Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Friday the 13th News of Note-- Part 2: Bad Day for "Scarface"

OCTOBER 13, 1871:  As contributions pour into Chicago less than a week after the Great Fire, Mayor Roswell Mason orders all funds to be administered by the Chicago Relief and Aid Society.  However, this group is picky about who gets aid, showing favoritism to skilled workers and the affluent and still has hundreds of thousands unspent years later.  Imagine that happening in Chicago?

NOVEMBER 13, 1908:  Richard Nash, a Chicago cop at the West 13th Street Station, is fired.  He blames his bad luck on Friday the 13th.  And, he was hired on a Friday the 13th as well.

MARCH 13, 1931:  A bad day for Chicago's famed "Scarface."  A grand jury indicts Al Capone on an income tax evasion charge.

"Me and My Lil' Friend."  --DaCoot

Friday the 13th News of Note-- Part 1: As Luck Would Have It

From the Friday, February 13, 2015, Chicago Tribune "As luck would have it: Friday the 13th news of note" by Mark Jacob.

That was a Friday the 13th and we have another one coming up in a week and a half.  Mark Jacob takes a look back at some stories from Chicago's past on this "unlucky" date.

Friday, May 13, 1932:  A North Side man reported his 13 golf clubs and 13 balls were stolen from his car at 13th and Wabash.  Sounds like a story to me.

1980: Tribune film critic Gene Siskel hated the movie "Friday the 13th" so much, he went beyond just a "Thumbs Down" and gave away the movie's ending to discourage people from seeing it.

APRIL 13, 1860:  A slow day for crime with just two "little cases" handled by police in the growing city of 110,000.  The Tribune remarked, "Our city is very moral, or the police are not very sharp."

What Luck, A "Moral" City.  --Cooter

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Goodbye "Mr. White Sox": Minnie Minoso-- Part 2

Teams Minnie Minoso played with:

1949, 1951--  Cleveland Indians
1951-1959--  Chicago White Sox
1958-1959-- Cleveland Indians
1960-1961--  Chicago White Sox
1962--  St. Louis Cardinals
1963--  Washington Senators
1964, 1976 and 1980--  Chicago White Sox

He is the only major league baseball player to have played in five different decades and was always greatly disappointed that he was not on the 1959 American League Champion Chicago White Sox.  Like Ernie banks, he never had the opportunity to play in a World Series.

After retirement, he became a White Sox ambassador.

I was able to meet him on two occasions: once at the Old Comiskey Park and I saw him speaking once.

He'll Be Missed.

Goodbye "Mr. White Sox": Minnie Minoso-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Chicago and I were saddened greatly Sunday morning to hear of the death of White Sox favorite Minnie Minoso, the "Cuban Comet" and "Mr. White Sox."  This coming just weeks after the death of "Mr. Cub," Ernie Banks.  He died March 1, 2015 at what is believed to be the age of 90, but no one knows for sure.

He came over from Cuba before Castro took over in 1959 and played in the Negro Leagues in 1948 with the New York Cubans.  In 1949, playing with the Cleveland Indians, he became the first black Cuban to play in the major league.  As such he is often called the Jackie Robinson of Latino baseball players.

A seven-time all-star, he came to the White Sox in 1951 as a rookie left fielder and was the first black player on the White Sox (just as Ernie Banks was for the Cubs).

His career stats included a .298 batting average, 186 home runs and 1023 rbis

Should Have Been in the Hall of Fame.

Charles Dwight Sigsbee: the Maine's Commander

Well, I was wondering about Sigsbee's desk and bathtub as well as other objects.

From Wikipedia.

(1845-1923)  Noted pioneering oceanographer.

He was captain of the USS Maine when it exploded.

Appointed acting midshipman 16 July 1862 from the USNA.  During the Civil War, he served aboard the USS Monongahela, USS Wyoming and USS Shenandoah (not the Confederate cruiser of the same name). He was at the Battle of Mobile Bay and both battles of Fort Fisher.

He commanded the USS Kearsarge (which sank the famed CSS Alabama) and was on the European Station 1885-1886.

Sigsbee and his officers were exonerated by the court of inquiry after the Maine sank and later commanded the USS St. Paul in 1898 at the second battle of San Juan and the  Texas in 1900.

In 1905, he commanded the USS Brooklyn when it brought home the remains of naval hero and Father of the U.S. Navy John Paul Jones from France for internment at the USNA.

Retired from the Navy in 1909 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


Remembering the Maine Through Her Artifacts-- Part 3

Here is another partial list of artifacts from the USS Maine, the Ship That Started a War.

