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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 243, Aug. 31: Control Z

10 Things I Always Wish
I Could Reverse and Do Over
I stole this idea from a Facebook post by my TH employee Rachel Gull. She wished she could just hit Control Z on her keyboard for a do over with her hair. If only life could be controlled with the key strokes of a computer. There was an online 2009 TV series called "Ctrl" that had this premise. Kris got me hooked on it. Each "episode" was only about 10 minutes long. Pretty interesting.
Driving too fast ... and seeing the flashing lights of a police car behind me (it hasn't happened in a long while)
Tipping over a bottle of something while out with friends in a public place. (No, I'm NOT drunk!)
Saying something I'm pretty sure will get a negative reaction from Kris. (Ouch!)
Bumping my head and leaving a lasting mark on my bald spot. (Double ouch!)
Losing my temper when I can't find something and cussing - just before I find it. (Patience escapes me.)
Going in for a driving basketball layup in a crowded lane and rolling my ankle on someone's foot (it's happened three times and I painfully regretted it)
Having a "nightcap" when I knew full well that I had had enough (it's happened MORE than three times and I've painfully regretted it)
Spending a few hours out in the sun - even if it's not that hot - without suntan lotion (I've got baby-bottom sensitive skin!)
Eating one too many desserts at Thanksgiving (I become more stuffed than the turkey ... and it hurts!)
Writing a provocative column just to provoke people (Wait - I COULD have hit control Z for those times; I'm my own worst enemy sometimes)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 242, Aug. 30: Billy Joel

 My Top 10 Favorite
Billy Joel Songs
Doing some research, I realized that about half of these aren't even on my iPod. 
I've got to get going!
1. Big Shot
2. Just the Way You Are
3. Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)
4. Uptown Girl
5. You May Be Right
6. Only the Good Die Young
7. Piano Man
8. We Didn't Start the Fire
9. She's Always a Woman
10. It's Still Rock and Roll to Me

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 241, Aug. 29: Mourning Without God

10 Ways to Handle a Loss
If You Don't Lean on God
I was made aware of a 30-something man who may soon lose his wife, but also be left with two young daughters. He's not a religious man. I thought about him a lot today. Could I - who relied so much on God during the loss of my wife eight years ago - possibly give a non-believer any advice? I wanted to try.
1. Take it a day at a time. If that doesn't work, get through the next hour. And, yes, maybe even a minute. Some minutes will seem too painful to handle, but believe that the next one will be better.
2. Dig down deep to where you once had to go to handle a challenge. You WILL be able to go deeper yet.
3. Don't only accept help and support from others - SEEK IT! You will have so many hours alone (especially at night), it's imperative that you spend time with others, as well.
4. Don't be ashamed to cry. And don't worry about when or where. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't when others think it should, so be it. I used up a lot of my tears in the shower.
5. Start writing down your feelings, preferably in a journal or diary so that it becomes a regular release. It really helps, believe me. And be honest. If you HATE the moment you are writing, write that down.
6. When you think you are at your lowest, always remember that someone somewhere has it worse. Though it may not seem fair, it can help you catch your breath and not hit rock bottom.
7. Do what YOU need to do to handle it. There are no rules. Don't worry about what others think or say. Many of the "crutches" you will use will be temporary. But use them, because you are broken. 
8. If you have children, make them the No. 1 priority. They need someone who is strong because for every question you have about why this happened, they have two or three more. Do things with them. Remind them how proud their late mother or father was of them and always will be.
9. As you shouldn't be ashamed to cry, don't be ashamed to laugh, either. It won't be right away and it won't be often; but laughing is an amazing healer - especially with loved ones.
10. Be willing to move on. "When" is irrelevant. When you start moving on, it doesn't mean you're ignoring or forgetting the past. LIFE moves on, with or without you. Remember, somebody else - your children, a relative or even a stranger - will likely benefit if you're willing to eventually move on and be an unbroken person again.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Day 240, Aug. 28: Wedding receptions

