloween, and people wore disguises to hide from the spirits.  (Not to win prize money.)

10.  You're bound to see PUMPKINS as part of autumn decor.  The pumpkin was first named by the Greeks.  They called this edible orange item "pepon," which means 'large melon."  We have six artificial pumpkins in our front-facing windows.  Looks EERIE!!

11.  EVERGREEN TREES will not lose their leaves like deciduous trees.  Their leaves, also called needles, are covered with a thick wax.  This wax protects the inner components of the needles, preventing them from freezing.  This goes for yews as well.

12.  Autumn also signals another COLORFUL SPECTACLE, the NORTHERN LIGHTS.  The aurora borealis tends to be very visible this time of the year because geomagnetic storms are about twice as likely to occur during the fall thanks to cool evening weather.

So, Now You Know About Fall.  --DaCoot

12 Facts About Autumn-- Part 3

Continued from October 16th.

6.  Fall is PEAK MIGRATION TIME  for many species of birds.  During autumn, birds will fly over to other areas as they seek more hospitable climates.

The Arctic tern journeys about 11,000 miles each way for its annual migration.  That is like going across the United States about there and a half times.

7.  Contrary to popular belief, SQUIRRELS who have spent the entire autumn collecting acorns and other foods do not hibernate for the winter.  Rather, they spend the majority of their time in nests they built to shelter them from harsh weather.

When squirrels do come out during the winter, they are usually tunneling under the snow to find the food they buried during the fall.

I have never seen more squirrels out collecting food as I have this fall.  They are everywhere.

8.  Several cultures have ancient TRADITIONS THAT COINCIDE WITH AUTUMN.  For example, the Chinese celebrate the Moon Festival to give thanks for a successful summer harvest.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Round Lake Teacher Strike 1994-- Part 8

DAY THREE, OCTOBER 19TH:  "Decided to bring in my camcorder today.  Went to the headquarters and picked up the stuff for Magee.  Out on the line by 6:30 and then walked over to the high school/administration area where we would have a speech by the IEA president.

"Again, the cops were in full force but at least without the paddy wagon.  We had speeches and songs and then the president spoke.  He told us the eyes of everyone were on us, not just Illinois, but the whole U.S..  he said he had never seen fences and cops at any teacher strike.

"We then had more songs then M.D., our leader (superintendent), drove up and behind the admin building with just a quick glance at the people she leads.  She looks very haggard."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Round Lake Teacher Strike 1994-- Part 7: Second Day: Really Walking the Line

October 18th:  "B.D., R.S. and I went to Costello's where they were having a teachers special for the duration of the strike with cheeseburger and fries for $2.25.  That is very nice of Frank and Sharon.

"Back at the line, B.D. and I got bored and took a walk down Hart Road to Sunset and down to the high school picket area.  Talked with them for awhile and then continued on to where they're finally starting to cut Sunset through.

"There, we ran into R.D., whom I've known for years.  He is now mayor of Round Lake Beach.  Talked with him a while and then continued to the first street and walked toward Cedar Lake past another high school picket line (they were watching two entrances, front and back).  The trees were beautiful.

"We walked by the  administration building and found it to be nothing like yesterday.  There were only two cop cars, a few teachers and a few students in the area.  Walked on back to the Magee picket line.  Left at 4 and came home."

"Watched TV and rested."

Round Lake Teacher Strike 1994-- Part 6: Day Two, October 18th

"Up at 5:15 a.. and drove in a light rain to the headquarters and arrived just as Jeanne was opening it.  Wished her a happy birthday (40th and what a way to celebrate it) and had a cup of coffee.  The one teacher who graduated from Palatine in 1970 was there, too.

"M.H. dropped by and we took the clipboard with check-in lists back to Magee.  Again, we had people reporting in late and leaving early.  I didn't go to the high school for the daily scab confrontation, but understand only the five from yesterday who originally crossed and the four green building (administration) secretaries.

"People were very impressed with my flag (Don't Tread on Me).  Again, we got much reaction from the cars, most positive.  There was a lot of honking (to show support).

