Saturday, December 20, 2014

31 Things About Christmas That You Didn't Know-- Part 1

From the December 19, 2014, Yahoo! TV "31 Facts You Didn't Know About Christmas" by John Boone.

1.   Christmas supposedly marks the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25th.  There is no mention of this date in the Bible.  Most historians now agree he was born sometime in the spring.

2.  December 25th was probably chosen as the birth date because it coincides with the ancient pagan festival of Saturnalia which celebrated the agricultural god Saturn with partying, gambling and gift-giving.

3.  Most popular Christmas traditions today have their roots in Saturnalia.  Branches from evergreen trees were used during the winter solstice as a reminder that green plants again would grow in the spring.

4.  Evergreen branches became the foundation of Christmas trees.  The Germans were probably the first ones to bring trees inside and decorate them with cookies and lights (candles).

5.  Christmas trees came to America in the 1830s but did not become popular until 1846 when Prince Albert of Germany brought it to England when he married Queen Victoria,

Many More to Come.  --DaChristmasCoot

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Apologies-- Part 2

And now, we're waiting for the North Korean apology.  Right!!

2.  One of the most famous apologies of recent decades was preacher JIMMY SWAGGERT's  tearful, televised "I Have Sinned" sermon in 1988.  He apologized to his wife, son and to his God.  Three years later he was found with a hooker again, but this time told his congregation: "The Lord told me it's flat none of your business."  (Where can I send my donation?)

3.  A candidate for the most belated mea culpa came from the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH,  which admitted in 1992 that it shouldn't have punished Galileo 360 years earlier for suggesting the planets revolved around the sun.  (Better late than never I guess.)

Got That Old Time Religion.  --Cooter

Friday, December 19, 2014

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Apologies-- Part 1

From the November 17, 2013, Chicago Tribune by Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer.

Once again our intrepid researchers delve into a subject with interesting findings.  This idea grew out of President Obama's apology for the botched roll out of his Affordable Care Act and all that stuff about the Toronto mayor.

1.  The U.S. government has officially apologized for SLAVERY, mistreatment of NATIVE AMERICANS, the overthrow of HAWAII's native leaders in 1893, the TUSKEGEE syphilis study, the Japanese INTERNMENT in World War II, the protection of Gestapo officer Klaus Barbie after the war and other mistakes and deeds.

However, the U.S. has stated it will not apologize for dropping the atom bombs on Japan to end World War II.

After downing the Iranian jetliner in 1988, the U.S. said it regretted the loss of innocent life and paid compensation, but never formally apologized.


Jefferson Davis Dies

From the Dec. 9, 2014, Mid Week (Sycamore, Illinois) "Looking Back."

DECEMBER 11, 1889, Mid Week.

"Jefferson Davis, ex president of the Confederate States of America died at the residence of life long friend J.C. Payne at 12:45, December 6th.

This announcement kind of caught me by surprise as I came across it, but it was 125 years ago as we prepare to end the observances for the Civil War's sesquicentennial.

1964: Where Does Sycamore End and DeKalb Begin?

From the December 9, 1964, Mid Week, Sycamore, Illinois.

"There must be an understanding soon about where Sycamore ends and DeKalb begins, otherwise someday the fire trucks from the two communities might have head-on collisions going to a fire."

The road connecting then is Illinois Highway 23, also referred to as Sycamore Highway.  It was getting crowded with stores and businesses back then and even more so when I attended NIU 1969-1973.

Today, I doubt there is one parcel of land without a store on it.  I have referred to this build up in the past as SHS, Standard Homogenized Stuff, consisting of all the national stores, the ones that look the same no matter where you go to.

I Wonder If They Ever Had a Collision of Fire Trucks?  --Cooter

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Looking Back 75 Years, Sycamore, Illinois: Killer Dogs TB and Electrification

DECEMBER 13, 1939, 75 years ago.

**  County tuberculosis tests for the year will be completed Wednesday, when high school seniors will discover whether they have the disease.  (Quite the nice Christmas present.  Hopefully they won't get the same treatment as the hogs and cattle get with hoof and mouth disease.)

**  Slaughter of at least 50 sheep by dogs on the Nelson farm Monday night sent the sheriff and deputies on the trail of the killers.  The penalty for a sheep-killing dog is execution.

