Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Greatest Cubs Team Ever-- Part 7: First Base

From the July 3, 2016, Chicago Tribune.


CAP ANSON--  22 seasons with Cubs  Hit .331 during that time.  Led league in batting four times, including a .399 mark in 1881.  Led league in RBIs eight times.  Played in two World Series for the Cubs.

BILL BUCKNER--  Eight seasons with Cubs.  Batted .300 or better 4 times, including league-leading .324 in 1980.

PHIL CAVARRETTA--  NL MVP in 1945 and led league with .355 BA.  Twenty seasons with Cubs and batted .292 during that time.

MARK GRACE--  Batted .308 and drove in 1,004 runs as a Cub.  Known for his good eye, as a Cub had 946 walks and 561 strike outs.

DERREK LEE--  Two-times All-Star and two Gold Gloves.  In 2005 hit a career-high 46 homers, 107 RBIs and led majors with a .335 BA.

Although I'm a BIG Bill Buckner fan, I have to go with Cap Anson.

A Little before My Time, Though.  --Cootson

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Greatest Cubs Team Ever-- Part 6: Relief Pitcher

The five nominated:

RYAN DEMPSTER--  Converted starter  became Cubs closer in 2005 and saved career high 33 games.  Had 24 saves in 2006 and 28 in 2007 before returning to starter.  Had 87 career saves, ranking fifth most in Cubs history.

RANDY MYERS--  Led league  in saves in 1993 with 53, a Cubs record.  Saved 112 games with Cubs.  4th best all-time for Cubs.

HECTOR RONDON--  Became Cubs primary reliever in 2014.  saved 29 games that year and 30 the next year.  In 2015 had 1.67 ERA.

LEE SMITH--  Led in NL in saves in 1983 with 29 and then had 30+ saves next four years.  His 180 saves is most in team history.

BRUCE SUTTER--  Five years with Cubs.  Saved 24+ games four times.  Hall of Famer and won Cy Young Award in 1979, posted 2.22 ERA and major league leading 37 saves.

I would vote for both Bruce Sutter and Lee Smith.

Bringing the Heat or Junk.  --CootSave

Monday, August 29, 2016

Greatest Cubs Team Ever-- Part 5: Starting Pitcher

These men were nominated for voting in the Chicago Tribune.  And you can vote by going to

JAKE ARRIETA--  In 2015 won National league Cy YoungAward with one of the best seasons ever by a modern-day pitcher.  Led the major leagues with 22 victories, including three shut outs.  Struck out 236 and ERA of 1.77.

MORDECAI "THREE-FINGER" BROWN--  Hall of Famer won 20 or more games in six consecutive seasons from 1906-1911  Career best and league leading 27 games in 1909.  Second-most Cubs wins with 188.

FERGIE JENKINS--  Starting with his first season in 1967, won 20+ games in six straight seasons.  NL Cy Young Award in 1971 with 24-13 record.

GREG MADDUX--  In 10 seasons with the Cubs, won 15+ games six times, including a 20-win season in 1992 when he won the Cy Young Award.

CHARLIE ROOT--  Most wins in a Cubs uniform with 201.  Led majors in wins in 1927 with 26, and had 10 seasons with 13+ wins. Also Cubs leader with 3,137 innings pitched.

I would have to go with Charlie Root first and Fergie Jenkins second.


Friday, August 26, 2016

AP's All-Time Top 100 for College Football-- Part 3

These are the next 25 on their list.  Again, I am only listing the teams I like.  The number after the name is the Total Points.

#26.  Georgia Tech  (320)

31.  Virginia Tech  (276)

#36  Purdue  (246)

#37  Minnesota  (241)

#38  North Carolina  (240)

#37  TCU  (234)

#43  Oklahoma State  (208)

#44  Kansas State  (207)

#46  South Carolina  (185)

#50  Northwestern  (183)

Some Good Football.  --Cooter

AP's All-Time Top 100 Poll for College Football-- Part 2: Penn State, Tennessee, Georgia, Wisconsin, Northwestern

And, I AM SO SURPRISED that my good old Northern Illinois is NOT on this list.

