Category Archives: Chicago

Marching Illini visit the Loop and play the Three-In-One

I was sitting in my office overlooking Monroe and Dearborn Streets at noon today and suddenly heard the sounds of a marching band. I looked out the window and saw the Marching Illini assembled about a block away at Madison and Dearborn. After listening several pieces, including “Illinois Loyalty,” from my 19th floor perch, I wandered down to street level to catch the rest of the performance, including the “Three-In-One” in the video above. You can also see and hear the video on my YouTube channel.

The band director said that the “Three-In-One” was first played in 1926 and that this year marks its 90th anniversary. The entry for the Marching Illini on Wikipedia states:

The musical portion of the Three-In-One consists of three distinct Illinois pieces: “Pride of the Illini,” “March of the Illini,” and “Hail to the Orange.” “Pride of the Illini,” written by Karl King with words by Ray Dvorak expressly for the Illinois Bands, was published in 1928. Harry Alford’s “March of the Illini” was also published in 1928, but was used during Chief Illinwek’s performance from the beginning in 1926. ″Hail to the Orange″ was written by Harold V. Hill with words by Howard R. Green in 1910. The three pieces were eventually combined into a medley and given the title, “Three-In-One.” The “Three-In-One” drill and music are an important part of the University’s heritage.

Enjoy the performance, but please excuse my off-key participation in the singing of “Hail to the Orange.”

Opening Day at Wrigley Field – Celebrating 100 Years

Today is opening day at Wrigley Field, which is celebrating its 100th birthday. The Cubs are playing their home opener against the Phillies under chilly conditions and winds that are expected to gust more than 30 mph.

The tweets are already rolling in:

The first pitch is thrown out by 4 Hall of Fame Cubbies…

And Mayor Rahm Emanuel is tweeting from the game….

The Cubs score first, in the 2nd inning…

Crains Chicago Business says that billionaire investor Warren Buffett is interested in putting some money into the Cubs. It was reported yesterday that the Ricketts family is examining options for financing the $500 million renovation of Wrigley Field, including bringing in outside investors. The Ricketts family shares Buffett’s Omaha roots.

After three innings, the Cubs hold a 2-0 lead…

Oops, there went our lead…

Not a sellout, but our Chicago weather certainly hasn’t helped…

Our Cubs trail 4-2 in the 7th and the stands are emptying out. Maybe they were literally fair weather ’cause today sure is not “fair weather” – 40°, overcast and windy.

And finally…

Celebrate Earth Hour tonight (March 29)

eh60Tonight (March 29), from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM local time, the world celebrates Earth Hour by turning off all non-essential lights. Earth Hour is a worldwide movement for the planet organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Now in its eighth year, Earth Hour engages a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues.

What is Earth Hour?

Earth Hour started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide, and the one-hour event continues to remain the key driver of the now larger movement. The event is held worldwide and held annually towards the end of March, encouraging individuals, communities, households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol for their commitment to the planet.

What lights should be turned off?

That is a decision that has to be made individually but usually the overhead lights in rooms (whether it is your house or a business), outdoor lighting that does not impact safety, decorative lights, neon signs for advertising, televisions, desk lamps, etc. Use common sense with respect to safety. Keep small night lights on for basic safety especially in halls and on stairs. Make sure you have alternative light sources handy before Earth Hour starts, like a flashlight. That way if you need to see, you have a light source close at hand, and you can still respect the spirit of Earth Hour and keep yourself and your family safe.

What is happening in Illinois for Earth Day?

Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday ordered lights out from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at many state facilities. That includes the Thompson Center and Bilandic Building in Chicago, the Illinois State Fairgrounds and other state facilities across Illinois. Quinn says it will not only conserve energy, but “shine a light” on the need to protect the planet.

This year, the city of Chicago and ComEd will commemorate Earth Hour with a ‘lights out’ event outside the Chicago Cultural Center. Families and friends can take part in Earth Hour at home and with this year’s partners, including:

  • Spider-Man, the official “superhero” sponsor of Earth Hour, will join Sony and other partners at the Chicago Cultural Center for kids’ activities and fun tips and giveaways to save energy at home.
  • Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants’ select Big Bowl locations will offer a free kid’s meal for families who dine in on March 29 (one free kid’s meal per adult) and fill out the ComEd Energy Efficiency Pledge. Plus, all diners receive a free energy efficiency gift bag.
  • Yoga studios will offer candlelight classes in honor of Earth Hour, including: Bloom Yoga Studio in Chicago’s Lincoln Square; Namaskar Yoga in Near North Chicago; Nspired Yoga in Rockford, and Village Yoga in Chicago’s Lincoln Park.

Prior to the “lights out” moment, the City of Chicago will receive a grant from the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour City Challenge, a year-long competition recognizing cities that advance renewable energy or energy efficiency projects in the community. Earlier this month, Chicago was selected out of a group of 60 cities as the United States’ 2014 Earth Hour Capital by a global jury of experts convened by the World Wildlife Fund. Chicago will use the grant award to launch a partnership to help make going solar more affordable.

Here is the official video of 2014 Earth Hour. For more information, visit

Windy City BBQ Classic

windy-city-bbqThis Sunday, September 1, marks the second annual Windy City BBQ Classic and my son Peter and I have already purchased our tickets.   There will be more that 30 pit masters vieing in Chicago’s only authentic barbecue competition where competitors have to use only wood or charcoal to cook meat for an accredited judging panel.

This year’s daylong competition has moved to the South Parking Lot at Soldier Field and starts at noon.

Besides tasting the ribs, chicken, brisket and pork shoulder all day long, there will be 30 craft beer offerings and live music until closing at 9 PM.

We’ll take plenty of photos and share them.  Sorry we can’t share the BBQ or beer – if you want those, you’ll have to buy your own ticket and come down to Soldier Field on Sunday afternoon.