I’ll never forget the first time I saw the comical heavyweight, Chris Farley. It was in the now classic SNL sketch where he plays ‘Barney’, a hopeful Chippendale auditioning in a dance-off against ‘Adrian’ (Patrick Swayze). After exchanging 90 seconds of wild exotic dancing (and physical slapstick), Judge Kevin Nealon dryly delivers the let-down,

“Barney, we all agreed your dancing was great and your presentation was very sexy. I guess. I guess in the end we all thought that Adrian’s body was just much, much better than yours. You see, it’s just that at Chippendales our dancers have traditionally had that lean, muscular, healthy physique. Like Adrian’s. Whereas yours is, well – fat and flabby.”

Farley knew he was fat and certainly those he worked with knew it, but his ability to combine naïveté and playful innocence with intense physical humor made him hard to ignore.


My kids never experienced the elementary lift-top combo desk. You know, where the seat and the desk were one? For six years we sat and learned in the desk equivalent of an old iron-seat tractor, only less comfortable. I doubt Herman Miller came up with this painful melding of wood and metal, but whoever did comfort wasn’t a priority. That flip-top cubby was more like a car trunk which held a stash of loose papers, broken crayons, eraser crumbs and pencil shavings that grew exponentially as the year wore on. Throw in the accidentally left-open Elmer’s glue bottle (no doubt because you had been smoothing it over the palm of your hand and peeling it off like dead skin when the teacher caught you) and the inside of your desk was most likely to get wallpapered with your math homework.


Halloween Bullies


Consider yourself lucky if you were able to go trick-or-treating without the threat of getting your candy stolen by older kids. I think it started out mostly as an urban myth, but the thought of it happening made Halloween night a little more frightening. I remember the year my friend’s candy bag became the bullies’ prize. After running home, the rest of us were asked to ‘share’ our cornucopia of candy with our less fortunate friend. Maybe that’s why we always felt so compelled to eat as much of our candy as we could in one night.

Cubs Win!


After a record-breaking championship drought, the Chicago Cubs topped the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 to secure the NCLS pennant and a berth in the World Series. Synonymous with the Cubs was the late sportscaster Harry Caray, the so-called ‘Mayor of Rush Street’, who added his own brand of color commentary with his signature ‘Holy Cow’ while announcing for the north side Chicago team. As a kid growing up, I mostly avoided the afternoon broadcasts of Cubs games on WGN, but this season it was hard not to cheer for them knowing that they hadn’t seen the Fall Classic since 1945.



frisbeeThe latest fad at our house has been ‘frizzbo’ – the name our boys have affectionately given the act of tossing the classic plastic disc. They’ll often spend close to an hour each night in the front yard throwing that disc back and forth to each other. It’s proven to be a great source of entertainment and exercise, but they tend get more of a workout when they have to haul out the ladder to climb on the roof to get it. The last time I can remember a frisbee enjoying this much popularity was the 1970s.