Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Chicago Taverns-- Part 2: "Two-Gun Pete" and Prohibition

3.  When infamous Chicago police officer SYLVERSTER "TWO-GUN PETE" WASHINGTON retired from the force in the 1950s, he opened a bar in the Oakland neighborhood called the Hill Top Lounge.  as a cop, he had shot many suspects, including at least nine fatally.  As a barkeep, he saved a reminder of those days in a cigar box with bullet fragments pulled from his victims.

4.  The definition of Chicago tavern expanded a bit during PROHIBITION.  Thirsty patrons turned to the local pharmacy (with a doctor's prescription, residents could buy whiskey), the soda fountain counter (a risky yet common venture for many in the business) and, of course, the unnamed hole-in-the-wall speakeasy.

And, in October 1923, police cracked down on liquor sales of a fishmonger (the herring delivered a kick), a shoe shine (moonshine) and even a candy store which sold rye on the side.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Chicago Taverns-- Part 1: Lincoln's Body and Mickey Finns

From the August 16, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer.

Alright, we have some more interesting factoids from these two.

This article appeared because Illinois once again has Happy Hour.  That's nice, but a bunch of the places that now have it, dropped their daily drink specials.

1.  A depraved plot took place in 1876 in a Near West Side saloon called The Hub when a crime ring decided to steal ABRAHAM LINCOLN's corpse from a Springfield cemetery and demand a $200,000 ransom and the release of an imprisoned comrade.

Their big problem was that one of their members was a mole for the U.S. secret Service.  When they opened Lincoln's sarcophagus, the feds moved in, but they escaped but were later arrested in Chicago.

2.  The expression "TO SLIP SOMEONE A MICKEY" comes from a South Loop bar called the Lone Star Saloon and Palm Garden, circa 1900.

The proprietor was known for doctoring drinks and stealing customer valuables when they passed out. His name was Michael Finn, aka Mickey Finn.

One, Two, Three, Floor.  --Cooter

Monday, October 5, 2015

Echoes of the Past, Decorah, Iowa-- Part 3: House For Sale At $11,000


**  FOR SALE:  three-bedroom home on Spring Street.  Only 1-year-old.  Wall-to-wall carpeting.  Priced at $11,000.


**  Nob Hill is serving all-you-can-eat chicken on Tuesday nights for $1.50.  Don't forget Friday night fish fry event,$1.25.

**  H.T. Leseth of Decorah bowled a perfect game here on Jan. 18, 1965.  It was the first perfect game bowled here since 1951.  Leseth bowls for the A&J Agency in the City League.

1985, 30 YEARS AGO:

**  The local ice skating rink closed the other day due to wind chills dropping to -83 degrees.  Many other events were cancelled in the area due to the cold snap, the most severe weather of this winter so far.


Echoes of the Past, Decorah, Iowa-- Part 2: Dozen Doughnuts for 10 Cents

From the decorak newspaper.

1935, 80 YEARS AGO:

**  Stop at Carl's East End Bakery for a dozen doughnuts, 10 cents; or sweet rolls, 13 cents per dozen; or cookies, 9 cents per dozen.

**  The Elks Lodge will host a grand birthday ball Jan. 30, 1935.  Proceeds will aid the infantile paralysis fund.  Tickets are $1 for each gentleman, giving admission also to his wife or lady friend.  Organizer is Charles Altfilklisch.

1945, 70 YEARS AGO:

**  Now showing at the Calmar Theatre:  "Meet the People" starring Lucille Ball and Dick Powell.  Admission is 25 cents for adults and 10 cents for children.


Echoes of the Past, Decorah, Iowa-- Part 1: 1935: The Unknown Intruder

From the January 22, 2015, Decoarh (Iowa) Joutnal "Chamber membership gala will cost 50 cents" by Roz Weis.

News from 1935, 80 years ago:

The annual Decorah Chamber of Commerce membership drive commences here Jan. 21, 1935.  Banquet tickets for the annual gala are 50 cents each.