"At 9:30, the other picket captains and I went to the headquarters.  So far, only the five who originally crossed yesterday have gone over to the other side so that is good news.  We still have several people who haven't shown up on the line.  We were very happy when A.W. finally showed up.  We had been  greatly worried that she would cross the line."

Bad News Scabs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Round Lake Teacher Strike 1994-- Part 5: "Don't Tread On Me"

Continuing with Day One, October 17, 1994.

"At 4, we had a rally at the pavilion at Hart's Woods.  This was a pep rally. R.B., B.D. and I sang our song and it was well received.

"Afterwards, I drove to Gurnee Mills and bought a "Don't Tread on Me" flag and ate at White Castle.

"Stopped at Costello's and was surprised to find only Liz, K.L. and one other teacher there.  I guess everyone was too worn out to do much more.

"I came home and watched TV."

I'll have to see if I can find the words to the song.

This Was One of the Hardest and Longest Days of My Life.

Round Lake School Teacher Strike 1994-- Part 4

'We finally got a (strike) headquarters (for the strike) today in the building where the first Round Lake Library was.  It is by A-1 Tire and by the library site when I was on the board.  We had originally had headquarters at Father Berger Hall at St. Joseph's, but they backed out on Friday.

"The rain finally stopped around ten or eleven.  Walking back and forth quickly became tedious.  SAt noon we had a picket captains meeting at hqand the place was still one of chaos.

"After the meeting, K.H. came by with food.  The picket captains (for Magee): M.H.,. S.K., M.K. and I drove to Burger King for their 99 cent Whoppers.  Came back and walked the line.  I continued to become more infuriated by the fence and along with B.D. composed a song 'Don't Fence Us Out' (based on the song 'Don't Fence Me In.'

Not Quite Finished With Day One.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Round Lake School Teacher Strike 1994-- Part 3

I was always upset that our school board and administration chose to treat the teachers as horrible people who were apt at any moment to destroy a building or do injury to anyone. This was obviously a planned move on their part and set the stage for a long strike.

Teachers do not go on a strike for no reason.

They should have realized that, but they chose to treat us like criminals from the get-go.  I never had any respect for our school board or administration, even after the strike was finally over.  I still don't.

OCTOBER 17, 1994

Back to my journal for the first day.

"Walked over to the administration building where I found 150-200 teachers marching around the block.  There were three TV mobiles there with their antennas extended up to three stories and reporters doing interviewing.  We only had five teachers cross the line.  I only knew two: R.K. and D.L...

"All five were met with jeering and even profanity.  (That day all five became enemies of  mine and all five took the concessions we got at the end of the strike, but had done everything they could to hurt us.)

"The assistant superintendent Ellen Z., came out and took a lot of flack.  Mary D. (our superintendent) should have come out to do that job but was nowhere to be found."

I Still Get Angry As I Type This.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

October 17, 1994: Day One of Round Lake Teachers Strike-- Part 2

Yesterday, Liz and I commemorated the 20th anniversary of the strike by thanking our Union president who did such a great job carrying us through the hard times.

We also drove into Waukegan, Illinois, to walk the picket line with the teachers there.  They were in Day 11 of their strike and we told them we sure didn't want them breaking our record for longest school strike in a district that survived it in the history of Illinois.

Striking is no fun whatsoever!!

One thing about the Waukegan strike is that there is no police presence at all at the closed schools.  I didn't even see any driving by.  Plus, there were no fences around the buildings like with our strike.  However, there school board seems to be a lot like ours in their refusal to actually negotiate.  They pay that idea lip service, but there is none.

We have several friends who teaches there, but would have gone anyway.

And. of course, it was the 20th anniversary of the beginning of our strike.  What better way to commemorate than to walk the line again.  Maybe Johnny C. should have written a song about it.

I found my old Revolutionary War "Don't Tread on Me" flag which I bought during out strike and it once again waved proudly out on the line.


Friday, October 17, 2014

October 17, 1994: Day One of the Round Lake Teacher Strike-- Part 1

Taken from my journal.

"Up at 5:30 a.m. as was Liz.  Crete-Monee district is on strike as well.  Rain showers this morning--great day to strike!  I was amazed at how much traffic was on the road by 6:30 (as I drove from Spring Grove to Round Lake).    It was slower-going than it is at 7:30.  The rain increased in intensity the whole way.

