200 Things To Do In Illinois – Ravinia

Illinois celebrated its bicentennial as a state in December of 2018.  To celebrate, the Chicago Tribune published the Bicentennial Bucket List: 200 Things To Do In Illinois, celebrating the best the state has to offer in history, food, architecture, culture, sports, nature, drink, and oddities.  With the state still shut down due to the corona virus outbreak, I figured this was the second-best time to look through this collection and cover the ones I’ve done/eaten/seen.

We kick things off with one of the entries from the Culture category: Ravinia, from Highland Park, IL.


The oldest outdoor music festival in North America draws 600,000 listeners each summer – many touting picnic baskets, blankets, and lawn chairs to stake their claim on the manicured grounds of the 36-acre park.

Performers across a panoply of musical genres have graced the pavilion stage at this summer crib of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Ravinia is a summer tradition for people on the North Shore.  Growing up on the south side, it really didn’t enter my consciousness at all, at least until I started working up north after college.  Even then, I managed to avoid going for 20 years.  Until Garbage and Blondie came to town in 2017 for their Rage and Rapture Tour.  This was my 6th Garbage show, and the first outdoors.  Shirley Manson and the boys did not disappoint, putting together a strong set and overcoming a crowd that seemed more interested in sitting down and relaxing than rocking out.  We abandoned the pavilion for Blondie’s portion of the show, roaming the grounds before eventually heading back to the train for the ride back in to Chicago.  I’m sure I’ll go back again someday, but nothing has drawn me up north just yet.

RIP Farmio

The White Sox announced yesterday that long-time radio broadcaster Ed Farmer had passed away Wednesday night.  Farmer, who missed parts of last season due to illness, returned for the initial broadcast of spring training earlier this year, but then stepped away again in early March to continue recovering.  He was 70.

Farmer, a Chicago native and graduate of St. Rita, pitched for the White Sox from mid-1979 through 1981 and set a then-team record with 30 saves in 1980, earning him an All-Star team bid for the best season of his 11 year pitching career.  He was working as a scout for the Orioles in 1990 when he was asked to fill in on a few White Sox broadcasts.  He became a special assistant to White Sox GM Ron Schueler in 1991 and filled in for John Rooney when he was on national assignments.

Farmer replaced Wayne Hagin in the radio booth in 1992, teaming with Rooney for the next 14 seasons.  In 2004, the duo were named the best radio team in the American League by USA Today.  When Rooney left following the 2005 season, Farmer became the play-by-play man and teamed with Chris Singleton, Steve Stone, and Darrin Jackson, who has been his radio partner since 2009.

Farmer was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease and received a kidney transplant from his brother in 1991.

London Calling No More

The latest casualty of the corona virus pandemic is the June series in London between the Cubs and the Cardinals.  Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement yesterday in a message sent to MLB employees.  The league had previously announced the cancelation of series in Mexico City and San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Assuming the season starts at some point, those games will be played in St. Louis.

MLB played in Europe for the first time last June, when the Yankees swept a pair of games from the Red Sox in London.  No official word on 2021, but there is at least one report that MLB will try again next year with the Cubs and Cardinals.

Fitbit 6: Week 9

Week 2 of sheltering in place due to the corona virus yielded similar, if slightly better results.  The week got off to a slow start on Sunday, as I managed to barely surpass 2000 steps.  Monday was a little better, as I got up to 2500 steps.  Tuesday was another improvement, going up over 3000 steps.  The weather cooperated on Wednesday, leading to an after-work walk around the neighborhood with put me up over 6600 steps, my highest total since this whole mess started.  Despite colder weather, I managed a shorter walk on Thursday, which left me around 5200 steps.  Friday brought rain, which kept me inside all day and left me back down at 2600 steps.  I got out of the house on Saturday for a trip to the bank and the grocery store, which netted me steps despite the rain.

Total steps: 26,260

Daily average: 3751.4

iTunes Top 200: #79 – 89

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs in my iTunes library. Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

Today, we wrap up the final two songs with 36 plays and move on to the first group of songs with 37 plays, according to my iTunes stats dating back to late 2007.

#89: Cracker – Low
iTunes stats: 35 plays, most recently on 10/26/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

A nice debut for the first single from Kerosene Hat, which reached #3 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and appears on Volume 12 of my mixtapes.

#89: Cher with Beavis & Butt-head – I Got You Babe
iTunes stats: 35 plays, most recently on 10/9/2019
Previous ranking: #65

This remake featuring the cartoon duo also appeared on Volume 12 of my mix tapes.

