[Masthead] Light Drizzle ~ 40°F  
High: 41°F ~ Low: 27°F
Monday, Dec. 22, 2014
Basic Biittner : Legacy (12/08/14)
The word "legacy" has been bandied about a great deal in recent years,, especially when it comes to presidents of the United States. It seems like near the end of the term of every man who has recently served in that position, the media begins to speculate what that president's "legacy" will be. Usually, they choose a particular policy or program the president established during his term which they feel will affect society for an extended period of time - for better or worse...
Basic Biittner: My annual case for the 'Forgotten Holiday' (11/24/14)
On Thursday our nation will be celebrating something called Thanksgiving Day. Last I heard, it was some kind of national holiday or something. Never hear much about it anymore, though. It seems like the media and stores start whooping it up for an unofficial holiday called Hallowe'en about mid-September, and as soon as that passes, they go into full pre-Christmas mode...
Basic Biittner: The Mighty Mississipi (11/10/14)
I've had the opportunity recently to take two brief vacations, both of which involved contact with one of the true landmarks of this country - the Mississippi River. The Mississippi has been celebrated in song and verse for centuries now by everyone from Stephen Foster to Mark Twain to Louis Armstrong to The Doobie Brothers and everyone in between. ...
Basic Biittner: The Ultimate World Series (11/03/14)
Every year the Yankees aren't in the World Series, I always make it a point to declare that year's series an "Unofficial" Series, and this year's recently completed Fall Classic met that criteria. However, I'll admit that this year's matchup between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants had a lot of things going for it...
Basic Biittner: Saluting the Sioux Valley Conference (10/06/14)
Today's column is a salute to one of the finest high school athletic conferences in the history of the state of Iowa - the Sioux Valley Conference. It's inconceivable to me, as I'm sure it is to many of our readers, that close to 25 years have passed since the Sioux Valley Conference existed as an entity...
Basic Biittner : An interesting career (09/22/14)
In less than two weeks, the baseball-playing career of Derek Jeter will come to an end after two decades of stellar play. With several World Series rings, yearly All-Star selections, more than 3000 hits, and a career batting average of over.300, the election of "The Captain" to baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York in five years, when he'll be eligible for the first time, seems to be a foregone conclusion. ...
Basic Biittner (08/29/14)
Many people are named for one of their parents, and men who are named for their father usually have the tag "Junior" after their given name. If it goes to a second generation, the man named after his grandfather and father is usually assigned a Roman numeral, such as III (or IV if it goes another generation back)...
Basic Biittner : Good "New" Days (08/15/14)
I am at that age where I often find myself talking about the "good old days" (i.e., when I was younger), but I will admit that there are a few things that are better than they were "back in the day." For one thing, when I was a young man, if one was lucky enough to attend a concert by a nationally-known music group, the show usually consisted of one or two opening acts, which you may or may not have heard of, followed by the main attraction, which, of course, is who you paid your hard-earned bucks to see. ...
Basic Biittner : Another Big Year at the Hall next Year? (07/28/14)
This year's annual induction ceremony at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York was held on Sunday, and, unlike last year, when there were no new inductees, there were three players - Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank "Big Hurt" Thomas - and three managers - Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre - inducted this year...
Basic Biittner : Roses, Black Eyed Susans, Carnations ... and Sour Grapes? (06/16/14)
I have been a fan of the "Triple Crown" of 3 -year - old thoroughbred horse racing ever since Secretariat galloped to the first Triple Crown in 25 years back in 1973, smashing records along the way. The Triple Crown, for the uninitiated, consists of three races - one in Kentucky, one in Maryland and one in New York- run over a six week period i May and June each year. ...
Basic Biittner: The lost (?) art of pop singing (05/07/14)
In my sixty years of listening to popular music, I have always appreciated great vocalists, and with the increasing popularity of musical genres like hip hop and reggae over the last 30-40 years, I have felt that the number of truly great singers of standard, melodic tunes has been on the wane...
Basic Biittner: An interesting group of inductees (04/02/14)
On Thursday April 10th, the latest group of performers and other prominent figures in rock and roll history will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, at a ceremony at The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. This year's class is a interesting mix, and - unlike some previous years - several popular and well-known acts are among the inductees. ...
Basic Biittner : Musings of an Idle Mind (03/24/14)
Here are a few musings of an idle mind (mine),as spring tries its hardest to burst through the ice and snow of a long winter : 1. Major League Baseball's regular season will get underway in just a few more days (in Australia, for Pete's sake - so much for the "American Pastime")...
