Baldest Truth

Looking for me?

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!


Done sports blogging for now, but do check TheBaldestTruth.com for updates on yours baldly and other stuff.

A bald farewell

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

Telling stories, taking stances, making readers think and feel and laugh ... I love writing for a living, and I hope it's something I'll continue doing for a long time.

There are, however, plenty of writing-related things I love much less:

Writing for the sake of writing.

Writing to "keep my hand in it" while I seek full-time work.

Writing "for exposure."

And especially ...

Writing for free.

I have presented The Baldest Truth for three years now, first as an adjunct to my newspaper work and now as a stand-alone venture. I have yet to figure out how to make it profitable.

Profitable? Who am I kidding? Until I signed on with ChicagoNow last fall, I made zero from the blog. These last few months, I made about a penny an hour. On a good day, double that.

This is not what getting one's 2 cents in is supposed to mean.

This humbling experience has confirmed what I already knew to be true: For every Huffington Post or Perez Hilton, there are thousands upon thousands of blogs that bring in little or no money to those who run them.

I'm not some cranky, old hack who spits expletives at the very idea of blogs. (I'm not cranky most of the time, anyway.) Although I worry about life as we know it if newspapers become extinct, I do believe that all forms of journalism - including blogs - have their place in our society.

That being said, this blogger has beaten his head against the wall enough, at least for the time being.

During my three decades as a journalist, I've been lucky enough to have my 15 minutes of fame many times over. Though I'd happily blog again as part of a full-time gig should such an opportunity present itself, my ego no longer craves exposure.

Freelance writing - for money, not for fun - lets me "keep my hand in it." The fine folks at The Associated Press like my work and compensate me fairly for it. The same is true of other media companies.

If I want to write for the sake of writing, well, working on the book that's been rattling around my cranium forever would be a much better exercise.

As much as I love writing, doing so for pennies has become a chore - as well as the antithesis of what I believe to be right. Professionals should be paid for the services they provide.

And so, for now anyway, this will be my last edition of The Baldest Truth.

Thanks for reading, everybody.

Saints win, eardrums lose

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

Good Super Bowl. Also, yours baldly enjoyed hosting a fine Super Bowl bash that turned into a karaoke festivus for the best of us.

I'll be back with my Super thoughts when my ears stop bleeding.

Peyton Place: Elevator Rising (plus: my Super prediction)

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

Before the 2008 Super Bowl between the then-perfect Patriots and the had-no-freakin'-chance Giants, I rated the greatest quarterbacks ever. Peyton Manning was No. 8 on my list.

He already has moved up to become a slam-dunk top-fiver, joining Brett Favre, Tom Brady, Johnny Unitas and Joe Montana.

That's right: He's even better than Jay Cutler.

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Zook's lament: Stoopid media!

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

Illini Land is cranky after Ron Zook's first low-rated recruiting class, but I don't know why. Logic suggests that if he loses big with great recruits, he almost surely will win big with less-than-great recruits.

Damn. I knew I should have paid more attention during my freshman Logic class at Marquette.

Zook is a bad game-planner and a worse game-day coach who has done one thing well over the years: recruit. This time, he says, he was undermined by negative recruiting - and, of course, by the evil media.

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Before Bears strive for 'Greatest Show,' how 'bout actual turf?

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

Whether Mike Martz is their offensive coordinator for one year or 10, the Bears need to do something about Soldier Field's quagmire of a playing surface.

It shouldn't matter if the Bears plan to be the latest incarnation of The Greatest Show on Turf or if they're going to continue being The Greatest Joke on Turf.

Either way, they need turf that doesn't turn to mush by the end of the first quarter.

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OK, so it's Martz ...

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

Now if he only could bring Warner with him.

And Faulk, Bruce and Holt.

And the Pace of 10 years ago (as opposed to the feet-in-cement 2009 version that Lovie had to have).

Anyway, it's nice to know that the Bears were able to land their 102nd choice!

While Bears remain uncoordinated, Reds take aim at NL Central

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

Tuesday is Groundhog Day, and you know what that means:

If Lovie Smith sees his shadow ... six more weeks looking for offensive and defensive coordinators.

