A Dimm View of Life

Location: Illinois, United States

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Chicago Cub Announcers

Jack Brickhouse will always be the voice of the Chicago Cubs. I know he was not the first voice and Harry Carey may have enjoyed more popularity, but Jack was my guy.

I grew up watching the Cubs on WGN, Channel 9 in Chicago. Jack made the game fun. Even when the Cubs were losing, Jack had optimism and a love for the game that kept you tuned in and listening.

There are a lot of people who complained that Jack was a “homer”. The truth is that he was a “homer”. All the Cub announcers were paid by the Cubs. They were there to encourage people to visit the ballpark. They wanted to create enthusiasm for the home team, and that’s what they did.

The old days were different from today’s broadcasting. Arnie Harris, who engineered the broadcasts and Brickhouse understood that baseball was family entertainment. How many times did we here him say, “You can’t beat fun at the old ballpark.”

I had a chance to see Brickhouse at a book signing in Springfield, Illinois one year. I purchased his book as a gift for my brother (I read it first), and had Mr. Brickhouse sign the book to my brother, who was also a sports announcer. He was as professional and kind as you would have expected. He will always be one of my heroes.

I got the chance to see Harry Carey once. Harry walked past me on the way into Wrigley Field. He was smiling and nodding at the fans, careful not to let them slow him down.

Carey was someone I appreciated, but was never a favorite. He glorified beer and a party lifestyle with which I could not identify. I know that lots of fans love beer and drink beer at ball games. I just love the game and am just as happy with a Pepsi. Better yet, I am happier with a Dr. Pepper.

Vince Lloyd and Lou Boudreau manned the radio microphones for years. For a long time, after Brickhouse retired, I preferred them. I always felt I got more information about what was happening with the team from the radio broadcasts than I did from the television. Radio has more time to fill and they would talk about roster moves and other such things.

Boudreau was a graduate from the University of Illinois, which puts him in a warm place in my heart. I did not go to school at the U of I, but I have many friends who have and who are currently working there in a variety of positions. Boudreau had an intimate knowledge of what was going on in the player’s mind. Lloyd understood the mechanics of the game. Together, they made a great team. You could tell they were close friends.

When Milo Hamilton was finally exiled to Houston, Carey teamed up with Steve Stone. There was not a better pairing in the booth since Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek. As good as they were, these two were probably better.

Like Lloyd and Boudreau, Carey had a love of baseball from the fan’s point of view. Stone understood the game as a former player, not too removed from his playing days.

Together they fought and laughed and appreciated each other. They disagreed about whether players should start or ride the bench. They each could find ways to make the other laugh. Most of all, you could tell they both loved the Cubs.

Carey’s grandson Chip was a great addition to the team after Harry passed away. It was a shame they never worked together, but Chip and Stone were a super team. It was a shame the way that partnership ended, due to stubbornness on both sides. It would be great to see Stone return to the booth, or the Cubs in some capacity, for a fourth tour of duty (if you count when he pitched for the Cubs in the 70’s).

There are other broadcasters that I greatly enjoyed have sadly moved to other pastures. Dewayne Staats and Thom Brenneman are two that jump to mind. Both had great voices and tremendous ability. Both have worked for ESPN and Fox, so we still get to hear them occasionally, but we enjoyed them best when they were in Chicago.

Now there are some new teams in place. Radio is manned admirably by Pat Hughes and Ron Santo. They remind me so much of Lloyd and Boudreau. Hughes is a smart, able announcer who has a light sense of humor. Santo is the ultimate “homer” who gets mad when things are not going the Cubs’ way. Santo makes mistakes, but nobody cares. They make listening to the broadcasts fun.

Len Kasper and Bob Brenly have made a solid team on the video side. I was certain Brenly was going to manager again this year and was ready for Stone to return. I would not want for Brenly to leave to broadcast for another team. If he is going to broadcast, let him stay. He brings an insight that is so rare and interesting.

Both the radio and television have struggled to find the right combination at times. There are names I will not mention that just were not the best fit. Some have gone on the success elsewhere. Others have moved on to other projects.

There are few other jobs I could think of that would be more fun than broadcasting the Cubs games. Even with my radio background, I know that I would not be able to pull it off, day after day. Still, it would be fun to try. Unlike Harry Carey, who sometimes became bigger than the game, these fellows today have found a way to enhance the game and make it more enjoyable.

Whenever I miss a broadcast, I feel bad. It is not that I did not get a score and find out what happened. I can always get that information. You learn so much from listening to people who can describe what is happening from the position of someone who played before or someone who has talked to the players and coaches and understands the chemistry of the game.

In the twenty-first century, the internet is here. Today people blog about the games and provide a fan’s insight. Unfortunately, my work prevents me from doing that, but it is fund to read the comments afterward.

Let me know if you have special memories of Cub broadcasts of years past. Let me know if you have favorite Cubs blogs. Check out some of the blog websites I have included here. Be careful. Some are a little raw, but they are all entertaining.

Thank you for reading. We’ll talk again soon.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Spring is here (in Illinois)

Spring is here. People can talk about the great April snowstorm of 1968 all they want, but I am saying that, in central Illinois, spring is here.

It is time for me to make a list of things to attend to:

1) Sticks and rocks in the yard need to be picked up.

Shoveling snow wreaked havoc on my yard. Once things dry up a bit we can put things to right.

2) The mower needs to be prepared for a long summer.
3) The vegetable garden needs to be attempted again.

Notice that I didn’t say that anything would truly grow from the garden. I just said it needed to be attempted.

4) Play catch with son.

The last couple weekends we have thrown the Frisbee when it was not raining, but it is not the same.

5) Switch from long sleeve shirts to short sleeve shirts.
6) Stop wearing sweaters.

This is hard because I sit under a vent at work that blows cold air the entire year. You have to come to work as if it is 30 degrees outside, when it is truly 80 degrees. Of course, if the air conditioner is broken, the building warms up to 120 degrees. Grrr…

7) Stop eating soup.
8) Try and find another way to keep the birds from building nests in our gutters.
9) Wash the salt off of the cars (done that).
10) Make summer vacation plans.

Oops. Nearly forgot one more.

11) Continue to write blog.

