Thursday, August 31, 2017

I finally finished "Mad Men"...

...and I have to say I prefer this commercial for Coke made by the Fortunes.

The Game of the Week... obviously Lincoln-Way East at Maine South on Friday night in Park Ridge. Both squads are undefeated, with the home team Hawks ranked No. 1 in the Tribune and the Sun-Times, and No. 3 in MaxPreps. The visiting Griffins, meanwhile, are ranked No. 2 in the Trib, No. 3 in the Times and No. 15 in MaxPreps. (Did Mike Clark at the Sun-Times deliberately rank the two programs Nos. 1 and 2 this week to gin up interest in the game? Or did they just leapfrog two other teams that lost last week?)

As far as I can tell, the two schools have only met twice since 2004. I think that's because while Maine South is always in 8A, Lincoln-Way East has straddled the line between 8A and 7A. Last year the Griffins competed in 8A, and they won the 8A championship in 2005 over the Hawks in double overtime. (Home team in CAPS.)

2016: Maine South 34, LINCOLN-WAY EAST 31
2005: Lincoln-Way East 30, Maine South 24 (2OT)

(By the way, while tomorrow night's athletes were watching Sesame Street in 2005, Rob Zvonar and Dave Inserra were still the head coaches in that game.)

My prediction: the Hawks are just too strong for the Frankfort squad, especially at home.

In other news, Loyola, who hosts Bishop Amat of California, is in danger of beginning the year at 0-2. (Have the Ramblers ever gotten off to an 0-2 start?) Also, Glenbard North at Waubonsie Valley, and Brother Rice at Crete-Monee, are two more contests that will result in a perennially winning team beginning the season at 0-2. But take heart, guys, Maine South dropped its first two games in 2010 before roaring back to win the 8A title.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

I was going to expand...

...on the postscript to my last post sometime in my procrastinating future, but then I read another piece by Damon Linker in The Week (I have to read this guy more often) and got inspired to just get to it right away.

As I said, Donald Trump isn't the main problem in America right now; he's merely a symptom. To paraphrase an old saying: if Trump had not existed it would have been necessary to create him.

For a long time I thought the main problem in America was the Republican Party: how could they nominate someone as clearly unqualified and unfit for the office as this buffoon? (Superdelegates are sure looking smarter and smarter, aren't they?)

But then I thought, no, the Republican Party is merely responding to the right-wing media. How many times have you heard of a "moderate" Republican being afraid of a primary opponent? The likes of Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and now Breitbart have handcuffed these otherwise well-meaning individuals.

But then I thought further that Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and the like couldn't exist without a market to support them. While I used to think that the right-wing media created Trump's voters, there had to be some sentiment for all this extremism in the first place. After all, the U.S. is a capitalist country and the market just supplies what the consumer already wants. (Or, as in Apple's case, what the consumer will surely want.)

But that brings us to the real problem in America: about half (probably more) of all white people are just plain bigots who don't like people of color, immigrants, Muslims, uppity feminists, LGBTs, etc. (Have I forgotten anyone?)

Don't believe me? Polls show that not only do most Republicans (who make up about half the country) approve of Donald Trump but they also approve of his response to the events in Charlottesville.

Yesterday David Brooks wrote that "race was the issue that created the Republican Party and that race could very well be the issue that destroys it." And I disagree. I don't think the Republican Party is going to be destroyed; I think it's merely been transformed. And the way it changes is to become a more overtly bigoted party.

Or you could argue that it changed a long time ago and has finally been revealed to be a bigoted party. Brooks argues that:

Most of the Republican establishment, from the Bushes to McCain and Romney, fought bigotry, and racism was not a common feature in the conservative moment.

Really? What about Nixon's Southern strategy? Or Reagan's use of the terms "welfare queen" and "young buck"? What about George H. W. Bush's Willie Horton ad? What about McCain's tolerance for his running mate's bigotry (you know, Obama's "shucking and jiving")? And Romney's embrace of the birther Donald Trump in 2011? Need I go on?

Brooks writes:

In that time, I never heard blatantly racist comments at dinner parties, and there were probably fewer than a dozen times I heard some veiled comment that could have suggested racism.

