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“Happy Birthday, Amurca!”



We got more done yesterday than we thought, so less to do today…but Mother Nature and all the rain she’s sent this way…with apologies to our droughters on the left-coast…I can’t trim my shrubs or put my “Happy Birthday, Amurca!”

cut on my lawn until they dry out some, so…here I am.


Thought I’d start us off with this, as here in ChiTown…


The Rascals – It’s A Beautiful Morning

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Also, no politics, today. This is a FEEL-GOOD posting and, well, you know. Though I would like to share something with all y’all, as well…you’ll see.



-Just about ever’body who’s ever had to take their car to their mechanic for what seemed like a “minor” fix, only to be knee-capped with their telling you the above-captioned words…words which — in and of themselves — are just, well, words…but there’s more…there always is, as the connotation of those words is…”It’s gonna cost ya…BigTime!”.


So with that in mind…read on.

This past Monday, on one of our sojourns which I’d mentioned that we’d be taking, I happened to notice that my door-lock looked as if it were in the “locked” position — pushed down — when the doors were unlocked. So much so that I asked MBH if she’d locked the doors. She responded by asking how she could as she was putting stuff in the back seat and there’s no 4-door locking mechanism on the back doors. OK.


What I had not noticed — then — was the top of the door-lock button had cracked and fallen off. I noticed that a couple days later. No big thing. When I was near a car parts store, I’d get a set.


An aside. Many moons ago; when we was youngins, some cheap ways to “dress-up” a car were: steering-wheel covers; chromed lug-nuts on the wheels and — you guessed it –fancy door lock caps. They’d only set us back a few bucks and our cars looked –well at least in our eyes — cool.


Anyway, I was out and about, Tuesday,  and while outing and abouting realized that I was just a couple minutes from an Advance Auto Parts store so decided to drive on over. Surprisingly, they only had two sets of these caps; one black; one chrome, both with wider diameter centers than mine, so didn’t get them. When I told the guy they were for a Caddie, he said, ahem, “That may be a dealer part”. Pish-posh, thought I! There’s an Auto Zone just 2-blocks up the street. They’ll have them. Hah!

But they did not. Though they had more styles; there were only three and again…the bore was too wide. That guy says, “Caddies are strange, man. That may be a dealer part”.

Pish-pish, posh-posh, thought I! “There’s an “O-O-O, O’Reilly’s” just half-mile south of here. They’ll have them.” And lo and behold, so they did! Checked the diameter bore and it looked to be the same. So I bought two packs of two-caps, figuring since this one wasn’t the same as my originals, I’d change them all but just in case, would do it in their parking lot. I gets to the car; removes the remnant to the old cap and begin screwing on the new one. It felt as if it was holding but also seemed like it was taking forever for it to screw all the way down. So, I pushed it down to the locked position to get more torque as I tightened it. When I felt I’d achieved that, I pulled up and as it unlocked, the cap came off in between my thumb and forefinger. I takes them back; willing to pay for the pack I opened but the nice lady there gave me all my money back. After I thanked her, she sez, “Y’know, that may be a dealer part”. You gettin’ my drift, here?


By then, it’s like 11:00AM and I realize they may be right. Some of you may recall that my last job was located right across the street from a Chevy dealer. I’d bought two cars from them…the one to which I now refer…and had my previous car and kids’ cars serviced there, too, hence they all know me. So, rather than calling all over the place, I called them. I was transferred to their “Parts” department where Tony asked me for my VIN. (Note, I didn’t say VIN Number as that would mean: Vehicle Identification Number Number). Sure enough, that door-lock cap WAS a “Dealer part”.

AND, hah-HAH, he had one. I told him I was on my way.


Ok, let’s recap, so far. Three auto parts stores stops within about a 2-mile radius of each other and home; none have the part…remember, this nothing more than a goofy-assed door-lock cap…now I’m set to drive around 20-miles to the dealer. But hey, he had it!


But that’s not such a bad thing as being that it’s right across from my old job, I decided to drop in on my old comrades in arms. (Too bad it was Tuesday, as one of our new “Ts”, retired the day before and it’d been nice to have seen her on her last day. Too bad.)  Anyway, I get to the dealer, say “Hi!” to the guys in “Service” as I pass through and go over to “Parts”, where Tony is waiting for me. I intro myself; he hands me the package and says, “Let’s see, $10.87 and tax…$11.15.” I say, “Oh, they come in 4-pack, huh? He says, “No. Just one”. By then, I’m worn out but hey, I got my door-lock cap! Right? I put it on and they all match, so good deal! Right?