That’s a good start to our plans for the next few weeks. Let me know if I left something out.

Thank you for reading. We’ll talk again soon.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Child Safety and Attorney General Gonzales

Chicago, Illinois is a friendly town. It is the “windy” city. The home of those loveable Chicago Cubs.

As Carl Sandburg so eloquently stated, “Hog butcher for the world, tool maker, stacker of wheat, player with railroads and the nation’s freight handler.

“Stormy, husky, brawling city of the big shoulders.”

How can anyone not like Chicago and its fun-loving people? Apparently, United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales does not like Chicago. Gonzales was able to make a brief news conference even briefer, much to the disappointment of Chicago reporters.

Yesterday, Gonzales was scheduled for a fifteen minute news conference. He was there to talk about the safety for children on the internet. Now that is a topic begging to be discussed for at least an hour or more (and no, I am not being sarcastic).

Somehow, however, Gonzales must have believed that all the concern about the fired U.S. attorneys was only in Washington D.C. He must have thought the people in Chicago either had not heard about the controversy, or were so happy and friendly that we did not care.

As it turned out, Gonzales ditched the Chicago reporters once he realized they were aware of the firings. Three pointed questions into the press conference and the U.S. Attorney General was history.

He did get out these verbal jousts, “I look forward to working with Congress. I believe in keeping accountability. Everything that I've done in connection with this matter supports that principle."

If he believes in accountability, why not answer a few, friendly questions? To be fair, Gonzales has likely been told by his own attorneys and others not to say much to the media. After three questions, he had probably used all the stock answers he was provided and decided it best to fold up camp.

Since Gonzales did not have much to say yesterday, we will report on what was said about child safety and the internet. Wait a minute. I am not finding anything in the papers about Gonzales, or anyone else, discussing child safety and the internet.

So what was Gonzales doing in Chicago? Maybe we will never know. In the meantime, if you want to know a little more about child safety and the internet, check out www.safechild.org. It has a lot of good information you may find interesting and/or helpful.

In the meantime, thank you for reading. We’ll talk again soon.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Last week my parents celebrated their anniversary. A few years ago they celebrated their fiftieth, so this year it was not considered a big deal. My parents do not like a big deal anyway.

For instance, they stopped celebrating Christmas about ten or fifteen years ago. I still do not understand why. They simply told my siblings and me not to visit for Christmas. They were not going to put up a tree or dress up the house at all. They were not celebrating Christmas and we were not to come.

Needless to say, we were all dumbfounded. One year, my siblings came to our house to celebrate the holidays. It was fun, but we never did it again. We were all too busy.

Whenever I try to call my parents, my mother insists on hanging up and calling us back. They live about fifty miles from our home. It no longer is considered long distance, considering the more competitive phone industry of the twenty-first century. Still, she asks to call us back so the call in on her dime and not ours. I probably make more money than they do now, but still she asks.

Because they downplay holidays, etc., I have gotten into the habit of sending e-cards on major holidays and remembrances. On their anniversary, I sent an e-card. That night, I saw that it came back as undelivered. The next day I sent an email, one that was long with lots of detail, and it came back undelivered.

Then I started to think about when the last time it was that I heard from my parents. It is not unusual to go a week or two without hearing from them. There is only so much news.

I decided to call. Mom did the “call back” dance and then I explained that I was concerned that they were all right. My mother told me not to worry. She said it happens all the time and to just keep sending the email.

I work for a top fifty corporation. I send out emails everyday to people I know and lots who I have never met and likely will never meet. I write blogs each day and frequently correspond through email at home with credit card companies (don’t ask) and others. I never get “undeliverable” email.

My mother said that she likely received such a message trying to email me. Fine. I am no longer going to battle to figure out the problem. Mom says there is no problem. That is how it is.

So, we talked about the kids and what they did on their anniversary (nothing). I talked a but about my interest in podcasting. I explained how I like to listen on the drive to work. “You probably shouldn’t do that,” she says to me.

“What? It is no different than listening to the radio.”

“If you listen to the radio you may sing along with a song, but if you are listening to things like that (“Manager Tools”, Barack Obama, “Wait, wait…Don’t Tell Me”, etc.), you are probably not concentrating on your driving as you should.”

Sigh. I am in my mid-forties and my mid-seventies mother is telling me what I can listen to in my car while driving.

As a parent, you never stop worrying. As a child, you never really grow up.

I love my parents. I’m going to have to see them one of these weekends. First I have to check the schedule to avoid a holiday.

Thank you for reading. We will talk again soon.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Manager Tools

Mark Horstman and Mike Auzenne host a terrific podcast each week. As a manager for a large company, even though in my position I have no direct reports, I get so much from what they have to say.

The podcasts generally range from twenty to thirty minutes in length. What really impresses me is how they can keep sounding conversational week after week.

I am always surprised because after listening to political, jazz and humor podcasts, the last thing I want to listen to is a podcast about work. However, what seems like a dry topic is presented in such a way that it is interesting and even enjoyable.

I have added the link to the side. Read the informative website. It is fully of timely advice for your workplace. Download the podcast and enjoy!

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Cassette Tape Recorders

Over the past year, I have been writing more. Not just by creating these blogs, but writing for a local newspaper, writing a newsletter for my workplace and helping to write the history of my church.

Now that a year has passed, I am considering dropping some projects. The history writing is nearly done. Because of some political changes at the local newspaper, I am considering dropping my assignment there. I want to try my hand at longer form articles featuring interviews with people who have stories to tell.

In order to be effective as an interviewer, I decided I wanted a new cassette tape recorder. Just a small handheld model with those little cassettes was all I was looking to find. It would be something I could sit on a table and record my conversations, or something I could take to a meeting if necessary.

One of the best Christmas’ I remember growing up was the year our family got our first cassette recorder. My brother, sister and I used it constantly. We recorded music. We recorded our voices. I recorded the television (this was before VCRs). It was a wonderful device.

So far, I have been unable to find a tape recorder at any price. I found cassette tape player at Radio Shack for twenty dollars, but it does not record. I can find MP-3 players that have recording features that cost seventy or eighty dollars. It did not appear that anyone makes cassette tape recorders anymore.