My All-Time Top 5
Favorite Wedding Receptions
Last night, we celebrated Kris' niece Kirsten's wedding to Geoff, of Toronto. The reception was at the Joslyn Art Museum in downtown Omaha. It was lots of fun dancing wildly, and it got me to thinking back to other receptions I enjoyed.
1. My first wedding: Both of my parents and all of my siblings were there, making it extra special. It was at an old-fashioned dinner club called The Dugout. My friend Kort danced up a storm, and there were lots of laughs that will never be laughed again.
2. My second wedding: My iPod was the musical entertainment, and it was a big hit. Members of three families made it, but not my late father or one sister, who felt as bad as I did about not inviting her kids.
3. Jolene & Mike's: It was a packed house at the fancy Doubletree in Evanston, where I saw what it was like for people with money. Unbelievable dinner and entertainment.
4. Julie & Wayne's: It started immediately after the wedding with a trolley ride from Platteville to Dubuque. We downed about a case of champagne. I don't remember the rest of the reception!
5. Jaclyn & Steve's: Held at a Dubuque hotel, it was crowded and loads of fun. I'm pretty sure this is the reception I added a slide on my knees across the dance floor.
6. Amy & Mike's: My late sister, Amy, and her first husband married young. I barely made it to her wedding (playing softball :( but remember the reception at the VFW (classic Stoughton spot for receptions).
7. Kirsten & Geoff's: Had another trolley ride (no champagne), and the locale was very sophisticated. I loved the Nat King Cole-like singer who strolled around, and I upheld my label as "the fun uncle."
8. Emily & Matt's: Co-workers at the TH, their wedding at the arboretum was beautiful and the reception at the country club with so many friends and colleagues was very memorable.
9. Mary Beth & Tom's: More of a subdued atmosphere as alcohol was limited (her father was a pastor). But I was the best man, and I was proud to stand up for my best friend. 
10. Cindy's & Kort's: A couple of Stoughton friends, they also had a fun reception at the VFW. Most memorable, though, was me almost fainting up front as one of the groomsmen :-(

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 239, Aug. 27: Burgers

My Top 10 Favorite
My family was full of fussy eaters, from my dad on down all four of us kids. So, we often ate hamburgers for supper. In fact, the rare times we'd order out, it often was from Bob & Bonnie's Pizza - but, we ordered hamburgers!
1. Red Robin Banzai Burger: One of their specialties, this one includes pineapple!
2. Westside Tap burger: A bar in Dubuque. I often order one at Dubuque ... And All That Jazz nights.
3. Bob & Bonnie's burger: Nothing came close to this one as I was growing up in Stoughton, Wis.
4. Burger King Double-cheeseburger: Best of the fast-food variety.
5. Culver's butter burger: Too rich for me to have too often, 
but a special treat.
6. Kalmes Breaktime Bar & Grill burger: Another Dubuque spot, I've only had it once, but plan to go again.
7. Le Tub burger: Also only had this once, during a trip to the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., area to see Aunt Laura and friend Carol. It ranks nationally as a place to eat a burger.
8. Champp's burger: My favorite from the common sports bars.
9. McDonald's quarter-pounder: Quick and easy, and the only one I'll eat from this place (no onions or cheese, please)
10. A&W hamburger: Don't eat here too often, but when I do, have to get a mug of root beer to wash down the burger.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 238, Aug. 26: Behind Center

 My All-Time Top 10
Favorite Quarterbacks
I'm in Omaha for a wedding on Kris' side of the family. Nebraska high school football opened tonight. I'm very excited about the upcoming season - since my fantasy baseball team is bad - and it got me to thinking about my favorite QBs.
1. Brett Favre, Packers: I've lost as much respect for him as the next Packers fan, but he's still my favorite QB on the field.
2. Joe Montana, 49ers: Not only was he great, he always struck me as being a classy person.
3. Bart Starr, Packers: I was pretty young when he retired, but he left a lasting impression.
4. John Elway, Broncos: Another great player who I enjoyed watching - except the 1998 Super Bowl when he beat the Packers.
5. Aaron Rodgers, Packers: He's growing on me quickly. Could move up before his career is over.
6. Johnny Unitas, Colts: The old-fashioned QB with the high-top spikes, Unitas was a winner.
7. Peyton Manning, Colts: Very steady and had the endurance of Favre - until this season, apparently.
8. Kurt Warner, Rams: An underdog type of player who made it big. And I appreciate his open Christian beliefs.
9. Boomer Esiason, Bengals: His back story with his son, Gunnar, and cystic fibrosis tugs at me as much as his stats impressed me.
10. Fran Tarkenton, Vikings: I didn't enjoy watching him scramble against the Packers, but I couldn't help but be impressed by his athleticism.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 237, March 25: TV of the 1970s

