Thursday Wrap

This Thursday Wrap is brought to you by Schlitz Malt Liquor. Nobody makes malt liquor like Schlitz. Nobody!

So, what’s the idea, and where have I been all day, you might ask. Is this a new feature, you might ask? Well, not really. I just never posted anything on Thursday besides the Song of the Day, partly because I had nothing to post and partly because, after several nights of barely sleeping, I finally got a good night’s rest Wednesday night/Thursday morning, albeit not nearly enough because I had to get up early Thursday. Needless to say, I was dragging my butt around most of the day. Anyway, I have a couple of things I should have posted today, but didn’t, so I’ll do that now…

First, here are the results of my most recent Battle of the Bands, which pitted blues guitarist Samantha Fish against organist Lucky Peterson on the song “Who’s Been Talkin’.”

Samantha Fish – 3

  • Arlee
  • Birgit
  • Jack

Lucky Peterson – 5

  • Max
  • Stephen
  • Dan
  • Lauren
  • Eugenia

Congratulations to Lucky Peterson and a pat on the back to Samantha Fish, who did a tremendous job at keeping it close. This really could have gone either way, as some people who voted for Lucky thought Samantha was just as good.

I never received any prompts for this, and considered using another from last week’s batch or going back a year and choosing a prompt from a year ago, but ultimately fell asleep and never got around to it. I hope it wasn’t anything serious, so send good thoughts and prayers Kat’s way.

The subject of today’s Throwback was “slang.” I was going to do it this afternoon, then I read Paula’s response and realized mine would have been almost exactly the same, so I said “screw it.” Check her replies out.

All for now!

Writer’s Workshop: Blah Blah Blah…

Image by Valentin from Pixabay

It’s started to cool down here in the sunny Southeast, with overnight temperatures falling as low as the upper 50’s (around 15 for you centigrade fans) at night.

Autumn hasn’t started as far as the astronomers are concerned; that’ll be next Wednesday, by which time the summer temperatures return here, reaching almost 90 (32 C) by then.

The pollen season, naturally, has started; Mary’s very sensitive to it, so I imagine she’ll be laying in a supply of Claritin for the occasion.

By the end of next week, we should be at the point where day and night are virtually the same length, which is the definition of the autumnal equinox.

Funny thing: that’s also the definition of the vernal equinox, which happens in March, right around my birthday.

The difference is that after the vernal equnox, the amount of daylight increases; after the autumnal equinox, the amount of daylight decreases.

I’m sure you all knew that, but I have fourteen lines to write, and this line is the halfway point.

Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral is next week; it promises to be a huge affair, covered by all the news networks, with plenty of pomp and circumstance.

I, like a lot of Americans, liked her very much, but I’ll probably pass on watching any TV coverage of her funeral, choosing instead to be asleep or just waking up.

In our younger and more foolish days, Mary and I got up to watch then-Prince-now-King Charles marry Lady Diana Spencer.

The whole thing fell apart, of course, and she died in a car accident and Charles married Camilla, the true love of his life, who is now the Queen Consort (at least I think she is; I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong).

Then perhaps the world can get back to normal… no, wait, then we have an election here.

I for one will be very happy to see the ads, which amount to “vote for me, don’t vote for him/her, he/she is a jerk and will probably vote to blow up the earth,” stop running every 10 minutes during Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy! and the reruns of The Andy Griffith Show on MeTV.

And just like that, fourteen lines are complete…

Writer’s Workshop: The Angelus Bell

Source: St. Ignatius Facebook Group

The definitive source of time in my part of Rogers Park was the church bell at St. Ignatius Church. It rang four times a day: 7 AM, noon, 6 PM and 9 PM.

BONG, BONG, BONG!
BONG, BONG, BONG!
BONG, BONG, BONG!
BONG, BONG, BONG, BONG, BONG, BONG, BONG, BONG, BONG!

It’s called the “Angelus Bell” because it corresponds to the prayer of the same name, which commemorates the announcement by the Archangel Gabriel to Mary that she was to become the mother of the Son of God. To us, though, the ringing of the bell defined the day: when it rang at 7 AM, it told us that it was time to get up; at noon, that it was lunchtime; at 6 PM, that it was dinnertime; and at 9 PM, it was bedtime.

We lived at 6459 North Glenwood Avenue, exactly one block south of the Church. I could see the bell tower from the window in my room. Somehow, seeing it there was a comfort to me, and hearing its bell meant, to me, that all was well.

On January 25, 1967, it rang at 7 AM, right around the time that my mother told the three of us that Dad had died during the night. Somehow, hearing it ring was like an assurance that, no matter what had happened or what will happen, everything was going to be all right.

I learned how it worked when I was an altar boy: the control for the bell was in our Sacristy. It had a 24-hour timer, which in those days was a round metal plate that made one revolution per day. There were switches at the appropriate hours that, when they passed over a spot under the metal plate, completed a circuit that made the bell ring. There was no Quasimodo that rang the bell, it was all electronics. The bell would also ring for funerals: there was a separate switch for manual operation. For Daylight Saving Time, someone would have to go into the Sacristy after 9 PM and move that round metal plate forward or backward. As such, the bells might have rung a little before or after the correct time. Nevertheless, we considered it the official time. Never mind that WLS said it was 6:58 AM or 7:03 AM, when that bell rang, it was 7 AM.