"I parked at Cedar Foods on Cedar Lake Road and crossed the road.  I was completely taken aback to find I had entered a battle zone.  An orange snow fence barricade stretched from the Cedar Lake Road entrance all the way to the Hart Road entrance at Magee Middle School where I taught.  It then continued from the other side of it to where it met the new fence.

"No trespassing signs were at the Presbyterian Church so the enemy must have gotten to Lisle K., the preacher there.  All along the orange fence were red signs reading 'Entry Upon These State Supported Land Is Forbidden.  Violators Will Be Arrested And Prosecuted.'

In addition, there were police squad cars at both entrances.  I'm thinking, 'Welcome to the Magee Police State headed up by Commissar Hult!!'

"I took a solitary position at the Hart Road entrance to Magee until about 7:45 when I was joined by others."

Looking back after all these years, the last time I saw such a police presence was back in 1970 during the Kent State riots at Northern Illinois.  Only back then the police were in full  riot gear and had tear gas guns.

More to Come.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

12 Facts About Autumn-- Part 2

3.  Those who live the closest to the EQUATOR, which is the center of the planet, never experience the season of autumn.  Around the equator, the temperature remains consistently warm.

4.  Yellow, orange and variations thereof always reside in the PIGMENTATION OF TREE LEAVES, but they are just overpowered by the abundance of green from the chlorophyll in the leaves during the rest of the year.

Come autumn, however, when the sun weakens and days grow shorter, the amount of chlorophyll in leaves diminishes, allowing other pigments in the leaves to show through.

5.  RED and PURPLE LEAVES are actually caused by the presence of sugars from sap that is trapped inside the leaves.

So, That's Why Sugar Maples Are So Pretty in the Fall.  --DaCoot

12 Facts About Autumn-- Part 1

From the September 25, 2014, Lake County (Illinois) Suburban Life "12 fun facts about autumn."

Autumn has arrived and in the last several days I'd have to say the "Color Wave" has definitely hit around here by the Wisconsin-Illinois border near Lake Michigan.  The trees and bushes are magnificent.

1.  The first day of autumn is known as the AUTUMNAL EQUINOX.  On this day, the number of hours of daylight and darkness are equal.  This is because the sun is aligned with the center of the earth between the north and south of the planet.

The other equinox occurs in the spring, which arrives in the third week of March in the Northern hemisphere.

2.  In GREEK MYTHOLOGY, autumn was was a time when Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld.  During this time, Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, was distraught and the ground grew sparse and cold.

When Persephone returned in the springtime, the plants and life bloomed anew because of Demeter's happiness.

--Why the Seasons.  --Cooter

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Looking Back: DeKalb County, Il., 50 Years Ago: 2nd Annual Sycamore Pumpkin Festival

OCTOBER 23, 1963

Sycamore's second annual Halloween Pumpkin Festival, sponsored by the Sycamore Lions Club, will be rewarded with an appearance  on a TV show, and in color, too.

Two of the children whose pumpkin exhibits are deemed worthy will be chosen Sunday evening, Oct. 27, to appear on the Top O' the Morning WGN-TV program in color on Monday morning, Oct. 28.  (Color TV a big deal back then.  OK, kids, get to carving those pumpkins!!  They still have the Pumpkin Festival in Sycamore.)

The Sycamore Halloween Pumpkin Festival will begin with a parade made up entirely different from that for the high school homecoming.  There will be few, if any, floats, but there may be some nerve-shattering costumes designed to scare the wits out of the timid or bring tummy-wobbling laughter.

(The parade is now probably the highlight of the festival and one of the biggest in northern Illinois.  It is held on the Sunday, the last day.)

Like, Boo!!  --DaCoot

Looking Back, DeKalb County, Il., 75 Years Ago: Trains, Tear Gas, Halloween Hijinks and Prison

OCTOBER 26, 1938
  Otto Peterson barely escaped injury on the Charter Grove railroad crossing when the rear of his automobile was struck by a fast-flying westbound passenger train.  Although the car was wrecked, the driver feels no pain and has nothing more serious than a few minor contusions.(Imagine there being trains in DeKalb County?)

