Category Archives: Top Ten

Let the Nightmares Begin

“Don’t watch that.  It will give you nightmares!”

At some point in our life, almost everyone has ignored this advise.  And at some point in our life, ignoring that advise had led to nightmares.

In honor of Halloween this Friday, here is my list of the top ten movies that actually gave me nightmares.  Please note, these are not necessarily the best  horror films or the scariest movies around, but at some point in my life, they did indeed give me nightmares.

#10 –  Marathon Man

#10 Marathon Man

The nightmare begins with three little words.  “Is it safe”?  and then suddenly you never want to see a dentist again.

#9  –  House of Wax

#9 House of Wax

The original 1953 classic.  The only thing that would give me nightmares about the remake would be Paris Hilton’s acting.  It might seem a little campy by today’s standards, but back when I watched this on Channel 32, hosted by Son of Svengoolie, it did give me nightmares.

#8 – Invasion of the Body Snatchers

#8 Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Because Donald Sutherland is not scary enough on his own.  Add in creepy pod birth Donald Sutherland, and now you have real nightmares.  And I wont even go near that ending.  Just thinking about it might give me a nightmare.

#7 – Jaws

#7 Jaws

I blame Greg Huber.  He had already seen the film and told me it was not “that” scary.  Then he handed me a tub of popcorn right before the head pop scene just to see if I would drop it.  And I did.  Can you believe it is only rated PG?

#6  –  Trilogy of Terror

#6 Trilogy of Terror

It was made for TV back in 1975, so it was not nearly as gory as I remembered.  But to a ten year old, that little voodoo doll was more than enough to give me nightmares.

#5 – Pet Sematary

#5 Pet Sematary

Stephen King and The Ramones make a great combinations, and one scary movie.  If they ever get the re-make off the ground, they would do well to include the song.

#4 – Se7en

#4 Se7en

It probably didn’t help that I watched the film late at night, alone in an empty movie theater.  It was one of the perks of being the manager, but in this case it was also responsible for a very bad night of sleep.

#3 – Carrie

#3 Carrie

Yea, I know.  Another Stephen King.  But this is the one my mother gave me the warning about.  Unfortunately for her, she didn’t listen to her own warning.  When the final scene played and I literally jumped off the couch, I landed right next to my mother.

#2 – Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

#2 Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

The ultra realism of this film made it one of the scariest film I had ever seen.  Henry wasn’t just a hack and slash make believe monster, he was real.  The horror of Henry is that you could see him in the real world.  He could be the guy living next door.  Or one of your college roommates.

#1 – The Exorcist

#1 The Exorcist

It is the king of all horror movies, and for a good reason.  It has been giving people nightmares for more than 40 years now, and it does not look to be ending anytime soon.  It just topped the Time Out Chicago 100 Best Horror Films.  Check it out this Halloween.  I promise.  It won’t give you nightmares.

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See the full list of 100 Best Horror Films here:

http://www.timeout.com/chicago/film/the-100-best-horror-films

And sleep well.

 

 

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10 Clues That You Might Be Too Old To Trick or Treat

Based on tonight’s arrivals at the door.

Number 10:

You’re child is embarrassed every time you say “Trick or Treat”.  But at least you have a costume.

Number 9:

You can grow your own bitchin’ Village People Mustache.

Number 8:

You’re the driver.

Number 7:

Your candy bag is really just your purse, and your costume is your coat.

Number 6:

You are over six feet tall.  Do something useful and get a fake ID.  The other kids will like you much better.

Number 5:

You have to hide yourself among a pack of much younger kids, hoping to “blend” in.

Number 4:

You are a teenager and you are out by yourself going door to door collecting candy dressed as a ninja.  Eat it fast.  Someone is going to jump you soon.

Number 3:

Your costume is your actual sports uniform from the local high school.

Number 2:

You hand the man who opens the door a 12 pack of Miller Lite.  Ok, you may be too old, but you are welcome back!

Number 1:

You can not hang up the phone long enough to say “Trick or Treat”.

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Happy 21st Stephanie!

I am not old!

That is what I keep trying to tell myself, although the fact that my oldest child is turning 21 today does seem to argue against that statement.  She is having a little get together with some of her friends tonight, and she was kind enough to extend me an invitation.  I politely declined.  I know there are some parents that would jump at the opportunity to start partying with their newly legal children, but I am not one of them.  The last thing I wanted on my twenty-first birthday was for my parents to see me drunk as a skunk.  Even worse, I really didn’t want to see them that way either.  So I wish Stephanie a wonderful birthday, and please have a safe plan for getting home.  And have some fun.  You will be paying for it tomorrow morning.

We have all heard our kids say it.  “Things are different today.”  And I have always been one to defend the fact that human nature as a whole has really not changed all that much in the past twenty-six years since I turned 21 in 1986.  But the more I start to look at it, the world really has made some giant steps in just the short time between my 21st birthday and my daughter’s.

Yeah, you saw it coming,  Another Top Ten List.

The Top Ten Changes in the World Since My 21st Birthday

#10  –  Drinking

By the time I reached my twenty-first birthday, I had already been drinking legally for three years in the State of Wisconsin.  In the early 1970’s, most states lowered their legal drinking age down to 18 after the passage of the 26th Amendment.  Since it lowered the voting age to 18, most states felt it was then ok to also lower the drinking age.  But in 1984, Congress passed the Drinking Age Act, which did not require states to raise their drinking age, but it did threaten to take federal highway money away if they didn’t.  Illinois had already raised the drinking age back up to 21 in 1980, but Wisconsin took a two-step jump.  In 1984, the age was raised to 19, and although I would not turn 19 until later that year, I was grandfathered in because I was already 18 at the time the law changed.  The second step was taken in 1986, and once again I skirted the change.  While doing some research on this topic, I did come across the fact that it is still legal for someone under 21 to drink in Wisconsin, as long as it is in the presence of and with the consent of their parent or a legal guardian.  No one tell this to my son!

#9  –  Smoking

When I started going to bars, even before I started drinking, they were dimly lit, smoke-filled places were loud music played and people shouted above all the noise at each other.  Most of that is still true today, except for the part about smoking.  In 2008, the Smoke-Free Illinois Act banned smoking in and within 15 feet of any public building.  We were not ahead of the curve on this one, but since then smoking has been banned in most states and many countries around the world.  In just 25 years, smoking went from being something that all the cool kids did, to being demonized to such an extent that the appearance of a single cigarette in a movie will instantly give it a PG-13 rating.  I am not a smoker, and never have been, but even I have been amazed at how a once accepted standard has been put out to pasture.  That is until the cows start complaining.

