Archive for May, 2009

The Modern World.

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Yesterday, Apryl and I took advantage of Free Week over at the Art Institute as the museum was celebrating the opening of its Modern Wing. The new addition of 264,000 square feet makes it the second largest art museum in the country!

Inside the new space, one can find contemporary art from 1960, early 20th century European art, new photography, architecture and design, and video media. The best part, which we didn’t get to try out, was the Nichols Bridgeway which is a walkway from Millennium Park to the third floor of the Modern Wing. No wait, the best part was that it was free! Check out photos from our trip:

The third floor entrance from the Nichols Bridgeway.

Inside the Modern Wing.

Jeff Wall’s The Flooded Grave. Silver dye-bleach transparency in an aluminum light box.

Apryl walking on the second floor of the Modern Wing.

In contemporary art from 1945-1960. Of course, this is Jackson Pollock. Greyed Rainbow is the title.

Apryl inside the contemporary art after 1960 section. Check out the Elvis Warhol!

David Hockney’s American Collectors.

More Warhol.

Roy Lichtenstein’s Brushstroke with Spatter.

Hey, I wonder why I like this one so much???

Two Candles from Gerhard Richter. Seem familiar?

sonicyouthdaydreamnationalbumcover.jpg

Perhaps, this is why.

Inside the early 20th century European section. Above, Matisse’s Bathers by a River.

The Old Guitarist from Pablo Picasso.

They even had this maquette from Pablo Picasso of the 50 foot tall, 162 tons sculpture which was commissioned by the original Mayor Daley. Today, it can be seen at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago.

Full photostream found here.

Hockey, anyone?

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

stanley-cup-playoffs-2009.jpg

If you ever needed an excuse to get into hockey, today’s the day! At 2pm on NBC, the Chicago Blackhawks take on their heated rival the Detroit Red Wings for Game #1 of the Western Conference Finals. A contest between the Hawks and the Wings is like the St. Louis Cardinals going against the Chicago Cubs or the Chicago Bears battling it out with the Green Bay Packers or the Celtics being matched up with the Lakers. Heck, it’s the Ole Miss vs. Miss State of hockey! At least around here. During the regular season, the Hawks were 2 – 4 against the Wings but the last two wins came toward the end of the season. The winner of the series goes on to challenge either the Carolina Hurricanes or the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals. The last time the Hawks won the Cup was 48 years ago!

Is the season over?

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

soxpanicbuttonrework.jpg

That’s a question many White Sox fans are asking themselves. Despite all the successful wins that I’ve attended and written about this season, the Sox are playing pretty bad baseball. Consider this, the Sox have only won 3 of their last 12 games!

So, what’s wrong? Well, the pitching, which was strong at the beginning of the season, has gone south and the offensive is nearly nonexistent. It seems like if your name isn’t Buehrle, you ain’t pitching a good game (though Thornton is usually an affective relief). Offensively, the team has been having to rely on the power of aging players like Konkero, Thome, and Dye. All three of which are probably not going to be Sox players at the end of the season. Quentin, who nearly won the MVP last season before being injured, is hitting a lame .229. The wire thin Ramirez aka The Cuban Missile, who broke a record last year for collecting four grand slams as a rookie, is batting an unimpressive .224. And then there are the new, young additions like Fields and Lillibridge who are way under performing both on the field and at bat. And the shut outs. So far this season, the Sox have been shut out 6 times. And we’re only a month and a half into the season! The team record for a season is somewhere in the mid 20’s. Oh, let us please not earn the nickname, the “Shutout Sox”.

Okay, enough of my little rant here. It is still early in the season. And thanks to our division, we are only 3 games out of first. Which as I write this seems unbelievable. Unfortunately, that stat might get worse after we finish up a road trip with the Blue Jays (who are in first place in the AL East) and get back home to face Crede and the Twins. I recall many folks were ready to write off last season and we ended up winning the AL Central Division. This year, I’m not quite sure…

– Please excuse my poor Photoshopin’. Not trying to win any awards here, just trying to make a point.

Crede Report: 5/14/09 – UPDATE (5/18/09)

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

credereportimage.jpg

In the past three days, Joe Crede (now a Twins) has accomplished the following against the Detroit Tigers:

5/12 – Crede hits a 2-run homer, Twins win 6 – 2.

5/13 – Crede hits a grand slam to beat the Tigers in extra innings, Twins win 14-10

5/14 – Crede hits hits a single driving in two runs (which included the game winning run), Twins win 6 -5.

In Chicago, Crede’s replacement Josh Fields has done the following in the past three days:

5/12 – 0 – 5, with 3 strike outs and 5 men left on base

5/13 – 0 – 4, with two strike outs

5/14 – no game

I’m just stating the facts…

UPDATE: Poor Joe has back problems, again. He’s been listed on the DL.