NO. 12: PENN STATE--  Total Points--  647   Best Decade--  1990s   Worst Decade--  1950s

NO. 14: TENNESSEE--  Total Points--  624  Best Decade--  1990s   Worst Decade--  1980s

NO. 15: GEORGIA--  Total Points--  572   Best Decade--  2000s  Worst Decade--  1950s  Sorry, Julie.

NO. 24: WISCONSIN--  Total Points--  336   Best Decade--  1960s   Worst Decade--  1980s

NO. 25: IOWA--  Total Points--  329   Best Decade--  1980s   Worst Decade--  1970s

Congrats to "Mr. Tennessee Nephew" Andy For Topping Georgia With Tennessee.  --DaCootBall

AP's All-Time Top 100 Poll for College Football-- Part 1: Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Nebraska, LSU

As we approach another college football season.

From the August 25, 2016, Kenosha (Wis) News "Ohio State tops AP's all-time Top 100 poll" by Ralph D. Russo.

The AP had their first college Top20 in 1936 and since then, have taken 1,103 polls in which 164 schools have been ranked.

To determine this list (and, I'll only list the teams I like, AP counted one point per appearance to mark consistency, No. 1 rankings (one bonus point) and AP Championships won (10 points)

NO. 2:  OKLAHOMA--  Total Points 1,055--  Best Decade--  1950s, Worst Decade--  1960s

NO. 3:  NOTRE DAME--  Total Points: 1,042  Best Decade 1940s--  Worst Decade 2000s

NO. 6:  NEBRASKA--  Total Points: 901  Best Decade- 1990s--  Worst Decade 1950s

NO. 11:  LSU-- Total Points: 655   Best Decade- 2000s--  Worst Decade- 1950s

These Are Top Ten Teams I Never Root For:  #1 Ohio State (Total Points:1,112), #4 Alabama, #5 USC, #7 Michigan, #8 Texas, #9 Florida State and #10 Florida.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Greatest Cubs Team Ever-- Part 4: Catcher

From the August 21, 2016, Chicago Tribune.

The winner of the Cubs best-ever right fielder was Andre Dawson.

Nominated for Catcher:

MICHAEL BARRETT--  Played three full seasons with Cubs and hit 16 home runs in each and 25+ doubles.

JODY DAVIS--  Eight seasons with Cubs.  Reached double digits in home runs six times.  In 1984, drove in a career-high 94 runs.

GABBY HARTNETT--  Played 19 years for Cubs.  Appeared in four World Series.  Batted .297 with 236 home runs and 122 RBIs.  "Hall of Famer" and six-time All Star and NL MVP in 1935.  His "Homer in the Gloamin'" won a key game against the Pirates in 1938.

RANDY HUNDLEY--  Primarily-known for his defense.  One of the poor 1969 Cubs.

GEOVANY SOTO--  NL Rookie of the Year and an All-Star in 2008.  Batted .285 that season with 23 homers and 86 RBIs.

My pick, easily, Gabby Hartnett.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Greatest Cubs Baseball Team Ever-- Part 3: Right Field

The winner of best Cubs center fielder ever was Hack Wilson.

Nominated for best Cubs right fielder ever:

KIKI CUYLER---  Hall of Famer played eight seasons with Cubs, batted .325 with 79 honers and 602 RBIs.

ANDRE DAWSON--  Signed with Cubs as a free agent in 1987 and had best year of his career, leading majors in home runs with 49 and RBIs with 137 and named NL MVP  Played six seasons and hit 20 or more homers each year.

KEITH MORELAND--  Six seasons with the Cubs.  "Zonk" reached double digits in home runs in all, including a career-high 27 in 1987.  drove in 80 or more runs three times.

BILL NICHOLSON--  Four-time NL All-Star, hit 20 or more home runs in five consecutive seasons 1940-1944.  Led majors in RBIs twice.  Played ten seasons.