The Balder Truth

Beware, Cubs and Cardinals: Orlando Cabrera has signed with the Reds.

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Unlike Rose, Kane isn't able to grow up

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

Some people have their undies in a bundle that Face of the Franchise Patrick Kane and two Blackhawks teammates were photographed shirtless in a limousine, tooling around Vancouver and cavorting with fully dressed females.

Hey, just a few months ago, Kane was smacking around a Buffalo cabbie over 20 cents.

I mean, look how far the young man has come in such a short period of time!

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What do Bulls do with Vinny? And will Cubs do right by Dawson?

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

You know, this Buills-Vinny thing sure could get awkward.

Not since The Jerrys blew the dynasty to smithereens have the Bulls had an extended road trip like this one. The Bulls not only are winning, they are beating good teams. Four good teams in a row, to be precise. (After opening with losses to the Warriors and Clippers ... go figure!)

The Bulls have completed the long climb back to the break-even mark. It's not exactly a strike-up-the-band occasion, but it's making something out of what had been nothing. Barring a complete collapse, they'll make the playoffs in the squeezably soft Eastern Conference.

Thing is, Jerry Reinsdorf and John Paxson decided a while back that the only way to fix their team - and to lure one of the big free agents come summer - they'll need a championship-caliber coach.

And they decided a while back that said coach's name wasn't Vinny Del Negro, hence their refusal to give him a scintilla of public support when he was twisting in the wind last month.

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Lovie loses again, Illini choose captains & $heets flunks Geography 101

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

It was bad enough for the Bears when offensive coordinator candidates were rejecting the Bears because they were choosing more stable situations than working for Lame Duck Lovie.

Now comes word that Ravens QB coach Hue Jackson passed on the Bears to become Raiders offensive coordinator under Tom Cable - an alleged assistant-coach-puncher who wakes up every day not knowing if Al Davis will fire him.

Yep, as L.D. Lovie said, top offensive coordinators will be lining up to work for the Bears.

At this point, if you know the difference between an H-back and Preparation H, I recommend you apply for the job. You'll be on L.D. Lovie's short list.

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Bears could have used dome, not spaceship

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

As we've seen time and again in recent years, "Bear weather," is bull. The Bears would have a much better homefield advantage had the powers-that-be built them a domed stadium instead of landing that spaceship on top of Soldier Field.

Once upon a time, bowl teams were considered "too soft" to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Now, for the first time ever, the big game will feature two franchises that play home games in domed stadiums.

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Hey, Brett: One more year!

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

When he wakes up Monday, Brett Favre will be one, big, purple welt.

The Saints knocked the snot out of him ... and maybe, just maybe, they knocked him right into retirement.

I, for one, hope he comes back for one more year - even if it means the next seven or eight months are filled with him retiring, unretiring, retiring again, unretiring again and, well, you know the drill.

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Fire up the hype machine for Manning-Favre Super Bowl

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

I'm 5-3 so far picking NFL playoff games, and two of my three failures involve the Jets. So  naturally ...

COLTS 26, JETS 13


This will be a close game for a while ... until Mark Sanchez makes a couple of big mistakes against an Indy defense that people tend to overlook because of Peyton Manning's offense.

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Maybe all Illini need is Jeff Jordan to get food poisoning

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

There's a reason Jeff Jordan couldn't get a scholarship offer at a major-conference school:

He's got Valpo talent.

Michael's oldest son is a good kid and a hard worker, but the fact that the junior guard is playing 16, 23, even 32 minutes in games for the Fighting Illini tells you pretty much all you need to know about Bruce Weber's disappointing team.

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Advice to Cubs: Get Gonzalez, consider Edmonds, play day games

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

If Tom Ricketts is serious about building a winner for Cubbieland and is willing to spend intelligently to do so, he should start preparing now to get at the front of the line for Padres star Adrian Gonzalez.

Yeah, but the Cubs already have Derrek Lee at first base, right?

