Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Napalm Girl" Photo Turns 40

From the June 1, 2012, Yahoo! News, AP by Margie Mason.

The naked young girl running, screaming in agony is one of those significant photos in the history of the world.  U.S. dropped napalm had burned away her clothes and into her skin.  The photo shocked the world as much as the Vietnamese officer shooting the Viet Cong soldier in the head, execution-style.

It was taken by AP photographer Huynh Cong "Nick" Ut and graphically presented the horrors of the war.

The picture was taken June 8, 1972.  The girl, Kim Phuc survived and is now 49.

Montgomery Ward Preserves Chicago's Lakefront-- Part 3

Montgomery Ward was willing to allow the natural history museum that Marshall Field called for in his will, the Field Museum, but wanted it to be the only structure in his green park.  He was concerned that its construction would invite other buildings.  It did.  The Field Museum was shortly joined by the Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium.  It's all the Museum Campus today.  Then, Soldier Field was built nearby.

Something many don't know is that after World War II, city officials pitched Northerly Island for the headquarters of the newly formed United Nations..  New York City got the headquarters and Chicago got Meigs Airfield until the last Mayor Daley erased it.

Then came McCormick Place in 1960.  But, seven years later, it burned down, but was rebuilt.

But, still, Ward's idea is there as he won the battle.  It would have been all a playground for the rich (which he was), but he wanted a place for the poor as well.

Thank You Monkey Ward's.  --DaCoot

Montgomery Ward Preserves Chicago's Lakefront-- Part 2

Montgomery Ward was all up for aborting the Field Museum, but was willing to let the Art Institute remain east of Michigan Avenue.

Ward's interest in the lakefront began soon after he moved into the 22-story headquarters of his catalog business on Michigan Avenue.  The view from his office window overlooking the lake was downright ugly.  So, he filed a suit to have all the debris and shanties removed from what amounted to a huge trash dump.

The bottom layers of it dated to 1971, when rubble from the Great Chicago Fire was dumped into the lake.  At the time, the lake's shoreline was at about Michigan Avenue.

The Tribune strongly backed Montgomery Ward until it became apparent he also did not want any sort of building constructed in the new land.

The fight for a lakefront everyone could use was on.  


Monday, September 1, 2014

Big Ben Becomes Elizabeth Tower?

From the June 2, 2012, Yahoo! News-AFP "Report: Big Been to be renamed Elizabeth Tower."

Prime Minister David Cameron and 331 are campaigning to change the name Big Ben to Elizabeth Tower..  Big Ben is the name of the square tower at the end of the House of Parliament that was renamed for Queen Victoria at one time in honor of her Diamond Jubilee in 1897.  Of course, this would only be a temporary name.

The 316-foot structure is officially named the Clock Tower, but more commonly called "Big Ben" after the huge bell that "bongs" out the hours.

It is still known mostly as Big Ben.  (And I thought Big Ben was that Steeler football player.)

Britain had four straight days of royal celebration starting June 2, 2012 to honor Queen Elizabeth's 60th Diamond Jubilee, including a 1,000 boat river pageant on the James River.


In January, a commission met to discuss how they should manage the tilt  The tower is currently tilting 0.26 degrees to the northwest and has increased slightly since 2003.  However, one expert says that the tilt should not be a problem for another 10,000 years.

That Would be an Honor.  --DaCoot

World War I Veteran's Widow Dies

From the June 1, 2012, Saratogian

On May 27, one of the last widows of a World War I veteran died.  Grace H. Luciano, of Saratoga Springs, New York died.  She was preceded in death by her husband Michael Luciano, a Navy submarine veteran during World War I and a pharmacist during World War II.

War records are kept on veterans, but it is not known if Grace, 90, was the last surviving widow of a World War I veteran.

The last U.S. veteran of the war, Frank Buckles, died in 2011.

New York City's Jane Hotel: A Titanic Connection

From Wikipedia.

The Jane Hotel is a boutique hotel located in Greenwich Village with a main entrance on Jane Street, hence the name.

It was built in 1908 and originally was the American Seamen's Friend Society Sailors' Home and Institute.

It was used to house Titanic survivors during the American inquest on the sinking.

It was acquired by the YMCA in 1944 and used as a transient hotel and they it was several other hotels before becoming a boutique one.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Montgomery Ward Preserves Chicago's Lakefront-- Part 1

From the August 10, 2014, Chicago Tribune "Montgomery Ward deserves our gratitude" by Ron Grossman.

On summer days, thousands of people visit and enjoy Chicago's magnificent lake front, but it almost wasn't to be as developers sought the land, but one store owner, businessman had the foresight back in the late 1800s to save it.  That man was Montgomery Ward.