Basic Biittner : Alphabet Soup (03/12/14)
I've been hearing a lot about "The N-Word", "The F-Word" and "The R-Word" lately, always in those words. This has led me to wonder about the future of the English language and the alphabet itself. The designations of "N Word," "F word" and "R Word" are really not very specific ... I mean how many words begin with each of those letters? If you really want to answer that question, you'll have to check your dictionary...
Basic Biittner: Dean's List (02/21/14)
I'm not sure why, but the Chronicle Times has apparently received numerous requests over the years to publish a "Dean's List." So without further ado, we proudly present here our first - ever "Dean's List" : (Past and Present, in no particular order):...
Basic Biittner: A Truly Memorable February (02/05/14)
I've written previously in this space about what a truly remarkable month February is, citing how the shortest month of the year has a couple of "unofficial" holidays, Ground Hog's Day and Valentine's Day, as well a being the birth month of our two most famous presidents, Washington and Lincoln, and also the birth month of three of American's legendary athletes - baseball's Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron (who'll be 80 years old on Feb. ...
Basic Biittner : End of an Era (01/20/14)
One of the true pioneers of Rock and Roll, Phil Everly, passed away recently. He and his older brother Don brought beautiful harmony vocals to the mix of Country, Rhythm and Blues and Gospel music that became known as Rock and Roll, and the world of pop music enjoyed the blend of Don and Phil's voices for almost 60 years. ...
Basic Biittner: It COULD be an outstanding class ... (01/06/14)
The members of the Baseball Writers Association of America have turned in their ballots for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the results will be announced on January 8th. There were 36 names on the ballot this year, and many of the players will get only a handful of votes, if any. However, there are so major names on the ballot this year, I would be very shocked , not to mention disappointed, if - like last year - no players are elected this year...
Basic Biittner : Merry CHRISTmas (12/23/13)
(the following column has been published during two previous Christmas seasons,but I feel the message is worth repeating frequently - dw) The origins of the Christmas holiday, like Thanksgiving, I fear, seem to be neglected by many people. Certainly not all people, mind you, but many...
Basic Biittner: Enjoy Them While You Can (12/09/13)
In this Christmas season of 2013, I have found myself looking at Christmases past, not unlike Charles Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge. Luckily for me, though, unlike Scrooge, I haven't seen any "ghosts," per se. Christmas get-togethers in my family of origin have been very rare in recent years, since my "kids", grandkids and siblings all live quite a distance away, and my parents left this world many years ago...
Basic Biittner : Thanksgiving is about ... giving thanks (11/27/13)
Tomorrow's holiday is not about parades, turkey, football or getting ready for "Black Friday." I'll let the words of others tell you what's it's all about : "If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you,' that would suffice...
Basic Biittner : More entertainment recommendations ... (11/18/13)
I'm baaaackkkkk ... with more brief reviews of my recent dips into the entertainment pool (which I guess would be one of those "Polar Plunges" at this time of the year). For anyone who enjoys the music of Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and other country artists who hail from the Bakersfield, California area, I would recommend the CD "Bakersfield." The great country tenor/guitarist/fan Vince Gill does the vocals, along with some fine guitar work, on this collection of classics from Owens, Haggard and a few others, supported by the excellent steel guitar of Paul Franklin.. ...
Basic Biittner: Recent music and film adventures (continued) (11/04/13)
In a recent column, I shared a few reviews of CDs to which I had recently listened and films I had seen. Due to underwhelming demand, I will present a few more recommendations in this column: Film: I highly recommend 'Captain Phillips', starring Tom Hanks. "Intense" is the word that my friends and I used to descibe the experience of viewing this true-life adventure, which depicts the 2009 raid on an American freighter by Somali pirates...
Basic Biittner : It's (Unofficial) World Series time! (10/25/13)
Although I've always been in agreement with the sentiments of the late editorial cartoonist and Yankee fan Frank Miller (see cartoon), I think that this year's "unofficial" World Series between the Cardinals and Red Sox, which started on Wednesday night, should be a good one...
Basic Biittner : Random Observations (10/16/13)
For today's column, I will not be presenting long rambling comments on a specific topic, but rather a bunch of fairly brief rambling comments or observations on a variety of topics that have been swimming around my cranium over the past few weeks. For example -...
