Doomsday Scenario

The Big Ten announced yesterday it was postponing its fall sports season, including football, because of concerns about competing during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It becomes the first Power Five conference to postpone and follows the MAC, who postponed their season last week, and the Mountain West conference, as well as Massachusetts and Connecticut, both football independents, who canceled their falls seasons this week.

Illinois recently announced it had 23 athletes, including 18 football players, test positive since June.  Northwestern paused workouts earlier this month after one player tested positive and 37 players were quarantined, until it was determined the test was a false positive.  Michigan State quarantined its entire team after 16 players tested positive, and Rutgers halted workouts after players reportedly contracted COVID-19 while attending a party, raising the team’s positive cases to 28.  A dozen Big Ten football players had previously opted out, including Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons and Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore.

The conference hopes to move the fall sports to the spring, assuming the pandemic lightens up and allows for it.

You Ought To Be In (10) Pictures


Many years ago, using the weekly TV guide that came with the Sunday Chicago Tribune, I started keeping track of all of the movies I had seen over the course of my lifetime.  The guide would list the two main stars for each movie, and that is a tradition that I’ve carried on in my database ever since.  So, given those guidelines, and thanks to a corona virus inspired uptick to my movie watching this year, it is time to look at the 100 actors that have starred in at least 10 films that I have seen, as of July 1.

Today, we start with the 27 actors that have starred in 10 movies that I have seen, a slight increase from the 22 at this level 3 years ago.

Jessica Alba

After a string of 8 films in 6 years in the mid 2000s, there has been nothing new for Jessica Alba since I saw her in 2010’s Valentine’s Day in 2011.

Dan Aykroyd

No change in Aykroyd’s total, with it going on 18 years since I last saw one of his starring roles.

Elizabeth Banks

Our first new entry, Banks first graced my screen in a starring role in 2006 thanks to The Baxter.  After a dry spell in the early 2010s, she bounced back with 7 films in 5 years, finishing up with 2018’s The Happytime Murders, which I saw in 2019.

Kate Beckinsale

It’s been a quiet 3 years for Beckinsale, who I last saw in Underworld: Blood Wars in early 2017.

Halle Berry

Another newcomer, who has racked up starring roles in 4 different decades now.  I first saw Berry in 1992’s Boomerang, which I saw in a screening at Stewart Center at school.  After notching 5 films during the 2000’s, she had been pretty quiet until returning to my screen earlier this year in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.

Chevy Chase Continue reading →

iTunes Top 200: #11 – 19

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.

We break in to the the top 20 today, with the last batch of songs that scored less than 100 listens since my stats began in late 2007.

#19: Metallica – Harvester Of Sorrow
iTunes stats: 59 plays, most recently on 10/10/2019
Previous ranking: #15

Released as the first single from the band’s fourth studio album, it was used as the at-bat music for former White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko for the majority of his career.

#19: Foo Fighters – My Hero
iTunes stats: 59 plays, most recently on 10/14/2019
Previous ranking: #21

The highest ranking tune from the Foo Fighters, up 2 spots from four years ago, is this live version from their previously mentioned concert in London’s Hyde Park.

#18: Nancy Faust – Take Me Out To The Ballgame
iTunes stats: 60 plays, most recently on 3/28/2019
Previous ranking: #14

A slight decrease for the final 7th inning stretch performance of Nancy Faust’s career as White Sox organist.

#17: The Lonely Island – Natalie’s Rap (ft. Natalie Portman & Chris Parnell)
iTunes stats: 63 plays, most recently on 2/14/2019
Previous ranking: #15

A slight drop for the second digital short from The Lonely Island, which featured Natalie Portman playing against type as a lewd gangsta.

#16: Purdue “All-American” Marching Band – Hail, Purdue!
iTunes stats: 71 plays, most recently on 10/25/2019
Previous ranking: #17

A slight increase for this older version of the Purdue fight song, used during my time at the school.

#15: Purdue “All-American” Marching Band – Hail Purdue
Continue reading →

200 Things To Do In Illinois – Fighting Illini Basketball

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 Sports category: Fighting Illini Basketball, from Champaign, IL.

Get swept up in Big 10 school spirit at the University of Illinois’ recently renovated State Farm Center.  The space-shiplike dome contains an intense student section, the Orange Krush, created at the urging of former coach Lou Henson in the mid-1970s.

Decades later, the Krush conyinues to put the squeeze on opposing teams with an intimidating sea of orange and trademark cheers.

I’ve attended 2 Fighting Illini home basketball games, one in 2016 and the second this past January.  In both cases, I’ve left the State Farm Center disappointed as the Illini managed to defeat my beloved Purdue Boilermakers.  With Danny now committed to Purdue, there probably isn’t a reason why I’d need to go back to Champaign to see another game.

iTunes Top 200: #41 – 47

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.

With three quarters of the chart finished, we enter the home stretch today, cracking the top 50 starting songs with more than 40 plays, according to my iTunes stats dating back to late 2007.

