Saturday, November 29, 2014

Benjamin Franklin

From the Nov-Dec, 2014, Wayne County Public Library.

Reading was the key to his success as he only went to school for two years.

A man playing him appeared at the library in Goldsboro, N.C., on November 20th.

Among the famous things Ben Franklin did:

*  Founded the first subscription library in this country
*  Signed the declaration of Independence
*  Charted the Gulf Stream
*  Helped win the American Revolution
*  Invented bifocal glasses
*  Founded the University of Pennsylvania

Among the crazy things he did:

*  Flew a kite in a thunderstorm
*  Only went to school for two years
*  Wanted the national bird to be a turkey
*  Invented the rocking chair
*  Had the first bathtub in the country
*  Had a state named after him which has since disappeared

Now, You Know.  --Cooter

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Holiday Facts: "Wassail," Christmas Clubs and English Din-Din

From the November 20, 2014, Goldsboro (N.C.) News-Argus.

Well, since we are really fast approaching that time of the season.

**  "WASSAIL" comes from the old Norse "ves heill" to be of good health.  This evolved into the tradition of visiting neighbors on Christmas Eve and drinking to their health.

**  A CHRISTMAS CLUB, a savings account in which a person deposits a fixed amount of money regularly to be used at Christmas for shopping started around 1905.  (And, I believe they actually might have paid interest.)

**  A traditional Christmas dinner in early ENGLAND was the head of a pig prepared with mustard.  I'm holding out for a pig's eye.


Wright Brothers' Niece Recalls Family Stories-- Part 3

Orville Wright had a pre-lunch routine that he followed precisely.  He entered the back door at noon, placed his hat on a chair, ate one cracker then sat and read until the housekeeper called him for lunch.  He would leave and return minutes later to retrieve the bowler hat he'd left behind.  In other words, the man who discovered the secrets of manned flight could not remember his hat according to Amanda Wright Lane.

Lane has appeared on TV and visited dignitaries and presidents.

When she took the role as family ambassador during the 2003 centennial at the Wright Brothers National Memorial, she saw nearly 40,000 people gathered to see a replica of their plane attempt a take-off.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wright Brother's Niece Recalls Old Family Stories About Her Uncles-- Part 2

Great grand-niece Amanda Wright Lane was born in 1953,five years after Orville died and she used to listen intently to family stories, especially the ones told by her great aunt Ivonette Wright Miller who knew the brothers well and in 1911 became one of the first female airplane passengers.

Neither of the brothers ever married and Wilbur died in 1912 of typhoid fever at age 45.  Wilbur was the older of the two and took things more seriously.  Orville was more of a cut up and never graduated from high school.

The brothers would discuss each others' ideas and change them for flight.  Many changes came about from these sessions.

--Fly-Boy Cooter

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wright Brothers' Niece Recalls Old Family Stories-- Part 1

From the October 19, 2014, Goldsboro (N.C.) News-Argus by AP.

Amanda Wright Lane Says Loved Ones Always Believed They Would Achieve Flight.

About 50 years ago, Amanda Wright Lane's third-grade teacher told the class that the Wright brothers were the first to achieve flight.  She thought to herself that that wasn't right..  The first to fly were Uncle Wil and Uncle Orv.

She remembers that her extended family would gather every Sunday to tell stories about her famous uncles who ran a bicycle shop in Dayton and were fond of practical jokes.  And, they had the conviction that one day, they would fly.

The family supported them, but neighbors thought they were wasting their time.

She is the Wright brothers' great grand-niece and has been traveling the world since the 2003 centennial celebration of the historic December 17, 1903, flight at Kill Devil Hill in North Carolina.  She was born in 1953 and is the descendant of Wilbur and Orville's older brother Lorin.

More to Come.  --"Air" Cooter.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A "Treasure House" for British Literature in Chicagoland

From the May 28, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Quan Truong.

The Marion E. Wade Center on the campus of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, is quite the research center for British authors.

In it, you can sit at the desk where J.R.R. Tolkien drafted parts of "The Lord of the Rings."  You can also touch the wardrobe on which a young C.S. Lewis is said to have climbed to tell stories.

There are no velvet ropes to keep visitors away. You are welcome to touch some mighty important literature places.

That wardrobe was carved by Lewis' grandfather and see an original manuscript or pull out a lesser-known book written by the author of "The Chronicles of Narnia."