You are right; I can probably find a thousand such recorders on eBay. I have nothing against eBay, but I would rather find one at Target or Circuit City. Even looking online, there are explanations at Wikipedia as to what a cassette tape recorder is, but not very many places, outside eBay, sell them.

There is a website that has audio recording devices they are marketing as “spy devices”. I am not going to spy on anyone. Arrgh.

Finally, I went to Amazon. I like Amazon better than eBay. I would still like to see one at a store location rather than purchasing one on-line, but I was happy to find a selection.

There they have players with radios attached; walking devices that only play, boom boxes, dual cassette players and recorders, and so on. Some devices have handheld remotes! Some are new and some are used. Some are made by big names manufacturers such as Sony and Panasonic. Others are made by companies I have never heard of and am afraid to mention here for fear they are a disreputable company and I will them credibility by accident.

The next question is how to buy cassettes to use. The only one I have found is $23.30 new and $19.97 used. Why would I buy a used cassette? Why would I save three dollars to buy a used cassette?

The bottom line is that I now understand that cassette tape recording devices are not a thing of the past. They still exist, but are no longer marketed to the mainstream. They are tucked away online.

Today, computers and gaming devices fill that same role for young people, but I will always remember the first cassette player. The search for a new one will continue.

Thank you for reading. We will talk again soon.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Alexander Dimm

This is my one hundredth post to “A Dimm View of Life”. I have held an inner debate on whether to mark the occasion or treat it as just another post. It is obvious now that I am going the gooey, sentimental route.

It has not been a full year since I began the blog. I appreciate those who have left comments as well as those who have quietly returned. I have gone through quiet periods where I failed to post, but have settled into a routine where I leave at least six posts each week.

We have run a wide gamut of subjects, from politics to sports to pop culture. Recently I have been running posts remembering those who passed away recently. You do not have to worry. I will not let this become a morbid blog.

Mostly, what I try to do is give the reader an insight into what I am thinking. Sometimes what I am thinking is silly. Sometimes what I am thinking is serious. Hopefully, I have written in each post, something that stirs you and gets you to thinking yourself.

There is no need to live life by rote. There is no need to let life live you. You need to take charge of life. You need to direct as much as you can what happens.

Yes, there are times stuff happens you cannot control. My furnace died this winter. I could not control that. I can control how I respond. Throughout that debacle, I continued to write and continued to post here, although I did not say much about the craziness I was feeling.

As I gradually enter a second year of this blog, I believe the two hundredth blog will happen faster. I will try to give you more insight into my heart as well as my mind, to give you an even “dimmer” view.

Thank you for reading. We will talk again soon.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont has always been a favorite of mine. He just turned 67 so he is likely too old to run for U.S. President, but I would not have minded.

Leahy has been in the Senate since 1974. He understands how things work and how they are supposed to work. Rarely has he stepped into the limelight, quietly accomplishing things in the background. Only when he gets a sense that something is so important he needs to be seen, does he step out and speak.

This appears to be one of those times. Or maybe the Senator is just doing some Democratic Party footwork.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales did something foolish. He probably did it at the insistence of Karl Rove or someone else in the Bush administration. Remember, the Bush White House has never been one to think things through. Once again, they blundered in without an exit strategy.

The firing of federal prosecutors is not unusual. Most administrations take the time and mass remove prosecutors from office. The problem here is that most administrations do the deed during the first few months of gaining office, not six years later. Not after the prosecutors have told them they will or will not pursue legal issues that are purely for the political gain of the White House and/or the Republican Party.

Gonzales could have avoided this mess. There are ways this could have been handled that would have been neat and tidy. Still, when has the Bush administration every done anything “neat and tidy”?

Instead of having a plausible reason for the firings ready for anyone who asked, he tells the public that the prosecutors were fired for doing a poor job. Even Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania will tell you that such a statement is ridiculous.

A statement that they wanted to start fresh with their own people would have been an honest statement and one that likely would have gone unnoticed.

The good news is that this whole debacle is strictly a show. Whether Gonzales stays or goes does not really matter. You know that Rove is not going to appear under oath. Much like the immigrant issue of times past, this is to distract us from important issues, such as the conditions at Walter Reed and the war in Iraq. If we give our attention to a non-issue, such as whether prosecutors were fired correctly, the politicians have more time to play the real war games.

Keep in mind that the older Senators are the ones involved. Patrick Leahy and Arlen Specter are the ones in the public eye. Neither is running for higher office. They are simply being the “magician’s assistant”, keeping the audience distracted while the magician is doing the real deception.

If you notice, Gonzales has not stepped down yet. Much like the departure of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, he will likely wait until the discussion dies down and then make a big show of leaving. All in the effort to distract the pundits and buy the White House more time.

Nicely played, Karl. Nicely done.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Calvert "Larry 'Bud' Melman" DeForest

Lately I have been memorializing people who have made an impression on me through the years. People like Bowie Kuhn and Paul Denault are people I was aware of when I was a teenager growing up and held in high respect.

Then there is Calvert DeForest, also to be remembered as Larry “Bud” Melman. DeForest came along later, appearing on television for the first time on NBC’s David Letterman show in 1982. For over twenty years, DeForest was a running gag for Letterman. He was an older looking man with a funny voice. Just seeing his cherubic face made you laugh.

I have been thinking about DeForest off and on in recent years. In the late nineties, he was turning up in a lot of places. He was doing commercials and appearing in a movie or two. It was sometime in the late nineties where I saw he was making a personal appearance in Champaign, IL. It was not a speaking engagement, or a book signing. I no longer remember where he was to be, but they were simply promoting that he would be there, likely to visit and sign some autographs.

DeForest was pop culture. He will be a question for “Trivial Pursuit” games (Q: What was the name of the character popularized by Calvert DeForest?). He never won awards. He even lost his job for his art. He had been a file clerk at a drug rehab facility and was told he could no longer appear on television and work for them as well. Television won out. Maybe that’s why he was touring the country doing personal appearances.

Somewhere along the line, DeForest disappeared. We all knew he was older and could have become ill. His last appearance on Letterman’s show was on his 81st birthday in 2002. I worried that since DeForest was not a big star, we would miss hearing any news.