**  The program for getting electricity to Illinois farmers is moving forward rapidly.  Between July 1 and October 31, the Rural Electrification Administration provided for the construction of 4,387 miles of power lines to serve 9,896 rural residences in the state.


Looking Back 100 Years, Sycamore, Illinois: Portland, Oregon, Takes Care of Traffic Problems

From the Dec. 9, 2014 Mid Week, DeKalb Co., Illinois.

DECEMBER 9, 1914, 100 Years Ago

**  The Kohler Die & Specialty Co. plant will be built in DeKalb.

**  3 inches of snow fell Monday, the first show of the season to remain even after a few hours.

**  "In the last nine months there has not been one person injured or killed in an automobile in Portland, Oregon, because, in Portland, the driver of an automobile who exceeds the speed limit is put to worl on the rock pole for from two to 30 days.  No fines accepted.  If the driver is convicted, he must do hard labor and no exceptions are made."

**  Veterinarians and officials slaughtered the herd of 32 cattle and 88 hogs owned by Gus Medine on Friday.  The adjoining farm also had been infected with the hoof and mouth disease and quarantined.  It is expected that all of the cattle and hogs on that farm will be killed in a few days.

Just a Slice of Life in the Midwest 100 Years Ago.  --Cooter

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Norwegian Grove in Sycamore

I looked it up and found the grove is in Sycamore Township in DeKalb, Illinois.  Dr. Norbo was one of the first settlers in the area, coming in 1835.  he was Norwegian and claimed a grove of trees which became known as Norwegian Grove.

Now You Know.  --DaCoot

Looking Back At Sycamore, Illinois-- Part 1: 1889

From the December 9, 2014 Mid Week (Sycamore, DeKalb County).

125 Years Ago, 1887

The Sycamore City Council purchased a hook and ladder truck for $250 from the E.B. Preston Co. of Chicago. (Cheap!)

On Monday the temperature was 104 degrees!!

The canned goods from the Sycamore Preserve Works have gotten so popular the business is going to double during next year.

"While driving by Norwegian Grove Saturday, Mr. Tanner spotted a large bald eagle perched on a treetop.  He drove to town and got his gun, but on return, the proud bird had disappeared."  (This could get you in a lot of trouble today.)

The juice of a ripe pineapple is said to be an infallible remedy for diptheria.  (Something you don't hear much about today.)


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Football Cards

From Time Magazine.

Some people think NFL football began with the super Bowl, but not so.  There are trading cards that prove it is older, as in the two cards shown featuring rookie players in 1952: Frank Gifford and Hugh McElhenny (worth quite a bit).  They are on display with other cards at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art which had a display.

The oldest card in the collection dated back to 1894 (way before the NFL, when there was just college and high school football.


Chicago Needs a Lift-- Part 3: Reversing a River and Chlorination

There are stories of people getting stuck in traffic jams because someone was moving a building from one place to another.  They lifted an entire hotel while people were still init.  Today, all parts of downtown are about ten feet above the natural level of the city because of Ellis Chesbrough.

It was interesting that he borrowed technology from another field, the jack screw from railroads.

Before building it, Chesbrough had gone on a grand tour of Europe, but not to see sights like the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre.  He visited sewer systems.  A man dedicated to his work.
But, even with the new sewers, people were still getting sick after drinking the water.  This led to the more famous story of Chicago reversing the flow of the Chicago River so not to dump the contaminants into Lake Michigan, but instead to send it elsewhere.

And then there is the story of chlorinating the water, which is actually poisoning it.  So, you poison the water to make people healthier.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Chicago Neede a Lift-- Part 2: Ellis Chesbrough

Steven Johnson, host of the series said, "What we wanted with this episode (Clean) was to tell the stories basically of how we came to have things like clean drinking water that doesn't kill us with cholera or typhoid."

Chicago grew from tiny settlement to huge metropolis almost immediately with no infrastructure.  It was "just this kind of muddy, mucky, overcrowded, incredibly smelly and disease-ridden place."  All this occurred from the 1850s to 1970s.

There was no natural drainage because of its flatness.  Even when the need to build sewers became much apparent, there was no where to build it.  Most city have a natural flow down to a river, lake or sea which it is located by.  Even with it being next to Lake Michigan, the flatness prevented that.

