My Facebook Thoughts

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Who Are We

I love writing this blog. Since I was young I have loved writing. I've written some good things and I've written some real stinkers. Either way I was writing.

Since I was young, I've been a communicator. I love expressing my ideas. When I was in first or second grade I liked expressing myself so much the teachers had to put a box around my desk to stop my love of communicating.

The internet and blogging has just thrown highly flammable fuel on my fire of expression. I can share my thoughts with many and they can share their thoughts with me via comments. Together we are communicating and hopefully making this world a better place.

The internet also allows us to disguise who we are. If you have ever been in a chat room you'd find that people are always 6 feet tall, blond hair, blue eyes and muscular but not intimidating. In other words, they're not being quite honest. Sometimes it's fun to fake people out in chat rooms. I've been known to be a bikini model who has no respect for personal space.

With my blog, however, I'm always me. I have put my beliefs online in a honest and truthful manner. I realize my views, at times, clash with family and friends. And I've had wonderful conversations debating those differences intelligently. In return, I have a greater level of respect for those people. I hope they have a greater respect for me.

In the comment community of my blog we have some regulars. Some identify themselves, some don't. I've often wondered why some choose not to say who they are and hide behind the mask of "Anonymous". They are usually someone whose opinion is the opposite of mine. I'm guessing they don't trust their thoughts enough to own them. But, if you don't believe strongly enough in your thoughts, why post anything at all. I'll respect you more as will the community.

Another weak comment strategy is the "Last Word End Around". I'll post something brilliant and my readers will discuss it in the comments section. Sometimes we'll have some really great dialog. Some will feel that they need to have the final say. Like that means they've won some imaginary battle of words. The funny part is that they will return to a conversation from two weeks prior and post something like, "So there!", just to have the last word.

I realize my blog is relatively unimportant to the world. However, to me and my readers it is a platform by which we can shout out how we feel about an ever changing world. If, in the ten minutes people take to read my blog and maybe express an opinion, people feel better, then I've done my job.

Blog on people, blog on.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Here's A Shock, Steve Dahl Censors His Critics

Two years ago I criticized an interview Steve Dahl did on WGN-TV, read here. Well, since then the once mighty and entertaining, Steve Dahl, has been pulled off the airwaves because of low ratings.

Gee, it seems I was right when I stated, "Steve Dahl was boring."

Well, the Hawaiian Sominex has been off the air since December 2008. And because he is still under contract with CBS he can't go "On The Air" with anyone else. What to do, what to do?

Steve has always been a fan of the internet and how it can be used to communicate to many at once. He's also a tech-geek which means he'd find a way to communicate.

On September 8, 2009 (my anniversary) Steve launched his new show via Podcasting on his website and iTunes. Steve is also available via Facebook and Twitter.

Well, I thought new medium, maybe a fresher Steve. I could not have been more wrong. Same old complaining, but just new things to complain about.

Being a "Friend" of Steve's on Facebook I had the ability to send him my thoughts on the podcasts. I guess Steve didn't like hearing the truth, because he BANNED me from making Facebook comments. He also BANNED me from making comments on his blog,

I just find it ironic that a man who made a living using his freedom to speak would silence others. Back in the days when Dahl was relevant he would have popped a vein if somebody tried to silence him. How sad is that?

I've listened to about five of his podcasts. They are best when Steve is talking to interesting people, like former Chicago Bear Tom Thayer. Tom could have his own show.

My opinion seems to be very representative of the facts. When Steve's podcasts debuted on iTunes he was the # 1 comedy podcast. As people are discovering he is truly boring his ranking has slipped to #21.

I would like for you to go to Steve's Facebook or blog and ask him why a proponent of free speech would BAN anyone from expressing their opinion. Just be forewarned, he'll probably BAN you too.

Friday, September 25, 2009


The United States is a week away from finding out whether or not Chicago will be chosen to host the 2016 Olympic Games. I love the Olympics. I love Chicago. I would love to see Chicago be the center of the world's attention for two weeks. Good luck Chicago.

