Monday, March 31, 2008

With the Brewers and Cubs opening up the 2008 season facing each other this afternoon, weather permitting, I thought this might be a good time to revisit an old favorite. (Caution: Strong language content.)

Go Brewers!

BTW, check out AM, Then FM as Jeff describes his trip to County Stadium in '68.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Yesterday, I went to the Safeway International LPGA event at the Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club in Apache Junction near Phoenix. I've enjoyed watching the ladies play at least a half-dozen times in the over 20 years I've lived here. It's such a fan-friendly event, where players actually give autographs after their round is done for the day.

In the past, I've followed Nancy Lopez, Annika Sorenstam, and Natalie Gulbis, to name just a few. Three of my friends (Shark, jb, and Gar) and I had the opportunity to have our picture taken with Nancy. The last time she was here, I followed Nancy's group and got to talk with her husband, former major league baseball player Ray Knight.

I was fortunate to follow Annika when she became Ms. 59. During the second round of the 2001 Standard Register Ping at Moon Valley Country Club, she became the sixth pro golfer and first woman to shoot a 59 in a competitive round of golf.

A couple of years ago, I followed Natalie Gulbis. I heard Natalie was one of the longest drivers on the LPGA tour and I wanted to see her distance for myself. Trust me, she can hit it 300 yards without no problem. Plus, Natalie is definitely hot!

That brings me to yesterday. I decided to follow someone who I watched on TV, but never saw in person. Even though she was out of contention, I decided to observe Paula Creamer, aka The Pink Panther. Unlike Natalie, Paula is short off the tee, but deadly accurate. She was good tee-to-green, but her putting was off.

I caught up with Paula's group at the 11th hole and trailed her for the remainder of the round. What I remember most about the experience was not the golf, but the two autographed balls she gave to a couple of children who were following her. The intimacy of the LPGA keeps me coming back year after year.

Sadly, Safeway has pulled out as the major sponsor of the LPGA stop in Phoenix and 2008 could very well be the last time the ladies play in The Valley of the Sun after a 26-year run. Let's hope not. You would think Ping, Bashas' Supermarkets or a number of other local companies could team up and include this event in their advertising budget. I would miss seeing the ladies live, as I have the Champions Tour, which moved The Tradition to Oregon five years ago.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Here are the answers to Fast Trax 2:

1. West End Girls – Pet Shop Boys
2. Eternal Flame – The Bangles
3. Just What I Needed – The Cars
4. Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield
5. Life In A Northern Town – Dream Academy
6. Video Killed The Radio Star – The Buggles

The winner was Shark (with a little help from my son).

This week, we gone country.

Fast Trax 3

Thursday, March 27, 2008

82-year-old Wally Phillips, a National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame member, whose wit and charm dominated the art of the on-air radio personality in Chicago for two decades, has died at his home in Naples, Florida after losing his long time battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Phillips held down morning drive on WGN Radio from January 1965 until July 1986, and was number one in the morning slot from 1968 until his departure for an afternoon radio slot in 1986. He retired from WGN in 1998 after 42 years with the station, but came out of retirement the following year to host a weekly two-hour program on WAIT-AM, a station based in
Crystal Lakes

Phillips also was the first to offer a $1 million prize. In his most famous and longest-running promotion, listeners were invited to guess what was inside "Wally's Black Box." No one ever did. The box turned out to contain a note bearing the name of Jean Rogers, a movie heroine Phillips admired.

Among his legacies at WGN was establishment of the Neediest Kids Fund, for which Phillips raised more than $25 million.

Bob Collins, who died in a plane crash in 2000, succeeded Phillips as WGN’s morning man.

Friday, March 21, 2008

My friend LENY and I went to Maryvale Baseball Park today to catch the Brewers/Padres Spring Training game. I got to the park early and bought the tickets, Section 103 Row D Seats 9 & 10. The Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat with an orange slice was mighty tasty on an 85 degree day.

When we got to our seats, I noticed a guy dressed in black sitting one row in front of us. I caught a glimpse of his sideburns and said to LENY, "That's The Honky Tonk Man." At first, LENY thought it was just an Elvis impersonator. However, it did turn out to be the greatest WWE Intercontinental Champion ever, The Honky Tonk Man.

LENY and I had a chance to talk to Roy (his real name) for a few innings before he went up to the press box. As a favor to one of the Brewers' PR guys, Roy was supposed to throw out the first pitch before the game, but had an injury to his right pectoral muscle and had to decline. He was very gracious with the fans and signed some autographs and took a few pictures when they came down to meet him. He got a nice ovation when he was introduced during the game.