My Top 10 Favorite
TV Shows of the 1970s
Obviously, this decade was mostly comedy - and some of it naughty. I guess when you're age 13-22, that would make sense. Of course, before the advent of ESPN, Monday Night Football was awesome. Still is, but not as much as when it was the only non-weekend sports event on television.
1. NFL Monday Night Football
2. All in the Family
3. Happy Days
4. The Benny Hill Show
5. 60 Minutes
6. M*A*S*H
7. The Carol Burnett Show
8. Three's Company
9. Charlie's Angels
10. The Flip Wilson Show

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 236, March 24: The Bee Gees

 My Top 10 Favorite
Songs by the Bee Gees
Believe it or not, I like some of their famous disco hits. While living through that era, I got sick of them. But now, the rare times I hear them, I appreciate their sounds.
1. Run To Me
2. I Started A Joke
3. How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?
4. Stayin Alive
5. I've Gotta Get a Message to You
6. Night Fever
7. Jive Talkin
8. Tragedy
9. Nights on Broadway
10. Lonely Days

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day 235, Aug. 23: No Blog Tonight

Technology has frustrated me too much tonight to want to waste time contributing to its existence.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 234, Aug. 22: Hold No Grudges

10 Reasons Why It's Not Worth The Effort
To Hold Grudges on Anyone
Had a run-in with a fellow employee today. The person said several nasty things and I took some of them to heart - not because they hurt me (I don't know the person well enough to be hurt by him/her) but it made me ponder. I hope I can separate the wheat from the chafe and become a better person. I quickly forgave and forgot what was said.
1. My spiritual beliefs: I believe Jesus when he says 
to forgive even your worst enemies.
2. It builds up: For me, the few times I've come close to holding a serious grudge, it takes a small piece of my well-being away from me.
3. Misunderstandings: Often, a grudge is started by things that were misunderstood. Perhaps they can be figured out and put behind you.
4. It's immature: The few adults who have held grudges against me always seem infantile in their efforts to maintain the grudge. 
I don't want to be an infant.
5. Holds You Back: If you can get to the bottom of why you hold a grudge or why someone holds one against you, 
perhaps you can learn from it.
6. Life's Too Short: In the scheme of the eternity I believe in, life is way too short to waste time on holding grudges.
7. Set an Example: I've surprised and left a positive impression on more than one person with my willingness to forgive and forget. 
I hope my sons have noticed that.
8. It Can Be Very Painful: When I first discover someone is holding a grudge on me, it really hurts. I don't want to put another person through that.
9. It's a Challenge: It's so much easier to hold a grudge. I've grown as a person by taking the tougher road and forgiving.
10. Practice What I Preach: I'm not perfect. I have held short-lived grudges. And I can think of a couple of people who I won't go out of my way to salute, even though I forgive them. 
I hope God forgives me for that.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day 233, Aug. 21: Top TV 1960s

 My Top 10 Favorite
TV Shows of the 1960s
Pretty good mixture here of what was popular in this decade. All of these were in my Top 100 of all-time (April 10 post). Note: Some of these overlapped decades. If at least half of their run was in the 1960s, I counted it here.
1. The Andy Griffith Show (My overall No. 1, as well.)
2. The Twilight Zone
3. The Beverly Hillbillies
4. The Rifleman
5. Green Acres
6. Leave it to Beaver
7. Bonanza
8. Wonderful World of Walt Disney
9. Get Smart
10. My Three Sons
Honorable mentions: The Addams Family, Candid Camera, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Day 232, Aug. 20: Sports Movies

 My Top 10 Favorite
Sports Movies
I'm surprised I haven't done this one yet. I went back to my Top 200 Movies of All Time (Day 200, July 19) to speed things up. There are 19 sports movies on the list - not as many as some of you would have thought, huh!?! Ranking them in order is very tough, but here it is. (If you asked me to rank them again next year sight unseen, the order would probably be different.)
1. Hoosiers (1986)
2. Field of Dreams (1989)
3. Remember the Titans (2000)
4. Rudy (1993)
5. The Rookie (2002)
6. Rocky (1976)
7. The Sandlot (1993)
8. A League of Their Own (1992)
9. The Blind Side (2009)
10. The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
Note: The Top 5 were clear-cut. After that, it was close. Top near-misses: Hoop Dreams (1994), Seabiscuit (2003) and The Fighter (2010).