Often, too often, in sports winners are described as heroes. I do not mean to diminish their efforts or triumphs, but today's blog is going to be about a true hero. We're going to need a different word for sport heroes.

This week I received an email forward from my friend Dora. Like everybody with an email address I get L-O-T-S of email forwards.
Most are for prayers, no problem.
Many are full of old incorrect information, Bill Gates is not giving you anything ever.
A lot are about politics, Obama was born in the U.S. get over it.
Some are cute and funny, that baby laughing gets me every time.
Few are inspiring, ever hear of Irena Sendler?

I had never heard of Irena Sendler before this week nor will I ever forget her either.

Irena was a Polish woman born in Warsaw in 1910. She was a social worker in Warsaw during WWII. She saw what the Nazi regime was doing to the Jews and decided she had, HAD, to do something, anything.

Irena, with no regard for her own safety, began lying to the Nazis in any way she could to get Jewish children away from the death camps. She would create false documents for the children that would allow her to take the children away from the Warsaw Ghetto. She would convince the parents that she would get families to raise the children away from the Nazis. The parents, knowing what awaited them, would agree.

Sometimes infants would be hidden in toolboxes or sacks to get past Nazi guards. At times a dog would be used to distract the guards or to drowned out the sounds of the children being smuggled away to freedom.

Irena would carefully document the real identities of the children and what their fake identities would be. She noted where they came from and where they were going. Her lists were saved in jars and buried. When it was safe, she would attempt to reunite the families.

Now, the Nazis, although brainless, eventually discovered what Irena had been doing. She was captured and sent to prison. She was tortured, her leg and foot broken and had been scheduled to be executed.

An underground group, Zegota, was able to bribe a guard to get Irena released. Irena, was to go into hiding for the duration of the war.

Because of Irena 2500 children were spared the indignation of the Nazi death camps, 2500.

Please note, I have paraphrased Irena's story, but hope you can still grasp the magnitude of her actions in the face of pure evil.

Because I had never heard this grand story I did my research and found it to be 100% true. And even more amazing this story almost went untold.

A teacher in Kansas had a school project, a newspaper clipping and some willing students to find the truth. The students, as part of the project, discovered all the truths about what Irena had done. They eventually wrote a play, "Life in a Jar", to help tell the story.

The students also discovered that Irena was still alive. They even had the opportunity to meet this true hero.

Irena's heroic efforts are now well documented and the whole world is hearing her story. One person can make a world of difference. Chances are, thank God, none of us will be faced with such a huge situation. But, we must know that each of us can impact others by our actions and we can not let walls get in our way.

You can learn more about Irena's story at;
Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Vanishing America

In August I went to visit an old friend that is dying. My friend is 81 years old and full of life. My friend still lives a very active life entertaining thousands everyday. Despite my friend's health she will die come September 27th.

My friend is Kiddieland. If you grew up or have kids in the Chicagoland area you probably know my friend too. Kiddieland is not huge yet it is not small. It has over 30 rides that will entertain everybody from age one to eighty-one and beyond.

You can enter the park without having to get a loan from the bank, even if you could, you don't have to pay for parking, and you can drink Pepsi products for free all day long if you want.

The park has been a time machine of sorts. The park has no "modern" rides, no fancy line queuing technology, no ride photos and no pushy staff photographers trying to sell you your picture.

And despite this lack of profit pushing ideas the park has been a joy for 81 years. Even during our current economic woes, the people still fill the park. The magic ingredient, let families have fun. The modern parks have a tendency to over stimulate their guests with lots of everything. Lots of schedules, colors, actors, characters, shows, music, shopping, restaurants and on and on.

Disney parks are often called shopping malls with rides and entertainment. That meaning, the goal for your visit is for you to buy things. In between your shopping you might like to be entertained by riding in a boat while being serenaded by robotic children singing, "It's a Small World" or by flying inside a floppy-eared elephant. We enjoy Disney. We've been to Disney Parks 7 times and have had a great time always. We admit, we have spent a lot of money there, but because we planned ahead it was something we truly enjoyed.