The center was founded 50 years ago and the new building housing it opened in 2001.  About 9,000 visitors come to it a year.  And, there is a huge research collection from Wheaton College professor Clyde Kilby..  he had the foresight to collect C.S. Lewis' old letters and manuscripts and later expanded his collection to include other British authors.

The center also has 2,500 volumes from Lewis' personal library

Of course, because of the recent movies, "The Lord of the Rings," "The Hobbitt" and "the Chronicles of Narnia" have made these two authors extremely popular.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How Many Godzilla Movies?-- Part 2

Now, we'll have nominations for best, worst, funniest movie title.

15.  Godzilla 1985 (1984)  Really?
14.  Godzilla 2000 (1999)
13.  Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghldorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
12.  Godzilla vs. King Ghldorah
11.  Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

10.  Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)
9.  Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 2 (1993)
8.  Ghldorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
7.  Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
6.  Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (1965)

5.  Godzilla vs. The Thing (1964)
4.  Destroy All Monsters (1968)
3.  Godzilla (2014) This year's offering.
2.  Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (1971)
1.  Godzilla (1954)  The original one and he suggests viewing the Japanese cut of it.

OK, Let's Make Godzilla's Rora.  --DaCoot

How Many Godzilla Movies Were There?-- Part 1

From the May 16, 2014, Chicago tribune "Godzilla: The Best , and the Rest" by Christopher Borrelli.

Borrelli ranks the 30 Godzilla movies, in case you're wondering how many there were.  He gives some info on the movies, but I'm just listing them.  (I liked the one out this year.)

30.  Godzilla (1998)
29.  Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)
28.  Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966)
27.  Godzilla's Revenge (1969)
26.  Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994)  Where do they come up with these titles?

25.  Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
24.  Godzilla vs. Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992)
23.  Godzilla vs. Magagulrus (2000)
22.  Godzilla QAgainst Mechagodzilla (2002)
21.  King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)

20.  Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)
19.  Son of Godzilla (1967)
18. Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
17.  Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
16.  Godzilla vs. Blollante (1989)

Imagine seeing all these?

More Power to Christopher.  --Cooter

Monday, November 17, 2014

Celebrating a "Miracle": The Wall Comes Down

From the November 9, 2014, Chicago Tribune.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday that an irrepressible yearning for freedom brought the Berlin Wall and called it a "miracle" the Cold War barrier was breached without a shot fired.  Germany would always be grateful for the courage of East Germans who protested the Communist dictatorship.


To mark the 25th anniversary a 9.3-mile-long "Border of Lights 2014" was switched on where the wall once stood.

From a 1989 photo: East Germans pour through the newly-opened Berlin Wall at Potsdamer Platz.  There are also people atop the curved top, one bravely standing (easy to fall off) and the rest straddled on it.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was there and waving to onlookers as he walked across Pariser Platz.  Earlier he had had strong words warning the U.S. and Russia over the current growing tensions that he believes will put the world "on the brink of a new Cold War."

One of the world's greatest statesmen.  he could have ordered mass shootings when all of this was taking place 25 years ago, but didn't.  And still looking for peaceful coexistence.

Like I said earlier, I never expected to see this happen.  At various parts of my life, I thought the Vietnam War was going to last forever and that there would always be a Cold War and a Berlin Wall.


Five Myths About the Berlin Wall: Germans Are Enthusiastic As the Rest of the World in Celebrating the Wall's Fall

5.  Actually, Germans have been far more ambivalent about the wall.  Germans shot their own people and, as a result of the opening, there have been economic problems like high levels of unemployment

Another factor complicating the fall of the wall is that Nov. 9th was the date when Nazis attacked Jewish businesses, synagogues and homes on the Night of the Broken Glass, or Kristallnacht.

On Nov. 9th, Germans celebrated the 25th anniversary with 8,000 illuminated balloons forming a "Border of light" along the former path of the wall in central Berlin..


Five Myths About the Berlin Wall: The Wall Fell Nov. 9, 1989

4.  That night and in the weeks following, East German officials removed pieces of the wall to create more crossing points between East and West.  Countless "wall peckers" with hammers and chisels came to take home their own pieces (some to be sold for profit.  I bought one of these little pieces for an exorbitant price, but a real, I hope, piece of history.).  But most of the wall was left standing.

Official demolition of the wall began in the summer of 1990.  It took almost two years to remove all of the border fortifications around Berlin and four years to dismantle them along the full length of East and West Germany's borders.