My worry was for naught. DeForest passed away Monday at the age of 85. Reports say he had suffered a long illness, but nowhere does it say from what he suffered. DeForest is at peace now, and we are lesser world without him. Still, if I close my eyes and listen, I can still hear him laugh.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Jeff Goldblum as "Raines"

This past Thursday night, NBC premiered a new series starting Jeff Goldblum, entitled “Raines”. Michael Raines is a police detective with an overactive imagination. According to the story line, Raines sees dead people.

Now it is not like the boy in the movie, “The Sixth Sense”. These people do not talk to Raines and tell him how they were killed and where to find the evidence. They are not really ghosts. They are just figments of the character’s mind. They are imaginary friends who go away once the crime is solved.

One that does not go away is his former partner, played by Malik Yoba. The two men were shot, but Raines survived. Now he has little talks with the former partner who insults him but encourages him without saying much of anything.

This is a weak premise for a quirky detective show that networks have been looking for since the success of "Monk". “Raines” may find its way to the USA Network once NBC is done trying it out (Universal owns both NBC and USA). The sad thing is that we may have already seen the best the show has to offer.

Goldblum is likely the only actor in Hollywood who could play this character and pull it off without embarrassing himself or anyone else. Goldblum has been playing quirky characters throughout his career, starting in the seventies with small parts in popular movies like “Death Wish”, “Nashville” and “Annie Hall”, to starring parts in films like “The Fly” and “Jurassic Park”.

Backing up to 1980, Goldblum made a big splash in his first television series, “Tenspeed and Brown Shoe”. This was a short-lived detective show that was also quirky. He played a former attorney who loved solving mysteries. Ben Vereen was an ex-con who latches onto the intelligent, but absent-minded Goldblum. Together, they go into partnership.

The show got off to a fast start for ABC, but the network gave up on it quickly. After getting good notices in a couple of TV films, and getting some strong supporting roles (“The Right Stuff”, etc.) in major films, his career slowly took off.

Now 54, but not looking it, the Pennsylvania native is hoping “Raines” will be a nice starring vehicle to showcase his talents. Although the pilot episode was fun, I am not certain it will work on a weekly basis. Network television will be better if it can find a home for this tremendous talent. They better not wait another twenty-five years to find it.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Open Letter to Donald Trump

Dear Mr. Trump:

Please don’t. Don’t even joke about it.

I see where Wolf Blitzer asked you about running for President of the United States. You gave a good answer. You said you were not interested in running. Then you said, “It would certainly be fun. It would certainly be interesting."

Please don’t joke. You are a smart man, but you have no better chance than Ross Perot did in 1992. Actually, you have no better chance than Steve Urkel did in 1992.

Think about what you have said in public. Just recently you said, “If I looked like Rosie, I'd struggle with depression, too" about actress, comic and talk show host Rosie O’Donnell. Then you said, “Not everybody has to be politically correct. I think that's why this so-called feud took on a life of its own, because it wasn't politically correct. In a way it's wonderful that she doesn't like me and I don't like her. There's nothing wrong with that."

You may have to be more diplomatic to be President, Mr. Trump. You have just lost the female vote across the United States. Maybe some male votes too.

About George W. Bush, you said in your interview with Blitzer this past Thursday that he was probably the worst president in the history of the United States. You said Donald Rumsfeld, the former secretary of defense, was a disaster. Now you are losing the conservative right. Remember that a lot of people voted for Bush. No one likes to be told their vote was wrong-headed.

Don’t forget you sang the theme to the sixties comedy “Green Acres” on the Emmys. Do you think those running against you will show that a few hundred times?

Now, I agree with you about Bush and Rumsfeld, and although I disagree with you about Rosie I do have respect for you. I know the show is not going well, but running for President is not going to help things.

Stick with what you know. Run the casinos. Build the hotels.

Leave politics alone. As much fun as it may be, it is not worth it.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Missing You


There is nothing worse than disappointment in you. You can be disappointed in a movie that you thought would be great, but failed to live up to expectations. You can be disappointed in a restaurant you thought would be wonderful, but they got your order wrong, or the food was such a grand experience. Yet, if you discovered that you have made a mistake, no one is harder on yourself than you.

I have been posting to “A Dimm View of Life” for nearly a year. Recently I created three other blogs. Today, I discovered that several of my posts were blank. The headings appeared, but there was no text.

After banging my head on the desk for about thirty minutes, I figured out the problem. We have two computers our home. It appears that when I attempt to post from the downstairs computer, it does not always take. Sometimes it does, but not always.

I found seven or eight “baseball” essays that were missing and four or five “life” essays, including things I had written about Randy Stone and Christopher Dodd. The second article I wrote about Walter Reed hospital was missing. Arrgh!

So, now that I know what is causing the problem, I have repaired the damage and will go forth and “sin no more”. The disappointment is not in the computer or with Blogger. The disappointment is that I should have discovered it sooner.

Then again, if this is my biggest crime against humanity, I guess I am doing okay. Thank you for your patience!


Friday, March 16, 2007

Bowie Kuhn

"The door would be opened wide to the buying of success by the more affluent clubs, public suspicion would be aroused, traditional and sound methods of player development and acquisition would be undermined and our efforts to preserve competitive balance would be greatly impaired." - Bowie Kuhn, on voiding the sale of Rudi, Fingers and Blue for $3.5 million by the World Champion Oakland A's, June 1976

"I believe in the Rip Van Winkle Theory: that a man from 1910 must be able to wake up after being asleep for seventy years, walk into a ballpark and understand baseball perfectly." - Bowie Kuhn, Commissioner of Baseball (1969-1984)

“If I hear Bowie Kuhn say just once more he's doing something for the betterment of baseball, I'm going to throw-up.” Sparky Anderson

Like him or not like him, Bowie Kuhn had an impact on baseball at a time when baseball was changing. He dealt with the unionizing of baseball players. He dealt with the creation of free agency. He dealt with the money earned by big television contracts being handed to baseball players. He dealt with the increasing drug use problem.

Some of the issues Kuhn tried to resolve are still issues over twenty years later. Still, I believe that if a baseball fan from 1910 woke up and came to the ball park, he may be amazed by the surroundings, but he would know what was happening when the umpire shouts “Play ball”!

