Archive for September, 2008

Firsts

September 5th, 2008

My son is nearly five and a half years old. Over the past couple weeks, I have enjoyed watching him with pride conquer a few firsts.

  • Last week he started kindergarten.
  • He rode the school bus for the first time.
  • He went bowling.
  • He played a video game (Wii bowling)
  • He visited an archaeological dig of a found mastodon
  • He saw jets take off and land at O’Hare
  • He saw his first Cubs game at Wrigley Field

These things are all rites of passage in their own right. Kindergarten is a biggie of course. The day he took the bus for the first time, I took off work to race to meet him when the bus delivered him back home at 3:15. I was there with the other parents, video camera ready, to meet the triumphant little warrior upon return to his kingdom. The bus pulled up, he got off and promptly asked to go play with his neighbor friend. No special day, no special reception, no stories, no ice cream, nothing. With a passing sigh I said that would be fine. In this moment I realized my boy is growing up.

A dad taking his son to his first ballgame was as meaningful to me as it was to him. I never did it much with my dad as he isn’t much of a baseball fan. It was my mother who lived and died with each pitch of Cubs baseball for much of the past half century. It was she who was my Cubbie buddy, going to maybe a dozen games a year or so from when I was about seven years of age. Back then the Cubs were a miserable team and the games were poorly attended. We would wake up on a summers day and go about our morning in the usual way. Then around 10am or so, she’d say “do you want to go to the ballgame today?”.  This was music to my young ears. “Yeah!” And we would grab a light jacket if the calendar didn’t say July or August because ‘it’s always 10 degrees colder at the ballpark’, she would tell me, and make it to Wrigley well in advance of the 1:05 first pitch.

We would walk a block from our home to the Loyola L station and hop a train South to Addison (always an A and B stop on game day) and arrive at Wrigley Field a few minutes later.  We would walk right up and by a General Admission Grandstand ticket only to immediately trade up to Reserved Grandstand upon entering the main concourse of the old ballpark. Our seats would always be part way up the third base line, several rows behind the Cubs dugout. There was never any problem getting in, and getting a great seat.  In the mid-1970’s they often didn’t even open the upper deck unless it was a weekend!

So taking my boy to his first game was really special for me, and I think he too thought it was significant. We had a great time even though the Cubs would get clobbered. (they went on to win their next 7 straight games) We saw two Cubs hit home runs which was quite thrilling to see. He had never been in a crowd that big before, nor had he ever experienced the crescendo of cheers that goes along with a home run by the home team.

It was a great day to be sure, even if my boy was more interested in the six – count ’em six! – cotton candy vendors that were roaming the seats in Wrigley Field that day!

Cotton Candy at Wrigley Field

“In a world…”

September 2nd, 2008

This guy was to the movie industry what Ernie Anderson was to ABC TV and John Facenda was to NFL Films…

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A well known voice in Hollywood has been silenced. Don LaFontaine, best known for his appearance in the Geico commercials, died Monday.

He was known as the “King of Voiceovers” and made famous through thousands of movie trailers. He is most famous for the line, “In a world…”.

The cause of death is not official yet, but his agent says he died from a collapsed lung.

He recorded almost 5,000 movie trailers and nearly 350,000 commercials, programs, files, and other presentations. His most recent work included Geico Insurance commercials where he was referred to as “that announcer guy”.

He is survived by his wife, singer/actress Nita Whitaker, and three children.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

This is what I’m talkin’ about

September 2nd, 2008

From WatcherOfTheSkies:

Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown reports: At a press avail in Monroe, Mich., Barack Obama on Palin: “Back off these kinds of stories.”

“I have said before and I will repeat again: People’s families are off limits,” Obama said. “And people’s children are especially off-limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin’s performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. So I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know my mother had me when she was 18 and how a family deals with issues and teenage children, that shouldn’t be a topic of our politics.”

On charges that his campaign has stoked the story via liberal blogs:

“I am offended by that statement. There is no evidence at all that any of this involved us,” he said. “Our people were not involved in any way in this, and they will not be. And if I thought there was somebody in my campaign who was involved in something like that, they would be fired.”

Yes, brilliance from a brilliant man and my preferred Presidential candidate. Rise above the fray, take the high road.  Still, the devil in me enjoys the irony of Sarah Palin’s Republican “Family Values” beliefs coming home to roost.  Karma train comin’ through!