#8 Gambling

As far as I can remember, back in 1986, the only place to gamble legally was in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, and at the time, Illinois was only one of 11 states that had a lottery.  Other than that, the only other legal gambling was Bingo on the Indian reservations.  But after a series of law suits in California, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passes in 1988, allowing reservations to also include card games, but in the original legislation, it was restricted to games played against other opponents, not the house.  After more law suits, the law was expanded to include all games of chance as well as slot machines.  Not surprisingly, the biggest opposition came from lobbyist for Nevada.  Once this door was opened, Iowa became the first state to legalize Riverboat Casinos, but the law stipulated that gambling could only occur while the boat was traveling and away from the dock.  Other states soon followed suit, and soon the restriction of being “off shore” was lifted, and the Riverboat Casinos became a come as you want 24 hour a day venture.

#7  – Hair

No, not the musical.  Mine. As in, when I was 21 I looked like this:

Brother Tom, circa 1986

Now I look like this:

Brother Tom 25 years later!

#6 –  Architecture

In 1986, the Sears Tower was the tallest building in the world.  A title it held until 1998, when the Petronas Towers in Malaysia surpassed it.  But that was met with a lot of controversy, since the twin antennae on top of the Sears Tower actually surpassed Petronas in total height.  Even though Sears was more than 20 floors higher, the decorative spires atop of Petronas we ruled to be part of the building structure, and therefore it claimed the title of World’s Tallest Building.  But in the long run, it was all to be a moot point, as they were both soon to be surpassed by Taipei 101 in Taiwan, and then completely overshadowed by the Dubai Tower in 2009.  That same year, the Sears Tower was bought by a London-based insurance company, and the name of the building was changed.  Many in the great city of Chicago, myself included, have refused to adopt the new name for the building.  Change the name of the Sears Tower?  What are you talkin’ about…..

#5  –  The Glass Ceiling

Although the sexual revolution and women’s lib had come and gone, most families in 1986 still consisted of a father who went to work, and a mom that stayed home.  But then on September 8, 1986, just two months after my 21st birthday, something happened that changed everything.  The Oprah Winfrey show debuted in Chicago.  Now, I am not silly enough to say that Oprah changed the world, but hell, maybe she did.  Like her, Love her or Hate her, there is no denying that she set a standard for women that has kept on expanding ever since.  Heads of industry, CEO’s of major companies, political front-runners, all former male dominated fields that women have made major strides in, trying to collapse that glass ceiling.  Sure, we have not all the way there yet.  Virginia Rometty did not get her invitation to join Augusta as so many other male CEO’s of IBM have been offered in the past, but there is no denying that 2012 is much more welcoming and full of potential for my daughter than it was back when I was 21.

#4  –  Gas Prices

The average price of a gallon of gas in 1986 was 93 cents.  The average price of a gallon of milk in 1986 was $2.22.  Just the other day, I went to Costco and bought a gallon of milk for $1.68.  Do I need to say more?

#3  The Super Stations

In 1978, WGN began selling their broadcast into other smaller markets.  There was nothing fancy about it.  They just took money from other markets, and they would just broadcast the WGN signal, the same as if it was right here in Chicago.  But then in 1989, the rules changed, and the individual markets had exclusive rights to syndicated programing, and so those stations that carried the WGN signal had to black them out any time a syndicated re-run was shown, which was the main programing for WGN outside of baseball games and the local news.  So to combat this problem. in January of 1990, WGN started a national broadcasting company called WGN America, and the Super Station format was born.  Since that time, we have seen this same concept adapted by other businesses.  The Super Stores of Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club and Costco have taken over the world, and the idea of a mom and pop store is almost a thing of the past.  It seems like these days, just about everything is Super Sized.

#2  Chicago Sports

On January 26, 1986, the Chicago Bears won Super Bowl XX, slaughtering the New England Patriots 46 to 10.  It was the only major Chicago sports championship within my lifetime.  And before I hear any whining from the soccer geeks, the Chicago Sting championships of 1981 and 1984 do not count as a MAJOR sports championship.  How important could they have really been? The Sting folded just four years after their last championship.  The important part is that since that time, Chicago has won six NBA championships, a World Series, and the Stanley Cup.  Since that time, Comiskey Park has been torn down and rebuilt, redesigned, and then ultimately re-named.  The old Chicago Stadium is no more, and has been replaced by the modern United Center.  Even Solder Field got a facelift.  The entire face of Chicago sports has changed over the past 26 years.  That is until you look towards the North Side.  I guess some things never change.

#1  Technology

I could have done this entire list on just the advancements in technology since I was 21.  Land lines and typewriters are almost non-existent; replaced by cell phones and laptop computers.  We have seen the birth of the VHS machine, only to be replaced by DVD and then Blu-Ray.  The vinyl record album was pushed out by the CD and now even old farts like me have an iPod that stores more music than a whole bookshelf of vinyl.  Special effects in movies are something I never dreamed of as a kid, and Pixar opened up a whole new world of digital animation.  And then there is that whole internet thing that Al Gore invented.  World Book officially stopped printing their encyclopedia, replaced instead by Wikipedia.  Social Media and Facebook may be the ultimate downfall of modern civilization, that is unless Words with Friends or Mafia wars takes over first.  But there is still one old friend from 1986 I am not ready to give up yet.  I am not ready to replace a good old fashioned book with one of those Kindle things. A guy has to draw the line somewhere.

Happy Birthday, Stephanie.  I can’t wait to see what wonderful things await us by the time your kids are 21.

On second thought, I can wait!

Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?

On the way into work the other morning, I decided to give the sound system on the new car a try.  It came with one of those adapters to plug-in an iPod or other such mp3 type device, but since I don’t have one of those, and to be honest, it would be like putting a wrist watch on a pig as the old saying goes, I dug through some CDs that were still piled up in the garage and picked out something to listen to on my drive in to work.  And boy did I pick well.  A two CD set that Maureen and I picked up on our trip to Ireland.  Hey Ho, Let’s Go: The Anthology.  The Ramones put out 14 studio albums over twenty years, and amassed a catalogue of over 170 songs.  This collection reduces it by a third and comes up with 57 songs.  I am going to try to reduce that number yet again.

My Top Ten Favorite Ramones Songs!

10.  Baby, I Love You

Many would say that this song would epitomise all that was wrong with the Phil Spector era in Ramones history.  To them I would say, screw it.  I like the song.  The customary Marky Ramone heavy drum beat combined with a string section on a cover version of the classic Rosette’s tune.  Spector was brought on board to help make the band more commercially successful, and he did just that.  Baby, I Love You was the band’s most successful single, reaching #8 on the UK charts, and End of the Century was the bands highest charting album in both the US and the UK.

9.  Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?