Tear gas placed in the safe of Farmers Grain and Lumber Co. office safe at Esmond foiled w would-be burglar Tuesday night.  (I bet the guy had a big surprise.)

Preparations are being made by Sycamore officials to suppress exuberant youth this Hallowe'en, should they become obstreperous. ...Some youth, taking time by the forelock, have already begun to soap windows.  One has gone so far as to write his sentiments in French.

Hubert Ross, 24, of Yorkville, serving an indeterminate sentence of one to 20 years in the state penitentiary, is seeking parole.  Ross was arrested in DeKalb County for the theft of an automobile, but while awaiting trial accompanied by Francis Farthing of Cortland on a jailbreak expedition that took them as far as Hiawatha, Kansas, where, tired and hungry, they surrendered to the sheriff of that county.

In the Jailhouse Again.  --Cooter

Monday, October 13, 2014

Looking Back, DeKalb County, Il., 100 Years Ago: Mighty Excited About Those "Talkies"

OCTOBER 22, 1913:


"It is certain that the invention of Thomas A. Edison of the talking pictures would be pronounced one of the seven wonders of the world.  The wizard's latest and generally-conceded most wonderful invention, the Talking Moving Picture, will be exhibited in a special program at Townsend Theater in Sycamore on Friday.

"Not the usual moving pictures; the laughing, talking, singing motion pictures make the pictured actors appear real."


The state board of education has ordered an investigation at Rockford to trace the cause of the epidemic of typhoid fever there.

Diphtheria still prevails at DeKalb.  Eight homes were under quarantine early this week, and one was released from quarantine.


Fourteen bodies have been removed and 22 men found alive by rescuers working the Satg Canyon coal mine in New Mexico, where an explosion entombed the day shift, numbering from 230 to 280 men.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Looking Back: DeKalb County 125 Years Ago

From the October 23, 2013, MidWeek, Illinois.

Oct. 24, 1888:

**  In Sycamore, it was discovered that there was an unnamed street so it became Waterman Street.

**  (Some things don't change.)  "There is too much political excitement in the air for a calm dealing out of justice, so jurors on Monday were excused from attendance until the first Monday after the election.  Court was also adjourned until that date."  (Must have had to do with that new pair of dirty words "career politician.")

**General Sherman's son and Stonewall Jackson's nephew occupy a desk together in the law office of Sen, Evarts in New York.  (The war must be over.)

**  Frank James, the ex-robber, has refused an offer of $125,000 and expenses to star three years in a play founded on his experiences.

Gotta Name That Street.  --Cooter

Friday, October 10, 2014

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Da Bears-- Part 10 (Last One): Ed Sprinkle, "Brian's Song" and "Da Superfans"

25.  ED SPRINKLE--  Disputed his long-held description of "the meanest man in pro football," but seemed o,k, with his nickname "The Claw" for his vicious clothesline tackling.

26.  "BRIAN'S SONG"--  A movie set in the racially charged 1960s based on the bond between Gale Sayers, a black player, and Brian Piccolo, a white player who learns he is dying of cancer.  bring tissues.

27.  "DA SUPERFANS"--  "Saturday Night Live" mocked the Bear fans with a recurring skit involving far guys wearing aviator sunglasses, eating tons of pork products having heart attacks and reviving themselves by pounding on their own chests and yelling BEARSSSSS!!!.  Of course, we loved them.  Still popular, most recently cooking brats on a commercial airliner.

And, then there is that great Fight Song.  I don't know of a better NFL one.

"Show the Way to Victory."  --Cooter

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Da Bears-- Part 9: Super Bowl XX, Walter Payton and Jay

22.  SUPER BOWL XX--  The culmination of what has been called the greatest single-season team in NFL history.  The 1985 Bears dominated opponents with the best running game in the league which was overshadowed by the most destructive defense in the NFL.

The SuperBears combined spectacular football with colorful personalities--  "Punky QB" Jim McMahon mooned a helicopter during practice the week before Super Bowl-- and swaggered into legend with the 46-10 vivisection of the Patriots on that glorious night in New Orleans.  (And, we won't talk about that Monday night in Miami.)