#47: 2Pac & Dr. Dre – California Love
iTunes stats: 41 plays, most recently on 10/20/2019
Previous ranking: #41

A small slip n the rankings for this team-up to celebrate 2Pac joining Death Row Records after getting released from jail in 1995.

#47: Weird Al Yankovic – White & Nerdy
iTunes stats: 41 plays, most recently on 10/26/2019
Previous ranking: #46

A parody of the song Ridin’ by Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone, which became Weird Al’s first ever top 10 hit.

#47: Snoop Dogg – Gin and Juice
iTunes stats: 41 plays, most recently on 12/9/2019
Previous ranking: #79

A strong rise in the rankings for this 1994 hit from Snoop Dogg, which also appears on Volume 13 of my mix tapes.

#47: Metallica – Wherever I May Roam
iTunes stats: 44 plays, most recently on 9/25/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

Used by David Robertson as his entry music, which got it added to some editions of my White Sox victory playlist, enabled this Metallica tune to make an impressive debut.

#43: Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back
iTunes stats: 42 plays, most recently on 10/26/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

The classic ode to large backsides, which also appears on Volume 6 of my mix tapes, makes a strong debut on the list.

#43: Purdue “All-American” Marching Band  – Go Purdue Cheer
Continue reading →

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.

Continue reading →

Ballpark Tour: Reds

Spring training is in full swing and opening day is coming up in a little less than 3 weeks, as we continue our tour of all of the baseball stadiums I’ve been to over the years.  My most visited city, outside of Chicago, for baseball contains the homes of the Cincinnati Reds.  Between the two stadiums that have been located on the riverfront of the Ohio River, I’ve seen 8 games.  So, without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at my history with Cinergy Field and Great American Ball Park.

Stadium Name: Riverfront Stadium/Cinergy Field

Years in Service: 1970 – 2002

Visits: 1

Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati’s version of the cookie cutter stadium that popped up in the late 60s and early 70s, opened on June 30, 1970 as the Reds hosted the Atlanta Braves.  In 1996, the stadium was renamed Cinergy Field thanks to a sponsorship deal with the local energy company.  Prior to the 2001 season, after the Bengals moved to their new home down the street, the stadium was reconfigured for baseball-only use, and portions of the outfield stands were removed to make room for the construction of the Reds’ new home, the future Great American Ball Park.  The 2002 season was the final one for the stadium, with the final game played on September 22 and the stadium was imploded on December 29.

In 2000, Ken Griffey Jr. joined the Cincinnati Reds, which put two of the most feared sluggers in the game in the NL Central.  When Sammy Sosa and the Chicago Cubs were scheduled to make an opening week visit to Cincinnati in 2000 to face Griffey for the first time, the idea a roadtrip was hatched.  Friday, April 7, 2000 started with Krispy Kreme donuts at the house before heading towards Cincinnati.  Along the way, there was a brief stop at Purdue. because why not, and the trifecta of a KFC/Taco Bell/Pizza Hut seemed like a good place to stop for lunch.  We arrived in Cincinnati well before the stadium opened, so some time was spent walking around the bustling metropolis that was, and continues to be, Cincinnati.

Our tickets were in the upper deck and, to be honest, I have little to no recollection of the game itself.  My one and only memory of the game is losing my balance and tumbling down 5-10 rows, landing on a group of fans below.  Certainly not my proudest moment.  I do recall some of the drive home after the game, which included listening to the White Sox/A’s game where Jose Valentin committed a number of errors for the eventual AL Central champs.

Stadium Name: Great American Ball Park

Years in Service: 2003 – Present

Visits: 7

After 32 1/2 seasons at Riverfront Stadium, the Reds moved next door to the newly built Great American Ball Park for the 2003 season, opening against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Bronze statues of former stars Joe Nuxhall, Ernie Lombardi, Ted Kluszewski, and Frank Robinson are located in front of the main entrance.

Less than a month into the stadium’s existence, I made my first trip to the GABP with my friend Scott, who had moved to the Cincinnati area, to see the Reds take on the Padres.  The next season, the Cubs opened their season in Cincinnati against the Reds, so another trip was in order, where Vice President Dick Cheney threw out the first pitch..  In August of 2005, I attended the Reds game against the Diamondbacks, kicking off a string of 3 stadiums in 3 states in 9 days.  In 2006, the Cubs once again opened their season on the road against the Reds and again it constituted a road trip down to see, where this time President George W Bush threw out the first pitch.  I made a return trip that summer for interleague play to see the White Sox battle the Reds.  In 2007, when the Cubs were looking the clinch the division, I made the trip down, but missed it by one day.  The next year, I made my final, to date, trip down to Cincinnati and saw the Rockies defeat the Reds.

Of all the newer stadiums that have opened over the past 20 years, Great American Ball Park does not often illicit the praise that the others get.  However, I like it.  It’s a fine place to see a game and has plenty of the modern amenities that are required here in the 21st century.  I wouldn’t hesitate to return, despite the fact that it has been over 11 years since I’ve been there.