Basic Biittner : Here We Go Again ... (09/11/13)
As I write this, President Obama is asking Congress' permission to attack Syria, in response to the mass killings in that country. While no one that I know, including myself, approves of genocide of any kind, whether it be by chemical weapons or more "conventional" weapons, the fact is that it is not the mission of the United States Department of Defense to send our troops to protect people from themselves...
Basic Biittner : Lists, Lists and More Lists (07/25/13)
As someone who has long been interested in compiling lists, as well as reading the lists compiled by others, I have come across a couple of lists recently that I'd like to share with readers. Earlier this summer, 'Entertainment Weekly' published its lists of the all-time Top Movies, Television shows, Albums, Novels and Plays. ...
Basic Biittner : Better times coming for the Baseball Hall (part two) (07/08/13)
The 2015 Baseball Hall election will have three first-time candidates (all pitchers) who should receive serious Hall consideration, as each of them was a dominant pitcher for several years. The left hander in the group, Randy "The Big Unit" Johnson, would seem to be the best bet for first ballot election. ...
Basic Biittner : Better times coming for the Baseball Hall (07/01/13)
As a lifelong baseball fan, one of the things to which I look forward each summer is the annual induction of baseball greats into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Unfortunately, 2013 will not be a year to remember, as far as Induction ceremonies go. ...
Basic Biittner : Cross one off the 'Bucket List' (05/15/13)
'The Bucket List' is one of my favorite movies. For the few of you who may not have seen the film, it deals with two men who are both terminally ill (played wonderfully by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) and each makes a "bucket list" of things they would like to do before they die (i.e., "kick the bucket"), and they proceed to do these things...
BASIC BIITTNER: Selective Memory (04/22/13)
I once possessed a steel-trap mind for remembering important historical events- those events which happened during my lifetime, of course, but also dates and events which occurred long before I came on the scene. For the most part, I still retain that ability, which I know is sometimes annoying to others (unless they're on my Trivial Pursuit team, of course). ...
Basic Biittner : February short, but sweet (02/18/13)
It has been February for a couple of weeks now, so allow me to get this off my chest - I don't have many 'pet peeves,' but one about which I've ranted on many occasions and will do so again here is the pronunciation of the second month of the calendar year...
Basic Biittner: Saluting the newbies (01/14/13)
In my most recent column, I did what many other news outlets typically do at the close of a year, I saluted celebrities who died in 2012. Well, thanks to a suggestion from my brother, I'm going to take a little different approach in this column. Now that we've said 'goodbye' to the famous celebrities who left us in 2012, I feel it's time to say 'Hello' to the future celebrities who will be born in 2013...
Basic Biittner : Lest We Forget (01/04/13)
Well, another year has come and gone, and among other annual year-end traditions are a plethora of lists - lists of the year's top movies, songs, stories, et al. One of the lists that is often posted is the list of well-known people who "shuffled off this mortal coil" (i.e., they died) during the year just ended...
Basic Biittner: Another voice heard in the Hall debate (12/24/12)
The Baseball Hall of Fame was opened in Cooperstown, New York in 1939, and for all of the ensuing 73 years since that time, baseball fans have been debating about who "belongs" in the Hall - and who doesn't. With the names of all-time greats Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa - all of whom have been suspected of using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) during their stellar careers - on the ballot for the first time this year, the "who's in, who's out" debate is raging hotter than ever. ...
Basic Biittner: What the 12 Days of Christmas are NOT (12/13/12)
The following story circulated around in recent years, and just in case it still is, please be advised, according to the snopes.com website, that it is not true. The story went something like this: The song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written in England as one of the "catechism songs" to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith - a memory aid, when to be caught with anything in writing indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, it could get you hanged, or shortened by a head - or hanged, drawn and quartered.. ...
Basic Biittner: Giving Thanks for the 'Forgotten Holiday' (11/19/12)
Every year at this time I get on my soapbox and bemoan the fact that the Thanksgiving holiday seems to get overlooked, falling as it does on the calendar between the increasingly over-hyped Hallowe'en celebration and the Christmas season, which - as far as the business community is concerned - seems to run for an 8 week period, starting on the day after Hallowe'en...
Basic Biittner: Ready for 2016? (11/12/12)
About five minutes after the concession and acceptance speeches on Election Night 201, the political pundits began speculating on the 2016 race. To those people I say, "Are you kidding? That's four freaking years away!" I mean, come on. We've just begun answering our phones again, on the thought that maybe - just maybe - something other than a recorded message from a politician or their supporters would be on the other end of the line...