St. Ignatius Church is now inactive as a parish, open for special events but no longer holding daily or Sunday Masses (at least, that’s what I gather from their website). I guess it will now be a mission center run by Loyola University. I wonder if the bell still rings…

Writer’s Workshop: You’ll Go Blind

It was the summer of 1963. I had just finished first grade, and my days were split between going outside and wandering up and down Magnolia Avenue (I was limited to our side of the street, so there wasn’t very far I could go, and the alley was right out) and sitting in front of the TV, watching game shows and Art Linkletter’s House Party and whatever else happened to be on at the time.

One afternoon, there was a commercial from the Hadley School For The Blind, a Chicago institution (actually Winnetka), talking about eye safety during the coming solar eclipse. I had no idea what an eclipse was, so when Mom got home from school (her year ended about three weeks after ours), I asked her, and she told me that it was when the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth were all lined up and it looked like the Moon was covering the Sun. I sorta-kinda understood, so the next day she brought home a book that explained the whole thing. (Remember, 1963, no Internet.) The book was good enough to explain why we didn’t have them all the time, too, so I didn’t have to ask her about that.

The next time I saw the commercial, I paid a little closer attention. They were showing how one could watch the eclipse safely, without looking directly at it, which they said was a definite no-no. Not even if you wore sunglasses, or looked at it through a piece of smoked glass or several photographic negatives. They were so emphatic about this that, to my seven-year-old imagination, I believed that catching so much as a casual glance at the Sun during the eclipse would strike a person immediately and absolutely blind.

On the day of the eclipse, July 20, I was scared to leave the house. I was terrified that I would slip and gaze toward the sky and BAM! never be able to see ever again. Mom chased the three of us out, but none of us left the front porch, which was shielded from the Sun and the Moon and the deadly corona.

As the time approached, we could see the shadows get longer and it get darker, like during late afternoon. It didn’t go completely dark, because it wasn’t supposed to be a total eclipse near us. People in Mexico might be able to see the total eclipse (that is, if they used two pieces of paper with a pinhole punched in one and faced away from the sun).

The eclipse was almost over when one of the neighborhood kids ran up and said “Me and my grandpa watched the whole eclipse through his telescope!” This prompted a huge argument between me and the kid, me contending that the kid was now blind as a bat, so either he was lying that he saw it or lying that he had looked at it through his grandfather’s telescope. The argument got loud and angry enough that my dad told me to come in the house and quit yelling at the kid.

Turns out, the Hadley School was being a little overcautious in its warnings. They just didn’t want people standing outside, staring directly at the sun, which lots of people probably would have done had they not warned us about it. Charles Schulz did an entire week of Peanuts cartoons with Linus sharing the hows and whys of eclipse watching, that didn’t make it sound quite as terrifying. Wish I had seen that…

Here are some YouTube videos that cover the eclipse (as well as later eclipses) for your viewing pleasure.

Writer’s Workshop: Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Dansby Swanson making the final out of the 2021 World Series

Kat, bless her, made one of this week’s prompts “Write a blog post inspired by the word: baseball.”

The 2022 Major League Baseball season is drawing to a close, and while I haven’t followed it as much as in years past, I do know that our Atlanta Braves are in second place in the National League East, trailing the New York Mets by two games. They are currently #1 in the Wild Card standings, so chances are good that they’ll have a shot as the Wild Card team. I haven’t followed my favorite American League team, the Chicago White Sox, as closely this season; right now they’re tied for second place with the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central, four games behind the newly-christened Cleveland Guardians, and also four games back in the Wild Card standings. If they make a good push, they might also make the playoffs.

About that “newly-christened” Cleveland team: they had been the Cleveland Indians for as long as I can remember (they had gone through a number of name changes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, called the Blues, the Naps (after Napoleon Lajoie, one of their star players), the Bronchos, and the Lake Shores), but at the end of last year said they were abandoning the now politically-incorrect name “Indians” (it honored Louis Sockalexis, a Native American player who was with the team between 1894 and 1896) for the less-inflammatory Guardians. It’s just a matter of time before the Braves, who have had a good relationship with the Native Americans living in the Southeast (chiefly the Cherokee), will end up having to change their name as well. They could go back to one of the names they used in the past, including the Bees, the Rustlers, the Doves, the Red Caps, and my personal favorite, the Beaneaters, but I think they’ll opt to go with a new name, perhaps one of the names of the hockey teams that have left here (the Flames, the Knights, or the Thrashers). My idea is the Hammers, after Hammerin’ Hank Aaron, and also because Atlanta is the home of Home Depot, which I’m sure sells lots of hammers.

A week from today, the limit on players on the team (25) goes away, and teams can expand their rosters to as many as 40 players, calling up players from their minor league affiliates. Two rookie players have already made their mark here, outfielder Michael Harris II and infielder Vaughn Grissom, so who knows who else they’ll call up? Being in the middle of a pennant chase, any further callups might be limited and not get a lot of playing time. But you never know.