Saturday, October 30, 2004

1970 Martin D-28

This is my 1970 Martin D-28 guitar. I've had it for about two years now. Jimmy Page used a slightly newer D-28 (the 1971 model) in the studio version of "Going To California." I also believe the late New Age guitarist, Michael Hedges, used a '71 in some of his studio work. I feel this 34-year old guitar is just getting broke in!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

[The hunt for] A Red October -- Epilogue

Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox and their fans for their victory over the Cardinals in a 4-game sweep. The BoSox put a new meaning to the term "finishing strong" by winning 8 games in a row after being down 0-3 to the New York Yankees.

A couple of thoughts gleaned from ESPN Radio driving to work this morning:
  • The Red Sox are the first team since the 1961 Yankees to win the World Series with two players hitting 35 home runs or more. Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz accomplished this feat for the BoSox with Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris last doing it for the Yankees. What it tells me is that pitching and defense still win championships. In this Series, the Red Sox had those too.
  • Would the Red Sox have won if they had traded for Alex Rodriguez as they planned during the last off-season? Instead of Manny Ramirez (the Series MVP) in left field, they would have had A-Rod at shortstop. (If rumors are true, Nomar Garciapara would have been traded to the White Sox for Magglio Ordonez so Rodriguez-Ordonez would have replaced Ramirez-Garciapara.) Interesting!
  • Boston manager Terry Francona joined Arizona Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenley as managers winning the World Series as rookie managers. Hopefully Francona will have a longer tenure than Brenley enjoyed with the D-backs.
  • As much as Fox TV tried, the Red Sox (1918) had only the third longest drought in baseball (and in professional sports, for that matter). Our beloved Cubs (1908) and White Sox (1917) have gone the longest without winning the World Series. The Red Sox were last in the Series in 1986 with the Cubs playing in 1945 and the White Sox playing in 1959.

Those of us in Chicago can now look forward to the remainder of the Bears season and, of course, the Chicago Bulls! :-)


Wednesday, October 27, 2004

[The hunt for] A Red October -- Part III

To paraphrase a noted New England politician: I picked the Cardinals to win the World Series before I picked them to lose!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

More on the Chicago Cubs 2005 schedule

After I posted the Cubs 2005 schedule, I found out that it now appears on their website in calendar format.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Chicago Cubs 2005 Schedule

From the Chicago Cubs newsgroup. Looks like some great match-ups in June!

April
4-5-6 @ Arizona
8-9-10 Milwaukee
11-12-13 San Diego
15-16-17 @ Pittsburgh
18-19 @ Cincinnati
20-21 @ St. Louis
22-23-24 Pittsburgh
25-26-27 Cincinnati
29-30 @ Houston

May
1 @ Houston
3-4-5 @ Milwaukee
6-7-8 Philadelphia
9-10-11 New York Mets
13-14-15 @ Washington D.C. (or wherever the Expos play)
17-18 @ Pittsburgh
20-21-22 Chicago White Sox
23-24-25 Houston
26-27-28-29 Colorado
30-31 @ Los Angeles

June
1 - @ Los Angeles
2-3-4-5 @ San Diego
6-7-8 Toronto
10-11-12 Boston
13-14-15 Florida
17-18-19 @ New York Yankees
20-21-22-23 @ Milwaukee Brewers
24-25-26 @ Chicago White Sox
28-29-30 Milwaukee

July
1-2-3 Washington D.C.
4-5-6-7 @ Atlanta
8-9-10 @ Florida
11-12-13-14 ALL STAR BREAK
15-16-17 Pittsburgh
18-19-20-21 @ Cincinnati
22-23-24 St. Louis
25-26-27 San Francisco
28-29-30-31 @ Arizona

August
2-3-4 @ Philadelphia
5-6-7 @ New York Mets
8-9-10 Cincinnati
11-12-13-14 St. Louis
15-16-17 @ Houston
19-20-21 @ Colorado
22-23-24 Atlanta
26-27-28 Florida
29-30-31 Los Angeles

September
2-3-4 @ Pittsburgh
5-6-7 @ St. Louis
8-9-10-11 @ San Francisco
12-13-14 Cincinnati
15-16-17-19 St. Louis
20-21-22 @ Milwaukee
23-24-25 Houston
27-28 Pittsburgh
29-30 @ Houston

October
1-2 @ Houston

WebWeiss.com

My brother-in-law's website. Maybe he'll pay me a referral fee!

[The hunt for] A Red October -- Part II

I need to amend my World Series pick. I originally said the Cardinals in six, but I was counting on the Cardinals winning one of the first two games at Fenway Park to take home field advantage.

Didn't happen.

I still think the Cardinals will win the Series (they are the better team on paper), but the Red Sox are on an amazing emotional high right now. Game Three Tuesday night is BIG for both teams, but especially for the Cardinals.

I'll say the Cards in seven games.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Bailey

This is Bailey, our two-year old Lhasa Apso/Maltese mix. She was our first dog and is the queen of the house. She's more Lhasa than Maltese -- both in size and demeanor -- and isn't shy in letting everyone know that there are birds outside, or kids playing out front, or the phone is ringing, or someone is at the door, or the garage door is opening and so forth. Well that's OK, we still love her.

