Mulling things on my morning ramble
with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.
Maybe I should call Fridays ``Rant with Storm.''
There's a reason I tend to go off more Fridays. Fridays are my Saturdays. I usually file my Sunday outdoors stuff for the Sun-Times by 11 p.m. Thursday. That frees up my Fridays for doing family stuff or nothing at all.
So I have mullings, ruminations and general rants stored up inside and enough time to play with them on Fridays.
For instance, let's take hockey talk on sports talk radio.
I mean it.
Hockey talk on sports radio should only happen during the Stanley Cup finals and around the outdoor game on New Year's.
Otherwise, I don't want to hear it. Even tangentially.
Yesterday, I was up at 5 a.m. to start working. Thursdays are usually about 12 hours of sitting in front of the computer with some breaks for various kids duties.
So I am on edge. Or have more of an edge than normal.
Sports radio has long been the background for me on my deadline days on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And a traveling companion on long cross-country or cross-Illinois rambles to and from outdoor duties.
Just as an aside, the broad range of general topics discussed naturally on Chicago sports talkers makes sports talk in other big cities seem about as wide-ranging and interesting as attending a sabermetrics convention.
Listen to sports talkers in other towns and you begin to wonder if the talent ever goes to a movie, out to eat or does anything other than watch or listen to sports. In part, I blame the overreach of ESPN. That corporate ass-kisser seems franchised everywhere.
But I digress.
Sports talk in Chicago found its footing and voice in Chicago about the same time I started doing the outdoors column for the S-T in the mid-90s.
Only two times has that link or addiction been broken.
First, for a period after 9-11, Mike North went so far off the deep end he sounded like a mini Rush Limbaugh. Basically it sounded like North was reading verbatim from those ranting right-wing e-mails. So I switched over to combinations of NPR, WXRT and WGN.
I find North a tremendous talent and wish he was back on sports talk in Chicago. But he lost his way for a few years.
My wife was working at home during much of that time and she introduced me to ``The Girlfriends'' on WGN, a bitingly honest and funny show. Their ``Sex Thursday'' was the best radio bit I have ever heard, even better than ``Who Ya Crappin?''
They really hooked me into WGN, which I had always previously thought you couldn't listen to until you drew your first SS check. That perception probably goes back more than two decades to those brutally accurate parodies Steve Dahl did of Wally Phillips and his audience.
(BTW, if you ever wonder if your boss is an idiot, look at the bosses at WGN to see what a true idiot does. ``The Girlfriends'' were axed more than a year ago.)
But back to Thursday.
So I turned on The Score right at 5 a.m. expecting to hear a wide range of hot sports topics.
Let's see, we had the US pulling off a stunner in the World Cup, the world's greatest sporting event. Wimbledon had the two guys going into something like the 10th hour of their world record match. That may be one of the great improbable sports stories of the year.
The Bulls are looking more and more like they are setting up to have LeBron come here. The Bears have enough pieces to at least raise the hope for a playoff run.
And the Cubs, a good baseball team playing so bad it is almost fun, are ripe for sports talk lampooning. And the Sox, an average team playing the best in all of baseball and just coming off their eighth straight victory, were and are one of the great sports tales across the country.
And I had to listen to two guys talking the minutia of hockey. OK, I understand Hanley and Rozner are hockey guys, but enough.
At least Bob Sirott was subbing for mornings on WGN, so I switched.
Hockey talk may do something I didn't think possible: cure me of my dependence on sports talk.