23.  WALTER PAYTON--  "Sweetness" was drafted by the Bears in 1975 and was the only good thing about the offense for almost a decade.

Peyton became the NFL's all-time rushing leader on Oct. 7, 1984, and held the mark for 18 years.  Mike Ditka called him the best football player ever.

Died of a rare form of liver cancer in 1999 at age 45.

I was happy to get to meet him also.

24.  JAY CUTLER--  The quarterback involved in the biggest trade in team history holds almost every significant Bears passing record.  he has not, however, won a Super Bowl or even appeared in one.  Wee still waiting.  Personally, I think the Broncos took us to the cleaners in this one.

Well, One Out of Three Not So Good.  --DaCoot

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Da Bears-- Part 8: Georgia, Virginia and "Da Coach"

19.  GEORGE HALAS--  "Papa Bear" founded the franchise and arguably became the most important figure in NFL history in its first 50 years.

Halas won six championships in four decades.  He retired in 1983.  No. 7 of the Bears is retired in his honor, and the "GSH" letters on the sleeves of the Bear uniforms are his initials.

And, I had the opportunity to meet him and shake his hand when I got his book autographed at training camp.  That was special.

20.  VIRGINIA McCASKEY--  George Halas' oldest daughter took over as majority owner of the team the day after her husband's passing.  her husband, Ed McCaskey, took over as chairman.

21.  "DA COACH"--  The Bears have won just two titles in the last 51 years.  Mike Ditka played tight end on the 1963 championship team and coached the 1985 Super Bowl winner.  What else do you need? And what else do you need endorsed.  No kidding on the last thing.  Someone should make a list of all his endorsements over the years.

We'll Never Forget the Way..."  --Cooter

Thursday, October 9, 2014

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Da Bears-- Part 7: Decatur, Packers and Bear Weather

16.  DECATUR-- The Bears were originally named the Decatur Staleys for the semipro football team fielded by the A.E. Staley food starch company in 1919.  George Halas took over the team in 1920 and founded it as an NFL franchise, moving it to Chicago in 1921.

Halas bought the rights to the team for $100, which was a lot of money then but wouldn't get you a regular season game ticket ticket today.

Fakers Gold: Halas adopted navy blue and orange team colors because of his alma mater, the University of Illinois.

17.  PACKERS--  Hate them, that's the law.  (O.K., so I break the law.  I like Da Pack unless they play Da Bears.)

18.  BEAR WEATHER-- Traditionally, the colder the better chance of da Bears winning.  The cold-weather toughened Bears hosted the West Coast-based 49ers in the NFC Championship game in January 1989 in wind chills that dipped to minus-26 degrees in Soldier Field.  The final score: 49ers 28, Bears 3.  R.I.P. Bear Weather.

"Show the Way to Victory."  --DaCoot

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Da Bears-- Part 6: The "C", Da Bears and Wrigley Field

12.  THE "C"--  The team's first logo, a black bear atop a football, was introduced in the early 1950s.  The familiar wishbone "C" was introduced in 1962.

13.  DA BEARS--  Halas adopted the nickname Bears because they played their home games at the Cubs park, Wrigley Field.  Cubs grow into Bears.

14.  WRIGLEY FIELD--  Da Bears played home games at Wrigley Field from 1921 through 1970.

15.  SOLDIER FIELD--  The Bears' home on the lakefront since 1971, except for 2002, when they played their home games at the University of Illinois in Champaign while Soldier Field was being made to look like a spaceship.

"Let Every Play."  --Cooter

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Da Bears-- Part 5: Big D-Fense!!!

10.  ED O'BRADOVICH--  A vicious defensive end on the Bears 1963 championship team, "O.B." delivered a key play in the title game with a surprising interception.

11.  MIDDLE LINEBACKERS--  The Bears' bone-crushing fame at this position began in the 1930s with Bronko Nagurski (has there ever been a better football name?), a ferocious fullback who also played defense.

Since then, that position has been manned by the likes of Clyde "Bulldog" Turner, Chuck Connor, Bill George, Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher.