SAMMY SOSA--  Cubs franchise leader with 545 home runs and third all-time in RBIs and extra-base hits.  Three seasons with 60 or more home runs.  Seven time All-Star and drove in 100+ runs in nine straight seasons.  You'd think with these stats, he'd be a shoo-in.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Greatest Cubs Baseball Team Ever-- Part 2: Center Field

These Cubs players were nominated for voting by the Chicago Tribune for center field:

Bobby Dernier--  Leadoff man for 1984 Cubs National League East champs.

Rick Monday-- 5 seasons  Hit 20 or more homers three times.

Andy Pafko--  Batted .294 in nine season with the Cubs.

Corey Patterson--  Had a big year with the Cubs in 2004 with 24 homers, 33 doubles, 72 RBIs and 32 stolen bases.

Hack Wilson--  Led NL four times in his six seasons with the Cubs.  drove in 100 or more RBIs five times.

I'd vote for Hack Wilson in this one.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Greatest Cubs Baseball Team of All Time-- Part 1: From Banks to Sandberg to Grace

From the August 7, 2016, Chicago Tribune.

The voting has been going on for awhile.  Every Sunday the Tribune offers five Cubs players per position and during the next week readers vote on their favorite at  They also have the White Sox players by position, but I will do that  later.

So far these Cubs have been voted onto the team:

First Base--  Mark Grace

2nd Base--  Ryne Sandberg

Shortstop--  Ernie Banks

3rd Base--  Ron Santo

Left Field--  Billy Williams

This date, fans were voting for best center fielder.

These players were listed:

Bobby Dernier
Rick Monday
Andy Pafko
Corey Patterson
Hack Wilson

I would vote for Hack Wilson.

The Hacker.  --DaHack

Illinois' Chain of Lakes-- Part 14: Boating and Bars

Growth continued with the return of servicemen from World War II looking for affordable housing.  the area became middle class communities with residents often commuting to jobs in Chicago and other suburbs for work.

The major tourism era was over, but a whole lot of people still came to the Chain area on the weekends to enjoy its recreation, especially boating.  Fox Lake at one time was known to have the most bars per capita of any place in the United States.  there are far fewer of them today.

A Great Place to Enjoy Life,  --CootBoat

Thursday, August 18, 2016

UGA Tweets Get Flagged

From the August 3, 2016, Chicago Tribune "Top Of The Second."

Some college football fans are going to have to get more creative with their hashtags for the next several weeks.  Thanks to the Olympics, #UGA no longer means University of Georgia (or its bulldog mascot , Uga X) and #PUR no longer means Purdue.

Yep, #UGA is what you'll use to talk about Uganda and #PUR stands for Puerto Rico during the Olympics.

Also #ECU (East Carolina University) means Ecuador.  Husker fans will have to type out "Go Big Red" because of Great Britain.

Twitter used flag emoji during the 2014 World Cup, but only East Carolina fans felt hash-jacked then.

The Olympics end August 21st and college football kicks off August 26th.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Illinois' Chain of Lakes-- Part 13: The Railroad Brings Growth to Area

Growth of resorts along the Chain of Lakes increased dramatically with the arrival of the Milwaukee Road railroad to the area in 1901.  The railroad crossed the lakes between Pistakee Lake and Nippersink Lake where Route 12 now crosses.  (The train tracks are still there and handle an occasional train.)

Vacationers would take the train from Chicago and get off at a station by Nippersink Lake and then go by foot or by boats to various resorts.

Small cottages and resorts grew on the shores of the lakes as the area became a prominent tourist destination.  The Great Depression, however, was a major hit to the area and tourism decreased tremendously.  Resorts closed.  Some of these resorts were then turned into year-round homes.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Illinois' Chain of Lakes-- Part 12: Own a Piece of Chicago Gangland History

Of course, with the Chain of Lakes' proximity to Chicago, there are many tales of Chicago mobsters muscling in on the many resorts as well as vacationing in the area.  One of those mobsters was Al Capone.

