Just in time for heading back to the campus, the Princeton Review has come out with its annual ranking of party schools. Guess what? The University of Illinois has regained a spot in the top 20. Oskeewowwow!
Yes, Illinois schools have been somewhat lax in their partying in recent years. But according to the Princeton Review, this year the U of I is listed at No. 16. Not as good as Iowa, at No, 14, not as good as West Virginia, at No. 4. But better than No. 17, Arizona State University where the coeds drink beer with ice in their plastic cups, if The Hound remembers correctly.
No. 1 school is University of Florida, whose football team, the Gators, play in The Swamp. If you saw Gainesville, you'd party, too.
And, if you don't want to party at Illinois, you can always attend Wheaton College in west suburban Wheaton, which was named No. 2 "stone-cold sober" school, after Brigham Young University, by the Princeton Review. Of course, there's plenty of things to do in Wheaton --- like drive to Aurora.
Here's the top 20 party list, according to a survey of 120,000 students:
1. University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
2. University of Mississippi, University, Miss.
3. Penn State University, University Park, Pa.
4. West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.Va.
5. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio.
6. Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, Va.
7. University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.
8. University of Texas, Austin, Texas.
9. University of California-Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Calif.
10. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla.
11. University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H.
12. University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.
13. University of Colorado, Boulder, Co.
14. Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind.
15. Tulane University, New Orleans, La.
16. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Ill.
17. Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.
18. University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn.
19. University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
20. Loyola University-New Orleans, New Orleans, La.
Here's the top 20 sober schools, according to the same amount of students:
1. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
2. Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill.
3. U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Conn.
4. College of the Ozarks, Point Lockout, Mo.
5. Grove City College, Grove City, Pa.
6. U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
7. U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.
8. Wellesley College, Wellesley, Mass.
9. Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, Calif.
10. Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich.
11. U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.
12. Wesleyan College, Macon, Ga.
13. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Needham, Mass.
14. City University of New York-Queens College, Flushing, N.Y.
15. Webb Institute, Glen Cove, N.Y.
16. Berea College, Berea, Ky.
17. Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Ga.
18. City University of New York-Baruch College, New York.
19. Simmons College, Boston.
20. Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pa.
The Chicago Cubs begin a four-game road trip to Milwaukee tonight to play the Brewers. Cubs fans should be aware. Aware of what, you ask. The Hound will tell you. Read on.
Most Illinoisans use their weapons to hunt deer, small game and fellow humans. Milwaukee residents use their weapons to shoot their lawn mowers. Yes, the story of Keith Walendowski, 56, moved over the weekend from The Associated Press, which noted he allegedly shot his Lawn Boy after it wouldn't start.
When police arrived, Walendowski was charged with felony possession of a short-barreled shotgun (i.e., a sawed-off shotgun) and misdemeanor disorderly conducts while armed. If convicted, this Brewer fan could be sentenced to six years in prison and fined $11,000.
As to why he shot his mower, he told police: "...it's my lawn mower and my yard so I can shoot it if I want."
Also from the AP, it appears correctional officers from a boot camp for alcoholics and drug addicts took their charges to a bar where alcohol was served to other patrons to hear a motivational speaker. Sitting in a bar surrounded by booze sure sounds motivational for addicts to The Hound, and Brewers' fans.
A warning for Cubs fans going to the game. Behave. Milwaukee County sheriff's deputies are notorious for loving to throw Chicago fans in the slammer. Go Cubs!
Guess one way to tick off teachers is to discuss a charter school. Lake County United has been talking up starting a 150-student charter school in Waukegan which appears to have rubbed the Lake County Federation of Teachers the wrong way.
The teachers' abruptly pulled out of what was once a 37-organization community-based group working for change. The Hound thinks it odd that the 6,500-member teachers' union is supporting the presidential candidate of change, Barack Obama, but isn't interested in changing the educational structure in their own county.
Along with leaving Lake County United, the teachers likely took their share of funding with them, like children taking their ball and going home when they don't like the score. What teachers' unions don't like about charter schools is that they are results-oriented.
A 2003 study performed by the national American Federation of Teachers union, which opposes charter schools, found that students attending charter schools tied to school boards do not fare any better or worse statistically in reading and math scores than students attending public schools. That study has run counter to other educational studies which have found the opposite.
The Hound would think the teachers' union would stay in Lake County United and work for change within the system. Instead, they ignore change is afoot with them or without them.
The Hound must have missed something. The Cubs are battling for a National League pennant. The White Sox are battling for an American League pennant. These are first-place teams. Yet, we see the Blackhawks are going to play a New Year's Day game at Wrigley Field and the Bears training camp opens today in the pride of Kankakee County, Bourbannais. What happened to summer?