Basic Biittner : Another 'Unofficial' World Series this year (10/22/12)
After watching a couple of exciting American League post-season series involving my beloved New York Yankees, I have come to the conclusion that the time has come for the Yankees to regroup or rebuild, before they sink to the level of that horrible 1965 -1974 decade, when they were nowhere to be found in the post-season picture...
Basic Biittner : Enjoying 'Baseball' (08/31/12)
As regular readers of this column know, I am a lifelong fan of Major League Baseball. I started collecting Topps bubble-gum baseball cards and watching the "Game of the Week" with Dizzy Dean on our black-and-white television set when I was just five years old...
Basic Biittner : A gold for the Brits (08/16/12)
A while back, I "warned" all of my readers (all five of you) that the British were coming this spring and summer, and I feel it is now my duty to advise you that the coast is clear. The Queen's official anniversary celebration has passed, and the Olympics are over...
Basic Biittner : Going, going ... (07/05/12)
Every generation sees new products and items introduced, just as each generation sees products and items seem to vanish. The latter is sometimes a gradual process - in fact, it seems that one day the realization hits you -"Hey, whatever happened to ...?"...
Basic Biittner : O.J.'s Legacy (06/18/12)
Once upon a time in the Land of Fruit and Nuts, aka California, there lived a young man with the unlikely name of Orenthal James Simpson. He went by his initials - O.J. - and the story goes that the young man didn't even know that "Orenthal" was his given name until his name was called for roll one day in grammar school, and he didn't answer...
Basic Biittner : London Calling (06/04/12)
Basic Biittner : London Calling For the second consecutive summer, in the immortal words of Paul Revere, "the British are coming, the British are coming!" Every so often, the Brits remind the United States and the rest of the world that, though they are small in size, there's an awful lot of tradition and talent in the British Isles...
Basic Biittner : More anniversary dates (05/25/12)
... and here's another historic anniversary you don't hear much about ... The year 2012, if my math skills haven't completely deserted me, marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. From an historic perspective, the War of 1812 is not considered "one of the biggies" among the many wars in which the United States has been involved. ...
Basic Biittner : Historic anniversaries (05/11/12)
In the multi-media era in which we live today, it seems that one media outlet or another is always reminding all of us that "this (year/month/day) marks the (100th/75th/ 50th/25th/10th) anniversary of (fill in the blank). For example, last year, 2011, marked the 10th anniversary of "9/11," as it's come to be known, and we were reminded of this many times throughout the year, and especially in the days surrounding the actual anniversary date. ...
Basic Biittner : Fun and Games? (04/30/12)
It kind of pains me to write this column, because I feel I've always been an optimistic, "glass half full"-type of guy, choosing to look at the bright side of things. Like many of you, I first became interested in sports as a youngster, initially participating actively, then, as the years went by, becoming more of a spectator...
Basic Biittner : An obsessed fan ... every other decade (04/23/12)
"The Coolest Game on Earth!" is one of the National Hockey League's advertising slogans. My daughter and son-in-law have access to season tickets to the Washington Capitals games, and they would agree with that assessment, as they have become dedicated Capitals fans...
Basic Biittner: Pop Music in 2012 (04/16/12)
"Pop" music, in case you forgot, stands for "popular." The term was created to distinguish it from "Classical" music such as opera and symphonic music (Tschaikovsky, Beethoven, Brahms, et al). Classical music has been around for centuries, and, though popular music has probably been around just as long, much of it was informal, unwritten and passed down from generation to generation...
Basic Biittner: What Men Like (04/05/12)
Keeping in mind that there are exceptions to every rule, and that we are all individuals with our own minds, I nevertheless state here and now that, in my experience, there seem to be three types of entertainment (in addition to strip clubs, that is) which seem to appeal almost exclusively to members of the male gender. Guys seem to be major fans of all these things, and gals - for the most part - cannot understand what the heck guys "see in that stuff."...
Basic Biittner : Play Ball! (03/26/12)
Forget about March Madness, Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow. The real professional sports begin in just a few short days. The 2012 Major League Baseball season will open then with the christening of one ballpark, a 20th-anniversary celebration of the ballpark that changed everything and the hope of another World Series that will end no later than October...
Basic Biittner: Old Rockers (02/16/12)
These days, those of us in the 'Baby Boomer' generation are experiencing something we've never encountered before. No, not that ... No, not THAT either. Okay, we're probably experiencing a lot of things we've never encountered before. The thing to which I am referring, however is this. ...