Another Phil Spector inspired song that stretched the standard that was The Ramones, it was also off of the album End of the Century.  The title of the album comes from the lyrics in this song.  But I always had one little problem with the song.  The addition of the synthesizer in the song seems to mimic almost exactly, at least to my untrained ear, the beginning of the song Radio, Radio by Elvis Costello.  Although I could find no reference to the similarity anywhere on the internet.  I suggest giving both a listen.

8.  Pet Sematary

Written for the movie adaptation of the Stephen King novel, Pet Sematary , it was included on The Ramones 1989 release Brain Drain.  Technically, it is the highest charting single for the band, reaching number 4 on the Modern Rock charts, now more commonly referred to as the Alternate Rock charts.  But when you consider that this particular chart didn’t exist until 1988, it is hard to put into perspective just how popular the song was as compared to other Ramones songs.  It did however make one great ending to the movie, and if the remake that has been floating around Hollywood for years ever does get made, they would do well to include this song again.

7.  Pinhead

Inspired by the 1932 movie Freaks, this song coined one of The Ramones more famous chants.  Gabba Gabba, Hey!  From their second album, Leave Home, the song quickly became a concert favorite, with a dancing roadie in a Pinhead mask coming out on stage during the song.  Or at least that is how I remember it way back in 1980 when my friend Jimmy and I saw The Ramones at the College of DuPage.  I am also pretty sure that the song was the inspiration for the current kid’s show Yo Gabba Gabba, but I have no proof of that.

6.  Rock ‘n’ Roll High School

Another movie theme song, but this time for the 1979 film which stared Vince Van Patten and Clint Howard.  I have never seen the movie, and that is probably a good thing, although I would imagine curiosity would eventually get the better of me and I would have to dust off an old VHS machine and watch it.  That is if a copy of the film still exists.  The song was re-mixed and re-released on End of the Century, but the original from the movie soundtrack is considered by most the better rendition.

5.  The KKK Took My Baby Away

From the 1981 album Pleasant Dreams, this song was rumored to be about Joey stealing Johnny’s girlfriend.  The possible implications aside, it is just a classic piece of Ramones.  Heavy drum beats and simple cords played at rocket speed and coming in at just over two and a half minutes.

4.  Bonzo Goes to Bitburg

Originally released in 1985 as a single only in the United Kingdom, the song was later renamed My Brain is Hanging Upside Down and was released on the album Animal Boy.  It was written as a protest to President Reagan’s visit to a military cemetery in Bitburg, West Germany, were 49 known Nazi SS members were buried.  Joey Ramone, whose real name was Jeffry Ross Hyman and of Jewish decent, took offence to the visit as did many Jewish and Veterans groups.  But the song also caused strife within the band, since Johnny was a supporter of  Reagan and a far right conservative.  He was also a collector of Nazi propaganda.

3.  Sheena is a Punk Rocker

This is the song I cut my Ramones teeth on.  From their third album, Rockets to Russia, it tells the story of a young girl who was tired of the disco and turned to Punk Rock.  Nothing deep or meaningful, but full of energy and lots of fun.  As with many of the better Ramones songs, the lyrics are minimized.  What more do you need to know?  “Sheena is a punk rocker now.”

2.  I Wanna Be Sedated

Possibly one of the Ramones best known songs, it appeared on their 1978 release, Road to Ruin.  It was written by Joey as a complaint about how boring life was while on the road touring.  When Maureen and I visited the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame a few years ago, in one room we watched a recorded interview with Joey shortly before his death from lymphoma.  The interviewer asks him at one point why he always wrote such short songs, and in all seriousness he says he didn’t.  They were actually long songs, but that they just played them really, really fast.  I instantly thought of this song.

1.  Blitzkrieg Bop

Vanessa Williams may have saved the best for last, but that just wasn’t going to fly with The Ramones.  The very first song, on their very first album, it has been called by some, the two minutes that changed the face of music.  The song launched The Ramones career, and set a standard for the band and all of music for the next twenty years.  Blitzkrieg Bop will be found on almost any list of Top Rock songs of all time, and was the song played by Green Day at the 2002 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony for The Ramones.

What else is there to say?

Hey Ho!  Let’s Go!

Timing is Everything

And unlike the good Mr. Shakespeare, I just don’t got it.

Over the past month or so, I have put together a bunch of ideas.  All great things that I wanted to expound upon here in my own little blog home.  But alas, I didn’t find the time, or never finished writing, and then the world changed again, and more ideas sprouted, only to get lost in the mass jumble that is my brain.  Then the opportunity was lost, and you, the readers, were saved from having to try to decipher my sometimes incoherent ramblings.

So in case you were ever wondering, and I guess even if you weren’t, I now present my Top Ten list of things I wanted to write about, but never got around too.  I can tell you are so thrilled!

10.  The Girl and the Goat

Having heard mixed reviews and canceling a reservation, Maureen and I headed out to Stephanie Izzard’s restaurant here in Chicago and were more than pleased with the outcome.  How can you go wrong when you order something called a Pig Face, and it comes with a fried egg on top of the crispy cheek meat?  And this restaurant did something I never thought anyone would ever be able to do.  Made brussel sprouts that I truly enjoyed.  This wasn’t your mom’s mushy old brussel sprouts.  Pan fried and yummy!  And then there was dessert.  Something called Chocolate Bouchon with Foie Fluff.  I have no idea what a bouchon is, and neither did our waitress, but it tasted even better than it looked.  Yes, that is a toasted foie gras marshmallow next to the milk chocolate sorbet.

9.  Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

I got a call a few weeks ago, and the first thing Maureen says to me over the phone is, “Don’t be mad at me.”  The next thing she tells me is that someone is on their way to pick up my crappy old car, she had traded it in on a new one.  How could I be mad?  Look what they left in its place.  I’m not sure when someone will be stopping by to pick up my crappy old phone.

8.  The Return of William Kelly

It appears that my favorite producer of Emmy Award winning television was back at it again.  This time it was another confrontation dealing with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Kelly did a pretty good job of making an ass of himself.  If you care to watch the video, he posted it on his Washington Times “Communities” sight.  It is the only place where you will find this scathing video.  Because basically no one else cared.

7.  Jim Henson Presents (part two)

I was planning to post two additional blogs based on the idea of the White Sox as Muppets, but then came that announcement with just two games left in the season, and it just didn’t seem like such a good idea anymore.  This is the picture I had picked out to represent Ozzie Guillen and General Manager Ken Williams.

6.  A Case for Terry Francona

It wasn’t that I was endorsing Francona to take over as the new White Sox manager, and to be honest, I really didn’t think he had a chance at getting the job, but I already had my Muppet picture of him all picked out.