[The hunt for] A Red October -- Part I

Wow, what a baseball postseason so far! I don't usually follow baseball after the regular season closes because: (a) Chicago teams are rarely in the playoffs and (b) college football is in full swing. I didn't watch any of the division playoff games this year, but I did watch both League Championship Series. I think we're in for an interesting World Series.

First, the Yankees are now responsible for the biggest collapse ever in baseball history. Up 3-0 in games, with a one-run lead in Game Four and with three outs left, they found a way to lose. Well, that sometimes happens, but they had a two-run lead with two innings to go in Game Five and still couldn't put the Red Sox away. Then, facing a one-legged pitcher in Game Six, they couldn't get a clutch hit. A team down 0-3 has only come back twice before in professional sports history -- both in hockey. Now three teams have done it. It's ironic that the most-decorated professional baseball team now adds this to their legacy. I wanted to call this a humiliation, but the Red Sox deserve all the credit for hanging together and never giving up. They won the series more than the Yankees lost it!

The Cardinals-Astros series was lost in all the attention given to the ALCS, but it never lacked for drama. Down 2-0 in games, the Astros won three in a row at Houston to come within a game of their forst World Series trip. The Astros won Game Five with a dramatic three-run walkoff home run by Jeff Kent. The Redbirds paid them back with a walkoff home run of their own in Game Six when Jim Edmonds hit a two-run home run in the 12th inning. The Astros had to feel pretty good in Game Seven with a 2-1 lead and Roger Clemens on the mound, but the Cardinals showed why they were the best team during the regular season by coming back and winning to move on to the World Series.

I think America will be pulling for the Red Sox to win. They haven't won the Series since 1918. By comparison, the White Sox last won in 1917 and the Cubs in 1908. (I still don't understand why everyone thinks the Red Sox are more cursed than the Cubs or even the White Sox.) This will be their 4th World Series for the Red Sox since the Cubs made their last appearance in 1945. The Cardinals have won 9 World Series and the Red Sox have won 5 World Series (Source: Major League Baseball).

I'm also pulling for the Red Sox, but I think the Redbirds will prevail in six games. It all starts tonight.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Here's a headline I'd like to see...

WORLD OIL PRICES PLUNGE ON CONSERVATION FEARS AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF ALTERNATE, RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES!

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Sam

This is Sam, our [almost] two-year old sable and white Papillon. Sam is also our miracle dog! When he first came into our lives, he was sickly and non-responsive. Pictures of him as a young puppy are sad to look at. He was suffering from protein deficiency and my stepdaughter nursed him back to health. We later found out that his littermate had died as a young puppy. Today Sam is a healthy, friendly dog with a beautiful coat of fur and ears that betray his emotion.

Friday, October 15, 2004

The wind sprang up...

The wind sprang up at four o’clock
The wind sprang up and broke the bells
Swinging between life and death
These words by T.S. Eliot seem appropriate this Friday evening. The first cold, stormy weather of autumn has hit the Chicago area. The dreaded "S" word was even mentioned by some forecasters earlier in the week, but now they say we won't get any snow ... yet. They were even talking about a Great Lakes storm to rival the 1975 Lake Superior storm that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald.

I'm not ready for all this nasty weather and I'm the type of person who likes cooler weather. Summer was late to arrive this year and now it's leaving us! Fortunately, I won't be taking the commuter train to work anymore. No more waiting in the wind and in single-digit temperatures for the train!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Debates

Is anyone tired of the debates like me? I know that as an American, it's important to be fully aware of the issues so we can elect the better and more deserving candidate to be president.

I watched the first debate a couple of weeks ago to see how each candidate would do and which one would present their argument more clearly and concisely. As I watched each candidate, I got the feeling I was listening to a stump speech from a campaign stop rather than an attempt to address the moderator's question. I thought the second debate had more give and take, but again it still seemed like I was listening to another speech. Now it's an hour or so from the third and final debate and I'm hoping to hear more about the issues rather than a personal attack on each man's character.

I wonder just how good the Lincoln-Douglas debates were in 1860. This was an era where the candidate didn't play for the cameras and soundbites were unknown. I'd hate to think how those debates may have been different if they were televised or covered by Internet news sites! The outcome of the election may have changed and history would have been different.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Mozart

This is Mozart, my year-old tri-color Papillon and companion dog. Like his namesake, he is small in stature, but makes up for it was a zest for life. He is constantly on the move so it was hard to pose him for this picture!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

A Whipping

Well my alma mater got chewed up and spit out last night. Nebraska lost 70-10 to Texas Tech Saturday night which is the worst loss in school history -- and that dates back 115 seasons!

There's a lot of great Husker web sites out there, but the most concise site for my money is HuskerPedia.com. It operates a lot like Google News in that it searches for Husker-related news from all over the web. This time of year is especially interesting because of all the recruiting tidbits -- and it's apparent we need to upgrade our recruiting!