Basic Biittner : The Super Bowl (02/02/12)
Rumor has it there is a BIG pro football game in Indianapolis this Sunday. I think it's the 'New Commercials Bowl.' What's that you say - That's not the official name of the game? Back when it started 46 years ago, it was called the AFC-NFC Championship Game or something like that, but along about the third year of the game, when the "brash Joe Willie Namath" (I think that was actually his full name, but I'm not sure of that) led his upstart AFC New York Jets to a victory over the then-Baltimore Colts, people started calling the game the Super Bowl, and that soon became the official name of the championship game, which has been gradually moving on the calendar from mid-January to late January and now early February.. ...
Basic Biittner : A memorable end to the year (another travelogue) (01/12/12)
Basic Biittner : A memorable end to the year (another travelogue) Dan Whitney I hope you all had a memorable 2011 and are off to a good start in 2012. Personally, my last half of December was full of both ups and downs. Starting with the bad news (which, thankfully, was far outdone by the good), on December 19th, I was leaving Cherokee in my new car, which I'd had all of 2 1/2 months, when a deer decided to walk into the car. ...
Basic Biittner : My Hall ballot (01/04/12)
Voting members of the Baseball Writers of America received their ballots for the 2012 election for the Hall of Fame in mid-November. There are 27 candidates - 14 "holdovers" and 13 new candidates. The writers must postmark their ballots by New Year's Eve, and the results will be announced on January 9, 2012. ...
Basic Biittner : The joy of sports ??? (12/23/11)
Remember when sports was a fun thing ? Get out in the fresh air, get some exercise, enjoy some competitive camaraderie ... as Len Berman says, "sports is supposed to be the toy department" of life. Well, basically, that's still true ... or it can be. On a true amateur level, with responsible supervision... Okay, well, maybe I'm dreaming .....
Basic Biittner : Merry CHRISTmas (12/12/11)
(To those of you who think this column seems familiar, congratulations! This is a "re-run" of a 'Basic Biittner' column from last year) The origins of the Christmas holiday, like Thanksgiving, I fear, seem to be neglected by many people. Certainly not all people, mind you, but many...
Basic Biittner (11/30/11)
The U.S. has done a marvelous job at creating "unofficial" holidays in recent years, hyping and marketing them to death in a massive commercial overkill. Exhibit A is Hallowe'en, which used to be a one-day event when kids went out in (mostly) homemade costumes to a few relatives or friends' homes to sweetly say "Trick or Treat." and get one piece of candy, for which they would say "Thank you" and be on their way to their next stop. ...
Basic Biittner (11/14/11)
Every year at this time I get on my soapbox and bemoan the fact that the Thanksgiving holiday seems to get overlooked, falling as it does on the calendar between the increasingly over-hyped Hallowe'en season and the Christmas season, which - as far as the business community is concerned - seems to run for an 8 week period,starting on the day after Hallowe'en...
Basic Biittner (10/31/11)
I think it's time again to show the world just what "trivial" thoughts have been knocking around in my noggin recently. For many years, my friends and relatives have considered me a "Trivial Pursuit" genius of sorts, and want to be on my team if we are playing that game. ...
Basic Biittner (10/17/11)
Saturday morning (Sept.3) we headed 90 miles east to Lubbock, Texas, birthplace of Buddy Holly (and Mac Davis) and home of Texas Tech University. On the way we made a brief stop in the small town of Littlefield, which is - as a sign outside of town states - "The hometown of Waylon Jennings." Since Jennings was always a favorite of ours, we headed into town to see where he came from. ...
Basic Biittner : Travelin' Man, part 2 (10/10/11)
Just three days after we returned from our trip to D.C., I headed out again. I flew in to Albuquerque, New Mexico late on September 8 and met my brother Doug for another of our "Musical History Tours." Our previous musical trips have been to New Orleans and Memphis, the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and this time we were on a Buddy Holly trip to Clovis, New Mexico and Lubbock, Texas...
Basic Biittner (09/22/11)
Sometimes I hesitate about sharing news of my vacation experiences with readers, feeling perhaps that no one else is interested. But every once in a while, people tell me that they really enjoy reading about this stuff. So for the benefit of those people, I will enlighten you on my travels in August and September 2011. For the rest of you, don't read my column for the next couple of weeks...
