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Friday, September 30, 2011

Still Sweet

This week marked the end of the baseball season in Chicago.  And as we are too often familiar with, neither the White Sox or Cubs are participating in the playoffs.  Despite winning the World Series in 2005, White Sox fans are used to this scenario.  Cub fans, well let's just say they've understood how it goes on the North side for well over a century now.

This week also marked the end of innocence for fans of Walter Payton.  A new biography, Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton, by Jeff Pearlman delves into the private life of the greatest football player that has ever played the game.  

The reaction, in Chicago, has been that of sadness.  Sad, because a beloved sports hero's reputation has been tarnished.  Sad, because Walter Payton died 12 years ago and can't stiff-arm this opponent on his own.  Sad, because his family has to hear and address things that I'm sure they would like to forget.

I'm not going to list the various allegations the author claims in the book.  Truth is, we've heard this story all too many times about current celebrities.  Hell, Charlie Sheen went on tour to brag about the same types of activities.  As a society we've become immune to these type of stories.  But, this is Walter Payton, #34, Sweetness.

I was 10 years old when Walter first started playing for the Bears.  I was 22 by the time  he retired.  I learned was football was while watching the greatest player school others on the game.  My family would watch the games each week without fail.  For many of Walter's seasons, watching him play was the only joy us fans had.  Fans weren't wondering what was Walter doing off the field?  Back then athletes' personal lives were just that, personal.

Even though Walter's fans are numerous, my 8 year old son included, how Walter's life played out truly only mattered to his family.  Before I knew anything about this book I had seen his widow's comment about the book;


"Walter, like all of us, wasn’t perfect. The challenges he faced were well known to those of us who loved and lived with him. He was a great father to Jarrett and Brittney, and held a special place in the football world and the Chicago community. Recent disclosures – some true, some untrue – do not change this. I’m saddened that anyone would attempt to profit from these stories, many told by people with little credibility. Thank you all for your continued support."

~Connie Payton and Family~

My family & I appreciate all the love & support. At times life gets hard; We will stand up & stay strong!

His family has moved on.  Which what the world will do.  

The question that came to mind first was, Why?  Why write this book now?  The author claims he wanted to truly know who Walter Payton was.  With all due respect, Mr. Pearlman, I say, "Bullshite!"  Who Walter was is really none of yours, mine or the rest of the world's business.  Clearly, you wanted to profit from destroying the public persona of a passed legend.  The world gains nothing from this book or any of your past books;

The Bad Guys Won: A Season of Brawling, Boozing, Bimbo Chasing, and Championship Baseball with Straw, Doc, Mookie, Nails, the Kid, and the Rest of the ... Put on a New York Uniform--and Maybe the Best

The Rocket That Fell to Earth: Roger Clemens and the Rage for Baseball Immortality

Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the making of an Antiher

Boys Will Be Boys: The Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty

Coming out in the big leagues: why John Amaeichi didn't change the world of professional sports.(2007: YEAR IN REVIEW): An article from: The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

If you wanted to know who Walter Payton wanted you to know, you should read his autobiography, 

Never Die Easy: The Autobiography of Walter Payton, written by Walter Payton and Don Yaeger.  A great book about Walter by Walter.  That's how you get to know who somebody is or was.  

I do not, in general, idolize athletes.  With that said, I do hold Walter Payton's career in high esteem.  I have a large autographed poster of Walter in my Family Room.  I talk to my son about Walter.  Not just the player, but the man we all knew.

When the world stops people will remember the Walter Payton's of the world.  People like Walter do far more good than bad.  The Jeff Pearlman's will be numerous, wealthy, but forgotten.

God Bless Walter Payton.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Somebody Gets It!

My website work has slowed down of late.  I find myself watching more online videos than I used to.  Because 90% of all web content is boring and/or repetitive it is exciting when you come across some good stuff.

Here's the photo that caught my eye.

Once you read past the "F" word, this poster really condenses all the frustrations I think most people feel on a day-to-day basis.  To see so many of my thoughts and feelings over the past 15 years was cathartic.  I just felt better after I read it.