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day 231, Aug. 19: Sports Feats

My Top 10 Favorite
Things to do in Sports
My son, Jay, gave me this suggestion. He says it's a good conversation starter. What are the 10 things I get the most satisfaction out of doing while participating in sports. (Some of these I'm too old to experience anymore, but I've done all of them more than once.)
1. Running down a fly ball in softball or baseball 
that has been hit over my head.
2. Running down a long pass in football and catching it 
on my fingertips ahead of a defender.
3. Taking a jump shot in basketball over the out stretched hands 
of a defender and watching it swish.
4. Seeing a curve ball all the way to my bat and watching it fly into the outfield for a single (I believe this happened exactly 
two or three times in my career)
5. Running along on Heritage Trail and feeling so good, 
I run an extra mile or two than I had planned.
6. Completing a fast-break by laying in the basketball with my left hand.
7. Hitting a golf ball off the tee on a par 3 hole and seeing it land 
on the green (this happens very rarely anymore 
as I seldom golf and am too rusty to accomplish it)
8. Making a diving stab of a grounder while playing second base and getting up in time to throw the runner out (the last time I did this 
was as a 40-something year-old in a family softball tournament 
in Kieler about 12 years ago)
9. Running down a shot in racquetball after jumping off the side of the wall (it's been a long, long time since I've done this)
10. Serving up an ace in tennis against somebody 
who is better than I am.
Thanks, Jay. This brought back a lot of memories.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 230, Aug. 18: The Beatles

 My Top 10 Favorite 
Beatles' Songs
Few of their most played and popular songs make my list. I guess I heard them so much over the years, they got old to me. Weird, I know. But, as always, my list won't be like anyone else's.
All Together Now
Day Tripper
Don't Want to Spoil the Party
Fool on the Hill
I'm Looking Through You
No Reply
The Word
Two of Us
You're Going to Lose That Girl

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day 229, Aug. 17: Go Team, Go II

 Top 10 Most Creative
Small College Mascots
I had to do a lot of research for this one. And it was a lot of fun. Here are 10, plus some honorable mention, creative mascots/nicknames.
Bridges, Brooklyn (N.Y.) College
Bullets, Gettysburg (Pa.) College
Generals, Washington & Lee (Va.) University
Jimmies, Jamestown (N.D.) College
Orediggers, Colorado School of Mines 
Railsplitters, Lincoln Memorial (Tenn.) University
Setters, Pace (N.Y.) University
Swedes, Bethany (Kansas) College
Thorobreds and Thorbrettes, Kentucky State University
Yeomen, Oberline (Ohio) College
Honorable mention: Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils; Bowdoin Polar Bears; Campbell Fighting Camels; Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens; Kenyon Lords and Ladies; New Mexico State Pygmies; Oglethorp Stormy Petrels; UC-Santa Barbara Banana Slugs.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day 228, Aug. 16: Go Team, Go!

My Top 10 Favorite
College Mascots
This is based mostly on the names, not necessarily the guys dressed in mascot outfits. But that might sneak into my thinking. Obviously, I am biased by my region - Big Ten/Big 12 country. The Badgers might have made the Top 10 had they been, for example, the Battlin' Badgers. 
Blue Demons, DePaul
Boilermakers, Purdue
Cornhuskers, Nebraska
Crimson Tide, Alabama
Fighting Irish, Notre Dame
Golden Gophers, Minnesota
Hoosiers, Indiana
Minutemen, Massachusetts
Nittany Lions, Penn State
Sun Devils, Arizona State
Honorable mention: Badgers, Hawkeyes, Razorbacks, 
Tar Heels and Yellow Jackets.

Tomorrow, I will do the most creative smaller college mascots.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 227, Aug. 15: Yes, Sir!