Basic Biittner : Being a 'Fan' (08/26/11)
People who follow sports with a passion have been referred to as "fans" of that sport, or perhaps a particular team, for decades. The term 'fan' has also been applied to people who follow any object or person passionately. Yes, this use of word "fan" has come to be accepted as part of the language for a long time. ...
Basic Biittner : A Woman President - How are we doing? (08/24/11)
In 1984 - nearly 30 years ago - the Democratic party had a woman, then- Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, on the ballot as their Vice Presidential candidate, running with Walter Mondale as their Presidential candidate. The duo were defeated soundly by the incumbent Republican President, Ronald Reagan. ...
Basic Biittner : More Hall Talk (08/12/11)
Yes, it's me again, and yes, I am going to talk again about my obsession, the Baseball Hall of Fame. In my last two articles, I discussed several possible candidates for future election to the Hall and most of the names I mentioned were men who have received a good deal of support from the baseball writers in past elections, or those who I believe will receive support in future elections...
Basic Biittner : Who's Next? (part 2) (08/05/11)
... in which the author continues to look at possible future members of the Baseball Hall of Fame: The Class of 2014 includes two pitchers who were long-time teammates on some good Atlanta Braves teams. One is Greg Maddux, who won 355 games, four Cy Young Awards and 19 time Gold Gloves, and has had his number retired by two different teams - the Braves, of course, but also by the Cubs, with whom he began his career and won his first Cy Young. ...
Basic Biittner : Who's next? (part one) (08/01/11)
The Baseball Hall of Fame features 295 members, including 2011 BBWAA electees Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven and 2011 Expansion Era Committee electee Pat Gillick, all of whom were inducted into the Hall on July 24, 2011. The voting among the Baseball Writers of America takes place every winter after they are sent their ballots. ...
Basic Biittner : "Circle me Bert, and be home 'Bly 'leven" (07/21/11)
The year was 1970, and my young bride and I were at a Minnesota Twins baseball game at the old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington with my parents. Two things from that day stand out in my memory : first, I lost a pin from my prescription sunglasses,which I replaced that day with the metal from a bread wrapper and it stayed that way until I lost the glasses in the Colorado River 20 years later, and more imortantly, I got to watch a game pitched by a starting pitcher who was my age (19 at the time). ...
Basic Biittner : What's in a (nick) name? (06/30/11)
Congratulations to the University of South Carolina, which won their second straight College World Series in Omaha on Tuesday night. South Carolina, like most schools, has a team nickname/mascot, which in their case is the Gamecocks. What is a gamecock, you might ask? No, it's not that thing that one bats back and forth in a badminton match - that's a shuttlecock. ...
Basic Biittner : You can't make this stuff up (06/13/11)
It's been a while since I graced these pages with my enlightened observations, and I finally figured out why. Before I explain,here are some reasons I eliminated : 1) It's not because I've been far too busy (though I have, of course) 2) It's not because I don't have any opinion on things . I don't - but I stated a long time ago that this is NOT an opinion column, because I don't have any opinions...
Basic Biittner: Maybe it's time to reconsider ... (05/20/11)
I'm generally not a fan of revisionist history, but a few recent events (that is, over the last few years) in major league baseball have gotten me to thinking (I know, a dangerous precedent). After the 1919 World Series, several players on the Chicago White Sox, including ace pitcher Eddie Cicotte and leading hitter "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, were accused of "throwing" that World Series to the winning Cincinnati Redlegs...
Basic Biittner : Being Someone Else (05/06/11)
My wife and I recently attended two very entertaining performances with a common thread : both shows featured performers portraying other real-life entertainers. The first show, "The Rat Pack Is Back," is basically a re-creation of a 1960's night club performance by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis jr. ...
Basic Biittner : Haven't We Been Here Before? (04/14/11)
For much of its history, AT&T and its Bell System functioned as a legally sanctioned, regulated monopoly. The changes in telecommunications during the 1960s and 1970s eventually led to an antitrust suit by the U.S. government against AT&T. The suit began in 1974, and was settled in January 1982, when AT&T agreed to divest itself of the wholly - owned Bell operating companies that provided local exchange service. ...
Basic Biittner: The New (Im)morality (03/25/11)
I am one of those "Baby Boomers," a generic term which is often used to describe those of us who were born in the years 1946 - 1956. Rock and Roll was "born" during our era, and when I was a teenager, pop music went through its second major period of the era - the so-called British Invasion, led by the Beatles, Stones, Animals, Kinks and The Who, with the "late addition" of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd...