The Jackson Junction Savings Bank is being liquidated.  The bank has been operating under the restrictions of Senate File 111 for nearly two years.  (This was during the Great Depression.)

Five steers marketed in Decorah last Saturday by Albert Andera of Spillville were sold for a grand total of $450, and average of $90 per head!

Those on relief rolls here are prohibited in the use of cars in Winneshiek County.  It has been found that in one case, a car is absolutely necessary for the family.  But when it comes to 74 other cases, they will be prohibited from using cars.  (Again, the Depression)

Big commotion reported at the Baker Lumber Yard!  Mrs. Olga Symonds, bookkeeper at the G.E. Baker & Sons lumberyard heard a noise in the private office of the firm last Monday afternoon.  She informed Mr. Baker, who was in the front office.

Mr. Baker, backed up by his son George, Pierce Anderson and other employees, cautiously entered the private office.  They found a huge rat behind a desk cabinet.  All of the gentlemen made an effort to subdue the rodent, which finally bit the dust after a frantic battle, in which we understand Olga DID NOT participate.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Military Posters Calendar for October 2015: Your Country's Call from World War I

From the Smithsonian Military Poster Calendar of 2015.

The poster shows a soldier standing in the front pointing toward an idyllic countryside scene featuring flowered cottages, a road, hills and farm animals.  The words:  "YOUR COUNTRY'S CALL" above the picture.  And "Isn't This worth fighting for?  ENLIST NOW" below it.

This was put out by the British Parliamentary Recruiting Committee in 1915.

"British recruitment posters began appearing in cities and towns throughout the United Kingdom as early as 1915 on almost any available surface.  One newspaper stated that 'All London is placarded-- the walls of buildings, billboards, even the base of Trafalgar Monument.'"


30 Things You Might Not Realize About Coffee-- Part 3

21.  Daily consumption of 1-2 cups is linked to lower risk of erectile dysfunction.

22.   Drinking coffee and boost your memory.  (Must drink more)

23.  Can prevent dental caries (?) because it has anti-bacterial component trigonelline.

24.  Might prevent development of multiple sclerosis.

25.  Might lower the risk of breast cancer.

26.  Makes you like working out more.

27.  2-3 cups can lower the risk of depression in women.

28..  Might ward off Alzheimer's (at least it does in mice).

29.  2-3 cups can lower the risk of clogged arteries.

30.  Could delay death.

I don't know, but were the facts given by the coffee industry.  Otherwise, it is our new (old) miracle drug.

In Other Words, Drink More Coffee.  Cooter

Friday, October 2, 2015

30 Things You May Not Have Realized About Coffee-- Part 2: Maybe It Is Good for You

10.  Coffee drinking seems linked with a lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

11.  Coffee beans contain antioxidants called quinines which become more potent when roasted.

12.  The caffeine in coffee can make your workout seem easier.

13.  Magnesium is naturally found in coffee.

14.  Coffee is linked to a lower risk of liver cancer.

15.  The amount of caffeine you get depends on the bean and brewing method.  There are about 85 milligrams in an 8 ounce cup.

16.  Drinking four cups of coffee is linked with lower risk of melanoma, skin cancer.

17.  The caffeine in coffee can help make your naps more effective.  (Actually, I always heard it keeps you awake.)

18. The caffeine in coffee could help you with your proofreading skills.  Readers of my blogs know better than that. Actually, it might help if I did proofread a little more.)

19.  Three to five cups of coffee a day can be a healthy part of your diet, according to government studies.  (You mean something you can enjoy which won't kill you.  Imagine that?)

20.  The caffeine in coffee can ease headaches, but might cause rebound headaches.  (Rebound headaches?)

Imagine Liking Something That Won't Kill You.  --CoffeeCooter

30 Things You May Not Have Realized About Coffee-- Part 1: But, Is It Good for You?

National Coffee Day was this past Tuesday, September 29th.  I know I drank my usual cup to celebrate it.  More than half of all American adults drink the stuff every day.  My wife Liz doesn't, so I get it ALL!! around here.