Well, I know how whites talk about blacks when none are around. And there's still plenty -- plenty -- of racism in America. Is he serious?

Sorry, but Republicans like David Brooks and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are out of step with Trump and the modern-day Republican Party, not the other way around. Brooks writes:

Each individual Republican is now compelled to embrace this garbage or not.

Too late. As I argued in my last post, Republicans will vote for Trump and Trumpism rather than any Democrat. Brooks concludes by saying:

It may someday be possible to reduce the influence of white identity politics, but probably not while Trump is in office. As long as he is in power the G.O.P. is a house viciously divided against itself, and cannot stand.

Again, too late. The war is over; the bigots have captured the Republican Party. It will now be an overtly, not just covertly, bigoted party from now on. Is Brooks really so myopic?

Damon Linker has a piece... The Week which warns of something I've been thinking about for a while now: Donald Trump could absolutely win reelection in 2020. In fact, I'd say it's more than likely.

How do we get there? In his piece, Mr. Linker mentions "the combination of polarization and negative partisanship." And he's right. Just think of any Republican that you may happen to know: your Fox News-watching uncle, that co-worker in the next cubicle, etc. They would rather vote for a candidate backed by Russia than one from the Democratic Party. (Remember, Britain sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War. Don't you think Southerners would have been more partial to the British than to the North?)

Consider my own brother-in-law. I ran into him in the hotel lobby on the morning of his son's wedding recently and decided to buy him breakfast. (And there was no one else around to eat with.) He and my sister are pretty typical establishment Republicans. I'm sure they liked candidates like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and John Kasich (not necessarily in that order) in the 2016 primaries. But I have to admit I was a little surprised to hear how anti-Trump he was. (He -- and my sister, I assume -- voted for Gary Johnson.) It kind of conformed with what I already knew about them, and yet they fit the demographic for Trump's voters: although they both graduated from college (and have prospered), they are retired white seniors who mainline Fox News all day long. Oh, and not only do they live in the uber-suburb of Naperville (sorry Ed C.) but they live in a gated community in Naperville. (I always want to ask them what they are so afraid of but I already know the answer: Those People, as Paul Krugman puts it.) Anyway, the point of all this is that even though I didn't argue with him (I've learned that there's simply no use), what I really wanted to ask him was -- under truth serum -- Given a binary choice, who would you have voted for, Trump or Hillary? (Or, who would you vote for today?) But, alas, I already know the answer. Just as the Southerners would have allied with aliens from Mars during the Civil War, so would today's Republicans vote for any Republican -- including someone as unqualified and unfit as Donald Trump -- rather than Hillary or Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or any Democratic candidate for president. (Yes, Tom T., even Joe Biden.)

But let's walk through my 2020 scenario. Assuming Trump is still around (and I do -- I think he'll fire Mueller eventually and pardon everyone involved in the Russia investigation) he'll enjoy the benefits of incumbency and, let's assume for the sake of argument, a decent economy. Even if Trump gets primaried -- as I expect he will -- he'll still win the Republican nomination. (Who's going to beat him, John Kasich? Please. Trump will crush him like a bug just as he did last time. What's Kasich's big issue, a Balanced Budget Amendment? Good luck finding any economist who will support that.) No, Trump will defeat any hapless primary opponent or opponents just like he did that supposedly "deep bench" in 2016.

So then Trump gets to the general election and faces -- who? Who cares? As Linker writes:

We won't be able to answer that question with great precision until we see which Democrat ends up running against him.

And I say: Baloney! Linker goes on to support my argument (my emphasis):

The Trump campaign (and the RNC, and Fox News, and Rush Limbaugh, and Breitbart, and the rest of the right-wing media complex) will work to convince Republican-leaning voters that however much they dislike (or have ambivalent feelings about) Donald Trump, they should hate and fear his opponent far more. "Come home, Republicans!" will be the message. "Yes, it's been a messy four years, but at least Trump isn't one of them!"

That will be the game plan: Demonize the other side so completely that just enough people vote not so much as Republicans but as Anti-Democrats.