Tomorrow, The Honky Tonk Man, who lives in the Phoenix area, is headed to St. Louis for a non-wrestling appearance and then on to Milwaukee and Racine for a couple of matches. I hope he packs his winter clothes. During the game, I called my brother in Waukesha and he said that 10 inches of snow was on the ground and four inches more were expected tonight.

Now you know why I live in The Valley of the Sun.

Here are the answers to Fast Trax 1:

1. Truly, Madly, Deeply – Savage Garden
2. Baby, Come To Me – Patti Austin w/James Ingram
3. Last Song – Edward Bear
4. Tell It To My Heart – Taylor Dayne
5. Playground In My Mind – Clint Holmes
6. Informer - Snow

The winner was Noah Body.

This week features an offering of New Wave. Good luck!

Fast Trax 2

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day is one of my favorite holidays. I don't get the day off from work or anything special, but it reminds me of part of my heritage.

My maternal grandfather was Irish, Vincent Patrick Raap. When he was alive, he smoked Camel non-filtered cigarettes down to the nub and enjoyed a stiff drink or two. He was a short man, who drove a big Buick and could barely see over the top of the steering wheel.

One Thanksgiving, Grandpa got upset with the children making too much noise in the kitchen. He stormed in from the dining room and bellowed, "Shut up and eat!" It 's something I'll never forget.

To celebrate St. Patrick's Day and Grandpa, Mom and I dined last night on a meal of corned beef, cabbage, and boiled potatoes. Tonight, the leftovers. YUM!

Musically, I picked out five songs that remind me of
St. Patrick's Day. In case you're wondering why I've excluded "Danny Boy," it's not really an Irish song. The ditty, made famous by Bing Crosby, was composed by an Englishman, who never set foot in Ireland. The song is more appropriate for a funeral, than a celebration.

A quick note about "My Wild Irish Rose." The tenor is Morton Downey, whose son, Morton Downey, Jr., was an infamous talk show host in the 1980's.

'Éirinn go Brách'--Ireland Forever!

Friday, March 14, 2008

When I was in college, we occasionally gave away stuff at the college radio station. One of my favorite games was when we spliced together parts of songs and made the listeners guess the name of the tune and the artist. Back in the late 70s/early 80s, a project like that could take hours. Through the miracle of digital editing, I can produce the same result in 15 minutes.

The game is called Fast Trax and every Friday (if I have time), I will post short clips of six songs and the answers to the previous week's competition. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to post to the comment section the name of each song and its artist. Spelling does not count, but may be ridiculed. Sorry, no prizes are available for the winner. Just a hardy congratulations. Good luck!

Fast Trax 1

Friday, March 07, 2008

Yesterday was a bittersweet day for yours truly.

The bitter part was watching Brett Favre announce his retirement from the Green Bay Packers and the NFL. All I can say is "Thanks, Brett!"

Now, on to the sweetness. In November, my niece will be getting married.

In her honor, here's a tune I haven't heard for a while, Billy Thorpe's "
Children Of The Sun."

"I'll take Smoke Em If You Got Em for $100, Alex."

This legend fills in for another in Chi-town as he subs for Dick Biondi as evening personality on 94.7 Chicago's True Oldies Channel, through Tuesday.

Who is Fred Winston?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Sad news for Beatles fans as the Fab Four's original groundbreaking engineer and Pink Floyd producer Norman Smith passed away this past Monday. Smith was the engineer on all of the recordings by the Beatles until 1965 when EMI promoted him from engineer to producer. The last Beatles album he recorded was "Rubber Soul" and he engineered the sound for approximately 180 Beatles songs in all. Using his recording artist pseudonym of Hurricane Smith, he had a 1972 hit with "Oh, Babe, What Would You Say?."

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

As "The Motor City Madman" would say, "Anybody wants to get mellow, you can turn around and get the F*$@ outta here."

Sorry to oppose you, Ted, but we're going to feature an Unplugged set from some of my favorites. Until MTV did its unplugged series, I thought of unplugged as acoustic folk singers. That is clearly not the case. There's some great music being performed without all the amps and volume.

One song I wanted to add to the set list was "Born To Run" by Springsteen. The Boss was so horrific, I couldn't even listen to the whole song. What a huge disappointment.

Monday, March 03, 2008

R.I.P. Jeff Healey. I loved his performance in Road House, starring Patrick Swayze and Kelly Lynch.

"Not bad for a blind white boy." -- Dalton
"Yeah, and I thought you'd be bigger."-- Cody

Healey's new album, Mess of Blues, will be his first rock album in eight years and is due to be released next month. I don't have a cut from that LP, but here's one of my favs from Healey, "Confidence Man."