Kuhn was one of the strongest baseball commissioners baseball has seen or will ever see again. Like Sparky Anderson or Charlie Finley, you may not have always agreed with him, but you knew where he stood. For that, he always had my esteem.

To the family of Mr. Bowie Kuhn, our deepest respects.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Khalid Sheihk Mohammed

He says he did it. He sounds like he did do it.

Listen to the words. “If now we were living in the Revolutionary War and George Washington he being arrested through Britain. For sure he, they would consider him enemy combatant. But American they consider him as hero.”

“So we are considered American Army bases which we have from seventies in Iraq. Also in the Saudi Arabian, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain. This is kind of invasion, but I’m not here to convince you.”

He says he regrets killing children. “Because war, for sure, there will be victims. When I said I’m not happy that three thousand been killed in America. I feel sorry even. I don’t like to kill children and the kids. Never Islam are, give me green light to kill peoples.

“Killing, as in the Christianity, Jews, and Islam, are prohibited. But there are exception of rule when you are killing people in Iraq. You said we have to do it. We don’t like Saddam. But this is the way to deal with Saddam. Same thing you are saying. Same language you use, I use.”

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is not crazy. He did many terrible, horrible things. He is the inverse of Mohandas Ghandi. Ghandi believed in change through mass civil disobedience. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed believes in change through terrorism. They have very different methods of creating change, but both believed God was on their side.

“Killing is prohibited in all what you call the people of the book, Jews, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. You know the Ten Commandments very well. The Ten Commandments are shared between all of us. We all are serving one God. Then now kill you know it well. But war language also we have language for war. You have to kill.”

I am a Nationalist. I believe in the United States of America. I love our country and want our country to last forever. This man may be a war criminal and may need to be punished, but we need to listen to the words. We need to think about what we are doing. You can hear it ever day from our Congressmen and Senators that we need to use diplomacy in the Middle East.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed may have a point. “War start from Adam when Cain he killed Abel until now. It’s never gonna stop killing of people. This is the way of the language. American start the Revolutionary War then they starts the Mexican then Spanish War then World War One, World War Two. You read the history. You know never stopping war. This is life. But if who is enemy combatant and who is not?”

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has some of his facts wrong. The United States of America did not necessary start all of these entanglements. During the current “war on terror”, the United States did not attack first.

What we do have is the opportunity to put an end to the fighting and find a way to bring peace. There are so many who wish to try. We talk about freedom. We talk about bringing peace to a troubled world. It is time we put our beliefs into practice.

From this man’s words we can learn that the other side of this battle wishes for many of the same things our side does. We are of one God. Let us start there to find the common ground.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Slept Late

There are very few things in this world I despise, but one thing is when I sleep late.

It is my own fault. I forgot to set the alarm. I stayed up too late last night. It makes me goofy and in too much of a hurry. Sometimes I fail to write anything.

This is not one of those days. I may be late, but I am still going to write something.

So what should I write about? Maybe I will offer my best Larry King impression.

* Fred Thompson sounds like he is seriously considering running for the U.S. Presidency. Seems like his part on “Law and Order” is getting to him.
* Is there nothing that can keep Anna Nicole Smith out of the headlines? Now lawyers are fussing about her baby. Please, let the woman rest.
* Officials at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign have retired Chief Illiniwek and all the logos. Everything that goes with the Chief is now done. I have always been on the fence on this one, but I am glad the issue is considered over. Now to take on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame!
* I saw the headline yesterday: American Idol is losing viewers.
* Scooter Libby was convicted of lying under perjury and obstructing justice. We still do not know the motivation. Once we can determine motivation, the house of cards that is the Bush Administration could come tumbling down.
* If Bush pardons Libby, we will never know his motivation.
* O.J. Simpson’s “almost” book is going to be auctioned. If you have been following this carefully, we may remember that Simpson did not write one word of the book. He was being paid to attach his name and go on the road to promote the book. Why would anyone care?
Why care if he did write it? Nothing changes.
* Detroit JazzStage has another great podcast available. I hope to write about it before Monday and post it to “A Dimm View of Podcasts”.
* Baseball season cannot come fast enough.

My time is up. Better get to work.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

In Memory of Paul Denault

Growing up in the seventies and eighties, I had some strange tastes in music. I started out listening to the Temptations and Don McLean, but eventually gravitated from listening to WLS-AM in Chicago to WGN-AM.

WGN was not the all-talk station it is today, but it did its fair amount of talk. Wally Phillips, Roy Leonard and Bob Collins were entertaining, with occasional music. All my heroes of that time are either retired or have passed away.

We have lost another of my heroes in the personage of Paul Denault, known on radio as Paul Rogers. Many people reading this will not know the name, but some may remember the voice. For years, Paul was heard nationally saying things like “You’re in good hands…with Allstate,” and “G. Heileman Brewing Company, LaCrosse, Wisconsin.”

Denault had a voice I envied. I spent ten years in radio and was frequently complimented on my voice. Still, my voice was never of the timbre and quality of a Denault. For me, it was the old saw that it wasn’t “the size, but what you do with it.” Denault had both the size and the knowledge to forge a wonderful career as a voice artist.

Late at night, I would go to sleep listening to “Great Music from Chicago” on WGN. It was a program of easy listening music. There would be jazz in the form of Oscar Peterson and Count Basie, with singers Perry Como and Barbara Streisand in the mix.

I remember when he had a friendly, long running feud with announcer Bob Collins, whose musical tastes ran more toward Loudon Wainwright III’s “Dead Skunk”. You could tell Denault didn’t take himself too seriously. He was not a pompous windbag who only appreciated a finer form of entertainment. He was a working man, honing his craft and working well with others.

I have missed listening to Denault for years now. He left WGN when they banned music back in the late eighties or early nineties for an all-talk format. I understand he worked at another Chicago station for awhile after leaving WGN, but they did not reach us this far south.

I never achieved my goal of growing up to be Paul Rogers. I tried during my time at a small market station that played a similar format. The sad truth is that the retirement of Denault marked the end of a certain era that people like Garrison Keillor wink at when doing “Prairie Home Companion”. It was an era where you let the music be important and you simply served as a conduit for presenting “great music” to the listener.