Remember, the country is about half Republican, half Democratic. And, just like the last election proved, Republicans come home on Election Day. (Almost the identical percentage of Republicans voted for Trump as did Mitt Romney in 2012.) Finally, from Mr. Linker's piece:

Combine that push with targeted acts of voter suppression in heavily Democratic districts of key swing states, and the effort just might deliver a second term to Donald Trump.

Now one last thought of mine that I think may seal the deal: I always assumed Trump's voters would get wise to him one day, but I've since changed my mind on that. I've been saying that Trump's downfall will come when his voters wake up one day, look in the mirror and say, "Hey, where's that good, high-paying blue collar job that Trump promised me?" Or, "Why hasn't the GM plant in Janesville reopened? Is Trump a -- gulp -- con artist? Have I been had?"

But I don't think that's going to happen anymore. After watching Trump at these rallies (like the one in Arizona recently), I think his voters are going to stay conned. They just have too much invested in him. And Trump's right: he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and they'd stick with him. If GM doesn't reopen that plant in Janesville it will be Paul Ryan's fault, not Trump's. And if they don't get The Wall (which they most certainly won't), it will be Mitch McConnell's fault or the fault of the liberal media or some other convenient scapegoat.

Look, I'm as appalled as anyone at the thought that Trump could win reelection in 2020 and serve two terms as president. But I'm at least getting mentally prepared for it. I'd say it's a better than 50/50 chance.

P. S. What does that say about the United States? That's the subject of another post, but the gist of it is that Trump is a symptom of what's wrong with our country, not the main problem.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Michael O'Brien of...

Bishop Amat.
...the Sun-Times is unhappy about the state of interstate football play. He wrote on Sunday:

Speaking of the difference between basketball and football, take a look at where and who the Super 25 football teams are playing in Week 2.

No. 5 Loyola is hosting a California team. No. 7 Homewood-Flossmoor is playing in North Carolina. No. 8 Marist will be in Indiana and No. 12 Stevenson is hosting a Michigan team.

That just isn’t good for the sport. As Week 1 showed, nothing is better than the best local teams playing each other.

Football scheduling is a mess. Athletic Directors and coaches have numerous problems getting schedules worked out. Sometimes it is a conference issue. Powerhouse programs have trouble getting games because teams need their five wins to get into the playoffs. That leads to scheduling out of state games.

The number five is meaningless. The IHSA needs a new formula to determine which teams make the playoffs, a way to reward teams for playing the best competition. Mount Carmel should have made the state playoffs last year, who cares about five wins. Fix it.

I have no idea about that last paragraph, but as for interstate play, I'm all for it. I for one am curious as to how Illinois football stacks up against other states. Having said that, here's a quick take on those opponents Mr. O'Brien alluded to in the second paragraph.

Bishop Amat (La Puente, CA) at Loyola. The Lancers are 0-1 after having lost, 31-7, last week to Mater Dei. (The Monarchs are ranked No. 1 in the state of California by MaxPreps.) Bishop Amat was 7-4 last year and ranked No. 33 by MaxPreps; the Lancers are currently ranked No. 20.

Homewood-Flossmoor at Southern Durham (Durham, NC). The Spartans are 0-2 and ranked No. 193 in the state of North Carolina by MaxPreps. Last year Southern Durham was 7-5 and ranked No. 125 in the state.

Marist at Mishawaka (Mishawaka, IN). The Cavemen (Cavemen?)* are 1-1 and ranked No. 52 in the state of Indiana by MaxPreps. Last year Mishawaka was 10-3 and ranked No. 23 in the state.

Muskegon (Muskegon, MI) at Stevenson. The Big Reds are 1-0 and ranked No. 6 in the state of Michigan by MaxPreps. Last year Muskegon went 12-2 and also No. 6 in the state.

So whaddaya think for this weekend? I'd say Loyola and Stevenson are underdogs, H-F should be favored with the Marist game a push. If the Illinois teams finish 2-2 that wouldn't be so bad. But if they should happen to go 3-1 or even 4-0 that would have to say something about local football, wouldn't it?

* Isn't the whole state of Indiana populated by cavemen? (Sorry; couldn't resist.)