When you go to Kiddieland, the goal is to have fun. Period. 30 rides from small to large. Kids understand that this place is for them. Parents would basically follow their kids around to all the rides that they wanted to do. But, the really cool magic of Kiddieland was that the kids and parents could ride together. The whole family could go on a ride if they wanted to.

One thing parents dread about the major amusement parks is their kids constantly wanting to buy them some toy or drinks. Kiddieland did something remarkable. The gave you drinks for FREE! We're not just talking about water and Bubba's Soda, we're talking Pepsi products. Kids and family get refreashed for free. And there isn't a vendor every 20 feet trying to sell you a junky item that will be broken before you get home that night.

But, the magic of Kiddieland, no matter how great, is daunted by the power of greed. Kiddieland has never owed the land it sits on. One part of the family owed the land while another part owned the park. The land owners want out of the business so they have decided to sell the land and thus pulling the plug on our dear friend.

The last day the park will be open to the public will be this weekend September 27th. On October 4th at 7:45PM the last ride will be taken around the Merry-Go-Round. The park had an auction for people to buy seats on each ride as they are retired. Truly a magical ending to a magical place.

Good-bye Kiddieland, we will never forget you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Don't Start Believin'

Anytime there is a major political story people from both sides of the issue usually make claims that the media was distorting the truth. Well, they are correct. The media, the modern media anyways, are all about selling their product. Like odds makers in Las Vegas, they are going to slant their stories to whichever way will get more readers. The media knows most people will more than likely NOT go back and see what was previously said.

Proof of this is in the sports section. A few months ago the media in Chicago was all abuzz about the Bears getting Jay Cutler at Quarterback. For months the press wooed us with his great abilities. Abilities we in Chicago had not seen in decades.

Then the Bears actually played a game. Reality hit the fan like a ton of elephant dung leftover from a third rate circus. The great Jay Cutler was mortal. He played the worse game of his career on national television in, gulp, Green Bay.

The same media that had been lofting him so highly, now was kicking him in the ribs while he was down. How dare he perform so badly after the media had written a new testament to the bible for him.

The media does this all the time. They setup their subjects just waiting for failure and then they pounce and kill.

Before Obama was elected he was untouchable. Republicans even blamed the media for having a crush on Obama. They were probably right.

But, now the honeymoon is over and the press wants blood again.

The conservatives are happy because the media is doing their dirty work for them.

My question is, where is the truth? Why can't the media just report on what happens as is?

Why do we need websites like to sift through what everybody is saying?

The conservatives worry about the country turning Socialist. Maybe we should all be concerned about what and how the media reports.

We are free to speak and to think. We have to take that freedom to seek the truth instead of accepting whatever is plopped down in front of us.

The following clip is long, but powerful.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Copernicus Would Have Issues With Oprah

During my day I have the TV on in the other room. This allows me to keep up with the news with WGN Morning News (best news show in town). Then I switch over to the Oprah show to keep up with the pulse of America. Well, maybe not America, but maybe just Oprah's pulse.

I am not an Oprah hater. So don't get up in my face you Oprah fanatics. I'm not here to bash her. Because she is a billionaire she is a huge target for critics. In general, I think her show is and can be very informative. I like her show as much as any heterosexual male can.

With that said, I also think that Oprah thinks she is the center of the universe. This week was Oprah's premier week for the new season. A huge 2 day interview with Whitney Houston and a Michael Jackson tribute. Fair enough, I enjoyed Whitney Houston's career before she spiraled down the staircase of drugs and addiction and am curious if she can comeback. Also, a big fan of Michael Jackson, without having to actually wear a white glove of my own. So, I'm a little curious about Oprah's take on his death.

The problem with Oprah, in my opinion, is that Oprah thinks everybody thinks that she is center of the universe. During her interview with Houston, who's life has gone from the highest highs to the lowest lows, Oprah is talking about Houston's new comeback album. One song is Oprah's favorite.
She says to Houston,

"That song is my favorite, you knew when you were recording it that it would be my favorite."