"And so this guy, Ellis Chesbrough, has this crazy but ultimately brilliant idea that you could actually just lift the entire city up and create an artificial flow by raising downtown Chicago by about ten feet.  So, using thousands of guys with jack screws, he lifts up these buildings.  They fill the roads with landfill, build sewers down the middle of the road, attach buildings to that."


Chicago Needed a Lift-- Part 1: Too Low? Raise It!

From the October 15, 2014, Chicago Tribune "In order to get clean Chicago Needed a lift" by Steve Johnson.

"Chicago was the first American city to have a modern sewer system, and because it is so flat, it also had one of the hardest obstacles to achieving that.

"The story of, essentially, the jacking up of downtown Chicago to allow the waste system to be constructed underneath us the start of 'How We Hot to Now,' an engaging new six-part PBS series about ideas and achievements that shaped the modern world."

This episode is called "Clean,"  It goes from the man named Ellis Chesbrough, the city engineer who determined to use railroad jacks to raise the city and goes to Chicago's newest thing, the ongoing Deep Tunnel stormwater management project.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

1994 Round Lake Teacher Strike: Back at School


I actually got a full night's sleep and feel better than I have for two months.  I now can hear the weather reports and don't care!!

First day back at school and as I expected, I don't remember hardly any students' name.  I was really surprised that 60% of then had their current events reports.  The day went fast and it was definitely good to be back.

Talked with M.R. and L.M. for awhile after school then went to hq to get my flag and sign.  They were quite mad about the letters principal M. and B. wrote to their teachers which in parts could be considered as threatening.

Watched TV and Liz picked up pizza on her way home from Costello's.

It Sure Was Great to have This Over!!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

1994 Round Lake Teacher Strike: Sour Grapes and Fences


In this morning's Tribune, our illustrious leader, M.D., was gloating that we didn't get much considering how long (38 school days) we were on strike.  What a work!  Sour grapes!!

The fences were down at Magee when we drove over to Grayslake.  Who is calling the strike anyway?

These have been taken from my 1994 journal.  I have entries for every day, but just wrote some of them in this blog.

1994 Round Lake Teacher Strike-- Ratifying the Contract

DECEMBER 12TH, MONDAY--  Up at 7 when Frances called.  I couldn't get back to sleep.

We left at 11 and drove to Olde Stratford Hall in Grayslake.  The place was packed with a very long line waiting to get information (contract proposals) and pieces of paper to vote.  I videotaped for posterity.

Terri opened with some comments and then went the whole contract explaining all changes.  We then voted with a final vote of 240 to 50.  I had been considering a no vote but changed it to yes.

I did this because I am personally tired of the strike and I believe  we've pushed our people as far as they can go.  If we had voted it down, I fear that quite a few of our people (at Magee) might have crossed.  I talked to T.M., who is the only one earning money at his house, and he said he might have been forced to go over had it continued.

Drove to Costello's to eat and talk to other teachers.  K.P. was upset that it passed and had voted against it.

Came home and watched TV.  Talked to my parents who were very happy it was over.  The news shows had a lot on the strike.

1994: Round Lake Teacher Strike, End in Sight?

DECEMBER 11, SUNDAY:  Made phone calls to M.D., M.R. and Mom and Dad, but no one was home.  I did talk to Frances, Julie and L.M..

At 11, I drove to Town Pump in Spring grove and then to Costello's where I watched the Bears get slaughtered by the Packers.  Needless to say, the breakthrough in negotiations was the main topic of conversation, especially as the game developed and it became apparent the Bears had not come to play.

Rumors are flying around and there are a few people planning on no-votes tomorrow.  Word has it that we gave up our Unfair Labor Practices which has a lot of people very upset.  There is also the possibility that we will end up with no pay raise as we will have to go to binding arbitration.

I called L.M. and M.R. and we all agreed that Magee would be the best place to be when school resumes.  We had absolutely no one cross the picket line and we didn't have a principal who stabbed us in the back like M. at Ellis and B. at the high school.  Those two places are going to be tough, not only because of their principals teaching but also because they had the largest number of scabs.

Great News, Though.