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Name of the Day... a tie (so far) between Gail Mellow (above), the president of LaGuardia Community College, and Gabriel Tallent (below), a talented young author.

Waubonsie Valley, Glenbard West...

...and Loyola all lost over the weekend, while Prairie Ridge won by only a run point. Other than that, the rest of the top teams in Illinois took care of business in Week One. In the new polls, Maine South took over the top spot in the Tribune and Sun-Times based on its "statement" win over Glenbard West (I was there). Prairie Ridge, meanwhile, kept its No. 1 ranking in MaxPreps.

Glenbard West and Loyola remain in the Chicago papers' top ten due to their "quality" losses (the Ramblers fell to Phillips, 20-14), while Waubonsie dropped out after losing to Lake Park -- who? (The Lancers finished 2-7 last year and were ranked No. 83 in MaxPreps' preseason poll. Ouch!)

Here are the top ten in the three polls I follow, beginning with the preseason rankings. (All teams undefeated unless otherwise noted.) I like to compare the current polls with the preseason ones not to "show up" the pollsters but rather to demonstrate how the rankings -- and teams -- evolve over the course of the season.



1. Glenbard West
2. Maine South
3. Waubonsie Valley
4. Lincoln-Way East
5. Prairie Ridge
6. Loyola
7. Lyons
8. Homewood-Flossmoor
9. Naperville Central
10. Lake Zurich


1. Prairie Ridge
2. Maine South
3. Loyola
4. Waubonsie Valley
5. Lyons
6. Glenbard West
7. Lincoln-Way East
8. Phillips
9. Homewood-Flossmoor
10. Marist


1. Prairie Ridge 
2. Loyola 
3. Marist 
4. Maine South 
5. IC Catholic Prep 
6. East St. Louis
7. Sacred Heart-Griffin 
8. Rochester
9. Lyons
10. Waubonsie Valley 



1. Maine South
2. Lincoln-Way East
3. Prairie Ridge
4. Naperville Central
5. Phillips
6. Homewood-Flossmoor
7. Lyons
8. Glenbard West (0-1)
9. Loyola (0-1)
10. Lake Zurich


1. Maine South
2. Prairie Ridge
3. Lincoln-Way East
4. Phillips
5. Loyola (0-1)
6. Lyons
7. Homewood-Flossmoor
8. Marist
9. New Trier
10. Glenbard West (0-1)


1. Prairie Ridge
2. IC Catholic Prep
3. Maine South
4. Sacred Heart-Griffin 
5. Rochester
6. Marist
7. East St. Louis
8. Lyons   
9. Huntley
10. Benet

P. S. Yes, I stole that picture of Maine South running back Fotis Kokosioulis at the top of this post from the Sun-Times because it's an incredible shot. (And I remember that play -- it was also incredible.) Kudos to photographer Allen Cunningham.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

My Game of the Week..., of course, Maine South at Glenbard West on Saturday. Two weeks ago I wrote:

This one's a no-brainer: last year's 8A champ vs. 2015's 7A winner at one of the nicest stadiums in the Chicago area. Plus, I don't think the two schools have ever played each other.

And today all the rankings are in. The visiting Hawks (11-3 last year) are No. 2 in the Chicago Tribune and the Sun-Times and No. 4 in MaxPreps. The Hilltoppers (10-3 last year), meanwhile, are No. 1 in the Trib, No. 6 in the Sun-Times and No. 21 in MaxPreps.

Maine South boasts Fotis Kokosioulis (above), the top running back in the state according to Beth Long of the Sun-Times:

1. Fotis Kokosioulis, Maine South, Sr., RB (5-9, 170): Last season Kokosioulis produced 25 plays of 25 yards or more and he’s primed to put up big numbers for the defending Class 8A state champions. The NIU recruit averaged nearly nine yards a carry, ran for 1,464 yards and was scored 29 touchdowns. He’s a back you can count on.

Glenbard West, for its part, has wide receiver Alec Pierce:

10. Alec Pierce, Glenbard West, Sr., WR (6-3, 200): A long and quick athlete with reliable hands, he has the ability to cover the field. Pierce has a solid frame and the ability to tack on yards after the catch. An integral part of a Glenbard West team that advanced to the class 8A state semifinals last season, will be needed to make another run this year.