My sympathies to the family of Denault. He brought many treasures to my life and to the lives of many others. He will forever be remembered.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Daylight Savings Time

As a young man growing up, I had a job playing the organ for a small church in our community. I did this for four or five years.

During Daylight Savings Time, it was fun to watch and see which of the regulars would either miss church altogether, or show up early. There was one fellow who was consistently twenty to thirty minutes late to church every week. He would miss the recitations and the hymns and show up for the sermon.

Once each year, he would arrive on time. That was during the change of Daylight Savings Time.

There was no getting away from the reminders this week. At my workplace there were meetings and discussions about how to make certain cell phone users had their phones updated and how we would make certain our meeting calendars were correct.

At home, there were emails on how to update my Palm Tungsten E and various other electronics. Surprisingly, neither computer clock auto-updated.

Anyway, it is the beginning of a new week. I am on time and ready for the day. Here is hoping you have a great week!

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Christopher Dodd

Since we have so much time between now and the primaries, let alone the Presidential Election Day, we have time to look at all the candidates. Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd is worth a good look.

I have written about other candidates and we are a long way away from making final decisions, but I like to write about people who impress me. Dodd currently is not even close to keeping up with Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, etc. Dodd is keeping closer company right now with Dennis Kucinich in the polls.

Yet Christopher Dodd, and people like him, is the reason I do not consider running for office. Dodd has a lifelong history of public service that would make me look like a complete slacker.

When I think back on my professional career, I see that I worked as a radio announcer, salesman, administrative assistant, hotel manager and currently a customer service specialist. Looking at Dodd’s professional career, I see that he worked in the Peace Corps, joined the Army Reserve, studied and became a lawyer, served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and is currently a U.S. Senator.

My biography pales when compared to Dodd. Come to think, most people’s biography pales compared to Dodd.

When looking at his thoughts on the issues and his accomplishments, Dodd has strong views on improving education. In the past he has helped shape the Head Start program. He is already working on increasing the funding and improving the “No Child Left Behind” act. I am not a big believer in NCLB, but we do need something in this country. If Dodd and others can work together, we might see a program that could actually work.

Dodd has the standard Democratic line regarding issues such as Energy and Health Care. I do appreciate his recent comments regarding our involvement in Iraq. In a speech last October at Providence College, he stated, “After more than three years of conflict, anywhere from 60 thousand to 400 thousand Iraqi civilians have lost their lives.

“How can we expect the Iraqi people to put their faith in democracy, when democracy has given them this? Democracy isn’t only—in fact, it isn’t even mostly—about elections for the sake of elections. Democracy is the acceptance of rights and obligations for everyone, a robust debate, a free press, an independent judiciary, and stable, effective institutions that serve the well-being of people.”

He finished his speech by challenging the students, saying: “Our country needs your voice and your intelligence; and while your civic engagement won’t bring an end to all our problems, they can be the beginning of the solutions. So when your sons and daughters ask you what you did at the outset of the 21st century to make America safer, stronger, a more just and prosperous nation, I want each one of you to be able to say, at the very least—‘I told the truth, and demanded nothing less.’.”

I like a candidate who has ideas, who does not tell me what to think, and who challenges us all to become involved. Although I have not committed yet to a single candidate, I like Christopher Dodd. Take a look at his website, www.chrisdodd.com. Read what he has to say and let me know what you think.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Continued

Yesterday I posted several questions about the issues regarding Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. An anonymous reader posted a response which was very helpful to me in understanding more about the situation.

The whole situation peaked my interest so I went back and read the two-part series written by Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and Anne Hull. In paragraph three of the first article, published on February 18th, they write, “The common perception of Walter Reed is of a surgical hospital that shines as the crown jewel of military medicine. But 5 1/2 years of sustained combat have transformed the venerable 113-acre institution into something else entirely -- a holding ground for physically and psychologically damaged outpatients.”

Reading the articles provide more questions, including: “If the hospital is overflowing with patients (‘…they take up every bed and spill into nearby hotels…’), how can the government consider either closure or merger?”

One of the problems pointed out by the Post articles is that bureaucratic tangle that envelopes most of the soldiers. Again, Priest and Hull write, “Life beyond the hospital bed is a frustrating mountain of paperwork. The typical soldier is required to file 22 documents with eight different commands -- most of them off-post -- to enter and exit the medical processing world, according to government investigators.”

My next question is: “Why is the Armed Forces medical system not run like a corporation?” I have been through several mergers for the large telecommunications company where I spend more than forty hours each week. Each company had its own system for its customers. It takes time, but the company is able to merge systems in a way that is nearly invisible to the customer.

Why does the United States Armed Forces have sixteen different information systems that fail to communicate with one another? It appears to be inefficient and the soldiers are the ones who are suffering.

There are a couple of points that need to be made. It would be easy to point fingers at the current administration and say that they caused this situation. The facility is nearly a hundred years old, having opened in 1909. The present situation, including horrible building management and mind-blowing bureaucracy, was not achieved in just six or seven years. There are many administrations that can be blamed for ignoring a poorly managed situation.

What this administration can be called to task for is escalating the seriousness of the problem by engaging in a long term military conflict. U.S. Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania, an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq, weighed in this past Sunday on Meet the Press, saying: “Why did that happen at Walter Reed? It happened because the resources are so much in, in Iraq. They’ve spent so much money over there, ignored the very thing that’s so important to our troops at home.”

The next point to be made is that the rodent infestation and rotting structures are not common to all of the buildings at the facility. Much has been made of “Building 18”, but you will notice that the President and the Congressmen tend to visit Ward 57 and other well-kept units. As with many situations in life, there appears to be money enough to care for some, but not for all.

The President and others continue to say that our soldiers deserve the best, but actions speak louder than words. Considering the poor training, lack of equipment and now poor medical care, our fighting men are being shown a genuine lack of respect.

According to Murtha on Meet the Press, “We’re the ones—they, they want us out of there; 64 percent of the public in Iraq wants us out of Iraq.”

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham on the same program said, “I’m no expert, but here’s what I think’s going on, based on conservation talks in South Carolina, is that people are frustrated.”

The government is relying on polls and making interpretations based on what they want the outcomes to be. The only way to get your thoughts and feelings across is to be vocal.

