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January 2009 Archives

Road to D.C.: "Long Walk To D.C."

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staples for hoekstra 2.jpg Soul folk in action.

Jan. 16 (Midnight, eastern)

BREEZEWOOD, Pa.----The week will be filled with goosebump moments. The first one comes while listening to the Staple Singers 1968 tune "Long Walk To D.C." while driving into Breezewood, "The Town of Motels." The sleepy city is at the intersection of the old Lincoln Highway, Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-70.
There is no turning around, just like the Staples sing.
I have a lot of Curtis Mayfield, Bob Dylan and Staple Singers for the journey. But nothing keeps you going like Mavis Staples......


Long Walk To D.C. - The Staple Singers


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Road to D.C.: Eat n' Park in Pennsylvania

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11:00 p.m. (eastern) Jan. 15-

BREEZEWOOD, Pa.----The human touch takes on greater meaning after sitting in a small car for long periods of time. Connections suddenly hit home, like a familiar voice over the phone in a strange hotel off the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Or the effort to reach out can be more forced, such as my visit to Eat n' Park earlier today in Somerset, Pa.
I had never heard of Eat n' Park....

Road to D.C.: Mike Ditka's Pittsburghers

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FILE0172.JPG Can someone tell me why Da Coach wears 81 here? Dave Whitsell in the background, good ol' No. 23. This picture hangs in Ditka's new restaurant, a long pass outside of Pittsburgh.

7:30 p.m. (eastern) Jan. 15---

BREEZEWOOD, Pa.-----Like Chicago, Pittsburgh is no stranger to celebrity sports bars. Back in the 1960s there was Joe Namath's Kissing Suzy Kolber Cafe--Broadway Joe is from nearby Beaver Falls, Pa. There's Jerome Bettis Grille 36 on the north side of Pittsburgh. Even the folks at Chicago's Hi-Tops opened a sports bar across the street from PNC baseball stadium. (Hi-Tops closed in 2007)
Its not surprising Mike Ditka would get in the act.
Ditka was born in Carnegie, Pa. and raised in Alliquippa, Pa.
In late October he opened his first Ditka's restaurant out of Chicago in Robinson, Pa. The northern suburb near the Pittsburgh airport is half way between Carnegie and Aliquippa. If you have been to Ditka's in upscale Oakbrook Terrace, that's kind of what's going on in Robinson.........

Road to DC: Stuck in Pennsylvania

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Noon (eastern) Jan, 15---

And I thought Nashville, Tennessee had the worst drivers in America.
I left the new Ditka's restaurant just north of Pittsburgh in a light but brittle snowstorm during Wednesday's rush hour. I made it to the Best Western Garden Inn in western Bentlyeville, Pa. It took me 2 1/2 hours to crawl through traffic on I-79 South to I-70.
Leonard, the reserved night clerk at the Best Western, told me that normally is a 45 minute drive.
Good thing I had Coach's Pot Roast Nachos before I left....

Road to D.C.: Detroit Dave Bing, NBA & Future Mayor?

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dave1.JPG
Dave Bing on the blog, guarded by the Bulls Norm Van Lier.

12:20 a.m. (Eastern) Jan, 14

STREETSBORO,Ohio--Roadside motel.
Zero degrees. Blowing snow. Can't walk to Denny's across the street. Why am I here? The day began at 9 a.m. in the Detroit office of Dave Bing, one of the most prolific point guards in NBA history. He is a native of Washington, D.C. where he grew up with singer Marvin Gaye. After starring for the Detroit Pistons, Bing has lived in Detroit for the past 42 years. He is running for Mayor of Detroit in a Feb, 24 primary.

Some Detroiters think that for the city to move forward, the city has to move away from the auto industry.
NBA Hall of Famer Dave Bing doesn't buy into that.
"Our core still is automotive and it will be automotive," Bing said during a half-hour interview in his office in Midtown Detroit. Of course, in 1980 Bing founded The Bing Group, which supplies automotive parts to the 'Big Three' car companies......
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Road to D.C.: Detroit/ Wolfgang Puck

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WGP_Makes_it_easy.jpg Easy, like Sunday morning,

10:13 p.m. (Eastern) Jan. 12---

DETROIT---I had stepped into the MGM Grand Detroit in an effort to change my luck. I walked by the Wolfgang Puck color portrait in the Wolfgang Puck Grille in the casino just after chef Wolfgang Puck had finished a signing session for his cookbook "Wolfgang Puck Makes It Easy [Rutledge Hill Press, $35]." I saw Puck. Shot on goal!
The cookbook is for someone like me who makes cooking hard.
A Puck sighting was good karma since I was on my way to D.C. for the Presidential Inauguration. I knew Puck was chef for David Geffen's reception after the 2007 Barack Obama "Dining for Dollars" fundraiser in Los Angeles hosted by Geffen and Steven Spielberg. But I did not know Puck has also cooked for Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and both George Bushes...........

Good Newseum

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newseum.jpg Newspaper fans in Washington, D.C.

2 p.m. Jan. 10----
Maybe I'm on a coffee jag. I am at Sunrise Cafe, 2012 W. Chicago Ave. and look up from my veggie omelette. The restaurant is full on a Saturday morning. More than half of the people in the working class Ukrainian Village eatery are reading a newspaper. These are great times to be a news junkie in Chicago. We have a psychotic governor, a President-elect who calls the city his home and it snows every other day.
Who wouldn't want to read a newspaper?
People are reading more than ever. Information is more accessible and immediate. Newspapers sell when there is big news. I am cautiously guarded optimistic about my future if editors and publishers learn to think outside the box. What do we have to lose? [Check out my Sept. 25, 2008 archived blog post from Loyola University in Chicago.]
I cried on the shoulder of Joe Urschel, executive director of the Newseum in Washington, D.C. [great website: newseum.org.].........

Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra has been a Chicago Sun-Times staff writer since 1985. His collection of Sun-Times travel columns, "Ticket To Everywhere," was published in 2000 by Lake Claremont Press. He was lead writer for "Farm Aid: Song for America" (Rodale Press, 2005) which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Willie Nelson inspired effort.
He won a 1987 Chicago Newspaper Guild Stick O-Type Award for Column Writing. Hoekstra wrote and co-proudced the WTTW-Channel 11 PBS special: "The Staple Singers and the Civil Rights Movement," nominated for a 2001-02 Chicago Emmy for a documentary program/cultural significance.
He lives in Chicago.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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