Better get there early!

While I'm at it, here's...

...another great scene from Mad Men, both visually and aurally. It's from "The Phantom" (Season 5, episode 13, the finale). Don Draper walks off a colorful set into the dark to the opening bars of  "You Only Live Twice," by Nancy Sinatra. Well done!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Jerry Lewis died on Sunday... age 91 and you can count me among those who just didn't "get" his comedy. (Maybe it's because I'm not French.)

But his obit in the Times allows me to return to one of my favorite subjects, Nature vs. Nurture. Dave Kehr writes:

The experience of being passed from home to home left Mr. Lewis with an enduring sense of insecurity and, as he observed, a desperate need for attention and affection.

Really? How do you know that, Mr. Kehr?

In fairness, I feel like you see and hear things like that all the time. So-and-so was such-and-such because of some particular experience from his childhood. They never seem to add a "maybe" or any other qualifying word. No, it's usually delivered with a great deal of confidence, as if it's beyond question. But I always want to say, How do you know? Maybe that person is a certain way because of his DNA, not because of some life-shaping event from his upbringing. Maybe Mr. Lewis had "an enduring sense of insecurity and a desperate need for attention and affection" because he was born that way. Would you be surprised if one or both of his parents were that way? I'd be surprised if they weren't.

I thought I knew...

...a thing or two about '60s music and yet while watching Season 6, episode 10 of Mad Men last night I heard a song I had never heard before.* It's "Found Love" by the Fly Bi Nights. What? Who?

How come I've never heard of this song or this band? Turns out they don't even have a Wikipedia page! The best I could do was this.

So who found this song anyway? I agree with this:

How did the Fly Bi Nites record something as magical as “Found Love,” stick it on a B-side, then disappear into record-collector cult status?

* It's a cool scene; watch it here.

According to Beth Long...

...of the Sun-Times, Payton Thorne (above with his father and grandfather) is one of the Chicago area's top ten quarterbacks (my emphasis):

7. Payton Thorne, Naperville Central, Jr., QB (6-2, 180): First team All-DuPage Valley last season, threw for 1,623 yards and 23 touchdowns for Metea Valley. The junior has transferred to Naperville Central and will have to adjust to a new system. He has size, field vision and the ability to make the long toss. Thorne is capable of putting the ball on the ground, but is most dangerous through the air.

First team All-DVC last year and he transferred across town to Naperville Central? What gives? Did his parents suddenly up and move to a different school district?

Coincidentally, I received this email last night from a friend in Naperville. (It's lightly edited with my emphasis.)

Hope all is well, on the eve of another high school football season!

Some info to pass along you might find interesting. None of it is “insider info” these days, ha, but still might be interesting.

Payton Thorne transferred from Metea Valley to Naperville Central this year, and by all accounts will have the starting quarterback job at Central. He’s just a junior if I recall correctly. He played at Metea last year as a sophomore and is the son of Jeff Thorne, who’s the head coach over at North Central College, smack in downtown Naperville and oh, about 600 yards from Naperville Central, ha. Word is senior Thorne had a falling out with Metea’s coaches about how his son was being used (can’t confirm, all second hand), and that it was time to move on. Payton is listed at 6'2" 170 lbs or so, so could grow into a larger frame. By all accounts, Payton has a long, long, long way to go to develop as a quarterback, but interesting that he already has an offer from Western Michigan University. Oh, and WMU’s coach? Tim Lester, who was teammates with Jeff Thorne at Wheaton Central (now Wheaton Warrenville South), back in the day. Will be interesting to track young Payton’s development.

That picture at the top of this post was taken from an article last year in the Naperville Sun:

[Payton's] grandfather won four state championships in the 1990s during a 22-year run at Wheaton Central and Wheaton Warrenville South. He then went on to become North Central College's winningest coach before retiring after the 2014 season.

Payton's dad, North Central's current coach, starred at quarterback at Wheaton Central and Eastern Illinois before following John into the coaching business.

On the basement wall is a photo of his grandfather, John, hugging his dad, Jeff, after winning a state championship at Wheaton Warrenville South.