#79: The White Stripes – Fell In Love With A Girl
iTunes stats: 36 plays, most recently on 10/22/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

A nice debut for the tune which peaked at number 21 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.

#79: Tegan and Sara – I Hear Noises
iTunes stats: 36 plays, most recently on 9/25/2019
Previous ranking: #44

This tune was my initial introduction to the Canadian songstresses.

#79: Styx – Come Sail Away
iTunes stats: 36 plays, most recently on 7/15/2019
Previous ranking: #46

A small drop for the Chicago band, which, while never an official part of my victory playlist, would get pulled out on days former White Sox pitcher Chris Sale would pitch and win.

#79: Mott The Hoople – All The Young Dudes
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Hail Hail To Old Purdue

Friday night, I got a phone call that brightened my day.  After much deliberation, Danny had decided that he will be attending my alma mater, Purdue University, in the fall.  We’ve made numerous trips down to West Lafayette over the years, for football and basketball games and, most recently, for a campus visit.

Assuming he joins the band, there will probably be many more trips over these next four years and in increase in football game attendance.

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200 Things To Do In Illinois – Chicago Sports Museum

Illinois celebrated its bicentennial as a state in December of 2018.  To celebrate, the Chicago Tribune published the Bicentennial Bucket List: 200 Things To Do In Illinois, celebrating the best the state has to offer in history, food, architecture, culture, sports, nature, drink, and oddities.  With the state still shut down due to the corona virus outbreak, I figured this was the second-best time to look through this collection and cover the ones I’ve done/eaten/seen.

We continue things this week with one of the entries from the Sports category: Chicago Sports Museum, from Chicago, IL.

Take a break from the sport of shopping to check out this museum on the seventh floor of Water Tower Place.  Peruse an impressive collection of Cubs 2016 World Series memorabilia, including Grandpa Rossy’s Game 7 catcher’s gear.

All of the city’s major sports teams are represented in interactive exhibits and virtual reality games, where you can shoot hoops with Scottie Pippen and do a quarterback challenge with Richard Dent.

On July 5, 2018, the family headed down to the city to see Heartbreak Hotel at the Broadway Playhouse.  Before the show, we ate dinner at Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch, which is connected to the Chicago Sports Museum on the 7th level of Water Tower Place.  While there were some interesting pieces in the museum, including Steve Stone’s Cy Young Award and Sammy Sosa’s corked bat, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a must-do attraction.  If you’re looking to kill time while in the mall, sure, but it isn’t somewhere I feel the need to visit again.

The Opening Day That Wasn’t

Today should have been be my 20th straight Opening Day at Comiskey Park II/US Cellular Field/Guaranteed Rate Field, and my 23rd overall for the White Sox.  The first one was in 1985, a blowout win against the Red Sox at Comiskey Park that introduced rookie shortstop Ozzie Guillen to Chicago.  Other highlights include the 2005 1-0 victory against the Indians, the raising of the championship banner on Sunday Night Baseball in 2006, and Mark Buehrle’s between-the-legs flip in 2010.

The most frequent opponent has been the Tigers, who are also the only team with a winning record on Opening Day in games I’ve attended.  The other AL Central foes have each appeared at least 3 times.


White Sox Home Opener Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
Chicago White Sox 15 7 0.682
Detroit Tigers 4 2 0.667
Cleveland Indians 2 3 0.400
Minnesota Twins 1 2 0.333
Kansas City Royals 0 3 0.000
Boston Red Sox 0 1 0.000
Tampa Bay Rays 0 1 0.000
Texas Rangers 0 1 0.000
Baltimore Orioles 0 1 0.000
Seattle Mariners 0 1 0.000

Fitbit 6: Week 8

My worst week since Thanksgiving, but at least I can blame it on something other than myself.  Social distancing due to the corona virus was the name of the game, especially come Sunday night when, after 2600 steps, I got the call that I would be working from home for the forseeable future.  The adventure started on Monday, where I managed only 2600 steps.  Tuesday was the high point of the week, with 5600 steps, thanks to going to vote in the IL primary and then the grocery store to stock up on supplies.  Wednesday I was able to spend a little bit more time outside, which netted me 4300 steps.  Rumors dropped on Thursday that a total shelter-in-place warning was on the way, so I ran out to the grocery store to get some additional supplies and finished with 4800 steps.  Friday, I garnered 3700 steps as the shelter-in-place order was announced.  Saturday was a complete dud of a day, falling short of 1500 steps.

Total steps: 25,276

Daily average: 3610.9