My Top 10 Favorite
Civil War Generals
I almost forgot to do a blog today, it's getting late and I'm tired. So I'm just going to list the generals without explanation. Some of these made the list just because of their negative status; some because of their bravado.
1. Robert E. Lee, Confederacy
2. James Longstreet, Confederacy
3. William T. Sherman, Union
4. George A. Custer, Union
5. Stonewall Jackson, Confederacy
6. George McClellan, Union
7. George Pickett, Confederacy
8. Ulysses S. Grant, Union
9. John Bell Hood, Confederacy
10. Winfield Scott Hancock, Union

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day 226, Aug. 14: Beach Boys

 My Top 10 Favorite 
Beach Boys Songs
I lean more toward their post-surfing days, but not with what you'd call their best-selling hits. I got to know most of these in the early 1970s from the double-album "Endless Summer."
1. Heroes & Villains
2. Darlin'
3. God Only Knows
4. Wendy
5. Sail On, Sailor
6. Do It Again
7. Help Me Rhonda
8. Wouldn't It Be Nice
9. Fun, Fun, Fun
10. Good Vibrations

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day 225, Aug. 13: Give Me the Remote

My Favorite
TV Channels
There's not a network channel on my list which, if you've read other posts, shouldn't surprise you. I'm saddened the History Channel doesn't make the cut, but its programming has changed for the worse - in my opinion. 
1. ESPN/ESPN2: It's my fallback. I guess sports is a reality show in some ways, one that isn't scripted. You never really know who's going to win or who's going to be a loser.
2. TCM: Turner Classic Movies, a channel Kris and I can often share. It can be hit or miss, and I seldom watch an entire movie start to finish, but I always surf to it early in my routine.
3. The Weather Channel: When you check this "on the eights" enough, it deserves to be ranked high. And I always stop to watch anything involving tornadoes.
4. Big 10 Network: Doesn't rank as high during the slower seasons, but it's must-see TV during basketball and football seasons.
5. C-SPAN: Last year, this wouldn't have been in my Top 10. But my interest in Fox and MSNBC have seriously dropped, and CNN is close to falling by the wayside, too.
6. THIS: A newer channel, it's my new favorite nostalgic-type option. Nick at Night, The Family Channel and TVLand have completely dropped out. Contemporary reality crap and awful '90s reruns sneaking in.
7. Comcast Sports: Offers a lot of good Chicago-related games and a few other sports nuggets.
8. TNT: Offers some pretty good movies and ranks just barely higher than AMC.
9. AMC: American Movie Classics. Used to rank higher, but it has more commercials now than some of the network channels.
10. CNN: It tries hard to be unbiased, but still leans left. But it's better than MSNBC or Fox.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day 224, Aug. 12: Finished Products

This was a tough shoveling job last winter, 
but man look at that wonderful finished product!
 10 Things I Like to Do
That Show a Finished Product
I believe I was meant to work at a newspaper because I get a lot of satisfaction taking something unfinished and finishing it. (A blank page, the start of a column or a story.) This really carries over into the rest of my life. Here are things I enjoy doing that result in a visibly finished product (yes, I really DO like doing these things)

Folding clothes (especially the boys' when they were little.)
Mowing the lawn (when it's long and preferably not on a hill)
Organizing the recycle bin (after others have made it 
look like a disaster area)
Raking the lawn (when there's lots and lots of leaves)
Shaving (after more than a 2-day growth)
Shoveling the sidewalk (when it's at least 3 or more inches deep)
Trimming the hedges
Vacuuming (when it's a very dirty carpet)
Washing the kitchen floor
Weeding a garden

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 223, Aug. 11: Skippers

 My Top 10 Favorite
Baseball Managers
A good mixture of old and current, with even a few Yankees!
1. Don Zimmer, Red Sox: He managed in Boston not quite five seasons, but he was 411-231. I don't even remember why they let him go with five games left in 1980, but I always liked how spunky he was - even as a Yankee coach against Boston's Pedro Martinez 
in the 2003 playoffs!
2. Connie Mack, Athletics: Geez, the guy managed for 50 years and won 1,000 more games than any other manager (3,731-3,948). Course, that's a lot of losses, too!
3. Terry Francona, Red Sox: He's able to take a lot of overpaid stars and keep pace with the Yankees. I like how he seems to keep his cool.
4. Joe Torre, Yankees: Very similar to Francona, Torre was someone I admired (and liked) more than most of his players.
5. Sparky Anderson, Reds/Tigers: Has the sixth-most wins ever. He might not have always kept his cool, but I liked how his intensity.
6. Casey Stengl, Yankees: Don't know a lot about him except he had a lot of good talent to work with. Still seemed pretty neat in the old films I've seen of him.
7. Dick Williams, Red Sox: Only managed the Sox three seasons, but his first was the 1967 World Series team - the one that hooked me as a lifelong Boston fan.
8. Bobby Cox, Braves: One of my old old, crabby guys on this list. But sometimes, they can be enduring. Holds record for most ejections.
9. Phil Garner, Brewers: Managed in as scrappy a way as he played. Seemed to really relate to his players.
10. Billy Martin, Yankees: Also managed elsewhere, but he'll always be synonymous with George Steinbrenner, Reggie Jackson and the Yanks. Just plain entertaining!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day 222, Aug. 10: Barenaked Ladies

It's a musical group, in case you didn't know.