READING, PA.: bow anchor

PITTSBURGH, PA.: torpedo tube  (I did not know our warships prior to 1900 had torpedo tubes.)

CHARLESTON, S.C.:  capstan


ALPENA, MI.:  6-inch gun

COLUMBIA, S.C.:  6-pdr. gun

MILFORD, MAINE: One-pdr. gun

PORTLAND, MAINE:  6-inch gun barrel

KEY WEST, FLA.: 10-inch turret sighting hood

AUGUSTA, MAINE:  Ship's silver service

28 BRONZE PLAQUES:   made from the USS Maine.  Spread throughout the country.

Remember the Maine.  --Cooter

Monday, March 2, 2015

Remembering the USS Maine Through Its Artifacts-- Part 2

Artiact location of the USS Maine.

UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY:  foremast, life preserver, two porthole covers, log glass, keys to the magazine,  electric light bulb and shade, a bugle, 1888 Penny from Sigbee's desk, Sigsbee's desk, Sigsbee's inkwell and binoculars.

I looked up Sigsbee and found that was the name of the Maine's commander at the time of the explosion.  I also later found out he had been at both battles of Fort fisher, another big interest of mine.

HAMPTON TOADS NAVAL MUSEUM, Norfolk, Virginia: Union Jack

MUSEUM, OF AMERICAN HISTORY, D.C.: stern scrollwork and name plate


HANCOCK HISTORICAL MUSEUM, Findlay, Ohio:  Sigsbee's bathtub

MUSEUM OF HISTORY, Raleigh, N.C.: a bolt.

Well, that Sigsbee's bathtub in Ohio really peaked my interest.  More research needed to be on that.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Remembering the USS Maine Through Its Artifacts-- Part 1

From the Feb. 15, 2015, Naval History Blog "Navy and America Remembers the Maine Through Artifacts" by Tim Comerford.

One of the more famous warships in American history.  Its sinking on 15 February 1898, led to the Spanish-American War.  In 1912, the ship was raised for further examination to determine the cause of the explosion and later the remains scuttle in deep water off Havana.

But, thankfully, many parts of the ship are scattered throughout the United States.

Here is a partial listing:

Willard Park, Washington Navy Yard: 6-inch, 30 caliber gun.

Arlington National Cemetery: Ship's mainmast and anchor.

Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, D.C.: 6-inch deck gun, spare propeller and bronze windlass.

More to Come.  --Cooter

Friday, February 27, 2015

Live Long and Prosper...No More: Goodbye Mr. Spock

LEONARD NIMOY (1931-Feb. 27, 2015)

TV Guide lists him as one of the 50 greatest TV characters.  Best-known for his role as Mr. Spock, the half Vulcan, half human science officer on the Starship Enterprise.  He first worked with co-star Wiliam Shatner in a 1964 episode of "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."

Then there were all those "Star Trek" movies and even the appearances on the new "Star Trek" movies.

I remember at NIU while living in Lincoln Dormitory freshman year, right after dinner, our room would fill up with about 12-15 guys and we'd watch reruns of "Star Trek" on WGN.  We had the only TV on the floor there in the 1969-1970 year.  It was a massive 13-inch black and white.

We'll Miss Him.

"The Breakfast Club" Movie at 30-- Part 9: Critical Assessment and Understanding Cliques


"The Breakfast Club" had a budget of just $1 million and grossed $51 million.  Not bad.  Critics gave it good reviews.  Personally, I didn't see it when it was first released because I figured how much entertainment can there be from five kids in a detention hall.  I have since come to really enjoy the movie.  I thought I had a DVD of it, but obviously do not as I couldn't find it.  If it's on TV, I'm watching.


And then there were the cliques they had back in the 80s.  They were the same as we had in the 60s and I imagine they are still around today.

Only, we had the Greasers, Surfers, Jocks, Cheerleaders, AV Club and then a big mass of just regular kids.

I guess Judd Nelson would have been the Greaser.  Emilio Estevez was definitely the jock.  Ally Sheedy would just have been the outsider.  Molly Ringwald the cheerleader and Anthony Michael Hall the regular kid.

Every group had their own tables at lunch.

However, students today still have cliques, but there seems to be more fluidity among them.

Well, I Am Going to Have to Go Out and Hit Those Wal-Mart $5 Bins.  --Cooter

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"The Breakfast Club" Movie 30 Years On-- Part 8: Growing Up to Be Your Parents

One thing all the kids feared above all was to grow up to be like their parents.  But, social-economically, their generation will be the first one in sixty years to have smaller incomes, greater student-loan debt and higher unemployment than the previous generation.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"The Breakfast Club" Movie at 30-- Part 7: The Library and Growing Up to Be Judd Nelson


Most of the movie took place in a two-story library.  This was built inside Maine North's gymnasium.