From the September 29, 2015, Yahoo! Health.

1.  U.S. adults average 3.1 cups a day.

2.  Most, 65%, have it with breakfast, 30% have it between meals and just 5% with another meal.

3.  On Average, Americans spend $20 a week on coffee, or $1,092 a year.  And then there are those who drink at Starbucks.  I'd hate to think how much they spend.

4.  Average cost of a cup of joe is $1.38.

5.  Coffee comes from the coffee tree.  (I always thought it was a bush.

6.  Tribes in East Africa had an early version of the energy bar by mixing coffee berries with animal fat.

7.  Arabica and robusta are the two main varieties of coffee.  Arabica makes up 70% of the world's coffee.

8.  Coffee trees grow best in the :"Bean Belt."  This is land around the world closest to the equator.

9.  Coffee breath is caused by caffeine (which reduces saliva) and acidity (which promotes bacteria.  Maybe start calling it bacteria breath?


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Chicago's Rank Among the 10 Largest Cities, By decade-- Part 3

#10 in 1855
#9 in 1860
#5 in 1870
#4 in 1880
#2 in 1890

It remained #2 until 1980 when replaced by Los Angeles.

Challenger Houston wasn't in the Top Ten until 1960 when it hit #7.  #6 in 1970, #5 in 1980 and #4 in 1990.

New York has remained at #1 ever since 1850.

Philadelphia was #4 in 1850 and #2 from  1860 to 1880.  From 1890 to 1950 it was #3, #4 in 1980 and #5 from then to now.


Chicago's Population By Decade-- Part 2

Chicago's population grew rapidly from its founding in 1833 to a peak of 3.6 million in 1950.  Not only was the city growing in population, it was also annexing surrounding land.

Between 2000 and 2010, the demographic breakdown in Chicago has changed as the overall population has fallen.  The city lost 180,000 blacks while increasing in its Hispanic and Asian residents.

A line graph of Chicago population showed it reaching 500,000 by 1880 and a million by 1890.  By 1900, it was 1,500,000 and 2 million by 1910.  In 1920, it stood at 2.5 million and reached 3 million in 1930.  It leveled off until 1940 and then reached its highest at 3,6 million in 1950.

It dropped below 3 million in 1980.  2014 Estimate at 2.7 million.


Chicago's Lagging Population Growth-- Part 1

From the September 23, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Charting Chicago's lagging growth" by Kyle Bentle.

"Chicago's position as the third-largest city could soon be in danger..."  Houston could surpass it within the next 8-10 years  Recent data from the Illinois Department of Health show that the 2.7 million in Chicago could decrease by 3% by 2025 to 2.5 million.  Meanwhile, Houston's population could reach 2.54 million by 2025.

POPULATION CHANGE IN THE TEN LARGEST U.S. CITIES:  Rank, city--  2010 census--  new people added by 2014.

1.  New York--  8,175,133--  315,946
2.  Los Angeles--  3,792,621--  136,243
3.  Chicago--  2,695,598--  26,791

4.  Houston--  2,099,451--  140,107
5.  Philadelphia--  1,526,006--  34,291
6.  Phoenix--  1,445,632--  91,426
7.  San Antonio--  1,327,407

8.  San Diego--  1,307,402--  73,667
9.  Dallas--  1,197,816--  83,231
10.  San Jose, Ca.--  945,942--  69,843

--Seems Folks Are Headed South and West.  --Cooter

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The U.S. Military Bronze Star: Martin S. Kadner, Vietnam War Recipient

In my Down Da Road blog today, I wrote about the death of a good friend of mine who taught with me at Magee Middle School in Round Lake, Illinois, for around 30 years.  His name was Marty Kadner.  I did not know he received a Bronze Star for his service in the Vietnam War

From Wikipedia and other sources.