5.  Chase-ing My Tail

I have on a number of occasions come close to putting together a full length expose about the many problems I have had with Chase Bank, but when I would try to tell the tale, it always got too bogged down with details, and it just came out sounding bitter and whinny.  Let’s just leave it at this.  I am not a big fan of Chase.

4.  Washington State is at Dunne

It was a Saturday afternoon, and I didn’t have the kids.  Maureen was working, and I decided to meet up with two of my sisters and my brother-in-law Jim at one of our favorite taverns.  A great little place on Lincoln called Finley Dunne’s.  They were relaxing after running a 5K.  I was there for the Mac-n-Cheese Bites and some cold beer.  Also in the bar was a Chicago Alumni group from Washington State, and wisely they chose this same bar to watch their Cougars take on the Aztecs of San Diego State.  The Cougars would eventually lose, but it was close for three quarters, and even those of us that were there to watch the Illini play, couldn’t help but get drawn into the excitement of this group.  Soon we were all rooting for Washington State.

3.  And The Winner Is…..

I was going to take another stab at predicting the outcome of this years baseball post season.  I was absolutely certain that the Cardinals and Rangers would be playing in this years World Series.  Next week I will let you know who I think will win.

2.  The Top Ten

At least once a week, I come up with another idea for a top ten list.  Usually it happens while driving to work, because even on a good day it takes me over an hour to get the 26 miles from my driveway to work.  I have a lot of time to think.  Unfortunately I do not have a lot of time to write it all down while in the car, so most of the ideas get lost between the parking lot and my desk.  What I do have is a number of scribbled lists tucked into the drawers of my desk, and I promise that sometime soon I will get some of these lists posted.  This one doesn’t count.

1.  Our Treacherous Ireland Holiday (parts nine through thirteen or fourteen or maybe even fifteen)

It has been almost a year since we took our honeymoon trip to the emerald isle, and there is still a lot of story to be told.  Both Maureen and I have tried to pick up the story, but we have yet to finish it.  The story was to conclude with a unique pictorial, inspired by our own favorite Irish Pub here in Chicago.  I may have to cheat, and skip to the final chapter.

Can the Butler Do It?

It is not very often that we see back-to-back appearances in the championship game of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.  It is even less likely by a team considered an underdog in both years.  Last year, Butler was The Cinderella Story making it to the championship game from a number five seed.  This year they have done it again coming from the number eight seed.  If they succeed in winning the game, they will tie the record set by Villanova in 1985 as the lowest seed to win.  In honor of this accomplishment, I present the following:

My Top Ten Favorite Butlers

#10 –  Sabastian Cabot  –  Mr. French in A Family Affair

I am showing a little age with this pick, but Mr. French is the classic idea of what a butler should look and act like.  I am a bit too young to have watched A Family Affair in its original run, but it was a staple of my childhood, playing in syndication on WGN back-to-back with The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.  The premise of the series was that a wealthy confirmed bachelor, played by Brian Keith, becomes the guardian of his brother’s three children after a fatal car accident.  It is quite an adjustment for “Uncle Bill” and much of the care taking of the kids, Cissy and twins Buffy and Jody, is left to Mr. French.  In typical 1960’s style, the series was pretty sappy, but it did spawn the very popular Mrs. Beasley doll that could be found in many houses at that time, including ours.

#9  –  Cadbury  – Richie Rich comic books and cartoon

Forget the incredibly bad 1994 film.  By the time it was made, Macaulay Culkin was already way past his cute days of Uncle Buck and Home Alone.  There is a reason why this was his last film as a child actor, and it was probably one or two too many.  Cadbury, who’s full name was Herbert Arthur Runcible Cadbury, was the animated butler in the Richie Rich comic books and the 1980’s cartoon series.  Like Mr. French, he was the classic and perfect butler, and always available to lend a hand whenever his young squire needed him.  Almost any jam that young Master Rich found himself in could be instantly alleviated by Cadbury’s timely arrival.

#8  –  Lurch  –  The Addams Family

Originally conceived as a nameless member of cartoonist Charles Addams one panel newspaper cartoon, Lurch is best known from the 1960’s series, where his signature “You rang?” was pretty much the only understandable line he spoke during the show.  He was played with Frankenstein like perfection by actor Ted Cassidy for the entire run of the series.  In the 1990’s, Lurch and the Addams family made a comeback in a series of movies, and most recently, a musical based on the original newspaper strip has been developed.  I’m not sure if Lurch does any singing, but I would assume he would be the bass.

#7  –  Tim Curry  –  Wadsworth in the movie Clue

When Clue was released in 1985, it had a great advertising gimmick.  Because the movie was based on a board game that could produce many different conclusions, there were three alternate ending to the film, and a different final reels could be seen depending on where you saw the movie.  In the end, the gimmick was not enough to produce a hit, and Clue didn’t even recoup it’s $15 million budget in the original release.  But in the early days of VHS it did gain an audience with home rentals.  Personally, I don’t think it was a bad movie, and certainly Tim Curry makes the film even more enjoyable.

#6  –  Sir John Gielgud  –  Hobson in Arthur

Don’t even get me started on the new remake of Arthur.  I will reserve judgment until after I hear what people like Roger Ebert say about the film, but the chances of me seeing the film is almost non-existent.  I am not really a fan of Russell Brand, heck, I wasn’t much of a fan of Dudley Moore either, but without John Gielgud, who won an Academy Award for this role, there just isn’t a movie worth watching.  I’m sure Helen Mirren, an Academy Award winner herself, will do a fine job as a female version of Hobson, but do yourself a favor and pass up on the remake.  Instead go out and find a copy of the original to watch.  That is if you can find an open Blockbuster somewhere.

#5  –  Richard O’Brien  –  Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Mr. O’Brien not only starred in the cult movie classic, but he also wrote and appeared in the original stage show upon which the movie was based .  Although I would not call Riff Raff a typical butler, he is certainly a fitting man-servant for any Sweet Transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania.  In the end, he and his sister, Magenta, are not all that they seem, but what is in this film?  By the end of the movie, the servants become the masters.  Mr. O’Brien is still working today, But in a somewhat different form.  He is a voice on one of my favorite children’s show, Phineas and Ferb.

#4  –  Robert Guillaume  –  Benson DuBois

Before he took his job at the Governor’s Mansion, Benson was the Tate Family butler on the very funny Soap.  As his character developed on his own show, Benson sort of lost what made him such a great character in the first place.  On Soap, whenever the doorbell rang, all the action would stop and everyone would look at Benson.  After a second when Benson realized he was the center of attention, he would always speak up with the line, “You want me to get that?”  And it was funny every time.  Now that’s my type of butler.