Sox vs. Mariners – Attended Game #5 (5/7/09)

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

White Sox 6, Tigers 0

Two days after watching a ballgame on the Northside, Steph, Adam, Apryl, and I caught the train over to the Southside to see the Sox take on their rivals, the Detroit Tigers. It was going to be my first night game of the season which meant no Nancy Faust. Nancy, as you recall, is the longtime Sox organist. Nancy has been keeping the baseball tradition of live music alive for nearly forty years. With Nancy’s absence, the fans are left with loud rock music blasting through the speakers anytime the ball isn’t in play. And let’s not forget about the endless promotions during every inning break. I mention this because it’s the exact opposite over at Wrigley where promotions are limited and music is sparse.

Once again, we had great seats. In fact, because of our position just beyond third base, I imagined that we would be dodging foul balls all night. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the case. I bet Apryl was probably thankful she didn’t have to duck any line drives!

As for the game, it was another exciting first inning. This time it was the home team (aka The Good Guys) that had the advantage. For the second time this season, I’ve seen a home run from A.J. Pierzynski, who knocked a two-run bomb in the 1st. The Sox added three more in the first, taking an early 5 – 0 lead. In the 4th, Jayson Nix, who had replaced the poorly performing Alexei Ramirez, hit the second home run of the game, and the first of his career! Nix also had some great plays at short stop, which perhaps made Ramirez nervous for a millisecond of a more permanent replacement. The whole substitution ordeal inspired an hilarious strip from the Sox comic Smells Like Mascot.

Like the Cubs game, the real hero was the pitcher. In our case, we came very close to witnessing Mark Buehrle pitch his second no hitter for the Sox. Buehrle was perfect until the seventh when he gave up a double to Ryan Raburn. However, that was all the Tigers were able to get off Buehrle as he went 8 innings with 1 hit, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts. During Buehrle’s time on the mound, Adam and I acknowledged what he was close to accomplishing without actually mentioning thus cursing Buehrle. When Raburn finally got the hit, Adam turned to me and said, “Okay, now we can talk about it.” So close.

In the ninth, the Sox brought on Big Bobby Jenks (of course), and he quickly gave up two hits. Buehrle goes 8 innings only giving one hit and just like that Jenks has us worried. No fear. Jenks gets us out of the inning as you can see from the video below:

We were actually lucky to have a good game. José Contreras was scheduled to pitch but because of a rain out the day before, Buehrle was put in the starting position. After Buehrle’s triumphant night on the mound, Contreras was the losing pitcher (0 – 5) the next night with the Sox getting clobbered by the Rangers 0 – 6, and Contreras being sent down to the minors.

Steph and Adam at The Cell.

Adam and I.

Steph and Apryl.

After the game, Adam wanted to check out the Sox gift shop. Not only had I never been inside the gift shop, it never occurred to me to pay it a visit. It was quite extensive yet expensive. I did find a new cap that I liked but they didn’t have it in my size.

I have had a great time having company at my last two Sox games. And inspired by Adam keeping score during the Cubs game, I think I’m going to do the same at my next outing at the ballpark. Go Sox!

Cubs vs. Giants – Attended Game #4 (5/5/09)

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Cubs 2, Giants 6

For my fourth attended game of the baseball season, I had some guests. Actually, the game was an anniversary gift from Stephanie (my sister-in-law) to her baseball lovin’ husband, Adam. Apryl and I just tagged along. Steph and Adam had only arrived in Chicago that morning, and they were already at the ballpark a few hours afterward. I love that! As you can see from the photo above, we had nice seats in the 200 section of the park. Adam and I sat next to each other, which was fun getting the chance to sit next to a fellow fan of the diamond. Adam was even keeping score which I haven’t done since I was a kid watching ballgames at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Somewhere I have a scorecard of a game with Dale Murphy on the Braves and Will Clark and Kevin Mitchell on the Giants. Remember them?

greg_litton_autograph.jpg

– Speaking of former players, watching the Giants out on the field reminded me of another player for the Orange and Black. Greg Litton, a distant cousin of mine, was on the Giants’ roster for three years. He was on the Giants when the team made it to the `89 World Series (aka The Battle of the Bay) against the Oakland A’s. He even hit a 2-run home run in Game 4 of the series! Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. The A’s wound up winning that game and sweeping the series. Of course, the World Series that year was most remembered for the Loma Prieta earthquake which struck during the third game of the series. As for my cousin, he continued to play in the MLB until 1994, ending his professional career with the Boston Red Sox. His best game was against the Cubs in `92 when he got two doubles and a home run.

Back to the game.