Even today, hundreds of mines have not been found.  In Berlin, a little over a mile of the wall remains, spread out over several sites.

But now, there are more segments of the wall on display in the United States than Berlin.

I've seen two in Missouri, one at a fort and the other at the town where Winston Churchill gave his "Iton Curtain" speech.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Five Myths About the Berlin Wall-- Part 3: President Reagan Brought Down the Wall

Many Americans believe that President Reagan's June 1987 speech in berlin ("Mr.Gorbachev, tear down this wall!") led to its coming down in 1989.  However, Gorbachev's reforms had far more to do with it.

The wall started to fall on November 9th as a result of a mistake.  In face of mass protests against its government, East Germany waived the old visa rules stating that citizens needed a pressing reason for travel to the west.  East Germans still had to apply, but they would be granted much faster.

The Communist official who announced this decision didn't know much about it and when in response to a reporter's question as to when it would take effect replied immediately and it kind of sounded like he meant the border could be crossed immediately.

Over the next several hours, thousands of East Berliners gathered at the check points along the wall.  They were held back, but the crowds continued to grow and get more angry.

At 11:30 p.m. the Bornholmer Street checkpoint allowed people to cross en masse.  Guards at other checkpoints  soon followed suit and the East German government never fully regained control.


Friday, November 14, 2014

"Operation" Inventor Needs One, Can't Afford It

From the October 30, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Tony Briscoe and Colleen Mastony.

John Spinello, 77, of Bloomingdale, Illinois, invented the popular board game "Operation."  Now, he really needs one, only, he can't afford it.

This has fueled a huge reaction.  Some people have said this game inspired them to go into a medical career.

He was a student at the University of Illinois in an industrial design class when he came up with the game as a project.  A relative who worked for Marvin Glass and Associates, a Chicago novelty and toy company and the boss, Marvin Glass liked it so much, he offered to buy the rights for it for $500 and give Spinello a job after graduation.

In 1965, the game reached the Milton Bradley Co. and was redesigned to feature a patient in an operating room.  The game became a smash hit

John Spinello, meanwhile, got his $500, but never worked for Glass.  he started a warehouse and shipping company which ended up declaring bankruptcy two years ago.

Right now, Spinello needs dental implants which will cost $25,000, a crowfunding website has raised $21,000 of  that amount as of Wednesday.

Maybe Milton Bradley Co. should kick in some money after all the dough they made on it.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Five Myths About the Berlin Wall-- Part 2: Key Move in the Cold War?

2.  KEY MOVE IN THE COLD WAR?  In 1952, the Soviets closed the East-West German border, but since Berlin was still 3/4 under the control of the U.S., Britain and France, they left the city alone.  West Berlin became an escape hatch for East Germans.

East Germany and the Soviet Union argued for 8 years about closing off West Berlin.  The Soviet Union argued that such a move would would make them look bad.  During that time, East Germany began stockpiling barbed wire and cement posts and formed a top secret working group to build the wall.  Plans were made to do this.

In the summer of 1961, with more than 1,000 East Germans a day leaving to West Berlin, Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev gave the east Germans the go-ahead and were greatly surprised at how fast they acted.



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Five Myths About the Berlin Wall-- Part 1: 25 Years Ago This Month

From the November 2, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Hope M. Harrison.

November 9, 1989, was an amazing day in history for me.  Something that I thought would always be there essentially came down with its opening.  I'm talking about the Berlin Wall.  This also was the death knell of the Soviet Union and to a large degree, Communism.  Two other things I thought would always be with us.  I was able to get a very small piece of it from friends who went to Germany shortly afterwards.  I would pass it around in my classes after that so the kids could touch some real history.

This was always a point in the very real Cold War.

These are some interesting things about the wall that most people don't know:

1.  THE BERLIN WALL WAS ONE WALL.  In fact, it was two walls separated by up to 160 yards of a death strip with guards (with shoot-to-kill orders), towers, dogs, floodlights, tripwires.  There were also over a million mines along the border between East and West Germany.

More than 5,000 East Germans managed to escape despite these obstacles.  Hundreds, perhaps thousands, died.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Civil War Trust to Preserve Revolutionary War Battlefields on This Veterans Day

The Civil War Trust, the nation's largest Civil War battlefield preservation group, who have saved over 40,000 acres of the field of conflict from that war, will announce today that they will now also save Revolutionary War battlefields as part of their expanding mission.

The announcement will be made at the Princeton Battle memorial in New Jersey.