#3  –  Denholm Elliott  –  Coleman in Trading Places

The movie Trading Places made Eddie Murphy a star, but much like the butler in my number six choice, Colman is the true star of this film.  It is a great story and a fun film, and Mr. Elliott does an amazing job at bridging the two worlds of Dan Akroyd’s Winthorpe and Murphy’s Billy Ray Valentine.  And once again the servant comes out on top in the end as Colman helps to bring down the careless Duke brothers.

#2  –  Kevin Butler  –  The Chicago Bears

What kind of Chicago sports fan would I be if I left my town’s most famous sports butler off this list?  Known simply as Butt Head to his teammates and his fans, Kevin was the placekicker for the 1985 Superbowl XX champion Chicago Bears.  He is also the all time leading point scored leader for the Bears, surpassing Walter Payton by over 350 points.  Besides his 11 years with the Bears, and 13 years overall in the NFL, Mr. Butler is also the only kicker ever to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.  If his fans have any say in the matter, he will also someday be in the Pro Football Hall.

#1  –  Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth  –  Bruce Wayne’s Butler

Arguably the most famous and most portrayed butler in all fiction.  Alfred first appeared in the pages of Batman #16 in the spring of 1943, and first appeared on film that same year in the Batman movie house serial.  He has been a character in comic books and novels and been featured on both television and in films.  Notably, he has been portrayed by a variety of actors from Alan Napier, who played Alfred in the 1960’s live action Batman series with Adam West, to Michael Cain in the most recent Batman movies starring Christian Bale.  Nowhere else in fiction or in the real world will you find a butler with more credentials.

On one final note, I know there are many other butlers out there, but these were my personal top ten.  I never really watched The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and when Molly watches the re-runs on Nick at Night, I really find nothing appealing about the show, so Geoffrey was not one of my choices.  But if you feel like adding a few of your own, please do so.  But for now all that is left to say is…..

Go Butler!

 

 

Congrats Tennessee

In the city of Chicago, the celebration is in full swing.  For a city that has long been associated with its losing ways, it is good to see that we are getting better at this whole winning thing.  Although there is still that other team that has yet to win a championship, the city of Chicago how holds claim to an unusual honor that no other city can brag about.  Within the last 25 years, Chicago is the only city to win all four major championships.  The Bears won the Super Bowl in January of 1986, the Bulls won six NBA Championships in the 90’s, the White Sox won the World Series in 2005, and now the Blackhawks have brought home the Stanley Cup.

But lost in all of the hoopla that comes with winning is the fact that another team has now risen in the ranks.  Prior to Wednesday night, the Blackhawks held the number ten spot on the list of longest current sports teams without a championship.  They have eagerly given up that spot.  I won’t repost the entire list, but here is the new number ten spot.

10  –  Tennessee Titans  –  December 24, 1961

The Titans began their sports life as the Houston Oilers in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League.  And they started off with a bang, winning the AFL Championship in both 1960 and 1961.  In 1970 when the AFL was absorbed by the existing NFL, the Oilers fell on hard times, and they would not see another post season appearance until 1978.  Turmoil with ownership and the decrepit start of the Astrodome led to the threat of moving the Oilers to Jacksonville, Florida, but a band-aid agreement kept the team in Houston.  But the agreement did not last for long.  When Houston refused to build a new stadium for the team, it was announced that the Oilers would be moving to Nashville for the 1997-98 season.  They played to very small but packed crowds at their temporary home while a new stadium was being built, and in 1999 they were re-named the Tennessee Titans just in time to move into their new home.  That same year they also made an unlikely post season run and made it all the way to the Super Bowl, but lost to the St. Louis Rams.  Since then, they have made it back to the playoffs five time, but have still not won that elusive title.

So congratulations to the Tennessee Titans.  You are officially in the top ten, and the Blackhawks are now in the cellar.  Where we really hope they stay. 

For a very, very long time.

Top Ten Faces from the Crowd

When I began this little experiment last September, I wasn’t really sure where this whole writing a blog thing would take me.  Since then, I have posted 50 entries, had 132 people place comments on the blog, many more on my Facebook page, and had 4,838 visits to my blog.  Although these are not earth shattering numbers, I am a little impressed that I have attracted somewhat of a following other than my mother and sisters.  Some of what I have written I am quite proud of, while there are a few that seem the lost ramblings of some old dude when I re-read them.  So in celebration of my 51st blog entry, I have decided to do a top ten list of myself.  Only this time the list is not based on my own opinion, but actual facts.  Based on the number of individual hits each entry has received, here is the top ten entries visited by you the readers.  I have not included what the site calls my Home Page, but rather just individual hits on a single entry.  The Home Page would walk away with the top spot since this is where most people begin their time here on my little blog before they pick and chose what they would like to read more about.

10  –  A Day in the Life (or at least a morning)  –  95 Hits

This is actually one of my favorite entries.  What began as just me trying to document what a typical morning was like from my point of view, turned into a bit of a life lesson to myself.  It was also one of the easiest pieces I have written, although it is also one of the longest I have written.  Sometimes when an idea gets going it just seems to flow right out of me.  It was also easy to write because I just told it like it was.  That was my morning. 

9  –  Splitting Hairs  –  99 Hits

My first official blog entry that was not about me trying to figure out how to post a blog or why I wanted to write a blog.  So my first official topic of conversation was my decision to grow my beard out for the winter.  Just recently, on Opening Day as a matter of fact, I shaved it all off.  My face is now naked, and Maureen is very happy about it.  But it wont be too long gone.  Given a long weekend without having to work, and it will be back.  At least part of it will.

8  –  World’s Worst Dad  –  100 Hits

My date night with Molly.  Or rather my night with Molly that I almost really screwed up.  I really do enjoy being a father, and I think this entry really captures the fun of being a dad.  It is the most recent entry on the list, and I think it was passed around a little by family and friends, helping out with the number of hits it has received.

7  –  Connecting the Dot’s  –  115 Hits

I really enjoyed writing this one.  Led by my stomach and some reconnecting with some old college friends, it was culinary trip down memory lane during my days at Northern Illinois University.  It was still enjoyable to read it again while putting this list together.  Made me want to take a trip out to DeKalb for some Beer Nuggets.

6  –  Fried Zucchini  –  117 Hits

Food has quickly become a theme in many of the entries I write.  Only topped by music as the top things I find myself writing about.  This is another memory piece filled with good things to eat.  Led of course by Fried Zucchini.

5  –  It’s Not Unusual.  Is It?  –  119 Hits

That other topic I find myself writing a lot about.  Music.  Or more specifically, in this case, Tom Jones.  I thought I was stepping out on a little bit of a ledge here, but I was surprised to find out how many Tom Jones fans there are still out there.  Not the best written piece I have done, but filled with a bunch of really good Jones facts.