Houston was married to a idiot that got her hooked on drugs and almost ruined her life for good. For ten years she lived in a life that could be described as hell. She has finally broken free from her dark side and is returning to her career in music. Something tells me she has more on her mind than whether or not Oprah is going to like song A or song B.

Then during her Michael Jackson tribute show. Oprah had an unprecedented interview with Jackson like 15 years ago. She was allowed into the home of Jackson, Neverland Ranch. At the time it was "the" interview to get and she got it. Her tribute to Jackson was basically her interviewing herself about her interview with him. Not about how he changed the music industry or that he may or may not have been murdered, but how she interviewed him.

Oprah has a lot to offer, but she has to stop thinking people want to see the world through her eyes. Copernicus was Polish and I am Polish. Like him, I am trying to inform the world that something is not the center of the universe. I'm sure I will be mocked, like Copernicus, for my views. But, maybe someday, hundreds of days from today, someone will read this blog and realize I was right. Just like Copernicus.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

God Bless Walter Payton

Chances are you have heard of Walter Payton. For those who don't follow football Walter Payton was the quintessential football player. He was the ultimate competitor. He was the perfect family man. He was the epitome of the Chicago Bears football team. At one time he was the all time leader in rushing yards in the NFL.

I could write an entire blog or book about how great Walter Payton was. In fact, Walter did write a book about his life. "Never Die Easy" is the autobiography of Walter. Unfortunately, that book also chronicled his demise and ultimate death in 1999. The book is about so much more than football and I highly recommend this book to anyone.

The family of Walter Payton is graciously donating a statue of Walter that they would like placed outside Soldier Field. Soldier Field is where the Chicago Bears have played football since 1971. The Chicago Park District, which owns the field, has told the Payton family, "Thank you, but no."

The Chicago Park District is saying that the Soldier Field grounds are a memorial to war veterans and the statue would not be appropriate. Well, normally I would agree with them, but I can't this time. You see back in 2002 the Chicago Park District remodeled Soldier Field. They went from this;

To this;

The new Soldier Field dwarfs the old field memorial with a space ship looking structure that could be only be a memorial to extra terrestrial beings. When you look at the Soldier Field website,, you will be hard pressed to find any mention of war veterans.

Like all things in Chicago this is about money. I'm sure if an envelope full of money just happen to fall under the table of the right person a Walter Payton statue would go up.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm Presidential

I just want to make one last comment about the Kanye West drama.

Yesterday a CNN reporter Twittered an off the record comment by President Obama.

The president said, "He's a jackass".

Isn't that what I said yesterday? I think the president has been reading my blog.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Water Cooler Monday

A few quick hits that people might be discussing this morning.

At the MTV Video Music Awards. After Beyonce wins the video of the year, a big deal to some people, she gives up the spotlight to Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift had her spotlight stolen by Kanye West earlier in the evening. Beyonce displayed pure class with that move. Kanye will never understand class.

Here's the class

Here's the ass


A message to all Chicago Bears fans,


Here's how most Bears fans feel this morning.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Deep Fried, Say No More

(Disclaimer: This blog should not be read by health conscious readers.)

One of the traditions we have for Labor Day weekend is visiting the Blueberry Festival in Plymouth Indiana.

This is a festival like many across the country. There are hundreds of crafts booths. You can buy T-shirts with funny sayings or beautiful artwork. You can buy delicious food spreads for your next party.
Need a fanny-pack? They got it.
Hot tub? Got it!
A special cooking tool specifically designed to help you flip your meat? They're there.

Then there are the people. You will see people from every demographic category within 5 minutes of arriving at the festival. Big, tall, bigger, short, bigger still, pretty, pretty big, plain, and me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not picking on them, its just an excellent place to people watch. As people go, I'm as watchable as any of the ones I watch.

The next great thing about the fest is the FOOD!

If it can be cooked it can be found at a festival this size. But, each year one particular food vendor has intrigued me. Like a mysterious ghost calling me I just had to visit this booth this year.