We're still in summer, according to not only meteorologists, but the Old Farmer's Almanac. So what's the deal?
The deal is that the Chicago media have fallen for slick public relations flacks peddling their fall and winter wares. Even the great Brian Urlacher (listen, folks, he lives off St. Mary's Road in Libertyville Township if one wants to escape driving 90 miles to Bourbannais) has joined the early fall parade. He just signed a multimillion dollar contract extension. The Hound wants one of those.
Oh, The Hound forgot. The Bears' first pre-season game is Aug. 7 at Soldier Field, which also coincides with the first day of Gurnee Days. That's a real choice: Bears vs. Gurnee Days.
If the pros are ready to rumble, where's the collegians? Buying their dorm wardrobes? Is this a summer lost?
What's with Waukegan mayoral candidate Chris Wakefield being a character witness for the former Waukegan policeman accused of rape. Is he campaigning for the accused rapist vote?
Normally, politicians, especially those who want to get elected, don't get involved in writing character letters in defense of someone accused of sexually assaulting someone, as is Delatwon Haynes, currently in custody on $2 million bond. Haynes has pleaded guilty to the alleged offense.
The reason being is that support can be used against the candidate in the heat of the campaign. No doubt some other Democratic mayoral hopeful will mention this before the February 2009 primary election. Probably several times.
That certainly can't be called mudslinging when one signs his name to a letter contending the bond amount is too high for an accused rapist and an ex-cop. And, candidate Wakefield might be asked what he thinks is the correct bond for an accused rapist who is a former policeman. Also, has he written letters of character reference complaining of high bonds for other accused criminals?
Perhaps there's more accused rapists on the Waukegan voters' rolls than The Hound thinks. But if at minimum 50 percent of the electorate is women, that support for Haynes could mean the loss of some votes for candidate Wakefield.
Six Lake County lakes have experienced die-offs of hundreds of carp. And this is a bad thing?
Granted, Countryside, Wooster and Fish lakes have had a few hundred crappie die, so let's get to the bottom of those. But why are fish biologists worried about bottom feeders that most anglers dislike.
Carp have been eradicated in several county lakes, Diamond Lake in Mundelein being one, and replaced by game fish. It's not like carp are the "canaries in the coal mines" here.
The Hound remembers attempts by several state DNRs to have anglers embrace carp as a fine game fish and excellent eating fish (watch that mud vein) if smoked or grilled after sitting overnight in a marinade.
Ever see carp served at a Friday night fish fry around here? Exactly. Slab crappie, now there's good eating.
What's with the people of Wisconsin who live along Lake Michigan and treat it like a garbage dump? Right now nobody's blaming the cheeseheads, but a bunch of garbage washed up along the lake's western shore, in the Holland, Mich., and Manistee, Mich., areas. But, some of the garbage carried names and addresses from Wisconsin, according to an Associated Press account.
Beaches were closed and three truckloads of garbage, including prescription drug bottles, hypodermic needles and household rubbish were hauled away to a real landfill, not a liquid one. This surely frosts The Hound. Hey, we drink this stuff!
Besides junk, Wisconsinites have been known to dump their sewage into Lake Michigan every time it rains. How about they fix their sewage systems? Then, they can concentrate on what to do with their garbage.
The Coast Guard is investigating the dumping of the hundreds of pounds of garbage. Let's hope they find out who's responsible.
In an attempt to rebrand the Chicago Blackhawks and get us to actually watch "cold steel on ice" after banning couch potatoes for years from the game, the hockey club has decided to play an outdoor game on Jan. 1, 2009 at Wrigley Field. Ball hockey! What's this about?
The National Hockey League has given the team the go-ahead to play the Detroit Redwings outdoors. Similar games have been held at other venues and supposedly drawn pretty good crowds. The Hound's uncle still tells tales about his uncle taking him to Blackhawks games when the hated Wings would play in the old Chicago Stadium. That's when the old timers would heat pennies and heave them on the ice or throw out a dead rabbit or two. Or at least that's what The Hound's uncle says.
The Wirtz family, owners of the Blackhawks, date back to the Mundelein area, where their relatives were farmers about the turn of the century. The property is still there around Route 83 and Peterson Road. However, they won't get The Hound to freeze a tail on Jan. 1.
While some purists may scorn the attempt to play hockey in Wrigley Field, The Hound has been told the Chicago Bears used Wrigley Field to play football (hence the Cubbie Bear lounge at Clark and Addison), while the Chicago Sting soccer club played there in the early 1980s.
Still, The Hound's New Year's resolution will be not to sit outdoors at a hockey game. Unless free tickets are involved.