4  –  Moon, Not Banana  –  120 Hits

The title refers to the title of an album by The Cathy Richardson Band.  I always like the title because of the cover art that accompanied the CD.  It was a very simple yellow crescent moon.  I had a black t-shirt with the same illustration on it, and whenever I wore it, eventually someone would ask me why I had a banana on my shirt.  My answer was always the same.  “Moon, not banana!”

3  –  Does This Beat Go On?  –  120 Hits

Another musical journey, this time featuring Queen, Journey and of course, The Kings.  I had attached a link at the bottom of this blog that connected to a rather cool video of This Beat Goes On/Switching to Glide on The Kings website.  I thought maybe this was the reason for the high number of hits on this one, but when I checked, only fifteen people had actually clicked through to the video.  Which is really too bad, because if you remember the song, it is a great video to watch.  It features the bands appearance on American Bandstand as well as live footage from the past 25 years.  Sort of a history of a one hit wonder all rolled up in one song.

2  –  The Worst Song On Radio  –  155 Hits

The very beginning of the Top Ten format.  I have enjoyed it so much that this is now my seventh blog entry to include a Top Ten list.  I have actually started a number more of them, but they tend to take a little longer to write, so I sometimes get them started but fail to finish them.  But as summer progresses, I have a feeling you will be seeing more of them. 

1  –  Weekend Warrior  –  304 Hits

What can I say.   Sentimentality must have a great draw.  I thought I was being a bit sly by hiding the true subject matter until the very last paragraph, but word quickly spread and links to the blog were posted in many places and soon people I was meeting for the very first time were telling me how much they enjoyed my blog.  It is hard for me to imagine anything else I write touching as many people as this one has.  I guess we will just have to see what I come up with the day after we are married.

I’ve Got the Music in Me

As I look back at many of the posts I have made here, it suddenly occurred to me that music has really made a profound effect on my life.  Except for a brief time in Junior High and High School when I played the bass, I am not really musically inclined as far as an instrument.  To be painfully honest, I stunk.  But music overall has such an effect on people, and I find as I write, many of my memories somehow hook back to what music I was listening to at the time.  This is something the advertising world has known forever, and why jingles were created in the first place.  Music creates memories, and these types of memories stay with us much longer because of the association to the music.  But where does our musical taste come from? 

As we grow older our music preference is defined by many factors.  I have always considered my musical taste to be quite eclectic.  But to figure out where it developed, I have to look to my youth and what influences created in my mind what I consider good music.  Of course there are the obvious choices of the media, both television and radio.  Certainly Molly’s preference for Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift were driven by what she sees and hears on the boob tube, but she also has a fondness for the song Surrender by Cheap Trick because I have played it so many times it has become a favorite of hers too.

So to answer this question for myself, I have come up with another Top Ten list, but this one is a little different.  It was also quite difficult, because these are not necessarily my favorite, but what I feel had the most effect on developing my musical taste as it is today.  I have come up with the Top Ten Albums from my youth, that had the biggest effect on creating my current musical appreciation.  Since I was most interested in what music influenced me before I started on my own musical journey, I reduced the choices to only music that was produced before I entered high school, so nothing before 1979 has been included.  Also, the music had to be contained in an Album format.  Not just a single song or a 45.  (Note to readers:  If you don’t know what a 45 is, please keep it to yourself.  I feel old enough just mentioning that I entered high school over 30 years ago.)

Top Ten Albums Responsible for My Musical Taste

10 – Grease  –  Movie Soundtrack  –  1978

In the early summer of 1978, I went on my very first “date”.  She was an older woman, I was only an eighth grader and she would be entering high school in the fall.  Her name was Cindy, and we would meet up at the Wheaton pool or downtown, and this “date” if you could call it one was to The Wheaton Theater to see Grease.  The reason I reluctantly call it a “date” is because we were accompanied by her church youth group and a couple of chaperons, but I guess in those days it was about as close to a “date” as a couple of kids from Wheaton were going to get.  It was also an interesting choice for a youth group, and the discussion afterwords was quite interesting also.  But the movie and the soundtrack became a big hit, and the double record set was played over and over again in our house, even after it became scratchy and skipped.  Although my younger sisters Marney and Amy probably never saw the film in its original release, the creation of the VHS recorder brought in right into our home for years to come.  The movie and soundtrack album had quite the cultural effect on an entire generation, and for good or bad, it probably has a place on many peoples list.

9  –  Bridge Over Troubled Water  –  Simon & Garfunkel  –  1970

This was one of the albums my mom and dad had in that old stereo cabinet in the basement.  Besides the title song, the album also contained Keep the Customer Satisfied, The Boxer, and one of my favorites, Cecilia.  Although it was widely reported that the duo fought constantly while producing the album, the production is almost flawless.  But there was one added item that puts this recording on my list, and that was a live recording of the Everly Brothers hit Bye Bye, Love.  For me, it was this live track that set the stage for my appreciation of live concert recordings.  Over the years, I have owned several Live Albums and have a great admiration for the art of playing in front of a live audience, something I was never able to accomplish on my own.  But thanks to the wonderful world of karaoke, I can be seen belting out a few tunes every now and then.

8  –  The Partridge Family Album  –  The Partridge Family  –  1970

Ok, so we all know, The Partridge Family didn’t really perform on this album.  Yes, David Cassidy and Shirley Jones provided vocals, but all of the music and most of the harmony singing was done by studio musicians who got little if any credit.  But in this case it was not so much the music as the whole package that was being provided.  Basically, The Partridge Family was today’s Hannah Montana.  We actually had two different Partridge Family records in our house, but this album with I Think I Love You and I Can Feel Your Heartbeat was the one I listened to more.  We also had several other teen heart-throb albums like Donny Osmond, Andy Gibb, and Bobby Sherman, but they didn’t have the same overall effect, although if I were choosing single songs, I Just Want to be Your Everything might have made the cut.

7  –  Never Mind the Bollocks  –  Sex Pistols  –  1977

I have to admit that this one is a bit of a cheat.  I never owned this album, but what I did have was an orange cassette tape that Jimmy Schmitz recorded for me from his older brothers record collection.  It did include all the great recordings off this album like God Save the Queen, Anarchy in the U.K., and E.M.I., but it also had several tracks from other Sex Pistols recordings like the cover version of the Eddie Cochran classic C’mon Everybody from the soundtrack to The Great Rock N Roll Swindle and the Sid Vicious covers of My Way and Something Else.  That little cassette with its poor quality recording got a lot of playtime though, and was often heard in my old college apartment.  I have a feeling if I looked around in some of those boxes in the basement that haven’t been opened in years, that little orange cassette might still be around.

