Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The First Video Game - Pong

Ta da.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Go Cubs, Go #GoCubsGo

You may say this is a corny song.  You likely are right.  But I love it:

Maybe if you knew its history...

Steve Goodman.  An American folk music singer-songwriter.  From Chicago, Illinois.  The writer of "City of New Orleans," made popular by Arlo Guthrie.  Winner of two Grammy Awards.  And a diehard Chicago Cubs baseball fan. 

In long-suffering mode, he wrote this song and sang it from one of the Wrigley Field rooftops:

He smiles as he sings it.  It brings him joy, even with its lyrics of hopelessness.

"Year after year after year."  "After year after year after year."

People didn't know Steve Goodman was dying from leukemia back then.  It made the song have a double meaning, once Chicago found out.

The Cubbies banned the song from Wrigley Field.  Later, on the radio, Steve Goodman agreed to write a new song.

And so was born "Go Cubs Go."

I love how the Cubs go from the "doormat" of the National League in one song to winning it in the next.  I love its joyful tone, and joyful lyrics too.

Steve Goodman died on September 20, 1984 - just months after writing "Go Cubs Go" and just four days before the Cubs went to their first playoff appearance in decades.  His brother did try to spread his ashes as he asked. The wind blew, and it didn't quite work.  So goes the story.

"Go Cubs Go" has been the Cubs' theme song at various times, most recently now - 2016.  It's Steve Goodman's voice that plays.  The announcers give time, before doing post-game analysis, to allow the song to play through - and allow the fans to sing along - when the Cubbies win at Wrigley Field.

Of all years, this one makes "Go Cubs Go" particularly poignant.  If Steve Goodman hadn't written the song about his long-time suffering, we would not have such an optimistic song now.

Life can be tough as a Cubbies' fan.  Not this year.  Not too bad.

Yes, they get paid oodles of dollars to play.  But doesn't it feel like they also are playing because they love the game so much? 

So yes - "Go Cubs Go" may be a corny song. But I love it.  Steve Goodman would love it too - would love to hear it played, game after game, win after win - would love to watch the home runs land out on Waveland Avenue, like they do right now.

This song matches this team right now. I suppose, in a way, it always will - just like a Dying Cub's Fan Last Request is the team's iconic match, on the opposite side of the coin.

Hey Chicago! What do you say? The Cubs are going to win today!


Friday, June 24, 2016

70th Anniversary

An anniversary today. The 70th. Of the bus crash that took nine vibrant lives, of the Spokane Indians' baseball players back from World War II - playing the game they loved, waiting for a turn at the Show. I found the story and wrote a novel and screenplay, imagining their spirits living on. A silver lining. But every year on this day, my heart still weighs heavy. They were great men who played good ball, who loved their families, their town, their country and their game. They had a way of winning when down in the Ninth. What spirit. Still so missed by those they loved. RIP.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Earth Landing

This is amazing:

Here it is, from our view:


Sunday, May 15, 2016

70 Years Ago Today

70 years ago - May 15, 1946: The Indians' team came from behind, tied it in the Ninth, and won it in 12. It was that kind of season, that kind of team. They saw a destiny. 40 days later, their bus crashed and nine died. Destiny's detour. Here are pages about that May 15th win - the first pages I ever wrote in my novel about these men, UNTIL THE END OF THE NINTH:


Monday, March 14, 2016


If your name is Scruffy, you must either be ugly or ironically beautiful.

The Scruff I knew was the latter.

He was a gentleman, too - a gracious host, a kind soul. 

He lived a long life, in greyhound years.  His life's beginning was stressful I'm sure - at the tracks, bred to race, caged when he was not in a race.  It is a difficult life for these sleek, fast dogs who only look to please, and connect.

His second life was not much better, as far as we know.  It did bring him Ivy - what a good girl she was, another greyhound from the track - a powerful chest, and runner.  They were adopted to a home, as happens with retired greyhounds, but it was a home that did not work.  By the time Scruff and Ivy were returned, they would not leave the other's side.  I've wondered often what happened there.

It was in his third life that I met him - with Ivy by his side.  My friends adopted the two together.  They had had other greyhounds before, saved from the track, to live with love and comfort in their final years.  It was time for a new pair - a male, a female - one of each.  My friends understood that, by that time, Scruffy and Ivy came as a pair.  They liked it that way.  It was a perfect match.

I'm assured I was Scruffy's favorite visitor.  I'm sure he wouldn't play favorites like that.  He was too much of a gentleman.  But I did love how he would stand at the window in the mud room when he heard my car drive up, and how he would dance a little dance as he watched me walk up the driveway to his house.  I loved how, once the greetings calmed down, he still stood with me and leaned into me as I stood.  I knew, always, to give him some moments to lean - to give us both those moments.  When he finally would pull away, I would be sad.  Yes, it was time to stop the greeting.  But it was a such a nice moment, each time.  

My friends thought of changing Scruff's name.  After all, he was a beautiful tan - nearly elegant in stature - not Scruffy in any way.  But a name change never came.  He answered to Scruff, wagged his tail when he heard that name, and seemed so grateful that this name was said with love, that there seemed no need to change it.  We all knew how pristinely beautiful he was.  My friends didn't need to change his name to know that.  And all that mattered to Scruff was protecting Ivy, loving his new family, and appreciating the gift of his new, comfortable life.  So Scruff he stayed.

Scruff had a fourth life too.  It was after Ivy died.  She died abruptly, unexpectedly, on a walk - while relishing life as she always did.  It was devastating to lose her.  It was Scruffy who'd been aging at that point, not Ivy.  But it was Ivy who passed, who was sorely missed by everyone - I think by Scruffy most of all.

We worried that, without his Ivy girl, Scruff would have no will for life.

But he did.

When Ocho came, she lightened his world.  She was almost a puppy, compared to him.  He was not quite sure what to make of the brindle-colored little greyhound, but then again - well, he was Scruff. He was the gentle gentleman, humble in spirit, kind, aware - always aware - and he welcomed her to his house, to Ivy's place, just as you would expect from such a grand boy. 

I ended up moving away, and so saw him less.  I came to visit a time or two and watched he and Ocho do so well together.  We'd go for walks - short ones, now.  Scruff couldn't go far.  I'd still get my greeting, though - the dance, and the lean. 

The last time I came, I saw him through the window in the mud room.  "Hey, Scruffy," I said.  "Hi, honey...."  He lifted his head, struggled to his feet, and stood at the door, dancing his dance, slowly now but still with a lift in his step.   As I opened the door, he came to my side and leaned in to my leg.  We stood there awhile, until he had to lie back down.  I stroked his beautiful fur, and talked with my friends of his sweet spirit.  He listened, I think, while he napped.

Scruffy passed away a month or so ago.  It was his time, so it was all right.  I'm going to his house soon.  I won't see him, I know.  But I will look for a flash of light that dances in the mud room just as I arrive to the home that he loved so much.