I recently saw a for sale sign at the building, now a home, but back in the 1930s it was the Manning Hotel.

It is located at 16 North Pistakee Road (right next to Hamsher Funeral Home) on Pistakee Lake and listed for $500,000.  Back in the 1930s, three mobsters were killed and wounded in an attack by a rival gang on the hotel bar/ restaurant..

Supposedly, bullet holes are still in the walls.

Own a Piece of History.  --DaCootGangsta

Illinois' Chain of Lakes-- Part 11: The Different Lakes and World Famous Lotus Beds

The lakes offer a variety of different activities as each is different.  The two largest Lakes are Fox Lake and Pistakee Lake at about 1.700 acres each.  They provide space for open boating and fishing.

Originally Pistakee was a shallow lake full of marshes and waterfowl, a great place for hunting.  The creation of the dam at McHenry, Illinois,, increased the depth of the lake and made it navigable.  Fox and Pistakee lakes were well-known for boating even back to the early 1900s.  They were especially known for sailboat races and Pistakee still has a Pistakee Yacht Club, featuring sailboats.

Grass Lake (Grasslake) is the third largest lake and estimated to cover 1360 acres, but is considered the shallowest of the Chain of Lakes with an average depth of 3 feet.  It was best-known to visitors in the early 1900s because of its world-famous Lotus Beds.  Rising lake levels due to the dam fairly well caused their decline, but in the last few years they are making a comeback.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Illinois' Chain of Lakes-- Part 10: Expulsion of Indians and Coming of the Railroad Had Huge Impact

The area in northeastern Illinois now referred to as the Chain of Lakes was once home to a semi-nomadic Indian tribe.  French trappers and traders, including fur trapper Louis Joliet and Father Jacques Marquette were said to have explored the area in the mid-17th century although no last settlements were founded.  Just passing through.

The area, which is roughly equidistant from Milwaukee and Chicago, did not quickly become settled by Europeans and colonists due to difficulty traveling to the area.  However, the expulsion of the Indians and coming of the railroads opened the area tremendously.

The railroads not only helped get products to market, but also brought vacationers from Chicago out for the recreation offered.

The Chain Became a Big Tourist Area.  --Cooter

Friday, August 12, 2016

Illinois' Chain of Lakes-- Part 9: Boating on the Chain

Navigation on the Chain of Lakes from Lake Catherine all the way down to Pistakee Lake (as well as the Fox River from Pistakee Lake to Algonquin), is a favorite summertime activity for thousands.  And, there are sure a lot of boats out on the water on the weekends.  We rarely go out on the weekends, preferring the much smaller crowd during the week.  But we have always been lucky as we were teachers so had summers off.

It was actually a part-time job that I had that got us into boating.  I did not grow up with boats as have many of the kids on the Chain.  I always thought owning a boat was a huge waste of money.  (Well, it sure isn't cheap!)

However, back in 1982, I started a deejay business and played many gigs at Neptune's Cove on Fox Lake and Eagle Point Park (the Puppet Bar, so named for the many puppets that sprang into movement when one particular polka was played) on Pistakee Lake.

Those boaters were having so much fun, I finally decided to get a boat and have had one ever since 1985.  We are now on our third boat, but I imagine this one will be my last one.


Illinois' Chain of Lakes-- Part 8: The Lakes

Of the 15 lakes, 10 are connected by the Fox River:  Lake Catherine, Nippersink Lake, Lake Marie, Grasslake, Bluff Lake, Fox Lake, Pistakee Lake, Channel Lake, Petite Lake and Redhead Lake.  (Some people also say Spring Lake between Lake Marie and Petite Lake is also a lake, but it is more of a wide spot in the channel.

The other five lakes are Duck Lake, Long Lake, Spring Lake (this might be the one I mentioned in the earlier paragraph), Dunn's Lake and Brandenburg Lake.