6  –  You Get What You Play For  –  REO Speedwagon  –  1977

In the years before REO Speedwagon became pop rock superstars with such hits as Keep On Loving You and Can’t Fight This Feeling they were actually a kick ass rock band.  This was a live double record set, and it included some of the biggest hits you would never hear on the radio, although they did get some airplay on WLUP.  The album included Keep Pushin’, 157 Riverside Avenue, Golden Country, and their biggest hit at that time, Ridin’ the Storm Out.  It wasn’t until 1978 that the band had its first real taste of mainstream success with the album You Can Tune a Piano but You Can’t Tuna Fish which spawned two moderate hits with Time for Me to Fly and Roll with the Changes.  But it was the 1980 mega hit album Hi Infidelity that skyrocketed REO Speedwagon to the top of the charts.  Unfortunately, by that time I had stopped listening to them, but I would still break out this album every now and then.

5  –  Lights Out  –  UFO  –  1977

I really don’t recall where this album came from, I believe I borrowed it from a friend and never returned it.  It had to have been from Rob or Darren.  They were two of the condo-kids I hung around with and got in trouble with every now and then.  It was my introduction to heavy metal, but as history tells us, I backed the wrong horse in this race.  Michael Schenker was only 18 when he joined UFO after a brief stint with his brother’s band The Scorpions.  He spoke no English, but musically they hit it off right from the start.  The album Lights Out was the hight of the bands American success, managing to peak at number 23 on the album chart, but it failed to produce any hit singles.  I also owned the bands 1979 live album Strangers in the Night, but since I bought that album while in high school I excluded it from the list.  For me, the highlight of this album was the last track, Love to Love.  The song ran almost eight minutes, but it was worth every second of it.

4  –  Excitable Boy  –  Warren Zevon  –  1978

In a past post, I have already spoke of my fondness for Warren Zevon.  This is the album that started that fascination, and I still own a CD copy today.  There is not a song on this album I don’t like.  Roland the Headless Thomson Gunner, Lawyers, Guns and Money, Accidentally Like a Martyr, and of course Werewolves of London just to name a few.  This was my older sister Carrie’s record, but it somehow just kept finding it’s was to my room.  I remember telling one of the older high school girls that worked with me at The Popcorn Store that I liked Warren Zevon, and she was very impressed with my adult taste in music.  I don’t rember her name, but she was even older than Cindy.  I guess I had quite a way with the older women.  A bit of an excitable boy myself.

3  –  Jesus Christ Superstar  –  Original Cast Recording  –  1970

In the case of Jesus Christ Superstar, the recording came before the broadway production, and it was a hit.  Much darker than the other gospel inspired musical of the same time Godspell, it followed the struggles between Judas and Jesus leading right up to the crucifixion.  Even at a young age, I was not all that religious, but the music and lyrics of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber were breathtaking.  Murray Head’s rendition of Heaven on Their Minds still gives me goosebumps when I hear it, and Yvonne Elliman’s vocals on I Don’t Know How to Love Him can only be described as classic.  This album alone is probably most responsible for the path I took through college and my pursuit of the theatre.  Things did not turn out like I had hoped so long ago, but if anything could bring me out of theatre retirement it would be the chance to perform King Herod’s Song in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

2  – Pearl  –  Janis Joplin  –  1971

Another album that I managed to snag from my mom and dads stereo cabinet, I remember thinking my parents were not this cool.  They must have picked this up by mistake.  At a very young age, it quickly became one of my favorites.  At the time I was unaware of the circumstances behind Janis Joplin, or that she had died of a heroin overdose before this album was even released.  I only knew she was a cool looking chick and she sang like nothing I had ever heard before.  Mercedes-Benz, Cry Baby, and Get it While You Can are some of the greatest bluesy recordings I have ever heard, and do I even need to mention Me and Bobby McGee.  I have passed my amazement of Janis’ talent onto my kids.  Stephanie had heard so much of her music, that one year she decided she wanted to be Janis Joplin for Halloween.  She was by far, the coolest kid on the block that year.

1  –  Infinity  – Journey  –  1978

This album makes the number one spot for one reason.  It is the first album I ever bought on my own.  A trip downtown to The Flip Side with a little of that paper route money, and my life with music had just begun.  Similar to REO Speedwagon, Journey was an unknown rock band before Steve Perry turned the band into a more pop friendly force in the early eighties.  But this record was pure rock-n-roll and had production values ahead of its time.  A hit on the FM band and most notably WLUP in Chicago, the complex layers in the tracks made the songs too complex to be enjoyed on the pop dominated AM radio.  This album was my coming of age.  It opened the door to other great albums of the time like Heaven Tonight by Cheap Trick and London Calling by The Clash. 

Bonus Track  –  The Age of Aquarius  –  The 5th Dimension  –  1969

As I was putting this list together, I so wanted to include this album, but it really was just a one hit wonder for me.  Or should I say two hits in one song.  Of course I am talking about the undeniable hit Age of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In.  What I didn’t know back then was that the songs that I was so drawn to were lifted right from another musical, this time the hippy inspired rock musical Hair.  But it was Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. that made this version so great to listen to.  Another of my parents lost stereo cabinet classics, this album did get listened to quite a bit down in the basement.

Super Bowl Someday

As we are quickly approaching Super Sunday and all the hype and festivities that go with it, I have noticed a common theme among the sports talk shows and analyst.  The New Orleans Saints have never been to or won a Super Bowl.  Although they are not the only team to fall into this category, there are four other teams that have never taken part in the game, and 15 of the current teams have never won the Super Bowl including the Minnesota Vikings who lost to New Orleans in the NFC Championship Game, it seems that you just can’t talk about the game without this fact being mentioned.  The Saints are not favored to win the game, so this also adds to that underdog feeling associated with sports.  If your team is not in the game, this added information may turn you into a New Orleans Saints fan, at least for one day.  But as far as championship droughts go, the Saints do not even come close to topping the list.  There are eight other football franchises that have longer droughts, and if you include all four of the major American professional sports, they would only come in at number 18. 

So, who are these other teams that have not won a championship in their sports for so long?  I think I smell another Top Ten list coming.  Some will be obvious, but a few might be surprising.  To make it easier, I have ranked them by the date of their last championship.  In the case of a team that has never won a championship, the date given is the first game they played.  In the case of the New Orleans Saints, the date would be September 17, 1967.  I have also limited my list to just American sports teams.  Although I am sure there is a rugby team somewhere that hasn’t won it like 80 years, this list is confined to the sports I know.