The sign above the vendor's wagon was simple, DEEP FRIED CANDY.
Yes, two of my favorite food types combined, deep fried food and candy.
When you approach the menu, yes they had a menu, your mind begins to frazzle at the thought. Alone, a Snickers, Milkey Way or 3 Musketeers bar is a wonderful treat. And when I say treat, I, of course, mean 1 per year, ahem. But, these culinary vixens didn't stop with candy bars, they went an extra mile and two tenths. They were offering a DEEP FRIED TWINKIE.

(File Photo: Not The Actual Deep Fried Twinkie)

I am but one weak man. Not even my wife or mother-in-law could prevent what was about to happen (especially since my mother-in-law was buying).

I ordered one deep fried Twinkie, ON A STICK (sorry, forgot to mention the stick before), with the optional powdered sugar (might as well, right?).

I am not a food critic, but I'll do my best here.

To visualize a deep fried Twinkie you'll have to imagine a short corn dog on steroids. The Twinkie is impaled with a stick and then dipped into a batter. The batter is not unlike what a Funnel Cake, also good festival eats, would be made with. The now batter-covered Twinkie is dipped into a boiling bath of grease until golden brown. A few minutes later, a few shakes of powdered sugar and there it sits before me.

Now, if you know me, you know I enjoy food. I like to think I know what tastes good. I'm not talking healthy foods, just what tastes good.

What struck me immediately about the deep fried Twinkie, no not a heart attack, was that it smelled like fish. With almost any food, even fish, you really don't want your food to smell like fish, most importantly, not a deep fried Twinkie.

While the deep fried Twinkie didn't actual taste bad or even taste like fish, you can't help but wonder, WHY does my deep fried Twinkie smell like fish? I wish I could tell you, but alas I cannot.

I did eat 90% of my deep fried Twinkie. I can tell you I probably will never eat a deep fried Twinkie again. I wont say it was bad, but I also can't say it was good either.

But, I can say I have eaten a deep fried Twinkie.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

19 Years, For Better Or Worse

I first met my wife in 1983. It was during Muscular Dystrophy Summer Camp orientation. I still remember the first words she ever spoke to me.

"Are you Mark Ploch?"

Ploch was my nickname, short for Plocharczyk.

And the seed of our friendship was planted on that day. If somebody had told me that seven years later we would be getting married I would have laughed. But, love works in wonderful ways.

We didn't even start dating until two years after that initial meeting. I got to know my future wife better while, ironically, trying to gather information about another woman. This other woman, who I'll call Trish Lecki, was my first love, mine not hers. Trish and I "dated" sporadically over two years. Then, without cause or reason, Trish vanished from my life.

I'm one of those types that needs to know why things happen. So, in my quest for closure with Trish Lecki, I began to write letters (for the kids reading, a letter is a piece of paper with words written on it) to Donna at school. Donna knew Trish so I just thought she might have some inside information for me.

What was really happening, though, was I was meeting and getting to know Donna. We became fast friends over the next year. So fast I even asked her if she would like to date. You know what she said?

"No, lets stay friends."

And we did, thank God. We stayed close friends.

After being jilted, again, I decide I was going to STOP chasing after girls and asking them to date. Having girls for friends was very rewarding to me because I loved all my friends. No pressures.

Funny thing about life. When you're not looking for someone, they will find you.

My friend Donna actually took the step to tell me she had feelings for me and wanted to date.

We have been together ever since. We dated for two years before getting engaged and were engaged two years before getting married 19 years ago.

I have been in love for 23 years with my wife. Our marriage has been wonderful. We have had tremendous ups and tremendous downs. But, as cliche as it sounds, love carries you along both the good and the bad. We invited God to join us on this trip and, at times, he helped make the difference.

The last six years we've also had our Jimmy with us to complete our family. Adding children just adds more love to the equation. Which, in turn, just makes life better.

Marriage in today's society gets banged around a lot. Many want to protect it and/or redefine what it means. Some use it as a publicity event. Well, here is my opinion as to what marriage is.