Just when you think all is lost, like in the bottom of the seventh and Red Sox J.D. Drew launches a rope over the short right-field wall in Yankee Stadium, tying the All-Star game, something enters the picture to make everything all right. Like MillerCoors locating its headquarters and upward of 400 new jobs into Illinois.
Chicago won out over several other cities for the mega-brewing corporation, just as Belgium beer conglomerate InBev, purchases Budweiser, the last big U.S. beer maker. MillerCoors cited Chicago's labor pool, transportation and business resources as the reason to live the Rockies and Milwaukee for the Windy City. Also, Illinois business development folks are giving the firm, which merged the second and third largest brewers, an $18 million investment package for tax credits over 15 years, job training and a grant to offset upfront capital expenses.
But, MillerCoors is planning a $39.5 million investment in Chicago and Illinois. And, they're bringing good-paying, executive-level jobs to the state. Who said it's cheaper to do business in the Badger State?
While the exact location has not been determined, or MillerCoors folks aren't saying where they want to park the city's newest corporate citizen, this sure looks like a coup for the city and Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who can crow about bringing jobs to Illinois, even with a recalcitrant Legislature.
Looks like The Hound will be drinking a few new beer brands during baseball season. Skol!
From this past weekend, what with Scoopin' Genesee (that is so lame) to just checking out the traffic around the county, certainly $4.25 per gallon for gasoline is not the tipping point. If we reach $5 by Labor Day, will that make us curtail our motoring passion?
Who knows, but The Hound doesn't see any letup of folks just cruzin' around in their vehicles, passing the time and continuing to do what Americans do best: Wasting precious resources. Ah, but let's not get too down at our fellow motoring enthusiasts. At least they're out and about and not at home playing video games or tampering with their new iPhone.
Yet, The Hound is all a twitter today what with the beginning of a new season of "Top Gear" the absolutely fabulous car nut programme offered by the BBC-America channel on the cable box. How come we don't have a great car program like this made in this country, especially with our stubborn love affair with the gasoline-powered engine? We're stuck with the fuddy-duddy "Motor Week" on public broadcasting, Speed Channel and NASCAR on Fox.
These "Top Gear" guys --- Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May --- are car lovers who don't take themselves too seriously, nor the products they pound around race tracks. When's the last time Cadillac let somebody redline a STS in a test drive?
The Hound is unsure when "Top Gear" is on. That's what Tivo is for. It just records it. Similar to the way "The Stig" drives. Fast.
Tune in. If you're a gearhead, you won't be disappointed. The Hound guarantees it.
With July almost half over, you have until July 31 to vote for America's Best Public Restroom. Yesiree, in a nation which has to have the best of everything, except public officials, we now can vote for clean water closets. Is this a great country, or what?
Indeed, this is the seventh annual survey sponsored by the Cintas Corp., which supplies restroom supplies to companies. You can vote at the www.bestrestroom.com Web site and even take a photo tour of the loos. Winners will be announced in August.
There's 10 finalists and, surprisingly, two are in Illinois. The Signature Room at the 95th, which occupies the 95th floor of the Hancock Center in Chicago and Brio Restaurant in Rockford, of all places. Apparently, Brio's restrooms are themed as Heaven for women, hell for men. Hmmm, what's that about?
Also in the top 10 is the Iowa 80 Truck Stop in Walcott, Iowa. Leave it to Iowa to have a truckstop comfort station entered in the competition. Also in the running is the Jerome Bettis Grille 36 in Pittsburgh, named for the former Steelers' fullback.
So vote early and often. And, don't forget to flush.
The Waukegan Police Department finds itself on the back end of another lawsuit, this one filed by family members of Adelina Weber, who was stabbed to death by her husband. The family and their high-priced Chicago lawyers contend police ignored an order of protection and should have arrested Clarence Weber and whisk the woman to a safe haven.
But what came out in Clarence Weber's bond hearing in Lake County Circuit Court on Thursday paints a different picture. According to prosecutors, Adelina agreed to meet her husband --- who had the order of protection against him, which she sought --- after she ended her shift at the Walker Brothers pancake house in Lincolnshire on July 5.
What would cause a woman apparently afraid of her husband to meet him near a motel across Milwaukee Avenue from the pancake house? It was a fatal move as her husband stabbed her to death after arguing over their impending divorce.
The Hound may be wrong on this, but her actions seem to take the sails out of the suit filed by the family. How can the police be at fault? Nobody forced her to meet her husband, whom she obviously knew was violent.
Certainly, police aren't responsible to be with her round-the-clock when there are safe places to go for protection. Or are they? And, she was killed not in Waukegan, but Lincolnshire. The speed in which this suit was filed also bothers The Hound.
A life has been taken but The Hound thinks the finger is being pointed in the wrong direction. As in other instances, it's all too easy to blame the cops for a bad decision. After all, they have the deep pockets.