The Giants had a very productive first inning scoring three runs off a home run from Sean Marshall. In the 8th, ex-Sox Aaron Rowand added two more with a double. Another former Sox player, Juan Uribe, went 0- 4. Ouch. However, the real hero was pitcher Tim Lincecum who pitched seven innings allowing only 4 hits, 2 runs and 7 strike outs.

As Apryl mentioned in the previous post, there were a ton of kids at the ballgame. I have never seen so many youngsters at a game before, and boy, were they loud! Some of the kids were Giants fans and after the fans screamed “Let’s Go Cubbies,” they would add “Let’s Go Giants”. When there was no hope that the Cubs were coming back, the kids started the chant, “Let’s Go Blackhawks!” It was cute a first but got old fast.

Still, we had a great time at the ballpark. No matter my opinion of the Cubs, I do love Wrigley Field. The four of us would attend a Sox game two days later, and the experience is night and day. I’ve actually become very fond of The Cell, but it has nothing on The Friendly Confines for character. One day, I will discover the character that lies within Fenway.

Here are some photos from our day out at the park:

Steph and Adam enjoying a day game at Wrigley. Adam is actually wearing at Cardinals cap! He’s brave!

A rare photo op. Notice, I’m remaining neutral with my TBS baseball cap I got working the playoffs last season.

The sisters.

Adam gets a Brat with sauerkraut.

I stuck with a Wrigley dog. Check out how Apryl dressed it up Chicago style! Even though the bread was a bit stale and the dog was oddly chewy, it tasted real good!

I admit I’m jealous of the large crowds at Cubs games over Sox games.

“Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at Wrigley.

And it’s over. We were saved from hearing the “Go Cubs Go” song and the raising of the “W” flag.

Stephanie and Adam’s May 2009 Visit

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Last week, my sister Stephanie and brother-in-law Adam visited. They got the ultimate welcome from Eva, being used as beds, in less than an hour.

 

Adam and Steph with Eva

 

Hayden was thrilled to have someone who also loves baseball to sit by at games. Steph and I enjoyed chatting and occasionally watching the action on the field. Don’t worry, we didn’t talk loudly enough to disturb people who cared about baseball—not that anyone would have noticed since we were surrounded by kids on a field trip at the Cubs game and a large group of loud talkers at the Sox game.

 

White Sox vs. Tigers 5/7/09  Adam and Hayden

 

Wrigley Field Cubs vs. Giants 5/5/09 Steph and Apryl

 

Steph and I were also super excited to go to Harry Potter: The Exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry. No photos were allowed of costumes and props, except for the Flying Ford Anglia from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. However, you can see photos and video at harrypotterexhibition.com. The exhibit will also tour other cities in the United States, Europe, and Asia over the next five years, after its debut run in Chicago ends in September.

 

Apryl and Steph with Flying Ford Anglia from Harry Potter

 

Of course, we also made time for shopping and Giordano’s stuffed pizza throughout the week. You can see more photos here.

Best of the Zone

Monday, May 11th, 2009

twilight_zone.jpg

With a Twilight Zone marathon on today on the MeToo network (sorry, only Chicago, Milwaukee, and South Bend), I started thinking of my favorite episodes from this landmark series. Since I discovered The Twilight Zone as a child, watching it with my Dad, I have been an avid fan, catching the same episodes over and over. While there were a few duds through its five year run, the classic ones still rank as the best that television has ever produced. For today’s post, I thought I would share with you my favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone, trying to avoid some of the more obvious choices. So, here we go…

My Top 10 episodes of The Twilight Zone:

250px-the_whole_truth.jpg

10. The Whole Truth written by Rod Serling

One of only six episodes to be shot not on film but videotape, “The Whole Truth” resolves around a used car salesman that is forced to be honest whilst under a spell. Predictably, his car sells begin to suffer. Sound familiar? The plot was reused in the Jim Carrey vehicle, Liar Liar. To be honest, the episode isn’t well executed, but it still ranks high with me for sentimental reasons. I saw it on my grandmother’s old TV set in Sledge, MS.

The Hunt

9. The Hunt written by Earl Hamner Jr.

“The Hunt” tells the story of what happens after an old man and his dog drown during a hunting trip and find themselves in the afterlife, walking down a dirt road in search of the Gates of Heaven. When the old man comes up to a gatekeeper, he is told that he is welcome to enter “Heaven,” but that he must leave behind his dog. Not accepting these terms, the old man walks up farther up the road, where he encounters a second gatekeeper. This time, the gatekeeper turns out to be an angel who accepts both the old man and the old man’s best friend, telling them “A man, he’ll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But not even the Devil can fool a dog.” The Hunt, which was written by the same man who created The Waltons, remains special to me because the old man reminds me of my own grandfather and the love he had for his hunting dogs.

stopover_in_a_quiet_town.jpg

8. Stopover in a Quiet Town written by Earl Hamner Jr.

“Stopover” is about a married couple who on their way home from a party, black out and find themselves waking up in an unfamiliar house. The couple begin exploring the house and neighborhood, only to find that it is empty and everything around them is fake. A fake tree. Fake grass. A fake squirrel. In fact, the only sign of life is the unseen laughter of a young child. The source of the laughter is a bit predictable but still a lot of fun.