Basic Biittner : The funny side of getting older (02/18/11)
Some people are getting older, they tell me. And some of these people are are quite disturbed by this fact of life. As for me, as with most things, I prefer to look at the light side of getting older - and there are plenty of humorous writings out there which give one pause...
Basic Biittner : My Oscar picks (02/03/11)
The Academy Awards (aka The Oscars) presentation will be on Sunday February 27, and I know you all have been just dying to hear what I think were the Best films of 2010. What? You weren't? Oh ... there goes my idea for a column, I guess. Nah, what the heck, I'll tell you my thoughts whether you want to read them or not. So stay tuned ... or not...
Basic Biittner : February short, but sweet (01/28/11)
Well it will soon be February, so let's get this out of the way at the top: I don't have many 'pet peeves,' but one about which I've ranted on previous occasions and will do again here is the pronunciation of the second month of the calendar year. While I'd be the first to admit that some words (like 'colonel,' for example) are not spelled like they sound, "February" is not one of those. ...
Basic Biittner : Chance encounters (01/13/11)
You know how sometimes you meet someone of some degree of fame or importance totally by chance? Nah, me either. But such a circumstance does happen to some people. In my experience, that person seems to be my brother Doug. One example - last year, when he and his wife Nancy were on a cruise, one of their crisemates was Angela Cartwright. ...
Basic Biittner: Things I don't want to read about in 2011 (01/05/11)
There are several people and/or events that I read quite enough about in 2010. I promise that, after today, I will not write about the following items in 2011, and I hope that other writers throughout the world will follow suit. In 2011 (and beyond) :...
Basic Biittner: Let's hear it for the Rust Belt (12/20/10)
Cleveland, situated on one of the Great Lakes (Erie) in northeast Ohio, has had its share of public relations problems over the years. It is part of the so-called "Rust Belt"(an unfortunate moniker, in my opinion) of blue-collar manufacturing towns that stretch from Buffalo to Duluth. ...
Basic Biittner : Merry CHRISTmas (12/13/10)
The origins of the Christmas holiday, like Thanksgiving, I fear, seem to be neglected by many people. Certainly not all people, mind you, but many. Let me refresh your memory. More than 2000 years ago, in a stable in the town of Bethlehem (that's in "The Middle East" for you kids), a baby named Jesus was born, and, since many people believed him to be Christ, the son of God, with him was born an entire religion, called Christianity. ...
Basic Biittner : This is football? (12/01/10)
I guess I must be getting old. I guess I should have suspected as much when it first dawned on me that the only time I listen to "new" music these days is when an old favorite artist of mine, like Van Morrison, Bob Dylan or Neil Young, releases a CD of new material (although, come to think of it, I haven't really listened much to their last 2-3 releases, either)...
Basic Biittner: Don't blink or you'll miss it ... and that's too bad (11/18/10)
Come close and I'll tell you a secret ... On Thursday November 25, our nation will be celebrating something called Thanksgiving Day. Last I heard it was some kind of national holiday or something. Never hear much about it anymore, though. It seems like the tv shows, theatres and stores start whooping it up for the non-holiday called Hallowe'en about mid-September, and as soon as it passes, they go full-bore for Christmas...
Basic Biittner : Conference Call (11/04/10)
In the old days (i.e., when I was a lad), Iowa high school athletic conferences had eight teams, and the longest road trip the teams and their fans had to make was probably 60 miles, with most trips shorter than that. For example, the old Sioux Valley Conference teams were Alta, Aurelia, Hartley, Milford, Paullina, Primghar, Sanborn and Sutherland, with the trip to Milford the "long trip" for the Cherokee and Buena Vista County schools...
Basic Biittner: Blast from the Past (09/13/10)
This weekend we went to the Clay County Fair to attend a performance by a classic rock group from the late 60s - early 70s, Three Dog Night. 3DN is a bit of an unsung group - you never hear them mentioned as a candidate for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, for example - but for a few years, they were as popular as any act, with 21 hit singles over a four year period. ...
Basic Biittner : How about the Hall for these guys? (08/27/10)
One of my favorite things about the various Halls-of-Fame, be it the Rock and Roll Hall, the Pro Football Hall, College Football Hall, Basketball Hall, et al., is the ongoing debate among fans and writers about who "belongs" in that Hall; i.e.., who is "deserving" of such an honor. ...