You still have time to join The Hound in toasting the 75th anniversary --- July 10, 1933 --- of the day when Illinois officially helped end Prohibition by ratifying the 21st Amendment to the Constitution. Yup, hoist one, or two or more. But do it, as all things, in moderation.
Although the national repeal of Prohibition wasn't finalized until Dec. 5, 1933, the brewing industry always recognizes July 10, 1933 as the day the taps would eventually be opened. According to the Beer Institute, once Prohibition was repealed, more than $25 million in economic activity was generated across the nation, producing more than 50,000 jobs at the height of the Great Depression.
The Institute also points out that the beer industry in Illinois now contributes $6.2 billion to the state economy, supporting 64,783 jobs. Who knows how that will shake out if InBev, the Belgium-based brewing company, takes over the largest U.S. brewer, Budweiser.
Anyway, you have until midnight to sip a few beers and toast the end of one of the nation's worst social experiments. Cheers!
While many folks are seething over the California state Supreme Court's recent decision to overturn the ban on gay marriages, there's others, besides the happy same-sex couples, who have reason to celebrate --- the wedding industry.
The Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the UCLA School of Law estimates that same-sex weddings could generate up to $683.6 million in additional revenue for the industry over the next three years.
With the current state of the economy, the ruling looks to be particularly good news for jewelers as same-sex couples look to purchase wedding rings and wedding jewelry, according to the Platinum Guild International USA, marketing arm of the platinum jewelry industry.
Though Massachusetts also allows gay marriage, California is the only state where same-sex couples can obtain a marriage license even if they don't live there. The Williams Institute estimates that half of the state's 102,639 same-sex couples will marry by 2011, in addition to 67,500 out-of-state couples. That's a lot of wedding bands to be purchased, nuptials to be catered.
Hotels, wedding planners and vendors in California obviously stand to benefit from ceremonies from the sought-after gay demographic. Gays usually earn more than straights and have more disposable income.
With Illinois tourism generating more than $30 billion last year, a 5.8 percent increase over 2006, maybe the Legislature should investigate a similar law here. Just for the business it could bring --- not for the love.
Like many of his fellow Lake Countians, The Hound burned up $4-a-gallon gas cruising the byways on a sun-filled three-day weekend. That was a good thing until passing by the new branch court on Greenleaf Street in Park City. They couldn't make this building any more dismal looking?
OK, so it's a court, it's being built by the low bidder and The Hound would probably complain if more money was being spent to gussy up the place. But couldn't they make it a bit more architecturally pleasing? The Hound isn't looking for eye candy here, but something that doesn't shout: Ministry of the Homeland Protectorate --- Soviet Union style. The Hound has seen better Romanian office buildings circa the Cold War.
Granted, the branch the new court is replacing was in itself quite depressing. Especially when The Hound had to pay the piper in that part of the strip mall west of Lakehurst/Fountain Square. The Hound also has seen the Mundelein branch court, the one actually located in the Diamond Lake area. That seems fairly pleasant, even though one is usually not there for pleasantries --- don't ask.
That being said it looks like the county has settled for function over form, which still doesn't make it right. Actually, it makes it downright ugly.
The Hound was paging through the sports section the other day and came upon Jeff Bonato's Extra Point column where he noted that Highland Park and Vernon Hills high schools have canceled their traditional Week 2 prep football tilt and instead will be on the road for games. These two schools must have gas to burn, at $4-plus a gallon.
According to Bonato, Highland Park's Little Giants will be on the road to Minooka, a 140-mile round trip; Vernon Hills' Cougars will make a 55-mile round trip to South Elgin High at Streamwood. Previously, the two teams played within 22 miles (round trip) of each other.
Perhaps this is some sort of contractural agreement the two teams have to play in Minooka and Streamwood, but in these times of diminishing supplies and increasing costs, seems sort of wasteful. The Hound knows where Streamwood is but had to check where Minooka (Supposedly Pottawatomie meaning "contented", although The Hound believes it means moose meat) is. The Hound gets confused among all these "M" towns we have in Illinois, like Mundelein, Manteno, Marion, Mattoon, Macomb, Mendota, Mahomet, Malta...you get the idea. Minooka, turns out, is near Joliet.
In addition, seems sort of .politically incorrect for those liberals from Highland Park High traveling all that way to play a team whose nickname is the "Indians". Minooka must be one of the last in Illinois to use that name. They took the Chief away, after all.
Highland Park High does have this new E85 fuel depot so they have an excuse. Maybe they'll fill up in corn country for the return trip back. But what's Vernon HIlls' excuse? Wonder if District 128 taxpayers know about this traveling band? Oskeewowwow!