Night Call

7.. Night Call written by Richard Matheson

When I was in Jr. High, 20th Century Fox had a commercial on TV for a VHS collection of The Twilight Zone. The commercial showed various clips from classic episodes, including one from “Night Call” where Gladys Cooper utters over the phone, “Who is this? Who’s on the line?” Before even seeing the episode, I knew from the commercial it was going to be creepy. It’s not only creepy but ends quite cruelly. “Night Call” was written by the legendary science fiction writer Richard Matheson.

A Stop at Willoughby

6. A Stop at Willoughby written by Rod Serling

“A Stop at Willoughby” is about a stressed ad executive who finds solitude from his work and his demanding wife through a fantasy town called Willoughby. In Willoughby, every day is the summer of 1880, and life is simple. Will our hero become a resident? And at what cost?

miniature_thetwilightzone.jpg

5. The Miniature written by Charles Beaumont

During the fourth season, The Twilight Zone went from an half hour to an hour long program. While the extended length actually hurt many of the episodes due to padded storylines, “The Miniature” remains strong throughout. The premise is simple. A young loner (played by Robert Duvall) witnesses a doll living in a museum dollhouse come to life and proceeds to fall in love with her. When others learn of this, he is labeled sick and sent away for treatment. However, he doesn’t get over it and returns to the museum, turning himself into a doll to live happily ever after with his love. Sure, it sounds silly but it’s so well done that its quite a remarkable love story. I’ve only seen this episode once since it’s rarely shown in syndication, yet it had such an effect on me that it remains one of my favorites.

Mirror Image

4. Mirror Image written by Rod Serling

“Mirror Image” stars Vera Miles (Psycho) who plays a woman waiting in a bus station who discovers her doppelganger and fears that it’s trying to take over her life. “Mirror Image” is pretty scary and has a great ending that lets no one off the hook.

After Hours

3. After Hours written by Rod Serling

“After Hours” is about a woman who is left alone in a department store after closing time and begins to feel that the mannequins around her are actually alive. I am not ashamed to say that “After Hours” actually scared me. In fact, it still scares me a little when I think about the mannequins calling out her name, “Marcia, Marcia.” For some reason, this episode is another rarely seen in syndication.

Kick the Can

2. Kick the Can written by George Clayton Johnson

“You’re only as old as you feel”. Or so the saying goes. No one knows this better than Charles Whitley in “Kick the Can”. Charles, a older gentleman who lives in a retirement home, discovers that the secret to youth lies in thinking young and in a simple game of kick the can. I could watch this episode 1000 times and never grow tire of it.

Walking Distance

1. Walking Distance written by Rod Serling

Hands down, the best episode of The Twilight Zone. Martin Sloan, a frustrated, overworked businessman has car trouble and wanders into the town of his youth. However, not only is it his hometown, but Martin has stepped back in time when he was a youngster. He even sees himself as a child and his parents. Martin longs for these simpler days of his childhood. Not only is the story a great sentimental tale but the episode is wonderfully directed and has a wonderful score from Bernard Hermann (Citizen Kane, Vertigo, etc). The most touching moment of the episode is a final conversation between Martin and his father who has come to realize who Martin really is:

Martin: I’ve been living at a dead run and I was tired. Then one day, I knew I had to come back here. I had to come back and get on a merry-go-round and eat cotton candy and listen to a band concert, to stop and breathe and close my eyes and smell and listen.

Father: I guess we all want that. Maybe when you go back, Martin, you’ll find that there are merry-go-rounds and band concerts where you are. Maybe you haven’t been looking in the right place. You’ve been looking behind you, Martin. Try looking ahead.

Beautiful.

Any one out there have their own favorites?

Sincerely, L. Cohen

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

I feel so lucky.

More family photos.

Monday, May 4th, 2009

Here are a few more photos from my family’s trip last week:

Ashley at Margie’s Candies which opened in 1921, one year before my Grandmother was born. She got the delicious Swiss Chocolate Hot Fudge Sundae. Yum!

Everyone dining on some delivery from Giordano’s. Yum, again!

My Dad about to eat his first Chicago style hot dog from the Vienna Beef Factory.

Eva says “hello” to Sampaw.

Check out the full photoset here.

And REMEMBER, Ash and Grandma might be seen on tomorrow’s episode of the Oprah show.