Glad to hear It.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Al Capone's Old House-- Part 3

Barbara Hogsette, current owner raised a son in the first floor apartment and rents out the second floor.  She originally listed it in 2008 for $450,000 and thinks the house is a good investment, though few remnants from Capone are still there.

The gold-leaf cornices which Capone imported from Italy are there, but not the 7-foot European tubs because parts to fix them couldn't be found.

However, the original garage still stands, one of the largest in the neighborhood, where Capone kept his big, fancy cars.

Every spring and summer, Hogsette says she gets a steady stream of people riding by to take a look.

--Maybe a Mob Museum?  --Cooter

Al Capone's Old House-- Part 2

By Dahleen Glanton.

The brick two-flat at 7244 S. Prairie Avenue in Chicago's Park Manor neighborhood hasn't sold in 831 days, despite a drop in asking price from $300,000 to $225,000.  It now houses two apartments.  There are some fears that it might be torn down, but not too likely.

There is also a movement on to have it given landmark status.

The Capones bought it for $5,500 in August 1923.  They were among the wave of first- and second-generation immigrants who moved to this South Side neighborhood during Prohibition.  Historians say the home at 72nd Street and Prairie Avenue was his safe haven.  His mother, Teresa, and his wife, Mae, signed the original deed.

According to a December 1927 Chicago Tribune story, Capone once holed up in the house after police threatened to arrest him if he stepped outside.

Capone went to prison in 1931 and had moved to a home in Florida by the time of his death in 1947, but his mother continued to live in the house until she died in 1952.

A Piece of Chicago History.  --DaCoot

Now, You Can Buy Al Capone's House-- Part 1

From the October 29, 2014, Chicago Tribune"A humble home, owned by Capone.

"It's yours for $225,000.  The former home of Chicago crime boss Al Capone is for sale, but has languished on the market for 831 days without a nibble.  The Capones bought the building for $5,500 in August 1923.

"The brick two-flat is now owned by 77-year-old Barbara Hogsette, a retired teacher who bought the building in 1963 and still lives there.  She thinks the house is a good investment, but says there aren't many remnants of the notorious gangster left after several renovations."

Like, Bang, Bang. Shoot 'Em Up!!  --Cooter

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Deaths: Long-Suffering Mrs. Kotter from "Welcome Back Kotter"

MARCIA STRASSMAN, 66  Died October 24, 2014.

Played the lead role of Gabe's long-suffering wife on "Welcome Back Kotter."  Also was in the movie "Honey I Shrank the Kids" and its sequel.  She had a recurring role in "M,A,S.H.".

The poor lady had to listen to Kotter's stories about his family and the Sweathogs were liable to come a-visiting at any time.

A few years ago I was surprised to find out she was also a singer and in 1967 had a top 40 hit in several western radio markets with "Flower Children" which stalled at #105 on Billboard.

"Julie Kotter" also appeared on episodes of the Rockford Files, Love Boat and Magnum P.I..

Being a teacher at the time, I sure liked this show.

Deaths: Barney Miller Co-Creator Ted Flicker

TED FLICKER, 84.  Died September.  Co-creator of the TV series "Barney Miller."  He also wrote episodes for:

The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Andy Griffith Show
Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Streets of San Francisco
I dream of Jeannie.

These were all favorite TV shows on mine, especially Barney Miller.

"The Princess Bride" Fencing Scene and the Brady House

From the Oct. 12, 2014, Parade Magazine "Walter Scott's Personality Parade."

QUESTION--  Did Cary Elwes and Mandy Patkin use stunt doubles in "The Princess Bride's" fencing scene?

ANSWER--  They didn't.  To make it believable, director Rob "Meathead" Reiner asked them to learn fencing.  They practiced for two months.  That was a really amazing bit of fencing.

QUESTION--  If the "Brady Bunch" house went on the market today, how much would it sell for?

ANSWER--  The famed home from the sitcom was put on the market for $2 million in 2008, with a mortgage of almost $10,000 a month (getting close to my monthly taxes).  That's a lot of cash with a family of eight, including a live-in housekeeper.  Mike Brady's architect salary of $75,000 wouldn't come close to paying for the split-level, which is located along the Los Angeles River in the San Fernando Valley.

"Inconceivable!!" --DaCoot

Shorpy Photos the USS Brooklyn (1898), the KKK and the Spanish Flu Pandemic

From the Shorpy Photo website.

I always enjoy looking at these old photographs, enlarging them and reading the comments.

Recent ones of particular historical interest:

10-15-14 CONTAGION: 1918. 1918. "Demonstration of the Red Cross Emergency Ambulance Station in Washington, D.C., during the influenza pandemic of 1918.  Especially of interest in these days of Ebola.

11-5-14 MEN IN WHITE: 1925:  "August 9, 1925. Klansmen sightseeing at the U.S, Capitol in full regalia.  Something that would be mighty surprising to see today.

11-1-14 SPAR DECK SWABBIES: 1898.  Circa 1898 "League Island Navy Yard, Philadelphia  USS Brooklyn spar deck.  There is an interesting detailed account of what you see on that deck,


Friday, November 7, 2014

October 12th Was National Newspaper Carrier Day

From the Oct. 12, 2014, Parade Magazine.  they are saluting the thousands of Americans who have delivered newspapers across the U.S. bo th today and in the past.  This is often a child's first venture into the business world.

Here is a list of some famous folk who delivered newspapers:

Warren Buffett

Kathy Ireland

Judah Friedlander

Martin Luther King Jr.

Tom Cruise


It's a Time Thing-- Part 2: Timex Turns 160

From the October 12, 2014, Parade Magazine "Advances in Time."

Iconic American watchmaker Timex marks its marks its 160th anniversary this year.  Look back at its stylish influences over the years--and enter for a chance to win a watch from the new Waterbury collection at

This is the only watch I wear.  I have one on right now, a $9 digital screen.  The only time I have ever used my cell phone to check the time is when I forgot to put the watch on.

1933:  The Mickey Mouse watch made timepieces fun for all ages.

1959:  Timex's women's watch turned timekeeping into a fashion statement.

1986:  The "Ironman Triathlon" gave watches a rugged new reputation.

2014:  The "Waterbury" pays homage to the watchmaker's timeless legacy.

What Did That Guy Say About Them?  Something About "Takes a Lickin' But keeps On____"?  --Cooter

It's a Time Thing-- Part 1: How Do You Stack Up?

From the Oct. 12, 2014, Parade Magazine "Picks: How Does Your Daily Routine Compare to the Average Americans?

6 a.m.: Americans' typical weekday wakeup time.  (Back when i was working, it was 5:45 a.m..)

12--  The average lunchtime.  (At school, I usually had first lunch at 11 a.m.)

10 a.m.--  Typical bedtime  (Mine was 11 p.m.)

107--  Number of minutes spent on daily chores.

44--  Number of minutes spent shopping every day.

7 p.m.--  When most Americans are socializing with friends.

8 to 9 p.m.--  When a third of Americans watch TV.

TWICE--  Amount of time men spend on sports and exercise compared to women.

How'd You Compare?  --DaCoot

Faker's Guide to the Chicago Blackhawks-- Part 8: Magnuson, Kane and Dagger

KEITH MAGNUSON--  Former Blackhawks defenseman, captain and coach who shares a retired number with Pierre Pilote.  Never backed down.

PATRICK KANE--  Scored the Cup-winning goal in 2010.  Won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2013.  Statue Coming.

The Hawks players listed here and in previous posts, all have statues at the United Center.

"CHELSEA DAGGER"--  The song that blasts after the Hawks score (and win) comes from a 2006 album by the Scottish indie rock band The Fratellis.  None of the three band members is actually named Fratelli.  But, they sure had a great video of it.  Check it out.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Faker's Guide to the Chicago Blackhawks-- Part 8: The Anthem and Hall

THE ANTHEM-- The electric tradition of fans cheering during  "The Star-Spangled Banner" began during the 1985 playoffs.  The Hawks came home from Edmonton down two games to none.  As Wayne Messmer waited for the organ to begin, the Chicago Stadium fans simultaneously began cheering.

They cheered all through the anthem.  And have been ever since.  It ought to be on everyone's hockey bucket list.

GLENN HALL--  Retired number.  Hall of Famer.  "Mr. Goalie" backstopped the Hawks to the Stanley Cup in 1961.  Once played 503 consecutive games.  "Mr. Goalie" indeed.

Who's Have Thought Cheering Through the Anthem?  --Cooter

Faker's Guide to the Chicago Blackhawks-- Part 7: Joel and Stan and How Bad Was It?

JOEL QUENNEVILLE--  The besr bench coach in the league gets the most talented roster in the NHL.  Seems unfair to the rest of the league at times, but tough.  Makes up for Da Bears, Da Sox and Da Cubs.

STAN BOWMAN--  Hawks general manager is the son of Hockey Yoda Scotty Bowman.  So yeah, winning Stanley Cups is kind of a family business.

HOW BAD WAS IT?-- Before Rocky Wirtz took over the Hawks in 2007, it was almost as if they had ceased to exist.  very few people cared about them, you never saw anyone wearing Hawks gear and, they just were unknown.  I could care less about them back then, but not any more.

Go hawks.  --DaCoot

Faker's Guide to the Chicago Blackhawks-- Part 6: The Indian Head and Toews

THE INDIAN HEAD--  First owner Frederic McLaughlin's wife designed that great Indian head logo for the team in the 1920s..  Despite tweaks along the way, the crest looks basically the same.  My opinion, it is the best logo in the NHL and anywhere for that matter.  I haven't even heard of Indians being upset about it.

JOHNATHAN TOEWS--  Captained two Cup Winners (2010 & 2013), won two Olympic Gold medals and captured two significant individual NHL trophies by the age of 25. The best young winner in Chicago ever,

Give Me One of Those Hawks Jerseys.  --Cooter

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Faker's Guide to the Chicago Blackhawks-- Part 5: The Trade and Tony

THE TRADE--  In 1967, the Hawks made one of the worst trades in the history of sports, not just the NHL.  The Hawks sent Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield to the Bruins for Pit Martin, Jack Norris and Gilles Marotte.

Esposito and Hodge led the Bruins to two Stanley Cups in three seasons.  The hawks, on the other hand, went 49 years before they won it.  Hockey's version of baseballs Cubs-Cards Brock-for-Broglio trade.

TONY ESPOSITO--  Retired number.  Hall of Fame.  "Tony O" threw 15 shutouts in his rookie season.  "To-ny, To-ny, To-ny."

Go You Fratellis.   --Cooter

Faker's Guide to the Chicago Blackhawks-- Part 4: Stadium, Center and Pilote

CHICAGO STADIUM--  Where the Blackhawks played until 1994.

THE UNITED CENTER--  Opened in 1994 across the street from the old Chicago Stadium.  Despite the three searing levels and 169 suites that lost the coziness of the Stadium, the Hawks' magnificence and the maniac fans help you remember the old roar of the Stadium.

The Chicago Bulls also play there and it is neat to see the transformation from ice to hard court.

PIERRE PILOTE--  Retired number.  Member of Hall of Fame.  Member of the 1961 Stanley Cup champions.  One of the greatest offensive defensemen and power-play quarterbacks in history.  Sort of a Duncan Keith with a crew cut.

"Dut, Dut-Dut-Dut."  --DaCoot

Faker's Guide to the Chicago Blackhawks-- Part 3: Rivals and Savard

For you brand new Blackhawks fans.

THE RIVALS:  Everybody hates the Montreal Canadiens because they are the New York Yankees of the NHL.  (And, last night the Hawks defeated them 5-0!!)  And, because of the 1971 and 1973 finals, don't ask.  Still hurts.  (This was before I became a fan.)

The Hawks also have a playoff thing with the biting, hair-pulling Canucks.  Closer to home, the Hawks' most bitter rivals are the Red Wings, Blues and former North Stars.  Punch Dino Ciccarelli if you get the chance.

DENNIS SAVARD:  Retired number.  Hall of Famer.  The most electrifying player in an era that included Wayne Gterzky.

See on-line videos of his spin-o-ramas for details.

Let's All Do That "Chelsea Dagger" Thing  --Cooter

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Twenty Years Ago: 1994 Round Lake Teacher Strike-- Part 2

"I left at that time and drove home to get my equipment and went to Costello's where I set up (to deejay)  for a strike party.  I had originally intended to try to get a larger place for fear of the big crowd I expected.  Was I ever wrong.  We probably had about 30 teachers the whole time.  I certainly won't give up my time for them again."

Twenty Years Ago: Round Lake Teacher Strike November 4, 1994-- Part 1

From my journal.  November 4, Friday.

"Still raining this morning.  Met the usual crowd at Dino's for breakfast).  T.B. was there as well and had written a good letter about how the board makes a lot of money paying teachers over 12 months instead of 9.

"Went by the rear entrance of the high school and watched the scabs come in.  S.G. and S.L. had gone to the scab rendezvous point at the Pizza Place and scared them so bad that they had fled to the Round Lake police department and they received a police escort onto school grounds.

"We just turned our backs on them.  I waved at R.R. and told her how I was disappointed in her action.

"Walked the line at Magee from 8 to 11:30.  H.H. bought a six foot sub sandwich which we shared on the line.  Rained most of the time.

Faker's Guide to the Chicago Blackhawks-- Part 2: Owners and Mikita

THE OWNERS:  Upon Frederic McLaughlin's death in 1944, after Stanley Cups in 1934 and 1938, the Norris family took over.  Under James D. Norris' stewardship, the Hawks won the Cup in 1961.

Upon Norris' death in 1966, the Wirtz family took over.  Arthur Wirtz, who was called the "Baron of the Bottom Line," let Bobby Hull jump to the fledgling World Hockey Association.  He never won a Cup.  Wirtz's son, "Dollar Bill" Wirtz, ran the club equally tightfistedly, overseeing the departures of Chris Chelios, Ed Belfour and just about anyone else who was good.  Bill never won a Cup.

His son, Rocky Wirtz took over the Hawks in 2007 and immediately put home games on TV.  he hired John McDonough to turn around a dreary organization.  Back then, you rarely saw anyone wearing anything with the Blackhawks on it, much less the increasingly popular jerseys.

Rocky spent money to make the hockey team better and has won two Stanley Cups.

Go Figure.

STAN MIKITA:  Hall of Fame center.  retired number.  member of 1961 Stanley Cup champions.

One of the greatest puck handlers and passers in history.  Also invented the curved stick.  Lots of reasons for goalies back then to hate him.

If I get another jersey, it will be his.

He Shoots!! He SCORES!!  --DaCoot

Faker's Guide to the Chicago Blackhawks-- Part 1: Cups, The Name and Hull

From the October 9, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Steve Rosenbloom and Drew Litton.

These are the things every good Chicago Blackhawk fan should know.

STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS: 1934, 1938, 1961, 2010 and 2013.

THE NAME:  The Blackhawks were founded on May 1, 1926, but they were founded as the Black Hawks.  Yes, two words.  And, there is still some confusion on that.  Most times I write them as two words.

Chicago coffee tycoon Frederic McLaughlin commanded a World War I machine gun battalion in a unit known as the "Blackhawk Division," named for Black Hawk, a significant figure in the Sauk Indian Nation history. The name remained two words until 1986.

So, technically, the team wasn't named for an Indian, but rather an Army division.

They are also widely called just as the "Hawks."

BOBBY HULL:  Breathtaking speed, a weapons'grade slap shot and 610 goals.  Retired number.  Hall of Famer.  Member of the 1961 Stanley Cup champions.  Called the "Golden Jet."  Has a statue at the United Center.

Many folks around here wear Blackhawl jerseys when watching and cheering them on.  Mine is for Bobby Hull, good ol' No. 9.

Go, Hawks Go!!  --Cooter

Monday, November 3, 2014

Eat, Drink and Be Scary-- Part 4

Halloween By the Numbers:

$350 MILLION--  Total amount people will spend on costumes for pets, up 60% from 2010, according to the National Retail Federation.  (And folks wonder why their dogs bite them.  I have to laugh at the thought of us ever getting a costume on our dog Brandy while she was alive.  I doubt that this would ever happen.  That dog would put up a big fight.)

$7.4 BILLION--  Total projected spending on Halloween this year in the U.S., up from $6.9 billion last year, but less than the record $8 billion projected in 2012, according to the National Retail Federation.

$2.5 BILLION--  Total projected Halloween candy sales this year, according to the National Confectioners Association.  (We spent $14 before Halloween and about $15 yesterday when it was half price.)

9 BILLION--  Pieces of candy corn produced this year; according to the NCA.  (I ate a few of 'em.  It wouldn't be fall without candy corn, taffy apples, real apple cider and anything made with pumpkins.

What Is the Correct Way to Eat a Piece of Candy Corn?  All at Once or Bite Off Each Color and Chew?  --RoadDog

And, Speaking of Stunts: Nik Wallenda Does It

Last night, I watched Nik Wallenda walk across the Chicago River while on that tightrope up high above.  They estimate 65,000 people there for it as well as a whole lot of folks watching on the Discovery Channel.  He then walked between the Marina City Towers while blindfolded.