I was hoping the new coaches would jumpstart this team to be a contender again, but the West Coast Offense is a complicated offense for a college team to learn in one year. They may still be able to win the Big XII North -- none of the other North teams look very good -- but it's obvious that Oklahoma is the cream of the crop this year. Maybe in '05.

Halloween Decorations

If Hollywood ever wanted to make "Halloween Vacation." I know a good setting for the Griswolds' fictional home!

Saturday, October 9, 2004

Katie

This is a picture of Katie, our Maltese puppy. She will be a year old in December. Katie came to us as a rescue and fits in perfectly with the three other dogs.

Old friends

A couple of weeks ago, an old college friend was in Chicago for a conference. He called me and we got together on a Friday evening. We've been friends for over 30 years, but had not seen each other since my wedding 12 years ago.

It was fun to see him and talk about the "old days" and also reminisce about all the pranks we used to pull on our friends (and even some non-friends!). As we were talking, it did not seem possible that those things happened so many years ago. After all the laughing and giggling, it almost seemed like all those things were happening now!

We were snapped back to reality at 8:30 PM when my buddy announced that he was tired and needed to turn in for the night...on an early autumn Friday evening...in downtown Chicago! The sad thing was that I was also getting tired.

Wow, things have changed for both of us.

Monday, October 4, 2004

September 13, 1998

Sammy Sosa hits his 61st home run on September 13, 1998. Later in the game, Sosa hit #62. He finished the season with 66 home runs. Mark McGwire had 70.

Sammy Sosa

As long as I'm dumping on Sammy Sosa, I might as well share my story about Sammy Sosa and the great 1998 home run chase. As many of you may recall, Sosa and Mark McGwire were running neck-to-neck with each other to beat the (then) season home run record of 61 set by Roger Maris back in 1961. McGwire won the race by hitting home run #62 on September 8, 1998 (ironically against the Cubs).

On September 13, 1998, my wife, son and I had tickets to see the Cubs play the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field. In that game, Sosa hit two home runs -- numbers 61 and 62! I had my old trusty old (circa 1980) Canon A-1 film camera with me and managed to get a picture just after he hit home run #61 and snapped several pictures as he circled the bases. The picture for #62 did not turn out as well as I did not use the telephoto lens.

I've posted a picture of #61.

Baseball's over!

Both the Chicago teams ended their season yesterday. The Cubs waited until Saturday to be officially eliminated. The White Sox were officially eliminated over a week ago, but they were effectively eliminated in early August when Minnesota swept a series at Comiskey Park (it's hard to refer to the park as U.S. Cellular Field!).

I actually saw the Sox high-water mark on Saturday, July 24th. We attended the game against Detroit where the Sox had to rally several times before finally winning on Joe Crede's walk-off home run in the ninth inning. Minnesota lost their game the same evening so the Sox were a half-game up. That was it. The Sox lost the next game on Sunday while the Twins won and it was downhill for the rest of the season.

I'm watching with interest the latest development between Sammy Sosa and the Cubs organization. Sammy essentially blew off the last game -- arriving after noon for a 1:00 PM game. He said he was hurt and Dusty Baker told him that he wasn't going to play. Instead of changing into his uniform and cheering on his teammates from the bench, he left early and then ripped Baker in a subsequent Sun-Times interview. Enjoy your next season with the Mets, Sammy. It's been nice knowing you.

Both the Cubs and Sox have a lot of work to do this off-season although the Cubs have a better core of players and should be in the thick of the pennant chase in 2005. Before the Sox can compete with Minnesota, they need to come up with a plan for beating Detroit! It seems like Detroit -- no matter how bad they are -- have the Sox number each year.

Phooey!

Saturday, October 2, 2004

Introduction

Well there's a first time for everything. A number of people I know maintain their own blogs or read blogs of others so I thought I would give this a try. I guess after reading so much about blogs and their recent impact on the politics, I figure there must be something to them. I'm a quiet person by nature, so this is a personal stretch!

I'm 52 and live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. I work at a commercial bank in the city (although we're moving to the 'burbs next week). I've been in bank marketing most of my professional life and still enjoy the challenges. Bank marketing has evolved over the years and has become very "cutting edge" in terms of technology. A lot of the stuff we can do now was unheard of 10 or more years ago.

I'm married to a Cub fan who is going through emotional turmoil because of her team's recent collapse. I guess being a Cub fan means you're always looking forward to next year, but this season (like last season) seems to hurt them more than usual. The Cubs were eliminated from postseason today so it's a sad day for all Cub fans. I consider myself a Chicago baseball fan meaning I take sides only when the Cubs and White Sox play each other.

Our family owns four dogs which often feels like four too many! All are under three years of age and are bundles of energy. We have a Lhasa-Maltese mix, two Papillons and a Maltese -- two males and two females altogether.

I attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln majoring in marketing. I'm a passionate fan of Nebraska athletics, especially Husker football. This season marks a big change from the past and I'm looking forward to see how the new offense works.