These last five are connected not by the Fox River but by small channels.

This weekend, we plan to be at Cabana's on the Chain on Pistakee Lake, and Rally by the Lake on Nippersink Lake (old cars) and the Keeping the Spirit of 45 Alive at Veterans Park in McHenry (one block from the Fox River).

So, you can see, we are very much involved in the Chain of Lakes.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Illinois' Chain of Lakes-- Part 7: Result of the Melting of the Wisconsin Glacier

The Chain of Lakes is the result of the melting of the Wisconsin Glacier, which left a unique landscape in northern Illinois.  The Fox River winds its way southward from Wisconsin, through Antioch, Illinois, and then it connects a series of lakes, 15 in all.  (The river eventually runs into the Illinois River and on to the Mississippi.)

These lakes, collectively known as the Chain of Lakes, or Chain O' Lakes, cover more than 7,000 acres of water and includes 500 miles of total shoreline (50 miles of river shoreline from where it enters Illinois down to Algonquin where a dam with no locks impedes boat traffic beyond it.  There is a dam south of McHenry, Illinois, which has locks.

The Chain of Lakes Waterway Agency oversees its use and maintenance.  This is a big job as the area has more boat usage per acre than any other inland waterway system in the United States.  I have even heard that it is the second busiest only to the Intercoastal Waterway.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Illinois' Chain of Lakes-- Part 6: Aye, It's the Boating Life for Me


We boated over to Stormy Monday on Fox lake and were happy to find that they had a happy hour from 5-7 with $1.50 domestic bottles, $2.50 imports and $1 Miller High Lifes.  This place used to be a huge hangout for us back when it was Costello's Pub & Grub for many years, but not so often anymore.

We got our Chain Crawl passport stamped here.

We then drove the car over to Half-Times in Johnsburg, close to the Fox River for half price appetizers and $1 20 ounce draft and then to Sunnyside.


I went boating around Fox Lake and Mineola Bay and then drove to Woodstock, Illinois, (not on the Chain but not too far away from it) to see a movie, enjoy the historic 1850s square (where the movie "Groundhog Day" was filmed.  met some friends at Papa G's on the  for dinner and then went to the McHenry County Civil War Round Table.

Like I said, Plenty to Do Here.  --CootChain

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Illinois' Chain of Lakes-- Part 5: More Bands

Saturday, August 6th, continued.

We then drove over to the Fox Lake American Legion where they had a band playing from 3-6 p.m. and saw the Brother K. Blues Band.  The American Legion is on Nippersink Lake.

Last stop was Sunnyside and their happy hour and then home to Margaritaville.


Enjoyed Bob Stroud doung his Root Salute to Summer of 1976, where he played songs from this date forty years ago.

We then went to Sunnyside for the card draw and then to Captain's Quarters, on Fox Lake, and sat outside while enjoying the band called Mixx.  They had a male and female lead singer and played a long medley while we were there.  Like their name implies, they mix up the genres of music.

We then stopped at Lake View on Grasslake and enjoyed the view before returning to Sunnyside for Happy Hour.


Illinois' Chain of Lakes-- Part 4: Cruisin', Eating and Drinking on the Chain

For example, the last few days, we went out boating three of four days.

Friday, we boated over to Captain's Quarters on Fox Lake for their ribs special.  You get a full slab of ribs and wings for $9.999.  A REAL good deal.  We then put the boat up and drove to the Fox Lake American Legion and joined the Usual Suspects for the 50-50 drawing.

Saturday, we took a boat cruise over to the McDonald's on Pistakee Lake for breakfast and then did a sow cruise around Pistakee Lake, Nippersink Lake and Fox Lake.

We put the boat up (it tends to get quite hectic on the weekends as there are a real lot of boaters) and drove over to Oak Park Lounge on Pistakee Bay where owned Tom was celebrating his 40th anniversary of owning the place (which dates to 1895).  He had three bands and a deejay scheduled as well as 40 cent Hamms beer drafts.