I go across the street; see my old pals; even have lunch with one and head home, where I relate the cost, etc.,

to MBH. She shrugs and gives me one of those, “What’re you gonna do?” looks.


Yedsterday, as we set out on yet another sojourn in preparation for tomorrow’s celebrations, the following conversation takes place between MBH ‘n’ me:

“Where’d you put the others?”

“What others?”

“The other caps”.

“There aren’t any ‘others’. Just the one.”

“11.15 for just one door-lock cap?”


“Just one cap?”




And that, my dear Twackers is why you should all dread ever hearing your mechanic say, “Sorry but that’s a dealer part.”






-This season-ender went out with a bang, not a whimper.

…Vanessa realized she has a some kind of demon inside her.


…The “Creature”, finally gets his “wife”, when Brona dies from TB.


…Sir Malcolm kills his daughter Mina, declaring to her that s is no longer his daughter and that he, “…has a daughter…”, leaving all to wonder if Vanessa actually IS the product of his trysts with her mother.


…Dorian Grey is, well, Dorian Grey and somehow Vanessa seems to know that.


…But perhaps the most surprising but not so much so…that Ethan Chandler may be “Jack the Ripper” as, well at the very end…the moon reaches its fullness and as two Pinkerton Detectives attempt to play “bounty-hunter” with him for a second time he becomes “Lawrence Talbot” aka “The Werewolf of London”. Which explains how and why he willfully kissed and made love to Brona while he and she both knew she had TB and was dying. He knew but to him if it was TB or not TB, he wasn’t dying from it.


…and Vanessa returns to her Catholic Church to ask the priest if he could perform an exorcism on her.


Please understand, while I am not a fan of the more recent tellings of vampires and werewolves a la teen angst and sexual innuendo, I am a fan of 19th- Century English Lit and this series seems to have hit it on the head. I’ve related to some; maybe y’all that when I first read “Dracula”, as the stage carrying Jonathon Harker to Dracula’s castle drew nearer and nearer, the hair on my arms stood up. This show is close…very close to that.



-Watched “The Sea Hawk”, with Errol Flynn, which we’d DVR’d. It was intro’d as a propaganda piece from 1940, with Philip II, of Spain; his Armada and his threat to England’s survival, substituting for Hitler and his threat to England’s survival.


While quite effective at the time I would think, what I enjoyed was the cinematography and what they did with camera shots to give a 3D effect to some shots. Then there was the climactic, sword-fighting scene between Flynn’s Capt. Thorpe, (supposedly modeled after Sir Francis Drake), and the treasonous Lord Wolfington, played by Henry Daniell, which has been used as a staple of swashbuckling films, as it moves from chamber to chamber of Elizabeth’s castle, Thorpe needing to get the proof of Wolfington’s treason to her; Wolfington needing to kill him before he can…shown in larger-than-life silhouettes against the back wall. I stole a glance down at the bottom of the screen and yes, they actually WERE actually having the swordfight, i.e., it was not any kind of animation.


Thorpe’s “love interest” was the beautiful, “Dona Maria”, a half-Brit/half-Spanish beauty played by the equally beautiful Brenda Marshall.


It was said that this was Winston Churchill’s favorite film. I don’t know if it was a favorite of mine but you can see many shots which were used as models for many “action” films which followed it.


Oh yeah, it was in black and white.






-Are you sitting down, fellow Cubs fans? Are your seat-belts tightened and fastened securely? Not only did they just sweep the Bahstehn Red Sawx; in Bahstehn, which is wickit hahd coah! They went 15-13 for the month of June and are 17-13 or .566 over their last  30-games!

I fully understand that there are those who’re reading this thinking that this is what they are accustomed to seeing and for that, I say, “Good for you!” But around these parts over the past, three seasons, well, us BOHICA-types have had to endure a 198-288 record…90-games UNDER .500 or a .407 W/L.


It seems the Theocrats may — repeat, m-a-y — have done well in at least one their “flip” trades, with their having obtained Jake Arrieta from the O’s. In his last 6-starts, he is 5-1 with a 1.81 ERA; 76Ks and, got those seat belts tightened, only 16-walks. Years ago, if a pitcher struck out twice as many as he walked, he was considered pretty effective. That said, he hasn’t been seen by many teams this year, so time will tell. But for now, this guy’s worth watching.