That's right, the Montgomery Ward that those of us who are older remember was a big department store chain.  It was the man who pioneered mail-order retailing.

Four times between 1897 and 1910, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld Ward's contention that Chicago's lakefront should be parkland.  Ward felt that this land should be "forever open, clear and free."

Four years before his death in 1913, Montgomery Ward told the Tribune: "Had I known in 1890 how long it would take me to preserve a park for the people against their will, I doubt if I would have undertaken it.  Perhaps I may yet see the public appreciate my effort.  Bit I doubt it."

They Didn't back Then, But Sure Do Now (If They Can Afford the Parking Meters).  --Cooter

Friday, August 29, 2014

Where "Alabam" Lives On-- Part 2: Fishing in a Latrine

"Alabam" is one of several statues that have been erected around the former federal company town of Boulder City, Nevada, to honor the Hoover Dam workers and their families.  Among them were "high-scalers" who hung suspended from flimsy guide ropes; "powder monkeys," named for the dynamite they planted; cable operators who kept the huge buckets of concrete moving around the clock; and the wives and children who set up camp in the bleak desert wilderness.

The statues are part of what is called "an amazing public arts program," according to Nevada State Museum Director Dennis McBride.  The project started a decade ago when town officials set aside $75,000  a year for five years to promote the role of the city and its residents in erecting the dam.

McBride is a historian who has done a lot of research on Boulder City and the dam.  He came across the many stories about "Alabam."

A favorite of his was the one when someone saw him fishing inside a latrine with a stick.  He explained that he had dropped his jacket into it.  When told his jacket would probably be ruined, "Alabam" replied that he didn't care about the jacket, but his lunch was in the pocket.

Now, That's a Good, But Smelly Story.  --DaCoot

Where "Alabam" Lives On-- Part 1: Dirty Job, But Somebody's Got to Do It

From the June 4, 2014, Chicago Tribune by John M. Glionna.

Nobody really knew his name.  They all just called him "Alabam" probably because he was from there or somewhere in the South.  But, they all knew him as the old guy (in his 70s) who made his contribution to the Depression-era building of the famous Hoover Dam.

He cleaned the latrines.  As far as is know, he was a one-man sanitation crew for the 7,000 workers at the site.He is long gone, but not forgotten

On the main drag through Boulder City, Nevada, stands an 8-foot tall statue honoring the man and including a garland of toilet paper rolls around his neck.

He is the first of several statues honoring the men who built the dam.

Steven Ligouri, the Las Vegas sculptor who made the statue, said: "He was a simple sanitation engineer whose job was so bad-- even when temperatures hit 120 degrees, he climbed inside those tin latrine (predecessors of port-a-potties).  Mow he's the unofficial greeter to the entire town."

Not the Type of Statue You's Expect.  --Cooter

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Gaffes-- Part 6

9.  OOPS, WRONG END ZONE:  Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall picked up a loose ball during an Oct. 1964 game and scampered 66 yards for a TD, only to find he ran the wrong way and scored a safety for the appreciative SF 49ers.

The same thing happened in the 1929 Rose Bowl when the University of California's Roy Riegels ran a fumble nearly 70 yards before teammates stooped him before going into the end zone.  Georgia Tech tackled him on the one yard line and got a safety the next play.

Riegels learned to live with it and in 1964, wrote a letter to Marshall saying, "Welcome to the Club."

10.  NOT REALLY:  Al Gore committed a major gaffe by claiming that he invented the INTERNET, or so everyone thinks.  In a 1999 interview, Gore said: "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."  Actually he didn't say he invented it.  He took the initiative for its invention.

Two Internet pioneers, Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf, wrote: "Al Gore was the first political leader to recognize the importance of the Internet and to promote and support its development."

Thanks, Al.  --DaCoot

Ten Things You might Not Know About Gaffes-- Part 5

7.  Former IRS honcho LOIS LERNER, under fire for accusations that her agency had targeted conservative groups, made a strange statement:  "I'm not good at math."  But, she knew enough about arithmetic to take the Fifth before Congress.

8.  One of the most infamous mistakes was apparently only in hindsight.  The "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln for President George W. Bush's May 1, 2003, speech declaring an end of major military operations in Iraq, is now considered a blatant gaffe  Newspapers at the time barely even mentioned it.

However, the Iraq insurgency continued on for years afterwards (even now).


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ten Things You Didn't Know About Gaffes-- Part 4

5.  MOVIE PROMOTION  often come up with gaffes.  Take for instance the new Indian (India) film "Bang Bang!" which is set to be released Oct. 2nd.  It is violent and to be released on Gandhi Jayanti, a holiday celebrated in India every year to mark the birth of Mohandas Gandhi, a champion of nonviolence.

Paramount Australia recently advertised the new "Teenage Mutant Turtles" film by tweeting a poster of the turtles flying out of an exploding skyscraper, with the release date of September 11th.

6.  And speaking of SEPTEMBER 11TH gaffes, Esquire.com accidentally ran a headline reading "Making Your Morning Commute More Stylish" next to a photo of a man falling out of one of the Twin Towers.  The Tumbledown Golf Course in Wisconsin apologized for their special $9.11 golf rate to "commemorate" Sept. 11.

But perhaps the worst came within hours of the attack when British bureaucrat Jo Moore realized that the events in America were so distracting that any bad news at home might be overlooked.  "It is now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury," she said in an e-mail. After it got out, she said she was very sorry.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ten Things You Didn't Know About Gaffes-- Part 3

3.  During the 2012 presidential campaign, MITT ROMNEY committed numerous gaffes that put his extreme wealth in an unfavorable light, including his comment that 47 percent of Americans are "dependent upon government" and his offer of a $10,000 bet with a debate opponent.

Less publicized  was a 2011 statement in which he actually misstated his own name.  At the start of a 2011 debate, CNN's Wolf Blitzer said: "I'm Wold Blitzer, and yes, that's my real name."  Romney then said : "I'm Mitt Romney--and yes, Wolf, that's also my first name."  But Romney's first name isn't Mitt, that's his middle name.  His first name is Willard.

Just trying to be a smart-aleck I guess.

4.  And then there's the man who beat Romney, President Barack Obama, who has visited all "57 states" and suggesting that Charleston, S.C., Savannah, Ga.,, and Jacksonville, Fla. are on the Gulf Coast.

But perhaps his most painful gaffe came in a 2011 speech to the troops when he referred to Medal of Honor recipient killed in Afghanistan as if he were still alive.  He later called the family to apologize.


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

1.  He's not one of the key political figures of the 20th century, but a billboard in India intending to honor South Africa's Nelson Mandela after his death in 2013 mistakenly used actor MORGAN FREEMAN's photograph.  At least it wasn't the one when he played "Driving Miss Daisy."

2.  On October 31, 2000, German Chancellor GERHARD SCHROEDER, paying his respects at the Vad Vashern Holocaust memorial in Israel with that country's Prime Minister  Ehud Barak, unfortunately turned a handle the wrong way and accidentally extinguished the eternal flame, which stands in the Hall of Remembrance for the six million Jews killed by the Nazis.

Barak tried to relight it, but failed.  A memorial employee finally relighted it with a cigarette lighter.


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

From the August 10, 2014, Chicago Tribune by those intrepid and mighty thorough researchers Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer.  I always look forward to these mighty interesting articles that appear every so often in the Sunday Tribune.

Gaffe:  Open mouth, insert foot.

"Monday marks the 30th anniversary of a major presidential gaffes when Ronald Reagan was joking during a microphone test:  'My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever.  We begin bombing in five minutes.'

"The remark was not broadcast, but it became public, infuriating the Russians.

And the gaffes continue.  Last month, Rep. Curt Clawson, R-Fla. was addressing two U.S. officials who are of Indian descent as if they were officials of the government of India and said: "I am familiar with your country.  I love your country."  He might have added, "I loved 'Slumdog Millionaire."

Of course, I make it a regular habit of saying stupid stuff.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

NIU Rebuilding Myanmar's Universities-- Part 3: "They Need Everything"

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Burma had one of the highest literacy rates in Asia and was posed to become a rapidly developing country in the region.

But a military coup in 1962 caused a government intent on an isolationist policy that singled out students and universities as enemies of the junta.

In 1988, there was a violent crackdown and all universities were closed, but reopened in 1990 with a government-controlled curriculum. In 1996, schools were closed for three years.  Things got better in 2010, when elections in the country caused a "quasi-civilian" government to come to power.  But even then, there is still over a half century of isolation that must be overcome.

A Long Way to Go.  --Cooter

Monday, August 25, 2014

Rebuilding Myanmar's Universities at NIU-- Part 2

Richard Cooler visited Burma in the early 1970s and then joined the Burma Studies Group, described as a "fragmented but serious association of scholars."  Over the years, they published papers about the country, acquired rare books and art work and in the 1980s decided they needed a central office and NIU's bid, written by Cooler beat those offered by the University of Michigan, Wisconsin and Smithsonian, among others.

The Burma center is now attached to the building that serves as NIU's Center for Southeastern Asian studies.  Its collection is housed in several campus buildings and includes publications, rare books, ancient and modern maps, art, manuscripts and music about Myanmar.

Professor Cooler, 71, was the center's director until he retired in 2002, but he remains active in it..

Next, why it is so important to have this center.