Oh, and yes, according to the piece young Payton was named after a certain Chicago Bears running back.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

In case you were wondering...

...I have all the maturity of a third grader. (And that may be an insult to third graders.)

Seriously, the look on that pitcher's face is absolutely priceless.

This is why I'll never... a high school football coach.

In today's Sun-Times, Michael O'Brien ranks Waubonsie Valley No. 4 in the state. (MaxPreps has them at No. 10.) His piece features a wide receiver named Charles Robinson (above), whom he calls a "legitimate star, a game-changing force."

Mr. O'Brien writes (my emphasis):

Receiver Charles Robinson can bust open a defense at any time. It was all on display last season in the Warriors’ upset of No. 2 seed Hinsdale Central in the first round of the Class 8A state playoffs. Robinson lit up Hinsdale that afternoon, catching six passes for 214 yards with touchdowns of 34, 56, 65 and 11 yards.

[Robinson] has offers from several schools, including Mississippi State and Minnesota. He’s a serious contender for Player of the Year.

Six passes? That's it? Granted, Robinson scored four touchdowns in that game, but wouldn't you want your best athlete -- a legitimate Division I recruit -- at quarterback? Wouldn't you want that kid touching the ball on every play, instead of just six times all day? If he was calling signals, there's no telling how many touchdowns he could have scored, right? (Yes, I'm thinking of Aaron Bailey.)

I guess that's why I'll never be a high school football coach. (That, and the fact that I really don't know that much about the game.)

Prairie Ridge is ranked No. 1... MaxPreps' preseason rankings and No. 23 nationally. Really? I've always loved this program, but that sounds a little generous to me. Could the Wolves beat a Loyola, say, or a Maine South? Doubtful. (Good football stadium, though, above.)

To save you a click, here's the rest of the Top Ten according to MaxPreps (with last year's records in parentheses):

1. Prairie Ridge (14-0)
2. Loyola (13-1)
3. Marist (8-2)
4. Maine South (11-3)
5. IC Catholic Prep (14-0)*
6. East St. Louis (14-0)
7. Sacred Heart-Griffin (13-1)
8. Rochester (13-1)
9. Lyons (8-3)
10. Waubonsie Valley (6-5)

* IC has a really good program, too; last year the Knights went undefeated en route to the 3A title. But let's get real here -- there's no way a 3A school like IC could compete with any of the teams listed below it in that ranking.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Joseph Bologna, who...

...starred in My Favorite Year -- a really underrated movie, I think -- died at age 82.

From his obit in the Times (my emphasis):

He combined comedy and the tough-guy personality, and received the best reviews of his career, in “My Favorite Year” (1982), as King Kaiser, a tyrannical 1950s TV variety-show host modeled on Sid Caesar. Kaiser may have been a law-abiding citizen, but his ego was criminal.

But that's not all. Does this story sound familiar?

Joe Bologna was the son, grandson and nephew of bootblacks. His grandfather Giuseppe Bologna was the author of “At the Feet of the Mighty: A Bootblack’s Biography,” and Joe’s uncle Pat Bologna recalled giving investment advice to Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. that helped Kennedy avoid the financial devastation of the 1929 crash. Kennedy remembered it with a slightly different point of view. “When the shoeshine boys have tips,” he said, “the stock market is too popular for its own good.”

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Glen Campbell is dead at age 81.

Did you know about his association with the Beach Boys? From his New York Times obit (my emphasis):

But his skills eventually took him into the recording studios as a session musician, and for six years he provided accompaniment for a host of famous artists, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, Rick Nelson and groups like the Beach Boys and the Mamas and the Papas.

After playing on many Beach Boys sessions, Mr. Campbell became a touring member of the band in late 1964, when its leader, Brian Wilson, decided to leave the road to concentrate on writing and recording. He remained a Beach Boy into the first few months of 1965.

Since the news... a little slow (thank God!) -- except for the part about launching a nuclear first strike against North Korea -- and since I just mentioned how I don't expect to go to many high school football games on Friday nights this year, I thought I'd take a look at this year's schedule and see if there are any good matchups on Saturday afternoons. (Fortunately for me, Loyola and Glenbard West still play their home games on Saturday.) And whaddaya know? It doesn't look too bad. (Last year's records are in parentheses and home teams are in CAPS).