Top Ten Worst American Sports Droughts

10  –  Chicago Blackhawks  –  April 16th, 1961

The only hockey team to make the top ten, and one of the Original Six that helped form the NHL in 1926.  The Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup three times, but a long history of ownership turmoil have help keep them from winning.  The last time the Blackhawks made it to Stanley Cup Finals was back in 1992, but they were beaten by the Pittsburgh Penguins in four straight games.  New ownership and a young team have revitalized hockey in Chicago, and the Blackhawks advanced to the Western Conference Championship last season, but lost out to the Detroit Red Wings.  Of all the teams on this list, the Blackhawks would seem to have the best chance at ending their drought.

9  –  Texas Rangers  –  April 10, 1961

The Rangers began life as the Washington Senators back in 1961, this was actually the third baseball team to play in Washington using the name, and the previous team had just left the year before, moving to Minnesota to become the Twins.  To ward off threats against its antitrust exemption, MLB added two teams in 1961, the other was a new California team in Los Angeles called the Angels.  While in Washington, the team only managed one winning season, and lack of ticket sales along with some questionable financial problems led to the team being relocated to Arlington where they were renamed the Texas Rangers.  Since that time, the Rangers have only made the playoffs three times, and have a dismal post season record of 1-6.

8  –  Philadelphia Eagles  –  December 26, 1960

In the days before the Super Bowl, the Eagles last won the NFL Championship in 1960.  In all, they won three NFL Championships, the other two being in 1948 and 1949.  They have made it to the Super Bowl twice, in 1980 where they were beaten by the Oakland Raiders, and again in 2004 when they lost to the New England Patriot.  Since coming under new ownership in 1994, the Eagles have consistently done well, winning their division five times and making the playoffs ten time.  But they just can’t seem to make that final step and win the whole thing.

7  –  Atlanta Hawks  – April 12, 1958

Another transplanted team, but this time several times over.  The franchise was originally formed in 1946 as the Buffalo Bison as part of the National Basketball League.  After playing just 13 games, they were relocated to Moline, Illinois where they became known as the Tri-City Blackhawks, and were one of the original 17 teams that formed the NBA in 1949.  In 1951, the team was moved again, this time to Wisconsin, and the name was shortened to the Milwaukee Hawks.  Four years later, the team moved yet once again, and became the St. Louis Hawks, where in 1958 they won their only NBA Championship.  The team contended several times during the sixties, but never managed to capture another title, then in 1968 the team was sold and finally moved to Atlanta.  Although the team did have some success during the eighties, the Atlanta Hawks have never managed to make it past the semi-finals. 

6  –  Detroit Lions  –  December 29, 1957

The Lions spent their first four seasons as the Portsmouth Spartans before moving to Detroit in 1934.  After winning the NFL Championship in their second season as the Lions, the team remained pretty dismal until the 1950’s where they won three Championships in six years.  After that, there is really not much to talk about.  Since the inseption of the Super Bowl for the 1966 season, the Lions have only made the playoffs nine times, and have amassed a record of 1-9.  Needless to say, the Lions have yet to play on Super Bowl Sunday.

5  –  San Francisco Giants  –  October 2, 1954

Technically, the San Francisco Giants are yet to win the World Series, it was the New York Giants led by Willie Mays that won the 1954 World Series, beating the Cleveland Indians in four games.  Since the move, the Giants have made it to the World Series three times, most recently in 2002, but there most famous series in San Francisco has to be the series of 1989.  The Giants were swept by the Oakland A’s, but not until after a ten-day delay.  Game three was scheduled for October 17, 1989 at Candlestick Park, but an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter Scale postponed the game until October 27th.  The delay did nothing to help the Giants.

4  –  Sacramento Kings  –  April 21, 1951

Yet another team that had trouble staying in one place.  In their history, the Kings have won two championships.  In just their second year as the Rochester Royals, they won the National Basketball League Championship, and they won their only NBA Championship in 1951.  In 1957, the team was moved to Cincinnati, but it wasn’t until they moved again in 1972 that the name was changed.  Between 1972 and 1975, the team split it’s home games between Kansas City and Omaha, and they agreed to change their name so that there would be no confusion with the baseball Kansas City Royals.  The Omaha market was eventually dropped, and the Kansas City Kings were later moved to Sacramento in 1985.  The Kings did have some moderate success in the early part of the last decade, but they never made it past the Conference Finals.

3  –  Cleveland Indians  –  October 11, 1948

In 1901, Cleveland was one of the eight charter members of the American League, although the history of the team can be traced back to 1894 and the Grand Rapids Rustlers.  When they originally joined the American League, they were the Cleveland Blues, but after several name changes, they settled on the Indians in 1915.  They won their first World Series in 1920, but didn’t return to the fall classic again until they beat the Boston Braves in 1948.  The Indians made it back to the World Series one more time in 1954, losing to the Giants, before starting a very long slide of losing years.  It wasn’t until the mid nineties that the Indians became a dominate force in baseball, winning the American League Central six times in seven years.  During that stretch, they reached the World Series twice, but losing both times, to the Atlanta Braves in 1995, and the expansion Florida Marlins in 1997.  Seven post season trips over the past 15 years, have failed to produce any World Series Championships.

2  –  Arizona Cardinals  –  December 28, 1947

Last year, the Cardinals were this year’s Saints.  They reached the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history.  The last time they had even participated in a championship game was in 1948, the year after they won their last NFL Championship.  But in those days, they were the Chicago Cardinals, where they competed directly against the Chicago Bears and played in Comiskey Park.  In 1960, the team moved to St. Louis where they remained until 1987.  During that time, the Cardinals only made the playoffs three times, never winning a game.  After losing the Super Bowl last year, the team made the playoffs again this year, but lost the Divisional Game to the New Orleans Saints.

1  –  Chicago Cubs  –  October 14, 1908

Ok, I am not going to dwell on this one for very long.  We all knew who the number one team was.  There is a reason why they called the team The Loveable Losers, although many of their current fans are not willing to accept that title anymore.  The Cubs have won the World Series twice, in 1907 and 1908, both times beating the Detroit Tigers.  Ironically, it was the same Tigers that beat the Cubs in their last World Series appearance in 1945.  They did not make another post season appearance until 1984, where after going up two games to none against the San Diego Padres, they lost the next three games, ending their chance at the long eluded championship.  This past winter, the Cubs came under new ownership, and it is in the hands of the Ricketts Family that the fate of the Cubs now rests. 

 The one good thing about being on this list is that it only takes one winning year to take you from the top to the bottom.  Just ask the Red Sox and the White Sox.  In 2004, the Red Sox ended an 86 year drought by winning the World Series for the first time since 1918, and the very next year, the White Sox ended their own 88 year drought, becoming World Series Champions for the first time since 1917.