 My Top 10 Favorite
Barenaked Ladies Songs
I really dislike the group's name, but I really like its music. It's upbeat and lots of fun. The boys and I, along with one of their friends named Danny, went to a concert by this group in Madison a few years ago. Fantastic! Here are my favorites.
1. Second Best
2. Upside Down
3. Shopping
4. If I Had a Million Dollars (Al might like this one!)
5. For You
6. It's All Been Done
7. Pinch Me
8. One Week
9. Only Me
10. Be My Yoko Ono

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day 221, Aug. 9: Hurt So Bad

10 Songs That Remind Me
of Some of My Worst Times
Not sure why I'm doing this post tonight. I had a great time driving over to Potosi - with the windows down on a beautifully cool evening - to see some old, dear friends. We talked politics, life and faith - so there's no reason to think about some of my worst times. But a song came on the radio while driving home and, though I held back the tears, 
I recalled some of those worst times.
1. "Across the Universe," The Beatles: After my first wife died of breast cancer and I met another God-sent woman, I got the "Let It Be." The words, "Nothing's going to change my world," still haunt me.
2. "Talking Out of Turn," The Moody Blues: I fell hard for a Southern belle while living in Missouri, only to have my heart broken. "Talking out of turn, shot to pieces ... when will I learn."
3. "Someday Never Comes," Credence Clearwater Revival: Not quite 20, I desperately sought female companionship (not sex). The lyrics didn't make sense, other than the refrain.
4. "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," U2: Shamefully, this song was what I sang to myself during my first two years of marriage. The stress of a quick marriage and new son was faith-testing. 
I felt very guilty.
5. "Bleed to Love Her," Fleetwood Mac: Again, the lyrics don't mean as much as the significance. This song was on the last CD my first wife ever bought me, and after she left, I bled to love her.
6. "Got to Be There," Michael Jackson: As a junior high student - JUNIOR HIGH - I ached for a girl named Laurie. Her locker was near mine and I felt like I just had to be there - even though 
she never knew how I felt.
7. "I Don't Care Anymore," Phil Collins: This is a real screamer, and I remember sitting in my car - alone in God-forsaken Gillette, Wyo. - screaming along to this song. But I got through it!
8. "Angeliou," Van Morrison: Using poor, desperate judgment, I flew from Idaho to Maryland to spend a Thanksgiving weekend with a female pen pal. It was bad. This sad song was my lament.
9. "Where is the Love?" Black Eyed Peas/featuring Justin Timberlake: Popular song soon after Jane died, I often heard it in the car with the boys. "Father, father, father help us, 
send guidance from above."
10. "Make the World Go Away," Ray Price: Perhaps the No. 1 song that reminds me of my late father, who died more years ago than I can remember. But I do remember him so well.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 220, Aug. 8: Monkey Business

 My All-Time Favorite
Monkey-Related Things
I saw and really liked the new movie "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" this weekend. Then, I had an email conversation with my friend, Al, which ultimately led to this new post.
1. Monkey cage at Madison Zoo: Those little guys were so cool when I'd see them as a kid. They always seemed to be grooming each other or running around playing.
2. Planet of the Apes movies: The 1968 original is my favorite. The one I saw this weekend might be 2nd. Guess I'll have to watch them all again!
3."Monkey Business:" This 1931 Marx Brothers film made my Top 200 list (July 17). 
4. Barrel of Monkeys: This toy was a lot of fun - for a short while. It also had a fun bit part in one of the Toy Story movies.
5. The Monkees: OK, so I'm cheating a little. But I liked this 1960s band quite a bit - even if they couldn't spell.
6. King Kong: I've seen several versions, but like the one with Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin and Jessica Lange (1976) the best.
7. Monkey See, Monkey Do: Or, Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Say No Evil. I've always been fascinated by this saying and the pictures of the 3 monkeys.
8. Cheetah: I'm not a huge fan of Tarzan movies, but Cheetah was always pretty cool.
9. "Monkey to Man": A cool 2004 song by Elvis Costello on my iTunes list.
10. Gorilla costumes: There have been some memorably bad and funny ones in various movies and especially TV shows.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day 219, Aug. 7: Nature's Beauty