Marriage is love, pure and simple love.

I love you Donna, for better or worse, 'til death do us part.

Friday, September 04, 2009

What Are You Afraid Of

Pretty much all the honest truth telling in the world is done by children.
~Oliver Wendell

I heard on the news this morning that the President of the United States was planning to address, via satellite, all the students in school on Tuesday.

My first impression was, that's pretty cool. The most powerful man in the world was going to talk to the future of our world. Give the youth a pep talk on the importance of a good education.

Then, the wet blankets started hitting me in the face like, well, wet blankets (follow me people). What I didn't realize until the scared conservatives started talking was that Obama was just planning on brainwashing the youth of America..

The thinkers to right (why are they the right?), are so afraid that their children might hear something they agree with, they wont allow their children to watch the President's address. Well aren't we raising good self reliant citizens.

The conservatives think Obama is going to try to use this address to push his "socialistic" policies. Good job righties and thank you.

Everybody knows when you tell a kid, "Don't watch that!" You have created an enormous level of curiosity that those kids will go home and Google "Obama's school address". And while they're looking around they'll learn about health care for all people.

So I agree with the right.


To the parents of those mindless students, don't click on this link;

Don't Click Here

Really, I mean it.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Gone With Wind

Have you heard the news?

Former Sleezeball Governor Rod Blagojevich's book is in stores earlier than expected.

I have not nor do I plan to read his fictional tale about his time as our "Governor". I'm sure Blago comes out smelling like a rose in his version of what happened.

Since his version of reality will no doubt be slightly askew, so will mine.

Chapter 1:
Blago tells us the story of his birth. His pregnant mother rode on a donkey while his father checked to see if the were any rooms at the Holiday Inn. Being completly booked due to a plumber's convention in town Blago was born in the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Chapter 2:
A musical prodigy, at the age of 4 he wrote Are You Lonesome Tonight? for Elvis Presley.
And dictated Green Eggs And Ham to Theodor Geisel.

Chapter 3:
Writes letter to friend Paul McCartney advising him that his band, The Beatles, have gone as far as they can go and they should breakup. In the same letter tells Paul he will wear his hair like the early Beatles forever more.

Chapter 4:
Plays the Triangle in the Chicago Bears Super Bowl Shuffle video.

Chapter 5:
Fearing black flying squirrels Blago describes how at night he would put on a black flying squirrels cape and mask to descend on the evil doers of Gotham.

Chapter 6:
Wins 6 NBA championships as a member of the Chicago Bulls. The total would have been 8, but Michael Jordan, jealous of Blago's basketball skills, quits basketball for two years saying, "If I can't be as could a Blago, I'd rather play baseball." Blago agrees to play the remainder of his career on his knees, Jordan returns.

Chapter 7:
Blago teaches Sammy Sosa how to build bulk using only a Thigh Master and a spoon. He mentions about the time he was called in to bat for the Cubs. Whereby he hit a homerun to help the Cubs make it to the playoffs. And the time he followed Steve Bartman and told him never to return to Wrigley Field, EVER.

Chapter 8:
In an exciting chapter he tells us how he and Donald Trump went to Iraq Saddam Hussain. They actually bring him down with a can of hairspray and Big Mac.

Chapter 9:
Tells how he was forced out of his Governor's office, by herd of Huns hell bent on using Illinois as the new capitol of their new Empire.

As far as I can tell that is how Blago will see the truth.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A Little Baseball

I know there are more important things in this world than baseball, but please give me this moment.

Last night the Chicago White Sox said good-bye to two classy players, Jim Thome and Jose Contreras. In this era of spoiled athletes Jim and Jose went against the grain.

Too often we hear of accomplished sports figures "requesting" or demanding to be traded to a championship contending team. That was not the situation with these two players. The only thing missing on Jim Thome's resume is a World Series championship. He is now in a great place where that dream could be achieved.

I thank Jim for all the great moments he provided us during his time with the White Sox.