Right. And Lee's $13 million-a-year contract is up after this season. And the 34-year-old Lee is almost 7 years older than Gonzalez. And Gonzalez wields a big left-handed bat - which the Cubs desperately need. And Gonzalez is winning the Gold Gloves that Lee used to win. And Gonzalez has a freakishly bargain-priced contract calling for him to be paid $4.75 million this season and $5.5 million in 2011.

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Absolutely must-see flick: Big Fan

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!


Today's subject: The best movie you almost certainly haven't seen, one that should get Oscar consideration but almost surely won't.

Big Fan.

The film, about a comically obsessed sports fanatic - specifically, a New York Giants fan whose entire pathetic life revolves around the team's highs and lows - had been on my must-see list longer than any other flick out there. Glad I finally got the chance to enjoy it.

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Vinny's excuse-makers and Lovie's losers

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

The Warriors dressed only eight players, three of whom were just plucked from the Developmental League. Yet Vinny Del Negro & Co. still blamed the Bulls' going-through-the-motions loss in Oakland partly on the absence of flu-stricken Kirk Hinrich.

What? He forgot that everything is Ron Turner's fault?

Man, it's gonna be a long seven-game road trip.

The Balder Truth

Except for a few flashes of brilliance now and then, Tyrus Thomas has done little to prove he actually is a better player than Taj Gibson.

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Favre sure looks finished, the momentum myth and the Gaines Adam tragedy

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

Today's NFL baker's dozen:

1. Just as his critics said back in August: Brett Favre should have stayed retired! Obviously, this overrated clod has nothing left to give an NFL team.

2. The Cowboys and Cardinals were the fashionable picks to advance in the playoffs - so fashionable, in fact, that they were hardly even underdogs despite playing on the road.

The belief was that they were "on a roll" while the teams they'd be playing - the Vikings and Saints - would be rusty after layoffs. Some thought the Colts would fall to the Ravens for the same reason. The Chargers were seen as THE team to beat (including by yours baldly) because they went into the playoffs on an 11-game winning streak.

Sorry, but momentum doesn't work that way.

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Colts and Saints fans must have Bears envy

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

Yep, those Saints and Colts sure were rusty after taking it easy in meaningless games at the end of the regular season. Shame on them for resting their regulars, waiting two weeks and then only beating their first playoff opponents by an average of a gazillion points.

Better that they should have done what the Bears did: lose a majority of their first 14 games and then play the last two as if the Super Bowl, world peace and a cure for the clap had been on the line.


Skinny Soto and other Cubs stuff

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

The Cubs Convention is the ultimate marriage between capitalism and fanaticism.

Here are the top 5 statements I overheard at Friday's "media social," which preceded the opening ceremonies:


5. "He said he didn't get a chance to enjoy it. He wishes he would have." - Marlon Byrd, referring to Milton Bradley.

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Bears decent in '10? Could happen

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

Let's use our imaginations here, folks: Jay Cutler doesn't suck, Brian Urlacher and Tommie Harris are healthy, Chris Williams turns into a fine left tackle, Matt Forte's nagging injuries are gone, the young receivers are awesome, Devin Hester recaptures his punt-return mojo, Lovie Smith has the team ready each week and the Bears win the division at 11-5.

No, that's not the LSD talking; I haven't used in days. It's just the way things tend to go in the NFL.

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Rose belongs in Hall but not in baseball (Plus: More McGwire silliness)

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

Controversy is back in baseball. So now, of course, here come the Pete Rose apologists, desperate to get their hero off of baseball's ineligible list, back into the game in some capacity and, especially, into the Hall of Fame.

Their argument is a familiar one: Charlie Hustle never took steroids. He didn't disgrace baseball the way Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez and all the other juicers did. All Saint Pete did was bet on his own team.

Rose and his apologists love to emphasize the on his own team thing. That's their way of saying his crime was a petty misdemeanor.

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Pathetic performance by McGwire The Liar

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

Here's what Mark McGwire isn't:

Courageous. Admirable. Respectable. Honest. Sympathetic. Classy.

No matter how many times his enablers might use such words, it doesn't make it true.

McGwire was a cheating spouse who, after more than a decade of deceit, fessed up to his wife - not to save her pain but to assuage his own guilt.

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Playoffs? You kidding me? Playoffs?