I heard a discussion about Cubs pitching coach, Chris Bosio and how he’s been able to get guys from other teams to be effective with such a road-apple team behind them. It’s said he has T-Tom’s “See the ball/Hit the ball”: hitting philosophy with his pitchers. He simplifies things for them. They’re not out there “over-thinking”. It’s just “rock-and-fire”. Who knows? Will say though that Smarj’s better since he arrived. And some whom they’ve traded aren’t doing as well.


That said, the non-waiver trade deadline is July 31st. Just saw an item that there will be many more “buyers” than “sellers”, which means — and this is sposetabe good news, Cubs fans — it’ll be a sellers market. So, despite all I’ve just written — and I haven’t gotten to Rizzo, yet — don’t be surprised to see Smarj, Hammel, and any number of others are singing “Happy Trails”. Which takes us back to the title of this section and on to the next.



-Some may recall my wistful envy of New Yawkehs who during the ’50s had: Duke Snider; Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle patrolling the center fields of Ebbets Field; the Polo Grouds and Yankee Stadium…Hall of Famers one and all.


There was a dichotomy of sorts to this as, well, defensively speaking, of all the outfield positions, center field is the most demanding. And in those days, center fields were DEEP; far deeper than nowadays. So, they had to have speed; they had to be “ballhawks”, i.e., be able to track the flight of a flyball; get there and catch it and then throw to 3rd and/or home. They also had to be able to charge the ball if they were playing deep. They all could and did.


However, they all hit like left-fielders, possibly the least important, defensively speaking.


However, at the same time, we ChiTowners had two future Hall of Famers; one from each League, playing shortstop. Ernie Banks and Luis Aparicio. Of the two, “Little Looie” as he was known, was by far the better defensively. He could also hit; amassing 2677 in his career and was quite the base-stealer, with 506. Many like to say Ozzie Smith was the best, ever. In this Cubs fan’s opinion, had he played on a natural surface and made the same plays, maybe. But for my money, there wasn’t a better shortstop than Aparicio. He was quick; had an arm like a cannon and never stopped hustling. Not that Smith did.


Ernie was Ernie. He set the record for homers as a SS; wound up being moved over to 1st when Leo came along as they had this young kid named Kessinger who seemed to wear a vacuum-cleaner on his glove-hand and a cannon on his right-shoulder.


Still, as kids, T’s Tom, Bill ‘n’ me, with Bill being the Sox fan, would argue about which guy was better. Well now; 50 or 55 years later, we look back and see these guys as just having been outstanding and we were lucky to have been able to watch them both play for our hometown teams.


Now, we have another — possible — “dynamic-duo” but this time it’s 1st-basemen, if you will, with the Sox having MLB home run leader, right-handed Carlos Abreu (26) and the Cubs with lefty-Anthony Rizzo, tied for 3rd in the NL with 17. Except this time, the “D” guy’s on the North Side. Both young; both possessing power — though Abreu may be able to hit one outta the Grand Canyon — but a treat to watch when they take their stance in the batters-box. Neither really have much around them in their batting orders. Both are sub-.500 teams, which makes what they are doing more impressive.


Again, time will tell. This is Abreu’s first, full-season and only Rizzo’s second. It remains to be seen how they will react the second half of the season, once scouts have them “booked” and what they do from there on out.


Right now, in a town which is starved for some decent baseball, at least we ChiTowners have these two kids to watch and that’s a nice thing.



-Heard this “throwaway line” on Comcast Sports Talk Live, just after he died.


How good of a hitter was Tony Gwynn? According to Dave Kaplan on his show, Gwynn hit .305 or .308, WITH TWO-STRIKES ON HIM!


How good is that? Think of Adam Dunn and his 2303-Ks since he broke in in 2001 and Gwynn’s 434 in 20-seasons!


This is not meant as a slap at Dunn, cuz he’s on the Sox. It’s used as, well, he’s about the most well-known “fan-man”, playing.


OK, hopefully, the sun’s dried-up most of last night’s rain off my shrubs and lawn by now and I can get about getting that done.


Have a great 4th. Enjoy yourselves. Be safe rather than sorry and all know that at one time or another, tomorrow, I’ll tip one back in a toast to all y’all.


And as always, any day we can look down at our plants instead of up at their roots, it’s a good one.


Seeya sometime next week.




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