We congratulated him and stuck around for the first band.

Chaining It Again.  --CootChain

Monday, August 8, 2016

Illinois' Chain of Lakes-- Part 3: An Example of Enjoying It

People often ask me why we don't usually go away for vacation during the summer.  My answer is, "Why?"  We have a great vacation spot right here.  First there is all that boating, then, there are the bars, many of which have entertainment during the week and weekends all summer long.

Plus, most every town in the area has at least one festival if not more.

Woodstock has weekly Wednesday night music outside in the gazebo as does Lake Villa and Lindenhurst.  Crystal Lake has weekly bands on Tuesdays and Antioch and McHenry on Thursdays.  Every town has 4th of July parties and Antioch runs a four-day Taste of Summer and McHenry a ten-day Fiesta Days.

There are few things finer than going out to eat, having some cocktails and sitting outside and listening to a goof band during the summer.


Battle of Oriskany

From Wikipedia.

Fought August 6, 1777.  Part of the Saratoga Campaign

The American force consisted of about 800 Tryon County militia.  They were ambushed about six miles east of Fort Stanwix, which they were heading for to relieve it from the siege.  It  took place near present-day Oriskany, New York.

The Americans suffered about 450 casualties and their commander, Nicholas Herkimer was mortally wounded.  The Loyalists and Indians lost about 150.

American casualties: 385 killed, 50 wounded and 30 captured.


Friday, August 5, 2016

Illinois' Chain of Lakes-- Part 2: Boating, Movies, Bars and a Gazebo

For example, yesterday this is what I did:

First, I went out boating on Fox Lake and after which I saw two movies:  "Ice Age: Collision Course" and the new "Ghostbusters."

Then, I went home and picked up Liz and we went on the Chain Crawl (only by car this time).  The Chain Crawl takes part every summer and you have to get your passport booked stamped and signed, this year at 41 places, most of which are also accessible by water.

First we went to Famous Freddie's and sat out at the tiki bar by the piers.  We then went to Moretti's.  Both are in Fox Lake, Illinois.

We had been planning to go to Antioch for its car show and It's Thursday music band, but it was way too bloomin' hot, so went to Sunnyside in Johnsburg, came home and I sat out in the gazebo.

Too Much Fun.  --DaCoot

Illinois' Chain of Lakes-- Part 1: Enjoy It

From the June 29, 2016,  Hi-Liter (Lake County, Illinois) "The Chain of Lakes: Enjoying summertime on the water" by Sandra Landen Machaj.

I can sure agree with that.  We have been boating now ever since 1985, when we bought out first boat, a 1979 Imperial.  Then we got a 1990 Four Winns and have had a 2003 Bayliner since then.  I always though owning a boat would be a stupid thing to do until I started deejaying at various places on the Chain of Lakes and seeing how much fun the folks were having.

"It's summertime and the living is easy.  It's a time to kick back and enjoy the great outdoors.  Fishing (well, not us), boating and swimming become the priorities of the day as the temperatures rise.

"What better place to be than along the Fox River and the many lakes that a part of the Chain O' Lakes?  The Fox River enters Illinois at Antioch and meanders through L:ake County, through the Chain O' Lakes and into McHenry County before it continues to make its way on its own down to the Illinois River.


Fort Stanwix-- Part 4: The Battle of Oriskany

The Battle of Oriskany was fought a few niles away from Fort Stanwix.  An American relief column under General Nicholas Herkimer was ambushed en route by Tories and their Indian allies.

While this was underway, the fort's defenders sallied out and attacked the enemy camp and began looting and destroying it.


Fort Stanwix-- Part 3: Important Indian Treaty and First U.S. Flag?

In 1768, Fort Stanwix was the site of an important treaty between the British and Iroquois Indians.  This treaty promised to preserve areas west of the Appalachians as an Indian reservation and prohibited colonial settlement there.  See how well that worked out.