Sure Glad He Didn't Fall.  --Cooter

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Eat, Drink and Be Scary-- Part 3

17,000--  Reported number of people on the wait list for McKamey Manor, an "extreme" haunted house in San Diego that takes four to seven hours to get through depending upon how fast you run from the baddies.  (Don't you think "extreme" has become sort of an extremely overused word?)

1,650--  Number of haunted houses listed on in the U.S. and Canada, down from a peak of 4,000 a decade ago, according to Larry Kirchner, editor of, the biggest haunted house listing.  Rising costs of operating haunted houses and rising admission prices have left only the biggest and best standing., he said.  (I think we ion the Round Lake Area Jaycees charged about $2 to get in our haunted house back in the 70s.)

1.2 MILLION--  The number of online searches for "Frozen" Halloween costumes, far more than the 873,000 searches for last year's top costume--a pirate.  The runner-up this year was a zombie, with 863,000 searches ccording to SLI Systems, which studied site search activity across 17 costume retailer websites based in the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia from September 1st to Oct. 26th.

Like Liz's Tee Shirt Said.  --DaCoot

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Stunts-- Part 4

10.  One of the SEVEN WONDERS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD was destroyed by a stunt.  A man named Herostratus torched the ancient Greek Temple of Artemis merely because he thought it would make him famous.

Authorities reacted by decreeing that no one could mention his name, but a Greek historian did, and Herostratus got his wish, appearing in the pages of the Chicago Tribune more than two millennia later.

Maybe He Should Have Tried to Jump Over It In His Chariot.  --Cooter

Eat, Drink and Be Scary-- Part 2

Some more Halloween numbers:

53 PERCENT--  Percentage of parents who say their kids ages 4 to 10 would prefer cash to candy or toys when trick-or-treating, according to a survey from discount code website  (I know I would prefer the money.)

19.7 PERCENT--Percentage of people who will make their costume, according to the retail federation.  (Liz just wears her "I Don't Do Costumes" tee shirt.  I wear my "Forget the Candy, Give Me a Beer" tee shirt and "Trick/Treat hat.)

67.4 PERCENT-- Percentage of Halloween celebrators who will buy a costume, the most in the 11-year history of the National Retail federation.  (We didn't buy our costumes THIS YEAR, but we had to get the tee shirts and hat somewhere at an earlier date several years ago.

NO. 1--  Roscoe Village's ranking on Zillow's list of top Chicago neighborhoods for trick-or-treating, based on home values, population density, crime data and walk score.  Edison Park and Bucktown were Nos. 2 and 3, respectively.  (My top thing was how near the houses were to each other.  More houses=more candy.)

Anyway, After Seeing "Halloween 3," I Wouldn't Be Wearing a Mask Anyway.  --DaCoot

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Ear, Drink and Be Scary-- Part 1

From the October 31, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz.

Some Halloween Numbers:

2/3--  Proportion of U.S. that celebrates Halloween according to the National Retail Federation. (We celebrated it with decorations, lights, candy and a couple Halloween parties.)

60+--  Age group most likely to give out candy to trick-or-treaters, according to the National Confectioners Association.We are 60 and gave out candy.

$59.99--  Cost of a sexy Ebola Containment Suit at  (I didn't buy one.)

$77.52--  Average amount spent on Halloween by those who celebrate, up from $75.03 last year, according to the National Retail Federation.  (We spent maybe $16.00, not counting beer.)

More to Come.  --DaCoot

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Stunts-- Part 3

8.  BRETT HULSEY,  a Democrat candidate for governor of Wisconsin, announced in May that he planned to hand out Ku Klux Klan hoods outside the state's Republican convention to protest racism.  But, when he showed up, he had no hoods, and he told reporters he had left them in his car.

He did not go stunt-free, however, wearing a makeshift Confederate soldier uniform he had assembled from thrift store purchases.  Hulsey, denounced by officials of both parties, lost his primary race in August with 17% of the vote.

9.  At the turn of the last century, people loved watching trains crash.  It all started in 1896 when William Crush, an enterprising employee for the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway looking to make a name for himself and the railway, hatched a scheme to crash two locomotives into each other.

Given the green light, he set up a pop-up town named Crush in a remote area of Texas.  The event was free, but the train ticket to Crush was $2.  As many as 50,000 reportedly made the trip.  It looked like a runaway success, but despite assurances the locomotives wouldn't blow up, they did, spraying the crowd with shrapnel.

Three people were killed and dozens injured.  That didn't stop survivors posing for photographs with the wreckage.