The Bronze Star Medal, unofficially, the Bronze Star is awarded to members of the U.S. military for heroic achievement or service or meritorious achievement or service in a combat zone.

It was established by Executive Order 4 February 1944.  The idea for it was conceived by Col. Russell P. "Red" Reeder.

During the Vietnam War three types of Bronze Stars were awarded:

Bronze Star for service:  26, 213
Bronze Star for Achievement:  2,159
Bronze Star for Valor:  6,215

Unfortunately, I was unable to find any information on the circumstances for which Marty received his Bronze Star.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Deaths: Helped Make Dad's Root Beer an International Brand

From the August 21, 2015, Chicago Tribune.

ROU GURVEY (1923-2015)

Built Dad's Old Fashioned Root Beer into a strong brand before Coke and Pepsi dominated the market.  According to his son Scott, he was able to build personal relationships with bottlers back in the days when there were a lot of independent soft drink flavors.  Died August 12 at age 92.

Born in New York and moved to Chicago where graduated from Roosevelt High School before attending University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Left school in sophomore year to served in World War II.

In the early 1950s, hired by Chicago-based Dad's which had been founded in the 1930s.  Dad's at the time was a regional powerhouse, but Gurvey helped build it into a national and international brand.  They became second in root beer sales with 12 million cases, behind A&W.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Kennedy Auction Back in 2013

From the Feb. 18, 2013, Yahoo! News "JFK birthday card from son, other items auctioned off for up to $2 million" by Daniel Loverwig.

The auction ended Monday.

In it, a birthday card from his son went for $17,000.

A flag flown on Kennedy's motorcade limo went for $55,000.

The seal that hung above the aide's desk in the West Wing-- $17,000.

Kennedy's Air Force One bomber jacket was expected to go for between $20,000 and $40,000, but went for $570,000.  This was found in the home of David Powers who was close to JFK from 1946 to the assassination.

There were also books inscribed by the president.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Comparing the New Panama Canal and the Old One

From the May 25, 2015, Time Magazine.

This table was in an article about the new expansion lane built on the Panama Canal to allow bigger ships to pass through between the Atlantic and Pacific.

The first numbers refer to the 1914 canal, second to the new lane:

EXCAVATION:  268 million cu. yd.  ////  203 million cu. yd.

YEARS FROM START TO FINISH:  34 (1880-1914)  ////  9 (2007-2016)

CONCRETE USED:  4.4 million cu. yd.  ////  5.7 million cu. yd.

NUMBER EMPLOYED:  56,307 (1904-1913)  ////  32,000

LIVES LOST:  25,600 (estimated)  ////  6

COST:  $635 million ($15 billion in 2015 dollars)  ////  $5.25 billion

MAXIMUM SHIP SIZE:  965 ft. by 106 ft. by 39 ft.  ////  1,200 160 ft. by 50 ft.

TONS OF CARGO (PER YEAR):  252 million (2014)  ////  504 million (expected)


SIZE OF LOCK CHAMBERS:  1,000 ft. by 110 ft. by 42 ft.  ////  1,400 ft. by 180 ft. by 60 ft.

How It Grows.  --Cooter

Friday, September 25, 2015

Cheers to Oktoberfest-- Part 4: It's Huge in Munich

The German Beer Institute has these statistics about the annual Oktoberfest celebration in Munich.  Over six million attend it from all over the world.  They consume more than six million liters(1.75 million gallons of beer during the sixteen day event.  That's 30% of Munich's total beer production for the whole year.

Since 1950, Oktoberfest officially begins when Munich's mayor taps the first barrel of beer.

In Wisconsin, there are plenty of Oktoberfest beers to choose from A really good one is put out by Capital Brewery in Middleton (near Madison).  Their Oktoberfest brew is its most popular seasonal beer..

I love my Oktoberfest parties and, of course, those great Oom-Pah bands.

Oom-Pah Me.  --Cooter