The Decade In Exercise

The 2010s have drawn to a close and its time to take a look back at the previous decade. Today, we finish off the series with exercise, specifically my step performance between 2010 and 2019. I started tracking my daily step totals in July of 2011, thanks to a program at work that ““encourages you to track your steps and help you to focus on your fitness in a simple and accessible way.”  The GlobalFit Destination: You program lasted until late January, 2015.  At the point, I had enough invested that I wanted to continue, so, after looking at a couple of options, I purchased my first Fitbit as a replacement option.  The rest of the decade used one of 4 Fitbits I’ve had (with the most recent coming this past Christmas), giving me about 8 1/2 years of data for the decade.

In just over 3 1/2 years on the GlobalFit program, I finished with 6,511,500 steps.  This estimates out to about 35,197 steps per week, or 5028 steps per day.  My best day came during a 2013 trip to Disney World, where excursions to both Epcot Center and the Magic Kingdom ended with 24,988 steps.  I finished with 45 days over 10,000 steps, 4 days over 15,000 steps, and 2 days over 20,000 steps.  Over the last year and a half, my highest weekly total was 60,216, thanks to a trip to southern California in 2014, and my lowest total was a mere 15,800, thanks to a long Christmas vacation that caused me to lose data before I could check back in at work.



For the nearly 5 years remaining in the decade, I put up 13,041,430 steps tracked with a Fitbit.  That averages out to roughly 2.6 million steps per year, or 50,159 steps per week, or 7165 steps per day, over a 2000 step increase over the GlobalFit program.  My best day came during a 2018 trip to New York, where the day’s excursions included trips to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, Central Park, the Guggenheim museum, and, finally, the Empire State Building.  I finished with 216 days over 10,000 steps, 36 days over 15,000 steps, and 11 days over 20,000 steps.  My highest weekly total was 105,924, thanks to a trip to Washington DC last summer, and my lowest total was a mere 18,510, which really only consisted of 3 days as I switched over from GlobalFit to Fitbit.

Overall, I logged 19,552,930 steps in the 8 1/2 years I was keeping track, with 261 days over 10,000 steps, 40 days over 15,000, and 13 days over 20,000.  I completed 2 BTN 5Ks, 4 Sprint & Strides, 1 hike up a mountain, and numerous trips to foreign countries, amusement parks, and tourist destinations.  My highest step total by locations were: Continue reading →

The Decade In College Sports

The 2010s have drawn to a close and its time to take a look back at the previous decade.  Today, we are wrapping things up with college athletics, specifically football and basketball.  On the gridiron, this was not a particularly successful ten years for the boys in gold and black, with only 4 bowl games, none of which were particularly prestigious.  Things were considerably brighter on the hardwood, with 8 appearances in the NCAA tournament, including 2 losses in the Sweet Sixteen and 1 Elite Eight appearance.  Not to mention 2 Big Ten regular season titles.

I only managed to take in 3 football game over the past 10 years, all at Ross-Ade Stadium.  The home team managed to win only the first of those, and were frankly somewhat embarrassed in the other two.

Team Records
Team Won Loss Winning Percentage
Northern Illinois Huskies 1 0 1.000
Illinois Fighting Illini 1 1 0.500
Purdue Boilermakers 1 2 0.333

Things were a little better on the basketball side.  I made it to 9 different contests over the course of the decade, at 5 different arenas.  Of those 9, 4 were tournament games.  Purdue was involved in 8 of the 9 games, mostly against the Illini.

Team Records
Team Won Loss Winning Percentage
Virginia Commonwealth Rams 1 0 1.000
Northwestern Wildcats 1 0 1.000
Butler Bulldogs 1 0 1.000
Purdue Boilermakers 5 3 0.625
Illinois Fighting Illini 1 3 0.250
Vermont Catamounts 0 1 0.000
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 0 1 0.000
Iowa State Cyclones 0 1 0.000

Fitbit 6: Week 1

We kick off the 6th year of Fitbit use with yet another down week, though I continue to trend in the right direction.  The week got off to a better than usual  start on Sunday, with 3800 steps, thanks to my trip to the Chicago Magic Lounge the night before which kept me out past midnight.  Monday managed to just slip past my old/continuing goal of 7500 steps, despite a double whammy of PI planning in the morning and a DevOps workshop in the afternoon.  Tuesday was not as lucky, as I was only able to score 5600 steps.  Wednesday was a nice bounce back, with 7600 steps on the nose as we wrapped up PI planning.  The workshop wrapped up on Thursday, though I managed to net over 9300 steps.  Friday combined a morning trip to the Tech Café with an afternoon coffee run to score 8700 steps.  Saturday was another disappointment, getting only 4000 steps despite a trip to Evanston for the Purdue/Northwestern basketball game.

Total steps: 46,827

Daily average: 6689.6