Basic Biittner: My Summer, part 3 (08/19/10)
I'm not about to rate the three separate parts of my 2010 "summer vacation," but I CAN tell you this - the "shortest distance traveled" award definitely goes to this, the third leg of my vacation. On the first leg, I traveled to New York, Canada and Cleveland with my siblings . Two countries, ten days, and several hundred miles. The second leg again involved two countries (the same two, actually), seven days, and several hundred more miles...
Basic Biittner: How I Spent My Summer Vacation, part 2 (08/13/10)
Just ten days after returning from my first trip of the summer, my wife and I headed on trip #2 with ten dear friends. Unlike my previous trip, which came together very quickly, this trip had been in the works for approximately seven years. Several members of our "supper club-" a group of former high school classmates and their spouses which has been getting together for 30+ years - traveled to New York City together in 2001 and had such a good time, we started putting away money towards our next "big adventure" several years ago. ...
Basic Biittner: How I Spent My Summer Vacation (part one) (08/05/10)
Remember when you were in elementary school and one of your first assignments each fall was to tell the class how you spent your summer vacation? No, I don't either, but they tell me that's the way it used to be done - and maybe still is. At any rate, I was able to enjoy three fantastic experiences myself this summer, and that seemed like as good a "lead" as any to introduce the sharing of my experiences with you, my faithful readers...
Basic Biittner : More groans (07/15/10)
They say the ability to make and understand puns is considered to be the highest level of language development. Here are the ten first place winners in the International Pun Contest: 1. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, "I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per...
Basic Biittner : 52 College Pick-Up (06/14/10)
Most of you are probably familiar with the "card game" (to use the term loosely) called 52 Card Pick Up. where a deck of cards is scattered on the floor and one proceeds to pick up the 52 cards. College (University, actually) sports is going through a phase right now that I like to call "52 College Pick Up," though it is more commonly referred to as "Conference Re-alignment."...
Basic Biittner: Home remedies (06/07/10)
The latest "home remedy" which some people have claimed they use to effectively ward off nasty mosquitoes and other varmints of that type is Absorbine Jr. Reports of its effectiveness have spread (pardon the pun) so much that there are numerous reports of stores selling out of the time-honored rub-on liniment...
Basic Biittner : Summertime (05/27/10)
Well, as of last weekend, summer has arrived in Northwest Iowa. Yes, I know it's only May and the "official" start of summer is still three weeks away. But, I ask you - Were you here last weekend? 90 degrees with a hot, overpowering wind, high humidity and lots of flying pests spells summer to me, pal...
Basic Biittner : First Inductees (05/14/10)
The NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, will open for business this month, and - in addition to all the up-to-date, interactive, high definition technology that will be on display and various and sundry artifacts of NACAR history - the Hall's first class of Hall of Fame inductees will be enshrined. ...
Basic Biittner : M is for ... (05/07/10)
Mother's Day is Sunday. For all of you kids (of all ages) who are fortunate enough to still have your mom, I've gathered a few pearls of appreciation for motherhood that have been generated through the ages. To wit: "A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie." ~Tenneva Jordan...
Basic Biittner : Power Outages, NFL Quarterbacks, and the return of "The Mayor" (04/30/10)
Here are a few of my recent random thoughts on a couple of subjects, which I am sure you are thrilled to have revealed now in black and white for your perusal ... The town of Aurelia, where I live, recently experienced a total blackout one night, starting at about 10 p.m. No street lights, no house lights, no TV, no computer, et al. Whenever that happens - which isn't very often, mind you - it makes me very appreciative of this modern world in which we live...
Basic Biittner: 'Tis the season (04/19/10)
Dan Whitney I do believe spring has actually sprung. And, as we all know, "in the spring, a young man's fancy turns to..." Wait a minute. That's irrelevant to me. Hard as it may be for me to admit it, I am NOT a "young man" anymore. However, my "fancy" is still turning to the same thing it did when I WAS a young man, even when I was a young boy...
Basic Biittner: NCAA Hoops (04/12/10)
During the recent NCAA Final Four, we were listening to one of the semi-final games on the radio. The game happened to be between Butler and Michigan State, but that's irrelevant to the topic about which I'm going to rant. It was an exciting, fast-paced game, which IS relevant...
Basic Biittner: Punny You Should Ask ... (04/05/10)
A friend, who shall remain nameless , sent me these "groaner" puns the other day, and I thought I'd share them with you. Puns For Educated Minds (authors unknown , and probably wouldn't admit to it, anyway) − I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian ...
Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner