Friday, September 4, 2015

NIU's Huskie Stadium Turns 50-- Part 2: Games Played at Glidden Field Before That

Before the 1965, NIU football games were played at 5,500 seat Glidden Field on the campus' east side.  This is where the Art Building is now located.  After quarterback George Bork led the Huskies to the AP Small College Championship in 1963, plans began for a new, much-bigger stadium.

Construction delays, however, caused the first home game in  the stadium to be on November 6, 1965, a 48-6 victory over the Illinois State redbirds.The September 20, 1969, game with the University of Idaho marked the first major college football game in the state of Illinois to be played on artificial turf.  I was there for that game which Northern won 47-30.

While a student, a rarely ever missed a home game.


NIU's Huskie Stadium Turns 50-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

When the Northern Illinois University Huskies open their 2015 season in DeKalb, Illinois, this Saturday against UNLV, this will mark the 50th year of Huskie Stadium.  I have been to this stadium many times, including the 1969, 1970 and 1972 seasons when I was a student.

To mark the occasion, the Huskies will be wearing throwback jerseys like the one they wore at the inaugural season fifty years ago.

Technically, the place is called Brigham Field at Huskie Stadium.  (Huskie is the spelling of the mascot adopted by NIU in case you're wondering.  This is driving the old spellcheck crazy.)

Huskie Stadium opened for business in 1965, four tears before I got there.  It was one of the earlier structures on the campus' west side.

Its original capacity was 20,257 from 1965-1981.  During those years you could say we had half a stadium.  It was expanded in 1982 to 30,998 with the opening of the east side (for students).

Go You Huskies!!  --DaHuskieCoot

World War I Lightship Sunk By U-boat Off North Carolina Coast-- Part 2

On August 6, 1918, exactly 16 months after the U.S. entry into World War I, while patrolling off the coast of North Carolina, the LV-71 came across the sinking cargo ship SS Merak.  It had been sailing from New York to the West Indies when it was spotted by the German submarine U-140 which fired a torpedo at it.  The torpedo's wake was spotted and the Merak took evasive action and avoided it but ran aground.  The submarine then surfaced to finish it off with its deck gun.

The ship started sinking, but the crew escaped.

The LV-71 arrived on the scene and Master Walter Barnett sent out warning to other ships in the area.  The U-140 intercepted the message and returned to the scene and sank the LV-71 with its deck gun.  residents in Hatteras, N.C., reported hearing the gunfire.

The wreck is 12 miles off the coast and is the only U.S. lightship ever sunk by enemy action.

We'll leave the Light On.  --Cooter

Thursday, September 3, 2015

World War I Lightship Sunk By U-boat Off North Carolina-- Part 1

I wrote about this ship in yesterday's Tattooed On Your Soul World War II blog.  For more information, see that.

From Wikipedia.


It was built in 1897 by the Bath Ironworks in Bath, Maine and had a wooden hull, steel keel and braces.  Its lights were clusters of three 100 cp electric lens lanterns mounted on each of its two mastheads.  In addition, it had a 12-inch steam chime whistle and a 1000 pound hand-operated fog bell.  All the better to warn you.

It was 128-feet long with a 28-foot beam weighing 590 tons capable of cruising at 8.5 miles per hour.  In 1904, iy was equipped with telegraph and in 1915, an 18-inch searchlight.

Originally intended for Overfall Shoal in Delaware, iy ended up assigned as the Diamong Shoal Light near Hatteras, North Carolina. on March 9, 1898.

It alternated station with the LV-69 and in 1912 was fitted with a two-way radio.


World War I's United States Food Administration-- Part 2

From the Children In History Site.

Food became a weapon during World War I and no country produced more than the United States.  Herbert Hoover was put in charge of the USFA and he succeeded in cutting food consumption of those ones needed overseas.  He also was able to avoid the very real possibility of rationing.  he also managed to keep the Allied fed overseas.

He also had such programs as "Wheatless Wednesdays" and "Meatless Mondays."  he did everything he could to avoid anything mandatory.  His organization made much use of media and especially posters.

He designated a voluntary program and called for food conservation.  However, despite his success, many Americans did not like him or his program and began referring to it as "Hooverizing."


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

World War I's United States Food Administration

From Wikipedia.

In the last entry I wrote about the U.S. Food Administration's poster during the war.

This agency was responsible during World War I for administering food to the U.S.. Army overseas and Allied food reserves.  One important task it had to do was to stabilize wheat prices in the United States.  It was established by Executive Order 2679A by President Wilson in August 1917 pursuant to the Food and Fuel Control Act.

It was under the direction of Herbert Hoover whop later became president.

As part of their program, they released a lot of posters.


Smithsonian Military Posters 2015 Calendar for September


Poster showing the three men you're used to seeing for the American Revolution, the Spirit of '76, marching along, only instead of weapons and a drum they are carrying baskets of food and one has wheat stalks slung over his shoulder.

At the upper left hand side are the words "The Spirit of '18."  Under them the words "The World Cry Food:  Keep the Home Garden Going.  United States Food Administration."

The Spirit of 18, The World Cry Food, Keep the Home Garden Going by William McKey, United States Food Administration, 1918.

One of the issues faced by the U.S. Food Administration was whether agricultural resources needed for food should be used to produce beer, wine and liquor.  Supporters of the temperance movement argued, unsurprisingly, that because of the need for food conservation, the government should impose an unofficial prohibition to prevent food from being used to make alcoholic beverages.


Ten Things You Might Not Know About Unions-- Part 6: Egyptian Unions in the Age of Ramsses

10.  The skilled artisans at Deir el-Medina working for Pharaoh Ramesses III didn't receive their wages as expected one month in 1158 BC so they walked off the job and into history what is commonly considered the first recorded labor action.

The pharaoh, a militaristic ruler who enjoyed cutting off the penises of enemy captives, scrambled to appease his workers.  Why? The artisans were building his tomb.

As it turns out, ensuring that your boss can safely pass into eternal life puts you in a strong bargaining position.

I Sure Wouldn't Surrender to Ramesses.  --Cooter

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Unions-- Part 5: Most Unionized Countries and Chicago Parade

8.  The Nordic countries of Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway are five of the six MOST UNIONIZED nations in the world according to 2012 data.  A whopping 82.6% of Iceland's workers are union members.

9.  CHICAGO has hosted huge Labor Day parades.  On September 1, 1902, more than 42,000 laborers in more than 200 unions marched in a procession that took five hours to pass the reviewing stand.  Some of the unions were listed by the Chicago Tribune:  gravel roofers, elevator constructors, steamfitters, boxmakers, hat finishers, soda water bottlers, chandelier makers, bakers, granite carvers, cracker packers, barbers, mosaic tile layers, longshoremen, sign painters, egg inspectors and bootblacks.

Some interesting unions.


Ten Things You Might Not Know About Unions-- Part 4: The Questionable Ring and From Shakespeare to Pullman Porters

6.  A Chicago union official named ANGELO INCISO was interviewed by a u.S. Senate subcommittee in the mid-1950s about why he spent $1,200 of union funds for a men's diamond ring.  here is where it gets good.

The labor boss said the ring was to reward a union ally and that it would have taken too long to get approval and that the jewelry would have gone "out of style."

He also took a union-paid "goodwill tour" overseas  This caused a senator to ask, "To whom were you spreading goodwill?"  Inciso's answer:  "Myself."

Good one Mr. Inciso.

7.  Famed African-American labor leader A. PHILLIP RANDOLPH became an actor in his early twenties and played parts in Shakespeare plays.  But when he wrote his parents that he had gotten a break in Harlem theater, his African Methodist Episcopal preacher father told him to forget it.  And he did.

Instead, Randoloph went into politics and labor activism, eventually becoming the head of the Pullman Porters union.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Unions-- Part 3: The Battle of Blair Mountain and Union Membership

4.  Few Americans know of THE BATTLE OF BLAIR MOUNTAIN, one of the largest civil uprisings in U.S. history.  In 1921, a coal-mining strike in West Virginia led to a ten-day clash pitting at least 7,000 armed miners against about 3,000 deputies, hired guns and volunteers.

Federal troops stopped the fighting after the deaths of an estimated 30-100 miners and 10-30 on the other side.  The situation became so serious that bombers under Gen. Billy Mitchell were deployed.  When asked how he planned to stop the miners, Mitchell said:  "Gas.  You understand, we wouldn't try to kill people at first.  In the end, his planes performed only reconnaissance, but private aircraft did drop home-made bombs.

5.  UNION MEMBERSHIP:  About 11% of all American workers belonged to unions in 2014, but the percentage of public-sector employees belonging was at 35.7%.  Union membership peaked in the mid-1950s but never topped 35%.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Unions-- Part 2: Satan Made Me Do It

2.  The Airline Pilots Association reached an agreement with National Airlines in the late 1940s after airline executive Ted Baker attended a religious retreat and called the pilots to ask for forgiveness saying that he had been under the influence of SATAN.  If only it was that easy.  Flip would be so proud.

3.  The "YES WE CAN" slogan from Obama's 2008 campaign was not original.  Obama had used it in 2004 during his run for U.S. senate in Illinois.  But it had been used 30 years earlier by the United farm Workers union as coined by co-founder Dolores Huerta as well as Cesar Chavez's hunger strike in Arizona in 1972.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Unions-- Part 1: Why It's Called a Strike

From the June 7, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Mark Jacobs and Stephan Benzkofer.  Once again our intrepid researchers have come up with some interesting little tidbits.

Illinois has become a battleground over worker rights with Gov. Bruce Brauner pushing for right-to-work zones to diminish union power.

1.  Why is a labor stoppage called a 'strike"?  Because in 1768, English sailors unhappy with a wage cut expressed their anger by taking down, or striking, the sails on ships in the port of London.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Life Inside Wrigley Field's Scoreboard-- Part 3: "Best Seat in the House"

From the June 28, 2015, Chicago Tribune "The man who has the best seat in the house" by Rhiannon Walker.

Fred Washington, a member of the Wrigley Field grounds crew, has worked in the scoreboard for 25 years, and he has no worries about its demise, "The scoreboard will be here forever.  I never worry about anything replacing that scoreboard."

He is a West Side native and has been in that board since 1990 and at Wrigley since 1984.    As a member of the grounds crew, he has worked every job, but now has to hose down the dugouts and warning track in addition to his scoreboard duty.  Also, he is the one that hoists the famous "W" flag (and "L" flag after a loss).

Working the scoreboard is considered a promotion because he gets extra pay.

Washington said that you won't miss a thing working inside the board.  It's the best seat in the house.  If it's cold outside, it's very cold in there; if the wind is blowing straight out, it's blowing straight in his face; if it's hot, then it's very hot.

Fans will help him out if he misses anything, but that doesn't happen often.  His seat is above the "8."


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Life Inside Wrigley Field's Scoreboard-- Part 2: "Quick Rick"

Theo Epstein, Cubs president, says he looks at the scoreboard to keep track of the count (balls and strikes)  Rick Fuhs is in charge of that.    Epstein says, "No one will be as fast as the center-field lightning' ball-strike guy.  He's the best employee in all baseball.  Who is better at his job than he is at that?"

Rick Fuhs operates out of the press box and does the balls-strikes-outs on the board.  He goes by the name "Quick Rick."  He's so fast because he knows every umpire's body language.  "I have all their idiosyncrasies down pat," he says.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Our 42nd Anniversary Today

Forty-two years ago today, I woke up in the apartment in Des Plaines, Illinois, and drove to DeKalb, Illinois, where Liz and I were married at the Newman Center on the campus of Northern Illinois University.  We then had our reception at the Holiday Inn (now Red Roof Inn) on Lincoln Highway (Ill-38).

We drove out to Galena, Illinois, for our honeymoon.  We stayed at the old Palace Motel, a mom and pop place, on US-20 north of town.  It was torn down and is now a Ramada Inn.

We had planned on staying five days, buy that was cut short as I signed my teaching contract on August 24th.

Life Inside Wrigley Field's Scoreboard-- Part 1

From the June 28, 2015, Chicago Tribune "As Wrigley's future arrives, park's centerpiece may seem obsolete" by  Paul Sullivan.

No Advertising in My Park.

Back in 1937, during a modernization of the scoreboard, Wrigley Field owner P.K. Wrigley had a sign of his Doublemint Twins removed from the top.  he had decided he wanted no advertising at his field, even his own.

Not the way of thinking today.

I have often thought it would be really neat to go inside that scoreboard.  What a great view it must have.  Then, there was the San Diego Chicken in there back in the 1970s.

The only entrance to it is by a ladder on top of the bleachers and described as relatively dark and dingy on three levels.

Been There, Done That

Legendary Cubs groundskeeper Cotton Bogren once manned it.  Ex-Cub pitcher Ryan Dempster used to lead teammates up into it where they would stick their heads out the windows for laughs and photos.

Cub hall of Famer Billy Williams says he has never been in it even though he has been around the firld for five decades.  Cubs President Theo Epstein hasn't been it either though he looks at it often during games to check the counts.

Stick Your Head Out the Window.  --CootCuber