This situation is not solely the responsibility of one person, or one group of people. As members of society, we need to listen closely to what is being said and respond accordingly. If you do, or do not, agree with what is being said, respond with a letter or an email to your representative. If you hear of an action being considered that you support or oppose, let the government know.

Anyone I have spoken to personally or heard about in the media opposing the war is quick to praise our young men and women. People are proud of those who have served our country during this conflict. Today’s soldiers do not have to fear those who oppose the war. The biggest fear today’s soldiers face is from those who say they support it.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Walter Reed Army Medical Center

There are several things I do not understand about the recent fiasco regarding Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

1) Mississippi Senator and minority whip Trent Lott stated on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” that Walter Reed was on a list of possible base closings. At the same time, Walter Reed was described as the “crown jewel” of hospitals serving our wounded military personnel. How could the “crown jewel” wind up on a list of base closings?

2) I understand why our government was closing military bases. Walter Reed is a hospital. Why is a hospital on a list of “base” closings?

3) Lott says that those in charge were reluctant to put too much money into the hospital facility because it was on the list. If Walter Reed was prestigious, why would anyone be concerned about “the list”?

4) If you were in charge at Walter Reed and saw your name was on a potential closing list, wouldn’t you do what you could to make the hospital too important and respected to close?

5) If Walter Reed did close, where would the wounded soldiers who continue to be brought in from Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., be sent to be treated and/or recover?

6) I have read about various politicians visiting the wounded at Walter Reed. Was Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel the first to notice the poor conditions?

7) In a White House briefing on February 21, 2007, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow told reporters that the President was aware of the dismal conditions at Walter Reed. If he knew, why did he choose not to do anything?

These are just a few quick questions I have about the mess that is Walter Reed. There is a lot of finger pointing going on, and will continue for weeks to come.

There are problems in Washington today. It seems like every month or so, another proverbial “hole appears in the dike”. What will be the next crisis? Will it be enough for Congress to take action?


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Giving Blood

There are few things worse than giving blood. The needles are scary. The smell is offensive. The nurses carry on conversations around you like you are part of the furniture. The whole experience is unpleasant.

Still, giving blood is important. I have given blood since I was first old enough to be allowed. I went long stretches without giving because it was inconvenient to go wherever the donation center was located.

Now it is simple. They set up just a few blocks from my workplace twice a month. I have it on my schedule to give every two months.

I used to only visit bloodmobiles. I still prefer the bloodmobile. They move faster there. The blood donation center I regularly visit now is beginning to feel like home.

The first time I went, they didn’t take any blood. They tried in both arms and told me to come back in two weeks. Two weeks later, I went to a bloodmobile.

The next time I went they took blood from both arms. They had the wrong type of bags that didn’t have a special tube for sampling. They took a pint from one arm and the sample from the other. Ouch.

Yesterday, I visited and it was smooth sailing. Blood was taken from only one arm and it was a fairly quick visit all around. Either the people are getting better or I am getting used to the process.

Truthfully, I am not certain they are getting better. Another woman who arrived just before I did was trying to give. The nurse tried to get blood from both of her arms with no success. It was all I could do not to speak up and tell her my experience. “Run! Go find a bloodmobile!”

I am joking a little, but of the many times I have given blood, it has nearly always gone smoothly. I have never become ill. I have never contracted any disease. The people are always nice, but are careful not to get too chatty. They know they have to keep things moving.

In the time of war, it is more important than ever for people to give. I can only give so much, and this is a way I can contribute. I am not in favor of the policy we have or the reasons we went to Iraq, but I want our soldiers to have the best of everything. Although I wish I could do more, this is my small, tangible way of offering them my support.

If you are healthy and have not traveled to Africa recently, visit a blood donation center or bloodmobile. It is only a few minutes out of your day and you get free snacks and juice. What a deal!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Al Franken

So Al is off and running. Run, Al, Run.

Franken’s books are hilarious and thought provoking. His radio program was fun to listen to before Air America began to charge for downloads. Franken is witty, and more importantly, intelligent.

Minnesota likes to vote for underdogs and odd sorts. They elected a wrestler for a governor. Why not put a comedy writer in the Senate?

That seems to be the gist of Franken’s candidacy to date, now just a few short weeks old. You can find more at www.alfranken.com. Franken has always been more cerebral than the rest of the world, which is why he never quite made it into the upper echelons of comic superstars.

If you examine his career, it is a series of failures and modest accomplishments. He and his writing partner, Tom Davis, were hired to write for "Saturday Night Live". Both were included in the 1980 mass exodus from the show, only to return with Lorne Michaels in 1985.

The most successful bit of television comedy Franken contributed was the character Stuart Smalley. Stuart will always make me laugh. The poor fellow is doing his best, but having a hard time. Sketches with Michael Jordan and a young Macaulay Culkin will always have me in stitches.

He parlayed the Smalley character into a film and appeared in a few other films that never turned into huge hits. He did a sitcom for NBC titled “Lateline” about an evening news program that lasted only a short time. He also did a series of very funny specials for Comedy Central before becoming a radio show host.

Franken’s best success has been as a writer. Starting with a Stuart Smalley diary, Franken has been writing a book every couple of years. The most recent, “The Truth (with jokes)” includes, among other things, a detailed case regarding the sins of Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff long before any of the scandals hit the mainstream media.

If anything, Franken is sincere in his desire to make the world a better place. He believes in the system and wants to see it work. The only difficult part is that he is a comedy writer. He enjoys a good joke and is good at portraying a good-hearted loser. Time will tell if that works for him or works against him.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith

On February 8, 2007, Anna Nicole Smith passed away while visiting an American Indian casino in Hollywood, Florida. As of this time her death is unexplained.

Smith was approaching her fortieth birthday this year. She was as famous as ever, but went the way of her childhood hero Marilyn Monroe.

There is a lot to be sad about regarding the life of Anna Nicole Smith. On one hand, you could say she led a wasted life. Still, she lifted herself from a poor youth in a small Texas town to being one of the most recognizable people of the new century. Yet, she will not be remembered for the great acts of humanity she offered the world.