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

During Sunday night's Blackhawks game, P.A. announcer Gene Honda gave the score of the Cardinals-Packers game ... and the crowd, naturally, went wild.

Yeah. Take that, you loser Cheeseheads. The Bears haven't lost a postseason game in three years!

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0-2 ... just like the Bears

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

OK, so I'm already 0-2 on my NFL playoff predictions. That's the same record the Bears had this season against the Bengals and Eagles teams that were crushed Saturday by the Jets and Cowboys.

And, sources say, I'm paid just a little bit less to do what I do than Lovie's lads were to do what they did.




Are Cowher, Shanahan really better than Lovie?

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

Lovie Smith, Jerry Angelo and Ted Phillips didn't lie about everything at that Bears press conference from hell.

Take, for example, Phillips' eyebrow-raising comment when talking about the 7-9, 9-7 and 7-9 records under Smith the last three non-playoff seasons. After admitting that some of the losses in 2009 "shook the confidence" he had in Smith, Phillips said:

"Nobody in this league has been successful consistently year after year. There are a lot of good coaches - a lot of the names that have been bandied about in the media lately - where they've had streaks of three years or more of no playoffs. But when you feel you have the right guy in place, you go with him, you stay with him, and turnarounds can happen."

Those bandied-about names obviously were Mike Shanahan and Bill Cowher, the two Super Bowl-winning coaches most Bear Country denizens were pining for. Shanahan was just hired by the Redskins at $7 million a year. Cowher, who insists he will sit out again this season, will cost at least as much from 2011 on.

Would they have been worth it? Well, let's see ...

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Central's no Holliday for Cubs but at least Dawson gets Hall call

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

By re-signing Matt Holliday, the Cardinals will go into the 2010 season with the two best hitters and two best pitchers in the NL Central. Not to mention the only Certified Genius Manager and a hitting coach who was voted Most Likely to Self-Inoculate.

Given Holliday's contract, it's hard to imagine the Cardinals finding a way to keep Albert Pujols down the road, but that's another story for another time.

For now, it's just nice to see some team other than the Yankees and Red Sox land the top free-agent hitter on the market.

The Balder Truth

The Cubs are interested in Ben Sheets, and it's easy to see why.

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Lovie $tays ... and the beat(down) goes on

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The 5 smelliest piles of piping hot crapola that Bear Country was served Tuesday by the creative chefs at Halas Hall (and the 5 courses we wish they'd have offered as side dishes):

5.
"We're not blaming one side of the ball for our 7-9 record that we had this past season. I am moving out of my role that I handled this past year as the defensive coordinator." - Lovie Smith

Yep, you heard me right. I'm saying that me keeping my job as head coach and every one of my buddies keeping his job as a defensive assistant is almost the exact same as six offensive assistants getting shown the door. And I'm sure Ron Turner & the other newly unemployed guys will agree entirely that they weren't made scapegoats for the top-to-bottom failure of our laughingstock organization.

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Cutler's not a zero, but numbers speak loudly

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

Two huge wins to close out the season. Eight crucial TD passes by The Franchise QB. Man, if Lovie Smith and Jay Cutler aren't the best clutch coach and quarterback in the NFL, my name isn't George Clooney!

Fun With Numbers

+++ 27 ... 26 ... 76.8 ... 7-9: Cutler's final TDs, INTs, passer rating and record in his first season as The Franchise QB.

How does Bears Savior J.C. compare to the franchise's other recent quarterbacks? Kyle Orton's rating last season was 79.6 ... Brian Griese's in 2007 was 75.6 ... Rex Grossman's in 2006 was 73.9 ... Chad Hutchinson's in 2004 was 73.6 ... Kordell Stewart's in 2003 was 56.8 ... Jim Miller's in 2002 was 77.5 ... Jim Miller's in 2001 was 74.9 ... Cade McNown's in 2000 was 68.5 ... Shane Matthews' in 1999 was 80.6 ... Erik Kramer's in 1998 was 83.1.

So if you like to judge a guy based on the company he keeps, Cutler is head and shoulders above Cade McNown, but he's no Shane Matthews!

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