Week One: Maine South (11-3) at GLENBARD WEST (10-3).
This one's a no-brainer: last year's 8A champ vs. 2015's 7A winner at one of the nicest stadiums in the Chicago area. Plus, I don't think the two schools have ever played each other. 

Week Two: Bye (I'll be at a wedding).
But if I weren't, Muskegon, Michigan (12-2) at STEVENSON (8-2) looks interesting. The Big Reds were ranked No. 6 in the state of Michigan last year by MaxPreps.

Week Three: Mount Carmel (8-5) at LOYOLA (13-1).
Should require no explanation, although Phillips (11-2) at SIMEON (8-6) could be good too.

Week Four: Bye (I'll be out of town for another wedding).

Week Five: Fenwick (11-2) at LOYOLA (13-1).
Could this be the year the Friars upset the big, bad Ramblers?

Week Six: St. Edward, Lakewood, Ohio (9-3) at NAPERVILLE CENTRAL (4-5).
St. Edward was No. 9 in the state of Ohio last year according to MaxPreps; the Redhawks, despite a losing record in 2016, are always tough. This could be a good interstate matchup.

Week Seven: Hinsdale Central (9-1) at GLENBARD WEST (10-3).
The Red Devils defeated the Hitters last year by only a point in Week Six for the first time in forever. Can they make it two years in a row?
Week Eight: Carmel (5-5) at ST. PATRICK (4-5).
Despite last year's so-so records, this East Suburban Catholic tilt could be a sleeper. And October 14 could be positively gorgeous in Chicago; don't sit inside and watch some random college game on TV!

Week Nine: Brother Rice (9-3) at LOYOLA (13-1).
Once again, a Catholic League Blue showdown like this should require no explanation. And what if both squads are undefeated by this point?

Have I missed any?

Monday, August 7, 2017

I finished Season Four...

...of Mad Men and there's a scene in the last episode in which two of the characters go to Whisky a Go Go in West Hollywood. My Doors antenna immediately went up, of course, and I checked in which year this season was supposed to take place. It's between November 1964 and October 1965, and the Doors didn't become the house band at the Whisky until at least 1966. Darn!

Oh, well, it's still a good opportunity to revisit the video above in which Ray Manzarek recalls the night the band was fired from the club. Worth a watch!

A few thoughts on a random...

...Monday morning about blogging, Twitter, high school football, New Yorker cartoons and whatever else happens to cross my mind. (The first of which is that that isn't even a complete sentence. Whatever.)

In case you haven't noticed, I've been blogging quite a bit less lately. Is it writer's block, bloggers' burnout (a term I just invented) after eight years at the keyboard, Trump fatigue (how is anyone supposed to keep up with the constant stream of outrageous news nowadays?), or is it something else?

And I'm guessing it's the last one. (Mostly.) Like a lot of people, I think, I've been quietly migrating to Twitter. Where in the past I may have read a good piece and written a blog post in reference to it, I now either quote key sentences of it on Twitter or make my comments while linking to the piece. It's probably not necessary to write an entire post around one central idea so I think I've been Tweeting my thoughts instead of blogging them.

While I'll still try to post my Names of the Day and recognize noteworthy obituaries, I really and truly believe the cartoons in the New Yorker just haven't been that good lately. It's not like I've forgotten them; I still look at them every Monday -- they're just not that funny and therefore not worth posting.

And then there's high school football. I've got my eye on that Maine South at Glenbard West matchup on opening weekend in three weeks, but I think I'm going to consider myself at least semi-retired on the subject. Friday nights are too hard for me to drive all over to see a game, and, frankly, I think I may have just gotten the whole thing out of my system (watching it and writing about it). We'll see.

So while I'm not ending this blog by any means (this is no Andrew Sullivanesque statement!), I think I have to acknowledge that I'm writing less and will probably continue writing less in the future. As I alluded in the second paragraph, eight years is a pretty good run. Thanks for reading!