Rat Fink

Rat Fink

By Larry Teren

If you are baby boomer, certain words and expressions conjure up an immediate association that those of other age groups cannot relate. Take for example, a very once-popular, one-word adjective that for a short time in the early 1960’s conveyed a feeling of disgust, one person to another. And that word is – rat fink!! And, of course, for any of us hatched in the 1950’s and shaped in the 1960’s, the word is associated with a famous parody song by the master of all masters- Allan Sherman. Anyone interested in hearing this melodious ingenious musical piece can click here. For the sake of accuracy, it should be noted that although it is spelled as two distinct words, it is pronounced rushed together in order to stress the significance of its usage, such as you ratfink bastard, you.      Continue reading “Rat Fink”

I Stopped Wearing My Cubs Cap

Yesterday I stopped wearing my Chicago Cubs baseball cap. It’s true that is was dirty and getting a little worn. But, there was a statement to be made. After all, the warranty on blind loyalty expires after about fifty years, right?

It doesn’t mean that I will start rooting for that (cough) other team on the South Side. I just can’t. It would be like voting for a Democrat for President. Truth be told, though, I took the Democrat Ballot in the last national primary three years ago because I did what any true blue Chicago suburbanite would have done- voted for the person I wanted to face the Republican candidate in the national elections that November.

I’ll sit on the sidelines while this disgrace of a major league team goes through the totally embarrassing motions of playing out the remainder of the schedule. In my heart, I know they’ll win it at some point in this century, even if not this decade.

When Mark Cuban showed strong interest in purchasing the Cubs two years ago, I along with all the real fans were excited because he was as much as fan as the rest of us. He was willing to make significant changes to put the entire organization into a winning attitude. But, he took one look at the asking price, the non-willingness of the former owners to budge and the realization that the team was no where near the perceived value. At the time, I thought that the club was over-valued by two hundred million dollars. Now I hear that the debt is more like four hundred million. So, why bother to take on such an investment? As had been done with other ball clubs in the past few years, the Cubs should have been allowed to go into bankruptcy and let the creditors, banks and courts find someone at a more reasonable price to take on this giant mess.

But, greed, ego and stupidity get in the way. I read where the club management acknowledges that attendance is down about 8 percent, which supposedly translates into three thousand less per game.
However, that does not tell the real truth. There has been many games where less than half the official attendance was actually sitting in the park. True, the weather has been bad. The sale of seat regardless if occupied does count but it also means less money to be made on concessions.

Management had a chance to hire a popular ex-Cub who is also a hall-of-famer as well as a winning manager at the minor league level. Instead, it felt an obligation to give the job of manager to a perennial minor league coach with little big league credentials and charisma to offer to the fans.

If I had a chance to meet the Cub owners, I’d break out in that classic early 1960’s Allan Sherman hit parody, “You Went the Wrong Way, Old King Louie.”

Now, at least for the time being, I wear a black cap with white trim- yes-a little dorky looking, that is emblazoned with the word Ottawa in the front. A neighbor whose parents live there brought it back to me on their last vacation a couple of months ago. I hear it has something to do with hockey, whatever that is.

Now, if someone wants to buy me a new Cubs cap, it has to be all-wool, not the cheap stuff. I’ll hold onto it even if I don’t wear it because you never know. Hey, c’mon- didn’t Sherman also write words such as, “wait a minute, it’s stopped raining. Mother, father kindly disregard this letter”?