Local folklore has it that the new U.S. flag was raised over the fort for the first time in battle anywhere on August 3, 1777,   But, more likely it was the Grand Union Flag.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Happy 226th Birthday to the U.S. Coast Guard

In my World War II blog, Tattooed On Your Soul, I wrote about the sinking of the Coast Guard Cutter Alexander Hamilton in January 1942, the first American ship sunk in the Atlantic after Pearl Harbor.

I also came across this in today's Chicago Tribune:

In 1790 the Revenue Cutter Service, which would be united with the Life Saving Service in 1915 to form the Coast Guard was established.

During the War of 1812, Revenue Service ships were essentially Navy ships.

Fort Stanwix, N.Y.-- Part 2

The British failure at Fort Stanwix and the battles of Oriskany, Bennington and Saratoga thwarted their coordinated effort to take the northern colonies.

Fort Stanwix was built by the British in 1758 and named for British General John Stanwix.  The British abandoned it in 1774.  In 1776, Americans occupied the fort and renamed it Fort Schuyler.

The fort underwent a 21-day siege in August 1977.


Fort Stanwix, N.Y.-- Part 1

From the National Park Service.

Back in 2014, I wrote about a Revolutionary War and War of 1812 veteran by the name of Major Watson who is buried in McHenry County, Illinois.  He is the only known Revolutionary War veteran buried in McHenry County.  Major Watson was at Fort Stanwix.

Fort Stanwix National Monument in New York was built to protect the Oneida Carrying Place, a six-mile portage connecting the Mohawk River and Wood Creek.  This was a vital link when one was traveling from the ocean to the Great Lakes.  Rome, New York, was built over it.

It is known as the fort that never surrendered.  While under the command of Colonel Peter Gansevoort, Americans fought off a prolonged siege in 1777 by British, German, Loyalist, Canadians and Indians.


Ten of the World's Most Unusual Towns-- Part 2: Watch Out for the Polar Bears

5.  ORDOS, China.  Inner Mongolia, China  Built for over one million people, but only 2% of it was ever occupied.  Built 20 years ago for a coal rush.  It is the largest ghost town in China.

4.  LONGYEARBYEN, Norway.  Northernmost city in the world.  If a person is found to be dying, they are flown out to another part of Norway to do so.  Bodies buried there do not decompose because of the extreme cold.  Citizens here are allowed to tote rifles around with them because of the some 3,000 polar bears also living there.

3.  ASYMMETROC WARFARE TEACHING CENTERAWTC in Virginia.  This town is uninhabited and built by the Army to train soldiers for duty in Afghanistan and Iraq villages.

2.  MARLOTH PARK,  South Africa.  Wild animals from Kruger National Park.

1.  HALLSTAT, China.  The real Hallstat in in Austria and is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.  This one in Chona is a mock-up town built for $940 million to look just like the one in Austria.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Ten of the World's Most Unusual Towns-- Part 1: Golf Cart City in Florida

From the February 3, 2015, Listverse by Elizabeth S. Anderson.

10.  The VILLAGE OF FLORIDA has a population of 100,000 retired people where most get around on golf carts.  Every year they hold the longest golf cart parade in the world.  According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it once had 3,321.  Children are forbidden.

9.  BUSINGEN AM HOCHRHEIN in Germany.  A German town in Switzerland.

8.  WHITTIER, Alaska.  Most of the 200 residents live in a single 14-story building.

7.  COLMA, California  The town has 1,500 living residents and 1.5 million dead.  73% of the land in the town consists of cemeteries.  It got so big because people can't be buried in San Francisco.

6.  MONOWI, Nebraska.  Founded by Czechs and has just one resident, Elsie Eller, who runs the town's only tavern and library.

Golf Cart Drag Racing?  --DaCoot

Battleships on Jeopardy

Yesterday, July 29, Jeopardy had a category of questions on "Battleships" during their Double Jeopardy round.  They contestants only got one of the questions right.

Since battleships are my favorite navy ships, I got them all right.