 My Top 10
Favorite Flowers
Kris suggested tonight's list. I immediately asked if dandelions count. She said no, but I really think they're pretty and they smell good. Plus, I don't think I can come up with a Top 10 favorite weeds.
1. Roses: I hate (hate!) to be in the majority when it comes to lists, but the combination of beauty and fragrance puts the rose 
at the top of my list.
2. Lilacs: Another common flower that is pretty and smells good. I've had two wives who love it when I pick a vaseful of these in the spring and set it on the dining room table.
3. Impatiens: I have planted these annuals a few times out front on Hill Street. One of many colorful flowers I love.
4. Tulips: So colorful, so uniquely shaped. I've planted many of these since moving to Hill Street, too.
5. Lilies: They make me think of Easter, a wonderful time of year.
6. Carnations: You can tell I like colorful flowers. These are beauties.
7. Dandelions: Sorry, Kris. Along with being pretty and smelling good, it's fun to shoot them off their stems!
8. Chrysanthemums: See No. 5.
9. Daisies: A pure, simple and eye-catching flower.
10. Gladiolas: I don't see them around much, but I like the colors and unusual shape.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Day 218, Aug. 6: Relief

My Top 10 Favorite 
Relievers of All-Time
They weren't as important in the first half of the 1900s, so all of my favorites are from more recent decades. Most of these guys played with several teams, but I list the one I remember most.
1. Dennis Eckersley, Athletics: Very dominating and workmanlike. Was a starter early in career for Red Sox. He helped me win a Fantasy Baseball League in 1988 in Kieler, Wis.!
2. Rollie Fingers, Athletics: Another dominating closer, he also had a couple good years with the Brewers. Loved his moustache, too.
3. Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox: Their current closer, he's had some great unstoppable streaks and helped the Sox win 
the 2007 World Series.
4. Hoyt Wilhelm, White Sox: One of the first real closers I heard of (he started in 1952 and played 21 years). He left an impression.
5. Lee Smith, Cubs: He's on most Top 10 closer lists and I just always admired his talent and demeanor.
6.Dan Quisenberry, Royals: Didn't last as long as the others on this list, but he was very dominant during the early 1980s. And you gotta love that name!
7. Mitch Williams, Cubs: The original "Wild Thing," Williams was fun to watch and follow.
8. Al Hrabosky, Cardinals: Probably the worst closer on my list, I enjoyed "The Mad Hungarian's" antics on the mound.
9. Brian Wilson, Giants: Their current closer, he's not only very good, he's got the darkest black beard in sports.
10. Kent Tekulve, Pirates: An odd-looking, skinny player with an odd-looking submarine style pitch. But he was very good!
Note: As a Red Sox fan, I admire Yankees' Mariano Rivera and Goose Gossage, but I CAN'T include them on my favorites' list. They shut down my team too often!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Day 217, Aug. 5: Bad Actors

My Bottom 10
Least Favorite Actors
and Actresses
1. Roseanne Barr: Annoying in her show as well as in real life.
2. Charlie Sheen: I think he's totally lost it. Horrible person.
3. Joy Behar: A loud and opinionated know-it-all.
4. Sean Penn: He takes many roles I dislike, 
and he sticks his nose into politics too much.
5. Rosie O'Donnell: Does she get any roles anymore? Grates on me.
6. Alec Baldwin: Another guy with roles I don't enjoy, 
and he seems very arrogant.
7. Seth Rogen: Always plays a gross/crude part.
8. Jonah Hill: Strikes me as a big fat crude kid.
9. Fran Drescher: I can't get past that annoying voice.
10. Pauly Shore: In some of the worst movies ever.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 216, Aug. 4: Bird Songs

My Top 10 Favorite
Andrew Bird Songs
This mellow, creative musician with the soft voice is one of Kris' favorites. He's from the Elizabeth, Ill., area, too. (And he's a good whistler! I love to whistle.) She got me hooked on him, and we've seen him perform together twice. Check him out sometime.
1. Sovay
2. Masterfade
3. Opposite Day
4. Plasticides
5. Fitz & Dizzyspells
6. Fake Palindromes
7. Imitosis
8. Oh No
9. Tenuousness
10. Measuring Cup