Instead she will be remembered as a gold-digger and drug addict. The first label can be forgiven. A poor youth found a way to use the gifts she was given to line her pocket. She is a product of the social atmosphere. There are those who like to point fingers at her for her relationship with billionaire Howard Marshall II, but consider this: What was he doing at a strip club? He was an eighty-year-old billionaire. He could do whatever he wanted. This is what he chose to do with his money. Smith agreed to benefit from it. Who, in her position, wouldn’t?

Now she is gone. It has been nearly a month and still there are headlines discussing her life, death and money. Even I am writing about her, although I have resisted for weeks because I believe that death is personal.

The media should not be carrying on so about Smith. There should be some respect. Saturday Night Live recently did a spoof of Wolf Blitzer’s “The Situation Room” where the crawl at the bottom of the screen complained about how boring the Iraq coverage was and how it wanted more about “Anna”.

The bit was a perfect strike. The news media continues to wring every last drop from a story that should have ended weeks ago. Now we have judges crying on television and people jumping out of nowhere to claim their piece of the “Anna Nicole” pie. It is time we allow her soul to “rest in peace”.

In April of 1976, Howard Hughes passed away. The same type of media frenzy appeared. Everyone was talking about the will. Everyone was talking about where money was hidden. Still today people are fascinated with Hughes, as was shown by the recent film biography “The Aviator”.

It is my hope that thirty years from now we are not still talking about the “incredible” life and death of Anna Nicole Smith. If we are, I hope we are trying to learn what to do to prevent the sadness of this life from presenting itself again.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Rick Moranis

Sometimes you simply need someone to give you perspective. Every once in awhile you find something that offers you a view of life to consider when you are scurrying around trying to meet deadlines.

This was a piece I discovered in a recent issue of Readers Digest. I do not often read Readers Digest, but I when I do, I usually find something special. This weekend, the magazine did not disappoint.

Rick Moranis has been around since the seventies when he was a part of Second City. He was in “Parenthood”, which remains a favorite film of mine. He and Steve Martin co-starred in “My Blue Heaven”, which is not a great film, but it always makes me smile.

If you click here, you will find a link to a short article he wrote for the New York Times. I think you will enjoy it.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Randy Stone

Over the past week, I have seen many people asking the question: Who is Randy Stone?

If you remember, Randy Stone was remembered by Jodie Foster during the recent Academy Awards broadcast. Foster was chosen to introduce the “In Memoriam” segment of the program, one of my favorite parts of the Oscars.

This year, people began asking about Foster’s “best friend”. I have done a little digging and I found out that Randy Stone has been in Hollywood for years. He was also a child actor (as was Foster). He appeared on “Charlie’s Angels” at age eighteen as a “stable boy”.

Along the way, Stone became a casting director, working on memorable TV films such as “Bill” with Mickey Rooney, “Adam” with Daniel J. Travanti and “The Ryan White Story”. He was nominated for an Oscar and won in 1995 for Best Short Live-Action Film for “Trevor”, a film about a boy realizing during puberty that he was homosexual. The film was considered a comedy-drama and Stone was a co-producer of the film.

Stone was active in Hollywood as a casting director, producer and sometime actor among the things he could list on his resume. To mainstream audiences, his was one of the face-less names you see running along the credits at the end of a movie. To Jodie Foster, and I am sure others, he was a close friend.

I admit, I had never heard of Stone before last Sunday, but something tells me, just from taking a short look at his body of work, that we missed something special.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Rev. Al Sharpton and "The Daily Show"

The Rev. Al Sharpton made a surprise appearance on “The Daily Show” last night. I continue to be amazed at how much more I can learn from and interview with Jon Stewart than during an interview with most news people.

Sharpton was not funny, but he did not need to be. Stewart was plenty funny for both of them.

The point of the interview was to discuss the appearance of Strom Thurmond in Sharpton’s family tree. It is amazing how a man who ran for President as a segregationist in 1948 and a man who ran for President as a civil rights leader in 2004 could be related.

Stewart ran the line “Ebony and Irony”. The Reverend did not appreciate the humor, but did not blast Stewart. He understood that “The Daily Show” is primarily a comedy show, but one that allows people to share their points of view.

Stewart is amazing. He took a show that had run its course with Craig Kilborn and breathed new life into it. In fact, he made the show bigger and better than it had been with the people who created it. It is more relevant and funnier.

It is even becoming a better breeding ground for talent than “Saturday Night Live”, producing Mo Rocca, Steve Carell, Steven Colbert and others. The latest to attempt to break out is Rob Corddrey, who has a new Fox sitcom titled “The Winner” and appearances in movies including “Failure to Launch” and “Unaccompanied Minors”. He also has appearances in several movies coming out this year and next.

Stewart has had plenty of opportunities to jump ship to network television, but continue on since this gig fits him so well. You never get tired of the blank stare or the self-effacing silliness he provides.

Rev. Al Sharpton and other political figures are smart to appear on Stewart’s show. They know they will be treated fairly and that people will remember them, and what they said, the next day.

Personally, I see no sharks in the future of “The Daily Show”. This one is going to last a long time.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Richard Daley

No matter how you feel about Chicago mayor Richard Daley, Chicago residents still vote for him. Seventy-one percent of Chicago voters agreed that Daley should continue as mayor of the third largest city in the United States.

After listening to WBBM’s At Issue (as a podcast), I thought there may be more of a battle. Dorothy Brown and William “Dock” Walls were both interviewed on the program. Both put up strong arguments for their election.

Neither stood a chance.

Part of me misses the days of the mid to late 70’s and 80’s when the Chicago mayor’s office was a battle. Jane Byrne and Harold Washington really shook up Chicago after the passing of Daley’s father. Today, it is business as usual in Chicago politics.

Not that having Daley for a mayor is bad. Daley has done a lot of good for the city, although I was unhappy about the closing of Meigs field and hate to hear about the contracting scandal.

It is a shame that Byrne and Washington, each ran into criticism and scandal. Both had to scramble to repair their image. Daley seems to consume criticism and scandal and make his image stronger because of it.

On this first day of March 2007, there is no new mayor in town. Any election excitement is going to have to come late next year. In the meantime, I hope he lives up to his promise of more money to public education. That needs to be a 21st century focus throughout the U.S. Chicago, especially, needs to be a part of it.