There were questions on the USS Maine, Russian battleship Potempkin, USS Missouri, HMS Dreadnaught and German battleship Bismarck.

But, then there are those other categories which I didn't do well on at all.

Blow Me Down.  --CootBattler

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Mall Woes in Wilmington, N.C.

From the July 24, 2016, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Mall makeover?" by Ashley Morris.

Like many indoor shopping malls across the United States, Wilmington's Independence Mall is hurting.  Business is way off as shoppers go to Big Box stores and online.  Right now, there are 24 vacant store fronts.

And, there are the continuing problems being faced by their anchor stores: Dillard's, J.C. Penney, Sears and Belk.

It opened in 1979, prime time for indoor malls, but in October 2015 the first foreclosure sale was delayed.  It still hasn't happened.

I know Berkeley Mall in Goldsboro, N.C., faces a similar problem.  The one by Waukegan, Illinois, Lakehurst, closed as well as my all-time favorite one, Randhurst, in Mt. Prospect, Illinois.  They both were torn down.  Back in my high school days in the late 1960s, Randhurst was a major hangout for us in Palatine as well as all the other students in Chicago's Northwest suburbs.

Other than Randhurst, I have never been a big mall fan, but still I hate to see them go.

Never a Mall Rat Was I.  --CootMall

About Your Cat

From the July 24, 2016, Parade magazine "Meow Mix" by Samantha Coley.

Here are five facts about our feline friends:

1.  House cats generally do not like to be in the water.  But their ancestors, wild leopards, are graceful swimmers.

2.  A cat's nose identifies them like a fingerprint identifies a human.

3.  The CIA has used cats for missions.  In the 1960s, they trained felines to spy on the Soviets.

4.  A cat lapping milk from a saucer is a classic image, but most cats are lactose intolerant.

5.  A cats showing its stomach is sometimes in a defensive pose, warning enemies that all its limbs and claws are ready to be used.

Kitty Kats.  --Cooter

Show Cats

From the July 24, 2016, Parade magazine by Alison Abbey.

From silent film stars to web wonders, these cool cats clawed their way to the top of the showbiz food chain:

FELIX THE CAT (1919)  Credited as the first animated celebrity, Felix got his start in the silent short film "Feline Follies" before going on to find his voice on both the big and small screens.

THE CHESHIRE CAT (1951)  Though he made his first famed arrival in Lewis Carroll's book "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" in 1865, the most recognizable version appears in the Disney movie adaption.

MORRIS (1969)  "The World's Most Finicky Cat" has been serving as the spokescat for 9Lives cat food for decades.  Each of the three cats who have played Morris has been a rescue.

GARFIELD  (1978)  As the star of the comic strip drawn by Jim Davis, he has had his own TV show and films.  Give Me food!!

GRUMPY CAT (2012)  Started as an internet sensation, but in 2014 got her own movie.

Of These, By Far My Favorite Is Morris.  --Cooter

Monday, August 1, 2016

Topsail Island's Swing Bridge's Days Are Numbered

From the July 14-20, 2015, Topsail Advertiser "New Surf City high-rise bridge gets green light from DOT" by Courtney Sullivan.

State approves $46 million contract to replace popular swing bridge.

SURF CITY--  "For many vacationers, the sight of the Surf City swing bridge has been the unofficial start of their beach vacation on Topsail Island since the 1950s..

"But the end of the swing bridge era will start this fall as construction begins on a new high-rise bridge for the island.

That swing bridge, so-named because it swings to the side to allow boat traffic to go under it, is a neat thing, but definitely not so neat if you get stuck waiting for a long time when it is allowing boats to pass.  The lines can back up for miles on the weekends.

The only other connection to the mainland for 26 mile long island is a high-rise bridge nine miles north of Surf City in North Topsail Beach.

The new bridge will be 65-feet high, so boats will be able to pass under it with no problem.

Here's hoping that Surf City or Topsail Island will keep the old sweing bridge and put it in a park or use it as a fishing pier.

Swing Me--  Cooter