File Under Guys You Don't Want to Mess With.  --Cooter

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Da Bears-- Part 4: Devin & the Honey Bears

8.  DEVIN HESTER--  The only player to return the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl for a touchdown.  he also holds the record for most combined touchdowns for kickoff and punt returns.  His first several years he was absolutely exciting when he got his hands on that ball.  After that, not so much.

9.  THE HONEY BEARS--  After a miserable 1975 season, George Halas formed the cheerleading squad in 1976.  Virginia McCaskey, his daughter, terminated the squad after Super Bowl XX in 1986 and Da Bears haven't won a Super Bowl since.  Things that make you go "HhhMmmmnnn."

"To Victory!"  --DaCoot

All You Ever Wanted to Know About DaBears-- Part 3: Gale & the Fridge

6.  GALE SAYERS--  A spectacular running back who came out of Kansas in 1965 and scored an NFL-record 22 touchdowns in his rookie season.  He led the league in rushing the next season and again in 1969.

Sayers seemed likely to own all the rushing records until he suffered a second knee injury in 1970.

7.  WILLIAM PERRY--  The "Refrigerator" became a national sensation during his rookie season in 1985, when coach Mike Ditka lined up the defensive tackle in the offensive backfield as a blocker for Walter Payton.

Eventually, Perry carried the ball, scoring a touchdown in the Super Bowl.  "Even when I was young, I was big," Perry said.  And, "The Fridge" wouldn't look so big anymore compared to today's behemoths.

"And Let Every Play Show the Way"  --Cooter

Monday, October 6, 2014

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Da Bears-- Part 2: '32 Playoffs, Buddy and D'Animal

3. 1932 PLAYOFFS--  The NFL used to name a champion based on regular season winning percentages, but when the Bears and the Portsmouth Spartans tied, the league arranged for an additional game to be played.

Because of cold weather, the game was moved inside the Chicago Stadium.  The Bears won 9-0 in the first of what would be an annual playoff game.  Back in the days before the Super Bowl.

4.  BUDDY RYAN--  He hated Mike Ditka, and Ditka hated him.  Together, they killed the NFL in 1985.  Ryan was defensive coordinator and mastermind of the famed "46" defense that made quarterbacks scream to mommy to make it stop.

Fakers Gold: 46 was named for safety Doug Plank, a paralyzingly powerful hitter, who wore that number for the Bears from 1975-82.

5.  DAN HAMPTON--  The "46" started with this Hall of Fame defensive tackle, no matter how many knee surgeries he required, and there were so many required that he finally got a punch card so the 11th surgery was free.  Nickname was "D'animal."

--Wow, Da '85 Bears.  Wow!!

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Da Bears-- Part 1: Monsters of the Midway

From  the September 5, 2014, Chicago Tribune "Faker's Guide to the Chicago Bears" by Steve Rosenbloom and Drew Litton.

Despite the less than less stellar efforts put up by our guys the last two weeks, we still "be" Bears fans.  Here's some stuff you may or may not have known 'bout Da Bears.

1.  'MONSTERS OF THE MIDWAY"--  The team picked up the former University of Chicago moniker in the 1940s when quarterback Sid Luckman set all kinds of team passing records that stood for decades while he led the Bears to four victories in five title games.

2.  73-0--  During the 1940 regular season, the Redskins defeated the Bears 7-3, after which redskins owner George Preston Marshall called the Bears crybabies and quitters.

Before the championship game in Washington, George Halas showed his team the comments.  They score 28 points in the first half and 45 in the second for the greatest margin of victory in NFL history.

"Bear Down!!"  Don't Fumble!!  --Cooter

Saturday, October 4, 2014

First World War Trenches to be Mapped

From the September 23, 2012, Hemeltoday "Berkhamsted's First World War trenches to be mapped."

Plans are to begin a serious mapping of trenches dug at Berkhamsted and North Church Common to train soldiers for the front during the First World War.  These trenches originally covered over eight miles, but now only around 500 meters remain.  Much of the rest were filled in over the years.

It is estimated that some 14,000 Tommys (British soldiers) from the Inns of Court Officers Training Corps (nicknamed "The Devil's Own") were trained at these.  The unit was based at nearby Kitchener's Field, named after Britain's 1914 war secretary.  By 1918, 2,147 of the unit's men had died in France.