Turns out that there is whole website devoted to this theme, Good Fucking Design Advice.  To my surprise, it wasn't just some Redneck from Indiana with a 4th Grade diploma.   This website is the collaboration of two college buddies.  Their company is a celebration of passion.  Not Late-Night-On-Cinemax passion, but the kind of passion that we dream of in our youth, but slowly fades away as we start paying bills.  The kind of passion political candidates have BEFORE they're elected.  The kind of passion we have on January1st as we inaugurate our newest resolutions, but reflect upon sadly come January 4th.

They even have a short documentary that describes their origins.

G.F.D.A. / The Passion Project from Alexander on Vimeo.

We need more passion in America about America.  We get bombarded daily about how the world is crumbling around us or how bleak the future is.  I say, "Shut the fuck up!"

I am choosing, today, to rekindle my passions.  I love what I know how to do.  I love how my family makes me feel.  I love making people smile.  I love lasagna and potato pancakes.

I hope those of you reading this have a passion and things you love.  I hope those things make you happy.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Time To Dust Off The Blog

I can't believe I have not written anything since January.  Damn Facebook!

It's not that I have nothing to say, because believe me, I've got lots to say.  It's just that I've been Facebooked. I was also in the hospital ER twice, which is never a good thing.  And, well, to be honest, life has been in the way.  That's not always a bad thing either.

Life has pushed me back into my blog this time.  I wanted to share a story with my readers with the hope they might be able to help do some good.

Like many, I get caught up in the world's news.  With all the social media outlets, I spend, probably too much, time debating my opinion with people who are wrong (wink) on a variety of subjects.  Then something happens to either you or a friend and then the rest of the world's problems seem quite trivial.  

For me, the something is happening to one of my dearest friends, Chris.  Chris recently informed her friends and family that she has been diagnosed with ALS, a.k.a Lou Gehrigs disease.  It is my personal opinion that ALS is one of the two cruelest diseases in the world, the other being Alzheimer's.  That's just my opinion.

I wont get all medical here, but for those that don't know, ALS destroys your body's physical abilities all while your mental abilities remain intact.  Over time you become a prisoner in your own body.  You remain there until you die.  That's the cold hard truth of ALS.  There is no current cure.

If this were to happen to anyone I would feel terrible.  For my friend, Chris, this could be seen as a practical joke by the devil himself as Chris' husband passed away suddenly just about two years ago.  To me, that just doesn't seem fair.  Ok, maybe Chris had bad karma coming her way via the life she has led.  Maybe, you say, she kicked puppies for fun or would yell, "BINGO", even though she didn't really have a BINGO.  Maybe Chris worked for The Misunderstood Hitler Foundation or maybe, just maybe, she is member of the Gacy "The Clown" Fan Club.  Well, you'd be wrong.

Chris has worked at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago for over 20 years.  She helps others to deal with their disabilities.  She met her husband Ken while volunteering at a Muscular Dystrophy (MD) Summer camp.  Ken, her husband, had MD and was a person with a disability.  Chris and Ken have a lovely daughter, Erin.  Erin is a Sophomore in high school.  Chris & Ken were in my wedding and have been a tremendous supply of support for us for many many years.  Karma is not the problem for Chris.


I realize many of you might be very sad right now and wondering why I'm writing this "kick in the groin" blog.  Well, I'll tell you why if you'd stop interrupting me.

Just shortly after Chris told her news to all of her friends a report of a breakthrough in ALS research was announced.

Major ALS Breakthrough from Northwestern News on Vimeo.

I was overwhelmed by the news.  Here's why.  Every year around Labor Day I reach out to family and friends to donate whatever they can to the MDA Telethon. One of the diseases the MDA funds research for is, ALS.  I must point out, ALS hasn't been cured yet.  But, through the actions of many progress has been made.  We don't get to read about progress very often, I'm looking at you Washington D.C.

This is what I'd like you to do this Labor Day.  A friend of Chris' has formed a team, "Chris' Convoy", for the 10th Annual Les Turner ALS Walk4Life, Sept. 10, 2011.  I would be so grateful if you would make a donation in her honor.  Click the following link to do so.

Chris is a trooper.  She has told me she has her good days and the bad.  She remains positive with the support of family and friends.  On behalf of Chris, thank you for taking the time to read this and for any donation you chose to make.

Donation Footnote
Chris' father-in-law, Ken's Dad, Theodore Gilford, recently passed away from Alzheimer's Disease.  His daughter, Keri, is walking in the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's.  You can donate to her efforts here,

I'll leave you with a happy video.  Thank You!