The Chicago Blitz later practiced here; Michael Jordan shot commercials here.  WHAT??  Michael Jordan during commercials, how could that be?

There is no trace of the library remaining, unfortunately, just some boxes of toner cartridge.


It was a cast of unknowns at the time.

Judd Nelson "was a revelation, the kid who stood up to authority and seemed mercilessly direct in a way teens only dream of being."  nelson was also 25 when the movie was shot.  If the movie were remade now, he would probably be the villain of the group.

NOTE:  His "Eat my shorts!" came four years before Bart Simpson uttered those words.

Whose Shorts?  --Cooter

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"The Breakfast Club" Movie at 30-- Part 6: Two Movies at Maine North High School

"The Breakfast Club" was shot inside Des Plaines' Maine North High School.  The school itself closed in 1981.  (I came close to student teaching here in 1973, but ended up in nearby Maine West High School.)  It opened in 1970 so was just used for 11 years.

Occupying the building now is an Illinois State Police district office, an Illinois Lottery prize center, a Cook County 911 Center and assorted other state offices.  The building is painted gray.

Ernie Scarpelli, building manager, gave a tour.  The hallways through which the cast sprinted are now an institutional yellow and the lockers are gone.  In the basement, in a glass case, is a "Breakfast Club" poster.  he says he gets about 30 people a year wanting to tour the building, but tells them to just take a picture of the exterior of the building.

The school was also used in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" movie of 1986.


"The Breakfast Club" Movie at 30-- Part 5: Sexual Harassment and Bullying

Estevez was in detention for sexually assaulting (hazing) a fellow athlete in what would be considered hazing today.  Nelson's locker is scrawled with homophobic hate language.  Ringwald says a relationship is one man and one woman.

Well, we all know about hazing now, bad, really, really bad and unacceptable.   And everyone knows you'd best never say anything bad about gays and lesbians now are face unbelievable wrath.  The movie would probably not even be allowed to be released in today's society of p.c..


Monday, February 23, 2015

"The Breakfast Club" Movie at 30-- Part 4: Salaries and Fashion


Paul Gleason, as the exhausted assistant principal (actually a very poor one for leaving the kids, but if he hadn't, there wouldn't have been much of a movie) moaned to a janitor that he has to put up with the kids and after 22 years as an educator, he was making $31,000.

Today, an assistant principal with comparable seniority and an advanced college degree in Northbrook now gets about $140,000.


"The Breakfast Club" used 80s fashion such as parka hoods, brown leather riding boots and grungy plaids.  But some of these are coming back according to today's students.  Even Ally Sheedy's grunge look is hot.

Of course, I loved it when Molly Ringwald gave Sheedy the makeover. The look on the boys faces was great.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

"The Breakfast Club" Movie at 30-- Part 5: Teen Smoking and Alienation


Judd Nelson smoked cigarettes and marijuana.    "Only burners get high," as Molly Ringwald told him.  But later in the film, everyone of the students smoked grass.  In 2014, a study showed that about 37 percent of high schoolers did at least once a year.

As far as cigarettes in 1991, a study showed 25.5% did, by 2013, fewer than 16%.  However, like with Nelson, most likely students to smoke are loners, rebels and the ones from broken homes.


None of the "Breakfast Club" students were happy with their parents who said they were pressured, smothered, abused and at best ignored..  Mothers were entering the work force and, of course, Dads were already in it.

Studies today show this is not as bad as in the past.  They show that 14% of millennials 25 to 34 still live at home.  And, 2/3 of the millennials report positive relationships with their parents.

Hey, Free Room and Board, Wouldn't You.  --Dacoot

"The Breakfast Club" Movie at 30-- Part 4: Detention

Though the movie is mostly about John Hughes' time at Glenbrrok North High School, this detention comes from New Trier Township High, where the weekday morning detentions have been called "The Breakfast Club" for decades.

And, New Trier still has them.  But Scott Williams, assistant principal in charge of discipline says, "But I made it a personal point a few years ago of not calling it 'Breakfast Club' anymore.  'Breakfast Club' sounded fun.  Detention is not supposed to be fun-- there is no dancing on the tables or climbing into ceilings."

As for Saturday morning detention: It still lives, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and staff does, on occasion, ask students yo write what they had learned.

In the movie, Bender gets another eight weeks of detention.  According to Williams, "If we had a student at that level, I doubt he would be going here now."