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Day 215, Aug. 3: Lefties

 My All-Time Favorite
Left-handed Pitchers
Boy, I just don't have a favorite. I like all of these, but none much better than the others.
Vida Blue, Athletics: The name is as cool as he was talented, though not consistently enough to be a Hall of Famer.
Steve Carlton, Phillies: Great pitcher on a usually poor team, he not only was great, he appeared to be very sophisticated.
Whitey Ford, Yankees: Most Yankees pitchers in this era racked up the wins, but this guy was the whole package.
Tom Glavine, Braves: Part of a great Braves' pitching staff in the 1990s.
Bruce Hurst, Red Sox: My favorite from my favorite team. Lefties don't fare well at Fenway.
Randy Johnson, Mariners: As intimidating as they get, this 6-10 pitcher was dominating to a late age.
Jim Kaat, Twins: One of the really nice guys who also was a great pitcher. Played for Superior in the minors!
Sandy Koufax, Dodgers: A short career didn't take away from this powerful pitcher.
Babe Ruth, Yankees: Only pitcher a few seasons, but it was obvious how good he was.
Warren Spahn, Braves: Don't know much about him, but everything says he was one of the best.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 214, Aug. 2: On Wisconsin!

My Top 10 Favorite
Wisconsin Towns
Besides my hometown of Stoughton, these are my favorite Badger State communities or cities.
1. Madison: Even though I am very fed up with its extreme liberal leanings (my friend Mark says it's worse than it's ever been), this city has too much to offer to drop lower than No. 1 - at least yet. I don't think I could live there anymore.
2. LaCrosse: It's just such a beautiful town on the Mississippi River and it's big enough to keep you occupied. Would have liked working for the Tribune. Kris and I spent a nice weekend there once.
3. Milwaukee: Too big for me to want to live there, it's still our "big city" and an escape from the rural areas.
4. Kieler: Tiny place where the family of my late wife grew up. Got married there. Spent some good times in the Greenhouse Tavern.4. Platteville: I've done lots with family and friends in this town since moving to Dubuque 26 years ago.
5. (tie) New Glarus: Very cool little community which lives up its Swiss heritage and it has a great brewery.
5. (tie) Platteville: I've spent many good times with relatives and friends in this town since moving to Dubuque 26 years ago.
6. Janesville: My brother and my mom both lived there for many years and it's got a lot going for it.
7. Green Bay: If I had just gone there more often, it would likely rank higher. Go Pack!
8. Lake Geneva: Just a beautiful place nestled on the lake. Spent some good and sad times there.
9. Baraboo: Located near beautiful Devil's Lake, it also boasts the Circus World Museum.
10. (tie) Spring Green: Another awesomely beautiful area, it's known for Frank Lloyd Wright buildings.
10. (tie) Wisconsin Dells: Too touristy to rank higher, it nonetheless is a place that is fun to visit once in a while.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Day 213, Aug. 1: Do Not Disturb

10 Things I Enjoy
About Staying in a Hotel
Kris and I stayed at the vintage Edgewater Hotel on Lake Mendota in Madison Saturday night. We just wanted to get away alone for a day or so, away from the kids (kitties). Here are 10 things I enjoy about staying in a hotel.
1. It's an escape. No matter where I go or who I'm with, 
it's something different.
2. The lobby/wait area. Obviously, some are better than others. But the really good ones are a sight to behold.
3. Opening the door to the room. You never really know for sure what it'll be like. Suspense can be fun - or a letdown.
4. The beds. Almost every time, I have to do a belly-flop on one 
to try it out.
5. The TV. It has to go on almost immediately, to ESPN, the Weather Channel or HBO (if they have it), as background noise.
6. The hot tub/pool area. The Edgewater didn't have one (they said I could go swim in the lake). I don't always use the pool, 
but I ALWAYS use the hot tub.
7. The air-conditioning. This weekend, it was heavenly. And, since I've hardly ever lived in a home with central air, 
it's a treat to go to a cool hotel.
8. The lounge/bar. I make use of these about half the time (more often than not, I go elsewhere for business or personal reasons).
9. The hotel help. Most often, it's Hispanic - especially in larger cities. I often can't help but think about their pasts and how they arrived 
at where they are.
10. Complimentary breakfast. Again, I don't always take advantage of it - and sometimes it's embarrassingly limited - but the good ones are another sight (and taste) to behold.