Back in 2012: Rescued World War I Tortoise Needs New Home

From the August 11, 2012, New York Daily News.

The tortoise was rescued from the 1915 Battle of Gallipoli by a British soldier and taken back to Britain to begin a new life in the Tommy's (British soldiers were often referred to as Tommys) garden in Blakeny, Norfolk, England.

The owner was thought to have been named Morris and died more than 30 years ago.

The tortoise, named Blake, is a spur-thighed tortoise who was taken in by animal lover Marion Skinner in 1983, but she now has a bad back and can no longer care for it.

Blake was found as a very small tortoise and is estimated to be 98 years old now.

A retired tortoise breeder would like Blake returned to Gallipoli, but there have been over 300 other offers for a new home.

Keep Blake in England.  --Cooter

Friday, October 3, 2014

Chicago "Blues Brothers" Filming Locations-- Part 6

MOUNTED POLICE--  N. Franklin Street south of Lake Street

POLICE BOATS--  Chicago River Westbound at LaSalle St. bridge.

CHICAGO POLICE CAR PILE UP--  Intersection of LaSalle Street and Lake Street.

COOK COUNTY BUILDING--  118 N. Clark Street

RICHARD J. DALEY PLAZA--  50 W. Washington Street

TRAILWAYS BUS DEPOT--  Randolph Street at State Street.

NAZI PINTO STATION WAGON FREE FALL--  N. Wacker St. east of McClurg Court.

TUNNEL--  Cannon Drive south of Lincoln Park.

WRIGLEY FIELD--  1050 W. Addison

My Second favorite-Ever Movie.  --DaCoot

Chicago "Blues Brothers" Filming Locations-- Part 5

SOUL FOOD CAFE--  Nate's Deli at 807 W. Maxwell Street.

NAZIS JOIN THE CHASE--  900 block of W. Jackson Boulevard.

LOWER WACKER DRIVE CHASE--  Entrance to Wacker Drive at South end near Van Buren Street.

JUMP OVER THE POLICE CAR--  Wacker Drive and Monroe Street.

PLYMOUTH HOTEL--  Stag Hotel at 22 W. Van Buren between Clark and State Street.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Chicago "Blues Brothers" Filming Locations-- Part 4

NAZI RALLY--  Music Court Bridge, Jackson Park, south of the Museum of Science and Industry.

RAY'S MUSIC EXCHANGE-- Shelly's Loan Company at 300 E. 47th Street.

ROADBLOCK AT CITY LIMITS--  23rd Street bridge at Lake Shore Drive.

ST. HELEN OF THE BLESSED SHROUD ORPHANAGE--  18th Street at Normal Avenue.

FIRST VIEW OF CHICAGO--  Dan Ryan expressway, I-90/94 northbound lanes near 18th Street.

"We're On a Mission From ___."  --Cooter

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Chicagoland "Blues Brothers" Filming Locations-- Part 3

These are all in Chicago:

DRAWBRIDGE JUMP:  95th Street Bridge at Calumet River, US-12.

CIGARETTE LIGHTER TOSSED:  9500 block of South Houston.

TRIPLE ROCK CHURCH:  Pilgrim Baptist Church at 3235 E. 91st Street.

STEEL MILLS:  opening shots  U.S. Steel South Works, 87th Street at Michigan Ave..

CURL UP & DYE BEAUTY SALOON:  8500 S. Burley Avenue.

PALACE HOTEL:  South Shore Country Club at 7059 S. South Shore Drive.

--What About Wrigley Field?  --DaCoot

Chicagoland "Blues Brother" Filming Locations-- Part 2

SCHILLER PARK:  Holiday Inn at 3801 Mannheim Road

PARK RIDGE--  State police traffic stop and chase.  The area reportedly the six-corners intersection of Talcott Rd., Devon Ave., and Courtland Ave.

CHICAGO:  Where Winnebago runs off the road.  Kennedy Expressway at Canfield Avenue.

CICERO:  Mrs. Taranfino's house.  1623 S. 51st Court

HARVEY:  Shopping Mall.  Dixie Square Mall at 15201 S. Dixie Highway.  Since torn down.

And a Whole Lot More Chicago Locales.  --Cooter